In Memoriam

Judy Folkmanis ’63

Aug. 27, 1941– Jan. 9, 2016

This obituary was published in the San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 21, 2016 

Judy Folkmanis ’63 passed away on January 9, 2016 at the age of 74 at her home in Berkeley. She was born in New York City on Aug. 27, 1941, to Henry Siegel and Ruth Altrowitz. Judy grew up near the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and famed Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and attended Wingate High School, where she played flute in the school orchestra.

She initially attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, before transferring to Antioch. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in biology, and met Atis ’62. Judy co-oped at Albert Einstein Medical College in the Bronx, Howe Laboratory of Opthalmology and Tufts Dental School in Boston, among others. They were married in Antioch’s Rockford Chapel in March 1963, the year Judy graduated. Then, they served as Peace Corps volunteers in the town of Bukit Mertajam, Malaysia for two years. Upon completion of their Peace Corps tour of duty, Judy and Atis traveled throughout Asia and Europe, including a visit to a deserted Angkor Wat in Cambodia and a stint on a kibbutz in Israel, before returning to the U.S.

Judy and Atis lived in the Boston area until 1972. Their first son, Daniel Evan Folkmanis, was born in Boston in 1966 and their second son, Jason Folkmanis, was born in Cambridge in 1968. After Atis received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Brandeis University in Waltham, the Folkmanis family headed cross-country to California, where Atis began working as a post-doctoral student at the University of California.

Judy began making and selling puppets on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, which at the time hosted a vibrant street market for arts and crafts. Judy’s vision of realistic and high-quality animal puppets found an immediate market. In 1976, they started Furry Folk Puppets, which is now known as Folkmanis, Inc., and which continues her legacy, providing education and joy to children and adults.

In 1988 Judy and Atis moved to Mariposa Avenue in Berkeley, and it was here that Judy lived the rest of her life. She became a fixture in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, refusing to let her four-decade battle against multiple sclerosis prevent her from making regular runs past Live Oak Park and down Shattuck Avenue on her scooter. Judy and Atis continued to travel the world together in spite of her disability, visiting locales as far-flung as Botswana, New Zealand, Russia and Tanzania.

In an Antiochian article from 2012, Judy said, “To have the background I had going to Antioch, to starting the business, which we wouldn’t have done without the impetus from this College—this College is joy, and I will always remember it that way.”

Atis and Judy were awarded the Rebecca Rice Award in 2005 by the Antioch College Alumni Association for their “exemplary career, unwavering dedication to quality, fun and education, (that) reflects Antioch’s highest ideals of excellence.” In 2012, they returned to Yellow Springs for Reunion and were honored by former President Mark Roosevelt as some of the College’s most generous benefactors, giving resources and time to ensure the survival of the College.

Judy is survived by her husband Atis, her sons Dan and Jason, and four grandchildren.

Michael Brower ’55

1932–Jan. 12, 2016

This obituary was published in the American Family Archives and Chronicles, Inc.

Beloved husband of Norma Finkelstein, Michael J. Brower ’55 passed away suddenly at the age of 83, on January 12, 2016. 

A graduate of Antioch College, Dr. Brower received his Ph.D. from Harvard University followed by a Fulbright Scholarship to Europe. Dr. Brower taught economics and political economy at MIT, Brandeis and the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Columbia. He subsequently founded the North East Labor Management Center later known as the Massachusetts Quality of Working Life Center. Deeply committed to improving the quality of worker’s lives, especially their work environment, Dr. Brower worked with both labor and management to encourage more collaborative and worker-empowering organizational values and structures.

During the ’60s and ’70s, Dr. Brower was intimately involved in examining and writing about America’s strategic nuclear policy, and was an arms analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists working closely with the Council for a Livable World. He published numerous papers on this topic in journals such as the New Republic and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Involved in both peace, justice and civil rights movements, Dr. Brower was an active member of Americans for Democratic Action, Peace Action, Institute for Peace and International Security and the Council for a Livable World. 

He worked on many local electoral campaigns as well as nationally, was a McGovern delegate to the Democratic Convention in 1972, served as MA treasurer of the McGovern Campaign and as manager of the national presidential campaign of Fred Harris. Dr. Brower was active in community governance at Antioch College and became a passionate and dynamic alumnus who deeply believed in the college’s profound impact on its students by helping to prepare them to “win victories for humanity.”

When Antioch College closed, Dr. Brower spent countless hours on the Antioch Alumni Board and organizing local Massachusetts chapters to successfully restore the College to its position as one of “America’s best small colleges.” 

In addition to his wife, Norma Finkelstein, Dr. Brower is survived by his four children, David, Jessica, Matthew and Kathy; three grandchildren, Allison, Sophie and Aria; his niece. Ellen Gately and his nephew Roger Brower.