In memoriam

College mourns passing of retired employees

Joseph Kemker, Ph.D.

clinicians testing hearing of newborn

Dr. Joseph Kemker and Dr. Emily McClain test the hearing of a Gainesville infant in this circa 2000 photo.

Professor Emeritus Joseph Kemker, Ph.D., passed away June 12. Throughout his 26-year tenure as UF’s chief audiologist and a professor in the department of communicative disorders (now speech, language, and hearing sciences), Kemker played a significant role in the advancement of new therapies for people with hearing impairments.

In the mid-1980s, he was a part of a three-member UF team that participated in a multicenter clinical trial that demonstrated the effectiveness of cochlear implants and paved the way to their common use as a treatment for select hearing impairments.

Kemker also led UF’s efforts in a pilot study on hearing screening for at-risk infants, and he was an outspoken advocate for state legislation to fund the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening program, which became Florida law in 2000.

A Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Kemker received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the organization in 2000.

“Dr. Kemker was a compassionate clinician, a wise mentor, and kind colleague whose professional expertise, tireless dedication, and kindly demeanor greatly benefitted the lives of patients, students, faculty, and staff,” said Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., dean of the college.

Linda Stallings

Stallings with deans

Linda Stallings (center) at the college’s 50th anniversary gala in 2008 with Dean Howard Suzuki, Dean Richard Gutekunst, Dean Robert G. Frank and Dean Michael G. Perri.

Linda Stallings, former associate director for medical/health administration, passed away May 29. Before her retirement in 2008, she worked alongside every dean in the college’s history during her 36-year career at UF.

“She provided each with unwavering support and sage advice, and she played a vital but often unseen role in advancing the mission of the college,” said Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., dean of the college.

Stallings accepted a position as Founding Dean Darrel J. Mase’s secretary in 1972 and helped with the Florida Manpower Study to determine workforce needs for health professionals. After his retirement from the health science center, she joined Dean Howard Suzuki’s staff. With each subsequent dean, she saw her responsibilities expand.

people installing brick

Lou Stallings (center), husband of Linda Stallings, joins Dr. Robert G. Frank in placing a brick engraved in Linda’s memory at the college’s entrance during a ceremony held September 24.

“I always said I didn’t have to leave the college for new positions as each dean provided enough change (and challenges) to make it interesting,” she said in a 2017 interview.

Stallings was involved in many important decisions in the college’s history and she was known for her graciousness, warm manner and encyclopedic knowledge of the college and university.

“From even before I started as dean, she was beside me, nudging, reminding, encouraging me to do the right things,” said Robert G. Frank, Ph.D. dean of the college from 1995 to 2007. “Inevitably those things had to do with kindness and caring.”