Deaths | June 29, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - June 29, 2012


Arnold Wihtol

Arnold Wihtol, a longtime employee of Varian Associates, died June 8. He was 90.

He was born Dec. 11, 1921, and raised in Chicago, Ill. He was the second of two sons of Latvian immigrants who met, married and settled in Chicago. Latvian was spoken in their home, but he learned English attending public schools. He graduated from Steinmetz High School in Chicago in 1939. He also completed some course work at the Chicago City Junior College in 1941.

He then worked at Raytheon in Waltham, Mass., until he joined the Navy during World War II. After the war he made his way to California and was hired as the 39th employee in 1949 at Varian Associates, which was located in San Carlos at that time. The Varian brothers and their company were instrumental in the invention and manufacturing of vacuum tubes, including the klystron. Varian later became a Fortune 500 company. He was hired as an engineer, assembler and maintenance man.

In 1950 he married Helen Smith Rogers, who also worked at Varian. He worked his way up the company, becoming the manager of the tube division and ultimately a vice president of the tube division. He retired after 42 years at the age of 70.

His wife, Helen, and brother, Wes, preceded him in death.

He is survived by his daughter, Pamela Hawley of Kelseyville, Calif.; his son, Jeff Wihtol of Portland, Ore.; seven grandchildren, one great grandson, two nieces, four nephews and numerous cousins.

Ronald Dorfman

Ronald Dorfman, former professor of pathology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, died June 15 at Stanford Hospital of heart failure. He was 89.

He came to Stanford from Washington University in St. Louis in 1968. He co-founded and co-directed the surgical pathology laboratory at Stanford Hospital. He held this post for nearly 35 years until his retirement in 1993.

He also helped to develop the subspecialty of hematopathology, a branch of pathology focused on diseases of the hematopoetic, or blood-forming, cells. He subsequently co-founded the Society for Hematopathology in 1981 and served as its second president. In 1993, he was invited by the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology to present the Maude Abbott lecture describing developments in the then-burgeoning field.

In the 1970s, he developed a lymphoma classification system that would allow the researchers to accurately determine the effect of their radiation-based treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma. The physicians' efforts transformed the disease into one of the most curable forms of cancer.

He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on March 14, 1923. He entered medical school at the University of the Witwatersrand, but his education was interrupted from 1944 to 1946 by his military service in a South African surgical unit serving with the Allied forces in Egypt and Italy. He received the South African equivalent of a U.S. medical degree, an MBBCh, in 1948 and did his post-graduate training at Johannesburg General Hospital, the Medical School of London and the Royal Victoria Hospital in Edinburgh.

He is survived by his wife, Zelma of Palo Alto; daughters, Erica Dorfman of Seattle, Wash., Annie Nieves of Clovis, Calif., and Carol Dorfman of Guilford, Conn.; brother, Stanley Dorfman of Los Angeles, Calif.; and two grandsons. The family suggests any donations in his memory be made to "MŽdecins Sans Frontires" (Doctors Without Borders), which can be reached at

A memorial service for family and friends will be held at Channing House in Palo Alto on July 14 from 3 to 5 p.m. The Stanford Department of Pathology will be arranging an additional memorial service in his honor in the fall.


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