Cameron M. Batjer JD’50, a former justice of the Nevada Supreme Court who later served on the U.S. Parole Commission, died June 1 at his home in Reno surrounded by family. He was 91.
Cameron McVicar Batjer was born August 24, 1919, in Smith, Nevada, a member of a pioneering Nevada ranching family. His father, Robert W. Batjer, emigrated from Germany in the early 1890s and settled in Smith Valley, where he was a rancher and also operated a freight business that served the mining camps. His mother, Mary Belle McVicar, was a native of Smith Valley. She was a graduate of the University of Nevada and taught school in Smith Valley and other places in Nevada. Cameron received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada and became a teacher in Dayton, where he met and later married fellow teacher Lura Gamble.
With the beginning of World War II, Batjer enlisted in the Navy. He was commissioned an ensign and served on Gen. Douglas McArthur’s staff in Australia. Following the war, Batjer returned to Nevada and resumed teaching. After going on to receive a law degree at the University of Utah, he worked for a period as staff counsel for the Utah Senate before being hired by Nevada’s U.S. Senator George W. “Molly” Malone to work as a staff committee counsel in Washington, D.C. Batjer returned to Nevada in 1953 and practiced law in Carson City until he was appointed as district attorney in Ormsby County (now Carson City). He eventually returned to private practice until his appointment to the Nevada Supreme Court from 1967 to 1981. After his retirement from the court, Batjer was named by President Ronald Reagan to the U.S. Parole Commission, where he served until 1990. Batjer then retired to Reno and Maui, Hawaii.
“Cameron was a close childhood friend of my father’s and a mentor to me,” said Justice Ron Parraguirre. “He was an extremely bright, compassionate man who was never without a broad grin. We have lost a true gentleman who was a credit to the Supreme Court and the state of Nevada. I will miss him greatly and send my sympathies to his wonderful family.”
Batjer is survived by three daughters and a son-in-law, Lura Batjer Caldwell, Charles S. Caldwell, and Christina Batjer, all of Reno, and Marybel Batjer of Las Vegas.
Edited from a June 1 news item in the Las Vegas Sun and a related item on msnbc.com.
Garry Shirts BS’58 MS’63 PhD’68, an educational psychologist and pioneer in the simulation training field, died of a heart attack April 23 in Del Mar, Calif. He was 77.
Robert Garry Shirts was born March 3, 1934, in Brigham City, Utah, to King Wesley Shirts and Ida Raddon Shirts. While attending the University of Utah, he met his future wife. He and the former Cozette Williams were married in 1957.
Shirts served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1958 to 1969. The Shirts family moved in 1965 to San Diego, where Garry worked at the San Diego County Department of Education before joining Western Behavioral Sciences Institute in La Jolla. The simulation field was in its infancy when Shirts began designing games around major social issues to promote harmony and reduce conflict. Shirts and his wife later started Simulation Training Systems, a company that designs and markets educational and training simulations. He went on to design some of the most popular simulation training experiences used by the military, schools, and corporations.
Shirts was able to find humor in most situations and wrote several columns with a humorous bent for community publications, including one about his cataract surgery. Shirts also regularly participated in various discussion groups and started a monthly poker game that has lasted 40 years and a book club that has been going for 20 years.
Shirts is survived by his wife, Cozette, of Del Mar; three sons, Matthew of Sao Paolo, Brazill; Phillip of Palo Alto; and Mitch of Point Loma; a sister, Linda Shirts Ferguson of La Mesa; and seven grandchildren.
Edited from a May 16 article in the San Diego Union Tribune.
Richard “Dick” Grow BS’48 MS’49, a professor and former chair of the University of Utah’s Department of Electrical Engineering and a pioneer in technology development, died June 8. He was 85.
Richard William Grow was born on October 31, 1925, to Joseph Henry Grow and Helen Mary Horne in Lynndyl, Utah. He was raised with his sister Beverley in Union Pacific company housing along the tracks in whistle-stop towns between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. He skipped the fourth and twelfth grades and left high school in Caliente, Nev., at age 16, to attend the University of Utah. In June 1944 at age 18, he enlisted in the Navy. Grow maintained the radio and the newly-invented radar equipment for the Combat Information Center that directed the naval task force of which the Lexington was flagship. He was honorably discharged from the Navy at age 20 on May 25, 1946, after having served for 25 months. After reenrolling at the U, he met Peggy Anne Staub, a nursing student and recent convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They married in the Salt Lake Temple on September 3, 1947. After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, Grow worked in Washington, D.C., on a highly classified project to develop technology for testing the first hydrogen bomb. He pursued a doctorate in electrical engineering at Stanford University, completing his degree in 1955, and continued his pioneering research at the Stanford Electronics Laboratories until 1958, when he was recruited by the University of Utah as an associate research professor in electrical engineering. During his career, he consulted for many prominent companies, supervised dozens of doctoral candidates, produced hundreds of papers and articles, and initiated several patents. From 1965 to 1977, he was chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering. During this time, he recruited key faculty members to the University who would build the Computer Science Department and the Department of Biophysics and Bioengineering, helping create the explosive growth in technology that has contributed to Utah’s thriving high-tech economy. Grow was recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) for outstanding achievements in both his technical field and in engineering education. He was presented the Distinguished Research Award at the U, and he was awarded the prestigious Governor’s Medal in Science and Technology. He taught engineering for 52 years at the University, teaching his last class in April of this year.
Grow was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and enjoyed serving as scoutmaster, stake missionary, seventy, high councilor, high priest group leader, bishopric counselor, and stake patriarch in the Salt Lake Mount Olympus Stake. He was a devoted home teacher for five decades in the Mount Olympus 7th Ward and served in the Salt Lake Temple for 16 years and as a Temple Square host with his wife for 14 years. He also shared a love for family history with his wife. He began serving as the genealogist for the Henry Grow Family Organization in 1964 and traveled to Germany, Pennsylvania, and other locations to research the Grow family ancestry. He was also an avid fisherman, taking many trips with his family to Yellowstone, Flaming Gorge, and other locations.
Grow is survived by sister Beverley Stephan, Salt Lake City; his children, Richard (and Jody) Grow, Salt Lake City; Robert (and Linda) Grow, Sandy; Margaret (and Clark) Sevy, Salt Lake City; his informally adopted Navajo daughter Elaine (and Harry) Sombrero, Kayenta, Ariz.; 16 grandchildren; five Navajo grandchildren; as well as his 40 young great-grandchildren and six Navajo great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Peggy, his parents, son David, and older brother Bobby
Edited from a June item at larkinmortuary.com.