Obituaries

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Thomas O. SargentichAU Law Professor

Thomas O. Sargentich, 54, a law professor at American University for the past 22 years, died of peritonitis April 21 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.

A constitutional and administrative law scholar, Mr. Sargentich was co-director of the Washington College of Law program on law and government at AU and chairman of the faculty board for the Administrative Law Review. He testified before Congress and argued cases before federal courts.

He edited "An Administrative Law Anthology" (1994) and was a contributing writer and editor to a number of publications including the "Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States" (1995).

Claudio Grossman, the dean of AU's law school, called Mr. Sargentich "an intellectual of the first order" and an excellent teacher who displayed a strong sense of justice in the classroom. Mr. Sargentich did seminal legal work on the separation of powers, Grossman said, and was the first dean of the master's program in law and government, which now draws 50 lawyers a year, half of them from other countries. He also helped develop the school's pro bono component.

"He was a quiet, very thoughtful person," Grossman said. "He was someone [of whom] you would ask advice, a gentleman. He was the definition of influence by example."

Mr. Sargentich was given the university's award for outstanding research and scholarship in 1990 and this year received the Pauline Ruyle Moore Award for public law scholarship.

Born in Alhambra, Calif., Mr. Sargentich graduated from Harvard College, received a master's degree from Magdalen College of Oxford University in 1974 and his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1977.

He worked at the Department of Justice in the legal counsel's office before joining AU in 1981 as an adjunct professor and taking a full-time professor's job in 1983.

Survivors include his wife of 24 years, Susan Farnsworth, a professor at Trinity College, of Arlington; a daughter, Catherine Sargentich of Arlington; his mother, Margaret Sargentich of Monterey, Calif.; a brother; and two sisters.

James Joseph O'KaneFederal Investigator

James Joseph O'Kane, 73, who did investigative work for the U.S. House Appropriations Committee from 1962 to 1992, died April 27 at his home in Burke. He had kidney cancer.

Mr. O'Kane traveled widely for his job, visiting military bases and other facilities to prevent or review abuses of federal appropriations.


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