Deaths: David M. Solzman
Solzman received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago before returning to Omaha, Nebraska, and earning a double master’s degree in geography and business at the University of Nebraska. He returned to Chicago to earn his Ph.D. from University of Chicago in urban geography focused on industrial land use along the Chicago River and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.
Upon completion of his studies, Solzman joined the faculty at UIC, where he taught geography, meteorology and astronomy full time from 1965 to 2000. He worked in conjunction with the Adler Planetarium and Northwestern University’s Observatory, so that his astronomy students got the fullest experience. The highlight of the class was a camping trip to Kankakee River State Park. Far away from city lights, they could really see the night sky. He taught them to always look up.
His class in urban geography was always full, and he sent the students around the city, finding their way to neighborhoods that they weren’t familiar with via CTA. They always found some treasured restaurant and got to know the city very well. During his tenure at UIC, he was nominated for the prestigious Silver Circle Award 23 times and received the Silver Circle Award five times. He was the faculty advisor for the Veteran’s Club starting during the Vietnam War. He remained very close with the members of the club.
After retiring from full-time teaching, he continued to teach a class or two for the Honors College until 2016. He enjoyed working with the honors students because he liked to challenge them. He loved being with students and credited them with keeping him young.
He was an accomplished photographer and recently more than 50 of his photographs were made a permanent installation, The David Solzman Gallery, in the offices of the Friends of the Parks. He was also an accomplished pianist and loved music of all types. His long interest with the waterways of Chicago created a backdrop for his annual boat tours of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and the Sanitary and Ship Canal. He often did several each year for the alumni of UIC, the University of Chicago and other organizations. He served on the Board of the Friends of the Chicago River for many years.
He is survived by his wife of 35 years, L. Rachel McKinzie; daughters Nancy (Tomas Alarid) Solzman and Andrea (Jon- deceased) Goldberg; ex-wife Bamboo (Eli Lewis) Solzman; his brother, Michael (Donna) Solzman; and a granddaughter, Ariella Alarid.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. May 11 at Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave, Chicago. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to Friends of the Chicago River, 411 S. Wells St., Unit 800, Chicago, IL 60607 chicagoriver.org, or The Greater Chicago Food Depository, 4100 W. Ann Lurie Place, Chicago, IL 60632 chicagosfoodbank.org. Arrangements entrusted to Unity Funeral Parlors, Inc. 4114 S. Michigan Ave.