Two former members of the Universal House of Justice pass away

Two former members of the Universal House of Justice, the international governing body of the Bahá’í Faith, have passed away in recent months.

Peter J. Khan, who served on the Universal House of Justice from 1987 until April 2010, died suddenly on 15 July 2011 in his native Australia. He was 74 years old.

Ian C. Semple, who served on the body from its establishment in 1963 until 2005, passed away on 1 December 2011 in Switzerland. He was 82 years old.

Dr. Khan was born in New South Wales on 12 November 1936 to a family of immigrants from India’s Punjab region. At 12 years old, Dr. Khan, his parents and sister, became the first Muslims in Australia to join the Bahá’í Faith.

Dr. Khan became an electrical engineer, receiving his BSc (1956), his BE (1959), and his doctorate (1963) — all from the University of Sydney. From 1963 to 1967, he lived in the United States as a Fulbright postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, and remained there as a professor of electrical engineering until his return to Australia in 1975. He became a visiting professor at the University of New South Wales and an associate professor at the University of Queensland from 1976 until 1983. A senior member of the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, he was a member of the editorial board of its journal, Transactions on Microwave Theory.

In 1983, Dr. Khan was appointed to serve as an International Counselor at the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa. Four years later, he was elected to the Universal House of Justice. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Janet Khan.

Mr. Semple was born in 1928 in England. He did national service in the British Army from 1947-50, during which period he earned a commission in the Royal Corps of Signals.

He studied at Pembroke College, Oxford, obtaining a BA in German and French Language and Literature in 1952 and an MA in 1955. He subsequently studied accounting in the City of London, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1955.

He is survived by his wife, Louise, and three children.