May 2011

CLASS NOTES

1940's | 1950's | 1960's | 1970's | 1980's | 1990's | 2000's | Friends | In Memory

1940's

Dick Howlett ’41 was recently honored for his service in public education. In recognition of his 35 years of dedication to the Stockbridge (Michigan) School District as a teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent, as well as his service to the community, the Stockbridge Board of Education has changed the name of Stockbridge High School to Stockbridge High School, Richard C. Howlett Campus. Dick and his wife, Mayrene, who recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary, still live in Stockbridge.

Back to Front Page

1950's

Kate (Shanor) Baum ’53 wrote, "I have been living on the West Coast since 1962. My husband, Jerry Baum '54, moved our family to Portland, Oregon, where he taught literature at Lewis and Clark College for 31 years. He retired in 1991 and passed away in July 2006. I taught elementary school in Portland for 27 years, and when I retired I became active in community affairs. Recently, because of health issues, I have moved to an assisted living facility, Glenwood Place, in Vancouver, Washington. I remain active on the Glenwood campus, where I participate in Reader's Theater, a writer's workshop, and fitness activities. Jerry and I raised four children in Michigan and Oregon, and today I have eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I cherish my memories of Kalamazoo College, the friends I still have, and the amazing professors who guided my learning and intellectual growth. I will always remember Walter Waring, Henry Overley, Harry Ray, Wen Chao Chen, and Dr. Spencer." Email kateannbaum@gmail.com
Charles Seifert ’55 was inducted into the Battle Creek (Mich.) Health System Physicians' Hall of Fame in April. The BCHS Hall of Fame was created in 2009 to recognize doctors who through their long tenure and accomplishments have served as inspirations to others. A Battle Creek native, Seifert graduated from Lakeview High School, received his bachelor's degree from "K," and his M.D. from the University of Michigan. After serving in the Air Force from 1962-70, he returned to Battle Creek and practice urology for more than 26 years. During that time he participated extensively in medical staff duties, serving as chief of staff. After retiring, Seifert has remained active on the governing boards of BCHS and has participated in many civic activities including serving as vice mayor and mayor of the City of Battle Creek.

Back to Front Page

1960's

Virginia (Hess) Black ’63 recently returned from a three-week trip to Argentina. It was a trip she'd intended for many years. "My family had an exchange student from Argentina the year before I entered 'K,' and she became part of our family--my Argentine sister," wrote Virginia. "Both of my sisters have visited her, but time and events beyond my control had kept me from going. I finally fulfilled my promise to do so. It was a wonderful trip. We went to Patagonia (El Calfate and Ushuaia) for eight days, and then, after a long weekend in Buenos Aires, I took off for Iguazu Falls by bus. I returned for another long weekend in Buenos Aires before returning the the U.S. I saw and did a lot, but much remains to be seen. I'll just have to return (and will have to learn to speak more than my minimal Spanish)!"
Jon Muth ’67 was recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as one of 25 "Leaders in the Law" for Michigan. He was honored at an awards reception held at the Detroit Marriott in March. And the highlight of evening: From the group of 25 leaders, Muth was selected by a panel of judges as the overall Lawyer of the Year! Leaders in Law exemplify the noble tradition of the legal profession, inspire and lead others, and are recognized for their skill, character, wisdom, knowledge, and success. Muth is a partner in Miller Johnson's litigation section. He has been extremely active in supporting programs that provide legal services to the poor and under-represented, and he was a driving force in establishing the Kent County Legal Assistance Center. Muth is a former president of the State Bar of Michigan and has received the Roberts P. Hudson Award, the State Bar's highest award for professional achievement and service to the profession. He is a fellow with the Michigan State Bar Foundation, American Bar Foundation, and the International Society of Barristers.

Back to Front Page

1970's

Stephen Proper Gredler ’71 has published a book titled Some Poems and Essays, which includes poetry he wrote during a span of 40 years. The book also includes some of his art and photography.
Robert Shrag ’71 writes in his blog that he has been a communication professor for 40 years. "I am also a painter, sculptor, husband, and father of two adult children. My wife Christine and I live in North Carolina. She cooks exquisitely, I eat too much. My blogs are addressed to different purposes and different audiences."
Gail Raiman ’73 was invited to the formal ceremony installing the statue of former President Gerald R. Ford in the rotunda of the United States Capitol building. Raiman did her career service internship in the Washington, D.C., office of then-Congressman Ford. After she graduated from "K" she worked for Ford during his confirmation hearings and then later serviced on the vice president's and White House staff. Because of this work she was recently the subject of a videotaped interview by presidential scholar Richard Norton Smith, who is assembling the Gerald R. Ford Oral History project for the United States National Archives.
Gene Bissell ’76 and his wife, Joann, hosted an alumni reception at the historic WaterWorks Restaurant and Lounge in Philadelphia in April. It was a chance to fly the "K" flag high! Alumni had the opportunity to meet and greet fellow graduates and friends in the greater Philadelphia area. They were also treated to a visit with President Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran, who shared recent news from campus. Wrote Director of Alumni Relations Kim Aldrich, "Everyone had a terrific time and enjoyed watching a beautiful sunset across the Schuylkill River."
Thomas Blok (M.D.) ’79 was recently appointed director of research services for the Bronson Health System headquartered in Kalamazoo and serving southwest Michigan. He received his medical degree from the University of Michigan and completed his residency in internal medicine at Southwest Michigan Area Health Education Center in Kalamazoo. In his new position he will oversee clinical research at all Bronson subsidiaries.
Sharon Johnson ’79 is an associate professor of French at Virginia Tech. She recently received the university's 2011 William E. Wine Award, an award for teaching excellence. In her 12 years at VT, Johnson has established herself as an exceptional teacher-scholar, revitalizing the French curriculum at Virginia Tech by creating and revising eight courses, as well as collaboratively establishing the academic standards for the new master of arts degree program in foreign languages, cultures and literature. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Back to Front Page

1980's

Brad Smith ’80 has published a new book: Voting Rights and Election Law (Lexis Press). Brad is the Blackmore/Nault Professor of Law at Capital University School of Law in Columbus, Ohio. Email fudgesmith@earthlink.net
Julie (Fudge) Smith ’80 is the owner of A Positive Connection, which provides pet training, pet sitting, and temperament testing in Granville, Ohio. Email fudgesmith@earthlink.net
Jeffrey McQueen ’81 wrote to note that Zate Zernike, Pulitzer Prize winning writer for the New York Times recently released a book on the Tea Party movement in America. The book is titled Boiling Mad, and Zernike dedicates its back cover to McQueen. McQueen's flag of the "Second American Revolution" is also included in Time Magazine's special edition, "The Year in Review" (page 19). McQueen wrote, "Watch for this flag to continue popping up in the news across the country this year."
Chris Gawart ’83 joined the law department of Northwestern Mutual, a leading financial security company. Gawart's title is Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary on the Corporate Team. He works primarily on product tax matters and industry related advocacy. He earned his J.D. from the Indiana University School of Law.
John Lawless ’83 is the new president and CEO of Champion Enterprises Holding, a Troy, Michigan, based producer of manufactured and modular homes and modular buildings for government and commercial applications. Lawless had been president of Headwaters Construction Materials, Inc., and prior to that, president and CEO of Tapco International.
Pam Bell ’85 is a licensed clinical social worker and founder of her own psychotherapy practice in Lincoln Square in Chicago. She's also the founder of the Arms Wide Open Project, inspired by the book Half the Sky by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Through AWOP, Bell hopes to create activists for the empowerment of women and girls.
John LaPlante ’85 celebrates 10 years as a freelance writer and editor, specializing in public policy. "I've written about economic development, health care, telecommunications, and many other topics, and there's always something new for me," he wrote. "My time at 'K' helped me develop a vision of being someone with diverse interests who sees learning as a lifelong experience." Among his outlets is TheMichiganView.com, an opinion journal published by the Detroit News.
(Rabbi) Michael Ungar ’85 was married to Michele Levin Kurland during Thanksgiving weekend in Columbus, Ohio. Their children--Rami, Adi, Maya, Rachel, and Liat--composed the bridal party. After a honeymoon in Costa Rica, the couple resides in Bexley and Beachwood, Ohio, and all up and down I-71.
Russell Cooper ’89 and the Embellish Handbell Ensemble participated in morning services officiated by the Reverend Doctor Kelly Brill '80 at Kelly's church, Avon Lake United Church of Christ, near Cleveland. The service occurred on March 27.
Amy Coquillard ’89 and her husband and classmate, David Chadwell '89, were in Madrid, Spain, this past February and took the opportunity to snap a photo at the International Institute where David had studied nearly a quarter of century earlier, in the Fall of 1987.

Back to Front Page

1990's

Mike Finkler (Ph.D.) ’91 has been elected president of the Indiana Academy of Science, which was founded in 1885 and, since that time, has been a cornerstone of Indiana's development in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research and education. "I am both excited and deeply humbled," wrote Finkler. "This appointment has even deeper meaning to me, one who can trace his academic genealogy to the first president of the Academy, David Starr Jordan, the seventh president of Indiana University and a student of the famed natural historian Louis Agassiz."
Ann Sheehy ’91 has been promoted to the rank of associate professor (with tenure) in the biology department of College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Mass. Ann earned her Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and joined the Holy Cross faculty in 2005. Interested in immunology and virology, Ann was a senior research associate at King's College London and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research on AIDS and HIV focuses on the interaction between Vif, an HIV-1 protein, and the A3G human protein, and has implications for new direct therapies as well as potential containment or elimination of the virus. From 2007-10, she received The Smith Family Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research. Sheehy has been published in journals such as Nature, Science, Cell, and The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Jeneen (Wiche) Smart ’91 enjoys a professional career in gardening. The Louisville native started gardening as soon as she could walk. She earned her B.A. (Art) from "K" in 1991 and her M.A. (American Indian Studies) from the University of Arizona in 1996. When her father died in 1998 she began writing the syndicated garden column that had been his. Today she writes a weekly column that is published in about 20 community newspapers across Kentucky and southern Indiana. In 1999 she started to produce a weekly garden segment for television. Her favorite job outside of working in the garden is producing HomeGrown, a radio program on gardening. She also teaches American Indian Studies courses part-time at the University of Louisville. She lives with her husband, Andy Smart, in western Shelby County on 20 acres named Swallow Tail, the place her father began to shape into a horticultural farm in 1979.
Megan Carney ’92 has joined the University of Illinois at Chicago as director of the Gender and Sexuality Center, one of five Centers for Diversity on the UIC campus. Megan earned her M.F.A degree in theater arts from Virginia Tech, has taught and been a guest artist at VT, Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Michigan, and the University of Chicago. From 1998 to 2001, she was co-founder and artistic director of Chicago's About Face Youth Theatre.
Laura Milkins ’93 plans to visit her mother in Grand Rapids this summer. Nothing newsworthy in that. But it is newsworthy that she intends to walk there-from Tucson, Ariz. Milkins leaves May 1 on a 1,951-mile trek that will take her through small towns and rural areas in nine states. She calculates she will arrive in Grand Rapids in mid-September, walking an average of about 14 miles a day. The Michigan native and performance artist will share the stories of people she meets along the way with the aid of a solar-powered battery pack, laptop computer, and webcam. Track her progress on her Walking Home website.
Y. Katherine Xu ’94 has joined the research group of William Blair and Company, LLC., covering the area of biotechnology. For more than six years she has been a biotechnology and life sciences industry analyst for several investment banking and equity firms. She holds a Ph.D. in developmental biology (Stanford University School of Medicine) and a Ph.D. minor in Engineering-Economic Systems and Operations Research from Stanford's school of engineering.
Josh Azriel ’96 completed a Carnegie Research Fellowship at the University of Witswatersrand Law School in Johannesburg, South Africa, in March. Over the course of two weeks he lectured on and researched legal issues pertaining to South African and U.S. hate speech law.
Will Adams ’98 and his wife, Rebecca, are thrilled to welcome their son, Benjamin, to the world. Born on January 21, he's the "lux esto" of his parents' eyes. Will also earned his Licensed Professional Counselor certification last fall, and he looks forward to receiving his specialized credential in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFP) this spring. Email swill_e@hotmail.com
Angela (Jousma) Breese ’98 and her husband, Justin, are pleased to announce the birth of their twin boys, Isaac Bond Breese and Evan Bond Breese. They were born on July 13, 2010. The Breese family lives in Rockford, Michigan, and Angela and Justin keep busy working in public schools, chasing crawling twins, and spending time with friends.
Chris Adamo ’99 is the new staff director for the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, chaired by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan). Previously, Adamo served as legislative counsel to Senator Stabenow on priorities such as the 2008 Farm Bill and energy legislation, where his primary focuses were agriculture, conservation, and energy policies. He earned his law degree from Vermont Law School.

Back to Front Page

2000's

Amber (Schwartz) Delisi ’01 married Jay Delisi on July 31, 2010, in Rochester, Michigan. The couple live in Royal Oak. Jay runs Delisi Construction and Remodeling, and Amber is a first grade teacher in Hazel Park. She is earning her Ed.D. Pictured are "K" alumni who attended the festivities (l-r): Ryan Shockley, Paige Foley Shockley, Erin Eiseman Reynolds, Jay and Amber, Jackie Cornaire Sorgeloos, and Mitch Blink.
Ana (Klackle) Evans ’02 was married to Lawrence Evans on August 14, 2010, in Plainwell, Michigan, on Pine Lake, where the couple now resides. Joining them in the celebration of their marriage were fellow Class of 2002 graduates (l-r): Lindsey Gottler, Brian Reid, Ana, Angela Shapardanis, and Lauren Trible-Laucht.
Sarah (Martyn) Crowell ’03 is a Presidential Management Fellow at the National Institutes of Health where she has worked on a number of projects involving policy, management, program analysis, and recruitment. Before joining NIH, Sarah worked in program and project management for several organizations, including Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and Habitat for Humanity in Tacoma, Wash. She also taught classes on social change at St. Catherine's College in Minnesota. Sarah received a Master's of Public Policy degree from University of Minnesota (2008). Outside the office she enjoys a variety of activities from karaoke to roller derby.
Terry Brock ’04 fortunately emerged unscathed from a recent traffic accident that totaled his car. When he crawled from the wreckage he made sure to grab one thing: the pipe cleaner necklace that hung from his rearview mirror. Therein hangs a tale--a good one--that began with his "K" internship.
Jessie Mannisto ’04 is a graduate student at the University of Michigan pursuing her master's degree in Information. She will serve as a 2011 Google Policy Fellow for the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy. She will spend 10 weeks this summer focusing on public policy and electronic access to content, including e-books and how the ever-increasing velocity of communication affects how people interact with information. After earning her B.A. degree in English at "K," she served for two years as a language teacher for the JET Program in Shiga, Japan.
Jill (Sakalove) Ortiz ’04 and her husband, Jay, are elated to announce the birth of their son, Justin James. J.J. arrived on April 14, 2011. The family is doing wonderfully, and first-time Mom and Dad couldn't be more proud and excited!
Amy Passiak ’06 completed her M.A. in museum studies from New York University in May 2010, and then began working for Art Preservation Services in New York City as a collections project manager. "My current project is maintaining the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's collection of large artifacts removed from Ground Zero following the events of September 11, 2001," she wrote. "I also facilitate the give-away project of World Trade Center steel artifacts for building public memorials around the world."
Burton DeWilde ’07 is a graduate student at Stony Brook (N.Y.) University currently residing in Saint-Genis-Pouilly, France, where he works for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), one of the world's largest and most respected centers for scientific research. In addition to conducting research into 3D Pixels, he's also working on a search for second-generation scalar leptoquarks.
Amanda Duvall ’07 recently moved to Paris, France, where she works for a sustainable social network. For three years previous to the move she taught English in Normandy and worked on a master's degree in sustainable development and communications at the University of Caen Lower-Normandy. "I knew there were a few 'K' alums living in Paris, and I used the alumni directory to contact them," wrote Duvall. "I was pleasantly surprised to be so warmly greeted by seven other 'K' grads!" Pictured are (l-r): front row--Amanda Duvall, Roopa Chauhaun '95, Bruce Miller '70, Judy Miller '70, Andrea Field '99, Christa Clapp '97; back row--Richard "Mick" McGinnis '78 and Roberto Passariello '80.
Melinda Schaller ’07 is in her third year at Wayne State University School of Medicine and is president of her class. She was recently selected (after her nomination by the Dean of the medical school) as a Representative to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). She is one of only two students chosen nationally each year for this prestigious honor. In her role as student representative to the LCME, Melinda will travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in meetings with the committee. She will review schools' accreditation surveys and progress reports and lend her voice on matters of national accreditation standards and policies. She will participate in an accreditation site visit to a medical school and pay particular attention to bridge learning in the basic and clinical sciences. Melinda's decision to pursue a career medicine was influenced by the loss of her father, who died of an infection while waiting for a heart transplant. He was 51 years old.

Back to Front Page

Friends

Hardy Fuchs has the distinction of coaching during the last official soccer game that will be played on the old MacKenzie Field (renovation of which will begin this spring). And that final game was special--an alumni versus the varsity team. The match took place April 30, on a beautiful day. It was a good even game which the varsity won 2-1. Twenty-five alumni returned for the annual event. They included (l-r): front row--Sam Groppi '10, Andrew Kemple '04, Justin Evans '09, Matt Goldberg '07, Brett Stinar, David Dwaihy '02; second row--Nick Robell '10, Patrick Tetreault '02, Scott MacDonald '07, Ryan Drutchas '08, Nate Victor '07, Bryan Rekowski '10, Patrick Lannen '06, Evan Wright '07, J.J. Jansons, Stefano Crescentini '08, Jackson Buell '04, Nick Carlin-Voigt '04, Coach Emeritus Hardy Fuchs '68; back row--Ben Schroeder '09, Erik Bianchi '08, Joe Boss '08, and John Klein '10.

Back to Front Page

In Memory

Back to Front Page

1940's

James Kerchner ’43 died Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Sturgis, Mich., where he lived. He was captain of the Hornet basketball team for two years and a veteran of the United States Army, serving in World War II. He earned his "K" degree in economics and business. Kerchner co-managed the Sturgis Lumber and Supply Co., and for several years was a vocational instructor for the building trades program at Sturgis High School before owning his own contracting business.
Edward Lincoln ’45 died April 4, 2011. He graduated from "K" with a degree in chemistry. After a teaching fellowship at the University of Illinois, assisting U.S. soldiers as they returned from active duty following World War II, he began a 35-year career at the Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, working in chemistry research and product development.
Jacqueline (Bowen) Anderson ’46 died April 26, 2011 in Kalamazoo where she lived. She earned her degree in psychology and was active in the Pan American Club, College Players, and the Index. She worked as a social worker for the State of Michigan, became an accomplished photographer, and operated an antiques business in her later years. She was preceded in death by her husband, Hugh Anderson '43, a former "K" College trustee.
Nanita (Wetherbee) Lusso ’46 died March 20, 2011 at age 86 in Portage, Mich. At "K" she earned her bachelor's degree in biology. She was employed by Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, where she worked in diagnostics and research bacteriology, and helped to develop the pneumococcal vaccination. Lusso was later employed by The Upjohn Company in its bacteriological department and continued as a lab technician for several Kalamazoo-area physicians until her retirement at age 75. Among her survivors are her brother L. James Wetherbee Jr. '46 and sister-in-law Marilyn Wetherbee '46 of Northport, Mich.
Mary (Stover) Mallory ’46 died on January 30, 2011. She was 87. She earned her bachelor's degree in sociology and married fellow "K" graduate, Robert Mallory '49, who survives. Mary was very active in community affairs including the Naugatuck (Conn.) Day Care Board, Naugatuck Congregational Church, and the American Association of University Women.
Kendrith Rowland ’49 died on December 30, 2010. He served in both World War II and the Korean War. After World War II he graduated from Kalamazoo College with a B.A. in sociology. In 1950 he married Jean E. Smith '50, who survives. After leaving military service (1953) Rowland worked as a psychiatric social worker. Later he served as communications and training director of KVP Sutherland Paper Company in Kalamazoo. He earned an M.B.A. (1962) and D.B.A. (1965) from Indiana University and then joined the faculty at the University of Illinois as assistant professor of business administration. He was promoted to professor in 1974. During his tenure at the University of Illinois he served as associate head of the Department of Business Administration, a teacher in the Executive M.B.A. Program, director of graduate studies in business administration, and director of the Master of Science Program for International Managers. He retired as an emeritus professor of business administration in 1992. He is survived by six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. One of his grandsons, Kendrith M. Rowland, III, is a member of the Class of 2014.

Back to Front Page

1950's

Hugh Kennedy (Jr.) ’50 died March 29, 2011, at age 84. He earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy. He worked for Goodwill Industries of Muskegon County (Mich.) for 21 years, serving as president from 1978 to 1992. Under his leadership, the agency expanded its projects to include a sheltered workshop and recycling program, and expanded the variety of people served beyond those with mental or physical disabilities to include people who had never held a job or were employed below their abilities. Hugh served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and was a graduate of the Divinity School at the University of Chicago.
Kenneth Youngs ’50 died January 29, 2011 in Kalamazoo, at age 82. A lifelong resident of the Kalamazoo area, and a football standout at "K," Ken worked as a chemist with the Upjohn Company for more than 30 years. He enjoyed flower gardening, raising Christmas trees on the family farm, and spending time at the family cottage on Gull Lake near Kalamazoo.
Eugene Childress ’51 died May 10, 2011, at his home in Three Rivers, Mich. He majored in political science, was a member of the Economics Club, and served as assistant manager of the tennis team. A Korean War veteran, Childress worked for Fibre Converters, Inc., retiring as vice president in 1990. He was long involved in Rotary, Shriners, Jaycees, Three Rivers Hospital Auxiliary, Boy Scouts, his church, and many other local organizations. He was a ham radio operator for more than 40 years, a licensed pilot, and taught Power Squadron classes. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Elizabeth (Osborn) Childress '50.
Richard S. Thomas ’51 died February 20, 2011. He earned his bachelor's degree in history and worked for General Electric for 30 years in a variety of global assignments. He also worked for Scott Aviation, Inc. (Lancaster, N.Y.), Panasote, Inc. (Greenwich, Conn.), and retired (1990) as international vice president of Rubbermaid. After his retirement, Thomas was the principal of Global Dynamics, Ltd., which was designed to assist small businesses enter into world markets. He also served as adjunct professor of international business at the University of Akron and as the interim director of Career Development with the College of Wooster. He was engaged in many civic activities.
Richard Crooks ’54 died on March 8, 2011, at the age of 78. He came to "K" from Saginaw Arthur Hill High School in 1950 and graduated four years later as a music major. He earned a Masters of Divinity from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in 1961. Early in his career, Reverend Crooks served as chaplain and teacher at the New Hampton (New Hampshire) School and as pastor of the New Hampton Community Church. He later served for many years as the pastor of Sanbornton (New Hampshire) Congregational Church. He also taught English and served as music director for Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton, New Hampshire, and later taught at Olivet (Michigan) College while holding the pastorate at Olivet Congregational Church. For the past 30 years he lived in the Rochester (N.Y.) area and was involved in many activities, including permanent music teaching positions, as well as substitute teaching in all subjects. His great loves were music, reading, and his family and friends.
Nancy (Higdon) Baum ’55 died February 28, 2011, at age 77. She earned her bachelor's degree in English and completed graduate work at the University of Michigan. Her career and devotion to dance spanned 64 years. She studied and performed in Chicago before receiving teacher training with the Ellis-Duboulay School of Ballet, Chicago; Royal Academy of Dance, London; and Western Michigan University. Higdon founded Ballet Arts in Grand Haven, Mich., in 1965. She created a dance department at Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska) and taught at Aquinas College, Hope College, and Grand Valley State University. She developed a dance program for the Holland Area Arts Council, serving as instructor and director for 10 years. She was the dance director and instructor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for 22 years. In 1999 Higdon received the Dance Teacher of the Year Award from the Michigan Dance Council.
Kyle Kirkland Lausee ’58 died on March 14, 2011, in Huntsville, Alabama. He was 75 years old. He was employed as a maintenance supervisor by General Motors.

Back to Front Page

1960's

Janet (Adducci) Parker ’60 died April 26, 2001. She matriculated to "K" from Chicago and earned her degree in sociology. She was active in many co-curricular activities, including Student Senate, Drama Club, Eurodelphian Gamma, the Overley Society, Spanish Club, and College Players. She worked in physical therapy throughout most of her career and began a community theater group, participating both as an actor and a director. She was an avid tennis player and golfer, and enjoyed playing the piano, singing, and traveling.
Robert Whitehill Woodruff ’64 died March 22, 2011, in Kalamazoo. He was 69 years old. He was a member of the undefeated Hornet football team of 1962 and was forever proud of that achievement and the team's recent induction into the College's Hall of Fame. Woodruff lived for many years in Breckenridge, Colo., where he played and coached rugby, and in Twisp, Wash.
David Huntington ’65 of Dearborn, Michigan, died January 25, 2011. David served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, and worked for Revere Copper and Brass, and for Complex Steel and Wire, both in the Detroit area.

Back to Front Page

1970's

Dale Redeker (Jr. ) ’76 died February 27, 2011. He lived in Longmont, Colorado.

Back to Front Page

2010's

Noah Kokoszka ’11 died on April 18, 2011. He graduated in 2007 from Detroit Catholic Central High School and was a member and a captain of the Hornet football team. The biology major studied abroad in Costa Rica and served as a Residence Assistant. He is survived by his parents, two brothers, and a sister, and many members of his extended family.

Back to Front Page

Friends

Nelda (Kurtz) Balch professor emerita of theatre arts, died on May 5, 2011. She was 95. She came to Kalamazoo College in 1954 intending to teach for one year in the College's speech/English department. It was great fortune for "K" that she stayed 27 years and became the guiding spirit of theatre arts, both on campus and throughout the community. The College's current Director of Theatre Ed Menta wrote: "Every class we teach, every rehearsal we have, and every play we stage in some way continues Nelda's legacy: a vision of theatre that always puts student learning first and that never comprises artistic integrity. To this day we describe the theatre program as 'Theatre that is always provocative; theatre that is always thoughtful.' I'm not sure those were Nelda's words, but they could have been."

Born Nelda Carolyn Kurtz in Kelly's Island, Ohio, she moved at age 10 with her family to Alpena, Michigan. She graduated from Alpena High School and then earned a bachelor's degree (English and theatre) at Albion College. Her master's degree (theatre) she received from the University of Minnesota, and she also did postgraduate work at University of Michigan, Northwestern, and Yale. She taught speech and drama for six years before enlisting and serving as director for three Aero-Clubs in England and France from 1943-45. After World War II she taught at Linfield College (Linfield, Oregon) where she met and married Donald Balch in 1948.

When she arrived at "K", theatre there was at a nadir, but not for long under her inspired leadership. She worked tirelessly to make theatre a vital element of the "K" liberal arts experience, and she helped build an international reputation for excellence in theatre for both Kalamazoo College and for the City of Kalamazoo. Early in her tenure she produced plays--to high acclaim--in the trying conditions of the third floor of Bowen Hall, a facility, according to Professor Emeritus of German Joe Fugate, that "at best could be described as primitive or rudimentary. Today," he added, "members of the community would find it unbelievable. No air conditioning and hot as blazes in the summer. I always thought that those plays were a testament to Nelda's ingenuity."

Balch was instrumental in the opening of Kalamazoo College's Dalton Theatre (1964) and the Playhouse (1977), which was the state's first thrust theatre. She founded the Kalamazoo College Festival Playhouse theatre organization and served as its managing director for 25 years. She also was director and reader for Faculty Readers (1960-92). Of this endeavor Professor Emeritus of English Conrad Hilberry said: "No one in the country could match her skill in taking fiction or biography or letters, songs, or bits of movie script and make readers' theatre of it. She was an unparalleled artist in this genre."

In addition, Balch served as reader and director of Noontide Tales, assisted the U.S. State Department with visits by theatre professionals from the Middle East, helped choose plays for the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, and worked as a guest professor and director at Berea College (Berea, Kentucky).

She retired as a full professor of theatre arts in 1981, at which time the Playhouse was renamed the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse to honor her legacy at "K." She continued to teach part-time at the College for the next four years, and by 1985 she had directed and performed in more than 200 productions. All of her work was characterized by experimentation and variety on behalf of making the human condition revealed in drama as nuanced, true, and vital as possible. Said Hilberry: "Her productions move, as it were, from within. Seeing her shows, you seldom think, 'What a brilliant piece of directing.' Instead, you think, 'Of course. That's the way it would have to be done.'"

In the 1990s she moved to Venice, Florida, where she continued her participation in art and theatre. She also enjoyed painting, walking, playing the organ, swimming, writing, and traveling.

Her niece, Nancy Wilcox, wrote: "Even at the end she was true to form, with her final curtain ringing down on the 5th day of the 5th month at 5:50 in the evening of her 95th year. Very fitting, on a day of celebration, festivities, and costumes: Cinco de Mayo!"
David Broder, who earned an honorary Ph.D. from Kalamazoo College (1988) and was a well-known national political columnist, died March 9, 2011, at age 81 of complications from diabetes. Often called "dean of the Washington press corps," Broder won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1973 for his 1972 column that mostly covered the Watergate scandal. He also developed a relationship with Kalamazoo College when he spent four days here in the 1970s as a Woodrow Wilson fellow. Broder returned to campus several times, including the College's 1988 commencement when he received an honorary doctorate degree and served as speaker. In 1991, he gave six lectures over the spring semester to a "K" political science class taught by Donald Flesche. His last visit to Kalamazoo was in March 2008, when he met informally with students and faculty, and delivered the inaugural Donald C. Flesche Visiting Scholar Lectureship in Dalton Theatre, an analysis of the U.S. political scene during the run-up to the 2008 presidential elections. Broder (left) is pictured with Don Flesche, professor emeritus of political science, at the 2008 lecture.
Hortense (Golden) Canady died on October 23, 2010. She was a Kalamazoo College trustee from 1986 to 1995. At age 14 she worked in Washington, D.C., at the Pentagon in the Letter Writing Office of the President of the United States--while completing her high school diploma by correspondence from her family home in Tennessee. At the age of 16 she enrolled in Fisk University where she earned her bachelor's degree (zoology). After World War II she moved to Lansing with her family, where she became actively engaged in the political and social life of the city and beyond. Among her many accomplishments, Canady served on the board of directors of First of America (now PNC) bank, the National Board of the YWCA, and as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She was the first African-American member of the Lansing School Board, where she helped forge a coalition of members that voted to desegregate the public schools--an act that led to her recall from office. But her accomplishment and the desegregation of the Lansing schools remained. Later in life, Canady earned a master's degree from Michigan State University and served as an administrator in the financial aid office at Lansing Community College. She was the first director of the Lansing Community College Foundation and, in 2002, was elected to the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.
Michael Mittelstadt died on March 4, 2011. Mittelstadt taught classical studies at "K" in the early 1960s. He earned his undergraduate degree from Rockhurst College and his Ph.D. from Stanford University. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict. He left Kalamazoo College for a faculty position at State University of New York-Binghamton, where he taught classical studies for more than 30 years. He published numerous articles on classical Greek and Latin authors and aspects of their works in many international journals, and he was five times awarded fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities to attend and participate in seminars in his field. Mittelstadt was a classic film lover and an outdoor enthusiast.
Gertrude Van Zee died on February 6, 2011. She earned two degrees in library science from the University of Michigan. She taught school in Michigan and California and was an assistant librarian at Kalamazoo College from 1942 to 1952. She was a senior catalog librarian at Western Michigan University (1952-1978), where she retired with the title of Associate Professor Emeritus of University Libraries.
Ann Wilson died on March 22, 2011, in Bristol, England. Along with her late husband, Tony, and her son and daughter-in-law, Ann played a major role in the London Theater Program that was located first in London and later in Cambridge. The program was designed especially for "K" theater majors. Generations of students will remember Ann as a motherly and caring woman with a sharp intellect, and an integral knowledge of the Cambridge academic scene and the multifaceted London theater. She was also a talented artist and continued to draw until the time of her death. After retirement Ann lived first in Bristol, to be near her family, and then more recently she was happily installed in a retirement village in the countryside close to Bristol. Her funeral occurred April 4 in Barley, where she had lived most of her life and where she and Tony often hosted students and visitors. Ann requested that anyone who wishes to do something in her memory to please plant a tree. [This obituary was written by Joe Fugate, Professor of German Language and Literature and Director of Foreign Study, Emeritus.]

Back to Front Page

Send in a Class Note

Name:
Email:
Class Year:
Note:
Photo: (2 MB maximum!)
These characters: IMAGE