In Memory

Ruth (Demme) Hayes ’37

Ruth died on January 9, 2015. She earned her degree at K in history and later earned a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. She married Allen T. Hayes, whom she met a K, in 1945, and they were married until his death in 2000. Ruth treasured her long life (she was 98 at the time of her death); she loved music, adventure, friends, and Lake Michigan.

Robert E. Heerens ’38, M.D.

Robert died on October 19, 2014. He earned his bachelor’s degree at K in chemistry and after graduation attended medical school at the University of Alabama and Northwestern University. He earned his medical degree from Northwestern Medical School in 1944. He served as a physician in the U.S. Navy assigned to the first Marine Division in the Pacific theater. He married Martha Lysne, August 21, 1943, in Batavia, Illinois. She predeceased him on May 15, 1996. Robert was a family physician in private practice for 44 years in Rockford, Illinois, during which time he delivered 3,000 babies. He was a member of Christ Church Unity of Rockford. A highly civic-minded man, Robert received many awards for his service, and he was a member of the board of directors of many organizations. He was president of the Illinois Academy of General Practitioners, vice president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and president of the Winnebago County Public Health System. He also served as president of the Chamber of Commerce and president of the N.W. Area Agency on Aging. He was on the initial committee that started the Center for Learning in Retirement 20 years ago. Robert was a curious, funny, avid learner and a compassionate, unfettered soul with a keen interest in cosmology, body and mind medicine, religion, and spirituality. He made personal connections with his patients that lasted well after his retirement.

Jollie Allen ’38

Jollie died on January 11, 2015. He earned his bachelor’s degree at K in sociology and was captain of the College’s men’s tennis team all four years he played. After leaving K he followed his dream to fly by enrolling in the Boeing School of Aeronautics. After graduating from BSA he worked for Pan Am Airlines as a meteorologist in Trinidad and Miami. He returned to Kalamazoo to work for Globe Construction Company. He married Susan Jean Hicks in 1958, and they raised five children.

Benjamin Drier ’43

Ben died on January 2, 2015. He matriculated to K from Three Oaks, Michigan, and earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He served in the United States Army during World War II, working in a field hospital in central Europe. When he returned to Three Oaks he met and married Norma Petruske, and they raised their family there. Ben was the owner of Drier Insurance and Real Estate, where he worked with his brother for five decades. After retirement, Ben and Norma enjoyed traveling throughout Europe (he was proficient in French and German). He was happiest when he was with family.

E. Hunter Wright Jr. ’44

Hunter died on December 16, 2014. At K he was a member of Century Forum, and it was at K that he met and married Betty Zick. Soon after their marriage (1942) Hunter enlisted in the United States Army Signal Corps and served in New Guinea, Australia, and the Philippines during World War II as a cryptographic technician. Hunter worked in the insurance business in St. Joseph, Michigan, for 30 years. He and Betty were blessed with 72 years of marriage and three children. Hunter enjoyed sports, loved photography, and served as a hospital volunteer.

Maurice Nelson ’50

Maurice died on January 12, 2015. After graduating from Buchanan (Mich.) High School he served in the U.S. Army during World War II, attaining the rank of Technical Sergeant. He attended K on the GI Bill and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics. His first job was selling industrial steel, followed by a long tenure at Nelson Transfer, his family’s local trucking business in Buchanan. He changed his career path to law and graduated from the University of Notre Dame School of Law in 1966. He served Berrien County as an assistant prosecutor for several years and then went into private practice in Niles, Michigan, for more than two decades. He served on the Buchanan City Commission for many years, was a charter member and past-president of the Optimist Club of Niles, a member of Rotary International, past-president of the Berrien County Bar Association, and a member of the Michigan State Bar Association. He also served on various committees at the First United Methodist Churches in Buchanan and Kalamazoo.

Vic Braden ’51

Vic died on October 6, 2014. He was 85 years old and arguably the most well-known graduate of Kalamazoo College. He matriculated to K from Monroe (Mich.) High School, where he had been a multi-sport athlete (football, basketball, baseball, and tennis). He was the first high school tennis player to win the state singles championship three times. At K he earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology and played on the Hornet men’s tennis team. He served as team captain his senior year, the same year he took the MIAA singles championship. He also was MIAA doubles champion in 1949 and 1951. After graduation he was the assistant basketball coach at the University of Toledo, and he played on the professional tennis circuit. Vic moved to California and earned his master’s degree in educational psychology (California State University). He began study for his doctorate in psychology (USC) but discontinued that work in order to become the chief tennis professional at a tennis club. It was in the teaching of tennis that Vic achieved his international renown. In 1971 he started the Vic Braden Tennis College in Coto de Caza, Calif. That effort later expanded to include campuses in Florida and Utah and traveled throughout the United States, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and China. He taught thousands of players and lectured in all 50 states. His players included champions like Tracy Austin, and yet he seemed to have a special spot in his heart for the average weekend hacker. He combined humor and psychology to make every student as proficient as she or he could be. Vic hosted a tennis instructional show on public television in the early 1980s that was carried by 238 stations. He appeared on NBC, made instructional videos, and authored eight books. The New York Times obituary (“Vic Braden, Tennis’s Pied Piper, Dies at 85,” Douglas Martin) noted that “Mr. Braden’s forte was psychology, which he thought could nearly work miracles. He told Sports Illustrated that if he were given eight good 13-year-old players–‘I don’t mean great athletes,’ he specified–he could have all of them in the Wimbledon quarterfinals at 18. Such improbable success, he said, would involve learning to think differently. ‘The moment of enlightenment,’ he said, ‘is when a person’s dreams of possibilities become images of probabilities.’” In recognition of his lifetime achievements, Vic was presented an honorary degree from his alma mater in April of 2008. He is pictured (center, in the photo at left) at that event, held in Stetson Chapel, with the late Professor and Coach Emeritus George Acker (left) and Professor of Physical Education and Volleyball Coach Jeanne Hess.

Donald Stowe ’56

Don died on September 11, 2014. He was a lifelong resident of Kalamazoo and earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from K. He was a member of the men’s Hornet tennis team and part of the 1956 undefeated squad. He also helped his father, Allen Stowe (a professor of chemistry at K from 1928 to 1957), run the National Junior Tennis Championships for many years. Don earned a master’s degree from Western Michigan University and was a chemistry teacher at Portage Central High School for 37 years. He also was a longtime tennis coach at the school.  Don’s extraordinary ability in the classroom was recognized by the American Chemical Society (Kalamazoo Section) with a Science Teacher of the Year Award. Don combined his military service with his love of tennis. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War and led his team to the First Infantry Division Tennis Championships in 1954. Don was involved in Boy Scouts and an active member of the Kalamazoo Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families. He had an avid love of photography and computers and designed the first web page for his church. Don is survived by his wife, Jan, their three children, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Richard Burnham ’61

Richard died on December 21, 2014. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and then earned a law degree from the University of Michigan School of Law. He worked for two Kalamazoo based law firms before beginning his own private practice in Paw Paw, Michigan. He was engaged in several civic organizations and enjoyed landscaping, cars, and tending to his saltwater aquarium. He also opened his home to more than 100 rescue dogs, some of which never left.

Steven D. Adams ’76

Steven died on December 1, 2014. At K he earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and business, and he studied abroad in Hannover, Germany. He also was a fine Hornet football player and wrestler who won the Opie Davis Award in 1976 for Most Outstanding Athlete. After graduation he earned his law degree from Wayne State University Law School, where he served on the school’s Law Review. He was an accomplished attorney and a member of the State Bar of Michigan Business Law, Probate & Estate Planning, and Master Lawyer sections. Steven founded Stellar Building and Development in Hazel Park (Mich.) and ran it with his three brothers for more than 25 years. Steven gave of his time, money, and spirit, providing many hours of pro bono legal services, youth coaching, and mentoring. He was the first in his family to attend Kalamazoo College, starting a proud tradition that his extended family carried on with Derek Adams ’97, Rebecca Adams ’03, Matthew Kaiser ’04, Meghan Adams ’07, Jessica (Adams) Baranowski ’09, and Adam Baranowski ’09.

Mary Adams-Catanach ’81

Mary died on December 20, 2014, in an automobile accident. She was born and grew up in Evanston, Illinois. At K she earned her bachelor’s degree in art and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. In the mid-1990s she moved to Santa Fe, N.M., and worked in various jobs before securing a teaching certificate. Most recently Mary worked for Easter Seals El Mirador as a counselor for intellectually disabled adults.

Michael Reilly Jr. ’85

Michael  died on January 18, 2015. He came to K from Brother Rice High School (Birmingham, Mich.). He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and business and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. He earned his law degree from Cooley Law School (1989) and was employed by the State of Michigan as an assistant attorney general. Mike was known for his love of travel, hunting, and the outdoors. An avid scuba diver, he spent many of his days at one of his favorite places, the Saint Clair River in Port Huron.