In Memory

Harriet Plasterer Lindsey ’36

Harriett died on February 2, 2015, at the age of 99. She began her studies at Kalamazoo College in January of 1933. She majored in English and became president of her sorority, Alpha Sigma Delta. During 1935 and 1936 she was editor of The Index. She earned straight As, completing her degree in three years. Harriett worked as a newspaper reporter on The Ionia Sentinel, then edited for the textbook division of Harcourt, Brace & Company in Chicago before moving to Hollywood, California, where she met and married Ben Lindsey. Subsequently, she wrote articles for The East Whittier Review and became active in church and community affairs.

Elaine (Hendershot) Munson ’50

Elaine died on March 29, 2015. She attended K and graduated from George Washington University (Washington, D.C.). She earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of Maryland and worked as a research librarian in the Montgomery County (Md.) library system.

Yvonne (Lindsay) Hinchee ’50

Yvonne died on March 12, 2015. She matriculated to K from Lombard, Illinois. She majored in sociology and later earned two master’s degrees (education and library science) from the University of Oklahoma. She worked in the personnel field in Chicago before she married Frederick Lee Hinchee in June 1958. She was a homemaker and, later, a librarian, serving as branch manager of the Shawnee (Oklahoma) Public Library, a post from which she retired in 2005. She was a longtime member of Wesley United Methodist Church and throughout her life was active in many civic organizations and causes. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law and two grandchildren.

Jerry Adrianson ’51

Jerry died on April 7, 2015, at his home in Sanford, Florida. A proud member of the Kalamazoo College community, his “I Bleed Orange and Black” bumper sticker was no doubt mystifying to his Florida neighbors. The Battle Creek, Michigan, native earned his bachelor’s degree at K in political science. Shortly thereafter he married his high school sweetheart, Joanne French, a knot that would remain tied for 63 years. In 1958 they moved their young family to what was then the barely settled frontier of southwest Florida. There he worked for many years as a superintendent in the construction industry. In later years, after relocating to the Orlando area, he worked in guest relations at Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center. Jerry and Joanne were avid travelers who took dozens of cruises to many parts of the world. They remained in close touch with several of their friends from college and high school days, and they enjoyed attending several Kalamazoo College reunions. In addition to his wife, Joanne, he leaves behind daughter Sue Skambis, of Orlando; son Doug Adrianson, of Ojai, California; sister Marilyn Simmons, of Grand Rapids; brother Tom, of Naperville, Illinois; and an assortment of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Willard (Bill) Hess ’52

Bill died on February 26, 2015. He matriculated to K from Buchanan, Michigan, and earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He served in the United States Marine Corps and enjoyed a 36-year career as a chemist with The Upjohn Company. A former high school football star, Bill loved many other sports. He excelled in table tennis and was a nationally ranked player who earned a silver medal in the Senior Olympics. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Donna, their three children, and 12 grandchildren.

David Kimball ’55

David died on March 13, 2015. He earned his bachelor’s degree at K in psychology. He did graduate work in astronomy and literature at the University of Illinois in Springfield. For 38 years he worked for Illinois Bell, serving as district manager of operator services in the Chicago area and downstate Illinois. He was very civic minded and served on the board of the Better Business Bureau of Peoria County and the Board of Goodwill of Sangamon County. He loved astronomy, photography, and nature.

Carl Finch ’58

Carl died at home after a very short illness on January 30, 2015.  At K, he earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He received a master’s degree (mathematics) from the University of Wisconsin (1961) and a second master’s degree (counseling psychology) from Santa Clara University (1988). He retired from IBM in 1987 after working there for 26 years. Carl valued his time as a volunteer for the organization Suicide and Crisis in Santa Clara County, and in 1984 he won an achievement award for his work there from the Volunteer Center of Santa Clara County. He also spent many hours as a volunteer counselor working with both the victim and perpetrator of sexual abuse cases. Carl and his wife, Patricia (Cooper) Finch ’58, moved to Oregon in 2002. He very much enjoyed spending time with his family and working outdoors on his 25 acres of land.

Judith Sweitzer Larson ’58

Judith died on June 27, 2014, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, of complicatons related to cancer. She was born in Kalamazoo and matriculated to K from Richland, Michigan. She earned her B.A. at K in English and was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. She earned a master’s degree in literature from the University of Illinois. She worked at various jobs in education, banking and financial services, and real estate. Judith was committed to civic engagement. She served as a volunteer in the League of Women Voters as well as in several leadership positions in her local Episcopal churches. She epitomized the liberal arts lifelong learner. After retirement she and her husband, Robert, enjoyed adventure and world travel. They visited every continent, included the Antarctic, to study art, geography, and history. Often their travels took them to remote and uninhabited sites far from traditional tourist paths. On their 50th wedding anniversary, Judith and Robert hiked a volcano in Costa Rica. Judith particularly used her travels to cultivate her knowledge of art. She attended live performances at great concert halls around the world, and she visited art museums and exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe. She is survived by her husband, two children, and a grandson.

James C. Leighty ’61

James died on February 20, 2015. He attended Kalamazoo College and earned advanced degrees from Western Michigan University and Columbia College. James was vice president of field operations for Federated Insurance for 30 years prior to his retirement (2007). He served as chair of the Eaton County Parks Committee and as a board member of the Grand Ledge Emergency Assistance Program. He also volunteered to teach reading for Capital Area Literacy Coalition. He was an author of several books about sports and business, and he was a motivational speaker as well. His career included work as a teacher and coach at the high school and college levels, and James continued to coach youth throughout his life. He briefly played professional football for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Gerald F. Tompkins ’61

Jerry died on January 7, 2014, from bladder cancer. He earned his B.A. at K in sociology and went on to get two master’s degrees. He enjoyed a long career at The Upjohn Company. When he retired (1996) he was able to indulge his hobby of collecting and selling antiques and collectibles. Jerry and his wife, Jane, moved to Boulder, Colorado, to be near their sons. They were married for 52 years.

Robert Briggs ’62

Robert died on March 14, 2015. At K he earned his bachelor’s degree in physics, and he earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. Bob worked as an electrical engineer first at GTE Sylvania (Mountain View, Calif.), then at Argosystems (Sunnyvale, Calif.), and finally at Applied Signal Technology (Sunnyvale), retiring in 2011. His work at GTE provided the opportunity to work overseas. He was first assigned to work on a joint Army-Navy project in Turkey as a technical representative. His job was to keep communications equipment operational aboard Navy planes, which flew out of an airbase in Southern Turkey. During this assignment Bob was able to travel to many different countries with friends and co-workers. His work assignment moved to Rota, Spain, where he started his study of Spanish. Later on he was stationed in Japan, where he began studying Japanese. Bob had many interests. He was an avid pilot, a ham radio operator, and an enthusiastic bicyclist. He had an extensive library of science fiction literature and loved photography, astronomy, travel, and classical music. He is survived by his wife of 38 years and two children.

Ronald Edward Williams ’69

Ronald, a retired Colonel in the United States Air Force, died on February 2, 2015. He matriculated to Kalamazoo College from Sharon, Pennsylvania, and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science. He studied abroad in Segovia, Spain. Ron enjoyed a long and successful career in the USAF, beginning as a Second Lieutenant and eventually graduating from the Air Force Squadron Officer’s School, Armed Forces Staff College, and Air War College. Throughout his career, he served at air bases in Taiwan, Germany, Turkey, and the United States. In 1997 renal failure forced an early retirement from the military. He subsequently received a kidney transplant which enabled him to enjoy travel throughout the world as well as many hobbies, including rebuilding and driving classic cars. In 2002 he met and married Mariela Velazquez in Buenos Aires. Their daughter, Catherine, was born in 2003. In 2007 Ronald was diagnosed with inoperable cancer that eventually metastasized throughout his body. Despite the cancer he lived an active life and above all else was devoted to his wife and daughter.

Gretchen Guelde ’77

Gretchen died on October 13, 2014. At K she earned her B.A. in health sciences, and she studied abroad in Muenster, Germany. She and classmate Robert Sinsheimer were married and had four children, one of whom attended Kalamazoo College. Gretchen’s memorial service (in Washington D.C.) was occasion for a K version of the 1983 Lawrence Kasdan film The Big Chill. Following the service a dozen of her classmates along with a few spouses gathered at her and Bob’s house in Chevy Chase, Maryland (see photo below). One of those classmates was Don Grimes, and among the others, he wrote, were “Mark Brown, Doug Thurlow, John Baumgartner, Karen King, Mary Musselman, Sue Nelson, Wendy Schorr, Darrel Rogers, Dawn Rogers, Lucy Godfried (now Banks).” At least two more classmates attended the service but were unable to “come by for Saturday dinner or Sunday breakfast (which we all helped prepare) at Bob and Gretchen’s house,” Don wrote. “It was a lot of fun to see all those people, despite the circumstances. My wife noted that she didn’t think she still knew a dozen people from college [University of Michigan],” Don added. “And there were more of our class whom we were able to contact and who wanted to come but couldn’t make it. Our K community helped encourage those strong bonds, perhaps the best lifelong benefit offered by a small college.”

Alfredo Ramon

Alfredo Ramon, who taught generations of Kalamazoo College students from 1958 to 1996 in K’s foreign study program in Madrid, Spain, passed away on January 30, 2015, at the age of 92, just days before an exhibition of his paintings opened at the Centro Cultural Nicolás Salmerón on 3 February. A professional painter, inspiring teacher, and genial lecturer, Alfredo embodied in his work and personality the history, spirit, culture, and character of Spain. He was an artist of great versatility who worked in a variety of media and subjects, from portraits to landscapes to street scenes. He also worked in diverse artistic areas such as restoration, stage and costume design, and poster painting. In the words of one of Madrid’s dailies reporting his death, he is perhaps best known for his street scenes of old Madrid which captured its soul and spirit and made of him a chronicler of the visual history of his adopted city. A master teacher, he conveyed to his Kalamazoo College and other American students the essence of Spain, past and present, through its artistic treasures. His classes in the Prado brought to life the glories of a Goya or Velasquez; a trip with him to Toledo resurrected the days of the Christian kings and El Greco. Alfredo was the recipient of numerous prizes and honors, and the list of his one-man shows dates from 1955 to 2015. His works are a part of permanent public and private collections in Spain and abroad, including Kalamazoo College, where he was well known as a visiting professor and frequent visitor. Alfredo Ramon was an esteemed colleague, a loyal and true friend of Kalamazoo College and its students. His contributions to the College and K students reach back to our first program in Madrid in 1958. In recognition of his achievements and role in the life of the College, Alfredo was awarded the degree Doctor of Fine Arts by Kalamazoo College in 1991. (Obituary by Joe Fugate)