In Memory

Jean Folz Riser ’41

Jean died peacefully in her home with family present on the night of July 20, 2015. Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Jean earned her B.A. from K in biology. Later, while attending the University of Michigan’s summer graduate biology program at Douglas Lake, she met Nathan (Pete) Riser, her future husband. After completing her M.A. (zoology) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she studied and became a certified medical technologist at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. During World War II she worked in a pathology lab near Lansing, Michigan. Her enthusiasm for that work was evident in her stories and detailed knowledge of pathogens. Before moving to Damariscotta, Maine, Jean spent more than 50 years in the Boston area, as a hospital pathology lab volunteer, a college anatomy instructor, a Girl Scout troop leader, a conservation advocate and a docent at the Peabody-Essex Museum of Salem, Mass. She was a lifelong learner, an avid naturalist, birder, photographer and hiker. Past 90, she was still able to walk two miles and to enjoy identifying fauna and flora. Jean was a world traveler, who took great pleasure in attending international scientific meetings with her husband. She also enjoyed living in New Brunswick and in New Zealand during sabbatical years, as well as participating in an East African ornithological safari and a South Seas sailing adventure. Throughout her life Jean maintained detailed records of natural history, family health, travel and other events of interest. In addition, she possessed encyclopedic knowledge on a great variety of topics from Asian art to Wagnerian opera to European history to scientific discoveries. Her daughter once said, “She was Google before Google.” Several of Jean’s relatives have K connections. Her mother Ruth Desenberg Folz attended K for a year. Jean’s first cousin, Samuel Folz, was a member of the class of 1947. And Jean’s daughter Claire graduated in 1967. Jean was predeceased by her husband and is survived by her three children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

George Williams ’41

George died on November 18, 2015. He was 95 years old. George majored in English at K. He was a member of the 1940 Men’s Tennis Team, which was elected to the Kalamazoo College Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. George also received a Citation of Merit Award (2002) from the College’s Emeritus Club. He earned a master’s degree from George Washington University and worked briefly for Fairchild Aircraft (Hagerstown, Md.) before beginning a long and distinguished career in international higher education. He moved to Istanbul, Turkey, in 1942 where he taught and worked in administration at Robert College. He also worked at colleges in Libya, Washington, D.C., and Monterey, Calif. While at Robert College he traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and also drove through Europe many times on family vacations. He remained active in athletics–swimming and basketball as well as tennis–and oftentimes swam from Europe to Asia and back again across the Bosphorus. He was married for 71 years to Mary (Hosford) Williams, class of 1943, who survives. They have two children. Their daughter, Janice Kies, is a member of the class of 1972. George also is survived by his brother Owen (class of 1948) and his sister Mary Danielson (class of 1950).

Claude M. Cranston ’41

Claude died on December 11, 2015. He was 95. He grew up in Linden, Michigan, and earned his bachelor’s degree at K in history and later earned a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. He married Verna L. Wheeler on June 11, 1941; she preceded him in death on April 1, 2014. Claude retired from Linden Schools in 1979 with 38 years of service. He was one of four people who were the initial inductees into the Linden High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the Genesee County Coaches and Officials Association. He was very active in local and state athletics.

C. Conrad Browne Sr. ’43

Conrad, a retired Baptist minister and missionary who dedicated his life to the pursuit of justice and peace for all people, died on January 26, 2016. He attended Kalamazoo College and later received his divinity degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He continued his post-graduate studies at the Interdenominational Divinity School (Atlanta), Harvard Divinity School (Cambridge, Mass.), and at the Episcopal Theological School (Cambridge, Mass.).  Conrad was a Conscientious Objector during World War II and entered into military alternative service with several organizations, including the YMCA and the National Forest Service. For 54 years he served the American Baptist Churches USA in many capacities. He retired from the ministry in 1994. He was married for 50 years to Ora Helen (Smith) Browne until her death in 1995. He is survived by his wife, Catherine. Conrad’s family includes five children, 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Wilma (Fechter) Erway ’44

Wilma died on December 16, 2015. She grew up in Chicago and earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from K. She earned a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Wisconsin in 1945. That year she and Norman Erway were married at Stetson Chapel. Soon after the couple took jobs at the University of Chicago, his part of the Manhattan Project and hers in a toxicity laboratory. In 1947 the couple started a scientific glassblowing business in Oregon (Wis.), making and repairing scientific glass apparatus for the University of Wisconsin, other universities and laboratories all over the country and overseas. Wilma and Norman had three daughters, with whom they traveled extensively in the U.S. and Canada. Wilma was an avid downhill skier, which she continued into her mid-80s. She also enjoyed cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, whitewater and flat water canoeing, camping, hiking, boating, sailing, swimming, snorkeling, hunting, visiting and photographing light houses, and collecting arrowheads.

Edith (Hoven) Strome ’45

Edie died on December 29, 2015. She and her husband Forrest, who survives, met as freshmen at Kalamazoo College. Edie graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She and Forrest married shortly after their graduation and were wed for 70 years. They have two children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Edie was a consummate homemaker and a gracious hostess to friends from the First Baptist Church of Rochester (New York) and the Kalamazoo College Alumni Group. She served as a volunteer for many years at Strong Memorial Hospital and the Fairport Baptist Home, where she was a member of the Women’s Service Board.


Joan (Carter) Cofer ’46

Joan died peacefully at home on December 26, 2015, in Sparks, Nevada, after coping with the progressive decline of Alzheimer’s disease. She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Emmett Ray Cofer, who attended Kalamazoo College as part of the U.S. Army’s Specialized Training Program in 1943-1944, and two sons. In her 50th Reunion Yearbook (1996) Joan wrote, “I credit the good life we and our family have always enjoyed to the years I spent at Kalamazoo College.” At K she earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology.

Cecil “Cy” Dam ’48

Cy died on October 7, 2015. He attended Kalamazoo College and was freshman class president until he left the College to enter the service during World War ll. Cy was stationed in Hawaii and Guam as a meteorologist and was discharged in 1946 as a captain in the Army Air Force. After the war Cy returned to Kalamazoo College and graduated in 1948 with a degree in physics and mathematics. He met his future wife, Marilee Thorpe, in music theory class. After graduation Cy attended Cornell University, where he received a master’s degree in physics. He and Marilee married in 1950. Cy received a doctorate in physics at Ohio State University. He taught physics at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, for 26 years. He chaired the department for many of those years. He also worked at Oak Ridge and Argonne National Laboratories during sabbaticals. During his professional career, Cy was the Barton S. Pauley Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Physics and the W.F. Johnson Professor of Physics from 1958 to 1984. He was a member of the Optical Society of America, American Physical Society, American Association of Physics Teachers, American Meteorological Society, History of Science Society, Society for the History of Technology and the Double Reed Society. After his retirement, Cy and Marilee moved to Ocala, Florida, in 1985 and joined First Methodist Church of Ocala. Cy played oboe for 10 years in the Gainesville Community Band and the Central Florida Symphony.

D. Wayne Green ’49, Ph.D.

Wayne died on October 27, 2015. He grew up in Coldwater, Michigan, and served in the United States Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1945. At K he earned his B.A. in physics. He earned his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1954. He moved to Galesburg, Illinois, in 1954 and began his 35-year career at Knox College, where he was a professor, chairman of the physics department, registrar and president of the Knox College Credit Union. Wayne was active in the Galesburg community, serving as a member and chairman of the board of trustees for Carl Sandburg College and holding many offices with the Knox County United Way. He served on the advisory committee for the State Board of Education in the area of science assessment, was a member and past president of the Illinois Community College Trustee Association and the Illinois Science Teachers Association, and he was a member of the Illinois Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers. Wayne was a recipient of the I.S.A.A.P.T. Distinguished Service Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Physics Teaching, the Illinois Science Teachers Association Distinguished Service Award, and the Illinois Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers Distinguished Service Award. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Darlene, their three children, six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

William Borough ’50

Bill died on January 27, 2016, at age 90. Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He matriculated to K after the war and majored in chemistry. He worked for Bendix as a senior chemist. Bill married Virginia O’Boyle in 1951, and they were married for 65 years. Bill retired to Deerfield Beach, Fla., in 1978 where he worked as an artist and became involved in many civic organizations. Bill was preceded in death by his daughter Helen. He is survived by his wife and three daughters, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Earl Velek ’52

Earl died on January 11, 2016. He majored in sociology at K. During the Korean War he was an officer in the Navy, serving as an Admiral’s Aide aboard heavy cruisers. He then worked as a stockbroker for 30 years in Minneapolis. Earl enjoyed fishing, hunting and spending time with family. He and his wife, Sue, have four children and two grandchildren.

Richard Schultz ’53

Richard died on November 17, 2015. At K he majored in economics. He served for 32 years as the general manager of WARU Radio in Peru, Indiana. Richard was a member of the First Church of the Nazarene and a former member of First Baptist Church in Peru. He had been an active member of the Lions Club in Peru. He and his wife, Jeannette Norwood, who survives, were married on August 25, 1951. They have four children, 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

G. Robert (Bob) Miyagawa ’54

Bob died on January 23, 2016. He grew up in Kalamazoo and at K majored in economics and business. After graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, served for 23 years, and retired as a Captain in 1978. He piloted land- and carrier-based anti-submarine aircraft in the Pacific and North Atlantic for 10 years. He was an instructor in warfare tactics at the Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.) and the Naval War College (Newport, R.I.). Bob was Communications Commander in the Pacific Command during the Vietnam War era. He served as the Air Operations Officer on the USS Hornet for the Apollo 12 recovery mission in the South Pacific. He concluded his Naval career as Commanding Officer of a tactical air control group based in Norfolk, Va.,supporting NATO in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. He was married to Ellen Jane Brooks for more than 50 years, until her death in 2006. They had two children. Bob married Bonny Turner, who survives, in 2013.

Louis Leon Grossnickle ’58

Leon died on December 14, 2015. He earned his bachelor’s degree from K and his master’s degree from Wayne State University. He married Elaine Kontz ’54, and they were wed for 61 years and had three children. Leon was a veteran of the U.S. Army and enjoyed a long career in the Waterford (Michigan) School District as a teacher, community school director and principal.

Richard J. Miller ’59

Richard died on November 5, 2015. He matriculated to K from Benton Harbor, Michigan, and he majored in chemistry. He was employed at Modern Plastics his entire career, where he served as director of quality assurance. Richard and his wife, Jeannine, were married for 56 years. They moved from St. Joseph to Grand Rapids in 2013. They were avid rock hounds, specializing in crystals and minerals, and were very active in the Blossomland Gem and Mineral Society. Richard was involved in community events and chaired numerous organizations, including Twin City Players, Venetian Festival and others. He held leadership roles in his international professional organization, Society of Plastics Engineers, and received numerous awards.

Bill Atkinson ’63

Bill died on November 22, 2015, after a long battle with cancer. Bill majored in biology at K and was a member of the Hornet cross-country team. Following graduation he worked as a high school math and biology teacher. He then joined The Upjohn Company and worked in the pharmaceutical company’s research, clinical research, and regulatory affairs divisions. He was awarded the company’s prestigious Upjohn Award. Bill enjoyed singing, working with golden retrievers, traveling and summers by Lake Michigan.

Carol (Spiro) Barger ’68

Carol died on June 28, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio, following a brief illness. She earned her B.A. at K in religion and studied abroad in Caen, France. She had recently retired from a 30-year career teaching first grade at Rosehill Elementary School in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. She is survived by her two sons, Kyle and Kurt, and their spouses, Tayah and Christianne, respectively.

Patrick Condon ’70

Patrick died on September 30, 2015, in Carlsbad, California. He grew up in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where his youth was characterized by his insatiable liberal arts curiosity, voracious reading and eclectic sense of humor. At K, he majored in English and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. He studied for his Ph.D. at the University of California San Diego and focused his research on English and Irish literature. He did not complete his Ph.D. but instead went on to Bolt Law School at the University of California, Berkeley. He passed the bar in California and after clerking, began to practice appellate law in the North County. He always tried to apply his skill as a lawyer to cases in aid of the poor and downtrodden. He helped a lot of people who would never have received justice without him.

Michael Nelson ’73

Michael died on December 27, 2015. He majored in history at K and studied abroad in Clermont-Ferrand, France. He then earned two master’s degrees: one in history from Montana State University and the second in library science from the University of Washington in Seattle. He served as a librarian for Montana State University and Montana Tech in Butte. In 1984, Michael moved to Laramie to work for the University of Wyoming as a reference librarian. He was working as a collection and development librarian at the time of his death. Michael married Joyce Collum in 1991 and they had two sons together, Matthew and Mark. Michael and Joyce later divorced but remained very close friends. Michael volunteered for Big Brothers and Sisters in Laramie. He loved the outdoors, walking, hiking and cross-country skiing. He loved trains and shared his love of railroading with his son Mark. He often took his son to the footbridge over the tracks to watch the trains. His greatest joy in life was being a father and a grandfather to his grandson Benjamin Matthew.

Marvin Dale Nelson Jr. ’74

Marvin died on October 20, 2015, in his hometown of Delaware, Ohio. He attended K for a year. He died of liver cancer and used part of the window of time between his diagnosis and his death to write his own obituary, portions of which are quoted below.


“….I graduated from Delaware Hayes High School in 1971, setting records on the swim team, got a scholarship and spent a year at Kalamazoo College in higher education. That wasn’t for me. I got married as people tend to do. Of that era, the less said the better. I have no children of my own, but I would have liked that. Calendar pages turned and months turned to years. I found a calling as a mechanic and I got to see how things work and how I could make them work. It was satisfying to some degree and filled a large chunk of my life. I worked with many people in many places. A lot of them I liked, others not so much. No regrets here, but to do it over I would get that college degree just for the options. Throughout my life I made friendships to last forever….Friends are the family we choose for ourselves. Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board and I am no different. I loved to travel, a gift from my dad. Now that you are reading this, I am evidently free to hitchhike the galaxy as soon as the paperwork is completed. So until you see me swinging on a star, remember, a story has no beginning or end—-one arbitrarily chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead. Now my story begins again.”

Stephaine (Parrish) Taylor ’74

Stephaine died on November 21, 2015. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh. At K she majored in philosophy and studied abroad in Nairobi, Kenya. After graduation she settled in Portland, Oregon, where she became a distinguished state and national leader in vocational rehabilitation. Her work created opportunities for people with disabilities, including psychiatric disabilities, to live and work independently. She also was an award-winning quilter. She designed, sewed by hand and exhibited many of her beautiful creations. She loved to travel and had visited India, Egypt and China among other countries. She also loved to cook and preserve her family’s history. When she died she was in the process of completing a family cookbook titled Food is Memory.

Kevin Ferguson ’81

Kevin died on October 2, 2015. At K he majored in economics and business, studied abroad in Strasbourg, France, and played on the Hornet tennis team. He served in the U.S. Army, 101st Airborne Division, in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, from 1982-1988 and was honorably discharged as a 1st Lieutenant. Kevin also served his country as a diplomatic special agent for the U.S. State Department from 1986-1993. In 1996 he earned his law degree from Marquette University Law School. Kevin loved books and had many interests, including travel, art, golf and spending time with his daughter, Mara.

Mason Scott Shepard ’14

Mason died on Thursday, January 28, 2016, on the ski slopes of Winter Park, Colorado. Mason matriculated to K from Hackett Catholic High School in Kalamazoo. He played football for the Hornets and earned his bachelor’s degree with majors in business and psychology. He and his family often spent winter vacations in Winter Park, where they participated with the Winter Park Competition Center. Mason was an avid skier and he died doing something he enjoyed. Above all, Mason loved his family. He is survived by his parents and sister, grandparents, and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Carlos Bousoño, Professor of Spanish Literature in Kalamazoo College’s Program at the International Institute in Madrid

Professor Bousoño died in Madrid on October 24, 2015. He was 92 years old. Bousoño was an award-winning poet, literary critic and theoretician, master teacher, member of the Royal Academy of Spain for 35 years, a leading figure in Spain’s postwar literary circles and for many years professor of Spanish literature in Kalamazoo’s program at the International Institute in Madrid.

Among his many honors he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in letters in 1995, one of Spain’s most important literary awards. He was also a recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Turin and a member of the Hispanic Society of America. During his tenure as professor at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid he was repeatedly voted best lecturer by the students. In addition to his volumes of poetry, he wrote a number of publications and was widely regarded as Spain’s most important literary theoretician. Bousoño was also a close friend of the Nobel Laureate Vincente Aleixandre and the executor of his literary estate.

Kalamazoo College was fortunate to have him on our faculty at the Institute because of his friendship with our former director there, Dr. José Vidal. Bousoño is survived by his wife, Ruth, and two sons. (Obituary by Joe Fugate, professor emeritus of German, director emeritus of foreign study)

Odile Gollé, Kalamazoo College Foreign Study Program in Strasbourg

Madame Gollé, widow of M. Maurice Gollé, who for many years was director of the Kalamazoo College foreign study program in Strasbourg, passed away on October 18, 2015, in Strasbourg at the age of 92. She frequently interacted with and came to know many Kalamazoo students over the years because of her warm, outgoing, and easily approachable personality. She had a wonderful sense of humor and could always be counted on to have an interesting joke or humorous story to relate. She liked to entertain, was an excellent cook (as anyone who enjoyed the hospitality of her home would confirm), and a passionate dog lover. A wonderful wife, mother and friend, she was preceded in death by her husband and one son and is survived by two sons and the deceased son’s wife and their families. (Obituary by Joe Fugate, professor emeritus of German, and director emeritus of foreign study)

Isabel (Brown) “Brownie” Galligan

Brownie died on November 14, 2015. She served as secretary to the provost at Kalamazoo College from 1969 to 1987. Brownie’s maternal grandfather was the noted American artist George Errington. Her mother also was an exceptional artist, as was Brownie herself, who expressed her talent primarily in watercolor. She was fully involved with many activities at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art. She met her husband, Edward, at Swarthmore College during World War II. They were married for 62 years until his death in 2011. They had two sons, Joe and Jim. Jim is an alumnus of the class of 1976.