Henry Yaple ’63

Henry recently completed a 30-year labor of love: a bibliography listing the thousands of works printed by a celebrated religious commune formerly located in Benton Harbor, Michigan. In the early 20th century the Israelite House of David (founded by Benjamin and Mary Purnell) was known for its semi-professional baseball team, whose players sported long locks, flowing beards, and major league talent. The Benton Harbor House of David was later re-organized by Mary Purnell as Mary’s City of David.

Yaple earned his bachelor’s degree in English from K and a Master of Library Sciences degree from Western Michigan University. He began his professional life as a librarian and bibliographer at Michigan State University. He retired as Librarian Emeritus from Whitman College (Walla Walla, Washington) and did much of his compilation work during retirement.

According to Sue Moore, who wrote a story about Yaple that appeared in South County News, “The idea for researching and compiling a bibliography stemmed from his studies as a librarian. The sect headed by Benjamin and Mary Purnell, who had only an eighth grade education, realized that it could attract converts with written material outlining its beliefs. They didn’t attribute or date most of their works but published thousands of titles. The published works helped to attract large numbers of men and women to become members, some from as far away as Australia.

“According to Mary’s City of David web site, the sect published The Star of Bethlehem and by 1910 it was in its third edition, having circulated around the world to the churches and followers of the former six Israelite messengers. Their “Eden Springs Park” was in its second successful season in 1910 and on its way to become America’s premiere pre-Disney theme park. The House of David schools would provide education and recreational activities for its children, who soon developed into legendary barn storming baseball teams, known to Satchel Paige as “Jesus boys”, and traveling jazz bands that would catch the attention of America in sweeping nationwide vaudeville circuit tours throughout the 1920s. By the mid-1920s, and in spite of the worldwide economic depression, the Israelite House of David and Mary’s City of David would come to dominate southwestern Michigan’s economy, tourism and agricultural industries.”

Yaple’s retirement activities are not confined to academics. He is an avid skier, and has also published two works on that avocation. He and his wife, whom he met skiing, live out west in ski country.

Max Cherem ’04, the Marlene Crandell Francis Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Max  is one of four persons in the country honored with the prestigious Humanities Writ Large Visiting Faculty Fellowship for the 2015-16 academic year. He is spending this year as a research resident at Duke University and working in the Kenan Institute for Ethics. His work focuses on human rights, specifically the ethical challenges created by “externalized” state border controls: policies that try to prevent migrant arrival by projecting or outsourcing a nation’s authority over migration beyond its regular territorial borders. He gave an interview at the Kenan Institute explaining his research. Max earned his bachelor’s degree at K in philosophy and studied abroad in Nepal.

Robert Schrag ’71

RobertSchragRobert has published a coloring book for adults titled Color Me Chilled Out: Coloring Pages for Meditation and Relaxation. Robert has spent more than 40 years teaching about visual and verbal messages in the Department of Communication at North Carolina State University. But he has spent more than 60 years doodling and coloring and writing poetry. “Doodling and coloring are visual poetry,” he wrote. “I am thrilled that adults are finally reclaiming these visual delights that we usually leave in the hands of children. Their importance became even clearer to me while recovering from chemotherapy and my stem cell transplants. Coloring became an island of calm purpose in those otherwise trying times.” Color Me Chilled Out is Robert’s effort to share that “island of calm purpose.” And apparently it is working. With nothing but word-of-mouth publicity, Color Me Chilled Out sold more than 7,000 copies during the first month it was available.

Paul Burnam ’72

Paul Burnam ’72, director of the library at Methodist Theological Seminary in Ohio, had an article published in the July-September 2017 edition of the Ohio History Connection’s TimelinePaul Burnam magazine. Titled “The President and the Preacher,” it describes the efforts of activists Washington Gladden (a key figure in the social gospel movement) and William Oxley Thompson (Ohio State University’s longest-serving president and the moving force behind Ohio State becoming a major research university) to settle a streetcar strike, promote prohibition and set up local government in Columbus, Ohio, during the first two decades of the 1900s.

Martha Morrison Gearhart ’54

Martha Morrison Gearhart died Dec. 10, 2018. She was born in Detroit, Michigan, attended Kalamazoo College and Wayne State University, and received her degree in education from the University of Michigan. She earned a master’s degree from Michigan State University. Martha worked as a teacher in the Livonia School System and the Lansing Public School System, and served as a volunteer for the Red Cross and Sparrow Hospital. She retired after a serious head injury in 1997. Her continuing strength despite health challenges inspired those who knew her.

Gordon Rodwan ’62

Gordon is the author of Detroit Is: An Essay in Photographs. He will do a book signing as part of “Book Beat” on Sunday, February 28, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event is free; for more information contact “Book Beat” at 248.968.1190. Gordon is a longtime member of the Photographic Guild of Detroit. He is a frequent judge and photography critic for that organization as well as the Greater Detroit Camera Club Council and the Photographic Society of America. His photos have appeared in numerous publications. At K he was a standout basketball player, and he studied abroad in Bonn, Germany. The longtime Detroit resident (more than 40 years!) earned a M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Ben Hale ’94

BenHaleBen has published a book titled The Wild and the Wicked (MIT University Press). He combines anecdote and philosophy to argue that an impulse toward environmental activism is a matter of humanity and moral action, quite apart from the question of whether nature is good or bad and our response to it, whether love or indifference. Ben is an associate professor in the philosophy department and environmental studies program at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His primary area of research focus is environmental ethics. He’s worked at the University of Colorado-Boulder since 2005. At K he majored in philosophy and did his study abroad in Russia.

Nancy West Mann ’57

Nancy West Mann ’57 died Nov. 20, 2018. She graduated from K with a degree in English and earned her master’s degree in the discipline from Cornell University. While at Cornell, she met her husband, Michael Mann, while marching at a peace rally in support of the civil rights movement. They were married six months later. Upon graduating, they moved to Newton, Massachusetts, where Mike accepted a job as a professor at Boston College. Nancy was very involved in local politics and served as the chairperson of the Newton School Committee for eight years. She was actively involved in the METCO Program, which is a voluntary program intended to expand educational opportunities, increase diversity and reduce racial isolation by permitting students in certain cities to attend public schools in other communities.

Upon Mike’s death in 1985, Nancy worked as an arbitrator for the Industrial Accident Board in Boston. Her desire was to help people who had been hurt on their jobs obtain financial compensation from their employers. She deeply believed in equality and fairness. Nancy’s hobbies were reading, church and politics. Nancy is survived by her two children and two grandchildren.

Morowa Yejidé ’92

Autism, incarceration, single parenthood, racism, eating disorders are some of the heavyweight topics Morowa takes on in her award-winning debut novel, Time of the Locust. Former Kalamazoo College employee (and occasional LuxEsto freelance writer) Zinta Aistars interviewed Morowa for “Between the Lines,” a book review radio show of WMUK, Kalamazoo’s local affiliate of NPR. You can listen to the interview here.