Former Kalamazoo College English professor Ellen M. Caldwell, 67, died Aug. 10, 2018, in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. The daughter of movie star Joan Leslie and Dr. William G. Caldwell, she earned degrees in English literature at both the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She was a member of the faculty at K from 1987 to 2001 and is remembered as a favorite professor by numerous alumni from that era, including Deanne Bartkowiak ’94 and Alisha Rohde ’90, who sent BeLight tributes to Caldwell. Bartkowiak wrote that “Dr. Ellen was my advisor, my professor and my friend. She counseled me through school and life dilemmas. And the coolest part is that she really was there from the very start since I met her during my freshmen orientation week. She saw me from beginning to end…to beginning again. Thank you, Dr Ellen, for being such an incredibly selfless and caring person.” Rohde wrote that Caldwell’s influence on her “extended far beyond the confines of my K College experience. When I began teaching at the college level … I found myself remembering the way she structured course material and themes very clearly—not to make them easy for students, but to give students a solid base for the challenging ideas she would explore in lively discussions. Although I studied theory and pedagogy with grad school faculty, Ellen provided the functional, practical template I used so often.” In a 42-year career, Caldwell also taught at UCLA, Vanderbilt University and California State University, Fullerton. She was preceded in death by her parents. Survivors include her twin sister, Patrice.
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.
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.
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.
Jeff died on August 19, 2015, at home in Ljubljana, Slovenia, after a short illness. Jeff matriculated to K from Spring Lake, Michigan, and earned his B.A. in psychology. He was well-known and highly regarded in the automobile industry, working in a wide range of positions from retail sales and management to advanced electric vehicle manufacturing, network development and distribution. He played a key role in developing business and effectively managing dealer operations for several dealerships and dealer groups across the United States. Until his death, Jeff was employed as chief operating officer at Kia Motors Adria Group (KMAG) in Slovenia. Jeff is survived by his wife, Ying Feng-Boyd, and her children; his parents and seven siblings; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles.
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.
Robert wrote, “During my stints in the military, work force, and time at K my undefined mental health issues prevented me from being the student and friend that many wished me to be. My mood and emotional swings from hyperactive to hyper recluse made me a difficult and annoying person to gauge. Currently I am doing much better, and working with the VA health system has helped me identify what I can control and where I need help. I regret not being able to connect more meaningfully with classmates at K. I have learned a great deal about the impact of anxiety as it pertains to me. My anxiety led me to study topics and prepare for tests like a person collecting a pile of ping pong balls with their arms. Short term one may be able to have some success, but seconds later the pile will cascade leaving one’s arms empty. Anxiety impaired my cognitive retention capabilities, and this failure to internalize information amplified my anxiety levels, leading to the feeling of being a fraud. I eventually found the time to deal with these core issues. I am proud of my service, proud of my time at K and wanted to share this to show perceived failures can become soundings of your true nature.”
Delio died on November 3, 2016. He earned his degree in psychology at K, and some six months after graduation he married Anne Nemeth. They celebrated their 65th anniversary on February 3, 2016. Delio and Anne have three children and four grandchildren. Delio worked as an accountant for the Mishawaka Utilities, and was a CPA at Wells Aluminum before retiring.
Stephanie and her husband, John-Paul, were blessed with their fourth baby on March 3, 2017! Teofila Rosemarie Fletcher was seven pounds and seven ounces. Her older sister, Sarah, and brothers Rowan and Joshua are very excited to play with her.