Patricia Jean (Christensen) McCarthy ’49

Patricia died on July 31, 2015. She matriculated to Kalamazoo College from LaPorte, Ind. Before and after her marriage, she had a diverse career as a clothing buyer and fashion consultant for a Midwestern retailer. She also worked as an office manager for a large medical practice in Falls Church (Va.) and as a manager of Reston’s (Va.) Visitor Center. After her marriage to John W. McCarthy, Jr., they traveled extensively throughout the world in support of his career as an employee of the U.S. Department of State.


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.

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.

H. Thomas Francis ’71

Tom died on March 6, 2016. At K he earned his bachelor’s degree in economics with a concentration in African studies. He studied abroad in Sierra Leone, and he traveled extensively throughout North and West Africa while there. He later completed a master’s degree at Western Michigan University in counseling and student personnel (post-secondary). A dedicated advisor and administrator, Tom spent his professional career guiding students at Kalamazoo College for ten years and then at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where he served as director of career services, for 18 years.

In 1972 Tom volunteered to serve in West Africa with the U.S. Peace Corps and he assisted farmers with grain storage in Dahomey (now Benin). The Peace Corps experience reinforced his belief in service to others, the innate goodness of people, and the importance of experiential education. That legacy lasted a lifetime, as did the impact of a life-threatening tropical parasite in 1974, which forced his evacuation to an Army Hospital in West Germany and later to Walter Reed Hospital and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Tom confronted his many health challenges with a gentle strength over the decades, but his heart finally failed him. He is survived by his wife, their two children and three grandchildren.

Harvey Ballard ’80

arveyBallardHarvey and his partner of 30 years, Andrew Stewart, were married on June 4, 2016, in the First Presbyterian Church of Athens, Ohio. Harvey is an associate professor and internships coordinator in the department of Environmental and Plant Biology at Ohio University. Morgan Vis ’89, one of several K alumni who attended the wedding, is the chair of the department. Pictured are (l-r): Scott Loveridge ’80, Morgan, Harvey and Andrew, Suzanne (Fechner) Bates ’83 and Karl Leif Bates ’83.

Betty Rita Gómez Lance, professor emeritus of Romance languages and literatures

BettyLanceBetty died on September 18, 2016. She was 93. Her career at Kalamazoo College spanned 27 years (1961-1988). Before coming to K she taught at Washington University in St. Louis and at the University of Illinois.

Betty was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. Her father had migrated to that country from Spain. In Costa Rica he worked as a shoemaker to support his wife and their four daughters. Betty’s mother was the staunch advocate of education for her four daughters. Betty came to the United States in 1942 to study science and earned her bachelor’s degree (physical sciences) at Central Missouri State University and her master’s degree (agricultural chemistry) at the University of Missouri. But literature was her great passion, and she earned her Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures at Washington University in St. Louis. Betty was fluent in Spanish and English and proficient in French, Italian, Portuguese, and German. She loved her native country and believed that Costa Rica’s commitment to democracy and freedom to dissent had much to teach the world.

In addition to her teaching duties at K, Betty directed Puerta de Oportunidad, a project to teach English as a foreign language to Spanish speaking people in the Kalamazoo area. She was a prolific scholar, whose works include a book on Spanish novelist Juan Antonio de Zunzunegui. She also authored books on Peruvian writer Enrique Lopez Albujar and El Salvador poet Claudia Lars, and she published a work of literary criticism on the picaresque tradition in 20th century literature of Spain.

Betty was a short story writer and poet. Her volumes of poetry include Vivencias (Lifeways), Vendimia del Tiempo (Harvest of Time), Alas en el Alba (Wings in the Dawn), Bebiendo Luna (Sipping Moon), and Siete Cuerdas (Seven Chords). Her short story collection was titled Hoy Hacen Corro Las Ardillas (Today the Squirrels are Holding a Pow-Wow). She also published poems and stories in many Spanish-English literary journals. She had a style of concrete imagery often drawn from nature and a writing regimen reminiscent of the late U.S. Poet Laureate William Stafford, making poems every day, or, in Betty’s case, every night. “I work on images [and] it is night when I write poetry,” she said. “Sometimes they come and come and come. I’ll do three to five poems.” In 1993 Betty was inducted into the Academia Iberoamericana de Poesía de Madrid (Iberoamerican Academy of Poetry), whose honorees also include Nobel Laureates Vicente Alexandre and Pablo Neruda. Betty had previously been inducted into the Asociación Prometeo de Poesía (The Prometheus Association of Poetry) in Madrid, Spain.

Betty was active in many organizations, including Friends of the Library, the Kalamazoo Institute Arts, the Kalamazoo Nature Center, and the Environmental Concerns Committee in Kalamazoo. She was a member of Poets and Writers America, the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, the Asociación De Escritores Costarricenses, the aforementioned Asociación Prometeo De Poesía and Asociación Iberoamericana De Poesía, and many others.

In addition to writing, Betty loved to hike and knit. After her retirement she established an award at K in Latin American Studies that had been given anonymously until her passing.  The fund now bears her name The Betty R. Gómez Lance Award in Latin American Studies. She is survived by two sons, Edward (a graduate of K) and Harold, and the many students (“sons” and “daughters” of another kind) whom she inspired to become teachers of Spanish and Latin American and Spanish literatures. A campus memorial service is being planned for December. More information on the service will be forthcoming.

“I write to give vent to my joys, my sorrows, my feelings, my thoughts,” she once wrote. “I write for personal solace; and when I receive praise for my writings that connection to another soul, the vivencias of another human being, surprises me. It is very comforting to know that they too have these feelings and that we’re all part of the universal human soul.”

Ernest Piechocki ’51

Ernest died on January 9, 2017. At K he majored in economics and business and played quarterback for the football Hornets. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He enjoyed a long career at the Kalamazoo-based company Spearflex Flexible Controls, where he served as director of purchasing. Ernest enjoyed golfing, travel and fishing. His wife, Gloria, survives. She and Ernest were married for 69 years.

Byron Newell ’50

Byron died on December 14, 2016. After his service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Byron attended Kalamazoo College as a member of the class of 1950 and earned his B.A. degree from Michigan State University. He worked for The Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo for 38 years as a personnel manager.

Dave Warmack ’70

Dave died on July 6, 2017, after a long battle with cancer. He was 69 years old. He attended K as a member of the class of 1970 and played football for the Hornets. He later returned to K as a coach of the football Hornets (1990-97). He also coached at Connecticut State University and three high schools in Michigan before retiring in 2009. His coaching highlights included a state championship (1988) and runner-up finish (1985) when he was the head coach at Grand Junction (Mich.) High School. He is survived by his wife, their two sons and two grandchildren.