Richard David Nirenberg, 80, of Reno, Nevada, died Dec. 6, 2017. A native of Troy, New York, he grew up in South Orange, New Jersey. After graduating from Northwestern University, he worked in public relations for several colleges and universities, including Kalamazoo College. He was a fan of music, especially musical theater, and learned to play piano by ear. He was also a radio DJ for the American Forces Network in Germany while serving in the Army in the late 1950s. He loved hosting friends and family, treating them to his favorite restaurants, shows and venues. He shared his love for music and bad jokes, coffee ice cream and popcorn, and all of the MGM classic movie musicals. He was preceded in death by his sister, Barbara Aronson; brother, Robert Nirenberg; and his daughter and son-in-law, Rachel and Gary Seager. Survivors include his wife, Barbara; her children, Peter Morton of Carefree, Arizona, and Janice Yancey of St. Augustine, Florida; his daughter, Leah Vergotine, and son, Adam Nirenberg, both of Oak Park, Illinois; his brother, Louis, and sister, Nancy Adler; and eight grandchildren.
James A. Mandrell, 86, of Kalamazoo, died Dec. 17, 2017. A native of Benton, Illinois, he was a graduate of Western Michigan University and was an admission counselor for many years at Kalamazoo College. He was active in a number of political campaigns, including those of U.S. Sen. and later President Gerald Ford and Michigan Gov. George Romney. He also served as an aide to U.S. Rep. Garry Brown. Later, he worked as an appraiser. He will be remembered as a good friend and inveterate storyteller. Although not a native son, he was a devoted Michigander who enjoyed spending time in many parts of the state and appreciated its diverse natural beauty. In retirement, he loved spending time with those close to him and was a frequent visitor to Caf Meli, a Portage restaurant, where he developed many friendships. Survivors include a son, James, of Duxbury, Massachusetts, and daughter, Melissa, of Concord, New Hampshire.
Rolla Anderson, namesake of the Rolla L. Anderson Athletic Center on Kalamazoo College’s campus, died April 25, 2018. He was 97.
Anderson came to K in 1953 and was director of men’s athletics until his retirement in 1985. In 1962, he led the Hornets to an undefeated football season and was named Michigan Coach of the Year in news media balloting. Under him, the team again won the MIAA championship in 1963. He also led teams to championships as a coach in tennis, golf and cross country, and he coached basketball. Anderson was a longtime director of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Boys’ 18 & 16 National Championships.
“Generations of Kalamazoo College student-athletes benefited from Rolla’s guidance and leadership,” said President Jorge G. Gonzalez. “He was well known for tirelessly stressing the importance of sound physical education in the liberal arts.”
Named a professor of physical education in 1965, Anderson continued to be an active and enthusiastic supporter of the College in retirement and was a leader in Kalamazoo civic organizations and the USTA.
Anderson Athletic Center was dedicated in his name in 1981, and he was inducted into the Kalamazoo College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992. In 1997, he received the Kalamazoo College Alumni Association’s Weimer K. Hicks Award, which recognizes employees who have made exceptional long-term contributions to the College.
A 1944 graduate of Western Michigan University, he was a star in basketball and football there and was inducted into the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982. He also is in the hall of fame at Southeast Missouri State University, where he was a member of a championship basketball team before transferring to Western.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia, in 2010.
Anderson’s family has asked memorial gifts be made to the Rolla and Pat Anderson Athletic Endowment at Kalamazoo College, a fund that will support the Hornets in perpetuity.
Stan died on August 6, 2015. He worked in Facilities Management at Kalamazoo College for 27 years before retiring in 2004. Stan was a lifelong Kalamazoo area resident. He attended the Kalamazoo Public Schools (Milwood Junior High School, Loy Norrix High School) where he was an outstanding athlete in football and basketball. He earned his associate’s degree from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He was a devoted family man who loved to boat, fish, camp and play with his grandchildren.
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.
Peggy died on August 3, 2017, following a two-year battle with cancer. She was 69 years old. For 25 years Peggy served as the office coordinator for the physics, mathematics and computer science departments at Kalamazoo College. She and her husband, Robert, were graduates of Michigan State University. They were married for 41 years until Robert’s death in 2011. Peggy loved reading, walking, gardening, and feeding and watching the birds. She cared for and loved many pets over the years. She is survived by her son, Zachary.
Kalamazoo College old-timers remember a lot of things about former Registrar Ruth L. Collins: her dedication to students, her expertise, her avid sports fandom—and her cookies.
A renowned home baker, she frequently offered them at the registrar’s office, especially at the end of term when grades were due. Students could help themselves, but faculty were denied the tasty treats unless they turned in their grades—on time. As one emeritus professor remarked, never while Collins was registrar did he turn in his grades late.
Collins, 91, died Nov. 14, 2017. A graduate of Coe College and the University of Wisconsin, where she received a master’s in education, Collins became registrar in 1974 after the death of her husband, Professor Paul E. Collins, who had held that post.
Collins, a former high school teacher, assistant professor of education at Ball State University and instructor at Western Michigan University, continued as K’s official keeper of student records until her retirement at the end of 1989, once writing in response to a question on a faculty survey that “I mind the store.”
A faculty tribute written upon her retirement noted that “for 15 years …se ran this complex and complicated operation with great efficiency, patience and good humor. …She never forgot that the College exists to serve the students, and she believed that the best way she could do that was by being informed, honest, clear, consistent and considerate.”
An avid and knowledgeable sports fan, Collins enthusiastically supported the College’s athletic teams and lived long enough to see her beloved Chicago Cubs claim the 2016 World Series, ending a 108-year championship drought. A skillful bridge player, she continued to play with three longtime friends and former colleagues until shortly before her death.
As per her wish, Collins was cremated and there was no service. She is survived by her children, David and Kathy, of Kalamazoo.