Barbara Wagner Welgos ’44, June 13, 2023, Decorah, Iowa. Barbara majored in speech and psychology at Grinnell. She married her high school sweetheart, Clarence Welgos, in 1946. They made their home in Decorah, raising three daughters. Barb’s professional career centered around Luther College, where she was hired in 1963 as counselor to women and later served as supervisor of the College Health Service until her retirement in 1984. Her passions were her family, golf, knitting, baking, cooking, PEO (she was an 80-plus year member), reading, church activities, and keeping in touch with her many friends. She was honored with a Grinnell College Alumni Award in 1972. Survivors include her daughters, seven grandchildren, and more than a dozen great-grandchildren.
Evelyn Jorgensen Sweasy ’45, March 23, 2023, Red Wing, Minnesota. Evelyn, who was a member of the synchronized swimming team at Grinnell, enjoyed traveling during her college summers, when she worked at various western national parks, and with Pan Am Airlines in Florida. She loved to be outdoors, whether swimming, biking, hiking, or gardening. After the war, she married William Sweasy, and they had seven children. She shared 44 happy years with her husband before his death in 1991.
Barbara Butts Parkhurst ’48, Feb. 14, 2023, Cedar Park, Texas. Barbara attended Grinnell and the University of Minnesota to earn her bachelor’s in journalism. She also received a master’s in education from Grand Canyon College. She married James Parkhurst in 1952 and had four children. James passed away in 1968. Barbara and her children moved to Austin, Texas, where she worked at the Texas State Capitol proofreading legislation and later for the City Clerk of Austin. Barbara volunteered at the Veterans’ Hospital and as secretary of her church. She was a member of the American Association of University Women for more than 50 years.
Carolyn Ady Simonson ’48, April 20, 2023, Tacoma, Washington. Carolyn held a lifelong gratitude for her years at Grinnell and the friends she made, the pleasure and inspiration she derived from her studies as an English major, and the financial help she received from the College. She went on to obtain a master’s in English literature from Northwestern University, where she met her future husband, Hal. Carolyn was a dedicated teacher, first at the University of Puget Sound and then at Tacoma Community College. She retired in 1987 and finally had time to read voraciously, write, travel, quilt, and be a storybook grandma. She was a hospice volunteer for many years and volunteered as a copy editor for Columbia Magazine. Her three children, including her daughter, Greta Simonson ’79; and six grandchildren, survive her.
Sherry Leeka Wiese ’48, June 13, 2023, Lincoln, Nebraska. Sherry attended Grinnell and graduated from the University of Nebraska, where she was an active member of Pi Beta Phi. While at university, Sherry met Bill Wiese. They married and had four children. Sherry taught for several years, later obtaining her master’s in educational psychology. She was known for her creative musical talent and energetic teaching style. Sherry and Bill were inseparable for 76 years and enjoyed music, dancing, golf, traveling together, and entertaining family and friends. She was an active volunteer in her church and the community. Survivors include a daughter and two sons, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Richard E. Friedman ’51, April 3, 2023, Sarasota, Florida. Richard was an attorney with the Better Government Association when he decided to run for office against Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1971. Daley captured nearly 70% of the vote for a fifth term. Richard drolly referred to the contest as “a real squeaker.” After his mayoral run, Richard was appointed regional director of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
A lesser-known portion of his resume involved national security law. He chaired the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security as well as the National Strategy Forum. He also functioned as a sort of “ambassador at large,” making trips to various Eastern European countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Richard helped write the constitutions for Somalia and the Eastern European nation of Georgia. He is survived by his wife, former Chicago news anchor Jorie Lueloff Friedman. They met when she interviewed him on her show. Richard was a member of the College’s Asa Turner Society.
George L. Hoyt ’51, May 10, 2023, Cushing, Maine. After George earned his bachelor’s in English and philosophy, he joined the U.S. Army. He later earned a master’s in English from the University of Iowa, where he met June Steenbergh. They shared a love of reading, current events, art, and good conversation that lasted throughout their 60-year marriage. Together, they raised two daughters, moving to Indiana from Iowa. George taught high school English in Indianapolis and later earned his doctorate in educational administration from Ball State University in Muncie, where the family relocated when he took an administrative position at Ball State. George especially enjoyed flying and sailing.
Willette Ubl Lang ’51, June 22, 2023, Albuquerque, New Mexico. After Willette earned her degree in English education, she was accepted into a training program to become a buyer for the Carson Pirie Scott department store in downtown Chicago. In 1953, she married James Lang and they moved to Albuquerque, where she took a job as a data analyst at Sandia National Laboratory. Their family grew with the arrival of a daughter, and later a son. When her children were in school, Willette volunteered as treasurer of the PTA. She also joined the Albuquerque Civic Choir and enjoyed singing soprano for many years. After Jim passed away in 2012, she began volunteering at the Assistance League of Albuquerque. Willette is survived by her children and four grandchildren.
Shirley Anderson Toomey ’51, May 16, 2023, Casper, Wyoming. Shirley met her future husband, Bill Toomey ’51, while earning her bachelor’s in art at Grinnell. They married in 1951. The couple settled in Madison, Wisconsin, to raise their family. Shirley was passionate about nature, especially birds. She and Bill loved to play bridge and socialize as well as travel. She volunteered at Madison General Hospital, Oakwood Lutheran Homes, and other community organizations. She and Bill were married 62 years; he died in 2013.
Robert H. Boehmler ’52, June 15, 2023, Rogers, Arizona. After attending Grinnell, Bob enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and proudly served in the Korean War. During those years he met and married Donna Swanstrom. After completing his military career, Bob’s entrepreneurial spirit eventually led him to own and operate Bob’s 5 and 10, The Clothes Hanger, and The Shoe Horn in Montgomery City, Missouri. He took great pride in serving his community through his memberships at the First Christian Church, Masonic Lodge, American Legion, Shriners, Kiwanis, Missouri Retailers Association, and Elks Lodge. Bob is survived by his wife, a daughter and three sons, 10 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.
Alan D. Goldfarb ’52, June 1, 2023, San Rafael, California. Alan received his bachelor’s in political science from Grinnell, followed by a master’s from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a stint in the U.S. Army. His career in public service was spent working for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in New York and Chicago. In 1971, Alan and his wife, Arlene, moved their family to Berkeley, where Alan finished his career with HUD in the San Francisco Regional Office, retiring in 1981. Alan soon became involved in Berkeley civic affairs, serving on the Waterfront and Planning commissions. In 1986, he was elected to serve on the city council. He was passionate about earthquake preparedness and successfully pushed for preparedness staffing and tax incentives, which encouraged residents to retrofit their homes, eventually making Berkeley’s housing stock the most earthquake-resistant in the Bay Area. Alan loved Berkeley’s parks and was an avid walker and jogger. He was a leader in the long struggle to save the waterfront from overdevelopment and create the East Bay Shoreline Park. Alan frequently had letters published in The New York Times and poems in The NYT Metropolitan Diary. Some of his poetry was published in journals, and he published three books of his own work. Alan served as an Alumni Council member in 1997 and volunteered for the College’s Center for Careers, Life, and Service from 2009 to 2013. He was honored with a Grinnell College Alumni Award in 2002. Alan’s survivors include his wife, Arlene Stoller Goldfarb ’53; two daughters; son John Goldfarb ’76; and one grandson.
Bernard F. Oakes ’52, March 13, 2023, Traverse City, Michigan. After graduation, Bernie served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a ceremonial platoon leader in Washington, D.C., and then a guard commander at Camp David under President Eisenhower. He was honorably discharged with the rank of captain. Bernie retired in 1987, after 31 years of employment with IBM. He moved to Traverse City in 1989 with his longtime companion, Wilhelmina “Billie” Frost, who survives him.
Joanne “JoJo” Streater Scott ’52, May 20, 2023, Minneapolis, Minnesota. After graduation, JoJo worked as a physical education teacher, a licensed realtor, and was a hospital emergency room volunteer. She also was active in her church and several social clubs. JoJo had a passion for boating, swimming, downhill skiing, dancing, travel, art museums, coffee parties, little children, and dogs. Survivors include her two daughters; four grandchildren and two step-grandsons; eight great-grandchildren; and her sister Janice Streater Kelley ’54.
Earl E. Fisher ’53, June 6, 2023, Eveleth, Minnesota. While at Grinnell, Earl travelled to Italy as an exchange student. Following graduation, he worked at his father’s printing business and married Suzanne Tollefsrud. They settled in Virginia, Minnesota, and had three children. Earl owned and managed his father’s printing business until his retirement. He was interested in airplanes and purchased his own. He married Violet Irene Verbick in 1983, and they enjoyed their home on Ely Lake. Earl was a member of the Elks. Fishing and hunting were Earl’s favorite hobbies. Later in life he took up golf. He also enjoyed traveling with his wife after they retired.
Harry C. Gurney ’53, April 22, 2023, Highland Ranch, Colorado. Harry attended Grinnell for two years, then enrolled at the University of Wyoming. He volunteered for active duty during the Korean War, and his future took a life-changing path when he was assigned to the Medical Corps, where he discovered his passion for science, medicine, and research. He went on to earn his doctorate at Colorado State University Veterinary School of Medicine. After graduation, he opened the Tri-State Veterinary Clinic in Cheyenne. Later he moved to Colorado and opened a veterinary hospital in Conifer, and then established Aspen Park Veterinary Hospital. He traveled nationally and internationally, presenting at conferences and giving lectures. At age 90, he published The One-Eyed Buffalo and Other Adventurous Stories from the Life of Doc Gurney, Veterinarian. Survivors include his wife, Jan; two sons and a daughter; and four grandchildren.
F. Roderick Johnston ’53, Nov. 30, 2022, Alhambra, California.
H. Trevor Jones ’53, March 22, 2023, La Quinta, California. Trevor met his future wife, Marilyn, in high school and they married in 1953. He served two years in the U.S. Army, then embarked on a 40-year career with the telephone company; first with Pacific Telephone and later with AT&T, Pacific Telesis Group, and Air Touch Communications. Trevor retired as an officer of Pacific Bell in 1994. While he loved working, his favorite “job” was that of father and grandfather. He was proud of each of his five children, their spouses, and 12 grandchildren. Trevor’s retirement years in La Quinta were filled with golf, bridge, travel, and friends, always with Marilyn by his side.
Arthur “Mac” R. McMurray ’53, June 16, 2023, Audubon, Pennsylvania. Born in Grinnell, Mac attended Harvard College and Harvard Business School. He spent most of his professional career as a financial officer for Leesona Corporation in Warwick, Rhode Island. He and his wife, Ann, raised their family in Rhode Island. Taking an early retirement from business in 1985, Mac went on to teach finance at Nichols College in Massachusetts and then Georgetown College in Kentucky before fully retiring in 1999. Mac continued to stay active by playing tennis and swimming. He also enjoyed spending time with his five grandchildren and teaching them to swim and ride bicycles.
Robert F. Austin ’54, June 20, 2023, Houston, Texas. Please see Austin’s tribute.
Richard F. Boyer ’54, July 18, 2023, Carroll, Iowa. Dick majored in music and, following graduation, enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. After discharge, he began graduate studies in school administration while teaching at Deep River Consolidated Schools. In 1957, he began teaching instrumental music in the Urbandale (Iowa) Community School District. During this time, he completed graduate studies at Drake University, earning his master’s and educational specialist certification. From 1963 to 1970, he served as assistant superintendent in Urbandale, then spent five years as superintendent of schools in Creston, Iowa, after which he served as superintendent in the Algona (Iowa) Schools for 13 years. In 1988, Dick became the assistant bureau chief in the administration section for the State of Iowa Department of Education, retiring in 1996. Dick was married to Nancy Johannsen in 1956. Their union lasted more than 63 years and produced three wonderful children, three grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Juanita Johns Collinsworth ’54, June 11, 2023, Granbury, Texas. Nita attended Grinnell and the University of Tennessee. In 1953, she married Coy Collinsworth, her husband of 66 years. They reared five children together in Mountain Brook, Alabama. Nita promoted Alabama’s arts and heritage as chair of the first Decorator Showhouse for the Alabama Symphony. She was president of the Women’s Committee of 100 and was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She served as president of the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary in Birmingham and held various executive positions in PEO. Nita had a penchant for gardening, flower arranging, and painting. Survivors include four of her children; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and her niece Marian Spurgeon ’06.
Bonnie Paal Fidler ’54, April 21, 2023, Port Angeles, Washington.
Franz “Bud” Helpenstell ’55, June 20, 2023, Corvallis, Oregon. At Grinnell, Bud met Esta Wetterholm ’54 at a picnic, and it truly was love at first sight. After they married, he received a degree from the University of Iowa. Bud was soon drafted into the U.S. Army, and the couple went to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, where a daughter and son were born. They moved back to Bud’s hometown, Rock Island, Illinois, and he went to work in the bottling business. After several years, another daughter was born. In time, Bud became the president of the A.D. Huesing Corporation Pepsi-Cola bottling company. Bud and Esta enjoyed family fishing trips, visiting family, and, in later years, they traveled all over. Esta passed away in 2011. Bud was very involved in his community, serving as a director and chairman on many boards, including the Augustana College Board of Trustees and the Amy Helpenstell Foundation. He also was a prominent leader within the bottling industry. Bud received many honors throughout his lifetime, including recognition as a Community First Quad-Citian and Rock Island Citizen of the Year. Survivors include a son and daughter; four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and his sister-in-law, Mary Wetterholm McCoy ’57.
William A. Kuchera ’55, June 12, 2023, Green Bay, Wisconsin. Bill met his sweetheart, Natalie, at Grinnell. They married in 1954. He graduated from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM) in 1958, initially practicing as a family physician with his father. He then relocated to Davenport, Iowa, where he established his own osteopathic family practice. In 1980, he relocated his practice to Kirksville and taught full time at KCOM. He was in a practice with one of his sons in Kirksville until his retirement in 1996. He served on the American Academy of Osteopathy board for many years and earned his fellowship; he was later bestowed the Academy’s highest honor, the AT Still Medallion. Post-retirement, Bill and Natalie moved to Wisconsin. Bill continued to support his profession by authoring and illustrating osteopathic medical books. Bill is survived by his wife of 68 years, Natalie Zange Kuchera ’53; seven children; 17 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
R. Douglas Banister ’56, May 28, 2023, Farragut, Tennessee. Doug met his future wife, Tobianne Southern ’55, in a play at Grinnell. After college, he served in the U.S. Air Force and earned a master’s from the Ohio State University College of Education. He began his career as a middle school teacher, then was a textbook salesman for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Doug’s favorite job, however, was captaining boats at Disney World. He was an active member of his church, where he sang in the choir. He loved being with his kids and grandkids, traveling with his wife, sailing, hiking, reading, kayaking, and riding his bike. He was preceded in death by Tobianne.
Virginia Haight Bigelow ’56, April 13, 2023, Omaha, Nebraska. Ginny majored in political science and met her future husband, Jack Bigelow ’56, at Grinnell. They married shortly after graduation and had two children. Later, Ginny went back to work as a senior life insurance underwriter, a career she loved with a passion. Jack passed away in 2003. Ginny was an avid bridge player, voracious reader, and owned several Labrador Retrievers over the years. She always had a vegetable garden and grew tomatoes and pumpkins for her grandchildren.
Shirley Dickinson McCune ’56, May 25, 2023, Mesa, Arizona. Shirley studied at Grinnell and Colorado State for her bachelor’s and earned a Master of Social Work from the University of Denver. She married Wes McCune in 1959. After living in Denver for two years, they moved to Washington, D.C. Shirley received her doctorate from Catholic University in Baltimore in 1966. She worked for the National Education Association for many years. From 1976 to 1979, Shirley served as an Undersecretary of Education in Washington. She subsequently formed her own company, working on implementation of Title IX anti-discrimination requirements. Shirley traveled widely and loved experiencing different cultures.
Donald I. McGee ’56, April 1, 2023, Washington, D.C. Donald attended Grinnell and the University of Iowa before receiving his master’s at the University of Illinois. He moved to Washington, D.C., where he met his husband, Joseph Rosenstein, who passed away in 2019. In Washington, Donald earned his doctorate and began working with children with disabilities. He spearheaded efforts in special education for the Fairfax County School District as a superintendent of the school for the deaf and hard of hearing. He was active with the A.G. Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, serving on the board of directors. After retiring, he continued his work with the deaf as an interpreter with National Park Services and the Office of the Speaker of the House. He was a gardener and loved classical music and playing the piano.
Howard E. Buhse Jr. ’57, July 1, 2023, Downers Grove, Illinois. After Howard graduated with a bachelor’s in biology, he obtained his doctorate in zoology from the University of Iowa. He went on to a career as a professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois–Chicago for over 40 years. His most recent research focused on ciliated protozoa, a model system for analysis of many research problems in biology. He also mentored more than 30 graduate students. He is survived by his wife, Moira Buchan Buhse ’57; a son and two daughters, including daughter Lucinda Buhse ’82; five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Mary Mills Dunea ’57, May 28, 2023, Northwood, Iowa. Mary, who believed in the importance of involvement in the political system, served as a special assistant to a governor of Illinois, owned an independent bookstore in Chicago, and was a philanthropic donor to multiple causes. Her curiosity led her to travel extensively from Bhutan, where she funded the building of a road in the mountains, to the country of Georgia, where she served as an election observer. Survivors include her three children, two grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Richard Hewitt ’58, May 15, 2023, Huntsville, Texas. After graduation, Richard attended Southern Methodist University School of Law, where he served as editor of the SMU Law Review and received his Master of Laws. He went on to join the Securities and Exchange Commission as an enforcement attorney and eventually became the regional administrator of SEC offices in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas. He left the SEC in 1978, going into private practice in securities law until he retired in 2013. He loved reading books and newspapers and was an avid sports fan. Richard is survived by his wife, Karen; four children; and five grandchildren.
Trude Hoffacker ’58, July 1, 2023, Sunnyvale, California. Trude was active in Women’s Honor G and International Club and served as a dorm counselor while majoring in English at Grinnell. After graduation, she completed three years of graduate studies in 18th-century English literature at the University of Minnesota. She took a leave from her studies to teach, eventually taking a job at her former school, Mountain View (California) High School. She fell in love with teaching high school students. Trude also was an English tutor for more than 25 years, working with middle school, high school, and college students. Trude served as a GRASP volunteer from 1999 to 2002.
Robert Hurst ’59, June 11, 2023, Columbia, Missouri. Bob met Kay Joann Simons ’59 in the Grinnell choir, and they married in 1958. Bob went on to obtain his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate in physics from Penn State University. In 1964, he was hired as a professor of physics at the University of Missouri–Columbia, where he taught physics and computer programming and performed research for over 20 years. In 1974, he began consulting at Boone County Hospital as a medical physicist. He eventually retired from Mizzou and worked full time for the hospital, retiring in 2008. Bob was an avid Mizzou sports fan and served on the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee as both member and chairman. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, where he served as a Deacon and an Elder and sang in the choir. Bob was preceded in death by his first wife, Kay, in 1974, and his second wife, Peggy Heifner Hurst, in 2015. He is survived by his three children and two stepchildren; six grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
William McClintock ’60, March 28, 2023, Houston, Texas. Bill met his future wife, Ann, at Grinnell. He received his captain’s commission in the U.S. Air Force and served in Korea and Vietnam from 1960 to 1965. He then moved with his family to Houston and began his business career as a stockbroker with Bache and Company. In 1979, Bill and Ann opened Ann’s Clock (later known as Ann’s Fine Gifts), and the business served the Houston community for 42 years. Bill is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ann Hedgpeth McClintock ’60; a daughter and son; and three grandchildren.
Rebecca Reiter ’60, May 9, 2023, Iowa City, Iowa. Rebecca was inducted into Mortar Board, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi. She went on to earn a Master of Science from the University of Iowa. Rebecca spent her entire working career in the field of biological research, first at the Oak Ridge Laboratories in Tennessee, and for 38 years at the University of Iowa in the Department of Biological Sciences. She coauthored 46 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Her contributions include training and mentoring dozens of graduate students and post-doctoral scientists throughout her career. Rebecca had many interests and served on the boards of the League of Women Voters, the American Association of University Women, and the Hawkeye Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. She also enjoyed traveling with friends. She was a member of the College’s Asa Turner Society.
Patricia Tucker Van Anrooy ’60, April 2023, Roseburg, Oregon. Pat met her future husband, David Van Anrooy ’60, at Grinnell. She was a cheerleader, and he was the football captain. Pat graduated Phi Beta Kappa. After college, David joined the U.S. Marine Corps, and upon his return, they married. She and David had three sons, and Pat was a teacher for 20 years. After retirement they traveled to many national parks, Mexico, and Hawaii. Pat was a member of PEO and the Red Hat Society. David and Pat enjoyed cheering on their four grandchildren in sports, and she loved to care for her family. Survivors include her husband.
John M. Broeker ’62, May 17, 2023, Waconia, Minnesota. John, who graduated with a degree in economics, married his first wife, Judy Goddard ’62, in 1962. They had a daughter and son. John obtained his law degree at the University of Minnesota and went on to clerk for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. John later moved his family to Minneapolis and worked for the law firm of Gray, Plante, and Moody. He went on to open his first practice, Broeker and Bachman, specializing in long-term health care law. In 1983, John married Linda, and he became stepfather to her three children. John had a love for all animals and was an active member of the Sierra Club. Nothing gave him more pleasure than spending time with his children and his seven grandchildren. In 1973, John was honored with a Grinnell College Alumni Award. Survivors include his daughter, Sara Broeker ’89.
Sara Peterson Weyer ’63, January 9, 2023, Ames, Iowa. Sara raised her family in Houston, Texas, and had a full career as an editor at NASA. Later, she owned clothing stores in Perry, Iowa, and Ames. She enjoyed women’s fashion and loved attending fashion shows, where she would purchase clothing for her store. Her children and grandchildren were very important and dear to her. Her survivors include her two sons and four grandchildren.
Thomas E. DeBerg ’64, April 2, 2023, St. Petersburg, Florida. Tom ran track at Grinnell and earned his bachelor’s in psychology, followed by master’s degrees in counseling and social work at the University of Wisconsin. He also served in the U.S. Army. He worked as a therapist for troubled youths and as a medical social worker prior to studying law. In 1983, he graduated from Stetson University College of Law. Tom was a prosecutor for the Florida Bar from 1986 to 2003. He continued his legal career with the Solomon Tropp Law Group, retiring in 2008. He coached Little League, volunteered with the city discrimination review board, taught paralegal studies, and published Divorce Florida Style in 2016. Tom enjoyed fishing and golfing and time at the casino with his wife and friends. Nothing meant more to him than family. He is survived by his wife, Albina; four children; and seven grandchildren.
John H. Peele ’64, May 7, 2023, Mission, Kansas. After he graduated, John earned a degree in economics from Washburn University in 1966. He joined Hallmark Cards in 1968. In 1988, he started the Asbestos Cooperative Exchange, a member-owned cooperative for abatement contractors that remove hazardous materials. In 1997, he started and ran ABCO Supply, retiring in 2018. John was an avid sportsman, playing many sports into his 70s. His survivors include his wife, Linda; a daughter; two granddaughters; and his sister, Errett Peele Schmid ’60.
James L. Terral, ’64, April 2022, Nelson, B.C, Canada. After being drafted into the U.S. Army, James applied for conscientious objector status and was rejected. He then went absent without leave, moving to Canada in 1968. James taught at Capilano College in Vancouver, where he was a writer and audio producer in the intermedia artist’s collective, and then taught at Selkirk College in Nelson, where he chaired the advisory committee on computer resources. He was a writer/producer for the online theater project ATHEMOO. In retirement, he had a radio show focused on current events in the Middle East. He played the saxophone and loved jazz.
Karen Hardy Cárdenas ’65, May 2, 2023, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Karen had a career-long passion for education and cross-cultural connection through language. She earned multiple degrees, including a doctorate in Spanish language and literature from University of Kansas. She rose to department chair at South Dakota State University and was a published author. As a board member of the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, she helped shape language in higher education policy for the state and region. An ardent human rights activist, she generously donated time and financial support to organizations fighting for equality and giving voice to the voiceless, most notably with the League of Women Voters. She served as a volunteer for the Grinnell College Department of Spanish from 2001 to 2015. She was a caring mother who loved her family and friends, adored animals, and enjoyed music and the performing arts.
Nancy Cox ’65, March 24, 2022, Seattle, Washington. After earning her bachelor’s in English, Nancy spent a year becoming a francophone in Paris and then moved to New York City. Seeking new experiences and travel, she became a Peace Corps volunteer in 1966 and served in Accra, Ghana. There she met fellow volunteer Ernie Sarason and, following their time in the Peace Corps, they married and had a daughter. Nancy parted ways with Ernie in 1983 and later moved to Connecticut with her new husband and daughter. She learned to become a tax preparer and moved to Martha’s Vineyard, where she started working at the woman-powered business Vineyard Tax Matters. After separating from her second husband, Nancy spent time in Seattle and Martha’s Vineyard. She was an avid birder and always had a pair of binoculars at the ready. Survivors include her daughter and her sister, Barbara Cox Salkin ’74.
Kitty Hamilton Mohr ’65, Jan. 27, 2023, St. Paul, Minnesota. Kitty, widowed as the mother of young children, gave them a life of exploration and adventure. She had a vivacious and intellectual spirit and was a generous culinarian who turned the ordinary into extraordinary. She was a voracious reader who loved the library and could tackle the most complex crossword puzzle with ease. Kitty loved gardening, golf, travel, and snowbirding. She was very involved in her community and church. Survivors include her three children and six grandchildren.
Steven K. Reich ’67, May 24, 2023, Cranston, Rhode Island. Steven received his bachelor’s in English, followed by a doctorate in psychology from the University of New Mexico. Planning on becoming a psychiatrist, he began medical school in his thirties at Southern Illinois University and instead became a pediatrician. His career in medicine took a final turn when he joined the adolescent medicine team at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. Career and hobbies were important to him, but his devotion to family was a foremost priority. Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth; four children; 10 grandchildren; and his sister, Dindy Reich ’69, and brother-in-law, Lee Maril ’69.
Robert D. Cocks ’74, May 11, 2023, Woodstock, Illinois. After graduation from Grinnell, Bob went on to obtain a master’s from the University of Illinois, followed by an MBA from the University of Chicago. He was an accomplished businessman who managed and consulted for many national companies. He was an active member of the Marine Reserves and the Knights of Columbus. He enjoyed reading, debating, and engaging in family discussions. Family was at the heart of Bob’s life, and he cherished the time spent with them. He is survived by his wife, Judy; seven children; and 12 grandchildren.
John R. Burrows ’78, May 20, 2023, Milton, Wisconsin. John fell in love with the study of art and architectural history at Grinnell. He went on to complete graduate studies in architectural preservation at the University of Virginia. One of his first jobs was working for a historical design company, and he began to design his own period wallpaper patterns. Having found his true vocation, John became a historical design merchant, establishing J.R. Burrows and Co., specializing in Victorian furnishings, such as carpets, lace curtains, and wallpaper. He advised and oversaw the installation of period carpets, wallpaper, and other furnishings in historic buildings like Villa Louis in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and in churches as diverse as Trinity Church on Copley Square in Boston and the reconstructed Mormon Temple in Nauvoo, Illinois. He also oversaw carpet installations for two rooms in the White House (the Blue Room and the Lincoln Bedroom, during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, respectively), and provided carpets and lace curtains for the interiors of Steven Spielberg’s 2012 Lincoln movie. He received numerous awards and accolades for his work in historical restorations, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Victorian Society in America. John was a lifelong advocate for LGBTQ rights and causes. In 2001, he was instrumental in founding “Bear Week” in Provincetown, Massachusetts, an annual event occurring each July that attracts more than 10,000 gay men for a week of celebration and conviviality. John was honored with a Grinnell College Alumni Award in 2003.
Michael F. Varnum ’78, June 15, 2023, State Center, Iowa. After graduation, Mike enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served his country for four years. In 1991, he married Donna Varnum. They raised their son, Wyatt, in State Center. Mike worked for many years at Werner Enterprises before becoming “Mr. Mom” and helping to raise and care for Wyatt for 30 years. His family was everything to him, and he supported his son’s music career and cheered him on in his skateboarding ventures. He was proud of every moment of the 32 years that he and Donna were happily married. Mike, who is survived by his wife, was preceded in death by his son.
David W. Kramer ’80, July 2, 2023, Tucson, Arizona. David, who majored in religious studies, made national news as a student when he was overwhelmingly elected SGA president running as “The Messiah” candidate. He was instrumental in bringing major musical acts like the Ramones and Rachel Sweet to campus. He also was a student worker in the first Phonathon fundraising campaign. David spent his career in Los Angeles and Phoenix as a successful financial products executive. He maintained many of his Grinnell friendships after graduation and was an active volunteer for the College. He was a class committee member from 2009 to 2011, class solicitor from 2009 to 2013, and GRASP volunteer from 2012 to 2017. He served on his 30th, 35th, and 40th reunion committees and attended numerous College events. David’s love of singing and dancing, big smile, and laugh were infectious. Survivors include his two daughters, a son, and one granddaughter.
Mary Jo LaDu ’80, March 28, 2023, Chicago, Illinois. After graduation, Mary earned her doctorate in physiology and biophysics and exercise physiology at the University of Illinois–Chicago (UIC). She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago before launching her own research program and becoming a principal investigator at Northwestern University in the department of medicine at Evanston and Northwestern hospitals. She joined UIC in 2005 as a professor of anatomy and cell biology, investigating the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative processes. Her research generated more than 100 publications and numerous research grants as a primary investigator with continuous NIH funding since 1995. Among other accolades, she received the Alzheimer’s Association Zenith Award.
J. David Laird ’80, May 11, 2023, Godfrey, Illinois. David earned degrees in mathematics from Grinnell and in electrical engineering from Washington University before starting his career in Silicon Valley. He was able to combine his love of drawing, painting, and cartooning with his engineering expertise as part of a graphics team that created high-end workstations with unparalleled 3D graphics capabilities. David was an artist at heart, with an appreciation for art of all types, from poetry to painting to music to ballroom dancing. He was an expansive music lover and had impeccable taste in movies. He also loved restoring vintage 10-speed bicycles. Above all, David considered his children, whom he loved dearly, as his most significant achievement. David’s survivors include his two children, sister Christy Laird Staats ’82, and nephew Noah Laird ’17.
Harriett Dickey-Chasins ’82, Aug. 17, 2023, Grinnell, Iowa. Harriett, who graduated with a degree in philosophy, went on to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology. She married Jeffrey Dickey-Chasins ’81 in 1986, and their daughter was born in 1994. She began her career as a psychologist at the Poweshiek County Mental Health Center in Grinnell. When that facility closed, she launched a private practice. After many years, she became a staff psychologist at the College. She ended her psychological career with a practice in Des Moines. Her second career in sustainable farming and local foods began when she purchased the Grinnell Farm to Table local food hub. After several years, she sold the business. She served four years on the Grinnell School Board. Harriett also was an active volunteer for the College, serving as a Community Council member from 2001 to 2002 and a GRASP volunteer from 2006 to 2017. At the time of her death, she was the marketing manager for two sustainable farms. She was an advocate for local foods and sustainable farming, and she cherished her time in her garden. Survivors include her husband and daughter.