In Memoriam

Fall 2017

  • Richard Gadient ’44, Sister Bay, Wis., June 13, 2017. Richard met Bette Jean Horst ’44 on a blind date the summer before they both attended Grinnell. Richard enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and was commissioned as an officer May 10, 1944. He and Bette married the next day. He served in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war, Richard became an investment banker in Davenport, Iowa. In their retirement years, Richard and Bette spent summers in Wisconsin and winters in Florida. Richard is survived by Bette, their six children, 19 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

  • Dean C. Newell ’44, Murrieta, Calif., June 22, 2017. After graduating with a degree in history, Dean married Helen Landes ’45 and then earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota. Dean served in the Navy during World War II and in the Naval Reserves until 1953. Dean enjoyed a long career as a high school history and English teacher. In retirement he enjoyed volunteering as a docent at the Santa Rosa Plateau in Murrieta, where he led nature walks and built and monitored bird nesting boxes. Dean was preceded in death by his wife, a son, and a grandson. He is survived by three children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

  • Richard F. Streitz ’44, Joliet, Ill., March 21, 2017. Richard attended Grinnell for three semesters before joining the Navy during World War II. He served in the Pacific where he helped with dental care aboard the USS Repose. After serving in the Navy, Richard graduated from Loyola Dental School and attended the Forsyth Dental Hygiene Clinic in Boston. There he was involved in original growth studies and specialized in pediatric dentistry before it was a specialty. Richard settled in his hometown of Joliet, where he had a private practice for 50 years. He volunteered at the Will Grundy Medical Clinic and helped found the Joliet Area Community Hospice. He is survived by his wife Jean Streitz, their four children, eight grandchildren, and dog Piper. 

  • Elisabeth Orley ’46, Portland, Ore., Dec. 1, 2016.

  • Wallace D. Michener ’48, Hendersonville, N.C., April 29, 2017. Wallace attended Grinnell after serving as a rifleman in World War II. He married classmate Janet Ryden ’48; she died in 2014. After graduation, he joined Marathon Corp. in Wisconsin and retired in 1981 as corporate compensation manager of American Can Co. in Connecticut. He spent his retirement in Hendersonville, N.C., playing in the local symphony. He is survived by his second wife Julie Michener and his two children.

  • Joan Landman Fitzgerald ’49, San Mateo, Calif., December 2016.

  • Barbara Thurlow MacDonald ’49, Winnetka, Ill., Jan. 6, 2017.

  • Jane Slichter Ragsdale ’50, Missoula, Mont., May 8, 2017. At Grinnell, Jane majored in English and was also introduced to modern dance. After Grinnell, she pursued studies in modern dance in New York City and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She returned to teach in the theatre and dance department at Grinnell. After two years in Bangkok with her family, Jane pursued a doctorate in Southeast Asian history, which she earned from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She proceeded to work for UW-Madison’s international studies and programs department, where she initiated an interdisciplinary curriculum in peace-war studies. Jane is survived by her daughter and four grandchildren.

  • Cora Emmert Specht ’50, Santa Barbara, Calif., June 4, 2017. Cora graduated from Grinnell with a degree in economics and business. In 1954, she settled with her husband, Gordon Specht, in Westfield, N.J., where she raised their two children and was an active member of the First United Methodist Church. Cora loved to canoe and often took her family on whitewater canoeing trips down the Delaware River. She is survived by her two children, four grandchildren, and a great-grandson.

  • Charles W. Ward ’50, West Dundee, Ill., March 17, 2017. Charles was a World War II U.S. Navy veteran and a beloved grandfather. He is survived by his wife Jane Lanz Ward ’53, their two children, and three grandchildren.