Dorothy Huesselmann Twitchell ’38, Rockville, Md. Survivors include her son, Robert Twitchell ’60.
Mirriel Shields Bedell ’41, Seattle, Oct. 26, 2016.
Winifred George Oetjen ’42, Albert Lea, Minn., July 26, 2016. Wini was born and raised in Grinnell, Iowa. After graduating from Grinnell High School and Grinnell College, she married her husband George, also an alum, in Herrick Chapel. Wini worked in travel and greatly enjoyed meeting people, helping them plan their vacations, and visiting other parts of the world. She also served as a deacon, elder, and Stephen minister at the First Presbyterian Church of Albert Lea and volunteered often in her church and community. Wini loved her family, church, friends, reading, and writing; and she took great pride in her Scottish heritage. Survivors include her spouse, George Oetjen ’41, and daughter, Christine Oetjen ’68.
Barbara Mullen White ’42, Sioux Falls, S.D., Oct. 14, 2016. Barbara was a lifelong high school teacher whose career took her from Iowa to Minnesota, Texas, and eventually back to her home state of South Dakota. After retiring, she began volunteering as a “second career.” Barbara was appointed to the Sioux Falls Board of Preservation, served in local cancer and hospice units, and was an active volunteer for the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science, among other civic organizations. Survivors include several cousins.
Beatrix Havens Smith ’45, Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 31, 2016. Bea was an outgoing, fun-loving person who leaves behind a legacy of civic leadership. After graduating from Grinnell, Bea attended Drake Law School, where she was one of only three women in her graduating class. She practiced law for many years and was appointed the first woman probate clerk in the Iowa District Court of Polk County, a position that she held from 1952 to 1955. When her husband Neal was elected as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1959, Bea gained admission to the Washington, D.C., bar and split her time between Washington and Iowa. She was also involved in numerous civic and social organizations and leaves behind a lifetime of volunteer work for veterans, children, hospice care, and the blind. While doing all of these things, she faithfully served as a partner to her husband during his 36 years in Congress and their 70 years of marriage. In addition to Neal, Bea is survived by a son; a daughter; six grandchildren; eleven great-grandchildren, including Tayler Chicoine ’14; and one great-great-granddaughter.
Dorothy Dosé Otis ’48, Omaha, Neb., Nov. 12, 2016. Dorothy was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother with many cherished friends from all walks of life. She loved spending time with her family, the arts, and Nebraska football. Survivors include two sons, two daughters, five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and a brother.
John M. Thompson ’48, Mendota Heights, Minn., Oct. 16, 2016. Survivors include his nephew, Daniel Halsey ’86.
Niel S. Hansen ’49, Melvin Village, N.H., Dec. 6, 2016. Niel served in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he fought in the 27th Infantry Division in the Pacific theatre, before attending Grinnell. After graduating from the College and Stanford University executive management program, Niel launched a long and successful career as an insurance executive. Before partially retiring in 1988, he founded and served as president and CEO of Atrium Corp., a subsidiary of Swiss Re America Corp. Active in community affairs, Niel was elected to the Darien Representatives Meeting, appointed to the Darien Police Commission, and served as class fund director for his Grinnell class of 1949. In his spare time, he loved hunting, fly fishing, sailing, travel, and his dogs. Survivors include Ruth Holden Hansen ’49, his wife of 68 years; two daughters; four grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters.
Arthur S. Kahn Jr. ’49, Des Plaines, Ill., July 11, 2016. Born and raised in Chicago, Arthur grew up wanting to help the less fortunate. After graduating from Grinnell, he pursued this dream by becoming a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. Over the course of his career, he taught business courses at John Marshall, Austin, and Prosser high schools. Arthur is survived by two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Alice Powers Stein ’49, Tonawanda, N.Y., Jan. 1, 2017. Alice was a writer, poet, editor, English teacher, lecturer, and photographer. After graduating from Grinnell, she earned master’s degrees from Cornell University and the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She then began a long career as an English teacher, working mainly in the Buffalo public schools. An avid photographer, she was a lifetime member and past president of the Twin Cities Camera Club. She also was a philanthropist who built a school in the Amazon rainforest and volunteered for charitable and museum organizations locally in Buffalo. Survivors include her husband of 62 years, Robert; a daughter; and two grandchildren.
James R. Heiny ’50, Mason City, Iowa, Dec. 29, 2016. At Grinnell, Jim was a member of the Honor G Society, president of his sophomore class, member of Friars Club (top 10 men in the senior class), and played basketball all four years. After graduation, he attended law school at the University of Iowa, where he excelled academically and wrote for the law review. Aside from two years of service in the U.S. Army, Jim spent his career practicing probate and real estate law at the law firm of Westfall, Laird and Burington, working at the same firm for 57 years. Jim served in leadership positions for multiple legal, religious, and civic organizations, including the YMCA and scholarship trusts. Survivors include two daughters, two sons, seven grandchildren, a sister, three stepchildren, and nine step-grandchildren.
William R. Porretto ’50, Kaukauna, Wis., Oct. 12, 2016. After graduating from high school in 1942, Bill entered the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the South Pacific during World War II. Following the end of the war, he attended Grinnell, then transferred to Pomona College, where he earned his bachelor’s. He earned a master’s in history from Claremont Graduate University. Bill spent the next 22 years working as a historian for the U.S. Air Force and eventually became chief historian for Air Training Command. After his first wife Estelle died, Bill married his second wife, Patti, and moved to Kaukauna in 1975. He took a job as a study hall supervisor and worked 19 years at Kaukauna High School, earning the affectionate title “Sarge.” He enjoyed reading, playing the stock market, the Chicago White Sox, the Green Bay Packers, and above all, spending time with his family. He is survived by his wife Patti, three sons, a daughter, eight grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, a sister, sister-in-law, and many other relatives and friends.
Nancy Bunnell Viney ’50, Monroe, Wash., July 15, 2016. Born in Chicago, Nancy attended Grinnell before transferring to Cornell University to attend nursing school. She worked as an obstetrical nurse and later as a teacher’s aide in the libraries of two Washington middle schools. As a lifelong traveler, Nancy climbed the Great Wall of China, swam with dolphins, and celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary in the South Pacific. Her greatest gift was her ability to express love to everyone she met. She is survived by two daughters; two granddaughters, including Robin Godfrey Blue ’04; and five great-grandchildren.
John C. Whitsell II ’50, Sharon, Conn., Oct. 31, 2016. John graduated from Grinnell Phi Beta Kappa in three years before attending Washington University Medical School in St. Louis and completing his internship and surgical residency at New York Hospital-Cornell. Having entered the “Berry Plan,” which gave doctors a deferral until after they completed their residencies, he then spent two years in England as a captain in the U.S. Air Force before returning to New York Hospital and meeting his wife Rosemary, an operating-room nurse. During this time, John performed thoracic, vascular, and general surgery and became clinical professor (emeritus) of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. He was also one of only 127 charter members of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons. Survivors include his brother, Paul Whitsell ’61.
R. Marie Blattner Dare ’51, Washington, Iowa, Nov. 2, 2016.
Donna Redfern Maas ’51, Kalona, Iowa, Nov. 15, 2016. After graduating from Grinnell with a major in music, Donna married her husband Meredith and taught K–12 music in the Montezuma, Iowa, school district for several years. Later she taught piano lessons and worked at the University of Iowa as a transcriptionist. She also was an active member of the Sharon Center United Methodist Church, where she belonged to United Methodist Women and directed the choir for 48 years. She was involved with many civic organizations and enjoyed music, gardening, sewing, and other crafts. She is survived by her son and daughter; three grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a sister, Phyllis Redfern Allen ’58.
Roger R. Schuessler ’52, New Lenox, Ill., July 28, 2016. Survivors include his spouse Joan Dalvini Schuessler ’53.
Barbara Kroh Jackson ’53, Easley, S.C., June 22, 2016. After graduating from Grinnell, Barbara worked as a bookkeeper. She was of the Lutheran faith. Survivors include her son, two daughters, a half-brother, a half-sister, and four grandchildren.
Jean Kingston Stumbaugh ’53, Harvest, Ala., Dec. 11, 2016. Jean met her husband Dave at Grinnell College; they married when they graduated. During Dave’s 22 years of Navy service, she supported him and raised a family as they moved to various duty assignments. She was also involved in the Bush Hill Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Va., and taught preschool there for 27 years. She loved animals and was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. Survivors include her spouse David Stumbaugh ’53, three daughters, two sons, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Edwin L. Laing ’55, Santa Barbara, Calif., Aug. 7, 2016. Ed was a lawyer, socialist, civil libertarian, and member of the Peace Corps at various points in his life. After graduating from Grinnell Phi Beta Kappa, he served for three years in the U.S. Navy. He then earned a degree from Stanford Law School and joined the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office before going into private practice. Survivors include two daughters, two grandchildren, and cousin Donald Laing ’66.
James R. Burdett ’57, Wheaton, Ill., Oct. 13, 2016. After attending Grinnell and graduating from the University of Illinois, James worked for the family business in the golf course industry. He was a longtime member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and a loving husband, father, uncle, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Marilyn; his son and daughter; eight grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and a brother and his family.
Judith Morgan DeCourcy ’59, Gresham, Ore., Sept. 29, 2016. Judith was born in Rhode Island and attended Shawnee Mission High School in Kansas before graduating from Grinnell with a degree in English. She and her husband Peter, who married in 1964, moved to Oregon to attend graduate school. Judith received her master’s in social work and worked for the Multnomah County, Ore., school system for many years. After her husband died, she became involved with St. Henry’s Church, volunteering in the food bank and serving in the directorship of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. She enjoyed knitting, photography, and cats. Survivors include her brother and sister-in-law, two nephews, two great-nephews, a great-niece, and her cat, Bettie.
David A. Goss Jr. ’59, Panora, Iowa, Sept. 3, 2016. After attending Grinnell and transferring to Drake University, David was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in the National Guard until 1966. He owned and operated Johnston Distributing Co. in Panora from 1960 until his death. He was also a longtime member of the Lion’s Club, served on the Johnston Community school board for 15 years, was president of the Iowa Automotive Wholesalers Association, was the football announcer for the Johnston High School football games for 37 years, and was named Johnston Citizen of the Year in 1988. He is survived by his wife Patricia Middlesworth Goss ’60, three sons, a daughter, 11 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Ferne Hart Norris ’59, Grinnell, Iowa, Nov. 23, 2016. Ferne died just 12 days shy of her 100th birthday. In the 1930s, she attended Parsons College, where she met her future husband George. After George completed his service in the Navy during World War II, the pair settled in Grinnell and raised four children. Ferne was active in community affairs, serving as the Welcome Wagon hostess and teaching physical education in the local schools. In 1957, she became state president of the League of Women Voters and graduated from Grinnell College during her two-year term. She then worked for the College briefly before buying a travel agency in Grinnell. She began with only one employee and no income. When she sold the agency in 1982, there were seven employees doing over $1 million in travel business each year. The business allowed Ferne and George to travel extensively around the world, and Ferne served as escort for many tour groups — including 30 trips to Hawaii. She was also the founder and first chair of the Grinnell Community Planning Council. Ferne enjoyed painting, wallpapering, upholstering, and even laying cement and tile. She is survived by two sons, a daughter, and a brother.
Jane Lefler Watson ’60, Bellevue, Neb., Aug. 20, 2016. Survivors include three sons, a daughter, 13 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Kenneth W. Pierini ’62, Naples, Fla., April 29, 2016. He was a surgeon and a family practice doctor.
Diana Harper Robertson ’63, Ottumwa, Iowa, Aug. 26, 2016. Diana taught high school English for 12 years and spent the next 30 years as a middle- and high-school substitute teacher. She was active in community organizations and spent many years on the board of directors of the Iowa Junior Miss scholarship program. She is survived by her husband Douglas, their daughter, and two grandchildren.
Jean F. Peterson ’64, Dalkeith, Ontario, Canada, Dec. 11, 2016. Jean was a retired McGill University professor and died on his farm, which he loved. Survivors include his sister, Susan Peterson Gateley ’73.
Michael Salz ’64, Laramie, Wyo., Oct. 21, 2016. Born in New York City and raised by union leaders, Michael brought a spirit of compassion to his work and life. After attending Grinnell, receiving his B.A. from City University of New York, and earning a master’s in administrative medicine from Columbia University, Michael launched a long career in health care. He worked at several hospitals in New York and Colorado, was tribal health director for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and managed the physician-initiated Professional Standards Review Organization. Survivors include his life partner, Mona, a sister and her family, and Mona’s son.
Mark A. Schorr ’66, Watertown, Mass., Jan. 2, 2017. Mark’s life was an interface between technology and the liberal arts. After beginning his career teaching at Milton Academy in Massachusetts, he became interested in the technological aspects of the computer revolution and how they applied to writing. Mark spent the next 25 years working at various technology companies as a writer, trainer, and web designer. In 2002, he became executive director of the Robert Frost Foundation, a small nonprofit that works to make poetry more accessible. He also returned to teaching as an adjunct professor at Cambridge College and published several books of poetry. Mark championed the cause of saving Burling Library with a poem he wrote while in Russia, “Remembering Grinnell, Iowa from Kiev”, and he memorialized the last of Grinnell’s original elms in Sesquicentennial Ode to Elms. He will be remembered as a gentleman, scholar, poet, and gentle soul. Survivors include his wife Natalie, a son, a daughter, and three grandchildren.
Judith A. Samuels ’67, Magnolia, Texas, Nov. 26, 2015.
Stephen C. Casey ’68, Henderson, Nev., Oct. 28, 2015. After graduating from Grinnell with a major in mathematics, Steve earned a master’s in statistics from the University of California, Berkeley. He taught at Rutgers University for several years and then worked for Consumer Reports magazine. He retired from BAE Systems, a British defense and engineering company, after 25 years and moved to Sun City Anthem, an active-adults community in Nevada. He is survived by his wife Luisa, their four children, 15 grandchildren, and two brothers. His love, wit, and laughter will forever live in the hearts of his loved ones.
Carl W. Guhman ’69, Fort Smith, Ark., Aug. 1, 2016. Survivors include his sister, Ann Guhman ’70.
Chris B. Amundsen ’74, Maplewood, N.J., Dec. 20, 2016. After graduating from Grinnell, Chris earned a master’s in public policy from the University of Pennsylvania. He was an economist by profession for the semiconductor industry, a jazz lover, and a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. Chris also volunteered for the Grinnell Regional Admission Support Program and owned Kokoro, a locally-sourced gift shop in Maplewood, with his wife. Survivors include his wife Susan, a twin sister, and a brother.
Mark S. Maire ’78, Duluth, Minn., Oct. 13, 2016. After graduating from Grinnell and earning a master’s from the University of Iowa, Mark worked as a reference and technical services librarian. He was also a serious poet whose work was published in literary magazines and anthologies; he authored two books of poetry. For his accomplishments, he received the Codhill Prize and Chapbook Prize in 2016. Survivors include two sisters, two nephews, and a niece.
Paul M. Schlegel ’85, St. Louis, Dec. 7, 2015. After graduating from Grinnell, Paul attended the New England Conservatory of Music. He was self-employed as owner and partner in Learnfastearnfast.com and was also known as a professional piano player and composer in the St. Louis area. In his free time, Paul was a master chess and backgammon player and served as a Grinnell Regional Admission Support Program volunteer. He loved the piano and spending time with his kids, taking them swimming and on bird walks. Survivors include his parents, wife, son and daughter, two sisters, a brother, and his first wife.