In Memoriam

Fall 2017

  • George W. Jones, London, April 14 2017. He was 79. George taught for Grinnell-in-London, a program he cared deeply about, beginning in 1974, teaching a course called Policy Making in British Government. For about the last 10 years, he taught a seminar for students doing internships in the British parliament. He taught for 50 years at the London School of Economics, where he was professor emeritus of government. He concentrated on the office of the prime minister, the Cabinet, and especially local government.

  • William Michael Cavanagh, professor emeritus of English, died on Aug. 26, 2017, at the age of 74. 

    Mike taught English at Grinnell College from 1971 to 2005. He taught the works of Milton, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bishop, W.B. Yeats, Philip Larkin, Seamus Heaney, W.H. Auden, and many more. He loved introducing students to poetry. Thinking that Grinnell needed a poetry writing course, he invented one in the 1970s and taught it until the mid-1990s. 

    He was also the first professor to teach Joyce’s Ulysses, long regarded as too difficult for undergraduates. He taught Ulysses twice in Dublin, making his students walk almost every inch of the Dublin that Joyce recorded and evoked in his novel. In 2003 he was named the Orville and Mary Patterson Routt Professor of Literature.

    Mike’s doctoral dissertation was about Archibald MacLeish’s poem “Conquistador” as an allegory of Roosevelt’s New Deal. He later published articles on MacLeish, Seamus Heaney, Dante, Milton, John Crowe Ransom, and W.B. Yeats. In 2009, he published a book about Seamus Heaney, Professing Poetry, and finished a book on Milton in 2016.

    In addition to scholarship, Mike devoted the last decades of his career to writing and publishing poetry. He had poems published in journals that included The Sewanee Review, The South Carolina Review, the Free State Review, Aurorean, Rattle, Eclipse, the Heartland Review, The South Dakota Review, and Lyrical Iowa, among others. He spent almost two decades teaching himself Dante’s Commedia in Italian. Much of his poetry strives after Dante’s simple style and manner. 

    For many years Mike managed the Grinnell College Public Events Committee. He brought many renowned performers to Grinnell and enjoyed entertaining them. 

    Mike is survived by his wife Lenore Marie “Lynn” Cavanagh; his sister, Patty Dobbs, of Newton, Iowa; and by his sons Sean and Peter, their wives, and four grandchildren.

  • Lois Wahl McClanathan ’39, Las Vegas, April 17, 2017. After graduating from Grinnell with a degree in music education, Lois taught for a year before marrying her high school sweetheart, George McClanathan. George’s job as a broadcast engineer took them all across the country: Chicago, Phoenix, Dallas. During their time in Phoenix, Lois founded the Phoenix Youth Symphony, which educates and encourages young musicians to this day. Lois also hosted a daytime television show for mothers who worked in the home. Her life’s story is recorded and preserved in the University of Nevada-Las Vegas library. Lois is survived by two children, three grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

  • Ann Drennan Finck ’41, Bloomfield, Conn., June 19, 2017. At Grinnell, Ann met George Finck ’40. After graduation, they were married and moved to New York City. Later they lived in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Toronto. Ann was a longtime member of the St. James Episcopal Church and of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO), dedicated to providing educational opportunities for female students worldwide. Ann was preceded in death by her husband and is survived by her son, two grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

  • Clara Larson King ’42, Litchfield Park, Ariz., May 20, 2017. Born in West Branch, Iowa, Clara attended Grinnell and graduated from Kean University in New Jersey. She taught elementary school from 1959 to 1982. She married James Otis King in 1942; he preceded her in death. She is survived by two children, two grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

  • Beulah Edgington Fleiss ’44, Chatham, N.J., Jan. 1, 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.