In Memoriam

Fall 2017

  • 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.

  • Nancy Patterson Townsend ’52, Iowa City, Iowa, June 30, 2017. After Grinnell, Nancy worked most of her career as a speech therapist, teaching children to speak clearly and helping them develop confidence in their verbal skills. She spent most of her adult life balancing the responsibilities of a full-time job with those of a single parent. She is survived by her sister Patricia Patterson Dimock ’51, four children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

  • David P. Creed ’53, Bradenton, Fla., Nov. 15, 2016. Survivors include his wife Stella Creed, their five children, and nine grandchildren.

  • Barbara Brown Ely ’53, Minneapolis, Feb. 12, 2017. Survived by her husband Russell Ely, two daughters, and three grandchildren. 

  • Harvey T. Nixon ’53, Evanston, Ill., April 27, 2017. Harvey served in the U.S. Navy and earned a degree in history at Grinnell and then a law degree from Harvard Law School. He married Doris Cahn and raised three children in Evanston, where a wonderful friendship with Harvey Golden ’53 blossomed. Harvey practiced law for 52 years at Mayer Brown in Chicago. Two stints in Grinnell’s Wilson Program provided nice sabbaticals, one co-taught with good friend Fred “Fritz” Little Jr. ’53. Harvey exemplified the quintessential Grinnellian: lifelong student, avid reader, professor of ethics, mentor to attorneys, curious traveler, socially conscious volunteer. He was Asa Turner chair and served on his class committee as class fund director. Survivors include his wife Phoebe, daughters Marian and Paula Nixon ’84, son Jamin, and brother David Nixon ’61

  • James E. Phelps Jr. ’53, Danvers, Ill., May 12, 2017. After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry-zoology from Grinnell, James received an M.D. in dental surgery from the University of Illinois. James served for 20 years as a dentist for the U.S. Air Force. He obtained a commercial pilot’s license; in his spare time, he flew emergency patients to surgical centers. James is survived by his four children and nine grandchildren.

  • Theodore Wickman Jr. ’53, Atlantic, Iowa, Feb. 16, 2017. After graduating from Grinnell and a brief office job in Chicago, Ted embarked on what proved to be a very successful career as a farmer in Illinois and later Iowa. He and his late wife Ann Williams Wickman ’53 were generous supporters of many causes including the Atlantic Public Library, the Ann W. Wickman Child Development Center, the Cass County Memorial Hospital, and the Atlantic Community Center. Survivors include his second wife Kay Harris Wickman and his granddaughter Malachi Wickman ’16.