Home » Spring 2018

Spring 2018

Louise Goodwin McKlveen ’35, Edina, Minn., Jan. 1, 2018. She was 103. Louise remained committed to Grinnell throughout her life, writing her class newsletter until she outlived all her classmates and serving on her Reunion class committee. She received an Alumni Award in 1985. Louise was always an active member of her community and enjoyed traveling with her family. She was preceded in death by her husband Joseph L. McKlveen ’35. Survivors include her daughter-in-law Barbara Pedersen McKlveen ’64, son William McKlveen ’65, daughter Mary Jo McKlveen Nissen ’72, son in-law Mark Nissen ’72, and granddaughters Lara McKlveen Blossey ’93 and Margot KcKlveen ’13.

Constance Clark Canright ’37, Winter Park, Fla., Oct. 19, 2017. Connie was 102. She was widowed at 34 and raised her children as a single parent. She taught high school French and after retirement remained an active member of her community. She is survived by her children, including daughter Rachel (Michele) Canright Summers ’70

Ruth Phillips Kilmer ’42, Surprise, Ariz., Dec. 18, 2017. Ruth married Orlo G. Natvig when he returned from World War II in 1945. She taught home economics in Charles City, Iowa, for 20 years and was an active member of her Lutheran Church. Ruth was preceded in death by her husband and daughter Sue. She is survived by two daughters, a son, and eight grandchildren.

Mary Lou Elder Jindra ’44, Battle Ground, Wash., Nov. 6, 2017. 

Nancy Wallace Pickett ’45, Santa Rosa, Calif., Dec. 21, 2016. 

Jane Snell Drake ’47, Gardner, Mass., Oct. 18, 2017. Jane was an avid skier, golfer, tennis player, and bridge player. She was also a Boston sports fan and an active member of her church, where she sang in the choir. Jane was preceded in death by her husband Jay Drake and is survived by their four children, four grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

Twyliah Hamstreet Kerr ’47, Charleston, S.C., Sept. 30, 2017. Twyliah was always very proud of her Iowa heritage and alma mater. For several years in the 1950s, she was the assistant to President Eisenhower’s press secretary. Twyliah enjoyed current affairs, traveling, her dogs, reading, listening to music, and tennis. Her husband Robert Kerr preceded her in death. She is survived by her three sons and four grandchildren.

Kathryn “Ka” Keeney Breckenridge ’49, Prescott, Ariz., Sept. 15, 2017. Ka met her husband Darl Breckenridge on a blind date in 1949. They retired to Prescott after many years living in Portland, Ore., and Salt Lake City. Ka worked as a speech therapist for more than 40 years and is remembered for her generous and curious nature. She is survived by her husband, three children, and 13 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Nancy Boman Dross ’49, Hartland, Wis., Oct. 26, 2017. After graduating from Grinnell, Nancy went on to receive advanced degrees from the University of Minnesota. She moved to Wisconsin, teaching freshman English and literature at Carroll College in Waukesha from 1962 to 1974. After her husband Heinrich Dross died in 1973, she started an insurance company, which she sold to her son upon her retirement in 1999. After retiring, Nancy spent her time playing golf and enjoying her winter home in Florida. She is survived by her two sons and four grandchildren. 

Ann Reddan Rustebakke ’49, Placitas, N.M., Sept. 30, 2017. Ann lived her life resiliently, joyously, deliberately, and on her own terms. She helped begin a local farmers’ market, was passionate about water and agricultural issues, and owned a store specializing in Native American art. She was an avid jewelry collector and maker and a good cook. Ann is survived by her son, daughter, and granddaughter.

Camille Ammerman ’50, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Aug. 15, 2017. 

Robert L. Sollenberger ’50, St. Charles, Ill., Sept. 7, 2017. Bob is survived by his five children, 12 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

John C. Stoessinger ’50, Carlsbad, Calif., Nov. 20, 2017. 

Robert L. Hurtgen ’51, La Crosse, Wis., Dec. 29, 2016. Robert often spoke fondly of Grinnell to his family and was known for his keen wit and kindness. He is survived by his wife Mary Hurtgen, three children, eight grandchildren, and eight nieces and nephews. 

Marilyn “Mimi” Berg Bedell ’52, Wallingford, Conn., Oct. 13, 2017. After graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a degree in textile design, Mimi travelled to Mexico, where she met her future husband George Bedell ’48. For more than 20 years, she ran a business designing hand-screened clothing. She taught painting classes until her death. Mimi was an avid painter and was known for her love of music, art, and good food. She is survived by her children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

Kathryn W. Jones ’52, Santa Fe, N.M., Aug. 6, 2017. Kathryn was a traveler who believed in the lifelong pursuit of knowledge. She was the first female attorney hired by the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis, and she went to the North Pole on a Russian nuclear icebreaker just six weeks after having breast cancer surgery. Kathryn is survived by four children, nine grandchildren, and two nephews. 

Nancy Parker Roberts ’53, Stow, Ohio, Jan. 2, 2018. Nancy is survived by her husband Donald Roberts, five daughters, and 12 grandchildren.

Roger J. Crotty ’54, Asheboro, N.C., Aug. 16, 2017. Roger was the first person in his family to attend college. After graduating from Grinnell, he worked for a marketing firm before being drafted into U.S. Army Intelligence. After leaving the Army, he began a career in advertising. In 1998, Roger retired from the advertising business to run a writing and design company with his wife Martha Crotty. Roger enjoyed writing, reading, jazz music, and doing crosswords in pen. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, two daughters including Kimberly Wendel ’90, his brother John T. Crotty III ’60,  sister-in-law Karen Runo Crotty ’59, and his grandchildren.

Kathleen Grover Gordon ’54, Omaha, Neb., Dec. 29, 2017. Kay became a speech pathologist and later became a special education director until her retirement. She was a loving mother and wife dedicated to the betterment of education in her community. Kay is survived by her husband Bill Gordon, two daughters, two sons, four grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. 

Richard H. Maywald ’54, Kenmore, Wash., Nov. 4, 2017. Richard was an avid traveler who relished adventure. As an exploration geophysicist, he took assignments in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Norway, Nigeria, and Trinidad. He mastered Arabic and Indonesian and loved to collect things from his travels and meet new people. Richard was preceded in death by his wife Dorothy Maywald in 2003 and his daughter Ruth in 1993. He is survived by his daughter Julia and two grandchildren. 

John W. Chase ’57, Hopkinton, Mass., Dec. 31, 2017. After graduating from Grinnell, John received his Ph.D. in inorganic nuclear chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He spent his career working as a clinical chemist. John was a sports fan who enjoyed his morning coffee and spending Sunday afternoons with his son, as well as visiting family in Massachusetts. He is survived by his two children and two granddaughters. 

Janet Wenthe Hunt ’57, Chapel Hill, N.C., July 21, 2017. Janet served as a regional volunteer for Grinnell College. 

Merton E. Thayer Jr. ’59, Sesser, Ill., Nov. 14, 2017. Mert enjoyed a career in product design before working as a draftsman and taking up farming. He also dedicated energy to constructing and flying radio-controlled model airplanes. He was known for his kindness, humor, and quick wit. He is survived by his wife Kathleen Loftus Thayer, his daughter, and grandson. 

Karen Randolph Baker ’60, Mount Kisco, N.Y., Sept. 10, 2017. Karen worked as a librarian for many years and was happiest when reading or tending to her garden. She is survived by her two daughters.

Gordon M. Younger ’59, Ketchum, Idaho, Sept. 22, 2017. In 1967 Gordon founded a corrugated box business, Seattle Packaging, which eventually grew to employ 500 people in four states. In running his business, it was important to Gordon to pay a fair wage and provide good employee benefits. He was also committed to charitable giving for environmental and educational causes. He loved hiking, skiing, and spending time outdoors. Gordon is survived by his two sons, his brother, his sister, and four grandchildren.

Janice Bisbee Litteneker ’60, Rigby, Idaho, June 28, 2016. Janice enjoyed golf, bowling, and travel. She is survived by her two children, three stepchildren, nine grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren. 

Donald J. Freeman ’61, Mesa, Ariz., Nov. 21, 2017. Don worked as a professor at Michigan State University before becoming an associate dean and professor in the College of Education at Arizona State University. He found teaching abroad and working with the Diné College of the Navajo Nation especially rewarding. Survivors include his wife Cheryl Freeman; his sons Michael, Scott, and Daniel Freeman ’93; and seven grandchildren. 

Mary Lou Wenger White ’61, Dallas, Dec. 16, 2017. Mary Lou’s life revolved around her family and friends. She could always be counted on for a luncheon or a game of bridge with her group. She loved to travel and was committed to supporting her church and community. She was preceded in death by her husband Ken White and is survived by her sons and grandchildren. 

Robert J. Halonen ’62, Cincinnati, Aug. 13, 2017. Robert spent his early professional career as a professor, teaching economics, finance, and health care administration at numerous institutions. The majority of his career was spent in health care as a chief financial officer, and he greatly valued giving back to the community. Robert is survived by his wife Susan Halonen, four children, and three grandchildren.

Frederick R. Jacobberger ’63, Las Vegas, Jan. 12, 2017. After earning a B.A. in political science from Grinnell College, Fred graduated summa cum laude from the University of Iowa law school. He primarily practiced business law and business and personal litigation. He loved car racing and bred nationally-recognized Burmese cats. Fred is survived by his wife Pat Vogel Jacobberger.  

Manly “Tom” Staley ’66, San Francisco, Oct. 29, 2017. Tom graduated from Grinnell with a degree in economics and earned a doctorate in economics from the University of Texas. He taught at San Francisco State University’s School of Business for 30 years, chairing the Business Management Department. He retired in 2009, after which he taught half time. Much of the other half of the year he spent traveling, making multiple trips to France, where he spent his junior year abroad while at Grinnell. Tom lived with HIV for over two decades but considered himself one of the lucky ones for whom the antiviral drugs worked. In 2010 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. By 2016, chemo was not as effective and the side effects were worse; in the summer of 2017, Tom elected to discontinue all treatments. He left behind many good friends, including his classmates who always looked forward to seeing him at reunions.

John W. Lawson II ’67, San Diego, Sept. 8, 2017. 

Patricia A. Smith ’69, Richmond, Calif., Dec. 12, 2017. Patricia majored in English at Grinnell College before receiving an M.S.W. in rehabilitation counseling at the University of New Mexico. After two years as a caseworker, she changed careers and worked for 32 years as a technical writer. She loved writing, music, art, and theatre and enjoyed taking walks and exploring nature. She is survived by her husband Paul Werner.

Beverly S. Schnabel ’72, Portland, Ore., Oct. 2, 2017. After attending Grinnell, Beverly moved to Portland and founded a free women’s health clinic and halfway house for incarcerated women. She then practiced audiology for 33 years. Beverly worked as an alumni/development volunteer for Grinnell from 2010 to 2015. She is survived by her life partner Elizabeth Perris, her brother, and two nieces.

Moine I. West ’73, Arlington, Texas, Nov. 17, 2017. Moine worked with Williamson Dickie Manufacturing Co. for the last 17 years of his life. He also worked as a GRASP volunteer for Grinnell College. Moine is survived by his wife Mabel West, their two sons, his 93-year-old parents, and his sister. 

Monica L. Selter ’87, Brooklyn, N.Y., Nov. 15, 2017. Monica died of pancreatic cancer after a 10-month struggle. She grew up in Berkeley, Calif., and after attending Grinnell moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the Aspen Institute. She spent her life fighting for social justice causes, working for organizations such as Amnesty International and the Alliance for Justice. In 2006 she moved to New York with her husband and two daughters. She attended the Women’s March in New York the week she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Monica is survived by her husband Dan Klaidman, her daughters Bella and Shayna, her parents, seven siblings, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.   

Bryan K. Coy ’02, Minneapolis, Dec. 6, 2017. Bryan was a GRASP volunteer and also served on the Black Alumni Reunion and Reunion class committees. Bryan spent his career in higher education in admissions and later development, first for Grinnell College and later at the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, and the University of Minnesota.

Daniel S. Follmer ’05, Chicago, Nov. 4, 2017. Daniel died of cancer at age 34. He was the deputy dean and director of college admissions at the University of Chicago. He also served as a reviewer for Grinnell College’s Innovator for Social Justice Prize in 2013, in addition to acting as a regional volunteer. Daniel was passionate about increasing access to higher education for students from underrepresented communities and was known for his kindness and integrity. He is survived by his spouse Jessica Rhoades ’07, his parents, brother, and sister.  

Mary Lou Clotfelter

Former director of the Grinnell College Reading Laboratory

Mary Lou Clotfelter, Grinnell, Iowa, Oct. 9, 2017. Mary was the director of the Grinnell College Reading Laboratory in the 1970s. She is remembered for her caring and cheerful nature. She is survived by her husband Beryl Clotfelter, professor emeritus of physics, and their three children, including David Clotfelter ’78 and Susan Clotfelter ’82; and five grandchildren, including Elizabeth Azzolini ’06

Kenneth A. Christiansen

Professor Emeritus of Biology

Kenneth A. Christiansen head shotKenneth A. Christiansen, professor emeritus of biology, died Nov. 26, 2017, at Grinnell Regional Medical Center. He was 93.

Ken’s storied career at Grinnell began in 1955. His courses included general biology, zoology, evolution, ecology, sociobiology, invertebrate zoology, insect biology, parasitology, and marine biology. In 1962 Ken was named Harry Waldo Norris Professor of Biology and in 1994 professor emeritus.

His research, beginning with his doctoral dissertation, focused on the evolution and taxonomy of Collembola, an order of arthropods found almost everywhere in the world. He wrote more than 100 papers and co-authored two books. 

After retiring from active teaching in 1989, Ken discovered that he missed teaching, so in 1990 he taught for a semester at Nanjing University. While he was in China, he enjoyed collecting cave Collembola in various regions of the country. He remained active in research until 2012.

During World War II, Ken served as forward observer for a 2nd Armored Division mortar platoon and received two Bronze Stars. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston University and his doctorate from Harvard University. Before coming to Grinnell, he taught at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and at Smith College. 

In support of his work, he received many grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Sloan Foundation,  and others. 

Ken was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Society of Systematic Zoology, the American Entomological Society, the International Society of Soil Zoology, the Cambridge Entomological Society, and Sigma Xi. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 1965; a correspondent of the Museum of Paris; an Explorer’s Club fellow since 1979; and a fellow of the National Speleological Society. He received the Iowa Academy of Science Award of Merit and the Iowa Governor’s Science Medal for Science Teaching. He served on the Iowa Governor’s Science Advisory Council and as a panelist for the National Research Council and Environmental Protection Agency. In 1991 he was honored by the National Speleological Society as one of the four founders of modern biospeleology, the study of cave organisms and ecosystems.

He is survived by his son Eric Christiansen of Portland, Ore.; his daughters and sons-in-law Karen and Kirk Worrall of Parkdale, Ore., Paula Christiansen ’79 and Jose Gonzalez of Chicago, and Diane Christiansen ’81 and Stephen Dawson of Chicago; five grandchildren including Eva Dawson ’14 and Isabella Gonzalez ’18; and one great-grandchild. His wife Phyllis Smith Christiansen died Feb. 11 in Grinnell. She was 90.

Fred A. Little ’53

Life Trustee

Fred Little headshotGrinnell College life trustee Fred A. Little ’53 died Dec. 28, 2017, at home in San Francisco. Fred graduated from Grinnell with a B.A. in history and French. He lettered in tennis, reaching the Midwest conference finals his senior year. He also served on The Scarlet & Black’s editorial board his junior year. After Grinnell, Fred earned a law degree from Harvard and a master’s degree in law from Georgetown University, where he was an adjunct professor of securities law. He retired as a senior partner with the San Francisco, Calif., law firm of Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, & Pittman. He was active in cultural and civic affairs in the various cities where he lived. 

Fred joined Grinnell’s Board of Trustees in 1976 and from 1976 to 1978 served as the College’s national chair of the annual fund. In 1996 he became a life trustee and served as chair of the board from 1998 to 2000, following in the footsteps of his father Fred A. Little Sr. 1916

Fred was a generous supporter of the College’s programs, facilities, and endowments. He contributed to the scholarship fund that honors his father; to the Conard Environmental Research Area in memory of his mother, Helen B. Wallace; and to athletics facilities, including the Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center. Fred also gave freely of his time and talents to advance the educational mission of the liberal arts.

He is survived by his wife Connie Little and their children, including Caroline H. Little ’81, a life trustee of the College and former board chair.

Spring 2018

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