James E. Michael, professor of drama emeritus, succumbs to stroke
J ames Elder Michael, a member of the Kenyon faculty from 1947 until his retirement in 1978, died on November 3, 1997, at the Hospice Center of the Washington Home in Washington, D.C. He had been transferred to the hospice on November 1 from Washington's Sibley Memorial Hospital, where he had been undergoing treatment for a stroke. He was eighty-seven.
A native of Seattle, Washington, who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, Michael was a 1932 cum laude graduate of Amherst College with a major in French. He went on to earn an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama in 1938, after which he taught at Sweet Briar College, the University of Missouri, and Williams College until 1942. In that year, he entered the U.S. Navy as an ensign and served in the Pacific Theater, including eighteen months of sea duty aboard the Princeton, until mustering out as a lieutenant in 1946.
Following World War II, Michael became an assistant professor of dramatic arts at Amherst for a year before joining the Kenyon faculty in 1947 as associate professor of speech. With his arrival, the department's emphasis veered sharply toward dramatic studies. Michael became a mentor to generations of students, drama majors and others alike, among them some of the College's best-known graduates, including Paul L. Newman '49 and E.L. Doctorow '52. Recipient of several fellowships from the Ford and Fulbright foundations, he was named an Outstanding Educator of America in 1972.
Michael was also active as an actor, director, and playwright, with five writing efforts to his credit. They were Something to Write Home About (1945), Rude Awakening (1949), Red-Two (1950), My Cousin Grace (1955), and A Promising Young Man (1955). He studied playwriting during his 1954-55 sabbatical year at Columbia University.
In the citation for the honorary doctor of fine arts awarded him by the College in 1978, Michael was credited with educating both actors and audiences in his three decades on the Hill. "In fair weather and foul, amidst strange vicissitudes of life, you have always remained the skillful director who has coaxed the lost ones back safely aboard, who has shown us how to be serene and magnanimous at all times."
In 1995, Michael was honored with a Kenyon professorship endowed in his name with more than $1 million in funds from friends and former students. The gift was celebrated at Reunion Weekend 1995, with many of his former students in attendance. Also in 1995, Wendy A. MacLeod '81 was named the College's first James E. Michael Playwright-in-Residence.
"This department is still largely of Jim Michael's invention," says Thomas S. Turgeon, professor of drama and chair of the Department of Dance and Drama. "The foundation he built is the one upon which we've built and worked ever since, the inspiration for the way we think and what we do. There are no words to express the gratitude we feel toward Jim as the creator of this program."
"Jim Michael had anidea about theater that was far from fashionable but absolutely correct," says Murray Horwitz '70. "It was a big idea, and he always managed to let you know you were part of it. He was the greatest teacher I have ever known or seen. No matter what your discipline, you could not fail to be improved by him. Fortunately, the relationship will go on; we will all proudly continue to be Jim's students."
Michael's first wife, Kittie Bowman Michael, died in 1978. He is survived by his second wife, Dorothy "Darcy" Bell, whom he married in 1982; two daughters, Mary Michael Muller of Erie, Pennsylvania, and Margaret Michael Sweeney of Greenfield, Massachusetts; a son, James E. Michael Jr. of Oxford, Ohio; seven grandchildren; a stepdaughter, Elizabeth Bell Stengel of Newton, Massachusetts; a stepson, William A. Bell of Farmingdale, Maine; and four stepgrandchildren.
A memorial service was held on November 8 at Christ Church Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Memorial contributions may be made to the James E. Michael Chair in Playwriting in care of the Office of Development, College Relations Center, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio 43022-9623.
A public memorial service, which all alumni and friends are invited to attend, will be held on campus in the Church of the Holy Spirit at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 18, 1998, with Rev. David O. McCoy '60 officiating. Burial will follow in the College cemetery.
Former trustee Dave Kuhn is dead
D avid A. Kuhn '51, a long-time volunteer for and former trustee of the College, died December 23, 1997, from complications of a viral infection. He was sixty-eight and a resident of Lakewood, Ohio.
A political-science major at Kenyon, Dave was a member of Delta Tau Delta. He went on to earn a law degree at Western Reserve University and pursue graduate work in law at Georgetown University. After working at the Warner and Swaney Company in Cleveland, Ohio, Dave joined the Oglebay Norton Company there as a lawyer in 1959. He rose to the position of corporate secretary and general counsel at Oglebay Norton before retiring in 1994.
Dave's contributions to the College through alumni activities were many and varied. In the 1960s, he was president of the Cleveland Regional Association. In the 1970s, Dave won election to Alumni Council and its Executive Committee, serving as president in 1973, and held a chair on Kenyon's Cleveland Resource Council. In the 1980s, he was twice elected to terms as an alumni trustee, serving on the Budget and the Buildings and Grounds committees. Also in the 1980s, Dave was a member of the Cleveland Regional Committee for the $35-million "Campaign for Kenyon." He was also active in alumni admissions work, Kenyon Fund and Kenyon Parents Fund phonathons, the Kenyon Athletic Association, and the Delta Tau Delta Alumni Association.
Dave is survived by his wife, Jacqueline McColloch Kuhn; two sons, David M. Kuhn '84 and Douglas A. Kuhn '85; and two grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to Kenyon College in care of the Office of Development, College Relations Center, Gambier, Ohio 43022-9623.
Bishop Wilburn C. Campbell B'35 H'50 on July 29, 1997. He was eighty-six and a resident of Mount Nebo, West Virginia.
A 1932 graduate of Amherst College, Wilburn graduated cum laude from Bexley Hall before being ordained in 1936. He also received several honorary degrees from various institutions over the years, including an honorary degree from Kenyon in 1950. That same year, Wilburn was named bishop coadjutor of West Virginia. In 1955, he was installed as Episcopal bishop of West Virginia, a post he held for twenty years. Active in civil rights, Wilburn worked for fair housing and frequently assigned rectors of one race to congregations of another. In 1964, he formed the West Virginia Conference on Religion and Race.
Wilburn is survived by his wife, Janet; a daughter, Jane Englert; a son, Arthur Campbell; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia, 1608 Virginia Street East, Charleston, West Virginia 25301, or to St. Martin's Episcopal Church, 221 McKees Creek Road, Summersville, West Virginia 26651.
Thomas R. Navin Jr. '40 on July 9, 1997. He was seventy-nine and a resident of Tucson, Arizona.
Tom graduated summa cum laude with a major in French. He went on to receive a master's degree from Harvard Business School before serving in the U.S. Navy for three years during World War II. After the war, Tom returned to Harvard Business School to earn his doctorate while working as an instructor there. He then became a faculty member at Harvard and served as executive secretary of the Business Historical Society, where he founded the Business History Review. Tom later moved to Tucson, where he became a full professor in the School of Business at the University of Arizona. He was active in the Tucson public schools, becoming the founding president of the Palo Verde High School Parent-Faculty Group and president of the Tucson League for the Public Schools as well as holding several other positions. Tom was also the author of two books, The Whitin Machine Works since 1831 and Copper Mining and Management.
Tom is survived by a daughter, Rosalind Rosenberg; a son, Thomas Navin; four grandchildren; and a sister, Lee Taylor.
Walter B.J. Schuyler 1942 on July 29, 1997, of cancer. He was seventy-seven and a resident of Punta Gorda, Florida.
Walter attended Kenyon before entering Wesleyan University, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1942. He went on to earn his medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College in 1947, after which he entered the practice of obstetrics and gynecology. Walter established the first obstetrical practice in State College, Pennsylvania, in 1952. In 1968, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he practiced medicine in pueblos along the Rio Grande, and then, in 1975, to Waterville, Maine. Walter moved to Punta Gorda upon his retirement in 1986.
Walter is survived by a daughter, Karen Sabean; two sons, Walter Schuyler and Stephen C. Schuyler '78; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, P.O. Box 50, Memphis, Tennessee 28101-9929.
J. Robert Busenburg '49 on September 6, 1997. He was seventy and a resident of Danville, Ohio.
Bob served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper during World War II. At Kenyon, he was a member of Sigma Pi, the Debating Society, and the Law Club. Bob graduated cum laude with honors in political science and went on to Harvard Law School, where he received his law degree in 1952. He then went to study in India as a Fulbright scholar, doing reseach in land tenure at the Institute of Agriculture at Allahabad, India. After spending a year in India, Bob returned to the United States where he studied at Harvard's School of Public Administration. In 1956, he joined the National Security Administration in Washington, D.C., and won appointment as a planning commissioner for the U.S. Department of State. Bob and his family moved to La Paz, Bolivia, for his first assignment. For twenty years, he worked overseas as an economist, living in Bolivia, Dahomey, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Peru, and Tanzania. He returned to Knox County, Ohio, to recuperate from injuries he received in an attack by a lion, then concentrated his interests in agribusiness in eastern Knox County until his retirement.
Bob is survived by his wife, LaNora, and a daughter, Deirdre Busenburg '75. Memorial contributions may be made to the World Missions Department, African Missions Fund, First Church of the Nazarene, 807 Coshocton Avenue, Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050.
Walter L. Lynn '49 on April 29, 1997, after a long illness. He was seventy and a resident of Waco, Texas.
Although Walter entered Kenyon in 1943, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in November 1944. He served in the European theater until his discharge in 1946, when he returned to the College, where he majored in biology and joined Beta Theta Pi fraternity. In 1947, Walter entered Cornell University Medical College, where he earned his medical degree in 1951. He practiced plastic surgery in Minneapolis, Minnesota, before retiring to Waco.
Walter is survived by his wife, Joyce Voigt Lynn. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 4101 Washington Street N.E., Minneapolis 55421.
Richard A. Paisley '49 on May 10, 1997, of heart failure. He was seventy-one and a resident of Fort Myers, Florida.
Dick served as a bomber pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. A physics major at Kenyon, he played on the varsity football team and joined Delta Phi. After graduating cum laude, Dick worked in sales, specializing in plastics until he became owner and president of the R.A. Paisley Company in Rocky River, Ohio.
Dick is survived by his wife, Marjorie; three sons, Douglas, James, and John Paisley; nine grandchildren; and three brothers, James, George, and Peter D. Paisley '52. Memorial contributions may be made to Hope Hospice House, 9470 HealthPark Circle, Fort Myers 33908.
John E. Park '49 on May 31, 1997, of respiratory failure. He was seventy-three and a resident of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan.
John served in the Navy during World War II, winning five Campaign Ribbons, ten Battle Stars, and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. During his Kenyon career, he was a member of Psi Upsilon, Student Council, and the basketball and tennis teams. After graduating from Kenyon with a major in economics, John went to the Trust Development School and later to the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University, where he earned a master's degree in 1962. In December 1963, he was named vice president and trust officer at the Detroit Bank and Trust Company, from which he retired in 1982. Later, John pursued a second career as a trust-banking consultant with Fiduciary Consultants in Grosse Pointe Woods, retiring again in 1990.
In the early sixties, John was treasurer of the Detroit Alumni Association and a member of the Alumni Council. He was named president of the Detroit Alumni Association in 1966.
John is survived by his wife, Ann; a daughter, Kathryn Park; two sons, Robert and John Park; and four grandchildren.
Frank Thomas Whitney Jr. '49 on June 12, 1995, of a heart attack. He was sixty-seven and a resident of St. Charles, Michigan.
At Kenyon, Tom took part in both varsity and intramural athletics and joined Phi Kappa Sigma. After graduating with a major in history, he went on to the University of Detroit School of Dentistry, where he received his degree in 1954. Tom began his practice as a dentist with his father and brother in Saginaw, Michigan, and went on to practice in Chesaning, Michigan.
Frank is survived by his wife, Paricia, four children, and nine grandchildren.
Stephen J. Varnhagen 1949 on May 30, 1997, of lung cancer. He was sixty-eight and a resident of San Francisco, California.
Steve majored in speech and drama at Kenyon, where he was also involved in theatrical productions and journalism activities. His business career began with a management position in his family's textile business, the Reynolds Company, after which he undertook a career in the brokerage industry and became a Chartered Financial Analyst. Steve also pursued real-estate and agricultural interests, serving as a member of the Sunsweet Growers Board of Directors. He maintained a special interest in theater, writing plays throughout his life.
In 1995, Steve's affection for the College, and for one of his professors in particular, led him to make a significant contribution to the establishment of Kenyon's James E. Michael Chair in Playwriting.
Steve is survived by his wife, Frances; a daughter, Elizabeth Varnhagen; two sons, Tony and Stanley J. Varnhagen '77; a daughter-in-law, Constance Kendall Varnhagen '77; and two grandchildren.
Edwin T. Collins '51 on August 7, 1997. He was sixty-eight and a resident of Livermore, California.
At Kenyon, Ed was a member of the Middle Kenyon Association. He graduated cum laude with a major in mathematics and then went on to receive a master's degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1952. Ed served in the U.S. Army as a topological surveyor before continuing his graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley. He then joined the staff of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, from which he retired after thirty-five years as a computer scientist.
Ed is fondly remembered by Will Pilcher '51 for saving his life in the 1949 Old Kenyon fire. Will writes, "The night of the fire, I was shaken awake by Ed. After I was up, we tested the door and found that the hallway was already full of flames. Ed then proceeded to the window and, being a tumbler and of light build, jumped to reach the fire escape. After several attempts when the smoke was too intense, Ed guided me calmly (he was calm, not I) out onto the ledge, then had me push off with all my might toward him. Holding on to the fire escape with one hand, he caught me with the free hand, and my momentum carried me to the ladder, down which I descended rapidly. On his way down, Ed heard Lee Paris crying out for help from the room below, and he repeated the rescue procedure, but this time he received severe facial burns from the heat." For his act of bravery, Ed was awarded a bronze medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
Ed was preceded in death by his wife, Jocelyn, and a son, Tappan. He is survived by his daughter, Melanie Kishi, and five grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, California Division, 1710 Webster Street, Suite 210, Oakland, California 94612.
Harold "Pat" Williams '53 on July 12, 1997. He was sixty-five and a resident of Unionville, New York.
At Kenyon, Pat majored in English and joined Psi Upsilon. He then went on to graduate school at George Washington University. In late 1963, Pat enlisted in the U.S. Army, which sent him to an intensive course in the Russian language at the Army Language School in the Presidio of Monterey in California. Following his military service, he worked as a freelance writer before joining Chardavogne Tree Service, where he worked for twenty years. Pat also worked as fruit farmer and as a finish construction worker.
Pat is survived by his wife, Pamela, and two daughters, Leyla and Sylvia Williams.
John Kent Wiley 1959 on June 15, 1997. He was sixty years old and a resident of Beverly Hills, Florida.
After attending Kenyon, Kent moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he graduated from Northwestern University. He went on to receive a Ph.D. from Nova University of Florida. Kent, remembered as a devout bridge player, worked as an insurance salesman before retiring to Florida.
Kent is survived by a daughter, Lorna Wiley, and a stepson, Roger McCaffrey.
William Terry Murbach '64 on June2, 1997, of pulmonary fibrosis. He was fifty-four and a resident of Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire.
At Kenyon, Terry was a member of Beta Theta Pi and the Kenyon Klan and an active athlete, participating in baseball, football, and wrestling. After graduating with a degree in English, he went on to the University of Michigan, where he earned a master's degree in English. Terry then pursued a teaching career, working in the Archbold-German school district in Ohio, at the Pomfret School in Connecticut and Chatham Hall in Virginia, and finally at Lawrence Academy in Massachusetts, where he was the chair of the English department and the football coach. He remained at Lawrence for eighteen years.
Terry, whose father was Edwin R. Murbach '29, is survived by his wife, Mary Curran Murbach, and two sisters, Jane Juska and Susan Renfrew. Memorial contributions may be made to Lawrence Academy, P.O. Box 992, Groton, Massachusetts 01450.
Joseph A. Wiseman '76 on June 13, 1997. He was forty-three and a resident of Baltimore, Maryland.
Joe pursued a synoptic major in Middle Eastern Studies at Kenyon and graduated cum laude. He went on to earn a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in public health and health sciences from Johns Hopkins University. Joe worked as an attorney for International Health Organizations, Inc.
Joe is survived by his mother, Judith Wiseman, and a sister, Susan Wiseman. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 415 North Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21203-7025.
John E. Beckjord '78 on August 12, 1997. He was forty-one and a resident of Mount Lookout, Ohio.
At Kenyon, John majored in English.
John is survived by his parents, Walter and Mary Jane Beckjord; three brothers, Reed, James, and Alex Beckjord; and two nephews. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 11117 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242, or to the Office of Development, College Relations Center, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio 43022-9623.
Cortney P. Colby 1998 , a senior psychology major at Kenyon, suddenly and unexpectedly on October 22, 1997.
Cortney was stricken on her way to a class. Students on the scene came to her aid, and she was transported by the College Township Emergency Squad to Knox Community Hospital within minutes. She was pronounced dead a short time later at the hospital.
College Physician Tracy W. Schermer, who accompanied Cortney and the emergency squad to the hospital, noted that an underlying medical condition, scleroderma, may have contributed to her death.
Cortney is survived by her parents, Robert and Elyn Colby, and a sister.
Services were held in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, on October 22, with Dean of Students Donald J. Omahan '70, Alumni Trustee Jack Y. Au '73, and more than thirty Kenyon students in attendance. A service of remembrance was held on campus the same day. Memorial contributions may be made to the Scleroderma Research Foundation, Pueblo Medical Commons, 2320 Bath Street, Suite 307, Santa Barbara, California 93105, telephone 800-441-CURE.
Other deaths . We have been notified of the deaths of the following alumni for whom no further information was available. Readers who can supply details are encouraged to send the information to the attention of Monique Jones, Office of Public Affairs, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio 43022-9623.
Donald R. Bivens '58 , date of death unknown.
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