United Wesleyan College
Marvin Dennis, 71, died on November 15, 2014. Dennis graduated from Eastern Pilgrim College in 1966. He is survived by his wife, Shelley Goodrich Dennis; a daughter, Pamela Jean Hogan; two stepsons, Joshua P. Williams and Nicholas Williams; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers.
Frances Dieter, 86, passed away on October 20, 2014. She was a graduate of Allentown Bible Institute. Frances is survived by her brothers, Rev. Dr. Melvin Dieter and Harold Dieter; brother-inlaw Rev. Charles Rex; cousin Rev. Paul Dieter and his wife, Clara Dieter; and many nieces and nephews. Frances was predeceased by her sister, Eunice Rex. Ethel (Goss) Mayes, 86, passed away on November 30, 2014. She was a graduate of Allentown Bible Institute.
Paul Maloney, 69, died on November 28, 2014. Paul was a graduate of Eastern Pilgrim College. He is survived by his mother, Ruth Maloney; son, Ryan Maloney; and granddaughter, Megan Maloney. He was preceded in death by his father, Frank Maloney.
Paul A. Wheeler, 93, passed away on August 11, 2014. Rev. Wheeler attended United Wesleyan College and is a former district superintendent of the Virginia District of The Wesleyan Church. He is survived by his wife, Marie Wheeler; daughter, Karen Gillespie; son, Jack; two sisters; six grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
Norma (Thomas) Anderson died on February 17, 2015. Norma worked for Houghton before becoming dean of women and English professor at both Cleveland Bible College and St. Paul Bible College. She was a devoted wife and mother and enjoyed teaching Bible studies and Sunday school in the community and in church. Later in life, she was a speaker at women’s retreats. She is survived by her four children, Suzan, Carol, Judy and Robert, as well as seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and 11 nieces and nephews. Norma was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Oliver, and two brothers.
Erwin L. Knowlton, 93, died on February 14, 2015. He served in WWII as a sergeant in the U.S. Army. After graduating from Houghton, he earned a master’s degree from The State University of New York at Fredonia. He spent most of his career teaching social studies and history at John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix, New York. In addition, he was active in his church and served with the Greater Syracuse Youth for Christ and Gideons International. He is survived by his sons, Kevin Knowlton ’79, and his wife, Lois (Clair ’79) Knowlton and Kenneth Knowlton; a daughter, Marjorie (Knowlton ’81) Palm; nine grandchildren, including Meagan Palm ’16; nine great-grandchildren; two sisters-in-law; and many nieces and nephews. Erwin was predeceased by his wife of 51 years, Arlene Knowlton. 1950
Marilyn (Bourne) Phillips Carpenter died January 19, 2015. Marilyn spent most of her career teaching French at Parkersburg High School in West Virginia. During her tenure at Parkersburg, she was the chair of the foreign language department and received the West Virginia Teacher of the Year Award. Under her leadership, Parkersburg High School received the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language Award, and, in 1993, she was given Houghton’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Marilyn is survived by her husband, Jackson Carpenter, sons, Mark and Paul Phillips; a step-sister and two stepbrothers; a sister-in-law and a niece; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by both parents and her first husband, Rev. Dr. Maurice Phillips.
Tarbell B. Lamos, 90, passed away November 6, 2014. Tarbell served in the Army Air Corps before coming to Houghton. After graduation, he received his Master of Education degree from Syracuse University. He was principal of Smith Road Elementary School in the North Syracuse District for more than 15 years before retiring in 1979. He was an active member of Lyncourt Wesleyan Church and served on the Central New York Wesleyan Church’s Board of Administration. He is survived by his sister, Carol Wilson; several nieces and nephews; and his extended church family. He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Charlotte (Carnal ’51) Lamos and several brothers and sisters.
Robert K. Denny passed away on October 7, 2014. He was a dedicated Presbyterian minister for 50 years and “an avid runner,” said his wife of 62 years, Elizabeth “Betty” (Bjorkgren ’52) Denny. “He finished the course with dignity.” He is survived by his wife, four children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
ALTON JAMES SHEA
Pastor, musician, gospel radio producer and missionary, Alton James Shea ’36 passed away on January 17, 2015, in Houghton, New York. He was 101.
Alton was born in Winchester, Ontario, Canada, to pastor and evangelist Adam Shea and his wife Maude Shea. Alton was around four years old when Adam moved his family from Canada to Houghton in 1917. The Shea family was in Houghton only four years, but Alton remembered running across the fields that now comprise the college campus with friends Homer Fero ’31, Robert Luckey ’37 and Willard Smith ’35; watching the students singing on the Fancher Hall steps at the close of WWI; and attending camp meetings where the Nielsen Center now stands. Alton returned as a freshman in 1932 and called Houghton home for 58 of his 101 years.
Among Alton’s significant contributions to Houghton College was his recommendation of a young artist, Aileen Ortlip, to President Luckey upon hearing that the college was considering adding an art department. Aileen and her sister, Marjorie Ortlip Stockin, founded Houghton’s art department in 1936. After Aileen began teaching at the college, Alton pursued his calling in ministry at Biblical Seminary in New York City. The couple married in 1938 after Alton had begun his first pastorate at Gates Wesleyan Church in Rochester, New York.
For the next 69 years, Alton served together with Aileen in a variety of ways and places. They pastored several congregations around Western New York and, in 1970, traveled to Sierra Leone, West Africa to spend seven years in gospel radio production in several local languages for airing over Radio ELWA in Liberia.
“Alton was a prayer warrior for Houghton—like no one else I know,” reflected Houghton College president, Shirley A. Mullen ’76. Son Paul recalled, “Dad raised us kids on encouragement. All of their lives [my parents] wrote us encouraging letters. And they continually prayed for us and all of the warriors of the Gospel worldwide.”
Surviving are three children: A. Jonathan “Pat” Shea ’63, Eila Shea ’66, and Dr. Paul W. Shea ’69 and wife Debbie (Greenmeyer ’69) Shea; five grandchildren, Alan J. Shea ’92, Robin (Shea ’94) McGee, Heidi (Shea ’96) Huizenga, Christy Shea ’98 and Linda (Shea ’01) Knapp; eleven great-grandchildren; a sister, Ruth (Shea ’41) Willett; and numerous nieces and nephews. Alton was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 70 years, Aileen Ortlip Shea; siblings Pauline Lusk, J. Whitney Shea ’33, Mary (Shea ’23) Robinson, George Beverly Shea ’32, Lois (Shea ’38) Wright and Grace Baker; as well as his parents, the Reverend Adam J. and Maude Whitney Shea.
Robert “Bob” C. Macy, 84, died unexpectedly on March 27, 2014. Bob began his career in banking and then went on to head up the property management departments of both Carnegie Mellon University and Harvard University. After retirement, Bob and his wife, Priscilla (Gilde ’54) spent 12 years in Ireland. He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years; four children, Daniel Macy, Elizabeth Costa, Stephen Macy, and John Macy; three daughters-in-law and one son-in-law; eight grandchildren; a brother, J. Thomas Macy; and many nieces and nephews.
Donna (Potter) Stoneburner died November 6, 2014. She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Virgil Stoneburner; her children, Stephen Stoneburner, Victoria Peterson, Rebecca Stoneburner and Sharon Redondo; 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Paul W. Dekker entered eternity on December 25, 2014. Rev. Dekker spent nearly his entire career in ministry, first as a pastor of a Wesleyan church in Michigan, then as a missionary with his wife, Dona (Gotter ’55) in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where they worked at the hospital in Kamakwie. After the Dekkers’ retirement from Wesleyan World Missions, Paul taught at Satellite Christian Institute in San Diego, California. Later, Paul joined Overseas Crusades, traveling with ministry teams worldwide, but ultimately, God called Paul and Dona to form their own ministry, Dekker Ministries, Inc. Paul is survived by his wife of 58 years and three children.
Sibyl (Brennan) Slagle, 83, died August 31, 2014, at Hospice LaGrange in LaGrange, Georgia. Survivors include her husband of 50 years, Thomas F. Slagle; son, Larry Reid Slagle; two grandchildren; a sister in- law; and many nieces and nephews.
Robert “Bob” D. Boyer, 87, passed away on October 17, 2014. Bob served in U.S. Army Air Corps as a photographer and photo lab technician in Japan during WWII. After graduating from Houghton, Bob received a master’s degree from SUNY at Geneseo and spent his teaching career serving Allegany County, New York, first at Belfast Central School and then at Belmont Central School. He also owned and operated Boyer Welding in Belmont, New York. In 2006, Bob was named “Citizen of the Year” by the Belmont Betterment Association for his work in helping restore the Park Circle Fountain. Bob is survived by one daughter, Susan Young; two stepchildren, Gena Benjamin and Anthony Fantauzzo; a sister, Rachel Hager; a brother, Donald Boyer; nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents; his wife; his son, Robert; and a brother, Paul. Rev. Col. (ret.)
Ray Strawser passed away on December 31, 2014. Col. Strawser joined the Army during WWII, serving in the Philippines for two years. After graduating from Houghton, he and his wife Elva Jean “E.J.” (Barr ’49) served a church in Chicago, while Ray studied at Northern Seminary. During the Berlin Crisis, the Army invited him back as a chaplain. In Vietnam, he served soldiers in battle and received a Bronze Star. He later continued his chaplaincy career, earning a doctorate at Wesley Seminary. He and E.J. served in Germany, receiving honorary citizenship in Darmstadt for their many contributions to German-American relations. He retired as a colonel and as a priest in the Anglican Church in America. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, E.J.; his children, Karen Strawser, Kathy (Strawser ’77) Worgul and Rev. Ray Strawser II ’78; and six grandchildren and a great-grandson.
Spirited, gregarious and warm and a “life-long, loyal, true-blue alumna,” Constance “Connie” (Hazelwood ’46) Taylor passed away December 3, 2014. She was 92 years old.
Connie Taylor loved Houghton, and many areas of the college have benefitted from her generosity over the years. Some of her contributions include capital-building campaigns, student scholarships, Fancher Bell Tower refurbishment, and the renovation of Wesley Chapel—but she was especially committed to giving to the sciences and athletics.
Friend Beverly Crowell ’73 remembers Connie’s last trip to campus for the Celebration of the Sciences in 2011. “I had difficulty keeping up with her as she dashed around campus to view a renovated classroom in the Paine Science Center and a row of renovated seats in Wesley Chapel thanks to her generosity. She was so thankful that she could share her blessings!”
Connie loved sports, especially lacrosse, and was eager to give toward the Kerr-Pegula Athletic Complex. “She was very excited to see Houghton’s move to NCAA D-III and the addition of lacrosse,” offered regional director of development, Joe Liddick ’72. “She was a true fan,” said Executive Director of Athletics H. “Skip” Lord ’80. “She knew more about the game than I could hope to—and told me all about the strong college programs in the area.”
Connie had a zest for life, and “her knowledge, interest, and curiosity in so many different areas were inspiring and not typical for a nonagenarian,” remarked Crowell. She was a savvy business woman and a seasoned traveler, and she could talk about anything from current events to sports to parasitology. “Her passions were church, family, cooking, bridge, lacrosse, and Jeopardy, not necessarily in that order,” offered son, James “Jamie” Hazelwood Taylor.
“What stood out to me was how vibrant she was,” remembers Lord. “She was deeply committed to Houghton and wanted to make a difference for the young people who attend here.” Connie is survived by her children, Dr. Christine Taylor Waddill, Paul Holland Taylor and James Hazelwood Taylor; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and siblings, James Hazelwood and Natalie (Hazelwood ’49) Mehne.
Karl Woodmansee, 79, died on April 3, 2014. Rev. Woodmansee served as a pastor of churches in New Jersey, South Carolina and Michigan. He is survived by three daughters, Karen (Woodmansee ’83) Martin, Gloria (Woodmansee ’86) Good, and Naomi Woodmansee and three grandchildren. His wife, Roberta, preceded him in death in 1999.
Richard “Dick” Freeman, Sr., 82, died on November 13, 2014, after an extended illness. Freeman was a veteran, serving in Korea and on Guam for the Army-Air Force Corps of Engineers. Dick’s educational career spanned many levels of teaching and administration from junior and senior high classrooms to serving as vice principal of a middle school and then principal of a central school. He retired as Professor Emeritus from Slippery Rock University in 1992 where he had taught and supervised student teachers. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Marion (Johnson ’55) Freeman; seven children; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; several aunts and uncles; and a niece, Kathy Freeman.
June (Ware) Morente passed away peacefully on October 17, 2014, at the age of 80. June is survived by her son Jacob; two grandchildren; six brothers and sisters; and dozens of dear nieces and nephews. June was predeceased by her son Stephen; four brothers and two sisters.
Edward R. Savolaine, 76, died November 10, 2014. Dr. Savolaine had a long, distinguished career in medicine as a neuroradiologist, starting in the Army, including a deployment to Vietnam in 1969, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star. He later worked in private practice and as a professor at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo until his retirement in 2000. Ed is survived by his wife of 55 years, Carol
Ernest “Ernie” Valutis, 75, passed away December 13, 2013, after three years of cancer treatments. Dr. Valutis served for 10 years at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, and went on to a career as a licensed psychologist for 30 years before he retired. Ernie was honored to be asked by NHL hall of famer Pat LaFontaine to be a contributing author in his book, Companions in Courage: Triumphant Tales of Heroic Athletes. He is survived his wife, Beverly Valutis; two sons, Dr. William Valutis and Eric Valutis; one daughter, Dr. Stephanie Valutis; one sister, Kay Murphy; and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother.
Leo Angevine, 74, passed away on February 11, 2015, following a lengthy illness. Leo was a veteran of the Vietnam War, having served with the U.S. Air Force as an airman. He was employed by United Airlines as a pilot for 34 years and, after retiring in 2000, went back to school and was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church in 2005. He was also a private pilot and farmer. He is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Adeline (Jones ’64) Angevine; three daughters, Elizabeth Montgomery, Jeanette Anderson and Paula Angevine; 13 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and three sisters, Emily Wineriter, Danna Angevine ’73 and Michele Zapel. He was preceded in death by two brothers, George Angevine and the Rev. Jerry Angevine ’55.
Joyce (Calusine) Shannon Hatten passed away on August 29, 2014. Joyce obtained her master’s degree in education and served as founder and vice principal of Grace Heritage Christian School in New London, Connecticut. Joyce began her struggle with Multiple Sclerosis in 1986 and was bed-ridden for the last 20 years of her life. She is survived by her daughter, Kelly Shannon Kelly; grandson, Theo Braden; and two great-grandsons, Jaedyn and Kyran Braden. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Robert Shannon ’63, who died in active duty in 1965; second husband, Navy veteran Walter Hatten; and two siblings.
Ann (Whitmire) Hathorn went to her Lord and Savior on October 16, 2014. She was 73 years old and passed peacefully at home with her daughter, Joy Girard, by her side. She was preceded in death by her husband, Captain Vincent L. Hathorn.
Lucille (Hinkle) Volk passed away peacefully on December 18, 2014, at her home in Chittenango, New York. She is survived by her husband, Gerald Volk ’63; daughters, Kathy Trojanoski and Cheryl Seale; five grandchildren; a brother, Thomas Hinkle; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Dorothy (Holtz) Barker, 70, died on July 30, 2014. Dorothy was a case worker for the State of Michigan for five years, then a stay-at-home mom and babysitter for many children. She returned to work when her children were in school, teaching pre-school at His Spot for Tots at the First Baptist Church of Coldwater, Michigan, for 23 years. She retired in 2001. She was an active member of the Sturgis Wesleyan Church, where her love for children led her to devote time to children’s ministries. She is survived by her husband of nearly 50 years, Gary Barker ’66; her children, Danice Chartrand, Kevin Barker, and Tracy Martinson; six grandchildren; and two sisters.
Kenneth “Ken” Kohler died suddenly on November 17, 2014, at his home in Lake Saint Louis, Missouri. Ken will be remembered for his many performances of sacred music on the organ and piano as well as organizing special cantatas. He and his wife of 50 years, Claire Kohler, raised puppies that were being trained to serve people with disabilities. Ken is survived by his wife; three sons, Franz, Vaughn and Lance; three daughters-in-law, Jillian, Jessica and Kasia; a grandson and two granddaughters.
Nancy (Cassaday) Cummings passed away on July 29, 2014. Nancy had a heart for service and joined Volunteers in Service to America after graduating from Houghton. Her work took her to Johnson City, Tennessee, where she worked with civil rights groups, housing rights, community food canneries, and other projects. She is survived by her husband, John Cummings Jr.; sons, John Cummings III and Matthew Cummings; five grandchildren; her mother, Ellen Cassaday; her brother, Bob Cassaday; and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her father, Warren Cassaday, as well as father- and motherin- law, John and Ruth Cummings.
Joan (Mullet) Seymour, 66, died on October 4, 2014, after a long illness. Joan spent her nearly 45-year career working at Christian schools. During that time, she earned her certification with the National Institute of Learning Development. Her last 20 years in education were focused on helping children of all ages overcome learning challenges. She is survived by her husband, Rev. Michael Seymour, Sr.; a daughter, Corinne Adams; three sons, Michael Seymour, Jr., Douglas Seymour, Sr., and Brian Seymour; 12 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a sister, Barbara Kershner. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brothers, Russell Harris Jr. and Don Harris, as well as her sister, Cheryl Bilbrough.
DR. JAMES P. CHEN
Dr. James P. Chen ’55, associate professor of chemistry from 1960 to 1964 and one of Houghton’s 100 notable alumni (awarded in 1983 during Houghton’s Centennial celebration), passed away in Knoxville, Tennessee, on November 13, 2014, following a brief illness.
Born in Fungyuan, Taiwan, into a Buddhist family, James transferred to Houghton in 1952. He found that Houghton’s small liberal arts atmosphere suited him very well and quickly immersed himself in college activities. “The college accepted him into the community,” notes Chen’s son Jeremy. “The many pictures of Houghton that he kept feature him experiencing student life with a happy smile.” Houghton had a transformative effect on James’ life; it was his first contact with Christianity and the place where he accepted Christ as his savior.
Dr. Chen received his PhD in biochemistry from Penn State University and returned to Houghton as a faculty member for several years before following his strong desire to work in medical research. He worked in that field in Buffalo, New York, and Galveston, Texas, before obtaining a tenure-track position as a professor and medical researcher at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 1976.
“It was at Tennessee that he had his most productive research years,” explains Jeremy. “His work in thrombosis and hemostasis covering blood coagulation gained him recognition in the scientific community throughout the world.”
At one point during his student days, James considered going into the ministry after hearing Dr. Claude Ries speak in chapel. In a yearbook note to Dr. Ries, James wrote: “I shall never forget your message…it had such great impact that I…have to do something about it. I feel I have a great responsibility for my people in Formosa, so pray for us.” While he never became a minister, James stayed active in church throughout his life, often serving as an elder or deacon and sometimes delivering a message in his native Taiwanese.
Dr. Chen is survived by his wife of 50 years, Metis Chen; sons, Mark and Jeremy Chen; a daughter, Eunice Zhou; five grandchildren; two brothers; a sister; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother.
Faithful example of Christ as a husband, father, grandfather and community member; kind and gentle faculty member who gifted others with his interest and warmth; “a really fine Christian gentleman” known for his quiet smile and unswerving trust in God; and the man who ushered Houghton College into the digital age, William “Bill” Roeske ’56 died March 15, 2015. In 1970, before laptops, thumb drives and iPhones; before “Google” became a verb and AOL coined the phrase, “You’ve got mail;” even before dial-up internet connection and the blinking MS-DOS C: prompt, Houghton College had one computer on campus: a rented, floor-standing IBM 1130 that weighed half a ton and was about as large as an office desk. Small by 1960s standards, the machine came equipped with accessories that included a card reader, punch processing unit, line printer, single disc platter and card sorter. Associate professor of mathematics Bill Roeske was one of the few people on campus who knew how to use it and, as the new director of data processing, was given the daunting task of computerizing all of the administrative offices on campus.
“It was very difficult for people who worked in the administrative offices to have to change over to computers,” said Bill in a 2014 interview with Dean Liddick ’60 and Deborah (Greenmeyer ’69) Shea. For Bill, the change on campus wasn’t as much about progress and technology as it was about building relationships and pursuing his God-given mission to help people. “You had to deal with these dear people tenderly,” he remembered.
Students were also impacted by Bill’s warm and gentle treatment—in and out of class. Often, he and his wife, Jane (Gregg ’60), invited students over for dinner or to enjoy a late-night study break of cookies and cocoa by their living room fire. “Bill was one of those people that, the first time you met him, you felt like he was a friend,” said former student Tim Kangas ’87. “And what was remarkable was that Bill and Jane invited me, and many others, into their warm family life.” On these occasions, the students observed a married couple who “loved and respected one another and truly seemed to enjoy being in each other’s company,” continued Kangas. “I also saw how they loved and valued and prayed for their children. As a new Christian, I found this memorable. For many of us, the Roeskes were family away from family.”
Roeske is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Jane (Gregg ’60) Roeske; their children, Martha “Marty” (Roeske ’90) Skeele and her husband, Shawn Skeele ’87, and Peter Roeske ’93 and his wife, Faith (Winchell ’99) Roeske; six grandchildren, including Aubrey Skeele ’18; sister, Dorothy Dye; and four nieces.
Ralph D. Bishop, 63, died on November 26, 2014. He is survived by a son, Michael Bishop; a daughter, Kristin Lampe; a granddaughter, Annabelle Lampe; and two brothers, S. William “Bill” Bishop ’71 and Robert “Bob” D. Bishop ’79.
Katrina “Tina” (Hinderer) Fisher passed away peacefully on December 21, 2014, from complications due to cardiac arrest. She is survived by her husband of nearly 40 years, Charles A. “Chuck” Fisher; a son, Aaron Fisher; her mother, Betty Hinderer; her brother, David Hinderer; and a niece, Megan Hinderer. She was preceded in death by her father, Richard “Dick” Hinderer.
Patricia L. (Speirs) Morris died on January 4, 2015. Pat was a teacher at Riverside Elementary as well as Columbia County Christian School, both in Pennsylvania. In between, she worked as a stay-at-home mother raising her daughters. She also invested several years volunteering to help pregnant women understand the miracle of life. She is survived by her husband of 38 years, Gary E. Morris ’76; five daughters, Amy E.M. Fanus, Kristin L. Morris, Suzanne M. Keffer, Katelyn J.M. Williams and Stephanie A. Morris; and five grandchildren. She is also survived by her mother, Lois (Robinson ’50) Bier; two brothers, H. Jeff Speirs ’75 and William A. Speirs ’85; and a sister, Rebecca Arnold.
HAROLD W. BUIRKLE
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your might as working for the LORD, not human masters…” COLOSSIANS 3:23 (NIV)
President’s Advisory Board Member and alumni parent, highly successful business man and generous friend to the college, and a humble man with a great sense of humor who “loved Jesus like crazy,” Harold W. Buirkle passed away on October 1, 2014.
After serving with the U.S. Army Air Corp in Europe during WWII, Harold went to college and pursued a degree in finance and accounting. He quickly advanced in his field, first serving as Controller for Allied Chemical/Signal (now Honeywell International Inc.), then as Senior Executive VP of Finance. Later in his career, he worked for the Henley Group while serving on the boards of Motel Six, Converse, Biogen Idec, Camp-of-the-Woods, and various others.
Harold was known for his overwhelming generosity and humble spirit. “He was at the very top of the business world,” said long-time friend and fellow Camp-of-the- Woods board member John Bechtel ’62. “But I had to work hard to get him to tell me his business achievements (which were enormous!). He was highly motivated to serve Christ and use his wealth and position to further the Kingdom of God.”
Harold helped build hospitals, clean drinking wells, teen centers and church buildings. Houghton College was one of the many Christian organizations he supported. “If he felt someone had a need, he would try to meet it,” remembers daughter Janet (Buirkle ’83) Ross. “He was always ready to share what he had with others: his time, homes, cars, money, and effusive praise.”
Harold’s generosity stemmed from a deep place of gratitude in his heart. “The joy of knowing God loved a sinner like him brought tears to his eyes,” recalls Ross. “God gave Dad a big heart—a heart for people and a heart for the Gospel,” offered Ross. “Combined, they were a FORCE—an outgoing, loving, caring, supporting whirlwind that enveloped us all.”
Harold is survived by his five children, Richard, James, Robert, Janet (Buirkle ’83) Ross, and Ruth Hecht; 10 grandchildren; and Susan, Jacob, and Jerry Chacko, who became family to him and his wife, Helen. He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Helen Buirkle.
Cheryl Burdick, 51, died on December 6, 2014 after a battle with cancer. Cheryl earned her M.S. degree from Alfred University and was most recently employed at Rutgers University with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program. She touched many lives with her talents, compassion and friendship. She is survived by her parents, William and Ellen Burdick; two siblings, Scott Burdick and Barbara Lew; close-to-her-heart niece and nephew, Sarah Kate Burdick and Justin Burdick; many relatives and friends in New Jersey; as well as lifelong friends Sara Wilfred and Nan Eddy.
Matthew Dickerson, 34, passed away in November 2014 in Tonawanda, New York. Matt was a member of the US Army National Guard and was working for Home Depot in Tonawanda. He was an avid runner and participated in numerous marathons. He will be remembered as someone with a good heart. Survivors include his parents, Charles and Karen (Jaekley ’76) Dickerson ’80; a brother, Andrew Dickerson ’04; grandmother, Barbara Jaekley; and several aunts, uncles and cousins. He was predeceased by his grandparents, Earl and Gladys Dickerson, and his grandfather, Robert Jaekley.
Arnold W. Cook ’44, emeritus professor and founder of Houghton’s business department, passed away on May 7, 2015, at Warm Beach Senior Community in Stanwood, Washington. Please see the upcoming Fall/Winter 2015 issue of Houghton for an extended tribute to this beloved professor.