Spontaneous with a flair for the dramatic; joyful with a true love of scripture; nomadic, adventurous and kind. Norris Greer, professor of music from 1957 to 1967, passed away on July 25, 2012, at the age of 91. “He was so wonderfully unique right to his last breath,” said daughter Karen (Greer ’65) Lynip.
After graduating from the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Norris Greer was intent on “going to the top of his operatic career,” said Lynip. After a dramatic conversion experience, Greer canceled his audition for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and was eventually led to bring his family to rural Western New York to teach at Houghton. Karl Steinberger ’63 studied voice privately with Greer for two years. He recalls, “Mr. Greer was an immensely gifted tenor who gave up a promising operatic career in order to follow the leading of the Lord. I remember so well that during his lessons, he would not only stress vocal pedagogical principles but also stress the importance of seeking the Lord’s will and leading as I pursued my musical studies.”
“My love and respect for this remarkable man will not diminish,” said Lynip. “Dad, at 91, could still recite Scripture without missing a line, was still sight-reading very difficult classical piano pieces and breaking into operatic arias right on pitch!”
Twelve days after Norris’ passing, his wife, Margaret Kenyon Greer, went to be with the Lord as well. The two are survived by their seven children, Karen, Keith Greer ’67, Mary Jane (Greer ’70) Johnson, Kathryn (Greer ’73) Seekins, Margaret Wilson, Judith Trecha and Rebecca Beil; and several grandchildren, including Keith Lynip ’92, Bryan Lynip ’94, and Kathryn Lynip ’98.
Joseph A. Sweigard Jr., 80, passed away Wednesday, June 6, 2012, at Southern Care Assisted Living in Franklin, Tenn. He was self-employed as a construction estimator and was a member and past president of the York Rescue Mission in York, Pa. In addition to his wife, Margaret Sweigard, he is survived by three sons; a daughter; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother.
Elizabeth F. Vogan
Elizabeth F. Vogan passed away on June 13, 2012, in Mooers, N.Y. She was 99 years old.
Vogan was a retired English teacher and served as the librarian at Mooers Free Library for 40 years. She was an active member of Mooers Wesleyan Church where she taught Sunday school and was secretary-treasurer of Wesleyan Women.
In 1937, Elizabeth Fordon married Paul E. Vogan ’32, and since that time, many of their children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren have graduated from Houghton College.
She is survived by five children, including sons Robert ’60 and John ’62; daughter Carolyn (Vogan ’66) Tysinger; twelve grandchildren, including Rohn Vogan ’84, Jonathan C. Vogan ’85, Kimberly (Vogan ’87) Kerr, Jeffrey P. Vogan ’91, and James W. Tysinger III ’88; twenty-six great-grandchildren, including Andrew Vogan ’09, Matthew Vogan ’13, Connor Vogan ’15, Jonathan R. Vogan ’10, Jacob Vogan ’15, and Michael Kerr ’15; and one great-great-grandchild.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul, in 2007; as well as her parents and siblings.
Gertrude (Wolfer) Saunders, 97, died Thursday, March 29, 2012, at the Eastside Nursing Facility in Warsaw, N.Y., where she had been residing. After graduating from Houghton, Gertrude taught music in several rural schools in Allegany and Wyoming Counties and was a life insurance agent for Baptist Life Association in Buffalo, N.Y., for many years. She is survived by four sons, 12 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband of over seventy years, Vernon Saunders; two sisters and a brother.
Ernestine (Austin) McFarland Whybrew passed away Sunday, May 27, 2012, in Cuba Memorial Hospital Palliative Care in Cuba, N.Y. Ernestine retired from a lifelong teaching career in 1992. Surviving are two daughters, eight grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, a brother, and several nieces and nephews. In addition to her first husband and her parents, she was predeceased by her husband of 30 years, Robert Whybrew, in 2008; a brother; and a great-granddaughter.
Lois (Shea '38) Wright
Lois (Shea ’38) Wright, died Monday, July 16, 2012, at home in Onondaga Hill, N.Y. She was 95 years old.
Lois Laura Hope Shea was born in Ottawa, Canada, in 1916 – number six out of the eight Shea children born to evangelist Adam J. Shea and his wife, Maude Whitney Shea. She was just a baby when her father moved his family from Canada to Houghton, N.Y. in 1917. According to A Short History of the Shea Family compiled by several of the Shea siblings in 1990, “Alton ’36, and little Lois played with friends among whom were Robert Luckey and Willard Smith, running around the grassy fields which now comprise the college campus.” Until their return to Canada in 1921, the Shea family lived in Greenberg Cottage — a house overlooking the Genesee River on the plateau where the Reinhold Campus Center now stands.
“My mother loved Houghton College,” says daughter Nancy (Wright ’70) Tucker.
“Lois was very generous to the Houghton College Art Department over the years,” said Roselyn (Ballard ’84) Danner, former director of the Ortlip Art Gallery. “Her unrestricted gifts made some things possible for the department that might not have come about otherwise.”
“I would describe her as a gracious hostess, hospitable, always eager to learn and interested in current affairs,” remembers nephew Paul Shea ’69. “She was a great reader!” recalls niece Eila Shea ’66, “and she always served great meals. Even if it was a sandwich lunch, it had all the trimmings!”
Lois is survived by her daughters Nancy and Janet McElwee; son Geoffrey Wright; sister Ruth (Shea ’41) Willett; brothers George Beverly ’32 and Alton; three grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband, Kenneth W. Wright, M.D., in 2003.
Rev. Clinton C. Boone died of a heart attack on Sunday, March 25, 2012, at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, N.Y. He was 90. Boone was pastor emeritus of Union Baptist Church in Hempstead, N.Y., where he served for 47 years before his retirement in 2003. He is survived by his son, the Rev. Clinton C. Boone III and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Evelyn, in 1999; his second wife, Lelar, in 2011; and his sister Rachel (Boone ’43) Keith.
Bert Harold Hall
Master teacher and good friend; role model and mentor; family man, gentleman and scholar. Bert Harold Hall ’43, died Sunday, July 15, 2012, in Houston, Texas. He was 91 years old.
‘Doc Hall’ served Houghton College from 1947 to 1973 as professor of philosophy, dean of students, chairman of the department of religion and philosophy, and academic dean. “He loved Houghton,” recalls emeritus philosophy professor, Larry Mullen. “He was a spiritual leader on campus” and impacted the lives of students and faculty alike.
“Not often does an individual have the good fortune to experience superb mentoring from the same faculty member from the freshman year of college through the mid-point of an academic career,” recalls former faculty colleague Dr. James Barcus ’60. “[He modeled] the life of scholar/teacher who teaches, publishes, and cares for his family with equal vigor and commitment.”
For former student, Bob Sabean ’58, Hall’s influence determined the entire direction of his life and ministry. “The fact that I have been a missionary in Latin America for 47 years using Christian camping as a base for ministry may fall quite a bit on the shoulders of Doc Hall,” remarked Sabean.
Warren Woolsey ’43, professor emeritus of New Testament and missions, was first a classmate of Hall, then a fellow faculty member of the religion and philosophy department of which Hall was chair. "He set a high standard of academic excellence but was also concerned for personal spiritual growth,” recalls Woolsey.
“He was always a kind man, and he was fun. My childhood was filled with his involvement,” recalls daughter Elizabeth “Betty Jo” Hall ’69. “He was physically active, intellectually stimulating, and compassionate. He was a truly self-made man, a life well lived.”
Hall will be greatly missed by his wife of 69 years, Harriet (Kalla ’43) Hall; daughters Lucy (Hall ’66) Novak, Elizabeth, and Cyndi (Hall ’73) Rigby; grandsons Matthew Hall Rigby ’02 and Nathaniel Rigby ’05; his sister and great-granddaughters.
Jessie E. Taylor, 86, died Friday, March 30, 2012, at Heritage Village Rehab and Skilled Nursing in Gerry, N.Y. Jessie was a music teacher for over 35 years at Bible schools and colleges throughout the country before her retirement. She is survived by cousins and friends.
Meredith Warburton Kellogg passed away on March 30, 2012. He served in the Signal Corps of the U.S. Army in India during World War II and was a member of the founding faculty of Niagara County Community College, where he taught physics for 23 years. Meredith was a third-generation Houghton student, preceded in death by his grandmother, the Rev. Carrie B. Warburton, and his mother Mary (Warburton) Kellogg. He is survived by his wife, Marjorie (Lawrence ‘49) Kellogg; four children: David ’79, Roger, Sharon (Kellogg ’82)Freeman, Judy Trentini; eight grandchildren, including Joe Kellogg ’07, Tim Kellogg ’08, Beth (Freeman ’04) McRoberts; and two great grandchildren.
Calvin S. Clark passed away Saturday, May 12, 2012, in the Heritage Green Rehab and Skilled Nursing Center in Greenhurst, N.Y. He was 84. Calvin was a veteran of the United States Navy, serving during the Korean War era from 1952 to 1955, where he received an honorable discharge and the National Defense Service Ribbon. He was a display specialist at the former Bigelow’s Department Store and then worked as a dietician for Heritage Park Nursing Home in Jamestown, N.Y., until his retirement. He is survived by cousins Judith Presutti, John Clark and Eunice Schmitt. He was preceded in death by a brother Wesley Clark.
Virginia (Taylor) Jennings died in Albany, N.Y., on May 11, 2011. She was s a legal secretary for many years and also worked for the N.Y.S. Senate. Ginny is survived by her daughter, Amy (Jennings ’93) Pemberton, a grandson, Joseph Craig Pemberton, a brother-in-law, and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband of 49 years, Charles Jennings ’48, and by her sister, Janet Pettitt.
Charles D. Shickley, 84, passed away at home in Sandusky, Ohio on April 4, 2012. He served with the U.S. Marine Corps in North China at the end of World War II and was a registered professional engineer in the state of Ohio. While a student at Houghton, Charles assisted former President Stephen Paine with the planning of his new home on Circle Drive by drawing up the blueprints in 1950. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Joanne; five children, including Elaine (Shickley ’76) Haaga and Jan (Shickley ’76) Morse; eight grandchildren, including Ritter and HiUan (Kang ’06) Haaga ’04; and four great-grandchildren, including one on the way at the time of his death. He was predeceased by his sister, Margaret (Shickley ’51) Isenberg.
Derold I. Kaine died Sunday, Dec 4, 2011, at his home in Kansas City, Mo. He was 79. Derold served in the U.S Army, taught instrumental music and was a postmaster. Surviving are his wife of 53 years, Bertha; two children, Marjorie Lampley and Ronald Kaine; two granddaughters; and two sisters. He was preceded in death by his brother, Charles.
Eloise (Driscoll) Brown died on June 19, 2012, in her home surrounded by her family. She was 80 years old. Eloise worked for several years at the Office of Children and Youth in Sullivan County, Pa., then taught kindergarten and third grade until her retirement in 1997. She is survived by her husband of nearly 60 years, Richard M. Brown ’55; two daughters; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and two siblings, including Doris (Driscoll ’42) Wells. She was preceded in death by an infant granddaughter; three brothers; and two sisters.
Rev. Dr. James Ridgway
Rev. Dr. James Ridgway ’55, one of the last remaining participants in the founding of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia and the recognized elder statesman of the church, passed away on September 19, 2012, at his home in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, of natural causes. He was 82 years old.
Jim Ridgway came to Houghton as a student in 1953 from his native Melbourne, Australia “possessed of a keen mind,” read former Houghton College President Daniel Chamberlain at Ridgway’s Honorary Degree Citation in 1995. “By overcoming elements of culture shock, by recognizing and seizing opportunities, and by hard work….he graduated in 1955 as president of his senior class.” He went on to receive master’s degrees from Wheaton and Asbury Seminary, as well as his Ph.D. in psychology and religion from Drew University. Over the years, he served The Wesleyan Church as pastor, prison and college chaplain, professor, counselor and district and national superintendent.
Ridgway has been described as a man who never let go of his passion for and commitment to the mission of The Wesleyan Church in Australia. “He was a scholar who also was a pastor and leader with vision,” recalled Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, general superintendent of the North American General Conference of The Wesleyan Church. “The global Wesleyan Church continues to follow [his] vision.”
“Most of all,” said Dr. Don Bray, former general director of Global Partners, “he was a friend of God who loved the Lord passionately and with a pure heart.”
He is survived by his wife, Melva (LeRoy ’55) Ridgway, his children and grandchildren.
Constance (Perrine) Skeele, 73, passed away April 29, 2012, in Chittenango, N.Y. Connie was a full-time mother and wife and served as a pianist/organist and choir director for 34 years. She is survived by her husband of 50 years, C. Winslow Skeele Jr.; and her seven children, Mike, Debra Dehgan, Frank, Scott, Steven, Shawn ’78 and Martha (Roeske ’90) Skeele and Shea Skeele. She is also survived by her younger brother, Daniel Perrine ’67.
Linda (Button) Hughes died Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at the Hospeace House in Naples, N.Y. She was 68 years old. She retired as a computer programmer from Thompson Publishing in Rochester, N.Y., and worked for a few years at the West Bloomfield Post Office after her retirement. Linda is survived by her husband, Robert Hughes ’66, and many friends.
Owen Ndungu passed away at the Nairobi Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday, August 20, 2012. He worked in the Kenyan government for many years and later owned his own business. Most recently he was chairman of Avo-health, a produce and packing house based out of Kenya. Owen is survived by his wife, Amme; ten children, including Benjamin Ndungu ’89, and several grandchildren.
Rev. Dr. Paul Stanley Wilcox passed away on November 9, 2011, after a 3 ½ year battle with leiomyosarcoma. Paul served for nearly 40 years as a pastor in central Pennsylvania and Alaska. He is survived by his wife, Joy (Parmelee ’70) Wilcox, and three children, Amy Perez, Daniel Wilcox, and Rebekah Wilcox. Six grandchildren love and miss their ‘Grampa’ as well. He is also survived by his mother, Dorothy (Stanley ’43) Wilcox and his sister, Linda Wilcox ’76.
Barclay “Skip” D. Potts Jr., 59, passed away Friday, June 8, 2012, at Oswego Hospital in Oswego, N.Y. Skip was employed as a rural mail carrier out of the U.S. Post Office in Richland, N.Y., for 26 years. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl (Greenfield ’76) Potts; two daughters, Janelle Potts ’04 and Joelle Potts ’07; one son, Brett Potts ’09; three siblings, including Linda (Potts ’79) Walrod; his parents; and several nieces and nephews.
Pamela Sue Campbell Todd
Pamela Sue (Campbell ’78) Todd lost her battle with ovarian cancer on May 24, 2012, in Tucson, Arizona.
Over the last 20 years, Pam taught the love, theory and performance of music to students in Christian schools and churches. She was a member of various orchestras and symphonies, playing the French horn and piano, as well as conducting and participating in choirs throughout her life.
“Pam was a wonderful musician and deeply invested in her church community,” said Jeff Kirksey, Dean of Admission and Retention. “She really embodied what a well-rounded Houghton graduate can offer to a community.”
Pam left a legacy of “joy in the Lord,” and her abiding faith and resilient spirit blessed all she met. She is survived by her husband, Ken, son Jonathan, brother Mark Campbell and his wife Maureen, niece Erin and her husband Jeremy Herring and grandniece Cadance, and niece Kaitlyn Campbell.
Matthew W. Yeager, 39, passed away Saturday, March 13, 2012, at his mother’s home in Fayetteville, Pa. Matt was a student at Houghton when he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue and can cause problems in the eyes, joints, and heart. He underwent open heart surgery in 1994 and was able to graduate from Houghton in 1995. In March 2011, he suffered a massive stroke while being evaluated for a heart transplant. Matt is survived by his mother, Maxine Yeager; two brothers, Mark and Michael; a sister, Deborah Yeager Lee; five nephews; and three nieces. He was preceded in death by his father, Donald E. Yeager.
Tammy (Gierlinger) Sobczak died May 12, 2012 in West Seneca, N.Y. She was 41. Tammy worked for Catholic Health Systems as a CDM analyst in the Finance Department. She is survived by her husband, Charles Sobczak; her parents, Frank X. III and Claudia “Candy” Gierlinger; three brothers; and several nieces and nephews.
Amanda (Sweeney) Anna, 31, died following an accident in the line of duty on Saturday, May 26, 2012, at University Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y. Anna was a six-year veteran with the New York State Police and was assigned to the Hastings, N.Y., barracks where she devoted her passion to her community. She is survived by her four-year-old son, Ethan Charles Anna; her fiancé, Andrew Lodge and his three children; her parents, Florence and Frank Wallace; two brothers, Vernon and Craig Wallace; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.