Memorial Wall: Classes of 1985, 1986 & 1987
We are pleased to share memorial messages from alumni and friends.
You can create your message using this form, and we will include it in the next update. We will continue to display and periodically update these messages. Memorial messages will be posted through June 30, 2021.
Thank you for remembering those who are no longer with us.
Phil was a fabulous flutist, and much admired in our studio; he was always supportive and helpful, completely unpretentious, and quick with a smile and a wry chuckle. I am so sorry he did not have longer to share his performing and teaching gifts, and grateful to have known him.
Marisa D'Silva remembering Phil Dikeman ’85
Orestes de la Torre Morfín remembering Tom Henderson ’87
Dan was was the perfect example of the quirky Obie who thinks outside the box, his mind imagining things in a different way, whether in everyday life or in his wonderful theater tech work. Always thoughtful, and deeply caring about his friends, offering advice when asked, but otherwise a quiet and insightful observer of humanity.
Karen Mueller-Harder remembering Dan Jagendorf ’86
Remembering my mother, Virginia Parr, 1937-2019. Both she and my father graduated from Oberlin and were inspiration for my decision to attend. As a academic librarian herself, she was an avid supporter of the library throughout her life. She delighted in the monthly Oberlin magazine, and appreciated related work by our classmate Jeff Hagan (’89). She enjoyed meeting my friends from Oberlin and loved it that my good friend and co - Bio Major, Scott Swenson (’89) ended up her temporarily adopted hometown of Cincinnati while he attended Medical School. My mother’s birthday falls on this reunion weekend and I remember her with gratitude and share in her love of our college.
Sarah Lickey remembering Virginia Parr ’59
Miriam Kronberg remembering Dr. Erin Rogers, MD ’87
An energetic, talented, intelligent beautiful woman- gone too soon! May your memory be a blessing to all.
Thomas Sigel remembering Liz Thompson Fuchs ’87
Wendy didn't make it to graduation, and isn't quite in any reunion cluster. She didn't even make it back from her first Fall break. But, in those few weeks she was at Oberlin, she made an impression and difference. I still recall her dancing around during a study break at Barrows, and being an utterly cheerful person.
Christopher Grotke remembering Wendy Danielson ’86
I met Grace during our freshman orientation. Her smile lit up the room and she had a great sense of humor. I remember the last time we saw each other and we both said -“I’ll see you tomorrow.” Tomorrow never came for her. She was a beautiful spirit taken from us too soon.
Anonymous from the Class of 1985 remembering Grace Austin ’85
I sang with Gloria in choir for two years, including the year we went to Carnegie Hall, and I remember her as a lovely and talented person, as well as a warm and friendly one. It’s hard to believe she's gone already. RIP, Gloria.
Dennis remembering Gloria Tatz Sherman ’86
Karl Heiser was a lovely retired gentleman when we met in Oberlin. I don’t remember who suggested we meet. Because one couldn’t Google in the mid-80s, I knew nothing about his incredible professional and academic career— only that he was an alum and had been a psychologist. I visited Karl and Ruth regularly for tea and cookies in their Oberlin home; Ruth always retired after serving tea, and Karl and I talked. He wrote me a lovely letter when I graduated, which I still have. I am quite certain that without this undeclared psychotherapy, I would not have persevered through my last year.
Carrie Smrstik remembering Karl F. Heiser 1926
Rest in Peace to my good friend and housemate Paul Heller. We laughed a lot and I am sorry we had a falling out. I don’t know what happened to Paul but I will always remember him with love.
Jennifer Ries remembering Paul Heller ’86
You were always the most mellow person I knew and incredibly kind. I miss you.
Eva Schlesinger remembering Liz Duff ’87
I wrote this poem after reunion and commencement in 2016, remembering how, after my graduation in 1986, I slipped away from my family with a bottle of champagne to spend my last afternoon in Oberlin with Teresa. We stayed in touch for the rest of her life. She made the time we spent together at Oberlin seem more than special. It felt magical.
There was a weeping willow.
Curtained in green, as if we had found ourselves
a private room in the middle of the square,
we kissed and drank champagne
while the square emptied and the white
folding chairs from commencement
stood like cenotaphs to mark so many departures.
We were the last people left, abandoned by the rapture
of late spring in a college town,
the bubbles of champagne not quite enough to carry us away.
Thirty years have passed since then,
half as many since your brother called
to say he found my letters in the things you left behind
and it seemed we might have been close.
We came close to so many things.
Returning after thirty years, married half my life,
with a son the age that we were then,
I looked for that willow, thinking how it must have grown
grand and almost Shakespearean in its attitude of grief.
But it was gone. The square was a false memory—
the chairs in a different place, and different people.
So this is what it’s like: the world without us.
Rob Hardy remembering Teresa Rittenhouse ’87
All those plays we’ll never see because John had to leave too soon.
Jeanne-Marie Musto remembering John C. Russell ’86
I need new adjectives to describe Teresa, and to convey what she meant to me, and what she still means to me. All the usual ones - brilliant, kind, funny, loyal, forgiving, generous, brave, creative - don't convey the wonder of her. Some quick details: she grew up in Maryland; majored in creative writing; headed to WashU for her master's, where she also took classes in French; was diagnosed with bipolar disorder; the treatments affected her memory, handwriting, trust in doctors; she continued to write; was beginning to recover her place in the world; and then, at the age of 33, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died two weeks later. She was my dearest friend, sending me letters with tiny purple flowers tucked inside. We shared the ridiculous (her high school orchestra teacher couldn't pronounce the name Haydn properly; my favorite number was five), and the hopeful (writing could reveal and transform). Five years to the day after her death, I was attending a French immersion program in Canada. I woke up early, before anyone else, went in to breakfast and over to my usual seat, and discovered that next to my plate lay the familiar tiny purple flowers. I have found that it is possible to go on living, even when the most essential friend I ever had is reduced to ashes that settled onto a Missouri riverbank. But I still miss her every day.
Susan Luciano Gelles remembering Teresa Rittenhouse ’87
In Memoriam: Brian Jones, State Archaeologist
Mark Bousek remembering Brian Jones ’86
Mark Bousek remembering Tom Henderson ’87
Dereic Dorman was a big brother to many of us from my Class of 1988. So I hope you take the time to remember him during your cluster’s reunion, for I am sure he is with you in celebration as well. Derieic/Tchet left us too soon. He was a Diversity Equity and Inclusion pioneer, carving a niche for this interest in education administration that no doubt took its toll on his health. Yet, for those of us who knew him from Oberlin, this career drive was as natural as air.
His larger-than-life bright smile, energy, and innovation live on; and I ask that you join me in sending his family and circle of influence your positive thoughts.
Crystal Miller-O’Brien remembering Dereic Dorman ’87
Todd is very much missed. He had a very big role in everything fun, exciting and unique many of us who knew and loved him associate with Oberlin. He was a Con student and an African American Studies student in the college. This resulted in him spending more time at Oberlin, which was great for me! So instead of officially leaving in ’87, he graduated in ’88.
He was a first generation student. And he haled all the way from his beloved Baltimore, Maryland. He delivered the best in brotherhood to the handful of students who lived with him at ‘the (Lord/Saunders) House.’ He would spend his career as an educator fostering the familiar sense of family we experienced with him in the late 80’s at Oberlin but for colleges that were so lucky to employ him for progressive DEI interest. His “shell” is no longer with us but his memory lives on.
Crystal Miller-O’Brien remembering Todd McFadden ’87
You are not forgotten.
Rod Hsiao remembering Cindy Coffin ’86
Annette, gone in January 1986, but never forgotten.
Mark Brill remembering Annette Kritzer ’87
Environmentalist, adventurer, friend.
Anne Parker Shull remembering Liz Duff ’87
My favorite Obie. Always. ❤️
Anne Parker Shull remembering Ira Shull ’86
He started a Republican Party group on campus, and he had a gruff persona. He might have been the first to bring antique decorations and Persian rugs to his dorm room. On the inside, he was very sensitive and compassionate.
Heather Gram remembering Hans Siegel ’88
With a scholarship, she worked summers in the hills of West Virginia to earn money money for the school years. She wore a blanket for a coat, and walked barefoot. Her history professors had the utmost respect for her.
Heather Gram remembering Sherry Shipe ’88
Keith: You were a member of the Barrows Monastery band mates, though I don’t remember if you lived on the first floor or upstairs. I appreciated your role as peacemaker when I got into an argument with the Intramural basketball team. It’s been many years since you left us. My memory of you is forever fixed in that youthful place. Thank you for being with us for that short but eternal moment. All is okay.
John Charles remembering Keith Scriven ’87
Remembering Marjorie “Midge” Brittingham ’60, former executive director of the Oberlin College Alumni Association. Brittingham served as the executive director of the alumni association for 28 years until her retirement in 2004. She remained in Oberlin and continued her involvement on campus through college and alumni events, including the beloved Sunday dinners she hosted with her husband Smith R. Brittingham III in their home. In 2005, Brittingham was awarded the Oberlin College Alumni Medal to recognize outstanding contributions and achievements to the college, the Alumni Association, and society at large.
Anonymous remembering Marjorie “Midge” Brittingham ’60
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