Showing Category: Life Stories

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Carmelita Troy's Father Passed Away

Carmelita Troy, associate professor of accounting, lost her father, Owen Troy, on Sunday. Owen retired from serving as the communication director for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists in 1995. Please join us in expressing our sorrow for her loss. 

Details can be found here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Steve Wright Passes Away

William Stephen “Steve” Wright, 70, of Berrien Springs, passed away in Berrien Springs on Thursday, March 13. Steve was born on February 1, 1944, to his parents LaVerne and Virginia Wright in Buchanan, Michigan. He graduated from Galien High School in 1962. He attended classes at Grace College, Lake Michigan College, Andrews University, Western Michigan University, and graduated with high honors from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Industrial Arts Education.

<<< Read his full obit >>>

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Scholarship Fund for VanderWaal Children

We want to thank you for the contributions that have been made to the Scholarship Fund for the VanderWaal children, Michael, Ben and Emma, in memory of their mother, Sue, who died 2/22 after a two-year battle with cancer. The support the Andrews community has shown for the family has meant a lot to them. If you are interested in contributing to this fund please go to:

If you have any questions, please contact Jan Wrenn in the Department of Social Work at 269-471-6677.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Live Streaming of Sue VanderWaal's Memorial Service

Visitation and Memorial Service
Visitation for Sue VanderWaal will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 5–8 p.m. in the Pioneer Memorial Church Youth Chapel. The Memorial Service will be held Thursday, Feb. 27, at 2 p.m. in Pioneer Memorial Church.

Live Streaming
Sue's memorial service will be live streamed at Please share this link with those who are unable to attend in person.

Educational Fund Established for VanderWaal Children
An opportunity to contribute to an educational fund for Sue's children has been set up by friends and colleagues at


Sue VanderWaal, wife of Curt VanderWaal, research professor of social work and chair of the Department of Social Work, died Sabbath, Feb. 22, after a hard-fought, two-year battle with cancer. Sue and Curt have three children, Michael and Ben, who are students at Andrews University, and Emma, who attends Village Adventist Elementary School.

Condolences and memories may be posted in the comments below. Please remember the family and friends of Sue in your prayers as they mourn her loss.

Susan Denise Copin VanderWaal was born on October 27, 1964, as the youngest child of John and Edith Copin of Hickory Corners, Mich. She joined older siblings John, Jeanne and Teresa.

Sue grew up in the Battle Creek area and attended elementary and secondary school at Battle Creek Academy, from which she graduated in 1982. She continued her education at Andrews University and Lake Michigan College, receiving an associate degree from LMC and achieving her RN in 1985. She subsequently completed her BS from the University of Michigan and her Master of Science in Nursing with a clinical specialization from Andrews University.

In elementary school, one grade ahead of her, Sue met Curtis Jon VanderWaal. They completed school, worked at summer camp together, and married in Urbandale, Mich., on June 16, 1985. Sue was happy to expand her family to include Curt’s parents, Pat and Neal, and his siblings, and they became very dear to each other.

Together Sue and Curt continued their education and started their professional careers. Sue first embraced her vocation of caring for babies at the University of Michigan hospital, in the continuing care nursery. When the VanderWaals moved to the Berrien Springs, Mich., area in 1990, Sue began work at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Ind., where she pursued her career for the next 24 years. She began as a staff nurse, worked as a primary nurse, and later managed the unit’s computer systems and services. She also served as assistant unit director. In the course of her career, she was responsible for hands-on care of her tiny patients, training of new staff, transporting babies to and from the hospital, parent education and helping to administer the unit. Her colleagues universally remember her and speak of her as compassionate, patient, intelligent—a versatile, gifted nurse. Sue was especially empathetic to the stress of the new parents and bonded with many of them, keeping in touch through the unit’s annual family reunions at which she was rewarded by seeing her “babies” growing up happy and robust.

Sue and Curt welcomed their own babies into their family, beginning with Michael Jon in 1991, then Benjamin Edward in 1995, and Emma Denise in 2001. A devoted mother, Sue helped out at school, cheered them on at many games, supported their participation in the Berrien County Youth Fair, nurtured their many interests, helped take care of their animals, loved and “adopted” their friends, and loved each child unconditionally. Sue and Curt loved to travel with their family throughout the United States and also to Europe.

In early 2012, Sue and her family learned that she had breast cancer. She fought valiantly through surgeries, radiation and chemo, and enjoyed every minute with family and friends. But the disease progressed to her brain and spine, and Sue lost her battle on Saturday, February 22, 2014. She was tenderly nursed through the final days of her illness by her family and especially her dear friends Connie Guerra and DeEtta Chen.

Sue was preceded in death by her mother, Edith Copin, in 1981. She is survived by her husband Curt, her children, Michael, Benjamin and Emma (all at home), her father John Copin and her stepmother Della, her brother John (Ruth Ann) Copin, her sisters Jeanne (Dale) Dent and Teresa (Mark) Cope, her father and mother-in-law Neal and Patricia VanderWaal and their children, Greg (Kimberly), Gail (James) Micheff, Robert (Jennifer), and Chris (Macie), many nieces and nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews, and a myriad of friends.

Donations in Sue’s memory may be made to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of Memorial Hospital of South Bend, c/o Diane Freel, 615 N Michigan Street, South Bend, IN 46601.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Helen Lungu Passes Away

Helen Lungu passed away on Feb. 2, 2014. A viewing will take place at noon on Sunday, Feb. 9, at PMC. A memorial service will follow at 1 p.m. 

For more details check here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Death of Former Student

We in the Andrews community are grieving this week as we learn of the death of former student Steaven Lichtenwalter. Steaven attended Andrews up through last semester, when he then left to tend for his ailing grandmother in California. He passed away on Friday, Jan. 31.

A memorial service for him will be held at the Village Church in Berrien Springs on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. He will be buried in California.

Please feel free to leave messages of condolences or share memories you have of Steaven in the comments below. You can also join the conversation on his memorial page on Facebook (you must have a Facebook account to view and contribute to this page).

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Death of Leona Running

Live streaming of Dr. Running's funeral will be available at at the time of her funeral, 2 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 30.

Leona Glidden Running, 97, professor emerita of biblical languages at Andrews University, died on Jan. 22, 2014, in Berrien Springs, Mich., after nearly six decades of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary and Andrews University.

Viewing will take place at Allred Funeral Home, 212 W Main Street, Berrien Springs, on Wednesday, Jan. 29, from 6–8 p.m. The funeral is at Pioneer Memorial Church on Thursday, Jan. 30, at 2 p.m. Interment will take place at Rose Hill Cemetery in Berrien Springs immediately following the service. Please remember her extended family and friends as they grieve.

Niels-Erik Andreasen, president of Andrews University, shared the following statement: “During her long and productive life Dr. Running broke new ground in the University and in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She was the first female professor at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Takoma Park, Md., and later here at Andrews. She was the first Adventist woman to earn a doctorate in Ancient Near Eastern Studies (Johns Hopkins University), with a specialization in ancient Syriac texts. She overcame the grief of losing her husband early in life and built her exemplary academic and professional calling. Following her retirement she continued to share her linguistic skill with graduate students (Syriac, Egyptian, Akkadian, Hebrew, Aramaic, and almost any other language these students cared to learn). And she served the University with her editorial talents, improving a good many of its publications over the years… She was an inspiration to many and an example to us all.”

Jiri Moskala, dean of the Andrews University Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, says: “Dr. Running holds a special place in the hearts of her Old Testament and Seminary colleagues and former students, who greatly appreciated her mentoring during their Seminary years. She was the first woman professor at the SDA Theological Seminary and was indeed a woman of remarkable skills and influence… We praise the Lord for her life and faithful ministry!”

William Shea, a close colleague, estimates that “Leona assisted more students in writing doctoral dissertations than any other faculty member of Andrews University. She has probably touched the educational lives of more Seventh-day Adventist ministers than any other woman except Ellen White.”

Born on Aug. 24, 1916, in Flint, Mich., to Charles Comstock Glidden and Leona Mary Bertha Boat Glidden, Leona showed an early attraction to languages. Her mother, a teacher, began coaching her in reading skills when she was 3 or 4, and she entered Grade 4 at age 8. She graduated from Adelphian Academy in Holly, Mich.

Running graduated from Andrews University (then Emmanuel Missionary College) as valedictorian in 1937 with a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in modern languages. She went on to earn an M.A. in Greek and Hebrew from the Adventist Theological Seminary in 1955, and a Ph.D. in Semitic languages from Johns Hopkins University in 1964.

She married Leif (“Bud”) Running on May 17, 1942. On August 20, 1946, when Bud was 37 and Leona almost 30, he died while undergoing his third lung operation.

During her early professional years, Running served the Seventh-day Adventist Church in many capacities. From 1944–1948 she worked in the Foreign Language Division of the radio program Voice of Prophecy, translating programs and typing scripts in German, Spanish and Portuguese. In 1950 she moved to Washington, D.C., to become the copy editor for Ministry magazine. During these early years, Running often earned far less than her male counterparts for doing the same amount of work. Nevertheless, she continued to do God’s work, traveling to many European countries, promoting the Seventh-day Adventist Church and, at the same time, expanding her cultural experience.

Running began working for the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in 1955, teaching Greek and Hebrew. At the time, the president of the seminary was skeptical about a woman’s ability to teach male students, and male students’ willingness to be taught by a woman. She began teaching on a trial basis, but in 1956 she was granted regular status and, shortly after, full tenure.

Not content to sit on the sidelines and watch her students, Running was actively involved in their professional and personal development, and her guidance helped countless individuals find their voice. Her strength and determination during a time when women were not always treated as equals with men, even within the church, were an inspiration to many.

When the Seminary was moved from Takoma Park, Md. to Berrien Springs, Mich. in 1960, Running came with it, continuing on as a valuable and dedicated professor of biblical languages. Siegfried Horn, professor of history of antiquity at the seminary, nominated her to the Chicago Society of Biblical Research, and she served as the first female president from 1981–82.

Among her many interests, Running traveled extensively. In 1951, she traveled with Del Delker to the Paris Youth Congress and to seven European countries. Later she published 36 Days and a Dream, recounting her trip. In 1957, she joined Siegfried Horn’s first guided study tour to Europe and the Middle East. She wrote another travelogue of this trip, published in 1958 as From Thames to Tigris. In 1965 she traveled through Europe and studied six weeks in Israel, ending with a trip through Western Turkey and a cruise of the Aegean isles. In 1970, she again traveled through Europe to spend eight days in Iran, a weekend on Cyprus, and 10 days in Israel. In 1974, she taught in a summer session at Newbold College, England, then spent three weeks in both France and Germany.

For many years Leona collected articles, journals and books on women in ministry. She donated the collection to the Center for Adventist Research in the James White Library (,%20Leona%20Running%20Women%20in%20Church%20and%20Society%20Collection.pdf). The most notable of her multiple publications is William Foxwell Albright: A Twentieth-Century Genius, published by Morgan Press in 1975, a 436-page biography on the “Dean of Biblical Archaeologists.”

She retired from teaching at her 65th birthday, but for 21 years she continued to teach Egyptian, Akkadian and Syriac in the seminary, finally quitting in May 2002. At the May 2012 commencement ceremony, Leona was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Andrews University.

Leona Running was predeceased by her husband, Leif Running; her parents, Charles and Leona Glidden; her sister, Beth Habenicht; and her niece, Linda Joy Habenicht.

Besides countless former students and friends around the world, she leaves to mourn her nieces, Merry Habenicht Knoll and husband Thomas Russell Knoll Sr. of Walla Walla, Wash., and Cheeri Lee Roberts of Queensbury, N.Y., along with numerous grandnieces and grandnephews.

Here are some additional resources you may be interested in:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ray Witzel Passes Away

Ray Witzel passed away Monday, Jan. 13. A memorial service was held Sunday, Jan. 19, at PMC. For details and his full obituary, click here.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Alumnus Stops to Help

Local ER doctor and Andrews University alumnus Jason Hamel was noted in the Journal Era for stopping on his way to work to assist a handicapped woman who had fallen in the snow and could not get up. See the attached file for the full story and a letter of thanks from a grateful citizen.

Thank You from the Paynes

On behalf of my daughter, Sheri, and her family, I would like to thank my campus community for the outpouring of caring and concern and especially the prayers for my grandson, Ewan, as he underwent chemo for a massive abdominal lymphoma. I am happy to report that he completed all five rounds of chemo in three months (half the time they initially indicated) and was discharged from BC Children’s Hospital on December 23, cancer-free and just in time for Christmas. God’s fingerprints could be found all throughout this very difficult but amazing journey. I am particularly thankful for His grace and mercy and of course, your prayers. Ewan turned three years old two weeks ago and is eating well and driving his two older sisters crazy, so all is well in his house!

                                                  -- Dalry and Stephen Payne

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bruce Ronk Passed Away

Bruce Ronk, 77, died Monday, January 13, 2014, at Hanson Hospice Center in Stevensville, Mich. Dr. Ronk was a long-time professor in the Department of English and continued to support their work by establishing The Bruce Ronk Research Award for Department of English faculty.

A viewing will occur at Allred's Funeral Home in Berrien Springs on Thursday, Jan. 16, from 5–7 p.m. His funeral service will be held in the PMC Youth Chapel on Friday, Jan. 17, at 3 p.m.

Please remember his family and colleagues in your thoughts and prayers.


Ella Oetman Passes Away

Ella Louise Oetman, the mother of Shirley Lehmann, assistant preschool teacher at The Crayon Box, passed away Saturday, January 11. Read her obituary here. Visitation will take place at Pioneer Memorial Church on Friday, Jan. 17, at 10 a.m., followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m.

Monday, December 30, 2013

John Dry Passes Away

John Dry, husband of Marilyn Dry, long-time employee of RMES, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 18. Read his obituary here. A celebration of life service wil take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Village Adventist Church in Berrien Springs.

Loren Hummel Passes Away

Long-time Andrews University employee Loren Hummel passed away Friday morning in Niles, Mich. Read his obituary here. Funeral services were held in PMC on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bill Goulet Passed Away

Waste Water Treatment Operator Bill Goulet, contracted for Andrews through Fleis & Vandenbrink Engineering, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, Dec. 14. "It’s so sad, he was  such a nice guy and an excellent worker us," says Paul Elder, plant manager at Andrews University. "He did a superb job maintaining our WWTP. He was always sharing his summer produce from his garden with us here at Plant Services. We will miss him dearly." 

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Coloma, Mich.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Robert Fadeley Passes Away

Robert Fadeley, retired professor of psychology, passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 3.  He had been under hospice care for a number of weeks prior to his death. A memorial service will be held for him in Arizona.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Passing of Gatha Williams, Mother of Inez Reyes

Gatha Williams, the mother of Inez Reyes, Administrative Assistant in the Office of Human Resources, passed away on Thursday, November 21, 2013.  Services will be on Friday, November 29 at 11:00am at the South Nashville Seventh-day Adventist Church on 244 Tusculum Road in Antioch, Tennessee.

Please continue to keep Inez and her family in your prayers during this difficult time.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Students' Father Passes Away

Alex Vargas, father of two current Andrews University students, passed away suddenly on Sunday, Oct. 27. Services were held Friday, Nov. 1. Click here to read his obituary.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Geri Neidigh Passes Away

Geri Neidigh, mother-in-law of Walt Williams, a recent retiree from the Seminary, and mother of Carol Williams, a retired employee of the Center for Adventist Research, passed away October 12. Read her full obituary here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Neil and Tina (Nedelcu) Carruthers Pass Away

Neil Carruthers, 34, and his wife, Tina (Nedelcu), passed away within hours of each other in August. Neil was a graduate of Andrews University. Read the full story here.

Roger Vitrano Passed Away

Roger Steven Vitrano passed away Sept. 2, 2013.  A memorial service will be held on Oct. 19 at 4 p.m. in Orrison Chapel of Andrews Academy in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Interment will occur at Rose Hill Cemetery in Berrien Springs where Roger will be buried next to his parents. Online messages may be left at In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation in his name be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Click here for the full obituary. 

Help Verlyn Benson

Verlyn Benson (former Dean of College of Technology and now Assistant to Provost and President) has been stricken with a rare and very serious form of liver cancer.  The tumor is large and invasive.  He is going to Mayo Clinic weekly for chemo treatments and blood work.  This is expensive and there have been a number of requests from those who would like to help with his heavy travel costs.  On a website for donations, “Give Forward”, a page has been set up for contributing to Verlyn’s expenses:  He also is blogging at:  (You may make donations to the Caring Bridge but they are to support that website and not Verlyn’s medical travel expenses.)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Father of Student Passes Away

The father of Mwaka Chambwa, a student from Zambia, passed away last week. Mwaka is a student in the seminary (MDiv) and has requested that the campus keep his family in our prayers during this very difficult time.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Funeral Arrangements for Judy Chittick

Judy Chittick, wife of Tom Chittick (recently retired chair of the Department of Agriculture), passed to her rest Sunday evening, Sept. 1, after a brief battle with brain cancer.

Visitation will take place at Allred Funeral Home in Berrien Springs on Wednesday, Sept. 4, between 6-8 p.m. The funeral service will be held at Pioneer Memorial Church on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 2 p.m., followed by interment at Rose Hill Cemetery.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Adventist Frontier Missions. Please remember the Chittick family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Funeral Arrangements for Nancy Miller

Nancy Miller, administrative assistant for the Department of Teaching, Learning & Curriculum in the School of Education, died on Friday, August 23, after a short battle with cancer. She had worked at Andrews University since 1986.

Viewing is at Allred’s Funeral Home on Thursday, August 29, from 6–8 p.m. Her funeral service will take place on Friday, August 30, at 1 p.m. at the Village Seventh-day Adventist Church. Please remember her son, Zachary, and extended family members during this difficult time.

Death of Joyce Augsburger

Joyce Pammel Augsburger, 93, of Berrien Springs, died at Lakeland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mich., on August 25, 2013, after a heart attack three days before. Joyce was the wife of Daniel Augsburger, long-time faculty member at Andrews University. A memorial service is scheduled for Sabbath, Oct. 12, 4 p.m., at the PMC Youth Chapel. Memorials may be given to Your Story Hour. Allred Funeral Home in Berrien Springs is entrusted with arrangements, and online messages may be left at

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Edwin F. Buck

Edwin F. Buck, Jr., 92, passed away on August 5, 2013, at Woodland Terrace of Longmeadow, Niles, Mich., after several years of declining health.  A person of many interests, his priorities were his teaching and students, airplanes and flying, photography, the church, and family and friends.  Buck received a bachelor’s degree in theology and a master’s degree in counseling and guidance from Andrews University.  A private graveside service is planned.

Monday, July 29, 2013

100th Birthday Reception for Betty Garber

August 11, 2013
2 p.m.
Chan Shun Hall

The family of Betty Garber invites her University friends and acquaintances to join her for a video presentation chronicling her life followed by a reception honoring her 100th birthday beginning at 2 p.m. in Chan Shun Hall on Sunday, August 11.   

Betty has been associated with Andrews University for more than 60 years as a Berrien Springs resident, the wife of a University administrator, and through her support of students attending the University by providing both funds and housing. Her late husband, V.E. Garber, served as the chief financial officer at Andrews University from 1953 to 1976. Betty and her husband graduated from Andrews in 1935, as well as her two sons, Jim and Bill, who will be hosting the reception.

Personal greetings by card are welcome at:
P.O. Box 750755
Dayton OH 45475

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Digital Learning and Instructional Technology Department Expanding

School of Distance Education
Department of Digital Learning and Instructional Technology

The Digital Learning and Instructional Technology (DLiT) Department in the School of Distance Education is expanding! Samuel Villamizar joined our support team on June 17, 2013. Previously he served as Technology Director for Village Adventist Elementary School, where he was responsible for the school’s computers and network, teacher training, website support, and videoconferencing services. We are pleased to have the additional technical support he will provide.

Samuel will be providing additional technical Moodle support as the Learning Systems Administrator. Marsha Beal’s title has changed to Instructional Designer, and she will be focusing on instructional technology for on-campus courses as well as online course design. She will also continue to do Moodle training for faculty as well as other instructional technology training. Janine Lim will continue supporting Andrews University online programs as well as coordinating the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Welcome to Caleb Noe Velez

Caleb Noe Velez was born May 29, 2013, at 7 lbs 10 oz, and 21 inches. His proud parents are Maria Velez, payroll supervisor (Office of Human Resources), and Noe Velez, groundskeeper supervisor (Office of the Arboretum). Congratulations to Maria and Noe!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mother of Linda Brinegar Died May 20

Wanda Lee Easley, 73 of Harvey, N.D., died on Monday, May 20, 2013 at her home. She was the mother of Linda Brinegar, executive chef, Andrews University Dining Services. Funeral services were held on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Harvey. For lifesketch visit the following link:

Please remember Linda and her family in your thoughts and prayers as they mourn this loss.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wilfrida Ruiz, 91, Died May 19

Wilfrida Ruiz, 91, died at her home in Berrien Springs on Sunday, May 19, 2013. She was the mother of Willyta Ruiz-Wamack, housing coordinator for University Towers, and Luz Ruiz, administrative assistant for the School of Architecture, Art & Design.

Wilfrida dedicated her life as an Adventist educator for 31 years in her native country of Peru. She was preceded in death by her husband Esteban Clodomiro Ruiz who died in 1975. She retired in 1981 and decided to move to the U.S. to join her two daughters in Texas. In 1989 she moved to Berrien Springs, following Willyta and Douglas  Wamack who were here to pursue their studies. While at AU, she was able to fulfill her longtime dream that was postponed when she had to take care of her husband after he became ill. In 1995, at age 73, she received her master's degree in Religious Education. Wilfrida slept in Jesus at her home with both daughters at her bedside. She will be surely missed.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, May 24, at Pioneer Memorial Church. There will be a visitation from 12-1 p.m., with a funeral service at 1 p.m. Burial in Rose Hill Cemetery will follow. Online messages for the family may be left at The family requests that memorial donations be made to the Architecture Missions Group for Palpa School, c/o School of Architecture, Art & Design.

Please remember Willyta, Luz and their entire family in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

Richard Schwarz, 87, Died May 16

Richard Schwarz, prominent Seventh-day Adventist historian, teacher and administrator, passed away last Thursday, May 16, in Hawaii. Schwarz taught at EMC and later Andrews University much of his career, specializing in the history of the Adventist Church. His book, Light Bearers to the Remnant, was published in 1980. He also served in administrative posts late in his career including a brief time as acting president of Andrews University in the early 1980s. 

The family is planning a memorial service at Pioneer Memorial Church on Sabbath, July 27, at 4 p.m. Those who wish to may send cards or notes to his wife, Joyce F. Schwarz, 44-115 Nanamoana St, Kaneohe HI 96744.

Please remember the family during this time of sorrow.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Steven P. Vitrano, Former Professor Dies on May 4

Steven P. Vitrano, emeritus professor of preaching, worship and evangelism, died on May 4, 2013, in Auburn, Calif. Vitrano served Andrews University for 40 years, from 1958-1998, as a professor of religion and philosophy, serving both in the religion department as well as the Seminary. Local services include a visitation from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, at Allred Funeral Home in Berrien Springs, and a graveside service at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 9, at Rose Hill Cemetery in Berrien Springs. Online messages may be left for his family at

Friday, March 15, 2013

Passing of Kevin DeLeon, an Andrews Student

Kevin DeLeon, an undergraduate student, was found deceased in his University apartment Wednesday evening, March 13. Funeral services were held on March 17 at the Hinsdale Fil-Am Seventh-day Adventist Church in Hinsdale, Ill. The following is the life sketch of Kevin shared at his funeral.

Kevin DeLeon | 1989-2013

After years of waiting, hoping, and praying, an eight-year old girl named Winnelle received an early ninth birthday gift, a baby brother. At 5:08 p.m., on October 19, 1989, within the walls of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, Kevin Roy Paulo DeLeon was welcomed into the loving arms of Winnie and Elizabeth DeLeon.

Kevin, or “Kevoy” was named in honor of both his grandparents, Roy and Paulo. Even in his name, he was firmly rooted in his family, a theme that would continue throughout his life. While growing up, Kevin had to overcome many medical obstacles such as severe episodes of asthma and food allergies. As the youngest cousin of both his mother and father’s family, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins would collectively ensure Kevin was safe. This was a challenge because he experienced allergic reactions to almost anything he ate, touched or breathed.

While he was often sick as a child, Kevin grew up to be a very strong and athletic boy. Reaching Voyager rank, he loved the outdoors since his days as a Pathfinder. He played any sport his hands could find including: baseball, tennis, football, volleyball, hockey, swimming, basketball, snowboarding, and pool. In his later years, he especially enjoyed weightlifting. The child who could be weakened by the air grew into a man of strength able to leg-press almost 700 lbs., squat 300 lbs., and was training to bench-press 300 lbs. so he could join the “300 Club” at the Andrews Men’s Health Club.

Kevin was very musically talented. Throughout his life Kevin used his talents to serve God. Often alongside his cousins, he helped lead in praise songs, performed in musicals, and sang baritone in choir. Additionally, he played trombone, guitar, piano and the drums for fun.

Through the relationship Kevin had with his father and grandfathers, Kevin learned a strong work ethic. Throughout his life he would help his dad by mowing lawns, repairing houses and helping family members whenever in need of heavy lifting. When he was 10, Kevin’s giving spirit and hard-working mentality allowed him to raise the most money for the first Illinois Conference bike-a-thon winning a rare Schwinn bike as first prize. Kevin worked as a golf caddie, physics TA, Citgo cashier and, during his time at Andrews, a greenhouse gardener. He also loved to volunteer at Camp Akita and every summer, he enjoyed working there as a staff member.

Kevin was known for being a happy and fun-loving individual. He could brighten a room with his smile, sense of humor and ability to make people feel happiness with his gentle laugh. Throughout every stage of his life, Kevin’s friends knew him to be humble, genuinely caring and limitlessly forgiving. Kevin gained an exceeding amount of friends throughout his life because behind his brown eyes, there was no judgment, count of wrongdoings, or jealousy. He often called friends for no reason other than to see how they are doing or ask “Is anything wrong? Are you sure?”

Kevin was known for his unique mannerisms and endearing habits. He would try to cover up his smile when he laughed; he would greet his friends with funny sayings from movie lines; and he never failed to say “I love you” at the end of every phone conversation with his mom. He loved his family. His older cousins can tell you that whenever he greeted them by name, it would always be preceded by ‘Ate’ or ‘Kuya,’ a sign of respect. His uncles and aunties knew him to be respectful and considerate while his nieces and nephews knew him to be fun and spontaneous Uncle Kevin. Through all periods of his life he lovingly placed the needs of his friends and family above his own without expecting anything in return.

At the funeral service for Kevin, it was shared that Kevin’s goal of completing his college degree would be fulfilled. “The Andrews University family of faculty, staff and students join you in mourning the loss Kevin. He was your son. He was our student,” said Frances Faehner, vice president for Student Life at Andrews University. She continued, “Kevin was very close to completing his studies at Andrews and was looking forward to graduating this year. Therefore the university has determined to confer his degree posthumously during our May 5, 2013 graduation. On that day he and you will have reached the first goal in his adult life: a college degree. The next goal for Kevin will reunite him with his family on the resurrection morning.”

Kevin touched all the hearts and lives of those he came in contact with. He lived his life with humility, forgiveness and love. In his short life, he brought joy to who ever he could. We will earnestly wait for the day when we can see his smiling face, hear his gentle laugh, and hold our Kevin in God’s kingdom.

If you wish to leave comments or words of support for the family, please leave a comment below.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Passing of Joseph Warren, Associate Professor of English

Joseph W. Warren, associate professor of English at Andrews, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, following a lengthy battle with cancer. Please keep the Warren family in your prayers during this very difficult time.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14, at Pioneer Memorial Church. Visitation will be from 11:30 a.m. until service time. Live video streaming of the service will be available for those unable to attend.



In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dr. Joseph Warren Scholarship Fund. The fund will support English majors through scholarship or endowment. Make checks payable to Andrews University and send to the Office of Development, c/o Mary Nell Rosenboom, Griggs Hall, 8903 US Highway 31, Berrien Springs, 49104-0660. Online donations may be made at

You can leave a note for the family below. Please include your name in the body of your message.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Valerie Phillips, Assistant to the Dean, Has Passed Away

Funeral Service Information for Valerie Phillips
The funeral for Dean Valerie Phillips will be at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012. The service will be held in the main sanctuary of Pioneer Memorial Church. Live video streaming of the service will be available for those unable to attend.

Dean Phillips was found deceased in her home on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011. The cause of death was hypertensive cardiovascular disease. Arrangements are being handled by Allred Funeral Home.


Valerie Phillips, Assistant to the Dean, Has Passed Away
Valerie Phillips, assistant to the dean for University Towers, was found deceased in her home this morning, Wednesday, Dec. 21. The cause of death is not yet known. She was 56-years-old.

Dean Phillips dedicated 31 years of her professional career to Andrews University. She joined the Andrews family in 1980, first as an assistant dean and, since 1986, as an associate dean of women for Lamson Hall. In August of 2011, she transitioned from Lamson Hall to serve as assistant to the dean for University Towers.

Valerie graduated in 1972 from Union Springs Academy in Union Springs, N.Y. She studied behavioral science, religion and English at Atlantic Union College, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1978. During college, she worked as an aide at Worcester Memorial Hospital in Worcester, Mass. In 1978, Valerie took an assistant chaplain position at Battle Creek Sanitarium and Hospital where she stayed until 1980.

In 1980, Arlene Friestad, who was then dean of women at Lamson Hall, invited Valerie to speak at the first annual Womanhood Week at Andrews. Dean Friestad was so impressed by Valerie she invited her to join the residence hall staff at Lamson Hall.

Dean Phillips not only ministered to the ladies in her care at Andrews, she shared reflections and insights gained from her experiences as a regular columnist for the Adventist Review.

Valerie was known for her warm and compassionate spirit, her quick wit and exceptional wisdom, and care for her students. At the 2011 Faculty Staff Awards Banquet at Andrews University, Valerie was honored for 30 years of service. In her award tribute, Frances Faehner, vice president for Student Life, said of Valerie, "Among her many unique gifts, Valerie makes an intentional effort to note and remember the special interests (favorite food, collections, etc.) of her residents. She is known for countless acts of unexpected kindness that are especially meaningful to students missing the comforts of home and family."

Dean Phillips is survived by two sisters and one brother.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Additional information will be shared as it becomes available on the Andrews website.



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