Friends We Will Miss


John R. StevensJohn R. Stevens, Sault Ste. Marie, died May 28 at the age of 87. Professor Stevens taught English at five different colleges and universities before spending the final 33 years of his career at LSSU.  He retired in 2000.


Ray Askwith ’55, Cadillac, died August 5 with his family by his side. He was 82. Ray attended both LSSU and Ferris State prior to serving in the U.S. Army, where he was stationed in Saudi Arabia. Ray started his career as a court reporter before becoming a professional truck driver. He test drove cars until he retired. Ray liked to play the piano and was a faithful member of St. Ann Catholic Church. He is survived by his loving wife of 35 years, Jody (McDaniel), three children and six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Betty Buchanan ’70Betty Buchanan ’70, Ortonville, died June 11. Betty grew up in Johannesburg, attended LSSC, and then moved to Pontiac and worked for General Motors until she retired in 2004. She and her husband Gary loved to travel and did so extensively. Betty also loved her grandchildren and extended family, and she was an avid reader.

Bruce Andrew Davis '57Bruce Andrew Davis ’57, DeTour, died July 17 at his home surrounded by his family. He was born July 29, 1939 in St. Ignace to Cecil Alfred and Regina Mary (Cheeseman) Davis.

Bruce grew up in St. Ignace and graduated from LaSalle High School with the Class of 1957. He continued his education at Michigan Tech. On September 6, 1958, he married his high school sweetheart, Carol Lee Sutton, at the St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church in St. Ignace. They began their family and he joined the United States Coast Guard. After serving two years, Bruce returned to Michigan before the entire family moved to Wisconsin. While in Wisconsin, they added to their family and he worked at the local machine shop. They moved back to Michigan in 1968, where he worked on the tugboats and in the mines before starting at Drummond Island Dolomite Quarry. After 25 years at Drummond, he went to work at the Cedarville Limestone Quarry for 10 years before retiring. While working at the quarries, he also operated his own auto repair shop, Bruce’s Auto Repair, from 1976 to 2019.

Bruce was a member of the St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church and the Moose Lodge in St. Ignace.

Bruce was an outdoorsman who loved hunting, fishing, golfing, and playing softball. He was an avid bowler. Bruce was also a wonderful storyteller.

Andrew Dennison PortraitAndrew Dennison ‘15, Lansing, passed away in July 2019 after a valiant battle with cancer. At the time of his passing, he was a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota-Duluth – Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The folks at UMD have set up a fund in Andy’s memory to assist other graduate students with their geology field study projects and field camps. Visit: Department of Earth and Environmental Science’s New Millennium Fund . On the gift form, please note your gift in the Special Options box, “In memory of Andrew Dennison”.

While a student at LSSU, Andrew conducted climate change research with Dr. Matthew Spencer. Andrew studied ice cores from Antarctica, which included two summer research excursions to the National Ice Core Laboratory in Denver, CO to process ice cores and collect data. He presented his LSSU undergraduate research at two national meetings of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. After graduating from LSSU Andrew undertook masters and PhD geology graduate work at the University of Minnesota – Duluth and Twin Cities, studying Lake Superior bottom characteristic and climate change over the past 15,000 years in the upper Great Lakes region.

At LSSU, Andrew’s mother, K.C., established the George and Nancy McClure Family Scholarship in 2014 to honor her parents and to recognize the excellent education afforded to Andrew while majoring in LSSU’s geology program. The scholarship provides financial assistance to students majoring in geology and for costs related to a field camp approved class program. This August, the scholarship is being renamed the Andrew G. Dennison Memorial Scholarship.

Andrew’s family strongly believes that the opportunities for research, extracurricular learning, and personalized faculty interactions in a small school atmosphere are worth encouraging. This quality of education is really priceless in our society. Andy’s LSSU college experience truly made a difference in his life, just as his limited time on this earth made such an incredible impact in the lives of the faculty, staff and students who knew him.

To support Andy’s memorial scholarship: visit the LSSU Foundation, select “Other Scholarship Designation” and enter Andrew Dennison Memorial Scholarship in the drop-down box provided.

David C. Eichenberg ’92David C. Eichenberg ’92, Tampa, Fla., died May 30. He died as he would have wanted to – riding his Harley. David lived most of his life in Michigan. He loved the outdoors, fly fishing, being near water, his many rescue dogs and learning about anything under the sun.

Shelah Jane (Wardlow) Fought ’69Shelah Jane (Wardlow) Fought ’69, Frankfort, died on July 17 at home following a long illness. She was born August 30, 1949 in Red Wing, Minn., the daughter of Rev. James and Sadie Wardlow.

Shelah’s life was dedicated to caring for others. She graduated from LSSU as a licensed practical nurse in 1969, and provided care to patients for many years, with a particular passion for caring for newborns and their mothers. She also provided care for children over the years in childcare centers and hospital settings. In the early 1990s she returned to school to study massage therapy, successfully becoming a licensed massage therapist and operating her own business, “Safe and Gentle Massage,” in Fond du Lac, WI.

She married “her guy,” the love of her life, Ronald Fought, on July 12, 1975, and they remained married for 44 years. Together they raised three children, living in various cities in Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington and Chicago, and residing most recently in Frankfort.

Verna Pearl (Leach) Hill ’56Verna Pearl (Leach) Hill ’56, Midland, died Tuesday, July 30 at her home surrounded by her children in Midland. She was born June 7, 1938 in Pickford, daughter of the late Vern and Pearl (Smith) Leach. Verna attended Pickford Schools, graduating in 1956. While living in Pickford, she played the bass drum and was section leader in the high school band. She also played the piano in various capacities and was given the upright grand piano from Bethel Lutheran Church due to her involvement and love of playing.

Verna went on to attend LSSC and Northern Michigan University and was studying for a career in education. It was during this time that Verna met her soulmate, Herman L. Hill. They married on June 26, 1959. This changed Verna’s trajectory in life as they were blessed with five children in seven years.

She was in the choir for almost 60 years at Trinity Lutheran Church of Midland. Verna’s love of music was evident everywhere she was. While wintering in Florida, she would enjoy music in Busch Gardens and concerts in the park with Herman and her many treasured friends and family. While in Michigan she and Herman enjoyed getting together with their dear friends to play cards. Most of all, Verna loved spending time with her family, always welcoming her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with open arms. She loved holding every baby in her family, even as late as this past June, joyful that God had blessed her with generations of love.

Thomas Hurley ’99Thomas Hurley ’99, Columbia, Mo., died unexpectedly June 30.  Tom had an associate degree in fire science from LSSU.  Those who worked with him remember him as a consummate public servant, dedicated to responding to people and his community in their hour of greatest need. For Tom, being of service to others was the essence of his character. Throughout his life, he worked as a park ranger, a volunteer firefighter, an emergency medical technician and as emergency management coordinator. At the time of his passing, Tom was the director of the Office of Emergency Management of Boone County, Missouri.

David Glenwood Ladd ‘65David Glenwood Ladd ’65, Brimley, died May 21 at War Memorial Hospital surrounded by his family and friends. He was born in Brimley, Michigan on March 20, 1947 to Forrest and Donna (Albrough) Ladd.

David attended Soo Tech and graduated with his mechanical engineering degree. After college, he enlisted in the Army, served in Vietnam, and was award the bronze star with valor.

During his career, he was a registered professional engineer, VP and GM of three major corporations, and he served on numerous boards. (Y.M.C.A., United Way, and church) He cherished his family, loved nature, hunting, building, prolific traveling with his wife Marcia in their motor home, and helping others in the community.

Frederick Joseph Lounds Jr. ’71Frederick Joseph Lounds Jr. ’71, Norton Shores, died  July 13. Fred was born May 31, 1943, in Sault Ste Marie, the son of Frederick Sr. and Norma Lounds. After graduating Sault High School in 1961, Fred enlisted in the Navy and served on the USS Yorktown, from 1961-1965. After returning home from the Navy, he earned his mechanical engineering degree from LSSU. Fred retired from Consumers Energy in Jackson in 2000 after 30 years of service, and then from Sigma Technologies in 2008. Fred was a lifelong softball and baseball player and had great memories of his Jackson softball team. He was also an avid golfer and enjoyed hitting the ball around with his Jackson buddies.

Thomas P. Prohaska '67Thomas P. Prohaska ’67, Pinconning, died  July 21 at age 70. Tom was a graduate of Standish-Sterling High School’s class of 1966, attending LSSU and Saginaw Valley State University. He was a member of Resurrection of the Lord Catholic Church. Tom retired from Northern Tube, Pinconning, serving in various elected union positions for UAW Local 1134. He was a member of the American Legion Post 104, Vietnam Veterans of America 390, a past grand knight of the Father Labory Council 2724 and faithful navigator for Father Woloszek Assembly 2787.

He most of all enjoyed his children, grandchildren and great-granddaughters, traveling, gardening, going to casinos, cooking Polish recipes, sudoku and volunteering at the Knights of Columbus. Tom was “a jack of all trades but a master of none,” as he liked to say.

Seth Reenders ’04Seth Reenders ’04, Grand Haven, died August 3 after a valiant effort battling cancer. His wife Alicia was by his side. Seth started at JR Automation as a mechanical engineering intern in 2004 and was always motivated to help others.  He served as the BU12 mechanical engineering manager for the last five years, cultivating a strong mechanical engineering team and contributing a great deal to JR’s engineering practices. He also played a significant role in developing many long-standing relationships across the company and with many key customers. JR’s Human Resources officer said, “The support from the entire JR Automation team since his battle with cancer began is a testimony to how Seth lived his life and engaged with those around him.  We have lost a great friend and valued colleague, and Seth will be deeply missed.”

Michael Scarbrough ’89, Grant, died June 20. He was born January 17, 1967 to Richard and Ruth (Carson) Scarbrough in Muskegon. He graduated from Grant High School in 1985 and earned his bachelor’s degree from LSSU. On May 8, 1992, he married Velda Jean “VJ” Lefeber in Grant. Michael was the cross country and track coach at Grant High School for many years. He was a member of Wesleyan Church International, Michigan Track Coaches Association and ordained in the Wesleyan Church.

Stanley John Schmitigal ’68Stanley John Schmitigal ’68, Pickford, died July 28 at Ball Hospice House in Sault Ste. Marie. He was born January 13, 1933, on the family farm in Goetzville, to Koney and Nellie (Kucharczyk) Schmitigal. Stan grew up in Goetzville and graduated from DeTour High School. He entered the United States Army and was assigned to the First Armored Division and because he was the only soldier in the division who could type, was assigned to be the clerk for the Battalion Commander. After his service, Stan returned to Goetzville and worked as a bricklayer. He married Marjorie Elaine Rutledge on March 28, 1958, at the Pickford Presbyterian Church and they started their family. Stan was working as a bricklayer at Crawford Hall on the Lake Superior State College campus when college president, Dr. Shouldice stopped by and when visiting with Stan, encouraged him to begin taking classes. After completing two years at Lake Superior State, Stan and Marge sold their home in Pickford, packed up their two young daughters, and headed to Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant for Stan to complete his Bachelor Degree in English Education. In 1970, they came back to Pickford, having added a son to their family. Stan taught English at Sault High School for the next 24 years, retiring in 1994. During the time he was an English teacher, he also taught emergency medical technician (EMT) classes at the nursing school at Lake Superior State and for local ambulance corps in the Eastern Upper Peninsula.

Stan was a member of the Pickford Presbyterian Church, served as Pickford Township Supervisor for several years, and was instrumental in spearheading the formation of the Pickford Area Historical Society and served as its President for many years.

Stan was an avid reader. He also enjoyed woodworking – building both houses and furniture, hunting, fishing, and spending time at the family cabin in Goetzville.

Mildred (Armstrong) Swart ’49Mildred Elizabeth “Mickey” (Armstrong) Swart ’49, Southfield, died June 18, one week short of her 89th birthday. Mickey was born on June 26, 1930 in Sault Ste. Marie, the daughter of Mildred and Clifford Armstrong. She graduated from Sault High School and attended LSSC and then Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, before earning her B.A. in English education from Michigan State University followed by her M.A. in English literature from Oakland University.

After earning her teaching credentials from MSU, Mickey moved to Birmingham to begin what would become a 40-year career teaching English at Seaholm High School.

In addition to her teaching experience, Mickey was also active in her younger days with the League of Women Voters and several bridge-playing leagues. At St. James Episcopal Church in Birmingham, she taught Sunday school for a number of years and was a long-time member of St. Catherine’s Guild.

Mickey loved to garden, and she was an expert in antique glassware, porcelain, and bone china. She was a musician and a fabulous cook. She was an ardent supporter of the arts and sports and encouraged her children to participate in ballet, piano lessons, figure skating and tennis.

Mickey and her husband Arza (“Abe”) owned a cabin on Lake Superior outside of Sault Ste. Marie for nearly 50 years, and they loved spending summers there with family and friends.

Perhaps her favorite role was “Mimi,” grandmother to 5 grandchilden who adored her. She will be remembered for her generosity, her attention to detail, her love of a great bargain when shopping, and her dry sense of humor.

Arthur Ronald Tauriainen ’48, Sault Ste. Marie, died February 9 at War Memorial Hospital. He was born in Chillicothe, MO on October 25, 1930 to Arthur and Margaretta (Moorshed) Tauriainen. Ron worked for (Michigan Bell) AT&T as a toll test foreman and retired from the Flint office in 1985. Ron enjoyed the time spent with his family and friends in Bay Mills. He enjoyed traveling with his family and especially flying. He and his wife were the founding members of the Bay Mills Bunch.

John William Zoulek ’82John William Zoulek ’82, surrounded by his loving family peacefully joined our Father in heaven on May 8, 2019 in Pueblo, CO.
He was born on September 3, 1959, in Midland, Mich., the first born son to Jack Zoulek and Jean Petrie, loved and cherished by his devoted wife, Rubi and adoring sons, John Elliott, Jacob William and Jared Everett. He will be greatly missed by his father and wife, Nancy, his mother Jean, and his siblings, Debbie Carey (Marty), Carrie (Bryon Murray), Jerry, Tommy (Gina Zoulek, Mindy and Angie along with many nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles and aunts, as well as, his lifelong friends from East Jordan, Mich.

After age five, John would live in East Jordan, Mich. for the next 13 years. He attended Lake Superior State College pursuing a degree in Engineering. A few years later his nuclear industry employment would take him to Texas where he met his beloved wife of more than 28 years. He was a highly respected Engineer working for Ebasco, Raytheon, URS and AECOM making many loyal and lifelong friends. His career allowed his family to live in many states with 16 years in Kennewick, Wash. and six years in Pueblo, Colo.

John was an avid hunter, a fisherman, an outdoors man and he had a farmer’s spirit. His most treasured moments were when he could spend time with his sons camping, fishing and hunting. More than anything he cherished the years of watching his sons play soccer and then football and was so proud of each and their own individual talents and later he would relish a unique type of pride as each of his sons declared their wish of pursuing an Engineering degree.
He was an amazing husband and loving father. He was kind, generous, religious, loyal, strong, brave and resolute and above all he loved his family greatly. We know in our hearts that John’s pre-deceased nephew, Zachary Zoulek, welcomed his arrival in heaven and that we all will see our John and Zach again.