Keeping Up

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Information posted here is provided by individuals via this submission form.  Items such as moving plans, serious illnesses and/or deaths, and your photo on a recent trip or visits with other Harper folks are especially appreciated! Please share your information to help keep everyone up to date.


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Important Events

John Perricone passed away on March 22, 2018. John was the coordinator of Harper’s Accounting program for a number of years.  He began at Harper on 8/7/1982 as an instructor and retired 8/1/2011, returning as an Adjunct for several semesters 2013-16.  Our sympathies to his family.  John’s obituary is here:

Al Dunikowski, retired Director of Media Services, passed away on February 18, 2018. Al’s wife Marilyn passed away a few years ago. Al is to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with his wife. He was 88 years old. Contact info:
Laura Sjosten (Al’s daughter)
113 Spring View Dr.
Douglassville, PA 19518

Founding faculty member Irene Y. Lavelle (nee Haman), 94, passed away January 5, 2018. She was born March 15, 1923 in Nancy, France. Professor Lavelle established the Language Department at Harper College. She earned her Master’s Degree at Notre Dame and her PHD at Roosevelt University. Her funeral was held on January 22. The Harper College family mourns her loss and celebrates her life.

From 1989: Harper President Paul Thompson with Student Trustee Laura Jacobson and Trustee Barbara Barton

Barbara M. Barton September 10, 1927 – November 14, 2017
Barbara M. Barton, age 90, went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, at Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care, in Janesville, WI.

Barbara served as a Trustee at William Rainey Harper College from 1985-2004. She served as ICCTA president from 1991-1992.

Barbara was born to Irwin (Ping) and Mildred (Midge) Bode on Sept. 10, 1927, in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her B.A. degree at University of Southern California in 1949. It was there that she met and then married Kenneth Robert (Bob) Barton, II on Feb. 4, 1951. Barbara was a real “people” person. She had the ability to make everyone feel appreciated and important. She worked for Avon where her skills in sales led her into Avon’s upper management. Barb was a strong advocate for the community college system and served on the Board of Trustees at Harper College in Palatine, IL for 19 years. Barbara had many interests but her most passionate ones were: USC, family, golf and entertaining. Being an avid USC football fan, she would watch with such enthusiasm that those around her were swept up in her excitement. She was awarded the Alumni Service Award by USC in 1992. Barbara and Bob were instrumental in growing the Mid-West USC Alumni Association into one of the largest in the country.

Barbara loved Jesus Christ and was involved in many bible studies at Harvest Bible Chapel. She started and led a group for men and women struggling with grief. Barb was blessed by those who knew her and had many friends across the country that would have done anything for her; as she would have for them.

Barbara is survived by her six children: Ken (Virginia) Barton, Santa Clarita, CA; Michael (Martha) Barton, Holladay, UT; Jeffrey (Diane) Barton, Battle Ground, WA; Christopher (Ruth) Barton, Wheaton, IL; Robyn (David) Erdmann, Lilburn, GA; and Jill (Scott) Lipker, Janesville, WI. They gave her 13 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. Barbara was preceded in death by her husband, Bob in 1996.

A memorial service celebrating her life will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at Harvest Bible Chapel, 800 Rohlwing Road, Rolling Meadows, IL. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care, 2901 N. Wright Rd., Janesville, WI, 53546 or The Parkinson’s Foundation.

The family would to like to send a special thanks to the wonderful staff at Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care in Janesville. Mom’s every need was met and they made her feel cared for and always loved.

Judith Merlau Sallee, 71, of Fishers, passed away on October 19, 2017.

Judith was born September 4, 1946 in Indianapolis to the late Ruby and Paul Sallee. She lived in the Chicago area for nearly 50 years, and recently moved to Fishers to be closer to family. She was a passionate teacher of math and loved traveling back to Chicago to visit her life-long friends, traveling to foreign countries, going on new and exciting adventures. When we wasn’t traveling she enjoyed playing cards, gardening, reading, volunteering, and above all being with her family. She will be dearly missed by those who knew her.

She leaves behind her children, Kenneth Merlau (Tracy), Melissa Johnson (Bob), Alana Merlau; grandchildren, Crystal Edwards (Kalvin), Rebecca Johnson, Carolyn Johnson; sister, Debbie Boles (Rick); several nieces and nephews, and many cherished friends.

She was preceded in passing by her parents.

Memorial contributions in Judith’s honor may be sent to Center for Enriched Living, 280 Saunders Rd, Riverwoods, IL 60015 or to the Assistance League of Indianapolis, 1475 W 86th St Ste E, Indianapolis, IN 46260.  To view the online obituary and sign the guestbook please visit

Marlene Hunt passed away on July 21, 2017, from a massive stroke.  Marlene was the Graphics Manager at Harper for many years.  Diane Kinn visited Marlene last March at Marlene’s home in Puget Sound, and says that Marlene was the picture of health at that time.  “Such a lovely person, always happy to see her old friends.  She had a beautiful smile.”  Messages of condolence can be sent to Marlene’s daughter:
Sylvia Hunt
2530 NE Jacobsen Rd., E
Poulsbo, WA  98370

Pat Paulford passed away 6/16/17.  Pat worked in Music & Art for many years and retired about 12 or so years ago.  There was no visitation but a memorial mass was held at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Naperville.  You may access her obituary here.

From Bonnie Henry – We have just learned that Tom McCabe has passed away. So many of us have fond memories of Tom and his passing brings great sadness. I’m sure we will want to keep Dorothy and the others in Tom’s family close in our hearts and minds.

February 10th Harper 50th Anniversary Update:
Harper College celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2017. There will be special annuitant-oriented events, as well as other ways for our retirees to be involved.

  1. You can submit “Your Harper Story,” a brief memory or special moment/experience you had while working at Harper College. Forward your thoughts to: Trygve Thoreson at:
  2. There will be an Annuitants Reunion, most likely to coincide with the big Harper Alumni Reunion. Date and time to be announced. This event will include a special recognition of the founding faculty/administrators/staff from the years 1967 – 1977.
  3. A Foundation Paver project will raise funds for the Promise effort. Most likely, this program will be launched in the Fall of 2016 through the Harper College Foundation and offer Harper alumni, annuitants, faculty, administrators and staff an opportunity to have paver bricks with their names on them in a special area of the College (to be announced). Brick donations will probably cost approximately $150 to $300. More information will be shared when available.
  4. “A Year of Service” will be a part of the 50th Anniversary celebration. This volunteer/outreach effort will involve a series of community projects which will take place within the 22 communities Harper serves. Again, more information will be shared when available

Please realize that much of the year-long celebration is still in its developmental stage, so many details remain to be worked out. If you have questions or ideas, please direct them to Michael Nejman (, HCAA representative to the 50th Anniversary Steering Committee.

 January Letter from Tryg Thoreson Regarding 50-Year History of Harper College:
Dear Colleagues:

As some of you know, I’ve been working on a fifty-year history of Harper College, due to be published to coincide with the 50th Anniversary celebration coming up in 2017-18.  In addition to archival research, I’ve been interviewing folks with long associations with the college, people like Dave Williams, John Muchmore, Mary Jo Willis, Bonnie Henry, Maryanne Gasparaitis, Rich Geary, John Gelch, Roger Mussell, Tom McCabe, Dave Macaulay, Bob Tillotson, Rosemary Murray, Liz McKay—the list goes on and on.

Some of you may wonder, “Why not me?  I was here for x-number-of-years, too.  I could tell you a thing or two about this place!” Here’s why.  There are so many of you!  An embarrassment of riches, I like to say.  Don’t get me wrong—it’s a great problem for an author to have.  But space (in the book) and time are limited, and I won’t be able to get to all the likely suspects.

So here’s what I’d like to do.  If you have a story about Harper College that you think deserves to be included in its history—about events, memorable persons, behind-the-scenes rigmarole, whatever—please write it up and send it to me at  I can’t promise it will get in, but I’ll promise to consider it and will, with your permission, submit it for safekeeping to the Harper archives.  If it does get in the book, your contribution will be properly credited.

It’s fun to relive the past—go ahead and do it, if there’s something you’d like to share and that you think others will enjoy reading about.  If not, just enjoy the book when it comes out.

Thanks in advance,
Tryg Thoreson

nejman_book_coverRetiree Michael Nejman‘s new book, “Laughing at the Sun: The Story of a Man Who Changed His Spots,” is now available on in paperback and Kindle editions.  One reviewer said it’s “a hilarious mid-life coming of age story, told against the backdrop of a road trip that has gone very, very wrong.”  Another said, “…(it’s) engaging, funny and enlightening.”  Think “Sideways” meets “Tuesdays with Morrie.”  For further details, and to purchase the book, go to: .  (Please note: this story contains sexually explicit content.)

Best Seat in the House cover pic1Retiree Bruce Bohrer‘s book, “Best Seat in the House — Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher,” would make a GREAT gift for Cubs fans!  The book is about Bruce’s nine seasons working as an usher for the Chicago Cubs.  It’s filled with hundreds of stories about what takes place on the other side of the wall at Wrigley.  From humorous crowd-control episodes to poignant marriage proposals at the Cubs dugout, it’s a great read about the fans who come from all over the world to see the shrine called Wrigley Field.  Here’s a comment from a reviewer Mike Terson (former PA announcer for the Cubs) — “Bruce was immersed in what makes experiencing a major league baseball game at a venue such as Wrigley Field so fascinating.  I’m sure you will enjoy hearing these stories from his vantage point in the ‘Best Seat in the House’.”

For further details, and to purchase a copy, go to  or call 847.394.2797

Harper’s Jodie Olsen writes:  “I get some calls from retirees curious about our construction, and I’ll bet there are many who have no idea of all the changes here on campus.  I thought some may get a kick out of  the flicker link showing the construction goings-on.   Now you’ll have the answer if anyone asks ‘what’s up at Harper?’ “

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