In Memoriam Archive

In Memoriam Archive…

In Memoriam ARCHIVE…

Links to Obituaries may no longer be active. 

Find details about the passing of fellow Harper College colleagues.


Stephanie McLoughlin, 72, passed away on Sunday, October 4, 2020. She had a 16-year career at Harper College, which included her work as an IT division installation supervisor. She worked at Harper from 8/20/1991 – 4/18/2003.

For more details, please view the obituary:

Ellen Nowickas 73, passed away in October, 2020. Ellen began at Harper on February 3,1992. Many people didn’t have the privilege of meeting Ellen in person because she worked at the off-campus site, North East Center (NEC) on Wolf Road in Wheeling. Ellen worked as a Program Assistant for our Workforce and Economic Development department which was part of CE. Both Ellen and her husband, Gary, worked at NEC and retired together on January 1, 2013.

For more details, please view the obituary:

If you’d like to send a note to Gary, their address is: 508 Aberdeen Lane, Apt. D, Prospect Heights, IL 60070-2842

Marilyn Swanson, 93, passed away on September 8, 2020. She was a member of Harper’s Founding Faculty. She taught English and had previously taught at an area high school. She will be missed.
For more details, please view the obituary:

John Davis, passed away in Austin, TX, July 30, 2020, Spanish professor who taught at Harper for 32 years. For more details, please view the obituary here.

John Robert Birkholz of Cedarburg, Wisconsin died on 7/9/20 at the age of 87 from natural causes. He was a visionary leader and educator. Over his almost 50 year career, John served as President for Harper College (interim), Erie Community College, Gateway Technical College, and finally Milwaukee Area Technical College where he retired in 2001.

John was one of the members of the dais for the Harper College 50th Anniversary Annuitants/Retirees Reunion Founders Event,speaking about the time he served as the first Faculty Senate president. So, for many of us, the last time we saw John was on April 14, 2018 when he shared his memories of his time at Harper College.

The master of ceremonies of the Founders event was John Muchmore. Mr. Muchmore shared his thoughts about Mr. Birkholz: 

“I’m proud to have worked with John. He was a tireless worker who sincerely believed in the mission of the community college. When he decided that an idea or person deserved attention and support, he gave it. He often did this quietly and behind the scenes. On other occasions, he gave the support loudly and up front. John was instrumental in Harper’s growth and development. He was active in Harper’s early North Central accreditation efforts as well as long range planning. There are a million Harper stories about John.” 

Frank (Lou) Buchenot passed away on 6/13/20. He was a resident of Hoffman Estates and began working as an instructor in the Business and Social Science division in August 1974. He retired from the college in May 1996.

His colleague, Patrick Beach, remembers: “Lou Buchenot welcomed me to the college in 1991 and helped shepherd me through the college and Illinois hospitality education. He worked for many years as an adjunct before being hired full-time and worked for me as an adjunct for about 10 years after he retired. While he counted over 20 years as a full-timer, he had a 50-year affiliation with the college. He always wanted to do the right thing for students and the college. I inherited the high school program which eventually morphed into the college’s massive dual credit program. He had deep ties to the community, was a man who demonstrated great faith by acts of love and service throughout the northwest Chicago suburbs.”

He will be missed.

For more details, please view the obituary:

Professor Eugene Magad passed on 3/31/2020. He was hired 8/6/1974 as a part-time Coordinator of the Material Management Program in the BUS/SS Division. It was determined that this program run and a full-time Faculty position was created. 8/19/1975 he began Full-time as an Assistant Professor of Material Management.

His official retirement date was 12/31/1997. After Retirement he returned as Professor Emeritus and continued as an Adjunct Instructor until 8/16/2006. For more details view the obituary.

Marcia Lynn Brandt passed on 3/25/2020.  Marcia grew up in Fort Wayne, IN, graduating from Concordia Lutheran High School, then later moved to Mount Prospect, IL in 1960 where she resided for 60 years.  She worked as a secretary for William Rainey Harper College for 30 years, beginning at the Willow Park Center satellite before transferring to the main campus in Palatine, and finally retiring in 2008.  She also received an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in Interior Design at Harper College in 1980.

For more details, please view the obituary:

Mary Ellen Leon, Library Assistant, died on 3/5/2020. She worked at Harper from 1978 to 1989. For more details view the obituary.

Math Professor Emeritus Ray Moehrlin passed away on 2/6/20. Ray began teaching math at Harper on September 8, 1969, the year we first opened the main campus location. He retired in 1996 and continued teaching as an adjunct and assistant track coach for several years. Raymond Moehrlin taught mathematics in levels from grade school to college, finishing his career at Harper College in Palatine, where he taught from the late 1960s until the mid-1990s.

“He was one of the backbones of the math department,” said George Dorner, who was associate dean of technology, mathematics and physical sciences during some of the time Moehrlin taught at Harper. “He was active professionally in math in the state and very active in the department,” Dorner said. Moehrlin also spent some time as an assistant coach in the school’s distance running program under Renee Zellner, head coach of both the men’s and women’s track and field teams. For more details view the obituary.

Mike Ostrowski, former Psychology Professor, passed away in January 2020. For more information view the obituary here.


John Perricone passed away on 3/22/18. 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. See obituary here.


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.

Tom McCabe 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.