In Memoriam

Alan Ternes, former trustee
A resident of Bellows Falls, and a Marlboro Trustee from 1994 to 2004, Alan Ternes died in December 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Born in Detroit, Alan lived for most of his professional life in New York City, moving to Vermont in 1994. He was the editor emeritus of Natural History magazine and former director of the American Museum of Natural History, in New York. He spent his early career as a reporter, then bureau chief, for Stars and Stripes; as a reporter and magazine editor of the Detroit News; and as a city editor at the Times Herald Record in Middletown, New York. He was the editor of the 1975 book Ants, Indians, and Little Dinosaurs, a compilation of articles from Natural History in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the magazine. He travelled widely throughout his life, and in 1998 he sailed his boat “The Nighthawk” solo from Nova Scotia to the Azores—and throughout the Mediterranean over the next 15 years. Alan is survived by his wife, Barbara, and three children.

Milton Randolph, former student
Marlboro’s first African-American student, Milton Randolph, died in June 2015, in Duluth, Georgia. Milton grew up and went to high school in Virginia, and came to Marlboro College in 1951. At Marlboro, Milton gravitated toward music, especially voice. He served on the select board and chaired the Social Committee. According to American studies professor Dick Judd, “Milton has been one of the leaders of the Marlboro College community, and one of the most popular members of the student body.” His Marlboro career was cut short when he was drafted into the army after his junior year, and served with honor as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division. Milton completed his bachelor’s degree in 1962 at Fisk University, in Tennessee. In 2005, Milton was recognized for donating the personal papers of celebrated musician William Levi Dawson, his uncle, to Emory University. He is survived by his wife, Marian, and daughter Jennifer.

Richard Coutant ’69
Longtime Guilford neighbor Richard Henry Coutant III died at home in June, six weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Richard was 67. He was born in New Jersey, and his family moved to East Bethel, Vermont, in 1953. He graduated from Montpelier High School, and at Marlboro he studied history and did a Plan of Concentration on the development of social institutions in early England. For many years he ran the CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) office in Brattleboro and became well known for his compassion and creativity. After a brief first marriage, he met and wed local poet and teacher Verandah Porche in 1979. With that union, he became the proud father of Oona Adams FS94 and then Emily Julia Coutant, born in 1981. In 1986 he received a law degree from Vermont Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude, and began work in Bellows Falls for the law firm of Salmon and Nostrand, where he remained until his death. He leaves his wife, daughters, son-in-law, granddaughter, and sister, Christopher Coutant ’71 of Brattleboro.

Melissa Ann Spore ’71
For many years a self-employed instructional designer, Melissa Spore died in May in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Melissa grew up in Virginia before coming to Marlboro College, where she did a Plan of Concentration on Victorian literature, specifically the poetry of Tennyson. She went on to attend Columbia University before moving to Canada in 1974. She moved to Saskatoon in 1996 to take up a post with the University of Saskatchewan, where she was involved for many years in distance education. “She was passionate about both the benefits of sound, democratic education and the perils of bad education,” said her brother, Stuart Spore ’69. “Her thinking was very much informed by her time at Marlboro.” Melissa was the co-author (with her sister Sally Bigwood) of The Designer’s Guide to Presenting Numbers, Figures, and Charts. She is survived by her brother, sister, brother-in-law, and niece.

Anne Granwell, former student
A resident of Troy, New York, Anne Granwell died in February 2015 at Evergreen Commons Nursing Home in East Greenbush. Born in Manhattan, she graduated from the Charles E. Ellis School for Fatherless Girls in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, before coming to Marlboro in 1967. Anne focused on English, and after leaving Marlboro was an aspiring writer and the author of a local newspaper column called “The Country Mouse.” Anne’s marriage to Marlboro alumnus Bennett Blackburn ’70 ended in divorce, and she later married John Meringolo. She was the mother of three sons. She once wrote, “Have enjoyed Potash Hill very much all these years…. You’ll always be that special school for me.” While living in Troy, Anne was a volunteer at the senior center there, and in her spare time she was an avid reader and an enthusiastic promoter of Marlboro College on social media.

Susan Keese, former staff member
Editor of Potash Hill in the late 1980s and early ’90s and longtime public relations director for Marlboro College, Susan Keese died in March 2015 at the age of 67. Susan started her Vermont news career with the Rutland Herald in 1982, and went on to become an award-winning correspondent for Vermont Public Radio and producer of the station’s Vermont Edition show. She developed a following across the state with her distinctive voice, empathetic style, and cadenced delivery. “Susan was not only a great reporter, she also was a huge friend to Vermont,” said Governor Peter Shumlin. He praised her for “reporting accurately and with extra care” about sensitive issues, such as the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant and the closing of the Austine School for the Deaf. Susan leaves her husband, John “Bud” Pyatak, a retired South Newfane lawyer, as well as two children and three grandchildren.

Mary Karis, staff member
The program coordinator for the MBA in Managing for Sustainability and MSM in Mission-Driven Organizations programs for several years, Mary Karis died in June after a struggle with cancer. She was surrounded by a circle of friends and family throughout this experience as, in her own words, she “met and worked with” the illness that had come into her life . She had a deep connection to nature and drew strength and learning from it to her last days. “Mary shared deeply of herself in her service not just to the MBA and MDO programs but to each individual associated with them,” said Sean Conley, associate dean for graduate and professional studies. “She was an important and connecting presence, alert to the needs of others and quick to give help or comfort.”