The following page features obituaries of SVSU alumni, categorized by which decade they graduated. Scroll to the bottom of the page to view the guide for academic degree acronyms.




Constance Ballard, 1968, B.A. – June 4, 2017
Age 89, Ballard was born in Passaic, New Jersey, and spent many years teaching Sunday school and working with the Cub Scouts and Brownies. She was an antique dealer and avid supporter of the Interlochen Arts Academy.


James Brown, 1969, B.A. – Jan. 13, 2017
Brown, 86, was a military policeman before attending SVSU to pursue an accounting degree. He served many years as a CPA before dedicating his time to music. He was a well-known pianist in the Great Lakes Bay Region, playing for the Dick Jessup Band.


Janice Spivey, 1969, B.A. – May 15, 2017
Spivey, 71, attended a one-room school house in North Dakota for her elementary years. Upon moving to Michigan, she attended SVSU before moving to Kentucky and Illinois. She worked as a litigation case manager at KONE, Inc.




Vincente Castellanos, 1975, B.S. – May 22, 2017
Castellanos, 74, served his country in the U.S. Air Force. He served proudly on the SVSU Alumni Board of Directors, SVSU Board of Fellows, and Child Abuse & Neglect Council. He established the Hispanic American Community Endowed Scholarship at SVSU.


Rolland DeJohn, 1970, B.A. – Feb. 7, 2017
DeJohn, 94, was born in New York and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II as a gunner on a B-24 liberator. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean conflict and retired in 1966 as master sergeant. He began teaching junior high school in 1966 and was an avid bowler.


Mary Dyer, 1979, M.A.T. – June 14, 2017
Retired from the Saginaw Public School District after 20 years, Dyer, 90, performed with the Eddy Band during summer concerts. She was a member of the YMCA and Saginaw Choral Society.


Gary Gazimek, 1973, B.S. – July 11, 2017
Gazimek, 66, began his career at the The Dow Chemical Co. and eventually moved into the pharmaceutical field, retiring from Pfizer in 2010.


Rose Guevara, 1976, B.A. – May 31, 2017
Guevara, 81, was employed by the State of Michigan as a medical case manager and spent time as a substitute teacher at Nouvel Catholic Central High School in Saginaw Township. She also was a member of the Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary and Moose Lodge.


Darrell Kozman, 1979, B.A. – June 23, 2017
Kozman, 69, was a Vietnam War veteran and state director for the AMVETs, dedicated to helping veterans in the upper peninsula of Michigan. He received numerous awards — including Citizen of the Year — and was an avid sportsman.


Kaye LaRocque, 1972, B.S. – March 11, 2017
LaRocque, 67, resided in Florida and retired from The Villages Regional Hospital as a respiratory therapist. She enjoyed genealogy, traveling and painting.


Gale Pretzer, 1977, B.S. – May 5, 2017
Pretzer, 64, was a mechanical engineer for Dow Corning Corp. for 32 years and later was employed by Saginaw Manufacturing, Inc. He purchased his family farm, initiated a faith-based support group called Living With Cancer Together, and participated in many humanitarian missions.


Fred Retlewski, 1978, B.S. – Jan. 22, 2017
Retlewski, 61, worked in Information Technology at SVSU, Citizen’s Bank and HealthSource. He also was a teacher at Bay and Saginaw career complexes.


Jeanne Ross, 1977, B.A. – March 8, 2017
A retired social worker for the American Red Cross and Caro Community Hospital, Ross, 84, enjoyed traveling with her family. She had a gift of quickly turning a stranger into a friend wherever she went.


Gail Shaw, 1977, M.A.T. – March 1, 2017
Shaw, 67, taught English for many years in Bay City and Vassar. She traveled the world and enjoyed the outdoors, music and classic literature.


Joyce Vescio, 1975, B.A. – April 16, 2017
Vescio, 70, retired from Saginaw Public Schools as a special education teacher and coordinator with 26 years of service. She was a Saginaw Valley Master Gardener and a 3rd Degree Reiki Master.


John Wesolek, 1977, B.S. – May 8, 2017
Wesolek, 62, was a member of SVSU’s first football team. He later served as the team’s defensive line coordinator for many years. He was an adjunct professor at SVSU and Delta College. He was an avid cyclist and loved spending time with his family.




Ruth Averill, 1985, B.A – June 13, 2017
Averill, 83, enjoyed classroom teaching, piano, singing, reading, the P.E.O. Sisterhood and volunteering.


Jeanne Chipman, 1988, M.A.T.; 2009, M.A. – June 7, 2017
Retiring from SVSU after 20 years of service, Chipman, 75, enjoyed helping students. She taught school prior to her career at SVSU.


Diane Cooper, 1989, B.A. – May 3, 2017
Cooper, 84, was a passionate educator and philanthropist who enjoyed being active in her community and spending time with loved ones. She made her mark on the world as an activist for justice in the Middle East and as a connection between jailed mothers and their children during their separation.


Linda Corder, 1987, B.A. – June 18, 2017
Corder, 73, was a member of the American GI Forum and resided in Texas. She began her career with General Motors in 1966 and was the first woman of Hispanic descent to be promoted to the first line supervisor position at Saginaw Steering Gear. She retired after 31 years of service and enjoyed following genealogical societies.


Mary Doerr, 1989, B.A. – Jan. 4, 2017
Doerr, 54, spent her years in childhood education and child care, which was her passion.


Pamela Hodge, 1985, B.A. – July 9, 2017
Named to College All American 1st Team status while an SVSU softball player, Hodge, 54, loved coaching and playing the sport. She was inducted into the Michigan Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame and participated in several amateur Softball Association National Championships.


Heidi Neumann, 1988, B.A. – Feb. 25, 2017
Neumann, 52, was a true lifelong learner and teacher, never lecturing but teaching by example. Topics of her lessons included cheerfulness, patience, hard work, focusing on the positive and treating everyone with kindness and respect.


Marlene Peckham, 1982, B.A. – March 14, 2017
Peckham, 77, pursued a social work degree at SVSU and was a devoted parent to her children.


Lauren Saxon, 1985, B.S.N.; 2010, M.S.N. – July 13, 2017
Saxon, 54, dedicated her life to health care with 33 years in the industry. She was musically inclined, playing the piano, guitar and clarinet. She enjoyed pottery, boating, camping and working on crafts projects.


Gail Struble, 1984, B.B.A. – May 23, 2017
With a pen in hand, Struble, 63, could be found writing often. “Find your passion and pursue it with every waking breath, never succumbing to the mockery of others. And, lastly, tread lightly on this Earth, leaving only the slightest scent of your existence as you embark upon life’s quest,” she wrote.




Marsha Goward, 1999, B.A. – Dec. 11, 2016
Goward, 65, was a homemaker until 1999, when she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from SVSU, which gave her a new purpose. She worked for several years as a substitute teacher for Chesaning Union Schools and worked summers at Hehr Glass.


Charlotte McCullough, 1993, B.S.W. – Jan. 9, 2017
McCullough, 79, was a realtor and antique dealer in the Midland area for many years. She performed volunteer work for the Midland Crisis Hot Line and the Midland Literacy Council and was a member of the Midland Antique Society.


James Leonard, 1991, B.B.A. – Jan. 21, 2017
Leonard, 58, was on the Ruhland Sailing Team in the Chicago-to-Mackinac Race on the “Dolphin.” He was employed at Vila Health Care of Petoskey.


Lori Lipinski, 1995, B.B.A.; 2001, M.A. – May 29, 2017
Lipinski, 54, was the operations manager and compliance officer for SVSU’s Police Department. She was a member of the Bay City Yacht Club and enjoyed many outdoor activities. She enjoyed her long career at SVSU working with students, faculty and staff.


Mary Ellen Roethke, 1991, B.S.W. – April 13, 2017
Roethke, 73, was co-founder and operator of the Pine River Country Club Ranch Golf Course in Standish. She worked for Bay Psychological Associates and maintained a private practice in Standish. She was co-founder of the Friends of Theodore Roethke, and bred and raised Arabian horses. While at SVSU, she was a member of Alpha Chi Honor Society and the Student Social Work Organization.


Christopher Slusser, 1999, B.F.A. – Dec. 27, 2016
Slusser, 40, was an SVSU athlete on both the football and men’s cross country teams. He was a graphic designer and production manager at GM Financial, where he played an integral role in building the branding and creative services team.


Mina Sykes, 1996, B.A. – June 8, 2017
Age 62, Sykes was pursuing a doctorate in education at the time of her death. She was employed for many years in the Saginaw Public School District as a substitute teacher.




Rehana Khan-Brown, 2013, B.A.; 2017, M.P.A. – July 9, 2017
Khan-Brown, 46, was a graphic designer and an active community member, dedicating her time to causes that embrace racial harmony and equality. She was a board member for the YWCA and Bridge Center for Racial Harmony. She studied as a Roberts Fellow at SVSU, where she was able to travel abroad to Asia.


Linda Love, 2015, B.S.W. – March 20, 2017
Love, 57, was a lifelong resident of Saginaw and was employed by SVRC Industries. Her hobbies included skating, swimming, cooking and spending time with her family.


GUIDE TO DEGREES ı Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) ı Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) ı Bachelor of Professional Accountancy (B.P.A.) ı Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (B.S.E.E.) ı Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.M.E.) ı Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) ı Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) ı Education Specialist (Ed.S.) ı Master of Arts (M.A.) ı Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) ı Master of Education (M.Ed.) ı Master of Science (M.S.) ı Master of Science in Health Administration and Leadership (M.S.H.A.L.) Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) ı Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.) ı Teacher Certification (T.C.)