Professor Emerita Ruth Barton, November 23, in Colorado Springs, the guiding force in the early years of the Writing Center, the journalism program, Cutler Publications, and a host of other writing-related endeavors at Colorado College. She was 78. Barton, known for her love of poetry and her dedication to students, first began teaching at CC in 1964 as a lecturer in English.
Faculty and students alike recall her kindness and fearlessness as she navigated turbulent decades of change at the college. Former students remember a generous teacher who took them seriously. Early on, Barton lobbied for a college-wide writing program, which began in the mid-70s when a professor was freed for a block to help students.
By 1979, the faculty approved an all-college writing program, including what became the Writing Center, “to help all students write more clearly, cogently, and gracefully by offering a wide variety of writing opportunities,” Barton wrote in 1988. She recruited faculty by holding monthly lunches to discuss teaching writing. In the early days, she invited new faculty to retreats at the Baca to discuss teaching writing. Her husband, the late Tom K. Barton, professor emeritus of history, shared her conviction that writing is central to learning. “The Writing Center was her baby,” said English Professor Barry Sarchett, who came to the college in 1981, at first to teach half time and work in the newly established writing program. “She was larger than life,” Sarchett said. “We all missed her when she retired, and now we’ll miss her even more.” The Writing Center was renamed in her honor in a ceremony on Friday, Dec. 7.
Ruth Pendergrass was born in Sweetwater, Texas, in 1934 and earned a degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She worked for two years at the Fort Worth, (Texas), Press, then married Tom K. Barton. The two moved to Detroit, where Ruth was a claims representative for the U.S. Social Security Administration. She earned a master’s and doctorate in English from the University of Wisconsin. She became adjunct assistant professor of English, a non-tenure post, in 1974.
In 2003, she became professor emerita, and in her retirement she was active in the League of Women Voters. Her daughter, Belle B. Rosing, died in 2003. Her son, Tiff, lives in Colorado Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ruth Barton Memorial Fund.
J. Michael Hoffman, July 24, in Colorado Springs, one day shy of his 68th birthday. After earning an M.D. in 1970 from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, he earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He taught at CC for 32 years, from 1977 until his retirement in 2009. He specialized in biological anthropology, osteology, paleoanthropology, and forensic anthropology. He was a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and certified as a forensic anthropologist by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. In that role, he worked with county coroner offices across Colorado, assisting with identification of human skeletal remains and determining causes of death. He enjoyed photography and technology. Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Merla; daughter Elizabeth; and his mother, Mary.
Neale Reinitz, Sept. 28, in Colorado Springs. He was a professor of English at Colorado College from 1953 to 1991, and remained active in the CC community until his death. After retirement he studied Russian at Colorado College and in St. Petersburg, Russia. He carried out numerous scholarly projects after retirement, culminating in a biography of the poet and critic William Ellery Leonard which will be published in the next few months. He served in the Army Air Force during World War II as a cryptographer. Before and after military service he attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he was an active staff member of the Daily Cardinal. He then received an M.A. in English literature from Harvard and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. Neale was an avid lover of the outdoors who backpacked throughout Colorado. He climbed all the Colorado 14ers, and summitted the Grand Teton on his 60th birthday. Late in life he was an avid cross-country bicyclist and a regular participant in Colorado College rides to Aspen. Other outdoor activities included travels in Scotland, the Altai mountains, and rafting trips in Utah. Neale had a brilliant and unique sense of humor inspired by his love of the Marx Brothers, particularly Groucho. In 1947, Neale married Beverly Gene Landay, and they remained married until Beverly’s death in 2000. Neale is survived by his sister Judith Lazarus of Lake Bluff, Ill., a son John and daughter-in-law Ilene, both of Chicago, a granddaughter Julia, and his longtime companion Barbara Caley of Denver. He is predeceased by his parents, Bertram and Sonia.