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Don & Mary Louise VanDyke



Don and Mary Louise moved to Kendal on December 31, 1993. They met as students at Oberlin College, Class of ’47, and married in Fairchild Chapel in 1948.


Mary Louise has made use of her graduate degrees in music education and sacred music, teaching music, leading choirs, founding the Northern Ohio Choristers Guild and serving on the Guild’s national board. As a hymnologist she has published articles, served as consultant for many hymnal committees, edited the Dictionary of American Hymnology, and directed many hymn festivals. She chaired Kendal’s music committee for the first three years and produced the first musical events in Heiser Auditorium. She makes us all want to sing.


Another of Mary Louise’s pursuits is liturgical weaving. Her fingers are always flying, not just at the loom but in supporting and nurturing residents at Kendal and her many other friends. She organized a volunteer guild for the Allen Memorial Art Museum, is president of the Nineteenth Century Club, and volunteers at FAVA and Lorain County Sacred Landmarks Initiative.


After graduating from medical school at Western Reserve University, Don practiced ophthalmology in Kent, Ohio, and then in Oberlin before becoming a part-time administrator at the Oberlin Clinic in 1982. He and Mary Louise have done medical missionary work in India, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. They were both very active with the Northern Ohio Area of AFS. Don served on the Shansi board, has been a member of Rotary since 1956, and still remains active in community and club projects.


Don worked with David Orr and biology professor David Benzing in developing the landscaping around the Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College. Construction of the original gardens and rock garden and most of the wetland plantings were completed in early summers. He spent 19 years as Building Superintendent at First Church in Oberlin, and helped the early planners and administrative staff of Kendal from the beginning, a role that he still fills today.


Their early memories of moving into Kendal give them much to smile about – often involving mud, since landscaping was still months away. A favorite is their white poodle “Dourie” in the mud.


Don and Mary Louise advise us to come in as pioneers and to know that there is more to be done. Pitch in and play your part – it’s a new world every day.


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