Professor emeritus of education and former division chair Dr. Lola Marie Haller ’57 passed away on April 16, 2015, in Hastings, Michigan. She was 85.
Dr. Haller’s association with Houghton College goes back to 1953 when she briefly attended as a student in the process of completing her bachelor’s degree. She was teaching public school and working on her doctorate in Michigan when President Stephen W. Paine asked her to succeed Elizabeth Rennick as Houghton’s dean of women in 1963. From 1968 until her retirement in 1991, she was professor of education and director of teacher education. She served as division chair from 1978 to 1985.
Nearly three decades of students benefited from Dr. Haller’s life and work. “God crafted quite a woman in Lola!” recalled former student and Houghton community member Elizabeth “Beth” (Seidel ’70) Beardsley. “She was a beloved professor of mine at college as well as a dear friend and encourager.” In addition, Lola’s professional knowledge was recognized and used beyond the borders of Houghton’s campus. Toward the end of her tenure, she specialized in children’s literature and presented early literacy and in-training seminars at regional conferences and in area schools. She also did readings at local libraries and was considered a master storyteller. “I considered her an excellent educator,” said former student Marlee S. Crandon ’69.
After retirement, Lola returned to her home state of Michigan where she was a founding member of the Lake Odessa Community Library in Lake Odessa, Michigan. She continued in her dedication to helping children learn to love books by reading to the students of West Elementary of Lake Odessa. “The books she suggested for children to read opened doors and windows for many,” stated one friend who worked with Lola on the library board. Another thanked her “for touching my life and the lives of so many children in our school district.”
Dr. Haller is survived by her niece Shirley Lich and nephew Gary Haller in addition to many other nieces, nephews and special friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Royal Haller Sr. and Racie Haller, and two brothers, Royal Haller, Jr. and Keith Haller.