In Memoriam

Featured obituaries from recent print editions of Mills Quarterly. (Visit our Issuu page to read In Memoriam in its entirety.) To submit listings for a future issue, please contact or 510.430.2123.

Anita Aragon Kreplin ’63

Two white women with short brown hair pose for a photo while wearing Mills regalia at Reunion 2013.
Photo by Dana Davis

There may not be any other Mills alumna who has ever been so connected to the College post-graduation as Anita Aragon Kreplin ’63. 

She used her Spanish degree (and a master’s from Case Western) to teach the language at Mills from 1970 to 1974. Her first husband, the late Darl Bowers, was a biology professor at Mills for 38 years, and she was introduced to her second husband (and survivor) Karl Kreplin through a classmate her sophomore year. Her stepdaughter, Jeannette Bowers Bose ’84, is an alum as well—and Anita’s experience as a Mills stepparent was one she spoke of often. And she served on the AAMC’s board of governors for three terms, including as president during a particularly fraught era, and she was once executive director of the AAMC. 

“I remember how Anita would break into a song when we, as AAMC leaders, were facing difficult decisions. With her song and smile, she would break the tension and move us ahead,” said Susan Brown Penrod ’71. “She was friendly, calm, practical, and forward-looking— she optimized the magical madness of Mills.” 

Two white women posing on a stage at Reunion 2013, with the younger dressed in a blue top and black skirt and holding an award, and the other wearing black pants, an orange shirt, and a patterned button-down shirt.
Photo by Teresa Tam

The news of her passing on December 26, 2022, was a thorough shock to the Mills community, almost certainly due to how omnipresent Anita was at alum events over the years. Reactions on social media were not at all restricted by graduation year. 

Classmate Susan Miles Gulbransen ’63 noted, however, that Anita was particularly dedicated to her graduating class. She adds that she’s grateful the members of the Class of 1963 were able to resume their semi-annual on-campus lunches last fall after a long COVID pause. “Anita, always active and knowledgeable, and an important Mills support, led us up to date: ‘We’ll have to talk faster and more since we’ve missed lunches the past three years!’ Gulbransen said. “She has added so much to our lives with her rich, positive thoughts and fun ideas.” 

Former AAMC President Lucy Do ’75 first met Anita as a student when Anita was teaching Spanish at Mills. Anita later recruited Do to replace her as leader of the AAMC. “She was a wealth of knowledge not only of the AAMC but of the greater community, and the history of all subjects concerning Mills College,” Do said. “She will be greatly missed as a beacon and role model for all Mills women.” 

Anita retired from Oakland High School as vice principal in 2004—after departing her position at Mills, she also taught Spanish at San Francisco University High School. Her volunteerism also extended beyond Mills, where she won the AAMC’s Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2014, including the development of a church group to discuss literature and social issues. And she was a dedicated practitioner of meditation; Do said that it was the reason behind Anita’s trademark mindfulness and calm. 

In addition to scores of grateful former students and many Mills admirers, Anita is survived by Karl and three stepchildren. 

Jennifer Hicks Stone ’55

A broadcasting legend at progressive Bay Area radio station KPFA, Jennifer Hicks Stone ’55 died on December 4, 2022, in Berkeley. 

She was born in Tucson, Arizona, and grew up with a single father after her mother died in Stone’s teens. It was her father who sent her to Mills, where she earned a degree in theater arts before moving to New York to study acting. After a brief marriage that produced her two sons, she relocated to Berkeley and worked as a public-school teacher while raising her children by herself and trying to make it as a writer. 

Stone’s literary career began as a film critic for The Berkeley Monthly and a television columnist for women’s newspaper Plexus, which quickly blossomed to positions with other publications. Her fiction started to appear in Mother Jones and other more underground titles, leading to novels such as Over by the Caves (2012). Other releases included Telegraph Avenue, Then (1992) and Mind Over Media (1988). 

The latter shared its name with one of her long-running KPFA shows. It was in the 1980s that Stone turned to radio—she told Berkeleyside that she did it “when I lost my looks, honey”—and she eventually rounded out more than four decades with keen, witty observances on culture and feminism on her shows “Mind Over Media” and “Stone’s Throw.” She only wrapped up her broadcasting career within the last few years as her health started to falter, but as tributes showed after her passing, her legacy on the airwaves will continue for many years to come. 

Stone is survived by two sons. 

I have tried to be honest rather than sincere. The sincerity of our age is making us sick. Honesty is the work of a lifetime.”

Jennifer Hicks Stone ’55, from her book of essays, Stone’s Throw

Lorry I. Lokey

In a 2004 interview with former Mills director of philanthropic planning April Ninomiya Hopkins, MFA ’03, Lorry I. Lokey admitted that, in college, he was voted least likely to succeed. And yet, with his communications degree from Stanford and passion for journalism, he founded and nurtured the news service Business Wire, which is still a thriving global media company today. 

(Erin Lubin)

Four decades later, he began racking up placements on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of most generous donors in the United States. In 2006 alone, he gave away $163 million. “What am I going to do with the money?” he said in that 2004 interview. “Buy a plane? Buy a yacht? That’s not my style.” 

As the name on the Lorry I. Lokey School of Business and Public Policy might indicate, some of that largesse made its way to Mills, the alma mater of his daughter, Ann Lokey ’85. Her post-grad career at Business Wire and, later, in public relations, inspired him to give back. “Seeing her success propels me to say Mills is every bit as good as I thought it was,” he said in 2004. 

Though the business school benefited the most from his generosity— more than $20 million in total—it was not his only focus. The Charles E. Larsen Classroom in Vera Long and the School of Education also received a $3-million gift to fund renovations and building projects. Former President Janet Holmgren honored Lokey’s giving by granting him an honorary doctorate of humane letters at Commencement 2004, and he served on the Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2013. 

Most of the fortune he donated went to educational institutions, including Santa Clara University and the University of Oregon— among many others. Why? He told Hopkins that it was the only realistic alternative to opening his own college: “If I couldn’t build one, I wanted to do something that would change the complexion of a school and make it a more valuable institution.” Lokey credited the success of his own business to the education that he and his colleagues attained, and he was the largest donor in the history of the College. 

He died on October 1, 2022, in Portland, Oregon. He is survived by Ann and her two sisters, his grandchildren, and scores of colleagues and admirers. 

Jennifer Losch Bartlett ’63

The creator of dynamic paintings that defied easy categorization, Jennifer Losch Bartlett ’63 died on July 25, 2022, in Amagansett, New York. She is survived by a daughter and two sisters. 

After graduating from Mills with a bachelor’s degree in studio art, Bartlett went on to Yale, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s of fine arts degrees. Early in her artistic career, she shuttled between the SoHo loft where she settled with late husband Ed, Yale, and the University of Connecticut, where she was teaching. Her time on mass transit prompted the creation of one of the most characteristic materials of her career: steel plates topped with silkscreened enamel surfaces, similar to subway signs. A piece incorporating that medium, “Rhapsody,” later became part of the atrium at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 

“Swimmers” by Jennifer Bartlett, displayed at the Russell Federal Building and US Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia

Bartlett’s work has been exhibited across the globe, from Documenta in Kassel, Germany, and the Venice Biennale to the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis, and numerous museums—including SFMOMA—hold pieces of hers in their collections. In a remembrance in The New York Times, Roberta Smith wrote, “Ms. Bartlett was an unrepentant maverick who started out as a fringe member of the post-Minimalist generation, Conceptual Art Division, devising mathematical or geometric systems that she need only execute, without further aesthetic decisions. She characterized this as a ‘What if?’ approach.” 

Her experimental methods, which she used in everything from printmaking to jewelry and costume design, were lauded by a wide range of art publications, including Artforum. In 2013, she characterized her process to Julian Elias Bronner from that magazine: “Sometimes the rules change, but I prefer to follow through with them until the end,” she said. “My work is finished when it’s finished, when I finish solving the problem.” 

In addition to her visual work, Bartlett also co-wrote A History of the Universe, an autobiographical novel published in 2013. 

Professor Emerita of Education Jane Bowyer

One of the biggest champions of the Mills School of Education, Jane Bowyer died on August 2, 2022. She is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Bowyer ’02. 

Bowyer, who taught at Mills from 1975 to 2012, played an integral role in the creation of the Mills School of Education— and also took on the role of dean. During her time with the school, she particularly focused on the early childhood education program, elevating it to a place of global renown. In particular, she built strong relationships with educators in Japan, traveling there often. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Ohio and her master’s and PhD at UC Berkeley. 

This past spring, Bowyer made a visit to the School of Education with members of her family, and according to former School of Education Dean Wendi Williams, she “looked on proudly seeing colleagues who were ‘still here,’ many of whom she mentored and supported early in their career years.” 

After retiring about 10 years ago, Bowyer continued coming to the Mills campus to audit courses in the art department with Professor Yulia Pinkusevich. In the announcement to the campus community about Bowyer’s passing, Pinkusevich reflected on her former student’s creativity: “She was never afraid of pushing herself in her art or going beyond her comfort and limitations, and she dedicated herself to her creative practice in painting and drawing throughout her later years, having several exhibitions of her work locally and beyond.” 

Kristen Allison Avansino ’67, MA ’69 

Philanthropist and Mills volunteer Kristen Allison Avansino ’67, MA ’69, died on May 15 after being struck by a car in San Francisco several days prior. She is survived by her husband, Skip; two daughters; and five grandchildren. 

Her two Mills degrees were in dance, and that’s what she pursued: At the time of her death, she was still teaching classes as professor emerita of dance at the University of Nevada, Reno. Kristen joined the faculty there in 1971, and not long after she began, she revamped the dance curriculum. She earned doctorates in education from Thomas Jefferson University in 1999 and in humane letters from the University of Nevada in 2016. 

In addition, she was a fervent supporter of the Reno community. Kristen was the longtime president and executive director of the E.L. Wiegand Foundation and executive director of the Edwin L. Wiegand Trust, and under her leadership, projects such as learning centers for children and science wings in local high schools received funding. She also served as the Nevada representative on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, from 2003 to 2008. 

In a statement to the Reno Gazette Journal, her family said: “We will always remember her bright smile, sparkling eyes, endless creativity, and her infectious enthusiasm. She was a magnetic, stylish woman who spread positivity with every interaction, and we will lead the rest of our lives in her example and walk proudly in her path.” 

Lynda Campfield ’00, MA ’02 

At alumnae events, Lynda Campfield could often be found sitting right inside the entrance of Reinhardt Alumnae House, ready with a broad smile and a kind word for whoever came by. At Commencement 2022, just a few days after her untimely passing, her Mills friends decorated her usual chair with flowers, a robe and stole, the nametag that had been prepared for her for the day’s festivities, and the Class of 2000 felt banner, which she had proudly carried many times. 

Lynda came to Mills as a resumer: She graduated from high school in 1981 and first attended Sacramento City College starting in 1996. After earning her bachelor’s degree in English at Mills, she enrolled in the School of Education and obtained a master’s in teaching. For 21 years, she taught English at San Leandro High School, a vocation she truly loved, and she volunteered in promoting literacy efforts for people at Folsom State Prison and the California Youth Authority. Her volunteerism also extended to Habitat for Humanity, the Alameda County Community Food Bank, and her local teachers’ union. 

At Mills, Lynda was a constant presence. When she won the AAMC’s Outstanding Volunteer Award at Reunion 2013, her ensuing Quarterly profile noted that “few AAMC events happen without her involvement.” She said then: “Long before Mills would teach me ‘Remember who you are and what you represent,’ my parents taught me that if you have something to give, then you must give.” In addition to the many events she helped with, Lynda served as vice president on the Board of Governors for several years, starting in 2006. In celebrating her life, Lynda’s family noted how much she loved Mills, and her funeral repast was held at RAH. 

Lynda died on May 12 in Oakland. She is survived by three siblings, two nephews, many cousins, and a wide array of admirers, beloved students, and friends. 

Professor Emerita of Dance Becky Fuller, MA ’54

Rebecca “Becky” Fuller, MA ’54, a dancer, choreographer, and Mills College emerita professor, died on January 7 in Santa Rosa, California. Becky was a member of the dance faculty at Mills from 1955 to 1988. She taught the entire dance curriculum, including Saturday morning classes for children, and served as head of the Dance Department from 1981 to 1988.

Becky attended college at Michigan State University, then studied modern dance and choreography with Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, and Louis Horst at Connecticut College, and later, with Anna Halprin, on the West Coast. In 1952, she moved to Oakland, where she received her MA under Marian van Tuyl, Eleanor Lauer, and Doris Dennison. She joined the Dance Department as a faculty member, choreographing numerous works in collaboration with the renowned composer Darius Milhaud and visual artist Tony Prieto—including ’Adame Miroir (1963) and L’homme et son désir (1967). She made works for specific sites, such as Gallery Dance in the Mills College Art Museum in 1978, and Roof and Fire with Trisha Brown ’58 surrounding the Haas Pavilion in 1973. She also choreographed dances for fellow Mills dance faculty members Mary Ann Kinkead, Kathleen McClintock, and June Watanabe.

She was a beloved teacher of many young dancers who were inspired to pursue professional careers as performers/choreographers and teach in universities and their communities. Former students Brown and Molissa Fenley ’75 are internationally acclaimed dance artists. With another of her former students—Nancy Lyons, MA ’68; professor emerita in dance at Sonoma State University—Becky published dance resources that included The Moving Box, a tool kit for creative movement in primary, secondary, university, and community settings.

She was predeceased by her partner of many years, John Rinn, and will be deeply missed by her many friends and former students.