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the Navy from 1946 to 1948 and later in the Naval Reserve, before earning a BA at Phillips University. He obtained a master’s and doctorate at the University of Wis- consin. His dissertation, The Negro under the New Deal, 1933–41, was cited in the Pulitzer-winning book Age of Reform. In 1961 Kifer joined Skidmore, where


he developed courses on black history and received a grant from the New York State Education Department and the Ford Foun dation to prepare a new course on African history. He was a pioneer in Skid - more’s University Without Walls program at the nearby Great Meadow Correc tional Facility and in the history department’s writing-intensive courses. He was the general editor of the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of American History. He incorporated his research on race and politics into a Liberal Studies course, “The Changing South,” that he regularly taught. Kifer also served as col- lege archivist for two years and was appointed in 1976 to a new State Histor- ical Records Advisory Board. He was an officer in the state and county Liberal Party, member of professional history


societies, and president of the Skidmore chapter of AAUP. He retired in 1997. Professor Emerita Patricia-Ann Lee re -


calls him as “the perfect scholar and a gentleman, both supportive and consider- ate.” Government Professor Roy Ginsberg says he was “a kind, gracious, generous, dedicated, and level-headed colleague.” At the age of 60, Kifer realized a lifelong dream when he earned his private pilot’s license. He was an officer of the Condair Flyers Club. He is survived by his wife, two daugh-


ters and a son, and four grandchildren. Madeleine Fontaine Ortoleva ’60, pro- fessor emerita of French, died July 4. (See her In Memoriam entry, under “Alumni,” in this Scope.) Barbara Fortin, a Skidmore housekeeper from 1990 to 2000, died January 5, at 79. Supervisor Colleen Manning worked with Fortin in the Penfield residence hall and recalls, “She was a terrific co-worker with a big heart.” Colleague Lynne Herri - man says Fortin “was the fastest bed- maker I’ve ever met. I was impressed by her skill.” After retiring, Fortin spent many hours


as a “foster grandparent” at Skidmore’s Greenberg Child Care Center, whose director Nancy Wheeler says, “She was devoted to the children.” Fortin was the mother of Skidmore employees as well: daughter Sheri worked at Greenberg and son Chuck was a custodial supervisor. Survivors include four daughters, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchil- dren; husband Richard and two sons pre- deceased her. Charlotte Taylor, a longtime member


of the dining services staff, died January 30. She was 77. She began working at Skidmore in 1975


and retired in 1998. Supervisor Jamie Cherry recalls her as “very dependable, straightforward, and a hard worker.” In her off hours, Taylor enjoyed roller coasters and family, especially her chil- dren and grandchildren. Survivors include her husband, two sons (including Philip, also a Skidmore dining services staffer), a daughter, seven grand- children, and 12 great-grands. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alz - heimer’s Associa tion, 4 Pine West Plaza #405, Albany, NY 12205.


WINTER 2014 SCOPE 67


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