Jones Von “JV” Howell ’53

Jones Von Howell Jr., 90, of Newport Beach, California passed away August 31, 2021.

Known to his family and friends as JV, he was born on February 26, 1931, in Burnsville, NC to Jones and Mary Howell. JV graduated from Mars Hill HS where he excelled in mathematics, sciences as well as being an avid athlete playing baseball, football, basketball, and tennis. JV attended Davidson College receiving a B.S. in Physics and then attending North Carolina State where he received his M.S. in Applied Mathematics. In his adult years, JV volunteered as a Big Brother for the Big Brother organization and the Oasis Senior Center helping seniors with tax returns.

JV’s career does not go without merit. His innovative designs in the computer data storage industry resulted in numerous US patents in his name as well as receiving global recognition. He was an early participant and founder of such companies as Scientific Data Systems, Recor, Century Data Systems, Archive Corporation and made significant technical contributions to international standards organizations such as ANSI.

JV was a lover of ideas, a knowledge seeker, and an adventurer. This was the gift he passed on to his children and grandchildren. He loved to learn, he loved to try new things and he loved to help others whether it was a new language, genealogy, water skiing, snow skiing, bicycling, sailing, marathons, climbing Mount Whitney or a scientific exploration to Antarctica.

JV lost his beloved wife of 64 years, Earlene Howell on May 17, 2015. After Earlene’s passing and, in her honor, he volunteered for the Free Wheelchair Mission making several trips to South America assembling and distributing wheelchairs to those in need.

JV is survived by his loving daughters. Sandy Sanders, Joni Marchese and Beth Horne, his grandchildren, Brett Sanders, CJ Sanders, Ali Holder, Addison Marchese, Chase Marchese, Curran Horne, Karly Horne, and Trever Horne, his great grandchildren, Hailey Holder, Charlotte Holder & Rowan Horne.

JV was a remarkable man, kind, caring, strong, intelligent and in his later years was so very gracious. He lived a full and long life and will surely be missed by all.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Jones’ memory may be made to Free Wheel Chair Mission,

Roy T. Johnston ’52

Roy Tuttle Johnston Jr., age 91, of Newton, North Carolina passed away on Saturday, August 28, 2021. Roy was born October 28, 1929.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Johnston family.

Vereen M. Bell ’55

Obituary prepared by Vanderbilt University:

Vereen M. Bell, a professor of English, emeritus, at Vanderbilt University who had a transformational influence on countless students, challenged institutional structures and pushed for greater diversity, died Aug. 24 at home in Nashville. He was 86 years old.

“Professor Bell’s classes all but defined the educational experience for generations of Vanderbilt students,” said John Geer, the Ginny and Conner Searcy Dean of the College of Arts and Science. “He demanded rigor, provoked new ways of thinking and—most memorably—championed students’ intellectual growth with an inimitable style and a wry humor.”

Bell was born on Oct. 31, 1934, in Cairo, Georgia, and grew up in the nearby cities of Thomasville and Quitman. He graduated with a bachelor of science from Davidson College in 1955 before enrolling at Duke University, where he earned his doctorate in 1959. He taught at Louisiana State University for two years before joining the Vanderbilt Department of English as an assistant professor in 1961. His areas of expertise included American and British literature and modern American poetry.

“A scholar of early Modernist literature, he had the soul of an artist and the mind of a writer: associative, curious, deeply empathic, in love with language and unafraid of intense emotion,” said Kate Daniels, Edwin Mims Professor of Literature. “His lifelong Georgia drawl, his love of humor, his storytelling genius, his impressive height, his hospitality at work and at home, his dog-whispering abilities, his intense interest in absolutely everyone he met—even his creative and hilarious use of profanity—drew people to him. He had more friends than anyone I ever knew, all besotted with affection. It was my joy to be one of them.”

Bell was promoted to associate professor in 1965 and received the Chancellor’s Cup the next year for making the greatest contribution outside the classroom to student-faculty relationships. Other university teaching awards during his career included the Madison Sarratt Prize for excellence in undergraduate teaching and the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award.

“Vereen cared deeply about the quality of the student’s course experience. He was supportive of his students as well as the department’s junior faculty,” said Roy Gottfried, professor of English, emeritus. “In class, Vereen would hold long, free-wheeling discussions with students to talk through his and their ideas of the meaning of literature, including the complex works of writers like William Faulkner and William Butler Yeats.”

In 1987, Bell was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship to further his biographical research on Yeats in Ireland and England. His books included Robert Lowell: Nihilist as Hero (1983), The Achievement of Cormac McCarthy (1988), and Yeats and the Logic of Formalism (2006), and, with his Vanderbilt colleague Laurence Lerner, he co-edited On Modern Poetry: Essays Presented to Donald Davie (1988).

“He was known for being sharp and direct in his conversation, and he would always root for the underdog,” Gottfried said. “I would describe him as an iconoclast from top to bottom. He was very eager to challenge a variety of thoughts and structures when he was a faculty member and department chair.”

Bell was an outspoken advocate for increasing diversity on campus, including hiring more underrepresented minorities and women in faculty positions. He served on the Committee on Afro-American Affairs and spoke out during the late 1980s on the need for a reinvigorated Black studies program at Vanderbilt with the hiring of Black scholars to lead it.

Humorist Roy Blount Jr., was a junior when Bell was hired at Vanderbilt, and they had been friends ever since.

“He tended to be gruff, I guess is the word, and even sardonic,” Blount said. “I’m not going to say he was cloaking his essential sweetness, because he would snort at such a cliche.”

Blount recounted that he spent “many a rollicksome, word-loving night” at Bell’s Nashville home—a tradition stretching back to the 1960s when he welcomed Black students like Perry Wallace and Walter Murray.

Bell is survived by his five children: Mary Vereen Bell, Leighton Alexander Bell, Eleanor Bell Hall, Julie Marx and Jonathan Marx.

An event for Bell’s friends and colleagues to celebrate his life will be announced later. The family requests that any memorial contributions be designated for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands and/or the Tennessee Justice Center.

Robert William “Bob” Meldrum ’63

Dr. Robert W. “Bob” Meldrum, age 80, of Bloomsburg, passed away peacefully on Sunday August 22, 2021. He was a dedicated, hard working local family physician and resident of South Centre Twp. for over 40 years.

He was born on Sunday, October 27, 1940 in Chicago, IL to the late Robert A. and Pauline (Repas) Meldrum. Bob was a graduate of Central Columbia High School, Davidson College and Wake Forest Bowman Gray School of Medicine. He faithfully served as a Medical Officer in the United States Air Force. Bob married his late wife Phyllis (Lipscomb) Meldrum in 1965, she preceded him in death on June 12, 2020. After completing his training, Bob returned to his hometown of Bloomsburg with his loving bride to practice family medicine. He established a thriving medical practice and served as County Coroner and Central Columbia football team doctor. He served on The Medical Executive Committee and was Chair of the Geisinger Bloomsburg Medical Records Committee. After retiring from his practice, Bob continued to volunteer at a free clinic until 2014.

Bob derived no greater joy in life than serving others. He never forgot a face and loved being active in his community. He delivered over 3,000 babies in three generations of families. Bob was a member of the First English Baptist Church, Bloomsburg where he served as a Deacon and sang in the choir for many years as well as participating in various leadership ministries. Bob enjoyed landscaping, socializing with friends, playing cards, coin collecting, golfing, reading, classic cars, sailing, and spending time with his children and grandchildren.

Survivors include his two children, a son Robert Meldrum and his wife Clara Jane Meldrum, and a daughter Heather Kaminski and her husband William Camp; six grandchildren: John Meldrum and his wife Jessica, Maryn Meldrum, Kathleen Meldrum, Iris Meldrum, Michael Kaminski and Robert Kaminski; a sister Ruth Bair and husband Mike Bair.

A time of visitation for family and friends will be held on Monday, August 30, 2021 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Allen Funeral Home, Inc., 745 Market at Eighth Streets, Bloomsburg.

Funeral services will begin on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at 10:00 am at the Allen Funeral Home, Inc. with Rev. Dr. Lee Barnhardt, officiating. Graveside committal services will immediately follow in New Rosemont Cemetery, Espy. The Allen Funeral Home, Inc., is honored to be serving the Meldrum family.

Memorial contributions in Robert’s name are suggested to: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude’s Place, Memphis, TN, 38105 or The Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital, 549 Fair St., Bloomsburg, PA 17815.

John Edward Keiter ’61

John Edward Keiter, Sr. passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Wednesday night, August 18, 2021.

John was born on December 29, 1938, in Kinston, North Carolina, and enjoyed many summers at his beach house with his family on the outer banks of North Carolina, where he liked to sail in his sailboat as a young boy.

He moved to Utah in the mid-1970’s and fell in love with the mountains and the four seasons. John loved to hunt, fly fish, golf, sail, travel, ski, spend time with friends and family and be in the outdoors. One of John’s favorite places on earth was the river house he built on the Provo River in Woodland, Utah.

John graduated from medical school from the University of North Carolina and specialized in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Washington in St. Louis, Missouri. He served as a general surgeon in the Army in Kansas.

John was married to Phyllis Ann Whitenack for 18 years, and they had two daughters together, Katharine and Anna.

John was a renowned Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who was beloved by his patients. He was once published for developing one of the first procedures for re-attaching a finger to a hand to replace a thumb.

John was married to Dana Marie Durbano in 1982 and they raised four children together: his stepdaughter Breklyn, and their three children Kelly, John Jr. and Caroline Paige. The family lived in Ogden until 1994, when they moved to Park City.

John had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam on two medical missions, where he helped reconstruct cleft palates for many small children and patients who did not have access to modern healthcare. His efforts to reconstruct a young boy’s face that was marred in a mine explosion during the war was captured in a documentary by filmmakers who accompanied him on the trip.

John was also married to Carla Evans for 10 years, and they lived at the River House in Woodland after he retired.

Dad enjoyed many family trips to Hawaii, where he loved to golf, run on the beach and spend time with his kids.

He loved it when his children and grandchildren would visit him in his later years.

John is the middle child to William Eugene Keiter, Sr. and Leonora Mary Readey Keiter. He is survived by his brothers, William Eugene Keiter, Jr. (Martha) and Robert Harvey Keiter (Beth), his six children, Katharine Windsor Olive (Mike), Anna Christian Keiter, Breklyn Adele Morgan (Troy), Kelly Marie Keiter, John Edward Keiter, Jr. (Rachel) and Caroline Paige Sparks (Mike), and his eleven grandkids, Eric and David, Christian, Mason, Mia and Bree, Clark and Amy, Calvin, Rivers and Winnie.

His family will miss him dearly. We are grateful for the memories and hope he’s found peace and happiness with loved ones on the other side.

A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, located at 12 C Street in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday, September 23, 2021, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will be live-streamed for family and friends who are unable to attend.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Operation Smile at