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Longtime Olivet College supporter dies at 71
May 03, 2010

The Rev. Dr. Peggy Riethmiller Blackman, former employee and longtime supporter of Olivet College, died Wednesday, April 28. She was 71.

Blackman is survived by her husband, Dr. Charles Blackman, a 1946 Olivet College graduate and trustee emeritus. The Blackmans recently donated a $1.5 million lead gift toward construction of the colleges new M. Gorton Riethmiller Art Building, which is slated to open in the fall. The facility is named after Riethmiller Blackmans late husband, who served as president of Olivet College from 1957 to 1970.

Peggy has been a longtime supporter of Olivet College and has helped tremendously with bringing back the arts to the campus, said Olivet College President Don Tuski. We are all going to miss her energy and talents.

Riethmiller Blackman served as an administrator and professor at Olivet from 1964 to 1967. She was responsible for coordinating activities and managing staff for the Student Services Center, as well as teaching and advising undergraduates in the Teacher Education Department. Riethmiller Blackman also coordinated the student teaching program in eight area school districts during her tenure at the college.

A generous contributor to Olivet, she supported many college initiatives over the years, including: the Drs. Gorton and Peggy Riethmiller Endowed Scholarship, Riethmiller Awards for faculty, library construction project, and the Olivet College Annual Fund.

In addition to her work at Olivet, Riethmiller Blackman served as a professor of education at Michigan State University (MSU), and executive director of MSUs College of Education Alumni Association. She also taught elementary and high school in Wisconsin and Illinois, and served as a consultant and supervisor for the State of Michigan Department of Education; field researcher for the Michigan-Ohio Regional Educational Laboratory; consultant, advisor and program director for numerous organizations including the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Law Enforcement Council, Michigan Association of School Boards, and several schools and colleges; and was an ordained Congregational minister.

Riethmiller Blackman earned a bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin, a masters degree and doctorate from Michigan State University, and a Master of Divinity from the Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Mich.

The funeral will be held Tuesday, May 4 at 2 p.m. at the First Christian Church of Madison, Ind. A reception will follow the service at the church. A private graveside service and burial will be held at a later date in Mount Hope Cemetery in Waterloo Township, Mich.

Friends may call from 1:30 p.m. until the service Tuesday at the church.

A public memorial service will be held Tuesday, May 18 at 2 p.m. at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Lansing, Mich.

Expressions of sympathy may take the form of donations to Olivet College’s M. Gorton Riethmiller Art Building Fund or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Online condolences can be sent at www.morgan-nay.com.



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