Beatrice Bell Verville passed away at the age of 90. Photo courtesy of Claire Schmal.

Beatrice Bell Verville passed away at the age of 90.
Photo courtesy of Claire Schmoll

Katie Vale passed away due to a cardiac arrest. Photo courtesy of Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

Katie Vale passed away due to a cardiac arrest.
Photo courtesy of Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

The past two weeks have been marred by tragic news of the passing of two beloved members on campus. On November 20, Beatrice Bell Verville, who joined the accounting office in 1977 and retired in 1992, passed away at the age of 90. It was not more than a week later that current faculty member Katie Vale, Vice President of Information and Library Services, suffered a sudden and tragic passing due to a cardiac arrest. Both individuals were stellar members of the faculty and staff and have helped to improve the campus in a plethora of ways. It is with great regret that the Bates community must say a final farewell.

Verville was not only a valuable and exemplary member of the staff in the accounting office here on campus. According to an email sent by President Clayton Spencer on November 28, “She was a talented seamstress who created heirloom quilts for her children and grandchildren. She was active in the Knights of Columbus, taught line dancing, and enjoyed bowling, crocheting, knitting, senior bus trips, and playing cards. An open-armed matriarch, she was able to weave together three families into one.”

Verville’s countless examples of outstanding citizenship were not limited to her work at Bates College, but also extended into the community around her. Evident in President Spencer’s remarks, she was a person who enjoyed giving back to the community throughout her life, and her presence within the Bates and local community will be greatly missed.

The passing of Vale last week was as tragic as it was unexpected. Vale had recently undergone surgery just a little over two weeks before her untimely death, and was reported to be recovering well.

President Spencer shared some remarks in another email circulated on campus stating, “Katie joined Bates 15 months ago, and she quickly proved herself to be a strong and creative organizational leader, a wonderful, collaborative colleague, a professional of enormous breadth and intellect, and a person possessed of quick wit and self-deprecating humor. She was a national leader in educational technology and a valued member of the senior leadership team.”

As incidents such as these occur at Bates, it is important to recognize the inherent bond that each and every person on this campus share with each other in simply being a part of the Bates community. While many members of the Bates community may not have known either Verville or Vale personally, it is important to recognize the role both played in contributing to the Bates community and their work in moving Bates forward.

On behalf of The Student staff, the community, and myself it is with respect that we offer our condolences and support to the families of Beatrice Bell Verville and Katie Vale in this trying time. May they both rest in peace.