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College mourns passing of Carole Tate

The flag is flying at half staff at Southwestern Michigan College for Carole Tate. A Board of Trustees member for 18 years, from January 1991-2009, and board treasurer beginning in 2003, Mrs. Tate died unexpectedly. Mrs. Tate, who had the distinction of being the first person from the Van Buren portion of the SMC district to serve on the SMC Board of Trustees, retired from the board Sept. 1, 2009.

Her husband, David, was the longtime Van Buren District Library director.

Mrs. Tate, a 1975 SMC graduate, earned her teaching certificate and bachelor of arts degree in English with a minor in library science in 1977 and her master’s degree in library science from Western Michigan University in April 1981.

She served as the kindergarten through eighth grade librarian for Lakeshore Public Schools in Stevensville starting in 1989.

Prior to that, she served as school librarian at Marcellus High School, children’s librarian and assistant director at Van Buren County Library and as audio-visual librarian for Portage Central High School.

At the time of her retirement from education, Mrs. Tate was Decatur Public Schools media specialist.

“SMC changed my life forever and will continue to do the same for future generations,” she wrote in her resignation letter.

"Carole was a wonderful person and a fine SMC trustee volunteering her time to the College for nearly two decades,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas F. Jerdon, who succeeded her as board treasurer.

“She cared deeply for her alma mater as well as for the SMC staff and students alike. She embodied the human element in every decision the board made. She had a calm and professional demeanor no matter how challenging the topic. She was always well prepared.”

“On a personal level,” Jerdon added, “I was so fortunate that Carole was on the board when I was appointed. She encouraged and supported me and through that experience a true friendship formed. Our prayers are with her devoted husband, David, and her entire family."

Arrangements are pending at Newell Chapel in Decatur.