Francis Alan DuVal, 1916-2008

MOUNT VERNON – Professor emeritus of German Francis Alan DuVal, 91, of Mount Vernon, Iowa, died March 24 from complications due to pneumonia.

To share comments and memories of Alan DuVal, visit his remembrance page.

He was born on a farm near Glenwood, Iowa, on Dec. 30, 1916. His parents were Frank Earl and Grace Cattron DuVal. At age 10 he moved with his parents to a farm near Malvern, Iowa. He attended country schools and graduated from Malvern High School.

After acquiring a B.A. degree in modern languages, he attended graduate school at the University of Iowa and received an M.A. in German language and literature in 1941. He taught German at Cornell College during the school year 1941-42, when he occupied the faculty suite in Merner Hall and took meals at the housemother’s table in Pfeiffer. After that year he left, along with the majority of Cornell’s male students, to serve in World War II.

He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1942 and later attended officers’ training and graduated from the Coast Guard Academy with an ensign’s commission. During his military career, he was the captain of a small Coast Guard cutter in the Atlantic and later spent nearly two years on a landing ship in the Pacific during World War II.

On Dec. 15, 1942, Louise M. Miller and he were married in her parents’ home in Amana, Iowa. In 1946, he was released from active duty and resumed his teaching at Cornell College. He received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Iowa in 1948. In 1960, he became chairman of the newly-created Department of Classical and Modern Languages. With his wife, he published several college German textbooks prior to his retirement from Cornell in 1982.

In 1957, he received a summer Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany and later served several terms on the Fulbright Selection Committee. He was a member of the committee that created a new language organization, the Association of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). In 1975, he was made an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa.

In the mid-’70s, he and Mel Hetland visited Colorado College to study the Block Plan. Their enthusiastic report eventually resulted in Cornell’s distinctive calendar, One-Course-At-A-Time.

In 2005 he published his 1948 dissertation on Amana leader Christian Metz—Louise’s great-great grandfather. On Homecoming weekend in October, 2006, Alan was honored by Cornell College as a long-standing member of the Presidents Society during the annual Presidents Society Dinner.

Late in life, Alan realized a life-long dream and interest by becoming a life member of Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society in North Freedom, Wis. The group maintains a railway museum and operates steam passenger train for tourists. He fired steam locomotives and was qualified as brakeman and conductor.

He was a long-time member of the Lisbon-Mount Vernon Rotary Club and participated in several local activities, among them six years as member and president of Chapel View, a low-rent housing project in Mount Vernon. Besides holding membership in several professional societies, he was also a member of the Amana Heritage Society.

Alan is survived by his daughter, Anne Louise, and her husband Jerry Rehfuss of Roswell, Ga.; by his grandchildren Kristina MacRae and her husband Dr. Ryan MacRae of Seneca, S.C.; Jonathan Rehfuss of Madison, Wis.; Benjamin Rehfuss and Katherine Rehfuss of Roswell, Ga.; and by great-granddaughter Emma MacRae of Seneca, S.C. He is also survived by nieces Peggy Miller of Indianapolis, Ind.; Rosemary Miller Berry of Sautee Nacoochee, Ga.; and Kathleen Miller Estevez and her husband, Carlos Estevez, of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and a nephew Dr. Stephen Miller and his wife Cathie Miller of Muncie, Ind.

Friends may visit the family from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Morgan Funeral Home in Mount Vernon on Friday, March 28. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, in the First Presbyterian Church, Mount Vernon, by The Rev. Emory Gillespie, and interment will be in the Mount Vernon Memorial Cemetery, with military rites.

Memorials may be sent to Cornell College, 600 First St. SW, Mount Vernon, Iowa, 52314, to be used for the purchase of foreign language books for the library, or to the Amana Heritage Society, P.O. Box 81, Amana, Iowa, 52203.

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