Calder Pickett, a lover of family, history and Jayhawks, died Tuesday, October 29, 2013, at Neuvant House of Lawrence. Memorial services will be at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, November 3, 2013, at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence. Burial will follow at Pioneer Cemetery.
Calder taught journalism at the University of Kansas for 37 years. But he was much more than a teacher. He was a father, grandfather, author and editor. It’s difficult to capture his life in a few paragraphs, but here’s a try.
Calder brought enthusiasm and innovation into the classroom, never afraid to share his opinion about any topic. He used music and slides to enhance his lectures when few people knew the term “multimedia.”
He influenced students and non-students alike. Calder won several teaching awards, including the HOPE, which is voted on by the students. And he won awards outside the classroom, such as the George Foster Peabody Award in 1973 for “meritorious service to journalism” for his radio show “The American Past.”
Calder was born July 26, 1921, in Providence, Utah, the son of Lealand M. and Julia G. (Gessel) Pickett.
As a youth he was employed as a printer’s devil at Preston, Idaho. He received his bachelor’s degree from Utah State University in 1944. There he became a lifelong member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. His received his master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1948, and his Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota in 1959.
After college he became a professor of journalism at Utah State University, the University of Denver, and the University of Kansas where he taught until retiring in 1988.
In 1962 while he was acting dean, the KU journalism school received the William Randolph Hearst Foundation Award, which he received from President Kennedy in Washington, D.C. In 1969 while at KU he won the Mott-KTA award for best journalism research for his book “Ed Howe: Country Town Philosopher.” The other book he wrote was “Anthology of Journalism.” He was also the Clyde M. Reed Distinguished Professor of Journalism and received the Chancellor’s Club Career Teaching Award in addition to the HOPE. He was a radio broadcaster for 32 years for Kansas Public Radio and produced more than 1,500 hourlong episodes of “The American Past.”
Calder worked for various newspapers, including the Salt Lake Tribune, Kansas City Star, Kansas City Times, Topeka Capital Journal and the Lawrence Journal World. Calder was a book review editor for the Journalism Quarterly for 10 years. He also wrote book reviews for The Kansas City Star and Kansas City Times.
Calder was a member of the Lawrence Unitarian Fellowship and served as chairman, program director and Sunday school teacher. He participated in various bridge and dinner clubs, served on various boards at KU, the Lawrence Library board and volunteered for Audio Reader.
He was a season-ticket holder and great fan of the Jayhawks. Just two months ago he was upset that he couldn’t drive and therefore couldn’t go to Allen Fieldhouse this season.
Calder had a huge love of movies and had large book and movie hand bill collections. He did extensive travel through the United States, Europe, Australia and took a yearlong sabbatical in England. He enjoyed sharing slides from his travels.
He married Nola A. Agricola on March 20, 1947, in Ogden, Utah. She preceded him in death March 12, 2013.
Survivors include two daughters, Carolyn Zeligman, Overland Park, and Kathleen Jenson, Chicago; two grandchildren, Laura Zeligman, Chicago, and Daniel Zeligman, Los Angeles; one brother, Neal Pickett, Salt Lake City, Utah; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family suggests memorials in his name to Audio Reader or KU School of Journalism and may be sent in care of the mortuary.