The University Record, September 7, 1999

Obituaries

David L. Angus

Professor of Education David L. Angus will be remembered by the University community as an exceptional scholar of education whose research in the area of equity and quality issues in education shed light on some of the most pervasive issues facing schools today.

Angus, 65, died Aug. 14 of cancer.

A nationally renowned historian of education and a scholar of comparative education, Angus was with the University for 33 years.

“Prof. Angus was a prominent member of the School of Education faculty throughout his tenure at the University of Michigan,” said Karen Wixson, interim dean of the School of Education. “His work was widely cited and his mentoring of students broadly acclaimed. What I remember best about David, however, is the passion he brought to everything he tackled. He will be sorely missed.”

Angus was the author of numerous articles and studies on the politics of education and the history of curriculum. In April, he and Jeffrey E. Mirel, a former U-M faculty member now with Emory University, published The Failed Promise of the American High School, 1890-1995, a compelling account of high school education in America. In their book, Angus and Mirel examined educational policies that didn’t always treat students fairly.

“The quality of education students received depended on your academic ability and your ‘probable destiny.’ That system often robbed children of having a decent chance at life,” Angus said in an earlier interview about his findings.

His interests in international and comparative education took him around the world. He served as a visiting professor at the University of Edinburgh and Peking University. In 1996, he was named Lingnan Scholar in American Studies and Comparative Education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong/America Center.

Angus served on the Dexter Community Schools Board of Education. He also was a percussionist and once part of a group that appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. In more recent years he played with the Ann Arbor Civic Band and Ann Arbor Civic Choir, and he conducted the band for the Dexter Community Theater’s musical productions. He was most involved with the Dexter Community Band, which he helped found.

He is survived by his wife, Anna Wu Angus; four children, Amy Angus Mees, Stephen, Jonathan and Sara; and three grandchildren, David and Emma Mees and Fionn Angus. He also is survived by his mother, Helen Angus; sister, Pat; and brother, Dick.

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William H. Polliey

William H. (Bill) Polliey, an electrician in the Plant Department’s Contracting Group, died Aug. 30 at the University Hospital Trauma-Burn Center following an Aug. 2 accident during renovations on the G. G. Brown Building. He was 53.

Polliey was working on a lab renovation project on the first floor of the G. G. Brown Building Aug. 2 when a short in the bus box started a fire. He was taken to the Trauma-Burn Center where he remained in critical condition until his death. The precise cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“It is hard to express our sorrow at the loss of William Polliey from the University of Michigan community. His many friends and colleagues have been devastated by his death, and all of us extend our deepest sympathy to his family,” said President Lee C. Bollinger. “It is especially tragic that Mr. Polliey died while working to make our campus facilities a better place for others.”

Polliey worked for close to 30 years as a member of Electrician’s Local 252 before signing on with the University of Michigan in May of 1992. He joined the Plant Department’s Utility and Maintenance Services-Outside Lighting Group and then transferred into Plant’s Contracting Group, a group of highly skilled trades employees, in 1997.

Polliey is remembered by his co-workers and friends as a “very brilliant man, intelligent, [who] knew a lot about everything,” says Sam Rochon, who worked with him for four years.

Polliey’s coworkers admired him for his straightforward demeanor and easy ways. He was methodical in his approach to his work, well organized and thorough. It is his caring side that employees remember most as they talk about Polliey and how his death affects them.

“He was private and yet very personable,” said Paul Guttman, general foreman, Construction and Architectural Trades. “He was the kind of person that one feels honored to have known.”

Lynn Grenier, an electrical inspector at the Univeristy, recalls that Polliey had a great desire to do anything and everything around the home he shared with his wife, Karen, and his daughter, Suzanne.

“There was virtually nothing he couldn’t do. He built his own house with help from his friends. And if he found something he couldn’t do today, by tomorrow he would have figured it out by looking things up and doing research on it.”

Modest almost to a fault, Polliey was never one to advertise himself or his skills, Grenier says, but was always there if someone needed help. Grenier recalls sitting in the hospital with Polliey after the accident and asking himself what he was doing there.

“Then I just got a picture in my head of what it would be like if the tables were turned,” Grenier says. “And I saw Bill out mowing my lawn.” That’s when Grenier began to get together what has become a workforce of 40 colleagues who will be available if Karen needs any help with appliances, doorknobs or lawn work, or just someone to talk to.

“Bill would have done that for us. He was just a good person.”

Polliey also was active in the Ann Arbor Dog Training Club and served on its board.

Polliey is survived by his wife, Karen; his daughter Suzanne; his parents, George and Zella Polliey of Ann Arbor; his sister, Virginia (Jack) Bennett of Grass Lake; and beloved dogs Nikki and Orry.

The family has requested that friends consider memorial contributions to the Trauma-Burn Center or the Humane Society of Huron Valley. They also may wish to participate in a special blood drive on Sept. 8 at the Student Theater Arts Classroom, 1201 Kipke Drive. To sign up, contact Bette Albert, 764-2472.

The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, 936-8660, is available to provide counseling or counseling referrals to community providers.

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