Distinguished Residents: Storied Lives – Part 2

Distinguished Residents: Storied Lives – Part 2

Our residents have so many great life stories!
Spectrum residents share tales of their remarkable lives and the treasured gifts they bestow upon others.

Vera Souten


Sterling Heights, Michigan

After witnessing the excellent care her husband received when he was in the hospital 17 years ago, Vera Souten was inspired to set up scholarship funds for medical students.

Later, she decided to set up a musical scholarship as well.

“My husband and I were both musically inclined with him playing the organ, and I helped with the church choir for a number of years,” Vera says. “ I thought it would be good to give scholarships to the performing arts as well.”

Vera has three scholarship programs. Two are for the Four County Community Foundation. She also gives a scholarship at Oakland University.

Vera says, “God has been good in allowing me to do this, and it has been a blessing and a dream to be able to combine both music and medicine in these scholarships.”

More than a dozen students have received one of Vera’s scholarships, and she says, “One young man is in his fourth year of college. He recently wrote me a thank-you letter and he promised me a ticket to his graduation!”


Eugene, Oregon

Mike Callahan was a firefighter and EMT for 30 years. He married his wife, Marcia, in September of 1970. He served his country in the Navy from 1964 to 1968.

Mike took art classes including sculpting, bronze casting and wood carving at junior college in San
Diego. While in the Navy, he carved squadron retirement plaques for his colleagues.

Today, Mike is working on a much larger carving — Sally, a Swiss cow carousel character for the Historic Carousel & Museum in Albany. About a year and a half ago, Mike and Marcia were touring the museum when she mentioned to the tour guide that Mike is a carver. The staff sent him home with a small carving project, and when he returned it, they were so impressed with his talent they offered him the job of carving Sally.

Working on his project every Saturday, he anticipates it will take him another year to finish because
of the fine details. In all, he expects to have about 600 hours of carving to complete Sally.


Fort Collins, Colorado
After growing up in Cleveland, Arthur Leissa earned his Ph.D. in engineering from Ohio State University, where he then worked as an engineering professor for 45 years. At age 32, he became one of the youngest tenured professors on campus.

In addition to teaching, Art consulted for aerospace companies and carried out extensive research for NASA and the Air Force. One major research project for NASA involved collecting all published technical literature in the world on vibrations of plates and shells. Approximately 1,500 relevant technical articles and research reports were found worldwide including publications in Russian, German, Japanese and Polish. Over the course of six years, graduate students and undergraduate assistants helped Art organize the information, which he ultimately summarized in two comprehensive monographs, “Vibration of Plates” (1969) and “Vibration of Shells” (1973).

Nothing like this had ever been done before. These two books alone made him famous in the engineering world and landed him invitations to many journal editorial boards and lectures as a speaker and a professor.

Art spent the 1972–1973 academic year as a visiting professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, giving his lectures in German. There he met Trudi, a wonderful Swiss woman his age who was an avid hiker and cross-country skier. Together they climbed Mt. Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps. They married in 1974 and took trips to Switzerland each of their first 39 years together. Art has a life-long interest in mountain climbing and, in 1989, finished climbing all 54 of the Colorado 14ers — mountains that exceed 14,000 feet in elevation.


Lakewood, Colorado

Marjorie Smith never thought of herself as a pioneer, a trendsetter or ahead of the curve by joining the Certified Accountant profession in the early 1970s. From family to school to becoming a CPA to starting her own firm, Marjorie showed change was possible before change was acceptable.

Born in Mississippi, Marjorie and her family moved to Denver during World War II to accommodate her mother’s need for a drier climate. As Marjorie’s family grew and her children got older, she finished college at University of Colorado at Denver, earning a degree in accounting. As a nontraditional student with a family, the University of Colorado was the perfect choice. Marjorie had a lot of support
from her family and passed all four parts of the CPA exam on the first round!

Marjorie says in her early days of accounting she did not feel she was discriminated against as a woman
in a profession that had been dominated by men for generations. Accounting was a great career choice and if she had to do it over again she would.

“I never lost a client because I was a woman,” she said. “I did fire a couple of clients because I
didn’t feel they were trustworthy though.”

After many years and several partners, Marjorie sold her practice in 1992. It was time for a change, and Marjorie and her husband Donald moved to Buffalo Creek, Colorado. She loved Buffalo Creek, however, when Marjorie’s husband died in 2002 it was again time for a new decision, and she declared herself officially ready to retire.

Marjorie is a great volunteer at Lakeview, she helps with several different committees, participates in many groups, loves bridge and her laughter fills each room she enters.

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