Emeritus Admissions Dean Dead at 75
July 03, 2003 :: No. 6
Ralph E. Bigelow, Cal State Fullerton emeritus
dean of admissions and records, and former musical director of Bones
West, an Orange County trombone ensemble specializing in big band
sounds, died June 26 of an aneurysm.
He was 75.
A Placentia resident since 1966, Bigelow spent 17
years at the Fullerton campus, 15 as dean of admissions and records,
before leaving to serve six years at the California State University
Chancellor’s Office as director of analytical studies. Following
his retirement in 1989, Bigelow returned to the Fullerton campus
to serve as coordinator for academic appeals.
Prior to joining the Fullerton staff in 1966, he was
registrar at Cal State Northridge for six years.
In a letter to Bigelow upon his retirement, CSUF President
Jewel Plummer Cobb wrote “ . . . this campus will continue
to have a deep affection for you. Many of us here have recognized
and appreciated your constant devotion to the success of this university.
You can be very proud of the many fine contributions you have made
to assure its continuing growth and prosperity during your 23 years
of service at both the Fullerton campus and the Chancellor’s
A longtime trombone player, Bigelow was a former chair
of the Weekend Warriors Committee of the International Trombone
Association and a member of the Moravian Trombone Choir of the Moravian
Church of Downey. The Bones West group performed at colleges, hospitals,
trade shows, outdoor concerts and Christmas shows, in addition to
many events at Cal State Fullerton.
He was very active in campus emeriti activities following
retirement, and served as president of the Emeriti Organization
and as newsletter editor, secretary, treasurer and representative
to the CSU Emeriti Retired Faculty Association. He had also served
as newsletter editor for the statewide organization. He was honored
by the university as one of the Volunteers of the Year for 2000
for his work with the emeriti.
Beyond education and music, Bigelow’s interests
included cribbage, rare books and poker. He served as the tournament
director of the annual championship tournament of the International
Cribbage Association and was a longtime pug owner.
In 1983, he was one of 20 American educators selected
as a recipient of a Senior Fulbright Award, through which he spent
25 days in Germany conferring with colleagues at institutions of
Born in West Covina, Bigelow received bachelor’s
and master’s degrees in music from the University of Rochester
and a doctorate from USC.
He is survived by his son Lars, of Fullerton; daughter
Jane Lavender, of Manteca; sister Mildred Bigelow, of Ft. Mojave,
Ariz.; and five grandchildren.
Funeral services were private. A memorial service is scheduled for
10 a.m. July 26 at the Fullerton Arboretum. The family has asked
that instead of flowers, memorial donations be sent to the CSUF
Pollak Library, Fullerton Arboretum or Pug Rescue, an organization
that provides homes to pug dogs, at (626) 795-3944. On behalf of
his father, Lars Bigelow requests that you give someone you love
||Dave Reid, Public Affairs, 657-278-4855 or email@example.com
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