Braille Monitor July 1985
(As Federationists know, Dr. Charles Hallenbeck is a Professor at the University of Kansas at Lawrence and one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas. He is President of our Douglas County Chapter. His comments have often added spice and wit to the pages of the Monitor. As this issue was in the process of going to press, we received from him the following letter of tribute to a recently deceased colleague in the movement.)
May 9, 1985
Dear Dr. Jernigan:
When I decided to join the Federation in 1979, I wrote to Dick Edlund to inform him of my decision and asked him how to go about it. He told me that I needed to join a local chapter first, and that since we had no local chapter in Lawrence, perhaps I would like to help organize one. Tom Anderson had come to Lawrence that fall, and together we "got up and did what needed to be done," as they say in Lake Woebegone. We had our organizational meeting in May, 1980, and launched the Douglas County Chapter of the NFB of Kansas.
Those in attendance at our organizational meeting included many persons who are still staunch members of our local chapter: Sharon Luka, Tom and Linda Anderson, Loren Buntemeyer, and three of us who were faculty members (either active or retired) of the University of Kansas. Lawrence is a college town. They included, besides myself, Professor Norberto Salinas in our Mathematics Department, and Professor Walter Sandelius, Emeritus, former Chair of our Political Science Department. Professor Sandelius died last week, and we are deeply saddened by his passing. Enclosed is a newspaper account of his public life. I would like to add some memories of my own to "set the record straight."
Walter came to our organizational meeting out of a deep admiration for Dr. tenBroek, whom he knew as a fellow scholar and an important intellectual contributor to his own field of specialty. He was one of the most active and vital octogenarians I have known, and on that day he had penetrating questions about our model constitution, and contributed to its "fine-tuning" as we adopted it. How often do NFB organizers get a chance to put their product to the test of submitting it to such a mind as his? Walter was an enthusiastic member of our chapter from that time until his death last week. He participated in our bake sale last year by providing the ingredients for another of our members to use in preparing products for sale. He did not attend our April meeting due to a conflict with another group to which he belonged, but he did attend several successive meetings immediately prior to that. Every chapter has its "grand old statesman," and we certainly had ours.
Walter traveled independently and proudly to our meetings. Like most of us, he had come to accept his blindness as an inconvenience and had little patience with those who would make it a major tragedy. Our local chapter has never been large in numbers, but we have been philosophically strong: Someone once described us as "lean and mean." Walter was always an inspiration to us as we took issue from time to time with matters that affected us locally and to which we needed to make a firm response. As you know, I occasionally sound off on some issue, and on one such occasion, a group of Kansas City low vision specialists published a bitter attack on the Federation philosophy, claiming that we were endangering the lives of the blind by persuading them that they could travel safely by themselves. Several of us responded with heat as well as light, and Walter added his own characteristic observation at the time. "Well, well," he said, "the Helping Hand strikes again."
On one occasion Walter explained to us the fundamental difference between capitalism and communism. "Under capitalism," he said, "it's the exploitation of man by man; under communism, it's just the opposite." We have not adopted a motto in our chapter, but if we did, it would undoubtedly come from some of Walter's memorable commentaries.
Several of us attended memorial services for Walter and were deeply moved by the outpouring of love and admiration that was shown for him. I could not help wondering what Walter would have thought of the minister's reference to his blindness. He said that Walter "outwardly carried his blindness with calm and acceptance, showing that the most horrible of evils can be converted to something quite ordinary." Those of us who knew him knew that he carried his blindness inwardly in the same way that he carried it outwardly.
Yours in fellowship,
Charles E. Hallenbeck
Douglas County Chapter
NFB of Kansas
May 3, 1985
Walter E. Sandelius, a widely known political scientist who was a member of the Kansas University faculty for 44 years, died Friday at Lawrence Memorial Hospital after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 87.
He had taught political science at KU from 1923 until his retirement in 1967, and served as chairman of his department for several years. Later, he taught political science courses as a professor at William Jewel College, Liberty, Missouri.
He remained active in academic, social, and civic circles after his KU retirement, although blindness had restricted his activities in the past several years. He was a recognized expert on municipal government, and periodically expressed opinions on that and related subjects through letters to the Journal-World.
A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. next Tuesday at the Trinity Lutheran Church, with the Reverend John Pfeiffer as the officiant. A private family interment service will be Saturday at Memorial Park Cemetery.
Sandelius was born August 25, 1897, on a farm in South Dakota to Swedish immigrant parents, Alfred and Hedda Sandelius. He graduated from the University of Idaho in 1919, after serving in the Army during World War I. He taught High School briefly, won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in England, and earned an advanced degree there. He then earned his Ph.D. from Brookings Institute, Washington, D.C., in 1927. He was honored during his career by a wide range of professional and academic agencies and societies. In 1924 he married Viola Oberg, who survives at the Valley View Care Home here.
In 1957 Sandelius headed a commission to study the revision of the Kansas Constitution. He was appointed by Governor George Docking, one-time Lawrence banker who had studied under Sandelius at KU and considered him one of the top political scientists in the country. In the study Sandelius and his group focused on legislative organization, reapportionment of the Kansas Legislature, and the "short ballot" system that eventually was adopted by the state.
Sandelius was a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, Phi Beta Kappa, the local American Legion post, and the Kiwanis Club. He was a lifelong member of the Lutheran Church and a 60-year member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lawrence.