Loss of Environmental Activist and Sociology Professor Emeritus Calvin Redekop

Friday, July 22, 2022

Cal Redekop in the 1980sProfessor Emeritus Calvin Redekop passed away on July 19, 2022, at the age of 96 years. Redekop was a sociologist, writer, teacher, and activist, and he worked for environmental change for his entire life. 

Redekop received his BA from Goshen College in 1949, his MA at the University of Minnesota in 1955, and his PhD in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1959. He taught at Hesston College, Earlham College, Goshen College, Tabor College, and ended his teaching career at Conrad Grebel University College where he taught sociology from 1979 until 1990. 

Bringing his passion for environmental sustainability into everything he did, Redekop also inspired his students. Alumni recall taking Sociology and the Environment with Redekop, where they surveyed Old Order Mennonite attitudes toward the environment, meeting in kitchens, barns, and woodlots. Another alumnus noted the solar panel company that Redekop founded in St. Jacobs in 1979 – an innovative idea at that time. 

Cal RedekopIn a recent Grebel Now magazine article, Redekop reflected on his view of sustainability. “During the time I taught at Grebel, the relatively undeveloped Canadian landscape did not express much concern about the looming environmental crisis. I helped start a solar company in Waterloo in the early 1980s which was ahead of its time and was not successful. But I thank the many Grebel students who showed their support and interest which resulted in academic courses, research, and practical action on sustainability.” 

“I've known Cal since I was a child, because he and Freda were family friends, and my parents were investors in his solar business,” reminisced Grebel President Marcus Shantz. “He was always thinking decades ahead, and his enthusiasm for finding solutions to pressing environmental and social problems never wavered. He and Freda are fondly remembered at Grebel.” 

Redekop was a prolific writer and continued authoring books until his death. Topics included creation and the environment, Mennonite faith and economics, Mennonite and Indigenous relations, Mennonite identity and society, entrepreneurship, and finding meaning in work. Redekop also was involved in the work of the church. He served with Mennonite Central Committee in Europe following World War II and served for many years with the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) and its predecessors, and edited its magazine, The Marketplace, until 1985. 

Following retirement, Redekop and his wife Freda moved to Harrisonburg, VA, where he continued his academic endeavors.  

Redekop’s legacy still impacts students today. In a continuation of his commitment to the environment and Grebel, the Redekop Family Endowment recently supported the Green Roof on the College’s recent kitchen addition and is supporting other initiatives at Grebel to reduce the institutional carbon footprint.  
 

Calvin Redekop’s Obituary

Read Redekop’s reflections on sustainability in his life

Learn about Redekop’s solar initiatives 

Read about Redekop’s lifelong quest for environmental responsibility

  1. 2022 (21)
    1. July (1)
    2. June (4)
    3. May (5)
    4. April (3)
    5. March (4)
    6. February (1)
    7. January (3)
  2. 2021 (42)
    1. December (3)
    2. November (2)
    3. October (3)
    4. September (3)
    5. July (3)
    6. June (3)
    7. May (4)
    8. April (5)
    9. March (5)
    10. February (5)
    11. January (6)
  3. 2020 (50)
    1. December (2)
    2. November (2)
    3. October (5)
    4. September (3)
    5. August (4)
    6. June (2)
    7. May (4)
    8. April (11)
    9. March (5)
    10. February (5)
    11. January (7)
  4. 2019 (19)
  5. 2018 (25)
  6. 2017 (26)
  7. 2016 (24)
  8. 2015 (31)
  9. 2014 (24)
  10. 2013 (25)
  11. 2012 (14)
  12. 2011 (25)
  13. 2010 (8)
  14. 2009 (14)
  15. 2008 (7)
  16. 2007 (13)
  17. 2006 (6)
  18. 2005 (11)
  19. 2004 (14)
  20. 2003 (4)