University Community Mourns Passing of Faculty Member

January 25, 2017

The Mary Baldwin University community is mourning the loss of athletics faculty member Irene Sarnelle, who passed away on January 23 after battling lung cancer. She was 61 years old.

Dean and Irene Sarnelle at a Hungarian dance.

Sarnelle, an associate professor of health and physical education, was known among students and faculty alike for her dance classes, community engagement, and enthusiasm for wellness.

She worked at Mary Baldwin for more than 25 years. Her husband of 34 years, Dean, was also a frequent presence on campus.

“I had a wonderful opportunity to be taught by Mrs. Sarnelle,” said Jasnique Rolle ’15. “It didn’t take long for me to look forward to coming to class everyday and laughing at her comments and just enjoying how upbeat and positive she was each and every day.”

Sarnelle was born in Athens, Greece, and, after moving to the United States, earned her undergraduate degree at California State University at Los Angeles. She taught elementary school first in inner city Los Angeles, and later for the Augusta County school system. She completed her master’s degree in kinesiology at James Madison University while teaching at Mary Baldwin.

Sarnelle hosted numerous historical balls, including Victorian dances, and held many festive holiday gatherings at her home. She was a member of the Ticknor Staunton English Country Dance Group, as well as the Kings Daughters Auxiliary.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Irene Sarnelle Memorial Scholarship Fund at Mary Baldwin University, which will be set up to support student travel abroad. Donations can be mailed to: MBU Development, PO Box 1500, Staunton, VA 24402.

A celebration of life service will be held at 2 p.m. April 9 at the MBU Physical Activities Center. Burial will be private.

University Community Mourns Passing of Faculty Member

January 25, 2017

The Mary Baldwin University community is mourning the loss of athletics faculty member Irene Sarnelle, who passed away on January 23 after battling lung cancer. She was 61 years old.

Dean and Irene Sarnelle at a Hungarian dance.

Sarnelle, an associate professor of health and physical education, was known among students and faculty alike for her dance classes, community engagement, and enthusiasm for wellness.

She worked at Mary Baldwin for more than 25 years. Her husband of 34 years, Dean, was also a frequent presence on campus.

“I had a wonderful opportunity to be taught by Mrs. Sarnelle,” said Jasnique Rolle ’15. “It didn’t take long for me to look forward to coming to class everyday and laughing at her comments and just enjoying how upbeat and positive she was each and every day.”

Sarnelle was born in Athens, Greece, and, after moving to the United States, earned her undergraduate degree at California State University at Los Angeles. She taught elementary school first in inner city Los Angeles, and later for the Augusta County school system. She completed her master’s degree in kinesiology at James Madison University while teaching at Mary Baldwin.

Sarnelle hosted numerous historical balls, including Victorian dances, and held many festive holiday gatherings at her home. She was a member of the Ticknor Staunton English Country Dance Group, as well as the Kings Daughters Auxiliary.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Irene Sarnelle Memorial Scholarship Fund at Mary Baldwin University, which will be set up to support student travel abroad. Donations can be mailed to: MBU Development, PO Box 1500, Staunton, VA 24402.

A celebration of life service will be held at 2 p.m. April 9 at the MBU Physical Activities Center. Burial will be private.