Millikin’s cutest couple retires in May

Heather Croyl

Ronald and Lois YaDeau, professors in the School of Music, are planning on retiring this May after having worked at Millikin University for the past 35 years. Lois YaDeau stated, “You just know when it’s the right time.” Students should not be alarmed, however; the YaDeaus plan on staying in Decatur and leisurely frequenting campus, as any retired couple would.

The YaDeau’s met at Baldwin Wallace University (formerly Baldwin-Wallace College) in a choir rehearsal when Ron YaDeau, sitting in front of Lois YaDeau, accused her of singing in his ear. Lois YaDeau responded by hitting him with her folder, and the rest is history. The couple married during the Vietnam War, as Ron YaDeau was deployed to Korea where he had to be ready at a moment’s notice to play cocktail piano for the higher-ups. The couple later moved to Illinois so that Lois YaDeau could obtain her Master of Music while Ron YaDeau worked toward his doctorates. During this time, the YaDeaus did a dance of employment with Millikin. Lois YaDeau was hired for a semester in a part-time position, got a position at University of Illinois for the next semester, then finally came back to Millikin. Similarly, Ron YaDeau was hired for a year at Millikin, then low admission rates caused him to be laid off for a year and then hired back.

During their time here, the YaDeaus have had many exceptional experiences. One such memorable experience involved traveling to the Belarus Academy of Music in Minsk through a faculty excellence grant to attend a conference and to introduce American music to local students. Another standout time was a sabbatical to Philadelphia during which Lois YaDeau worked on a team for arts medicine. This experience led her to become the singing voice specialist for Decatur Memorial Hospital. Finally, the YaDeaus have enjoyed working together for the past 35 years. As Lois YaDeau joked, “I married him to be with him.”

The YaDeaus state that they have stayed with Millikin so long because, “The School of Music is wonderful. The students are number one here.” Alongside the students, the YaDeaus expressed their joy in working with a faculty who “just loves the students.”

And the students love the YaDeaus, too. Junior Chet Lord-Remmort explained, “Dr. [Ron] YaDeau was actually one of my top reasons for coming to Millikin, because he made a more personal connection with me than any of the other Universities I was applying to. Since then, I have come to know that Dr. YaDeau is an excellent musician … I wish him and [Lois] YaDeau a wonderful retirement!”

Although it has been a wonderful ride, it is drawing near the time to send the couple onto retirement. “We are not giving up music,” the two state. However, they are looking forward to more time gardening and traveling. For all of their years of service, the Millikin community thanks the YaDeaus and wishes them a wonderful retirement.