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Joyce Kallgren

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Joyce Kallgren Obituary

April 17, 1930-August 3, 2013

On August 3, 2013, the brilliant light that was Joyce Kallgren, finally flickered out. A joyous spirit, Joyce infused everyone she met with her energy and warmth. Strangers soon became friends and friends close confidants. Her wise counsel sustained family members, friends and colleagues alike.

Born April 17, 1930, in San Francisco to Alexander and Dorothea (Willett) Kislitzin, Joyce attended St. Brigid School where she was a champion debater, and then enrolled at the University of California in Berkeley. At Cal she was also a top notch debater, pledged Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, filled several campus leadership positions, earned admission to Phi Beta Kappa, co-chaired a major Model United Nations Conference, and met her future husband, not necessarily in that order. After obtaining her bachelors and masters degrees at Cal, Joyce went east to Harvard to obtain a PhD in Chinese studies, a pioneering effort for a woman in those days.

Returning to her home in Berkeley, Joyce became a tenured professor of Political Science at UC Davis. She soon became recognized as a leading scholar in the field of Chinese studies. In addition to her duties at Davis, Joyce served a term as the Chair of the Center for Chinese Studies and Acting Director of the Institute for East Asian Studies at UC Berkeley. She was for many years co-editor of the Asian Survey journal and was the author or editor of numerous books and articles dealing with Asian politics and, especially, Chinese affairs. She lectured frequently about China and was often consulted by the media when noteworthy events occurred.

Joyce traveled frequently to China. In addition to innumerable trips on her own, she led many groups, including UC Berkley Chancellors, doctors, educators, lawyers, and other citizens. In 1976, she was the Chinese expert who accompanied a non-partisan delegation of US Congresswomen on an official visit to China.

Despite the demands of her academic career, Joyce was able to raise two wonderful children and provide all of the grandmotherly comforts to four beautiful grandchildren. She threw herself into skiing with enthusiasm; attended countless youth sporting and theatrical events; chauffeured endless miles to and from schools from pre-school through high school; and raised a dozen or so grateful dogs, all but one of which she has now followed over the rainbow bridge. Who can forget the bingo games she presided over at Tahoe where no child could come away without winning at least one game?

Joyce leaves behind her husband of 60 years, Ed Kallgren, daughter Virginia Pegley (Nick), son Charles Kallgren (Rebecca), grandchildren Jackson Kallgren, Hugo Pegley, Hayden Pegley, and Caroline Kallgren, and a host of other family members, colleagues, and friends. Her brother, Richard, and her parents predeceased her.

We can still faintly hear her usual words when departing; "I'm going away now."

Plans for a celebration of life in the fall are pending.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Aug. 10 to Aug. 12, 2013
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