Kalman Bandalene: Gandhi inspired metro educator
Detroit Free Press
By Bill Laitner - firstname.lastname@example.org
Kalman Bandalene, a longtime schoolteacher and principal for Southfield Public Schools, used inspiration from India's legendary leader Mahatma Gandhi when he helped design an elementary school in the district.
Mr. Bandalene, known to friends as Kal, died of natural causes Friday at his home in West Bloomfield. He was 89.
Born in 1923 in Detroit, Mr. Bandalene graduated in 1941 from Cass Technical High School in Detroit.
The next year, he played shortstop for the Valdosta, Ga., Crackers, a former Detroit Tigers farm team. But by late 1942, he was drafted by the U.S. Army, serving until 1945 in Africa, China and India, said his son Stuart Bandalene.
While in India, Mr. Bandalene met Gandhi, an experience that helped shape his life.
"After that, my father's life work became children. He became this very gentle man, not the disciplinarian that many principals were in those days," Stuart Bandalene said.
Mr. Bandalene received bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Wayne State University. After a teaching stint in Detroit, he became a counselor in 1961 in the Southfield schools, then was chosen in 1963 to be principal and help design what was to be Southfield's new Kennedy Elementary School, his son said.
"One of his trademarks was that no classroom had a hallway door. Anyone walking by could see in, so everyone felt connected to everyone else" -- a concept he gained from Gandhi's teachings, Stuart Bandalene said.
Mr. Bandalene later became assistant principal of Southfield Lathrup High School, retiring in 1988.
As a young man, he frequented Zukin's Ice Cream Parlor on 12th Street in Detroit where, in 1950, he met Ada Uronovitz, who worked behind the counter. They married in 1956.
From 1958-78, the couple spent summers working at Camp Tamakwa in Ontario, popular with Detroit-area youths. Mr. Bandalene was camp director for many years. The two were among a handful of families in 1963 who, with Rabbi Sherwin Wine, founded the Birmingham Temple, origin of the worldwide Humanistic Judaism movement.
Besides his son, Mr. Bandalene is survived by his wife; two daughters, Linda Hough and Amy Boros, and eight grandchildren.
A funeral service is at 2 p.m. today at the Dorfman Chapel, 30440 W. Twelve Mile in Farmington Hills.
Burial will follow at Machpelah Cemetery in Ferndale.