“I was born November 21, 1942 at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Hays, Kansas. My Mother was a one-room country school teacher. My father was a farmer/rancher and a roughneck – an oil-rig worker. We lived near Ogallah and WaKeeney, Kansas, in a section of Kansas with a rich heritage that is uniquely American. My maternal great grandparents homesteaded a pastureland, building a concrete dugout that still stands today, on land that I own. The land itself is hilly and filled with chalky limestone, fossils, and wildflowers, grass, and natural herbs, such as snakeroot, soap weed, and other wild herbs. In addition to a natural spring and waterwell and tanks for the cattle, the beautiful sky overhead, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets are often photographed by family members. In addition wild turkey in November and a herd of mule deer share the land with the cattle. Family activities over the year include searching the native limestone for fossils, part of a prehistoric time when Kansas was an inland sea – 70 to 80 million years ago. Not far away, in Hays, Kansas, this same area was known for nations of Native American Indian tribes, the Sternberg Museum of Natural History has actual dinosaur exhibits, a huge fossil fish within a fish, and an ancient multi- million year old, possibly a billion year, old fossil fish found on my parent’s pasture land years ago.
The city of Hays is a colorful frontier town with legends of James Butler Hickok, George Armstrong Custer, Buffalo Bill Cody, Wyatt Earp, Annie Oakley, and Calamity Jane, and other similar wild west characters such as the James Brothers and the Dalton Brothers.
In the late 1870s, German immigrants arrived from the Volga River region of Russia. A century old Volga German catholic church, the famous St. Fidelis Church, is nearby in Victoria Kansas.
A few aged similar limestone Lutheran and wooden churches and one-room country schools still exist around Ogallah and WaKeeney, including the Ford School that I attended. My one room country school teacher was Edna Mae Riedel. She is now in her 80s. She taught me for eight years, and I still think of her as beautiful today as she was then, in her early 20s. She is my mentor and my friend. My maternal great grandfather helped build some of homes that stand today in my hometown, WaKeeney, Kansas and many of the barns in the farmland around ours, near Ogallah, Kansas, as well as many of the Lutheran churches in Trego County.
My two year older brother, and the twins – my two year younger sister and brother, and a four year younger sister and I spent much of our free time on our parent’s farm searching for arrowheads, fossils, (we all have leaf and fish fossils, and other types of fossils), iron pyrite (known as “fools gold,”), Kansas rock crystals, and even a few small magnets from outer space.
Our neighbors, their children, aunts and uncles and our cousins were an important part of our lives and remain so, even though we have not always lived near each other. Annual family reunions have kept us connected and visits home keep us connected to neighbors. My husband and I now live part of the year in Kansas and part of the year in Arizona.
Our parents and the three grandparents we did remember (only one was deceased when we were young) provided us with a great education, inspired us by hard work and dedication to each other, friends, and a good life and strong commitments to history, art, culture, and our community and continuing growth and development with connections and togetherness in our lives.
After graduate from the one room country school, I attended and graduated from Trego Community High School from September of 1958 through May of 1962. I graduated in May of 1962. I worked in the ASCS Office that summer, now called the Farm Service Agency, before beginning my freshman year at Fort Hays State University in the Fall of 1962. During my junior year, I stayed out the first semester and worked again in the ASCS Office as my next youngest sister, Donna, was beginning her Freshman year
at Fort Hays State University and I did not want my parents to have to pay the tuititon and books for both of us at that time. I was able to save enough money to pay my own tuition for the start of my junior year at Fort Hays State University in the Spring Semester beginning in January of 1964. Both Donna and I worked in Forsyth Library at Fort Hays State University to help pay our rent in a small apartment and food each semester after that. I completed my studies including a final summer term including a teaching certificate in the summer of 1967. I taught part of the first semester term after graduation in January of 1967 in LaCrosse high school in LaCrosse, Kansas. I taught English and Journalism to complete my supervisory teaching certificate. Then I got a full-time teaching job before the end of the semester in Kingman, Kansas where I taught Junior and Senior English, Journalism, and Creative Writing. I taught there for 3 years.
I decided to work on a Masters Degree in English the summer of 1969. I finished all but the masters theses and decided that I wanted to get a Masters Degree in Library and Information Management, as I was going to teach and serve as a Librarian for a year in Palco, Kansas.
After that year, I enrolled in the Masters in Library and Information Science in Emporia, Kansas and after graduation was offered a position as reference librarian at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. After my first year I was the first librarian to be promoted to Assistant Professor, a faculty
position. At the end of my second year, I was promoted to Associate Professor.
I was then offered a position as Head of the Undergraduate Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a land grant institution. By the end of my first year in that position I was asked by the Head Librarian to 5 take over the position as Head of the Main Reference Room in the Main Library and oversee the 39 reference libraries and library instruction in all of the libraries, including the Undergraduate Library. I was also promoted to Associate Professor, along with other faculty members who had applied for that position, along with tenure.
By my third year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign I was offered a position as Dean and Library Administrator of the Libraries of San Jose State University, along with oversight of the Media Services for the campus. I was there from 1980 through 1985. During that time I was responsible for renovation of the old library and construction of a new library.
Then I accepted a position as Dean and Library Administrator of the Libraries of Washington State University Libraries., another land grant institution. I held that position for five years and was able to convince the legislature to provide the funds for renovation of the old library and construction of a new library. I completed the program for both of those building plans but left prior to the completion of the renovation and building
processes. I did, however, before I left help two other institutions, along with Washington State University, establish an annual conference for land grant institutional libraries to meet on an annual basis as each of these instituions had libraries working in developing countries to establish libraries and faculty conducting research in these countries.
I accepted another position as Dean and Director of Libraries that I held for eight years at Southern Methodist University Libraries in Dallas, Texas. This was a private, much smaller institution than I had previously worked for but one that did a tremendous amount of fundraising. I learned a great deal about fundraising and helped to renovate all of our libraries and to build one new library in the arts while there. I also had oversight for Media Services for the campus and worked closely with computer services as I had in other university positions. We completed plans for several digital commons within the libraries and within the Business School. I also helped to fundraise for the completion of the Hamon Arts Library. Prior to the completion of the Hamon Arts Library of 4,500 square feet of space, the arts had only 4,000 square feet of space in the main library. Within the first month of Hamon Arts Library opening, use of the arts library materials increased by over 400%. By the end of the first year the library was overwhelmed with new users and new space was again needed. The Hamon Arts Library did some major renovation and took over some additional
space on campus that had been used for archival films and took over the operation of this facility as well.
My next position acceptance was for the Dean and Administrator of Libraries at Temple University, Philadelphia, University. I held this position for eight years. We had several libraries not only on campus but throughout the state and libraries in China, Rome, and Japan. I was involved in planning the libraries in China and Japan but not until their completion. I did, however, complete renovation, automation and digitization (connected
to the Temple Universitiy Libraries) of the library in Rome, which we also opened to several other U.S. universities in Rome. I visited the Temple University Library in Rome a number of times and communicated with the library administrator and the Dean of the Temple Universsity campus there on a regular basis.
I retired from Temple University library administration in 2004 so that my husband and I could move to Camp Verde, Arizona to a home that we shared for retreats there with my older brother and sister-in law. On the way there. My older brother called me to tell me that he had run into the Chief of the Yavapai-Apache Nation who told him that they were searching for a Grants Administrator/Grants Writer. My brother told me that he had given the Chief my name and cell phone number. Within five minutes my cell phone number rang. I was interviewed my the Chief, several members of the Tribal Council, and the Executive Direction of the Yavapai-Apache
Nation. They offered me the position by the end of my interview. I accepted it but told them that I did not want to work for more than four years at the most. I ended up working for a little over four years before leaving the Nation. It was a huge job, different than any position that I had held previously, and a most stimulating and exciting position. But there came a time when I really felt that I must retire and I did in February of 2008.
Then I did some fundraising for the Public Library in Camp Verde.
In Kansas I began a writing course for the Institute of Childrens Literature in Connecticut. I have not yet completed this course. It is really fun and creative. Because I am wordy, I am learning how to cut my lengthy manuscripts to this course down to 500 to 1,000 or fewer words. Quite a job for me.
Then my older brother and Sister-in-law retired. Our home was now somewhat crowded. Jerry’s mother died in Kansas and left us her home. So now we live part time in Kansas and part time in Arizona. So we can meet with friends and relatives that we both grew up with and friends and my brother and sister-in-law whom we share a home with in Arizona. We have the best of two worlds.”