History Graduates: 1961-1970

What History Majors Are Doing Now

What do our history graduates do after leaving Truman? Here is a partial listing. Please send additions, corrections, and updates to history@truman.edu.


Lawrence O. Christensen (BS, Education, 1960; MA, 1962). I graduated in 1960 with a BS in education. After teaching in a Lomabard Junior High School in Galesburg, Illinois, I moved with a new wife, Maxine Joyce Lahamann, to Independence, where I did research for a thesis at the Truman Library and taught at William Chrisman High School. We were married in Denver, Iowa, on March 29. During the summer of 1962, I wrote the “Brannan Plan in Congress,” under the direction of Prof. David D. March, receiving an MA in History in 1962 from Truman State.

In the fall, I enrolled in the Ph. D. program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, with Prof. Lewis E. Atherton as my advisor. After a year, I moved to Mesa, Arizona, to teach in Westwood High School. Arizona and I did not get along, so in the fall of 1964, I returned to Missouri. In 1968, I took a job as Instructor on History at Wisconsin University-Whitewater. After a year, the University of Missouri-Rolla offered me a position, which I accepted. I did not finish the Ph. D. until 1972. My dissertation was “Black St. Louis: A Study in Race Relations, 1865-1916,” under the direction of Lewis Atherton. At the University of Missouri-Rolla, I went from Instructor to Assistant Professor, 1972 to Associate Professor, 1976 to Professor in 1981, to Curators Teaching Professor in 1992. In 1977-1978, I was Program Officer for the National Endowment for the Humanities. I chaired the Department of History at the University of Missouri-Rolla from 1986-1989. I retired in 2000 as Curators Teaching Professor of History Emeritus.

Over the years, I published more than 20 articles in journals, a good many book reviews in various journals, including the Journal of Southern History; the Journal of American History, the Missouri Historical Review, the Journal of the History of Education, and others. I published four books, including with William Parrish and Charles Jones, Missouri: The Heart of the Nation, (1980; 2nd edition, 1992; 3rd edition, 2004); with Jack Ridley, A History of UM-Roll; A History of UMR/MSM (1983); with Gary R. Kremer, A History of Missouri, 1875-1919, vol. IV, (1997) and edited with William Foley, Gary Kremer, and Kenneth Winn, The Dictionary of Missouri Biography, (1999). Honors include induction in the Missouri University of Science and Technology Sports Hall of Fame, (2008); Author’s Awards for the best article published in the Missouri Historical Review, 1976, 1989, 2001; Best Book Award from the State Historical Society of Missouri for A History of Missouri, 1875-1919; Distinguished Service Award from the State Historical Society of Missouri 2002; President of the State Historical Society of Missouri, 1998-2001; Board of Editors for the Missouri Historical Review, and member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the State Historical Society of Missouri. My last published article was titled “Carr W. Pritchett and the Civil War Era in Glasgow and Fayette,” October, 2008, Missouri Historical Review, so I am still at it.

My wife and I travel a good deal. We just returned from Australia and New Zealand. I am included in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Education.

In my urge to get everything said about my career, I failed to mention how fortunate I was to get to Northeast Missouri. David March was exceptional as a historian and as a man. No one I have met in the profession had standards, commitment, or integrity greater than Professor March. It was a great privilege to be in his classes and have him direct my Master’s thesis. Of course, I stayed in touch with him, and when he was ninety, my wife and the Director of the State Historical Society, James Goodrich, made a special trip to Kirksville and spent the afternoon visiting him. In the 1990’s he wrote the Daniel Drake piece for the Dictionary of Missouri Biography for me.

Ruth Towne, Walter Ryle IV, Gilbert Kohlenberg, and James Hood joined March as the history faculty. Each of them cared deeply about their students, knew them well, and gave fine instruction. In addition, each willingly gave advice. They mentored their students and delighted in their progress. Kohlenberg headed the division, but taught Russian and English history, and taught very well. He created some captivating lectures. Towne focused on American History, and I took her survey as well as Colonial America. She was a good lecturer, dressed like a model, and despite her short stature, had a commanding presence. Ryle taught Latin America, was a youngster, and always had a good sense of humor. He brought important enthusiasm and competence to his task. James Hood delighted in teaching European history. He was quite erudite. Students often went to the dictionary to find out the meaning of a word he used in a lecture. I learned a great deal from all of them, and modeled myself after a composite of them and Lewis Atherton as I went about the business of teaching, researching, and writing history. A couple of other memorable professors that taught me were Betsy Wherle (I am unsure of the spelling of her name) in speech, a dynamic, riveting personality, Dick Sinclair in education, a truly good man, and Pauline Dingle Knobbs, who served as Dean of Women and taught sociology. She trained as a historian, writing a doctoral dissertation on black education in Missouri after the Civil War at Peabody. She was a smart lady who taught well.

Obviously, I have only fond memories of Northeast Missouri, a place where a young person from Glasgow, Missouri, could encounter instructors who cared about what they did and who cared about their students. I think the enrollment was about 1300. But students came from all over the United States and many parts of the world.

Theola Cook (BS, Education, 1969). I appreciate the contact. I have lived in the Kansas City area for several years–and most recently even after retirement have not been able to attend alumni events, but would appreciate receiving news of other history alumni. I am sure (as I have watched the other alumni news) there are many of us who did not stay in our major field for life work, but nevertheless appreciated and enjoyed the history education and our time spent on the Kirksville campus. I have several family members who also graduated from NEMSU–so have some close associations with the University.

Dennis M. Creegan (BS, Education, 1969; MA, 1970). I received my degrees in Social Science Education. As it turned out my degrees in Social Science made it possible for me to teach all the Social Studies. Later it became a desired degree to be certified in Composite Social Studies in Texas. These types of degree do not seem to be offered today.

I received a BS in Social Science Education in 1969 and a MA in Social Science Education in 1970 from NMSU. I did post graduate work at Texas A & M University and the University of Texas. I taught Social Studies for 32 years in the public school system. In addition to social studies I also taught computers, wrote and taught Distance Learning at Texas State University, was a Gifted/Talented Coordinator, UIL, wrote and developed curriculum, and did many other school projects.

I am retired and live in deep south Texas. My wife is a retired teacher also and we travel about 4 months out of the year and any chance we get we ‘hit the road or the airline’ My time at NMSU was the best time of my life. During the 60’s there was so much to learn, so much to be care-free about, stability, fun, music, feeling safe, but there was also so much to worry about, war, assassinations and movements.

Anne Elsberry (BS, Education, 1964). I like your idea for communicating with history alumni and would like to be on your e-mail list. I was awarded the BS in Ed degree in 1964, had a family and went on to law school at UMC where I received my JD in 1975. I retired from the practice of law in 2007 and now live in Leawood, Kansas, with my husband, Howard, who also graduated from NEMSTC in 1964. I served on the Foundation Board at Truman.

Daniel Hennessy (BS, Education, 1968). I taught in the NYC system for over 30 years, was an Intelligence Officer w/ Army Central Command in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during the Gulf War and retired from the US Army Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2001. My history education at Northeast could not have been better. Drs. Kohlenberg, Eller, March, Ku, and of course Zuckerman will never be forgotten. Mr. Ryle, and Flaspohler made history come alive (I found myself pretty upset at the cavalier way Dr. Zuckerman’s obit was handled…two lines in the Alumni magazine for a man who gave almost 30 years to the college). In his European history classes we would challenge each others’ interpretations by addressing each other as Doctor! He thought it was great and it gave us even more incentive to get the stuff right. I still see at least 4 members of those classes on a regular basis and we still argue history spiritedly. I’ve got a feeling that you guys today might even be able to match us in our knowledge and interpretations!

Janice Joggerst (BS, Education, 1967). I might be interested in a trip. I have taken trips with National Geographic and Elderhostel.

Larry Marsh (BA, History; BS, Education, 1966). I graduated with a B.S.in Ed and a BA in 1966, history major, political science and German minors. My Masters is in German Language and Literature from the University of New Hampshire.

I taught history and humanities in the Ferguson-Florissant School District from ‘66 to 2000. Since then, I have been the coordinator of the German Culture Center on the UMSL campus, teaching the occasional German class. Check out the German Culture Center webpages at www.germanculturecenter.org

I was an exchange student to Germany in 1963-64 (thanks to the encouragement of history teacher Richard Flaspohler). In 69-70 I was a Fulbright teacher in Heidelberg.

It’s terrific that you are working on an electronic newsletter for Truman history grads. I deeply appreciate the education I received at KSTC, as we called it in those days, especially from remarkable teachers like Flaspohler, Walter Ryle, Jr., Ruth Towne, Arnold Zuckerman, Dr. Kohlenberg, David March, etc.

Michael Pesola (BS, Education, 1969; MA, 1970). Well it’s been awhile since I graduated, received my M.A. in May 1970; B.S. in Secondary Education in Social Studies officially in May 1969 although I had completed it in December 1968, both from Truman, back then it was Northeast Missouri State. After I graduated I taught school for about two years before leaving education to work for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). I spent the next 34 years in various positions including Air Traffic Controller; Human Resource Specialist, Compensation Manager, Public Affairs Officer, and Air Traffic Control Training Specialist. I retired in 2006 from the FAA and am enjoying retirement with my wife, Jeanette, while our son, Michael, attends college at Illinois State University.

Patrick Sim (BA, 1967). Dear Dr. Reschly, What a great treat it is to hear from the chairman of the History Department, contacting past alumni at Truman! Thank you so much for reaching out to former graduates like me.

I am a member of the Class of 1967, back to the time when it was Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, and when History was a Department under the Division of Social Science. Dr. Gilbert Kohlenberg headed the department. I enjoyed his English History Courses. Professor Arnold Zuckerman was my great teacher in European History, with whom I stayed in touch and developed a lasting friendship. We occasionally met, with his lovely wife Louise, at the annual meetings of the American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM). I am saddened at the passing of Dr. Zuckerman, and attended his funeral in Chicago last spring. My other great teachers in those years were Dr. No-Yong Park, Professor Richard Flaspohler, and Dr. Meridith Ellis.

Kirksville prepared me well for a career that now spans close to four decades, as a librarian specialized in the history of anesthesia. I received my MLS degree from the State University of New York at Albany. I then joined the American Society of Anesthesiologists to head its Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology since 1971. My greatest career-related pleasure derives from the study the history of a great American medical contribution to western medicine. Professor Zuckerman taught me research disciplines that equipped me to tell stories with a purpose.

Mary Lou Stewart (BS, Education, 1968). I enjoyed being a student from l964-68 at NEMSU, now Truman State University, with Dr. Ryle presiding as president. I enjoyed Mr. Flaspohler, Dr. March, Dr. Towne (sometimes……), Dr. Eller, Ms. Mitler and others for teachers. However, we had to wear dresses or skirts, and my body was cold walking across campus l964-68 and walking to the Catholic Church for Sunday Mass.

I lived in beautiful Ryle Hall, and I have not seen a dorm as beautiful back on campus as Ryle Hall was in l964. It was simply the BEST! We dressed up for our meals, and we were allowed to dress casually on the weekends. I loved the cherry cobbler served at Ryle Hall, and I usually had all the students pass their dessert down to me. Weighing only 100 pounds when I entered college, I gained 30 more pounds during my three years of living in Ryle Hall. My last year I lived in an honors house–Adair House.

I have been a history teacher here in Janesville, Wisconsin, for 35 years in the Janesville school system, grades 7-12. I retired in 2003, and I still live in Janesville, a city of 62,000 people, subbing three times a week to finance my travels and finish my house mortgage. Most recently, I was in Turkey and Greece on a cruise in 2007, as well as back to the Caribbean on a cruise. I have been to Europe about 10 times, seven of those times with the People to People Student Ambassador Program as a teacher-leader, two times as an English teacher in Poland for two three-week sessions, on 11 cruises to the Mediterranean and to the Caribbean, and on a partial Fulbright in l986 for six weeks of cultural studies in Sierra Leone and The Gambia. I also worked with the Mexican people for several weeks as a lay missionary back in l980.

It was with the help of the placement director, Dr. Mitler, the Janesville placement director and a friend, Mary Beth Curp Mohr, that I was able to get into the Janesville School System. I am entirely thankful to Dr. Mitler, Dr. Shanks and Ms. Mohr. My life changed being a teacher in the Janesville Schools. I was able to teach for nine months and travel several times in the summer, as a result, of teaching history and geography. I would enjoy traveling about 10 days back to Italy, Greece or perhaps, eastern Europe

Thanks for keeping me updated. I was in Kirksville for the 2008 reunion. It was wonderful to be back…..our 40th! Take care, Dr. Reschly. Enjoy the students and your teaching. Teachers do make a difference in students’ lives FOREVER!

Pamela (House) Wittkamp (BA, 1969; MA, 1970). Pam is living in Burlington, Iowa.