Wagner High Online Alumni

In Memoriam - Faculty
Fred Barber
Frank J. Cala
Teresita Covas
Charles DiMassio
Mary Graham
Roberta M. Henderson
Wayne Johnson
Michael Marucci
Margurite Milke
Roland W. Peterson
Paul Sawada
Loreen M. Snider
Robbie Tye
Dora Frances Weeks
Robert C. Weir
Verne Young

 John P. Brokaw, Ph.D., Administration
Submitted on 2/24/01
John Parkinson Brokaw, Ph.D., 66, Indianapolis, died February 17 of a heart attack.  For more than 32 years, he served as a music teacher and administrator in France, Turkey, Japan, Korea, Philippines and Germany for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools.  After serving as administrator of schools in the Philippines and Japan, his last position included seven years as principal of Patch American High School, located on Patch Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany, at European Command headquarters. He was active in the Department of Defense Overseas Schools Retirement Community.

Originally from Shelbyville, he began his teaching career as a music teacher for Fowler High School, Fowler, Indiana, in 1959.  He spent three years there, before going overseas, working with a variety of great band directors, including the legendary Al G. Wright, Ph.D., Purdue University's former band director.

Founding father in 1954 of the Indiana Delta Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon, he most recently served as secretary of the board of directors.  He also was serving his second term as president of Indianapolis Computer Society after being membership leader and special interest group leader.  As a member of Crestview Christian Church, he was serving as head deacon.

Doing business as Brokaw Enterprises, he was brokering potential buyers to the Quixstar web site to enable consumers to buy products at a more cost-effective rate and have their products delivered to their homes. He also was serving as a Northwest Radiology Network courier.  In addition, he was active in the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.  He enjoyed sponsoring overseas students, visiting nursing home patients and corresponding with prison inmates.

 Flora Buday, Faculty

Memories from Marci Jenkins
My Mother taught 5th grade and high school chemistry in 1955. Her name was Flora Buday.  As I browsed through the pages of the '55 yearbook, tears came to my eyes. It is so unbelievable that someone saved this book and the joy you have given me today is more than I can describe. My Mom passed away 19 years ago and these memories have become even more precious to me. I love seeing her photo in the yearbook, it confirms that she was here and she made a difference.

She really enjoyed her kids at Wagner. I remember her spending a lot of time making projects at home as well as checking papers. She worked as many hours at home as she did in the classroom.  

Mom was a terrific swimmer and took me to the synchronized swimming demonstrations at the pool.

 Bob Coltrin Faculty
Bob began his teaching career at Mary Carroll High School in Corpus Christi in the fall of 1962, where he taught through the spring semester 1967. He was then employed by the U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools, first assigned to Clark Air Force Base in Angeles City, Philippines, from the fall of 1967 through the spring of 1969.

Bob was then transferred to Frankfurt, Germany, where he taught at Frankfort American High School from the fall of 1969 until his retirement in November 1992. While his primary field was English, which he taught for 30 years, Bob also taught journalism for four of those years.

Following his retirement, Bob resided in his hometown of Sinton until he moved to Kerrville in September 1994.

Making and keeping friends was always easy for Bob, as he has friends scattered literally all over the world, thanks to his overseas teaching assignments. Traveling with friends was one of his favorite hobbies, as was gourmet cooking and entertaining.

He participated in several “hands-on” cooking classes while in Europe, and his friends enjoyed numerous special meals and parties at his home throughout the years. He enjoyed keeping up with his friends through annual DoDDS reunions.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents A.G. and Edith Coltrin. He is survived by his brother, Don (Evelyn) Coltrin, of Houston, and his sister, Janell (Don) Steele, of Kerrville. Additionally surviving him are two nieces, Grace Schmelzer of Belmont, MA, and Kara Seboldt of Austin; three nephews, George Coltrin and John Coltrin, both of Houston, and Paul Coltrin of Tempe, AZ, along with one aunt, many cousins and numerous longtime friends.

To celebrate Bob’s life, a graveside service will be at Sinton Cemetery on Thursday, July, 13, 2006, at 11 a.m. Honorary pallbearers will be a group of special friends from Texas A&I; John Ashe, Ron McCrory, Tom McLaughlin, Stanley McMillan, Bill Moreland, Jim “Corkey” Sinclair, and Gary Vick.

In lieu of floral arrangements, the family requests that memorials in Bob’s memory be made to the American Cancer Society online at www.cancer.org, by phone at 1-800-ACS-2345, or by mail to American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718.

 Jean Carpenter Faculty

Memories from Laurie Carpenter McDonald '67
Submitted on 5/04/01
Jean Carpenter taught first grade way back in the mid-60's at the elementary school in the PI.  She had 6 children, 5 of whom attended school at that time--3 in high school--Bill, Laurie and Abby.  After leaving the PI, her family was stationed in Alabama for one year and then to Virginia for five years. During those five years she received her masters degree, taught school and continued raising her children.  She then moved to Stuugart, Germany and again taught in DOD schools. Her husband retired to San Antonio,
Texas four years later.  She again taught reading in  a Catholic school.  She died in 1993.  Two of her daughers, Laurie and Mary followed her into education and are now elementary school principals in Northern Virginia.  She was a gifted educator, always looking for and usually finding the strengths in
the children with whom she worked!  She loved her assignment in the PI--with two maids, it was easy to care for a house, a big family (6 kids) and still do a great job of teaching!

 Ms. Mary Coughlin, Faculty

Memories from Myrna Nickelsen '78
Submitted on 02/24/05
We were informed yesterday that Mary H. Coughlin died on her way to work at Incirlik American High school, a DOD school in Turkey, on the early morning of Tuesday, February 22, 2005. She was serving as their Information Specialist.

The overwhelming majority of those in our group -- the classes of 1975 to 1980 -- remember Ms. Coughlin and her dog, Dewey, named after the Dewey decimal system.  Her picture first appeared in the 1974 yearbook posted on the WHOA.ORG site. During the 1974-75 school year, she became the yearbook sponsor, adding to her role as school librarian and media center specialist. She remained the yearbook sponsor through 1979, and perhaps longer (I stopped reviewing beyond 1980 and couldn't confirm her roles that year because the yearbook is only partially online.).

I don't recall ever stepping foot in the school library, but I do remember Ms. Coughlin distinctly because I was the assistant editor of the 1977 yearbook. I had arrived for my junior year at Wagner from a high school in San Antonio, Texas. I wanted to work on the yearbook, so I was pleased to learn that at Wagner, class officers were elected and newspaper and yearbook editors were selected at the beginning of the school year rather than at the end of the one prior as had been the case at my previous high school. All Wagner students were given equal opportunity to get these "coveted" roles. I was shocked when Ms. Coughlin selected me for the job just below "editor-in-chief."

Countless hours spent in the yearbook room is how I got to know Ms. Coughlin. I came to know a woman who was open to new ideas. I remember coming to her with the idea of a community section since the base and the Philippines were, I argued, as much a part of our lives as the high school. She asked for an outline of what I would include, and after submission, she told me to go for it -- that if I wanted to make it happen, I'd have to edit the section. She submitted that yearbook for judging at Columbia University, as she probably did all other yearbooks she'd sponsored. She either gave or sent me a copy of that report, highlighting the section of the report that praised the Community section in particular.

The policy of merit versus seniority that Ms. Coughlin implemented that year, and perhaps in previous and subsequent years, is what I would forever remember.

When I transferred for my senior year, I learned that the editors for the newspaper and yearbook at my new school had indeed been selected before I got there. It was a blow for someone like me who already knew that she would study journalism in college. After the initial feelings of dejection, I recalled my experience with Ms. Coughlin.

Armed with my issues of the Falcon Crier, Fledgling, and "reports" from Columbia and wherever else Ms. Coughlin and Mr. Vern Harmelink submitted their students' work, I challenged my new school's administration on the "unfair" policy of seniority versus merit. I argued that the only fair way to determine who should be editor of anything is through competition, that it seemed wrong for new students to not be given the same opportunity, that I would shut up only if a more fair way was implemented. I described what Ms. Coughlin had "wanna-be editors" do, prior to assigning roles. Eventually, the administration conceded, conducting a "Ms.Coughlin style competition." The journalism teacher of my new school, sponsor of both yearbook and newspaper, soon let me choose which publication for which I would be editor-in-chief, that I could choose a lower editor role in the other. Heading both, she said, would be too much work. It was because of Ms. Coughlin that I, a new kid arriving at a new school in her senior year, became editor-in-chief of that school's newspaper and the copy editor of its yearbook.

Challenging authority and the status quo, along with setting aside all fears to go after what I want, are so much a part of who I am today that until hearing the news yesterday, I hadn't given much thought about the role that Ms. Coughlin played in shaping these traits in me. Yet it was she who first bouyed my courage to challenge authority and to trust in my ability to compete and ask for what I want. What a gift she gave me, especially since I was growing up in a household that cultivated obedience and gratitude for what one was given. When I think back at the highlights of my life so far, I realize that each one was preceded by my challenging authority, questioning the status quo, defying conventional wisdom, or asking for (and sometimes demanding) what I want. For this, I have Ms. Coughlin to thank. I wish I could have thanked her personally.
Memories from Dale Barangan '82
Submitted on 02/28/05
The one thing that I remember about her was her patience.  If you didn't understand how to get an answer she would explain how to get to the answer and she actually made sure that you understood how to get to the solution.  She actually cared if you got it or not.  She touched a lot of us either through her teaching or through her administration of the school library.  She was always very cheerful when she was in the library.  She will be truly missed by the many people whose lives she touched.
 Ms. Coughlin will be sorely missed.  She was the one of the people that got me interested in the computer sciences and computer language such as COBOL, RPG II, and Basic.
Thank You Ms. Coughlin!  God Bless!
Memories from Ed Gutierrez ' 82
Submitted on 02/28/05
I too have fond memories of Ms. Coughlin. She was much more than just faculty she always had an ear for the students at Wagner and took time out to speak with us. Going to the library was not just a quest for some book I needed for a class paper it was stopping by to chat with a caring friend. As I look back now, I realize that many of the conversations I had with Ms. Coughlin were full of good advice and encouragement for a mediocre student like myself. What strikes me is she did this in such a subtle manner that I did not realize I was receiving good advice, I just thought she was someone cool to talk to that listened to my friends and I. I miss chatting and joking with her. I am sure she has touched many lives and will be sorely missed by all who knew here.

 J.P. Green, Faculty

Memories from Earl Davis (Brother-in-law)
Submitted on 4/20/01
Hello,  My name is Earl Davis. I am the brother in law of J.P.Green who taught in the Philippines many years ago. (In the early to mid 1950s I think) J.P. passed away on February 25th of this year from a battle with skin cancer.  He fought skin cancer for many years with flare ups every year or so.  ...  In personal papers I've located this e-mail address and recall J.P. and I dialing up information from the web site of
www.whoa.org .  I  have found that J.P. had many friends and former students around  the world and it is a problem making sure everyone is aware of his passing.  I thank you for your time.

 William Leroy Hessenflow, Faculty

This was written to the whoa.org mailing lists within a year or so before Mr. Hessenflow passed away ...
For the directory, and publish anythng you like, I have no secrets at age 77: William Leroy Hessenflow I was "Bill" back then, but now use my middle name, but also answer to Bill. Taught Math and Science from 1956 to 1958. Arrived Fall of 56, left Spring of 58. No spouse at present (I have buried 3 of them!) Retired since 1982. Lived for 24 years in Japan, after leaving the Philip
pines. Now live in Sun City, AZ, a retirement community. Love fast cars, fast women, and my grandkid. (his father was killed in Vietnam!) First greatgrandkid due in October.

 Mr. Robert Jackson, Faculty

Memories from Bonnie Carter '83
I remember Mr. Jackson as one of the younger cooler teachers at Wagner.    It is hard to imagine that he is gone.  My condolences to his family.  If not for him I would not be typing this.  Had I paid better attention, I might not have so many typos!

 Mr. Al Kellers, Faculty

Memories from Michael L. Farris
I am grateful for the time he held me back on a math class I failed. I went to summer classes also taught by Mr. Kellers. He turned me around and started me into engineering with his electronics class.

 Mr. Rudolf "Tiny" Littleton, Office Secretary

Memories from V.J. Slupecki '70
Great sadness!!!!!!
Tiny was one of the finest persons I've ever known. "Tiny" he was not and if you've ever had the pleasure of meeting this 6'5", 270 lbs gentle giant you are a better person for it.

I first met "Tiny" when I returned to Clark in 1981 and decided to pay Mr. T a visit and check out the old alma mater. He was an odd ball if you consider that I've never seen a male secretary at Wagner before. Very pleasant and always upbeat with a heart worth "his" weight in gold.

He retired from the USN and was married to a Filipina and had a large family. He was a Shriner/Mason and a brother Past President of the Rotary Club and Angeles West. Tiny was also active in the American Legion and VFW. Always around to volunteer his time to worthy causes.

My best memories of "Tiny" was when he appeared at my children's birthday parties as "Tiny Bubbles" the clown. The biggest clown you've ever seen. Blowing balloons and making animal figures for all the kids. He was at our Christmas party that we threw for the Angeles City orphanages as "Tiny Bubbles" and made their lives richer from poor kids who had nothing.

Wagner has lost one of it's finest and I will miss him.

Here's to you "Tiny Bubbles"!
Memories from Bruce F. Hawkins, faculty
I knew Tiny very well! I was on the Wagner staff when he started work there! At first it did seem a little strange having a 'guy' as a secretary, but Tiny was quite a great person. Being a retired Navy Chief, he tried at first to carry that into his job, and just about ran the office by himself! Of course, he slowed down a bit. As any that may have been in the Navy knows, the Navy Chief is 'top dog' in the service! No other branch has anything to compare.

I got to know Tiny during the remainder of my time there, and had a lot of respect for him. A true professional!
Memories from LindaMarie '88
This is so sad. I remember Mr. Littleton. He was a great man with an even greater heart. He was a funny person, one of the things he used to razz us about was that we were slow typists, he could do 90 wpm without blinking. Yet when seriousness was called for, he was stern but not hard. I remember watching him in action, staring down students in the morning, as they couldn't really lie to him--"you were late because......?" or "you were that sick yesterday??" He could worm it out of you. (I never really got the chance to do any of that, damn!)

I remember him being in the shriners, helping all those less fortunate children. He always could give a good laugh as well. Such a good person. One less angel for us here

 Bruce MacDade -Faculty

Memories from Martha Wilder-Faculty
Submitted 01/10/02
Bruce was the head of the English Dept. at Wagner Hi for 63-64 and 64-65.  During his second year the teachers from all the schools performed in a musical called "Teacher Talk", directed by Bruce Macdade.  Of course he also starred in it!  Bruce left the PI in August of 65 and went to Germany for two more years before returning to Florida, which was his home state.  He taught for 30 years in the Broward County, Florida school system.  He served in the Human Resource Development as an administrator.  He retired in June of 1998 and continued to work as a consultant for the Broward Co. School system until his death in November of 1999 from lung cancer.  He was born in New Jersey in July of 1938, moved to Florida when he was 15, and always considered himself a Floridian.  I'm sorry, I am not very good with the exact dates.  He was my very good friend and one of the funniest men I have ever known - very talented.   Oh, I know that he graduated from Murray State in Kent Kentucky in 1960.  He received his Master's degree from Florida Atlantic University, but I do not know the year.

 Donna McKeown - Faculty

Memories from Debbie Goldey Wardick '76
"Mom" as we all called her was the class of 76 sponsor. She stuck by us all 4 years at WHS. I remember her classroom door was always open to all her kids. I spent time and money searching for "mom" over the years. I wish I could have found her before she died to thank her for being a mom and a
friend to me back at WHS, and for being a wonderful teacher. I remember two things that stand out amongst my many memories of her. 1) She let students smoke in her classroom, but not during classes. 2) Her standing on the stage at graduation, crying while she cut the apron strings on her apron, telling us it was time for "mom" to let us go. Thank you Mrs McKeown for the wonderful memories.
Memories from Tish Rush '75
I know that there are hundreds of us right now mourning the death of this wonderful woman. What she did for so many of us at such a tumultuous time in our lives was truly the act of a teacher, friend and
a family member. She helped me with things my own mother couldn't. She didn't care what class you were from or your background or what your parents did, she only cared about you. I was her teacher's assistant when I was a senior. All we did was talk and talk and talk. I really loved her. This news hit me like a ton of bricks. I will never ever forget Ma.
Memories from Shannon (McKeown) Holifield '84
I am not sure where to start in the last few days as I have heard from former friends and loved ones I have been overwhelmed. I popped on to this list to let everyone know that momma was proud of everyone of you and that in her last week of life she spoke of her kids at Clark a lot. I wish there was a way to remove your pain...or at least lessen it...and maybe by being here where you can talk with me a bit about mom or whatever it will help.

Aside from that I remember so many of you so well. my own years in highschool were a shadow because I had already graduated and gone through high school when I got there....I had gone with so many of you.

To those that knew and loved Donna McKeown. In her leaving she has asked that no flowers be sent. No honoriam be established. Her only request is that each of her kids donate a book in her name to the Copperas Cove Junior High School Library and a second book to the library of your choice. I know for many that this request may sound silly and for some other person it might be, but we all know that mom's true love was the written word. So if there are any interested in doing this for our mom, please do so.

Copperas Cove Jr High School Library
702 Sunny Street
Copperas Cove, Texas 76522

I know with each book that passes from your loving hands into the hands of another child, mother's legacy of love, learning, life and her kids will go on forever.

Love and God bless,
Shannon (McKeown) Holifield
Class of 76....and 84
Memories from Bill Kemp '76
Donna McKeown (taught English 72-76, class of '76 sponsor/'mom'). I have just read of the passing of one of my favorite teachers, Donna McKeown. This fine lady put up with us, a bunch of spoiled, but fun loving, brats with long hair and strange fashions, and I never once heard her complain. She provided some relief from the algebra and gym class by her open class atmosphere where we could relax and listen to Jesus Christ Superstar or Tommy all day. She made the world a little better place. I'm sure a star somewhere above shines with her spirit.

 Ora "Polly" Nestle
Submitted on 02/12/2008
Memories from Wendy Sevenandt '79
I had her for math too. Accelerated algebra.  I didn't do so well in Algebra in 8th grade, so they put me in her class in 9th grade to try again.  I had her when the Ali/Fraiser Thrilla in Manilla happened.  She had us all pick one to win.  Most picked Ali and she gave them a Nestle crunch.  The few of us (like me) picked Fraiser and she gave us 1 and a half Nestle crunches, cuz she also wished Fraiser would have won.
 She was a cool teacher.

Memories from Kathy Newlin VanCleve
Submitted on January 9, 2010
I was browsing on the Whoa site in the Memoriam pages under faculty.  I saw two teachers I new of.  It is so sad to see any Wagner person on these particular pages.  I just wanted to add a comment in case the families are staying in touch.
I can visualize each and they bring a smile to my face.  To me they were dedicated to their students.  Ms. Nestle liked to interact and make us laugh.  The same with Mr. Van Zwoll.  They both wanted so much for us to learn.  Both were very kind, caring and determined teachers.   You wish you could tell them these things while they were here with us.  I wish the families well and hope they will know we still carry fond memories for their family member.
I also thank all who work so hard to organize this site so we can stay in touch.
Kathy Newlin VanCleve

 Nicola 'Nikki' O'Connor, Faculty
Submitted on 12/4/2008
Memories from Patricia Saddlemire, Faculty
I am not sure to whom this information should go, but felt that you would know where to send it.  If I could add a memorial message regarding Nikki, I would say the following:

Nicola (Nikki) O Connor was a rare woman.  She epitomized the words elegant lady and was admired by all who knew her, as a teacher and as a friend.  I remember sharing long conversations with her on subjects from child rearing to philosophy.  I was always amazed at her calm approach to almost everything and I have fond memories about preparing Christmas dinners together.   Nikki was a positive role model for students and teachers alike. Doc and Nikki were most cherished friends in the Philippines and afterward.

 Mr. Lee Skinner
Submitted on October 17, 2007
Memories from Bruce Skinner (son)
I just want to let you know my dad, Lee Skinner, who taught at Wagner from
'66-'68 just passed away yesterday from a heart attack.

 Mr Milton Sosnick, Faculty

Memories from Aaron Sosnick '84
As you will glean from this note and the attached letter, the current discussion of my father is very meaningful to my family. We appreciate all the thoughts and memories that his students are sharing. Russel's letter, in particular, moved me, and I thought it merited a special response. Some of the other notes remembered my father's undeniable spirits of fun, irreverence, and cynicism but I thought Russel's letter best demonstrated the motivation underlying such fun, irreverence, and even cynicism.

Memories from Russell D. Ollie '86
I too am very saddened to learn of Mr. Sosnick's passing. Too few of us have had a teacher who took the time and interest to help us along the way. I count myself fortunate that I ended up in a class taught by one of the most passionate teachers I ever came across. The interest Mr. Sosnick showed in me came during a very formative period of my life.

In addition to being an excellent teacher, Mr. Sosnick also served as one of the PVOT (the on the job training program in existence during the '80s) Coordinators. During my Junior year in 1985, I decided that I wanted PVOT position where I could train beside fighter pilots at the F-4 Simulator on base (at this point in time my goal in life was to be an Air Force fighter pilot). Of course this was the one position that wasn't available through the program. Regardless, Mr. Sosnick and Mr. O'Connor somehow managed to open doors and set me up to spend time in the F-4 simulators every day after school. As you might imagine I counted myself a bit luckier than my counterparts working the legal, accounting, or medical offices on base (undoubtedly many others had as rewarding experience in their chosen fields). I continued in this job for the next year and a half until graduation.

Mr. Sosnick was also instrumental in my decision to attend M.I.T. after graduation. Not only did he help convince me that I was possessed of sufficient intellect to merit applying but he also wrote one heck of a recommendation that helped me get in.

Durng my time at Wagner I thanked Mr. Sosnik on several occasions for his help. However, I had always hoped to someday look him up and thank him for helping me to achieve some of my larger successes in life. I regret that I shall not have that chance and will have to settle for publicly acknowledging the positive influence Mr. Sosnick played in my life. He is greatly missed.

Memories from Jennifer Keenan '86
I loved Mr. Sosnick. I'm sorry to hear that he had passed away. I remembered in 1985/86 I had him for a class. That was the year of the shuttle Challenger disaster and he had taped it for the class. He never hid his feelings-that's what I respected most about him. He always gave me a hard time regarding softball and volleyball because his daughter Tamara and I were teammates, and of course Tamara was the best you know! Was Wagner the last place he taught?

Memories from Kim Eubanks Jantzen '82
It's been years since I heard of Mr. Sosnick's death, and still it tugs at my heart. As a teacher, now I know what a gift he possessed, seeing in each of us the ability to go far, reach higher, fly farther. There are days I wish he could be at my side as I struggle to motivate someone who is bright, talented and wasting the opportunities the world has laid at the door.

Then, there are days when I'm taken with a need to wear a bright red t-shirt with a pair of olive drab pants, claim I'm an olive and beg passersby to toss me in a man-size martini (knowing full well I'd never drown, if it was "dry" enough!)

We were a lucky bunch at Wagner. And I think most of us knew it.

Memories from Tom Ngo '82
Milton Sosnick taught with the heart and to the heart. One afternoon nearly two decades ago, he got me to see my thumb as I'd never seen it before. The thumb, to me, had been the lowliest of the fingers: stubby and awkward for lack of a third phalanx. In that hour my thumb was revealed to be a marvel of evolution that, by opposing the other four fingers, allowed us to make tools, homes, and civilizations. To Mr. Sosnick, this was no mere piece of academic trivia. He wanted us to feel this and a million other insights right in the gut, where they would combine into a whole truth that made sense and actually mattered. With that passion he got under our skin, helping us shed that "ignoramus" persona that made us teenagers comfortable, but, well... ignorant.

Through my friendship with Aaron '84, I was privileged also to know Milton Sosnick in his home. There, relentlessly but with a touch of love and humor, he continued to challenge us. Rarely content with blandness, he made us take positions and find ourselves. We will miss him... but I believe he knows what a positive influence he had on so many lives.

Memories from Robert Gard '86
I was a student of Bad Kreusnach High School during 1964-1965, and am writing in appreciation of my English teacher, Milton N. Sosnick. I know he later taught in the Philippines, at Wagner High.
He woke me up, and did it by turning the lights out, drawing the curtains, lighting a candle and reading "The Raven."
I took early retirement as an English teacher from the state of Florida, and in his tradition have been traveling the world and teaching English:  Kiev for
three years, Riga for one, and I'm finishing my second year teaching English at a university in China.
I remain in awe of Mr Sosnick's influence - he is a great soul, often remembered and much missed. I welcome correspondence from any who remember
him as I do

 Ms. Rose Sowa, Faculty

Memories from Danny Theobald  ' 64
Submitted on 03/03/05
I am sad to report that Ms. Sowa passed away  last November.  She was 90 years old.  I have been in contact with her since 2000 and had planned so many times to make the short trip from Orlando to Tamps to see her....I am so sorry that I never made that trip.  She was excited about the "Prom Night..'06" reunion being held here in Orlando and I'm sure she would have made plans to be here.  Some of you may have been a little frightened by her at Wagner...she was a no nonsense Teacher...but she sure taught me what it meant to have to WORK for a grade...she conducted her classes much like a College Professor would.  Some of us became very close to her during those years..and to us she showed her warm and gentile side.  I had thought of her so many times through my life, and was so happy to have found her in Tampa.  If only I had made the short drive to see her.   I feel a little bit older today..knowing that she is gone!!

Memories from Sylvia '66
Submitted on 3/4/2005
I am sorry to hear that Ms Sowa passed on and yes I do remember her with both fondness and fright.  I remember her famous hair ties and the fright was when she caught you chewing gum you had to sit in front of the class with it on your nose.  I would nevveerr chew gum in her class because I would have died if I had been caught and had to do that.  How embrassing.  Never was one for getting into trouble with any teacher.   Scared me too much.  Not like kids of today.  They have no fear of anything or anyone.  They can pretty much do as they like and know that there aren't going to be any reprecussions.  

Memories from Becky Char '65
Submitted on 3/9/2005
I also remember Ms Sowa.  I had her for biology! She was one of my favorite teachers.  She was a little
imposing and scary at times but she really cared about her students. If I remember right I think Bill
Reynolds was one of my lab partners.  I disected the grasshopper and we gave him the frog.  Ms Sowa and our family shared the same dress maker, I remember having to deliver a dress to her

Memories from Charles Hunter '65
Submitted on 07/20/2007
I was saddened to hear of the death of Mrs. Sowa however was pleased to know that she lived a long life.  I will never forget the statement she made to our class when we were acting up and she said "If you think you're so important, stand in the middle of Times Square in New York City, during rush hour, and see just how important you are then!!?"  I never forgot that line.
 She was stern but professional and her style helped prepare me for college.  I always liked and enjoyed her though I feared her at the same time.  Also, I remember she kept the temperature of the classroom very cool.  I believe she said it just wasn't for what she was teaching, Biology, but "to keep us awake". I remembered that statement also through the years.  She left an enduring impression upon me. There's been plenty of teachers and professors since then whose names and faces I don't recall but Mrs. Sowa, I remember.

Charles Hunter '65
 Mr. Richard Van Zwoll, Faculty

Memories from Michelle Gildore '91
I remember Mr.Van Zwoll he was a great guy. Although I never had a class with him I had the pleasure of getting to know him because he was a family friend. We were stationed at Travis AFB, CA at the time and we'd visit Kala his daughter in San Francisco. I remember when I was about 8 yrs old and we'd visit our friend "Tita Kala," and her father Mr. Van Zwoll would play with me. He was very playful and encouraged me in improving my Math skills. He was very tall and from the pictures that I had seen from his late wife Leonor Van Zwoll he was very handsome and was a good father to his two children (Kal and Mark) and a caring and loving husband. I will always keep him and his family in my daily prayers.
Mr. Van Zwoll, I know you can read this- I hope that you are happy and at peace in heaven. Please kiss God's face for me. It was a pleasure to meet you in this life. See you in the next one! May God bless and keep you in his tender loving care always. Rest in Peace.

From: Joe Pickard 77-79 (class of 80)
Submitted on 04/13/02
When I was 15 years old, I was sent to live with my father in the Phillipines.  Already I had been in quite a bit of trouble, and it was felt that I needed discipline to keep me in school, and to encourage me to change some of my less socially desirable behaviors.

When I registered for classes at Wagner, my records had not arrived, so I lied about my previous grades and managed to enroll in Mr. Van Zwoll's Geometry class. As we all know, the key to success in Math classes is doing your homework, and I fell behind quickly. My cyle was starting over again...new  country, same disappointment. It seemed as if the "geographic cure" wasn't working.

One day Mr. Van Zwoll had me stay after class to talk to him. He told me that I was failing his class, but that if I wanted to come in during my lunch period and make up my work, he would be in there grading papers.

Every day for several weeks, I gobbled down a sandwich on my way across campus, and I spent my lunch time in his class making up homework assignments until I was caught up. As I recall, I finished with a B for the semester.

This was a turning point for me. Mr.Van Zwoll gave me the opportunity to turn myself around if I chose, and I did. His simple gesture made a major difference in my life, the type of difference that all teachers hope to make to at least one student during their careers. He showed me that someone cared for me at a
time when I felt alone in the world. I have not forgotten Mr. Van Zwoll, and I continue to be grateful that our paths crossed when they did.

Joe Pickard, MSW, LCSW
NIMH Pre-Doctoral Fellow
GWB School of Social Work
Washington University

Memories from Kathy Newlin VanCleve
Submitted on January 9, 2010I was browsing on the Whoa site in the Memoriam pages under faculty.  I saw two teachers I new of.  It is so sad to see any Wagner person on these particular pages.  I just wanted to add a comment in case the families are staying in touch.
I can visualize each and they bring a smile to my face.  To me they were dedicated to their students.  Ms. Nestle liked to interact and make us laugh.  The same with Mr. Van Zwoll.  They both wanted so much for us to learn.  Both were very kind, caring and determined teachers.   You wish you could tell them these things while they were here with us.  I wish the families well and hope they will know we still carry fond memories for their family member.
I also thank all who work so hard to organize this site so we can stay in touch.
Kathy Newlin VanCleve

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