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Life Well Lived | Georgia Roberta Eugene gave from the heartBy Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. Oct. 24, 2010 With little fanfare and just a 10th-grade education, Georgia Roberta Eugene set out to change not only hercircumstances but also those of the people around her. And in so doing, she became an unlikely -- but notaccidental -- activist and advocate for education. "Brilliant is one thing, if you were asking for one word that described her," said Bernard Minnis, assistantsuperintendent for Jefferson County Public Schools. "She could think out of the box better than most people Iknow." When she was raising her seven children in the old Cotter Homes housing project, she sat on the board of theLegal Aid Society, chaired the Russell-Area Council and headed the city-county Community Action CommissionEmergency Food Committee, among other positions. Despite her best efforts to remain out of the spotlight, Eugene did earn some recognition. At one ceremonyduring which she received an award, according to her son, Dr. Kenneth Eugene, she summed up her philosophywhen asked if she had anything to say: "I write speeches, I dont give them. Thank you," she replied. If a person wished to get on her bad side -- not an enviable place, according to those who knew her -- there wasa sure-fire way: "The thing that would make her mad was if she did something for you and you went out andtalked about it," her pastor, the Rev. Gregory Smith, said. "She didnt like that." "She did not want notice," Kenneth Eugene said. "She preferred to be in the background." "When she gave, she gave from the heart and (said), You go on, you help somebody else," said Rita Greer,who worked with Eugene at Jefferson County Public Schools. "She never expected anything back in return." When she died Sept. 28 at the age of 72, Georgia Eugene left no shortage of people who might pay her charityand dedication forward.One of many Born one of 10 children of Sterley Sr. and Willie R. Buckner on Sept. 11, 1938, she grew up in LouisvillesWest End. She dropped out of the segregated Central High School to begin her own family, marrying John M.Eugene Sr. He died in 1983. As a child, she loved to read, said her oldest brother, Sterley Buckner Jr., a passion she maintained all her life."She read all the time," according to her only daughter, Regina Eugene-Allen. "I think part of her knowledge isbecause she read all the time." She joined the Hill Street Baptist Church when she was 12. "I cant explain to you how my mother was so giving," Eugene-Allen said. "The way my mother raised us, all things are possible," she said. "Even growing up in the projects, I neverthought of myself as poor. We were broke, but she never acted like we were poor," said her daughter, who addedthat she loved attending community meetings as a little girl with her mother. "It never dawned on me that I couldnt do something because I was a black girl in the projects," said Eugene-Allen, who works in human resources at United Parcel Service."She always had relationships outside of people inthe projects," she said. "I think it gave us, as her children, exposure to other opportunities." "I know this for certain," Rev. Smith said, "that she paid for several people to go to college, people whootherwise would not have been able to go. (She) never said anything about it and never looked for repayment." "Since her passing, I cant tell you how many people have come to me and said, If it wasnt for your mom, Inever would have done x, y, z," said her daughter, who had heard about her mother helping to pay other peoplestuitions and after she died, discovered checkbooks that confirmed it.Any and everything Eugene worked at the U.S. Census Bureau in Jeffersonville, Ind., before joining the human relations office ofthe Louisville city school system. When they met in 1974, assistant superintendant Minnis said, she was with the city system and he was with thecounty system."We were going to work together to try to get the community ready for desegregation," he said. Eugene trained people, paid and volunteer, to staff what was known as the Rumor Control Center. Shesupervised the center and developed the hot line, which Minnis credited for diffusing community tension duringthe period of school integration. After the city-county schools merger, Eugene worked for Jefferson County Public Schools as a writer for onedivision, and then as coordinator of community education and community relations. She became director ofDuValle Education Center, leading the redesign of the former middle school to better serve people of all ages. "You would find her, she could be down on the floor working with kids or she could be standing on a laddertrying to change a light bulb," said Greer, who retired from JCPS and now directs the Leadership EducationDoctoral Program at Spalding University. "It didnt matter about getting her hands dirty or getting her knees dirty,if thats what it took." "People sought her wisdom -- many people in key positions," said Minnis. "Im talking about people who had double masters degrees, people who were working on their GREs and alsowriting books," wanted her insights, Smith said. "She was just as comfortable rubbing elbows with the presidents as she was with the custodian," said Greer.
Life Well Lived | Mr. Bo gave his heart to orphansBy Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. Nov. 28, 2010 For more than 32 of his 101 years, Logan Clayton Bohannon answered to the name "Mr. Bo," and served as a fatherfigure to hundreds of children passing through the small Presbyterian orphanage in Anchorage, Ky., where he spentsome of his own childhood. In the days after his death on Nov. 4, adults who had lived there as children -- many now retired from their own careers-- spoke of him still as Mr. Bo, with extraordinary gratitude, respect and love. "He was an amazing, unique individual. He affected more lives than any human being I ever knew, and he did it in apositive way," said Reed Farley, a business consultant and retired IBM/Lexmark executive. "He was the guy that people looked up to, and he was the guy that people learned from," Farley said. Bohannon was the only former resident to become director of what is now known as Bellewood Home for Childrenand had the longest relationship of anyone to the facility, according to Jerry Cantrell, its current president and CEO. "I think all of us will always look at him as a father and father figure," said Marc Curtis, director of operations forKentucky Harvest -- a program his brother, Stan Curtis, started to feed the hungry, followed by USA Harvest andBlessings in a Backpack. They lived at the orphanage with four other siblings. "It was a beautiful place. It was sad, but it was a great place to be if you had to be somewhere," Curtis said. "He was my mentor," said entertainer Buddy Durbin, who arrived at the orphanage not yet 5 with a broken arm fromchild abuse. An actor and musician, he spent eight years at the home. "I remember him sitting me down the day I left. Hetold me I could be anything I wanted to be in the world," he said. "Ill be telling people about him the rest of my life, till my time," Durbin said. Logan Bohannon was born Jan. 22, 1909, in Quicksand, Ky. He attended a one-room school in Breathitt County untilhis father, a coal miner, died of black lung in his 40s. It was 1923 and Bohannons widowed mother couldnt care for hersix children on her own and so she sent five of them to the Presbyterian home, which she learned of through a nearbychurch. Living at the orphanage, Bohannon became a star athlete at Anchorage High School, where he was awarded the GreyTrophy for Scholastic and Academic Achievement when he graduated in 1931. "His nickname was Hicker -- tough as hickory," said Cantrell, who only met Bohannon when he was already 92 andstopped by to chat with him -- the new director -- about the place. As a young man, Bohannon had been taken under the wing of Robert G. Haney Sr., who was director of the orphanagefrom 1922 until 1958. "Mr. Haney knew all the history," according to the Rev. Howard W. Moffett, and passed it on toBohannon, who shared it with Moffett when he came on as director of development in 1973. Bohannon had becomeexecutive director earlier the same year. "I had a great deal of respect for Logan," said Moffett, now retired. "He was that kind of person -- he was not tooimportant to get in there and get his hands dirty," even as the executive director, Moffett said, adding: "I learned toshovel manure from Logan." Bohannon had returned to Anchorage a married man in 1948 to work at the orphanage, having met his wife, MaryElizabeth Smith, while serving in the area with the Civilian Conservation Corps. She, too, was from Breathitt County. They were married in Jackson, Ky., on Feb. 22, 1935. She preceded him in death at age 86 on Jan. 3, 2004. The couple worked at Bellewood for 32 years, she overseeing the kitchen for many years and he as farm manager --overseeing the homes dairy herd and the garden where they grew most of the vegetables eaten there, as well as growinghay and corn for the cows. He was later also director of activities and of campus life. "We used to have to go feed the cows and clean out their stalls and all that before we went to school," Curtis said, "andthen wed come home and pick vegetables and do all of our chores." "Hed tell you what he wanted you to do, hed show you how to do it and usually hed help you do it," said Farley, whojoined the board of Bellewood this year. "He held you accountable - (but) never in a harsh manner." If you made amistake, he said, Bohannon "showed you what you did wrong and made sure you knew how to do it right the next time." Bohannon was 70 when he retired, having served as executive director of Bellewood from 1973 until 1979. Barbara Horner attributed her fathers longevity to the same such diligence and discipline he taught hundreds ofchildren. "He ate correctly. He got a lot of rest at night. He exercised daily almost a month up until his death," she said."And he loved his job." By all accounts, Bohannons zestful humor, quiet but devout religious beliefs -- he was a faith(ful) member ofAnchorage Presbyterian Church -- and ever-positive outlook contributed to both his physical longevity and the unendingdevotion from those who knew him. "He had a smile that would charm you from the instant you met him," Farley said. "He was just one of those rarehuman beings that you truly liked. You liked him when you met him, and you never stopped liking him." "I mean, he was just always smiling," Cantrell said, calling Bohannon one of the most optimistic people hed ever met. "Logan was a very humble man," Moffett said. "I dont think he thought as much of himself as he ought to have. Hehad a great deal of love for the kids." "He considered Bellewood kids his second family," his daughter said. She and her sister, Carolyn Bohannon, alwayshad an understanding they shared their parents with those kids. "I think because he grew up there, I think it had such animpact that he really connected with them," she said. "Bellewood was really his life," she said.
Zambia Nkrumah: A life well lived | She kept her roots to the endBy Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. June 27, 2010 Preparing for her daughters celebration of life ceremony on June 17, Mary Bridges Gully reflected: "Mydaughter lived a full life. She didnt live long, but she lived strong." Her daughter, Zambia Nkrumah, was 56 when she died June 13 of breast cancer at her Louisville home. "She went out of here kicking and screaming," said her husband, Edward "Nardie" White. "Her last breathswere, I am not going to die. That was her spirit. "Thats why I married her, because she was one of the strongest individuals that I know and one of the giving-est individuals that I know," he said. Nkrumah was a teacher for 30 years, but her passion for education extended far beyond the classroom. Adancer and storyteller, she worked behind the scenes for community arts groups including the River City DrumCorps, which her husband started nearly 20 years ago and still leads. As a young woman inspired by the Pan-African philosophy advocated by Kwame Nkrumah, the first presidentof Ghana, she cast off her given name, Cleo Gully, early in life. "She was what I consider to be a keeper of the African culture, and honors all other cultures," said Nana YaaAsantewaa, also known as Mama Yaa, founder of the Arts Council of Louisville. "She was a person who neverever had a stranger in her life." Nkrumah took strangers in as family, leaving behind not only her mother; husband; daughter, Aha; son (shedidnt use "stepson"), Raynard; two brothers and her grandchildren; but also 16 people she called her"godchildren."Willing to teach anyone "She was always teaching. That was her vocation; it wasnt just a job," said one of those godchildren, AminataCairo. "She was tough," said Cairo, demanding nothing but a persons best, but in such a way that her students knewit was out of love. Cairo met Nkrumah at an arts festival in Louisville when she was a 21-year-old Berea College student fromthe Netherlands, with no family in the United States. Her sponsors had booked her just one night of lodging andshe was telling a friend she wished she could stay for the entire festival. Nkrumah overheard her and said,"Well, you can stay at my house." "It was just instant family," said Cairo, now a 44-year-old anthropology professor at Southern IllinoisUniversity Edwardsville. "She has been present at any major event in my life," she said -- every graduationceremony, both of her weddings and the births of Cairos three children. "The bond is so special that you think youre the only one, but all of us feel that way," Cairo said ofNkrumahs extended family. "Its totally open, unconditional love." "She was willing to teach anyone that was willing to learn," said 14-year-old George Allen, a member of theRiver City Drum Corps since he was 11. His mother, Anna Allen, is a volunteer administrative assistant for the group. "She spent a lot of quality timewith the kids, educated them on not just reading and writing, but how to come together, be a team," she said. Days before Nkrumah died, Allen and another friend were praying with Nkrumah when the teacher told themearnestly, "Weve got to get these children ready for this world," Allen said. "Then she nodded back out."Never afraid of too much "If Zambia wanted something, she done it; what she wanted, where she wanted and with who she wanted to doit with," her mother said. "You didnt tell her too much (what to do). ... She was never afraid of too much." Nkrumah had attended the old St. Philip Neri School for a year, where "she was the only black child in thatschool," her mother said. She completed fourth to eighth grades at the old Immaculate Heart of MaryElementary School -- to which she would return decades later. The old school building is now headquarters forthe River City Drum Corps. They call it "The House of Dreams." "She was always organizing something, even in high school," Gully said. Nkrumah attended the old LorettoHigh School, a Catholic all-girls school in the West End that closed in 1973. After high school, Nkrumah took off to help organize fruit pickers in Florida, White said. When she returnedto Louisville, she got a job as a teachers aide. She enrolled at the University of Kentucky and earned an education degree with certification in specialeducation. Nkrumah taught three years in Lexington before getting a job at Hazelwood Hospital teachingchildren with severe disabilities. "She had 10 children (in class) and watched seven of them die," White said, and Nkrumah felt that was toomuch for her. So she went to Westport Middle School, teaching social studies there and later at Knight MiddleSchool. Her cancer diagnosis in 2002 forced Nkrumah to retire the next year, but that didnt mean she was finishedteaching. "She was working with me at the Drum Corps until the day she died," White said. He recalled how difficult it was for his wife to leave the classroom. "That was the hardest days of our lives, togo and take her stuff from school," he said.
(Nkrumah contd) She thought he wasnt serious The couple met during Christmas season, White said. He was director of the Parkland Boys and Girls Club andwanted to hold an event for Kwanzaa, which begins Dec. 26. A friend told him Nkrumah was the local Kwanzaaauthority. She came to the club, he said, and told him: "You need to do this, this, this and this. She was very mean to me,very mean to me," he said, because she thought he wasnt serious enough about the event to do the work. He took a list of things needed from her, got every item on it and called her. "I got this, this, this and this.Everything you put on that list I got," he told Nkrumah. "And I need for you to come do what you said you weregoing to do." She was impressed, and they soon became friends, frequently planning cultural programs together.Nkrumahs encouragement pushed him to build the River City Drum Corps. Despite her illness, last year at Kwanzaa, she still danced. "These rhythms beat in her heart eternally and so whenshe heard the drummers drumming, she could not resist," said Asantewaa. "She got up, and she did African dancing." Nkrumah had been education director for Education Arts Inc. at the Presbyterian Center in Smoketown and for 16years toured with the Kentuckiana African-American Arts Series troupe, which performed twice in Ghana atPanaFest, a festival of African culture and history. "She and I made our very first trip to Africa together," Asantewaa said. "Its like shes been in my life forever." Nkrumah was Asantewaas apprentice before becoming a storyteller in her own right, Asantewaa said, and wasalways fond of a particular tale. "There was a story I think she just fell in love with about roots, it was about a tree. ... Its a heritage story todemonstrate when you lose your roots, (when) you lose your ability to hold on to your culture, you die." "Living with my wife was an adventure," White said. "Weve done some wonderful things all in the name ofadventure." Nkrumah planned her funeral "down to a T," he said, including telling people where to sit. "Because you got allthese personalities and I dont want no drama at my funeral," she told him.Louise Gans, 102, dies; she went to 85 DerbysBy Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. Jan. 14, 2006 Louise Jones Gans, who attended every Kentucky Derby but one from 1919 through 2004, died Thursday night ather home in Cherokee Gardens. She was 102. “Nobody has been to more Derbys than this lady," she told The Courier-Journal in 2000, just before attending her81st Derby. She was 96 at the time. She missed 1999 because of a broken hip just two weeks before that first Saturday in May. In all, she attended 85Derbys. Its a record that Churchill Downs cant substantiate, "but weve never heard anyone (else) lay claim to that manyDerbys," track spokesman Tony Terry said yesterday. She attended her first when she was 16, when the horses were walked to the track from the stables and thegrandstand was just about the size of a stately Louisville home. "It was born in me to love a horse," Gans told the newspaper for one of several stories on her. With her parents,Lon and Mary Jones, who owned a farm near Bashford Manor, she watched Sir Barton win that 1919 race with"just a handful of people compared to what it is today." Her favorite part of every Derby Day: the singing of "My Old Kentucky Home." "That means everything to me. I get tears coming up in my eyes," she said. "She just didnt have the strength to go" last year, her son, George Gans III, said yesterday. But he called her fromthe track so family members could sing "My Old Kentucky Home" to her on the phone as the thoroughbreds tookto the track. Gans became something of a Derby celebrity in her own right. "The whole area around her box (around the eighth pole) would stand up and cheer," her son said. "People wedidnt even know would have photos made with her." Her grandfather, George Scoggan, her father, a brother and a nephew all raised horses - including 1889 Derbyrunner-up Proctor Knott and Glide, which won the 1924 Kentucky Oaks but was disqualified. Her grandson, Alex Gans, continues the tradition today, working at a Paris, Ky., horse farm. In her youth, Gans won ribbons showing her horse, Black Beauty, at the Kentucky State Fair. Her memoriesincluded Bardstown Road full of horses and buggies, said her daughter-in-law Dawn Gans. In 1927, she married George Gans, a furniture manufacturer and a leader in Louisvilles cultural community. Thecouple bought two boxes at Churchill Downs in 1928, which remain in the family today. Her husband died in 1984. Gans usually limited her bets to $2 - a tradition going back to the days when track workers would come to Derbygoers seats to take bets. Occasionally, she would place a $6 across-the-board bet and even more rarely, a $10 bet. Her stance on the Derby tradition of mint juleps was to always have one, but she was known to smuggle in a littleof her own bourbon to strengthen the tracks trademark drink. Her daily bourbon, around 5 or 6 p.m., and an aspirin every night before bed were her only secrets to longevity,George III and Dawn Gans said. That, and as her son put it, "She was probably the happiest person I have ever known."
Fisher, Louisvilles queen of blues, diesBy Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. March 13, 2004 Singer Mary Ann Fisher, whose rhythm and blues career began in Louisvilles old black nightclub district onwhat used to be Walnut Street, died yesterday. She was 81. Fishers career took her across the country on tour with Ray Charles and other music legends before shereturned home to settle down as resident blues queen. ALTHOUGH SHE had been in declining health the past few years, said her son, Tracy Porter, Fisherperformed less than a month ago at Stevie Rays Blues Bar downtown during a concert in her honor. She died at the Hospice & Palliative Care of Louisville inpatient unit at Norton Healthcare Pavilion, Portersaid. Fishers musical career began in Louisville in the 1940s when she entered talent contests at the old LyricTheatre and the convention center, which later became Louisville Gardens. She won several contests, developed her act and was soon the headlining "Queen of the Blues" at the oldOrchid Bar on Walnut Street, now Muhammad Ali Boulevard. When she met Ray Charles in 1955, she was 32 and working as a dishwasher at the old Boston Cafe tosupplement her $5 gigs at the old Belgiums, Casablanca, Victory Club and the Diamond Horseshoe clubs. Shealso had joined a group of musicians stationed at Fort Knox and would take the bus down to do a couple ofshows, where she was known as Little Sister. "A PROMOTER told me about a vocalist named Mary Ann Fisher who was gigging around Louisvilleand Fort Knox. I caught her act, liked her style and decided to try out a little experiment. I asked her to join myband," Charles wrote in his autobiography, "Brother Ray: Ray Charles Own Story." She "was a good singer ... a featured vocalist. She did mostly sentimental and torch songs, and she added alot to our program," Charles wrote. Fisher toured with Charles from 1955 until 1958. Although Charles was married, Fisher was his girlfriend much of the time she toured with him. "He had awoman in every town ... If he had told me he was married, I never would have left Louisville," Fisher once told areporter. Fisher was the inspiration for the songs "Mary Ann," "What Would I Do Without You" and "Leave MyWoman Alone," according to Charles autobiography. In 1957, Charles added three women as backup vocalists with some featured parts and called them theRaeletts . Fisher later rejoined the act, but jealousy and conflicts among the band and the new female singers, aswell as the constant use of drugs in the band convinced her to leave the group in 1958. FISHER REMINISCED about those years in a 1998 newspaper story: "Yes it was (fun) - 3 years of it. ...Country girl like me? I hadnt been nowhere before." After leaving Charles act, Fisher struck out on her own, moving first to New York and later to Los Angeles. She became a solo act and often performed in reviews with such legends as B.B. King, James Brown, JackieWilson, Percy Mayfield and Bobby Bland. She performed with Dinah Washington at Carnegie Hall, and withBillie Holliday before she died in 1959. She continued to tour until 1967, when she returned to Louisville. Parts of those tour days are chronicled inother famous biographies, including, "Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye" and a biography of singer JimmyScott, with whom she lived for a while in New York, according to her friend Keith Clements, a local bluescolumnist and board member of the Kentuckiana Blues Society. AT FIRST, Fisher had trouble finding music work in Louisville. She worked various jobs until she got a jobon the assembly line in 1972 at General Electric, where she worked for about a decade. By 1984, she had returned full-force to the stage, playing regular gigs at The Savoy. She performed in the1980s and 1990s at numerous venues and events like the old Garvin Gate Blues Festival at The Palace Theatre,Jazz in Central Park and the Cotton Club Revue at the Galt House. She sang "any time somebody calls me up and wants me to do something," she told a reporter in 1998, whenMayor Jerry Abramson declared Feb. 26 to be Mary Ann Fisher Day. It was one of many honors. She had been awarded the Sylvester Weaver Award from the Kentuckiana BluesSociety in 1996 - its highest award. She was included in a special display at the Kentucky Music Hall of Famethis year. Fisher celebrated the release of her first album, titled for her nickname "Songbird of the South," at StevieRays in January last year - even though shed been singing for more than 65 years. "She has lived a life of so much personal tragedy, but joy too," Clements said. Or as Fisher herself once put it, "Ive got a heckuva life story, I think." SHE WAS A native of Henderson, Ky., where her father was shot to death when she was 4 years old. Hermother could not afford to raise the family by herself, so she sent Fisher and four siblings to the old KentuckyHome Society for Colored Children in Louisville. That orphanage was home to several other Louisville musiclegends besides Fisher - including trumpeter Jonah Jones, trombonist Dickie Wells and singer Helen Humes - allof whom played in the orphanages marching band.
(FISHER CONTD) It was hearing the band practice in the basement of the orphanage that Fisher recalled as one of her earliestmusical influences. The other was the hymns shed heard at country churches with her mother as a small girl inHenderson. Fisher spent just a year in the orphanage before she was adopted by a family in Russellville, Ky. Fisherlater found her siblings, her son said. She outlived them all, he said. Her orphan experience stayed with her. When a friend was going to put her infant up for adoption in the1970s, Fisher told her to give the child to her. She adopted him, Tracy Porter, and he is her sole survivor, withsome nieces and nephews. G.C. Williams Funeral Home is handling arrangements.Businessman V.E. Noltemeyer diesBy Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. March 13, 2004 Vincent E. Noltemeyer, who began working at a machinery company as a teenager with a seventh-gradeeducation and retired after holding executive positions in two international corporations, one of which heowned, died yesterday at his home in Mockingbird Gardens. He was 89. He was diagnosed with cancer about 10 days ago, his son David said yesterday. Noltemeyer was the former owner of Grindmaster of Kentucky, the coffee grinder business he was runningwhen he invented a peanut butter grinder that made him famous enough to be on the old “What’s My Line?”television show. He bought the company, originally called American Duplex Co., in 1963, after a 30-year career at GambleBros., a wood products company founded in Louisville in 1896, eventually becoming its secretary-treasurerand then vice president. American Duplex had been making coffee grinders in Louisville since 1933. But Noltemeyer’s passion was the design of a machine that could grind dry-roasted peanuts into purepeanut butter. It took him three years to design a machine that wouldn’t stick and jam. By 1972, he had introduced the peanut butter grinder. Five years later the peanut butter machines weresold in specialty stores around the world, including China, Peru and Zaire. The firm also was selling peanuts by then, with 75 percent of them coming from President Jimmy Carter’swarehouse. Noltemeyer sold Grindmaster in 1985. He continued to work as an associate of Fiberworks, doingbookkeeping four or five hours a day, until 1991, his son said. Noltemeyer had begun work early in his teen years at Henry Vogt Machine Co. to help support his parents. He joined Gamble Bros. as an accountant in his late teens.
Educator Car Foster dies at 78By Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. March 5, 2004 Car Foster, a Jefferson County educator who led a grass-roots fight in the mid-1970s to keep PortlandsRoosevelt Elementary School open, died yesterday at Baptist Hospital East . He was 78. He had suffered an aneurysm Wednesday night at his home, his daughter, Carolynn Foster, said yesterday. "The citizens loved Car and so did his staff," former Louisville school Superintendent Newman Walkersaid yesterday from his home in Palo Alto, Calif. "He had a large number of usually young people who camefrom all over the country ... to work in the inner city for someone who had a vision." Fosters success in getting low-income parents involved in education brought national attention toRoosevelt Elementary soon after he became principal in 1972. "I remember he was even discussed at a conference I attended in Paris, France," Walker said. Only about 7 percent of residents in the schools district were high school graduates, but dozens of parentsworked at the school daily as aides in classrooms and offices. Foster allowed parents to help set thecurriculum and decide which teachers to hire. He "influenced so many people in a positive direction," retired Lowe Elementary School principal JohnRuss said. Russ began teaching at Roosevelt in 1972. Foster "was a master at motivating people and inspiring people," he said. "We would go in on Saturdaysand work in the classrooms. ... We wanted to do it." In 1976, the National Institute for Education called Roosevelt an "unqualified success." At the time, 98 percent of the children at Roosevelt were on the federal free-lunch program, and 65percent of Roosevelts parents received public assistance. But by 1976, Fosters maverick leadership style had drawn critics. Though parents and teachers at theschool were fiercely loyal to him, he had a reputation among his superiors as abrasive, with an intolerance forpaperwork and bureaucracy. Critics called the schools programs weak on discipline and academics, whichFoster denied. The struggle to keep Roosevelt open began when the city and Jefferson County school systems merged in1975. The school was in a Civil War-era building on North 17th Street. The new school system first tried to close the school in 1976 but was blocked by a court order. ThePortland community rallied and eventually went to court three times to keep the school open. But in 1980, the school board won. The school was moved to the abandoned Perry Elementary School onMagazine Street, becoming Roosevelt-Perry. The old building was razed after a 1991 fire. After leaving Roosevelt, Foster took some time off and returned in the late 1970s as principal at BrandeisElementary. He retired from there in 1986. Before heading Roosevelt, Foster had been director of organization development for the old city schoolsystem. He championed open communication between students, teachers, administrators and staff members.When the system won a $100,000 federal grant in 1970, Foster said he hoped the city could use the money tobreak down the traditional hierarchy, with teachers and students at the bottom. Before arriving in Louisville in 1969, Foster had been a psychology professor at the University ofKentucky. Foster, who had attended a one-room school outside Harrodsburg, carried with him a Ph.D. in guidanceand counseling from Purdue University, as well as degrees from UK and Indiana University. When Foster retired in 1986, fellow principal Fred Goeschel told a reporter that "you could learn more inabout five hours on his porch than in a whole course in graduate school." Foster remained an activist for better education. He had been a representative of QUEST - QualityEducation for All Students, a committee set up in 1992 to monitor the countys student-assignment plan - anda supporter of the Kentucky Education Reform Act since his retirement. Besides his daughter Carolynn , other survivors include a daughter, Sharon Foster; a son, Mark Foster;and his partner, Nancy Glaser . Arch L. Heady Funeral Home on Frankfort Avenue will handle funeral arrangements.
Angelice Seibert, who led Ursuline College, dies at 82By Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. Oct. 21, 2004 Sister M. Angelice Seibert, who led the former Ursuline College as its president through its merger withBellarmine College in 1968, died Tuesday at Marian Home after a long illness. She was 82. She also was president, a position formerly known as Mother Superior, of the Ursuline Sisters ofLouisville from 1980 until 1988. She had been a member of the order for 64 years. A biochemistry scholar and educator, Seibert lectured and published on medical ethics later in life. The merger "was very difficult for her," Sister Martha Jacob , the orders archivist, said yesterday."Whatever the cost was to her, she saw what had to be done and she would keep moving on it." Seibert was named acting president of Ursuline College in December 1963. She became the permanent,and last, president in June 1965. That year she shared her vision for the school in The Courier-Journal: "Here (in a womens college) theycan realize their potentials of leadership and authority without encountering the psychological barrier thatexists when women at a coeducational school compete for office with men." In Wade Halls "High Upon a Hill: A History of Bellarmine College," he includes insight from Seibertabout the merger: "We had a good college but we were too small. We needed at least 1,000 students to survive, and wenever got much above 600 ... We didnt have to merge with Bellarmine in 1968. We could probably havelasted another 10 years or so before we had a real crisis, but we wanted to make the decision before we hadto make it." Seibert acknowledged in the book that "there were some hard feelings for a few years among our facultyand alumnae." Some of those feelings resulted from the fact that none of the Ursuline administration remained whenthe schools merged, forming Bellarmine-Ursuline College - a name that lasted just three years beforereverting to Bellarmine. The school is now called Bellarmine University. "It was very difficult at the time, because all the top officials came from Bellarmine," Sister PatLowman said yesterday. She taught three years at Ursuline before the merger, then taught at Bellarminebefore she retired in 1996. "I think the hurt that came about has been healed now," Lowman said. Seiberts life was steeped in the Ursuline heritage. She was educated by the sisters as a child, graduatingfrom Ursuline Academy in Louisville and then summa cum laude from Ursuline College in 1947. She began teaching at the college in 1950, earning her masters and doctoral degrees in biochemistry andenzyme chemistry from the Institutum Divi Thomae in Cincinnati in 1950 and 1952. Seibert completed a postdoctoral fellowship in 1954 at St. Louis University Medical School. Soon after joining the Ursuline faculty, she became chairman of the division of natural sciences andstarted a research laboratory with "one table and no equipment," she frequently said. In 1959 she becameexecutive secretary for development and continued to lead the natural sciences division. By then, she hadbuilt a laboratory with complex and expensive instruments. She was often recognized for giving studentsgraduate-level education in the laboratory. "She was doing research," Jacob said. Siebert was recruited in 1970 to organize and develop the division of Allied Health Professions forJefferson Community College, then was its chairman. In 1975, she was the first woman in Bellarmines history to deliver the commencement address. Bellarmine awarded Seibert an honorary doctorate in 1992 and recognized her as president emeritus in1995. Obituary information, this page
Dr. Ronald R. Masden, cardiology pioneer in Louisville,dies at 64By Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. Dec. 4, 2004 Dr. Ronald R. Masden, a cardiologist who was the first to perform seven different cardiac procedures inKentucky, including the first balloon angioplasty, died late Thursday at his home in the Highlands. He was 64. The cause of death was not available yesterday. "If any doctoor could be put into the Kentucky Medical Hall of Fame, Ron Masden would be at the top ofthat list. He was just one of those very special pioneers," said Henry "Hank" Wagner, chief executive officerof Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services. "He was one of the first physicians to practice the specialty ofcardiology in Louisville. He literally helped build the department of cardiology at the University of LouisvilleSchool of Medicine," Wagner said. He also credited Masden as "one of the three or four people who helped build the Jewish Hospital Heartand Lung Institute." "Dr. Masden was ... an outstanding teacher and physician. He continued to do clinical research throughouthis career. He worked, caring for his patients, right up until the day he died," said Dr. Roberto Bolli, chief ofcardiology for the U of L department of medicine. For more than 30 years, Masden was the director of Jewish Hospitals cardiac catheterization laboratory.He was a board member of Jewish Hospital and a founding member of the Heart and Lung Institutes board ofdirectors. Masdens "firsts" map the progression of cardiac catheterization, starting with balloon angioplastyin 1981, then laser coronary angioplasty in 1988. In later years, he began doing procedures to prevent the re-closing of the arteries, using stents asscaffolding. In 1998, he led studies in stimulating new blood vessel growth. "His passion for research led to many advances in the cath lab, which will benefit patients for generationsto come," Doug Shaw, president of Jewish Hospital, said yesterday. In all, Masden performed more than 12,000 cardiac catheterizations and 7,000 coronary angioplasties. He was a full professor at the University of Louisville who trained more than 200 cardiologists completingfellowships. In 1999, he reduced his university load to part-time to resume private practice. In the 1990s, Masden helped establish a cardiology practice and a cardiac catheterization lab in St.Petersburg, Russia. Jewish Hospital had been partnering with Hospital 122 there to modernize its health care,Wagner said. Masden worked at the Russian hospital for at least three years. "I think he felt a special responsibility to bring heart-care services up to more of a Western standard,"Wagner said. Masden set up a foundation in 1997 to pay for training of Russian health-care workers in cardiology andanother program to check the quality of managed-care programs in St. Petersburg. Masden, a Louisville native, turned down a chance to play college basketball to pursue his medicaldegree. He had played at Shepherdsville High School for Joe B. Hall, who went on to coach the University ofKentucky Wildcats. Masden earned his bachelors degree from the University of Kentucky and medical degree from theUniversity of Louisville.
Groundbreaking journalist Fletcher P. Martin dies at 89By Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. Dec. 1, 2005 Fletcher P. Martin, a former Louisville Defender editor and the first black journalist to receive theprestigious Nieman Fellowship to Harvard University, died Sunday. He was 89. Martin died of complications from diabetes in Indianapolis, his son Peter N. Martin Sr., also ofIndianapolis, said yesterday. Martin, a native of McMinnville, Tenn., graduated from what was then called Central Colored HighSchool, and later from the old Louisville Municipal College in 1938. In 1939, he became city editor of the Louisville Leader, a weekly newspaper that covered the African-American community. The newspaper had a circulation of 22,000 and a staff of 20 by the time Martin joinedit. In 1942, Martin became a feature writer for the Louisville Defender, another black-oriented newspaper.The next year, he became the first accredited war correspondent from Louisville, backed by Defenderpublisher Frank L. Stanley. "I always wanted to do something worthwhile and big, and this is my chance. My dispatches probably willbe carried in other papers," Martin told The Courier-Journal in February 1943 as he prepared to leave for theSouth Pacific. Martin spent 22 months during World War II in that theater, including a time as the first black warcorrespondent with Gen. Douglas MacArthurs forces. Martin, who was born into a segregated society, accomplished several other "firsts," including becomingthe first black reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1952. But despite the Nieman Fellowship and extensiveprofessional experience, he was still denied a job at The Courier-Journal. According to his son, Martin told a story about a Courier-Journal editor telling him he wanted to hire himbut feared his staff would walk off the job if he brought in a black reporter. After his wartime work, Martin returned to the Louisville Defender as its city editor and advocated earlydesegregation efforts in facilities such as state parks. In 1947, he won the Nieman Fellowship and studiedgovernment, philosophy and economics at Harvard. Then the Washington Post offered him a job, but Martin turned it down when he learned the newspaperhad segregated restrooms. He returned to Louisville and became city editor of the Defender. When a federal judge ordered Louisville to open its public golf courses to African Americans in January1952, Martin and photographer William P. Lanier went to the Shawnee course, hoping to get a story on thefirst black golfer there. When no one showed up, they played a few holes themselves and left. Later that year, as he was leaving for his new job in Chicago, Martin received a key to the city fromLouisville Mayor Charles Farnsley. He returned to Louisville occasionally after 1952, often speaking to civicgroups. In Chicago, Martin spent a decade covering courts and civil rights. "He was one of the first African Americans to work for a major daily newspaper. He was one of ourpioneers who opened the door in the majority media for African Americans," retired Courier-Journal reporterand executive Merv Aubespin, former president of the National Association of Black Journalists, saidyesterday. "Fletcher Martin introduced Chicago to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.," according to a story the Sun-Times did on itself later. In 1958, "Martin seemed to have a sense of Kings coming place in history, and an appreciation that manyAmericans, especially black Americans, believed the Baptist minister was truly doing Gods work," the articlesaid. In 1962, Martin became an officer of the former U. S. Information Agency in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, andserved as a press attache for the U.S. Embassy there. He later served in Ghana and Kenya before retiring fromthe agency. Martin then moved to Mallorca, an island in Spains Balearic Islands , where he lived for 25 years beforereturning to the United States and living in Indianapolis for the past seven years. Besides his son, Martin is survived by daughters Patricia Scott, Amber Macgruder and Kristian Lindsey . The funeral will be at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Crown Hill Funeral Home, 700 W. 38th St. in Indianapolis.
Longtime Louisville photographer Gus Frank dies at 96By Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. Jan. 21, 2005 Gus Frank, a Louisville photographer for more than half a century whose subjects included U.S. presidentsbut who was better known in his hometown for portraits of local people, died Wednesday. He was 96. Frank died at St. Matthews Manor after a short illness, his family said. He was born in Louisville and began studying photography with an aunt and uncle in Arkansas aftergraduating from Male High School in 1928. His career started when all photographs were made using glass plates. To make an 8-by- 10 photograph, heused 8-by- 10 glass negatives. Before incandescent light and electronic flashes became standard equipment,Frank used skylights that delivered natural light into his studio and explosive flash powder. While serving in the Army Signal Corps during World War II, Frank photographed German prisoners ofwar and celebrities who acted in training films, including champion boxer Joe Louis. He later photographedDwight D. Eisenhower as a general, Harry Truman as a U.S. senator and Franklin D. Roosevelt as president.Will Rogers was one of his favorite celebrity subjects. Frank returned to Louisville in 1946 and opened his studio at 411 W. Chestnut St. By the time he sold thestudio and retired in 1975, Frank estimated that he had photographed 5,000 to 6,000 weddings, including threegenerations in some families. Portraits, especially of children, were a mainstay of his business, and his poodle, named Flash, was almost atrademark for more than a dozen years in numerous childrens portraits. Among his many awards, Frank was designated a master of photography by the Professional Photographersof America. He also was once president of the Kentucky Photographers Association. When he retired, Frank told The Courier-Journal, "If I had it to do over, I would do the same thing." He taught continuing education courses in photography at what is now Bellarmine University for severalyears after retiring from his studio. Before Frank began teaching, he told Angela Rice, a University of Louisville student who documented herconversations with him in a paper: "I will love photography till the day I die. I have loved photography fromthe day I made my first picture and will until the day I make my last."Memorial service for art promoter John Dillehay Jr.will be SundayBy Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. Feb. 18, 2005 John W. Dillehay Jr. viewed his job as a gallery director as opening peoples eyes to art. As the first director of Kentuckys innovative Art Train - a red , white and blue art gallery on wheels thatvisited towns during the 1960s - he helped open the eyes of people who lived miles from any museum. A memorial service for Dillehay, who died Jan. 8 at his home in Reston, Va., will be held at 2 p.m. Sundayat Calvary Episcopal Church in Louisville, where he was a former member. Dillehay, who was 82 when he died, had lived in Reston since 1999 and had Alzheimers disease, accordingto his son, Whayne Dillehay. "I took an art course (in high school) because I heard it was easy. Then it changed my life," John Dillehaytold The Courier-Journal in 1956 when he was named director of the Junior Art Gallery at the Louisville FreePublic Library. "Its the gallerys business to open childrens eyes. Thats all there is to art, you know," he said of hisresponsibility there. The Art Train was an ambitious two-rail-car project of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen. Itbegan its journey across Kentucky in September 1961, with one car serving as a gallery and the other carryingequipment for art demonstrations, such as kilns and looms. There also was a small living quarters for Dillehay. By January 1963, after 180 exhibit days in 41 towns across the state, the Art Train had attracted 70,000people - more than double the annual number of visitors at that time to the Speed Art Museum in Louisville. Dillehay remained director of the Art Train until mid-1965, when he left to become assistant director of theArt Center in Louisville. One of his favorite "success" stories from the Art Train involved a visit by a schoolboard member who charged: "Just because that damn train hit our town we had to hire another teacher - for art!We had to do it. Thats what the people wanted." The Art Train lost its state funding in 1968, but the success of the project is believed to have sparked thepopularity of the Berea art fairs, where artists and craftsmen began to bring their works after the trains demise. Dillehay taught art in Jefferson County Public Schools for more than 20 years and had an art educationshow on WKPC-TV, a public television station, for a decade. An Owensboro native, he moved to Louisville after serving in the Army Air Forces in World War II.
Archie Burchfield, who stunned croquet world, diesBy Paula Burba, The Courier-Journal. Feb. 18, 2005 Archie Burchfield, a tobacco farmer and champion croquet player who became a national celebrity in asport typically associated with the social elite, died of lymphoma Wednesday at his home in StampingGround, Ky. He was 67. "In American croquet, he was an icon," professional Archie Peck of the National Croquet Center saidyesterday. "As a person hes up there on top, too." In 1983, Peck told Sports Illustrated that Burchfield "is the greatest thing that has ever happened to thissport. ... The social stigma, that black tie and sneakers image, was getting oppressive, and it hurt the game." The Sports Illustrated profile was one of many about Burchfield, who took the national croquet set bystorm soon after his first visit to a Florida country clubs croquet court in 1982. A curious Burchfield, already an established champion in the Kentucky Croquet Association, had somedifficulty getting into the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. Versions differ on the particulars of the visit, but most concur that he arrived in a truck hauling lettuce andwasnt wearing the traditional "whites." But Burchfield got in to take on the club pro, Teddy Prentis. "I beat the fire out of him," Burchfield said of his first play on a grass croquet court. The Kentucky gamewas played on clay courts with different equipment and rules than those used in the U.S. Croquet Association. Burchfield pulled off what Sports Illustrated called "one of the biggest upsets in croquet history" when heand a son, Mark, won the U.S. Croquet Associations National Doubles Championship in 1982, beating Peck,then a four-time national champion, and Jack Osborn, then president of the national association. "Jack and I never thought wed lose, thats for sure," Peck recalled yesterday. Burchfields titles included nine singles and seven doubles championships in the Kentucky CroquetAssociation. In the U.S. Croquet Association, after the 1982 victory he won the 1985, 1987 and 1990 ClubTeam Nationals and 1987 Nationals. He was a member of the Halls of Fame of both associations and represented the United States in atournament in England. Burchfield is survived by his wife, Betty, and children David and Mark Burchfield, Reba Lewis and ShariColeman . The funeral will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Tucker, Yocum & Wilson Funeral Home in Georgetown.Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. today.