In Memoriam

In Memoriam Header

Sondra A. (Mariotti) Ammeen ’77, grandmother, artist, high school English teacher, retired principal at Rose Hill (Kan.) High School and WSU graduate who held a master’s degree in education administration and supervision, Dec. 4, 2022, Hilton Head, S.C. Ammeen spoke out for female leadership and was the first woman to serve as principal at Rose Hill High School. She and her husband shared a love of ballroom dancing and owned the Seaquins Ballroom in Bluffton, S.C. Ammeen passionately advocated for cancer patients. She organized fundraisers for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, for example, and published five books of poetry inspired by her own battle with breast cancer. She donated book profits to cancer research.

Thane E. Chastain ’94, director of virtual learning and engagement at the Kansas Leadership Center, Feb. 25, 2023, Wichita. With a bachelor’s degree in history and communication from Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., and a master’s degree in mass communications from Wichita State, Chastain worked in youth ministry, sales, radio, television and at the college and university level in teaching and administration. As a volunteer and consultant, he played key roles in Wichita’s Tallgrass Film Festival and with the American Legion Kansas Boys State.

Carlo DePaolis Jr. ’52, physical education graduate who attended the University of Wichita on a football scholarship, football coach, high school teacher, father and grandfather, Jan. 19, 2023, Leavenworth, Kan.

Douglas G. Gray ’59, fine arts-painting graduate who was a marketing support manager and graphic artist for Wilson & Company, Engineers and Architects, retiring after 40 years; certified in combat photography and veteran of the Kansas Army National Guard, April 25, 2023, Salina, Kan.

Marvin “Marv” Kellum fs ’74, Wichita State former student (fs) and football standout, Pittsburgh, Pa., Feb. 4, 2023. In 1970, Kellum’s freshman year at WSU, one of two chartered planes carrying team members, coaches, university administrators and fans crashed near the Continental Divide in Colorado, resulting in the loss of 31 lives. At the time, the NCAA prohibited freshmen from varsity eligibility, but, in the wake of the tragedy, an exception was made for WSU. As a result, Kellum and other freshman players were permitted to compete in what came to be called “the second season.” A linebacker, Kellum distinguished himself during his career as a Shocker and signed with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 1974. He contributed to Pittsburgh’s first two Super Bowl titles. His fumble recovery on the second-half kickoff of Super Bowl IX sparked the Steelers to a 16-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Derry A. Larson ’70, accounting graduate and CPA who founded Larson & Company PA in 1981 in Wichita, May 14, 2023, Wichita.

The Brightest Smile: Dorothy “Dot” Bell (Klein) McNicol

Dot McNicol had one of the best-known and brightest smiles on campus. An administrative assistant for Ecumenical Campus Ministries at WSU for more than 50 years, she was an avid Wichita State Shockers baseball, basketball and volleyball fan who traveled with the teams as often as possible.

In recognition of her undeniable Shocker spirit, McNicol was chosen in 2010 to serve as a WSU Homecoming parade grand marshal for the university’s return of traditional homecoming festivities after a 20-year hiatus. She was active in just about every Shocker-related event, including 2003’s WSU Alumni Fashion Show in which she joined WSU President Don and First Lady Shirley Beggs and other Shocker personalities as a model in the WSU Alumni Fashion Show.

She grew up in Lost Springs, Kan., and attended Lost Springs High School, where she met her husband, Rex. Married in 1945, the couple eventually moved to their longtime home of Wichita. Dot McNicol — wife, mother, grandmother and Shocker extraordinaire — died April 28, 2023 in San Diego, Calif.

Wilma L. (Thorp) Monical ’71, elementary education graduate who also held a degree in medical records administration from the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Neb., April 9, Wichita. She was working as an X-ray clerk at the Wichita Clinic and attending Wichita State when she met her husband, Richard E. Monical ’59, who died in 2018. The couple had four children, and Wilma was a stay-at-home mom until she started college again, graduated from Wichita State in 1971 and the College of Saint Mary in 1978. Her series of professional positions in both education and medical records included teaching at Woodlawn United Methodist Church’s Jack and Jill preschool in Wichita, serving as head of medical records at the Susan B. Anthony Hospital in El Dorado, Kan., and working in compliance reviews at Wichita’s Riverside Hospital and Via Christi St. Francis. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1999, she was a strong advocate for Parkinson’s research and participated in several research studies and groups.

Michael E. Preston, former Wichita State student (fs ’69) who was an engineering experimental test pilot for Beech and Cessna and also owned Preston Aviation Consulting, Feb. 11, 2023, Augusta, Kan.

Donald “Don” W. Rude ’59/61, retired English professor, poet, husband, father, grandfather and enthusiast of irises and Shakespeare, March 4, 2023, Roanoke, Va. Rude spent much of his career in higher education at Texas Tech University, where he taught literature and served as director of graduate studies in English. In 2004, he joined the faculty at Virginia Tech. Beyond the university classroom, he taught seniors at the Blacksburg Community Center. As a student at the University of Wichita, from which he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he served as editor of the yearbook and of the student newspaper, The Sunflower, and made quite a name for him playwrighting for the university’s Hippodrome skit and variety show, the longest-running student tradition at WSU.

V. Jean Spalding, homemaker and Wichita State supporter and friend who worked as budget analyst for Wichita Public Schools for more than 20 years and was married to Leland “Lee” Spalding ’64 (d. 2017) for 67 years, March 18, 2023, Wichita.

V. Cathy (Williamson) Justice South ’82, musician, mother and WSU general studies graduate, Nov. 30, 2022, Overland Park, Kan. South was born and raised in Iowa, where she spent her childhood swimming, bicycling, singing and attending church with her family on Sundays. After graduating high school, she enrolled at the University of Iowa as a music major. South’s penchant for performing came alive during her time at UI, even becoming the school’s band leader. Notably, South was the only woman to lead the UI band. Just before graduation, South received an offer from an agent in Kansas City, Mo. to perform and tour across the Midwest. She accepted and was met with acclaim during her time as a singer. South gave up this career after meeting her husband, Bill Justice, but her love for music lasted a lifetime. Despite South’s pride in her Iowa roots, she was enamored with Wichita, the city where she and Bill raised their two children, Susan (Justice) Pompeo and James M. South. She went on to attend Wichita State at the same time as her two children. These three Shockers were frequently seen in the stands at football and basketball games, cheering on the Shockers together. Her passion for music inspired her to join the University Theatre Angels, now the Performing Arts Angels, and a memorial to this group has been set up in her name. South was a Shocker through-and-through. Her daughter, Pompeo, chose to honor her with an engraved paver in the Plaza of Heroines. Situated between Clinton Hall and Jabara Hall, South’s dedicated paver can be found in A00 of the plaza.

Joseph “Joe” J. Stevens III, former University of Wichita student (fs ’58) and basketball star; magician and owner of Wichita’s Stevens Magic Emporium, Jan. 29, 2023, Wichita. During his playing days as a WU student-athlete under legendary coach Ralph Miller, Stevens was recognized with All Missouri Valley Conference honors three times, including being named to the MVC’s first team in 1957. By the end of his time as a Shocker, he was WU’s second all-time leading scorer, behind only Cleo Littleton ’55. In 2014, Stevens was inducted into the Pizza Hut Shocker Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of his contributions on the basketball court as ‘Little Joe.’ Since childhood, he had been fascinated by the art of magic and misdirection. In 1973, he opened Stevens Magic Emporium, center for magic paraphernalia locally and nationally. Featured in Genii, a notable magic magazine, he worked as a consultant for HBO on broadcast segments featuring close-up magic and was lauded for his well-known Las Vegas Desert Magic Seminar, which he began in 1975 as the Wichita Conclave.

Roger Clair Turner ’66, mechanical engineering graduate who served in the U.S. Army as a captain and with the Army Corps of Engineers (1966-69) and retired patent attorney who specialized in the field of intellectual property, May 1, 2023, Henderson, Nev.

Linda S. (Vandaveer) Tyler, wife, mother, WSU former student and friend, Feb. 4, 2023, Wichita. A pageant competitor who held the title of Mrs. Sedgwick County, Tyler was awarded a Miss America Scholarship that fully funded two years at Wichita State. She and her late husband, Ronald G. ’68, who pitched for the Shockers during his student days, created an endowment of nearly $4.5 million in 1988 to support the Shocker baseball program.

Albert H. West, university friend and former student who worked at Boeing and CAC Tool Corp., before co-founding Galaxy Tool Corp. in 1985 and serving as president until his retirement in 2003, May 22, 2023, Winfield, Kan.

Mary Ellen (Coffey) Zwemke, university friend who worked at Derby Refining Co., Davis Manufacturing and retired from J.I. Case, May 15, 2023, Wichita.

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