Alumni

John Kramer

JOHN KRAMER (’62), Kingsbury. He played football at North Texas for three years on a scholarship. He was a member of Geezles Fraternity. He spent 32 years teaching and coaching in the San Antonio and Houston areas, retiring in 1999 from Converse Judson ISD in San Antonio.

 

Dorothy Marie Ford

DOROTHY MARIE FORD (’58, ’60 M.S.), Pilot Point. She was a teacher at Chambersville School in Collin County for one year and a science teacher for Pilot Point High

School for 29 years. After retiring in 1986, Dorothy enjoyed returning to farm life, cooking, fishing and spending time with her grandchildren. While at North Texas, she was a member of the W. N. Masters Chemical Society and the Literature Club.

Marvin Poer

MARVIN POER (’52), Dallas. He served in the U.S. Army for a total of four years, including the Japan occupation, in between his studies at North Texas, where he majored in business management. After graduation, he began working with Western Union and The Associates, then went on to start his property tax career at Mobil Oil. In 1964, he established Marvin F. Poer and Company, which became one of the largest independent property tax firms in the country. At 90 years old, Marvin still worked as chairman and CEO of his company. He also founded the National Council of Property Taxation and was the organization’s first president. He was a member of the Chilton Society, Mean Green Club and the UNT Alumni Association, and he supported many nonprofit organizations.

Martha Len Nelson

MARTHA LEN NELSON (’49, ’50 M.M.E.), Denton. A music education and piano performance major, she was a member of Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity and donated often to the College of Music. She was a life member of the Alumni Association and a member of the President’s Council. In 2009, she created the L.A Nelson Jr. Scholarship, honoring her husband, former Denton Mayor L.A. Nelson, and providing help for students studying law. She and her husband also supported Athletics and the UNT Dallas College of Law. In 1986, Martha and her husband both received the UNT Ulys Knight Spirit Award, and in 1985, she was the co-chairwoman of UNT Homecoming and also was the chairwoman of the UNT Gaylord-Hughes Committee. She helped with local Denton organizations, including the Denton Benefit League, Greater Denton Arts Council, the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival and Denton Community Theatre. She also cooked for a variety of events around Denton, including those sponsored by the Denton Chamber of Commerce, and she was part of the committee that published the Denton Woman’s Club Cookbook.

T.C. 'Skip' Cox, Jr.

TC Skip Cox JrT.C. ‘SKIP’ COX JR. ('65), Graham. He attended UNT with a scholarship as a student trainer and was a member of the Geezles. Skip became an athletic trainer at Amarillo Palo Duro High School and Odessa High School before returning to UNT as the head athletic trainer from 1968 to 1973. He left for Baylor University, serving as its head athletic trainer, assistant and associate athletic director until his retirement in 1993. While at Baylor, he was a part of the 1974 and 1980 Southwest Conference Football Championship, the 1975 Cotton Bowl, the 1979 Peach Bowl and more. He was named president of the Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association in 1972 and was named to the Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 1991. He was also inducted into the Mineral Wells High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Baylor University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.

Phyllis George

Phyllis George, 70, the Denton native and North Texas alum who went on to become Miss America, a groundbreaking sportscaster, actress and First Lady of Kentucky, died May 14, in Lexington, Kentucky.

“Phyllis George was a pioneer and an American icon,” UNT President Neal Smatresk says. “Our UNT community was proud she was a member of our flock as she was an incredible example for women everywhere. We appreciated her support, and we will miss her.”

George was a student at North Texas from 1967 to 1970 – where she was a Yucca beauty in 1970, and active in Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and Angel Flight, the women’s auxiliary of Air Force ROTC.

She was crowned Miss America in 1971. Her ceremony was memorable because the crown dropped from her head.

“Stones went flying, the banner dropped, my hair was sticking up; I looked like a ragamuffin,” she told Randy E. Pruett (’77) in the book 75th Miss Texas Celebration: A Dream As Big As Texas – but noted that it served as a good introduction to the public.

The campus was excited about the news, too. Roy Busby (’59, ’66 M.B.A.), Regents professor of journalism, remembers when she appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1971 – and the News Service department decided to congratulate her by listing every student’s name in the telegram.

“At that time, we had 7,000 to 8,000 students, and we stayed up all night typing the names,” Busby says.

She then co-hosted the TV show Candid Camera and went on to become one of the first women in TV sportscasting when she co-hosted The NFL Today from 1975 to 1978 and from 1980 to 1984.

She became First Lady of Kentucky when her then-husband John Y. Brown Jr. served as the state’s governor from 1979 to 1983. She also anchored CBS Morning News in 1985 and appeared in the 2000 movie Meet the Parents. She even had her own food line, Chicken By George, and a makeup and skincare brand. She was named a Distinguished UNT Alumna in 1977 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Media Arts in 1998. George most recently visited the UNT campus in 2014, when she was honored as an Emerald Eagle for a Lifetime of Contributions to the American Landscape. She was an honorary lifetime member of the UNT Alumni Association.

George was well-known on campus, and alumni shared their memories following her passing.

“She was not only a beauty, but always the nicest person on campus,” Emily Klement (’92, ’94 M.Ed., ’12 Ed.D.), chairwoman of the UNT Alumni Association, wrote on Twitter. “She greeted everyone with that stunning smile and warmth.”

Phyllis George receiving Emerald Eagle honor

Elida Tamez

Elida TamezELIDA TAMEZ (’81), 59, of Denton, a former developmental officer in the College of Music, died June 9, in Denton. She is remembered for her courage during her 20-year battle with cancer, even being arrested for protesting against fracking in the city of Denton while in the midst of chemotherapy. After working at North Texas’ bookstore, she ran her own regional sales book firm, McLemore and Tamez. She worked at UNT from 2000 to 2013. She and her husband, Theron Palmer, were strong supporters of UNT — from making donations to hosting music students and visiting faculty in their home. Memorials can be made to the Elida Tamez Endowment for Choral Conducting.

Craig Andrew Stovall

CRAIG ANDREW STOVALL, Denton. He was a junior business major and worked at Denton Pep-Boys. Growing up, he played soccer, basketball, baseball and ran track. He was known for his kindness to people and animals, and his organs helped save three lives.

Charlie Cole

CHARLIE COLE (’78), Bali. He won the World Press Photo in 1990 for his iconic picture that he took of a Chinese man protesting in front of tanks during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. The New York Times called it one of the most famous photos in history. According to The Washington Post, he took the picture from the upper balcony of the Beijing Hotel after he and another photographer had been abused by Chinese police earlier that day. He told the Times he hid the film in plastic in the hotel room toilet tank so the Chinese police wouldn’t confiscate it — which they had with other film he had taken. Cole had worked as a freelance photographer since 1980 when he moved to Japan.

Orion Dwain Smith

ORION DWAIN SMITH (’69), Duncanville. He served as an Army medic in the Vietnam War, assisting servicemen who had been affected with post-traumatic stress disorder. He worked as a veteran’s representative for the Texas Workforce Commission for 35 years and served as a customer service representative for the Texas Rangers for 10 years. He enjoyed camping, fishing and watching sports. He is survived by his wife Marilyn Moffett (’68).

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