J.B. Spalding

J.B. Spalding as The CountJ.B. Spalding, 79, of Denton, who taught business statistics from 1970 to 2005 as an associate professor of information technology and decision sciences, died Nov. 6.

His specialty was statistical analysis of data and he consulted in statistical analysis in discrimination cases. He also served as associate dean for student affairs in what is now the G. Brint Ryan College of Business. In 1975-76, he was president of the Southwest Decision Sciences Institute. In 1986, he won the 'Fessor Graham Award, the highest honor given by the student body for outstanding faculty members.

Students recalled his talent for helping them to understand difficult material. But he earned his reputation as “The Count,” dressing up as a vampire to encourage blood donations at campus drives. He donated more than 10 gallons during his lifetime. His license plate even bore the word “Kount.”

He earned his bachelor’s degree at Fort Lewis College and his master’s degree and doctorate at Texas Tech University. He loved to travel and tell jokes, and his family says he did not have the gene for being embarrassed.

A celebration of life — “to honor his love of life, constant joyful attitude and love of all things silly” — will take place at 2 p.m. Jan. 14, 2023, at Faith United Methodist Church, 6060 Teasley, in Denton. You’re asked to wear colors that bring you joy.

Joe Glenn Stewart

Joe Glenn Stewart (’71 Ed.D.), 85, of Denton, who held various high-ranking positions at UNT – including associate director of housing, dean of students and vice president of student affairs – died Dec. 28.

During his years of service at UNT from 1971 to 1998, one of his biggest initiatives came in 1995, when he helped spearhead a one-stop service for students, soon known as the Eagle Student Services Center, that consolidated several enrollment-related support offices into one building.

Dr. Stewart and his late wife, Judy (’84), received UNT’s Continuing Academic and Professional Service Council Award for exemplary service to the university and to the Denton community in 2003 and UNT’s Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2004. Dr. Stewart also received the College of Education Outstanding Alumnus Award. He was a life member of the UNT Alumni Association, served on the association’s board and was a member of the Mean Green Scholarship Fund.

The Stewarts established The Dr. Joe and Judy Stewart Scholarship in 2001 to provide opportunities for undergraduate students at the university. Dr. Stewart became a member of the Chilton Society in 2018. He received his bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University and his master’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. He was a sports fan and avid traveler.

Solveig Olsen

Headshot of Solveig OlsonSolveig Olsen, 82, of Denton, Professor Emerita who taught German in the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures (formerly Foreign Languages and Literatures) for 37 years, died Dec. 25.

She was named an Outstanding Honor Professor at UNT and received the President’s Council University Teaching Award. She founded and directed the UNT chapters of the foreign language honor society, Phi Sigma Iota, and the German honor society, Delta Phi Alpha, as well as directing an annual exchange between UNT and the University of Luneburg, Germany.

She served as department chair, participated in a number of committees and wrote numerous books, papers, presentations and articles. Dr. Olsen retired in 2005 and has since established several annual scholarships for the department, including the Edist/Solveig Olsen Scholarship and the Martha A. Olsen Memorial Scholarship.

She earned an M.A. in German from the University of Oslo and a Ph.D. in Germanics from Rice University.

The service will take place at 2 p.m. Jan. 18 at Roselawn Memorial Park, 3801 Roselawn Drive in Denton.

John Paul Eddy

John Paul EddyJohn Paul Eddy, 90, of Denton, Professor Emeritus of counseling, development and higher education in the College of Education, who taught at UNT from 1978 to 2000, died Dec. 6.

He took on the position after a lifetime of activism in the civil rights movement. In his early 20s, after receiving his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture at the University of Minnesota, he served as missionary in the Philippines and studied at the Garrett Theological Seminary at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Along with his wife Betty, Dr. Eddy served as a campus minister with the Wesley Foundation, which led to his involvement with the civil rights movement – including hosting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at his church and attending the March on Washington.

In 1965, Dr. Eddy pursued a career in higher education, earning a Ph.D. at Southern Illinois University. He taught at Johnson State College in Vermont, New Mexico Tech in Socorro and Loyola University in Chicago and served as an educational fellow at NASA in Huntsville, Alabama, before coming to UNT.

He was a frequent writer and speaker – producing nearly 40 books and more than 400 journal articles – and served as a mentor for doctoral students. He was a frequent traveler for professional conferences and made visits to former students. He co-wrote one textbook with a former student, Sang-Kil Kim (’90 Ph.D.) for South Korean universities. He received the Notable Achievement Award from the Association of Counselors and Educators in Government in 1998 for his work. During his retirement, he hosted a public access TV show, ran for local office and volunteered for the Salvation Army.

Robert Desiderato Jr.

Robert Desiderato Jr., 83, of Denton, Professor Emeritus of chemistry who worked at UNT from 1966 to 2004, died Dec. 30. Dr. Desiderato joined UNT to initiate research in X-ray studies of compounds to elucidate chemical structures. His research carried him frequently to the Oak Ridge Science Center during summer months.

At UNT — where he was known to his students as “Dr. D” — he was active in Alpha Chi Sigma, the national professional chemistry society, and served as the Beta Eta chapter advisor for more than 30 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and his doctorate at Rice University. He enjoyed pizza, crossword puzzles, trivia, his Get Classy with Bob music hour and helping people in need.

Paris Milton Rutherford III

Paris Milton Rutherford III, 88, of Dallas, Professor Emeritus of jazz studies who was pivotal in elevating jazz education in his 30-year career at UNT, died Nov. 23.

He began playing piano at age 4, and as a young adult he played the trombone in the 4th Army Band and Dallas Symphony Orchestra and wrote advertising jingles while living in Dallas. He used his immense love for music to begin educating others at UNT in 1978. He taught instrumental arranging, led a group of vocalists called The Commercial Singers, and founded and developed the vocal jazz degree at UNT. For 30 years he coordinated vocal jazz studies and directed the award-winning UNT Jazz Singers. He was named a Regents Professor in 2008.

In 2009, alumni, faculty and friends of the vocal jazz studies program established The Jazz Leadership Fund in his honor to provide scholarships for vocal jazz majors. He was a President’s Council member with his wife, Lynne, and, after retiring in 2009, he continued to write and produce new vocal jazz arrangements for Hal Leonard Publications.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern Methodist University.

Services are scheduled at 11 a.m. Jan. 14, 2023, at Stonebriar Community Church, 4801 Legendary Drive, Frisco.

Donations may be made to the Jazz Leadership Scholarship in Honor of Paris Rutherford at UNT. A memorial concert is being planned for later in the spring.

Fred W. Tanner Jr.

Fred W. Tanner Jr., 91, of Brenham, Professor Emeritus of elementary education, died Nov. 3. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Morehead State College in Morehead, Kentucky, worked as a teacher and principal when he was in his 20s, then received his doctorate in education from Indiana University. He taught at Georgetown College in Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky State University and Northwestern State University in Louisiana before coming to UNT, where he worked from 1968 to 1987. Inner-city school teaching was one of his areas of research. He spent his retirement traveling and living in Colorado and Sun City, Texas.

Keith Whisnant Turner

Keith Whisnant Turner, 73, of Corinth, an associate professor of applied gerontology who worked at UNT from 1991 to 2020, died Sept. 24 in Plano.

After a professional career serving in aging and mental health programs, he began his faculty career at the University of Cincinnati and joined the UNT faculty in what was then the Center for Studies in Aging. He helped build the graduate degrees in applied gerontology, which included one of the earliest online master's degrees, and directed field internship placement for undergraduate and graduate students. His research covered the development and evaluation of community level programs and services for the aged, people with disabilities and populations with special health care needs. In 2013, he was part of a group that helped establish a gerontology partnership in Nigeria.

He served as an advisor and built partnerships with organizations such as Denton County Geriatric Services Workgroup, the North Central Texas Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging, the Denton County MH/MR Authority, the Denton County Health Department and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Inc. He also worked as a consultant, providing board leadership training, strategic planning technical assistance, and dispute resolution systems and mediation for nonprofit agencies and other organizations. 

Turner was a member of the Faculty Senate and an advisor for the UNT Gerontological Student Association, and he served on numerous other committees. Colleagues remember him for his support of his students and his passion for social justice and equity.

He earned his psychology degree from Xavier University in 1971, his master’s degree in psychology from the University of Cincinnati in 1974, and an interdisciplinary doctoral degree in geriatrics, health policy/administration and urban planning from the University of Cincinnati in 1989.


Ken Rhon Johnson

Ken Rhon Johnson (’86, ’92 M.S., ’02 Ph.D.), 60, of Alpine, a former lecturer in the history department, died in May 2022. He first began working at UNT in 1989 and served as a teaching assistant, teaching fellow, adjunct and lecturer from 1997 to 2014. He was a member of the Renaissance Society of America and taught classes on the Italian Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the ancient Near East, world history and U.S. history. He also served as undergraduate advisor in the department. He was interested in paleography and performed original research and translation in Italian and Latin. A three-time UNT alumnus, he earned a bachelor’s in literature with a minor in political science, a master’s in history with a minor in English, and a doctorate in modern European history. His 2002 dissertation -- Lucca in the Signoria of Paolo Guinigi, 1400-1430 -- won the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Dissertation Award for Research Achievement in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. He also ran marathons and loved to travel, with the island of Crete being his favorite destination.

Marilyn Morris

Marilyn Morris, 65, a professor of history who helped develop the LGBTQ Studies program at UNT, died Aug. 17. She came to UNT in 1991 as an expert in 18th century British political and cultural history and also enjoyed teaching courses on Louis XIV and the Enlightenment. Through her 31 years at the university, she sought to bring a voice to the LGBTQ community, said Clark Pomerleau, associate professor of history, in a statement.

She began by rethinking categories and promoting LGBTQ history. She helped found the Study of Sexualities program in 2003 with other faculty members, obtaining funding for the program and serving as its director for six years. When the name changed to LGBT Studies in 2009, she co-directed the program for another five years.

Her research included areas such as transgendered perspectives, queer identity, domesticity and 18th century gender transgression, among many others. She wrote two books -- The British Monarchy and the French Revolution in 1998 and Sex, Money and Personal Character in Eighteenth-Century British Politics in 2014 – and was writing a third with the working title The Theatre of Matrimony in Georgian Britain.

The Marilyn Morris Award for Outstanding Academic Contributions to LGBTQ Studies was named in her honor, and she received the inaugural award in 2019.

She joined UNT after a three-year stint as assistant editor of the papers of Benjamin Franklin at Yale University. She also worked as a research assistant for the Bentham Project at University College in London.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College in 1979 and her doctorate from the University of London, England, in 1988.