Sara Lundsteen

Sara Lundsteen, a Professor Emerita of education who taught at UNT from 1977 until her retirement in 1999, died Aug. 25 in Dallas. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Southern Methodist University, where she was a member of Sigma Kappa sorority, and after studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, she earned her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley.

She began her teaching career in Dallas schools, and later served on the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of California at Santa Barbara before joining UNT. An expert in early childhood education, she was named a Regents Professor in 1992. She studied ways to help children become better problem solvers and the school environments that promote that, conducting research in Sweden.

In 1981, she was named to the International Listening Association’s Hall of Fame for her dedication to education, which not only included her own teaching and research but also her help as a consultant for schools and universities around the world. She was the author of 14 books, creating illustrations for three of them, and as a hobby she sang selections from operas and musicals at Brookhaven College.

Roger Warner

Roger Warner, Professor Emeritus of music who taught music education at UNT from 1976 to 2006, died July 15 in Denton.

He taught in North Dakota, Indiana and Missouri and was director of bands at Adams State College in Colorado prior to joining UNT. He earned honors and citations of excellence through the years and served in adjudicator, clinician, consultant and guest conductor roles.

As a professor of music education, he mentored students and hosted a summer band camp for 10 years for middle school students. He taught instrumental methods and supervision courses and supervised student teachers in band. He also was a specialist in the comprehensive musicianship approach to public school music.

Dr. Warner earned music degrees from what was then Minot State Teachers College and the University of Illinois and his doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis.

After retiring, he traveled throughout North America and internationally. He loved his grandchildren, who affectionately referred to him as “Grandpa with No Hair.” He was married to Wendy Warner (’81) for 48 years.

Memorials may be made to the UNT College of Music.

George Papich

George Papich, 88, Professor Emeritus of music, died July 27.

Dr. Papich taught at Northern Michigan University before moving to North Texas in 1967, where he served as a professor of viola for 33 years and was named a Regents Professor in 1988.

After retiring in 2000, he returned to serve as an adjunct professor and director of the College of Music’s Center for Chamber Music Studies. He served in those positions from 2002 to 2019, when the George Papich Chamber Music Studies Competition at UNT was named in his honor.

As a young man, he toured Europe as part of a virtuoso string trio sponsored by the U.S. Army. He was principal violist of the 7th Army Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Richardson Symphony, Dallas Lyric Opera and Dallas Ballet. Active as a chamber musician throughout the U.S. and Europe, he also performed with the Fine Arts Piano Quartet at Northern Michigan University, Shiras String Quartet, North Texas String Quartet, Arriaga String Quartet and Chamber Music International.

He and UNT colleague Edward Rainbow published “A Pilot Study of Performance Practices of Twentieth-Century Musicians” and “Research in the Performance Practices of Musicians” in the Journal of Research in Music Education.

He also made three recordings featuring the works of fellow UNT faculty member Larry Austin on the Folkways and Eridda labels. He was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, the Texas Music Educators Association and the American String Teachers Association.

Dr. Papich earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan and was a student of Robert Courte and Mischa Mischakoff.

Tommie Lawhon

Tommie LawhonTommie Collins Montgomery Lawhon, a former professor who taught child development and wrote about family issues from 1969 to 2009, died June 26 in Denton.

Dr. Lawhon taught at a public school in Victoria before joining the faculty at Eastern Kentucky University. After she married John E. Lawhon III (’53), she took a position as a professor at UNT, where she worked in the School of Home Economics and then in the College of Education when the child development program moved there.

During her time as a professor, Dr. Lawhon was the first woman to receive UNT’s highest teaching honor — the ’Fessor Graham Award. She also was named an Honor Professor by the Student Government Association, was twice named a Top Prof by Mortar Board and received UNT’s Outstanding Advisor Award.

She wrote several stories for the North Texan, including one on the division of labor of chores at home and a cover story about stress. Former students remembered her in a North Texan story about influential teachers.

Dr. Lawhon was a member of Phi Upsilon Omicron, serving as its student advisor for UNT and later serving a four-year term on the National PUO Educational Board of Directors.

Active in numerous organizations, she twice served as president of the Texas Council on Family Relations and was president and co-founder of the Denton Association for the Education of Young Children, where she led the installation of equipment at playgrounds and other services for children. She was a certified family life educator who lectured internationally and wrote more than 200 presentations as well as articles for 125 publications.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University, followed by master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas Woman’s University. She also attended the American Airlines Flight Academy in Chicago and for seven years was based in Dallas, New York and Los Angeles, supervised flight attendants in DFW and served as vacation relief supervisor in San Francisco.

Nick Sloan

Nick Sloan (’05), 46, former adjunct professor in UNT’s Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science and a member of the Texas Emergency Management Hall of Fame, died June 24 in Sunnyvale.

After high school, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a machine gunner and then earned a Bachelor of Science at UNT with a major in emergency administration and planning and a minor in legal studies. He went on to earn an M.B.A. from Baylor and an M.P.A. from Texas A&M University.

Nick worked as homeland security coordinator at Dallas Fire-Rescue, served as a school board trustee at Sunnyvale ISD and was director of business continuity and emergency management at Baylor Scott and White Health. He was inducted into the Texas Emergency Management Hall of Fame in 2022.

At UNT, he taught emergency management and disaster science from 2018 to 2020, the year he was diagnosed with ALS.

He and his family — his wife, Shanda, who was his high school sweetheart, and their four children — formed the #AttackLifeSloan Foundation with a mission to advocate for and serve all patients with ALS (pALS), their families and caretaker teams. They also were building an inventory of medical equipment to improve patients’ quality of life.

Nick was active with ALS Texas, helping to lead a new veteran support group, raising funds and shining a light on the research showing that veterans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ALS as the general population.

“’Attack life’ is just kind of the spirit with which I feel I am called to move,” Nick said in a video produced by his church. “I think it’s interesting, when you get diagnosed with something that’s so terminal, you view everything in a different light. Let’s do something with it.”

A memorial service is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 1, at Park Cities Presbyterian Church, 4124 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas, 75219. The service also will be livestreamed.

Dr. Gladys Johnson Hildreth

Photo of Dr. Gladys Johnson HildrethDr. Gladys Johnson Hildreth, 92, of Denton and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a former senior lecturer in UNT’s College of Education, died April 15.

Dr. Hildreth was a Certified Family Life Educator, and she taught and conducted research on family development and human relations throughout a higher education career that spanned more than 65 years. She taught at UNT from 2006 to 2015, and had also served as a department chair for the School of Human Ecology at LSU, where she was Professor Emeritus; as a chairperson for the School of Human Environmental Sciences’ Department of Family Studies at the University of Kentucky; and as a faculty member at TWU.

Dr. Hildreth was a Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta and a member of the National Council on Family Relations. She published her first book, Leaving No One Behind, An African American Family’s Story of Achievement Through Education, at the age of 91. She was devoted to her faith and to her family, who say she believed that education was the answer to most problems. She also was known as an impeccable dresser and never lost a game of Scrabble.

She earned her bachelor’s degree at Southern University, her master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin and her doctoral degree at Michigan State University. 

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Dr. Bertina Hildreth Combes, who was vice provost for faculty success and professor of special education at UNT.

Memorials may be made to The Drs. Eddie and Gladys Hildreth Scholarship through the UNT Division of Advancement, 1155 Union Circle #311250, Denton, TX 76203-5017 or by calling 940-369-8200.

Vernon Fisher

Vernon Fisher from Breaking the Code
Vernon Fisher from Breaking the Code

Vernon Fisher, 80, of Fort Worth, Professor Emeritus of art and one of the leaders of post-modern painting, died April 24.

Fisher was a nationally renowned artist whose work has been displayed at the Whitney Biennial, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, as well as many other museums and galleries around the country and internationally. He received numerous prestigious grants, including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Fisher’s works came of age at the dawning of post-modernism, as a group of artists transitioned from abstract expression to post-modern irreverence, humor and representation.

His works often featured a complex mix of elements, with subjects that often don’t mix together. His pieces could include cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Olive Oyl, landscape vignettes, maps and grids, and words.

“My work comes off as ambiguous because it was created to do so,” he said in a 1997 North Texan article. “I want people to think about what they’re seeing, so that they leave not with a factual understanding of what they saw, but rather with a feeling of ‘getting it.’”

Fisher taught at UNT from 1978 to 2009, where he was a Regents Professor known for mentoring and inspiring his students. They included Celia Alvarez Muñoz (’82 M.F.A.), Texas State 2D Artist for 2022, and musician Sara Hickman (’86).

In 2019, UNT featured an exhibition of Fisher's paintings and sculptures called Words and Pictures, which featured his work from 1980 to 2019.

A documentary about his life, Breaking the Code, made by UNT M.F.A. media arts student Michael Flanagan, premiered at the Dallas International Film Festival April 29 and also was screened at Denton’s Thin Line Film Fest on April 30.

Fisher received his bachelor’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois. Before coming to UNT, he served as associate professor of art at Austin College from 1969 to 1978.

Dr. Charles “Chuck” Bimmerle

Photo of Dr. Charles “Chuck” Bimmerle dancing Dr. Charles “Chuck” Bimmerle, 84, of Double Oak and Cincinnati, Ohio, an associate professor of management who taught from 1976 to 1999, died April 8.

Originally from Ohio, he apprenticed with his father, Charles Sr., as an electrician. He also learned how to fix cars from books at the library, a hobby that helped him begin his career at Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Michigan.

He moved back home to pursue a degree at the University of Cincinnati, where he found his calling for higher education and teaching others. He earned his Ph.D. in 1976 and shortly after accepted a position at UNT. Along with his wife, Deak, and their nine children, he moved to Double Oak, where he served as mayor in the mid-1980s.

In a 2022 North Texan article, Wilson Jones (’85) credits him as the reason he decided to stay in school. Jones had wanted to drop out to save money since he was struggling to manage his job on top of his courseload, but his professor’s encouragement and similar story changed his mind. Wilson retired as CEO of Oshkosh Corp. and created The Wilson Jones Career Center — focusing on student internships — with the second-largest gift in the history of the G. Brint Ryan College of Business.

Dr. Bimmerle's legacy continues through the many lives he touched and the passion he ignited in students, family, friends, neighbors and strangers alike. He spent much of his retirement volunteering within his community, at his church and local nursing homes.

Don Schol

Headshot of Don ScholDon Schol, 82, of Argyle, Professor Emeritus of visual arts and design and founder of the photography program, died Feb. 2. He worked at UNT for 41 years, joined the art faculty in 1969 and retiring as associate dean for administrative affairs in what was then the School of Visual Arts and Design.

He was hired to create the photography department and he was a sculpture faculty member. His primary work was in wood sculpture, which frequently involved Honduran mahogany, hand carving chisels and techniques from the Middle Ages. His work often touched on faith and was commissioned by churches throughout the DFW area and in Nigeria. Students and colleagues remember him for his mentorship.

Before coming to UNT, he volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army infantry. He also was a team leader for U.S. Army Combat Artist Team V for a short time in Vietnam. The sculptures and drawings he created for the U.S. Army are archived at the Smithsonian Institution. He published War Cuts, a book of woodcut prints and commentary about his experiences, and the original woodcut prints are on display at the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico.

He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Dallas and his Master of Fine Arts in sculpture and drawing from the University of Texas at Austin.

He is survived by his wife, Pamela B. Burnley-Schol (’89 M.F.A.).

Mildred Catherine “Katy” Dawson

Headshot of Katy DawsonMildred Catherine “Katy” Dawson (’48, ’49 M.S.), 93, of Denton, who had served as an adjunct professor of Spanish and was a member of the President’s Council for her generous donations, died April 1.

She was a longtime member of the UNT Alumni Association and former president of the Women of UNT.

She met her husband, the late David Dawson ('47, '48 M.S.), during her first year as a student, and all six of their children earned degrees from UNT. In fact, she was part of five generations of her family with ties to campus, beginning with her grandfather W.N. Masters, founder of the chemistry department. Read more about the family in our 2017 article.

In addition to earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Katy took postgraduate classes at UNT, the University of Texas at Austin and Instituto de Filologia Española in Saltillo, Mexico.

Her husband served on the math faculty at North Texas for 27 years, and after all their children were in school, Katy taught Spanish as an adjunct. In 1986, she received the Honor Professor Award from the Meadows Foundation for helping to develop a Spanish program for the students in the Meadows Excellence in Teaching Program.

After David’s death in 2011, Katy established the David F. Dawson Endowment for Student Excellence in his memory, to provide scholarships to high-performing mathematics students.

She was passionate about philanthropy and volunteering. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church and its adult handbell ensemble, and she served as president of the Denton Benefit League and Ann’s Haven Hospice/VNA Auxiliary.