Brent Jones

Headshot of Brent JonesBrent Jones, 71, of Benbrook, who worked at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science from 1995 to 2020, died in November 2022.

He was serving as TAMS’ assistant dean of admissions when he retired and previously worked as the academy’s director of admissions and director of scholarships and external affairs. He was known for his brilliant mind, hard work and kindness.

He joined UNT from the UNT Health Science Center, where he served from 1988 to 1995 in positions including minority retention coordinator and assistant director for special opportunities, associate admissions director and director of the Health Careers Opportunities Program.

He always had a curious mind, starting from childhood when he learned that one of John Wilkes Booth’s accomplices in the Lincoln assassination was a woman, Mary Surratt, who became the first woman executed by the U.S. government. This began his hobby of studying 19th century female conspirators and he talked about the subject at TAMS’ 2017 Great Conversations event, selling out his table.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and worked as a medical technologist for Rohm & Haas Chemical Co. before attending medical school. When he decided on academia as a career, he earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas Christian University.

Kenneth Tyrone Ballom

Headshot of Kenneth Tyrone BallomKenneth Tyrone Ballom, 56, dean of students at UNT from 1998 to 2008, died Jan. 11.

He came to UNT in 1995, first working as assistant dean of students for three years before being promoted. While at UNT, he also spearheaded the establishment of the volunteer center and served on boards supervising the construction of Sorority Row, the Waranch Tennis Complex and the Pohl Recreation Center.

He had previously worked as an assistant hall director at Western Illinois University and as a counselor and director of Student Support Services at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, Illinois.

After his time at UNT, he served as associate vice chancellor and dean of students for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was known for his tireless work and advocacy for students and gave many presentations on finding solutions for them.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce and his master’s degree from Western Illinois University, and he had completed all but his dissertation for a doctorate in higher education from UNT.

A Celebration of Life will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, in the Jade Ballroom of UNT’s University Union.

Martha Fuller Turner Bauguss

Photo of Martha Fuller Turner Bauguss on cover of North TexanMartha Fuller Turner Bauguss (’62), 81, a businesswoman who served on UNT’s Board of Regents from 1997 to 2000, died April 8 in Houston. She earned her UNT degree in music and elementary education and met her first husband on a blind date while in school. She worked as a teacher for 15 years – then went into real estate. Known for her endless energy, she opened Turner-Owens Real Estate in 1981 and grew the firm, later renamed Martha Turner Properties, into the largest independent brokerage in Houston with more than $2.3 billion in annual sales. She sold it in 2014 and today it’s known as Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty. Martha, who appeared on the first cover of the North Texan when it began its magazine format in 1997, was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 2009. She also was active in civic and arts organizations and supported health care, education and women’s causes. She received UNT’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005.

Frederick R. Pole

Frederick R. Pole, 89, of Denton, who served as a vice president and vice chancellor for UNT for 22 years, died April 19. He was drafted into the U.S. Army as a teenager and rose through the ranks in his 27-year military career, commanding operations around the world and retiring as colonel.

He arrived at North Texas in 1980 as executive assistant to the president and was named vice president for external affairs in 1981 before moving to vice president for administrative affairs in 1982. He took on additional responsibilities in 1999 when he also was appointed vice chancellor for administration for the UNT System, before retiring in 2002. 

Fred oversaw countless construction and renovation projects in his time on campus and supervised areas such as the police department as well as facilities. He also was involved in master planning for the university, with a focus on how UNT would meet the needs of higher education in the future. He and his wife, Barbara, who died in 2020, were members of the Chilton Society, and Fred received an Honorary Alumnus award in 2004.

He was active in his church and community, serving as past chairman of the Denton Chamber of Commerce, Denton County United Way, the Board of Trustees of Denton Community Hospital and the advisory board of Denton YMCA. He also was a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 920.

Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, May 16, at Mulkey-Bowles-Montgomery Funeral Home, 705 N. Locust St., Denton. A memorial service for Fred and Barbara is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 17, at Southmont Baptist Church, 2801 Pennsylvania Dr., Denton. 

Peter ‘Pete’ Lane

Photo of Peter ‘Pete’ LanePeter ‘Pete’ Lane, 82, Air Force veteran and Vietnam War pilot who was a history professor and administrator at UNT from 1984 to 2009, died Nov. 25 in Denton.

With a passion for education and a deep care for students, he served in numerous roles at UNT, including executive assistant to the chancellor, special assistant for athletics and vice president of development as well as on the history faculty. He co-edited the book Warriors and Scholars: A Modern War Reader.

He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and served in the Air Force for 23 years. As an F-105 Republic Thunderchief "Thud" pilot, he flew over 100 combat missions during the Vietnam War. He received many awards for his service, including the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.

He earned his master’s degree and doctorate in history from the University of Washington and continued his career in the military by teaching at the Air Force Academy and National War College in Washington, D.C., and serving in various positions at Bergstrom, Holloman and Howard Air Force Bases. He also established and commanded the emergency rescue team for the Space Shuttle Columbia. He retired from military service in 1984 at the Pentagon as the chief of the Western Hemisphere Division air staff.

He was active in numerous military organizations, as well as civic groups in Denton. He especially loved greeting soldiers at DFW International Airport and, in 2014, received the Congressional Veteran Commendation.

A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 11 at St. Mark Catholic Church in Argyle. Burial is scheduled at noon Dec. 20 at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Donations may be made to The Marjorie Murray Lane Audiology Endowment at UNT.

Calvin Cleave ‘Jitter’ Nolen

Photo of Calvin Cleve 'Jitter' NolenCalvin Cleave ‘Jitter’ Nolen, of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, who saw enrollment increase and new campus buildings built during his tenure as university president from 1971 to 1979, died Aug. 13 at age 96.

Enrollment rose 11% during his eight years in office, with the number of graduate students also increasing. The budget increased 66%.

Major construction projects were completed, including Wooten Hall, the Art Building, the Coliseum, the General Academic Building and the Sullivant Visitor Center, now the Sullivant Public Safety Center. Additionally, the University Union was expanded, construction began on the Physical Education Building and a south wing was added to the Music Building.

The School of Community Service, the Intensive English Language Institute and the computer science department were among the programs created during this time, and Hayden Fry was hired as football coach and athletic director -- turning the Mean Green football team into a force in the 1970s. Research funding increased during Nolen’s tenure, with outside funding increasing 580%. There also was a new emphasis on alumni activities.

In 1975, legislation was signed placing the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth under the university’s Board of Regents and designating Nolen as president of TCOM.

Before coming to North Texas, he served as vice chancellor for development at Texas Christian University. His selection as president of North Texas was considered controversial since he didn’t have a graduate degree.

But A.M. Willis, chairman of the Board of Regents, said of Nolen: “He possesses keen intelligence, boundless energy and broad vision. He understands the true meaning of academic excellence because he has been exposed to the academic community all his working life -- and he is an acute observer.”

Even after Nolen left the university, he remained a popular figure, with the Council of Deans signing a letter that said he had “worked energetically and unceasingly for the transformation of the institution from a good one to a great one.” Faculty and friends hosted a farewell rally, complete with speeches and a new car paid with private donations, when the Nolen family left Denton.

After leaving office, he served as vice president of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation from 1979 to 1994 before moving to Colorado.

Nolen, who received the nickname “Jitter” as a high school Boy Scout, was a member of the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1947. He retired from the Naval Reserve as a commander in 1989. He graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in educational psychology in 1948 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (LL.D.) by Texas Christian University in 1971. He served as director of UT’s Student Center and on the UT System’s development board before moving to TCU in 1968.

Nolen was an accomplished skier and hiker and an active member of the Colorado 100 Club. He received his 3,000-mile pin at the age of 95. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his name to one of the institutions he served or a place of your choice. In keeping with CDC guidelines, a family service will be held at 11 a.m. Sept. 20 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, followed by a reception at noon under a tent at Sayre Park, also in Glenwood Springs.

Glen L. Taylor

Glen L. Taylor (’50, ’53 M.B.A.), 91, of Denton, Professor Emeritus in business and former associate vice president of academic affairs, died Jan. 19 in Denton. He earned his doctorate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania before working at North Texas for 45 years, from 1953 to 1998. At North Texas, he was a noted scholar and specialized in preparing students for the insurance industry. He also was instrumental in the planning for the Business Administration Building (now Sage Hall) and helped develop hospitalization and benefits plans for employees. He earned the professional credentials of CPCU (Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter), CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) and ChFC (Chartered Financial Counselor). The Glen L. Taylor Professorship/Chair in Insurance was established and named in his honor. He also was a member of the UNT Alumni Association.

A private memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Friday, March 19, and will be livestreamed at:

Glen L. Taylor

Dr. Bertina Hildreth Combes


Dr. Bertina Hildreth Combes, 62, vice provost for faculty success and professor of special education who had worked at UNT since 1989, died Feb. 19 in Denton. She also had served as coordinator of special education programs and as associate and interim dean of the College of Education.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Oral Roberts University, she worked as an elementary school teacher specializing in learning and intellectual disabilities and emotional and behavior disorders while earning a master’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas in Austin and served as an assistant professor at Texas Tech University before joining the UNT faculty.

In UNT’s Department of Educational Psychology, she focused on preparing professional educators to meet the needs of diverse students receiving special education services, including those with learning disabilities. She was the director for Project TELL: Training Effective Leaders for High-Needs Schools Through Local Partnerships, which received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help train future leaders of special education programs.

Her honors at UNT included being named a Student Association Honors Professor and a Mortar Board Top Prof, as well as receiving the first Ulys and Vera Knight Faculty Mentor Award and a President’s Council Teaching Award. She also was honored for her leadership in supporting inclusion and diversity at UNT and was known as a guiding light and mentor to her colleagues on campus and beyond. She was active in numerous professional organizations through the years, including the International Council for Learning Disabilities. She also was an active member of Delta Sigma Theta.

Students remember her as an understanding mentor who shaped their interest in the field of special education and encouraged them to turn possibilities into plans. She was a deeply religious person who also believed in the power of education to transform lives. The child of college educators, she created the Drs. Eddie and Gladys Hildreth Scholarship at UNT, named for her parents. This scholarship is now endowed because of her dedication and commitment to it.

Survivors include her two children, Ashley ('17) and Julius ('19), both UNT alumni, and her mother, who also taught at UNT.

To honor Dr. Combes' legacy as an educator, a scholarship has been created in her name. Memorials to the Dr. Bertina H. Combes Scholarship fund may be made through University Advancement, 1155 Union Circle #311250, Denton, TX 76203-5017. For more information about the scholarship, contact Shelly Lane, senior director of development in the College of Education, at or 940-891-6860.

The UNT community will celebrate Dr. Combes' life at 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, in a virtual recognition on UNT's YouTube channel.


Dr. Bertina Hildreth Combes

Molly Pitcher

Molly Pitcher, Denton. She was an administrative assistant in the College of Science since 2012. In her free time, she was an artist, and received an honorable mention for her drawing in the On My Own Time exhibit.

Daniel Johnson

Daniel JohnsonDaniel Johnson, 80, former dean of what is now the College of Health and Public Service who went on to become president of the University of Toledo, died July 1 in Washington Township, Michigan. His higher education career spanned more than 40 years and brought him international recognition. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Christian University and his doctorate from the University of Missouri. He worked in various leadership roles at Virginia Commonwealth University, then served at UNT as a professor of sociology and dean of the then-called School of Community Service from 1991 to 1997. His research specialties included urban poverty and diverse student retention, and he received the university’s Equal Opportunity Award for his support of increased campus diversity. He wrote about and advocated for metropolitan universities, with a focus on applied research and serving the needs of their regions. In 1994, he was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards to the newly formed Texas State Commission for National and Community Service, to support volunteer participation in government and community-based programs. He also assisted with the merger of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine with UNT. He created the Daniel M. Johnson Award for Community Service, first presented in 1998 to Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk. Dan left UNT to become provost at the University of Alaska. He then led the University of Toledo from 2001 to 2006 and served in various other positions before retiring as distinguished university professor of public policy and economic development. He also was provost and chief operating officer of Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011.