UNT friends

Particia Esther

Patricia ‘Pat’ Ann Esther, 75, died June 12 in Denton. She worked in student accounting and cashiering services at UNT for 15 years. Her family says her job was her passion and she loved working with students and co-workers, rarely missing a day of work. She was born in Louisville, Ky., and had been married for 55 years.

Margot Winspear

Margot Winspear, 83, died Oct. 20 in Dallas. She and her husband, Bill, were donors to UNT and were named honorary alumni in 1994 and awarded the Green Glory Award in 2003. They donated $1.7 million to complete the Lyric Theater in UNT’s Murchison Performing Arts Center and $1.4 million to establish The Bill and Margot Winspear Endowment for the College of Music. The center’s Winspear Hall is named in their honor. A gift of $1.5 million from Bill’s estate established the Margot and Bill Winspear Chair in Opera Studies at UNT. They were McConnell Society members. They were leading philanthropists in the area, donating $42 million to help build the Winspear Opera House at Dallas’ AT&T Performing Arts Center. Margot was a founding vice president of the Edmonton Opera and president of the women’s committees of the Dallas Opera, the Vancouver Opera and the Canadian Opera in Toronto.

J.B. Smallwood

J.B. Smallwood (’55, ’56 M.A.), 81, Professor Emeritus of history, died Oct. 27. He taught history at UNT for 34 years until his retirement in 1999. During his tenure at UNT, he was active in service, both within the history department and across the university. He served as chair of the Faculty Senate and as president of the UNT chapter of the Texas Association of College Teachers. Besides teaching, he enjoyed reading, traveling, gardening, theater and classical music performances. Before coming to UNT, he taught in Japan and Korea with the University of Maryland Overseas Program and at the University of Florida. He was a first-generation college graduate in his family, earning a bachelor’s degree in history and geography and a master’s degree in history from North Texas. He earned his doctorate in American history from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Memorials may be made to the College of Music.

Donald Scaggs

Donald Jerry Scaggs, 77, Professor Emeritus of drawing, painting and printmaking, died April 29 in Denton. After teaching art at Indiana schools and at Slippery Rock State College in Pennsylvania, he came to UNT in 1968, teaching for 32 years until his retirement in 2000. He served as coordinator of printmaking, and his prints and paintings are included in numerous public and private collections. He had a special interest in intaglio techniques combined with photo-induced imagery. He served in the U.S. Navy for four years and earned his bachelor’s degree in art education from Indiana University in Bloomington. He then attended Purdue University, graduating with a master’s in drawing and painting.

Rudolph Guerra Sr.,

Rudolph ‘Rudy’ S. Guerra Sr., 82, longtime supporter of UNT and the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism, died Oct. 14. He served in the U.S. Air Force and worked as a printer before purchasing his father’s tortilla company in 1964. He and his family, owners of Rudy’s Tortillas, received UNT’s Generations of Excellence Award in 2014 and established The Guerra Family Endowment for Hospitality Management, which provides scholarships for full-time hospitality management students who are members of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality. Survivors include children Joe Guerra (’96), Kathy Purser (’81) and Linda Dyer (’90); daughter-in-law Pauline (’05); granddaughter Rachel Purser (’09); and sister-in-law Esperanza Espinoza (’75).

Pat Mcleod

Pat McLeod (’48, ’52 M.S.), Professor Emeritus of education, died on Oct. 12 in Denton. He worked at North Texas from 1954 to 2000, first as an instructor in industrial arts and later as founder and director of the vocational-technical program in the College of Education. He served as the Geezle faculty sponsor from 1954 to 1966. He had previously worked as a teacher in Monahans ISD and at Clifton College. The Career and Technology Education (CATE) Association of Texas created The Dr. Pat McLeod Scholarship in 2006, and the Denton ISD named the counseling center in the new Advanced Career and Technology Education Complex the Dr. Pat N. McLeod Vocational Counseling Center. He earned his North Texas degrees in industrial arts and his doctorate in administrative and educational services from Michigan State University. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1947. Survivors include his son, Patrick Michael McLeod (’97, ’14 M.S.).

Jack Miller

Jack Miller, former associate professor in the College of Education, died May 2 in Denton. He began teaching in the Department of Technology and Cognition at UNT in 1970 and retired in 1997. He taught high school in Halletsville and served as high school principal in Bertram. He also taught at Texas A&I, now Texas A&M at Kingsville. He served in the U.S. Army after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in business administration, then returned there to earn his master’s degree in education administration. He was a principal at the Lab School of the University of Oklahoma while completing his doctorate in education administration there. He taught at Baylor University and the University of Memphis before joining North Texas.

Nancy Kent

Nancy Renee Kent (’94), 45, a data analyst who had worked in the Division of University Relations, Communications and Marketing for almost 25 years, died Dec. 20 in Dallas. She began work as a student assistant in 1991, becoming indispensable with computer support and her genuine desire to help others in any way. She was hired full time after she completed her UNT degree in interdisciplinary studies. She loved cats and through the years adopted and cared for many strays. Memorials may be made in her name to the UNT Feral Cat Rescue Group, 1155 Union Circle #310475, Denton, TX 76203, 940-390-0555.

Jim Bezdek

Jim J. Bezdek (’50, ’54 M.Ed.), 86, Professor Emeritus of education, died Nov. 17 in Denton. Serving on the faculty from 1967 to 1996, he was a curriculum instruction management specialist and authority on mathematics education who had served as a consultant and co-author of a math textbook series. In 2011, he received UNT’s Ulys Knight Spirit Award. He and his wife, Rose, were members of the Chilton Recognition Society and established The Czech Educational Foundation of Texas Dr. Jim J. and Rose A. Bezdek Endowment Fund Celebrating Czech Music and Culture. He was proud of his Czech heritage and had played the accordion since he was a child. He received his degrees in public school administration from UNT and his doctorate from Cornell University. He also served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953.

Cecil Adkins

Cecil Adkins, 83, Professor Emeritus of music who served on the musicology faculty from 1963 to 2000, died Nov. 4 in Denton. He founded UNT’s early music program and was named a Regents Professor and a Toulouse Scholar. He and his wife, Alis Dickinson (’73 Ph.D.), who also was on the music faculty, edited Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology for 30 years and collaborated on other publications. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Many of his eight children are musicians he instructed who performed as the Adkins String Ensemble. The family received the College of Music’s Honored Alumni Award in 2013. In addition to his wife, survivors include children Alexandra (’96), Anthony (’93, ’08 M.B.A., M.S.), Chris­topher (’80), Madeline (’98) and Clare Cason (’91). Memorials may be made to the Adkins-Dickinson String Scholarship at UNT.