UNT friends

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.

Hulon Sharpton

Hulon Jones Sharpton, 63, a maintenance technician in the UNT Facilities department since 2009, died Aug. 29 in Denton. Sharpton was known to be able to fix anything, especially air conditioners. He was a member of the Elks Lodge and a charter member of the Decatur Country Club as an avid golfer.

David Sundquist

David Hall Sundquist, 74, Professor Emeritus of voice, died Aug. 8 in Denton. He worked at UNT from 1989 to 2012. He was a tenor who sang in operas across the nation. He spent much of his career in the 1970s and 1980s in Europe, performing in famous operas in Austria and France. His roles were filmed for French television and he won first place in the Salzburg Opera Film Prize Competition. He attended the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University. He served in the U.S. Army Band and Chorus. He sang in the church choir of the First Methodist Church in Denton and enjoyed playing golf and bowling.

Peter Scott III

Peter Mark Scott III, 61, who served as an adjunct professor of sacred music from 2004 to 2014, died Oct. 17, 2014, in Fort Worth. He was a Nordan Fine Arts Scholar at Texas Christian University. He also served as the minister of music and organist at St. Stephen Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth for 39 years. In 2000, he was granted a sabbatical leave, which he spent in America, Great Britain and France, for the purpose of studying plainsong. He earned his degrees in organ performance and church music from TCU.

Don Rives

Don L. Rives (’56), 80, a former member of UNT’s Board of Regents, died March 27 in Austin. He served as the assistant district attorney for Harrison County in 1959, specializing in real estate and probate law. As a member of the Constitutional Revision Committee of Texas, he was appointed to help rewrite the Texas State Constitution. In 1974, he moved to Austin to serve as executive assistant to Lt. Gov. William P. Hobby.

He returned to his alma mater when Gov. Ann Richards appointed him to serve on UNT’s Board of Regents from 1992 to 1997. He later served on the UNT Athletic Council. He graduated from North Texas summa cum laude with a double major in government and history and earned his juris doctor from the University of Texas Law School. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1959.

Edwin Odom

Edwin Dale Odom (’55, ’56 M.A.), 86, Professor Emeritus of history, died May 26 in Denton. Odom specialized in teaching U.S. economic history for 35 years. After retiring in 1994, he continued to teach every other semester at UNT until 2003. He also was an instructor at Victoria College, Tulane University and Carrollton High School. He received degrees in history from North Texas and a doctorate of history from Tulane University.

He was a member and served as chair of the Denton County Historical Commission from 1971 to 1979 and was listed in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, The Directory of Scholars and other directories of distinguished persons. He also was the author of many scholarly articles and book chapters. He wrote and published An Illustrated History of Denton County, Texas: From Peters Colony to Metroplex with his wife, LaVerne Masten Odom, who worked for the history department for several years and died earlier this year.

Laurel Miller

Laurel Miller, 81, Denton, Professor Emeritus of voice, who worked at UNT from 1977 to 2004, died Oct. 25, 2014, in Denton. She worked as a professional singer and teacher, appearing in operas in Boston, Dallas, Houston, New York City and Philadelphia, as well as the Czech Republic. She specialized in the performance of 20th century, oratorio and chamber works. She was an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, serving as president of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter. She belonged to the boards of the Deep Ellum Opera Theatre and the Denton Bach Society. She received her bachelor’s and master’s in vocal performance from Juilliard.