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Always a Lumberjack: SFA students we lost

Hunter Jackson of Wylie
June 6

Matthew B. Nelson of Skidmore
Feb. 17

Alumni, former faculty and staff members

Dr. Donald Wayne Alford ‘61 & ‘66 of Marshall
May 17

Patricia P. Allen ‘65 of Nacogdoches
Jan. 29

Eugene R. Barbin ‘56 & ‘70 of Nacogdoches
former SFA registrar
April 7

Regina G. Beasley ‘78 of Marshall
Jan. 1

Gail K. Beil ‘99 of Marshall
Jan. 8

Barbara A. Bogue ‘80 of Timpson
March 16

Kathleen Bone ‘68 of Dallas
Feb. 16

Ecomet Burley ‘90 of Pearland
Feb. 13

Gary Lynn Carpenter ‘74 of Tyler
March 7

Jane Chambers ‘82 of Nacogdoches
May 9

Rebecca A. Clem ‘63 of Tyler
Jan. 8

Tona Clevenger ‘75 & ‘78 of Nacogdoches
Jan. 27

Ricky Allen Close ‘77 of Fort Worth
Jan. 17

Sandra L. Coats ‘59 of Nacogdoches
Jan. 7

Judy L. Cockrell ‘69 of Carthage
May 5

Kerry J. Comeau ‘76 of Dallas
March 18

Renee S. Dillon ‘74 & ‘77 of Dickinson
Dec. 30

Margaret H. Duke ‘69 & ‘75 of Carthage
Jan. 14

Helen W. Durrett ‘58 of Carthage
Feb. 22

Christopher Duvall ‘05 of Richmond
Feb. 22

Drummond Edge ‘48 & ‘53 of Temple
March 12

Dr. Margaret O. Forrest ‘75 of Nacogdoches
Feb. 10

Marilyn L. Foster ‘76 of Orange
March 14

Harold D. Garner ‘66 of Bryan
Jan. 17

Alice M. Hanks ‘81 of Princeton
May 18

George W. Harrison ‘87 of Lufkin
Feb. 19

Simon D. Hayes ‘69 of Henderson
March 11

Janice C. Heidbreder ‘01 of Jacksonville
March 28

Dr. Gary L. Henry ‘68 of Scottsdale
March 14

Dr. J. David Holcomb ‘62 & ‘65 of Houston
Jan. 26

Carol Lee Hudson ‘74 of Lakeway
March 29

Mike Hudson ‘71 of Nacogdoches
Feb. 4

Gustave Jasper Huff Jr. ‘59 & ‘75 of Tyler
Dec. 27

Ramona M. Ingram ‘55 of El Campo
April 4

Christopher Jefferson ‘97 of Waxahachie
April 10

Joan Y. Johnson ‘53 & ‘59 of Nacogdoches
March 19

Jo M. Jones ‘84 of Jasper
Feb. 18

Dana Judson ‘81 & ‘85 of Pflugerville
Feb. 12

Jimmy R. Killion ‘55 of Kilgore
May 11

Raymon Lacy ‘75 of Tyler
Feb. 1

Dr. Tommie Charles Lee of Lufkin
former faculty member
March 30

Melvin L. Marshall ‘70 of Henderson
March 6

Jennifer Del McBride ‘72 of Fredericksburg
Jan. 15

Marty McDonald ‘63 & ‘70 of Henderson
Feb. 4

Paul Lee Miller ‘72 of Nacogdoches
Feb. 10

Dorothy C. Morgan ‘51 of Nacogdoches
April 4

Teann J. Nagelhout ‘94 of Fort Worth
Oct. 30

Rebecca J. Newton ‘75 of Longview
May 27

Harry P. Noble Jr. ‘61 of San Augustine
March 13

Odie Nutt ‘52 of Carthage
March 13

Dr. Peggy Owens ‘69 & ‘73 of Cypress
Jan. 9

Carl N. Peavy ‘65 of Garland
May 24

Johnny H. Peveto ‘71 of Orange
March 29

Kimbal S. Pierce ‘80 of Hamilton
April 18

John G. Pilette III ‘98 of Tyler
March 26

Donald Wayne Plum ‘70 of Queen City
Feb. 8

Burdett F. Pulliam Jr. ‘49 & ‘58 of Jasper
June 1

The Rev. Eldon L. Reed ‘45 of Orange
April 3

Ronald L. Sedtal ‘61 & ‘69 of Nederland
March 29

Jo E. Simon ‘78 of Longview
Jan. 22

Mona L. Skinner ‘48 of Lufkin
Jan. 8

Richard Slawson ‘65 & ‘72 of Jacksonville
March 3

Steven C. Smith ‘78 of Lufkin
Jan. 29

Joseph William Sory ‘69 of Henderson
Feb. 16

Nonabeth G. Taylor ‘59 & ‘64 of Houston
May 4

Jerry Ronald Thompson ‘63 of Benbrook
May 25

Joyce O. Tinkle ‘86 of Memphis
April 27

Elizabeth A. Vinson ‘68 of Lufkin
March 21

Helen Walker ‘70 of Nacogdoches
May 1

Virginia E. Wallace ‘83 of Diboll
Jan. 13

James Christian Walters ‘82 of Longview
March 25

Joseph D. Weber Jr. ‘78 of Alvin
Feb. 26

Georgeanne Wimberley ‘91 & ‘93 of Wichita Falls
former SFA staff member
March 17

Joe B. Woodland ‘63 of Longview
April 4

Guy A. Yarborough ‘85 of Nacogdoches
March 21

Donors, faculty and staff members


Lt. Cmdr. Robert P. Blount Jr.

Lt. Cmdr. Robert P. Blount Jr., a naval veteran of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War, passed away Jan. 12.

Blount was born March 19, 1924, in Nacogdoches. While in military service with the U.S. Navy, he traveled the world. He graduated from SFA in 1948 with a degree in accounting. After his retirement from the Navy in 1968, he moved with his family to Alamogordo, New Mexico, and worked for Telledyne Ryan Aeronautics at White Sands Missile Range in the drone program.


Robert Alan Cashell Sr.

Known to thousands as “Mayor Bob,” Robert Alan Cashell Sr. passed away Feb. 11.

Cashell graduated from SFA with a general business degree in 1963. He landed in Reno, Nevada, where he transformed a humble truck stop in Verdi, Nevada, into the Boomtown Hotel and Casino, which he sold in 1988.

Cashell was a longtime civic booster, which helped him eventually make his mark in politics, serving as the 28th lieutenant governor of Nevada from 1983 to 1987. In 2002, he ran for mayor of Reno and won with a landslide vote. He repeated his electoral success twice as an incumbent, serving through mid-November 2014.

His many public appointments include serving on the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents from 1979 to 1982 and chairing the Nevada Comprehensive Health Planning Board, the Reno-Tahoe Olympic Organizing Committee for the Winter Olympic Games, and the Nevada Museum of Art. He served on the Regional Planning Governing Board, the Regional Transportation Commission and the Truckee River Flood Management Authority.


Rosa G. Choate

Texas novelist Rosa G. Choate of Nacogdoches passed away April 18.

A 1943 SFA elementary education graduate, Choate began her career writing fiction in the 1950s. By 1960, she had published several short stories and two Western novels, “Buffalo Gold” and “Phantom Hill.” Her publisher believed Western novels by female writers would not sell, so the books were published under the name R.G. Choate.

Under the pen name Kristin Michaels, she later co-wrote two young adult romance novels, “Shadow of Love” and “Heartsong.” Her fifth novel, “The Sack,” was published under her full professional name, Gwen Peterson Choate, in 2012.


Dr. David Cook

Computer science Professor Dr. David Cook passed away May 28. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Cook later moved to the United States, serving in the U.S. Air Force for 21 years and achieving the rank of major.

He received his Bachelor of Science in computer science from the University of Central Florida, Master of Science in teleprocessing science from the University of Southern Mississippi and doctoral degree in computer science from Texas A&M University. Cook joined the SFA faculty in 2009.


Willie G. Whitaker

A native of Longview, Willie G. Whitaker passed away April 21.

Whitaker was born Nov. 29, 1934, and graduated from Ned E. Williams High School in Longview as valedictorian in 1952. He continued his education at Butler College in Tyler and later Wiley College in Marshall, where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in 1961. In 1966, Whitaker was among the first African Americans to earn a master’s degree from SFA. He received his second master’s degree in social science from East Texas State University in Commerce in 1974.

Whitaker taught social studies and was a football and basketball coach. He frequently worked two jobs, also serving as a police officer in Longview and Marshall, and in Shreveport, Louisiana. He retired from the police force in 1987 as a lieutenant. In addition to serving on the Wiley College faculty, he served as director of discipline for the Marshall Independent School District until his retirement in 1998.

A lifetime member of the SFA Alumni Association, Whitaker was a member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marshall and the Knights of Columbus.

Dr. Kenneth Collier


Professor of government Dr. Ken Collier passed away June 14.

A Longview High School graduate, Collier earned a Bachelor of Arts in government from the University of Texas in 1981 and a doctoral degree in government in 1988. He joined the SFA faculty in fall 1999.

Collier oversaw SFA’s legislative internship program and believed the experience students could gain through an internship with the Texas Legislature was an important part of the educational process. He worked tirelessly to secure funding for the program, which allowed students to live in Austin during each legislative session and work in an office that correlated with their own personal interests, gaining valuable experience in areas ranging from the legislative process to the state budget.

He received the College of Liberal and Applied Arts Teaching Excellence Award in spring 2006 and was named the School of Honors Professor of the Year in 2008.

Collier was appointed Faculty Athletics Representative in 2017 and was an ardent supporter of SFA student-athletes. As a result of his leadership, a record-high departmental GPA of 3.22 was attained for the spring 2020 semester.

With teaching interests including campaigns and elections and the American presidency, Collier frequently served as a media spokesperson for the university, providing election-night commentary and expert analysis of campaign results.

Collier was a prolific writer, authoring “Between the Branches: The White House Office of Legislative Affairs” and co-authoring “Lone Star Politics,” a textbook on Texas politics in its fifth edition. Collier published articles in the Journal of Politics, White House Studies, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Public Choice and Social Science Quarterly.

Donations to the
Dr. Ken Collier Legislative Internship Program
can be made at