Facetime July 2012 - 1970s & earlier


Robert, ’68 BS & ’69 MA, and Sandra, ’83 BS, Piper were featured in an article in the Arizona Daily Sun about their life as area fire watchers. Read their story.

Dr. Patricia Franklin-Therrell, ’69 BS, emailed to let us know that her first novel is now available. The book is based on research from her 40 years of work as a correctional educator.  Check it out at authorpatriciacage.com.


Melissa (Kennedy) Whitehead, ’71 BS-Theatre & ’75 BS-Elementary Education, (photo left) sends greetings from Florida for all of her former classmates. Melissa moved to the east coast 30+ years ago, got married and taught elementary school for ten years before starting her Dried By Design flower business. She made THIS montage of her NAU memories from 1966-70 for everyone to enjoy.

Rita (Harkins) Dickinson, ’72 BS, sang in NAU’s Shrine of the Ages choir event at New York City’s Carnegie Hall in March. She also sent us this update on life since graduating:  “My career was spent as a special educator in Arizona, mostly in the Phoenix area.  In 2009, I retired from the Arizona Department of Education. I am happily married to a Navy veteran who served our country from 1967-1973. We have one biological son and have had about 20 other young people live with us off and on during our 35 years of marriage. We enjoy traveling.  I volunteered with Arizona Special Olympics for 30 years and have been involved in the community, serving as Phoenix Panhellenic president, Gamma Phi Beta Phoenix alumnae president, founder and chair of the Race for the Cure, board member of the Junior League of Phoenix and Valley Leadership, Madison School Board president, and I am a chapter leader for Dining for Women.”


If you were a student in the 1970s through early 1990s at NAU, you probably remember Dr. Neil Potter and his wife Gayle, ’74 BS & ’80 MA (photo right). Neil served as the Dean of Students, as well as sponsor of a club known as MIHC and ran the scoreboard at basketball games. Neil wrote to tell us that he and Gayle now live in Sedona. Gayle was a teacher and counselor in the Flagstaff school district before retiring. They’re both doing well and have fun reminiscing about NAU days.

Larrel “Toni” Magers-Andersen, ’74 BS, sent us an update on her life since graduating to share with classmates:
“Since graduating in 1974, I taught in Flagstaff for two years before moving back to California. There, I taught in the same school district, Palo Verde U.S.D., for 31 years. I was a third grade teacher for five years in a bilingual setting and then moved up to the junior high. There I remained for 16 years teaching both English and Spanish. I spent my last ten years of teaching in the upper division Spanish courses. During my last six years, I taught full time as well as being a mentor for the Riverside County BTSA program. During all of this time, I married a rancher and we had two sons. Now, we are off the ranch and enjoying retirement and our four grandchildren and one great grandson. We have always had duel residence in California and Northern Arizona but due to my husband's heart condition, we were forced to move to lower elevation and now are in the beautiful community of Anthem, just north of Phoenix.”

Jim Ohlman, ’75 BS & ’82 MS, emailed to tell us about what he and wife Jan, ’82 BS, have been up to in Kayenta for the past 30 years:  “Jan and I are transitioning from being parents and empty-nesters to being grandparents and not-so-empty-nesters. Our three sons, T.J., Chris and Jon, are off into the world, with the latter two in the Marines.  Our youngest, Sarah, is in her sophomore year at CCU in Denver...and yes, we tried hard to convince all of them to consider NAU, but I think they each wanted to go someplace a little farther away from mom and dad!  T.J., and his wife, Ashley, now have a one-year-old son, Bryan James, while our youngest son, Jon, is dad to our five-year-old granddaughter, Hayley Rose, who has been staying with us while dad is doing his Marine thing.  I still work for Peabody Western Coal Co. as a hydrologist at their Black Mesa operation, and Jan has her hands full keeping track of Hayley! We both are very active in our local church, and love receiving news of what our former classmates have been up to these past 30 years.” 

Advice from Andrea Gold, ’77 BS, was featured in Woman’s Advantage Weekly Wisdom audio series. Andrea is president/owner of Gold Stars Speakers Bureau. She is one of only 52 women worldwide to be featured in the series.

Karen Malis-Clark, ’77 BS, Twittered to share that she hosted a reunion of nine alums from the 70s in May. All were Taylor Hall residents in their NAU days.


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