David A. Brazier

A decorated veteran, retired Lt. Col. David A. Brazier from Castle Rock, Colorado, passed away June 7. He graduated from SFA in 1980 with a degree in management.

Brazier served in the U.S. Army from September 1982 to February 2003. During service to his country, Brazier received the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Medal (second award), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal (second award), Southwest Asia Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, Armed Forces Reserved Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (second award), Kuwait Liberation Medal (K), Kuwait Liberation Medal (SA) and Parachutist Badge.

Francis J. Chrismer

Francis J. Chrismer was born April 28, 1945, in Falmouth, England. His family later moved to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1962, serving for 22 years.

Chrismer received a Purple Heart for injuries he suffered in Vietnam. After leaving military service, he attended SFA and graduated in 1988 with a degree in forestry. Chrismer re-entered government service with the U.S. Forest Service, where he was employed for 20 years.

Chrismer passed away Nov. 3 in Mount Ida, Arkansas.

Thomas Edward “Ed” Cole

SFA’s largest individual benefactor, Thomas “Ed” Cole, passed away Dec. 5 in Nacogdoches.

Cole was born in Homer, Louisiana, in 1922. His family moved to Arkansas and later settled near Longview, where his father worked in the oil fields. He graduated from White Oak High School in 1941 and, after serving in the U.S. Air Force in England during World War II, started his own oil field equipment rental and blow-out preventer business in Louisiana in 1958.

His late wife, Gwen, was a native of Hamburg, Arkansas, who worked at Home Federal Savings and Loan in Shreveport, Louisiana, for 26 years. The Coles married in their 40s and had no children of their own, but they helped finance the education of their nieces and nephews, and their children and grandchildren.

Although Cole never attended SFA, he helped a multitude of people obtain their education. The couple retired in Nacogdoches in 1978 and were dedicated SFA supporters. Their generosity impacted students in fine arts, nursing, audiology and athletic programs. The Coles were avid fans of SFA athletic teams and were members of the SFA Friends of Music and the College of Fine Arts Dean’s Circle.

In addition to the Ed and Gwen Cole Art Center and the Ed and Gwen Cole Concert Hall, a student success center located in the Lumberjack Landing residence hall was named in their honor in 2011, and the Ed and Gwen Cole STEM Building opened in 2018.

The Coles’ support of SFA includes the following: Ed and Gwen Cole Endowed Scholarship for Music, Ed and Gwen Cole Endowed Scholarship for Theatre, Ed and Gwen Cole Ladyjacks Basketball Scholarship, Ed and Gwen Cole Lumberjacks Basketball Scholarship, Ed and Gwen Cole Audiology Lab, Ed and Gwen Cole Endowed Scholarship in Audiology, Ed and Gwen Cole Simulation Lab – DeWitt School of Nursing, Ed and Gwen Cole Endowed Scholarship for STEM, and the Ron Anderson Endowed Scholarship for Music.

During the May 2019 commencement ceremony, Ed was awarded an honorary doctoral degree. SFA has conferred only seven such degrees in its 96-year history.

Bob C. Dunn

Former SFA disc jockey and scholarship donor Bob C. Dunn passed away Sept. 3.

Dunn served in the U.S. Air Force from 1950 to 1954. He moved to Nacogdoches in 1959 and operated radio stations KSFA AM and FM 92 from 1959 to 1989. Dunn also was the announcer for SFA football and basketball and for Nacogdoches High School football for many years. He served as the Nacogdoches city commissioner for 10 years, county judge for four years and mayor for three years.

Doris W. Gibson

Doris W. Gibson of Longview passed away Oct. 31.

Gibson grew up in the East Texas oil fields and graduated from Talco High School in 1949. She attended SFA and graduated in 1953 with a degree in education. While an SFA student, Gibson was drum major for the Lumberjack Marching Band, Homecoming queen, class favorite and named an SFA beauty. She retired from her teaching career at Pine Tree High School.

Peggy Wedgeworth Wright

Major SFA donor Peggy Wedgeworth Wright passed away Nov. 26.

Peggy lived her entire life in Nacogdoches County. Starting in the fifth grade, she attended classes at the Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College’s advanced educational program named the Demonstration School. In 1940, she moved into the regular collegiate program at SFA, majoring in music and English.

During her first year of college, she accepted a blind date with Tom Wright. Two years later, the couple married. During the 29 months they were separated by Tom’s military service in Europe, Peggy completed her college degree. After the war, Tom rejoined his family’s business, Texas Farm Products Company of Nacogdoches. The couple was married for 70 years until Tom’s death in 2012.

In the late 1960s, as her alma mater moved from college to university status, Peggy played an important role in the transition and expansion of the Ex-Student Association into the modern Alumni Association. On the eve of becoming the association’s president, Texas Gov. Dolph Briscoe, in recognition of her work, appointed Peggy to the newly created SFA Board of Regents. She served two official terms as a regent, from 1973 to 1983 and from 1987 to 1993. She became the first woman to hold the position of chairman of the board, an elected office she held twice, from 1980 to 1982 and from 1988 to 1990.

To advance and coordinate SFA endowments, Peggy helped establish and led as treasurer of the SFASU Foundation. Throughout her association with the university, she worked closely with six presidents, countless administrative and planning commissions, and periodic celebratory groups to mark the university’s anniversaries.

In addition to service, the Wrights generously gave to SFA. They endowed a lecture series and later consolidated their gifts into the Wedgeworth-Wright Endowment for the Arts. To acknowledge her varied contributions, the SFA Friends of the Arts celebrated Peggy’s life by bestowing the title of East Texas Cultural Leader of the Year in 1997. During that same year, she was honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters — the highest honor the institution bestows and the only woman to have received this distinction. The regents followed in 1999 by naming the music building in honor of Tom and Peggy Wright.

Peggy’s other accolades include director, Citizens 1st Bank of Nacogdoches; regent for the Nacogdoches chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution; All American Donor, SFA Athletic Fund; Distinguished Member Award, President’s Club, and Honorary Life Member, SFA Alumni Association; Honorary Member, SFA Women’s Club; Board of Directors, SFA Center for Economic Education of the State of Texas; and Governor’s Board, Texas Arts Alliance.

In Memoriam

Name Class Hometown Date
Ted B. Adams 1965 Lufkin Dec. 12
Dorothea J. "Janie" Arriola SFA Student Nacogdoches Dec. 2
Madge G. Askonas 1942 Chattanooga, Tennessee Dec. 24
Jerry M. Bacon 1980 Lindale Nov. 17
Susan K. Bell 1979 Allen Dec. 10
Mary G. Blake 1941 Marietta, Georgia Oct. 8
Virginia L. Blankenship 1973 Center Sept. 26
Gregory C. Bond 1977 & 1980 Irving Nov. 6
Jean Rayford Bradshaw 1964 & 1972 New London Nov. 9
Frankie J. Bridges 1972 Texarkana Oct. 13
Sarah M. Camfield 1999 Brazoria Dec. 26
George M. Cammack 1968 Nacogdoches Sept. 3
Ruby Ann Casillas 1969 Ennis Feb. 18, 2019
Samuel E. Colburn 1948 Tyler Nov. 26
Mary E. Corbett 1978 & 1997 Nacogdoches Oct. 21
Chad Lee Coulter 1995 Orangefield Jan. 6
Leah E. Dorsey 1986 Dallas Oct. 2
Winola W. Ellis 1952 Center Dec. 4
Mozelle A. Garrison 1969 Henderson Dec. 2
Carl Clifton Gotti 2007 Fort Collins, Colorado Sept. 28
Janet E. Grainger 1976 Houston Dec. 27
Johnnie L. Henderson 1975 Greenville May 30
James C. Hines Jr. 1962 Jacksonville Oct. 24
Loretta L. Holbrook 1952 & 1958 Tyler Sept. 29
Gary W. Jay 1974 McKinney Nov. 28
Joan E. Johnson 1961 Huntington Sept. 25
Gilbert A. Kalinec 1960 & 1973 Gilmer Sept. 29
Joe D. Kuykendall 1984 Longview Nov. 3
Stephanie E. London 1995 Houston Dec. 23
Ginger I. Lustig SFA Student Jacksonville Nov. 9
Robert W. McCurry 1949 Granbury Nov. 16
Matthew Brett Nelson SFA Student Skidmore Feb. 17
Nathan D. Newton 1972 Huntsville Oct. 23
Sandra L. Nolan 1970 Waco Oct. 14
William F. Osborn II 1988 Bryan Oct. 12
Dr. John R. Pack 1959 Nacogdoches Sept. 17
Rocco B. Pelosi 2002 Cedar Park Nov. 8
Melba Pettiette former SFA employee Nacogdoches Sept. 1
Dorothy L. Rambin 1971 Nacogdoches May 31
Stephen E. Reese Jr. 1955 & 1977 Lewisville Dec. 31
Amanda S. Reilly 2001 Rowlett Oct. 21
Robert D. Rheiner Jr. 1963 Bakersfield, California Nov. 3
Joan S. Rhodes 1960 Nacogdoches June 8
Ina M. Rowell 1970 & 1974 Henderson Dec. 13
Dietrich Schoennagel 1976 Lufkin Sept. 28
Edwin Anthony Simon 1972 Cushing Nov. 19
Clara F. Skinner 1959, 1976 & 1980 Nacogdoches Nov. 11
Jannell R. Smith 1962 & 1975 Longview Oct. 24
Katharine M. Smith 1971 Dallas Oct. 7
Sandra Stanley-Stone 1989 Nacogdoches Nov. 5
Carolyn Starling 1985 Kilgore May 31
Dollie D. Stone 1949 Dayton Sept. 13
Richard D. Tallent 1955 & 1959 Nacogdoches Oct. 4
Edwin N. Tatum 1970 Platte City, Missouri Dec. 21
James P. Theriot 1960 Arlington Oct. 23
John B. Toner 1975 & 1991 San Augustine Nov. 15
Angela Rene Rose Turman 1984 Fresno, Texas June 20
Dr. Nelda S. Wellman 2006 Natchitoches, Louisiana Sept. 21
David S. West 1981 Fort Worth June 2
Odis R. Wheeler 1958 Nacogdoches Oct. 4
Dr. Thomas Joseph Wood 1961 & 1967 Council Hill, Oklahoma Feb. 16, 2019