University of Texas,
Department of Physics History
Administrative and Secretarial Staff


Administrative and Secretarial Staff

Katherine Anne “Katie” Banks.

Katherine Banks was born March 14, 1898, in Fayette County, Texas to Francis Marion (December 4,1853–July 22, 1930) and Hemine Margaret Schaefer (December 21, 1862–July 30, 1957) Banks. Francis was born in Columbus, Mississippi and Hemine was born in Frankfort, Hesse, Germany, as were her parents. Hermine immigrated in 1883, the year she and Francis were married in Germany. Francis was in Germany, maybe working as an engineer as family members report. The family further stated that he lost an eye in a sword duel. German fraternities were famous at this time for duels resulting in injuries. If a German physician did not have a dueling scar on his face, you were to question his credentials. Francis, however lists his profession as farmer on the 1883 Hamburg-New York Passenger List. They traveled in 2nd Cabin and had 3 pieces of luggage.

Francis was a school teacher in the 1900 Census. He later ran the Rest Haven Cash Grocery at 3508 Duval St. (1927, 1929). Katherine was one of eight children, Mary “Mamie Sophie Banks Romberg (1883-1965), Thomas Gray (1887-1985), Edward “Ned” Schaefer (1890-1967), Fredrick Marion (1893-1990), Katherine Anne (1898-1954), Susie Frances Wakeley (1902-99), James Oliver (1904-97) and Hermine Margaret “Peggy” Casey (1909-2003). The children’s birthplaces include, Kinney, Nelsonville, and Fayetteville, Texas.

Katie’s sister Mamie married Ernst Romberg, the brother of Professor Arnold Romberg in the UT Physics Department. Click here for picture of them with Romberg family in Black Jack Springs, Texas. More about the Rombergs.




Katie's brother, Edward "Ned" Schaefer Banks is shown at right.

In April of 1929, Katie’s brother Thomas Gray Banks, a civil engineer living in Oklahoma City, applied for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution as a descendent of James Jones of North Carolina. James Jones was a member of the Provincial Congress of N. Carolina, 1776, Captain of 3rd Company, 1st Regiment of Eight Horse Calvary of NC and member of the State Senate of NC in 1777. Thomas, named for his grandfather, was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Engineers, U. S. Army, May 24, 1918 and assigned 47th Engrs. June 1918. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and served overseas. He was promoted to Captain in May 1919 and returned to US July 1919 and discharged in August. The application for membership in SAR was approved April 25, 1929.

In 1900, the family is living in Precinct 6, the west part of Austin. In 1920, Katie is living in Johnson County, TX on Garfield Road, she is single and teaching in the Garfield school along with her father and sister Susie.

Katie served as the physics department office secretary from 1929-54. She also was department librarian during some of this time. She apparently attended four years of college, which school is currently not known.

On November 11, 1954, Katie died of sudden heart failure at her residence, 3508 Duval Street, while serving as Secretary for the UT Physics Department. She never married. She was buried November 13, 1954 in Austin Memorial Park Cemetery. Informant on death certificate Mrs. Newman Casey. In 1932, Newman Fay Casey was a teacher at a Junior High School in Austin. He was the husband of Hermine Margaret Banks, so the informant was Katie’s sister, shown at right in 1928 in UT Cactus yearbook. She lived in Georgetown, TX.





Shirley Burleson,

Shirley Burleson was the Physics Undergraduate Senior Secretary from January 1977 to 1979. She worked for Myrna Payne and Dr. Lothar Frommhold, the undergraduate adviser.

Shirley was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, and attended MacArthur High School. She attended college at the University of Texas from 1971 to 1976, when she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. In January 1977, she came to work in the Physics Department. Dr. Thomas Griffy was the chairman and Dr. Austin Gleeson was the graduate adviser.

In 1979, she took a promotion and moved to the Office of Graduate Studies, where she worked with Dr. Phil Schmidt and Dr. Steve Hazlett. After marrying Ramon Espinosa in 1980, she returned to graduate school in Library and Information Science, still working part-time for the University in the Speech Communications Department with Dr. Martin Todaro.

In 1982, Shirley and her husband, Ramon, moved to Houston where they still live in Spring Branch. Her Houston career included librarian jobs with Houston Public Libraries, Brown and Root, The University of Houston, Houston Lighting and Power, Exxon, Shell Oil, and the Spring Branch Independent School District.

In 1987, her daughter Kimberley was born, who is a professional photographer and office manager in New York City. Kimberley has continued the UT tradition and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in photojournalism.

Shirley and Ramon still visit and enjoy Austin and the surrounding areas. They often wished they had never moved!!

Kim Cuddy

Shirley Hurt

Shirley Benwell Hurt worked for the Fusion Research Center as procurement officer. She retired in 1990. Shirly lovedd to travel. See more about her at Shirley Benwell Hurt.





















Lopez, Angelica


Susie L. Luckey (1888–).

Susie Luckey was a stenographer and did most of the typing for the department in 1908–10. She was paid by the job as we can see in the Board of Regents report where she appears five time. In the 1910 Census, she listed her employer as UT Austin. Her mother, Lena Bergstrom Luckey (1856–1958), was born in Sweden and her father, John F. Luckey (1855–1908) was born in Texas. Both are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, TX. They lived at 2708 Nueces Street. Brother Raymond was stenographer also.









Martha Frances Varnell MacDonald.

Martha was the Undergraduate Secretary from 1968 to 1971. Martha was born in Shreveport, LA, but moved to Corpus Christi when only a year old. At ten, the family moved to Waco where Martha where earned a B. Music Ed. degree from Baylor University in 1961. She next earned a Masters in Music from the University of Michigan in 1963. It was in Michigan that she met her husband Robert “Bob” Claude MacDonald. In 1986, Martha received a DMA from the University of Texas. She is an active chamber musician and has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe as clarinetist with the Austin Chamber Ensemble and Trio Contraste, a violin, clarinet, piano trio. She can be heard in recordings on the International Clarinet Association CD Project and Chamber Music of Kathryn Mishell. She has taught woodwinds formerly in the Detroit and Houston areas, and at the American School of The Hague, The University of Texas and St. Stephens Episcopal School in Austin. In addition to performing she is Executive Director of the Austin Chamber Ensemble, President of Austin Young Artists Concerts, and maintains a private music studio of clarinet, flute and piano students.

Martha was married to Robert “Bob” Claude MacDonald (1941-2014). Bob (at right) met Martha at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she was a graduate student in the Music School. They married September 7, 1962, in Waco, Texas, and celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2012. Bob earned a PhD at UT in Petroleum Engineering. After living in Houston, Austin, and The Hague, Netherlands, through the 1960s and 1970s, Bob and Martha moved their family to Austin for the second time in 1978, where they have lived since. They have two sons, Robert Scott MacDonald and wife Glenda Pittman of Austin and Richard Charles MacDonald of Los Angeles, and two grandchildren, Katherine MacDonald of New York and Thomas MacDonald of Austin. Bob died in 2014.


Lois Holt Mallory.

Lois Holt was a secretary and typist as well as a physics student in the physics department in the period following WWII, 1947–51. it was a time of many returning service men and a time in which faculty left their military-related research to return to more main stream physics. Lois knew many of the faculty, staff and graduate students. She typed manuscripts, letters, research papers, reports and even the book on photography written by Professor Kuehne. Lois also has continued her support for the physics department. From her home in Albuquerque, she has dedicated countless hours to proofreading the articles in this website. For more information about Lois click her name above.


Bliss Toler

Bliss Toler was a secretary in department about 1950s.





Bonnie C. Montgomery.

Bonnie Montgomery was born Austin, Texas. She graduated from Travis High School. She worked at the old Scarborough’s Department Store downtown while in high school. She married her high school sweetheart, Philip Montgomery, who was in the service and they lived in Germany for a year or so. When they came back to Austin she started her UT career. She worked in the Registrar’s Office before joining the History Department, where she was Graduate Secretary for five years. Then she went back to Registrar’s Office as Assistant Registrar. She was there when they first held registration in the Frank Erwin Center, and it was her responsibility to work out the logistics of making registration work in the new quarters. She next joined the Physics Department as Graduate Secretary and served about a year. After the year, the History Executive Assistant, who was planning to retire, asked her to come back to History. She worked as the Chairman’s secretary and Administrative Associate, while being trained to assume the Executive Assistant position, which she held until she retired 15 to 20 years later. In all, she worked for UT more than 30 years. During her time in History she was was honored with two Staff Excellence Awards, and maybe even awards given by College of Liberal Arts. (From information provided by Mary Helen Quinn.)

Pat Morgan.

Pat was the Administrative Secretary for Undergraduate Affairs.





Susan and Pete Antoniewicz, Pat Morgan, Mel Oakes, Olga Vorlou, 3/14/07, home of Mel Oakes

Norma Kotz.

Norma was the Administrative Secretary for Graduate Affairs. She was honored in 1995 with a College of Natural Sciences Staff Award.

Norma Kotz advising students.


Myrna Kay Payne.

Myrna Payne was born in Muskogee, OK in 1942. She attended Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, OK, graduating in 1960.
One of Myrna’s long time interests was singing. While at Will Rogers High School, she was a member of several choirs. She is shown in the picture below as a member of the LassO’s, a sophomore vocal organization. Myrna is second from the left in the second row.



After working for three years on the Keystone Dam and Reservoir project (near Sand Springs, OK) as a Clerk Stenographer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, she attended Abilene Christian College in Abilene, TX, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education in 1966. While at ACC, she was selected for Kappa Delta Pi, an honor society for outstanding future teachers. Its membership is limited to the top 10 percent of those entering the field of education. She is shown at left end of first row.


For four years she taught language arts and arithmetic to sixth graders in the Tulsa Public Schools, while beginning graduate study at UT Austin during the summers.

She relocated to Austin in 1970 to continue graduate study while working as the Graduate Secretary in the UT philosophy department.

After living abroad (in London) for a year, she returned to Austin to finish a Master of Arts degree from UT in 1975, while working in the English education department. Her thesis was entitled, “ The Concept of Self and Its Influence on Achievement.”

She joined the physics department as Graduate Administrator in 1975, and five years later left the department to accept a position in the office of the Dean of Engineering.

In 1981, she moved to New York where she enjoyed a 32-year career with Tishman Construction Corporation, the construction manager for many of New York’s skyscrapers, including the original twin towers at the World Trade Center.

For 30 years, Myrna has participated in a recorder consort— a group of musicians all playing the same instrument in concert. The group performs at churches, nursing homes and receptions.

She retired in August 2012, and continues to make New York her home. In the summer of 2013 she visited Austin. Below is a picture, L to R, Myrna, Martha and Janee Trybyszewski and Mel Oakes.


Catherine Joyce Patton.

Cstherine Joyce Patton was born August 16th, 1932, in Amarillo, Texas, to Edd and DeEtte Lovell. She was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth "Red" Patton; and her brother, Leslie Lovell. She was survived by her two sons, Edd and Patrick Patton; Pat's wife, Lisa and daughter, Gracie; and Edd's daughter, India. Joyce and Red lived in Round Rock since 1980.

Joyce was a lifelong lover of books and reading, graduating from Southwestern University in Georgetown. At right are several pictures of Joyce from the 1952 and 1953 Southwestern University Yearbooks. She taught school for a short time before working at Austin White Lime in Round Rock for years. Her longest career was at UT Austin in the Physics Department. She was greatly valued and respected there, and helped many students.

She once attended dinner with Stephen Hawking at his request while at UT, since she had been of such help arranging his visit. She also helped a faculty member from France, Cécile DeWitt-Morette, set up a school there one summer. The Patton family frequently hosted foreign students at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners as the students were unable to travel to their home countries.

Joyce was an excellent wife and mother and touched many lives at UT and elsewhere. Many nieces, nephews, and others remarked on how special she was. She mostly held herself above the fray, being respectful and relentlessly courteous. She was sharply intelligent but was judicious in offering opinions. Joyce died June 18, 2014.












Mary Helen Spear Quinn.

Mary Helen Spear Quinn worked in the Undergraduate Office. She later became the Graduate Coordinator for the History Department served there from August 1979 to August 2002 until she retired.


Mary Helen was born in 1932 in Cameron County, Texas, to Wilfred G. and Irene Kaatz Spear. Her father was born in Indiana and her mother in Wisconsin. Mary Helen was a childhood friend of David and Janie Gavenda. All three attended Rio Hondo High School. She was in the Class of 1949. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas in 1953. Her Daily Texan staff picture is shown at right. She lives in South Austin. A Summer Research Fellowship in the UT history department bears her name.



Connie Rhoades





Karon Selman




Janee M. Richardson Trybyszewski

Janee M. (Richardson) Trybyszewski was born in San Saba, Texas, in 1924 to Louis and Marion Richardson. She was their third child. Jerrell and Louise were her older brother and sister. Louis became a barber following a baseball career in the Chicago White Sox farm system. Janee attended San Saba High School, graduating in 1941. Following graduation she entered Durham’s Business College in Austin, Texas. She lived in the home of Rebekah Baines Johnson, widowed mother of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. She completed her training there in 1942 and was employed as a stenographer by the State Department of Public Welfare, Child Welfare Div. During this period she met Captain Felix J. Trybyszewski from Ohio and they were married in 1943. In 1945, Janee was a Legal Secretary for the Wilkinson, Johnson, Griffin, Hohanon & Ragsdale Law Firm in Brownwood, Texas. For the next years she lived the military life, their daughter Martha was born in 1946 in Henderson, Nevada and son Joseph in 1949 in Sacramento, CA. Tragically her husband died during the Korean War in 1952. Janee and the children returned to Texas, and she became a Legal Secretary for Alvis & Carsow Law Firm in Austin until 1960, when she left to become the secretary for State Representative Robert Fairchild in Center, TX. During the period 1964 to 67, she was first secretary to State Representative Charlie Jungmichel from La Grange and then secretary to Senator Murray Watson of Waco. In 1967, she was hired as the Administrative Secretary for the University of Texas Chemistry Department. She left this position in 1970 to become Administrative Secretary and Executive Assistant to the University of Texas Physics Department. A position she held until her retirement on January 31, 1987 after 16 years.

Dorothy Walker

Dorothy Walker was hired as Mel Oakes’ secretary in Plasma Physics. She was first African-American hired in the department. She later became a senior technical secretary for the department, serving in this position until she retired in 2003 for health reasons. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor in April of 2002. Her cheerful willingness to help was highly appreciated by faculty, staff, and especially graduate students. She died in 2004 leaving a son, Steven Walker. Here is the eulogy given by Mel Oakes at Dorothy’s funeral.

“To be around Dorothy for any length of time would not lead you to conclude that here was a trailblazer. In fact, a running joke I had with her involved my question "When are you going to go see Ben White Boulevard, maybe on your next vacation?" Yet Dorothy was a trailblazer. As the ‘60's came to an end, Dorothy joined the physics department as one of the secretaries in the plasma physics group. The Personnel Office sent her for an interview. She was fresh out of secretarial school and eager to learn, so fresh, in fact, that the first day of work she requested permission to go to the restroom.’

“When Dorothy joined us, I believe there was only one black secretary at the time in the College. Despite the general goodwill of the people around her, I knew it would be a lonely environment. What impressed me, however, was that Dorothy did not think there would be a problem. She simply wanted to do a good job for everyone That is her legacy.’

“Over the years she worked hard at learning the new skills that technology introduced into her profession. I knew she was working after hours to become proficient with computers and new software. She kept accounts, did appointments and travel, and even learned to do the most difficult and dreaded job at the University- purchasing.’

“A hallmark of Dorothy was her cheerfulness. I don't recall a single occasion where a student or staff member made a request and received other than an enthusiastic promise to take care of it. She was willing to seek help if she didn't know the answer. She did not like to tell anyone no. All of us here today can tell stories about Dorothy. Most would involve her kindness, humility and her eagerness to serve.’

“She won one the first University Staff Excellence Award.'

“Dorothy loved her family and her church. She was extremely proud of her son Steve. Those of us who have witnessed over the last months Steve's loving care of his mother understand that her pride was not misplaced.’

“When she retired, it was obvious that she missed her UT family and that this family missed her. The day Dorothy received the nightmarish news of her illness was very difficult for her as it would have been for any of us. Few of us would have resolved as quickly as she did to do everything in her power to fight the disease and trust in her faith to see her through. I think we can all hope that we could be as courageous in such circumstances. She not only taught us much about living but much about dying.’

“Dorothy was a much-valued colleague and we all feel saddened and cheated by her most premature death.”

Carolyn Valentine

Carolyn was administrative secretary for the Fusion Research Center. At right is photo of Carolyn at her desk on 11th level of RLM. The early Macintosh computer behind her would place the photo about 1984-85.







Jane Williamson Wardlaw

Jane Wallace Williamson Wardlaw, (July 3, 1918–Feb 24, 1969) was born in Black Swamp, Florence, South Carolina to George L. and Harriett Brown Williamson in South Carolina. She married Frank Wardlaw in 1940. Frank was head of University of Texas Press. They had two daughters and two sons.. Jane was daughter of George L. Williamson and Harriet Brown. She was Harold Hanson's administrative assistant during his term as Chair. She is buried in Austin Memorial Park Cemetery.

Glenn Suchan





Annette Nava

Undergraduate Secretary 1990s



Debbie Ledbetter




Helen Hare Book (1924–2014)
Assistant to Katy Banks

Lucy Helen Hare was born on August 18, 1924, in Dallas, Texas to Elbert Lester and Alice Gertrude Roberts Hare. Lucy Helen Hare married Hubert Ellis "George" Book in Galveston, Texas, in 1947, when he was 28 years old and she was 23. Hubert was in the University of Texas School of Pharmacy and during that time Helen worked in the physics department as a secretary. Helen and John had three children: Nancy, Marilyn and John. Helen siblings included: Elbert L. Hare, Robert S. Hare, Almon Roberts Hare, Alice Novlyn Hare (Keeling) and Virginia Lee Hare (Durham). Her brother, Lt.Almon Roberts Hare, was killed in action on December 29, 19443 in Arawe, New Britain, Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific. He was a member of the 112th Cavalry. Helen died in 2014.




Hubert Book Obituary: Hubert Ellis "George" Book of North Little Rock, born November 20, 1919, in Calvert, Texas went to be with his Maker September 17, 2007.

He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Helen; daughters, Marilyn Book, of Bentonville, AR; Nancy Crockett and husband, John, of Evening Shade, AR; son, John Book and wife, Brenda, of Beebe, AR; seven grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.

George proudly served in the South Pacific Theatre in WWII for which he earned a purple heart. He was an avid sportsman, member of Farmville, AR Hunting Club.

Graveside service will be 12:00 noon, September 19, 2007 at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery, 1501 West Maryland Ave., North Little Rock, AR. Arrangements made by Roller-Owens Funeral Home (501-791-7400)















Above, left to right.we see Helen with granddaughter, Laura Kovach, (who provided these photos), Helen and ?, and Hurbert and Helen.

Olga Vorloou
Norma Kotz
Sadie Russell
Connie Rhoades
Kay Baker
Glen Suchan, Procument Officer
Dale Campbell, Administrative Associate
Helen Kubiak Oelrich (1975-78)
Arlene Wendt
Caroline Valentine

Sadie Russell



Staff Photo Album

Janee M. Richardson Trybyszewski
Myrna Payne
Myrna Payne

Karen Selman and Tom Griffy


Unknown, please identify
Tom Griffy and Shirley Burleson
Walter "Wally" Reuter Procurement Office
Tammy Hudson
Shirley Hurt with Ken Gentle
Olga Vorloou, Executive Assistant
Norma Kotz And Annette Nava
Norma Kotz
Mary Nell Gamboa
Janee M. Richardson Trybyszewski And Roger Bengtson
Jan Dunn Chair's Secretary
Jan Dunn, Chair Secretary
Glenn Suchan, Procurement Officer
Dottie Peterson
Dottie Peterson
Dorothy Walker, Department Secretary
Dorothy Walker, Department Secretary
Donna Williams
Annette Nava, Undergraduate Secretary
Annette Nava, Undergraduate Secretary

Adele Traverso, Theory Group Secretary








Sadie Russell, Myrna Payne, ?, Karon Selman



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