2011 Class

Blanche Branham
Although Blanche Branham’s father didn’t attend high school, he stressed the value of an education. His daughter heeded her father’s advice and finished high school. However, when she married James Branham while still a high school student, she believed she would go no further in school. Fortunately, the G.I. bill gave James Branham the opportunity to return to school after World War II. After earning a two-year teacher certification at Pikeville College, James Branham began teaching. Blanche followed in his footsteps, enrolling in Pikeville College where she graduated in 1953.
 
An alumna of Eastern Kentucky State College, now Eastern Kentucky University, she graduated with her Rank I in 1972.
 
Branham taught and served as principal or supervisor for more than 41 years in Pike County, Breaks, Va., and Orlando, Fla. The majority of her tenure was spent as principal of Millard Elementary School. As principal for 21 years, she was honored when her school was chosen as one of “America’s Best Elementary Schools” by Redbook magazine in 1993.
 
She has been a member and officer of various professional organizations and is currently an active member of both the Pike County and the Kentucky Retired Teacher Associations.
 
She and her husband have two children, Teresa and Doug, who along with Branham’s son-in-law, graduated from Pikeville College. Two of her granddaughters, and their husbands, are also graduates of Pikeville College.
 
“As you can imagine, this gives me yet another reason to love and support my alma mater,” Branham said.
 

Paul Butcher
Paul Butcher played in the semi-pro baseball leagues and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Instead of pursuing a life in the big leagues, Butcher chose a career in education.
 
Butcher graduated from Meade Memorial High School in 1940 and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. His wife, Doris Butcher, encouraged him to return to school. Butcher attended Pikeville Junior College and coached the Academy boys’ basketball team from 1949-51. The team won the school’s only district championship.
 
Butcher completed his bachelor’s degree at Morehead State University and his master’s degree at the University of Kentucky. In 1958, he found his way back to Pikeville College and taught health and physical education and coached the freshman basketball team. He continued on as athletic director, varsity basketball and baseball coach, and teacher of health and physical education for more than 30 years. Butcher received KIAC Coach of the Year honors twice and his teams won two KIAC conference titles.
 
His daughters, Paula Thompson, Sue Huffman Stanley and Ruth Moore learned the significance of an education. All hold master’s degrees in education and have taught in both the secondary and collegiate levels.
 
“We all admired our father above all men. He showed us love, gave us a love for sports, showed us the importance for an education, and the love of God.”
 

James Clay
James Clay has dedicated his life to educating students and improving his community.
 
Clay graduated from Meadow Bridge High School in West Virginia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Pikeville College where he met his wife, Colleen Johnson Clay, also an educator. Clay earned a master’s degree in natural science from Middle Tennessee State University in 1967 and later a Rank I from Morehead State University.
 
Clay began his teaching career in Logan County, W.Va. After one semester, he returned to Kentucky to teach mathematics at Virgie High School. While there he developed the school’s first football program and sponsored other club organizations. After leaving Virgie, he served as principal of Robinson Creek Elementary School for 14 years.
 
His desire to help students kept him involved in extracurricular activities. Always putting students first, he was active in many community organizations, including Little League, and was the voice of the Virgie Eagles as a play-by-play announcer in the early 1980s.
 
Clay was a Title I supervisor, assistant Title I director and administrative assistant to the superintendent from 1990-98. While at the Pike County Board of Education he took on extra duties, including site based council trainer, bus driver trainer and GED testing coordinator. He also conducted ACT workshops.
 
During his public school service, Clay was an adjunct faculty member for Morehead State University and Pikeville College as well as a math instructor for Pikeville College for six years. He has been a leader in the community serving as deacon at Virgie Baptist Church, Sunday school teacher and director of music.
 

Jewell Cline
Lora Jewell Cline was born in Martin, Ky., the daughter of Henry and Lizzie Allen. She attended Pikeville College where she met her husband Perry Cline. They were married for 63 years at the time of her death in 2007.
 
Cline graduated from Pikeville Junior College’s teacher’s course in 1941. She was an active member of the Presbyterian Church, and for many years served as the teacher for its privately operated kindergarten.
 
By 1971, she had returned to college as a student and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education. She then pursued a master’s degree and doctorate of education through Morehead State University. She ultimately became a professor of education at Pikeville College where she retired. 
 
Following retirement, she and her husband lived in Ft. Myers, Fla., and then relocated to Middlesboro to be closer to their grandchildren.
 

Franklin Day
 
In taking the position of science teacher at Pikeville College, Franklin Day followed a logical course – he was a graduate of the College, having studied chemistry. In a 1942 issue of the student newspaper, The Record, Day said he would rather teach here than in any other school.
 
Day was born in Hindman, Ky., where his mother was a teacher – one of the “Quare Women” in Lucy Furman’s book of the same name – and his father was county school superintendent. For most of his life his home had been in Pikeville. After graduating from Pikeville College, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Duke University in Durham, N.C. He majored in chemistry with minors in physics and mathematics. His hobbies were photography, detective stories and collecting phonograph records.
 

C.H. Farley
 
Claude Herman (C.H.) Farley believed in the power of education to transform lives.
 
Farley was born at Lick Creek in 1902, the son of Clark Tolliver Farley and Anna May Bevins Farley. His grandfather, John Bevins, was appointed by the governor of Kentucky in 1844 as the first superintendent of the Pike County School System. As a teenager, C.H. Farley moved to Portsmouth, Ohio, to work as a crane operator at a steel mill for three years. Upon returning to Pike County, he attended Phelps Academy (a Presbyterian supported high school). It was there that he met his future wife, Kentucky Dotson Farley. 
 
He walked and hitched rides to Richmond, met the president of Eastern Kentucky University, a fellow Pike County native, and earned money to attend college by milking cows. After graduation from EKU, he was hired as a teacher in Floyd County and taught at Auxier for two years. In 1932 he was hired as superintendent of the Pike County School System, a position he retained until 1969.
 
He holds the record for the longest tenure as a school superintendent in the state of Kentucky. During his administration, he served as president of several organizations, including East Kentucky Education Association, Kentucky Education Association and Kentucky Association of School Superintendents.
 

Colleen Fletcher
 
Colleen Fletcher was born in Letcher County to Roy and Esta Craft Conway. She graduated from Pikeville High School, received her bachelor’s degree from Pikeville College and her master’s degree from Morehead State University. She taught one year at Phelps High School before teaching for 40 years at Pikeville Independent Elementary School.
 
Fletcher is a member of the KEA and Retired Teachers Association, Pikeville Woman’s Club, Daughters of the American Revolution and a past president and charter member of the Pikeville Junior Woman’s Club. She served on the Governor’s Advisory Committee for federal programs for Gov. Martha L. Collins. Fletcher is a member of the Presbyterian Church where she has served as a deacon.
 
Fletcher has received many honors, including Who’s Who Among America’s Teacher’s award, Outstanding Young Women of America, a Paul Harris Fellow and Kentucky Colonel.
 
She is currently serving on the WestCare Eastern Kentucky Community Council and the advisory board for the WestCare homeless shelter.
 
She and her husband, Walter “Doc” Fletcher, have twin daughters Meredith Elizabeth Owens, DVM, and Melanie Victoria Greene, DVM. Her sisters are Anna Ruth Wakeland, Judi Patton and Nanci Roy Matthew.
 

Robert Mayfield
 
A native of the region, Robert Mayfield came to Pikeville College in 1969 from Cincinnati, Ohio, as an assistant professor of psychology. During his 32 years at the College, Mayfield served in many roles, including instructor of psychology, chairman of the department of psychology, chairman of the division of education and psychology, vice president of academic affairs and dean of Pikeville College.
 
A much loved and respected professor, Mayfield was twice honored with the “Teaching Excellence Award.”
 
On a personal note, Mayfield would like everyone to know there is much he could say about his wonderful experiences at Pikeville College. He believes Pikeville College was the place God wanted him to be for those 32 years and feels blessed to have had the distinct pleasure to work with his students and peers.
 
“It truly was a blessed life,” he said. 

A.A. Page
 
Dr. Auguston Alvin Page was 41 when he became acting president of Pikeville College. In his year as acting president and the following 21 years as president, he influenced thousands of students.

In 1936, he came to Pikeville College to teach history. He was elected dean and director of teacher education in 1938.

Page had been president only a few months when, on Dec. 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. He proved he cared for the students when he took leave of the boys – and some girls – departing for military service as if they were his own.

Born in Taylor County in 1899, Page attended school in a one-room log schoolhouse. He graduated from Taylor High School before serving in the U.S. Army. From 1920-27 he taught school and attended college classes whenever possible. He received his bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky State Teachers College and his master’s degree from the University of Kentucky.

During Page’s administration, Pikeville College became a fully-accredited four-year college. In 1961, 183 students graduated from Pikeville College, the largest number to date in College history.

A dedicated fund raiser, Page traveled Kentucky and other states to secure monies to keep the institution running. Once asked how the College could afford to accept everyone, the president responded, “How can we afford not to? Pikeville College is proud that no student earnestly desiring a college education and meeting its scholastic requirements has ever been turned away because of lack of funds. Hard work is just as much a part of the Pikeville College program as is the academic curriculum.”
 

Mary Spilman
 
Mary Inglis Spilman came to Pikeville College in September 1918 where she remained for more than 50 years. In the ensuing decades, she became one of the school’s most beloved teachers.
 
Born in 1887 in Nokomis, Ill., Spilman was the daughter of a Presbyterian pastor. She attended Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, where she met Alice Hetty Record, daughter of the then-Pikeville College president. As the young women became friends, Alice Record told Spilman about Pikeville College. After graduation, Spilman returned to her family in Illinois and taught at the local high school. During this time she and Alice Record kept in touch, and in 1918, Dr. Record invited his daughter’s friend to become a teacher at Pikeville College with a $100 a month salary. Originally a math teacher, Spilman also taught courses on the Bible and foreign languages. She even coached the girls’ basketball team her first year at the College.
 
“The first day I arrived in Pikeville I knew I would like the town,” she related later. “The hills were so beautiful, so different from the flat plains of Illinois where I grew up. I fell in love with them at first sight.”
 
In 1957 Spilman was awarded an honorary degree. After her “retirement,” she became the director of Alumni Affairs. In 1964 the Mary I. Spilman Apartments for faculty members on campus were dedicated to her. The City of Pikeville named a street, Spilman Lane, after her.
 
“I have always loved the young people and my work,” she said late in her life. “I will ever be young at heart.”
 

Lon Rogers & Mary Evelyn Rogers
 
“Bloom where you’re planted.”
 
Mary Evelyn Rogers lived by that simple philosophy and through their efforts in the field of education as well as health and civic organizations, she and her husband, Lon Rogers, helped to ensure others had a chance to bloom.
 
A native of Greenville, Mary Evelyn received a bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky State Teacher’s College and taught in the Greenville City Schools where she initiated the physical education program for grades 4-12. 
 
Mary Evelyn, the 1934 Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival queen, was performing in a play when she met Lon, a Pikeville attorney who had traveled to Greenville to attend to family business. The two married in 1938 and Mary Evelyn moved to Pikeville with her husband. The couple had three children, Martha Brown Rogers Plaster, Marylon Walton Rogers Glass and Fon Rogers II.
 
Lon, who attended the Pikeville Collegiate Institute and Asheville School for Boys and graduated from Lexington High School, received his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Kentucky. He was admitted to practice before the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court and was an organizing member of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club of Pikeville, a past vice president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and a former member of the boards of Pikeville National Bank and the East Kentucky Beverage Commission.
 
Mary Evelyn was a member of the Council on Aging and the Kentucky Society of Arts and Letters and was involved with the Rogers Educational Trust, which benefits the University of Pikeville as well as Centre and Lindsey Wilson colleges. She was founder and former member of the boards of the Sandy Valley Girl Scout Council, the Pikeville Concert Association, Mountain Mental Health Association and the Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board of Eastern Kentucky.
 
Mary Evelyn and Lon served as Pikeville College trustees and both received honorary degrees from the institution. 
 
In a 1986 interview with the Appalachian News-Express, Lon reminisced about his school days at the Pikeville Collegiate Institute.
“I recall so well Dr. James F. Record’s chapel programs when he read the scriptures and gave daily sermonettes, and we all sang hymns together,” Lon said.
 
Although Mary Evelyn did not attend Pikeville College, she held a deep affection for the school and taught a personal improvement class at the College for 13 years. One of her daughters said of the class, “We all were improved by that … students and family alike.”
 
Shortly before her death in 2003, Mary Evelyn remarked to a friend, “I do love Pikeville College.”
 

Georgia Stapleton
 
Georgia Collins Stapleton, a Floyd County native, taught students at Lackey Elementary School for 10 years and Garrett Elementary School for two years. During her time at Garrett Elementary, Stapleton took summer classes in accounting and typing. She accepted a job in the accounting department at Elkhorn Coal Corporation and later worked at National Mines, a job she held for 25 years. She stayed home with her children and returned to substitute teaching once her youngest child was in school.
 
“We have to educate our children and I loved teaching,” Stapleton said. “From the time I was old enough to understand, my parents encouraged me go to college. And all my brothers and sisters and children graduated from college.”
 
Stapleton is part of a Pikeville College family. She graduated from Pikeville College in 1942. Her brother, Gorman Collins, graduated from the College in 1935, and her son attended Pikeville College’s mining technology program in 1976. Stapleton’s granddaughter, McKenzie, a University of Pikeville student and a cheerleader, plans to attend medical school.
 
Always active in her community, Stapleton, 90, line danced until a recent knee injury prevented her from doing so. During her nine years as a line dancer, she and her group traveled to nursing homes to sing and dance for the residents. She sometimes danced four days a week.
 

Frank Welch
 
A long-time educator, Frank Welch began teaching at Belfry High School in 1957. Throughout his career he worked as assistant principal, principal and superintendent as well as assistant dean of education at Morehead State University. The majority of his time as an educator was spent as superintendent of Pike County Schools.
 
Welch received his bachelor’s degree from Pikeville College, master’s degree from Morehead State University, Rank I from Eastern Kentucky University and he did post graduate work at Syracuse University.
 
A member of a number of educational organizations, Welch also serves on the Pikeville Rotary Club, the University of Pikeville and Morehead State University Alumni Associations and the Sidney Missionary Baptist Church.
 
Welch has received many educational leadership honors for his service to the field of education and his community. His honors included Kentucky State Secondary Principal of the Year, Kentucky State Superintendent of the Year and Top Ten Superintendent of the Nation. Most recently he received the KASA Pinnacle Award for Leadership, which is given to a retired administrator.
 
He and his wife Geraldine, have two daughters, Melody Coyle and Claudine Barrow, and three grandsons, Clay Coyle, Tanner Barrow and Brady Barrow.
 

Zella Wells
 
Zella Wells retired from the Johnson County Schools in 2008 where she was the assistant superintendent. She taught math for 26 years and served in various administrative capacities for 10 years. During that time she also taught classes for Pikeville College and Morehead State University.
 
Currently, she serves on the Johnson County/Paintsville Library Board of Directors, KEA-Retired Board of Directors and the Accreditation Audit Committee of the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board. 
 
Wells received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate of education from the University of Kentucky and is a lifetime member of the UK Alumni Association. She is a member of Mayo United Methodist Church, where she sings in the choir, the Delta Kappa Gamma – Tau Chapter, Phi Delta Kappa, KTRA, Friends of KET, Johnson County Retired Teachers and EKEA – Retired Board of Directors.
 
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