Lou Halsell Rodenberger
|Lou Halsell Rodenberger|
September 21, 1926|
Eastland County, Texas, U.S.
|Died||April 9, 2009
Callahan County, Texas, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Charles A. Rodenberger
(m. September 3, 1949–April 9, 2009; her death)
|Children||Kathryn Sue Rodenberger Wilcox
Charles Mark Rodenberger
Molcie Lou Halsell was born in rural Eastland County, Texas in a small community named Okra.) to educators, Austin Carl Halsell (1899–1993) and the former Mabel Falls (1904–2000). She began high school in Cross Plains, Texas but graduated as valedictorian from Anson High School, Anson, Texas.
At age 16, she entered Texas Woman's University in Denton (then Texas State College for Women) and procured in 1943 a bachelor of science degree in journalism. She worked for the Kerrville Times, before she accepted an appointment in 1947 as an English and journalism teacher at Levelland High School. While in Levelland, she married Charles A. Rodenberger on September 3, 1949.
When Texas A&M University in College Station first admitted women, Rodenberger became one of its first women graduate students, having obtained both her Master of Arts and Ph.D., in English. She was honored as an outstanding graduate student teacher. In 1982, the Rodenbergers moved to Abilene, where she taught English at Cooper High School for two years, from 1982 through 1984. She then settled in Cross Plains and commuted to teach at Cisco Junior College in Cisco, the seat of her native Eastland County, and then for twelve years at Methodist-affiliated McMurry University in Abilene. She retired as professor emerita at McMurry and was honored twice as the outstanding faculty member there.
Her publications were primarily on Texas women writers. Her most recent book, published by Texas Tech University Press, is a biography of the West Texas author Jane Gilmore Rushing who worked at the Abilene Reporter-News before becoming a full-time writer based in Lubbock. With Susie Kelly Flatau, Rodenberger co-authored Quotable Texas Women, published by McMurry's State House Press. With co-author Sylvia Grider, she penned Texas Women Writers and Let's Hear It: Short Stories by Texas Women, published by the Texas A&M University Press. Her other works included Her Work: Stories by Texas Women and Writing on the Wind: An Anthology of West Texas Women Writers.
Rodenberger also published many essays and articles. In 2007, she received the Stirrup Award for best article in Roundup, a publication of Western Writers of America. Her article is entitled "Tom Lea, Novelist: The Eyes of an Artist, the Ears of a Writer."
The Texas Tech Press has established an award in her name for the best manuscript written by or about a woman whose writing illuminates Texas history, culture and letters, especially in West Texas and the border region.
Rodenberger was a Texas Woman's University regent and "Distinguished Alumna", served on the TWU Foundation, and was active in the Texas Women's Library at TWU. She was a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association and also active in the West Texas Historical Association, which named her as a "fellow" shortly before her death. She formerly received a fellowship from the Texas Folklore Society. She was a member and former director of the Texas Institute of Letters and served on the executive committee of the Western Literature Association.
Family and death
Rodenberger was a member of the Cross Plains First United Methodist Church and a supporter of the Cross Plains Public Library. In addition to her husband, she was survived by a daughter, Kathryn Sue Wilcox and husband, James Keith Wilcox, of San Antonio; a son, Charles Mark Rodenberger and wife, Mary Kathryn, of Weatherford, the seat of Parker County west of Fort Worth; a sister, Sue H. Neal and husband, Ike, of Cross Plains; five grandchildren, and two great-grandsons.
Rodenberger died of ovarian cancer at her home in Admiral, Texas, a small community southeast of Baird, the seat of Callahan County located north of Cross Plains. Services were held on April 11, 2009, at the First United Methodist Church in Cross Plains. Interment was at Admiral Cemetery southeast of Baird.
- "Handbook of Texas". tshaonline.org. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- "Social Security Death Index". Rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- "Lou H. Rodenberger". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- "Another Goodbye". Robert E. Howard United Press Association. Retrieved April 14, 2009.
- ""News from the Membership", 2006-2008". West Texas Historical Association. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Bennett, Elizabeth (October 19, 1997). "Sampler of Texas women's writings heavy on Anglo fiction. Review of Texas Women Writers: A Tradition of Their Own Edited by Sylvia Ann Grider and Lou Halsell Rodenberger". Retrieved 2008-07-03.
- Milligan, Jessie (August 7, 2005). "Desert bloom. Review of Writing on the Wind, An Anthology of West Texas Women Writers edited by Lou Halsell Rodenberger, Laura Payne Butler and Jacqueline Kolosov Texas Tech University Press, $21.95". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. p. D6. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
- Milligan, Jessie (August 10, 2005). "Female authors populate West Texas with vibrant humanity". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved 2008-07-03.