Dr. Lou H. Rodenberger died peacefully April 9 at her home north of Cross Plains. Her funeral is scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday April 11 at the First United Methodist Church in Cross Plains. The service will be conducted by Rev. Dr. Robert Monk and Rev. John Woody.
Dr. Molcie Lou Halsell Rodenberger was born September 21, 1926 in Okra, TX to Austin Carl and Mabel Falls Halsell. She attended schools at the many schools where her parents taught in West Central Texas. She started high school in Cross Plains but graduated from Anson as Valedictorian. At age 16 she entered Texas State College for Women graduating with a BS degree in Journalism in 1943. She worked for the Kerrville Times before becoming the English and Journalism teacher at Levelland High School in 1947. There she met and married Charles A. Rodenberger Sept. 3, 1949.
When Texas A&M admitted women she became one of the first graduate students obtaining her Masters and PhD degrees in English. She was honored as an outstanding graduate student teacher. In 1982 they moved to Abilene where she taught English at Cooper High School for two years. She then moved to the home they built north of Cross Plains where she commuted to teach first at Cisco Junior College then taught for 12 years at McMurry University where she retired as Professor Emeritus and was honored twice as the outstanding faculty member.
As an author she published a number of books primarily on Texas Women Writers. Her latest book published by Texas Tech University Press was a biography of the West Texas author Jane Rushing who worked at the Abilene Reporter-News and wrote in Lubbock. Her best selling book was Quotable Texas Women co-authored with Susie Flatau and published by State House Press. With co-author Dr. Sylvia Grider she wrote Texas Women Writers and Letís Hear It: Short Stories by Texas Women published by Texas A&M Press. She published many essays and articles with her story of Tom Lea published in the Round Up winning the Stirrup Award in 2007 and an article in 2008 winning the 2009 Award from the Western Writers of America.
Dr. Rodenberger is a regent of Texas Womanís University where she was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award. She served on the TWU Foundation and was active in the Texas Womens Library at TWU. She is a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association, served as President and awarded a Fellow of the Texas Folklore Society, served as President and awarded one of the first fellows of the West Texas Historical Society and was a director of Western Writers of America. She was a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and served as director. She served on the executive committee of the Western Literature Association.
She was a member of the Cross Plains First United Methodist Church and a supporter of the Cross Plains Public Library and Project Pride.
She is survived by her husband Dr. Charles A. Rodenberger, Baird, TX, daughter Kathryn Sue Wilcox and husband Keith of San Antonio, son Mark Rodenberger and wife Mary Kathryn of Weatherford, TX, granddaughters Valerie Wilcox of San Antonio, Vanessa Wilcox of Lubbock, Ashley Pagenkopf and husband Ross of Fort Worth, grandsons Jim Wilcox and wife Mandi of Devine, TX and Jon-Marc Wilcox of San Antonio as well as great-grandsons Christopher and Brent Wilcox of Devine. Her sister Sue Neal and husband Ike of Cross Plains. She has many nephews and nieces and former students and friends.
Burial will be in Admiral Cemetery where her parents are buried.
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