My KU Story: KU Kin

Families have a variety of traditions they hold near and dear. In the case of Clyde Toland’s family, attending KU seems to be one of their strongest traditions. As a gift, Toland recently compiled a detailed family history, called “KU Kin,” which listed 31 KU graduates (19 men and 12 women) dating as far back as 1906 and as recently as 2011.

Toland shared his family story with us and it was too good not to share. The account spans 17 pages, so what we’ve included here are a couple of excerpts: Graduates, a listing of the family members who graduated from KU and their degrees; and Jayhawk Mergers, detailing the marriages that resulted from the family’s connections to KU.

Toland is a College alumnus who earned his B.A. in history in 1969 and a KU law degree in 1975, compiled a detailed history of his family’s ties to the University of Kansas. He was one of the first recipients of the College’s Distinguished Alumni award, in 1997.


This is a list of my University of Kansas relatives, including both my own immediate family members, and those family members on my mother’s side who graduated from KU or who attended KU but did not graduate. The relationship shown after each person’s name is the relationship of that individual to me. I have used myself as a convenient starting point from which to tie all of the various relationships together. Names are listed by family where there are multiple graduates in that particular branch of the family (families are separated by asterisks).

I have prepared this as a Christmas gift for my immediate family and for the members of our extended family. It has been a fun project, and, with this foundation in place, I hope that the recipients will now add their own unique KU memories so that they may be preserved “to the end of time” or for a reasonable approximation thereof!

Clyde Toland BA 1969 (History), JD (Juris Doctor) 1975

Nancy (Hummel) Toland (Wife) MA 1974 (Education)

David Toland  (Son) BA 1999 (Political Science), MPA (Master of Public Administration) 2001

Elizabeth (Huddleston) Toland (Son’s wife) BS 2000 (Education), MS 2001 (Education)

Andrew Toland (Son) BA 2002 (Geography)

Elizabeth (Toland) Smith (Daughter)  BS 2005 (Education)


Stanley Toland (Father) (1907-1995) BA 1930 (Political Science), LLB (Bachelor of Laws) 1932,  JD 1968

June (Thompson) Toland (Mother) (Age 98) BA 1936 (Political Science)


John Toland (Brother) (1944-2006) BA 1966 (Economics), JD 1969

Carol (Toland) Napp (Niece) BA 2004 (English and Mathematics), JD 2008

Scott Toland (Nephew) BA 2010 (Political Science) and BS 2010 (Journalism)


Frank Thompson, Sr. (Uncle) (1916-1984) BA 1938, LLB 1940, JD 1968

Frank Thompson, Jr. (Cousin) BA 1964 (“Special Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences”)

Ann (Curry) Thompson (Cousin’s wife) BA 1966 (French)

Kathleen Thompson (Cousin who married Lanny Fellers)  BA 1967 (English and Philosophy)

Lanny Fellers (Cousin’s husband)  (1942-2009) BA 1968 (Speech and Drama)

Richard Thompson (Cousin) (1952-1981) BGS (Bachelor of General Studies) 1974 (History and Political Science )

Janet (Rieke) O’Neal (Cousin Richard Thompson’s wife; after his death in an auto accident, Janet married Mike O’Neal who adopted Richard and Janet’s son, Judd Thompson) BS 1974 (Education)

Judd Thompson-O’Neal (Cousin’s son) BA 2002 (Economics and Psychology)

Anne (Mantey) O’Neal (Cousin’s son’s wife) BS 2003 (Journalism)


Harold Ford, Sr. (Aunt Charlotte Thompson’s husband) (1909-1999) BS 1932  (Medicine) (granted by College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) and MD 1932 (granted by the School of Medicine)


Lucy Lee (Thompson) McDowell (Aunt) (Age 91) BS 1943 (Business Administration)


Clyde Thompson, Jr. (Uncle) (Age 82) BS 1952 (Business)

Mark Thompson (Cousin) JD 1980

Todd Thompson (Cousin) BS 1985 (Business Administration)


Mary Christmas (Wilson) Rosebush (Great-aunt) (1884-1973)  BA 1906
“Her voice was soft, gentle and low—an excellen[t] thing in a woman” (Jayhawker)

Robert Rosebush, Sr. (My mother’s cousin)  (1913-1996) BS 1936 (Business)

Kenneth Rosebush, Sr. (My mother’s cousin) (1918-2006) BS 1941 (Petroleum Engineering)


James Hall (Second cousin) BS 1976 (Journalism), JD 1982


Michael Page (Second cousin) BA 1982 (Political Science) and BA 1986 (Public Policy and Personnel Administration)

Lauren Page (Second cousin Eric Page’s daughter) BSN 2011 (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)

Jayhawk Mergers

KU provided both academic and romantic opportunities for eight couples who met there. Clyde Toland and Nancy Hummel met at the apartment complex where they both lived in the fall of 1973. I was starting my second year of law school and Nancy was completing work on her master’s degree in education. My apartment had a view of the complex’s swimming pool, and the day after Labor Day 1973 I spotted a pretty young woman sitting on the side of the pool with her feet in the pool and reading a book. I put on my swimming suit, and the rest is history. Ours was a whirlwind romance, and we were married the next July 27, 1974, at the Episcopal Church in Lawrence, now 38 years ago.

Clyde and Nancy’s son David Toland met fellow undergraduate Elizabeth (Beth) Huddleston at the apartment where he and two friends lived. She was a friend of a friend of a friend, and they wed in 2001 at the First Presbyterian Church in Lawrence.

Kathleen (Kathy) Thompson and Lanny Fellers married in 1968. They had first met in the fall of 1966 when Kathy was a senior living in the Kappa Alpha Theta house. Her roommate, Kathy Hewitt, decided that the two of them needed to rent a study room somewhere outside the hubbub of the Theta house.  An old 19th century carriage house popularly called Stonehenge was located in the woods up the hill behind the Sigma Chi house situated next door to the south of the Theta house. Its four rooms were rented to KU student Ward Russell, who used one room as an apartment for himself and his fellow student roommate, Lanny Fellers, and sublet the other three rooms. Both Ward and Lanny had been in the military in southeast Asia, Lanny in the Army and Ward in the Navy. At KU they were both in the theatre department “which was a lively social group.”

One evening Kathy and Kathy Hewitt went to talk to Ward Russell about renting a room. Kathy recalls what happened next. “It was dark and chilly the evening that Kathy [Hewitt] and I walked over from the Theta house to Stonehenge. We went in the door downstairs and walked up the steep, narrow wooden steps to the upstairs where there was a door on the right and a door on the left. We stood on the landing at the top of the stairs. Just as we knocked at the door on the left, there was a loud thwacking sound and the point of an arrow jutted through the door. We screamed, of course. They shouted and opened the door. It turns out Lanny and Ward were playing with a crossbow that one of them had gotten in southeast Asia.” Truly a memorable first meeting!

Richard Thompson’s Beta fraternity house is located next door to the north of the Theta sorority house where Janet Rieke lived. They met at a Beta/Theta water fight and wed in 1974.

Richard and Janet’s son, Judd Thompson-O’Neal, and Anne Mantey married in 2006. They had met at the Chi Omega house, Anne’s sorority, when Judd was there working on the Rock Chalk Review.

Clyde Thompson, Jr. and Nan Mosby met at a KU basketball game (Go ‘Hawks!), and they married in 1952 following Clyde’s graduation. He spent the next two years in the United States Air Force, and thus Nan was unable to return to complete the last two years of her undergraduate work. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on November 28, 2012. Congratulations! This is a record for the Thompson family exceeded only by the 71 years of marriage of Clyde’s grandparents, Robert and Permelia Thompson, who both died at 92 in the 1950s.

Kenneth Rosebush, Sr. (1941) returned to KU after World War II where he was from 1946-1949 professor of Air Science and Tactics when the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) began. There he met KU coed Ethel Pearson when she was a nominee for Beauty Queen for the ROTC prom. Ethel attended KU from 1946-1949, and she and Ken were married in 1949 when he was almost 31 and she was 20. They were married 56 years before Ken’s death in 2006. All of their children, three sons, are graduates of the United States Air Force Academy.

Christmas Wilson met Earl Rosebush at KU when both were students there. Christmas went on to graduate from KU in 1906, but Earl, in the meantime, had transferred to the University of Missouri from which he graduated in that same year of 1906 with a degree in electrical engineering. They were married five years later in 1911.

Two couples did not meet at KU though the members of one of these couples attended KU together, and as undergraduates they were married on campus in 1963 in Danforth Chapel. Frank Thompson, Jr. and Ann Curry grew up together in Iola, Kansas, and following their respective Iola High School graduations went to KU where they began dating. They will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on April 6, 2013. Congratulations!

The other couple, my parents, Stanley Toland (LLB 1932) and June (Thompson) Toland (BA 1936), met in Iola, Kansas, Mother’s home town, when Dad moved there in 1932 to practice law following his law school graduation. They were married in Iola in 1942, and were married for 53 years before Dad’s death in 1995 at age 87. Mother is still living in Iola at age 98. [June subsequently died on February 27, 2013.]