The Heroines

Ophelia Templeton

is honored with a Brick from the Heskett Center staff.

 Ophelia  Templeton
Ophelia Spencer Templeton was born in Wichita, Kansas to the parents of Ossie and Maethell Spencer. Ophelia attended public schools in Wichita and graduated from Wichita North High School. After graduating from school, Ophelia met and married a young GI, Lee Templeton, and they moved to Schilling Air Force Base in Salina, Kansas where they spent the next two years. Two of their six children were born during this time.

Ophelia and family were transferred to Chateroux Air Base in Chateroux, France. Three more children were added to the family while in France. After spending three and a half years in France, there were transferred to McClellen Air Force Base in Sacramento, California, where they last of their six children was born. The Vietnam War started and Lee was sent to front line duty in Vietnam. For three years, Ophelia became one of many women left to raise her family alone.

Lee returned home from Vietnam and they were sent to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippine Islands. Again, they had the opportunity to do more traveling and a highlight for them was going to Hong Kong for lunch and shopping.

After leaving the Philippines they were sent to Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. where they spent the next three years. Duty called again and Lee was sent to Saudi Arabia. Ophelia became a waiting wife and moved back to Schilling Air Force Base in Salina to wait for Lee to return. Lee came home and was sent to Elsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota. Lee retired from the Air Force and they moved back to Wichita.

Ophelia worked for a short while for Gessler Drug Store before beginning to work at Wichita State University's Ablah Library. Ophelia was hired on August 23, 1977, by James Eller as a Reserve Room Assistant. She received three promotions in one and a half years and worked directly for the Director of Circulation, Myrna Young, and Reserve Room Supervisor, Iris Stephens.

When preparations were being made to open the Heskett Center, Ophelia interviewed with Sandi Caldwell and was hired as the Business Office Manager of the Heskett Center in March, 1983. She helped prepare for the opening of the Heskett Center and worked out of a temporary office in Grace Wilkie Annex for three months. She was involved in the opening of the Center in May, 1983 and has served as the Business Office Manager through December, 1998.

Ophelia has been a consistent part of the Heskett Center since the facility opened. She has been known affectionately by students and staff members as "Mom." She has enjoyed her role as the senior member of the Heskett Center staff and has been a friend and confidant for many of the hundreds of student workers who have spent time working at the Heskett Center. The students and staff felt it was a fitting tribute to place a brick in honor of her in the Plaza of Heroines.

Her life has truly been an inspiration to many and she has done a magnificent job raising her six children: Randy, Darryl (WSU grad), Debbie, Stanley (WSU grad), Lee Jr. (WSU grad) and Tracy, and being there for her 15 grandchildren while working full-time at Wichita State. She has been very successful at balancing work and family.

June 7, 1999