News from Us: Chemistry, 1998

The last of our Chemistry Department “Founding Fathers” retires

Don Brunner, Bob Flanagan, Doug Flynn in 1998

What do you think they looked like 30 years ago? Keep Reading.

Don Brunner, Bob Flanagan, Doug Flynn in 1968

At the end of Spring 1998, Bob Flanagan retired from 40 years of teaching at DVC. Vern Duvall, who came to DVC 32 years ago also retired. 
The first member of DVC’s chemistry faculty was Don Brunner (retired 1995). In 1951, when he joined the college, it was called East Contra Costa Junior College and was located in Martinez in a previously condemned elementary school and an old relocated military officers club. In the fall of 1952 the campus moved to its current DVC location and chemistry was taught in the officers club building,which had been moved to the new site, and a Quonset hut. During this time, Don was joined by chemistry instructor Mike Pizanis (retired 1986) and four others who did not stay in the Department longterm. One of the four, Floyd Svensson, moved to physics and later engineering, retiring after a long tenure at DVC. 

Wendell Taylor 1998

Wendell Taylor 1968
In 1958 the name of the East Contra Costa Junior College campus was changed to Diablo Valley College.

Between 1958 and 1961 four new chemistry faculty came to DVC: Bob Flanagan (retired 1998), Wendell Taylor (retired 1985), Paul Yeager (retired 1990), and Doug Flynn (retired 1993). Paul Yeager actually started as a physics instructor. All also taught mathematics at that time.

Ken Howard (retired 1993) joined the department in 1963, followed by Vern Duvall (retired 1998) in 1966. Stan Chin, hired in 1972, transferred to Los Medanos College when it opened in 1974. There he taught chemistry, then became Dean, and finally became President of the College before he succumbed to cancer. 

Another recent chemistry retiree is Josephine (Jo) Wall (retired 1996) who joined the department full time in 1990 after 5 years of part time teaching.
What are the retirees doing now? Well, some of them (Doug Flynn, Don Brunner, and Bob Flanagan) have been teaching chemistry part time at DVC, in addition to other pursuits. Doug and Don are getting to spend more time on their ranches. Bob just returned from an extensive trip to Europe and is becoming an expert on his grandsons’ computer games. Mike Pizanis lived in Greece for some time. Wendell Taylor is still tracking the stock market as well as trying to keep up with his 5 grandchildren, travelling, backpacking, and skiing. Paul Yeager has been travelling worldwide and leading numerous backpacking and cross-country skiing trips. Jo Wall has spent time travelling (China and Latin America), improving her Spanish, practicing Tai Chi, volunteering in inner city programs, and doting on her granddaughter. Ken Howard has, unfortunately, passed away. 

Paul Yeager 1998

It’s a big change from the way he looked 30 years ago

Paul Yeager 1968
So what are we going to do without these folks? 
We’ll carry on (we sure will !)

New full-time Chemistry faculty hired at DVC in the last 4 years: Wayne Larson, Denisha Dawson, Laura Burns, Leon Borowski (horizontal). Tish Young (not shown) was hired in Spring 1999.