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- Icons By Maria Maldonado
Sophronia Beagle Roholt ’41, Raleigh, N.C., turned 100 this past November. Justbefore her birthday, she stopped by Brantly Hall for a visit with her son Chris Roholt ’68, and daughter-in-law Karen Schipf Roholt ’75. It was a pleasure to hear Phrona’s story in her own words.
In 1914, she was born on a ranch outside of Savage and was raised in Sidney. Sheearned a scholarship to the University of Montana, where she received a degree insociology, was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, and worked for Morris “Mac”McCollum ’23 at the UM Student Bookstore, located where the Lommasson Centernow stands. She fondly remembers Mac and his wife, Gertrude, who was the clothesbuyer for the Missoula Mercantile, as well as the Kappa house mother, Mrs. Keith,and her KKG sister Donna Metcalf ’35. Phrona, who had received some medical training in preparation for World War II, also worked for Dr. Terman, a physicianwith the Northern Pacific Railroad, and she worked a third job as secretary forHarry H. Turney-High, the first professor to teach anthropology at UM. Phrona alsoremembers with interest taking classes from Mike Mansfield ’33, M.A. ’34, Hon.D.’56.
After graduating, she got on a train to California. On that same train was Captain Oliver Roholt ’39, who had been wounded at Guadalcanal and was on his way toCamp Roberts in California. As they pulled in to the station, Oliver had a relapse ofmalaria and Phrona was on hand to help. She stayed with him through his recovery,and they later married at the Army Hospital at Camp Roberts.
While Oliver earned his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of California,Berkeley, Phrona raised son Christopher and daughter Sarah. They lived in Pullman,Wash., where Oliver taught at Washington State College—now WSU—and latermoved to Buffalo, N.Y., where Oliver did research at Roswell Park MemorialInstitute—now known as Roswell Park Cancer Institute—the oldest cancer center inthe country. Meanwhile, Phrona earned a master’s degree in library science in 1961at the State University of New York at Geneseo and worked as the school librarianand book buyer for Windermere Elementary School in Amherst, N.Y., for more thanfifteen years.
Eventually, Phrona and Oliver retired to the Phoenix area, where she’s an activesupporter of the Plains Indians. Beginning in the late 1960s and for nearly fortyyears, she and Oliver spent several months of each year living in San Salvador,Bahamas—a place they both loved dearly.
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