From the Archive

by Charlotte Carl-Mitchell

Some interesting facts about our past board presidents:

Milton J. Shear was our very first board president in 1947. In a letter to the editor in the Arizona Republic in 1948, at the height of McCarthyism, he challenged the idea that one country or party or church was right and righteous. That thinking, he said, was totalitarian. The new First Unitarian Church of Phoenix, the youngest Unitarian church in America, was meeting at Kenilworth School.

Taylor Smith was a banker described as an outgoing, friendly, understanding man, and our board president in 1948. He was also chairman of the board of the Friendly House, “a social service organization operated for the benefit of Spanish-speaking people and others of foreign heritage to gain American citizenship.” To be supportive of immigrants was probably not popular during McCarthyism.

E. B. Myrick was our president in 1949. He was an electrical engineer and veteran of WWI. During WWII he commanded the Navajo Ordnance Depot outside Flagstaff. Because of a war-time labor shortage he created a Navajo and Hopi village at the depot encouraging Native American workers to move in with their families, giving them well-paying jobs when other employers wouldn’t. He was also a cat fancier and member of the Canyon State Cat Club.

James Stewart served as board president from Jan-Sep 1950. He had a BA from Dartmouth, an MA from Columbia University and a PhD in education from Stanford. He taught history and English at Phoenix college for ten years then became principal of North Phoenix High school and served as assistant superintendent of curriculum for high schools in Phoenix. He was president of the Arizona Education Association and served on the State Board of Education. He was the first in a long line of educators who have led our board.