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Dr. Max Hosier: the Ultimate Role Model

Posted By: David Hanawalt


I have so many memories of MPLS, that I could probably fill a book with them. However, our teachers and their impact on me is where I seem to focus first. When considering our teachers, I think of Miss Struble, Mr. Butzier, Mr. Scovel, Mr. Reichmann, and coach Aldrich. The last one may surprise some since if there was anyone who was not an athlete, it's me. Plus a close friend of mine who went out for football recently told me he was scared to death of the coach. Many of our teachers had some sort of advanced degree. Those of us who went on to get their own advanced degrees would more than likely claim some of our high school teachers as among the best regardless of their degrees. While the five teachers I mentioned are on my A-List, there is one who stands head and shoulders above any I encountered at any level. That has to be Dr. Max Hosier.


I had Mr. Hosier as my fourth grade teacher. I'm sure I learned a lot, but how he treated me will always be foremost in my mind.


My family moved to Cedar Falls in 1949, when I was four years old. My dad, Dr. Murvle Hanawalt, died of a sudden heart attack the previous October. He had been the head of the English, Religion, and Philophy department at Wayne State Teachers College in Wayne, Nebraska. My mom, Dr. Mary Hanawalt Graves, had been one of his professors. Since our closest relatives lived in Iowa, she wanted the support of family after this difficult event. This was just the time when men coming back from WWII were adding to the ranks of college students because of the new G.I. Bill. Fortunately, my mom was able to get a professorship in English at Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls.


My sister and I attended the "Lab" school: I started nursery school in the little wood frame building on the North East corner of where the Rod Library now stands, and my sister, Pat Van Hauen, started in Sabin Hall, then home to the Lab school. I attended first and second grade in Sabin Hall and my class was the first group of third graders to be in the new MPLS building (that no longer exists)! My sister in 1956, was among the first class to graduate from MPLS.


In fourth grade, my teacher was Max Hosier. He obviously knew about my family's recent history, and went out of his way to begin a close relationship with me. In the mid '50s, Walt Disney's classic Davy Crockett series started. When the first episode came out, Max invited me to his house for supper and to watch that show on TV. He must have known we didn't have a TV: My mom thought TV's were unnecessary and we didn't have one until 1963 when she was forced to quit teaching as she had developed Hodgkin's Disease.


I remember Max and his wife lived in the metal Quonsets just south of UNI and he drove a 1950 Bullet Nosed Studebaker rag top. And I do mean ragtop. On the way to his place the first time, he asked me if I was named after Davy Crockett. I said no. I was named after my paternal grandfather. He invited me for the three Crockett shows and some other Disney shows later that year.


Mr. Hosier also co-owned some river bottom land just west of New Hartford. He invited me there one Saturday and said I could bring a friend. I invited Forry Russell who was a year younger than me and lived close by. His dad, Dr. Myron Russell, for whom the old music building at UNI is named, also came along.


When I returned from Vietnam in 1970, I applied for and was granted a Graduate Assistantship in History at UNI. By then, Dr. Hosier had moved up to the college as a professor there. I often saw him on campus and he always gave me a "hi Davy, how are you." We would sometimes stop and talk a little on the way to our next class or whatever.


One other side bar of all this. The History Department at UNI was located in my old second grade room in Sabin Hall. There were several grad students who also shared an office in what would have been the backstage area of the old lab school stage.


It is with great pleasure that I write about Dr. Max Hosier: the Ultimate Role Model.


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