Betty Jane Sybrant died Nov. 5 in Arkansas City, Kan. She was 86. Sybrant attended Arkansas City High School where she enjoyed music and began her career in journalism as a member of the staff of the Ark Light. She served as managing editor of the Ark Light in 1940. The paper received an All American rating from the National Scholastic Press Association. On May 7 of that year, the Ark Light staff was invited to take over staff positions at the Arkansas City Traveler. Betty was the managing editor and Rober Denman served as city editor.
She continued her education at Arkansas City Junior College where she served as an assistant editor and then editor of the Tigerama. ACJC is where she met George E. Sybrant. Betty and George graduated with the ACJC class of 1942, which had 63 members. Betty was chairman of the social committee and George was president of the student council. Betty and George were married on July 30, 1944.
After ACJC, she continued her education at the University of Missouri in Columbia with a degree in journalism. She worked to help support George while he completed his juris doctorate at the University of Chicago.
Betty and George returned to Arkansas City where they made their home. Betty and George were quite a team for 53 years. She worked with him many years in his legal practice. They were both civic leaders and owned and personally restored many buildings in Arkansas City including George’s law office. Betty was a charter member of Ark City’s AAUW. She was active in Kiwanis Queens and Fortnightly Club.
Betty and George loved antiquing. She owned an antique shop, taught antique classes at Cowley College, and judged antiques at the Cowley County Fair. Finally, they loved animals, owning a Shetland pony farm and raising dachshunds.
Betty was a bright, energetic woman who possessed and pursued a wide variety of interests. She and George, who died in 1996, were active members of the Presbyterian Church. Betty was an elder and served on many committees including the committee that restored the sanctuary and the committee that selected the current ministers.
A memorial has been established with the Sybrant Scholarship Fund at Cowley College.
Brian Jackson, Tiger men’s basketball coach from 2005-2007, died Oct. 17 in Wichita. He was 34. Jackson achieved his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business from University of Evansville after attending Butler County Community College for two years. He was an accomplished student and athlete. He was Mr. Biddy in 1986, lettered in basketball at Brooks Jr. High as an 8th grader, and was selected to All-City and All-State teams in basketball and baseball while attending Wichita Heights. He played basketball at the University of Evansville in 1994-95 and 1995-96. In ‘94-95 he led all Division I players in 3-point shooting percentage at 55.8 percent, winning the AT&T Long Distance Award and a $1,000 general donation scholarship to UE from AT&T. He averaged 8.9 points that season. Jackson received his award at the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was chosen as team captain prior to the 1995- 96 season, his senior year. He was averaging 13.4 points through seven games when he suffered a broken leg Dec. 28, which ended his career. Jackson was an excellent student throughout his educational journey. After college graduation he worked at Boeing as a Procurement Agent. After two years he decided to follow his passion, and entered the coaching field at Pratt Community College, as an assistant to Bernie Pearson. He coached there for two years and then joined his former Butler coach, Randy Smithson, at Cowley County Community College. He became the head coach at Cowley after two years as an assistant, where he remained for another two years. He re-entered the corporate world at Koch Industries in August 2007, where he was employed for nine months. In December 2007 he was introduced to a great business opportunity called ACN, a telecommunications technology company, and he found a passion that he pursued with success until his untimely death. Survivors include his wife, Heather; daughters Ryleigh (8), Jaysi (4), and Emersyn (1); parents Vernell and Celestine Jackson all of Wichita; sister Janelle Turner (Thaddeus) of St. Louis, MO; brother Jerry Stine (LaTisha).
Doris Louise (Buss) Leland died Nov. 20. She was 90. Leland graduated from Winfield High School in 1935, and from Arkansas City Junior College (Cowley College) in 1937. She married Harold B. Leland on June 13, 1937 in Pittsburg, Kansas. The couple had four children Gary, Keith, Carolyn, and Shari. Leland completed her education in 1971 graduating from Southwestern College of Winfield. In 1943, Doris and Harold moved to 511 North C in Arkansas City, where she lived until her death. In 1935, Leland became affiliated with First Baptist Church of Arkansas City and continued her dedication until her death. She was recognized for over 65 years of working with the Sunday schools and over 70 years in her activities with the women’s work in August and November of 2008 respectfully. After Harold’s death in 1984, Leland became an active babysitter. She cared for many children in her home encouraging each of them to be independent and to love learning.