Ed and Mary Jane Banfield, former director and assistant director of the Upward Bound program, respectively, served Central for a combined 54 years before retiring to Sun City West, Ariz. in 1998. They fondly remember their time at Central.
Q & A
What were your jobs at Central?
Ed was hired at Central to be the assistant director of Upward Bound, which was a new educational program sponsored by Central and the U.S. Government. He worked with Barbara Dieleman, who was the Director of Upward Bound. Ed also supervised student teachers and was the director of testing. He started working at Central in July 1967.
I (Mary Jane) began working with a new student retention program under Bill Hinga’s direction in September 1975. As the Upward Bound program grew, Ed became the director and also administered and wrote the grants for Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search and Student Support Services—the TRIO Programs. He made Upward Bound student school visits and home visits.
In 1979, interviews were given for the assistant director position for Upward Bound. I was interviewed and hired and enjoyed twenty-one great years working with Upward Bound students and families. Bill Hinga continued to be my supervisor, and Ed and I worked very well together. It was a privilege to work with deserving students and their families, and Ed and I enjoyed working at Central.We retired to Sun City West, Ariz. on September 3, 1998.
How did you come to Central?
We moved to Pella because a teacher friend of Ed’s had spent time consulting on the new student teacher program at Central in 1967. Ed was a middle school counselor in Okemos, Mich. and also taught high school English. The friend, Tom Williams, phoned Ed and told him what a wonderful town and college he had experienced and told Ed about a new program named Upward Bound. He thought Ed would be perfect for the assistant director of Upward Bound position that was available and suggested that he call for an interview. Ed and I had always lived in Michigan and my parents lived near us so I wasn’t very excited about the idea. However, Ed phoned the college and was asked to come for an interview with Dean Jim Graham, President Arend Lubbers and others.
Because Ed had never flown, he thought it would be a good time to fly and to explore something different. When he arrived home, he told me that if the job were offered to him, he would have to accept. He was very impressed by his time at the college, and Reuben Van Hemert had taken him around the community to show what houses were available. Ed left for Pella on July 20, 1967 and the children and I moved to Hastings, Mich. to stay with my parents until we could move, too.
What did you do after leaving Central?
We moved to Sun City West, Ariz. to live near our youngest daughter, Laura, and her family. It has been a pleasure to watch three grandsons grow, and we are lucky to be able to travel to visit our two grandchildren in Iowa and our three other grown children. Ed and I have traveled by land and sea to China, Thailand, South Africa, the Mediterranean and other faraway lands. We went on a family cruise on July 13 to the eastern Caribbean—our second family cruise. It is such fun to have everyone together. Ed is busy with the Pioneer Lions Club, and I volunteer for the Methodist Church Education Committee and the library. Being retired certainly doesn’t mean doing nothing. We have a great circle of friends and also enjoy seeing Pella friends when they are in Arizona for the winter.
What did you like most about your departments?
The Student Life department under Bill Hinga’s direction was like a family. We all worked together, enjoyed each other and were proud of our achievements. Upward Bound was a year-round job and the support staff was very important to us.
What do you miss most about Central?
We miss the Upward Bound students and college students who worked in the program, the campus, co-workers and staff.
What are some of you best memories of Central?
The faculty progressive dinner, musicals, theater productions, football games and all Upward Bound activities made our life special at Central.
What do you do during your days currently?
Ed and I enjoy attending our grandsons’ basketball and football games and spending time with our Arizona family. We are lucky to have a great neighborhood group and holidays and other celebrations can be spent with them. We have a movie group, friends who play games and cards, the Lions Club activities and volunteer work for the church. Our days are busy, but fun.
Do you have any hobbies?
Ed and I greatly enjoy reading and traveling. He plays computer games while I do counted cross stitch and knitting.
Why do you miss Iowa?
We miss Iowa because of our son, Ed’s, family in Newton. We plan to go there in the fall to watch our grandson play football and our granddaughter play volleyball. They are very active in sports and other school activities. Raising our children in Pella was a great experience, and they were lucky to have a Central education. The beauty of Iowa remains with us, and we are always glad to visit.
Any final thoughts you would like to add?
Ed and I have been married almost 53 years and have been blessed to have four loving children, five “perfect” grandchildren, many travels and a good life. We are content and happy….who could ask for more? We loved our time at Central and enjoyed living in Pella. However, we are enjoying retirement and our current life, too. We are lucky.