Hendrix Magazine

Hendrix Connections: Three generations going on four



Thelma Fish with her son-in-law Joe Guenter '60, granddaughter Alicia Burson ’91 and great-granddaughter Natasha Riding.


As a young teenager, Thelma Fish was looking forward to attending Hendrix. Her father had put away money for her education in a safe place: the local bank. Then came 1929 and the Great Depression. The bank closed, the money disappeared, and her plans for a Hendrix degree vanished almost overnight. She did manage to attend Hendrix for one summer and was proud to receive a Hendrix Medallion when she was inducted into the Half Century Club a few years ago. Even though she didn’t graduate from the College, Mrs. Fish’s Hendrix connections run deep and strong.

Thelma got her degree from another college near home then earned a master’s degree. She became a missionary to Japan before World War II forced her out. She then came back to the U.S. where she married Methodist minister Charles Giessen ’30.

Thelma’s brother Dudley Fish also married a Hendrix graduate, Louise Lambert ’50. Her nieces Susan ’85 and Martha ’77 are also Hendrix graduates. Martha married Scott Christie ’79, and their children who attended or are attending Hendrix include Tom ’06, John ’09 and Sarah ’11.

Some years later, her daughter, Helen, had Dr. Lee Morgan ’49 as her English professor, another Hendrix connection. Helen married Joe Martin Guenter ’60, great-nephew of Captain W.W. Martin, an early benefactor of the College for whom Martin Hall is named. Joe Guenter’s aunt, Ruth Martin Marshall ’41, and uncle, Don Martin ’31, were also Hendrix grads as well as Don’s son, Larry ’63 and his wife Sybil ’62.

Thelma’s two oldest granddaughters, Laura and Alicia Burson both ’91 also attended Hendrix. Only time will tell if Thelma Fish’s great-granddaughters Devon and Natasha take her family’s Hendrix tradition to the next generation.


Thelma Fish with her son-in-law Joe Guenter '60, granddaughter Laura Burson ’91 and great-granddaughter Devon Fernandes.

Tell us about your Hendrix Connections

Is attending Hendrix a family tradition? We’d like to know the details. Send your information to alumni@hendrix.edu and look for an invitation for your family to attend our Legacy Luncheon during Family Weekend ’09.