Instructor Bios

Mollie Back
Meet Mrs. Pierce:  Stories of the Neighbors on Baltimore Street, “My Good Friend, Mary Todd Lincoln” by Hannah Shearer
Originally from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Mollie received her BS degree from Wilkes College.  As a state certified Historical Interpreter, she works for the Department of Tourism as a member of “The Pennsylvania Past Players” promoting civil war sites in Pennsylvania as “Sarah McKim,” Philadelphian, Quaker and abolitionist.  Locally, she portrays “Mrs. James Pierce,” a Gettysburg civilian mother of Tillie Pierce in first person.  She designs and creates her own period clothing.  Mollie’s great-grandfather, John Beard, served in the Navy (1863-65) as a Fireman aboard the U.S. Clyde.

Charlie Fennel
Three Days In July – 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg – 
Charlie graduated from Frostburg State College in 1976 with a B.S. degree and from Clarion State College in 1979 with an M.A. degree in American History.  He holds a Ph.D. in American History from West Virginia University and is employed as an instructor at the Harrisburg Area Community College, Gettysburg campus and as a Licensed Battlefield Guide.  Charlie has a chapter on the American Civil War published in a military history textbook. He has been published in the Blue & Grey Magazine with two feature articles in the Cedar Creek issue. Charlie has appeared on the History Channel on Combat in the Civil War Series – Culp’s Hill Action. He is a featured guide for the Blue & Grey Education Association, a perennial presenter at the Civil War Symposium at Harrisburg Area Community College and for the Penn State Civil War Seminar.

Ted Gajewski
Three Days In July – 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg –
Ted is a retired steelworker from Pittsburgh, Pa.  He relocated to Gettysburg three years ago because of his deep love for the American Civil War.  Ted has attended every seminar sponsored by the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides.  Ted became licensed as a battlefield guide in 2001.

Nancie W. Gudmestad
Shriver House Museum – The Civilian Experience at Gettysburg–Raised in Philadelphia, Nancie left her job as Branch Manager of a computer firm to move to Gettysburg in 1984 with her husband, Del, to open the first bed and breakfast in town.  Lively discussions about the battle took place around the breakfast table each morning but the one topic never brought up was what happened to the 2,400 people living in Gettysburg in July 1863.  It became clear that visitors who came to learn about the battle also needed to know the other side of the story. In 1996, they restored an 1860 home which had been abandoned for nearly 30 years.  Today, tours are conducted through George and Hettie Shrivers’ home to tell the civilian side of the Battle of Gettysburg.  The Shriver House Museum has earned numerous awards including the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s Historic Preservation Award.  The Museum has been used as a filming site for PBS, A&E, HGTV, CNN, BBC, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel and The Travel Channel.

Tom Jolin
Entertainment Activity Civil War Music –
It was 1954 in a Northern Wisconsin kindergarten class, as Tom Jolin walked round and round singing “Oh Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone” in a game of “guess what I am.”  He was a record player and even though it was a thoughtful performance, no one guessed it.  Some careers have auspicious starts, others do not.  He was a founding member of the West Orrtanna String Band, as well as the Orrtanna Mountain Steamers, and played with these groups from 1972 to 1999.  Through funding from The PA Council on the Arts, their five albums were archived and preserved in a set, “Traditional Music from Orrtanna.”  He also performs with The Barnstormers, who performed at the Viljandi Estonia Folk Festival in 2006 and in 2008; they performed at the Moelln and Rudolstadt Folk Festivals in Germany.  Tom has been a solo performer since 1978 and has recorded on eight albums.  He is a presenter for the PA Humanities Council. Tom is also an instrument maker, specializing in the hammer dulcimer.  He is a sought after Pennsylvania artist in residence and spends extended time in various schools, assisting students in making their own school-owned instruments. Tom and his wife, Marianne, have five children and live in their owner-built home in the foothills of the Appalachians, near Gettysburg.

Richard Kohr
Three Days in July 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg –
Rich is a native of Lebanon, Pa., and has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide since 1995 and is a former president of the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides. In addition to guiding, Rich has been a presenter at several seminars and Civil War Round Tables. He also taught Continuing Education Courses related to the Gettysburg Campaign at the Gettysburg Branch campus of Harrisburg Area Community College.

Don Markle
Espionage:  Spies and Code-Breaking in the Civil War, The Eisenhowers, U.S. Intelligence, Why the North Won . . . Why the South Lost/ Civil War Espionage –
Don is a native of Hanover, Pa., but moved to Washington, D.C. at an early age.  He is an alumnus of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland with a BA in History/Government and Politics. He has also done graduate work at both George Washington and American universities in the area of International Relations.  Don is a retired federal employee with over 34 years in the intelligence community (including a long stint as a code breaker).  He served in Department of Defense positions abroad with tours in England, Germany and Italy.  Don has been teaching with Gettysburg Road Scholar since its inception, initially on Civil War subjects and the Eisenhowers, but later expanded to include U.S. Intelligence and How the Word Was Passed.  He is a published author with works including “Spies and Spymasters of the Civil War” and “The Telegraph Goes to War,” based on the personal diary of David Homer Bates, Lincoln’s telegraph operator, and “Intelligence Was My Line: In Eisenhower’s Other Command” based on personal interviews with Eisenhower’s Chief of Intelligence for ETOUSA in World War II.  His new book, “An Illustrated History of the State of Pennsylvania,” was published in the summer of 2009.  He is currently working on a new book focusing on the intelligence activities of the Revolutionary War. He has lectured extensively on Civil War subjects, as well as the code breaking efforts of the Allies during World War II.  He has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution, The National Archives, The National Cryptologic Museum, The International Spy Museum, The Civil War Institute of Gettysburg College, Penn State University, Harrisburg Area Community College, Longwood University and various Civil War Round Tables.  In 2004 he lectured on “Ike the New Republican” for the Hauenstein Presidential Center.  Don is a volunteer at the Eisenhower Historic Site in Gettysburg, for whom he has conducted several oral histories now held by the Site and the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas.

Ruthmary McIlhenny
Living History Presentation – Meet Mrs. Mamie Eisenhower – Ruthmary was born and raised in the Chicago Land area. She went to undergraduate school at the University of Iowa receiving a BFA in Literature & American History, minor in film and education.  She taught seventh grade for one year and then did not teach again for 15 years, until she had the privilege of teaching adults. Ruthmary attended and taught at Echols International Travel School in Chicago, attended Northwestern University for an MA in communication and Penn State working on a Master in Training and Development. Ruthmary moved to Pennsylvania 20 years ago and has spent the last 18 years in Gettysburg.  She taught at York Technical Institute and for five years with the migrant child development program. Ruthmary and her husband are very active volunteers in the Adams County area.  She received the volunteer of the year award from the Chamber of Commerce and her husband was named Outstanding Citizen of the year in Adams County.  They are both active with the Chamber of Commerce, Red Cross, the United Way, Prevent a Litter Society, The Arts Council, Main Street Gettysburg and the Land Conservancy of Adams County. She started volunteering at the Eisenhower farm in 1991.  She has been a tour guide and performed “Mamie in Gettysburg” for many special occasions at the Eisenhower Farm. She was chosen to host Susan Eisenhower’s husband when he toured the farm while Susan was here for a book signing tour.

Deb Novotny
Three Days in July 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg,Heroic Women of Gettysburg,The Civilians of Gettysburg During the Civil War- Originally from Brownsville, PA.  Graduated from California State College BS in Education (History Major) 1972 and MA in History 1978.  Member of Phi Alpha Theta (History Honor Society).  Taught Social Studies at Brownsville Catholic School, 1972-1978 and U.S History and AP U.S. History at Gettysburg Area High School 1980-2008.  Licensed Battlefield Guide 1975 to Present.  Member of Gettysburg Civil War Round Table, Adams County Historical Society, Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides (Treasurer, Vice President, Secretary, and currently Executive Board Member), Evergreen Cemetery Board of Trustees (currently President)  

Gary Shaffer
Gettysburg: The Place & People –
Gary was born in Takoma Park, Md., and grew up in Adelphi, a suburb of Washington, D.C.  He attended the University of Maryland, where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1974, with an area of interest in sociology and religion.  He has been employed as both an architect and youth minister, and until 1984, alternated his “professional” career between the two fields.  Gary moved to Gettysburg in 1978, which was a move “home” as his family has long ties to Gettysburg.  He has done graduate work at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. Gary has an architectural practice in Gettysburg. He also serves as Chairman of the Gettysburg Historical Architecture Review Board.  He and his wife Jamie are the parents of six children and grandparents to three grandchildren.

Ed Suplee
The West Point Class Of 1846, The Civil War Soldier and His Weapons, Three Days in July 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg, The Trials and Tribulations of the People During the Battle , Harper’s Ferry, The Story of John Brown’s Raid, Exploring In The Heart of Gettysburg, Weapons of the Civil War, Antietam:  The Bloodiest One Day Battle in American History-
Ed retired after 27 years with MetLife, most recently as Vice President of National Accounts in Chicago. He has had a life long interest in the Civil War, which began when he attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., where he earned his BA degree.  He also served two years in the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant in charge of a tank platoon. He is a volunteer interpreter at the Gettysburg National Military Park and a Licensed Battlefield Guide

Chuck Teague
Lee and Longstreet at Gettysburg, The Prologue to America’s Greatest Battle –
Chuck is a retired Lt. Colonel, former attorney, served as a senior pastor for 23 years, and has taught courses at the college and graduate level as an adjunct professor.  He is past president of the Gettysburg Civil War Roundtable and Historic Gettysburg Adams County, Inc.  Chuck also is on the historic wayside committee and serves as an auditor in initiating the Town Guide program for Main Street Gettysburg.  In addition to working with the Road Scholar participants, he has given programs and tours for Army and Marine groups, college and school classes, the Civil War Institute, the Women’s History Symposium, and various other Civil War groups. Chuck serves as chaplain for the Gettysburg Police, all of this and he works full-time as an Interpretative Ranger with Gettysburg National Military Park April thru October.  He particularly enjoys working with groups like Road Scholar where individuals are motivated to learn.

Larry Wallace
Three Days In July – 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg, The Battle At East Cavalry Field –
Larry is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University.  He did graduate work at East Stroudsburg, Penn State University and Western Maryland College.  Larry retired from the South Western School District after 38 years.  He has been a licensed Battlefield Guide since 1985.  Larry is an instructor in Continuing Education courses and seminars relating to the Civil War.