J. Marc Wheat, President
Dr. Katharine Brown, First Vice President
Ellis Hitt, Second Vice President
Keith Hoffman, Treasurer
Cathi Clore Frost, Secretary
Ann Green Baise
Stephen D. Chanko
Bruce L. Davis
Dr. Michael Frost
J. Craig Kemper, Jr.
R. “Skip” Poole
John N. Pearce
Dr. Frank Turnage
Russell A. Hitt
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J. Marc Wheat, President
Marc is the 4th President of the Germanna Foundation since 1956, and has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1997, succeeding Sarah Aylor Lewis. Marc descends from Rev. Henrich Haeger, Germanna’s colonial pastor. His descent from ten of the original forty-two colonists at Germanna makes him related to many Germanna Foundation members.
Marc’s professional experience has deepened his commitment to cultivate the virtues of gratitude and generosity to perpetuate the promise of America. Marc served as Staff Director and Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, & Human Resources. During his tenure there, he lectured at the European Parliament in Brussels; met with advisors to President Karzai in Kabul, Afghanistan; and helped manually eradicate a coca field in Colombia. He learned a great deal about the world after joining the U.S. Department of State under Secretary Colin Powell six weeks after 9/11, where he served as Senior Advisor for Senate Affairs.
In the 1990’s, Marc was Counsel to the Energy and Commerce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he worked principally on health care, bioethics, and bioterrorism; while Director of Tax and Budget Policy for Citizens for a Sound Economy, he succeeded in the elimination of $8.1 billion of wasteful spending in May 1992, the largest such rescission since 1982. As founder of the Porkbusters Coalition, Marc’s work was the subject of Adventures in Porkland, a book by Washington Post reporter Brian Kelly and illustrated by political cartoonist Pat Oliphant. A discussion of his anti-trafficking work is found in Robert Goff’s Finding Karishma: Modern-Day Slavery and the New Abolition Movement, and thanked in Francis Fukuyama’s Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. He is a 2006 alumnus of the Congress-Bundestag Staff Exchange Program.
Marc received his B.A. (Spanish and political science) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987, and his Juris Doctor in the Corporate and Securities Specialty Track at George Mason University in Virginia. He is a board member and past president of the German-American Heritage Foundation and its museum in Washington, DC; vice-chairman of the board of trustees of Rivendell School; and member of the board of visitors of the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems of the Fund for American Studies.
A member of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia, the Pilgrims of the United States, the Order of St. John, and the American Council on Germany, Marc and his wife Marie (a former Transatlantic Fellow of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt) raise their son and daughter at Germanna and in Arlington, Virginia.
Dr. Katharine Brown, 1st Vice President
Katharine is proud to descend from 1714 Germanna immigrants John Jacob Rector and his wife Anna Elisabeth Fishback, as well as from Elisabeth’s immigrant parents, Philip Fishback and his wife Elisabeth Heimbach, and Peter Hitt and his second wife, Elisabeth Otterbach, daughter of the immigrants Hermann Otterbach and his wife Elisabeth Heimbach.
Born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Katharine grew up in the 1878 house her Rector ancestor William Nelson Chancellor built, and that she and her husband Madison are now restoring. She graduated from Hollins College then received a Ph.D. in history from The Johns Hopkins University. She has been executive director of the Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington, Virginia, and the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace (now Presidential Library) in Staunton, Virginia, and director of research and collections at the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia. For the past ten years, she has been a founding partner of Lot’s Wife Publishing, a local history publishing company. She is the author or co-author of a dozen books on Virginia history and church history. She is an adjunct Professor of History and Art at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, where she has taught historic preservation, museum studies, and furniture history for the past 25 years. She and Madison are the proud parents of three married sons and grandparents of three granddaughters. They have enjoyed leading each of the Germanna trips to Germany, and Katharine also chairs the Foundation’s publications committee. She is the author of Germanna Record #17.
Ellis Hitt, 2nd Vice President
Ellis Hitt is a 7th generation descendant of Peter Hitt (Heide/Heite) and his second wife, Elsbeth Otterbach, daughter of the immigrants Hermann Otterbach and his wife Elisabeth Heimbach.
Born in Kansas, Ellis graduated from the University of Kansas and was commissioned as an Officer in the Air Force which immediately sent him to the Air Force Institute of Technology where he received his Masters Degree. He served 5 years on active duty as an Engineering Officer/Program Manager. He has 49 years of experience in strategic planning for U.S. Government agencies and corporations (large and small). After retiring from Battelle in 2005, he was asked by a client to establish a corporation specializing in strategic planning, helping clients set goals and objectives, defining the time and costs associated with alternative paths that could be taken to satisfy the objectives and attain the goals. He assists clients in the decision making process including determining the funding required each year for the selected alternative. Ellis was elected to City Council, served two terms, served on the Planning Commission, and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. He is Treasurer of two organizations, and Treasurer of two conferences recurring yearly. He and his wife, Beverly have two married sons and four granddaughters.
Keith Hoffman, Treasurer
Keith joined the board of Trustees in 2012 and became Treasurer in 2013. His father was born in a community of Germanna descendants in western Ohio. Keith is related to many of the families in the first and second colonies.
Prior to retiring in 2013, Keith was a financial analyst for a government sponsored enterprise where he measured investment performance and interest-rate risk for fixed income securities.
Keith is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Mathematics from the University of Maryland.
Cathi Clore Frost, Secretary, and Chair of the Events Committee
Cathi Clore Frost has lived in Oregon her entire life although she spent time in Perth, Australia and Vienna, Austria as an exchange student. She graduated with honors from Linfield College after completing a B.A. in History and Education. In the past she has been a social studies teacher and a librarian but currently works part time as a tap dance instructor (to the great amusement of her family and friends). Cathi is married to Bob Frost and they have two children. Cathi’s ancestors include Second Colony members of the Clore, Kaifer, Weaver, Volck, and Blankenbaker families and as well as members of the Hirsch/Deer and Razor families who were later comers to the Hebron / Robinson River community. She is the author of Germanna Record #16: The First Four Generations of the Michael Clore Family and is currently researching the Nicholas Yager family for a future Germanna Record.
Ann Green Baise
Ms. Baise is Treasurer of Baise Farms, an 800-acre corn and soybean operation in Illinois and Vermont as well as timber in Virginia. She earned her B.S. in elementary education from Longwood College in 1974 and her Master of Arts in Education from Virginia Tech in 1978. Ms. Baise served two terms on the Board of Visitors at her alma mater, from 1996 to 2004. While on the Longwood Board, she was elected three times as Rector. She also served as chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee and Chair of the Nominating Committee. An elementary school teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools, she later worked as an educator and program director of the district’s gifted and talented programs. She has also served as a consultant to the National Geographic Society and the National Wildlife Federation. In 2000 and 2002, she was named the Columbia Hospital for Women Volunteer of the Year. Ms. Baise was appointed to the College of William & Mary Board of Visitors in 2012.
We are sad to report that Jörg passed away in July 2016 after battling stomach cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in Germany.
Stephen is a 10th generation 2nd Colony descendant of Philipp Joseph Weber and his wife Susanna Klaar, through their son Hans Dieterich Weber (“Peter Weaver”) who immigrated from Gemmingen, Baden (now Baden-Württemberg, Germany) in 1717. He is also a descendant of the Volck, Finks, Wayland, Broyles, and Fleischmann families.
Stephen was elected as a member of the Germanna Foundation’s Board of Trustees in August 2013. He graduated from Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Stephen is a Certified Public Accountant (“CPA”) and holds an active license in the State of Texas. He is currently an Executive Director with Ernst & Young’s Assurance Services practice in Vienna, Austria, previously working in Houston, Texas, with over 18 years experience in public accounting. Besides managing recurring financial statement audits of public and non-public clients, he provides regular consultation to clients on US GAAP and IFRS accounting, reporting, internal control, and other financial matters.
Bruce L. Davis
Bruce joined the Board of Trustees in the fall of 2011. He is not a Germanna descendant, though the maternal side of his family, (Keck, Dieser, Rachor and Walther), are from Zellhausen, Germany. Descendants moved to the U.S. in 1844.
He was born and raised in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, graduating from Urbana High School in 1975. Bruce then attended Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, where he also interned in the Michigan Senate at the state capitol in Lansing. He graduated in 1979 with a B.A. in Business Communication.
Bruce then began a very interesting career working for the E. and J. Gallo Winery of Modesto, California. He worked in numerous states and spent time working directly for Ernest Gallo in Tokyo, Japan, researching export potential on numerous Gallo products. At the same time, he spent time working other existing Gallo markets in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Phillipines, Singapore, and China.
Eventually, Bruce was transferred to the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C., where he became engaged with a number of Gallo distributors in the area. In 1989, an opportunity to buy an interest in Freeman Beverage Company presented itself, and he left the Winery.
He spent the next twenty-one years at Freeman Beverage, building the sales and delivery organization, then re-organizing data processing, office and human resource policies and procedures. He and his partner’s efforts lead the organization from a $3.5 million organization to $26 million upon the sale of the company in October of 2010.
While at Freeman Beverage, Bruce became very involved in the local community, including the Spotsylvania Lions Club (past President and Melvin Jones Fellow), Fredericksburg Country Club (two term President). He also served on the Germanna Community College Educational Foundation (two term President), as well as the Germanna Community College Board of Directors.
Upon completion of his board service Germanna Community College, Bruce recently became employed there as the Chief Liaison to the President, helping partnerships grow between the four campuses, businesses and individuals in the seven county college service area.
He is very proud to now serve the Germanna Foundation, as the community college that has grown so much and plays such an important role to its’ various communities would not exist if it were not for the generous land donation for the first campus in 1970.
Bruce lives in Spotsylvania with his wife, Sandra, and two daughters.
Dr. Michael D. Frost
Michael D. Frost, Ph.D., was elected to the Germanna Foundation Board of Trustees in the Spring of 1997, and has remained very active with Germanna since. Michael descends from Governor Alexander and Lady Spotswood through their son, Colonel John Spotswood, who is buried in the Memorial Garden of the Visitor’s Center of the Germanna Foundation. Michael sits on two committees for the Germanna Foundation Board of Trustees: the Buildings and Grounds Committee, and he chairs the Development Committee.
Michael is Lieutenant Governor for the National Council of the Jamestowne Society, Past President of the Spotswood Descendants Society, Deputy Governor of the Order of Descendants of Colonial Cavaliers of Virginia, Past President of the National Society for the Washington Family Descendants, member of Colonial Clergymen, member of the Board of Directors for both the Kansas City Ballet and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Michael is the past CEO and owner of the Educational Resources, Inc, an international publishing company of diagnostic testing for colleges of nursing.
Dr. Frost was a practicing psychologist in Kansas City to adolescent boys with school adjustment problems until he founded his Kansas City publishing company in 1973. Since his sale of the publishing house and his retirement in June of 2008, Michael and his wife, Ginger, live part of each month in Kansas City and La Jolla, California where they remain active with the opera, ballet and symphony. Michael remains very active with his lineage societies in Virginia and with the mission of the Germanna Foundation.
Jason Holsclaw has an MPA in Public Policy/Finance and is a Senior Analyst; Education, Workforce, and Income Security at the US Government Accounting Office, where he has worked for over a decade. He brings experience that will be valuable as we develop systems and institutional infrastructure to help us execute our strategic plan. His wife does national fundraising work for Goodwill Industries.
J. Craig Kemper, Jr.
(Bio to come)
Kristie has worked in the conservation and preservation field since 2009,including land conservation efforts to protect significant properties in Virginia’s Piedmont region and the active stewardship of the easements that the Piedmont Environmental Council holds. Her preservation interests include the documentation of significant historic resources in Shenandoah National Park and efforts to broaden understanding of Appalachian culture and heritage in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and the documentation of German history in Virginia through the diaspora of the First and Second Germanna colony settlers.
R. “Skip” Poole
Skip is a 2nd Colony descendant through his mother’s side. His grandmother was Callie Lee Clore, who was born in Boone County, KY, in 1887, and who descended from the John/Abraham/Cave/Michael/Big Mike Clore lineage. Skip’s daughter, Meighan Perez, and her three daughters all have Clore as their middle name, and all, of course, own furniture from E. A. Clore Sons. In 2002, Skip coordinated the donations for the Clore Memorial Granite Bench that sits in the Memorial Garden at the Germanna Visitor Center. Skip’s Germanna lineage also includes the Wilhoits, Weavers, and Garrs. Skip has attended the Foundation’s annual reunions regularly since 1997, and he became a Foundation trustee and treasurer in 2005.
Skip was born in Washington, DC, raised in Alexandria, VA, and graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. He then served in the United States Army for 2 years, earned a master’s degree in management science from National-Louis University, and worked in the information technology field for 38 years. Now retired, Skip lives with his wife Joy at Lake of the Woods in Locust Grove, VA, which is just a few miles from the Germanna Visitor Center. In his spare time, he operates a home-based cruise consultancy and is active with the Shriners and Lions. He also serves as an assistant treasurer of the Lake of the Woods Church. Skip and Joy are most pleased that their five grandchildren live within 2 miles of their home.
Barbara Price is a descendant of Hans Jacob Holtzclaw and his first wife, Anna Margreth Otterbach, as well as the Heimbach and Fischbach families. Barbara first became involved with the Germanna Foundation in 1998, attended her first Reunion in 1999 and many more since then. Barbara was born in El Paso, Texas in 1955, but has been a resident of California since 1958. She currently lives in Ventura with her daughter, Kristi, and granddaughter, Jordyn. Barbara worked as a Respiratory Therapist for 23 years in both the hospital and home care setting. She has extensive experience managing both DME companies and Home Health Agencies in the home health industry. She now works in medical sales for Apria Healthcare and enjoys her job immensely. Barbara has been involved with several volunteer agencies such as the Firefighter Cancer Support Network and has also served on the Board of the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association. She currently serves as both a Trustee and a Board member of the Germanna Association and is Secretary for both entities. She’s the Chair of the Internet Presence Committee and serves on the Publications Committee and the Program Committee, hence she does not have a lot of spare time! But she has managed to travel with Germanna to Germany four times, twice as a working member of the Tour.
I have spent over 10 years in the US studying first at Emerson College in Boston, MA, interning for the office of an US-House-representative for Massachusetts in Washington, DC, working for a law firm and for my dad´s company in the US from 1998 to 2000. From 2000 to 2002 I studied for my MBA successfully, receiving it in 2002 from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN. Since my MBA, I have gained experience in entrepreneurial venturing thanks to various engagements in different start-ups by friends and by myself. I have been back in Germany living in Siegen about an hour North of Frankfurt am Main since 2005.
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John N. Pearce
John Pearce is director emeritus of the University of Mary Washington’s James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library in Fredericksburg, Virginia. John has been involved in Germanna-related activities since 1984, and brings to our work his prior experience as associate curator of cultural history at the Smithsonian Institution, curator of properties of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, State Historic Preservation Officer for Maryland, and teacher at The George Washington University and George Mason University as well as the University of Mary Washington. A graduate of Yale and the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture at the University of Delaware, he has written a number of articles, including the article “Architecture” in the Dictionary of American History and the article “United States of America” in the Encyclopedia of World Art, and he has jointly authored the article on “Historic Preservation” (with W. Brown Morton III and Carter L. Hudgins) in the Local History Encyclopedia, edited by Carol Kammen. John is always searching for possible links between his mother’s Ohio German ancestors and our Germanna families.
Horst Schneider lives in Siegen (Kreis/District of Siegen-Wittgenstein, Germany), the home of the 1714 First Colony Immigrants to Virginia. Horst is not a descendant of the immigrants of the first Germanna Colony. His former friend Heinz Prinz from Cologne, born in Siegen and a most enthusiastic Siegerländer, was the first German Trustee on the Board of the Germanna Foundation. Heinz Prinz aroused Mr. Schneider’s interest in the history of the first Nassau-Siegen immigrants to the New World. Mr. Prinz thought Mr. Schneider’s job as Member of the Board of the District Administration of Siegen-Wittgenstein (Kreisverwaltung) put him in a position to help promote understanding between the Siegerlaender and the members of the Germanna Foundation. Unfortunately, Heinz Prinz died in 2004. Horst Schneider became his successor on the Board of the Germanna Foundation.
Horst works to support the connections between the Germanna Foundation and the Heimatvereine, which are the local historical societies in Germany, as well as coordinate with German civic improvement organizations, and other groups in the Siegerland. Horst also helps to organize the annual trip of the Germanna Foundation to Germany and to support the tour guides, Katharine and Madison Brown, in their excellent work. Horst also serves as Vice President of the Heimatbund Siegerland-Wittgenstein, a regional historical society, and is a Trustee on the Board of the German-American Association (GAA) of Siegerland-Wittgenstein. Horst has visited Germanna twice and was the guest of Katharine and Madison Brown in their home in Staunton, VA. Horst reports: “That was great!”
Dr. Frank Turnage
Frank S. Turnage is President Emeritus of Germanna Community College (GCC) where he served for over twenty years. Currently Dr. Turnage is a visiting professor at Old Dominion University and adjunct professor at GCC. He is a native of North Carolina who married Nancy Wells of Arlington, Virginia in 1962. They have two adult sons and five grandchildren. He holds a baccalaureate degree from Duke University, a master’s from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a doctorate from the University of Virginia. Since moving to the Fredericksburg area 21 years ago, Dr. Turnage has been active in community, civic, and business affairs. He has served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and also as president and campaign chair of the Rappahannock United Way. His professional experiences at the CEO level include leadership management in academic, financial, and governmental affairs. Formerly he served on the local advisory boards for First Virginia Bank and BB&T, and currently he is a director of Virginia Partners Bank. He has served with distinction on state and regional task forces and accrediting agencies.
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Russell A. Hitt
Russell A. Hitt is a local Germanna descendant with roots dating back to Peter Hitt of the 1714 First Colony. Several generations of the Hitt extended family have occupied large areas of land in Culpeper and Rappahannock Counties, and his immediate family today owns acreage near Amissville, VA with five old family cemeteries dating back to the early 1800s.
Although Russell was actually raised in Arlington, Virginia, he has fond childhood memories of visiting Hitt family members out on “the farm” when there were no modern day conveniences such as electricity, and hog-killing was a festive family event. He recently completed a replica historic log cabin (with electricity) on his Amissville Hitt land and he enjoys spending frequent weekends out in the country revisiting those memories.
Russell is passionate about keeping the Hitt family history alive for generations to come, and has had quite a bit of genealogy research documented and stored for safekeeping. He also enjoys Civil War history as his great-grandfather, Albert Hillary Hitt, lost his three older brothers in those battles. Albert’s house still stands today on the Hitt land. Other Germanna ancestors include relations by marriage to the Fischbach/Fishback and Otterbach families, and to the Hackley family who intermarried with Spillmans.
Russell is Chairman of HITT Contracting, Inc., founded by his parents and still family owned. HITT ranks in the nation’s 100 Largest General Contractors and consistently ranks in the DC area as one of the most highly recognized names in commercial construction. He has served on numerous advisory and volunteer boards during his tenure, and currently remains active with Capital Hospice, the building and construction departments of Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, and Fishburne Military School.