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Idaho State University

Looking for Betty ...

Boise - "Dear Betty," a public art project by Boise artist Grant Olsen, will be unveiled at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 16, on the exterior west wall of the Record Exchange at 1105 West Idaho across from the Boise Cascade building in downtown Boise.

Olsen's been creating the art piece for the last three months as a "birthday present to myself."

And he is still looking for "Betty" and her friends. In 1938, Betty Pumphrey was a student at the University of Idaho Southern Branch, now Idaho State University at Pocatello. She was an apparently popular cheerleader. Recently browsing in a Twin Falls thrift shop, Olsen found her 1938 Wickiup, the UISB yearbook and became intrigued with Betty's story as told by the numerous friends who had written in her yearbook.

With more than 100 inscriptions, "It was difficult to choose which told her story best," said Olsen. But he finally chose a dozen or so inscriptions to create sections of a public art installation based on Betty's story. Then he began the search for Betty and her classmates. Many of them are deceased, but Olsen has contacted two of them - octogenarians Eugene Crowley, now living in Weiser, and Dr. Parry Harrison, a retired optometrist in Pocatello. Crowley plans to attend the art project's unveiling.

"I love all of them (the students)," said Olsen. "I don't know how I'll move on after this project if I don't know what happened to them." Other former UISB students he would like information on are: Frank Amundson, Gay Bonman, Kinsley Brown, Lorraine Broadhead, Milly Carter, Vernon Daniel, Maxine Gravatt, Verne Johnson, Rena Beth Owen, and Thaine Wulf.

And of course, Betty herself. If you have any information on any of these people, please call the Idaho State University public relations office in Boise at 334-2257 or email or - 10 July 2002