Who was the namesake of our center?
Alice Callaway Wiltsie was born in Hazleton on Dec. 11, 1903, to John M. and Lizzie Dell Beishline Callaway of Hazleton.
She graduated from Hazleton High School in 1920 and from the Pratt Art Institute in New York City in 1923. She also attended Penn State University and Kutztown State Teachers’ College.
Wiltsie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and supervised art at Mahanoy Township schools for six years before marrying Attorney Charles Sumner Wiltsie of Indianapolis, Ind., in 1929.
After her husband died of pneumonia in 1931, she returned to her alma mater, Hazleton High School, where she taught art for 26 years until her retirement. She then became the Hazleton Art League’s first teacher in crafts, instructing evening courses in jewelry, silversmithing and enameling for more than three decades. She served on Art League committees and the Art League Board and was president of the Hazleton Chapter of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. Additionally, Wiltsie’s artwork was displayed throughout the United States.
Wiltsie had a great interest in all the arts, including theater and classical music presentations. She visited art museums throughout the world. Her family has said that she would be proud to be associated with the Castle auditorium in its excellent form as a renovation of the former Hazleton High School auditorium. The presentation of the various forms of the arts in this auditorium would especially please her greatly and will be a treasured tribute to her life’s interest in the arts in all forms.
She had two sons, Dr. David S. Wiltsie, a gastroenterologist in Belleville, Ill., who died in 1982, and Dr. John C. Wiltsie, who worked as a hematologist in Rochester, Minn. In 1956 she “adopted” Allan Werst, her nephew from Fort Worth, Texas. All three are Hazleton High School graduates. Her siblings were Marion Koehler, Paul Callaway and Doris Werst.
Wiltsie was a lifelong member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Hazleton, where her funeral services were performed after she died on June 11, 1990.