City of University Heights, Iowa
University Heights City Hall | 1004 Melrose Avenue, University Heights (Iowa City) 52246 | 319-337-6900

UH Diamond Jubilee 1935-2010





NOTABLE RESIDENTS of University Heights

Dr. Janusz Bardach Dottie Ray
David Belgum Wilbur Schramm
Chan Coulter Eric Wilson s
Gretchen Harshbarger Esther Winders
Lee Koser    
Robert F. Ray      

If you have suggestions for additional notable residents send them to:, city historian

Dr. Janusz Bardach

July 28, 1919 - August 16, 2002
Dr. Janusz Bardach, 83, of 328 Highland Drive, died of pancreatic cancer Friday, August 16, 2002, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Memorial services will be held 3:00 p.m., Thursday, September 5, 2002, at Agudas Achim Synagogue with Rabbi Jeff Portman officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Agudas Achim Synagogue, University of Iowa Foundation/Cancer Research, University of Iowa Department of Otolaryngology/ Cleft Palate Research or University of Iowa International Writing Program. Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service is in charge of arrangements.

Dr. Bardach was born July 28, 1919, in Odessa, Russia, the son of Mark and Ottylia Bardach. In 1920 he and his family moved to Poland. In July 1940, he was drafted into the Russian Red Army. In August 1941, he was arrested on the front line for “anti-Soviet propaganda.” He was court-martialed and sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to ten years hard labor in a camp in Kolyma, Siberia.

After he was released from the labor camp in 1946, he returned to Poland and received a stipend from the Polish government to study medicine in Moscow. He completed his residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Moscow Medical-Stomatological Institute in 1954 and returned to Poland where he became chair of the Department of Maxillofacial Surgery at the Medical University in Lodz. He later became the head of Poland’s first Department of Plastic Surgery.

He came to Iowa City in 1972 at the invitation of the University of Iowa where he joined the faculty at the College of Medicine and became chair of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. In 1981, he married Phyllis Harper. He wrote more than 200 scientific articles and 12 books on plastic surgery as well as numerous essays. He retired in 1991. He also wrote “Man is Wolf to Man” which chronicles his experiences in the labor camp. His second memoir, “Surviving Freedom: After the Gulag,” describes the years he lived in Moscow and attended medical school after his release from prison. It will be published by the University of California Press in 2003.

Dr. Bardach was a member of the International Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Midwestern Association of Plastic Surgeons, International Society of Maxillofacial Surgery, American Cleft Palate Association, Polish Society of Plastic Surgery, American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, American Medical Association, Iowa Medical Association and the Johnson County Medical Association.

He won several awards during his career including First Prize from the Ministry of Health in Poland in 1966 and 1968.

Survivors include: his wife, Phyllis Harper- Bardach of Iowa City, Iowa; his daughter, Ewa Bardach and her husband Hani Elkadi of Iowa City; his granddaughter, Nina Elkadi of Iowa City; Hani’s family, brother, Osama and mother, Doula, his brother Juliusz Bardach and his wife Wanda of Warsaw, Poland, and by Juliusz’s children, Krystyna, Mark and Michalina; his stepchildren, Freeman Harper of Iowa City, Iowa, William Harper and his wife Donna of West Des Moines, Iowa and Phyllis Finch and her husband Michael of Atlanta, Georgia.

He is survived by his sister-in-law, Pauline Cheesman of Staten Island, New York. He is also survived by several stepgrandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews.

His parents, sister, Rachel, wife, Yelena, and infant son, Mark, preceded him in death.


Dr. David Belgum

Dr. David Belgum, founder and director of the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, was also perhaps the most prolific writer in University Heights history. He authored 33 books and booklets on a wide variety of topics including Religion And Personality In The Spiral Of Life, Cultural Diversity. Fabrics of Society, and Living with Parkinson’s Disease, published posthumously, Another of his best known titles locally is Memoirs of Iowa’s Only Socialist Mayor, a good natured account of his time as mayor of University Heights in the 1970’s.

A resident of UH for over 40 years, Dr. Belgum was born December 22, 1922 in Glenwood, Minnesota. He received his BA in Sociology from the University of Minnesota in 1944, and his Bachelor’s of Divinity in 1946 from Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary. Dr. Belgum received his Ph.D. in Psychology of Religion from Boston University and completed his Clinical Pastoral Education at the University of Michigan. He was united in marriage to Katherine Geigenmueller on August 8, 1953 at Christ Lutheran Church in Monroe, Michigan.

Dr. Belgum was a child therapist at Ypsilanti State Hospital in Ypsilanti, Michigan from 1952-53, and then established the Clinical Education Program at both the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis General Hospital. In 1964, Dr. Belgum became Associate Professor at the University of Iowa School of Religion, and in 1969 Professor. Dr. Belgum established the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at UIHC, serving as Director from 1964-1987. His seminars at the University included, “Death and Dying; Stigma: Medical Ethics”. Throughout the years he traveled to China, Pakistan, Mexico, Iceland, and Papua, New Guinea to study the cultural approaches to medical treatment. He retired in 1987 as Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Belgum passed away on April 12, 2007. His wife, Kathie, still resides in the family home at 104 Sunset St.

Chan Coulter
Gettysburg College Special Collections

Chan Frank Coulter was born in Johnson County, Iowa, to Elmer and Ida Hunter Coulter on September 24, 1901. Ida Coulter died about eleven years later and her sister, Etta Hunter, helped to raise Coulter. The family moved to Iowa City when Coulter and his younger brother entered high school. Coulter went on to the State University of Iowa, where he majored in physical education and received a Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) Commission. In 1924 Chan Coulter set a world record of 53.2 for the 440 yard hurdles. He competed for the University of Iowa. Along with fellow University Heights resident, Eric Wilson, he competed in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, France. Upon graduation, he acquired a job selling life insurance in Pittsburgh.

He married Mae C. Becker in 1926 and had a son, Chan Lowell Coulter, in 1928. The Coulters lived in Pittsburgh for one year before they moved to Lakewood, Ohio, where Chan Lowell was born. While in Lakewood, Coulter sold life insurance, coached track at Western Reserve University, taught physical education, and served in the Ohio National Guard under the 37th Division. His division was called to active duty in 1940 by President Franklin Roosevelt. Coulter was commander of the division's Headquarters Company at the time.

After being called to active duty, he was sent to the South Pacific in 1942. After he was discharged in 1945 for health reasons, he returned to his family in Iowa City and continued to sell life insurance and participate in the military by serving in the Army Reserves as Commanding Officer of the 410th Infantry Regiment. He retired as a full Colonel in 1965.

Coulter worked closely with the Iowa City Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta and received the Coulter Cup, named for him, for his exceptional service to the chapter. He was very active in his community after the war, serving as the mayor of University Heights, working for the Republican Party, volunteering at the Johnson County Historical Society, serving on the local school board, volunteering at the First Methodist Church, and volunteering at the Veterans Hospital in Iowa City. Coulter died in August of 1991. Coulter and his family lived at 1440 Grand Avenue.

Gretchen Harshbarger

Member of the Iowa City Press Citizen's Fabulous 150. Gretchen and her husband, UI speech professor Clay Harshbarger, lived at 305 Sunset in the 1940's Go here to read more.


Lee Koser

Working with his brother, George, as Koser Brothers, realtor Lee Koser was the driving force behind the creation of University Heights. He built two homes in UH. The first was at 100 Koser Ave. The street was later re-named from Western Avenue to "Koser" in his honor. The second was in the UH second addition at 305 Golfview Ave. This story book style home is one of the most distinctive in town. When UH incorporated in 1935 Lee Koser was elected its first mayor. City Hall was his large two story garage until winter when the offices were relocated into his basement. Mr. Koser lived in University Heights until his death, at aged 67, in 1949. Go here to read the article featuring Koser from the Cedar Rapids Gazette, some time in 1936 "University Heights Suburban Government, Runs Along Peacefully As Iowa City Squabbles"

Dottie Ray

Long time host of "The Dottie Ray Show" which started in her University Heights home in the 1950's. Dottie has interviewed thousand of local and visiting guests with warmth and enthusiasm. As the first female editor of the "Daily Iowan" she worked under School of Journalism Director Wilbur Schramm. Dottie and her husband, Dean of Continuing Eduction, Robert F. Ray, bought 305 Golfview from Lee Koser's widow. Named to the Iowa City Press Citizen's Fabulous 150 list. Go here to read more.

Wilbur Schramm

The first director of the Iowa Writer's Workshop (1939-1942) Wilbur Schramm was instrumental in creating what has become one of the University of Iowa's most famous programs. An excellent teacher of writing according to his students, he had a decidedly "casual" approach to teaching.

"Meetings of the workshop as a whole (8-10 students) were not held at regularly scheduled times, but took place perhaps once a month whenever several members had something 'ready' to present. Such group meetings were often held in Schramm's home where his big dog, Shakespeare, snored by the fireplace. The very attractive Mrs. Schramm served coffee and cookies. We watched four year old Mary Schramm showing off for guests and being loved, too. Mary wrote poetry once in a while, and her dad was obviously proud to read it aloud to his students. Sometimes he would ask for our comments on his own short stories. Windwagon Smith was the hero of an adventure series by that name which he sold to the very popular Saturday Evening Post. In those days, I was confident that Windwagon would establish Wilbur Schramm as a great American writer. Even today, I am still sorry that he laid Windwagon aside to become a recognized authority on television and mass media problems." (Barbara Spargo. letter to Stephen Wilbers, February 16, 1976 as printed in The Iowa Writers' Workshop, 1980 UI Press)

The Schramm's built their home at 340 Golfview Avenue in 1935, the same year Wilbur joined the English department faculty. He took a leave from UI in 1942 to work for the U.S. Army's Office of War Information. When he returned to UI he became head of the school of journalism, a position he held until 1947, when he left to start the Institute for Communications Research at the University of Illinois. He later founded the communications department at Stanford University.

Eric Wilson

Eric Wilson was an elected member of the first University Heights City Council in 1935, but his political career dated back to 1922-3, when he was elected as the senior class president at the State University of Iowa.

Eric Colquhoun Wilson was born in Iowa City to Professor Charles Bundy Wilson and Frances Colquhoun Wilson, both formerly of upstate New York, on October 8, 1900.  Prof. Wilson was a prominent member of S.U.I.’s German Studies program, serving on the faculty for 50 years before his death in 1938.

Eric Wilson was an outstanding track athlete for SUI, winning NCAA and Big Ten titles in the 220-yard dash in 1921 and 1923.  He held the conference record in the 220 for seven years in the 1920s.  Wilson competed in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, France, in the 400-meter race, but missed the finals by finishing third in a second series of heats.

After the Olympics, Wilson returned to Iowa City to accept a position in SUI sports publicity.  He spent 44 years as the University’s sports information director before retiring in 1968.  Wilson had attended 56 consecutive University of Iowa homecoming games and 261 consecutive football games at one point in his career.

Wilson was married to Lois Sensor Wilson, of Independence, in 1924.  They were early landowners in University Heights, building before 1930.  The Wilsons had one son, Eric C. Wilson, Jr., in 1928.  Eric Jr. became a high school and UI track star in his own right before moving to Indianapolis with his family to work in business. 

After Lois died in 1937, Eric Wilson married Betty Ritson in 1940.  The couple was socially active, frequently travelling to Eric Jr.’s track meets and hosting dinner parties.  They were also active followers of the circus; Wilson spent a week travelling with the Ringling Brothers in 1948.

Eric C. Wilson died July 2, 1985, in the home he had resided in for more than 50 years, 231 Golfview Avenue. 

Esther Winders

Time Magazine, April 25, 1969: "Darting about on her chrome-festooned motorcycle in her self-designed uniform—white crash helmet and boots, tight black pants and leather jacket—she might be taken for a Hell's Angel auxiliary. Up close, Esther Winders gives no such false impression. The badge on her breast, the pearl-handled pistol and the can of Chemical Mace that hang from her hips, clearly label Mrs. Winders what she is and always wanted to be: a lady cop.

"In fact, Marshal Winders, daughter of a marshal and niece of a police chief, constitutes the entire police force of University Heights, Iowa. The tiny suburb (pop. 2,000) in the shadow of sedate University of Iowa is honeycombed with law and order and can rely on nearby Iowa City police if more—or masculine —officers are needed. Mostly, they are not. Mrs. Winders has never discharged her pistol or Mace can in anger, although she did arrest a drunken driver two years ago.

"Yet she is hardly idle. Patroling on her Harley-Davidson, or in the battered red Studebaker she prefers for late-night cruising, Mrs. Winders keeps University Heights safe from traffic offenders. "I still average one fine or so a week," she says. She also brings a feminine touch to police work. One couple in town had a spat during the night and headed out of their house in opposite directions; the marshal sat with their children until the parents returned the next morning. On the rare occasions when an escaped convict has been in the vicinity, Mrs. Winders and her bloodhound Portia join police from neighboring areas in the chase. Her most serious current problem is an ubiquitous peeping Tom. "They're the hardest to catch," she says. "But I'd like to put some buckshot into him."

"Mayor Chan Coulter, a retired Army colonel, credits his one-woman force with providing a "very special kind of protection in our town." But soon University Heights, which hired Mrs. Winders in 1935 when she asked for the job, will have to start looking for a new marshal. Winders and Portia are contemplating retirement. "The council," says the grandmother, "thinks I'm getting loo old to chase cars." The council may have a point. At 70, Esther Winders claims to be the oldest working policewoman in the nation."

Winders and her husband, Roy, built 141 Koser and later built and lived in 127 Koser.