Gast, Ellen Hartman Pearey
Ellen Hartman Pearey Gast was selected as the 1930's decade UNO Legendary Women because she thrived at UNO during the Great depression. She had a zest for life. She saw the value and importance of education and effective communication and the arts as the great defense in tough economic times. She saw the value of a great book or newspaper articles as tools to inspire and encourage citizens to transcend through the tough times. Ellen spent a lifetime communicating these lessons to others.
Ellen was a strong promoter of the importance of education. She taught 38 years in the Omaha public school system and was known by many as Omaha's Dean of journalism. She was a mentor to numerous news professionals and her former students recall fondly her attention to detail. She was respected for her red pen and her superior editing skills. In 1996 she was recognized for her excellence in teaching by being named by the Omaha World-Herald Outstanding Nebraska Teacher of the Year.
She was a wife, mother, grandmother, and nurturer of hundreds of young students. She balanced work and family at a time when most of her peers were forced to choose.
Her love of sports was illustrated by being a life-long booster at weekly high school and UNO sporting events. She involved herself in university activities before and after her graduation, serving as the President of the Alumni Association in 1971-72. Ellen was a life-long learner, avid reader, and she embraced the importance of understanding our global society by annually traveling to foreign countries. Ellen was an active community volunteer and she believed in the value of giving back to the community she lived in. Her leadership skills were recognized when she was asked to serve on the board of trustees for the YMCA and Douglas County Hospital.
Source: University of Nebraska at Omaha, "Ellen Hartman Pearey Gast, 1916-1996," Legendary Women of UNO, 2012, http://www.unomaha.edu/legendarywomen/ellen/.