Each year, AHSGR offers Member Recognition in the form of two awards, the Distinguished Service Award and the Special Citation Award.
2022 Distinguished Service Award - Karen Soeken
Karen Gienapp Soeken grew up in Michigan. She received a B.A. in mathematics from Valparaiso University; a Master’s Degree in Mathematics/Statistics and Ph.D. in Measurement and Statistics from the University of Maryland; and a Master of Theological Studies from Wesley Theological Seminary. She is Professor Emerita from the University of Maryland School of Nursing.
Karen joined AHSGR in 1975, the Nation’s Capitol Chapter. She has been a member of the AHSGR Board of Directors since 2010, serving as Membership Committee chair, Strategic Planning Committee chair, and Secretary. She has provided commitment and leadership to the organization—leading the Board of Directors to create a blueprint for the future.
Karen currently serves as President of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and has repeatedly demonstrated her dedication to its success nw and into the future.
She and Don, her husband of 57 years, are the parents of two and grandparents of six. Besides being involved in AHSGR, she also enjoys reading mysteries, crocheting prayer shawls, solving crossword and sudoku puzzles, making quilts for Lutheran World Relief, and spending time with her grandkids.
2022 Special Citation Awardee - Bob Ahlbrandt
Bob Ahlbrandt, Ph.D., is currently serving as Vice President of the AHSGR Board of Directors. He is chair of the Technology Committee, providing strategic direction and oversight of AHSGR’s technology which supports our Headquarters Museum and Library, as well as our virtual capabilities, including ahsgr.org. Bob also serves as the Coordinator of Village Coordinator activities and is currently President of the Greater Kansas City chapter of AHSGR.
Bob holds a B.S. from the University of Missouri, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Statistics from Colorado State University. Bob spent 30 years working in pharmaceutical research and development supporting global registrations of innovative new medicines. After retiring, he has spent more time exploring his Volga German ancestry (paternal ancestors from Grimm, maternal ancestors from Balzer and Rosenberg) and has become more actively involved in AHSGR.
This AHSGR Special Citation recognizes his efforts and numerous volunteer hours in the development and migration of data to the new AHSGR website.
2022 Special Citation Awardee - Lee Macklin
Lee Macklin is a second generation German from Russia from Kansas. Lee earned a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Information Technology from the University of Dallas in Texas. He served 10 years in the US Navy as an Anti-Submarine Warfare Specialist during the Vietnam War. This was followed by over 30 years as a software engineer, sales consulting engineer, and technical project manager retiring in 2012. He is married to Cindy Keller Macklin who also has German from Russia ancestors. They have three children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Since retiring, Lee has devoted much of his time as the family genealogist and resident DNA expert. He has given many educational and analytical presentations both from genealogy and DNA perspectives. He has been a presenter at numerous AHSGR and GRHS national conventions as well as various local chapters and other organizations. Lee currently maintains an extensive website for the Sacramento Valley Chapter and serves as president of the chapter and a member of the AHSGR Board of Directors.
This Special Citation Award is given in recognition of Lee’s leadership of the 13- month effort to build a new AHSGR website which went live December 2021.
2022 Special Citation Awardee - Dennis Zitterkopf
Dennis Zitterkopf is from Kansas, graduating from Durham High School in 1957. He received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1962 and a Master of Science in Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 19
70. He worked at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in the Space Department, 1962-1978, and for Boeing Defense Division, 1978-2001, after moving to Wichita, Kansas.
Dennis has been a member of AHSGR since 1972 and was a charter member of the Nation’s Capital Chapter. In Wichita, he has been an active member of the Golden Wheat Chapter, serving in various leadership roles. As a member of the AHSGR Board of Directors, Dennis was Technology Chair, 2005-2015, during which time he also served as the SOAR Project Manager, and again from 2019-2021. In 2009 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his many contributions to the society.
This AHSGR Special Citation recognizes his efforts and numerous volunteer hours in the development of the new AHSGR website
2021 Distinguished Service Awardee - Duane Stabler
Duane Stabler’s paternal ancestors immigrated to the USA from Klein Neudorf (Glueckstal) and Hoffnungstal (Odessa). His maternal ancestors immigrated from Hoffnungstal (Bessarabia) and Worms (Beresan). They immigrated to the USA and settled in rural Campbell and McPherson County of South Dakota. Duane grew up in rural Eureka, South Dakota.
Duane attended grade and high school in Eureka and then attended Northern State University where he received his BS degree.
Duane married Dorothy Wangler from Aberdeen, South Dakota whose family are all from the Kutschurgan colonies in Black Sea region settling in North Dakota.
That degree lead Duane and his wife to Dallas Texas where Texas Instruments hired him; he later joined Seagate Technology, located in Minneapolis Minnesota and remained there for about 32 years rising through the ranks of engineering and engineering management. In 2018 Duane and Dorothy retired to Frisco, Texas in suburban Dallas, TX.
His family surnames are Staebler (Stabler), Wolf, Schmidt, Bossert, Holzwarth and Fuehrer. These families were all from the Black Sea colonies. His interest in this heritage began when he was about six years old. At that time his Grandfather John Stabler passed away and Duane recalls knowing that Grandfather Stabler was born in Russia. He heard the family stories and asked many questions of family throughout the years. Apparently, he stored them away because it wasn’t until about 1982 when Duane read about the North Star Chapter of Minnesota. He joined AHSGR and the North Star Chapter and attended his first convention in Milwaukee, WI where he met Art Flegel who took one look at Duane’s name tag and said, “you are a Glueckstaller.” At the time that was a word that Duane didn’t know, but he learned fast and sought advice from many people throughout the years. Mentors for Duane include Margaret Freeman, Ardella Bennett and others too numerous to mention.
Duane is a former member of the GRHS Board of Directors and is currently the North Texas Chapter’s representative to the GRHS board of directors. He is the president for the North Texas Chapter of Germans from Russia (https://ntgfr.com) since it was formed in 2019. He is also a director with the Galizien German Descendants (https://galiziengermandescendants.org).
For the past six years, he is also the leader of the Gluckstal Colonies Research Association (GCRA), https://glueckstal.net, following Margaret Freeman and Homer Rudolf. He is a regular contributor to various publications. Duane and two other researchers published a book titled Researchers Guide to McPherson County SD Cemeteries in 2005. It can be purchased from NDSU. His second book Walworth County, South Dakota was published in 2013 and is available through Arcadia Publishing (www.arcadiapublishing.com ). In 2017, Duane received the Joseph S Height Literary Award for his article, Eureka Lutheran College, Eureka, South Dakota: A Vision Crushed by the Depression of the 1930s found in the GRHS Heritage Review, December 2016.
Past Distinguished Service Award Recipients
Duane Stabler, Frisco, TX, 2021
Dr. Lewis Marquardt, Austin, TX, 2019
Dr. Dona Reeves Marquardt, Austin, TX, 2019
Donita (Dodie) Rotherham, San Diego, CA, 2018
Dr. Wilhelm (Bill) Doos, Milwaukee, WI, 2017
Pam Wurst, Lincoln, NE, 2017
Larry Bohlender, Greeley, CO, 2016
Samuel Dreith, Denver, CO, 2016
Dr. Robert Janke, Schoolcraft, MI, 2016
Leona Janke, Schoolcraft, MI, 2016
Mabel Kiessling, Calgary, AB, Canada, 2015
Leona Mann, Calgary, AB, Canada, 2015
Norma Somerheiser, Lincoln, NE 2015
Corinne Koehler, Arvada, CO, 2014
Kevin Rupp, Hays, KS, 2014
Jim Weibert, Rocklin, CA, 2013
Dr. Jerome Siebert, Moraga, CA, 2012
Clarence Kissler, Littleton, CO, 2011
Harley Behm, Portage, MI, 2011
Ed Hoak, Long Grove, IL, 2010
Nick & Barbara Bretz, Arvada, CO, 2009
Dennis Zitterkopf, Wichita, KS, 2009
Mayo Flegel, Mankato, MN, 2008
Raymond Pfau, Racine, WI, 2008 (Posthumous)
Diana Bell, Fresno, CA, 2007
Edward Schwartzkopf, Lincoln, NE, 2007 (Posthumous)
Doris Evans, Almira, WA, 2006
Kathryn O’Malley, Mt. Ida, AR, 2005 (Posthumous)
Edwin Rau, Fresno, CA, 2005 (Posthumous)
Elaine Frank Davison, Walla Walla, WA, 2004 (Posthumous)
J. Paul Hile, Fairfax, VA, 2004
George Miller, Naperville, IL, 2003
Dr. Timothy J. Kloberdanz, Fargo, ND, 1999
Dr. Solomon Reinhold Schneider, Fort Collins, CO, 1999
Leona Pfeifer, Hays, KS, 1998
Margaret (Zimmerman) Freeman, Santa Monica, CA, 1997
Martha Issinghoff, Dodge City, KS, 1996
Gerda Stroh Walker, Denver, CO, 1995
Lawrence Weigel, Hays, KS, 1995
Reuben Goertz, Freeman, SD, 1994 (Posthumous)
Mela Meisner Lindsay, Denver, CO, 1994
Jacob “Jake” Sinner, Lincoln, NE, 1993
Ruth M. Amen, Lincoln, NE, 1992
Arthur E. Flegel, Menlo Park, CA, 1992
Dr. David J. Miller, Greeley, CO, 1992
Dr. Adam Giesinger, Winnipeg, MB, Canada 1991
Past Special Citation Award Recipients
Gwen Mayer, Denver, CO, 2017
Merrill Crandall, Lincoln, NE, 2017
Judy Runion, Lincoln, NE, 2017
Delores Giebelhaus Schwartz, Lincoln, NE, 2014
Frank McLean, Yakima, WA, 2012
Rachel Smith, Wichita, KS, 2011
John & Marcella Wark, Menlo Park, CA, 2011
John Weber, Lincoln, NE, 2010
Phil Dinges, Lincoln, NE, 2010
Edward R. (Ted) Gerk, Kelowna, BC, Canada, 2006
Teresa Helzer, Castle Rock, CO, 2006
Marie Trupp Krieger, Portland, OR, 2006
Patrice M. Miller, San Ramon, CA, 2006
JoAnn Kuhr, Lincoln, NE, 1999