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WGS Board Member Profiles

2023 Wichita Genealogical Society Board Members


Fred Knoblauch, President

Fred, the oldest of 12 children, was born in Wichita but grew up in Colwich and has spent his entire life in the Wichita area. For almost 40 years he has been doing genealogy, starting with his extended families. His focus has been western Sedgwick County, and eastern Kingman and Reno counties. He retired after 40 years in corporate management accounting. In addition to spending a lot of his spare time on genealogy, he is also an independent contractor for Probate courts, serving as a professional conservator and a professional estate administrator. He and his wife Cecilia have been married for over 44 years, and have three sons and nine grandchildren.

Kathleen Wright, Vice-President

I grew up around Lawrence, Kansas. I was always fascinated by the history of that area, particularly stories of Missouri Ruffians, William Quantrill and John Brown. I am writer and have maintained a journal since I was 8 years old. I graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, and later with a Master’s degree in Social Work. I retired in 2020 after working in the addictions field for 20 years and moved to Wichita to be near my son and grandchildren. I have a passion for genealogy and after I attended one of the monthly programs given by WGS, I knew it was an organization of which I wanted to be a member. I am currently working on a story about growing up in the 60s and 70s, as well as documenting interesting and “notorious” family members.


Pam Brillhart, Treasurer

I am first and foremost a wife and mother of four children, eleven grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. I have had a love of genealogy since I was twelve years old and held family group sheets for the first time! My current project is encouraging others to add their ancestor’s photos to FamilySearch and Ancestry for descendants to put a face to their names. I love to read many different types of books and especially the scriptures. I graduated from WSU in 2011 with a Bachelors in Business Administration with a Major in Accounting and Minors in Finance and Management. I belong to the Little Arkansas Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and have served as the Regent for the last six years. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have served in many different positions.

Lois Car, Secretary

A farm girl from northeast Kansas, Lois became fascinated with genealogy at the age of 16 when she read some family history and began to see her ancestors as real people. She has undergraduate degrees from Friends University and a graduate degree from Emporia State University. After retiring as a librarian from the Wichita Public Library, she started a concerted effort to explore and document her family history. Lois and her husband Norman have traveled extensively over the years but are now happy to spend more time at home on their personal projects and interests.

Phyllis Schanbacher, Registrar

I am retired from the Wichita Public School District after 27 ½ years of substituting and working in an office. I am the mother of 3, grandmother of 8 and great grandmother of 6. They are the light of my life. I enjoy volunteering at my church, helping my family, Genealogy, quilting and friends. I have been able to prove my family for the DAR and am a member of the National Society Descendants of American Farmers. I started my genealogy trip in 1973. I enjoy taking the trips the Society has to offer and have found lots of help, friends and fun with the group.

Chair Positions  

Janell White , Exchanges and Publications

I grew up in a small town in Nebraska, genealogy was all around me. Back then, it never crossed my mind to document all the genealogical information I heard coming from family members or to ask questions of the older generations. My research has unveiled a lot of unknowns and provided many roadblocks. My goal is to break down those roadblocks and discover more information on a grandfather who immigrated from Prussia in the 1880’s. I retired in 2017 after 25 years as an Administrative Assistant in the business master’s programs at Friends University. I have a daughter, two sons and ten grandchildren. My husband and I have been members of the Wichita Genealogical Society for several years. After retirement I felt I had the time to do more family research and wanted to do volunteer work.

Randi Thimech, Director of Technology


Collette Fenlason, Publicity

Collette was born in Bangor, Maine and raised in Schertz, Texas. She first moved to Wichita in 1987. Her genealogy journey began in the 1990’s while she was obtaining a degree in elementary education from Missouri Western. In 2013, she returned to Wichita and retired from teaching. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, sewing, and embroidery.


Jim Hamlin - Postal Director

Jim is a Wichita native, retired, and does volunteer work for several organizations as a handy man. He has been treasurer for two groups, one for 18 years and the other for 33. He loves to read when he can't get outside. Jim's genealogy research started with a great-grandfather on his father's side; searching for where he came from and hopes to develop the complete story of the gentleman's life someday.


Open Special Projects / Research

See Volunteer page for information.


Jason Felihkatubbe, Education & AVC Editor

Jason Felihkatubbe (Choctaw) has been doing genealogical research for over 25 years and his focus is Native American Indian genealogy, with an emphasis on the southeastern peoples–Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, and Seminole in Indian Territory/Oklahoma. Apart from research, he has offered lectures and classes on Native American Indian genealogy, culture, and. He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. He has been involved with the USGenWeb Project for over 16 years.


Vickie Everitt, Library Liaison

Having been born and raised in West Central Minnesota, I have also lived in numerous places including Germany for 3 years.  I have worked as a social worker for more than 13 years.  My husband is active-duty Air Force and we have two grown sons.  After assisting our oldest with a family history project, I wanted to attach proof documents to the stories our family told.  Researching for sixteen years, I have found my ancestors are mostly from the Ostfreisland part of Germany and Netherlands.  I am now searching for my husband's family who have English, Mexican, African American and Native American roots.  A couple of my genealogy accomplishments is receiving my certificate from Boston University for Professional Genealogy and being president, vice president/programs in the Greene County Genealogical Society.  My goals while in Kansas, are to trace a trail/timeline following some of the early railroads which my husband's great-grandfather worked.

Open Historian

See Volunteer page for information.

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