Magaret Kantz Recalls Afghan
recent news focus on Afghanistan has been of special interest to Margaret
(McNeil) Kantz '46. Margaret and her family spent four years in the
country when her late husband, Asher, was employed by the University
of Wyoming as a professor of physics, chemistry, and engineering for
the development of a new Kabul University through the USAID program.
Along with their four children (ages two to nine), Asher and Margaret
spent four years in the country Margaret describes as "a historian's
delight." Kantz's experiences were the basis of a presentation at the
Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church in August. She now lives
in Sun City Grand, Ariz.
"We had four incredible years in this beautiful
ancient land," Kantz told the group, "the mountains soaring high above
the timberline, some as high as 25,000 feet, the everlasting snow on
the peaks, the dashing mountain streams and, yet, to the south of us,
the unforgiving heat of the Seistan desert where summer temperatures
sometimes reach 120 degrees.
"This was the heart of where history was
made. We looked out our windows and saw great herds off fat-tailed sheep,
donkeys with huge loads on their back, and lumbering camels walking
down the street right there in front of us. And the Afghans tending
the flocks dressed like pictures we had seen of people in Bible times."
In addition to working with the establishment
of Kabul University, the Kantzes were involved with a new international
school where Margaret taught music in addition to her duties as an RN
at the embassy hospital.
"Asher formed a Boy Scout troop with all
nationalities represented, and what a wonderful opportunity for the
boys to get to know their fellow Scouts from all over the world," she
After four years the family returned to
the United States, spending 33 years in California. A member of Southwestern's
Natural Sciences Hall of Fame, Asher Kantz died in 1986, and Margaret
has lived in Sun City Grand since 1999.