|Jan Butler Rollow
One professional career path in life might not be the answer to everyone's dreams. You might find yourself on a different road before you know it. Take Jan Butler Rollow, for instance. After high school, she enrolled at Iowa State University in Ames and earned a journalism degree with minors in Spanish, botany and education in 1967.
She landed a job at Meredith Corporation in Des Moines, as a promotion writer for LOOK magazine. While working full time, Jan completed postgraduate work in English and math.
"My new husband, Bill Balsiger, was about a year behind me in school, and when he graduated he went into the Air Force," she explained. "We lived in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Rantoul, Ill., and San Bernardino, Calif."
During those wanderings, Jan taught English, history and journalism either part or full time for grades 7-12 as well as for adults. Also at this time, she earned 30 college credits in her teaching fields at San Bernardino State and the University of California-Riverside. Then in 1973, the family moved to Burnsville for Bill's job. But unable to find a decent position of her own, Jan decided that a new career path had been presented to her.
"Probably the weirdest twist was going back to dental school 10 years out of college and with two children," Jan reminisced. "It took three years of prerequisites and four years of dental school. But God knew my future and that this is what I needed to do."
She persevered, earning her DDS degree from the University of Minnesota in 1981 and immediately buying a small practice at Southdale Medical Office Building in Edina. Yet 18 months later she sold the practice when the family moved to Dallas because Bill had been commuting there for a new job 11 months. And it didn't take her long to start over again, opening Janis M. Balsiger PC, operating as The Smile Center.
Things went well in Texas, except for the death of Bill in 1988. Jan grew her new practice from one person in 1983 to seven people and more than 2,000 patients by the time she sold out in 2002. Today she still works part time, filling in for dental colleagues who need her. She also remains active in the Texas Dental Assn. and is currently state chair of its Peer Review Council.
Her children are long on their own, Rob, 41, and Libby, 38. Jan married Larry Rollow, now a retired airline pilot, in 1997. His flight privileges allow the Rollows to travel widely. She acknowledged, "Our favorite places are Italy and Ireland."
She also has more time to think of her younger days, explaining, "I remember lots of things that were fun. So mostly it's the fun. But I remember especially working with Toi Jambeck on The [Roosevelt] Standard staff, Coketail parties, student council activities, choir concerts and Girl Scouts.
"In fact," she continued, "Peggy Hanson Campbell organized a reunion for our troop during 50-year reunion weekend with her mother, who was our leader. My mother was the other leader, but she passed away 10 years ago."
As far as what her classmates would recall about her, Jan offered, "I think they would remember that I was involved in lots of activities and tried to get along with all the different ‘groups.' Some of the guys probably remember that I invited them too early to girl-ask-guy activities so they wouldn't already have a date. Ha!"
As for the Class of '63 reunions, Jan is a big fan: "I love the reunions. It is especially fun to visit with classmates you really didn't get to know that well in high school, but we share a history."
Posted Aug. 8, 2013
|Journalist-turned-teacher-turned-dentist Jan Butler Rollow.