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Edith Rhoda Force Kassing

Edith Rhoda Force was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 26, 1890, to Estella and James Grant Force. She attended Knox College from 1910 to 1912 in Galesburg, Illinois. In 1919, Edith received her bachelor's degree from Lewis Institute, Illinois and her master's degree from the University of Michigan in 1931. Between 1919 and 1924, Edith moved to several locations across the United States to teach including: Oak Park, Illinois, Beatrice, Nebraska, Denton, Texas, and Okmulgee, Oklahoma. In 1924, she joined the Oklahoma Academy of Science and later became a fellow of the organization.

In 1926, Edith settled in Tusla, Oklahoma where she became a general science teacher at Woodrow Wilson Junior High School until her retirement in 1956. Edith Kassing had a contagious enthusiasm for the natural science which was felt by many of her students. She emphasized the study of animals in the field, conducting research on the fauna and flora of northeastern Oklahoma and publishing on ornithology and herpetology. As chair of the High School Relations Committee of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, she was instrumental in forming the Association of Science Students of the Academy, which became Oklahoma Junior Academy of Science.

Kassing also contributed the collections of major museums in the United States through her field work. In 1937 she published the Bibliography of Oklahoma Ornithology. Edith was a founding member of the Tulsa Audubon Society of which she was made an honorary life member in 1965. Kassing was also a research associate with the Oklahoma Biological Survey. She died on August 8, 1966, in Edmond, Oklahoma.

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Thanks to Stella Walsh for sending in the idea for this write-up.

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