Staff & Board

2017 Board and Staff Members


Michael Krause – President

Janis Gonser – Vice President

Richard Gruetzner – Secretary

Larry Deuser, PhD – Treasurer



Dr. James Kearney, Weimar

Connie Krause, New Braunfels

Kristi Lee-Nordin, Austin

Dr. Barbara Berthold, Dallas

Brent Hunter, Austin

Eddie Wolsch, Seymour

Charles Locklin, Austin

Chris Markley, Austin

Dr. Marc Pierce



(pending 2017 appointments)



Chris Markley –



Doris Boerkei –



Manuela Markley –


Janis Gonser – Vice President

Janis Gonser is GTHS’s current Vice President and has been serving on the Board of directors since 2016. He is a native of Hamburg, Germany and moved to Tallahassee, Florida in 1999 and to the Austin area in 2007.

He has over 20 years of online experience, working in various leadership roles and is currently working as a product owner at


Richard Gruetzner

Richard Gruetzner was born and raised in Austin, Texas. He studied aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University. He then began a long career of public service as a deputy sheriff with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. Richard retired in 2012 as a Lieutenant, after 39+ years with the agency, and now devotes his time to various non-profit organizations. In addition to being a life member and serving on the Board of Directors of the German Texan Heritage Society, Richard has been a longtime volunteer with the Texas Military Forces Museum located at Camp Mabry in Austin. He is a past-President and is currently the Vice-President of the Board of Directors of the museum’s supporting foundation, the Texas Military Forces Historical Foundation. Richard also serves as the Vice-President on the Board of Directors of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society and volunteers at their museum in Serbin. Married in 1987 to Cathleen, Richard has joined several veteran service organizations of which Cathleen, a veteran of the US Marine Corps, is a member. He is the Vice-President on the National Board of Directors of the Loyal Escorts of the Green Garter, the auxiliary of the Women Marines Association. Richard is also the Chairman of the congregation at Hope Lutheran Church of Marble Falls. Richard and Cathleen currently live in Burnet, Texas.

In his free time, Richard enjoys researching his German and Wendish family history and participating in living history reenactments for the time periods ranging from the War Between the States to Viet Nam. He has translated several German military manuals for the museum at Camp Mabry and maintains and operates various German (armored and non-armored) vehicles for the museum.

Fun Fact – Spending free time driving a WW2 German tank destroyer.


Barbara Berthold

After moving to Texas in the spring of 2006, Barbara Berthold has embraced volunteerism and served her community in various leadership roles. Barbara is interested in pedagogy of foreign language teaching, teacher education and preparation, Texas German history and international relations.

Barbara is a Lecturer of German at The University of Texas at Arlington. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Education from the University of Bremen, as well as, a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Dallas Center for Nonprofit Management.

Helping people and organizations grow is her passion and she has been described as a bridge builder between cultures.


Brent Hunter

Brent is originally from Brenham, Texas but now lives in Austin with his wife and two daughters, Emery and Ellis. He owns and runs a study abroad program for Spanish immersion called Sol Education Abroad. The program takes college and high school students to Spain, Argentina, Costa Rica and Mexico. Brent has always had a passion for languages and cultures. From an early age he had interest in the Texas German and Texas Czech sides of his family. His mother’s family is from the La Grange area (von Rosenbergs, von Struves) and he always enjoyed learning about this side of the family from his grandfather and exploring the ins and outs of the Fayette County area with its rich German and Czech history. Brent studied at the University of Texas at Austin, where he double-majored in Field Biology and Spanish Linguistics. He later completed an MBA in International Business at St. Edward’s University. Brent is proud to serve on the board for GTHS and help share the rich cultural history of Germans in Texas.


Christopher Markley

Sevus Y’all –

I’m married to Manuela Markley (German native) and have two teenage daughters Saskia and Svenja (both German-Texan). I’m a native Texan, grew up in Lockhart, Texas and have lived in the Austin area for 20+ years. I can trace my family to one of the “Old Eighteen” defenders of the Gonzales cannon who died defending the Alamo, Jacob Darst. The only break in not living in the Austin area was from 2012 – 2015, when we moved to Munich, Germany where I worked for O2 / Telefonica Germany, similar to Verizon here in the USA. I understand and speak German and some Bayerish. I have a degree from Texas State and an MBA focused in International Business.

Fun Fact most don’t know: I collect sand from any new place I visit. My collection has over 500 unique places all over the world and continues to grow, either collected by me or friends that know about my passion. Some people collect souvenir coffee mugs or t-shirts on their travels, while I gather sand or as my children call it: DIRT

Doris Boerkei

Doris is a native of Nuremberg, located in the beautiful Frankonia area of Germany. “What some people call the better Bavaria”

A work delegation brought her and her family to the US in 1997. After spending many years in different cities on the east coast, she moved to Texas in 2007.

Doris started volunteering  for GTHS festivals and in the Trenckman Library in 2011,  she joined the office team in 2012.

Doris holds a degree in business economics and worked for the German company Siemens for many years where she met her husband Marcus.

In her free time, Doris enjoys spending time with her husband and her two children. She also enjoys the city of Austin, the outdoors, hiking with her two Wiener dachshunds Honey and Skittle, traveling to Europe and working out.



Manuela Markley

Manuela is a native German, from Celle, Niedersachsen, who immigrated to Austin, Texas with her parents and siblings just as she had started her first year of studies at the University of Düsseldorf. She continued her studies and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications Design with a minor in Photography from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

As an artist at heart, Manuela ran her own photo studio and T-Shirt print shop from home while raising her two daughters, Saskia & Svenja as well as supporting her husband, Chris, and his Wanderlust and taste for adventures. During their almost 4 year stay in Munich, Germany, Manuela received continued education for graphic design at the prestigious Wildner Academy. It was during that time that she discovered her true love for “pottery”! If you’d like to see some of her work click here. If you’d like to know what it’s like to move back home as an adult, you can read about the Markley’s fun adventure here.

Fun Fact: Manuela is fluent in English and German, speaks some Spanish due to her living in Buenos Aires as a child and can understand French. She loves her German heritage and is intrigued by how many Americans are of German decent.


Melanie M. Schmidt-Dumont

Melanie was a native of Dierkshausen, Niedersachsen, Germany and had lived in Austin since 1991. She was employed by the German-Texan Heritage Society as a Program Director for the German Language Outreach Program.

Melanie was loved immensely and will be missed for the joy, laughter, creativity and work ethic she shared with everyone she met. Her husband asks that you honor her memory and spirit by living your life with the strength, tenacity, and humility that she always did.

Melanie M. Schmidt-Dumont, age 40, passed away on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

She is survived by her husband, partner & soulmate of nearly eighteen years, Antony M. Gatto. Memorial services will be held at the Schmidt-Dumont-Gatto home on May 7, 2017, the eighteenth anniversary of the day they met & became inseparable. In lieu of flowers and gifts, Melanie would have liked to have donations made to Austin Pets Alive in her name.

Condolence Cards can be sent to Antony M. Gatto, 1211 Springbrook Drive, Pflugerville, TX 78660.