William Richard Henson ’56

William Richard Henson

In the words of  a friend,  Bill Henson  ’56  has “more than lived up to  the motto of the  Class of ’56: ‘He profits most who serves best.”‘ At SHS Bill played football and co-captained  the track team and was in Choir, Men’s Chorus, Varsity S Club and Hi-Y Club. At Ohio State he lettered in track and soccer and was vice president of Kappa Phi Kappa, the education fraternity.

In 26 years as an Army officer, Bill served five combat tours in Vietnam, Dominican Republic and Granada in ranger and airborne units. He was decorated several times for valor and meritorious service by the U.S. as well as two foreign governments. Bill represented the U.S. during conferences in seven European countries. He taught and coached at both the university and high school levels in the U.S. and Italy. Of his high school students, 98% graduated, 70% entered the military, 18 were accepted into the five U.S.  military academies, and his students won more than $4.5 million in scholarships.

In his 15 years of teaching high school, students nominated him 8 times for Who’s Who Among American High School Teachers and fellow teachers recognized him as an outstanding teacher 14 times. University of California-Davis named him Outstanding Military Science Instructor in 1970. Fort Lewis (Washington) recognized Bill as one of two outstanding ROTC instructors in 1971, and Fort Huachuca (Arizona) honored him as Hispanic supervisor of the year in 2003. His military teams won two European track and field and two cross country championships and two soccer titles. His high school track teams posted 288 wins versus 36 losses, won 18 conference championships and had 12 undefeated seasons while 17 of his runners won Arizona state titles. Bill was named Southern Arizona track coach of the year three times (1996, 1997, 2000), and he coached the U.S. high school teams that competed in China in 1996 and in Australia in 1998. Bill is married to Ina Irey Henson ’60, and they live in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Nominator: Dale Bianucci. Presenter: Roger Copeland, former SHS teacher and coach.

Sheryl Chase Cramer ’72

Sheryl Chase Cramer

Sheryl Chase Cramer ’72 has made helping Shelby and Shelbians her life’s calling. In retrospect her range of activities while at SHS was a harbinger of her willingness to  get involved in the community  and to lead.  During her SHS years, Sheryl  was an officer of both the Girls Athletic Association and the Pep Club and was elected to Student Council for three years and to her class’ Executive Committee. She also was a member of the  Whippet Band and Concert Choir for  three years each, the  Chamber Ensemble, Mel-o-ettes and French  Club. She also was a participant in Whippet Theater and was voted a member of her senior class Homecoming Court.

Thirty years ago, she launched Shelby Help Line Ministries which has been vital to helping people with great needs. Observes a fellow alum, “She is a very compassionate person and  so willing to help anyone who has a need. Whether it is physically, financially, spiritually or emotionally, she is so willing to listen and help if needed. When she was in high school she was always so nice and never put anyone down. She was always so willing  to be a friend.  Her life is now showing that same quality. She is so caring and has been very successful in providing for less fortunate people.”

Sheryl continues as director of Shelby Help  Line Ministries  and represents  the  organization on the Shelby Home & Public Health League Advisory Board, the Shelby unit of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, the Shelby United Fund Board, the Adult Basic Literacy Education Advisory Committee for Pioneer  GED classes, the  Richland County Client Tracking Agency and Richland County Foundation Individual Assistance Committee.  She  also  chairs  the Unmet Needs Committee of the Richland County Organization for Disaster Assistance. Sheryl lives in Shelby.

Nominator: Cindy Rogers Billheimer ’71. Presenter: Patricia Lee Carlisle ’65

Lenore Witchey-Lakshmanan ’79

Lenore Witchey -Lakshmanan

While at SHS, Lenore Witchey-Lakshmanan ’79 was a standout both inside — honors graduate — and outside the classroom where she was a trombonist in the Whippet band, a member of the Choir, Chamber Ensemble, Drama Club and Whippet Theater. She also was president of the Latin Club and the statewide Ohio Junior Classical League.

Leonore was driven to have the same influence as men in the business world. She took the opportunities offered at SHS and set her sights on an education in chemical engineering, a predominantly male field. She then earned both B.S. and M.S. degrees from Ohio State and a Ph.D. at North Carolina State University in 1988. Leonore knew she wanted to improve people’s lives as much as possible, so she followed in her father’s footsteps and entered the pharmaceutical industry. Her first opportunity to make medicines was at Merck Research Laboratories, where she participated in dosage form development for several types of products for veterinary medicine, including bio-erodible implants designed to dissolve in a year and some of the first topical, broad-spectrum anti-parasiticides for dogs and cats.

She continued her career in veterinary drug product development at Schering-Plough Research Institute, Leonore participated in developing long-acting, injectable formulations as well as orals and topicals for both food and companion animals. She then headed a human pharmaceutical group that specialized in protein/peptide, gene therapy and small molecule formulation development for cancers and human infectious diseases. Today, still in the pharmaceutical industry, she is Senior Director for Development at GeneraMedix Inc., where she focuses on developing and distributing difficult-to-manufacture sterile hospital products.  In this position she also is an ambassador for America while conducting business in Turkey, India, China and other nations. Leonore has created several novel products, generated patents in many drug delivery areas, and has applied her experience to authoring papers, peer-reviewed journal articles and textbook chapters.

As her career progressed, Leonore remembered the importance of”paying forward.” While a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering, she recognized the need for other women engineers to have a support system that encouraged them and  provided  recognition  for their accomplishments. She co-founded and chaired the Women’s Initiative Committee, a vital part of motivating and mentoring women chemical engineers. She continues to pay forward by serving on planning and educational committees for other professional societies and universities. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Ohio State, the Advisory Board of the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at FAMU-FSU, and the Advisory Board ofFoRWaRD, a non-profit organization focused on bringing water to global communities. (FoRWaRD was founded by Dr. Bruce Berdanier, SHS ’76.)

While at Ohio State, Leonore met and married Kris Lakshmanan who had moved to Ohio from Chennai, India to pursue graduate education. They have two children, Kristan (born in 1992) and Jason (born in 1996). Leonore has served for many years as Class Mom for each of her children’s classrooms, assisted with her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop, and coached her son’s Little League team. Among her favorite activities is science outreach to the school system. For many years she has gone into classrooms to make scientific concepts approachable to elementary and middle school students. She uses creative and entertaining hands-on and visual techniques to teach students that science is part of everything they do. One of the kids’ favorite activities is learning about how polymers are so much a part of their everyday lives through making “slime”. Leonore smilingly admits to being known by students as the “Slime Lady.”

Says an alum, “She has spent her career developing medications to rid the world of disease. She has also spent her life reaching out to do just one more thing simply to make the world a better place wherever she has been.” Leonore lives in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Nominator: Leslie Webb Zehner ’78. Presenter: Jean Riley Lash ’50

James E. Henkel ’63

James E. Henkel

For the late Jim Henkel ’63, involvement in Shelby educational and community affairs began early and continued unabated. While at SHS, Jim was elected to Student Council three years, serving as president his junior year, was a starter in basketball and football and was named an All-NOL defensive back following his senior season. Following graduation, he attended Ashland University where he majored in economics and minored in psychology.

During the decades after graduating, Jim was very supportive of the communit y. He served Shelby for four years as mayor (1991-95) and four years as a city councilman and then was again elected mayor in 2005. In addition,  he served  on and  headed  several  community group boards. He was president of the Y Board, the Girl Scout Little House Board and the Shelby chapter of the Red Cross. He was a member of the following boards: North Central Hospice, ReDEC, Regional Planning, AMP-Ohio, Shelby Senior Center and SHS Alumni Association. In addition, Jim was a member of the Shelby Rotary  and the  Knights of Columbus. In 1995 the Shelby Chamber of Commerce presented him with a Special Commendation Chairman’s Award. The engraving on the plaque reads: “He fosters harmony and dedication in his community.”

Says a former teacher, “Jim was a sterling example of a person who made a habit of serving his community.”

In addition, Jim served as a teacher’s aide in Shelby schools and, as a member of the SHS Alumni Association’s planning team, took on a variety of volunteer roles.

Jim passed away on August 19, 2008. Surviving are his wife, Susie Bashore Henkel ’62, and children Andy ’86, Amy ’87 and Aaron ’94.

Shortly before Jim died, while discussing his family and service to community, he observed: “These two accomplishments, family and the city of Shelby, are my life’s dream come true. To the citizens of Shelby, although you may never see me on the streets again, I’ll always be with you in spirit.”

Nominators: Harryet Snyder, former SHS biology teacher, and Mike Johnson ’63. Presenter: Andrew Henkel ’86.

David George Winans ’60

David George Winans

Few if any SHS alumni have demonstrated more continuing respect for and devotion to the Shelby Schools and community than has Dave Winans ’60. He was elected to the Shelby Schools Board of Education, and served as its president for two years. In addition, he was involved in the formation of the SHS Academic Boosters club, serving as its first president. Over the years Dave has served as president of the Whitney School PTA, the parish council of Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church and Park Village retirement complex in Shelby.

With four daughters, there was scant chance for involvement in Little League baseball, so Dave became a Girl Scout Leader and later, to keep the program active, took over as head coach of the SHS girls gymnastics team.

During planning for the first SHS multi-class reunion in 2002, Dave recommended that the SHS Alumni Association be formed and registered as a S0lC-3 tax-exempt organization.

This, in turn, led to the formation of the Alumni Association’s Board of Trustees. Dave serves on that Board, was elected the Alumni Association’s first president in 2002 and has continued serving in that capacity. He also serves on the Board’s Special Gifts Committee. He has filled volunteer roles for multi-class reunions and has coordinated with school system administrators on uses of Alumni Association monetary gifts to SHS. In the words of a schoolmate, “Dave epitomizes ongoing community and alumni support for Shelby schools.

He truly understands the value of providing youngsters with a superior educational grounding.” Dave is married to Sue Robertson Winans ’60 and they live in Shelby.

Nominators: Harryet Snyder, former SHS biology teacher, and Mike Johnson ’63. Presenters: DeeDee Winans Knapp ’80, Vickie Winans Bauer ’82, Lisa Winans ’86, Laura Winans McBride ’90.

Susann Bashore Henkel ’62

Susann Bashore Henkel

During her years at Shelby High School, Susie Bashore Henkel epitomized Whippet spirit. Ever smiling and gracious, she was a cheerleader for two years, Pep Club member for four years, a member of the Thespian and Glee Clubs, and on the staffs of Whippet Tales, the school newspaper, and the Scarlet S yearbook. That same spirit would continue to manifest itself in the decades to come.

After graduating from SHS Susie attended Bowling Green State University and then graduated from Mansfield Beauty College. She then worked at American Machine & Foundry and operated her own beauty salon. Susie has been a long-time Red Cross volunteer and has donated 104 units of blood.

In the autumn of 2001 she became one of the initiators of multi-class reunions in Shelby and was integral to planning the 11-class reunion held the following summer.

Subsequently, she has taken on numerous volunteer roles for all-class reunions. In addition, she became a charter member of the SHS Alumni Association Board of Trustees which she continues to serve. None of this comes as a surprise to a former teacher and two classmates. As one alumna said, ever since the Class of ’62 began having reunions, Susie has headed up the planning team. “Susie is thorough,” says this classmate, “not wanting any name to be forgotten and going to great lengths to obtain addresses for each classmate.”

For 43 years Susie was married to the late Jim Henkel ’63, himself a Hall of Distinction inductee, and they raised three children – Andy ’86, Amy ’87 and Aaron ’94. Observes another alumna, “She and Jim were Shelby’s best cheerleaders.”

Nominators: Harryet Snyder, Rob & Jodi Seaton Lowery ’62, Mike Johnson ’63 Presenters: Andy Henkel ’86, Amy Henkel Roberts ’87, and Aaron Henkel ’94

Dr. Russ Pfahler ’61

Russ Pfahler

Russ Pfahler graduated from Shelby High School in 1961. From a class of 172, Russ was one of four students with a perfect GPA. At SHS he won varsity letters in football, baseball, track and basketball. He was part of two Northern Ohio League championships and was named first team All-NOL twice and All-Ohio once. In 1961 Russ was selected to play in the Ohio North-South All Star football game. At SHS he served as class president and on the Class Executive Committee once year each and on Student Council for three years. In addition he was co-sports editor of the 1961 Scarlet Sand represented SHS at Buckeye Boys State.

At Purdue University Russ earned a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering, graduating with honors as fifth in his class. He also earned three varsity football letters as a defensive back, won a Big Ten Conference punting championship in 1962 and was named honorable mention on the All Big Ten Scholastic Football Team. He was the first player to twice win the Nobel Kizer Award for the highest GPA among football varsity lettermen. In 1964 Purdue selected Russ to represent the university at a national conference of manufacturing engineering students hosted by Northwestern University.

Following graduation Russ worked in a number of positions in manufacturing engineering and management, rising to vice president of operations. While building his career, Russ returned to school. As a part-time student he earned MBA and Ph.D. degrees in management at Xavier and California Western Universities.

After retiring from a robotics manufacturer in 2000, Russ started teaching manufacturing management and technology courses as adjunct faculty for the University of Phoenix. In 2006, through his association as an advisor to Intel, Russ was able to obtain 10 laptop computers for the SHS Science Department. During this same period he entered local politics in Arizona where he became mayor of the small community in which he lived.

Says a fellow alumnus, “In addition to his academic and athletic achievements, Russ was a good neighbor and friend, trustworthy and reliable and quick with a warm smile.”

Russ takes great pride in the success of his daughters, Stacy Adams SHS ’84 and Jodie Hopkins SHS ’86. His most rewarding achievement has been aiding the growth of his high school, college, community and the youth that he taught. He continues to view education as the cornerstone for growth and success of both people and organizations.

Russ feels more honored than he deserves at being voted for induction into the Shelby High School Hall of Distinction and is thankful for the education Shelby teachers and schools provided him. He lives in Sun Lakes, Arizona.

Nominator: Mike Johnson ’63, Presenter & Standing in: Jodie Pfahler Hopkins ’86

Richard G. Reed ’54

Richard G. Reed

During his years at Shelby High School, Dick Reed played football and basketball and ran track. He was a three-year letter winner in football, was team co-captain, twice named All-Northern Ohio League as a halfback, and was part of two NOL title teams including the undefeated 1953 squad. Dick earned two letters in basketball and four in track. He also received the Outstanding Senior Athlete Award. In the words of a classmate, “Dick is the ultimate Shelby Whippet. He was and still is our 1954 class president.”

After graduating from SHS and completing two years of military service, including a year in Korea, Dick earned his bachelor’s degree from Ashland  University and master’s degree from Bowling Green State University. He then returned to SHS in 1965, embarking on a career as a teacher and athletic director. For 26 years he taught in the Business Department. In 1991 he was named the school’s first full-time athletic director and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1996. In addition, he served as the junior varsity football coach for 12 years and assistant varsity football coach for seven years.

Dick is actively involved with his grandchildren’s activities and the Episcopal Church. He serves as president of the Shelby Senior Center Board of Trustees, is a member of both the Johnny Appleseed Wood Carvers Club and the Shelby Cloverleaf Square Dance Club of which he is past president.

He lives in Shelby with his wife, Judy Brinson Reed ’57. They have two children. Son Rick ’86 is an electrical engineer in Columbus and the father of Delaney. Daughter Tally DeLauder ’88 is an elementary teacher in the Shelby City Schools and is the mother of sons Reed and Brinson DeLauder.

Nominator: Lee Graham ’54 Presenter: Emile John, retired teacher

Ray N. Vermilya

Ray N. Vermilya

For more than a quarter century from 1967 to 1993, Ray Vermilya taught in Shelby Schools. In particular he helped numerous Shelby High School students find their voices by teaching vocal music and music theory.

Mr. Vermilya is a native of Columbus, Ohio. From his earliest years, he showed a love and talent for music. He gave his first piano recital at age five and composed his first original composition at age nine. He graduated from Columbus North High School in 1954. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio State University where he sang in the Symphonic Choir. In 1956 he married his high school sweetheart, Linda Jo Way who earned a Ph. T. degree.

Mr. Vermilya’s first teaching position was at Keene Local Schools. He was band and choir director for grades 5-12 in 1960-61. He then moved to Upper Arlington, Ohio as junior high choir director for six years. In the spring of 1967, Dwight Somerville came to Columbus seeking a choir director for Shelby Senior High School. Ray was hired and served for 26 years as Shelby’s Junior and Senior High choir director. He also taught music theory and music appreciation classes.

Mr. Vermilya’s high school choirs earned superior ratings at state competitions for 22 years. Beginning in 1984 he took the Symphonic Choir every three years on a field trip to New York City. There the choir performed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for an evening Mass and attended a Broadway show. He was named in Who’s Who Among American Teachers in 1992 and 1994. He was and remains an Ohio Music Education State Adjudicator. His recommendation and insistence resulted in choral site reading being adopted as a mandatory performance requirement at all Ohio district and state adjudications.

Mr. Vermilya also has directed other choirs. While in Columbus he directed Presbyterian, Community, Episcopalian, Methodist and the Mt. Carmel Hospital Student Nurses Glee Club. In Shelby he directed the First Lutheran Church choir for 20 years.

Every few years he gathered the community together for a Christmas performance of Handel’s “Messiah”.

One of Mr. Vermilya’s enduring legacies is “Stardust”. In 1968 he started the junior high school talent show, using students in every aspect of the production- acts, emcees and crews. “Stardust” enjoyed a run of 24 years under Mr. Vermilya’s direction and continues under the direction of Cindy Swigart.

Mr. Vermilya is known for his red socks. They raise a few eyebrows, take some explaining, and bring back memories for many students. In 2007 Brian Nabors, Shelby High’s current choral music director, initiated the Ray “Red Socks” Vermilya Award. It is given to students who exemplify characteristics Mr. Vermilya taught and lived by: caring, encouraging others, inspiring. Mr. Vermilya says these characteristics were learned from fellow Shelbians.

“He changed so many lives and helped so many kids and, oh yes, he taught us to sing and to love music,” observes an alumna. “Mr. V put in countless hours for many years with the Stardust talent show for junior high kids. Mr. V must have thought it was important to help kids learn to practice and to perform in front of an audience. What memories I have! And now, working in a theater, I thank Mr. V for heading me in that direction.  If it hadn’t been for Stardust, most kids would never know what it is like to perform in musical programs. Thank you, Mr. V.  You were loved by so many kids, and we still love you!”

The 1974 Shelby Scarlet S yearbook was dedicated to Mr. Vermilya.

He and Linda have been happily married for more than 53 years. They have a son Skip ’77 and a daughter Michelle Vermilya-Hall ’80. Skip and his wife Ellen have four children – Chris, Sammi, Jenna and Joey – and they live in Sylvania, Ohio. Michelle married Joel Hall ’80. They live in Lodi, Ohio in a log home they built.

Mr. Vermilya is a solid Christian and thanks the Lord for all the gifts that he has received and the ability to use them to touch and become a part of so many peoples’ lives.

Nominator: Martha Fort Yarman ’73, Presenters: Skip Vermilya ’77 and Michelle Vermilya Hall ’80.

Donald R. Troxell ’66

Donald R. Troxell

The best way to begin articulating the life of Don Troxell, born on June 22, 1947, is to relate the words of a classmate: “Don was killed in action in Vietnam in May 1967. He made the ultimate sacrifice. His service to country should never be forgotten. He was a true hero to all ofus who had the honor to have known him.”

While at SHS Don played football, ran track, served on Student Council and was a member of the Scarlet S staff. Afterward he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Don arrived in Vietnam in mid-April 1967. On May 22 his unit moved into the field. A few days later Private First Class Don Troxell found himself in combat as an anti-tank assaultman. On May 26 enemy mortar shrapnel struck his neck, mortally wounding him. He received immediate medical assistance but died within a few minutes. He was 19 years old.

Wrote Lt. Col. C.B. Webster, commanding officer of Don’s unit, to his parents: “Donald’s cheerful disposition and devotion to duty gained the respect and admiration of all who knew him, and he had many friends among his fellow Marines.”

From the Marine Corps, medals presented to Don’s parents were the Purple Heart, Vietnam Campaign Medal, South Vietnam Service Medal and National Defense Medal. From the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) Don was posthumously awarded the Military Merit Medal and Gallantry Cross with Palm.

Nominator: Howard “Butch” Wilcox ’66 Standing in: Connie Troxell Wright ’62 Presenter: Rod Troxell ’67