Nelson Hardesty

For 32 yrs (1966-1998) Nelson Hardesty combined teaching and coaching at SHS, & hundreds of students benefited from his tireless work. While attending Ashland University he came to Shelby in the spring of 1966 to do student teaching – and was promptly hired after graduating. In classrooms he taught accounting, business record keeping, typing and driver’s training. 

         Outside the classroom, Mr. Hardesty served as head boys’ basketball coach for six years, head girls’ track coach for five years with an Northern Ohio League title in 1984, assistant boys’ track coach during the 1970s when the team won sectional titles three times, and assistant boys’ basketball coach 8thgrade through varsity for all 32 years with NOL varsity titles in 1992 and 1998. 

Observes an alum, “Mr. Hardesty not only was an inspiration to me in the classroom but also as a coach.  He emphasized giving your best on and off the field and was a great leader.  The lessons I learned from him I still implement in my life today.”  Mr. Hardesty lives in New Albany. 

         Nominator: Kim Burky ’84.

Wayne Potts

“Buenos dias, señores y señoritas. Como esta usted está mañana?” Spanning four decades, hundreds of SHS students heard those and other Spanish greetings from Wayne Potts. From 1951-81, Mr. Potts taught Spanish, French and English at SHS. He was born in 1922 and graduated from Marshall High School in Moundsville, West Virginia.

During World War II, he served as a Navy officer in the South Pacific. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and did post graduate work at West Liberty State College, Bethany College, Middlebury College, Harvard University and Ohio State University.

         While at SHS, he introduced the use of individual study carrels equipped with receivers and microphones which enabled him to communicate individually with students. His students feeling for Mr. Potts? In the spring of 1963, three of them learned his birthday from SHS Principal J.E. McCullough and sprung a surprise “Viva El Señor Potts!” birthday party for him in his classroom. Mr. Potts reaction? He deemed it “cool.”

Observes an alum, “Mr. Potts was a paragon of patience and equanimity. He smiled frequently, laughed often and made learning a joy. You sensed he was both teacher & friend.” He passed away from Parkinson’s Disease in 1996.

         Nominator: Jeanette Bly Allard ’50.

Maria Ingram Barton ’82

A lifelong desire to serve the greater good has propelled Maria Ingram Barton ’82 on an impressive career that has led to a judgeship in Michigan.  From childhood, inspired by a television series, Maria knew that she wanted to become part of our nation’s judicial system. She felt a strong desire to “make a difference.” 

While at SHS Maria played varsity softball, participated in gymnastics and was a majorette in the Whippet Band. 

She then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Ohio University and a juris doctorate degree at the University of Toledo.  While at Toledo she worked for three years as an intern in the Public Defender’s office.  After passing the bar exam, Maria began practicing law.  Then in 1992 she began fighting crime as a special prosecutor for SANE (Straits Area Drug Enforcement), serving six Michigan counties. Simultaneously she served as an assistant county prosecutor.  In 2008 she received the Michigan Prosecuting Attorney’s Association Service Award and was recognized by a United States senator as a Crime Fighting Mom of the Year

In that same year, sensing that she could make “a bigger positive difference” in the judicial process, she was elected judge for a six-year term, serving Michigan’s 89th District. In 2016 Maria was elected for another six-year term. 

Observes an alum, “Maria stands as a classic example of an individual who sees a widespread need and takes the actions necessary to strengthen society.” 

She and her husband and daughter live in Indian River, Michigan.

Nominator: Mike Johnson ’63.

Steve Eyler ’70

Optometry and optometric advancement have been central to the career of Steve Eyler ’70.  While at SHS he served on Student Council, his class Executive Committee and as class vice president.  He also represented SHS at Buckeye Boys State, was named to the All-NOL second team in basketball (co-captained the basketball team) and lettered in baseball.  After graduating Steve went to The Ohio State University where he earned two degrees – bachelor’s and doctor of optometry in 1977.  While at Ohio State he was one of the first two students selected to participate in a new clinical extern program at a Veterans Administration Hospital. 

During a nationally recognized career in optometric advancement he was a leader in sports related therapeutic optometry for football, soccer and basketball.  He has been a member and president of numerous national professional organizations, has written often for professional publications, and has served frequently as a guest lecturer. 

Today Steve is president of a nine-doctor, three-location practice in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Says a fellow alum, “Steve was a great friend in high school and has remained one for over forty years.  I feel honored to nominate him for the Hall of Distinction.”

Nominator: Tom Armstrong ’70.

Mike Potter ’69

From the manufacturing floor to the stage to athletic fields, Mike Potter ’69 has shown both versatility and a commitment to community service. 

That range was evident at SHS where he was president of the Esquires (men’s chorus), participated in Concert Choir and Drama Club, was on his Senior Class Executive Committee, played on two undefeated Whippet football teams and was a member of two NOL championship track teams. 

Mike attended Ohio State University’s Mansfield branch, then received a tool and die apprenticeship, became a journeyman and worked in that field for 40 years.  Simultaneously he remained involved in the Shelby community where he was active in Blackfork Players Theatre, Shelby Community Choir and the Shelby Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter for 25 years.  He also played and coached for the semi-pro Shelby Blues football team, coached Little League baseball and is a past president of the Shelby Girls Softball League and the Shelby Whippet Boosters Club.  In addition Mike coached 7th, 8th and 9th grade football for 28 years. 

Mike has been married to Shelby alumni Jill Lybarger Potter ’72 for 45 years and has 3 children, Brooke Potter Burkhalter ’92, Brandie Potter Albert ’94 and Brett Potter ’97.He has 8 grandchildren, 2 who have graduated from Shelby and 6 that are currently Shelby students. Says a fellow alum, “Mike has been a huge supporter of all Shelby athletics and activities.” 

Nominator: Tom Armstrong ’70.

Joycelyn Strauch Benedict ’67

Joycelyn Strauch Benedict ’67 has left a legacy that will benefit SHS students for many years to come. In the late 1990s, Joycelyn donated $25,000 to help fund the Strauch Agricultural Center that is located on SHS property. Opened in 1999, the center houses a horse, cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits and ducks and is used by students taking vocational agriculture courses. The center enables SHS students who are planning to show animals at the Richland County Fair to keep their animals at the center instead of at their homes.

In addition, Joycelyn donates money – now totaling thousands of dollars – every year for a scholarship that is awarded to an SHS student planning to study agriculture in college. All students taking agricultural courses help take care of the center. The center also is available for touring by children.

Says one alum, “Both of my daughters have benefited immensely from the FFA program. They have acquired countless benefits including a strong work ethic, responsibility, leadership skills and appreciation for agriculture to name a few.” Joycelyn lives in Florida.

Nominator: Connie Fry Ament ’65.

Dick Fisher ’64

The SHS experience of Dick Fisher ’64 propelled him far from his hometown, both personally and professionally.  While at SHS Dick played in the Whippet band, lettered in football and track and served on the Scarlet S staff and the Senior Class Executive Committee.  He also was presented the American Legion Citizenship Award. 

Dick then served three years in the Air Force which familiarized him with Arizona – where he has lived since leaving the service as a sergeant. Subsequently he earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and environmental science at Grand Canyon College. 

In his professional career, spanning more than 33 years, Dick has worked in a series of increasingly responsible positions – technician, engineer, applications engineer, engineering manager and most recently president of BND Holding Corp.  Previous employers included Intel Corp., Honeywell, Fairchild Semiconductor, National Semiconductor, Arrow Electronics and Microchip Technology.  With those firms Dick earned several major engineering awards while teaming in the development of numerous high tech products including a module for real time digital data acquisition.  Dick’s efforts, in concert with others, have resulted in multiple U.S. patents. In addition he has published several professional papers and articles. 

Relates Dick, “My early skills were influenced by my dad, Francis ‘Dutch’ Fisher,’ and Irving ‘Beez’ Hollenbaugh, my dad’s mechanic at the Western Auto store on Main Street.”

Dick’s work has included extensive travel throughout Europe and Asia.  For nearly 40 years he has been a member of his church’s choir and once sang for Pope John Paul II.  Observes a fellow alum, “Dick’s energy and dedication to excellence have bettered the lives of countless fellow citizens.”  Dick and his wife Lynn have three children – Monica, Justin, Curtis. 

Nominator: Chuck Schiffer ’64.

Christine Straw ’63

Legions of youngsters, most of them deeply troubled, have benefited from the work of Christine Straw ’63. While at SHS Chris was co-editor of the Scarlet S and represented the school at Buckeye Girls State.

She then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Baldwin-Wallace College and a master’s degree in school psychology at Ohio University. Later, after beginning her career, she earned a Psy.D. in clinical psychology at the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology.

For thirty years, Chris served the students of Milwaukee Public Schools as a school psychologist and trainer of school psychologists. Observes an alum, “Chris has helped countless troubled children.”

Simultaneously, she developed a private practice working with children, teens and adults (retired 2016) and she continues to teach psychology classes as a professor in the WSPP graduate school.

Chris also has pursued a second passion – music. As a singer, songwriter, and upright bass player, she has been part of two groups – Pickin’ Up Speed and The Moxie Chicks – that have recorded albums.

Says a fellow alum, “Chris has combined impressive quantities of intellectual and physical energy to serve and entertain others.” Chris lives in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband of 3 years, Jon.

Nominator: Mike Johnson ’63.

Francis Lux ’62

A youthful love of animals led Frank Lux ’62 to caring for them, first as an Army captain in Vietnam caring for more than 300 Marine and Navy dogs, and then as head of an animal hospital in California.  While at SHS, Frank – known as Francie – played football and threw the discus and shotput for the track team. 

After graduating from SHS, Frank went to Ohio State University, with the goal of gaining admission to its School of Veterinary Medicine.  His determination was heightened during college summers in Shelby where he worked with legendary veterinarian Doc Henson who kindly wrote a letter of recommendation for Frank to the OSU Veterinary School.  While at OSU Frank also participated in ROTC. 

Upon graduating with his veterinary degree, the Army beckoned and Frank found himself in Vietnam, caring for the oft-injured front-line “dogs of war.” 

Separated from military service, Frank’s passion for animals and their care continued, ultimately leading to founding his own animal hospital in Southern California.  Ten years later he moved to Roseville in Northern California where he established a hospital and co-founded a 24/7 emergency pet hospital.  While in Roseville he was the veterinarian for local law enforcement K9s, the animal shelter and the local zoo.  Additionally he was on the board of directors and the veterinarian for the Placer SPCA.  The last few years in the area he was a veterinarian for the Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless in Sacramento where he mentored University of California-Davis veterinary students.  

At age 50 Frank found an additional passion when he witnessed his first Scottish Games.  Calling on his SHS discuss and shotput training, Frank competed, throwing a variety of heavy devices, in as many as 15 Scottish Games events a year in western states plus a second place world championship in Scotland. 

“Francie’s service to country and his care of wounded and sick animals has been inspiring,” says a fellow alum.  “His is a legacy of serving and caring.” 

Frank lives in Winchester, Virginia. 

Nominator: Dave Lynch ’62.  

Bruce Archdeacon

Bruce Archdeacon was born in 1907 and graduated from Seville High School in Medina County, Ohio. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, studying at Fenn College (now Cleveland State University), Wilmington College, Ashland University, Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University and American University.

For more than 30 years he taught chemistry and physics and, in the words of a former student, “was outstanding in his knowledge of the fields which proved interesting and valuable to so many of us. He patiently found ways to explain those things that some were not quick to grasp. He was firmly in charge but always a respectful leader. And his teaching style commanded respect. He went out of his way to assure that his labs were properly stocked and that the required materials were ready.”  Mr. Archdeacon taught at Shelby from 1941 through 1943 and then again from 1945 through 1970.  During the two years that he was gone from Shelby he was teaching in a program for the U.S. Navy in Delaware, Ohio. 

Says a second alum: “Mr. Archdeacon was a demanding teacher, and I was not his best student. But, looking back on it now, I realize that what I know, understand and believe are rooted in those basics that he worked so hard to teach. I will never forget the sign he had hanging on the wall of his lab:

This is a laboratory – a place for LABOR, not ORATORY.'”

Remarks a third alum: “I was fortunate to study chemistry and physics with Mr. Archdeacon in the late 1950s.  Looking back – after 60 years – I realize now how much he was responsible for my technical career.  I have a great appreciation for his style and dedication.  I imagine hundreds of Shelby graduates feel the same way.” 

Mr. Archdeacon passed away in 1977. 

Nominators: Dick Berry ’60, Chip Koontz ’60, Anne Stevenson Benninghof ‘60