WOOD RIVER — East Alton-Wood River High School announces the 2015 Oiler Alumni Hall of Famers, who will be formally inducted at a banquet in their honor at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, in the East Building Courtyard.
They join the Induction Classes of 2009, 2011 and 2013 as outstanding alumni who have contributed to their communities and their professions.
The inductees were elected by the Hall of Fame Selection Panel in April 2015. Members of the Selection Panel are: Frank Akers, Jean Bruce, Jesse Daniels, Norris Dorsey, Leroy Emerick, Bob Kasten, Ray Mercer and Leigh Robinson — all alumni of EA-WR High School.
John Adney (EA-WR Class of 1968) is a prominent attorney and partner with Davis & Harman LLP, specializing in advising and representing insurance companies and brokerage firms with regards to taxation issues. On the vanguard of insurance and taxation issues, Adney assisted in the representation of the insurer that issued the first “universal life insurance” product in 1981. He has also represented insurance companies and their interests before Congress and the Treasury Department. John is co-author of two books and co-authored chapters of two other books, as well as numerous journal articles — all related to insurance and taxation. Adney was a summa cum laude graduate of Millikin University with a major in political science (1972) and was awarded his law degree from Yale Law School (1975). While at EAWR, John participated in numerous speech and drama activities, was an IHSA Drama All-State Cast member, and gave the commencement address at his own graduation. He carried on his performance activities, performing for more than 30 years in choral and music venues, and as a benefactor and volunteer supporter of the arts in Reston, Va.
Dan Donohoo (EA-WR Class of 1972) has been one of the most recognizable public figures in the area, coming from his 22 years of elected service as the highly respected Madison County recorder, as well as his earlier service on the Madison County Board. He also is a licensed CPA and practiced accounting for 23 years. In addition to his accounting career, Donohoo embarked later in life on a legal career, earning his law degree and being admitted to the bar in 2008. Since earning his law degree, Donohoo has served as an administrative law judge for the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. He is also noted for his community service and volunteer work in the area, serving as a coach in high school wrestling clubs; coaching local baseball and softball teams; serving as Madison County Arts Council treasurer; and a member of the Governor’s Taxpayer Action Board. Donohoo has received several community awards, as well. While at EA-WR, Donohoo played for Coach Norris Dorsey on the baseball team.
Norella (Cota) Huggins (posthumous, EA-WR Class of 1955) was a highly respected and tireless civic volunteer and advocate, in her career as an attorney in the Kirkwood area and the state of Missouri. Huggins served as an attorney with Armstrong Teasdale for more than 18 years. During her career, she provided leadership on several boards: Kirkwood Planning and Zoning Board, Kirkwood Board of Adjustment, Kirkwood “Vision 2005,” Kirkwood School Board, Deaconess Foundation, Eden Seminary Board, Monticello College Foundation and the Kirkwood United Church of Christ. She was appointed by two Missouri governors to serve on both the Department of Natural Resources Commission and the Environmental and Hazardous Waste Commission. Her influence was felt up and down the state of Missouri in helping to shape public policy and legislation in her advocacy for environmental issues. While at EA-WR, Norella was highly involved in extra-curricular activities, such as Big Sisters, drama, speech, Student Council, the Oiler yearbook and The Sandburr. She received her law degree from Washington University Law School, where she was the recipient of Olin Fellow Scholarship.
John Matheny (EA-WR Class of 1976) is a highly successful computer engineer, executive and innovator in Silicon Valley, having more than 30 years of experience leading people and enhancing business value in startups and large global companies. He holds more than 20 patents in technology systems and software and was the developer of the client software and cloud services for the first Internet set-top box (WebTV). Microsoft acquired WebTV Networks in 1997 for $425 million. Matheny then served as a partner and worked as an engineering and product leader of Microsoft in the Bay Area, before assuming his current position as senior vice president of Yahoo. At Yahoo, Matheny has served as product and engineering leader in many facets of Yahoo’s products and services, particularly in the areas familiar to the public by way of Yahoo’s large web presence. Matheny is highly regarded as not only an innovator, but also as a leader who demands excellence in products and a tremendous mentor for his employees and colleagues. While at EA-WR, he was very involved in all of the bands, Thespians, Forensics and NHS.
Jack Perrin (EA-WR Class of 1955) was a highly respected college football coach, primarily at Mesa College in Colorado. Perrin is known for taking a very limited football program and turned it into a nationally ranked and one of the most highly competitive junior college football programs in the country in the 1960s and ’70s. An indication of his success at Mesa College was that numerous Division I university teams regularly recruited his players, with six players going on to star in the NFL. Although Jack retired in 1980 from coaching, he continued on his teaching work at the university until 1992, becoming a professor emeritus in 1993. Jack’s football career blossomed as an Oiler, where he was named as KXOK Radio’s Illinois Football Player of the Year (1953) and captained the Oilers to the school’s first undefeated football season as its high-scoring tailback. That success landed him at Northeast Missouri State, where he starred as an all-conference back in football and lettered in track (pole vault). Perrin’s athletic success at Kirksville resulted in his being named to the Northeast Missouri State Hall of Fame.
Mel Sheets (EA-WR Class of 1951) was one of the most lauded high school basketball coaches in Illinois. He earned that fame as the legendary coach of New Trier High School in Winnetka, coaching boys’ basketball for 31 seasons and winning 535 games. Sheets’ Trevians won 14 conference titles, 12 regionals, nine sectionals, four super-sectionals, four Elite Eight appearances and fourth place in 1996. He coached six All-State players and, as head golf coach, won a state golf championship in 1995. Sheets is already a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, Millikin Athletic Hall of Fame, the Millikin Medallion Society, the North Shore Walk of Fame, and he received the IBCA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Sheets also led the New Trier boys service club, which collected food and clothing for inner-city Chicago children and sold Christmas trees, raising thousands of dollars every year for college scholarships. While at EA-WR, Sheets starred in basketball and baseball for legendary coach Chick Summers and was a co-captain of the Millikin University basketball and baseball teams.
Dr. John Stirnaman (EA-WR Class of 1967) is a highly regarded and successful orthopedic surgeon in the Riverbend, who, for the last 35 years, has practiced medicine at the Alton Orthopedic Clinic, BJC Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Specialists; and is on the emeritus staff at both Alton Memorial and St. Anthony’s hospitals in Alton. Stirnaman is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery and the American College of Surgeons. He specializes in joint replacement, knee and hip reconstructive surgery, shoulder surgery, and sports medicine injuries, serving countless patients in the Riverbend over his 35 years of practice. Stirnaman holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (with honors) and his medical degree from the University of Illinois Medical School in Chicago.
Ande Yakstis (posthumous, EA-WR Class of 1951) spent more than 40 years as an award-winning reporter for The Telegraph and was twice runner-up in the Pulitzer Prize competition for his investigative reporting. Yakstis co-authored “You Can’t Kill the Dream: People Living the Dream,” a book telling the stories of African-Americans who followed the dream of equality and opportunity surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his life, and his assassination. His personal reporting of King’s march on Selma and a personal interview with him provided the inspiration and energy for this book, as well as a “spiritual awakening” in his life. Yakstis’ investigative journalism led him to uncovering organized crime operations, corrupt insurance practices, child abuse, Illinois Supreme Court corruption and a murder-for-hire plot. Yakstis also was a devoted community servant, as he promoted area food banks; led the fight during the 1950s for integration and civil rights in Alton-area businesses and the Alton School District; and organized a community campaign to help rebuild the Rocky Fork AME Church in Godfrey following a pipe bomb-caused fire. Yakstis was a Korean War combat veteran and was awarded the Purple Heart, serving as an artillery forward observer.
Already inducted into the Oiler Alumni Hall of Fame are: Dr. David Apple, Merle Bassett, Tracy Butler, Roger Counsil, Leroy Emerick, Dr. Richard Erzen, Gen. Richard Eslinger, Paul Fritts, Sherill Hanks, Jack Helmkamp, Dr. Ashley Hill, Bob Howe, Dr. Harold Hudson, Virginia Kirkpatrick, Dr. Ashley Knight, Dr. Steve Korbet, Gary Lane, Dr. Scott Logan, Dr. Dana Mead, John Messick, Howard Oetting, Bobby Schumacher, DeWayne Staats, Richard Stegemeier, Hon. Jean Stothert and James Towey.
For information, call (618) 254-3151, ext. 2502.