The Fairport Alumni Hall of Fame first started in 2004. Since its beginning, almost 70 alumni have been inducted. Harding High School students interviewed and met with several of our alumni to create this digital Hall of Fame. We hope you enjoy learning more about each member and their contribution to our Fairport community.
Want to nominate someone for the Alumni Hall of Fame?
Click here for information or to download the nomination form.
Requirements for eligibility:
- Candidates will be eligible 10yrs after graduation from Fairport Harding
- Administrative Candidates will be eligible 5 yrs after being employed by FHS
- An individual that has significantly impacted Fairport Students
- Community involvement, Positive role model, Demonstrated Leadership
- Career success and or unique contributions
- Maybe deceased
Please type all information (or write legibly)
- Name of person you are nominating (include maiden name if applicable):
- Nominees Current address:
- Nominees Phone:
- Nominees Graduation Year:
- Nominees high school activities and honors received.
- Schooling: includes school, degree, major, and certificate:
- Current position and past positions.
- Other honors received:
- Community involvement :
- We need as much information as possible!
- Feel free to attach as much additional information as needed.
- To the best of my knowledge, the information contained in this application is true and accurate.
Name of the person submitting this application:
APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 15th
RETURN APPLICATION TO: Fairport Harding High School
Hall of Fame Committee 329 Vine Street Fairport Harbor, Ohio 44077
Attn: Scott Hribar, HOF President
Or email applications to firstname.lastname@example.org
Any applications received after March 15th may be deemed ineligible for this year but will be placed on file for future consideration.
Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2023
Hall of Fame Class of 2022
Karen (King) Bidlack
Karen Bidlack is a 1976 FHS graduate. FHS member of GAA (Girls Athletic Association) in Basketball, Volleyball, and Softball. 1975 FHS Basketball MVP. Most volunteer hours "Service award" in 1976. School Clubs: ecology, drama, skipper sketches, library and office aide, and per club. Summer softball league and All Star team. Student program COE (Cooperative Office Education).
Community Involvement: Fairport Harbor Football and Cheerleader League first woman President, Fairport Harbor Civic Club first woman President. Fairport Mardi Gras VP, FH Tree Commission President, St. Anthony Parish President and Hospital Minister, FHI Library Trustee, FHS Drama Director.
2002 FHS Volunteer of Yr. Designed FH Bicentennial Flag in 2012. Established the Hungarian Heritage group and helped construct a monument. 2009 Civic Club Citizen of the Year.
Previously employed with the FH Schools from 2004-2013. FHS School Board member 2020 Present
2012 Lakeland graduate, Associates Degree in HR and P&C Licensed Insurance Consultant.
James (Jay) Andrew Clark
Jay was in the 1970 Fairport Harding High School graduating class. He participated in football
and wrestling lettering three years in each sport. After graduation he joined the United States
Army where he served as a helicopter crew chief in Vietnam flying scout combat assault
missions for 14 months. He later went on to serve as a crew chief in a Medevac helicopter
company serving three tours in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom where he flew approximately
1,000 missions with each mission carrying one to 12 wounded soldiers. He was a distinguished
Army Aeroscout Flight School graduate, Jay has received numerous air medals for combat over
his 30-year military career. He also had an artistic talent spending 25 years on stage as a
principal dancer for Rocky Mountain Ballet, guest artist for Colorado Ballet, and as an actor in
plays and musicals. He danced in multiple story ballets including the "Nutcracker," "Peter Pan,"
"Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Sleeping Beauty," and others. Jay also became an electrical
contractor running his own business, Clark Electric, employing 100 workers. After retiring from
the Colorado Army National guard Jay completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theatre,
film, and television graduating in 2016. In 2018 he married his first love and high school
sweetheart that he met on the beach in Fairport in the summer of 1969
After high school, Thomas Gillette graduated from Wittenberg University, the University of Cincinnati, and earned his Masters from the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1975, Thomas entered the Marine Corps. After 3 years on active duty, he joined the active Marine Corps Reserve and retired as a Lt. Colonel in 2001.
Thomas worked in Facilities Management finishing his career as the Director of Physical Plant and Facilities for 15 years at the Pennsbury School District. He supervised a staff of up to 280 employees, oversaw numerous maintenance contracts, managed an $8,000,000 operating budget, and completed major renovations for a capital investment of approximately $350,000,000. In retirement in 2012, he has worked as a construction/facilities consultant.
Since 1999, Thomas has served on the Board of Trustees for the Valley Day School. Since 2002, he has served as a Board member for the Center for Student Learning Charter School at Pennsbury.
Don Olix was born and raised in Fairport and lived here his entire life. Don became an avid baseball player and was a member of the 1933 state champion American Legion team. Don was recruited to play professional baseball with The St Louis Cardinals at their Grand Forks ND farm team. By cosmic coincidence, a Grand Forks high school girl and avid baseball fan, Irene Anderson, would become Don's wife, following an engagement that covered Don's baseball playing and managing years and service in the US Army during WWII.
Following the war, Don earned a chemical engineering degree and began work for Diamond Alkali in Fairport, where he and Irene raised three children. Don wrote a book on the history of Fairport sports and athletes. He started and led a boys baseball school and a girls softball league and managed a boys E league baseball team for years when Fairport had no school baseball or softball teams. Don was helpful in sustaining baseball in Fairport and had a positive impact on many whom he coached.
Hall of Fame Class of 2021
Joseph Walters 56'
Joseph Walters 56'
Joe played football and baseball for Fairport Harding High prior to graduating.
He left Fairport a few years after graduating in 56 and eventually started his own insurance agency. Joe found his niche with high-pressure power washers and developed a program to insure them. He was co-founder of the PWNA, Power Washers of North America, and UAMCC, United Association of Mobile Contract Cleaners which are now two large programs for the power wash industry.
Joseph D Walters Agency became the #1 pressure power washer insurer in the country being licensed and insuring in 48 states.
Joe was President of Kiwanis, Board Member and District Youth Chairman fo the Elks, Chief Barker of Variety Club International for 2 years, Telethon Chairman 3 years, and did 18-hour telethons on TV with Bob Prince, a long-time Pittsburgh Pirate broadcaster. He was Bethel Park Chamber of Commerce for 2 years and South Hills Chamber President for 2 years. Ran fundraisers for Allegheny Special Olympics and ran fundraisers for various clubs, Elks and Catholic Nuns.
Pat Spivak 59'
Pat Spivak 59'
Patricia A. Sandhill Spivak graduated FHS in 1959. She retired from Sears in 1991. In 1991 Pat received an Associate Degree in Travel and Tourism from Lakeland Community College. She joined the part-time faculty at LCC teaching Travel and Tourism from 1993-2006. Pat was owner/partner of Fairwinds Travel and Tours focusing on group tours to Europe. She created itineraries and led groups to Finland, Ireland, Hungary, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. Pat became an Austrian Certified Travel Specialist (1992), a Holland Travel Professional (1994), and a Switzerland Certified Specialist (1998).
Pat served as president of the Fairport Harbor Business Association (2004-2005), vice president of the Finnish Heritage Museum (2007-2012), and past president of the Harding High School Alumni. Pat also received the Fairport Men’s Civic Club Citizen of the Year award in 2007.
In 2008 Pat founded the Fairport Harbor Tourism Council, a nonprofit charity, to promote and market Fairport Harbor as a destination.
Deanna Peden 81'
Deanna Peden 81'
Deanna Peden graduated with nine leggers in three different sports while a student at FHS as well as was MVP for the girl's basketball team and the best defensive player for the girl's volleyball team. She also marched in the band, did leading roles in several musicals, and was President of the Language Club. Deanna went on to earn both a bachelor's and master's degree in Vocal Performance from The College of Wooster and The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. She has sung leading roles with companies throughout the US and made her solo debut at Lincoln Centers Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. she moved out to NYC in 2000 to begin her teaching and directing career.
In addition to developing 8 private vocal studios, she founded DLP Productions “Houston on Broadway” and served as the Producer and Artistic Director. Deanna has also partnered with many performing arts schools throughout the country (including Orange County School of Performing Arts in Santa Ana, CA the New World School of Music in Miami as well as the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton.) and various high (magnet) schools to offer her expertise in teaching voice, directing scenes, giving master classes, teaching song literature repertoire. Deanna moved to SW Florida full-time in 2020 and is both honored and excited to begin her career there by joining Gulfshore Opera as the Social Engagement Manager and heading up their Emerging Artist Program.
Due to the Covid 19 Worldwide Pandemic 2020 had no induction.
Hall of Fame Class of 2019
1961 Fairport Track Team State Runners Up
1961 Fairport Track Team State Runners Up
Skip Lakia 73'
*more info to follow*
Steven Tokar 85'
*more info to follow*
Jessica Hibbard 00'
*more info to follow*
Hall of Fame Class of 2018
Kellee Bender Benedict
Kellee Bender Benedict (1982) enjoyed juggling academics, band, and athletics playing volleyball, basketball, softball and was a cheerleader and majorette. After receiving her BS in Computer Science and Aeronautical Engineering, she worked for Lockheed at NASA in Sunnyvale CA and was later stationed in Germany where she earned her pilot license. For the next 8 years she lived and worked abroad on assignments in 17 countries throughout Europe, Africa and South America. She flew traffic watch missions for 7 years for radio stations in the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area where she was know by her listeners as 'Captain Kellee'. She was a producer for CBS and Paramount Television before launching her own production company and is the Co-Producer and Unit Production Manager of 3 major motion pictures. Kellee founded Urban STEAM Labs, a non-profit dedicated to providing aviation and filmmaking pathways to economically disadvantaged high school students. She dedicates time weekly to her many animal causes.
Jerold P. Gurley
Jerold P. Gurley (1975), M.D., F.A.C.S., the Class of 1975. Dr. Gurley excelled in sports at FHS lettering 4 years in multiple sports. Following college, he continued his graduate studies at the Medical College of Ohio, graduating with honors. He continued his training in Orthopedic Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital, serving as chief resident. Dr. Gurley then subspecialized in spinal surgery, completing two spine surgery Fellowships in Adult and Pediatric spine. Throughout his career he has been active both academically and professionally, serving in various academic leadership positions including the editorial review board of 'Spine', the global peer review journal for spinal surgery. He has worked with global industry leaders, designing and holding patents for spinal implants which have become the global standard of care in spinal surgery. He and his wife Karen have three children. He credits many for his success in life, but none more than his parents for, 'Giving me shoulders to stand on'.
Tom Kapostasy(1974) began his career at Harding High School, serving as student janitor and student president. He earned National Merit commended student and Bausch & Lomb Science recognition. Tom received degrees from New College of Florida (Economics), Baldwin-Wallace (Math) and CWRU (MBAFinance), plus CPA and CMA designations. He taught at his employers, Lorain Community College, Baldwin-Wallace University, Indiana Wesleyan University and the University of Indianapolis. He held senior management positions with national organizations, including Paul Harris Stores (Chief Accounting Officer), Woods Wire (COO), Brightpoint (COO), FFA (Senior Director) and Tripp-Lite (Global Supply Chain Director). Tom's honors include ISO 9000 registration, Who's Who in the Midwest, Governor's Quality Award, BKD Indiana Excellence Award and Indiana Hoosier Fellow. He has served as a volunteer and leader for many community groups: scouts, youth soccer, church, hiking, aviation and public library; earning recognition as Indiana Airport of the Year and National Top 10 Library.
Jerry Rich(1993) was a two-sport standout in baseball and basketball. On the ball field, he won numerous honors including 1993 Team MVP, Plain Dealer first team, News-Herald Player of the Year, and All-Ohio first team. He left as the all-time leader in win percentage with a 20-2 pitching record. His number 19 was retired. On the court, he was in 1993 basketball team MVP, News-Herald first team, Plain Dealer first team, Northeastern Lakes District Player of the Year and All-Ohio 3rd team. He has been the head coach of the Fairport bowling program since its inception in 2009. He has led them to six state tournament appearances, culminating in the 2018 girls Division II State Championship. It was the first team state championship since 1965 for Fairport. He was also the OHSAA coach of the year into 2013 and 2017. Jerry, along with his brother Brian has been 3rd generation co-proprietors of the Rich Lanes in Fairport Harbor since 2004.
Hall of Fame Class of 2017
Nancy J. Bradley Lewis
Nancy earned a B.S. in education from Lake Erie College; M.A. in reading specialization from Case Western Reserve University; and a Juris Doctorate from Cleveland Marshall College of Law. She worked as a teacher and administrator in the Mentor City, Fairport Harbor and Willoughby-Eastlake Schools. In retirement she taught at the University of South Florida Sarasota - Manatee Regional campus. She was recognized as a Jennings Scholar; Jennings Administrative Leadership Program member; National School Public Relations Association award winner; Ohio Hall of Fame winner; Ohio Department of Education intervention assistance team trainer; finalists in the Ohio Principal of the Year competition and finalists in The National School Recognition of Excellence competition. In Willoughby Eastlake schools she started a Latchkey program and a preschool program. She worked on the Sarasota Garden Club Scholarship committee raising more than $45,000 in funds for students.
As an athlete, Keith King participated in Football, Basketball, Track, and Baseball. His numerous honors include News-Herald Player of the Year, MVP of the G.R.C., V.F.W. Team MVP, and All Ohio special mention. He participated in several musicals including South Pacific and Oklahoma. Keith worked at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy, detective, SWAT, and Marine Patrol. He earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice and an MBA, graduated from Police Executive Leadership College, certificates from ODNR Watercraft, and USCG Maritime Law Enforcement. In 1991 Keith was named Ohio Watercraft Officer of the Year, Sheriff’s Association Life Saving Award, and in 1994 Lake County Blue Coats Distinguished Service Award. After law enforcement, he founded United Research, Inc. providing services to law firms, indigent defendants, and the Innocence Project. He is the only known private investigator non-lawyer in U.S. History to sit as second chair during trial.
John Jack Laczko
John Jack Laczko graduated from FHS in 1946; lettered in football and track; served in the US Army from 1946 to 1948 as a staff sergeant in Japan; attended Ohio University graduating in 1952 with a Bachelor's of Education degree and earned a Masters of Education in 1958 from Kent State University. After one year in the Ravenna schools he worked 30 years at Wickliffe High School as the head of the industrial arts and vocational education department. Jack provided the Fairport community services that made Fairport Harbor a wonderful place to live. He was involved in the Men's Civic Club for 50 years, President and Trustee of the Historical Society, Mardi Gras Board member, Lifetime VFW Honor Color Guard, Lifetime American Legion and Lifetime Elks Club member. He volunteered at the Hungarian Reformed Church, Fairport Library and Fairport Schools.
Jodi Matsko, a 2005 graduate, had numerous accomplishments in several sports during her years at FHS. She was a four-year letter winner in volleyball, basketball and track. She was an All-Ohio point guard in basketball and was Fairport's first female athlete to qualify for state competition in track, qualifying in long jump, high jump and 200m. Jodi placed third and fourth in the state long jump. In 2004, she placed sixth in the long jump at the USATF National Junior Olympics in Miami, FL. She also received recognition from the National Honor Society and was a 4-year Honor Roll student. Jodi earned a track scholarship from Central Michigan University and graduated in 2009 with her B.S. in Psychology. She worked for United Way of Lake County and co-founded the Young Leaders of United Way of Lake County.
Hall of Fame Class of 2016
Janet Adams Douglas
Janet was involved at Harding in Marching and Concert bands, Yearbook Staff, Graphic Arts program and placed 1st in the National Scholastic Art Competition. She earned a Vocational Graphic Arts Certificate and Bachelor of Arts in Photography from Ohio State University. Janet mentored young photographers, visited local nursing homes, participated in OSU Photo & Cinema groups, organized Community Clean ups, volunteered for Capital Area Humane Society; worked with Maryhaven Women's Center, volunteered for the Furniture Bank and Big Hearts Events. She taught photo classes to youth, community and scouting groups. Janet was the owner-operator of The Adams Studio and was the staff photographer for Columbus Business First. She received numerous award from the Ohio Arts Council, Professional Photographers America and Ohio, American Society of Media Photographers, and the Society of Professional Journalists.
Dr. Robert A. Mackey
Robert was very active in numerous academic, athletic and leadership activities at Harding High School. He attended Western Reserve University receiving a B.A. degree in Pre-Med, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and was starting quarterback on the football team. He received his M.D degree from Yale University and did his internship and residency at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio. He also served in the Air Force at Pease AFB for 2 yrs. Robert was a pediatrician in Rochester, NH and then York, Maine for 24 yrs. His community involvement and leadership were recognized in York's Winter Revels and St Christopher's Church programs, Announcer for York High School soccer games and coaching various athletic teams. Robert was a caring doctor to thousands of children and was beloved by his community, family and friends.
Hank was Class Valedictorian with a 4.0 average, all league center on the 1960 championship basketball team, quarterback of the football team and a member of the runner-up State Championship Track team placing in the discus and 220 yard dash. He graduated with honors in Electrical Engineering and Business Management from Carnegie Mellon University and was a four-year letterman in basketball and track. After college he served with IBM and Humana, where he was the founder and Chief Operating Officer of Humana Health Plans. He later led Werronen Healthcare Consulting for twenty five years. After retiring Hank became a successful entrepreneur and co-founder of three companies - Personal Health Recording for Quality of Life; Return on Medical Quality Institute; and ExtinQual. Hank's involvement in the arts included President of the Louisville Orchestra, Board Member and Marketing Chair for National Symphony Orchestra; and Council Member of the Phillips Collection.
1941-42 FHHS Basketball Team
Back Row: Al Adams, Nick Esterhay, Coach Ma: Ivary, Earnest Esterhay, Bob Kish
Front Row: Pete Kovacs, Bob Klein, Gabe Orosz, Robert Sutch, Cy Szakacsi, Elmer Olson
Record: 19-2 (12-0, Lake Shore League Champions)
The 19-1 Skippers went to the STATE SEMI-FINALS but bowed out in the opening round of the Class B state tournament on March 19, 1942 to Webster Township, before an estimated crowd of 4000.
Hall of Fame Class of 2015
Richard graduated from Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. He had a very successful business career at Armco Steel Corporation where he earned multiple Sales Achievements awards and was on the “President’s Advisory Committee”. Richard started and was President of Integral Structures, Inc. which was named National Builder of the Year and “Top Metal Contractors” of the decade. His buildings were awarded the “National Building of the Year” by the Metal Building Dealers Association. He was named Honorary Graduate of Trinity High School for the “campus renovation” 10 year project in which Integral Structures provided construction services for 40 million dollars in campus renovations and additions. Richard was involved with the community including Louisville Junior Achievement, Louisville Chamber of Commerce, Greater Louisville, Inc. Economic Development Board Member, Honorary Louisville Chief of Police Award and Commissioned Kentucky Colonel. He was passionately involved with the Notre Dame Alumni Association.
There are band directors and band masters. William Edwin Erwine was a bandmaster at Fairport schools for 18 years. Bill graduated from Ohio University where he participated in both marching and symphonic band. He served his country as a army sergeant in world war II. His teaching career began in Zanesville, Ohio, where he led the high school band to superior ratings in 11 out of 12 years. Bill started teaching in 1964 at Harding high where his concert band earned superior competitive rating 1966, 1968-70,1972-75 and 1979. Students recall Mr. Erwine as a task master, demanding the best effort from everyone. --To be musical. As tough as he was, students thought of him as a gentleman, musician and an outstanding educator. For many students, band was, and still is, a fond memory. The 1986 Harborlight Yearbook was decided to Mr. Erwine.
Gail completed her Pre- Med and Doctor and Doctor of Optometry degrees at The Ohio State University. She spent her career as an optometrist focusing on eye examinations, detection and treatment of ocular disease, speciality contact lense and family eye care. Beside her private practice, she visited local elementary schools and provided an interactive and informative way of teaching students about eye health through a program titled “Realeyes”. Gail gave back to her community as vice chair of the Adamhs Board on the EQI, mental health and long range planning committees. She was the first vice president of the lions club and as well as serving as Health Committee chair performing eye examinations and providing glasses for the needy of the county. She was a member of the lake county free medical clinic and MENSA. Gail performed in various local and regional theatres, and did reenactments for the Lake County Historical society.
Lasse graduated from Kent State University, earned a Master's Degree from Lake Erie College and completed a dual Principal's Administrative License from John Carroll University. He had a distinguished career as a teacher, administrator, and community activist. Lasse taught at Painesville Harvey High School, coached the baseball team to a 52-8 record and later served as Athletic Director. He returned to Fairport Harbor and taught English, directed the Harbor Light and Skipper Sketches staffs, coached, served as Public Relations Liaison, Curriculum Director, Technology Director, Activities Director, and later Principal of McKinley Elementary. Lasse helped to establish the Finnish Heritage Museum and served as the President and Webmaster for many years. He designed the Museum's website. He gave tirelessly of himself as a volunteer in organizations, such as Discover Fairport Harbor, Hershey Montessori Board member and the Fairport Tourism Council. He championed life-long learning and exemplified the Finnish concept of “Sisu.”
Ken Valimaki combined his own art and art education to promote his goal of "keeping the arts alive". Mr. V, as his students called him, taught art in Columbus schools for 34 years and was named "Teacher of the Year" for Columbus. Ken had the opportunity to help students discover art and develop their own creative process. Ken also conducted workshops for children and educators and served as regional director, president and committee member of many art organizations. Ken collaborated with architects and clients to create sculptures for corporate, public, and private commissions. He was the sculptor artist for the "Spirit of Finland" sculpture at the Finnish Heritage Museum in Fairport Harbor. Examples of his work can be seen at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park in Hamilton, Ohio, Ohio Aerospace Institute in Cleveland, Wright State University in Dayton and the National Education Association in Washington, D.C.
Hall of Fame Class of 2014
Cheryl Lintala Hill was the founder of the Fairport Dance Academy' s competition dance team that competed each year in the State of Ohio dance competitions. Each competition drew up to 1000 students from around the State. The recitals produced by Fairport Dance Academy received many prestigious honors including platinum, high gold, best choreography, Broadway bound, best overall, highest score and best precision. Cheryl inspired and touched the lives of thousands of students and community members by offering performances at many local nursing homes and community gatherings. She served as an extremely positive role model to many and her dedication to the arts had an amazingly positive impact on the Fairport Harbor and surrounding communities. Cheryl demonstrated a strong commitment to Fairport by participating in many fundraisers and benefits and was very active in "Discover Fairport Harbor."
Marlene Mackey was a professor at the University of South Carolina, University of Illinois, University of Michigan and Cleveland Metropolitan Hospital school of nursing. Dr. Mackey has published thousands of research document and articles in her field of nursing. Some of her many honors include:Estelle Koch award for academic excellence, Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital School of Nursing, Official commendation for outstanding performance as a clinical nurse, United States Department of the Army, Scholarship, Preparation in Primary care for Nursing Faculty, Western Reserve University, National Research Service Award, USPHS DHHS, Visiting Scholar, University of South Carolina/Shanxi Medical College, Exchange Program, People's Republic of China, Emily Thompson Memorial, Award in Women's Health, USC, Research Award, 9th Annual Perinatal Partnership Conference. Dr. Mackey has conducted numerous critically acclaimed research projects and has supervised numerous doctoral programs.
Richard Mackey attended Case Western Reserve University and later graduated from Lake Erie College with a B.S.in chemistry. He worked at the Diamond Alkali Research Center and taught chemistry and science at Harvey High School in Painesville. He also was a part-time faculty member and taught chemistry classes at Lakeland Community College. At Harvey he was chairman of the science department, American Field Service advisor and golf coach. Richard hosted several AFS students and received the Teacher of the Year Award in 1978. He was honored to be named a Fullbright Scholar and given the opportunity to teach science courses at Bancrofts School located near London, England, where he was presented to the Queen Mother during the 1974-1975 school year. He served in the United States Army, was on the Fairport Harbor Board of Education and on the Zion Lutheran Church Council.
Hall of Fame Class of 2013
Louise was valedictorian of Fairport High School in 1971 and graduated from the University of Toledo. She was employed by the US Postal Service for 34 ½ years. Along with the Fairport Harbor community, she worked on keeping the Fairport Post Office open. She was an active member of the APWU and the legislative director and editor of the union newsletter starting in 1997. She won five national writing awards from the Postal Press Association. Louise was an active member of the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council and the AFL-CIO Retirees. She volunteered in the reading program at McKinley School for over 10 years. Louise was a member of Academic Boosters since 1995 and with other members raised thousands of dollars for the scholarship and mini-grant programs. She was a volunteer indexer for the Familysearch project.
James was class valedictorian and participated in football as an All Conference QB and MVP I 1962 as well as basketball MVP in 1963. He attended Wittenberg University earning a BA and a PhD from the University of Maryland in Economics. He joined the Juniata faculty in 1970. Jim was Provost at Juniata College from 1997-2013. He was awarded Juniata’s Beachley Distinguished Professor Award in 1983 and the Award for Distinguished Service in 2005. He was selected as the Chief Academic Officer of the year by the Council of Independent Colleges in 2012. The James J. Lakso Center for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning that promotes faculty professional development was created in his name. Jim served on the boards of his church, a local hospital, a community bank and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.
Mike Mohner was a social studies teacher and the head baseball coach for fifteen years. His career coaching record was 347-97. He is responsible for turning Fairport Harding into one of the most respected small school programs in Ohio. He is a three-time coach of the year in Ohio. In addition he has earned several other coach of the year Awards from leagues, associations and media outlets. He was an original member of the Fairport Baseball Field Development committee responsible for building the Baseball/softball complex on East Street. In 1998 he served as President of the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association. In 2001, he was inducted into the OHSBCA Hall Of Fame. As a teacher, he helped develop and coordinate the school’s community service complex.
Chris Yano was active in the Fairport community including serving as Director of the Fairport Harbor Senior Center, Fairport Athletic Association Treasurer, Academic Booster Treasurer & Vice President, President and Vice President of the Lake County Senior Services Coalition and was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary. She received many honors including American Red Cross Hero of Geauga and Lake Counties, Patriotic Citizen Award - Given in grateful appreciation for unsolicited inspirational Patriotic Service to the Community by the Ladies Auxiliary and VFW, Fairport Men’s Civic Club Community Service Award “Person of the Year”, Fairport Harding High School Volunteer of the Year, and Ohio High School Athletic Association State Award for exemplary contribution and service.
Hall of Fame Class of 2012
Mike was an outstanding high school and college athlete. He ran the high hurdles at the Ohio State Track Meet, placing 5th as a junior and 2nd as a senior. He represented the State of Ohio in the National United States Junior Chamber Track Meet in Eugene, Oregon as a senior. Mike was the captain of his college track team, and named “Who’s Who in College Athletics”. He also had a distinguished career as an environmental professional providing administrative management consulting services. He served as a senior member of the American Society for Quality, Board of Examiners for Quality New Mexico, Chairman of Quality Carlsbad and was a registered environmental manager on the National Registry of Environmental Managers.
Fred Thomas was recognized nationally and internationally as an exceptional track official. At Fairport he lettered in football, basketball, and track, and competed in the 880 yard run at the Ohio State track meet. He was a track official for 35 years, officiating college and limited states. Athletic Track and Field (USATF) events for 28 years, including national championships, high school and college championships, as well as youth events. Fred received the 2010 Charles M. Ruter award for his work as the outstanding running event official in the United States. He officiated at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and at five Olympic trials. Fred spent many hours mentoring young track officials, and was a speaker at clinics for the certification of track officials.
Allan Young was an outstanding athlete participating in football, basketball, track and baseball. His many honors included team MVP, All Ohio in football and basketball, and Ohio Lineman of the Year. Allan’s exceptional business career highlights included becoming the dealer and operating partner of the largest Ford dealership in Palm Beach County Florida. Allan’s awards from Ford included three times President Award, six time Partners in Quality Award and two time Masters Award. He sat on boards for the Jeb Bush Foundation, Florida Panthers Hockey Team Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce for the City of Lake Worth. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year in Palm Beach County in 2009.
Hall of Fame Class of 2011
Mary Linda Andrews
Mary Linda Andrews was the Director of Community Partnerships at GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. She was responsible for the Community Partnerships programs at the company’s co-headquarters sites in the U.S.: Philadelphia, PA, and Research Triangle Park, NC. Mary Linda has made presentations on Business Communications all over the world. She worked in organic chemistry and human resources prior to her position in community partnerships. She is a former teacher and banker. Mary Linda Andrews received her bachelor degree from Ohio University and completed management training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School of Business Administration and the London Business School.
Frank was a senior systems accountant with the US Agency for International Development. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from George Washington University. He worked 32 years for the government and went on numerous overseas diplomatic missions training Foreign Service officers and officials from all over the world. After retiring, Frank was named Director of Administration for the Joint Center for Political Studies, a research institute sponsored by the Ford Foundation. Frank was active in his community including being named district commander for his local VFW. He served his country in combat duty in North Africa, Italy, France, Germany and Austria. He was awarded a Bronze Star and numerous other decorations and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
Toby Dunlap earned a BS in Chemistry with emphasis in organic & biochemistry at Lake Erie College. He was registered to practice before the United States Patent & Trademark Office. He worked as a Senior Group Patent Agent for both the Lubrizol Corporation and Noveon/BF Goodrich Company, and a Patent Agent/Trademark Coordinator and Patent Chemist for the Diamond Shamrock Corporation. Toby was recognized for excellence as Ohio High School Wrestling Official for 29 years in the following areas: Northeast Ohio Wrestling Officials Association Treasurer; Rules Interpreter; Scholarship Committee member; Sectional & District Official for 25 years and State Official for 18 years. Toby’s greatest honor was bestowed on him when he was selected to be the official for the return of wrestling to Fairport Harding High in 2008.
Jack David Lakso
David Lakso was a successful leader in alternative and renewable energy resources, including wind, solar and energy storage. He was recognized for his work in start-up organizations by providing staff development at all levels based on setting direction and providing strategies for companies. He was a skilled event manager who excelled at showcasing products and services. He developed an application for battery storage used with wind generation to provide power purchase agreements for green energy to be used in schools and water treatment facilities. He started national and international sales channels for software firms and launched a hispanic website for a start-up long distance internet company. David was recognized by his employers as a Chairman’s club award winner four times, and President’s Circle Award winner twice.
Dr. Richard Olson
Dr. Olson was class salutatorian and an outstanding football and basketball player at Fairport. He attended Ohio State University earning his medical degree, and was certified by American Board of Ophthalmology. He was head of Ophthalmology at Riverside Methodist Hospitals and was staff physician at Children’s Hospital and Mount Carmel Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He was a clinical associate professor in the department of Ophthalmology at The Ohio State University and became a nationally published author and lecturer. He was commissioned Captain in the US Army Medical Corps, and was the chief of the EENT section at Fort Leonard Wood Hospital. Richard successfully participated in multiple Senior Olympics tennis tournaments.
Hall of Fame Class of 2010
Albert Dykes was a 4-year starter in football (MVP as a senior) at FHS and received an Athletic Scholarship for football at Bowling Green State University, where he was also elected student body president. After graduation he was Deputy Director of Ohio Department of Health, Director of the American Public Health Association, Associate Coordinator of the Ohio Regional Medical Program at The Ohio State University, Deputy Director of the Mid-Ohio Health Planning Federation and Senior Vice President of the Ohio Hospital Association. Albert was selected as one of Bowling Green State University’s 100 most prominent Alumni in 2010. Since 1996, two Albert E. Dykes Healthcare Scholarships are awarded each year at Bowling Green State University. For the Albert E. Dykes Health Care Worker of the Year, The Ohio Hospital Association recognizes a healthcare worker of the year from nominations by Ohio’s hospitals.
Stan Fazekas was an outstanding athlete, educator and community member. As an athlete, Stan was a four-year letterman in football, a member of the 1964 Class A State Championship Football Team, a member of the Plain Dealer Dream Team, and was the Class A All Ohio Quarterback in 1967. In basketball, he was a three-year letterman, and the All Western Reserve League first team center in 1968. As an educator, Stan graduated from Lake Erie College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and received a Master's Degree in Elementary Education from Kent State University. He taught 5th Grade at Cedarbrook Elementary for 30 years. He was a member of the Ohio Education Association. Stan’s community involvement included membership in the Fairport VFW, American Slovenian Club, Hungarian Culture Club, Fairport Historical Society.
Phyllis Ragley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973, a doctor of Podiatric Medicine in 1978 and Juris Doctor Degree in 1989. Phyllis belonged to many Podiatric Medical Associations.and was licensed by the State of Ohio Medical Board and the Kansas State Board of Healing. She held many national, State and Local Podiatric Association offices and had numerous professional appointments. Her work appeared in several publications and yearly she provided lectures at the local and national levels. Phyllis served her community by doing workshops for local groups on foot problems and care, did public service discussions on running injuries, foot problems and shoes, participated in community health fairs for foot screenings and was a provider of care for referrals from local residents who have no health insurance or were underinsured.
Elmer “Yatch” O’Janpa was a 1937 Graduate of Fairport Harding High, and attended Lincoln Memorial University after receiving a basketball scholarship. He became a local basketball legend playing on numerous teams, including the one that defeated the Harlem Globetrotters in 1941. He was Fairport’s Basketball Coach in 1945 and 1946, and the Fairport Skippies bantam football coach from 1955 to 1960, leading the 1960 team to a National Championship. In 1960, the Fairport Civic Club selected him “Man of the Year”. In 1987, the News-Herald recognized Yatch as Fairport Harbor’s “Unsung Hero”. Yatch was a 20-year employee of the Fairport Schools until retirement, and a lifelong resident of the village he so dearly loved.
George Sarvay worked for NASA Lewis Research Center and received numerous Special Achievement Awards for technical and managerial contributions. He was a member of the Advanced Turboprop Project Team that was awarded the Collier Aviation Trophy, considered the most prized American Aeronautical Award. For outstanding engineering and leadership contributions to the support of aeronautics, launch vehicles, terrestrial energy, and space technology programs, George received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He co-authored six NASA technical publications that covered NASA chemical launch vehicle structures and was a Design Criteria Reviewer for six NASA Headquarters’ monogram publications. He chaired the Center’s Safety Committee for aircraft flight operations and was a member of ICARE system action team which procured and set up the original Interactive Computer Graphics and CAD/CAM equipment that upgraded NASA’s design and drafting.
Hall of Fame Class of 2009
Kenneth R. Babb was the superintendent in Fairport from 1976-1984. During that time the Diamond Shamrock Wws closed and tax levies were passed totaling 47.8 mills, which at that time that was the largest ever passed in the State of Ohio for a school. Ken taught math from 1958-1984 at Harding High School and coached both football and basketball. He was on the Athletic board from 1959 to 1968 and he was the Athletic Director from 1968 to 1975. He worked successfully on getting the East Street property for the boy’s baseball and girl’s softball fields. As a member of the Men’s Civic Club, Ken was named Man of the Year.
Howard Eckert was a 1952 graduate of Fairport Harding High School and is a member of the Fairport Alumni Association, Historical Society, Civic Club and Slovenian Club. He graduated from Bowling Green with a B.S. in Business. Howard is best known for his work as an athletic official. He spent the 43 years officiating College Football as well as 20 years officiating College Basketball. Over the years Howard has officiated at 5 Bowl games and numerous Division III College playoff games. Howard also officiated at the first night game at Notre Dame (Notre Dame vs. Miami) and officiated several Army - Navy Games. He was the Game Clock Operator for the Cleveland Browns from 1967 -1992. Howard and his wife Marilyn reside in Willoughby and have 6 wonderful children.
John Gurley graduated from Fairport in 1973 as a member of the National Honor Society and recipient of the Bausch & Lomb Science Award. He earned His Pre-Medical and Medical degrees from the Ohio State University. He is a member of the Ohio and Kentucky State Medical Boards. He is presently the Director of Interventional Cardiology and Associate Professor of Medicine, Cardiology at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. He is on numerous Medical Boards/Medical Committees, is widely published and has been invited nationally and internationally to lecture on a variety of medical subjects. He has written several grants to support medical research and has been principal investigator on medical studies. John is known nationally and internationally for his contributions to medicine/medical research.
Tom earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil engineering, a Masters of Arts in Economics and a Juris Doctor in Law. He was the Village Administrator in Fairport but started his career working for CEI/Ohio Edison as Director of Labor Relations, Director of Operations for Northeast Ohio and as a member of the Electric Power Research Institute. He served as president on the Painesville Township Board of Education and as president of the Painesville Rotary. He was a founding member and served on the Painesville Township Business Advisory Committee and was a member of the Painesville Area Chamber of Commerce. Tom served on school levy committees in Fairport and Painesville, on committees for United Way and Lakeland Community College as well as the Zion Lutheran Church. He coached several youth sport programs and was a member of the Ohio National Guard.
Chris Zalar, a 1973 graduate of Fairport Harding High School served as the primary consultant when LifeFlight Eagle, a charitable, nonprofit 501c3 air ambulance company. LifeFlight Eagle had been managed by MedServ International since that time, with Chris continuing to oversee the company and then returning as CEO in 2002 to directly lead the organization. Under her leadership, LifeFlight Eagle has strengthened its position as a high quality health care transportation provider. She was the 1988 recipient of the National Flight Nurses Association Jordan Award and the Mellen Fellowship in Critical Care Nursing award in 1980. She was an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Emergency at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Science, Washington, DC from 2001-2005. She has published books and manuscripts on Air Medical Transport.
Hall of Fame Class of 2008
Dr. George Daly Jr.
Dr. Daly was the Dean and Professor of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. George was responsible for research reports and monographs for numerous government agencies. He was published nationally and internationally in books and periodicals on business related topics. George won numerous academic honors and awards and served and presided over a variety of business and government boards. His expertise in business and economics was nationally and internationally acclaimed. George donated the computer room at Harding High and the children's reading room at the Fairport Library. He never forgot his hometown.
Dr. Julius Gurley
Dr. Julius Gurley practiced general dentistry in Painesville for 53 years. Following high school, he served in the United States Navy during World War II in the South Pacific aboard the USS Fuller. Upon returning from the war, he attended The Ohio State University and graduated first (summa cum laude) in his dental class winning the Callahan Award for outstanding academic achievement. During his life in Fairport, Dr. Gurley served on the Fairport Board of Education for 16 years, including 12 years as President. He and his wife, Emma, raised six sons all of whom attended The Ohio State University and are contributing professional members of society. Their professions include interventional cardiologist, dentist, spine surgeon, chemist, senior marketing director, and an industrial and systems engineer.
Melvin Hakola had a long and distinguished career as an educator and concert artist. He served on the voice faculty at his alma mater, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music, for 38 years. He taught singing, directed opera and helped develop the music theater program. His career as a singer included over 250 performances in recital, opera, oratorio and as guest artist with orchestras. He has been critically acclaimed as an actor and singer. In addition, he has received the Alumni Merit Award at BW for his distinguished career and service to the school and community. He attributes his successes to the excellent foundation he received in the strong academic program and the extracurricular activities of the Fairport school system.
Dr. Kapostasy was a well-known educator for 38 years. He was an elementary, middle and high school teacher. He presented at state national conferences and worked as a consultant for Effective Schools International, Ohio Appalachian Educators Institute and Battelle for Kids. As a high school athlete, he earned recognition as an All State and All American player in football and All State in track. He represented Fairport in the Ohio North-South All Star Football Game. He was on both state football and track championship teams. He went on to play on two Ohio University MAC championship teams and played in the 1969 Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida.
Dr. Henry Kuivila
Henry G. Kuivila’s good grades helped him to be hired by Diamond Alkali in 1936. By 1948, he had graduated from Ohio State, worked for the Manhattan project, married Nancy Corn, received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University, and began a career as a Professor of Chemistry at the University of New Hampshire. While there, his children, Henry Jr., Nancy, and Ronald were born. In 1964 he moved to the University of New York at Albany. Besides teaching and helping to develop a Ph.D. program at both Universities, he continued research on organo-tin compounds. For Henry, science did not negate religion. Of his hard work he said, “I am one of the lucky ones. I do what I like to do and get paid for it.” May all Harding graduates become “Lucky ones.”
Linda Shetina Logan
Linda was the first executive director of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission. She organized, staged and directed hundreds of meetings, concerts, sporting events and conventions throughout the United States. Some major events included: NCAA Men’s Final Four Presidential Debates and the United Nation’s Summit on Trade. She graduated from Ohio University and served on the board of the Sports Administration and Facility Management Program. Linda was the national chair of the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC). Linda earned additional certification from the International Association of Assembly Managers (IAAM) School for Public Facility Managers and the NASC’s Certified Sports Event Executive (CSEE), A devoted Cleveland Indians fan, Linda was the sports editor of the Skipper Sketches and president of the FHS band.
Jesse Owen Hayduk Winter
Jesse Owen Hayduk Winter retired from the Painesville Telegraph in 1986 after 52 years service as a reporter and feature editor. At age 16, she began her work as a correspondent for the Fairport Beacon. At the time of her graduation she had already gone to work at the Telegraph. Mrs. Hayduk was seen as a forerunner in the women's movement due to her early professional career, long before this was a recognized option for women. She received numerous local service awards and won area, state, and national awards for her writing. Jessie was also in demand as a speaker. She came across so well because she genuinely liked people and her job. In 1957 the Fairport Men's Civic Club presented her with the "Distinguished Citizen" plaque. Everyone in Fairport admired and respected Jesse.
Hall of Fame Class of 2007
Melvin Fundermark was 1949 graduate of Fairport Harding and after receiving a football scholarship attended and graduated from Kent State University in 1956. After graduation, Mel spent 30 years with Bridgeport Brass Company. He received 11 Varsity letters while at fairport. He was All State in track, Most Valuable Player in basketball and an All Western Reserve and All Western Reserve and All Ohio halfback in football. He averaged over 9.4 yards per carry for the 1949 football team. Mel was also involved on several community organizations and started the first Bantam Weight Football Team in 1956.
David Gardner a 1972 graduate racked up numerous accolades in several sports during his four years at FHS. Starting in his sophomore year, Garden was 2nd Team All State and 1st Team All County Linebacker. In his junior year, he was 1st team All State Quarterback, 1st Team All State Linebacker, 6th place State Wrestling and State 180 Low Hurdle Champion. In his senior year Garden again was 1st team All State Linebacker, State hurdle champion in the 120-yard high and 180 yard low hurdles as well as the State Track Meet Most Valuable Player. David’s received a full Football Scholarship to youngstown State University. AT YSD Dave was the 2nd all-time leading rusher and is still a top record holder is other areas. In 1994 Garden was inducted into Youngstown State’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Dave was Chief Ranger at Punderson State Park., worked for the Lake County Sheriff's Office where he retired as a Road Lieutenant after 26 years and was a member of the County’s SWAT Team ( Team Leader) for 18 years.
For some 40 years Stan Modic has been a well-known business journalist. A graduate of Ohio University, he started with the Painesville Telegraph, moved to Penton Publishing and in 1972 was named editor of Industry Week. He retired as vice president of Adams Publishing. His travels took him from the White House through Europe and Asia including Japan, China, Russia and Israel. Early on he led foreign study missions to alert U.S. executives how globalization will change the world of business. His editorial leadership earned him many awards including the coveted American Business Press Grain Award, the Society of Business Press Editors Life-Time Achievement Award and election to the Cleveland Press Club Hall of Fame. Locally he served as Fairport Clerk and Council President, led his own band and was named Slovenian Man of the Year for work in that community.
As quarterback, Alan O’Janpa led Fairport Harding High School to an undefeated season in 1949 and won all but one game in 1950. During his junior and senior years he threw 40 touchdowns passes and was one of the only Class B player’s chosen to the prestigious Columbus Jaycees All- Ohio team. He received a full scholarship to The Ohio State University under coach Woody Hayes. After serving 4 years in the U.S. Navy, he received his Bachelor’s Degree from Bowling Green and his Masters Degree from Kent State. He taught Health and Physical Education and coached football for 26 years. As head coach, his track teams won 5 league championships in the Freeway and Greater Cleveland Conferences.
Chet Rojeck graduated from Ohio University in 1951 and then began his 30-year teaching and coaching career at Shore Jr. High School followed by ten years at Fairport Harbor. During his time at Fairport, he coached football and re-established the track program. His teams won three state championships in two years, winning two in track and one in football during the 1964-65 seasons. He was honored as Fairport's "Man of the Year" by the Lions Club and "Ohio Coach of the Year" by the United Press International. The Skippers won numerous league titles during his time. After leaving Fairport, he continued teaching and coaching at Orange and Euclid until 1979. After retirement, he invented the Pull-Up Trainer, a fitness device used throughout the world.
Russ graduated from Columbus East High School in 1932 and received a baseball scholarship to Miami University. He received his Bachelor of Science in Education in 1938. In 1948 he accepted the Fairport head basketball coaching job along with teaching General Science and American History. In 1949 he was the Fairport Man of the Year. In 1952 he entered the real estate business and in 1960 became an Independent Broker forming Russell Thomas Realty. He was the public address announcer for the Skippers football games. In 1965, Russ retired as Fairport's winningest basketball coach, with numerous league titles, a district title, and, in 1965, a regional appearance. He was inducted into the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1968. He continued as a real estate broker until 1983 when he retired to Florida. Russ passed in 1994 in Venice, Florida.
Hall of Fame Class of 2006
Jim Cardina a 1955 graduate of Harding was a member of the football and baseball teams as well as a drama department participant. After 28 years working for the Lake County Sheriff's Department he retired as a lieutenant and worked as a Lake County Jail Administrator. He served on the Fairport Harbor Village Council, on St. Anthony's Parish Council, and President of the Fairport Parents' Who Care. As a supporter of the Fairport Mardi Gras since 1961 he served on several committees and as president and vice president. As an original member of the Fairport High School Baseball/Softball Committee he worked to build the East Street Baseball and Softball Field that is named for him. He was a member of the Fairport Athletic Boosters and was a football volunteer assistant taking films of all games. Jim was the FHS Assistant Softball Coach and also coached Painesville Ponytail All Star Teams, who won several championships; was president and coached Fairport Ponytail softball teams and all-star teams that won several tournaments. He also coached tournament winning traveling women's softball teams. He was treasurer and president of the Fairport Harbor Port Authority and member of the Fairport Senior Citizens and the Tourism Council. He is still very active his community.
George coached Football and taught English and Literature at Harding High for over 12 years. He graduated from Mount Union College with a Bachelor of Science in Education. He received top honors as Lakeshore League Coach of the Year in 1941. His accomplishments included: 18 game winning streak, 2 undefeated seasons and coaching the Football teams to a league championship in 1937 and 1941. He won 63 games over 10 years coaching at Fairport.
Roy Greig was the Superintendent of Schools from 1926- 1946. His aim was to give the best possible education to the children of Fairport. This included music, the arts, athletics, as well as the core curriculum. He knew that a good education was essential for children to reach their full potential. The relatively new school district was shaped largely by his vision and steady hand. In the mid 1930's he implemented the "double period" scheduling in the high school, now called "block" scheduling. He had the skill to manage the school finances in very tough times. He was instrumental in the building of the stadium named after him (Greig Field), and the library in 1934. He had the ability to acquire and inspire a dedicated staff. He was an inspiration to many.
Christine Kapostasy Jansing was an Emmy-award winning journalist who reported for newspapers, radio, and television. After 17 years in local television news, she began a national career with NBC in 1998 as an anchor and correspondent for NBC Nightly News, the Today Show, Dateline, and MSNBC. She traveled extensively to cover major national and international stories including 9/11, presidential and papal elections, political conventions, shuttle missions, the Middle East conflict and Olympic games. Chris has been honored by both the New York and Vermont state legislatures, and had a scholarship established in her name at the College of St. Rose. She has received numerous community service awards, particularly for her work with children’s charities. She graduated with honors from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, and was given an Outstanding Alumni award. Chris was also awarded an honorary doctorate by Union College.
Katherine McCrone O'Brien
Katherine McCrone O'Brien graduated from Fairport Harding High School in 1900. She taught in the Fairport School system following graduation until her retirement in 1940. She served as the McKinley School Principal for 20 years and began the first kindergarten class in 1935. She taught English to new arriving immigrants to Lake County. The McKinley School Gymnasium and Auditorium were dedicated to her for her over 40 years of service. She taught five generations of families in Fairport Harbor.
Eugene was Junior Class President and participated in many school activities. He was a star basketball player for Fairport and at Ohio University where he was inducted into the Ohio University Bobcats Hall of Fame in 1967. During World War II he worked as an FBI agent in Sweden and Finland. He was later the President and Research Director of the Council of State Chambers of Commerce in Washington DC from the 1950's until retiring in 1978. One of his duties was to create the federal budget. He was also an investigator for the House Appropriations Committee.
Mike led the Skippers to two State Track Championships winning 4 gold and 7 total medals, was back to back State Meet MVP, set the State Meet High Hurdles record, was selected First Team All Ohio basketball and the National Honor Society. In college, Mike received a BSBA'69 majoring in Real Estate from The OSU, graduated ROTC "Distinguished Military Graduate" and lettered in Track being All Ohio College in the 400 Intermediate Hurdles. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and played on the 4th Army basketball team and received the Army Commendation Medal. Mike entered the Real Estate business in 1971 and later was elected the President of the Lake County Board of Realtors and Broker of the Year. He taught Real Estate Finance and Principles of Real Estate for over 30 years at Lakeland Community College. In addition, Mike entered the mortgage brokerage business in 1987.
Hall of Fame Class of 2005
During his 25 years, Wally served as a teacher, Coach and Athletic Director. As Athletic Director he was a key element in the Reinstatement of High School Track, and started Junior High Track and Junior High Baseball. He had the honor of having the 1999 Harbor Lights yearbook dedicated to him. During his 23 years as Fairport’s Football Coach, he served two terms as President of the Lake County Coach Association. He was also honored as Lake County “Coach of the Year”, The News-Herald “Coach of the Year”, twice named inland Lakes District “Coach of the Year”, and in 1987.
Helen (Perry) Markell
Helen Marie Perry Markell graduated from FHS in 1934. She was a realist with an outgoing personality and the nickname Blondie. She was a member of the Girls Athletic Association, Glee Club, Operetta, Girl Reserves, and the Junior Class Play and still found time to be a cheerleader for several sports. Helen Perry Markell started the Creative Artist program at Lake Erie College. She taught Swimming at Lake Erie College summer camp and at Fairport Harbor Beach. For many years she networked to present an artist open house at Lake Erie College for art students and area artists. She taught artwork classes at Lake Erie College and at Wildwood. She always willingly shared her talent and encouraged artists believing that everyone had artistic ability if they just let it out. She later operated an art store with her husband in Mentor.
Clint McKoon received the Most Valuable Player award in 1990, 1991, and 1992. He holds the school record for most runs scored, RBI’s and hits in a varsity career including receiving 1st place for the most RBI’s in a single game in 1992 from the Ohio High School Athletic Association. Clint received the News Herald and Plain Dealer Newspaper Player of the Year Awards in both 1991 and 1992. Clint was named to the All Ohio Team in 1992 as well as the ESC player of the year in 1991 and 1992. Clint received a full Baseball Scholarship from Cleveland State University where he became a three time 1st Team All Horizon selection. Clint was an assistant varsity baseball and golf coach. He worked in the community helping youth at the Lake County Juvenile Court.
Henry (Heikki) Penttila was the first Fairport Harding student to win the State of Ohio Gold Key Art Award. In 1972 he received his Architectural Degree from Kent State University. He was a Registered Architect (RA) in the State of Ohio and won design awards in the cities of Cleveland Heights, Mentor and from the Cleveland Builders’ Exchange. Heikki designed the handicapped accessibility improvements and new entry for the Fairport Harbor Library and high school. Heikki also designed and renovated the Finnish Heritage Museum in the former Fairport Harbor Village hall/fire department building. Heikki served as the president of the Finnish Heritage Museum. In Chardon, Heikki designed the Church of St. Mary and attached school and library, the Residence of Chardon Assisted Living Center and the Green House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. When the Hall of Fame was established on 2004, Heikki was honored as its first inductee.
Jerry M. Peterson was a veteran educator for 42 years. Following graduation from Harding High, he served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. In 1950, he graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Secondary Education. Two master's degrees were earned at Teacher's College, Columbia University in New York City. One was achieved in Educational Supervision (1956) and the second in Educational Administration (1971). He served 35 years in the Buckeye Local Schools in Ashtabula County, 1950 -1985 as a teacher, principal, Director of Curriculum, K-12 and as superintendent from 1973-1985. Following his retirement, he was appointed superintendent of Jefferson Area Local Schools from 1988-1991. A final appointment was his return to Fairport Harbor as superintendent from 1995-1998. This was the highlight of his long career.
Esko Sarkkinen was an All American End at The Ohio State University from 1937-1939 and played in numerous all-star games including the Blue-Gray Classic. After two years coaching and playing high school football Esko enlisted in the Coast Guard assigned to the New London Coast Guard station where he played and later coached the linemen. He coached football for Woody Hayes at OSU for 32 years from 1946 to 1978. In 1957 Hayes called Esko “the finest end coach in the country”. Esko was inducted into the Ohio State Varsity “O” Hall of Fame in 1980. Esko Sarkkinen graduated from Fairport in 1936. He played and was captain of the football and basketball teams and was the All Lake Shore League in both sports. He was a Homeroom Officer in Junior and Senior year, member of the National Athletic Honor Society, Class Officer, Camera Club and Scholarship Club.
Hall of Fame Class of 2004
Donald Blakeslee was a member of the Fourth Fighter Group squadron in 1944 that scored 500 victories and was recognized in mid April 1944 by Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower. He came to Debden to award Colonel Donald Blakeslee the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts in what was known as “The Battle of Germany”. Donald was also captain of the 133rd Eagle Squadron. He was a member of both the US Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Patrol serving in WWII, Korea and Vietnam before retiring in 1972.
W. R. Branthoover (1950 – 1985) came to Fairport as an English teacher in 1950 and served FHS for the next thirty-five years. He became Principal in 1952 and served in that position for 33 years. His academic venture began in a one room school and upon graduating from high school in 1945 he entered the U.S.Navy Reserves and served on the Aircraft Carrier - the U.S.S. Leyte. He received a B.A. degree from Denison University in Granville, Ohio and a M.A. degree from Columbia University in New York. Additional academic work was pursued at William and Mary College. Over the years he was very active in civic, fraternal, genealogical and historical organizations. He served the Fairport Library Board for 40 years. His most cherished memories are in the success of so many Fairport Harding High graduates.
Gene was a star track athlete at Fairport Harding High School, winning the State Hurdles championship in 1961 and 1962. He was fourth as a sophomore in 1960. He was also MVP of Fairport’s basketball team and an all-conference NEC football player. Gene graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. While at Miami he earned a fourth-place finish in the NCAA indoor hurdle championships held in Louisville, Kentucky and a third place in the Central Collegiate championships at Notre Dame University beating out reigning Big 10 and Mid-American champions. Immediately after receiving a Fine Arts master's degree from Bowling Green State University, he was awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. Gene was a university art professor for 32 years, becoming a nationally recognized artist, lecturer, writer and researcher at both the University of North Carolina and at Cleveland State University. He has written five books, about a dozen exhibition catalogs and over two hundred published articles. Since 1977, Gene has received numerous significant public art commissions throughout Ohio and beyond. He was also a famous local artist and designer and first director of the Finnish Heritage Museum located in Fairport. He designed the Finnish Monument in Fairport’s main park area and wrote an original poem engraved on the granite sculpture.
John "Cy" Szakacsi
John "Cy" Szakacsi was a three-sport athlete at Fairport Harding High School from 1938-1942. As a ninth grader, he was a regular on both the football and basketball teams, and in addition ran track. As a senior he was all-conference in football and basketball, distinguishing himself against competition from much larger programs in northeast Ohio. Upon graduation, he won a pre-war football scholarship to Ohio University, earning a letter as a freshman. After the war he went to the University of South Carolina, earning seven letters in two sports, and graduating in 1950. After college, he gained distinction as a high school coach and teacher, with his career spanning 45 years and 605 basketball victories. Among his honors and awards are: the Fairport Harding Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame; the South Carolina Coaches Hall of Fame; and National High School Coach of the Year in 1985.
Reverend Clem Urbanski moved to Fairport in 1948 from Pennsylvania. He was a chemist by trade but devoted much of his life to the people of Fairport. As a member of the school board he helped lead many campaigns to “save our school.” As an athletic booster, he was instrumental in the completion of the East Street Field project. He also served as president of the Fairport Library Board. Deacon Clem’s dedication to the children of Fairport resulted in his involvement in Cub Scouts, Little League and St. Anthony’s food pantry. He was instrumental in starting the Breakfast Bunch, feeding hungry children before school. Deacon Clem’s dedication and love of Fairport residents, schools and children will live on in the hearts and minds of many.
Tom Orosz graduated from Fairport Harbor in 1977. Not too many area high school players own a Super Bowl ring, but Orosz does, as a punter for the San Francisco 49ers in 1983. Tom was a four-year starter for the Skippers on offense and defense, and arguably the best punter in area history. He was also a three-time first-team News-Herald selection who played collegiate football at Ohio State. He was a punter for the Miami Dolphins from 1981-82 and San Francisco 49ers from 1983-84.