The Official On-line Publication of the
This site is for all Okemos High School Alumni
Students / Teachers / Administration
(If this is your initial visit to the Alumni Website, look around, then be sure to click on "First Time Visit" and sign-in. There is no cost to sign-in. By leaving your email address, you will receive all classmate updates.)
This year marks the 60th and 50th anniversaries of their graduation year for the Classes of 1958 and 1968.
Kay Bratzler (Riedel) will coordinate the Class of 1958 web page to publicize their class reunion plans. Kay was co-valectorian of her class and retired in 2017 after more than 30 years of service as a college administrator at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. She has a BA from Albion College and and a MS from Kansas State.
Laurel Winkel and Jill Slocum (Tribell) are the webmasters for the Class of 1968. <<Click this to register>>
Please contact Kay, Laurel, or Jill if you have any questions about your class' reunion plans and/or if you want to help with the events.
Class of 1963
Kerry Byrnes in town
Kerry is writing a new book! His latest Okemos book is about the basketball players that played varsity basketball at Michigan State. Doing research, he interviewed Kristen Rasmussen, class of 1996 and former WNBA player. Kristen is the new womens basketball coach at Okemos! Rod Ellis was taking pictures when Kristen's daughter, Aria offered to save me the effort by drawing a perfect picture of mommie, complete with tiara.
Then next day, he was off to interview Gus Ganakas, MSU basketball coach for two Okemos players-Joe Shackelton and Greg Lott. Gus' daughter Gail took this picture so that I could stand next to the possibly most gratious and humble ledgendary coach I have ever met.
We'll keep you posted on Kerry's publication date!
Alumni Authors and Teacher Authors
Their Books on display
by OHS Librarian Sandy Fields
Several Alumni Authors visited the High School 2017-2018. Their books are on display outside of the OHS Library.
Several Teachers at the High School are Authors and Editors
The Okemos High School Librarian is Mrs. Sandy Fields
Donate your books to the OHS Library!
Read all about the Grettenberger/Benjamin boardroom fight! "STRONG WORDS HURLED...conflagration...fracas!" Meridian Twp Board of Public Instruction, Nov 6, 1919
"...ours (pupils) have to walk as far as two miles through all kinds of weather...contracted with Mrs. Dormer ($400 a year) to transport seven children, the three and a half miles between their homes and the schools...(by) team and wagon!"
The contentious beginnings of Okemos Consolidated School..."Before the conflagration was extinguished, Dormer and William Grettenberger ceased to be members of the board.."!
"...was made chief...not by heritage, but by virture of his judgement, bravery and qualities of leadership."
-The Complete story-
Class of 1959
At our 55th reunion we talked about scheduling a 60th. 2019 will soon be upon us.
I remember someone nominating me to organize it. I am able bodied but will be 78 years old, as will the rest of you, so I would like some help.
First, anyone interested?
Second: Suggest a date range..Summer months? Early Fall?
We can move on this after we get some input.
Submit Your Nominations
Alumni Hall of Fame
The Alumni Association wants to hear from you...
Who should be highlighted in our Hall of Fame?
Do you know of a classmate that...
Had or is having a Distinguished Career?
Athletics/High School,College,Amature,Professional,Lifetime Achievement
<Click Pictures,Underlined or Blue>
The most recent nominations to the
Class of 1954
Army Rifle Team and Marksman
Coached a seven time National Collegete Champion Rifle Team
A Certified Heath Physicist, chaired the Panel of Examiners of the American Board of Health Physics, the Continuing Education Committee of the American Academy of Health Physics, and the Health Physics Society Standards Committee Working Group on Radiation Protection Terminology.
A 'Fellow' of the Health Physics Society and the International Standards Organization's United States Representative for radiation terminology.
A member of Mensa, the high IQ society.
Ariel Hart Anderson Class of 1971
Elizabeth Ann Atkins Class of 1985
Class of 1986
Class of 1963 Dr. Walter Willett
World Renowned Nutritionist, researcher, lecturer, professor at Harvard Medical School and chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health Author of Eat, Drink and Be Healthy
Class of 1966
World Renowned Professor of Chemistry at Ohio State University
Class of 1935 and Class of 1938
Humanitarian & Missionaries in Algeria
Behind Rev. John Aseltine and his wife Doris are the terrors of an Algerian rebellion.
Class of 1959
Okemos High School Class of 1959 Valedictorian
Phi Beta Kappa
Ph.D. in Physiology at University of Vermont College of Medicine
Developed the 'Quad Screen' for the detection of serious birth defects in early pregnancy like Down Syndrom and Spina Bifida
Class of 1959 Walter Schreiner
Career Military reinvents his life after horrifing accident
<Click on highlights or pictures>
Class of 2002
Remembers his roots with personal appearances
Class of 1958
Invents a technology that connects the world
<Click on highlights and pictures>
The First State Champion wrestler at Okemos
Big 10 Wrestling Champ
Top Cancer Doctor in the Country
Okemos Athletic Hall of Fame 2017
<Click on links and pictures>
Class of 1935
Betsy performed in the 1960 Olympics
*** New Page ***
Alumni Hall of Fame <Click on links and pictures>
Announcing a new page devoted to the life stories of great Okemos alums
Recounting past accomplishments and life stories
(It's a start, but we need your submissions!)
As a result of the interest and excitement created by the visit of Dr. Tom Yunck to Dave Chapman's Science Classes, an anonyous Alumni Donor has stepped forward to commemorate the event by creating a new Science Fund in Tom's honor. All donations to this fund will be MATCHED up to $10,000. At Tom's request, the honor was passed to Okemos Biology teacher and coach Mr. Bjorkquist. Thank you Dave Chapman for inviting Tom to your class. Thank you Tom Yunck for giving your time to inspire the latest generation of Okemos scientists. And Tom thanks Mr. B. for being such an inspirational teacher.
Dave Chapman, Science Teacher at OHS
John Bjorkquist, beloved and respected Biology teacher 1962 to retirememt in 1991 and Cross Country Coach at OHS from 1962 to 1973.
Rod Ellis, President of the Okemos Alumni Association who just wandered into this picture and without a doubt the worst cross country runner that Mr. B coached.
Class of 1967
Announcing Dr. Don Stacks
The Institute for Public Relations will award
Don W. Stacks, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Strategic Communication at the University of Miami
the prestigious Jack Felton Medal for Lifetime Achievement, an award
made for lifetime contributions in the advancement of research, measurement and evaluation in public relations and corporate communication
Dr. Thomas Patrick Yunck Ph.D. and Okemos Class of 1967
Tom Yunck returned to a Welcome Home Reception on Friday at “Henry’s Place”. On Monday, Tom talked to Mr. Chapman’s 5th hour Earth Science class. Then at 3:00 he presented “The Coming Revolution in Satellite Data” to other students, alumni, guests and the public, in the High School Kiva. Tom’s company is launching those “revolutionary” satellites now.
Channel 6 and 10 had him on the evening news.
Tom holds a BSEE from Princeton University and a PhD from Yale University, and is the founder of GeoOptics, Inc. where he currently serves as its chairman and chief technical officer. Previously, he served as its chief executive officer and president. Prior to GeoOptics, Inc., Yunck served as the chairman of the Foundation for Earth Science and as a research manager for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is an inductee into the Space Foundation's Space Technology Hall of Fame. His research has helped pioneer the domestic and consumer usage of GPS technology. Since his initial proposal, he's been involved in every aspect of the development and validation of GPS for atmospheric sounding.
Yunck was raised in Okemos, graduated a National Merit Scholar and with heroic achievements in Track and Cross-country. In honor of his late parents, Yunck created The John and Ruth Yunck Family Endowed Professorship in Comparative Literature, the Yunck Family Endowed Chair in Interdisciplinary Studies, the Yunck Family Endowed Postdoctoral Research Fund, and the Yunck Family Endowment for Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering all at Michigan State University.
Whew…Tom! You’ve been busy! Welcome home”. (Click Tom's name, then play Sky Tribell's video we put together.)
Tom Yunck at our welcome party on Friday.
Mike Durocher ("Rocket Science! Too much for me!") Coach John Bjorkquist, great stories about Tom's hard work and dedication.
Charlie Campbell,Ron Mott,Jon Chiesa,Cindy Bjorkquist,Tom,Dave Chapman,Gail McNeely,Jill Slocum (Tribell),Sky Tribell,Mark Premer, Bill Copeland
Bob Chetrick and Aria Chetrick,Tom Yunck and Carol Bordet, Cassie Ellis
From Dan Curtis email@example.com
The 2017 Okemos Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Took place on Thursday, October 5, 2017
Okemos Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017
Coaches •Bob Porritt - Longtime Okemos teacher and coach of four different sports including football, track, basketball, and baseball. Coached over 1400 student-athletes and 800 athletic contests over his 30+ year career, including multiple Capital Circuit league team champions in football and track. •Jon Wozniak - Longtime Okemos teacher and track & field coach; "Coach Woz," as he was affectionately known, was a legendary throws coach who helped develop numerous conference, regional, and state champions.
Student-Athletes •Mark Abraham - Boys Basketball; All-State selection in basketball and helped his teams to the 1981 state runner-up and 1982 state championship team titles; earned a baseball scholarship to Michigan State University •Denyse Adams Ferguson - Cross Country; 1985 Class A cross country state champion and one of the nation's top cross country runners with multiple Top 20 national finishes; also won the 1986 Class A 3200m state championship title (track); went on to run cross country at Harvard •Christine Bader - Girls Tennis; 2002 state champion and state finalist in 2000 and 2003; ranked No. 25 in the Midwest Girls' 18 division in 2004 and earned two USTA sportsmanship awards; At Michigan State University, she earned multiple All-Big Ten honors and Big Ten Sportsmanship awards for tennis •Kathy Barron - Girls Basketball; All-State honoree who helped lead her teams to the 1982 state championship and 1983 state runner-up titles; Honorable Mention All-American as a senior; earned collegiate Academic All-American honors at the University of Notre Dame •Tom Dudley - Swimming; 1978 state champion in 500 freestyle; earned numerous All-State honors and held Okemos High School records in several events; went on to swim for the University of Michigan from 1978-1982 where he was a multiple-time Big Ten finalist. •Robyn Flewelling Fralick - Girls Basketball; All-State selection who voted MVP of the 1999-2000 team which advanced to the MHSAA final four; was a four-year starter at Davidson College; coached the Ashland University Women's Basketball team to the 2017 NCAA DII National Championship and was named 2017 WBCA NCAA DII National Coach of Year. •Colleen McKinley Deaven - Swimming; Won four consecutive state championships in the 100 breaststroke from 1980-84 and was ranked in the Top 75 nationally; went on to Michigan State where she was a three-year letter winner and Big Ten finalist. •Mike Mertz - Boys Basketball; All-State honoree who helped his teams win two Class B basketball state championships in the 1980s; also All-State in football; continued his basketball career at Albion College and was an Academic All-American. •Taylor Moton - Football; All-State selection and Lansing State Journal Dream Team honoree; earned collegiate All-American honors at Western Michigan University; became the first and only Okemos alum to be selected in the NFL Draft (2017 NFL Draft, 2nd Round - Carolina Panthers). •Terri Peters - Track & Field; Versatile state qualifier who set OHS school records in the 100, 220, and 440yd dashes and long jump from 1975-78; went on to star in basketball at Lansing Community College and Ferris State University. •Nathan Overholser - Boys Tennis; Became the first freshman ever to win a state title at No. 1 singles when he captured the 1994 Class A state individual title; also helped lead his team to a Class A state team championship; continued his athletic and academic careers at the University of Florida; played professionally following his collegiate career. •Todd Scarlett - Football; All-State selection who helped lead his team to a runner-up state championship finish in 1976; played football at Michigan State University and was part of the 1978 Big Ten Championship-winning team. •Fred Stehman - Wrestling; Two-time state champion (145lb & 154lb) and 1964 Olympic Trials participant; All-American, Big Ten champion, and Yost Award winner while at the University of Michigan. •Astin Steward Vick - Track & Field; Won the 2003 MHSAA state championship in the discus and still holds the Division 1 lower peninsula state finals meet record; Earned multiple All-American honors and won the Big 10 discus championship while at Purdue University. •Dave Valkanoff - Boys Basketball; All-State honoree who helped his team win the 1981 Class B boys basketball state championship team title; also an All-State football player; continued his basketball career at Albion College. •Jon Wiseman - Boys Basketball; Versatile multi-sport student-athlete from 1968-72 who earned All-State honors in basketball; played basketball and baseball at Aquinas College Team •1984 Boys Soccer Team - Won OHS' first boys soccer state championship
-- Ira Childress Athletic Director Okemos High School (517) 706-4930, Melissa Biel, OHS Athletic Office secretary, at 517-706-4931
Follow us on Twitter @OkemosAthletics "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." --Ralph Waldo Emerson GO CHIEFS!!!
Homecoming - Welcome back to Okemos
New Okemos Alumni Hangout
Henry Kwok of Okemos High School class of 2003
I am proud to call this my home to raise a family and make a business. I am also a proud sponsor of this website, which I believe is a great tool to connect with other chieftains of all years. I hope that my bar & banquet hall will be frequented by Okemos alumnus so we can share stories of our experiences when we attended OHS! For more information about Henry's Place feel free to visit http://www.okemosalumni.org/ResourcesContactsEvents.htm for details or check out Henry's Place website: pubmeridian.com
Thank you Class of 1972 for your gift!
The gift, according to Gerard Durocher, is to be used to perpetuate
the Alumni website and the "good work being done" by the Association.
Thank you Class of '72!!
...and thank you, Jerry, for getting a haircut!
(You too can make a tax-deductible gift to the Association. Specify gifts for Okemos school programs or the Association. Non-specific gifts will be given to OHS)
Report in on the Hurricane Disaster Forum
I have gotten a lot of email from everywhere, so I thought we would set up an Open Forum for classmates to check in and leave a report. Go to "Open Forums" or just click this link. Be sure to tell us which disaster you were in or affected by. Thanks to Al Hopkins for checking and reporting on class of '63. Thanks to all that reported, it's a relief to hear from you!
We have 169 Classmates listed as living in Florida! Another 95 Classmates living in Texas...has anyone heard from any ot them? If so, please post whatever you know on the Hurricane Forum.
From Jill Axline Roth:
Hey OHS classmates. .....Mayfair and Spags and Gables , we would like to gather up pictures and memories. Please sign-in on the Alumni Website and/or send pictures to Rod Ellis to post on the site.
The Class of 1957 celebrated it's 60th reunion, according to John Bratzler, with 30 people attending. The Class of 1957 has the distinction of holding the school individual basketball game scoring record. The late Max Creaser scored 55 points in the old band box gym in a game against Fowlerville. Among its other notable members is Dr. Joe Ferrar, Professor Emeritus of Mathermatics, The Ohio State University. Joe's wife, Sara Jo ('58),is the daughter of H. Owen Reed, composer of the school alma mater, Proud Chieftains. Please help to pull together all memorabilia and send to Rod Ellis at the Alumni Association.
The Class of '57 numbered 70 people, 28 of whom attended their 50th 10 years ago. They started in the Okemos Consolidated School system in 1944, 19 members strong. This gives one the notion of how fast Okemos grew post WWII. Check out their class history as read at their 50th reunion.
Class of 1967
50th Class Reunion
******** This is what we have so far -- click above ******
Coral Gables, School and Neighborhood Bus Tour, The University Club, Sunday Brunch
POST YOUR PICTURES OR EMAIL THEM TO:
Contact Mary Fox White firstname.lastname@example.org
Okemos Alumni Association
Publishes a Book
Our First Nomination for the Okemos Athletic Hall of Fame
Okemos Athletic Director, Ira Childress receiving the Nomination for the OAHOF from Rod Ellis. Since the book is a (very) limited edition, you can read it on-line at this website. Click "Alumni Hall of Fame, Athletics, scroll down to Dick Ewing 1953, or click the link above.
A 501(c)(3) Non-profit corporation
Tax ID 82-1246695