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* Administrators of the Okemos Alumni wesbite will only post announcements from external sources if those announcements may be of specific interest to OHS graduates, do not result in direct financial gain to the person(s) requesting the announcement, and announcements meet any other related policies governing OHS Alumni website content.
For Current News of Okemos High School, click this link to the OHS website: OkemosHighSchool.org
******** 2020 ********
We were recently contacted by a member of the 2020-2021 Okemos Science Olympiad Team seeking financial support for their team. Their compitition categories include Model Airplane Engineering, Earth Science, Anatomy and Physiology, and Experimental Design.
Two members of the Okemos Alumni Association, Rod Ellis class of 1965 and Sky Tribell class of 1969 have generously donated a total of $200 with open opportunity for additional sponsorship. The OSO team will include logo recognition of OAA's support on their t-shirts. If you're interested in donating, you may either join OAA's support or under your own company's name. Please see contact and sponsorship information in the attached letter. Thank you for your consideration to support these creative young science enthusiasts!
On Sunday, September 27, 2020, David "Dave" Federau class of 1963, loving husband, father, and brother died at the age of 75. David enjoyed helping others and was known to drop everything to help someone. Most of all, he was known for his quick wit and and an ever ready sense of humor - either you got it or you were left scratching your head for a minute or two. Al Hopkins class of 1963 kindly informed the Alumni Association of Dave's passing.
Kerry Byrnes, class of 1963 Another Outstanding Alumni Award! Kerry was honored by the Okemos Education Foundation for its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018. Now Michigan State University college of Communications, Art and Science honors him October 23, 2020. Click the link to watch the program on Friday at 6:00 (Eastern) https://www.facebook.com/events/331189848128132
<Click Kerry's picture to read the Awards program>
Lawrence “Larry” Voss class of 1957, 80, of Traverse City, and the open road for 15 years, has departed to be the captain of his eternal boating trip. Larry, the man that never met a stranger, truly was larger than life. He enjoyed many things in life, but the biggest passion for him was being on the water. His daughter shares that Larry's healthy life was cut short by Covid-19. A memorial was held on Sunday August 30, 2020 at the Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home in Traverse City, Michigan. Our thanks to both Mary Ellen Eberly (Sheets) and Elaine Kalush (Archer), both class of 1957 for sharing this sad news.
We have recently learned of the 2008 death of Kathryn Arnold class of 1973, due to a tragic house fire in Lawton, Michigan. Kathy's obituary has been added to the In Memoriam section of this website. Her daughter Samantha Jo reached out to us through the OAA Facebook group seeking information about her mom's Okemos school years. Please add your comments and reflections to Kathy's In Memoriam article. From Samantha Jo: "Hi everyone! My mom was Kathryn Arnold and she graduated in 1973, I was just reaching out to see if anyone maybe remembers her/has any stories they could tell me she passed in a house fire in 2008 when I was 11 so I don't have much memory of her, I just knew she was extremely kind and loving according to everyone else and always lit up a room with her smile and laugh. I used to look through her old yearbooks as a child but unfortunately they burned in the fire as well, so if anyone actually knows where any extra copies are to purchase almost 50 years later, that would be amazing "
Marjorie Joyce Lippe retired 1st grade teacher at Bennet Woords Elementary School, of Harrison, Michigan, formerly of Williamston age 75, went home to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on August 28, 2020. Teaching 1st Grade was her passion. She loved the interaction with young children and deeply cared for each child she taught. Her class motto was "Love is Spoken Here" and she lived that motto every day; even beyond retirement from Okemos Schools in 2003. Our thanks to Deborah Guthrie for sharing this information.
Kenneth George McManus, Jr. class of 1941 died July 23, 2020 in Fort Myers, Florida. Born in 1922, Kenneth was 97 years old when he succumbed to heart failure. Arrangements were in the care of Camino Del Sol Mortuary Columbrium in Sun City West, Arizona where Kenneth joins wife Lois (Jolly) McManus also class of 1941. Our thanks to Brian McManus class of 1971, half-brother to Kenneth for sharing this information.
David H. Krause class of 1963 March 23, 1945 - August 18, 2020. Family, friends, Michigan State University, and the city of East Lansing lost a wonderful man and advocate on Aug. 18th, 2020. A long time local developer, his projects included the Harrison Roadhouse in East Lansing, and the Nuthouse in downtown Lansing. Thank you to Alan Hopkins class of 1963 for sharing this sad news.
Eurith "Skip" Hoskins (Eddy) class of 1939 turns 100 this year!!! And she still golfs and drives!
Professor Philip Arnold Class of 1975 : "After graduating from OHS I moved to Colorado with friends Mike D'tri, Mike Strecher, and Rich Page to go climbing in the Rocky Mountains. In 1985 I graduated from University of Colorado--Boulder. I met my wife Sandy Bigtree in Boulder and we moved to London, Chicago, East Lansing and Columbia, Missouri. Eventually we settled in Syracuse, NY, which is Sandy's hometown, with our twin sons Clay and Kroy. I have taught in the Religion Department at Syracuse University for 25 years and work collaboratively with the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people."
Mrs. Erna Louise Hassell Art teacher (Okemos Jr. HIgh 1960-1978) was born on December 11, 1916 and passed away on July 6, 2020 at the age of 103.5 years. Her three children were OHS graduates: Erna Hassell (Dykes) class of 1964, David B. Hassell class of 1967 (deceased) and Patricia Hassell (Ehman) class of 1973.
Travis T. Taylor class of 1993 died May 4, 2020 leaving behind his mother, sister Heidi and son Triton. No further information is available at this time. This sad news was released by Heidi Taylor Hopper class of 1990.
(Dates are estimated and confirmation is appreciated.)
David Anderson class of 1999 of Royal Oak, Michigan passed away unexpectedly on March 31, 2020. He is survived by his wife Imke, his parents, an uncle and his brother John (possibly class of 1991). He and his wife have no children. There was no funeral because of the global pandemic, however his immediate family gathered to mourn him and his sudden passing. Dave's widow, Imke, recently made this request: "I am collecting and writing down memories of Dave that I want to turn into a book. Like a photo album, just with stories. And I would also love to include your favorite memories or funny anecdotes if you can think of something. Maybe you also have pictures of Dave that you want to share. That would be awesome. Thanks!" Thank you to Clinton Canady IV class of 1999 for sharing this sad news.
Dennis T. Avery class of 1954, passed away on June 20, 2020 in Washington D.C.. He was a very accompolished student as Okemos Validictorian and high honors at MSU. Dennis was nominated to the Okemos Alumni Hall of Fame with merely a biography away (soon to follow) to promulgate the honor. Obituary available through the Bear Funeral Home website in Churchville, Va.. Thank you to his brother Larry Avery class of 1965 for informing us.
Michael J. Musser class of 1971, passed away on June 12, 2020 in Lansing. He was a resident of Mason, Michigan. Michael left high school early to enlist in the Marines. Thank you to his brother Martin Musser class of 1969 for sharing this sad news.
Clive Andrew Sutherland, Vocational Education teacher, of Ludington, Michigan, formerly of Okemos, passed away on June 8th, 2020 in the comfort of his summer home at Laman’s Landing. He had just turned 83 years young. While teaching at Okemos Mr. Sutherland also taught Green House (science credit), Small engines, and FFA.Thank you to Eric Larson class of 1975 for sharing this sad news.
Dr. Okezie Kemjika Aguwa MD class of 2003, age 35, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday May 19th, 2020 at his home in Rochester, Michigan. Okezie is survived by his parents, Dr. Okechukwu C. Aguwa and Dr Margaret I. Aguwa; his wife, LeeAnn M. Aguwa; his son, Dominick “Kemjika” Aguwa; his older brothers, Ikenna C. Aguwa, and Okenwa C. Aguwa. Thank you to Henry Kwok class of 2003 for sharing this sad news.
Gregg Andrew Clausen class of 1987, age 51, passed away on May 12, 2020 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Rooted in Okemos, Gregg - with a ready smile - made many loyal friendships that hold to this day. Backyard pickle, driveway hoops, golf, fall football formed the framework and his undeniable loyalty cast those friendships for a lifetime. Thank you to Ken Sweckard class of 1987 for sharing this sad news.
Tom Curtis class of 1975, of Fife Lake, Michigan passed away Saturday, April 18, 2020 at home with his wife Sheila at his side. Notification of Tom's passing from David Stacks class of 1975, "He fought a brave fight for several months after finding that his past cancer had returned and invaded several parts of his boy." Additional obituary information will be forthcoming when the family can finalize plans for a memorial service.
Sean Carney class of 2006, former Someko member and first OMP Frank DeWald Scholarship recipient is currently a Choir Director with Education through Music Los Angeles and was just featured on NBC’s Songland with his group The Band Wolves (www.thebandwolves.com) with the song “Miracle” (on YouTube) uploaded yesterday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnYfLP4hNU0 Thanks for the heads-up, Eugenia Zacks-Carney, class of 2006!
Please join the private Okemos Alumni Association Facebook Group for additional discussion, news and the enjoyment of longtime friendships. This does not replace Posts on this website, but is an additional opportunity for classmates to communicate. Please note the "Topics for Posts" section to the right on your screen, as well as "Search this group" on the left side. Let us know if you have suggestions for additional Topics.
We hope you find the OAA Facebook Group an interactive experiece, as you connect with the friends, teachers, coaches and others that shared your youth!
Kurt C. Martyn class of 1991, 46, residing in Chicago, IL, died in a car accident on Saturday, April 18, 2020 in Decatur, IL. Kurt lived in Haslett, MI, before moving to Chicago, IL, in 2018. A memorial service will be held at a future date. Notification of Kurt's passing courtesy of his twin Kathy Martyn Kuehne class of 1991.
Doug Frakes class of 1972 of Williamston, passed away March 27,2020 in his home surrounded by family, due to complications from diabetes. Notification of Doug’s passing curtesy of Scott Smith class of 1972…”Doug was a great friend who never complained about his health challenges.”
Sheila Rae Bates (Fulger) class of 1958, passed peacefully on March 19, 2020 at the age of 80. Tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 20, 2020 are visitation (9:30AM to 11:00AM) and memorial service to celebrate her life (beginning 11:00AM), (pending Covid-19 restrictions being lifted.)
Reported by: Nancy Hopkins Ristow class of 1958.
John O. Grettenberger, Sr. class of 1955, former Vice President of General Motors and General Manager of Cadillac Motor Car Division, passed away on March 17, 2020. Bo the Cat and the rest of the family kept constant vigil at John's bedside as he ended his battle with cancer. John was 82 years of age. In light of current circumstances, a Celebration of Life memorial service, its time, date and location will be announced at a later time.
Kim Owen Wilkins class of 1957, a longtime Mullett Lake resident, passed peacefully on March 14, 2020 in Cheboygan, MI, at the age of 80. A service in Okemos and a celebration of life in Indian River will be scheduled later this year, at dates yet to be determined.
Beth Hopper Smith class of 1972, age 65, of East Lansing, MI passed away on Saturday, February 22, 2020 surrounded by her caring and loving family. Thank you to her sister Julie Hopper Morrison class of 1974 for sharing this sad news.
Scott Paul Corey class of 1972, age 65, of Mason, MI passed away on Friday, February 21, 2020 peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family.
Robert "Bobby" Forsberg class of 1964, of Cadillac, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at home. Cremation has taken place and he will be laid to rest alongside his family at Glendale Cemetery in Okemos in the spring.
******** 2019 ********
Sad news for the Class of 1965
Patti Leary McMillen '65, Bill Breckenfeld '65, Wally Schrubkowski '64, Charlotte Read Byers'65, Rod Ellis '65
Attended the funeral of "Most Loved and Respected" classmate, Jeff Ashley class of 1965.
October 2, 2019
Mark White class of 1965 Mark was in town this summer. He's writing his memoirs to be published as soon as the Statute of Limitations runs out. Also, he is waiting for all the "Hold Harmless agreements" to be returned and witnessed. Mark hates editors!
Doug DeLind class of 1965 was commissioned to create a permanent art display for East Lansing City Hall titled "Faces of the Community". Click the picture to read the complete article
Pete Willingham class of 1967 We learned some sad news from Pete's sister Janet Willingham Oesterle class of 1971: "Sad to say but Pete Willingham passed away July 27, 2019 in Fort Meyers, Florida. Pete graduated 1967 & was inducted into Okemos Hall of Fame in 2015 for Wrestling Teams of 65-67! He will be truly missed!"
He certainly will, Janet. Our warmest thoughts to the Willingham family.
Author, Katie Williams class of 1996 is leaving San Francisco. This fall, Katie will start teaching at Emerson College in Boston as an assistant professor in fiction writng. A llist of Katie's book can be viewed in the Alumni Library.
Susan Jacoby class of 1963 is an independent scholar, noted speaker and the best-selling author of twelve books, including national bestseller, The Age of American Unreason and Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism.
Jacoby’s reviews, articles and essays have appeared in a wide variety of national publications, including The New York Times, The American Prospect, Dissent, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book Review, the AARP Magazine, and The Daily Beast. (Click here for select links to articles and interviews.) She has been the recipient of many grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. In 2001 she was named a fellow of the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.
“Sue Jacoby is an important public intellectual.”, David Winters OHS 1965 Find a full listing of Susan's works here in the Alumni Library.
Jay Guertin class of 1965
Jay and Lee were in Okemos celebrating their 50th Anniversary, June 2019.
Jay is signing his book "Monster of the Wrestling Mat". Jay's book has immortalized the 95 pound State Wrestling Champ, Mike McGilliard. Jay, a celebrated athlete himself, described his classmate, Mike as "Pound for pound, the very best athlete in our class of 1965".
John Turner class of 1965 Author, Producer, Curator. Look in the Alumni Library! John was a producer for ABC News and Curator at the San Francisco Craft & Folk Art Museum
From: "(MC2 Brian Glunt) Navy Office of Community Outreach" firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: May 23, 2019 at 10:36:39 AM EDT
Subject: Okemos Native Serves Aboard Advanced U.S. Navy Warship Half A World Away
SASEBO, Japan – Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Miller, a native of Okemos, Michigan, said he wanted a way to serve his country and help fight the scourge of terrorism while providing for his family. The U.S. Navy allowed him to do all three. Now, seven years later and half a world away, Miller serves aboard one of the Navy’s most advanced amphibious ships at Fleet Activities Sasebo, patrolling one of the world’s busiest maritime regions as part of U.S. 7th Fleet. “It's a struggle, but it's one of the biggest growth experiences I've ever had in my life,” he said, noting that his current tour is as a geographic bachelor, meaning he had to leave his family stateside. “It's hard being away from my family, but I've really grown into my leadership position here, and it's allowed me to really be there for others.” Miller, a 1998 graduate of Okemos High School, is a hospital corpsman aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Wasp in Sasebo, Japan. “I handle X-rays and all radiological graphic imaging on the ship,” he said. “I’m also responsible for hearing conservation, and serve as the medical department training petty officer.” Miller credits some success in the Navy to lessons learned in Okemos. Read more....
Janet Kalush (Moore) class of 1961 Author - Look in the Alumni Library!
Popular and easy recipes
Some local development in the Okemos area will bring back old memories. A walking & biking trail will soon be extended along the north bank of the Red Cedar River, from Hagadorn Road to Park Lake Road. A portion of this land had been Northwind Farms, home to Sam '65, Jorja '67, and Tom '68 Hughes.
Ric Federau class of 1968 invites you to experience the International 500 Snowmobile Race in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, January 27 - February 2, 2019. Now in its 51st year, the I-500 is the one of the longest endurance races in the world, racing 500 times around a 1-mile oval track of ice and snow. Ric is the 'old man' of the race, having served as Race Director, Chairman of the Board, and official spokesperson for several decades. In this You Tube clip of High Octane Impacts, Ric provides some commentary about the dangers of this sport (his section starts at about 16:30.) Watch the live Vimeo link - Opening Ceremony starts 2/2/19 Saturday @ 9am, with racing at 10am.
Gus Ganakas - Legendary Michigan State Spartans men's basketball coach dies at 92. Gus, (died January 11, 2019), is included here because of his impact on the aspirations of many Okemos basketball players. Gus lived and worked in the East Lansing area for decades, coached at East Lansing High School (winning a state championship in 1958), and later took a job with Michigan State that led to becoming the Spartans head basketball coach from 1969-'76. In his last interview (pictured with Kerry Byrnes '63 and Rod Ellis '65), Gus said he "always kept an eye on Okemos for talented players...they were always well coached." Kerry is writing a book chronicling the 14 Chieftains (11 boys and 3 girls) who went on to play basketball as a Michigan State Spartan, three of whom were coached by Gus: Brian Breslin, Joe Shackleton, and Greg Lott.
Gary Weeber class of 1965 is the 2019 Vice President of the Guild of Oregon Woodworkers (Gary refers to it as VISE President). This non-profit organization of nearly 1,000 members is in Portland, Oregon and offers its members the availability of over 100 education classes per year, access to an industrial level woodshop, and the opportunity to participate in multiple annual community service projects. The organization is run totally by volunteers.
******** 2018 ********
Brenda Kleimola (Stow) class of 1981 retired December 31, 2018, from Okemos High School with 30 years of service! After managing the front desk through several school administrations, Brenda is looking forward to a break. I talked to Brenda earlier in December and managed to get a (vague) offer to help out on our website...no one know OHS history better than she and I look forward to her help. Send her a note of congratulations and encouragement to her collaboration.
Hans Wiegand class of 1963 succumbed to a lengthy illness on December 15, 2018. Click to read the memorial. Rod Ellis is attending the funeral on Friday, December 21, 2018 in Weinheim, Germany. Your condolonces will be passed on to his family.
Larry Avery class of 1965 spotted in town. Larry and Linda were in Williamston for a family reunion. Rod and Cassie Ellis caught up with them. Well, the big news, Larry is the "Voice of the Lakers"! Yes, our 1964 star of "Bye-Bye Birdie", "still has it"...Larry announces the basketball games for the mighty Triangle Lake Charter School in Blachly, Oregon. Our best wishes to The Voice and good luck to Triangle Lake.
Margot Haynes class of 1965 Cited! Margot (Margaret in High School) is involved in all cultural activities in Montague, Michigan. Now, a retired college professor, she is addressing the White Lake Historical Society.
Thank you, Sherrie! If you haven't already, please take a moment to view the "In Memoriam, Classmate Profiles and Teachers" postings that Sherrie Paty Barber '66 has been writing for our alumni. She has been carefully researching multiple publications and government sites, spending many hours to create small stories of Okemos High School alumni who have passed before us. Her work provides a snapshot of these former students and their adult lives, and also adds a human face to the times in which they lived. Thank you Sherrie, not only for your time and hard work, but also for your care in honoring our alums. Over 1,100 Alumni Bio's and 100 Teacher Bio's!
Kerry Byrnes class of 1963 was nominated to the Alumni Hall of Fame and the 2018 recipient of the Okemos Education Foundation's Distinguished Alumni Awardhref="https://www.classcreator.com/000/4/8/8/29884/userfiles/file/1963/Byrnes%2CKerry%201963/Byrnes%2CAwardsBanquet%2011-15-2018.pdf".pdf" target="_blank">The DA Award was presented to him on November 15, 2018, at OEF's 2018 Awards Banquet at MSU's Kellogg Center.
Elizabeth '85 and Catherine '86 Atkins returned May 10, 2018, to introduce their mother, Judge Marylin Atkins to OHS. Superintendent Alena Zackery-Roos introduced all three, as they presented their latest books and met with former teachers.
Dick Ewing class of 1953
nominated to the Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame page of this website
Fred Stehman class of 1964 was nominated to the Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame page of this website
******** 2017 ********
Vince VandeMotter class of 1968 died November 12, 2017
Don Stacks class of 1967 Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Strategic Communication at the University of Miami, was awarded , the prestigious&nbshref="https://www.classcreator.com/000/4/8/8/29884/userfiles/file/Don%20Stacks%20Gainesville.pdf".pdf">Jack Felton Medal for Lifetime Achievement
David R. McKinley class of 1950 died September 27, 2017.
Dick Johnson class of 1963 died October 29, 2017. Any information is on the In Memoriam page. Post your memories and condolenses.
Ariel Hart Anderson class of 1971 honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award by Western Michigan University. The University honored three faculty members for being exceptional educators and mentors, and demonstrating outstanding dedication to their work. The Distinguished Teaching Award is the highest honor given by the University to recognize Dr. Anderson for her work with students.
Katie Slivensky class of 2003 was in Okemos sharing her middle-reader novel "The Countdown Conspiracy." Katie, a scientist with the Museum of Science in Boston, shared her path to becoming a writer with OHS students in a special writers’ workshop on 9/28/17. She also visited with students at both Kinawa and Hiawatha (where she attended elementary school) and did a community outreach event at Schuler Books in Okemos. Pictured here is Katie with her book (right), along with OHS English teacher Amy Huntley, whom the author credits with challenging her to improve her writing. How nice to see Katie and hear about her impressive accomplishments as a young alum.
Bruce Brenneise class of 2001 has been announced as a First Quarter winner in the 2018 Illustrators of the Future Contest. The contest is one of the most prestigious of illustration competitions. https://www.brucebrenneise.com/about
Tom Yunck class of 1967 launched his first of a constellation of weather and earth measurement satellites! His 7 year old company, GeoOptics, may completely change weather and climate forcasting. Here's the link, look for GeoOptics or CICERO 6
Elizabeth Ann Atkins class of 1985 Writer and Actress published her first novel, Dark Secret, "A sexy novel..."
Hans Wiegand class of 1963 was nominated to the Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame page of this website
Mike McGilliard class of 1965 was nominated to the Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame page of this website
Sterling Silver Alf class of 1930 was nominated to the Alumni Arts Hall of Fame page of this website
John Turner class of 1965 directed a documentary aired Nationally on PBS, in Feburary, 2017. WKAR (Mid-Michigan) aired Korla during the month of February on WORLD Channel
Debbie Lincoln class of 1969 has published an historical novel about her family, called Agnes Canon's War
******** 2016 ********
Kristen Rasmussen class of 1996 comes back to Okemos!
Ann Blomquist class of 1963 received the Volunteer Service Award at the OEF Awards Banquet on Nov. 17, 2016. Ann (Helmic) and husband, Bob, have been Bennett Woods 3rd-grade volunteers every Tuesday and Thursday for 14 years!
Arlo Peterson class of 1965 died July 9, 2016 in Cadillac, Michigan. For additional information, see the highlight obituary in the In Memoriam Section under Arlo Peterson. There was a memorial Chat session held on this website on Sunday, July 17, 2016 and included Maija, Martha and David Peterson. Wally Reese transcribed the entire chat and is posted at the end of Arlo's memorial. Please post your memories on the Arlo Peterson portion of the In Memory section as part of our collective effort to remember this very special person.
Class of 1965 donated over $2,500 to Okemos with funds raised at its 50th reunion in October 2015. $1,000 was donated to Chippewa Middle School Drama and $1,500 to Okemos High School Drama, to produce Musicals. In addition, the Class presented a $600 professional portable sound system for use by Music/Choir/Drama for "touring" performances. The gifts were presented during a Chippewa concert by Dave Brower, Class '65 Treasurer.
Bob Bratzler class of 1964 invented a Bio-feedback system for overcoming pain and depression. The new device is ready for market and will be by prescription only.
Rod Ellis class of 1965 was elected to the Board of Directors of the Okemos Education Foundation 1/1/2016