The Official On-line Publication of the
This site is for all Okemos High School Alumni
Students / Teachers / Administration
-- Is this your initial visit? Look around. To join, Login by clicking "First Time Visit & Introduction". Another way to join, click "Classmate Profiles, find your name in your class year, click your name, and enter and save your contact information. Or, click here...if your name is not listed with your class, click "add yourself here" to use the Membership Wizard to access a step-by-step page to enter and save your contact information. Creating or updating your Profile is free and you decide whether or not it's visable to others. If you leave your email address, you may receive selected (or all) classmate updates. --
Calling all Chieftains!
We've received word that the Meridian Historical Village, located in Okemos near the Meridian Township Offices in Okemos, is another organization struggling because of COVID-19. Please consider becoming a member, volunteer, donate....whatever you can do to help.
From Mark Burgett class of 1977: The village behind the Meridian city offices is in serious trouble. They make the money to keep it open mostly through school field trips and weddings. The pandemic has obviously impacted their budget. They are looking for donations.They also are in need of volunteers to work in and provide tours. The team of retirees that have been working there is waning. If you’d like to volunteer or donate please contact my dad: Norval Burgett 517-669-5878.
Published **** In Print **** Schuler Book Store
Hot Off the Press! "The Chieftain Fourteen" (on Nov. 18, 2020)
The Kerry Byrnes '63 (sorry, not Ken Burns) Epic Compendium of the 14 Okemos Chieftain basketball players that played basketball for the Michigan State Spartans.
Send Rod Ellis a note if you would like to buy your own copy and we'll put the print order into Schuler Books.
Congratulations and thanks to Kerry for taking on this 6-year project! Bravo!
Click the book picture below to read it online.
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 at the top of Discussions, as well as the 'spy glass' icon to the right in order to search a topic or name.
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!
Tracing the history of the Okemos Founding Pioneers
Generations of Okemos Alumni
<<click book to read>> Limited addition printing now available!
Family Names: Wilkins, Whitmyer, Clausen, Washburn, Bray, Kilbourne
(Also found in "Okemos History", "Okemos Area")
Same humor...dead serious subject! Read his Blog and understand this virus!! Mark updates this blog regularly. The charts and graphs are updated daily.
"Science with a world of experience"
Champions & Movie Stars
Heads of State & Heads of Industry
Flying Concords to Birthday Parties!
The Amazing Story of Hometown Hero...The Legend…The Autobiography
The Okemos Alumni Association
is a proud member of
Friends of Historic Meridian
Their mission is to create and sustain an active appreciation of local history
in addition to preserving and maintaining the historic structures in the Meridian Historical Village
Over the 2010-2020 decade, four Okemos High Chieftains helped the Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team to become the Big 10 university with the most wins. In each of those 10 seasons, the Spartans men's squad had at least one OHS Chieftain. Their story as well as ten other Chieftains who played basketball as a Michigan State Spartan is told in "From Okemos High's O-ZONE to Michigan State's Izzone: The Red Cedar Journeys of The Chieftain Fourteen" by Kerry J Byrnes (OHS Class of '63).
"Locked on Spartans Podcasts" Interviews Chieftain Basketball Legends
Anthony Ianni & Conner George
CLICK ON NEON GREEN LINKS BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEWS
Anthony Ianni Interview (Part 1): https://open.spotify.com/episode/2LfAecaxxRm7e0vKni4yjt?t=0
Anthony Ianni Interview (Part 2): https://open.spotify.com/episode/3MxV1u65np3IoGxatrpUFZ
Conner George Interview: https://open.spotify.com/episode/5TjJC8GW4QZtGrbfAUzxxP
The Stolz Boys: A Three-Generation Chieftains Legacy
(by Kerry J. Byrnes, OHS Class of '63)
Nearly 70 years ago, Denny Stolz, a 1951 graduate of Mason High School, went on to succeed Duffy Daugherty as head coach of Michigan State University Spartans Football -- a storyline that inspired two Stolz family members (Denny's brother Stan and Stan's son Dan) to work their way up the coaching tree, each eventually becoming the head coach of Okemos High Chieftains Basketball, with a Stolz as OHS' head basketball coach for 44 consecutive years--during which Stan's son Dan and Dan's son (Scott) also graduated from Okemos High, hence "a three-generation Chieftains Legacy" !!!
Kerry J. Byrnes (OHS Class of '63) has authored a new book now available on the OAA site.
"Diving Deep, Deep Down" takes you on an visual (video), aural (audio), and analytical journey below this planet's watery waves (see the two horizontal "watery wave" images above and below this announcement). Don your scuba gear and dive with me to explore ten Sea Genres: Sea Monsters, Sea Mutants, Sea Battles, Sea Buddies, Sea Subs (Fantasy Subs & War Subs), Sea Spies, Sea Treasures, and Sea Docs. During each dive (chapter), you'll learn about how film composers have approached scoring (composing the music for) films with underwater-related plots and scenes--many of which films you've likely viewed at some point during your life. The book includes many clickable links so you can view a film's trailer or listen to samples of a film's score. The book's penultimate dive, Sea Decompression, sheds light on the various scoring devices composers have employed in scoring underwater-themed films. The final chapter, Sea Nominees , nominates, in the author's opinion, the best film score in each Sea Genre and the author's choice of the best-ever Sea Genre film score.
OAA announces the premiere issue of
- "Chieftain Smoke Signals" (Issue #1) -
This issue features five articles authored by Kerry J. Byrnes (OHS Class of '63). Some articles were previously published elsewhere, others appear here for the first time. OAA Invites OHS alumni to submit your articles (previously published or newly written), preferably in Word format, so we can compile them into the next issue of Chieftain Smoke Signals.
Lord Huron & Three Okemos Chieftains
Kerry J. Byrnes (Class of '63) has authored/compiled an article on the indie folk band Lord Huron, based in Los Angeles, that includes three OHS grads: Ben Schneider (the group's founding member), Mark Barry, and Tom Renaud. The band’s name was inspired by Lake Huron, the lake that band founder Ben Schneider grew up visiting, where he would spend evenings playing music around the campfire.
Ben Schneider (Okemos High Class of 2001)
August 17, 2019. This weekend the Classes of 1947,1948, and 1959 are having reunion events in East Lansing/Okemos. Proud Chieftains was composed in 1958 by H. Owen Reed (who also arranged the MSU alma mater, MSU Shadows), father of Sara Jo Reed (Ferrar) '58, and Carol Reed (Wetters) '64. My guess is that Proud Chieftains was first played publicly by the OHS band during the 1958-1959 school year. It was "lost but rediscovered" many years later. In honor of the Class of 1959 reunion activities, click here to watch the current OHS band director, Mark Stice, reintroduce Proud Chieftains at the 2012 spring band concert. He also explains the history of J. Siebert Taylor's 1940 composition, America's Sweethearts, dedicated to Mr. Musselman, band director and principal at OHS in 1940. Taylor was director of bands at MAC in the early 1900's, preceding Leonard Falcone Click here to hear America's Sweethearts played at the same 2012 concert. Further details on the OHS school songs on this site can be found by clicking here or on the tab to the left menu bar, "Okemos History>High School>School Songs."
Retired teachers gather at Coral Gables...and they are still talking about their students!
Eight teachers that taught at Okemos between 1967 and 2008 meet for breakfast and kinship. This wonderful group of our beloved teachers still have stories to tell, even if the student names are hard to remember...Mr. Cockroft reminded us that they taught around 130 students per year for 30 years!
Some of these teachers have signed in to the website and everyone else promises to do so. Please send them a welcome.
Physics '72 to '02 Jim Powers, Larry Cockroft taught Math and Baseball Coach 1967 to 1997, Annis Hapkiewicz taught A.P.Chemistry '70 to '06, Irene Yoder-Best taught '69 to '74, and Luci Baker taught Home Ec. '68 to '90. Kate Marsh and Pat Miller taught at the High School '74 to '08 and Pat's husband Dave Miller taught Social Studies at Kinawa '71 to '98. Marilyn Bowker taught Business and Cheerleading from 1962 to 1994...and Patty Puckett taught Social Studies at the High School from 1967 to 1994. What a wonderful group...and I understand they meet the 3rd Tues of the month every other month in the summer! You are welcome to join them if you promise to behave.
Contact Marilyn Bowker to see when they will meet again (2020 does not look good).
We need your help! "Lost Teachers"
Our Historian, Sherrie Paty '66, is at an end with these teachers!
Can you help? If you know ANYTHING about these teachers
Please email Sherrie <Click to send an email> or fill in the Questionaire below.
Mable Anderson 1946 Bruce Rae - Fine Arts 1976 FOUND!
Patricia Anderson 1951 Bruce Parkinson - English 1976
Betty Anderson - English 1963
Susan Smith - English 1964
April 24, 2019: Okemos High School's new athletic director is a 1985 graduate of the school, Brian Fuller. He has held the same job in Harbor Beach and is a former soccer coach at Fowlerville High School. Fuller replaces Ira Childress who is departing after six years to take over a similar job in Coral Gables, Florida.
Alumni and Teachers, 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.
Teachers are Authors and Editors
The Okemos High School Librarian is Mrs. Sandy Fields
Donate your books to the OHS Library!
Download free ebooks and order paperbacks
Inspired by a 1951 newspaper notice of a gathering, Sherrie, links biographies of 3rd generation families to the pioneers of Okemos.
Additions, revisions and editing is ongoing. The latest were made June 4, 2019.
Kay Bratzler (Riedel) will coordinate the Class of 1958 web page to recap their class reunion. Please contact Kay if you want to post anything about the class.
Class of 1968 * 50th Reunion * August 2018
OHS '68 had a great time at our 50th reunion! <Click this for the recap>
Lansing State Journal, May 18, 1929
The 1929 annual "The Tomahawk" went on sale May 20, 1929!
The Alumni Association is trying to put together a collection of all Tomahawk's.
We just got 1946 from JoAnn Holloway Lewis, Class of 1947!
Heidi Taylor Hopper '89 just loaned us her 1985-1989 collection!
Sky Tribell just found and donated 1997!
The first yearbook (1928) was donated by Jack Whitmyer '51!
Please be on the lookout for all pre 1946 Okemos High school yearbooks. Also, we need 1984, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2011, 2016 to current.
<<Send Rod Ellis or Sky Tribell a message if you find or hear of these earlier yearbooks>>
We recently got 1948, 1949 and 1951 from Jon and Jim Bartow! Then Sky Tribell found and bought 1928, 1947 and 1950!! Amazingly, we got another 1928 (from Jack Whitmyer '51). Hey, we got the 1988 on loan from Sean Sherrod and will post it when we get it scanned. Thanks everyone and keep looking and asking around.
The most recent nominations to the
“The Alumni Award honors an alumnus of Okemos Public Schools who demonstrates exceptional dedication, achievement and humanitarian contributions. Additionally, it honors alumni who have pursued a passion and made a significant contribution to their field of study.” --an Award of the Okemos Education Foundation
“Working behind the scenes and often in obscurity, Kerry is an Okemos gift to the world. From Eagle Scout to VISTA Volunteer to relief of poverty on a global scale, Kerry has positively impacted the lives of millions. His touching tribute to his H.S. Teacher and his chronicle of Okemos basketball players, will immortalize others…the OHS Alumni seek the same honor for the author.” Rod Ellis, Class of 1965, President of the Okemos Alumni Association
Then 1963 (OHS Senior Photo) & Now 2017 (Many Miles Later)
Edward Kapalla Shop and Drafting Teacher 1953 to 1975
The division was sent into combat on 19 October in the Moselle bridgehead sector east of Moselle and South of Metz and patrolled the Seille near Cheminot, capturing the forts surrounding Metz and repulsing enemy attempts to cross the river. It was during the defense of this town from repeated German attacks that the division received its nickname, "The Iron Men of Metz."
Bronze Star The Battle of Metz, France
"The Iron Men of Metz." WWII
Class of 1925 Eugene Williams
Valedictorian of his graduating Class at age 16
Compiled and Written by Sherrie Paty
Randolf Webster Teacher: American History 1957-1958
Graduated from East Lansing High School in 1951 as class president and with honors…and state wrestling champ!
Master's degree and doctorate from MSU. Freshman class vice-president, freshman-sophomore council president, sophomore class president, chief justice of the all judiciary branch of student government, president of Blue Key, member of Green Helmet, vice-president of Excalibur, senior class vice-president, a cadet lieutenant colonel.
At MSU commissioned second lieutenant in the air corps and distinguished military graduate. Active duty then reservist 25 years, an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel.
Mr. Webster taught American History and English at Okemos High School in 1957-1958.
Assistant Director of Student Activities at MSU while earning a doctorate in Education
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
Ph.D. in High Energy Physics, Virginia Polytech & State University (1973) : Director / Owner of CP Solutions, LLC, solving chronic manufacturing problems world-wide : 29 year career with Philips Research; developed x-ray analytical equipment, management consultant, Master Statistical Engineer : Volunteer Builder for Safe Housing, Fuller Global Builders : Peace Corps Volunteer, Antofagasta, Chile (1965-68) : Member, Pi Mu Epsilon, National Honorary Math Society
Class of 1967
PhD from Yale
CEO of his own Satellite Company
High School Mile Record holder
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 Fiber Optic Cable, a technology that makes the Internet possible and 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.
Welcome back to Okemos
The 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 alumni 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
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