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 on your name, and enter, then 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.
The Old Trophy's are all Posted!
The School threw them out, but the Alumni Association rescued them!!
Find the Trophy in which you are interested, send us its serial # and we'll get it to you.
Click -->Find Your Trophy<--Click
OHS had to clear space and we're the winners!
TUESDAY NIGHT UPDATE 6/20/2023:
Huge thank you to Joe Dzenowagis, Tom Rubendunst, Henry Kwok and our tireless leader, Rod Ellis for their hard work sorting and packing the remaining awards at OHS! The awards are now staged off-site where we can dust, photograph and post to the OkemosAlumni.org site. Rod has a list from classmates re: awards they are seeking. (If you're interested in specific sports/years, please email Rod.) Processing will take a bit of time so please bear with us.
FOR THOSE WHO WERE ABLE TO PICK UP TROPHY'S - we'd appreciate if you would please email a photo of each so we can add to the website albums - your description/stories would be a benefit. OkemosAlumniAssociation@gmail.com
We are posting as fast as we can. Click to Find Your Trophy
Additionally, Henry Kwok class of 2003, will be displaying a selection of awards at his restaurant Henry's Place in Okemos.
Bradley Jarema class of 2020
The 2nd Band Scholarship Named in Honor of Eleanor Reeves, Class of 1941 !
<-Alberta, Robert and Eleanor Reeves (Eleanor played the Tuba!)
The Scholarship was again donated by Eleanor's daughter, Vivian Hoette
(Click here Alumni News for the story)
Okemos Chemistry Club Sponsored by a Grant From the Alumni Association!
Club supervisor, Karen Canestraight (OHS AP Chemistry) reports:
"Hello, the students are enjoying the kits we purchased. Here are a few photos!"
Alumni! Would you like to Sponsor a Club or Fund a Scholarship? Contact Rod Ellis and I'll set it up!
Okemos Alumni Association major sponsor of the
Okemos Science Olympiad Team!
You can donate to the Team by sending a check to OHS or to Okemos Alumni Association (note on your check: Science Olympiad)
Competitive "Build Events" and "Dry Labs" (virtural):
They need: balsa wood, glue, 3-D Printers, Mini Motors, PingPong Launchers, CAD Software, DVD's, books. The Team pays dues, gets donations from parents and some from OHS. They initially received about $500 direct from Alumni and a $3,000 Alumni Association donation. They have $928 left as of 5/1/2023 thanks to a donation by David Hart '66.
The Coach estimated they needed $3,000 for Consumable Supplies and $5,500 for Permanent equipment!
Please Donate to the Okemos Science Olympiad Fund.
Make your (tax deductible) checks payable to: Okemos Alumni Association
Send checks to: Okemos Alumni Association, Rod Ellis, 675 Aquila Dr., East Lansing, Mi 48823
Mark White class of 1965 publishes his first book based on his storied career.
I remember (Dr.) White as a hilarious character whose antics got us kicked out as Mr. Walbridge Chemistry Assistants. I read his book...he never changed! I died laughing as Mark ricocheted from one hapless event to another. I never said he wasn't smart (quite the contrary, nearly brilliant!), it's just that he can't express himself without seeing the humor. I was delighted to read that his Chemistry Assistant incident did not extinguish or handicap a serious career. His story is humorous and tearful, hilarious and gut wrenching. A must read, and it all happened to that skinny kid from Okemos.
Rod Ellis '65
Okemos 2020 classmate survivor of MSU Mass Shooting
"I took a bullet to my chest, had a brush with death, and almost didn’t make it if it weren’t for the incredible doctors who saved my life in emergency surgery that night,"
501(c)(3) Non-profit corporation
Tax ID 82-1246695
675 Aquila Dr., East Lansing, MI 48823
The Alumni Association is an educational nonprofit organization and relies on member donations, grants and business support for its revenue to operate. While not a part of Okemos Public Schools or Okemos Education Foundation, OAA is the official alumni association for Okemos Public Schools. OAA is dedicated solely to support Okemos Public Schools, its students, activities and projects, directly through OPS or the Okemos Education Foundation. All donations to OAA that are designated to a specific activity, event or fund of OPS or OEF will be delivered in full as designated. No handling fees for expense deductions will be assessed by OAA.
Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.
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!
New Edition: "Echoes of Exotica" by Kerry J. Byrnes (OHS 1963)
"Echoes of Exotica" takes the reader on a time-travel voyage back to the mid-1950s to the birth of Exotica and the evolution of this musical genre over the following 65 years. On this journey you’ll meet eight musicians who contributed to the origin and/or evolution of Exotica, including Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, Lloyd Kandell, Robert Drasnin, Paul Conrad, Harold Chang, and Lopaka Colón. The book includes a ten-chapter mini-book on the life and career of Martin Denny, titled: "A Life on the 88s: Martin Denny & the Keys to Exotica" -- the most indepth biography available to date on the "Father of Exotica." The penultimate chapter shares the author's memories of his "close encounters" with these Exotica musicians. The book is illustrated with many photos, advertisements from trade magazines (Billboard, Cash Box, and Variety), newspaper clippings (or transcripts), and links to Exotica-related audio and video files for you listening and viewing pleasure. "Echoes of Exotica" invites you to "Return to Exotica," sip a Mai Tai, and catch the "Exotic Sounds" wafting out nightly from the "Quiet Village" Paradise Lounge located on the beach of the tropical shores of Exotica. Aloha!
“AI44 to Chap” - Two OHS Chieftains & the 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament
AI44 (Anthony Ianni) and Chap (Dan Chapman)
Just a decade ago, two former Okemos High Chieftain basketball players were teammates on the 2011-12 Michigan State University Spartans basketball squad: Anthony Ianni (graduated OHS in 2007 and on the MSU basketball squad 2009-12) and Dan Chapman (graduated OHS in 2010 and on the MSU basketball squad 2010-14). At season’s end, the Spartans were seeded number one in the West region of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Ianni (AI44) recalls the Spartans first game in that tournament:
We would play our first two games in Columbus, Ohio, giving us a home-crowd edge. Our first matchup was against Long Island University-Brooklyn. . . . Long Island kept it close through the first half. The last thing we wanted was for them to start believing an upset was possible, but at intermission we led by just five: 42-37. We surged ahead in the second half, building a 66-50 lead. Then it was 74-54. On the bench, I kept an eye on the scoreboard as it posted results from other games around the country. Then I saw Duke’s score: they’d lost to fifteen-seed Lehigh, 75-70. I elbowed Dan Chapman, who sat next to me, and pointed: “Duke is out! That’s huge.”
Chap and I both went in with a few minutes left and the game already decided. All season I’d vowed to assist him on the first basket of his college career. It hadn’t happened yet, but the NCAA tournament was a great time to change that. Two Okemos kids could end up on the stats sheet together.
“Cut backdoor, and I’ll get it to you.” I caught the ball near the edge of the free-throw line. Chap faked a move toward me, then burst toward the hoop. I led him with a bounce pass . . . and he missed the layup.
“I could have had an assist,” I teased him after. “Chieftain to Chieftain.”
“I know. I shouldn’t have missed it.”
It’s easy to joke about those things when you win by twenty-two. Two days later we played our region’s nine-seed, St. Louis. This one was much closer—we won 65-61—so Dan Chapman and I stayed on the bench. . . . With the victory we advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. [Source: pp. 285-286 in Centered: Autism, Basketball, and One Athlete’s Dreams (2021 Red Lightning Books), authored by Anthony Ianni and Rob Keast]
Both my 13-year old grandson (a talented basketball player) and I (Kerry J. Byrnes, OHS 1963) greatly enjoyed Anthony Ianni’s Centered which shares:
a young man’s social, academic, and athletic struggles and his determination to reach his goals. In this remarkable memoir, Ianni reflects on his experiences with both basketball and the autism spectrum. Centered an inspirational sports story in the vein of Rudy…. Anthony Ianni played basketball at Michigan State University from 2009 to 2012 and was the first Division I college basketball player known to be on the autism spectrum. He now tours the country as a motivational speaker. He lives with his wife and two sons in Livonia, Michigan.
Also, after reading Centered, click here to read more about Ianni, Chapman and the 14 former OHS Chieftain basketball players who later played basketball at Michigan State University: From Okemos High’s O-ZONE to Michigan State’s IZZONE: The Red Cedar Journeys of “The Chieftain Fourteen” (by Kerry J. Byrnes).
Click on Above MEA Voice Magazine Cover to Read "In This Hero's Journey"
Anthony Ianni (#44 at OHS & MSU )
Anthony Ianni (OHS 2007) Centered Podcast Interviews Jonathan Jones (OHS 2006)
Click on above YouTube image to watch/listen to Anthony Ianni interview Jonathan Jones.
SPARTAN HOOPS interviews CONNER GEORGE (OHS 2015)
Denzel's Senior Season, MTSU, "The Class", Jaren Jackson v. Ben Carter, Cassius Winston and the 2018-19 Magical Season,Duke win, What Ifs of 2019-20 and More...
NOW AVAILABLE: "CENTERED" BY ANTHONY IANNI (OHS 2007)
Forbes writer, Tom Layberger, published a great feature for Centered that you can read here.
(Click on Image to Access Image's Three Clickable Links)
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.
Tracing the history of the Okemos Founding Pioneers
Inspired by an interview with Jack Whitmyer OHS 1951 covering Generations of Okemos Alumni
<<click book to read>> Very Limited addition printing now available!
Family Names: Wilkins, Whitmyer, Clausen, Washburn, Bray, Kilbourne
(Also found under the tabs "Okemos History", "Okemos Area")
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" !!!
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 (2021 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
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.
Lansing State Journal, May 18, 1929
The Alumni Association is trying to put together a collection of all Tomahawk's.
The first yearbook (1928) was donated by Jack Whitmyer '51!
"The Tomahawk" first went on sale May 20, 1929!
We 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!
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