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Wall of Honor Past Recipients
J. Neil Admire
Dr. Admire served as an educator with distinction for over 40 years. A teacher, superintendent, and college administrator, he made a positive impact on the lives of generations of students. As president of Lewis and Clark Community College, he was instrumental in helping them achieve prominence as an educational institution. Dr. Admire played a major role in raising funds to complete the Gillespie Public Library Expansion, donating time, effort, and financial assistance, all of which enabled the endeavor to become reality. …
Kristine Alderson Lytton
Mrs. Alderson Lytton, a 1978 graduate of Gillespie High School, and a member of the Washington State House of Representatives have dedicated most of her adult life to public services to better the lives of children and to better the community in which she lives. Mrs. Alderson-Lytton has served on multiple local and state boards, including President of Anacortes School Board, Anacortes School Foundation, Anacortes Museum Foundation, Washington FIRST Robotics, Anacortes Senior College, Anacortes/San Juan Island Red Cross, Skagit County Community Actions Agency, and Washington Ecosystem Coordinating Board. …
A notable chemist and design engineer, Bernard excelled in the aerospace industry. He had a 20-year career with General Electric Company. During this time he worked on major defense projects and the Apollo Spacecraft systems. In 1968 Bernard was named Quality Control Manager for aircraft and weapons systems. He holds patents in the television industry and radar operations. …
An accomplished administrator and owner of the Goreville Family Practice Medical Clinic, Crystal has made a positive impact on her community through her endless volunteer efforts and donations to various charities. Recognized as one of America’s Hardest Working Women by Hormel, Crystal puts in long hours at the medical clinic, is an active mother of three, and serves as Girl Scout troop leader, while being a serious couponer. …
Peggy Bertagnolli Allan
An Illinois State “Teacher of the Year” and accomplished educator, she has earned both state and national recognition for her teaching excellence. Peggy has served as a consultant on many state and national educational issues, while maintaining a “grassroots interest” in her community.
A retired successful general manager of Pan-American Southern Corp. and a chemical engineer, John patented four inventions. Two were assigned to Standard Oil. He established the Bertetti Foundation, whose charitable charter contributed to the creation of the Frank Bertetti Library and other city projects.
An accomplished nurse and administrator in the medical field, Kathleen has served the medical community with distinction for over thirty-five years. She was instrumental in establishing medical programs ranging from skilled nursing units to home health agencies. In addition, Kathleen served as a missionary in the Philippines from 1959-1970. Nursing education has greatly influenced her professional life; therefore, she plays an active role in numerous nursing organizations.…
As a devoted teacher, coach, and administrator, Emil dedicated his life to his school and community. An “old school” educator who loved kids, he was actively involved in Benld and Gillespie schools for almost 30 years. He was also active in both church and community affairs. He was also active in both church and community affairs. …
As a dedicated Circuit Clerk, Phil tirelessly served Macoupin County for 36 years. He was a Golden Glove Boxer for 10 years and was National Lightweight Champion in 1941. As a decorated army veteran, he received the Purple Heart in World War II. Phil has been acknowledged for his contributions to area boxing and will always be known as “The Champ” to his friends.
Cheryl Cavallo, Ph.D.
Dr. Cavallo, recognized as an expert in physical medicine and rehabilitation, has served with distinction in the field. As Chief of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department at St. Mary’s Health Center in Richmond Heights, Missouri, and asst. professor emerita of physical therapy at St. Louis University, she has been the recipient of several awards including the SLU Student Government Association’s “Faculty Excellence Award” five times. …
George “Red” Cavanaugh
An outstanding volunteer to the local community and Gillespie H.S., he dedicated over 40 years to coaching and umpiring. “Red” was a true sports fan, who willingly gave his time and effort to Gillespie H.S. athletics. He also served as a volunteer teacher and coach at S.S. Simon and Jude Catholic School.
Anita Crites Smith Crawford
As an accomplished attorney, Anita had a distinguished career in private and public law for over fifty years. Beginning her career in private practice with her husband, she specialized in domestic relations cases. In the early 1960’s she served as an assistant state’s attorney in Champaign County specializing in child support cases. In addition, she served as the regional representative for the state Department of Public Aid. …
Senator Vince Demuzio
As a dedicated state politician, Vince’s career in Illinois politics started in 1974. As “Dean of the Senate” he was ultimately elected Senate Majority Leader. Over the past 28, years he has used his influence to bring state and federal funding to local communities. He has been a “voice of downstate politics” in the Illinois General Assembly. …
Richard J. DeStefane
Am accomplished administrator and owner of a variety of health care services, Richard has made a positive impact on his community by financially supporting a variety of non-profit organizations. He is the owner and president of Reliant Care Group, L.L.C., which owns thirteen skilled nursing facilities in Missouri. In addition, Richard is the chairman of the board of Surgery Center of North Central Missouri and board member of St.…
Louis Eilers, Ph.D.
As a research chemist, Louis started his 38-year career with Eastman Kodak in 1934. He became President in 1967 and eventually CEO and Chairman of the Board. Eastman Kodak’s sales and earnings doubled during his tenure as president. After retirement in 1972, he remained on the Board of Directors of Eastman Kodak and other organizations. Louis is responsible for major contributions in film manufacturing, including the development of the Kodak Instamatic Pocket Camera.
An esteemed professor of English, Thomas’s 66-year involvement with Emory University started in 1925. He also briefly taught at the Universities of Florida, Wisconsin, Princeton, and Yale. At Emory University he served as a literary scholar and author. Active in the university library, he served as the curator of the Joel Chandler Harris Collection for over 50 Years. …
Carol Enriico DeLucca, Ed.D.
A respected educator and school counselor, Carol dedicated her entire career, to students seeking higher education goals. She served as consultant, instructor, and administrator at Napa Valley College and in 1980 founded an “educational consulting business” to assist high school students going to college. She served on several California state educational committees and community boards. Carol’s family has established a scholarship in her name at Gillespie High School.
A retired vice-president with a distinguished 30-year career with Olin Corp, Jack is an active participant in many Alton community affairs. As a volunteer, he has donated time to many worthwhile projects, including the United Way and the Piasa Bird project. He serves on the Board of Directors of several River Bend businesses and organizations.
As an outstanding community leader, Frank first served the area as a County Sheriff and State Legislator. From 1937-1941 he served in the U.S. House of Representatives and was instrumental in helping pass the Mine Safety Act. He also served as an arbitrator for the Coal Operators and the United Mine Workers. An advocate of youth activities, Frank also donated the land for the Gillespie Welfare Park.
William Frinsko Ed. D
Dr. Frinsko, an accomplished educator for over thirty years, taught at the elementary school and university levels with distinction. William’s career included directing the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at South Releford Township at Wayne State University and, as a member of the faculty of the Illinois State University, Dr. Frinsko received the 1969 Bone Distinguished Teacher Award. …
Robert “Bob” Fulton, Jr.
Mr. Fulton a 1984 graduate of Gillespie High School has earned both a B.S. degree with a specialization in Genetic Engineering and an M.S. degree, both from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Mr. Fulton began his career as a geneticist at Wahington University, St. Louis, and in 1994 joined the McDonnell Genome Institute (MGI), where he serves as the Director of Project Development and Management. …
Dr. Joseph Grandone
A dedicated family doctor in Gillespie and the surrounding area for 47 years, “Doctor Joe” was also on the staff of local hospitals. He was instrumental in helping establish the Gillespie Nursing Home and St. Francis Hospital. His true dedication to his patients and community will leave lasting memories on those he faithfully served.
Gordon G. Hartweger
A former member of Who’s Who Among American Attorneys, Mr. Hartweger graduated from St. Louis University in 1961 and returned to receive his Juris Doctorate degree in 1964. Gordon actively served indigent defendants pro bono, served as president of the De Smet Jesuit High School Men’s Club, as well as the St. Richard Men’s Athletic Association, and was an active fundraiser for the St.…
Charles R. Heinz
As an accomplished educator, Charles positively influenced the lives of many students in a variety of professional roles. Teaching on the local and collegiate level, he was known to look out for less privileged students. Charles’ distinguished administrative career included serving as Director of the Southern Illinois Regional Office of the Illinois State Board of Education, Superintendent of Community Unit School District #7, and Macoupin County Assistant Superintendent of Schools. …
R. Michael “Mick” Henderson
An accomplished and respected attorney, Mick has distinguished himself in a variety of legal fields. In addition to Federal Court and Illinois Supreme Court appointments, he has been admitted to practice in Illinois and Federal Courts, as well as the United States Supreme Court. A past board member and president of the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, Mick has been instrumental in providing legal services for the poor, handicapped, and disadvantaged. …
A former “Distinguished University Professor” at Western Illinois University, Victor is one of the premier authors of history in Illinois. He has written several journal articles and books, including the prestigious “Illinois in the Civil War,” a classic amoung Civil War historians. He was also very active in the Illinois State Historical Society, serving as president during the 1976 Bicentennial. …
A career journalist, Hugh spent almost 50 years in Chicago broadcasting. Through the years he has covered local, national, and international news stories. He has won 2 Emmy Awards for news stories and various other “journalism awards.” In 1982, the Associated Press named him the “Best News Reporter in Illinois.” Hugh was also inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and in 2000 he received the “Silver Circle Award” by the Chicago Academy of Arts and Sciences.
As an accomplished teacher and coach, Jim’s dedication and love of basketball has led him to a successful coaching career. His greatest achievements have come as a successful Bunker Hill High School boys’ basketball coach for over 40 years. He is a member of the Illinois Coaches Basketball Hall of Fame and one of the top ten coaches in Illinois with over 740 wins.
As a respected literature professor, Elizabeth was affectionately known as “Mother Cornell” because of her distinguished tenure. She taught at Cornell College for 35 years and was honored with the title of Professor of English Emerita in 1983. She wrote a variety of published and unpublished pieces of literature and was considered a scholar of Robert Frost. …
An internationally renowned singer and actor, Howard will always be remembered as the “good-looking” baritone in such musicals as “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Showboat, ” “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Calamity Jane.” He performed in over 30 movies in both leading and supporting roles. Howard also starred for 10 years in the television series “Dallas” and in the Tony Award Broadway hit, “Sunrise at Campobello.” As a recording artist, he also produced several gold record albums. …
Rosemarry Keupper Valle, Ph.D.
Dr. Valle was a respected educator in the fields of bacteriological research, public health, and epidemiology. A publisher of numerous articles in professional journals, she was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society of Microbiology. In 1972 Dr. Valle was elected to the Societe Internationale d’Historie de la Medicine. …
Henry “Hank” J. Marcacci
A dedicated educator and community leader, Hand taught business in Mt. Clare, Benld, and Gillespie schools. Hank established an annual spaghetti dinner in the mid-1950s, which still serves as a major fundraiser for Benld Elementary School. As Regional Superintendent for two terms, he initiated successful projects such as the Macoupin County Film-Co-op and the creation of a special education district. …
Dominic Meldi M.D.
Dr. Meldi, a widely respected physician, has established a distinguished career in internal medicine. Considered an expert in the field of integrated health systems, Dr. Meldi is credited with developing such innovations as a patient registry. As St. John’s Health System Board Chairman and medical chief of staff, Meldi was instrumental in the organization being recognized as the top integrated health system in the United States in 2007. …
J. Richard “Dick” Meno
A gifted attorney and talented musician, Dick served the Gillespie and Benld communities in professional and civic roles. He served as the City Attorney for the City of Benld for over thirty years after graduating from the St. Louis University School of Law in 1973. In addition, Dick was widely respected for representing impoverished individuals as a public defender. …
Ralph H. Monaghan
A true story of perseverance, Mr. Monaghan lived on his own from the age of fifteen until graduating from Gillespie High School in 1942. Upon completion of high school, Ralph moved to Chicago to live with his sister, enrolling in Stratton Business College, and later enlisting in the United States Navy during World War II. Mr.…
John B. Orler
As a successful teacher, principal, and superintendent in Community Unit School District #7, John made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of students. As a teacher, he also was one of the founding members of the local teachers union. A tireless community volunteer, John served his community in a variety of roles including as a mayor, school board member, and founding member of the Benld Gillespie Development Association. …
A respected athlete, coach, and basketball official, Keith had a positive impact on high school and college athletics. He participated in football and track and field at the University of Missouri, eventually enjoying brief career in professional football. As a coach for over thirty-five years, Keith assisted many student-athletes in reaching their full potential as productive citizens. …
William “Bill” L. Parmentier
A respected educator and coach, Bill spent thirty-five years in education and over fifty years in coaching. Serving the needs of students in many area schools, Coach Parmentier found success in every sport he coached. He served as head football, basketball, and track coach at Gillespie High School while teaching physical education, American History, and driver education. …
A successful chemist and community volunteer, Jim has excelled as a chemist, manager and Division Director for Olin Corporation. He holds 6 U.S. patents and many international patents for ammunition-related systems. Jim is very active in church, community, and school activities. He was involved in the Cub Scouts and is presently Director of “The Partnership for Educational Excellence.” In 1990, he received the 1st Ziegler Alumni Service Award from Blackburn College.
Mr. Pomatto’s life is the essence of the commitment to the community. This commitment was evident in high school as he assisted in a variety of charitable events, captained the baseball team, and was the caretaker of facilities following athletic events as well as an enthusiastic participant in all pep assemblies. Dwayne has volunteered time and effort to the Lions Club, the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce, and the Black Diamond Days Festival.
Sherry Ricchiardi Folwell
A distinguished educator, author, Fulbright scholar and lecturer, and award-winning journalist, her international travels have taken her on assignments throughout the world. Sherry has covered stories in Asia, Africa, and the Balkans. As an international media consultant, she oversees the Freedom Forum Library in Croatia, an organization striving to ensure a free press.
Joseph James Ricci
A decorated war hero, Mr. Ricci proudly served his country during World War II. During his time serving with the 82nd Airborne 505, Joseph earned two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars for his bravery and participation at the invasions of Sicily and Normandy. Upon leaving the military, he returned to Bethalto, Illinois, and served as a city councilman, trustee at Bethalto National Band and the Village of Bethalto. …
Dr. Juanita Rule
As an accomplished and dedicated educator, Juanita positively influenced the lives of the many students she touched. Her career was on of distinguished service as a teacher, principal, guidance counselor, special education coordinator and professor. Juanita served her community also as president of the Springfield Council PTA, member of the Girard Chamber of Commerce, Heritage Manor Nursing Care Board, and as the Baptist Association Recreational Director, which encompassed the Springfield and Decatur areas. …
George H. Salovich
A respected educator, George served with distinction in the areas of business education and cooperative office programming. His long tenure as a teacher in the business department of Edwardsville High School included serving as department chairman and initiation the Cooperative Office Education Program, placing students in jobs in local businesses. In addition, George initiated a scholarship program through the Illinois Office of Education Association. …
Ed “Eddy” Saracco
As a lifelong resident of Benld, Illinois, Mr. Saracco has contributed to Community Unit School District #7 and the community in a variety of roles. A tireless advocate for students, Ed was a teacher, coach, and administrator in CUSD #7 where he also served on the Wall of Honor and All-Weather Track Committees. His efforts to improve his community include twenty-five years of service to the Benld Fire Department and the Benld Fire and Rescue Association.
As a successful businessman and philanthropist, and as president of the William E. Schmidt Charitable Foundation, John has contributed to many educational and community projects. He has been a major donor to the Gillespie School District, the Partnership for Educational Excellence, and other civic organizations and charities.
A tireless community volunteer and educator, Rick has devoted his career to teaching agribusiness. As a “master gardener, ” he has been involved in the city’s beautification plans and has also won local achievements awards. As a sponsor of Gillespie’s successful “Future Farmers of America,” Rick has produced both district and state champions and has encouraged many to pursue careers in agriculture. …
Kent Tarro, M.S., R.D.
Mr. Taro, a 1971 graduate of Gillespie High School, has shown outstanding leadership in his home community as well as the rest of Macoupin County. Mr. Tarro earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Illinois State University, an M.S. in Clinical Nutrition from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and a Public Health Leadership Institute Fellowship from Unversity of Illinois at Chicago. …
Americus “Mac” Tiburzi
A successful New York advertising executive, John was the first major contributor to a Gillespie H.S. foundation. Single-handedly, his efforts and contributions transformed a small school library into one of the distinction-the Marian Toigo Memorial Library. Displaying his love for the children and education, he taught briefly in South America upon his retirement.
Matthew Donald Turcol
A devoted life-long volunteer for education, civic organizations, and public service, Matt dedicated his life to helping others and making his community a better place to live. Serving his community as an alderman and eventually mayor, Matt was instrumental in improving the lives of all within his community. As a national officer selected to the Croatian Fraternal Union of America, Matt served as a fiscal advisor in Pittsburgh for the lodge.…
A dedicated community leader and educator, Mike spent over 40 years in the field of education as a Gillespie teacher/principal and eventually Macoupin County Superintendent of Schools. Miike’s community spirit helped bring a nursing home and “specialized handicapped services” to the area. A lifelong area volunteer, he has served as office on several county organizations. Mike co-invented a chemical product to absorb and deodorize spills and authored a book about life in fictional “small mining town.”
As a successful entrepreneur and community volunteer, Mike’s career has centered around the sport of “track and field.” He was an accomplished NCAA runner at both Valdosta State and Eastern Illinois Universities. In 1993, Mike built “First to the Finish” into a prosperous multi-million dollar “track and field” mail-order business. He has shared his prosperity as a volunteer and sponsor in his community. …
Neil Joseph Vidmar
An accomplished educator and author in the field of law, Neil has served with distinction in a career encompassing the interface of social science and the law, criminal law, legal malpractice, and jury systems. Named a Russell M. Robinson Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Duke University in 1989, he is a prolific author of books and articles pertaining to a variety of social and legal issues. …
James Vlasich, Ph.D
As a respected historian and author, James is a distinguished Professor of History at Southern Utah University. He is considered one of the country’s leading baseball historians and has appeared as a guest speaker at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and on NBC’s “Today” show. A notable lecturer on American Indian Culture, James has received many awards, including “1998 Educator of the Year.”
John G. Wargo Ed.D
A respected educator and community leader, John’s career was one of distinguished service. A teacher, principal, superintendent and professor, he left a lifelong positive impact on education in Illinois. As Executive Director of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, he was instrumental in the passage of education bills into law. In addition, John served on a variety of Illinois State Board of Education and American Association of School Administrators committees.…
Jasper “Jack” Wenzel
As a devoted community leader and lawyer, Jack practiced law for over 40 years. He was a decorated World War II naval pilot and was Illinois Director of Aeronautics from 1961-1972. During his tenure, Jack helped bring improvements to Springfields Capital Airport. Always willing to assist the hopeless, Jack was a national labor arbitrator and help negotiate the cleanup of hazardous mine waste in the area. …
Judith Wilcox Messerle
As an accomplished medical librarian, Judith has risen to the top of her career. She was director of the St.Louis University Medical Library and in 1889 became director of the Countway Library of Medicine, one of the premier medical libraries in the world serving the Havard and Boston Medical Schools. She has been a national consultant and has held numerous national offices in medical librarianship. …
Edward W. Young
A respected leader in the insurance field, Edward’s career with Allstate Insurance Company spanned 33 years. Beginning in the actuarial planning and marketing areas, he eventually held the positions of Regional, Territorial, Group, and Senior Vice-President. A member of the American Academy of Actuaries, he received a Fellowship in the Casualty Actuarial Society in 1983. Edward’s career culminated with an appointment to the Allstate Board of Directors in 1994 and accession to the Presidency of Allstate International in 1995.
Dr Dominic Zerbolio
A physician and true family doctor, “Doc” served the people of Benld and the surrounding area for over 50 years. He served on the Board of Directors of area hospitals and helped found Staunton Hospital. His dedication to his medicine, his patients, and his community left many lasting memories to those he served.