Hall of Fame 2009

Hall of Fame 2009 - Inaugural Induction Class

Dr. David Apple (Class of 1959) – Dr. Apple is a world-renowned ophthalmologist and researcher, especially well-known for his work on intra-ocular lens explants. He is a member of the Ophthalmology Hall of Fame, and was honored by the University of Utah, where he is a professor at the University of Utah’s ophthalmology school, with its naming of the David J. Apple Laboratory for Ocular Bio-Devices in his honor.

Dr. Apple was the only American ever selected to give the European Guest Lecture at Oxford University. He is the author of hundreds of scientific publications, and has authored 15 textbooks in the field of ophthalmology. David was also a superb athlete, while at EAWR, best remembered for his contributions on the basketball court, as well as the Editor of the Sandburr and President of the Jr. Engineers.

Merle Bassett (Class of 1946) Mr. Bassett is a highly respected local attorney, practicing law for over 50 years in Wood River and in Madison County. He once prosecuted the infamous James Earl Ray as an Asst. State’s Attorney, and was appointed Special Asst. Attorney General to secure necessary legal work for the building of the new Clark Bridge in Alton. He has chaired various community and charitable boards and organizations such as: March of Dimes, Junior Achievement, Scottish Rite, Wood River Masonic Lodge, and the Alton Jaycees.

He has also served as the City Attorney for Wood River, Hartford, Roxana, Foster Township, Brighton, and the Civic Memorial (St. Louis Regional) Airport Board. While at EAWR, Merle was an excellent athlete; starring as the 1st baseman on the 1946 Oiler Baseball team that finished 2nd in the IHSA State Tournament. Mr. Bassett was also a half back for the Oiler football squad.

Dr. Roger Counsil (Class of 1952). Dr. Counsil was the face of Indiana State University Men’s Gymnastics, where he served as Head Coach for 17 years. While at Indiana State, his team won the NCAA National Championship in 1977 and he produced 46 All-Americans (including eventual World Champion, Kurt Thomas). Roger was also the former head of USA Gymnastics.

He was also a standout gymnast, pole vaulter, and swimmer at SIU-Carbondale, earning 11 varsity letters for SIU. Roger has also been inducted into the Indiana State and SIU Athletic Halls of Fame. As a student-athlete at EAWR, Roger was a standout track athlete, excelling in the pole vault, going to state twice and gave diving exhibitions around the Riverbend, while in high school.

Leroy Emerick (Class of 1944). For 38 years, Leroy Emerick served as the Park and Recreation Director in Wood River. He operated the “Jiveland” teen center in the Wood River Roundhouse and planned and developed the current Wood River Aquatic Center. Every teenager at EAWR, during his career with the Park and Recreation Department, knew that Leroy personified not only “Jiveland,” but also as the most well-know booster of Oiler athletics. Leroy organized the first “After-Prom” event in the area.

He also began the Wood River Khoury League baseball program as President of the Wood River Jaycees and organized the first Oiler Booster Club. He served as the elected Mayor and a City Council Member of Wood River. He is a member of the Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame. While at EAWR, Leroy was an outstanding football player and 880 yard runner on the track squad. Finally, Mr. Emerick was the most famous purveyor of the “Hambone” and will perform it on moment’s notice.

Bob Howe (Class of 1947). Mr. Howe was the founder of Madison County Cablevision, which was the first cable TV system to operate in the entire St. Louis metropolitan area. He was truly a pioneer in cable television in the Midwest. Bob also founded or operated several local radio stations including WRTH (590) and WRYT Radio. Earlier in his career, he was a live TV performer, as a local TV personality in Madison, Wisconsin, most notably as the star of “Uncle Bob’s Kiddie Show.”

Mr. Howe also served for many years as play-by-play announcer for high school and college football and basketball games in Alabama and Bloomington, Indiana. Bob has also served as a former director of the Radio and TV Department at Arkansas State University. While at EAWR, Bob was an excellent basketball player, and played hoops for the legendary Chick Summers.

Gary Lane (Class of 1961). Gary has been generally considered to be one of the best athletes to ever attend EAWR. He excelled in all sports, including not only football, but was also all-conference and all-state in basketball and track. Mr. Lane had an 18-year career as an NFL official who was the Referee (the head official) at two Super Bowls. He was the star quarterback at the University of Missouri under Coach Dan Devine, where he led Mizzou to the 1966 Sugar Bowl victory over the University of Florida.

He also won the Most Valuable Player Award at the 1966 Chicago Tribune College All Star Game held at Soldier Field. He also played three years as a quarterback in the NFL and one year in the Canadian Football League. After his retirement from business and officiating in 2000, Gary returned to his alma mater and served as an Assistant Football and Basketball Coach at EAWR, for no compensation, and was a superb role model for EAWR students and athletes, alike.

Dr. Dana Mead (Class of 1953). Dr. Mead currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Corporation, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and resides in Boston. He was the former Chief Executive Officer of TENNECO Corporation for many years. Dana is a West Point graduate and holds a doctorate from MIT. Dr. Mead serves on numerous corporate and charitable boards of directors, including the The Royal Shakespeare Company of London; Pfizer, Inc.; and Chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers. He was a former U.S. Army line officer and a White House Fellow and advisor, and one of leaders of American corporate merger philosophy in the 1990’s.

At EAWR , he was Salutatorian, Class President, outstanding football, baseball, and basketball player, and is tied for an IHSA state record with the longest rushing touchdown from scrimmage of 99 ½ yards. He earned eight varsity letters in three different sports. He was named Alton-area Offensive Player of the Year in Football, as well as All-State in both basketball and football. At Illinois Boys State, he was named “School Citizen of the Year. Dana earned his tuition to attend his senior year at EAWR by working as a custodian at the high school.

Howard Oetting (Class of 1925). Mr. Oetting was a legendary Chemistry and Physics teacher at EAWR for over 30 years, returning to his alma mater to teach. Countless numbers of EAWR alumni mention Mr. Oetting as having had a tremendous influence in not only their high school studies, but in their later careers and college education.

Mr. Oetting was universally considered to be one of the most challenging teachers in the history of EAWR and demanded nothing but excellence from the thousands of students who took his classes. Mr. Oetting was a “life member” of the Wood River American Legion Post, and was an U.S. Air Force veteran serving in World War II and the Korean Conflict. The 1925 Echo reported that Howard – as a basketball player at EAWR – was a “guard par excellence” and would “stick to his man so close that even the most elusive could not get by him for close shots.”

Bobby Schumacher (Class of 1946). Mr. Schumacher was a renowned researcher and electrical engineer in the field of underwater acoustics and sonar. Indeed, his research made key contributions to the advancement of long-distance, underwater acoustics. Mr. Schumacher spent most of his career at the U.S. Naval Underwater Systems Center in New London, Connecticut and was a NATO exchange scientist in his field of expertise. Mr. Schumacher was a published author and member of the Acoustical Society of America, a supporter of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus and Orchestra; and, after retirement, taught at Thames Valley Regional Technical School.

While at EAWR, Bobby was a starting pitcher on the 1946 Oiler Baseball team that finished 2nd in the IHSA State Tournament; played starting fullback on the football team; and earned a baseball scholarship to Mizzou and studied engineering.

Dewayne Staats (Class of 1970). Mr. Staats is the award-winning and highly touted lead play-by-play announcer for the Tampa Bay Rays on their television network, and has served as the team’s lead announcer since its inception in 1998. Prior to that, Dewayne served in the same capacity over many years with ESPN (1995-1997), the NY Yankees (1990-1994), the Chicago Cubs (1985-1989), and the Houston Astros (1977-1984), marking over 30 seasons as a Major League Baseball on-air announcer. Dewayne was recently nominated for the Ford C. Frick Award, which is the broadcaster’s path to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and was honored by SIU-Edwardsville, by having the Dewayne Staats Award for Broadcast Journalism named for him.

While at EAWR, Mr. Staats served as Editor of the Sandburr; participated in Speech and Debate and the Quill and Scroll; as well as having served as Senior Class President.