Paula Combest Unruh

Class of 1947
Paula Combest Unruh graduated from Will-on-the-Hill and attended The University of Tulsa and The University of Arkansas. She soon discovered an active interest in politics, which took her all the way from the Oklahoma Young Republicans to the national political arena in Washington, D.C. Her position as Oklahoma Young Republican National Committeewoman led her to Page Belcher, First District congressman, who offered her a job in his Washington, D.C. office. She ultimately became his campaign manager for many years.

Paula’s list of community service and honors include American Red Cross Board, Parent/Child Center, Legal Aid Chairman for Tulsa County Bar Association, Jr. Association of Tulsa Boys’ Home, Tulsa Town Hall Board, president of the Tulsa Philharmonic Jr. Association, president of the Women’s Association and Cinderella Ball chairman. In 1973 Paula was honored by Women in Communications as one of their Women of the Year, and in 1974 the mayor asked her to co-chair the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Bond Issue Campaign, which passed after being defeated three previous times.

In 1975, President Ford appointed Paula to a nine-year term on the National USO Board. In 1981, President Reagan appointed her to serve as the director of consumer affairs for the Department of Energy. President Reagan again appointed her as principal deputy director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, the first woman to serve in that capacity.

She has led international trade missions to Europe and Japan, and was named executive vice- president of the Tulsa Global Trade Foundation.

Preston C. Caruthers
Class of 1945
Preston Caruthers came to Tulsa at age three, after his father’s death. Summers were spent working on his uncle’s farm to help support his family. In addition, he held part-time jobs as a newspaper carrier, grocery delivery boy, and in a butcher shop. Trips to the library fostered a lifelong desire for education. After Preston finished his junior year at Will Rogers, where he was class vice-president, he, like scores of his classmates, answered the call to arms for World War II. Preston’s hard work as a boy prepared him well for the rigors of military life. He continued his studies in English, math and history through military correspondence. Navy Medical Corps School taught him anatomy, physiology and nursing. Preston settled in Arlington, Virginia, where he attended college at George Washington University on the GI Bill.

At the age of only 23, Preston started his own construction business, and in the boom of post WWII, was hugely successful because of his talent, energy and business acumen. His crowning achievement was the creation of Belmont Bay in the 1990s—a thriving, beautiful waterfront community only 30 minutes south of Washington, D.C.

Preston is affectionately called “Mr. Arlington” because of his outstanding community involvement, including serving on the Arlington County School Board, Virginia State Board of Education, Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges and the Advisors of George Mason University. Preston and his wife have provided generous financial support to Marymount College, the Virginia Hospital Center Foundation and the National Museum of the United States Army.

Lynette Bennett (Danskin)
Class of 1955
Lynette Bennett (Danskin) was a star at Will Rogers and went on to become a star internationally.
During her Tulsa days, besides singing, dancing and playing the piano in the Round-Up and other events at Rogers, she appeared in the Annual Sunrise Easter Pageant. Lynette went on to become an award-winning Broadway, film and television actor/singer/dancer.
She has lived and performed in New York City, London and Los Angeles, and starred in productions at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and London’s West End.
Her films have been shown at the New York and Sundance Film Festivals.
Lynette’s Broadway performances include Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand, and The Yearling, starring David Hartman. In London, she played reporter Mary Sunshine in the West End production of Chicago. Other London performances included leads in The Merry Widow, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The Magic Flute.
Off-Broadway, she starred in The Lion in Winter and Gigi. Television appearances include The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, One Life to Live, As the World Turns, America’s Most Wanted and Married With Children. Lynette’s cabaret act was orchestrated by her former pianist Barry Manilow.
Lynette is probably best known to television audiences for her marvelous one-woman show on PBS: Will Rogers’ Romance with Betty and America, performed and written by Lynette. Commissioned by Gilcrease Museum, Lynette also wrote and performed in Home Lands: The Surprising Women of the West. She is listed in Who’s Who in Entertainment and Who’s Who of American

Stephen D. Chesebro’
Class of 1959
Stephen Chesebro’ went from winning the title of “Ugly Man” and barely making the football team to proving himself an outstanding student, both at Will Rogers and the Colorado School of Mines in petroleum engineering, then on to the position of top executive of one of the largest oil companies in America. At CSM, he was quarterback of the football team, all-conference baseball, and a member of the golf team. In 1991 Steve was awarded the school’s Distinguished Achievement Medal; an Honorary Ph.D. followed in 1998. In 2009 he was appointed to the Colorado School of Mines Foundation Board of Governors, and in 2011 was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

During Steve’s leadership with Tenneco Oil Company, their technical team developed a revolutionary gas well completion technology that is now the industry standard. In 1994, he helped to lead the formation of the Gas Industry Standards Board that vastly improved the efficiency and accuracy of the natural gas delivery system throughout North America. These same standards are now being applied to the electrical industry. Steve retired in 1997 as chairman of the board and CEO of Tenneco Energy only to take a two-year position as president and chief operating officer of Pennzoil. Currently, he serves as chairman of the board of Harvest Natural Resources, Inc., an international exploration and production company.

Steve’s impressive business career is almost eclipsed by his outstanding community service—a hands-on commitment to youth advocacy programs. He was named Houston’s Child Advocate of the Year in 1996. Steve married Miss Will Rogers XXIII, Dollie Austin, in 1965. They live in Houston and have two children and seven grandchildren.

Class of 1944 - Inducted 2009

Bobby Jack Stuart, a Class of 1944 graduate who  excelled in multiple sports including football and basketball
Robert Stuart was known as “Jackrabbit” while at Will Rogers because of his 1943 and 1944 state championships in the 100 and 220-yard dash. His 100-yard time was an impressive 9.7 seconds. Robert was an outstanding athlete—track, basketball and football—but it was football that made him a Roper legend. Archrival Central High had held the Ropers scoreless the first three years they played each other (’40, ’41, ’42), but Jackrabbit changed all that when he scored all four touchdowns in the Ropers’ defeat of Central in 1943. He starred at Tulsa University, playing in the Orange Bowl game of 1945, before being drafted into the Army, which led to a West Point appointment. Army was a football powerhouse in the late 1940s, finishing in the top six teams in the nation for five years. Graduating from West Point in 1949, Robert was assigned to the Air Force, where he helped install their first computer system. He left the military in 1955 and worked for Douglas Aircraft in Washington, D.C. and Tulsa. In 1958 Robert joined J. D. Young Co. as a microfilm salesman and is now the chairman of the board. He has been instrumental in the evolution of copiers and printers and streamlined operations for clients such as American Airlines and Phillips Petroleum. Robert is a member of Tulsa Executives Association, was a board member of Holland Hall School and taught Sunday School at Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder.

Donald Gene Chandler - 1952
Birth: Sep. 5, 1934, Council Bluffs, Iowa, Death: Aug. 11, 2011 Tulsa Oklahoma, USA
Professional Football Player. For twelve seasons (1956 to 1967), he played at the punter and kicker positions in the National Football League with the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers. Born Donald Gene Chandler, he was raised in Oklahoma where he attended Will Rogers High School (Tulsa) and played collegiate football at the University of Florida. Selected by New York during the 5th round of the 1956 NFL Draft, Chandler experienced a world championship with the Giants while a rookie. As a Packer, he contributed to two world championship titles from the 
Lombardi dynasty era (which happened to be the first two Super Bowl contests in 1967 and 1968) and during Super Bowl II, he kicked a record 4 field goals, as Green Bay defeated the Oakland Raiders 33 to 14 played on January 14th, 1968. Chandler set a Packers' team record, when he kicked a 90-yard punt against the 49ers in 1965 and holds the team record of eight extra points in a regular season game, when he accomplished this against Atlanta in 1966. In 154 regular season games, he recorded 660 punts for 28,678 yards and totaled 530 points as a kicker. He was a participant in nine world championship contests. He achieved Pro-Bowl status in 1967. Chandler was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1975 and was named to the NFL 1960s All-Decade team. (bio by: C.S.)


Class of 1945 - Inducted 2012
Dr. Warren G. Guntheroth, MD passed away September 17 after suffering a heart attack at his office at University Hospital. He reached the Emergency Room within minutes, fully conscious and giving directions. Dr. Guntheroth met death on good terms; his wife Sally nearby, with little pain and no fear, and without lingering physical or mental disability.

Warren was born in 1927 to working-class parents and grew up in Depression-era Oklahoma. He attended Harvard College and Medical School on an academic scholarship. He met his first wife Ellie when he was a medical resident and she was a nursing student. They had three children together; Kurt, Karl, and Sten, and six grandchildren. Their marriage lasted 52 years, only ending on Ellie's death. Warren's second wife Sally was Ellie's nursing school roommate and maid of honor at his first wedding. Warren was an avid skier, and climbed 500 named mountain peaks. Warren loved his dogs, and loved to talk about them, particularly Sasha, about whom he wrote a book.

Dr. Guntheroth joined the faculty of the University of Washington in 1957, founded the department of Pediatric Cardiology, and became a full professor in 1969. He published 184 peer-reviewed papers, four medical books and 54 chapters, including the first medical textbook on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. He maintained a clinical practice for 55 years, following thousands of patients from infancy to middle-age. Dr. Guntheroth was the first American to publish a paper calling for the "back to sleep" position for infants, preventing thousands of deaths from SIDS each year. Professor of pediatrics (cardiology), University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle; author, "How to Read Pediatric ECGs," "Crib Death: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome." Dr. Guntheroth died September 17, 2012.Warren Guntheroth graduated from Will Rogers and received a full scholarship to Harvard University. He earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1952 and began his career in  pediatric medicine as a Research Fellow at Harvard from 1953-55. Warren joined the medical staff  of the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle in 1957, where he founded the department  of Pediatric Cardiology and remained for fifty-five years. At the time of his death in 2012, he was the  most senior member of the medical school staff. Dr. Guntheroth’s contributions to pediatric medicine were significant. He was the first American physician to publish a paper calling for the Back to Sleep position for infants, preventing thousands of deaths each year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). He published hundreds of articles and three books, one of which was translated into five languages. Warren loved mountain climbing and his dogs, and he loved talking about both, so he wrote a book, Climbing with Sasha, his favorite Husky. His autobiography, My Life, Loves and Battles,  honored the profound influence of women in his life and saluted the importance of hard work and honesty. Warren was a fighter for social justice and equality all his life and a generous contributor  to social justice-oriented charities and political causes. As a medical resident in the 50s, he met two nurses at Boston Children’s Hospital, best friends and roommates, Ellie and Sally. In 1954, he and Ellie were married. They had three sons and a happy marriage until Ellie’s death in 2007. Sally had been around the Guntheroth family for 53 years. She and Warren fell in love after Ellie’s death and were married in 2009. Warren and Ellie both valued education and knowledge. All three children went to college. Two became engineers, and the third became an entrepeneur

Ernest Moody – 1944
Ernest Moody is a name known to every Will Rogers senior who proudly wears the Rogers
class ring. We all remember lining up early in the morning under the hot August sun to
receive our rings. Since 1944, customers have come to recognize the Moody name as synonymous with quality and integrity. It all began with a broken clock that teenaged Ernest and his mother could not afford to repair; the cost was $1.00. A neighborhood watchmaker sold young Ernest the 25 cent part he needed and showed him how to repair it himself. Ernest began to visit the watchmaker’s shop and help with repairs. When the owner retired, Ernest took his life savings of $200, purchased the shop, and Moody’s Jewelry was born. Ernest’s ethic of quality service enabled him and his beloved wife, Mildred, to build Moody’s Jewelry. His love for his alma mater, Will Rogers High School, made him Tulsa’s first high school ring headquarters. Moody’s is still a family-owned company, operated by his five children, with the third generation now entering the business. Moody’s is the largest family-owned jeweler in Oklahoma and is honored to serve our community by giving a portion of every sale to its Route 66 Giving Campaign, which supports over 66 charities right in our own backyard. Ernest
spoke often of “gifts of love” and demonstrated it as he gave generously to benefit others.
His family is honored to continue this loving legacy in the Tulsa community

Fred Sanders
Class of 1945
Aircraft design engineer; began 41 year career with McDonnell in 
1957, retiring as vice president and general manager, St. Louis Division, McDonnell-Douglas 
Astronautics Co.; worked on Mercury and Gemini spacecrafts; program director for Skylab 
production in California. Sanders, Fred J. baptized into the hope of Christ's resurrection, Monday, September 6, 2010. Beloved husband of Marceline F. Sanders (nee Shaw); dear father of Fred W. (Debbie) Sanders of Forest Lake, MN; grandfather of Niccole Sanders and Brendon Sanders; brother of Ann (Richard) Gibbs of Tulsa, OK and Mary (Jack) Graeber of Broomfield, CO; dear brother-in-law, uncle, cousin and friend. Fred retired as the Vice President and General Manager of The McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co. Services: Memorial Mass at Ascension Catholic Church, Chesterfield, Friday, Sept. 10, 10 a.m. Interment Memorial Park Cemetery, Monday, Sept. 13, 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Alzheimer's Association

Gordona Moore Duca
Class of 1958
Gordona Duca is president of Gordona Duca, Inc., REALTORS. She received her real estate license in 1971 and was recognized locally and nationally as one of the outstanding salespeople in residential real estate. With service as her #1 priority, she opened her own real estate firm in October of 1975 with three sales agents and no staff. Today her company is one of the leading real estate companies in Tulsa and Oklahoma. She currently employs a staff of 18 and has more than 75 agents associated with her firm. She is active at all levels in the real estate industry and is an active participant in the Tulsa community donating time to the Metropolitan Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority, Tulsa Junior League, University of Tulsa, Tulsa Philharmonic and her company adopted Grissom Elementary School

Gordona Moore Duca received her real estate license in 1971, and was recognized, both locally and nationally, as one of the outstanding realtors in residential real estate. She opened her own real estate firm in 1975, and was named realtor emeritus in 2011 by the National Association of Realtors.

During her extraordinarily successful career, Gordona received many recognitions and honors. She was appointed by Governor David Walters to the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission.

She was reappointed to a second term by Governor Frank Keating, and served as chair of the commission. Gordona served on the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank board in addition to serving on the boards of the Metro Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority, Tulsa Regional Hospital, Hillcrest Hospital, Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, Metro Christian Academy, Indian Nations Council of Boy Scouts, Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, Cystic Fibrosis, Tulsa Area United Way, Leadership Tulsa, Arts and Humanities Council and the Junior League of Tulsa.

Tulsans voted Gordona the Best Business Owner in Tulsa People Magazine in 1988. In 1997 Gordona was named the Oklahoma Business Woman of the Year by The Journal Record, and in 1993 she was named Realtor of the Year by the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors. She was presented with the PHH Cup in 1992, which is the highest award given by the largest relocation company in the real estate industry. Gordona is married to Larry Heiliger and has one daughter, Dawn Duca.

William L. Lewis
Class of 1949
William “Bill” Lewis loved baseball and singing, but singing won out and he turned down a college baseball scholarship. Bill became one of the foremost operatic tenors of the twentieth century, performing in every major opera house in the world. His career at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House lasted 35 years, where he sang about 50 performances a year of 140 roles in ten languages.

Bill studied voice in Tulsa with Lorna Moore, and while at Will Rogers was an active participant in choral groups and the Round-Up. After graduation, he pursued his vocal studies at the University of Colorado and Texas Christian University. In 1955 he was the national winner in the New York Metropolitan Opera Auditions. He used his prize money to go to New York and continue his studies. His Met career began in 1957 and the rest is operatic history.

Critics have described Bill’s performances as magnificent, electrifying, exhilarating, brilliant, superb, sincere, intelligent, admirable and a major triumph—with a passion for diction.

Upon his retirement from singing, Bill accepted a one-year contract as an artist-in-residence at the University of Texas, in Austin. His work was so outstanding that he is still there 17 years later. In addition to his work at the University of Texas, Bill is the director of the highly regarded, privately funded Franco American Vocal Academy in France, which provides high-level instruction and performing experience for some 60 college-age singers and musicians.

Frank Morsani
Class of 1949
A graduate of Will Rogers and Oklahoma State University, Frank Morsani served four years in the Navy during the Korean War. His career was predominately in the automotive industry, ranging from serving as a Ford Motor Company representative to owning a large network of automobile dealerships in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Nevada. Like his wife Carol, Frank is active in community leadership and philanthropy.

Chief Justice Berger appointed Frank to the Prison Industries Council and he served on many boards in Washington, D.C., including the National Automobile Dealership Association, Board of Import Automobile Dealerships, and the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where he was chairman in 1985-1986.

He chaired the board of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center for nine years. President Carter appointed Frank to the White House Conference on Small Business. President Reagan appointed him to the Small Business Administration Advisory Council.

Both Frank and Carol have endowed chairs at Oklahoma State University, the University of South Florida, University of Tampa and Moffitt Cancer Research Hospital. They endowed the Medical School named in their honor, and the Clinic for Advanced Health Care. They both served on the Community Foundation Board.

Their philanthropy has supported the visual arts, performing arts, education, medical research, and humanitarian charities.

Carol Walsh Morsani
Class of 1949
Carol Walsh Morsani and Frank Morsani met at Will Rogers, graduated from Oklahoma State University, and have been married for 62 years.

Carol has been extremely active in many nonprofit organizations and served on countless boards. Currently Carol serves on the Foundation Board of the Moffitt Cancer Center. She is a major benefactor and has served on the board of the Tampa Museum of Art. Carol was instrumental in the creation of the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy at the University of South Florida as well as the Merit Society associated with Both Carol and Frank have many prestigious awards, including doctor of humane letters from the University of South Florida, and honorary doctor of letters from Oklahoma State University, which has awarded only 18 honorary doctorates in its 123-year existence. Carol received the Henry Bennett Award for Distinguished Service from Oklahoma State University, as well as the Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction. She shares with Frank the Judeo Christian Humanities Award and the Philanthropists of the Year award from the City of Tampa.

In 2002, the Tampa Chamber of Commerce named Carol the Cultural Contributor of the Year.

Russell Myers
Class of 1956
Russell Myers, was known by his friends as “Roo” while at Will Rogers. He was born in Pittsburg, Kansas and moved to Tulsa, the Oil Capital of The World, in 1946, where his father taught at The University of Tulsa.

In Russell’s own words: “I was interested in cartooning as far back as I can remember and always wanted to draw a comic strip. Most of my early training came from drawing in my notebook when I should have been paying attention in class. After graduating from Tulsa University in 1960, I absconded to Kansas City, Missouri, to work for Hallmark, writing and drawing (hopefully) funny greeting cards.I submitted my first strip to the syndicates at age 16, while still at Will Rogers. Thus began a steady succession of failures that finally culminated in the sale of Broom-Hilda in 1970, a welcome break from my 15-year-long pattern of rejections. In 1964, I married Marina and we’re still going strong. We have two kids, Stewart and Rosie, neither of whom have ever been arrested for anything and seem to like us so we consider ourselves successful parents. We currently live in southern Oregon where I stare out at the Rogue River when not dozing or drawing Broom-Hilda.”


James Russell, PhD
Class of 1962
After graduating from Rogers in 1962, James Russell became active in the 1960s civil rights and antiwar movements. He participated in the 1964 Tulsa sit-ins and initiated a successful campaign that included basketball star Marques Haynes to integrate the Sand Springs public schools. In 1966 he became the first editor of New Left Notes, the national newspaper of Students for a Democratic

He received a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin in 1975. In a career that has combined critical scholarship with social activism, he has taught at universities in the United States and as a Fulbright professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico and Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. In 2005 he was named University Professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, the highest honor in the Connecticut State University system.

He is the author of eight books, including Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis; Double Standard: Social Policy in Europe and the United States; Escape from Texas: A Novel of Slavery and the Texas War of Independence; and After the Fifth Sun: Class and Race in North About Double Standard, Frances Fox Piven, president of the American Sociological Association wrote, This is a wonderful book—a sweeping portrait that helps us to understand the differences between the European and American welfare states and why these differences are so important.”

About Escape from Texas, Johns Hopkins historian Ben Vinson III wrote, “No novel has so astutely captured the mindset of black slaves and their complicated relationships with Mexico during the years leading up to the Mexican-American War.

Gordon Morgan
Class of 1953
Gordon Morgan was an All-State baseball player for Will Rogers in 1953 and upon graduation he was drafted into professional baseball. He played minor league ball for the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, where he earned the nickname Cannonball for his powerful arm. A knee injury, however, ended his pro baseball career. Then Gordon left baseball for the U.S. Army.

He later graduated from The University of Tulsa, where he was the varsity baseball coach from 1959 to 1962.

Gordon returned to Rogers where he taught and coached from 1962 to 1988, changing the lives of countless young people. He coached swimming, cross-country and baseball (502 wins – 198 losses), winning four state championships. His teams won ten Conference Championships and 13 regional titles. He coached 17 Oklahoma All-State players, three of whom were High School All-American, then went on to play professional baseball, with two going to the major leagues with the New York Mets. After retirement from Will Rogers, Gordon coached nine years at Bishop Kelley High School, where he won three state championships, nine regional and nine conference titles in girls’ softball. He co-founded the Sunbelt Classic Series (now known as the Heartland Baseball Classic), the elite high school baseball series in America—a baseball scout’s dream for the recruitment of excellent players.

Gordon was named Coach of the Year ten times by City, Regional and State Associations, and was inducted into The Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Hall of Fame Baseball Coaches, Oklahoma Softball Coaches Hall of Fame and Bishop Kelley Athletic Hall of Fame.

Coach Morgan died in 2005.

Paul Davis
Class of 1955
Centrahoma, Caddo, Antlers, Harthorne, Jenks. Paul Davis lived in numerous Oklahoma towns before arriving at Woodrow Wilson Junior High and Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, where his art teachers–Mr. Higgins in 8th grade, Ms. Ownby in 9th, and Hortense Bateholts at Will Rogers–encouraged his talent. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York on scholarship, and worked at the famed Push Pin Studios before embarking on a long and successful free-lance career. His distinctive style led to commissions for magazines, books and posters, most notably for Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival, and his paintings have been the subject of solo exhibitions in galleries and museums in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Davis also created posters for Tulsa Mayfest 2002 and for Will Rogers High School 75th Anniversary. Honors include Halls of Fame of the Art Directors Club and the Society of Illustrators, and doctorates from SVA and the Maryland Institute College of Art. He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. In 1988 Governor Frank Keating declared the opening date of his exhibition at the Philbrook Museum “Paul Davis Day.”

Neil R. Sparks, Jr
Class of 1954
After graduation from Will Rogers, Neil Sparks attended Oklahoma State University and was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy in 1959. Following naval flight training, he became a helicopter pilot. In his more than 28-year career, he was deployed ten times on various aircraft carriers, four times to Vietnam waters, flying combat search-and-rescue and support missions. During a fifth deployment in Vietnam, he flew in-country Navy Attack Helicopters, in support of Navy SEALs and River Forces.

In July 1967 Neil and his crew flew more than 200 miles into North Vietnam, over heavily fortified hostile territory, to rescue a downed Navy fighter pilot. Under intense enemy ground fire, his helicopter was severely damaged. Nonetheless, after 20 minutes in a hover, he miraculously completed a successful rescue.

For displaying unprecedented valor and extraordinary heroism in combat, he was awarded the Navy Cross, the highest award in the naval service, and second only to the Medal of Honor. Neil completed his education at the Naval Post Graduate School, commanded a helicopter squadron in Florida, and was the operations officer of an amphibious assault ship. Neil’s final duty was as the Navy member of the Marine Amphibious Warfare Presentation Team that lectured in 33 countries.

Neil was honored as the most decorated member in the 50-year history of Helicopter Squadron Two with 31 medals and ribbons.

Neil and Kay Stover, also from Tulsa, were married in 1960 and had a son and daughter.

Nancy Jo Daulton Beier
Class of 1956
Nancy Jo Daulton Beier, known as “Jo” while at Rogers, appeared as Bloody Mary in Rogers’ production of South Pacific, as well as soloing in the Round Up and Messiah choir concerts. She began her voice study in Tulsa with Lorna Moore, then studied with Richard Conrad, Boston Academy of Music, and coached with the late Wolfgang Vacano of Indiana University and Teatro Colón, Argentina.

Jo made her European debut as Tosca at the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landestheater, in Flensburg, (then West) Germany, where she was engaged as dramatic soprano, specializing in the operas of Verdi, Wagner, Richard Strauss, Puccini and Mozart. During her years in Europe, she sang dramatic soprano roles in many German and Danish opera houses, as well as concerts with German orchestras. She performed recitals and concerts in Italy, England, the Netherlands and

In the USA, she has performed with symphony orchestras and regional opera companies around the country, including San Francisco Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, The Opera Organization, and Opera in the Ozarks.

Jo also had a varied career in the Broadway genre, performing around the USA in Hello, Dolly!, The Sound of Music, Carousel, Camelot, Man of La Mancha, Once Upon a Mattress, Damn Yankees, Cabaret, and many others.

Jo lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where she still is actively teaching, performing and directing—in her 70s—and is a sought-after adjudicator for the Washington State Music Teachers Association. She also teaches master classes in Seattle.

Phillip Butler, PhD
Class of 1956
After completing high school, Phil Butler graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1961. He became a naval aviator in 1962, flying jets off aircraft carriers in combat during the Vietnam War. On April 20, 1965, his bombs malfunctioned, causing his A4C Skyhawk to explode. He survived the ejection and evaded the enemy for four days, but was captured and became a POW for 2,855 days—the eighth longest-held POW, enduring deplorable conditions and torturous treatment . Only 685 U.S. prisoners survived their ordeals, largely due to the support and encouragement from their fellow American prisoners, and a commitment to the Vietnam POW motto: “Return With Honor.” His military decorations include two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, two Legions of Merit, two Purple Hearts and the Medal of Valor from Oklahoma.

After his release in 1973, he spent eight months recovering and readjusting to normal life, then earned a masters and doctorate of philosophy from The University of California, San Diego. Phil completed his Navy career as an organizational development consultant and professor of management at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He retired from the Navy in 1981, and founded Camelot Enterprises, a consulting company working with corporations on team building, interpersonal skills, leadership development and strategic planning. Phil was able to use personal examples from his Navy education, his career, and his POW experiences as a motivational speaker and seminar leader. He continues to contribute—volunteering for community service organizations, serving on the board of directors for more than 20.

He exemplifies Live with Honor, defined as respect, commitment and service dedicated to peace and social justice, the environment, and improving quality of life for those less fortunate. Phil Butler’s life defines what it means to be a hero. His autobiography is “Three Lives of a Warrior.”

Janet Wright Kizziar, PhD
Class of 1957
Janet Wright Kizziar graduated from Will Rogers and The University of Tulsa, returned to Will-on-the-Hill to teach English and Journalism, then completed her doctorate in psychology at TU.

She and her late twin, Dr. Judy Hagedorn, opened a psychology practice, hosted two local TV talk shows and were the first women honored as University of Tulsa Distinguished Alumni. They appeared on network television shows, including Good Morning America and Today, and were interviewed by Larry King, Dick Cavett, Barbara Walters and Tom Snyder. The twins published two books, Search for Acceptance: The Adolescent and Self Esteem, and GEMINI: The Psychology and Phenomena of Twins.

Janet’s proudest accomplishment is being a founding member of Fresh Start Women’s Foundation. Fresh Start has helped more than 200,000 women in need who are seeking self-sufficiency, and opened a state-of-the-art Women’s Resource Center on October 1, 2002. She remains committed to helping women to help themselves.

The YWCA in Phoenix honored Janet at their Tribute to Women for her work in health and healing. She continues to advocate for those dealing with domestic violence, child abuse, AIDS, co-dependency, drug and alcohol abuse, and adolescent pregnancy. She is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in American Women, and International Who’s Who in Community Service.

Janet’s favorite quote is from George Eliot. It hangs on a plaque dedicated to her at the Women’s Foundation Resource Center: “What do we live for, if not to make the world less difficult for each other?”

Anita Bryant (Dry)
Class of 1958
Anita Bryant (Dry), singer, TV personality, author, and founder of Anita Bryant Ministries, International, made her debut at two years old, singing Jesus Loves Me. At ten, she had her own TV show. At Will Rogers, she was active in the Round-Up, the choral music program and, as a sophomore, played Nellie Forbush in South Pacific.

Anita was a finalist for Miss America, and appeared regularly on such radio and television shows as The Don McNeil Breakfast Club, George Gobel and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.

She appeared with Dr. Billy Graham in his crusades, and she and Dr. Graham have the distinction of being the only two people who have appeared at both the Democratic and Republican political conventions. Several White House appearances made her President Johnson’s favorite singer, and he requested that she sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic at his funeral. She toured with Bob Hope, entertaining the troops overseas for seven years and appeared on his televised Christmas Special. Anita was voted the most admired woman in America three years in a row by Good Housekeeping Magazine and was named one of the most influential women in America by the Gallup Poll.

Anita was the commercial face for Coca-Cola and the Florida Citrus Commission, and was the first woman inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Her smiling face singing “Come to the Florida Sunshine Tree…” was seen hundreds of times each month on TV. At the age of 26, she was the youngest person ever inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

James W. Jones, MD, PhD
Class of 1959

James W. Jones, M.D., Ph.D., attended the University of Tulsa and was accepted into Tulane University School of Medicine early, on scholarship, where he earned his doctor of medicine degree. He earned his Ph.D. in cell biology, also from Tulane. In 2002 Jim earned a master of health administration from the University of Missouri.

Jim’s intern, residency and fellowships took him to Philadelphia General Hospital, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Charity Hospital of Louisiana, and Ochsner Clinic. As a result, he became board certified in general surgery, thoracic surgery, and critical care.

He served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps as a lieutenant commander, 2nd Marine Division, and has variously been professor at the Baylor College of Medicine, chief of surgery at the Houston Veterans Affairs Hospital, and chair of surgery at the University of Missouri. He considers himself most fortunate to have been hired by Dr Michael DeBakey at Baylor College during the “golden years” of heart surgery.

Jim is Assistant Editor, Journal of Vascular Surgery and, as an author, has published three books on medical ethics and has more than 370 peer-reviewed publications.

A PADI master certification in scuba diving has enabled Jim to visit vaunted dive sites worldwide.

In a career spanning 35 years, he performed or supervised over 12,000 open heart operations. Invited lectureships allowed Jim and his bride to travel extensively. He states that his greatest professional gratification has been participation in the education of thousands of medical students and hundreds of surgeons.

David Gates
Class of 1958
David Gates, the son of a band director and piano teacher, excelled in piano, bass and guitar, and by the time he came to Will Rogers, he was playing in local bands. After attending the University of Oklahoma, David moved to Los Angeles in 1961, working as a music copyist, studio musician and producer for a Who’s Who of recording artists. Success followed when his song Popsicles and Icicles hit number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The Monkees recorded his hit song, Saturday’s Child. By 1970, he had worked with many leading artists, including Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin and Brian Wilson, all while releasing singles of his own on several labels. The second album of David’s band, BREAD, became a breakout success, with the number one single, Make It with You, and was the first of seven consecutive BREAD albums to go Gold. From 1970 to 1973, BREAD charted 11 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, all written and sung by David Gates. The single, Clouds, peaked at number 47 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. A second single, Sail Around The World, reached number 50. In 1975, he released the album, Never Let Her Go. The title track, released as a single, reached number 29 on the Hot 100 chart. His most successful single as a solo artist, The Goodbye Girl, reached number 15 on the Billboard chart in 1978. His next single hit, Took the Last Train, reached number 30 on the Billboard chart. The David Gates Songbook was released in 2002. Frank Sinatra covered the song, If, in a live performance at Madison Square Garden. Boy George took Everything I Own to the top of the UK charts.

David has performed on the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, and the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, an accomplishment only a few artists have achieved.

Leon Russell (Bridges)
Class of 1959
Leon Russell, known as Russell Bridges when he was at Will Rogers, is a gifted artist who has remained popular for more than 50 years as soloist, studio musician, composer and lyricist. Leon plays piano, organ and guitar and sings vocals. His musical training began at age three, and by age 14, his band, The Starlighters, was playing in Tulsa nightclubs.

After graduation from Will Rogers, he played for Jerry Lee Lewis at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, then toured with the Lewis band. Leon soon became one of the best studio musicians in the industry and has played and sung with a virtual Who’s Who of rock’n’roll, country, blues and folk music. Some of these solo artists include, David Gates (WRHS ’58), George Harrison, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Rita Coolidge, Gary Busey (Nathan Hale ’62), Willie Nelson, Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner, Ricky Nelson, Herb Alpert, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Ann-Margret, Dean Martin, Marvin Gaye and Glen Campbell.

Groups with whom he has performed include The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Everly Brothers, The Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Gary Lewis and the Playboys and the Righteous Brothers.

In 2006 Leon was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, and in 2007 his band, The Wrecking Crew, was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville. Elton John, who acknowledges Russell’s influence on his own career, presented Russell for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Manhattan in 2011.

Richard Counts, MD
Class of 1959
Richard Counts could have been a successful actor, writer, musician or businessman, but thankfully for people the world over, he chose to be a physician. He earned his B.A. and M.D. at Washington University Medical School, St. Louis. Internship and residency followed at University Hospital, University of Washington, in Seattle. He spent two years as a clinical associate in Hematology at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, then returned to the University of Washington, from which he retired in 2008 as professor of medicine, Division of Hematology, and became professor emeritus.

Rich established one of the first centers in the U.S. for comprehensive care of hemophilia, a rare, inherited bleeding disorder caused by the lack of a critical blood protein. The Puget Sound Blood Center, of which he was president and CEO, was among the first to produce large quantities of a concentrated form of this protein from volunteer donors. PSBC serves hospitals all over western Washington by providing about 200,000 units of red cells annually for transfusion, and operates a large testing lab which serves four states, performing sensitive DNA testing for infectious agents on donated blood. In 1970, 90% of hemophilia patients were expected to die by the age of 20; today, because of Dr. Counts and others like him, most hemophilia patients enjoy near normal life expectancy and the ability to have careers and families.

Rich and his UW colleagues discovered the most common causes of post-traumatic and postsurgical bleeding and developed techniques for preventing this fearsome complication. These procedures have been widely adopted and have significantly reduced the mortality of post-surgical bleeding. Dr. Counts has published an impressive list of textbooks and peer-reviewed papers

James D. Dunn
Class of 1960
After graduation from Rogers, James Dunn earned a degree in engineering physics from the Colorado School of Mines, where he was named to the first team All American Academic Team and later earned a masters degree from Stanford University. In 1966 he began work for TRW at NASA in Houston, as Manager of the Mission Trajectory Control Program supporting the Gemini and Apollo space programs. Colorado School of Mines invited Jim back in 2011 to receive the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

In 1968 Jim returned to Tulsa to run the family business, Mill Creek Lumber and Supply Co., which his dad had started in 1934. He helped to build the business to be the twenty-first largest building materials company in the United States. Millcreek has 11 lumberyards throughout Oklahoma and Kansas and two distribution centers. In addition, Millcreek has divisions for home improvement, kitchen cabinet distribution, structural systems, carpet and tile, and an extensive commercial and architectural millwork operation for the building of large commercial buildings.

Jim’s outstanding record of community service includes chairman of the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce, chairman of Tulsa Community College Foundation, vice chairman of Tulsa Industrial Authority, Tulsa Public Schools Foundation, Tulsa Community College Foundation, Tulsa Vision 2025, Indian Nations Council of Governments, Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and director of the Oklahoma City branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Susan “S.E.” Hinton
Class of 1966
Susan Eloise Hinton published her first work, The Outsiders, only one year after graduation from Will Rogers. Always an avid reader, her best-selling novel was a result of the dissastisfaction she had with books written for young adults. Countless young people have said that The Outsiders was the first book they had ever read cover to cover, and S.E. Hinton soon became known as “The Voice of the Youth.”

She followed The Outsiders with That was Then, This is Now, published in 1971. In 1975, she expanded her short story, Rumble Fish, into a novel, which garnered the entire spectrum of reviews, from “her best book” to “her last book.” Tex followed in 1979. In March, 1983, the movie The Outsiders was released, starring Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Diane Lane and another of Will Rogers’ Hall of Fame members, Gailard Sartain. In October 1983, the movie Rumble Fish, was released, again starring Matt Dillon and Diane Lane, with Dennis Hopper, Nicholas Cage and Laurence Fishburne. The movie, That was Then, This is Now was released in 1985, starring Emilio Estevez and Morgan Freeman.

In 1988, Susan received the very first YASD/SLJ Author Achievement Award, which was given by the Young Adult Services Division of the American Library Association and the School Library Journal. That same year she released Taming The Star Runner.

In a complete change of direction, her last two books are for children of elementary school age: Big David, Little David, and The Puppy Sister. When not writing books, S. E. Hinton loves to ride her horses and spend time with her husband and son.

Gailard Sartain
Class of 1963
After graduation from Will Rogers High School, Gailard Sartain earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Tulsa.

In 1971, he began his entertainment career on KOTV when he created The Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting aka Dr. Mazeppa Pompazoidi. Gailard was a regular on the popular country comedy music show Hee Haw for 20 years.

He has appeared in over 50 motion pictures, notably Mississippi Burning, Fried Green Tomatoes and Elizabethtown. Today, Gailard is also well known for his accomplished work as a painter and illustrator. He designed the cover for fellow Rogers’ Hall of Fame member Leon Russell’s Will o’ the Wisp.

He currently resides in Tulsa with his wife Mary Jo.

Rodger A. Randle, JD
Class of 1962
Rodger Randle began a distinguished career after Will-on-the-Hill, graduating from the University of Oklahoma, and a earning a law degree from the University of Tulsa.

He began public service with the Peace Corps in Brazil. In 1970, at the age of 27, he was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives, followed by election to the Oklahoma Senate in 1972, with re-election in 1976, 1980 and 1984. Rodger was twice elected president pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate, the Senate’s top leadership position.

In 1988 he became mayor of the City of Tulsa and led the successful campaign to change the city’s form of government to mayor/city council. The vote came after four unsuccessful charter change attempts during the previous 35 years. Re-elected in 1990 by the largest margin in Tulsa’s history, he became Tulsa’s first mayor under the new form of government, marking the most significant change in the City of Tulsa in the previous 50 years. Rodger became professor in the Graduate College of the University of Oklahoma in 1998. He also holds the title of professor and director of the Center for Studies in Democracy and Culture.

His many civic activities include president and chairman of the national Board of Directors of Sister Cities International, the world’s largest volunteer citizen diplomacy program; locally, he is a past president of various organizations, including Tulsa Global Alliance, Tulsa Committee on Foreign Relations, the Tulsa Philharmonic, and the United Nations Association of Northeastern Oklahoma. He currently is the honorary British consul for Oklahoma. In addition, he serves as co-chair of the Bond Oversight Committee of the Tulsa Public Schools.

Ronald Radford
Class of 1962
Ronald Radford – known as “Hank” when he was at Will Rogers – is known internationally as the American master of the flamenco guitar. He studied music at the University of Tulsa and began his career as a student of the legendary Flamenco guitarist Carlos Montoya. Ron also studied classical guitar with Andres Segovia.

Ron is the only individual ever to be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in flamenco guitar. He traveled thousands of miles in Spain, immersing himself in the musical wisdom of the Spanish gypsy Flamenco masters.

Performance venues include New York’s Carnegie Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, concert halls and major colleges and universities across the United States. Ron’s highly acclaimed and popular school assembly program, The Power of Ole! – Optimistic Leadership Energy! reaches thousands of school children each year.

Ron’s international tours have taken him to 15 countries, from Australia to Switzerland and from Canada to Panama. While serving in the Army in Vietnam, he performed in hospitals, schools and orphanages. He toured for the State Department as a musical ambassador to Mexico, Guatemala and other Latin American countries.

His exciting CD: Viva Flamenco! and DVD: Live Your Passion, are available at His music has been downloaded in more than 50 countries worldwide. Ron was born in California, grew up in Tulsa, and now lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where he continues his career as one of the world’s most successful ambassadors of flamenco music.

Linda Chambers Bradshaw
Class of 1960
Linda Chambers Bradshaw is known by many in the Tulsa community as the owner of Tulsa World of Gymnastics. Others know her as the one who took Will-on the-Hill to heart, becoming a leading authority on the man, Will Rogers. After graduating from The University of Tulsa with a degree in music, she studied at the Princeton New School for Piano Pedagogy.

Linda became a docent at the Will Rogers Memorial and Museum, in Claremore, Oklahoma, in 2008, and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Will Rogers Memorial Foundation. She was named coordinator of their first-ever major fundraiser and founded the Rotary-sponsored Will Rogers Gala, which annually honors a person who most exemplifies the attributes of Will Rogers.

She was instrumental in protecting and preserving the rare portrait of Will Rogers, by Italian artist Count Arnaldo Tamburini, which was presented to the school in 1954, and hung there until 1997.

It was permanently loaned to the Gilcrease Museum in order to provide climate control, light protection and improved security. A high quality photographic copy now hangs in the school. Linda was the first woman to hold the office of president of the Tulsa Rotary Club and has been a major participant in their Water Well project in Nicaragua. She has served as meet director for USA Gymnastics Olympics Qualifying Events; in addition, she has worked with the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and the United Way. She has coached Special Olympics gymnastics and served on the board of Tulsa Advocates for the Rights of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (TARC). She was an Oklahoma delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business in 1995 and that same year was named Tulsa Chamber’s Small Business Person of the Year.

Elvin Bishop
Class of 1960
In the early 1950s, Elvin Bishop used to listen late at night to a radio station from Nashville that played rhythm and blues, between rock n’roll and country-western.

Elvin was obsessed with the blues, and when he won a National Merit Scholarship in physics, he chose the University of Chicago, not because it was one of the most prestigious universities in America, but because it was on the south side of Chicago, which was ground zero for the clubs in which much of this music was being played.

Elvin was a founding member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 1963, the beginning of a long and successful career in music. His first smash hit was Fooled Around and Fell in Love from his 1976 album Struttin’ My Stuff. Elvin’s music includes smokytavern, gut-bucket blues, raucous roadhouse rhythm and blues, and rollicking goodtime rock and roll.

His first live-concert DVD, That’s My Thing: Elvin Bishop Live in Concert, was recorded live at the Club Fox in Redwood City, California on December 17, 2011. It was released on the Delta Groove label in October 2012. The DVD was nominated for Best Blues DVD of 2012 by The Blues Foundation.

Elvin lives in northern California and currently works with Delta Groove Productions, which produced his most recent release, the Grammy-nominated The Blues Rolls On, featuring Red Dog Speaks, an affectionate nod to his 1959 red Gibson ES-345 guitar.

He was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 1998.

Tom Harrison, D Min
Class of 1972
Rev. Tom Harrison was born in Norman, Oklahoma. He attended Sequoyah Elementary and Cleveland Jr. High in Tulsa. He has undergraduate and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Oral Roberts University, and a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Oklahoma City University.

Tom pastored Vici/Lenora (Woodward District), Sallisaw (Muskogee District) and Sunny Lane (Oklahoma City South District). He has been the senior pastor at Asbury United Methodist in Tulsa since 1993.

Tom has served as a delegate to Jurisdictional and General Conferences of The United Methodist Church, and as a delegate to the World Methodist Council. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary in Tallinn, Estonia; as the alumni chair for Asbury Theological Seminary; and on the Oklahoma Wesleyan Board of Trustees. He has written 12 books called Perceptions which are heard on five Tulsa FM radio stations during the peak morning drive. Tom and his wife, Dana, have three children, Joshua, Jessee and Jeffrey.

David Rader
Class of 1975
David Rader, football star, coach, business executive, and author started his football career as a Will Rogers Roper and went on to play quarterback for The University of Tulsa, where he graduated with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 1980.

In 1979 he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the National Football League. He later joined the New York Giants. After brief time in the NFL, David began his coaching career in 1983 at the University of Alabama, where he was the coach of the quarterbacks and then, receivers. In 1986 he became the offensive coordinator at Mississippi State University.

David came home to Tulsa in 1987 as the assistant head coach at The University of Tulsa. Being named head coach in 1988 at age 31, he was the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I Football. He remained in that position until 1999. During that time, the Golden Hurricane played in two bowl games (winning the 1991 Freedom Bowl and finishing 22nd in the nation). His teams consistently graduated at a higher rate than the campus norm, defeated teams from much bigger conferences such as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Iowa, Missouri, and Texas A&M, and had many go on to play in the NFL. David returned to coaching and to the University of Alabama in 2003 as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In 2010, he became co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Mississippi.

David is now in Tulsa as vice president of marketing at Pacer Energy Marketing. He and his wife, Janet (WRHS ’75), have three children: sons Daniel and Jordan and daughter Kendal.

Lee Mayberry
Class of 1988
Lee Mayberry is one of the most outstanding athletes to have graduated from Will Rogers High School. He led the 1988 Ropers basketball team to a state championship— to date, the last state championship for the Ropers.

After graduation from Will-on-the-Hill, Lee played four years for the University of Arkansas and helped the Razorbacks go to the Final Four in Denver in 1990 and win the Southwest Conference title in 1991, Arkansas’ last year in that conference. The following year, the Razorbacks were the Southeastern Conference West champions with a 9-1 record. Lee scored 1,940 points for the Razorbacks.

He played on the United States team that won the bronze medal at the Goodwill Games of 1990, in Argentina.

Following his college graduation, Lee became a star with the National Basketball Association, playing four years with Milwaukee and three years with Vancouver. In his first four seasons he played in all 328 games on his team’s schedule—a remarkable achievement for a sport as physically demanding as basketball.

Lee’s greatest contribution to the sport, however, may be off the court. In 2002, he co-founded Playing with Purpose, a basketball ministry in Tulsa that helps equip boys and girls with the tools they need to succeed in basketball, and in life. Playing with Purpose emphasizes excellence in athletics, academics and, most importantly, spirituality.

Lee and his wife, Marla, have five daughters…of course—a basketball team.

Ronald D. Flanagan
Class of 1957
President and Principal Planner of R.D. Flanagan & Assoc., LLC, Ronald Flanagan was a key member of the team that created the City of Tulsa’s nationally-recognized flood hazard mitigation program and has received numerous awards, including FEMA’s Outstanding Public Service Award. Because of his work, Tulsa went from being the most flood-prone community in the U.S. to having the lowest flood insurance rates in the nation. He subsequently contributed to hazard mitigation policies across the nation. Ron served with distinction as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, receiving a Letter of Commendation from General W.C. Westmoreland for his design of the camouflage uniform, still in use today. He served in Germany during the Berlin Crisis, two tours in Vietnam as an Advisor and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for Heroism in Combat.

Herald Givens
Class of 1969
Community volunteer and business owner, Herald Givens spent his life in service to others. Even as his health was declining rapidly due to ALS, he continued to support the charities, which have become dear to him over the years. Always civic-minded, Herald had been a stalwart model of giving back to one’s community quietly, but with joy, building friendships while providing leadership.

Herald’s relationship with The Little Light House began in 1979 when he volunteered his services as a photographer. He continued helping TLLH in various ways, including serving as a member of the Board of Directors, and remained a faithful supporter for 35 years. Herald has been one of Leadership Tulsa’s greatest champions since he joined in 2002, serving on their Board of Directors, and is a recipient of their prestigious Paragon Award. He died December 19, 2014.

Archie Goodwin
Class of 1955
Often referred to as the Undisputed King of Comic Books, Archie Goodwin was an American comic book writer, editor, and artist. He worked on a number of comic strips in addition to comic books, and is best known for his Warren and Marvel Comics work. For Warren he was chief writer and editor of landmark horror anthology titles Creepy and Eerie, and for Marvel he set up the creator-owned Epic Comics as well as adapting Star Wars into both comics and newspaper strips. He is regularly cited as the “best-loved comic book editor, ever.”

His books are well-known in the world of comic books, including Batman: Night Cries, Manhunter, Classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; Blazing Combat; Wolverine/Nick Fury: The Scorpio Connection; Alien; Star Wars Omnibus: Episodes I-VI: The Complete Saga; Star Wars: A Long Time Ago Volume 3: Resurrection of Evil; The Rebel Storm (Classic Star Wars, #2); and Essential Iron Man, Vol. 3.

Roberta Scott Hamilton
Class of 1960
Recently Retired Public Information Officer of the Indian Capital Technology Center, Roberta Scott Hamilton demonstrated that adversity is an opportunity when she lost her leg to cancer in 1964. The former Miss Tulsa and second runner-up in the Miss Oklahoma Beauty Pageant of 1961, did not let that stop her. Continuing to live a full and active life, Roberta’s audience now embraced people with disabilities throughout the world. Some of the most notable awards include La Sertoma International Woman of the Year, USO Service Award, Arkansas/Oklahoma Handicapped Professional Woman of the Year, Tulsa Community Service Award, National Finalist, U.S. Handicapped Professional Woman of the Year, 2005 Jefferson Award for Community Service, 2007 National Friend of Career and Technical Equity Education Council Award. She has been listed in Outstanding Young Women of America, Personalities of the South, National Register of Prominent Americans, Who’s Who of Women of the International Biographical Association.

Charlotte Wilson Heth
Class of 1955
Charlotte Wilson Heth, PhD, Class of 1955, Professor Emerita of UCLA, is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She began her primary research in Oklahoma Cherokee music and music of surrounding tribal groups, and throughout her career she continued researching, doing applied work in, and publishing American Indian music, ethnomusicology, dance, education, and other American Indian topics.

An extensive traveler, Charlotte served with the Peace Corp in Ethiopia for two years, with the distinction of being the first female volunteer from Oklahoma. She then taught at the Junior High and High School level before beginning her career at UCLA. There she taught courses on comparative American Indian music, as well as graduate seminars in Contemporary American Indian issues, Cultural World Views of Native America, among other things.

In 1994 she left the teaching profession to accept the post of Assistant Director for Public Programs at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. There she curated exhibits and led workshops for museum professionals and educators. Upon her retirement, she served as visiting curator at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Charlotte is multi-lingual and has been featured in numerous publications, films, and recordings.

Among the many honors she has received, Charlotte was inducted as an Honorary Member of the Society for Ethnomusicology

Charles Kimball
Class of 1968
Charles Kimball, ThD, Class of 1968, is the Presidential Professor and Director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Charles served for 12 years as Chair of the Department of Religion and Professor in the Divinity School at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. An expert on the Middle East, Charles is a frequent guest on national and local television and radio programs, where he interprets events and interfaith issues. He has delivered lectures at more than 200 colleges and universities, churches, conferences, and civic organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Charles has made important contributions in furthering the cause of inter-religious understanding, human rights, and conflict resolution in the U.S. and throughout the Middle East. Having lived and studied in Cairo, Egypt, Charles returned at the age of 29 to meet with the Ayatollah Khomeini, opening talks to help resolve the standoff over the 52 Americans taken hostage in Iran seven weeks earlier. This meeting and two other trips to Iran during the hostage crisis propelled him into the international media spotlight.

He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East and is the founder and adviser for Churches for Middle East Peace in Washington DC. He is the co-founder and board member of U.S. Inter-Religious Committee for Peace in the Middle East and meets frequently with heads of state, foreign ministers, ambassadors in various countries, as well as with the White House, Congress and the State Department. He participated in the Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, and in 1972, while a student at Oklahoma State, Charles co-founded the National Student Prayer Breakfast Movement. He has authored five books and has had his work featured in numerous national publications

Donald R. Mellott
Class of 1962
From the age of 26, Don Mellott, Chairman/Owner of HIS Specialists, LLC, has owned several companies, including Mohawk Steel Company in Tulsa. He has served as CEO of Aztec Industries and n the late 70’s through the early 80’s, Don and his wife, Janet (Class of ’64), started and ran a cow/calf business in the Tahlequah area. In 1988 he started Heater Specialist, LLC and remains active in this business today. The Mellotts gave the first major contribution to help start Victory Christian Center’s “Tulsa Dream Center,” a 38,000 square foot building that offers after-school programs, summer programs for kids, GED classes, a major medical clinic, among other services. The Mellott Family Foundation, Inc. serves to gain useful approaches for their philanthropic interests.

J. David Nunneley
Class of 1954
J. David Nunneley, Class of 1954, is a Figurative, Wildlife and Military Sculpture Artist. After graduating from Will Rogers, David served in the Army and then majored in Art at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa. He received advanced training in sculpture at the Loveland Academy of Art in Loveland, CO and the Scottsdale School of Art in Arizona.

David began his early career as an illustrator for a scientific instrument company and later started his own instrument company. He then started his own oil and gas equipment company, and was granted five U.S. patents for various oil and gas-related products. He became president for a subsidiary of a Pennsylvania utility company, subsequently becoming vice-president of research and development for a major instrument company in Tulsa.

In spite of his reputation as a business leader, David considers becoming a successful full-time sculptor in 1995 his most gratifying and courageous move. His bronze monument sculptures and smaller works can be seen throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. One of his most notable works is a statue of the three Heisman Trophy winners and their Army coach, displayed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Locally, David’s work may be seen at the Tulsa International Airport, the Williams Center, Van Trease Performing Arts Center at Tulsa Community College, Floral Haven Cemetery, Indian Nations Boy Scouts of America and the Tulsa Ballet Center.

Frank Pitezel
Class of 1942
Frank Pitezel, Class of 1942, was a sophomore at Will Rogers High School when the doors first opened in 1939. As a young man, Frank set his mind on two goals: to get the best education he could and to receive a college basketball scholarship. After studying hard and being a part of the state basketball championship team in 1941, Frank was recruited by Hank Iba to play basketball at Oklahoma A&M (OSU).

Encouraged to join the war effort by the legendary coach, Frank enlisted and trained as an engineer. His platoon was involved in, among other things, the “Battle of the Bulge,” and Frank earned a combat Bronze Star and three battle stars.

Upon returning to Tulsa, Frank married his high school sweetheart, Billie Marie Hall, and began his successful career for the Public Service Company of Oklahoma where he worked as Director of Engineering Services.

He and Billie, had nine children and Frank spent his adult life working toward the goal of making Tulsa a better community for his family. Over the years he has served in many church and community organizations, including the Junior Chamber of Commerce. He spearheaded the effort to build the four-plex, lighted Bear baseball stadium, where each year 450 boys between the ages of 8 and 16 could play competitive baseball, regardless of income or abilities.

Frank became active in politics, and in 1980 was elected to the Oklahoma State House of Representatives, where he served for ten years.

Richard Risk, J.D.
Class of 1959
Richard “Dick” Risk, J.D., Class of 1959, was commissioned in the United States Air Force as a distinguished military graduate from Oklahoma State University in 1963 with a B.A. in Radio and Television, serving during the Vietnam era, including duty stations in Southeast Asia. He received five decorations for meritorious service and, as squadron commander, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with combat “V” device.

He worked with the White House advance party when President Nixon pronounced the Guam Doctrine in 1969 and coordinated the worldwide television coverage of the historic 1971 meeting in Alaska between Nixon and Emperor of Japan Hirohito. He ran the press accreditation center when Nixon returned from his historic 1972 China visit.

In 1981, he was appointed by the Reagan Administration to head the Southwestern Power Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, equivalent in rank to a deputy assistant secretary or three-star military officer, testifying before Congress.

With a juris doctorate from the University of Tulsa, he became an attorney at age 60, then initiated a class action on behalf of nearly 22,000 claimants against a major corporation, settling for $72.5 million. He has published many peer-reviewed articles, testified before the Internal Revenue Service, and is nationally renowned for his expertise in structured settlements and qualified settlement funds. TU named the Richard B. Risk Practicum Endowment Fund in his honor.

In 2010, he formed the Will Rogers High School Community Foundation, which has donated nearly $100,000 to the school, twice serving as its president.

John Henry Ward
Class of 1966
Upon graduation from Will Rogers, John Ward played football and wrestled at OSU, where he was named All-American in both sports. He was a first-round draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings and played in the Super Bowl twice. He later played for the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Following his retirement from professional football, John graduated from NSU and spent most of his career dedicated to public service. He was the Executive Director of the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma, during which time he was duly named “Mr. County Government.” For a decade before his death, John served as Executive Vice-President of the Poultry Federation of Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, managing the Oklahoma office. He died December 4, 2012 after a brave battle with GIST, a rare form of cancer.
Mikel Donahue
Class of 1974
Inducted 2017
Mikel Donahue, Class of 1974, is a western artist whose work has been exhibited in the Governor’s Gallery at the Oklahoma State Capitol, Gilcrease Museum, Booth Museum, Briscoe Museum, Eiteljorg Museum, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, to name a few. After a 33 year, multiple award winning career as an art director in the advertising arena, he turned his attention to drawing and painting full time. Mikel’s character and style depicts an honesty that is true to the people and places he portrays. His exposure to western art came at an early age with visits to Gilcrease Museum and The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

In 2016, Mikel was voted in as a member of the Cowboy Artists of America, an exclusive organization of artists that was founded in 1965; a virtual who’s who in the western art world, an honor many aspire to and few reach in their career. He was the 2011 recipient of the Academy of Western Artist’ Will Rogers Award for “Artist of the Year.” In 2010 Mikel was awarded the prestigious “Premier Platinum Award” and the “William E. Weiss Purchase Award” at the Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale. His work hangs in many museums, galleries and private collections throughout the country. He has been the subject of several articles and on the covers of magazines including: Art of the West, American Art Collector, Southwest Art, Western Horseman, American Cowboy and The American Quarter Horse Racing Journal. He has donated works to benefit the fund raising efforts of many organizations, including the American Cancer Society, AQHA Scholarship Program and the WRCA Crisis Fund.
Tommy Evans
Class of 1949
Inducted 2017
Jay Thomas Evans was a two time state champion wrestler for Will Rogers High School. At the University of Oklahoma his wrestling career included a 42-1 record. He was the NCAA Champion and outstanding wrestler in 1952 and 1954. He won three AAU national titles as well as a PAN American Games gold medal. While still in college, Tommy wrestled in the 1951 Helsinki Olympic Games winning a silver medal. He competed again in the 1956 Games in Melbourne in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman. He went on to be a national champion University of Oklahoma wrestling coach and U.S. Olympic coach. Evans coached the Sooners to an NCAA national championship in his first season in 1960. After two years as head coach, he was recalled to active duty in 1961 serving as a captain in the Air Force. He returned to OU in 1962 and won another national title. During his career at OU, he coached 30 individual conference champions, 16 individual national champions, 56 NCAA All-Americans and took the wrestling team to two Big Eight conference championships.

In 1968 he was head coach of the U.S. Olympic freestyle team in Mexico City finishing fourth. He was named College Wrestling Coach of the Year in 1963 and inducted into the Helms Foundation Hall of Fame in 1965, and named Wrestling’s Man of the Year in 1968. He was later inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1976 as a wrestler and as a coach. Evans also served in both the Air Force and Army as a pilot. In 2011, he was posthumously inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. In an article written about his induction, he was described as Superman and Clark Kent – fierce and unrelenting on the mat – a gentle giant off the mat.

Joe Johnston
Class of 1966
Inducted 2017
Billy Joe Johnston, Class of 1966, is a songwriter, author, journalist, music producer, advertising executive, artist, and entrepreneur. He founded an award-winning advertising agency and became a new product marketing specialist, opening Southwest Airlines’ first destinations outside Texas and Oklahoma, introducing the first breakfast burrito at a fast food chain, and pioneering McDonald’s Happy Meal. Joe co-wrote the Number One Gospel song “Count Your Blessing,” and earned the Dove Award and multiple platinum and gold records, with stars like LeAnn Rimes, Alabama, Waylon Jennings, Vince Gill, Glen Campbell, The Dixie Chicks, The Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Daniels, Mark Chesnutt, and the Gaithers.

He has written and produced music that appears on Grammy-winning albums, films, TV programs, national TV commercials, and motion pictures including “Something to Talk About” and “8 Seconds.”
In literature, he has won numerous awards for his books on vigilantism in Missouri in the 1800’s, twice receiving the Will Rogers Medallion Award. He has also authored books on developing creativity, on how to succeed in the music business, and on Christian responsibility to care for the environment. As a journalist, he has contributed to various newspapers and periodicals. In addition, he’s a graphic designer, book illustrator, and artist.

Joe was a founding board member of Moccasin Tracks Charities, benefiting families in crisis, and has served the Boy Scouts of America as a Cub Master and Assistant Scoutmaster. He is proud of his Native American heritage and attributes much of his success to the foundation he received during his years at Will Rogers High School.

Jo Anne Meade Lewis
Class of 1955
Inducted 2017
Jo Anne Meade Lewis is an artist, interior designer, and an advocate for children, education and the arts. She has been a community organizer and bridge builder in a variety of cultures. After graduating from Oklahoma State University, Jo Anne taught elementary school in St. Louis. She lived throughout the Midwest following her husband’s career moves and raising two children. In Chicago, she organized her neighbors to provide a school lunch program for elementary school children. In Charleston, West Virginia, she served as president of Pi Beta Phi Alumnae providing scholarship funds and reading materials for youth. After her children left home, she went to work for Phillips Petroleum Company in the Public Affairs Department where she met her current husband, George Lewis. In 1983, they moved to Singapore where Jo Anne assisted Americans in adjusting to Southeast Asian culture.

Her volunteer work includes Boy Scouts of America and Girls Scouts of America, docents at Woolaroc Museum and Philbrook Museum, Bartlesville Art Association, and currently the Will Rogers High School Community Foundation where she has served as president. While in Bartlesville, she also was a key player in the reincarnation of Price Tower and created the Museum Store where she served as director and buyer. She donated her interior design talents to the redecorating of a Safe House for abused women. Jo Anne’s accomplishments are a result of her freedom to volunteer her time and talent within the nonprofit world. Her passion has been to encourage and strengthen the aspirations and accomplishments of young people. Her desire to promote the arts has been her work in every community she has resided.
Paula LeFan Stover
Class of 1959
Inducted 2017
Jo Anne Meade Lewis is an artist, interior designer, and an advocate for children, education and the arts. She has been a community organizer and bridge builder in a variety of cultures. After graduating from Oklahoma State University, Jo Anne taught elementary school in St. Louis. She lived throughout the Midwest following her husband’s career moves and raising two children. In Chicago, she organized her neighbors to provide a school lunch program for elementary school children. In Charleston, West Virginia, she served as president of Pi Beta Phi Alumnae providing scholarship funds and reading materials for youth. After her children left home, she went to work for Phillips Petroleum Company in the Public Affairs Department where she met her current husband, George Lewis. In 1983, they moved to Singapore where Jo Anne assisted Americans in adjusting to Southeast Asian culture.

Her volunteer work includes Boy Scouts of America and Girls Scouts of America, docents at Woolaroc Museum and Philbrook Museum, Bartlesville Art Association, and currently the Will Rogers High School Community Foundation where she has served as president. While in Bartlesville, she also was a key player in the reincarnation of Price Tower and created the Museum Store where she served as director and buyer. She donated her interior design talents to the redecorating of a Safe House for abused women. Jo Anne’s accomplishments are a result of her freedom to volunteer her time and talent within the nonprofit world. Her passion has been to encourage and strengthen the aspirations and accomplishments of young people. Her desire to promote the arts has been her work in every community she has resided.

For the Complete list, click on each member below.


Anita Bryant (Dry), 1958
Gordona Moore Duca, 1958
David Gates, 1958
S.E. Hinton, 1966
Ernest Moody, 1944
David Rader, 1975
Rodger Randle, 1962



Ronald D. Flanagan, 1957
Herald Givens, 1968
Archie Goodwin, 1955
Roberta Scott Hamilton, 1960
Donald R. Mellott, 1962
John Henry Ward, 1966



Ronald Radford, 1962



Phillip N. Butler, 1956
James D. Dunn, 1960
James W. Jones, MD, PhD, 1959
William L. Lewis, 1949
Carol Walsh Morsani, 1949
Frank L. Morsani, 1949
Leon Russell (fka Russell Bridges), 1959
Gailard Sartain, 1963
Robert J. Stuart, 1944



Preston C. Caruthers, 1945
Stephen D. Chesebro’, 1959  (video)
Lee Mayberry, 1988
Russell B. Myers, 1956



Nancy Jo Daulton Beier, 1956
Elvin Bishop, 1960
Donald “Babe” Chandler, 1952
Paul Davis, 1955
Warren G. Guntheroth, MD, 1945
H. Thomas Harrison, DMin, 1972
Fred Sanders, 1945
Neil R. Sparks, Jr., 1954


Lynette Bennett (Danskin), 1955
Linda Chambers Bradshaw, 1960
Paula Combest Unruh, 1947
Richard B. Counts, MD, 1959
Gordon Morgan, 1953
Janet Wright Kizziar, 1957
James W. Russell, PhD, 1962



Frank Pitezel, 1942
J. David Nunneley, 1954
Charlotte Wilson Heth, PhD, 1955
Charles Kimball, ThD, 1968
Dick Risk, J.D., 1959



Mikel Donahue, 1974
Tommy Evans, 1949
Joe Johnston, 1966
Jo Anne Meade Lewis, 1955
Paula LeFan Stover, 1959



David Stewart James, 1958
Charles Bell, 1953
Bill Hinkle, 1965
Barbara Hencke Thompson, 1957
James E. (Jim) Frasier, 1959


David R. Bynum, ’58,
cell biologist, researcher, educator, leader in STEM education

Art Fleak, ’65,
Tulsa County’s first juvenile public defender

Pat Kelley,
’70, musician, recording artist, educator

Sherryl Mellott McGuire, ’65,
special education teacher, school founder, university educator

Richard Meydag, ’58.
military hero, Vietnam, Silver Star recipient, pilot of Marine 1 helicopter for Pres. Carter

All the above information Compliments of Will Rogers Foundation.

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