Hall of Fame

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Photo by Anthony S. Bush
This world has two types of people, those who make things happen and those who watch things happen. The former are those who help others instead of just themselves. Topeka High School has had the honor of educating a few of these individuals. These THS graduates are a credit to the spirit and the history of Troy. Topeka High School Hall of Fame began in 1982 to honor those who excelled and achieved significant accomplishments on a local, state or national level. Hall of Fame inductees are carefully selected and inducted each year.

If you know of someone who should be considered for THS Hall of Fame recognition, please send a nomination letter with 2 signatures of endorsement and complete current biographical information to the THS Historical Society, 800 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612.

The following THS Alumni were the 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees:

Dr. John Atkinson (1961)
What does the quarterback of the Trojan football team become after graduation? A clinical researcher of the human immune system. To quote from his Hall of Fame nomination, Dr. Atkinson at Washington University in St. Louis “has published over 250 peer-reviewed, original scientific publications and over 180 reviews, case reports, editorials and book chapters…. He has 8 active patents and 12 actively funded grants.” He was just as busy his three years at Troy: Co-captain of the football team, forward on the varsity basketball squad, baseball Honor “T”, Sophomore and Junior Class president, President of Student Congress and King of the All-School Party. After Topeka High, he earned his Bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Kansas (Phi Beta Kappa). Since 1971, Dr. Atkinson has been associated with Barnes Hospital, St. Louis, and the Washington University School of Medicine.
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stewartH_bailey Stewart H. Bailey (1985)
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism, Stewart Bailey did what any young lad would do finding himself in New York City and interested in show biz; he became an NBC page. Years earlier, Bailey had an active career at Topeka High: A.F.S., Computer Club, Frisbee Club, Tennis, Thespians, with parts in the plays Bus Stop and The Music Man and a senior year topped with selection to National Honor Society and King of Courts. If at Topeka High he was on stage, in New York he became rooted back stage with numerous assignments such as production assistant at Saturday Night Live, executive producer of NBC’s New Year’s Eve from Times Square, and producer of an NBC special of The Voice in LA. All of this he topped as co-executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart earning Bailey four Emmys and three Peabody Awards. Currently he is executive producer of Last Call with Carson Daly on NBC.
Brig. Gen. Norman Ramsey (June, 1900)
In a career that spans three ward, Brig. Gen. Norman F. Ramsey (1882-1963) dropped out of Topeka High to participate in the Spanish-American War and later the Philippine Insurrection, seeing combat in the latter, Pvt. Ramsey kept a diary but also wrote back to the THS World about his experiences overseas (courtesy of the family, the THSHS has a copy of his diary). Upon discharge, he returned to Topeka High, graduated, and subsequently obtained an appointment to West Point where he was president of his class, 1905. Assigned to the Ordinance Corps, Ramsey was briefly in France in World War I. When World War II broke out he headed the Army Ordinance Arsenal at Rock Island, IL. In 1926 he earned the Soldier’s Medal for heroism when he risked his life to save others at a New Jersey ordinance depot on fire. For his service, Gen. Ramsey received numerous awards including French Legion d’Honneure and made a Commander of the British Empire. He and his wife Minna Bauer, also a THS graduate (June, 1901), had one surviving son, Norman, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1989.
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2016 THS DISTINGUISHED STAFF

ruthHunt Ruth Hunt (THS Journalism)
“I’m a self-made man,” Journalism teacher and Kansas City, MO. native Ruth Hunt (1889-1964) often declared to her students. After graduating from KU in 1910, she taught at Northwest Missouri State and then for five years at Abilene High school. Miss Hunt came to Topeka High in 1918 as an English teacher, but soon thereafter was drafted as a journalism instructor. Soon she headed both the school paper, The World, and its annual, The Sunflower. Upon retirement in 1950, that year’s Sunflower was dedicated in her honor. Thereafter, for 11 years, Miss Hunt was manager of publications for Topeka’s Harry Turner and Associates, overseeing 15 to 20 publications. Many of her students went on with journalism careers, particularly with Topeka, Kansas City and Omaha papers. At least one of “her boys,” Paul Williams, later won a Pulitzer Prize for the Omaha Sun.
J.W. Jones (THS Physics)
J.W. Jones was and is a Topeka High legend, period. No student of his ever forgot his unique personality and mannerisms. A Nebraska native, he graduated from Peru State Teachers College, NB, later earning his Masters’ degree from Northwestern University. Jones was an instructor in Nebraska and South Dakota and Superintendent of Schools for Viborg, SD, before coming to Topeka High where he taught from 1935 to 1970. In his first years at Troy he oversaw biology as well as physics classes and for a time headed the THS Science Dept., also sponsoring JETS, the Junior Engineering Society. Many of J.W.’s students went on to science or engineering careers including the late Dr. James Gordon (1952), a nuclear physicist at Los Alamos. Known to all only by his initials, “J.W.”, a mystery has been recently solved: they stand for “John William.”
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The following THS Alumni were the 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees:

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Charles B. Axton II (1950)
After coming to Topeka High mid-way through his junior year, Charles Axton did quite well: lead role his senior year in Seven Keys to Baldpate, news editor for the fall World, and performing his own composition at the orchestra’s spring concert. Next followed Washburn and then a stint in the Army, affiliated with the Army Field Band. He postponed his musical career to come home and manage KTOP radio station (as DF “Charlie Christian”). In 1969 Axton and his family moved to Germany where he became associated with the Nuremberg Opera House. While living in Europe, he introduced the American musical (e.g., West Side Story, Camelot, Anything Goes, etc.) to German audiences. Axton also guest conducted many symphony orchestras including the prestigious Berlin Symphony. Retired, he and his wife (Barbara Cross Axton 1951) live in Florida.
Fred L. Slaughter (1960)
Literally and figuratively, Fred Slaughter was a “big man” on the Topeka High campus, activities including track, A.F.S. Council, Sr. Boys’ Council, and attendant at the All-School Party. At 6’5”, of course he was center for the Trojan basketball squad. Slaughter received his B.S. in Business Administration at U.C.L.A. in 1964 but is best remembered as being on Coach John Wooden’s first NCAA basketball championship team and the ‘63-’64 squad which went 30-0! Next, he earned his Juris Doctor degree at Columbia University Law School (1969) and for several years served as an administrator at the U.C.L.A. Law School. During the ‘70s through to 1997 Slaughter was an attorney and agent for several NBA players. The first and for a time only African-American NBA agents, the New York Times called him the “dean of black sports agents.” He also represented NBA referees.
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Col. Richard Snyder (1941)
Richard Snyder served as manager of the undefeated/untied Trojan football squad of 1940 and as a proctor. In the music department he was the orchestra concertmaster and a drum major in the band. Like many members of his class, within a couple of years he entered the military, the Army Corps of engineers in Patton’s Third Army. After graduating from the Washburn Law School in 1949, Snyder received a direct commission in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Appointed a trial judge in 1967, Col. Snyder tried cases across the globe, in Southeast Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. After serving as chief judge for Hawaii and Southeast Asia, col. Snyder retired in 1976. Back in Topeka, for a short period he was Acting General Counsel of the Kansas Corporation Commission before taking a position with the Georgia Court of Appeals. Col. Snyder passed away in June of 2015.
Linda Dickinson Spalding (1961)
Novelist and literary editor Linda Spalding has resided in Canada since 1982 and prior to that in Hawaii and Mexico. She taught English and writing at the University of Hawaii, York University (Canada), University of Guelph (Canada) and Brown University. With her husband, Michael Ondaatje, the couple edits the Canadian literary magazine Brick, a bi-annual publication. Ms. Spalding has written several novels and works of non-fiction including A Dark Place in the Jungle and The Purchase, for which she received Canada’s top literary prize, the Governor-General’s Literary Award. Among her activities at Topeka High, Linda Dickinson participated in Girls’ Pep, A. Representative Council and was a proctor

2015 THS DISTINGUISHED STAFF

Amy Swenson (Staff, History, THS 1914)
Her June, 1914 THS yearbook described Amy Swenson as being “smart,” occupation as being “quiet, ambition “we musn’t tell,” and favorite expression “well, dear me.” Miss Swenson obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Washburn College and later a Master’s in history from the University of Wisconsin. She began teaching at Linwood, Kansas, followed by stays at Peabody and Manhattan. Next, for two years, she taught at the old Lincoln Jr. High in Topeka for two years. Miss Swenson came to Topeka High in 1926, on the faculty as a history and government teacher until retirement in 1959; she passed away in November 1985. One of her students at Manhattan H.S. was Fred Seaton, future Secretary of the Interior under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The following THS Alumni were the 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees:

Carl Nuzman (THS 1948). Certified Professional Hydrologist and Engineer
Mr. Nuzman is a licensed professional engineer in 19 states with extensive experience in the areas of groundwater modeling, water well and well field design and construction, water well treatment and rehabilitation, and soil and groundwater remediation. He is known throughout the United States for his work in resolving water problems and still consults companies with water issues. Recognized in the K-State College of Engineering Hall of Fame. As a THS student he participated in Track and Vocational Electricity.
James Barton Phelps (THS 1934) Superior Court Judge of California
Judge Phelps earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and law degree from Harvard University. He was admitted to the state bar of California in December 1941. His father, Barton Phelps, was a key player in acquiring a USS Constitution spar that was put to use as the first THS flagpole in 1931. He was in the first class that attended THS in the present building all three years. As a student, he was a member of National Forensic League, Masque and Wig, Thespians, Trojan-Knights, Editor of the Sunflower and World, Student Council Officer, cast member of “The Quest,” “Captain Applejack,” and “Dulcy.”
Shaol Pozez (THS 1942) Business and Philanthropist
In 1956 Mr. Pozez and his cousin, Louis Pozez established what now is Payless ShoeSource, a chain of 5,000 shoe stores that allows its customers to self-select fashionable and affordable merchandise in the US, Canada and abroad. Their vision and concept changed the retail shoe industry in the past 50 years. Mr. Pozez was committed to philanthropy and was politically involved, supporting numerous politicians-both Democrats and Republicans. A supporter of the University of Arizona Judaic Studies program, the lecture series is now named in his honor – The Shaol Pozez Distinguished Lectureship Series.
Dick Patterson (Math Teacher, Coach, Associate Principal) Distinguished Staff
Richard “Dick” Patterson grew up on a farm east of Tecumseh and graduated from Highland Park High School and in education from Washburn in 1962. His first teaching and coaching experience was at Curtis Jr. High (1964-67) followed by his first stint at Topeka High (1967-69) teaching math, biology and physical education as well as head wrestling coach. For a year (1969-70) Dick taught at the newly opened Shawnee Mission Northwest H.S. before returning to THS (1970-75). This time, besides teaching math, he served as head football coach revamping the program (e.g., two teams defeated ancient foe, the Lawrence Lions). After a spell as Vice Principal of Washburn Rural H.S. (1975-83), Patterson again returned to Topeka High as Associate Principal (1983-94) where he assisted the newly established Topeka High Historical Society. Then he had a tour of duty as Assistant Principal and then Principal of Lawrence High (1994-2003) when that community underwent expansion with a second high school. Since that time he has enjoyed several educational responsibilities including work with Highland Park H.S. and being Headmaster of Topeka Collegiate School. Regardless, Dick will always be a Trojan – if for no other reason than his wife Martha was the THS nurse and daughters both THS graduates.
Larry Lonard (Russian, Social Studies) Distinguished Staff
Native of Valley Falls, Kansas, Larry Lonard graduated with honors from Emporia State University in 1966, majoring in Russian and German. He then spent a year at the University of Wisconsin, a graduate fellowship, and taught German at a Wisconsin high school, 1967-68. Returning to Kansas Lonard obtained a Master of Arts degree in Russian language and literature from KU. From 1973 to 2005 he offered four levels of Russian at Topeka High. He also taught AP European History, World Literature, Western Civilization and German. He oversaw (1980-98) a sister school exchange program with School #62 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Involved in numerous programs relating to Russian culture (e.g., Summer Fulbright Program to Siberia, 1998) the Russian Ministry of Culture and Russian Embassy recognized Lonard in 2010 “for contribution to the study of Russian language and culture in the USA”. In 1995 he was a consultant for Topeka’s Treasures of the Czars Exhibit. Both his son and daughter are Topeka High graduates.

The following THS Alumni were the 2013 Hall of Fame Inductees:

Norton Belknap (THS 1943). Chemical Engineer and Business Executive
Graduating in 1943, the Topeka High ‘Honor T’ recipient would soon enter World War II. He became a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Air Force serving as a navigator on B-29s. After the war, he completed his education in chemical engineering, earning his Bachelor and Master’s degrees from MIT. He then joined Standard Oil, which is now Exxon. He quickly rose up in the ranks with executive positions in various foreign posts: Japan, Australia, and Europe. From 1979 to 1982 Mr. Belknap was Senior Vice President, Exxon International. Equally impressive are his credentials with New York and American cultural icons: President of the Paul Taylor Dance Co. (1983-2009), and Managing Director of Carnegie Hall (1983-1988) during its $50 million restoration.
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Robert Dolgoff, M.D. (THS 1960). Psychiatrist and Medical Volunteer
Topeka High activities were typical (debate, Boy’s Pep, Key Club) with one unique first; Dr. Dolgoff was Topeka High’s first A.F.S. student to study abroad, in France. College honors include Magna Cum Laude in English Literature from Harvard (1964) and Phi Beta Kappa followed with a medical degree, also from Harvard. After psychiatric residency in New York, Dr. Dolgoff moved to California, eventually becoming Chief Psychiatrist, Berkeley Therapy Institute (1978 – 2001) and then the Institute’s Medical Director (2001 – present). In 1990 he and another physician were invited to Laos to meet clinicians in that country. Seeing needs there, upon his return to America he sent textbooks, journals, and medications to Laos to bring them up-to-date. Out of this endeavor he established the non-profit, all-volunteer Doctor to Doctor program assisting medical facilities across the globe.
Judy Stuenkel Soule (THS 1958). Educator and Community Activist
A Topeka High “over achiever,” Judy Stuenkel’s activities list in the back of the 1958 Sunflower goes on and on: A.F.S. Council, Thespians Sec. –  Treas., Senior Class Sec. –  Treas., plus two telling clubs: Future Teachers and Math Club. She attended Washburn University and began teaching mathematics at USD 501 in 1963. After a brief period as a substitute teacher, she resumed full time at Topeka High in 1976, becoming Chairman of the Math Dept. in 1978, a position held until retirement in 2001. The classroom hasn’t been the only part of her life; Mrs. Soule has been actively involved with Junior League of Topeka, Brewster Place Retirement Center Board of Directors, Topeka Symphony, ERC, United Way of Topeka; and the Topeka High School Historical Society and Friends of the Topeka High School Library. She is especially busy with the Washburn University Alumni Assn., serving as President in 1990-91.
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Dorothy Jones Greer (English and Journalism). Distinguished Staff Award
Born in Topeka in 1900, Dorothy Jones graduated from Topeka High in 1917 and four years later from Washburn College. She began her teaching career at Abilene High School but soon thereafter married William Greer and moved to Chicago. Returning to Topeka, Mrs. Greer taught English and Journalism, advisor to the THS World and Sunflower, from 1953 to 1965. Next, for five years she was a journalism professor at Washburn University. In 1970, Mrs. Greer moved to Estes Park, Colorado, where she spent the rest of her life, passing away in 2004 at the age of 104. Among her honors: induction into the Kansas State Press Association Hall of Fame for scholastic journalism, National Journalism Teacher of the Year (1962), and being acclaimed “one of twelve highest contributors to the field of Scholastic Journalism over the past 50 years” (1974).
Hazel Fleischer Lingo (English). Distinguished Staff Award
Hazel Fleischer graduated from Seaman Rural High School and then Washburn College, later receiving her Master’s from KU in 1957. During the 1930s and 1940s she taught at various rural and small town Kansas high schools before a brief stint as an instructor at Washburn. She married Robert Lingo, a civil engineer, in 1940. Mrs. Lingo then became an English teacher at Topeka High, from 1951 to 1974. Upon retirement the Lingos entered a new phase as Topeka philanthropists with Ward-Meade Park and the Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library being two major beneficiaries. The stone barn at Ward-Meade is named for them, The Lingo Livery Stable; whereas the library’s rotunda, its chief architectural feature, honors their memory. She passed away in 1998.
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The following THS Alumni were the 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees:

Margaret Hazard Beers (THS 1948). Community Activist.
Mrs. Beers’ T.H.S. activities foreshadowed her involvement in Topeka charitable activities: Representative Council, Senior Girl’s Council and Treasurer Red Cross Council. The list of local organizations would fill pages and includes the Junior League of Topeka (Pres., 1968-69); Topeka Association for Retarded Citizens; Community Resources Council; Family Service & Guidance Center Board of Directors; Sheltered Living, Inc.; and organizer of the Festival of Trees. Married to Topeka retailer Ray Beers, Jr., she taught business courses at Topeka High from1952-54.
Paul Ebel (THS 1958). Engineer.
Befitting an engineering graduate of Rice University and currently the Senior Associate in the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia, Mr. Ebel was a member of the Science and Math Clubs at Topeka High – less expectedly he was a Thespian in “Charley’s Aunt,” “Anastasia,” and “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” From 1963 to 1970 he served in the Navy as a Lt. Commander and Chief Engineering Officer aboard a nuclear submarine. Since then, he has focused on nuclear security, lecturing and writing numerous papers on the subject.
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Brent Kington (THS 1953). Artist and Metalsmith.
One rarely thinks of artist and football player as the same person. In the case of Mr. Kington, one can, having been an end on the 1952 Trojan squad and a member of the track team (also member of the “T” Club). However, Art became his vocation – in particular jewelry, metal work, and design – inspired by Topeka High art instructor Fayeben Wolfe. He received his B.A. from KU and Master of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Today he is Professor Emeritus of the School of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University. Mr. Kington has had numerous exhibits and has works in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Sabatini gallery at the Topeka Library, and the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution.
Minnie Stewart (1902). Educator
Were not for Mathematics teacher Miss Stewart, Kansas might not have been able to boast of “native” son as President of the United States! Her T.H.S. class prophecy predicted that by 1925 she would have graduated from 16 Colleges! Actually, she was an alumnus of Washburn with a Master’s degree from Columbia. Beginning her Math career at Abilene H.S., one of her pupils was Dwight D. Eisenhower whom she tutored for his West Point entrance exam. Afterwards she taught for 40 years at Topeka High and then another three at KU and two at Washburn. Miss Stewart served as President of the Kansas Teachers of Mathematics Assn. in 1929 & 1930. (deceased)
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Fayeben Williams Wolfe (Faculty).
Mrs. Wolfe grew up in Smith Co., Kansas, graduating from Smith Center H.S. She briefly attended the Florida Art Academy but concluded her studies at Washburn and ultimately received a Master’s degree from the
University of Kansas in 1947. Mrs. Wolfe taught in the Topeka Public Schools from 1935 to 1960 (after T.H.S. she taught art at Roosevelt Jr. High). She helped organize the State Federation of Art and developed the Art Department at the Kansas Free Fair, serving as its superintendent for 20 years. Among her students is Hall of Fame inductee L. Brent Kington for whom she assisted in obtaining a scholarship to a summer art program at KU. (dec.)

 


Michael Miller (THS ’80)
Medical researcher. A National Honor Society member at THS, Miller participated in the Trojan and stage bands, playing sax, and Model U.N. In debate, he and his partner Dana Ault were 6A state champions and qualified for Nationals. In 1986 he received his B.A. in Microbiology (Departmental Honors) from the University of Kansas and PhD. in 1991 from Harvard University, Division of Medical Sciences. Working at several prestigious laboratories, among them the Hughes Medical Institute and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies at La Jolla (1993-97), he has been with the Merck Research Laboratories since 1997. Currently Miller is Directer of the Department of Antiviral Research at Merck. He is also author, or co-author of 60+ journal articles and papers. His team at Merck discovered Isentress™ which is an HIV-1 integrase inhibitor which won them in 2008 Prix Galien USA award, the highest accolade in pharmaceutical research and equivalent to a Nobel Prize.
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Robert Ward (1944)
Engineer, scientist. An Honor T recipient and Student Council alternate at Topeka High, in contrast to that seriousness Ward was active in theatre playing Normal Peel in Masque & Wig play The Fighting Peels. His senior year he was vice president of the Thespians; however, he was able to graduate early in February. Entering Yale University in March, 1944, Ward then enlisted in the Navy late that fall. Returning to Yale on G.I. Bill, he graduated from the Engineering School Magna cum Laude with his degree in electrical engineering (1949). His PhD is from Standford University (1963). Ward’s research has focused on missile guidance systems and communications; he worked at the Lockheed Research and Development Division from 1963 to retirement in 1993. Currently he enjoys part-time status as a consulting scientist at Lockheed; he has four patents to his credit and has written or co-written 25 technical articles. Bob Ward has four children.
Thomas W. Williamson (1911)
Architect. Unfortunately, little is known about Thomas Williamson’s student life when he attended THS in 1907. After Topeka High he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in architecture. Returning to Topeka, Williamson began work in the state architect’s office in 1911 and then opened his own practice the following year. By the 1920’s he had risen to the ranks as one of the city’s leading architects with numerous important commissions including the new First Methodist Church (1922), Mulvane Art Museum (1924), and the Jayhawk Hotel and Theatre (1926). His firm came to specialize in public and school buildings; among them is Topeka Roosevelt, Boswell, and Crane Jr. High Schools and both Monroe and Sumner elementary schools of Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision. His crowning achievement, of course, was Topeka High School in 1930-31. He died in the 1970’s.
Don B. Pollom (1939)
Distinguished Trojan. Don Pollom was the quintessential BMOC (Big Man On Campus) at Topeka High; King of the All-School Party, letterman in football and track, All-State halfback in 1938, National Honor Society, etc. On top of that, he set a national high school track and field record in the 200-yard low hurdles. He continued his winning ways at KU and in 1940 was both a running back and punter for the Jayhawks. After his junior year, Pollom enlisted in the Naval Air Corps (1942) earning his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Assigned to a carrier in the Pacific, he took off in his F4U Corsair on February 3, 1944, but was not heard from again. Listed as “missing in action,” he presumably crashed at sea – a Trojan who had been destined for a great future.

Jean Bass

Distinguished Staff, Art. A native of Kansas City, MO., Gloria “Jean” Ison graduated from Southwest Missouri State in January, 1964. Since there were no jobs teaching high school art in mid year, she took a position at a three-room grade school near Richland. Soon afterwards, she applied for a Topeka High position, obtaining her contract the day of her interview and before the District had received her transcript. Her first year in 1964-65, Ison taught two classes at Roosevelt Jr. High and the remainder of the day at Topeka High. In 1965 she married fellow artist and T.H.S. graduate James Bass (‘51), a prominent Kansas sculptor with many works found in Topeka. Specializing in weaving and fiber art, Jean Bass has had numerous local commissions, among them the First Congregational and Methodist churches of Topeka, and exhibitions at various galleries including the Mulvane, Topeka Public Library, Wichita Art Museum, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska, and so forth. She retired in 2002 and passed away March 15, 2011. She and her husband had two children.
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Bernice Boyles

Distinguished Staff, Mathematics. Born on a farm near Rossville, upon graduating the 8th grade in rural school Miss Boyles obtained a certificate for teaching in country schools – a practice possible in the early 1900s. Therefore, she taught grades one through eight at several Shawnee Co. one-room schools and Silver Lake elementary before receiving her AB degree from KU. After serving a year in the former Quincy Jr. High in North Topeka, Miss Boyles joined the Topeka High mathematics faculty in 1921. Retiring in 1956, she immediately became involved in establishing the Topeka Science Fair for area students. For this activity Miss Boyles was recognized as the 1957 Topeka Woman of the Year. She died at age 86 in 1976.

 

Click here for a complete listing of the Topeka High School Hall of Fame inductees