2015 Lifetime Ceremony


TAC's Fourth Annual Reception - 2015

Third Annual Lifetime Achievement Ceremony

Saturday 1-3 p.m., September 26th, in the Camelot Room, Olney

Saturday, September 26th, the high school alumni organizations of Tiger Pride Alumni Association (TPAA) and the Tiger Alumni Center (TAC), celebrated the lifetime achievements of eight distinguished ERHS employees and alumni in a ceremony held at the Holiday, Camelot Room, Olney, Illinois.

Friends, former students and guests greeted and congratulated this year’s recipients.  Past school district employees were nominated and elected by vote of TAC members.  The recipients receiving this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award (LTA) are Clairbel Benson, Bernie Edwards, Amy Fletcher, Margaret Griffin, Lee Grubb, Fred Noerenberg, and Marshall Provines.

About one hundred Tiger Alumni Center members voted, and those voting represented a broad range of the center’s membership.   While last year’s members nominated, by election, the candidates with the administrators selecting recipients from the nomination list, this year’s voters did both.   They not only nominated candidates in an earlier election, but also voted, and thus, selected the honored LTA listed above.   

Of course, as in past years, the total nominated exceeded the number to be honored this year.  The members in the nomination election, also nominated Les Purdy, Janet Everett, Arrah Jean Shumaker, Zeta Hatch, and Marilyn Holt.  The administrators of TAC and PRIDE are pleased with the enthusiasm of the voting members even if these educators, while worthy, were beyond the limited number of awards to be granted this year.  The members are encouraged to honor them again next year by voting for them again.

Two alumni recipients were honored with the “Founder’s Award.” They were Frank Wagner (Class of 1965) and Tom Weber (Class of 1964).  Richard Williams, founder to both the Tiger Alumni Center (TAC) and the Tiger Pride Alumni Center (TPAA), created this division of the Lifetime Achievement awards program after last year’s ceremony. 


Judy Walker Presenter


July Hill Walker (Class of 1964), TAC administrator, Tiger Pride Alumni Association Director, and former ERHS English teacher, presided.   She was assisted by event committee member Clarence "Smitty" Smith (Class of 1960), TAC administrator andTiger Pride Alumni Association Director.



Clarence “Smitty” Smith, Presenter



Honored Alumni


Richard Williams (Class of 1960), founder of TAC and TPAA, announced the first-ever “Founder’s Lifetime Achievement Awards” to Frank Wagner and Tom Weber.   Clarence Smith presented the awards.


Frank Wagner: (Class of 1965) Frank is a partner in the law firm of Schiff Hardin in New York, NY.  He graduated from the University of Illinois and Harvard Law School.  In 2013 and 2014 he was named a New York Metro Super Lawyer.  He continues to practice construction law: helping owners, developers, contractors and design professionals resolve contract disputes arising from construction projects.  He donated his services to Richard’s Tiger alumni efforts by completing the legal steps that resulted in the 501(c)3 for the Tiger Pride Alumni Association.


Tom Weber: (Class of 1964) Tom is a retired attorney in Olney IL.  He graduated from law school in 1972 and returned to Olney to practice.  He and his wife were co-founders of Big Brothers/Big Sisters in Olney.  He has also been active in many community organizations giving his time and energy to help others.  Tom has always been an inspiration to all who have had the fortune of being around him.  He donated his services to Richard’s tiger alumni efforts by completing the legal steps that resulted in the new Tiger Pride Alumni Association.



Honored East Richland (now Richland County) School District Employees / Educators

Daughter Anne (Benson) Franklin For Mrs. Benson

Claribel Benson:  She was a retired English teacher (1942-1945, 1951-1952, and 1955-1979) and a member of First United Methodist Church in Olney, and the NFSA class, PEO, and Retired Teacher's Association



Son Richard For Bernie Edwards

Bernie Edwards:  He was a long-time elementary teacher and basketball coach.  He also served on the Olney City Council.


Judy Whitaker, Head Librarian of Olney Public Library, For Amy Fletcher

Amy Fletcher:  Legendary kindergarten teacher who started and ran the summer reading programs and later was a librarian at the Olney Carnegie Library.



Clarence Smith and Judy Walker For Margaret Griffin

Margaret Griffin:  Former French/English teacher (1936-1939 and 1957-1972) and an elder in the Presbyterian Church.



Lee Grubb’s Nieces For Lee Grubb

Lee Grubb:  (Class of 1948) District Maintenance worker who spent his entire career at East Richland.  He knew where every pipe, wire, and cubbyhole was in the buildings.



Paul, Jane, and Mary For Fred Noerenberg

Fred Noerenberg: He was elementary and junior high school band director for the entire East Richland School District for a period of 31 years before retiring in 1977.  He will always be remembered by generations for the organ music he provided at Beal's Skating Rink. He was a member of First Church of Olney. He was a member of Cummins Municipal Band. He organized and directed the Olney Central College String Ensemble for more than 20 years. He was a 32nd Degree Mason, MSA, Scottish Rite Consistory in Danville and a member of Olney Rotary Club for more than 55 years, where he was club pianist. He was a World War II U.S. Army veteran and a member of American Legion and American Guild of Organists.


Retired Principal Ted Beagle For Marshall Provines

Marshall Provines: He was a retired math teacher and assistant principal at ERHS. He was a member of Eureka Church of Christ. He was a member of American Legion, a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army and a member of Retired Teachers Association.  Olney Tiger fans will remember seeing Marshall at every athletic event, whether at home or away.



Remembering Others Nominated for 2015



In addition to her formal presentations to this year’s Honorees, Judy Walker reminded the audience of those nominated who didn’t get elected this year.  She spoke about Jan Everette (Class of 1970), who was in attendance; Mrs. Shumaker, whose daughter Margot Shumaker Steinhart (Class of 1965) was also in the room; and also Les Purdy, Mrs. Hatch, and retired East Richland School District Superintendent, Mrs. Holt.

Janet McKinney Everette:  Works for Richland County Housing for those in need, championed a recycling program, is very active in her church, helps build homes for the needy, participates in city cleanup days, provides a support system for OCC students, organizes Class of 77 reunions, is involved in all types of fundraising, and is the current treasurer of the Tiger Pride Alumni Association.

Arrah Jean Shumaker: Mrs. Shumaker was a history teacher for East Richland School District for more than 40 years. She was a member of First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, Olney Bicentennial Committee, DAR, 50-plus-years member of Delta Kappa Gamma, Beta Sigma Phi, 50-plus-years member VFW Auxiliary, and Toastmasters

Les Purdy:  Mr. Purdy was hired as Superintendent of Schools at East Richland Community Unit #1 in Olney and remained in that position until his retirement in 1978. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Olney. He was also a 50-plus-years member of the American Legion.  His leadership brought about many new school buildings in the district.

Zeta Hatch:  Former English teacher at the East Richland Middle School who was very popular with her students. 

Marilyn Holt: Marilyn Holt has dedicated her life to education for over forty-five years. She provides endless opportunities to faculty, staff and students to be their best on a daily basis. She has led her school district with a passion and great enthusiasm. She inspires by example and challenges all of us to do our best!



Audience Participation

During the program, audience members were invited to share their memories of those honored as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.  And many did.  Among them included Mr. Beagle (Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, 2013). He is pictured below near the end of the program, speaking to us all.   Knowing well the other school district employees honored in the LTA ceremony, he shared bits of history of Claribel Benson, Bernie Edwards, Amy Fletcher, Margaret Griffin, Lee Grubb, Fred Noerenberg, and Marshall Provines -- as well as Mrs. Shumaker, Mr. Purdy, Mrs. Hatch, and Mrs. Holt.  He spoke from the heart.


Ted Beagle, Retired Principal and 2013 Lifetime Achievement Honoree, shares memories of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Honoreees.



Closing Activities: TPAA Tiger Art Quilt


Artist Mary Alice Resor Hart -- Donor

Closing activities included the selling of raffle tickets to those interested in possessing the second tiger art quilt that artist and schoolmate Mary Alice Resor Hart (Class of 1960) had donated to Pride to help raise operational funds for the new Tiger Pride Alumni Association.

Also present were most of the officers of TPAA who were selling shirts, one model just like the one worn by Mr. Smith above.  Pictured below are Janice Everette, TPAA Treasurer; Kellie Cook, TPAA President; and Lisa Hemrich, TPAA Vice-President.  Not pictured, but present, was Nancy Rumsey, TPAA Director.


Signing In:  Janice Everette, TPAA Treasurer; Kellie Cook, TPAA President; and Lisa Hemrich, TPAA Vice-President


Tiger Pride is an Illinois corporation, based in Olney, with the goals of serving East Richland School District employees and students and alumni.  It was established this past August 24th, 2014.  It arrives after a two-year preparation period during which Tiger Alumni Center (website erhsalumni.net) founder Richard Williams worked with ERHS alumni attorneys Tom Weber (Class of 1964) and Frank Wagner (Class of 1965).  Assisting Mr. Williams were Mary Noerenberger Cummings (Class of 1970), Nancy Huchel Rumsey (Class of 1966) and Judy Hill Walker (Class of 1964).


The directors of TPAA are Kellie Bussard Cook, President; Lisa Hough Hemrich, Vice-President; Janet McKinney Everette, Treasurer; Brenda Stallard, TPAA Webmaster; and board members Nancy Huchel Rumsey, Clarence "Smitty” Smith, Judy Hill Walker and Richard Ray Williams.