LHS Athletics Contact:
101 Blue Pride Dr.
Lawton, MI 49065
Lawton Athletics Hall of Fame Classes
The inaugural Lawton Hall of Fame class recognizes the accomplishments of several outstanding individuals including David Stephayn, Frank Sipes, Charles Gibson, Robert Packer, Ver Hitchcock, and the State Championship Wrestling Teams from 1985 - 1987.
Charles GibsonGibson graduated from Lawton High School in 1927 and the University of Michigan in 1931. His service to the Lawton Community Schools included that of teacher, coach, and administrator. His education career was interrupted by WWII during which he fought at the Battle of the Bulge and was captured as a prisoner of war. He returned to Lawton and became the district’s longest serving Superintendent holding the position from 1947-1963.
David StephaynStephayn is a 1961 graduate of Lawton High School and one of the school’s most accomplished athletes having played basketball for Western Michigan University. He also served in many other capacities including basketball coach, school board member, and Little League President. Stephayn played many volunteer roles and was a member of the school’s football game chain gang for over 40 years.
Frank SipesSipes served the Lawton Community Schools as a business education teacher and coach. As the boys and girls varsity track coach from 1982-2007, Sipes compiled a remarkable record that included 44 conference championships and 13 regional championships. His boy’s team had a streak of 139 consecutive victories in conference, dual meet completion. The girl’s had a similar streak of 66 consecutive dual victories.
Ver HitchcockVer Hitchcock served the Lawton Community Schools for many years as Head Cook and Food Service Director. Her employment began in the late 1940’s and before her first retirement in 1976. She returned to work in the district’s food service department for several years after her “retirement”. Ver is revered by all who knew her as an outstanding cook and as someone who cared deeply for the well-being of all children. She will be recognized posthumously.
Robert PackerPacker graduated from Lawton High School with the Class of 1953 and received his degree from Michigan State University in 1959. He returned to Lawton where he worked for Packer’s Canning Company, a business formed by his parents. Now the Honee Bear Canning Company, Bob rose to become the Company President and remains Chairman of the Board. He also served as a member of the school board, Van Buren County Commission and Lawton Lions Club. The generous donation from the Packer family allowed Lawton High School to complete construction of Bob and Carole Sports Complex.
1985-1987 State Champion Wrestling Teams and CoachesAlso joining the Hall of Fame are the Lawton High School Wrestling Teams from 1985, 1986, and 1987. Under the direction of Coaches Stan DeVoir and Mike Garvey, these teams won three consecutive MHSAA State Championships thus establishing a long tradition of wrestling excellence in Lawton.
Lawton Community Schools proudly announces the 2016 Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations to the following individuals, teams, and families.
Bill and Jeanne CronenwettBill and Jeanne Cronenwett have supported Lawton Schools programs for over 70 years attending countless numbers of student activities over that span. The family history in the area goes back to 1865. In 1888, the family established the first block of commercial grapes which have been a staple of the local agricultural economy since that time. Very soon the 7th generation of the Cronenwett family will be attending Lawton Community Schools. Bill and Jeanne have participated in numerous volunteer activities supporting our schools and community.
Vaughn CornishThe late Vaugh Cornish graduated from Lawton High School in 1929 where he was a standout student and track and field athlete. Vaughn was also a graduate of Western State Teachers College and taught in three other school districts before returning to his hometown to serve as a science teacher for many years. His community contributions were many including service as President of the Board of Education. Each year the top male senior athlete is recognized with the Vaughn Cornish award.
Marilyn HolladayMarilyn Holladay taught at Lawton High School from 1970 - 1982. During her tenure she was instrumental in establishing the first volleyball, basketball, and softball programs for female athletes. Under her guidance, both the basketball and volleyball teams earned district championships. She is remembered fondly by her former students and athletes. Each year the top female athlete is recognized with the Marilyn Holladay award.
Charlie MaxwellCharlie Maxwell, the Sunday Slugger, is a graduate of the Lawton High School Class of 1944 where he was a standout in baseball and basketball. Charlie's career is best known for his many seasons with the Detroit Tigers during which he led the team in home runs three times and was also a two-time All Star. Lawton is very proud to call Charlie one of our most accomplished alumni.
Cross Country teams of 1966 and 1967The Cross Country teams of 1966 and 1967, coached by the late Gene Bednarowski, earned back-to-back MHSAA Class C - D state championships.
Lawton Community Schools proudly announces the 2017 Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations to the following individuals, teams, and families.
John and Zella ReidLifelong resident of Lawton, John graduated from Lawton High School in 1929 where he was a standout 3-sport athlete. Zella was a member of the Class of 1927. She received her teaching degree from Western Normal School and spent many years as a Lawton Community Schools teacher. Both John and Zella were well respected as local business owners and active member of the community. A scholarship in their honor has bee awarded to a deserving graduate of Lawton High School for many years. The Reids are being inducted posthumously.
Robert and Marjorie HowardMr. and Mrs. Howard were long-time residents of Lawton, dedicated school employees and active in the community as well. Marjorie graduated as valedictorian of the Class of 1942 before a 29 year career as a secretary for several administrators. Bob served the district for 15 years as a custodian and was active in many civic groups including the American Legion, Masonic Lodge, Fire Department, and Cub Scounts. The Howards are being inducted posthumously.
James HuntLawton High School Class of 1963. Attended Western Michigan University where he earned his BS in Agriculture in 1967. Following graduation, Jim enlisted in the Marine Corps and attended Navy flight school. In 1969 he was deployed to Vietnam where he flew over 850 combat missions as the pilot of a Huey helicopter. After earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and serving for nearly 27 years, Jim retired from the Marine Corps in 1994.
1990 Wrestling TeamClass D State Champions. Led by individual champions Sonny Martinez and Bryan Hammel, the Blue Devils earned their 4th state title in 6 years with a 31 - 25 victory over Mendon.
Lawton Community Schools proudly announces the 2018 Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations to the following individuals, teams, and families.
Earl Lawson - Community Leader & WWII Veteran
Lifelong resident and supporter of Lawton athletic teams, Earl graduated from Lawton High School in 1943. Below are Earl's accomplishments:
- LHS Class of 1943
- Sergeant - United States Air Force - Waist Gunner of B17 Bomber
- 40-year member of Lawton Fire Department
- Founded Lawson Oil Company in 1964
- Lifelong supporter of Lawton athletic teams along with wife Dolores
Bill Marks - Outstanding Athletic Achievement
- LHS Class of 1959
- Earned 15 Varsity Letters and All-Conference honors in Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Track
- Pitcher and Shortstop on undefeated 1959 Baseball Team
- Signed professional baseball contract with the Washington Senators
- Varsity Coach in 7 sports over 37-year teaching career
Donald Russeau - Director of BandsMr. Russeau directed the Lawton High School Band program in the 1950's. Under his leadership the band had great participation and was known for outstanding performances. Mr. Russeau embraced his role and strived to provide his students with memorable experiences. These included marching places such as Chicago, Waldo Stadium at Western Michigan University, and Michigan Stadium at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
2001 Cross Country Team
- MHSAA Division IV Boys - State Champions
- Regional Champions
- Lead by Coach Kris Bullock
Lawton Community Schools proudly announces the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations to the following individuals, teams, and families.
David T. Cornish
War Hero, Community Leader, Dedicated Blue Devil
David T. Cornish graduated from Lawton High School in 1966. In 1968, he was drafted into the United States Army serving as an infantryman in Vietnam. During his tour, David was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” device for valor.
David’s military career would continue as a member of the United States Army Reserves rising to the rank of Sergeant Major before retiring in 1996 after 26 years of service to our country.After Vietnam, David started a 41-year career in the banking industry becoming Branch Manager of Fifth Third Bank in Lawton.
David was also very dedicated to community service serving as President and Fire Board Chairman of the Lawton Village Council for 27 years. He was also a proud and active member of the Lawton Lions Club for 33 years.
Remaining a Blue Devil through and through, David supported his own children’s endeavors while volunteering to work the clock and scoreboard at football games for many years.
Teacher, Coach, Friend to All
Christine has provided exemplary service and leadership to Lawton Community Schools since 1989. She has been recognized as WMU’s Woman of the Year, the Michigan Physical Education Teacher of the Year, and a Van Buren County Education Hero. Her character, honesty and integrity are unmatched.
"There are women who make things better…simply by showing up. There are women who make things happen. There are women who make their way. There are women who make a difference. And women who make us smile. There are women who do not make excuses. Women who cannot be replaced. There are women of wit and wisdom who – through strength and courage – make it through. There are women who change the world every day."
- Ashley Rice, author
Chancy E. Lewis
Editor, Lawton Leader Newspaper
“You have fought valiantly for the best
interests of Lawton industries and business,
with far less reward than you deserve.
You have cherished the ambition to make
Lawton a more thriving, enterprising and
progressive town – the town of your dreams.”
- Don Cochrane, colleague, 1954 quote acknowledging Mr. Lewis’ fiftieth year in publishing
Marion June McCauslin
June (Hammel) McCauslin graduated from Lawton High School in 1940. She remained a lifelong resident of the Lawton community with many descendants also making Lawton their home.
An avid supporter of her children and grandchildren, June would attend school activities and sporting events well into her eighties.
June worked locally at Lawson Oil Company for over thirty years. She may have been best known for her skills as a seamstress and is remembered for sewing cheerleading and band uniforms as well as costumes for the Kindergarten Circus and Lions Club events.
In 1991, at the age of 69, June became the first official female member of the local Lions Club earning the nickname “Sarge” while embracing the club’s motto – “We Serve.”
- June passed away in 2016 at the age of 94 leaving a legacy of service above self.
Lawton Community Schools proudly announces the 2020 Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations to the following individuals, teams, and families.
Anne Taylor Coombs
LHS Class of 1949, pillar of community, public library employee
Anne is a member of the LHS Class of 1949 where she was instrumental in the changing of the school’s mascot from Grape Belters to Blue Devils. A true pillar of the community, Anne is being recognized in the category of community service that is highlighted by a 37 year career with the Lawton Public Library in addition to many other community contributions.
Anne's family includes her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, many of whom are Lawton alumni or current students.
Teacher, coach, bus driver, high school principal, athletic director, school board president
Few school district employees ever perform the number of roles in which Wally has served over his 49 years of service to the District. His career began as a math teacher and football coach in 1971. Other roles have included softball coach, bus driver, high school principal, and athletic director. Since “retiring” in 2010, Wally has continued to serve as a volunteer math tutor and is currently the Board of Education President.
Wally's family includes his wife Connie and his children who are all Lawton alumni as well as grandchildren who are LCS students.
Siri, Jens, Chelsea, & Charles Berdahl
LHS graduates, military, international, medical, and law excellence
The Berdahl’s are being inducted as a sibling group for their outstanding career achievements.
Following graduation in 2000, the eldest sibling Siri Roma received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and French before earning a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. She has studied and worked internationally and now serves as a librarian with the U.S. Army.
Jens is a member of the LHS Class of 2002. He received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy where he began pilot training. He has been deployed on several combat and patrol missions and has since become a test pilot in the U.S. Air Force where he has flown over twenty different aircraft types.
Chelsea Carlson graduated from LHS in 2004 before earning Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemistry and French. She also studied and served in West Africa before eventually earning her M.D. from Northwestern University. She is currently a Family Physician in Boise, Idaho.
The youngest of the four siblings, Charles, is a member of the LHS Class of 2007. While an undergraduate at Bowdoin College, Charles developed an interest in the Middle East including Lebanon where he worked as part of a peace building effort for youth. He has since graduated from the University of Michigan and is now working as an attorney in Washington D.C.
The parents of this outstanding group are Don and Louise Berdahl of Lawton.
Lawton Community Schools proudly announces the 2022 Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations to the following individuals, teams, and families.
LHS Graduate, Teacher, Board Member, Active Member of the Lawton Community
Evon Slevatz was born and raised a proud resident of Lawton. She was a member of the Lawton High School Class of 1955. Evon began teaching History and English at Lawton High School in 1968 and was beloved by students. Evon was elected to the Lawton Community Schools Board of Education in 1972 and served for a total of nineteen years. She was the first female president of the Lawton Board of Education. In 1994, Evon and husband Richard Slevatz established a scholarship for Lawton graduates. Evon and Richard were named Lawton Village Volunteers of the Year in 2005 for their continued contributions as active and giving members of the community and its activities.
Richard "Dick" Pfister
LHS Graduate, Teacher, Administrator Committed to Lawton
A lifelong Lawton resident, Dick entered kindergarten at the Lawton Rural Agricultural School in 1953. Dick, a 1966 graduate of Lawton High School, was named the top high school male athlete and received the Vaughn Cornish Award. As a student, Dick participated in basketball, cross country, football, track, and baseball. Dick served as class president and student council president. He also participated in band, and theatre, and was a member of the Varsity Club and homecoming court. While majoring in Industrial Education at Western Michigan University, Dick worked as a custodian and coach for Lawton Community Schools. Dick started teaching at Lawton in 1973 and was named High School Principal in 1999. He served six years as principal, retiring in 2005. Dick’s 52 years at Lawton show his deep commitment to his classmates, students, staff, and the Lawton community.
Dr. Daniel C. Pratley
Steward & Servant Leader in Education and the Lawton Community
Dan joined Lawton Community Schools in 1976. He served as Middle School Principal from 1976-1992 and Superintendent from 1992-2003. A lifelong learner and advocate for education, Dan earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Western Michigan University and his Doctorate Degree from Michigan State University. He served in roles for Western Michigan University, Ferris State University, Van Buren ISD, and Lewis Cass ISD, and supported districts across Michigan. Educational and community leadership and accolades include MASSP Executive Board and Region President, MASA Council Member and Region President, MASA Hall of Fame, Michigan Middle School Principal of the Year, Distinguished Administrator Award, Past President and Secretary of the Lawton Lions Club, Lion of the Year, and Lawton Community Volunteer of the Year. Dan was the proud voice of Lawton Athletics from 1977 to 2007.
Lawton Community Schools proudly announces the 2023 Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations to the following individuals and families.
LHS Graduate, Teacher, Founder of the Kindergarten Circus
Peggy was a member of the Lawton High School Class of 1956 and joined the district as a teacher in 1962. She served as a kindergarten teacher from 1962-1993. As a teacher, Peggy was a kind soul who loved her students. She had a heart for children and an amazing commitment to her students, our district, and our community. Peggy brought the circus with her to our district and Lawton has embraced the Kindergarten Circus and it is now a beloved and time honored tradition. The 2023 circus will be the 60th performance of the Lawton Kindergarten Circus. Mrs. Nicholas will forever be linked to Lawton and the Kindergarten Circus. The Kindergarten Circus will always be among the shared fond memories of all of the Kindergarten students of Lawton Community Schools for the last 60 years.
LHS Graduate, Student Athlete, Teacher, Coach
Craig was a 1979 graduate of Lawton Community Schools. He was the Valedictorian, a member of the student council, National Honor Society, yearbook staff, concert and marching band. As an athlete Craig excelled as a member of the cross country, track, and basketball teams earning various recognitions and honors. Craig attended Taylor University participating in basketball and track. Craig joined Lawton Community Schools as a teacher in 1983, teaching for 38 years providing excellent instruction and guidance as an English and Physical Education teacher. During his tenure Craig served as coach for cross country, volleyball, basketball and track, serving as an assistant track coach from 1986 - 2007. As a track coach he assisted the program while compiling a remarkable record that included 34 conference championships and 13 regional championships. The boy’s team had a streak of 139 consecutive victories in conference, dual meet completion. The girl’s had a similar streak of 60 consecutive dual victories.
Lewis "Buster" Turner
LHS Graduate, LCS Employee, School & Community "Go To" Guy
When the name “Buster” is used in Lawton it is synonymous with only one person. Lewis “Buster” Turner was a member of the 1970 Lawton graduating class and has been a dedicated employee serving our district for many years. Buster is a kind, committed, selfless person who has lived a life of service to the Lawton community. Buster is always willing to lend a helping hand and serves the people of our community in whatever capacity he is able. Buster has served as a volunteer fireman, assisted with the development of the Junior Fireman Program, assisted in countless projects including the Lawton Community Center, Kids Dream, the stadium concession stand, and other district projects. Nearly everyone from Lawton has benefited from something that Buster has been a part of, has been on a bus or hayride driven by Buster, has been at one of Buster’s pig roasts, or has had something repaired or worked on by Buster.
Colonel (ret) Carol Clair
LHS Graduate, Student Athlete, Exemplary Military Career in U.S. Army
Carol Clair was a 1977 graduate of Lawton Community Schools. Carol was class president, valedictorian, and a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council. Carol played on each of the inaugural female athletic teams at Lawton, participating in basketball, volleyball, track, and softball. In 1977, Carol was selected as the Most Outstanding Female Athlete and the first and only female winner of the Vaughn Cornish Award. Carol attended WMU on an ROTC scholarship and upon graduation was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Colonel Clair served over 26 years of active duty which included: Planning officer 2nd Infantry Division in Korea; Joint Task Force Bravo in Honduras; Company Commander for the 513th Transportation where her unit was awarded the Army Maintenance Excellence Award; Operation Vigilant Warrior in Kuwait; Bright Star Exercise in Egypt; Operation Joint Endeavor in the Balkans; and as a Battalion Commander, Hurricane disaster relief in Latin America and the Caribbean and the withdrawal of US Troops from Haiti and Panama. After 9/11 Colonel Clair transitioned to the planning and execution of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom: the invasion of Iraq. Colonel Clair has a highly decorated military career. She has been awarded the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.