The Knoxville East High School Alumni Association (KEHSAA) celebrated their alma mater’s 60th anniversary on June 16 at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Besides being a celebration of all East High School’s classes (1952-1968), this year was particularly special, because it was also the first induction of the KEHSAA Hall of Fame. Sixteen alumni were chosen in honor of their personal accomplishments and contributions to others.
The evening began with a delightful dinner catered by Rex Bradford Jones. The atmosphere was a mix of mutual respect and nostalgia as classmates chewed over the past and the present. Loretta Crowder, class of 1962, still lives in Knoxville and played a big part in organizing the event. “It’s hard to find something that wasn’t special about it (East High). It was small, close-knit. One of the reasons we’re doing this is it was too good to forget.”
Larry Leibowitz was entertaining and reverent with welcome and introductions. He took time out to honor and speak the names of classmates killed during Korea and Vietnam. Dr. Margie Le Coultre gave the invocation. The H-4 Quartet sang The National Anthem. County Mayor Tim Burchett came by and spoke warmly of familiarity and personal ties with the crowd. Austin East principal Benny Perry thanked the association for scholarships they have provided AE students.
Lucy E. Scroggie, Ph.D. (1953), was inducted posthumously for her prestigious career in chemistry. In 1974, Scroggie was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She was Governor Elect of the Tennessee District of Pilot International. Also inducted posthumously were Jerry “Ace” Miller(1957) and Charles “Bud” Lobetti (1958), Miller for his work with Golden Gloves Charities and Lobetti for his work with the East Tennessee Lupus Foundation. Lobetti was also recently nominated to be inducted in the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame.
Phyllis Bales Severance (1957) was the first inductee of the night to be present for the honor. Severance spoke fondly of her work with the East High choral department and stated she was “very humbled and very honored.” She was inducted for her lifelong commitment to community involvement including extensive work with the YWCA. Previously, Severance was named “Woman of the Year” by Fountain City Town Hall. Kyle “Buddy” Cruze (1952) was inducted for his legendary athletic career. Sara Buckner O’Meara (1952), Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Childhelp, was inducted for helping to put a national spotlight on the problem of child abuse.
The class of 1959 wrought four inductees. Bobby Denton was inducted for his lengthy list of accomplishments in broadcasting. Bill Denton, designer of Knoxville’s most recognizable landmark, the Sunsphere, was inducted for his many contributions to the architecture in East Tennessee. Sam Furrow has held a series of leadership positions in Knoxville which led to his induction including Chairman of the Knoxville Zoo, Leadership Knoxville, and Greater Knoxville United Way. Carolyn A. White Shorter was inducted for community involvement and her advocacy of public education.
1960 inductees include Richard Rader, an accomplished choreographer, Herman J. Saatkamp, JR., Ph.D., a brilliant biologist and professor of philosophy, and Arnold Schwarzbart, an internationally recognized Judaic artist. Edd Poore, class of 1962, was inducted for his dedication to education and to athletics. 1965 graduate Dr. Grazia “Pucci” Di Donato was an AFS exchange student from Ancona, Italy. She was inducted for her outstanding medical research. Sandra Mitchell Woods, class of 1966, was inducted for her outstanding work in education.
In the presence of so many accomplished, compassionate citizens, it is obvious the legacy of Knoxville’s East High School is a praiseworthy one. As they honor each other, let us all look to their examples and make the most of our lives by giving what gifts we’ve been given to the benefit of others.