The LeRoy High School Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to alumni of LeRoy High School who have distinguished themselves through achievement, service, and/or contributions to society. In addition, nominees must have graduated from or been enrolled at LHS at least 15 years ago. Posthumous nominations will be accepted.
The LeRoy High School Honorary Alumni Award will be presented to non-alumni of LeRoy High School who have distinguished themselves through service and/or contributions to any element of the LeRoy Schools. Nominees must be at least thirty-three (33) years of age when the nomination was made. Posthumous nominations will be accepted.
Nominations are accepted in March and the Induction is done in November as a part of the National Honor Society Induction.
HOF Class of 2014
I am a graduate of LeRoy High School class of 1988 and am currently an orthopedic surgeon and team physician for the University of Illinois, Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.
All of my primary education was completed at LeRoy. I was involved in the National Honor Society, participated in football, wrestling and track and was Valedictorian of the Class of 1988. I was fortunate to have been coached by the legendary Randy Bowman and Jim Zeleznik. I was a varsity wrestler all 4 years of high school. We were conference football champs my junior year and I received all conference honors my senior year. My high school education at LeRoy prepared me well for attending the University of Illinois. Advanced Biology with Jim Zeleznik and Calculus with Steve Epperson gave me a great background and English Composition from Sandy Straub helped me proficiency rhetoric my freshman year of college.
I graduated from the University of Illinois with a major in Biology and minor in Chemistry in 1992. I received Summa Cum Laude honors and was a Bronze Tablet member with my name among the list of top graduates from the college.
I attended Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO and received my MD in 1996. I graduated at the top of my class then matched an orthopedic residency in Madison, WI. I was selected as chief resident in my class for my final year of residency. I finished my orthopedic residency in 2001 and then completed a one year fellowship in sports medicine with Dr. James Andrews and Dr. William Clancy in Birmingham, AL.
I currently live in Mahomet, Il with my wife Amy and two children Thomas and Laura. Thomas is a senior in high school and enjoys football and track and plans to attend the University of Illinois with a goal of going to medical school. Laura is a freshman and is very active in musical theater and drama and has aspirations of being a Broadway performer one day.
HOF Class of 2014
I was born on April 9th, 1938, in Le Roy and grew up in the home here my daughter, Mary, and her family now live. My schooling was all done here in LeRoy, graduating in 1956.
The University of Illinois was my choice of colleges and I graduated
Summa Cum Laude in 1960. I received the Bronze Tablet award for academic
achievement as well as Phi Beta Kappa, Omega Tau Sigma, Phi Zeta
Honor's Day, and the U of I Scholarship Key. I received my DVM in 1962 graduating with the highest Straight A ever in that field. I had established
an academic record for the College of Veterinary Medicine at the university and was inducted into several academic associations. I initiated and co-chaired the first open house at the college of veterinary medicine.
In 1963, I purchased the Le Roy Veterinary Clinic and married Helen
Kearney from Le Roy. We have two children, Robert Bane, MD, of Mahomet and Mary Bane of Le Roy. Both graduated Bronze Tablet from the University of Illinois with a straight A grade point. Bob went on to earn a Fellowship in Orthopedic Surgery.
HOF Class of 2012
Kurt Bock graduated from Le Roy High School in 1971. At LHS, Kurt served as a class and student council president and ran cross-country. He was class valedictorian and a member of National Honor Society.
Kurt received a bachelor’s degree from the US Air Force Academy in 1975, a master of business administration from Southern Illinois University in 1984, and doctor of philosophy in business administration from St Louis University in 1994.
Kurt is the Chief Executive Officer of COUNTRY Financial headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois. COUNTRY is a large property casualty and life insurance company with operations in 17 states serving over 1,000,000 households. Prior to COUNTRY, Kurt served as Chief Operating Officer of Horizon Hobby in Champaign and Vice President of Finance and Treasurer of COUNTRY and Illinois Farm Bureau and Chief Executive Officer of the IAA Credit Union from 2003 to 2008. He was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2008.
From 1975 to 2003, Kurt served as an officer and pilot in the USAF attaining the rank of colonel. His service includes two tours with the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews AFB, Maryland where his units flew the Vice President, First Lady, the Cabinet and Congress. From 1996 to 2000, Kurt served in NATO Headquarters in Brussels. He is a graduate of Air War College.
Kurt and his wife, Carol, are parents to Jonathan and Rebecca and raised their family while living all across the United States and in Germany and Belgium. Le Roy will always be Kurt’s hometown.
HOF Class of 2011
Born and raised in Joliet, IL, Jim was a 1967 graduate of Joliet East High School. He received varsity letters in football and track. His senior year, he was named the MVP of the Kingsmen football team and garnered a Chicago Tribute “Knute Rockne Award”.
Jim graduated from ISU in 1971 with a BS in Education and his MS in Health Science from the U of I in 1976.
Jim and his wife Carol began his 33-year career in LeRoy in 1971 where he taught the Biological Sciences, and served as the Dean and AD. He served as Head Football Coach from 1979 until 2000. As head coach he was instrumental in developing one of the first and most successful athletic Co-Ops in Illinois. The LeRoy-Tri-Valley Football Co-Op lasted from 1988 thru 2001. The program earned 10 IHSA playoff appearances, 5 Conference Championships, a 3A State Final Runner-Up and a 14-0 2A State Championship team in 1996. He was named the 2000 Pantagraph “Coach of the Decade” and in 2001 was awarded the Bud Maynard “Coach of the Year”. The BNOA honored him by inducting him into their “Hall of Fame” in 2009. One of Jim’s proudest accomplishments was being selected by a committee of his peers to be inducted into the IHSFCA “Hall of Fame” in 2003.
Coaching LeRoy football is still a great source of pride for Jim. A fair and honest man, Jim was able to connect well with his students and fellow educators. He always felt honored to be a part of so many students’ lives and such a wonderful school district. He is and always will be a proud member of the Panther Nation.
Randy "Bo" Bowman
HOF Class of 2010
Born in Rockford, IL, in 1936, Coach Randy "Bo" Bowman was a coach, a teacher and an icon at LeRoy High School for 25 years. He taught driver's education, served as the school's athletic director and coached wrestling, football and track and field.
To his students, he was a mentor, friend and occasional father figure. He sincerely desired to help everyone excel. His tools were his whistle, his smile, his humor, his courage, his bark, his ruler and his devotion. He taught that if you put in the effort, anyone can be successful regardless of their skill level.
He also taught the value and camaraderie of teamwork and challenged his students to acquire discipline through extracurricular activities, particularly athletics. At times, that discipline helped his students graduate. He never gave up on any of them and was an exceptional role model. Today, his students credit him with helping them to become successful in the game of life.
He retired from coaching and teaching in 1991. Afterward, he continued to work for the school district as a bus driver. Several generations of LeRoy's youth benefited from his wise council and positive influence. LeRoy's city park is named in his honor, as is the school's annual wrestling tournament. He passed away in January 2009.
Coach Bo's record:
HOF Class of 2009
Thomas J. Pliura, M.D., J.D. is a 1975 graduate of Le Roy High School (LHS). He married his wife Pam in 1991, and they have four children, Natalie, Zeke, Cole and Zebulon. His children attend the Le Roy schools.
After graduating from LHS he attended both the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University (SIU), graduating from SIU with a B.S. in 1979. He enrolled in the University of Illinois, College of Medicine and graduated with a Medical Doctorate (M.D.) degree in 1983. After completing a rotating internship at the Baylor College of Medicine Residency program in Houston, Texas, he returned to Illinois and enrolled in the University of Illinois, College of Law, graduating with a Jurisprudence Doctorate (J.D.) degree in 1987.
Dr. Pliura is licensed to practice both medicine and law in the state of Illinois. He has practiced emergency medicine at hospitals throughout the state since 1984. He has practiced law in the state since 1987. His professional law practice concentrates heavily in the field of healthcare. He has been admitted to practice law in the state and federal courts and also before the United States Supreme Court.
Among other things, Dr. Pliura credits any successes he might have had in life to being raised in a small Midwestern community, with traditional conservative values and education. He has traveled literally around the world and he could opt to live anywhere in the country, yet he proudly chooses the Le Roy area as his home.
HOF Class of 2008
Thomas Newton Jr. is a 1985 graduate of LeRoy High School. His LHS days were full with school and community activities. He was a member of conference championship teams in football, baseball and track as well as the 1985 Regional basketball championship team.
He graduated with honors from Eastern Illinois University in 1989 with a BS in Zoology. He then moved to San Antonio, TX to begin 2 years of research in the study of HIV in nonhuman primates at The S.W. Foundation for Biomedical Research. He attended medical school at The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, graduating in 1995.
The next 6 years were spent at Indiana University Medical Center, completing a General Surgery Internship and Residency program. In 2001, he moved to Houston, TX for a Fellowship in Colon and Rectal Surgery with the University of Texas.
Dr. Newton joined the Colon and Rectal Clinic of Houston, which currently has 13 active surgeons, making it the second largest group of this specialty in the country. He is a clinical instructor of surgery with the University of Texas and is involved in the training of four colorectal surgeons each year. He specializes in minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer.
Newton is the past Chief of Surgery at Houston Northwest Medical Center and currently serves on the Executive Board of the ten thousand-member Harris County Medical Society.
Tom and his wife Kim have two daughters, Madison and Regan.
Class of 2008
Steven Epperson graduated from LeRoy High School in 1970. While a student at LHS, Epperson was very involved in athletics and earned all-conference honors in football, basketball, and baseball. He also met his future wife, Debbie Kimler, LHS’72.
After receiving a mathematics degree from Eureka College, Epperson returned to LeRoy as a teacher and coach. Epperson taught mathematics and science at LeRoy for 12 years and, during this time, also earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Illinois State University. Epperson left LeRoy in 1986 to teach mathematics at Uni High in Urbana and work on his doctorate at the University of Illinois. After 4 years at Uni High, Epperson was named Principal of Tremont Jr-Sr High School. While serving as Principal at Tremont, he finished his dissertation and was conferred with a doctoral degree from the U of I in May, 1993. After 3 years at Tremont, Epperson was named Superintendent of the Tri-Valley School District in Downs, Illinois, where he remained for 7 years. While at Tri-Valley, Epperson coordinated the construction of a new facility, Tri-Valley Middle School. Epperson left Tri-Valley to become Superintendent of the Roselle School District in Roselle, Illinois, where he remained until his retirement in 2007. While at Roselle, Epperson coordinated the implementation of a new local student assessment program and revised literacy instruction strategies. In 2005, the District 12 School Board nominated Epperson for the Illinois State Superintendent of the Year Award.
Steven and Debbie Epperson are the parents of 4 children; Kim, Teri, Rob, and Stephanie.
HOF Class of 2007
Joe Ambrose graduated from LeRoy High School in 1975. He and his wife Julie Epperson Ambrose (LHS ‘75) live in LeRoy and have four children, Jake (LHS ’99), Meg (LHS ’01), Ben (LHS ’03) and Brad (LHS ’05).
Joe received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois in 1979, a juris doctorate from Indiana University in 1982, and a masters of business administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 2001.
Joe is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Horizon Hobby, Inc., which has its corporate headquarters in Champaign, Illinois. Horizon Hobby is an international company that develops and distributes radio controlled hobby products, model trains and a wide range of educational, toy and other hobby products. Before his career with Horizon Hobby, Joe was an attorney concentrating in business law. While practicing law, Joe received peer recognition as a leading lawyer and was a lecturer and author on business and legislative issues and for continuing legal education programs. Since 1993, Joe has served on the board of directors of First Busey Corporation, a publicly traded financial holding company.
Joe is also one of the organizers, a past president and a director of the LeRoy Education Advancement Foundation.
HOF Class of 2007
John D. Imig, a 1981 graduate of LeRoy High School, is the son of Philip and Rosina Imig. He married Melinda L. Peel in 1984 and has two daughters Allyson and Emily. He earned his B.A. degree in biology from Blackburn College in 1985 and received a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Louisville in 1991. Dr. Imig moved to the Medical College of Wisconsin for postdoctoral training from 1991-1993. He subsequently accepted a faculty position in the Department of Physiology at Tulane University School of Medicine in 1993 and moved to the Medical College of Georgia in 2001. In 2008, he joined the Department of Pharmacology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and serves as Associate Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center.
As a scientist, John is a world-renowned expert on fatty acids produced by blood vessels and their contribution to cardiovascular diseases. He has been instrumental in developing a new class of drugs for the treatment of hypertension and stroke. Dr. Imig has been awarded two patents for drugs used to reduce damage from strokes and to treat kidney and cardiovascular diseases.
Dr. Imig has authored and co-authored more than 125 publications and serves as managing editor of the publication Frontiers in Bioscience. Among Dr. Imig’s numerous awards for his cardiovascular research are the American Society of Hypertension-Monarch Pharmaceuticals Young Scholar Award (2001) and an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association (2004).
HOF Class of 2007
Melinda Flegel graduated from LeRoy High School in 1976. In high school, she received “Most Valuable” awards in volleyball and track. She was a Girl’s State delegate, inducted into the National Honor Society and received the Senior Citizenship and Female Athlete awards.
Flegel completed a bachelor’s degree, with honors, at the University of Illinois, and was inducted into the Alpha Sigma Nu Physical Education Honorary society and received the Physical Education Department Senior Honor Award. She also has a master’s degree in athletic training from the university.
As a certified athletic trainer, Melinda has provided sports injury care to athletes at all levels. Flegel has worked at Temple University Center for Sports Medicine, Carle Sports Medicine, Great Plains Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and the University of Illinois SportWell Center. She is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and the American College of Sports Medicine. She served on the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association Clinic setting committee and is a reviewer for the Journal of Athletic Training. She wrote Sport First Aid, a book that has been translated into several languages, and used to train over 117,000 coaches. Melinda has also written several book chapters and presented at numerous national conferences.
Flegel is Associate Director of Professional Education at Human Kinetics, overseeing the development of online courses for athletic trainers and fitness professionals. She is also pursuing a doctorate in Kinesiology.
Wallace Ann Wesley
HALL OF FAME - CLASS OF 2015
Wallace Ann Wesley
Dr. Wallace Ann Wesley was born December 16, 1913. After graduation from Empire Township High School in 1931 (renamed LeRoy High School), Wesley graduated from Illinois State University in 1935 with a Bachelor of Education degree in physical education, biological science, and social science. Following her mother's advice to continue her education, Wallace kept on attending school - 9 different universities. She earned a PHD in areas ranging from ancient history, physical education, and physical therapy.
In 1943, she heard "Uncle Sam" needed people with her educational background in the military. She attended Physical Therapy School and enlisted in the Women's Army Corps. Wallace was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and sent overseas to England and later on to France. Her assignment was to work with men who had gunshot wounds through a lung and who had been Prisoners of War.
Wallace authorized Health and Growth textbooks for Scott Foresman; conducted research for the American Health Association and served as its Chairperson for several years. In 1965 she was awarded the Society of Health and Physical Educators Award. Dr. Wesley also received the 4-H Crested Clover Award for her service to 4-H in 1968. In 1982, she received the "Distinguished Alumni Award" from Illinois State University.
Wallace Ann retired in1979 and moved back to LeRoy. She continued serving others as a dispatcher for the LeRoy Emergency Ambulance Service and helped to tart the Peace Meal Program for seniors.
Stephen G. Evans
HALL OF FAME - CLASS OF 2015
Stephen G. Evans
Stephen G. Evans is a graduate of Illinois College; University of Illinois; College of Law (Juris Doctorage); and the National Judicial College.
Steve was a Professor at Western Illinois University and practiced law in Carthage. The Illinois Supreme Court appointed him Judge of the Ninth Circuit in 1975. He was elected from 1976 to 2000. In 2000, he was the highest rated judicial candidate in Illinois. Steve now provides mediation, arbitration, and litigation consulting services.
He was Chief Judge in the 1980s and 1990s. He chaired the Chief Judges' Child Support Committee; served on the IDPA Child Support Committiee; and, was a founder of the Family Violence Coordinating Council. Steve was a member and officer in numerous professional, bar, community, charitable, and civic organizations.
The University of Illinois recognized Steve as a Distinguished Graduate. The Supreme Court appointed him to the Judicial Education Committee, where he was a frequent lecturer. Steve was named a Leading Lawyer. The Coalition Against Domestic Violence awarded him the Human Dignity Award. Mothers Against Drunk Driving honored Steve for his work.
Steve credits LeRoy High School with exceptional teachers and classmates who gave priority to learning and achievement. Steve was the first AFS exchange student; sange in the first madrigal group; received the DAR/SAR award; was in numerous organizations, including the National Honor Society and the Society for Academic Achievement; and, particpated in seven sports. Steve married Mary Evelyn Chubbuck. His interests include reading, local history, aviation, and bicycle racing.
William T. Tucker
HALL OF FAME - CLASS OF 2015
WILLIAM T. (BILL) TUCKER
William T. (Bill) Tucker is a 1974 graduate of LeRoy High School. He went on to earn bachelors and masters degrees in Architecture from the University of Illinois, spending his senior year abroad in France, before embarking upon a career in the engineering and construction industry.
In 1981, Bill went to work for Stone & Webster Engineering Corporation in Baton Route, LA working in a variety of field engineering and construction management roles at five nuclear power plant construction sites in the United States. He then assumed a business development role in the company's Boston MA headquarters before becoming regional operations manager of power for the southeastern US in Atlanta, GA.
In 2000, Bill and his family moved to London to join Bechtel Corporation as regional construction manager of power in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. He then became manager of construction for Bechtel's global infrastructure business unit. In 2004, Bill joined Bechtel's rail division and led an ungrade of the UK's national rail line which connects London with Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. In 2009, Bill joined the £7.5b Crossrail project, where he is currently leading Europe's largest construction project to build a new underground metro line through central London.
While in London, Bill has served for ten years on the Board of Trustees of the American School in London where his three sons earned their high school diplomas. Bill and his wife, Susan, are also members of the Parent's Council at Elon University in North Carolina.