Tonganoxie Hall of Fame class recognized Friday at Myers Hotel
Ken Mark recalled when retired Tonganoxie High School science teacher Pat Wakeman would wear some very “loud” overalls to some THS track events.
Those overalls definitely screamed “school spirit” with their red and white stripes.
Mark mentioned the overalls during a reception Friday afternoon for the latest Tonganoxie USD 464 Education Foundation Hall of Fame inductees.
Wakeman, one of this year’s inductees, then proceeded to wear the overalls to Friday night’s football game against the Lansing Lions. Wakeman, Kathy Walker, JoAnn Cronemeyer and Susie Parmer all were recognized at halftime of the football game. All received plaques at the event. Replica plaques will hang in the concourse outside the Tonganoxie Performing Arts Center.
The reception took place at the Myers Hotel where Mark introduced each of the candidates.
Walker, Wakeman and Cronemeyer were hall of fame inductees, while Susie Parmer received the Alumni Achievement Award this year.
Her son, David Parmer, spoke about his mother and what she meant to her family, including all that she does for her grandchildren.
He also joked that he didn’t realize his mother was a Democrat until reading the bio in the reception programs.
Parmer served proudly as a Democrat for some 33 years as Leavenworth County’s register of deeds.
Former principal Lee Smith spoke about Cronemeyer, who served as a secretary for several years in the school district, while Wakeman and Walker spoke about their many years of service at Tonganoxie High School.
Festivities also included an academic achievement breakfast that honored elementary school students. The breakfast took place at the new Tonganoxie Elementary School.
Here’s another look at this year’s hall of fame inductees:
Dora I. “Susie” Parmer graduated from Tonganoxie High School in 1955. After graduation, she worked for Standard Oil Company and then later United Missouri Bank. She married EM “Okie” Parmer in 1957. He served as a deputy sheriff for Leavenworth County. He was killed while working an accident in August 1960. Their son, David, was 2 at the time and their daughter Dina was born that November. They later graduated from THS in 1976 and 1979 respectively. Parmer had an interest in politics and served as a precinct committee member and worked election polling sites. She ran for Leavenworth County Register of Deeds as a Democrat in 1966 and won. She was re-elected 12 more times with strong bipartisan support and served a total of 33 years in that position. She served many years as Leavenworth County Central Committee precinct person and as a state officer in the Women’s Democratic Club. Parmer attended a number of National Democratic Conventions and had a leadership position in the Kansas Register of Deeds Association and she served on the Kansas Real Estate Committee and chaired the committee at the appointment of then Gov. John Carlin.
Joan Grundel Cronemeyer
Joan Grundel Cronemeyer is a 1949 THS graduate. Later that year she married Jack Cronemeyer, a 1947 THS graduate. The couple had four children, all of whom graduated from Tonganoxie High School: Sonie (1968), Jack (1970), Trish (1971), and Jeanne (1975). She began working for USD 464 in 1970 as THS secretary. She was a mentor for many students during her years of service, retiring from the Tonganoxie school district more than two decades ago in 1994.
Pat Wakeman grew up in Wathena. After graduating from Kansas State University, he began teaching science at Tonganoxie High School in 1969. Wakeman taught a variety of science classes at THS for 41 years. He also taught college credit biology for Kansas City Kansas Community College at THS until retiring in 2010. From the beginning of his teaching career, Wakeman served as sponsor of the THS Science Club. He helped the club organize a number of community service projects, such as the Adopt-a-Highway Program and planting trees in Chieftain Park and other areas. The Science Club also took many field trips over the years to the mountains in Colorado, museums in Chicago, zoos and parks throughout the Midwest, and to the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and Canada. He helped establish the nature trail south of THS.
Kathy Kapelle Walker
Kathy Kapelle Walker grew up in Baldwin.
After graduating from Kansas State University, she began her career in education as a home economics teacher at her alma mater, Baldwin High School. During her two years at BHS, she also served as sponsor for FHA and cheerleading. Walker began her 40-year career at THS in 1974 as home economics teacher and sponsor for FHA. After teaching here for three years, Walker earned a master’s in counseling from Kansas University. She then began serving as one of the THS counselors, a position she held for 37 years.