ST. MARYS — A local hall of fame will be adding three more inductees as part of an annual ceremony this weekend.
The Memorial High School Alumni Foundation Hall of Fame will welcome J. Paul VanderHorst for academic/professional achievement, Robert W. Reed for service to St. Marys City Schools and John D. Kuenzel for athletic achievement during the induction ceremony Saturday at the St. Marys Eagles.
“This is our fifth class of inductees,” Memorial High School Alumni Foundation President Bill Kellermeyer said.
In 1947, VanderHorst graduated from Memorial High School, where he was a fullback on the 1944 and 1945 Western Buckeye League Championship Roughrider Football Teams. The 1945 Roughrider Football Team, led by Head Coach Lyle Barber, was not scored upon and was undefeated in league play. In the fall of 1947, VanderHorst began his studies at the University of Dayton. The University of Dayton awarded VanderHorst a scholarship to play football for the Flyers. “Handy Vandy” was an All–Ohio defensive lineman and received recognition for his outstanding play from the Associated Press, United Press International and the International News Service.
In 1951, VanderHorst graduated from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. Years later, in recognitions of his life’s work, VanderHorst was inducted into the University of Dayton Hall of Fame. After graduating from the University of Dayton, he left his new wife and son in St. Marys to pursue a professional football career with the Los Angeles Rams.
While playing on the first team through training camp, VanderHorst came to the realization that Janet and his new family could not have the life he desired for them on a professional football player’s salary at that time.
He then returned to St. Marys where he worked for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company as an industrial engineer, followed by a career with Fuller Brush Company.
He was later hired by Pennsylvania Life Insurance company to start a subsidiary company named Executive Fund Life Insurance Company.
Reed, a native of St. Marys, was a member of the St. Marys High School Class of 1922. He served the St. Marys City Schools for approximately 14 years as a teacher and coach.
This offensive guard turned running back was a member of the first St. Marys High School football team of 1919 that represented the blue and gold, and was one of the young men who worked hard to earn the coveted letter “S.”
Reed departed St. Marys to pursue a degree at Heidelberg College and play football as an offensive tackle.
After graduating from Heidelberg College in the spring of 1926, Reed returned to St. Marys to teach chemistry and general science and assist Head Coach Roy Wisecup with the football team.
In 1927, Reed was named head coach of the St. Marys Memorial High School football program. By the end of the 1920s, Cowboy Bob Reed was noted as leading his young men called “Roughriders.”
Reed and his Roughriders netted numerous championships and was active in bringing Memorial Stadium, or as it is known today as Skip Baughman Stadium, to the city.
Kuenzel, a native of St. Marys, is a member of the Memorial High School Class of 1956.
While a student at Memorial High School, Kuenzel was a star athlete playing football, basketball and baseball. He was a four-year letterman in all three sports.
His sophomore season, Kuenzel was the quarterback for the 1953 Western Buckeye League Championship Roughrider Football Team. This undefeated and Coach Jack Bickel led team is considered one of the best football teams in St. Marys history because they were tremendously talented and offensively and defensively balanced. Kuenzel earned Western Buckeye League All-League Offensive Honors for his performance in 1953.
In 1953, as a freshman reserve player in the basketball program, Kuenzel scored the first basket in a game in the then new McBroom Gymnasium.
In Kuenzel’s junior and senior years, the Coach John Stuckey led Roughriders were undefeated in regular season play and captured the Western Buckeye League title.
Both seasons the Roughriders made impressive runs in the state basketball tournament. He held the Roughrider Basketball Most Career Points Record with 951 points, until Damon Goodwin broke the record by the end of his senior season in 1982.
In the 1954 and 1956 seasons, Kuenzel’s sophomore and senior years, the Roughrider baseball teams won the Western Buckeye League Championship. The 1954 team made it to regional play in the state playoffs.
Kuenzel became a star athlete at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., playing football, basketball and baseball.
The inductees, Kellermeyer noted, were chosen through an application process.
“The application in paper form is located around town, and it is also available on our website,” he said.
“The advisory committee goes through all the applications — once I get all the applications in, I put them in binders and update all of our information and put in the new applications. The committee goes through the binders to study all the applicants.”
The foundation, Kellermeyer noted, accepts applicants after the previous induction ceremony until July 1. The unused applications are saved from previous years, as well.
“Once somebody has been nominated, we hold that nomination for eternity,” Kellermeyer said.
The three alumni will be honored at approximately 7:10 p.m. before the Hall of Fame game versus Van Wert on Friday.
The induction dinner and ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday at the St. Marys Eagles.
Tickets for the dinner and ceremony are available for $25 at the following St. Marys locations: St. Marys Memorial High School main office, St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce, Albert Sporting Goods, Pantry Pride Market and Kroger Food and Pharmacy.