Three long-time supporters of Belleville East were included in the high school’s 2018 Wall of Fame induction class as part of homecoming activities this weekend.
They included Larry Patton, Jeff Craig and Dr. Bob Farmer. The three were presented to the homecoming crowd on the 50-yard line of Charlie Woodford Field during a ceremony prior to kickoff of the Lancers’ game against Edwardsville. They celebrated with friends and school administrators at the tennis court pavilion prior to the game.
Farmer, class of 1987, was an outstanding tennis player at East and half of a doubles team that finished second at the state tournament. He moved on to the University of Illinois and returned to the metro-east as a family physician and civic leader. He currently serves as chief physician executive and medical group director for Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) in Southern Illinois. Farmer also is a volunteer team physician for Southwestern Illinois College sports and serves on the boards of several charity and medical organizations.
Craig, class of 1973, is an executive in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. In 1995, he became president of a Florida-based biotechnology company before being recruited as vice president of business development at Monsanto to help produce needed human vaccines and medicines from plants. Craig left Monsanto and co-found a bioprocessing start-up company out of the University of Kentucky where he co-invented a bioprocessing platform which became the standard in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Through his work with Boston-based Rebion, he has pursued a goal of eliminating preventable childhood blindness.
From 1967 to 1993, Patton worked at East as a math teacher in addition to being a successful baseball and basketball coach. He was the Lancers first varsity baseball coach, a position he held for 27 seasons until his retirement. Patton is a 1958 graduate of Belleville Township High School and a member of the Illinois Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. An ordained minister, Patton currently serves on staff of St. Matthews United Methodist Church in Belleville.
The Wall of Fame was started in 2004 with new honorees being added every two years. Those recognized receive a 70 percent vote of the selection committee in one of four categories -- alumni, faculty, support staff or community member-at-large. They become part of a permanent display outside the entrance of the high school gym.