Highland News Leader

HIASAA announces 2017 Hall of Fame inductees

The 2017 Highland Area Schools Alumni Association (HIASAA) Hall of Fame class includes John “Jack” Cygan (top left), Patricia “Pat” Imming (lower left), Dennis Luber (lower right), and Cletus “Clete” Zimmermann (upper right).
The 2017 Highland Area Schools Alumni Association (HIASAA) Hall of Fame class includes John “Jack” Cygan (top left), Patricia “Pat” Imming (lower left), Dennis Luber (lower right), and Cletus “Clete” Zimmermann (upper right).

The longtime youth minister at St. Paul Catholic Church, an artist and teacher responsible for many public murals, one of the most prolific scorers in St. Paul basketball history and the former owner of Highland Machine and Community Lumber are the members of the 2017 Highland Area Schools Alumni Association (HIASAA) Hall of Fame class.

John “Jack” Cygan, Catholic Youth Minister at St. Paul from 1976-2011, is the inductee in the Public Service category.

Highland art teacher Patricia “Pat” Imming, whose mosaic murals are found on the Square, the Lindenthal campus auditorium, Faith Countryside Apartments in Highland, is the inductee in the Arts & Sciences.

St. Paul High School alumnus Dennis Luber, whose career scoring average is in the top 10 of all scorers in Illinois basketball history, is the inductee in the Sports category, and entrepreneur Cletus “Clete” Zimmermann will be inducted in the Business category of the HIASAA Hall of Fame.

The hall of fame was created by HIASAA as a way to honor selected alumni, classmates and employees who have earned recognition for their achievements and contributions in their field of endeavor. In addition to the accomplishments of the inductees, other criteria of the nominations are leadership, character and service. All nominees were, at some point, a student or an employee at a school that was located within what is now the Highland School District’s boundaries, which includes St. Paul, Highland School District No. 5, the Pierron school, as well as Alhambra, Grantfork, and New Douglas.

Voting was done in May by current HIASAA members.

Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized prior to the start of the homecoming football game on Friday, Oct. 6 and at an induction ceremony and breakfast on Saturday morning, Oct. 7.

Hall of Fame inductees

John “Jack” Cygan, Public Service

John “Jack” Cygan has serviced his community in many ways.

His work as a coach at St. Paul School in Highland and his volunteer service as Catholic Youth Minister at St. Paul from 1976-2011 is legendary.

Cygan was the high school basketball coach at St. Paul for 15 years, and also served as the fifth- and sixth-grade boys basketball coach.

Cygan, a graduate of Central Catholic High School in East St. Louis, started the annual high school Girls Basketball Tournament at St. Paul High School in 1986. The following year, the tournament was moved to HHS and continues to this day at Highland High School. It has expanded to become one of the most prestigious 16-team events in southern Illinois. The tournament has featured many state championship teams and dozens of all-state players over the last 30-plus years.

Cygan was also the first girls high school soccer coach in the state of Illinois, starting in 1994. Since there were no other high schools to compete against, Cygan persuaded an adult women’s league in Belleville to let the high school girls play in their league, even though the girls didn’t meet the age requirement.

He also coached several women’s softball teams for many years in the VFW and KC leagues.

Cygan was a loving, giving, faithful individual, giving his time freely and always willing to help anyone or champion a good cause for St. Paul School and Parish and the Highland community.

Besides athletics, Cygan coordinated projects where high school students prepared yearly Easter baskets and Christmas gifts to underprivileged youth in East St. Louis; packed small bags of rice ingredients to be sent to people in Africa; and worked at senior citizen facilities to clean up the facilities and help with repairs. Cygan led many high school students to World Youth Day in Rome, Italy; Sydney, Australia; Cologne, Germany; New Zealand; Canada; and Denver, Colo. Cygan was recognized by Pope John Paul II for Young Ministry Work in 2013.

He was the Highland Police Board Commissioner for 30 years and awarded Citizen of the Year by the Highland Rotary Club in 2016, posthumously.

Other awards included the Pauline Award at St. Paul for Ministry in Faith Formation in 2013 from St. Paul School; the Father Tamulis Award for Family and Youth Ministry in 1999, presented by the Springfield Diocese for service to St. Paul School.

Cygan, who started Cygan Catering Service in 1963 (now Cygan-Delaney Catering), passed away in 2015.

Other Public Service category nominees were Missions International founder Len Daiber and Jim Burgett, former superintendent of the Highland School District.

Patricia “Pat” Imming, Arts & Sciences

Patricia “Pat” Imming has made a significant number of lasting contributions to the Highland School District, the city of Highland, the region in which she lives, as well as many other parts of the state of Illinois and Missouri.

Imming graduated from high school in Hillsboro, Ill., in 1957. She attended college at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and received her bachelor of arts degree in 1972. She began teaching in the Highland School District in the fall of 1972.

Imming’s list of accomplishments is so extensive, it is not possible to list everything in this biography.

Just her work on mural projects would fill three pages. In 1981, Imming began making mosaic murals with school children, many of which grace prominent places in Highland: the Square, the Lindenthal campus auditorium, Faith Countryside Apartments, and numerous other school buildings. Other schools in Missouri, Illinois, and SIUE, as well as Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, the state of Illinois Capitol grounds in Springfield, several churches, Mastodon State Park, Ranken Jordan Children’s Rehab Center, Magic House, and Special Olympics have been graced with a mosaic mural designed and created by Imming. Altogether, at least 48 murals have been completed.

During her tenure, Imming organized an art fair at school each year and has provided the guidance and enthusiasm necessary to see that each child had produced a piece of art that was displayed for the appreciation of all in the community. She also presented workshops at the Madison County Teacher’s Institute, at Illinois State University for graduate art students, an in-service presentation at the Very Special Arts Festival at SIUE and also at the Ferguson-Florissant School District in Missouri, the Rockford (Ill.) Teachers Association, and at the Echo School Special District in Homewood, Ill.

In addition to projects completed and workshops given, Imming has been a member of several community and professional organizations that include: St. Paul Church in Highland, the PTA, Friends of the Louis Latzer Memorial Library, Highland Historical Society and an Illinois Art Education Association council member. She is also a Friend of Art at SIUE life member, charter member, and has served as a board member for four years. She is also a board member for the Cultural Arts and Museums at SIUE.

Imming has also written two publications, one in the January 1981 School Arts Magazine about the Highland Mosaic Mural, and in 1995 in The Arts in Healing Exhibit catalog-Butler Institute of American Art of Youngstown, Ohio.

In 1981, Imming received the city of Highland Appreciation Award, and in 1983, the Illinois State Board of Education “Those Who Excel” award.

Other Arts & Sciences category nominees were outdoors writer Larry Mueller and Highland music teacher Lori Lori Ruebhausen.

Dennis Luber, Sports

Dennis Luber graduated from St. Paul High School in 1979.

Luber was one of the most prolific scorers in St. Paul basketball history. He scored 2,031 points for the Vikings from 1975-1979. During that span, his team won more than 60 games and its last regional championship.

Luber also amassed many records that are still among the best ever in Illinois high school basketball. In his junior year during the 1978 season, Dennis averaged 31.2 points per game (15th best in IHSA history), as the Vikings won 20 games.

While still a 20-plus-point-per-game scorer as a senior, he turned his talents to rebounding. In the 1978-79 season, he recorded a school-best and area-best 30 rebounds against the Jerseyville Panthers. Thirty rebounds in a single game is still the 12th-best ever in Illinois. His rebounding prowess continued in that season. When all the games were over, the Vikings won a school-best 25 games and collected their last regional championship. Luber had amassed a total of 419 rebounds (16th best in IHSA history) and an average of nearly 15 per game.

Luber’s high school basketball career ended with an average of 25.4 points and 10 rebounds per game. His career scoring average is in the top 10 of all scorers in Illinois basketball history.

Luber was named to the Mater Dei Christmas All-Tournament first team in both 1977 and 1978. He was named to Illinois All-State basketball teams in both 1978 and 1979. In 1979, he was selected to the first-team All-Metro Basketball Team by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Luber’s basketball career moved to Kansas City, Mo., after high school. A four-year starter for the Rockhurst University Hawks, Luber continued as a prolific scorer, leading the Hawks in scoring all four years. He was a three-time all NAIA All-District 16 Selection and was District 16 Player of the Year in 1983. He was a third team NAIA All-American in 1983 and an honorable mention NAIA All-Tournament Team in 1981. In 1982, he was named an honorable mention to the All-American and All-Tournament teams by the NAIA.

Luber graduated from Rockhurst in 1983 with a degree in marketing and management. He was inducted into the Rockhurst University Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

Other Sports category nominees were former HHS football standout Billy Greenwald and Highland High School baseball coach Joel Hawkins.

Cletus “Clete” Zimmermann, business

Cletus “Clete” Zimmermann attended St. Paul School from 1911-1919. He attended and graduated as valedictorian from Quincy College of Business in 1922.

Zimmermann’s first position was with Spengel’s Furniture Store as a bookkeeper and salesman.

He next went to work for Wicks Organ Co. He started as a stockroom clerk in 1922 and ended as sales manager and corporate secretary after 20 years.

After leaving Wicks in 1942, Zimmermann acquired a 1/3 interest in Highland Machine. Upon the death of one of the partners, Zimmermann became sole owner of the company.

In 1945, he was elected to the board of directors of the First National Bank and served in that capacity for 30 years until his retirement in 1975.

In 1947, Zimmermann and his brother, Harold Zimmermann, purchased greenhouses and land, and one year later, opened Petite Floral Co.

Clete Zimmermann also purchased Community Lumber Co. in 1954. While in the lumber business, he started the purchase of land and established Zimco Enterprises, which developed a number of subdivisions in Highland, including Alpine Acres, Swiss Village, Town and Country, Petite Acres, Lakeland Terrace, Community Acres and others. After 40 years with Highland Machine, Zimmermann sold his interest and retired, but still served as chairman.

Zimmermann donated the land to the city of Highland, which is now Merwin Park.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, serving as Grand Knight from 1925-1927. He helped found and promote the Highland Manufacturers Association and was instrumental in the development of Highland’s outdoor community swimming pool. He was also a member of St. Paul Church, Holy Home Society, Highland Chamber of Commerce, Kings House Retreat Center and the Highland Country Club.

He passed away in 1990 at the age of 85.

Other business category nominees were longtime funeral director Robert Dauderman and Clinton Rogier, former chairman of Madison Mutual Insurance.

At a glance

The public is invited to attend 10th annual HIASAA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Breakfast. Reservations are required.

  • Date and time: Saturday, Oct. 7 at 9 a.m
  • Place: Highland High School commons area.
  • Cost: The breakfast is $8 per person.
  • Reservations: To make a reservation or for information, contact Sherry Fletcher, HIASAA Board secretary, at 618-654-6266. Deadline for reservations is Sept. 15.
  • Joining HIASAA: Anyone wanting to join the association can do so on the HIASAA website highlandilalumni.com.
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