Highland News Leader

HIASAA announces Hall of Fame nominees

The Highland Illinois Area Schools Alumni Association (HIASAA) has announced its list of candidates for this year’s Hall of Fame consideration. Voting will take place throughout May.

There are 12 nominees among four categories.

Arts and Sciences

In Arts and Sciences, the nominees are Bruce Case, Dr. Mark Frisse and Larry Mueller.

Case, a 1952 graduate of St. Paul High School, enlisted in the Air Force and became a communications intelligence analyst. After the service, he went on to earn a mechanical engineering degree from Louisianan State University and work for DuPont.

At DuPont, he was assigned engineering, research and management positions in various departments and locations around the world. Case became a widely recognized international technical expert on magnetic recording tape and discs and invented several new methods of recording sound and video that were widely used in the music industry and Hollywood.

Dr. Frisse, a 1970 graduate of St. Paul, is an internist trained in hematology oncology. He went on to become a professor of medicine and associate dean at Washington University School of Medicine.

In 1999, he left Washington University to become a vice president at Express Scripts. There, he had the opportunity to help create consumer websites for more than 60 million members. He would later help found RxHub and serve on the board of SureScripts.

In 2004, he accepted a faculty position at Vanderbuilt University.

Active in medical informatics for 30 years, Dr. Frisse is the author of more than 50 scientific papers, reviews and book chapters. In 2014, he was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Mueller, a 1944 HHS graduate, has had a long and distinguished career as an outdoors writer.

Mueller has written 16 books on hunting, fishing and related subjects and has been featured in several books by other authors.

He wrote the column “Hunting and Fishing with Larry Mueller” in the Highland News Leader and Belleville News-Democrat for 24 years and spent 24 years as editor and author writing the “Hunting Dogs” column, as well as featured articles for Outdoor Life magazine. He authored numerous articles in various other magazines such as Field and Stream and Sports Afield, and his articles have also been included in books and national publications such as Gun Digest.

Mueller is currently writing his 17th book on selecting and breeding highly trainable hunting dogs using genetic information.


In the Business category, the nominees are Otto Jakel, Julius J. Spindler and Erwin Weder. All are deceased.

Jakel attended St. Paul grade and high school but left school a few months prior to graduating to join the Navy during World War II.

In 1946, he started a small tool and die and metal stamping shop in the alley by the Lory Theater. Over the next 38 years of manufacturing in Highland, the Jakel companies and family provided steady employment for as many as 400 employees, making various products.

Spindler attended Highland schools and graduated from Highland High School in 1909.

In 1883 Jule’s father, John Spindler Jr., founded a business he named the Highland Embroidery Works. The ultimate product was to be embroidered dress making materials to be marketed in retail stores in mid-America.

In 1910, at the age of 19, Jule Spindler entered the business world. He would spend the following years learning as much as he could about every aspect of the operation. He managed the factory for 23 years.

By 1932, with the Embroidery Works no longer demanding his time, Spindler was invited to come on board as president of Farmers and Merchants Bank. He would serve in that capacity for the next 20 years. Overall, he would be with the bank in one capacity or another for 33 years.

Weder entered high school in Highland in 1918.

In 1937, he founded Highland Supply Corp. with capital of $3,750. The company started as a wholesale floral supply company, but quickly moved to manufacturing.

Weder became well know as an innovator and an inventor. He developed more than 8,000 products that make life brighter and more pleasant for millions of people. He held more than 400 patents. Highland Supply Corp. is recognized today as the premier supplier of floral packaging in the floral industry.

Public Service

For Career Public Service, the nominees are Julie Curry, Jay Hoffman and Patsy Schwarm (deceased).

Curry, a 1980 HHS graduate, has held elected office many times. She served as treasurer and tax collector for Macon County from 1990-1994. She then ran for the Illinois House of Representatives. She was elected four times, serving from 1995-2003.

Next, Curry served two years (1993,1994) as deputy chief of staff for economy and labor to the governor of Illinois. She was responsible for management and oversight of 16 state agencies with budgets that collectively totaled nearly $6 billion. She also was involved in numerous contract and labor negotiations.

She then went on to become a lobbyist.

Hoffman graduated from Highland High School in 1979.

He began his career in public service as an assistant state’s attorney in St. Clair County.

In 1989, Hoffman began working as a law enforcement official as the director of Probation and Court Services for the 20th Judicial Circuit Court.

Hoffman was first elected as state representative in November 1990.

He has been an Illinois state representative for 25 years.

Schwarm began her career with Highland Community Schools in the fall of 1968 as a math teacher and librarian at Highland Junior High School.

In 1984, Schwarm took a giant step forward as she took on the role of assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the entire school district. She continued in this role until her retirement in 2001.

During her tenure at Highland Community Schools, Schwarm was instrumental in many initiatives that improved the school district and the quality of education afforded its students. She revised the teacher-hiring process and was asked on numerous occasions to share the “Highland Hiring Process” with college classes, professional organizations, and other school districts.

Schwarm was a pioneer in developing a new teacher mentoring program. She started the Highland program in 1986. Similar programs are now endorsed by the Illinois State Board of Education.


And in the Sports field, nominees are Mark Capelle, Jim Koch (deceased) and Simon Weiss.

Capelle, a 1978 St. Paul High School graduate, was one of the best high school runners Highland has ever seen. In three years, Capelle would race in three IHSA state cross country finals and three IHSA state track meets.

He would medal seven times in eight IHSA races. That’s an incredible feat of top-four finishes in seven of the eight races in which he competed.

To put it in better perspective, only one other male runner from either St. Paul High School or Highland High School has ever finished in the top 10 in any class in Illinois. And, only one other runner, male or female has ever finished any higher than sixth place.

Capelle went on to run at the University of Illinois, where he graduated with an engineering degree. Capelle competed and lettered for four years cross country and indoor and outdoor track. In fact, his 3000 meter steeplechase time of 8:51.3 is still eighth all-time at the University of Illinois.

Koch played on Highland High School’s Sweet 16 basketball team in 1953, his senior year.

He went on to play at Greenville College, he was a four-year varsity letter winner in basketball.

After college, Koch accepted a job coaching in Putnam City, Okla. He was named head basketball coach in 1966, and in 1972, his team won the Class 4A state championship, finishing the season with a perfect 26-0 record. He is a member of two different coaching halls of fame in Oklahoma.

His overall record in Oklahoma included 226 wins and 94 losses, one state championship, seven regional championships, and four area titles He coached eight All-Staters, among them Alvan Adams, who went on to play for the University of Oklahoma and the Phoenix Suns.

A 1990 Highland High School graduate, Weiss was in on the ground floor of Bulldogs soccer. In the fall of 1986, as a freshman, Weiss moved into the HHS starting lineup after the first few practices and never left.

He guided the Bulldogs to a 12-4-3 record in their very first season and a respectable 37-23-4 record during his four years at HHS.

He established the single-season scoring record of 17 goals as a junior. When he graduated, he held the HHS all-timer scoring record of 38 points (21 goals and 17 assists).

Weiss was awarded with a full athletic and academic scholarship at Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University). He was named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference team as a sophomore.

He would transfer to NCAA powerhouse North Carolina State University, where he started in 33 of the 37 games he would play in for the Wolfpack. He led the team in assists as a junior as the team went 13-3-4, including reaching the NCAA semifinals.

He went on to play professionally in France, Sweden and England. He also played for the Raleigh Flyers, Jacksonville Cyclones, St. Louis Ambush, Kansas Attack and the San Francisco Seals.

He is now a coach with the Mountain View-Los Altos Soccer Club, which trains elite players from ages 8-18.

When is voting?

Voting will take place from May 1-31. All ballots must by in the hands of HIASAA by May 31.

Who can vote?

Any alumni of any school within the boundaries of the Highland Highland School District or any employee of these schools. You need not have graduated from school, just attended. To be able to vote, alumni or employees must be a paid member of HIASAA.

How to become a member

Go to the association website, www.highlandilalumni.com. There is a place to register online and an option to use PayPal to pay your dues.

Or, you can send the application and a check to HIASAA, 400 Broadway, Highland, IL 62249.

Membership dues are $10 per year, $40 for a five-year membership, or $100 for a lifetime membership. All memberships are from October to October of each year.

Voting instructions

From May 1-31 you can obtain a downloadable ballot on the website.

Ballots must be completed and mailed to HIASAA, 400 Broadway, Highland, IL 62249. All ballots must be received by May 31.

The Board of Directors will count the ballots in early June and letters will be sent informing all nominees of the results.

If anyone needs a ballot or wants to join the association but does not have computer access, contact board secretary Sherry Fletcher at 654-6266 for a ballot or membership application. If you have any questions, contact Fletcher at the above phone number.

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