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Oroville Union High School District
2010 Hall of Fame Inductees

Group Picture

 
Ken Arnold

Kenneth Arnold is a retired Oroville Union High School District employee, who taught and coached at Oroville High School from 1961 to 1990. He was an outstanding athlete in high school, college, the US Army, and played for semi-professional teams. He was a successful high school teacher for 32 years. He taught physical education (PE), adaptive PE, geography, psychology, senior problems, health, fitness for life, and general mathematics. He also served as a PE department head for 24 years. He coached 56 high school sport seasons in 32 years. During that time, he coached six different varsity sports: football, baseball, track, golf, and soccer. He also coached summer Little League and Junior Legion Baseball teams. 
 
Ken graduated from Payette High School, Payette, Idaho in 1950. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Idaho, Caldwell, in 1954. He served in the US Army for two years and was honorably discharged in 1956. He completed a Master of Arts degree from Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah in 1960.
 
As a high school athlete, he played football for four years, (3 years on varsity) varsity basketball for two years, varsity baseball for four years, track for two years, and boxing (Golden Glove Welter Weight and Senior Welter Weight) for two years. By unanimous selection, he played on the State All-Star Football Team. He was awarded a Life-Time Pass to all Payette High School sporting events. He received The Ed Parson Achievement Trophy for outstanding sportsmanship and citizenship. He earned a full football scholarship to the Northern Idaho College of Education (NICE), Lewiston, Idaho.
 
As a college athlete, he played varsity football for four years and won the Outstanding Freshman Athlete Award. He played varsity baseball for four years and was selected “All League” each year. He also played with the Lewiston Indians semi-pro baseball team, winning the State Championship and playing in the National Semi-Pro Baseball Tournament in Wichita, Kansas. Furthermore, he played with the Boise Braves professional baseball team before being drafted into the Army in 1954. In addition to football and baseball, he boxed for three years: first as a varsity light-heavy weight and then as a varsity heavy weight.
 
While serving in the US Army in Austria and Germany, he played football for two years and baseball for two years. His baseball team won the Fifth Army Division championship in 1955, and he was selected as the Most Valuable Player (MVP). He also boxed for two years and earned the title of Company Champ in 1956.
 
After being discharged from the Army, he played as a pitcher and outfielder with various semi-pro baseball teams in Idaho, Utah, Oregon, and California, including the Oroville Olives in the 1967-1968 season.   
Bill Cheff

William “Bill” Cheff is a 1949 graduate of Oroville High School who, after serving four years in the US Navy, became a highly successful civil engineer for Butte County Public Works, rising to the position of Assistant Director of Public Works. Upon retirement, the Butte County Board of Supervisors appointed him as the County Director of Public Works. He is also known for his participation in community service projects through the Oroville Rotary Club and a supporter of Oroville youth and high school sports.
 
After graduating from Oroville High School in 1949, Bill served in the US Navy during the Korean War and was promoted to Petty Officer Second Class (PO2). After receiving an honorable discharge from the Navy, he enrolled in California State University, Chico and
graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.
 
In 1961, The Butte County Department of Public Works hired Bill as a road-design engineer. His skill as an engineer earned him promotions over his 33-year career to the highest responsibility: bridge engineer, design and construction engineer, assistant director, and in 1984, appointment as director of public works. As director, he managed 130 employees and a variable budget of six to eight million dollars. He was responsible for the
maintenance of over 1,400 miles of county roads, design and construction of various road and bridge projects. He was also responsible for the operation of the Neal Road Landfill and the Butte County Transit System.  Furthermore, he supervised land development including subdivisions and various other assignments. An example of his superior ability as a civil engineer is the East Gridley Highway Bridge that connects sweeping roadway curves to a sturdy, flood-tested crossing of the Feather River.
 
As a 27-year member of the Oroville Rotary Club, Bill was involved in many community service projects, such as the Lott Home improvements, YMCA building, Rotary Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, and the Riverbend Park projects. 
 
Bill has supported the youth of Oroville by managing an Oroville Little League team for twelve years and assisting in youth football as a timekeeper for twelve years. He gave presentations on the engineering professions during career days at Oroville High School and Las Plumas High School. Bill also served on various Butte College engineering committees and served as a statistician for radio station broadcasts of Oroville Union High School District and Butte College games. 
 
Bill received his Professional Engineer License from the State of California. He is a life member of the County Engineer Association of California (CEAC) and the National Association of County Engineers (NACE).
Ruth Lowman

Ruth Lowman is a 1962 Oroville High School graduate who became a highly successful high school teacher, administrator, and coach. The majority of her 34-year career in public education took place at Sutter High School after initial employment at Marysville High School. While at Sutter High School, Ruth taught physical education, served as the physical education department head, coached for 20 years both junior varsity and varsity levels of field hockey, volleyball, basketball, softball, and track, and served as the club advisor for the Sutter Recreation Association (SRA) and the Ski Club. Ruth was instrumental in establishing female athletic competition in the North Section and was honored as its coach of the year. Her efforts helped transform girls’ athletic competition from the Girls Athletic Association (GAA) intramural competition to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).  Female athletes today have opportunities that would not have been available had teachers and coaches like Ruth Lowman not worked so hard to obtain gender equity in sports.
 
As a student at Oroville High School (OHS) from 1958 to 1962, Ruth was an outstanding student athlete. She was a GAA member all four years and the president during her senior year. She earned a Block “O” letter and GAA Outstanding Athlete pins in volleyball,
basketball, and softball. Ruth was named the Best All-Around Athlete in 1962. She also participated in Associated Student Activities, including the Future Teachers Club, Racquet Club, Pep Club, and French Club.
 
Furthermore, she won the Bank of America Certificate Award in Visual Arts. While in high school, Ruth petitioned the school administration regarding equal athletic opportunity for girls.  She was also instrumental in establishing the first teacher’s assistant class at OHS.
 
After graduating from OHS, Ruth attended California State University, Chico, then known as Chico State College. As a college athlete, she played both field hockey and softball. She graduated in 1966, with a Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Physical Education with a minor in Life Science. Twenty years later, she completed a Master of Science in Pupil Personnel
Services from the University of LaVerne. 
 
As a teacher and coach at Sutter High School, Ruth built upon an existing successful GAA to expand its membership and to make it the most powerful and active organization at the school. Besides sponsoring year-round intramurals, this organization earned over a    thousand dollars annually to pay for quality uniforms, equipment and awards for the interscholastic programs. She, together with her athletes and their parents, raised money to build the first varsity softball field at the school. After teaching and coaching for twenty years, she founded the first continuation high school within the Sutter High School District and served at-risk students for fourteen years as its administrator and teacher.
Norm MacKenzie

Norman Mackenzie is a 1948 graduate of Oroville High School (OHS) who retired from the Oroville Union High School District in 1995, after serving 39 years as a highly successful physical education teacher, coach, and athletic director. At OHS, Norm was an outstanding student athlete in football and track, who went on to play at Marin Junior College and Chico State. Coach Mac, as he is known throughout the Northern Section, taught and coached at both OHS and Las Plumas High School (LPHS). Norm served as the LPHS athletic
director. He was responsible for bringing the High School State Track Meet to Harrison Stadium in 1972. Norm is still actively involved in the Northern Section Athletic Directors Association (NSADA) and the California State Athletic Directors Association (CSADA). He has mentored many athletic directors and coaches not only in the Northern Section, but in the entire State of California. Because of his integrity and professionalism, Norm has several awards named after him and has received many honors.
 
Norm attended Oroville High School from 1944 to 1948, and was a four-year athlete in both football and track. He was selected as All League Varsity Football in his junior and senior years and was the only junior starter on an undefeated varsity football team. He was the League and Section Hurdle Champion in his junior and senior years and is the school record holder in the hurdles. In addition to sports, Norm was a leader in Associated Student Body (ASB) activities. He  served as a class officer during his freshman and sophomore years. He was the Student Body President and the Block O President during his senior year.
 
After graduating from high school, Norm attended Marin Junior College where he was a two-year starter in football and was the Conference Champion in the low hurdles and placed in the State Track Meet each year. He is the school record holder in both high and low
hurdles. He graduated from the college in 1950 with an Associate of Arts degree. 
 
Norm served two years in the US Army earning the rank of corporal. He served nine months in Korea and fought in two major engagements earning a Combat Infantry Badge and Honorable Discharge.
 
He attended Chico State and graduated in 1955, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He played football for three years and was All Conference in his first year. He was the Conference Champion in the high and low hurdles in his junior year. 
 
Norm’s career as a teacher began at OHS where he taught PE and coached football, basketball, and track from 1956 to 1961. From 1961 to 1995, Norm taught PE and coached at LPHS. He coached football for 12 years and track for 33 years. He was the PE department chair for 15 years and athletic director for 31 years. His many awards include both the State CIF and California Coaches Association Distinguished Service Awards. 
 
Dr. Allen Marr

Dr. William Allen Marr, Jr. was Las Plumas High School’s top graduate for 1966, and after earning a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in geotechnical engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he became the president and chief executive officer of Geocomp Corporation. Allen is a geotechnical engineer specializing in design of large earthwork facilities, ground improvement and performance monitoring. During his forty-year career, he has provided consulting services on a wide range of projects including earthen dams, tunnels, excavations, embankments, natural slopes, landfills, and foundations. He has made significant contributions in advanced numerical analysis, laboratory testing to measure engineering properties, monitoring performance during construction to minimize collateral damage, and application of risk management principles to underground engineering.  
 
At Las Plumas High School, Allen earned a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) and was at the top of his graduating class, being selected as the Valedictorian for 1966. He was a California Scholastic Federation (CSF) and Bank of America Award winner. His fellow students elected him as the Associated Student Body (ASB) President. He worked long hours after school and on weekends on a farm taking care of cattle, clearing the land of scrub growth, picking olives, caring for orange trees, cleaning stalls and doing other chores. During the summer, he drove tractors on a farm near Marysville to earn money for a car and college. 
  
Allen received very little college scholarship money, so he had to continue to work summers to support himself through civil engineering classes at the University of California at Davis (UCD). In 1970, he graduated from UCD’s School of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (B.S.C.E.). He completed his graduate studies in engineering at MIT, graduating in 1972 with a Master of Science in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.) and in 1974 with Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering.
 
Allen has earned many prestigious honors and awards during his career. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineers in 2008. He received the 2007 Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Engineering, UCD. He was invited to be the keynote speaker for the Geo-Institute, Geo-Congress 2006, in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned the ASTM D-19 Woodland G. Shockley Award for exceptional and long-term meritorious service. He was the State-of-the-Practice Lecturer for the Geo-Institute Specialty Conference on Performance Confirmation of Constructed Geotechnical Facilities. He earned the ASTM award in 1996 for standard on     Interface Sheer Strength of Geosynthetic Clay Liners. He received the IACMAG Award in 1994 for significant paper on Geomechanics. He worn the Wellington Prize from the ASCE for a paper on the “Differential Settlement Criteria to Tanks.”   
 
Will Mattly

Will Mattly graduated from Oroville High School on June 8, 1951. He attended California State University, Chico, known then as Chico State College, from 1951 to 1955 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting. He worked for the Mail-Me-Monday Accounting firm in Yreka, California from August 1955 to January 1956. He then worked as a junior accountant in the Butte County Auditor’s Office from January 1956 to April 1956, leaving to enter the US Army in which he served as a company clerk and battalion finance clerk with the 41st Engineer Battalion, 10th Mountain Division stationed in Kitzingen, Germany. He completed his tour in the active Army as a sergeant and served another two years in the California Army National Guard. He was discharged in May 1960.
 
From 1958 to 1960, he operated Hiatt’s Grocery. In August 1960, he purchased the Lucas Market and turned it and Hiatt’s Grocery into Mattly’s Market, which he operated until September 8, 1965. His operation of Mattly’s Market proved quite successful, taking a family corner grocery store operation and turning it into a medium sized market.
 
In September 1965, Will decided to pursue his long-term dream of becoming a lawyer. He attended McGeorge College of Law, Sacramento, California, which later became the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. He graduated in 1969 with a Juris    Doctor degree. 
 
After graduation, Will worked for the law firm of Minasian, Minasian & Minasian of Oroville as both a law clerk and associate attorney. He was admitted to the California State Bar and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California on June 24, 1970. He was admitted to the Nevada State Bar in 1989. He continues to maintain both memberships.
 
Will served as the Butte County Deputy District Attorney (DA) from May 1, 1971, to February 1974. From February 1974 to January 1979, he served as Assistant DA. He was elected Butte County DA for three terms from January 1979 to September 1987. Will has taken pride in the fact that while in the DA’s Office he developed into a competent trial lawyer, and he personally tried the most difficult cases in the office. He takes further pride in the fact that even though the office grew from 5 lawyers to 14, he still maintained a full court calendar and daily contact with the courts in addition to his general administrative
duties as DA.               
 
In September 1987, Will retired during his third term as Butte County DA and took a job with the Department of Justice, US Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada and as an Assistant US Attorney for the Criminal Division, which he held until retiring in April 1996. In April 1996, Will took an interim appointment as Lander County, Nevada DA, which he held until January 4, 1999. From 1999 until October 2003, he was the Chief Trial Deputy for Churchill County, Nevada, DA’s Office. He continues to represent pro bono cases.
 
Donald "Dyke" Richter

Donald Henry “Dyke” Richter was a 1945 graduate of Oroville High School (OHS) who after serving his country in the US Navy, became a very successful entrepreneur and an excellent citizen of the Oroville community. As a student athlete at OHS, he lettered in football, baseball, and basketball. Following graduation, he enlisted in the Navy Seabees, serving in the Philippines and China. After receiving an Honorable Discharge from the Navy in 1946, he returned to Oroville and began his business career in Paradise where he, his brother, Ken, and another partner owned and operated the Paradise Pine Mills until 1950. In that year, he and Ken formed the K & D R Company, which did logging and construction. The brothers also built and operated the State Box Lumber Mill. They bought and developed land around Oroville, which included the Richter Tract south of Oro-Dam Boulevard and the rock pile properties along Feather River Boulevard. The partnership and two other businessmen built and operated Prospector’s Village in 1956. Dyke was a high energy community leader who donated time, money, and hard work to many community projects. He used his ability to operate all types of heavy equipment to perform countless volunteer projects in the area,especially during fires and floods.   
 
Dyke attended Oroville High School from 1940 to 1945. He was a star athlete who lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. He was a member of the Block O Society all four years. His football and basketball teams won championships in his junior year. He was
selected to be the captain of the football, basketball, and baseball teams in his senior year. In addition to sports, he participated in Associated Student Body (ASB) activities. He was elected class president during his sophomore and junior years. He was also elected Block O president in his senior year. Coach Hugh Harrison recommended Dyke to Saint Mary’s University for a scholarship, but he left before graduation at the end of his senior year to enlist in the US Navy during World War II. He received his high school diploma on June 8, 1945. 
 
Dyke enlisted in the Navy on May 23, 1945, and served until August 7, 1946. His highest rank was Storekeeper D Third Class, and he served with the Seabees in the 88th and 96th Naval Construction Battalions. His awards include the Asiatic Pacific, American Area, Victory, and Philippine Liberation Medals.
 
Dyke became an entrepreneur whose career skills included heavy equipment operator, machinist, millwright, mechanic and bookkeeper. He was a charter member of the Oroville Industrial Commission (OIDCO) which later became the Oroville Economic Development Commission (OEDCO). The Oroville City Council conferred on Dyke the Samuel J. Norris Lifetime Achievement Award for “contributing significant lifetime achievements toward improving the quality of life in the City of Oroville.”
 
James Rossas

James Anthony Rossas was an exemplary public educator who served in the Oroville Union High School District (OUHSD) district for 36 years. He dedicated his life to educating students and making Oroville a better community. Jim taught physics, advanced mathematics, and computer science at Oroville High School during the majority of his career. He also served as the Child Welfare and Attendance Officer, Assistant to the
Principal, the OUHSD Adult School Principal and the Director of Special, Compensatory, and Vocation Education. Jim also advised many student organizations and was key player in developing the Brain Brawl, where for many years his team was unbeatable. He was
chairman of the scholarship committee for 25 years and was responsible for the installation of the District’s first computer system. In the community, Jim served on the Oroville Council 15 years as the Vice Mayor and Chair of the Development Agency. He also served on Butte County Commissions, the Local Sewer Commission, the League of California Cities, the Sacramento Valley Division Council as vice president, the Butte County Association of Cities as president, the Butte County Association for Governments Transportation Advisory Committee, and the Saint Thomas School Board, and Knights of Columbus.     
 
Jim was born on May 5, 1928 in Oakland, California. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Master of Arts in Education Administration. He was a National Science Foundation recipient with three fellowships and did additional course work at California State University, Chico. 
 
While in his final year of college at Berkley, Jim’s advisor asked him to interview for a teaching position in a little foothill town called Oroville. He interviewed with the OUHSD’s superintendent, Chester Nisbet, who had been building a talented, young and energetic staff over the past few years. Jim was impressed by Mr. Nisbet and loved the small community of Oroville. He accepted employment and began his teaching career. In addition to teaching advanced mathematics and physics, Jim operated, programmed, maintained and repaired computers during the early days of the science. He also developed a computer science curriculum and taught it.  
 
Jim was highly involved in extra-curricular activities. He was the California Scholastic Federation (CSF) advisor, helped stage some 30 plays and musicals, and compiled statistics for basketball tournaments. Jim was extremely interested in helping disadvantaged students and was in charge of federal and state programs, including the Native American Program. He was extremely proud of his participation in the Scholarship Program that assisted many students to achieve their college and career goals. 
 
Ernie Steadman

Ernest “Ernie” Compton Steadman was a 1929 Oroville High School (OHS) graduate, who, among his many achievements, is best known for his part in planning, organizing and constructing Oroville’s most outstanding and long-lasting landmark: the Block O on Table
Mountain. 
 
Ernie and his brother, Morrow, along with a group of OHS classmates worked for three months to construct the Block O. Ernie and Morrow borrowed a Model T truck from their dad’s ranch to haul the cement, sand, rocks and water to the base of the trail leading to the work site on Table Mountain. From there, the building materials were loaded on the backs of the varsity football team and other volunteers. As they climbed the steep trail stooped over under their heavy loads, they had to contend with the elements and the occasional rattlesnake. In all, the boys hauled 108 105-pound bags of cement, 12,000 bags of sand and rocks, and 4,000 gallons of water. The only casualty from this Herculean feat was a borrowed pack horse. After mixing the ingredients at the work site, they poured the concrete in sections around automobile axles, which they had driven into the ground to prevent the O from sliding downhill. When volunteer participation began to slack off before the project was finished, Ernie arranged for girls to serve a picnic lunch at the site. The volunteers returned in force and completed the project in April of 1929. They dedicated the Block O O in June, christening it with a bottle of champagne and a rousing speech.
 
Ernie was a good student, who attended OHS from 1925 to 1929. He excelled at football and started on the varsity team all four years at OHS. He was nicknamed “The Swan” because he was so graceful on the playing field. In the Twenties, he wore a leather helmet
without a faceguard, so he broke his nose seven times. Ernie also played basketball. In addition to athletics, he participated in school plays, including the productions of Neighbors and Stray Cats.   
 
After graduating from OHS, Ernie enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley and majored in agricultural economics. As a college athlete, he played water polo and amateur golf. He was an excellent student and maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout his four years at Berkley. He graduated in 1934 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. 
 
With his college degree in hand, Ernie returned to the family ranch near Oroville to start his life-long career as a farmer. In addition to farming, he performed community service and provided leadership in his career field. His leadership positions included president of the Gridley Rotary Club, director of the California 3rd District Peach Growers Association, and president of the Last Chance Gun Club.  
Morrow Steadman

Morrow Frederick Steadman was a 1928 Oroville High School (OHS) graduate who served his country during WWII as an Army officer and became a successful attorney. He is best known for his part in planning, organizing and constructing Oroville’s most outstanding and long-lasting landmark: the Block O on Table Mountain. 
 
Morrow and his brother, Ernie, along with a group of OHS classmates worked for three months to construct the Block O. Morrow and Ernie borrowed a Model T truck from their dad’s ranch to haul the cement and water to the base of the trail leading to the work site on Table Mountain. From there, the building materials were loaded on the backs of the varsity football team and other volunteers. As they climbed the steep trail stooped over under their heavy loads, they had to contend with the elements and the occasional rattlesnake. In all, the boys hauled 108 105-pound bags of cement, 12,000 bags of sand and gravel, and 4,000
gallons of water. The only casualty from this Herculean feat was a borrowed pack horse. After mixing the ingredients at the work site, they poured the concrete in sections around automobile axles, which they had driven into the ground to prevent the O from sliding downhill. When volunteer participation began to slack off before the project was finished, Ernie arranged for girls to serve a picnic lunch at the site. The volunteers returned in force and completed the project in April of 1929. They dedicated the Block O in June, christening it with a bottle of champagne and a rousing speech.
  
Morrow was an excellent student and graduated a semester early in 1928. He excelled at football and started on the varsity team all four years at OHS. He was the team captain in 1928. In addition to athletics, he participated in student government, yearbook staff, and theater productions. He also joined the Boy Scouts and was the first local boy to earn Eagle Scout rank.
 
After graduating from OHS, Morrow enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley to prepare for law school. As a college athlete, he played water polo and competed on swim teams. He graduated in 1932 with a bachelor’s degree. He then enrolled in Hastings Law School and graduated in 1936. 
 
During World War II, Morrow served over three years in the US Army. He was assigned to the Judge Advocate’s Office in Atlanta, Georgia and attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.
 
After the war, Morrow returned to Oroville and entered into private practice as an attorney and served thirteen years as an Assistant District Attorney. He performed community service, which included serving as Oroville Rotary Club president, County Fair board member, OUHSD board member, president of Butte County Employee Association, Red Cross chapter chair, Boy Scouts troop leader, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church volunteer, and Community Girl’s Swim Team coach.
 
 
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