Oroville Union High School District
2012 Hall of Fame Inductees
2012 Hall of Fame Inductees
Mitch Brown came to Oroville in the 1980’s to eradicate drugs and motorcycle gangs, and over the years has made extraordinary contributions to the citizens of Oroville, especially to seniors and the youth of our community.
When asked to give up his job as Assistant Chief of the California Department of Justice to fill the position of Chief of Police in Oroville, he did so with great enthusiasm. He saw this as a golden opportunity to not only be in town for his family, but to personally and professionally serve his community.
Mitch is a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps and is a Vietnam Veteran. His professional career in law enforcement spanned thirty-seven years and his achievements and awards were numerous at both the local and state levels.
Mitch’s record of public service in Oroville is exemplary and endless! He started the Identi-A-Child program, enhanced the Shoes that Fit program, initialed "Safe from the Start", a program to reduce children's exposure to violence, and assigned a school resource officer to Oroville High School. As the police chief, he was always in uniform, directed traffic in the rain, caught unlicensed dogs, took groceries to abandoned families, and once caught a fleeing drug dealer, even though he was three times the perpetrator’s age.
Other community involvement includes being strong supporter of the Oroville Rescue Mission. He is often there to serve meals, help deliver meals to needy families, assist displaced families in times of need, and generally be on call. He is also involved with the "Father’s House Church,” and life recovery ministries, where he assists in fundraising efforts for persons in recovery. He strongly supports the work they do, which largely goes unknown.
His dedication to youth is further evidenced by his serving on the Oroville Union High School Board of Trustees for four years, supervising teen dances for the Live Spot, and being a member of the Oroville High School Parent Club. He also found time to teach a criminal justice class at Las Plumas High School.
Over the years Mitch served on numerous state and local committees, including Fight Crime Invest in Kids, Martin Luther King Scholarship Committee, Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, Community Health Alliance of Oroville, Oroville Homeless Coalition, Butte-Glenn Violence Prevention, Butte College Administration of Justice Advisory committee and others that are focused on safety for family and youth.
Mitch was named Butte County Peace Office of the Year in 1987, and was a nominee for the California Narcotic Officer of the Year Award in 1989. In 2002, he was recognized as the Person of the Year by the Butte County Department of Behavioral Health. He has twice been awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Oroville Hmong Community.
Reverend Steve Terry, Director of the Oroville Rescue Mission, states in a letter of support, Mitch is one of those people in our community that I hold in the “Highest Regard.” He is a man who possesses the highest standards of ethics and integrity, and an incredible work ethic, and a man who dearly loves his community.”
Mitch is currently the chairman of board of the Northwest SPCA, past president of the Oroville Noon Rotary Club, where most of his projects were focused on children. He also serves as Training Director for the Statewide Drug Endangered Children Training and Advocacy Center here in Oroville and serves as a reserve police officer..
Mitch Brown is inducted into the OUHSD Hall of Fame for his Distinguished Service to OUHSD and the Oroville community.
Joe Felipe was born in Portola, CA and raised and educated in Oroville. While a student at Oroville High School (OHS), he was an outstanding four sport athlete, active in several associated student body activities, class officer, a Boy Scout, delivered newspapers, and upon graduation from OHS in 1936, was awarded a basketball scholarship to Santa Clara University (SCU).
He was on the Bronco varsity basketball team three years, earned high point honors several times, and the 1940 championship team was honored as one of the most successful hoop squads in school history, losing only one game the entire season. Joe went on to earn his bachelors degree from SCU, and his teaching credential from University of California, Berkeley.
Upon graduating from SCU in 1940, Joe was on active duty in the United States Navy from 1941-1945 during World War II. He attained the rank of Lieutenant Senior Grade, served as an officer on the USS Mellette and USS Ramapo, and was an active participant in the initial landing and occupation of Iwo Jima, Nagasaki, and Okinawa. His war experience also included serving as Debarkation Officer on an Attack Transport Ship, transporting Marines to Iwo Jima and picking up Marines wounded in combat.
In 1946, Joe was hired by OHS principal Chester Nisbet to teach citizenship, history, and English. He also experienced great success as head varsity baseball, basketball, and football coach at OHS until 1954 and then continued his winning ways coaching all three sports at Yuba Junior College. His 1955 Yuba football team was Golden Valley Conference champion, Alfalfa Bowl champion, and the entire team was inducted into the Yuba College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
Joe next moved up to NCAA Division One University of Santa Clara, where in 1956 he became head freshman basketball coach and assistant varsity coach. Following two successful years and a best season 19-3 record at his alma mater, Coach Felipe gave up coaching and in 1958 returned to his hometown to enter the business world as a salesman for Las Plumas Lumber Company, that was later owned by the Di Giorgio Corporation.
Over next 32 years, Joe used his abilities to teach, train, and mold his staff into professional industry leaders. He rose from salesman up through the ranks to president. He was a key player in the development of the company into one of the most successful distributors of pre-cut materials in the north state and in two other branches in southern California. He was well known and highly respected throughout the industry, retiring in 1990.
Throughout his life, Joe gave back to his beloved Oroville by coaching and sponsoring youth sports, being active in local service clubs, the Chamber of Commerce, and the community in general. He founded Pop Warner youth football in Oroville in 1967 and proceeded to coach the Oroville team to several championships. As a member of St. Thomas Catholic Church, he found time to coach its boys and girls basketball teams and also sponsored local Little League teams.
Joe played baseball for the Oroville Olives, was inducted into the Northern California Sports Association Hall of Fame in 1978, served as its president, and received the Business Leadership Award from the DiGiorgio Corporation. He was also a member of the University of California Alumni Association and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Oroville.
He was a man of great integrity and is best remembered for his ability to organize and motivate others in sports, business, the classroom and life. He openly taught honesty, hard work, discipline and integrity.
Joe was married to Ruby Gould for 53 years and they had four children: Nancy, Joe Jr., Donnie, and Paula. He is also survived by his two sisters, Mary Hill, of Yucaipa and Helen Wittmer of Berkeley. Aside from his family, his loves included his dogs, birds, gardening, and cooking for his family. Joe passed away at his home in Oroville on April 1, 1995.
Abbe Ryan came to Oroville in 1946 when she was a baby. She was in the first graduating class at St. Thomas School and graduated from Oroville High School (OHS) in 1962. While at OHS she was a National Merit Scholar and winner of the J.C Nisbet Scholarship. As an outstanding scholar, she earned a place on the honor roll and membership in the California Scholastic Federation (CSF).
She was very active on campus, serving as a Tiger Tails newspaper reporter and was elected Student Body secretary. She was a member of the Drama Club as well as the National Thespian Society. She also held membership in the United Nations Club, the French Club and was a delegate to the State Model United Nations Assemblies. Her community service included 4H activities and president of the Catholic Youth Organization at St. Thomas Parish.
Following her high school, years, Abbe attended Mills College, Newcomb College, and in 1968, earned her bachelors degree in history at California State University, Chico (CSUC). She then went on to do post-graduate work in Early Childhood Education at San Francisco State University and the University of Alaska Anchorage where she also received her elementary teaching certificate.
Virtually all of Abbe's volunteer, part-time, and full-time work has been in support of children and families. Her professional career in education began in Alaska, where her mother was born and raised. For the first seven years, Abbe coordinated local PBS Ready To Learn services at two public television stations, KAKM-TV in Anchorage and WETA-TV in northern Virginia and Washington DC. She created educational training materials and led workshops for early childhood professionals and parents. The goal was to improve learning experiences for young children using award-winning PBS children’s programs, quality children’s books, and related activities.
For the next five years, she managed the national outreach component of PBS Ready To Learn, a $100 million 5-year grant, funded through the US Department of Education. There she managed agreements with 148 local PBS stations, published outreach training materials and reports, and online and video resources.
Moving back to Anchorage in September, 2006, Abbe then became the Founding Executive of Alaska’s Early Childhood initiative, called Best Beginnings, a position she still holds. The initiative is a statewide non-profit public-private partnership that mobilizes people and resources to ensure that all Alaska children begin school ready to learn and succeed. Best Beginnings partners with communities all across Alaska to improve school readiness with a special focus on literacy and language development and increased public engagement with early childhood issues.
Abbe’s community service in the state of Alaska is extensive. She has served as State PTA president, National PTA vice –president, and served on the Alaska State Medical Board and the Child Care Connection Board. She was appointed by the governor of Alaska to a five-year term on the Alaska State Board of Education, where she was instrumental in the development of the first set of state standards for education.
As a result of her extraordinary work and dedication to children, Abbe was awarded honorary life membership in seventeen PTA’s throughout the country and the National PTA. Other honors and awards include a Legislative Citation from the Alaska State Legislature for PTA work, and the Women of Achievement Award from the Anchorage YWCA. In March, 2012, she received the Little Red Wagon Advocacy Award from the Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children.
Best Beginnings was recognized with the Alaska Community Service Award for Health and the Contributions to Literacy in Alaska Award.
A former Alaska State Board of Education member writes,”Abbe is an outstanding visionary leader, selfless community contributor, and dedicated child advocate. She is well known and respected across the state of Alaska and in many parts of the nation.”
She currently resides in Alaska with her husband, a well known Alaska Native leader. They raised four children who are now exemplary in their adult lives.
Joe High graduated from Oroville High School (OHS) in 1949. He played football, basketball, and baseball, was a member of Block “O”, the Latin Club, and served as senior class president. He worked after school and on weekends at Southern Cross Grocery.
Following his graduation from OHS, Joe enrolled at Yuba Junior College where he played baseball and earned his Associate of Arts degree in accounting. He played on the Oroville American Legion baseball league championship team in 1949 and for the semi-pro Oroville Nuggets during the summers of 1950 and 1951. The Nuggets were the Oroville Olives ‘B’ team for one year.
Prior to beginning his military service in 1951, Joe was employed at various area businesses including Stokeley’s Cannery, Walsh and Ricketts Grocery, High Sierra Pine Mill, Feather Falls Lumber and Foster Freeze.
From 1951-1955, Joe served his country during the Korean Conflict as a member of the United States Navy aboard the USS Chourre and on the island of Guam. While in the Navy he played baseball leading the team in home runs and earning all-league honors.
Upon receiving his honorable discharge in 1955, he enrolled at Chico State College, where he played baseball and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in business education in 1958. He went on to earn his secondary teaching credential a year later, and completed his Masters Degree in business in 1964. In 1976, he was awarded a Future Business Leaders of America Federal Grant to Oregon State University where he earned a second Masters Degree in vocational education and made the Deans List.
Joe’s thirty-four year OUHSD teaching career began in1959 when he was hired to teach vocational business classes at OHS. He was at his alma mater until 1961 when he was transferred to the new Las Plumas High School (LPHS) to set up the first business department and teach. He served as the department chairman from 1961 until his retirement in 1993.
Joe was an extremely active employee during his years at OUHSD, coaching thirty-seven sport seasons including basketball and tennis while at OHS and boys basketball, baseball and boys and girls’ tennis at LPHS. Along with winning several league championships in boys’ tennis, he also found time to teach accounting at adult night school, business law and small business management at Butte College night school, while serving as cheerleader advisor, and counselor at LPHS for three years. He worked with Jerry Simmons exclusively in a special program to keep at risk students in school. He continued to coach girls’ tennis at LPHS for one year following his retirement in 1993.
Throughout his teaching career, Joe felt it important to give back to his community, and did so by serving in the Oroville Host Lions Club for many years, during which he was president and secretary. In 1990, he was granted life membership in the club. He currently maintains life membership in professional educational organizations.
Over the years Joe received numerous honors and awards including being named teacher of the year in Oroville in 1993, Lion of the Year in 1971, and the Coaches Award for dedicated service to athletics in 2004. His coaching colleagues honored him in 1996 when he was inducted into the Northern California Sports Hall of Fame.
Joe was a charter committee member of the OUHSD Hall of Fame committee when the hall was established in 2008. He served until his first term expired in 2010.
Joe’s brightest highlight as a baseball coach was when his LPHS team beat OHS and its ace pitcher and future major leaguer Gary Nolan at Mitchell Field in the mid 1960’s.
Long time friend Will Mattly stated in a letter, “Joe High’s accomplishments manifest themselves by the sterling reputation he has among former students.” “Just visit a class reunion and you’ll soon realize that Joe High is synonymous with “Mr. Las Plumas!”
William Lawrence James was born on March 12, 1892 in Iowa Hill, Placer County, CA. Baseball claimed his attention very early in his life when he was water boy for the Iowa Dusty Hill Roads and then played on a team called the Wide Awakes with his brother and sister.
He came to Oroville at age eleven, finished elementary school, and graduated from Oroville High School (OHS) in 1910. While at OHS, he was very active in sports, and lettered in basketball and baseball. A teammate, Chester Nisbet, became a life-long friend and married Bill’s sister, Irene. In the fall of 1911, Bill entered St. Mary’s College in Moraga, but his stay there was short as West Coast baseball clubs took notice of him and began knocking on his door. His baseball life began in 1912 when he was signed by the Seattle Giants where he became a “blazing” fast ball pitcher and a fan favorite star known as “Seattle Bill.”
Just a year later, Bill, at age 22, was approached by the National League (NL) Boston Braves, signed a contract and thus became the first ever major league baseball player from Oroville! 1913 saw the Braves finishing 5th in the NL and Bill compiling a 6-10 win loss record.
In 1914, the Braves came alive and advanced to the World Series. Bill won 26 games that year and lost only 7, posting the best record in Major League Baseball (MLB). His Earned Run Average (ERA) of 1.90 was the MLB best and at one point in the season he won 16 consecutive games. He also led the NL in with a winning percentage of .788.
Bill pitched a shutout in his first start on the mound and two hitless innings in relief in game two and the Braves were 2-0. They went on to win the Series 4-0 and from then on were known as “The Miracle Team.” as they were the first team ever to with a World Series in a four game sweep. MLB history was made and Bill James was a big part of it!
In 1915, with little rest, injuries began to take their toll on Bill, and following two unsuccessful surgeries on his right arm, he was sent to the minors. In 1916, at age 24, he was placed on the voluntary retired list as having a “dead arm.”
World War One then interrupted his life and Bill served at the Presidio in San Francisco where he was a bomb throwing instructor in the 66th infantry. He served until the war ended, receiving his honorable discharge in 1918.
He returned to the Braves in 1919, but his arm was never the same. His lifetime MLB pitching record was 37-21. Later in 1919, Bill returned to Oroville to work on a dredge with his dad, then was in the fuel business with Hoke Fuel Company, and also served as Butte County Assessor. He also managed to stay connected with baseball by doing some pitching and coaching with the Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League, and the Chico Colts, and Oroville Olives of the Sacramento Valley League.
During his years in Oroville, Bill devoted his time to giving the youth in town the benefit of his knowledge of the game that made him famous. In 1949, he was named Athlete of the Year for the Helms Foundation. He was inducted into the LaSalle Club Old Timers Club in Sacramento in 1964, and in 1970, he and Gary Nolan were honored at the Max Baer Heart Fund Sports Night in Oroville. Each had brought fame to his hometown fifty-six years apart. A tree is planted in James’ memory at the Gary Nolan Sports Complex.
In 1965, the City of Oroville officially recognized Bill with a proclamation for “Outstanding contribution to the world of sports which has added to the prestige of the City of Oroville and has served as an inspiration to its youth for more than fifty years.”
Bill James passed away on March 12, 1971 and his funeral was held two years later on his 79th birthday. His pall bearers were Oroville Olives' baseball player and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was played in his honor.
Please refer to the Butte County Historical Society’s DIGGIN’S magazine, Spring Edition 2003 for an in-depth biography on Bill, written by his daughter Janet Holden.
Ray E. Johnson
Ray E. Johnson was born on October 11, 1911 in Oroville, CA. He graduated from Oroville High School (OHS) in 1929 and was awarded a full athletic scholarship to the University of California at Berkeley (UC). Printed next to his photo in the yearbook were the words, “Those who knew him liked him.” He was a member of the student crew, headed by OUHSD Hall of Famers Ernest and Morrow Steadman, who constructed the Block O on Table Mountain during the spring of 1929. Ray was the first Eagle Scout in Butte County and embodied the Boy Scout oath. He also worked as a newspaper boy for several years while attending school.
Ray chose to not attend UC immediately after graduation and instead spent two years working as a surveyor with a local lumber company. He played semi-pro baseball as a catcher for the Oroville Olives, Chico Colts, and Colusa Pruners and was good enough to be selected for a tryout with the Seattle team in the Pacific Coast League. The need for year-round employment prevented him from participating in the tryouts.
He then attended UC as a freshman but the extended illness of his father caused him to have to leave school after one year and forced him to return to Oroville where he found a job driving an ice truck. In 1933, he went to work for Union Oil Company and, within three years, became one of the company’s youngest plant managers. In 1937, he left the oil business, moved to Arbuckle, CA with his new wife Lorraine Christian and joined his father-in-law in the farming and grain brokerage business.
In 1940, he and his father-in-law founded the Christian & Johnson Company, opened a second store in Woodland, CA, and a third store in Chico in 1943 where they were in business for nineteen years. Ray bought a home there and went on to live in that same home for the rest of his life.
Between 1950 and 1960 Butte County experienced great expansion and the Highway 99E project brought great controversy to Chico. In short, the freeway fight served as a catalyst for Ray’s political career and his aspirations began as a personal “not in my backyard” pursuit . In 1962, he decided to run for the California State Assembly, and lost the election by a narrow margin.
His distinguished legislative career began in 1965 when he won a seat in the California State Assembly where he served five successive two-year terms. In 1976, he was elected California State Senator by defeating a 37 year incumbent, who was considered unbeatable, and served two successive four-year terms. Due to reapportionment, Ray’s eighteen year political career ended in 1984.
Senator Johnson’s community service over a forty-five year period is varied and extensive, making significant contributions to the City of Chico, Butte County, and the State of California as evidenced by his legislative and public service record. He maintained membership in several service clubs, the Butte County Board of Education, the Bidwell District Boy Scouts of America, and the Methodist Church, as well as serving on many boards and commissions for the State of California.
He was inducted into the Northern California Sports Hall of Fame in 1977, and in 1993, the portion of State Highway Route 99 south of Chico was designated by the state legislature as the Ray E. Johnson Expressway.
Former Governor of California Pete Wilson described Ray as, “A thoroughly decent man who represented the best tradition of citizen turned lawmaker.”
Bill Lee, former editor of the Chico Enterprise-Record wrote in an editorial following Ray’s passing in 1993, “Johnson had a reputation of being “up front” and “calling em” as he sees em” He was that rare legislative breed, “an honest man who had a deep concern for what was right for the people.”
For an abridged biography, please refer to the winter 2010-11 edition of the Butte County Historical Society (BCHS) publication DIGGIN’S. California State Senator Ray E. Johnson: Citizen Turned Lawmaker, by Claudia Beaty. The original complete biography is available at the BCHS archives.
James Lenhoff graduated from Oroville High School (OHS) in 1949 and earned membership in the Honor Society in each of his four years. He also played on the tennis team all four years and was very active in student body affairs. He was senior class vice president, business manager for the Tiger Mirror newspaper for two years, business manager of the Nugget Yearbook for one year and won first place in the annual Lions Speaking Club Speaking contest as a senior. He also found time to act in several school drama productions during his high school days. Outside of school, Jim was active in the YMCA and church activities.
Following his graduation from OHS, Jim earned his AA degree from Yuba College where he was president of the honor society and a member of the drama club. He then went on to earn his AB degree and teaching credentials from Chico State College (CSC) in 1956, and later received his administrative credential.
Between attending Yuba College and Chico State, Jim served in the Unites States Army from 1953-1955, attaining the rank of Private First Class. He was awarded the National Defense Medal and received an honorable discharge.
Jim’s career in education spanned forty-three years where he spent time teaching secondary education at Paradise Unified School District (PUSD) and the Oroville Union High School District (OUHSD), and later teaching classes at OUHSD adult school. While at PUSD, Jim also served as advisor to the student staffs of the school newspaper and yearbook.
Jim has been a local history enthusiast since he was a teenager and his leadership in preserving the history of Oroville and the surrounding area is exemplary. He was a charter member of the Butte County Historical Society and not only served as editor of its periodical “The Diggin’s” for over 21 years but also named the publication. He was instrumental in saving the Ehmann Home, the Oregon City Schoolhouse, and the Bangor Community Church. He erected the arches over historic Miners Alley, and saved it and several buildings between Huntoon and Myers streets. He was a major player in seeing that the parking meters were removed from downtown Oroville.
Other community preservation and restoration efforts saw Jim restoring two Victorian homes on Montgomery Street, one of which has served as his family residence since 1961. He erected state monuments at Cherokee and Oregon City and installed several bronze plaques at various historic sites in downtown Oroville as well as erecting the Liberty Pole, which is a replica of the original one built there in 1857. Key historic preservations also included the Mother Orange Tree and the Bidwell Bar Bridge and Toll House.
Jim is a charter member and served as president of the Oroville Heritage Council. While president, he played a vital role in saving several historic landmarks in Nevada City and played an important role in saving the Old United States Mint in San Francisco.
Then-governor and later President Ronald Reagan asked Jim to represent him in Utah at the centennial celebration for driving the Gold Spike that connected the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroads. It was there that Jim introduced John Wayne and J.C. Penney and each thought that Jim was an old friend of the other, although he had not met either man before.
In February 2011, Jim was honored by the City of Oroville for his many, many years of service to his community. The City bestowed on Jim, the prestigious Sam Norris Award for Excellence at the Oroville Economic Development Corporation dinner.
Jim is widely considered the local expert historian of Oroville and is still active in community affairs, serving on various boards both locally and statewide. He also continues to write articles for the Historical Society and is its only living charter member.
Frank O’Neill was born on November 12, 1922 and graduated from Grass Valley High School in 1940 where he was an outstanding football player and described by his coach Bill Wilson, OHS class of 1922, as a “tough offensive and defensive end.” Upon his graduation from high school, he enrolled at Placer College, and then worked in the shipbuilding industry before enlisting in the United States Army Air Force in December of 1942.
Frank served his country honorably during World War II from December 1942 to the day of his honorable discharge as a First Lieutenant 2113th Army Air Force Base Unit in May of 1944. During the war, he compiled an exemplary record as a pilot and commander pilot of a B-17 bomber aircraft. He flew twenty-nine missions during the war and received numerous honors, awards and medals for his meritorious service.
Four times Frank was awarded the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters given for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. He also received the European Theatre Operations (ETO) Ribbon with three stars, the Rhineland Ribbon, the American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory medal.
Following his honorable discharge, Frank enrolled at Chico State College where he earned his bachelors degree and teaching credential, and then went on to do graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley (UC).
Franks’ career in public education began in Live Oak, CA and after experiencing three years of successful teaching and coaching there, he came to Oroville High School (OHS) in 1956 to teach history, government, and psychology. He also served as football scout for head varsity coach and OUHSD Hall of Fame member Johnny Johnson as well as being freshman head football coach. For the remainder of his career he was head counselor and served in that capacity for fifteen years. 1983 marked the end of Frank’s thirty year career in public education.
During his fifteen years as head counselor, Frank had a significant impact on instituting positive changes in that department. He restructured the department by upgrading the California State testing procedures and as a result, student test scores improved. Students were originally tested in large groups in the girls’ gymnasium and Frank instituted testing in small class size groups in the regular classroom where students were more comfortable.
Frank pioneered pre-freshmen counseling beginning at the eighth grade in order to facilitate their transition to high school Students were counseled by high school counselors at their eighth grade school as opposed to coming to the high school to meet with a counselor. In addition to this personal counseling, Frank instituted evening group sessions for parents of incoming freshmen in order to clarify any questions they might have had. Through added counseling, increased potential scholarships came about.
Frank is currently a full-time resident of Oroville and has called it home for many, many years. He was a member of the Oroville Lions Club for over thirty years, and served as its president. He also was a member of the Sons In Retirement (SIRS) and sat on the Butte County Grand Jury.
A colleague in the counseling department writes, “I learned much from Frank when I first started at Oroville High School. He is a strong leader and was committed to providing the best guidance and counseling services to all students. Frank is a person who you can learn from and he also challenges you to be the best you can be. He left a positive imprint on my life, not to mention the number of students, parents, and community members whose lives he also touched. Frank is most definitely –a loyal Tiger, a caring friend, and a person respected and admired by many.”
Frank’s mature and honest approach to students is legendary! He was an outstanding role model and committed to Oroville High School and the student community.
He continues to reside in Oroville and enjoy his many friends.
Perry Reniff was born in Kansas City, MO, and attended Oroville High School from 1966 through the first semester of 1968, when he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served two years and received his honorable discharge in 1970. “It is what you are supposed to do, serve your country,” Perry said. He and his three brothers all served in the military. Following his time in the USMC, he worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the California National Guard, and Western Pacific Railroad.
In 1972, Perry received his AA degree from Butte College and earned his Bachelors degree from California State University, Chico, and graduated from the FBI National Academy, University of Virginia.
Perry’s lifelong career in law enforcement in Butte County began in 1972 when he served as Assistant Records and Identification officer. Over the next 37 years, he served in numerous capacities in nearly every department of the Sheriff’s Office and area of Butte County, and in virtually every patrol or investigative role within the agency until he was elected Butte County Sheriff-Coroner in 2002. He served the people of the county admirably until his retirement in December 2009.
Community service is an integral part of who Perry really is and what he is all about. He developed and supported numerous programs for the Butte County Sheriff’s Office including the Sheriff’s Team of Active Retired Seniors (STARS); the Designated Area Deputies program, the Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving program, and he was instrumental in building the Butte County Meth Strike Force coalition.
He provided leadership and support for the Butte County Jail Mentoring Program, Community Partnerships, Neighborhood Watch, Community Coalitions, and Butte Children’s Coordinating Council. Special assignments included the Butte Juvenile Coordinating Council and the Butte/Glenn Family Violence Prevention Council.
Honors and awards were numerous for Perry and include the Butte County Distinguished Service Award and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Commendation. In 2005 he was honored as Grand Marshal of the Feather Fiesta Parade, and in 2010 was honored with the Butte College Outstanding Alumnus Award.
He has memberships in professional organizations, including the CSU Chico Criminal Justice Professional Advisory Board and the Butte College Advisory Board. He is an active member of the Oroville Sunrise Rotary Club, and works closely with the Oroville High School Interact Club.
Over the years, Perry has been and still is a strong supporter of the OHS Interact Club. At the time of his retirement, the club honored Perry by presenting him with a rake and shovel tied with a bow and honorary membership in the club.
Butte County District Attorney and OUHSD Hall of Famer Mike Ramsey wrote, “Perry has certainly ‘made a difference’ in our county, and will always be known as a ‘cop’s cop’! His passion for serving his community and its citizens from the scourge of drug abuse is well known.”
Paula Felipe, Crime Prevention Coordinator for Butte County writes, “Perry is without a doubt one of THE most amazing individuals I’ve ever met in my life!” He truly lives by the Rotarian motto of “Service above Self.”
A quote from Perry about the Interact Club Members states, “I apply the Golden Rule to young folks. If you give folks dignity and respect them, they’re going to give it back to you no matter who you are. These are great young folks who do a lot for the community. These kids are just fantastic.”
Perry lives in Oroville with his wife of nearly 40 years. He is still active in civic and community activities and organizations. He is inducted into the OUHSD Hall of Fame for his Distinguished Service to OUHSD and the community.
Dr. Glen Toney
Glen Toney graduated from Oroville High School (OHS) in 1957 and was active in sports, playing basketball and baseball and boxing for three years. He was a member of the Block ‘O’ Society for three years and an officer during his sophomore and junior years. He served as vice-president of his freshman class and was twice elected to the Student Body Executive Committee. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout as an OHS junior and was active in community service projects including the Feather River flood clean-up in Marysville and Yuba City.
Following his graduation from OHS, Glen attended Chico State College (CSC), where he earned BA degree in philosophy and a minor in mathematics. He then matriculated to San Jose State where he earned a Masters Degree in Instructional Technology and a BS Degree in mathematics. He completed his Doctoral Degree at the University of Southern California in 1975 and also earned his teaching and administrative credentials.
From 1962-64, Glen served in the United States Army Missile Division and attained the rank of Private First Class. His professional career began in 1965 with his serving as a scientific programmer and math analyst at Lockheed Missile and Space Inc.
1969 marked the beginning of a ten year career in public education. During this time, Glen held the positions of Assistant to the Superintendent in the Cupertino Union Elementary School District, and Assistant Superintendent of schools in the Ravenswood City and Palo Alto Unified School Districts.
In 1979, Glen returned to work in the high technology industry of Silicon Valley and launched a twenty-three year career with Applied Materials Incorporated. He worked as a top executive for Applied Materials, the largest supplier of products and services to the global semiconductor industry and one of the world’s leading information infrastructure providers. Positions held at this company included Group Vice President for Human Resources and Corporate Affairs. Later, he added to his responsibilities by founding and serving as President of Applied Global University, which focused on providing training and development for a growing world-wide workforce.
During Glen’s tenure at Applied Materials, the company grew from $42 million to the $10 billion level in annual revenues and employed more than 22,000 people in thirteen countries. His leadership contributed to the company frequently being named among the most admired, best managed, highest performing and most diverse companies profiled by Fortune Magazine.
His numerous awards include an honorary doctorate degree from Santa Clara University and the David Packard Civic Entrepreneurs Award. In 2011, he was awarded the CSU Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding service to the university.
Glen’s community service work over many years is extensive and varied. He has served as chairman of the 21st Century Education Initiative, a Silicon Valley coalition seeking to spark a community commitment to build a world class educational system in California, and currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the California State University System. He is a member of the board of directors of the Gateway Science Museum in Chico, and Applied Materials-Shanghai Research and Development Fund in China.
He has been the keynote graduation speaker at Santa Clara University, speaker at the Fellows Club of Oroville’s Top Ten Awards night in 2010, and the main speaker at the Martin Luther King Jr. public celebration in San Jose, CA in 2012.
Glen’s long term passion is to help improve our educational system in our communities, states and nation. He says, “As a nation, we must compete on a global basis. The basis for our ability to compete begins with our schools. Therefore, we must have a world class educational system throughout America.”
He currently resides in Chico with his wife Virginia and two daughters.
Misty Howarth Weagant graduated with honors from Las Plumas High School (LPHS) in 1996 where she maintained a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.56 and earned life membership in the California Scholastic Federation (CSF). In addition to being an outstanding scholar, she was a three sport athlete, earning numerous honors and awards in basketball and softball. She was also elected Associated Student Body secretary during her senior year.
Misty excelled in the classroom, on the softball field, and on the basketball court, being one of the most highly decorated scholar/athletes in the history of LPHS. On the court, she was named “Lady T-Bird, All-Tourney in several tournaments, Mercury-Register T-Bird of the Week, and won the Coaches Award as well as the Scholarship Award. She participated in the California State Championship Division III playoffs and was named to the south team in the All the Best All-Star Classic at Chico State.
In softball, Misty again lit up the awards charts, earning recognition as Outstanding Hitter as a freshman, best All Around player as a sophomore, Most Valuable Player (MVP) as a junior and senior and All league as a junior and again as a senior, and all Northern Section in both her junior and senior years. Her senior year also saw her take home awards including Outstanding Senior Athlete, Eastern Athletic League Senior Scholar Athlete, Oroville Union High School District (OUHSD) / California School Employees Association (CSEA) Scholarship, and the Ella R. Sligar Scholarship.
Following her graduation from LPHS, Misty enrolled at Butte Community College where she again distinguished herself as a scholar and as an athlete. She earned her AA degree, made the Deans List, and again starred in basketball and softball. She was named to the Athlete Scholar hoops team, and on the diamond earned honors as the Golden Valley Conference (GVC) MVP, the Butte College MVP, the team Captain Award, Academic Athlete, and GVC All Conference Player.
Misty then crossed the ocean to enroll at Brigham Young University, Hawaii, where she had earned a full scholarship. Shewas there for a year again earning a softball MVP award and named NCAA Second Team All-American.
She then transferred to California State University, Chico, (CSUC) and was named Team “Best Defensive Player”, Honorable Mention California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) team, and CCAA softball player of the week in April 2000. In 2001, Misty ended her collegiate career earning her Bachelor of Arts Degree in liberal studies, membership in the Academic Honors Society and a spot on the Dean’s List.
Immediately upon earning her degree and teaching credential, Misty began her career in education at Gridley High School (GHS), and just completed her eleventh year there excelling as a math/computer science teacher and volunteer softball coach. She is described as a teacher and a coach who cares about academics and the well-being of her students. She spends extra time working with counseling, administration, fellow teachers, and parents to help her students be successful. Her duties also included being an after-school math tutor and serving as senior class advisor for the class of 2011 for their four years of school.
Misty is also active outside her work, serving as volunteer assistant Chico youth soccer coach, volunteer assistant youth basketball coach and volunteer assistant baseball and softball coach for the Chico Little League.
Misty’s high school math teacher and softball coach wrote in a letter of support, “While relentlessly pursuing personal excellence, Misty’s finest quality, both as a person and an athlete, was constantly visible, a true team player. Misty always took time to compliment a teammate or lend some form of help. She was a true scholar/athlete. She achieved substantial success both in the classroom and on the athletic field.”
The Athletic Director at Gridley High School writes, Students are lucky to have Misty as a teacher because of her passion for helping people.”
William “Bill” Wilson was born in Cherokee in 1904. His family moved to Oroville in 1911 where he watched his first Oroville Olives baseball game in 1913 when the Olives beat Chico for the Trolley League Championship. In his later life, he went on to play for the Olives, the Palermo Orphans and the Grass Valley Miners of the Placer Nevada League.
Bill graduated from Oroville High school (OHS) in 1922 where he played four years of football and baseball. He also played the French horn in the orchestra, was captain of the First Battalion High School Cadets and elected student body president as a senior.
Upon graduation from OHS, Bill went on to earn his Bachelors Degree in history at the University of California, Berkeley (Cal) where he also played coronet and French horn in the Cal marching band. While there, he also played freshman baseball. He did graduate work at the University of Missouri. He was disqualified from active military duty due to a mastoid condition.
His thirty-five year career in public education began when he was hired by principal Chester Nisbet to teach and coach at OHS. After two years, Bill was contacted by Grass Valley High School to come there to teach and coach and he decided to make a move that kept him there until his retirement thirty-three years later.
Bill’s highly successful career in public education, started with him teaching history and band and coaching football, basketball, boxing, track and his first love, baseball. His first year at Grass Valley High School (GVHS) saw him coach eight teams and over the years he became known as “the coach.” His 1936 team won the league championship and gave up a mere twenty-three points the entire season.
In 1942, Bill was appointed vice principal of GVHS, a position he held for one year when he was appointed principal of GVHS. He successfully performed the duties of principal for the next ten years when district trustees elevated him to the position of Superintendent of the Grass Valley Union High School District (GVUHSD).
As superintendent, Bill was one of the key players in uniting Grass Valley and Nevada City High School Districts into becoming Nevada Union High School. Facilities at both high schools were in a dire state of disrepair and not meeting new state requirements. Through Bill’s consolidation of the trustees of the two diverse school boards, two district superintendents, and a history of political distrust, under his guidance both towns voted to unite as one district and become the Nevada Union High School District (NUHSD).
A new NUHSD board appointed Bill superintendent, a post he held for the next seven years. To many, he became known as the “The Father of Nevada Union High School.”
While living in Grass Valley, Bill was as active in his community as he was as a superintendent. He led the drive for construction of Nevada Union High School and was a member of the Grass Valley Elks and Lions Clubs. His message was, “In Union There is Strength.”
Following his retirement from NUHSD, Bill returned to Oroville and managed two olive orchards for his brothers. He once hired John Steinbeck to pick fruit when the legendary writer traveled the country. At age fifty-five, Bill went into the real estate business and remained there as a broker into his eighties.
Bill continued to be active in his community as a member of The Fellows Club of Oroville, and coach for Babe Ruth League baseball. He was inducted into the Northern California Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
Bill and his wife Helen were married for sixty-five years before his life ended in July 1995 as a result of a massive heart attack. His last words to his son Dan, were, “Too much trouble.” He passed away at Oroville Hospital the following day.