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After a year’s delay
due to the COVID pandemic, induction ceremonies for the 2020/2021 class of the Mount Ayr Community Schools Hall of Fame will be held Saturday, September 18.
New inductees include Kim (McGinnis) Foster, Eugene Ricker, Thomas Teale, Jr. and Harley Wilhelm.
Social hour will begin at 5 p.m. in the high school commons with the banquet dinner catered by
Donetta Phelps’ Wagon Wheel Cafe beginning at 6 p.m.
The induction ceremony will get underway following dinner.
MACHS English/drama instructor Shaun Kniep will serve as mistress of ceremonies.
Each inductee or their family members will speak during the evening.
Kim McGinnis Foster
Kim McGinnis graduated from Mount Ayr Community High School in 1988.
She was a talented multi-sport athlete, playing a key role on each her teams from the moment she entered high school.
McGinnis was the state shot put champion in 1988, with her winning throw establishing the school record. Her gold medal in that event propelled the Raiderettes to the state team title.
In basketball, McGinnis set season scoring records during her freshman, sophomore, and junior years; as well as the career scoring record. Her 2,849 career points remain the highest scoring total in school history.
Her talent shined the brightest on the softball diamond. Long-time girls coach Mark Larsen called McGinnis “the best all-around softball player in school history.” When she left the softball program, she held school records in 12 different categories. She was named first team All-State in softball in 1988.
McGinnis continued her softball career at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where she was a two-time letter winner and was named to the academic all-conference team.
In 2017, McGinnis was inducted into the Mount Ayr Community Schools Hall of Fame as a member of the 1988 state champion girls track team.
Gene Ricker graduated from Mount Ayr Community High School in 1964.
Ricker was the salutatorian of his class, and was active in many activities, including band, choir boys glee club, student council, FFA, National Honor Society, and athletics.
During his four years as a running back on the high school football team, the Raiders had a record of 32-3 with two undefeated seasons. Ricker was co-captain of the undefeated 1963 team, which is often referred to as “the best team in school history.”
Ricker’s success as a Raider track athlete is unparalleled, and for over 55 years he has held the title of the “fastest man in Mount Ayr.” In 1964 he won state championships in the 50, 100, and 440 yard dash, and was runner-up in the 220. Led by his electric performance, the Raiders placed second in the team race at both the indoor and outdoor state meets that spring.
Ricker went to the University of Missouri-Rolla on a football and track scholarship, lettering three times in football and twice in track. He was also elected to the student council and served as President of the Letterman’s Club. He transferred to Northwest Missouri State to finish his education, graduating with degrees in mathematics and business.
Following graduation, Ricker went to work for Firestone Tire in Akron, OH. He spent 39 years with the company, retiring in 2007 as the Des Moines plant industrial engineering manager. He was honored with the President’s Award for his work in saving the Des Moines plant from being shut down. He also spent 30 years on the Firestone Credit Union board, he was a Junior Achievement advisor, and also served on the Ankeny Country Club board of directors.
In 2019 he was inducted into the Mount Ayr Community Schools Hall of Fame as a member of the 1963 football team.
Thomas Teale, Jr
Thomas Teale Jr is a 1943 graduate of Mount Ayr Community High School.
Teale participated in many activities during high school, with football being his favorite. In three years as a varsity running back, his teams finished with an overall record of 21-2-2. Following an undefeated senior season, he received all-conference and all-state recognition.
With the nation engrossed in World War II, Teale was inducted into the US Army in November of 1943. After completing basic training and infantry school, his unit was transferred to the 7th Army and was sent to the European Theater. They landed in France and were quickly engaged in combat.
When they reached the Rhine River, his unit was transferred to the 3rd Army where he served under General George Patton. His unit was in Austria at the time of the German surrender, and they returned to Germany for occupation duty following the war. He was discharged in May of 1946.
Upon his return home, he enrolled in Simpson College. He was a two-year football letter winner at Simpson, and graduated in 1950 with degrees in physical education, history, and sociology.
Following graduation, Teale joined the Des Moines Police Department as a patrolman. He was promoted to sergeant, lieutenant, and captain before being named Assistant Chief of Police in 1970, a position he held until his retirement in 1991. As assistant chief, part of his duties included planning security arrangements for visiting dignitaries, and the protocols that he established in Des Moines were later adopted by the U.S. Secret Service for use across the country.
In 1952 Teale enlisted in the Iowa Army National Guard, where he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. He rose through the ranks and was eventually became commander of the Camp Dodge Training Center. He retired from the National Guard in 1982 as a Brigadier General.
Teale received the Double S Award from Simpson College in recognition of his athletic success and his professional accomplishments.
Harley Wilhelm is a 1919 graduate of Ellston High School.
Wilhelm excelled in athletics, earning a spot on the varsity as a freshman. By his senior year he was recognized as one of the top basketball players in the state, and he was named to the all-state team.
Wilhelm received an athletic scholarship to Drake University, where he played halfback on the football team, forward on the basketball team, and was a top pitcher for the baseball team.
He graduated from Drake in 1923 and became a chemistry teacher and head football coach at Intermountain Union College in Helena, MT.
In 1929 Wilhelm returned to Iowa and took a position as a chemistry instructor at Iowa State University. He earned his doctorate in 1931 and eventually became a full professor in the chemistry department. During this time he also pitched for the Ames semi-pro baseball team.
In 1942 Wilhelm was asked to lead the metallurgical research team at the Ames Laboratory, which was part of the U.S. government’s highly secretive Manhattan Project. This team was tasked with finding a process to extract pure uranium, which would be used to fuel a powerful new weapon that we know today as the atomic bomb.
The team was successful in their mission, and by the end of 1942 the “Ames Process” was being used to produce one ton of highly pure uranium each day. This uranium would find its way into the atomic bombs that brought about the Japanese surrender and ultimately ended World War II.
After the war, Wilhelm co-founded the Institute of Atomic Research and the Ames Laboratory of the Atomic Energy Commission, serving as the associate director. His work at the Ames Laboratory covered a wide-range of subjects, from the design of high-speed computers to environmental waste management.
After leaving that position in 1966, he returned to the Iowa State faculty as a professor of chemistry and metallurgy until his retirement in 1970.
Wilhelm holds over 100 patents related to chemistry, metallurgy, and atomic energy. He was a member of the United States delegation to the International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, and he received the Eisenman Award from the American Society of Metals. In 1990 he received the Gold Medal Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Although highly revered for his academic work, he has been recognized more for his athletic achievements. He was named as one of the top 100 athletes in the history of Drake University, and in 1968 he was one of 32 Drake alumni selected for the very first Double D Award. He is also a member of the Iowa High School Athletic Association Boys Basketball Hall of Fame.
Hall of Fame
The Mount Ayr Community Schools Hall of Fame was established in 2012 to create a lasting tribute to groups and individuals who have brought honor to themselves, their school, and their communities.
Individuals and groups from any school which is now part of the Mount Ayr Community district are eligible for selection to the Hall of Fame.
The purpose of the Mount Ayr Community Schools Hall of Fame is threefold:
(1) To honor students, teams, and groups who accomplished extraordinary feats in extra-curricular activities,
(2) To honor those who have made significant contributions to Mount Ayr Schools over a period of years,
(3) To honor Mount Ayr Community School graduates who have distinguished themselves in life after high school.
The committee relies on nominations submitted by the public. Anyone wishing to nominate a candidate(s) who meets any of the above criteria can find information on the school’s website: www.mtayrschools.org.
Current members of the Mount Ayr Community Schools Hall of Fame (and their induction year) include:
Dawn (Huff) Elliott
Jack & Mildred (Dixon) Elliott
David L. McDaniel
Bruce & Michell Ricker
1988 Girls Track Team
Lori Sickels Friedman
1963 Football Team