Larry Lyons
Kathy Shanebrook
Rob Kinas
Larry Lyons

Larry Lyons attended the University of Illinois and received a B.S. in Biology in 1978. Believing in the importance in education, Larry attended Illinois State University and received a B.S. in Accounting and Certified Public Accountant Certification in 1986. Soon thereafter he began his career at Illinois State University. Due to his strong work ethic and dedication to the institution, Larry was named Director of Athletics of Illinois State University in 2013.

                                                              2015 - 2016 - 2017 - 2018 - 2019

Roger Amm

Roger Amm instructed thousands of students over a 33 year career as a vocal music educator (1980-2013). After teaching one year at Wheaton North High School, the remaining 32 years were spent teaching at Ottawa Township High School where the OTHS Music Department became the second most successful music program in Illinois High School Association history. During his tenure, OTHS music students earned 18 State Championships, 11 runner-up and 3rd place awards and 3 top ten finishes.

Rob Kinas
Larry Lyons

Rob Kinas is a Mantle Cell Lymphoma survivor who celebrates every day by connecting the world to advance cancer research through Cancer Research Racquet and the American Cancer Society. His international group of 10,000 professionals has funded three cancer research grants through 2015. Rob has been a lawyer with Snell & Wilmer since 1987 and specializes in complex loan restructurings and commercial bankruptcies. Rob’s academic training took place at Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville, TN, Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and Pontiac Township High School.

Larry Lyons attended the University of Illinois and received a B.S. in Biology in 1978. Believing in the importance in education, Larry attended Illinois State University and received a B.S. in Accounting and Certified Public Accountant Certification in 1986. Soon thereafter he began his career at Illinois State University. Due to his strong work ethic and dedication to the institution, Larry was named Director of Athletics of Illinois State University in 2013.

Kathy Shanebrook

Kathy Shanebrook enlisted in the U.S. Navy after graduating in 1973. Following changes to the law, she entered the U.S. Naval Academy with the first class of women in 1976. Throughout her thirty year career, Kathy worked in the Meteorology and Oceanography field in diverse locations from Norfolk, VA to McMurdo, Antarctica to the Arabian Gulf. Captain Shanebrook served as the Commanding Officer of the Meteorology and Oceanography Center in Yokosuka, Japan. Her final tour before retiring in 2010 was at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

Maneesh Shrivastav

Maneesh Shrivastav is a researcher, market developer, and entrepreneur who works in the biomedical industry. His academic pursuits post PTHS have taken him to Dartmouth College (BA), Northwestern University (MS), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (ME, MBA), and the University of Minnesota (PhD). Maneesh believes the foundation set at PTHS opened many doors. He shows his gratitude for his opportunities by giving back to the community in many ways. He started an educational program for underprivileged children in India, began a home healthcare service for elderly individuals, and is an avid volunteer in local high schools.


Ira Carrithers graduated from the University of Illinois in 1908. Ira was head football coach at Alma College in Alma, Michigan from 1908-1909, Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois from 1910-1913. He began his career at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1915 as Athletic Director, head basketball and baseball coach as well as the assistant coach in football. He served as Athletic Director for Coe College from 1915-1924. In 1924 Ira retired from coaching and began a successful business in life insurance and serving as president and board member of the Cedar Rapids YMCA. In 1973 he was inducted into the Coe College Hall of Fame.

Ira Carrithers

William (Bill) Diaz attended Northern Illinois University and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1973. In 1976 he graduated from Penn State University where he taught graduate level drawing and painting. Bill has been a business owner in Pontiac since 1979, running Diaz Sign Art. He has traveled across the United States painting murals for the Walldog organization. Bill was instrumental in bringing this group to Pontiac where they painted eighteen murals in and around the downtown area. In 2009 Bill was named the Pontiac Rotary Citizen of the Year.

Bill Diaz

John Evvard attended the University of Illinois earning a Bachelor of Science in 1907 and his Master of Science from the University of Missouri in 1909. In 1918 he became a professor of Animal Husbandry at Iowa State University. During World War I, John was selected to serve as chairman of the U.S. Food Administration’s Swine Commission. In 1918 he served as the president of American Society of Animal Production. In 1927 John earned a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Arizona. From 1933-1937 John served as head of the Agriculture Department at Arizona State College. He had over 1,100 published articles and papers in thirteen circular magazines, journals and research bulletins. His methods and experiments in swine feeding became standard throughout the swine belt and added millions of dollars to the profits of hog growers.

John Evvard
Ron Fellheimer

Ronald (Ronnie) K. Fellheimer attended the University of Illinois and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance in 1960 and then graduated from the John Marshall Law School before joining the United States Army. Ronald began practicing law in 1964 in Pontiac with his father, August Fellheimer and has continued in that practice for over 50 years. From 1973 to 2009 he served as the Clerk for Pontiac Township, Livingston County. Ronald served as the Chairman of the boards for Pontiac Bancorp, Inc. and Bank of Pontiac from 1993 to 2009. Ronald has also been a past president of the Livingston County Bar Association.

Henry Eppel

Henry J. Eppel was born in March, 1937, in Pontiac, son of Henry J. Eppel and Kathryan Frahm Eppel.


He graduated from PTHS in 1955, having served as President of Key Club, played basketball, track, and was selected All-Conference in football his senior year. Henry graduated from University of Illinois with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1959. He was married in 1957, and has 4 children; Mark, Michelle, Marty and Matt.


Henry became President of HJ Eppel Company in 1968. Major accomplishments include the North Creek Ditch Project from 1971 – 1976, to eliminate flooding on Pontiac’s north side, and the 4-H Park Road bridge in 2000.


Henry was on the Fairbury Federal Board of Directors, Pontiac National Bank and holding company Board of Directors, Pontiac Chamber of Commerce, School Board member of Pontiac Public School District 429, Jaycees, Lions Club, Trustee for Pontiac Elks Lodge #1019, and was president of Pontiac HELD (Hoffrichter, Eppel, LaRue and Dargan) as they partnered in the development of Illini Subdivision. His quality of life initiatives (parks, neighborhoods, ponds and trees) have enhanced the Pontiac community for several generations.


He enjoys his family, 12 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren, golfing and fishing. 

Casey Kohlmeier

Casey Joseph Kohlmeier was born June 5th, 1984, to Keri Jo (Schmidt) and Jeff Kohlmeier.  He attended Coal City Elementary and Jr. High School before attending Pontiac High School.  As a freshman, he was elected as class president.  While in high school, Casey was on the tennis team, student council, and band, serving as Drum Major his junior and senior years.  His favorite part of high school was being a peer partner.  His entire life revolved around his family and helping others.  Joining the US Air Force three weeks after graduation from PTHS, Casey received numerous accommodations and awards.  In basic training, he was awarded one of the highest merits possible in the USAF, Honor Graduate.  Distinguished graduate followed in tech school.  He served in security forces where he excelled, receiving the 2005 Airman of the Year and an Accommodation Medal of Bravery.  Within a year of leaving the USAF, he was hired as a Pontiac Police Officer, becoming a K-9 officer in 2009.  He also served on the board of the Livingston County Boys & Girls Club.  Casey’s goals continued to be reached as he became a private pilot and was given a conditional offer of employment for the FBI.  He was awaiting his admission into the FBI training academy when he and his partner, Draco, were killed in the line of duty on October 30, 2013, by a drunk driver.  Casey continues to touch lives and inspire others to reach for their dreams, being a hero to many.  

Leah Latham

Leah Latham grew up wanting to make animated movies. After graduating valedictorian at PTHS, she attended Webster University in St. Louis, MO where she was among Webster’s first graduating class to receive a BA in Animation. At Webster, she helped found and lead an international animation festival, Kinematifest, and a student chapter of SIGGRAPH — an international organization focusing on animation, visual effects, and emerging technologies. Through her education, she honed a passion for leadership and creative problem solving in an artistic field, thus enabling her to move to Los Angeles, CA upon graduation and land her dream job at Walt Disney Animation Studios. She has worked on such movies as Frozen, Zootopia and Moana. She has also been featured as a voice actress on Zootopia and Big Hero 6. She is currently the Story Production Supervisor on Frozen 2 and continues to love going to work every day.

Trevor Loy

Trevor Loy is Managing Partner and founder of Flywheel Ventures, an early-stage venture capital investment firm. Flywheel provides investment capital to startup companies in emerging technologies. Current portfolio companies include Angaza, Aravo Solutions, Bitsbox, Digabit, Genome Medical, Jana, Recruitology, SlamData, Submittable, TrackVia and Yapstone.  Previous Flywheel successes include the IPO of Jive Software, the acquisitions of MicroProbe, MIOX and Tuscany Design Automation.


Trevor is a Lecturer in the Stanford Technology Ventures Program at Stanford University, where he co-teaches a graduate course on entrepreneurial management and finance.   He has been an invited guest lecturer and speaker across the United States and the world, including Australia, Bahrain, Chile, China, Kuwait, the UAE and the United Kingdom.


Trevor has served as a director of the National Venture Capital Association, and chaired NVCA’s political action committee, VenturePAC.  Trevor has held executive and technical roles companies such as Gigabeat, Brooktree, ParkingNet, Teradyne and Intel Corporation.  Trevor holds a BS Electrical Engineering, MS Electrical Engineering and MS Management Science & Engineering, all from Stanford University.  

Terry Herr

Terry attended Loyola University Chicago business school and was active in volunteerism. He spent most of his school breaks in various parts of the United States and Central America earning him special recognition for his “outstanding efforts” as a volunteer leader.

Terry is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Chartered Life Underwriter. He founded Herr Capital Management, LLC as an independent wealth management firm. He has taught CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ courses for both DePaul University and Northwestern University. Terry has also appeared on local and national media and has spoken at several national industry conferences.

An avid outdoorsman, Terry has logged hundreds of miles backpacking below the rim of the Grand Canyon. He has successfully summited many of Colorado’s 14,000 ft. peaks and has traveled to over 15 countries. In 2018 he summited an 18,519 ft. peak in the shadow of Mount Everest, Nepal to raise money and awareness for foster children.

Dale Schrock

Dale Schrock graduated PTHS as an Illinois State Scholar and Member of the National Honor society. After high school, Dale attended Illinois State University and graduated with a degree in Marketing. Dale began his career with Dairy Queen when his parents took over the local store in 1976, and along with his parents and siblings, began working in the store. After college, Dale continued to work at the DQ, becoming a general manager and working with other operators in the area as the Peoria regional marketing chair. Dale eventually purchased the business from his parents in the early 1990’s. Dale has served on the board of DQ Mid-States Store Owners Association, is a current national supply chain representative, and has served as a DQ Franchise Advisory Council Representative. Locally, Dale is a current serving member of the PTHS district 90 board of education and also serves as chairman of the board for the Livingston County Housing Authority. Dale married his wife Lori in 1997 and has two children, Ashleigh and Noah.  

Wes Smith

Wes Smith, PTHS class of 1971, is a journalist, author and book collaborator who has written, edited or co-authored more than 65 books spanning sports, entertainment, humor, spiritual, inspirational, wellness, psychology, financial and business topics.

His own 1989 book, The Pied Pipers of Rock n’ Roll, a history of rock radio deejays, received the Deems Taylor Award as the Best Book of the Year on Popular Music as chosen by the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers, (ASCAP).

After beginning his newspaper career as co-editor of the PTHS Chief student newspaper and the Pontiac Daily Leader, he went on to report for newspapers across the country including The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and the Miami Herald, before joining The Chicago Tribune and, later, its sister newspaper The Orlando Sentinel, where he worked a total of 19 years, mostly as a national news correspondent.

In addition, his magazine writing has appeared in Business Week, U.S. News & World Report, Atlanta Weekly, The Robb Report, Biography, Parent, Reader’s Digest, The American Bar Journal and other publications.

Michael Wille

A 1993 graduate of Pontiac Township High School, Michael Wille is a Professor and the Director of the School of Art at Illinois State University. He helps lead the College of Fine Arts’ international initiatives that include the university’s first partnership with a Chinese university. In 2015, he was awarded an Emerging Arts Administration Fellowship from the National Council of Arts Administrators. He has also presented research at the College Art Association annual conference.

Wille’s small-scale abstract paintings have been included in exhibitions in Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, and international venues in South Africa, Germany, and Australia. Wille’s paintings have been featured in New American Paintings five times, and he has also curated exhibitions about abstract painting. Wille has been an invited speaker at institutions in the USA, Japan, South Africa, China, and Panama.

Wille earned an MFA from Bowling Green State University and a BFA from Millikin University.

Bradford Blakeman

My family moved to Pontiac in 1965 when my father assumed the position of superintendent at Pontiac Township High School. My father Paul remained superintendent for 18 years.  My brother Tom graduated in 1968 and brother Chad in 1982 from PTHS. Upon graduation in 1971, I continued my education at Illinois Wesleyan and graduated with a biology major summa cum laude in 1975. My medical degree was completed at University of Illinois in 1979. I completed residency in General Surgery followed by a fellowship in Cardiac Surgery, both at Loyola University. My training was completed in 1986 with board certification in both General and Cardiac Surgery.  Joining the faculty at Loyola, I quickly rose to full professorship by the age of 43. In 2001, I entered private practice in Northwest Indiana to reestablish a struggling program.


Currently, I am living in the Upper Peninsula with my wife Jamie, rebuilding a rural heart program.

Nathan Joerndt

Nathan J. Joerndt graduated in 2004 from the Special Education Program at Pontiac Township High School.  He is a Governor appointed member of the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities and passionate advocate for the differently-abled and otherwise exceptional individuals.  Nathan gained national attention when he and his over 8000 supporters successfully challenged one of the nation’s largest employers, Walmart, to reconsider their stand to eliminate greeters, including those with disabilities.  In April of 2019, Nathan was invited to speak to congressmen in Washington, DC about the needs of those with developmental disabilities.  He is a self-taught musician and performs at local and regional events singing and playing the keyboard.  He is a member of the Rotary Club and is an active volunteer in the community.  He has raised thousands of dollars for Relay for Life and the Children’s Miracle Network.   Nathan has William’s Syndrome, but that really is a side note since he does not let that  limit or define him. 

John Sandford

John Sandford illustrates and writes stories for children. After graduating from PTHS in 1971, John studied painting and illustration at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Since his first picture book in 1978, he has added more than 65 titles.

A book can occupy several years of planning and painting, as Sandford works to find approaches in his art to match the flavor and character of a story. Costume and location are determined, family and friends are drafted into service as models, and many drawings are made. Sandford's work has taken him to the Black Hills to research the Lakota Sioux; Lancaster, PA to learn about the Old Order Amish; and to Wisconsin’s North Woods to interview the fearsome Hodag. Sharp-eyed readers will recognize names and locations from downstate Illinois. 


Married in 1975, John and Frances live in Chicago, where daughter Eleanor and her husband, Jacques Laramie, also live.

Book list and more information: http://www.sandfordarchive.com

James Scheeler

James A. Scheeler, FAIA, a native of Graymont, received the BS (1951, highest honors) and MS (1952) degrees in architecture from the University of Illinois.  Awarded a Fulbright scholarship and the Francis J. Plym Fellowship in Architecture in 1953, he travel extensively in Europe and undertook graduate studies in civic design and town planning in England. He practiced architecture as a principal in Richardson, Severns, Scheeler, & Associates, Champaign, Illinois from 1958 until 1973.  The firm served as design and planning consultants to the University of Illinois and engaged in the general practice of architecture.  Jim also served on the faculty of the School of Architecture and was active in civic and professional affairs.  From 1964 to 1971 he served on the Champaign City Planning Commission, from 1969 to 1971 as its Chairman. 

Jim joined the staff of the American Institute of Architects in 1971, serving in senior executive positions including Executive Vice President.  He retired from the AIA staff in 1990 but continues to serve as a volunteer as Resident Fellow, International Relations.  From 1994 through 2003 he was Co-Director of the Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA) Professional Practice Commission.  Jim served on the UNESCO-UIA Validation Council dealing with accreditation standards for degree granting programs in architecture, and the UIA Education Commission dealing with international education standards for schools of architecture. In 2005 he was elected a member of the UIA Council, the board of directors of the UIA, representing Region III, the Americas.  He served two three-year terms, retiring in 2011.