DENISON ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
2013 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI/SPORTS HALL OF FAME/OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR AWARDS
By DONNA HUNT
The Denison Alumni Association honored four former students and three educators Thursday night during a reception at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Fellowship Hall following the Homecoming Parade. Honorees riding in convertibles were featured during the Homecoming Parade.
The DHS Jazz Ensemble entertained the crowd prior to the awards ceremony during which each recipient accepted their awards with comments. A large crowd of family and friends gathered to congratulate the honorees.
Honored as Distinguished Alumni were Bredette C. (B.C.) Thomas, class of 1960 and Ross Stoddard III, 1968. Inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame were Gregg Watson, 1979, and Scott Marr, 1988. Honored as Distinguished Educators were Dr. William Lee Blankenship, 1944, and John and Nancy Terry, both DHS graduates.
Bredette C. Thomas
B.C. Thomas, who now lives in Soster City, CA, was born in Denison. His ancestors were pioneer Denison founders, his great-grandfather, Bredette C. Murray, was the first publisher/editor of a newspaper printed in Denison. His great-grand uncle, Lewis S. Owings, was the first mayor if Denison.
He attended Central Ward and Houston Elementary schools before graduating from Denison High School. He attended Southern Methodist University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a Master of Science in Statistics. He joined the US Air Force and graduated from pilot training to become a career military pilot, flying 18 types of military aircraft throughout his 22 year career.
He flew more than 1,000 combat hours in Vietnam and logged more flight hours (over 1,200) than any other pilot in the world’s fastest airplane. He is the only person who has flown all three US Air Force high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft (SR 71, U-2, and RB-57F. After retiring from the Air Force he was a flight test engineer for the Northrop B-2 Stealth Bomber program.
He was hired by United Airlines as a Flight Test Captain for all of their fleet of commercial aircraft. He flew the Boeing 727, 737, 747, 757 and 777 as well as the Douglas DC-8 and DC-10, remaining current in all simultaneously.
Ross Stoddard III
Ross Stoddard III is an attorney-mediator born and raised in Denison. His father is an investor and horseman, whose father was a lawyer who practiced law in Denison for 55 years. He and his wife June, an interior decorator, live in Coppell. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration with honors from Southern Methodist University in 1975 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law in 1989. He began his formal training as a professional mediator through the initial mediation training program of the Dallas Bar Association.
He has risen to the top of his profession as an attorney mediator in the Dallas Metroplex area. In addition to being one of the top attorneys in his field, he serves on the faculty of the SMU Cox Executive MBA program and serves on the boards of many professional associations.
Since 1989 Stoddard has developed a full-time mediation practice, having conducted over 4,800 mediations involving $25 billion in aggregate claims in a wide variety of matters. He is licensed to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court and many other high courts.
Sports Hall of Fame
Gregg Watson is a television anchor/reporter, presently employed in Austin with KEYE-TV, a CBS affiliate. An outstanding athlete at Denison High School, he graduated in 1979. In 1985 he graduated from the University of Texas.
He qualified in the quarter mile both his junior and senior years at the state track meet. While a senior at the University of Texas in Austin, he was voted All American in 1984.
At Denison High Watson won the regional class 4A 440 yard dash and finished second in the state meet for the 440. In 1979 he won the regional Class 4A championship for the 440 yard dash and the state Class 4A 440, setting the Class 4A state record for the 440 yard dash.
From 1982 to 1984 he was on the All Southwest Conference Track Team at UT. From 1981 to 1984 he was the NCAA All American as a member of the UT 600 meter relay.
He began his career at KXII in Sherman/Denison where he was an anchor, reporter and producer. He also worked at affiliates in Tyler/Longview, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando, before going to the KEYE station in Austin in 2005.
Sports Hall of Fame
Scott Marr is a 1988 graduate of DHS where he lettered in track, baseball, football and basketball. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1993 and his Master’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1954. He was an all-district outfielder in both 1987 and 1988 and a member of the 1988 district baseball champions. In basketball he was on the district team in 1987 and 1988 and bi-district championship team both years, in 1988 as all-district point guard.
He placed all-district third in the 800 meter track run in 1988. In football he was an all-district receiver as a member of the district champion team in 1988.
He continued to add to his accomplishments at Texarkana Junior College and the University of Oklahoma and while coaching at Westmore High School in Moore, OK, where the team was conference champion and Oklahoma State 5A champions in 1994, and at Northwestern State University, Oral Roberts University and with the Peninsula Oilers, where he was named Coach of the Year in 1998, the year the summer baseball team was Alaska League champions.
He and his wife, Kim and three children moved back to Denison where he entered the family business as executive for Gold Star Finance, Inc., that currently operates 50 consumer finance locations in Texas with the corporate offices in Denison.
Dr. William L. Blankenship
Bill Blankenship was born in Denison and grew up in Denison schools, where he graduated in 1944. After serving as a paratrooper in World War II he came home, married and started a family. In 1950 he graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma University and began teaching mathematics in Wilburton, OK, where he was involved in all sports, serving as coach and assistant coach.
Then he moved back to Denison to teach at McDaniel Junior High and coach of all athletics. During the summer he worked for the City of Denison to establish a summer recreational program. He was an assistant principal at Denison High during integration of schools. He later was named director of Special Services with a number of special responsibilities - Vocational Education, federal funding programs that included Head Start Program, textbook custodian for the district, public relations, athletic insurance and others.
When the computer age began he introduced them to the teachers and students, learning to operate and teach others how to best utilize them in education. While working at the various responsibilities with the Denison School District he attended classes at the University of North Texas to earn a Doctor of Education degree at night and on weekends. At that time he also became the district’s Director of Transportation.
He also served as principal at Golden Rule before retiring with 35 years service in Denison schools. He and his wife, Virginia, raised six children, who earned degrees at six different locations.
Nancy and John Terry grew up in Denison with Nancy planning to be a teacher after attending first grade at Peabody Elementary. She graduated from Denison schools, and Austin College, where John Terry, whom she dated in high school, was in the pre-med program, planning to become a dentist. One day he broke the news that he didn’t want to be a dentist, but wanted to teach, the same as Nancy.
They said it was one of the best decisions they ever made, having shared teaching with John influencing many students to pursue a career in science. They married in 1965. He taught in Sherman and worked in the lab at the Denison Safeway Plant while Nancy completed her senior year at AC. She also clerked at J.C. Penney’s in Denison before also teaching in Sherman.
After serving in the Army, John began teaching biology at DHS in 1970 while Nancy taught at Hughes Junior High until 1977 when she, too, moved to high school. John sponsored the Key Club for more than 25 years and served as the UIL Science coach and later UIL coordinator for the high school. Nancy sponsored Y-Teens and was the UIL coach for the Literary Criticism and Ready Writing.
Both retired in 2003, however, John returned to teach the next year, where he continues to work every day during the school term.
John holds a BA in biology and a Master of Arts in Secondary Education/Biology from AC and has done post graduate work in several universities. Both are active in the community as well as professional organizations and have received many honors recognizing their educational and community contributions.