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Hall of Fame Biographies

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  • Joe Abbott

    CHS Class of 1950

    Joe was born December 30, 1931, in McLean, Texas, to Vera and Matt Abbott. He was the youngest of nine children. The family moved to Canyon when Joe was three years old.

    While at CHS, Joe participated in football, track, and basketball. He served as co-captain of the football team. During his basketball career, Joe was named to the All District, All Region, and All State Basketball Teams. He was also selected as the Most Valuable Player in the annual all-star game played by all classifications of Texas’ schools in 1950.

    Joe’s class elected him as their junior class president. He was chosen as the Basketball King and was elected by the student body as Personality King in 1949 and again in 1950. Joe was also a member of FFA during his four years at Canyon High School.

    Joe attended West Texas State College from 1950 until 1952 as a basketball recruit. He served in the US Army from 1954 to 1956.
    Joe Abbott and Ruby Lee Bonds were married on July 20, 1951, and are the parents of three daughters. Their family also includes their three son-in-laws, six grandchildren, and one great grandchild. He has been in the residential and commercial construction business since 1956.

    During his lifetime, Joe has been responsible for helping many different individuals. This helps may have been in the form of a loan, a pat on the back, a job, or just helping someone through tough times by listening and being a true friend.

  • Marsha Bigham


    Inducted May 22, 2009

    Marsha Bigham was born on September 10, 1951 to Bill and Betty Ellis in Oklahoma, the oldest of 4 children. Her family moved to Pampa, Texas, when she was an infant. She graduated from Pampa High School in 1969.

    Mrs. Bigham then attended West Texas University as a Political Science major and married Jerry Bigham at the end of her freshman year in college. She and Judge Bigham will have been married 39 years on May 27,2009.

    Mrs. Bigham worked as a teller at Amarillo National Bank while Jerry finished college and then went back to school to become a teacher. Judge Bigham taught Distributive Education at CHS and then became the Vocational Director for the Borger Independent School District.

    Between having 2 sons, Matthew in 1974 and Will in 1976, it took her over 10 years to get her college degree. Mrs. Bigham graduated from West Texas State University in 1980 with a BS in Education. After taking hours towards a kindergarten endorsement, she decided that she was better suited for the secondary classroom. Going to class was difficult because she lived in Borger, had 2 small children, and was commuting every day. She loved her history classes and decided she needed to love the classes she was taking or she might give up. Mrs. Bigham has a social studies composite and has taught every subject in social studies on the secondary level with the exception of 8th grade US History.

    Mrs. Bigham taught at Borger Middle School for 3 years: Texas History and 6th grade social Social studies.

    Judge Bigham became the principal at Oscar Hinger and the family moved back to Canyon. She taught one year at Palo Duro High School: Economics, U.S. History, C Level U.S. History.
    In 1985 Mrs. Bigham took a job at CHS teaching World History, World History Honors, Economics, and Economics Honors, and World History Honors.

    In 2002, her husband retired from Canyon ISD and ran for public office. She helped managed his campaign and he was elected Justice of the Peace for Randall County.

    Mrs. Bigham retired in 2007 to spend more time with her family that now includes 2 daughters-in-laws, Catherine and Lee Anne, and 4 grandchildren, Ellis, Khara, Brody, and Lidy.

    Mrs Bigham is currently teaching Reality Check for CISD and Adult Sunday School at Freedom Fellowship Church. In her free time, she enjoys her family, taking care of her home and traveling.


  • Charlotte R. Brantley

    CHS Faculty, 1960-1988

    Charlotte Rugel Brantley was born on August 28,1923, to Charles and Susie Rugel in San Marcos. She graduated from San Marcos High School in 1939 and then entered Southwest Texas State University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1939 and went on to receive both a Masters in Music Education and a Masters in Art at Southwest Texas State.

    Charlotte started her teaching career in Kerrville at Tivy High School and then went to Allen Junior High School in Austin where she taught for two years.

    On December 17, 1944, Charlotte Rugel and Royal Brantley were married in California. This union produced four children, two boys and two girls, and Charlotte left the classroom to take care of them. While not in the classroom, Charlotte gave private violin and string lessons. An accomplished musician, she has played in both the Austin and Amarillo Symphonies. She also played in the pit orchestra for all of the musicals that her husband produced at West Texas State University.

    The Brantleys moved to Canyon in 1953 and Charlotte started teaching at CHS in 1960. Charlotte taught in the demonstration school at the University of Indiana during 1962 and 1963 while Royal was studying there. In the fall of 1963, she returned to Canyon High School. For several years she had girls” choir and sponsored the yearbook in addition to her art classes. Charlotte designed the first costumes for the outdoor musical, “Texas”. She retired from CHS in 1988 but continued to teach part-time in the art education department at WTSU. Charlotte was one of the first women to be honored with the Panhandle Distinguished Woman Award.

  • Royal R. Brantley

    Class of 1977

    Professor Royal R. Brantley is the son of Charlotte Rugel Brantley and the late Royal L. Brantley of Canyon, Texas. A veteran of the CHS drama program and a two-time Texas All-State Choir member, he graduated from Canyon High School in 1977. Royal received his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from West Texas State University in 1980 and was then accepted into the Masters of Fine Arts program at Trinity University, which was serviced by a professional internship with the Dallas Theater Center in Dallas. While at the Dallas Theater Center, Royal performed leading roles with the professional company and received the prestigious FE Guapp Renaissance and Green Garson Theatre Art awards.

    A 1983 MFA graduate of Trinity University, he accepted a position with West Texas State University as an assistant professor of theater. Soon appointed director of theater, Brantley taught theater classes each semester, provided artistic and managerial leadership of the theater program, and directed plays and musicals every semester. In 1990 he became a tenured faculty member and was promoted to the rank of associate professor of theater. Later, in 1999, Brantley was promoted to the rank of full professor of theater.

    In 1994 Brantley received an administrative appointment as head of the department of art, communication and theater. Working with the department”s faculty, he has provided numerous educational experiences for hundreds of students majoring in art, art education, communication disorders, graphic design, mass communications, musical theater, speech, speech education, theater and theater education.

    In addition to his administrative role, Royal has continued to teach theater classes and direct theatrical productions for the WTAMU Branding Iron Theatre. Achievements in teaching garnered Brantley the 1997 West Texas A&M University Teaching Excellence Award, the 1997 Texas Educational Theatre Association University Educator of the Year Award, Piper Professor and CASE Professor of the Year nominations, a 2000 appointment as a Texas A&M University System Richardson Fellow, a 2001 appointment to The Texas A&M University System Academy fro Educator Development and, in 2004, Royal received the prestigious Texas A&M University System Regents” Professor Award.

    Scholarly and creative pursuits generated seven American College Theatre Festival Best Play awards from critic-judges and competing directions, a National Finalist Best Play award from the American College Theatre Festival, which included two performances of Mark Medoff”s The Homage That Follows at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC and the honor of being selected five times to judge the UIL State One-Act Play Contest in Austin.

    In the area of service, Royal has served WT, his community and the state through many committee assignments, as an active student advisor and sponsor, through recruiting efforts with high schools and junior colleges, by being appointed vice president and later president of the two-thousand member Texas Educational Theatre Association, through management services to the UIL of Texas and by serving as a consultant to the Texas State Board of Education and the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation.

  • Betty Moore Brown

    CHS Class of 1942
    CHS Faculty, 1959-1984

    Betty Jo Moore was born to Thomas and Minnie Moore on August 6, 1925 in Beeville, Texas. In 1933 Betty”s family moved to a farm south of Canyon. She rode a school bus to attend school in town and graduated from Canyon High School in 1942.

    In May of 1945, Betty married Billy Brown. They became the parents of two daughters and one son. Betty”s family also included four grandchildren.

    Betty earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 1956 from West Texas State College. She received her Master of Education in Business in 1960 from WTSC.

    Betty began her teaching career in 1957 at Happy High School. During the next twenty-five years Betty taught typing, shorthand, accounting and business law at CHS. She served as head of the Business Education Department until her retirement in 1984.

    Betty was a life member of the Nation Education Association and Texas State Teachers Association. She also held membership in Delta Kappa Gamma, Zeta Zeta Chapter, an honorary educators association, and in the Texas Business Educators Association which named her as the Texas Business Teachers of the Year in 1984.

    Betty Moore Brown died December 6, 1993.

  • Kim Beth Moore Buchanan

    CHS Faculty  | Inducted 2011

    “Learning and leading. These are passiona in my professional and personal life.” These are the first two lines of my mother’s resume. She has devoted her life to the art of learning and the science of teaching. She has a desire to make a difference, and she has done just that for hundred of students and teachers.

    In 1978 Kim Beth Moore graduated from O’Donnell High School. O’Donnell is a small farming town forty-five minutes south of Lubbock. She was salutatorian and was in every extracurricular activity available. She went on to Texas Tech University where she double-majored in English and history.

    In 1984, she married Dennis Buchanan and moved to Hobbs, New Mexico. She taught and coached at Highland Junior High School for one year and then went on to teach a graduate class and write curriculum for the College of the Southwest in Hobbs for one year. In 1985, Kim Beth and Dennis welcomed Jodi-Marie to their family, and in 1986 along came Courtney Kay.

    In 1989, Dennis, Kim Beth, Jodi, and Courtney moved to Amarillo, and Kim Beth began teaching at Crockett Middle School. She taught both Pre-AP and regular 6th, 7th, and 8th grade English. The first year there, her peers elected her as their Teacher of the Year. She was elected campus teacher of the year again in 1994 and would go on to be selected as Amarillo ISD and Region 16 Teacher of the Year – making her a finalist for Texas State Teacher of the Year. In 1994 she alsohelped Crockett Middle School receive the National Blue Ribbon Award. She helped write the application and was then selected by the staff to go to Washington, DC, and received the award from President Clinton and the Secretary of Education. In 1998 she was nominated by one of her students for the Disney Teacher of the Year Award.

    In 1999 Kim Beth move to Canyon High School so that she would be in the same district as her daughters. She start at CHS as a 9th grade World Geography teacher.

    In Kim Beth’s first year at CHS, principal Duane Chapman nominated her for the Texas Distinguished Educator Award. In the fall of 2002 she accepted a new position as CISD’s Curriculum Support Teacher to help align the district curriculum. She really missed the student, though, so she began working on her principal’s certification and she took on the responsibility of teaching psychology and sociology half the day and being the assistant principal the other half. She shared this position with Mark Reasor while Gene Suttle was the CHS principal. The next year she taught AP and dual credit US History half day while being an assistant principal.

    In 2004 she was chosen to be CHS’s first associate principal. She brought Rachel’s Challenge to CISD where is continued to be a program at CHS through 2008. She also helped Officer Cody Jones and Lee Ann Nuchols start D-FY-IT and still works with this highly successful program.

    In 2008, Kim Beth became the Executive Director of Curriculum and Professional Development for CISD. She has influenced many to be the very best teachers they can be and to always keep kids first in everything they do. That’s what she does every day when she goes to work. She wants to leave her corner of the world a better place than when she first walked in.

  • Merry Johnson Byers

    Class of 1978 | Inducted 2017

    Merry Johnson Byers graduated from Canyon High School in 1978. The daughter of Rev. William Johnson, Jr., and the late Lily Mae Johnson, Byers is one of eleven children. Married to Louis Byers for 33 years, she has three adult children and six grandchildren.

    She earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from West Texas State University in 1983 and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Louisiana State University in 2002. She is a member of Phi Alpha Honor Society, which recognizes excellence in scholarship and high professional standards.

    While at Canyon High School, Byers wasa three-time All-State Basketball player, earned six gold medals and three silver medals at the state track meet and set a national record in the 440-yard dash. Her team accolades include two state basketball championships and three state track titles.

    While at WTSU, byers set the record for 400 meters at 52.34 seconds, a record that still stands. She is still in the top ten record holders at WTAMU in individual scoring, rebounds, rebound average, blocked shots and steals.

    Recognized in 2000 by the Amarillo Globe-News as one of the Top 100 Sports Legends, Byers was the ALAW National Champion in the 400 and 200 meters in 1982, ran the third leg of the 4×4 South Team in the Pre-Olympics, winning a bronze medal in 1983, and qualified for the Olympic Trials in 1984, missing the USA team by 1/10th of a second in the 400 meters.

    A member of the 2000 Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame, Byers was inducted in the WTSU Athletic Hall of Champions in 1990.

    Byers volunteered as track coach for Northwestern State University where she also served on the School of Social Work Grievance Board.

    Although her accolades as a world-class athlete are numerous, Byers has also excelled in other professional endeavors.

    Now the Chief of the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, Community Services Division, Byers has been with the Sheriff’s Office for nine years. She has worked as a hostage coordinator with the SWAT team and served as coordinator of the 10th Judicial District Drug Court. In May of 2014, she completed the 74th basic session of the Alexandria Regional Police Academy where at the age of 54, she received the Jeremy Carruth Memorial Physical Fitness Award for maintaining the highest physical fitness standard.

    Byers is also a licensed ordained minister and church choir member who is passionate about people and her community.

  • Robert Byrd

    CHS Class of 1977

    Robert Byrd graduated with the Canyon High School class of 1977 thirty two years ago. While at CHS, he was involved in the Chorale, Show Choir, musical, and played football. He started enjoying choral music while at CHS and with the help of Doug McCause was selected to the All-State Choir his senior year. He continued his education at Hugh Sanders. After two years he felt the call to law enforcement. He transferred to Southwest Texas State University, where he worked toward a Criminal Justice Administration degree. He received his degree in August of 1981 and entered the Department of Public Safety academy in January 1982. The following May, he completed his training there and was commissioned as a highway patrol trooper. He married his Canyon High School sweetheart, the former Linda Ramaekers, and moved to his first duty station in Memphis, Texas. Twenty-five years later, he is still married to Linda and upholding the pledge he made to serve, protect, and uphold the laws of the State of Texas.

    For ten years he worked the highways, where he handled road rage, DWI traffic, drug seizures, outstanding criminal warrants, and injury as well as fatality accidents. Even in situations as difficult as these he has the ability to calm and comfort the victims. During his ten years in Memphis he was recognized by his church as a spiritual leader and ordained as a deacon. He became the father of two daughters and one son.

    He was promoted to highway patrol sergeant in 1993 and was relocated to Childress where he began supervising troopers. In 1999 the sergeant position in Amarillo opened and he decided that returning to Canyon area was best for his family. He was the highway patrol sergeant in Amarillo until the position in Canyon became available. He currently supervises the Randall, Swisher, and Brisco county troopers and is housed in Canyon. His children, Robbie, Tracie, and Ryan all attended CHS. Robert is currently serving as deacon at the First Baptist Church in Canyon and sings in the sanctuary choir where he continues to use his musical talent that was developed at Canyon High. He serves as a board member for Baptist Community Services and is involved in prison ministry at the Clements Unit in Amarillo. Throughout the past thirty years, he has been a leader in all the communities he has ever lived.

    Throughout his career he has attended numerous conferences to improve his law enforcement skills including the 204th session of the FBI national academy for police administrators. He is a firearms instructor and has completed accident reconstruction training. He will be in Austin monitoring the next trooper recruit school. In April, he will be inducted into the DPS Quarter Century Club and honored at a reception to be held at the Texas Ranger Museum. First and foremost, he is a man of integrity, character, courage, and public service. These attributes were planted and nurtured during his time at CHS. His heart was imprinted with service by the words in the Canyon High Alma Mater.


  • Dr. John Carlisle

    Class of 1981

    Dr. John Carlisle graduated from Canyon High School in 1981. He then attended West Texas State University as a math major and did undergraduate research in chemistry. While at WTSU, he received several awards including the CRC Freshman Chemistry Award and the Odessa Cleavenger Mathematics Award.

    John graduated with Bachelor”s Degrees in physics and mathematics with Academic Distinction and Highest Honors in 1986 from Texas A&M in Commerce. He was also selected as Outstanding Senior Physics Major that year. He then received a Master”s Degree in physics in 1988 and was named and received the Best Research Paper Award from the American Vacuum Society. In 1993 he completed his Doctoral Degree in physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and revived the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award from the National Research Council later that year.

    From 1993 to 1996 Dr. Carlisle was a postdoctoral research associate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he conducted some of the fist experiments at the Advanced Light Source. From 1996 to 2000 Dr. Carlisle was an Assistant Professor of Physics at Virginia Commonwealth University where he did research on the electronic structure of nanomaterials. He is currently a research physicist at Argonne National Laboratory. He has published 87 research papers in international journals, given 43 invited lectures worldwide, and presented over 200 research papers at various conferences.

    His current research is focused on nanocrystalline diamond thin films, nanocarbons, and functionalized carbon materials. He is working on supplications of these technologies for artificial retinas, biosensors, microelectromechanical systems, diamond electronics, and Research and Development Magazine for this research, and in 2004 co-founded Advanced Diamond Technologies, Inc. Dr. Carlisle and his wife Maura live in Plainfield, Illinois, with their two daughters, Sarah Marie and Elizabeth Ann.

  • Dave Corley

    CHS Principal, 1984-1992

    Dave Corley was born on October 4, 1934. He graduated from Memphis High School, Memphis, Texas, in 1953. Dave earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from West Texas State College in 1957 and a Master Degree in Education from the same institution in the 1960s. While at WTSC, Dave was the captain of the Buffalo football team which won the 1957 Tangerine Bowl Championship.

    Dave taught and coached at Memphis High School during the 1957-1958 school year. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1958 to 1961, where he attained the rank of captain. After leaving the Marines, Dave taught and coached at Morton High School for three years.

    In 1965, Dave came to Canyon High School as an assistant football coach and the head track coach. He also taught mathematics. He became the assistant principal in 1967 and held this position for two years. Dave was the principal at Canyon Junior High School from 1969 until 1984. In the fall of 1984, he became the principal at Canyon High School. He held this position until his retirement in 1992.

    After retiring, Dave spent two-and-a-half years teaching mathematics part-time at Canyon Junior High School. In January of 1996, Dave went to work for the Panhandle Plains Higher Education Authority as the Coordinator of High School Relations for this area.

    Dave Corley married Frances Wright in 1958. Their family consist of two sons, one daughter, and one grandson.

  • Dr. Jim Cornette

    James L. Cornette

    Class of 1952

    Jim Cornette graduated from Canyon High School in 1952 and received a BS degree in mathematics at West Texas State College in 1955. He studied mathematics at the University of Texas and received an MA in 1959 and a PhD in 1962. He was a member of the Department of Mathematics at Iowa State University (ISU) from 1962 until retirement in 2000. While there he directed or co-directed the PhD work of four students in topology and three students in computational biology, taught the usual range of mathematics courses,w as named an ISU Outstanding Teacher in 1973, and served on department, college, and university committees.

    Jim’s excursions outside the department were very reawarding. He taught a course in field theory in a faculty exchange with Electircal Engineering, he was a Fulbright Lecturer at University Kebangsaan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for an academic year, and he worked for two years at the Laboratory of Mathematical Biology in the National Cancer Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. After returning from Malaysia in 1974 he was advisor to the 300 student Association of Malaysian Students at ISU until he to went to NIH in 1985. At NIH he developed a very productive collaboration working on sequence analysis and structure of immune system proteins that resulted in 21 publications and three patents over an eleven-year period. This experience enabled his participation in the creation of active groups in bioinformatics and computation biology on the Iowa State campus which has led to strong graduate and undergraduate program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. He was the first director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Biological Statistics at ISU for a brief period before retirement. In 1998 Jim was named ISU University Professor, a distinction awarded to outstanding faculty who acted as a change agent to improve the quality with which the university carries out its land-grant mission.

    After retirement in 2000 he studied paleontology at the University of Kansas and received an MS in Geology (Paleontology) in 2002. He has published three papers in paleontology and now volunteers at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, working both in the field and in the laboratory.

    Jim and Carolyn Christian of Claude were married in 1962 and have two children: James Terrill live with his family in Temple and Frances Elizabeth lives with her family in Boone, Iowa.


  • Bessie Stringer Ellis

    CHS Faculty, 1961-1977

    Bessie Stringer was born in Moultrie, Georgia on November 11, 1924, to Edgar and Mamie Stringer. Her family moved several times during her childhood before finally settling in Lamesa. Bessie graduated from Lamesa High School in 1943.

    Bessie taught at Smyer High School in 1946-1947. On January 26, 1946, she married Lloyd Ellis. They became the parents of a daughter and a son, and Bessie quit teaching to stay home with her children until they started school.

    In 1958 Bessie received a Bachelor of Science degree from West Texas State College. That fall she started teaching at Whiteface High School. After three years at Whiteface, Bessie moved to Canyon with her family. She taught mathematics at Canyon High School from 1961 until her retirement in 1977.

    Bessie is a life member of the National Education Association and the Texas State Teacher Association. While at Canyon she was also active in Canyon Classroom Teacher Association and in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Upon her retirement she joined the Amarillo Retired Teachers Association.

    Bessie and Lloyd moved to their present home in Ruidoso, New Mexico, in January of 1992. In addition to their two children, their family includes five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.


  • Sheila Foster Evans

    CHS Faculty | Inducted October 2013

    During Sheila Evans’ 32 years at Canyon High School, she has been a class sponsor, a cheerleader sponsor, an English teacher, a Spanish teacher, and the greatest supporter of the Canyon Eagles in every aspect both in and out of the classroom. Sheila never desired to be anything other than a teacher following in the family tradition of her aunts, her dad, her mom, and her sisters. She says that her students should thank her parents for moving to the border town of Eagle Pass when she was only three where she would then grow up speaking Spanish

    Sheila graduated from Texas Tech in 1974, moving to Phillips to teach for two years and then teaching at West Texas State University where she met and married John Evans. They moved to Houston, and she taught for two years at Spring Branch before they would make Canyon their home, and Sra. Evans would begun teaching at CHS 32 years ago.

    Sra. Evans has a passion for reaching her students. She is the same vivacious lady teaching Spanish or shouting out her students’ Spanish names as they compete on the courts and on the fields. Many of her studnts have followed her example and become educators themselves.

    Darby (Guillermo) Norman, CHS Class of 1989: “Although she teaches Spanish in her classroom, Mrs. Evans instills much more than that in her students. To me, Sra. Evans is the epitome of what a teacher should be. She has a brillitant knowledge of her subject; she is passionate about what she is teaching to her students, and she approaches everyday and every class with and enthusiasm that is unmatched. I am constantly amazed how, even several years after having students in class, she remembers their Spanish names. We always knew while we were in class that Mrs. Evans cared about us, and it is nice to know that many years removed from class, she still cares. Since I have entered the teaching profession, I have come to admire Mrs. Evans even more.”

    Ray (Pepe) Baca, CHS Class of 1988: “I can honestly say Mrs. Evans changed my life. I grew up with a really bad stuttering problem and often used it as a way to get out of uncomfortable situations. Not only did Mrs. Evans not excuse me from participating in Spanish class, but she made me feel extremely comfortable when she told me that she and the class would wait for me as long as needed to get out what I had to say. I know I would not be in teaching had it not been for Mrs. Evans. I truly believe I have the best job in the world and owe a big thanks to Mrs. Evans.”

    Kim (Pepita) Baker Campbell, CHS Class of 1985: “I first met Sra. Evans as a student in Spanish I at Canyon High. Little did I know then that one day she would become on eof my very best friends. Sra. Evans opened a whole new world to me in her class, a world where I learned to love language. I continued to study Spanish, and during my senior year at WT, I was thrilled to learn that I would be doing my student teaching with Sra. Evans. My favorite Spanish teacher was now going to be my mentor. A few years later I had the opportunity to return to Canyon High as a Spanish teacher, right next door to Sra. Evans! Now, many years later, I am bless to call Sra. Evans not only my former teacher and mentor, but also one of my very best amigas. My life and career are what they are today because of the influence and friendship of Sheila Evans.”

    Sra Evans is married to John, and they have two daughters. Anisa, a registered nurse, is married to band director Eric Gilley, and they live in Grapevine. Selina and Brian Denney live in Canyon and are the parents of the precious and adored granddaughter, Aria.

  • Kelly Forehand

    Class of 1975,
    CISD School Board Member

    Kelly Forehand grew up in Canyon and graduated from Canyon High school in 1975. While at Canyon High School Kelly was a good student, was loved by his peers and teachers, and was a truly gifted athlete. Coach Ron Mills, Kelly”s football coach at CHS, said that in his entire 36 years of coaching he never had any athlete who more deserved life’s Fighting Heart Award more than Kelly.
    Kelly”s life and future plans changed one Friday night in the fall of 1974 during a football game when an injury left Kelly paralyzed. While some would have used this tragic even as an excuse to give up or give in, Kelly chose to live a life that was not defined by an accident, but one that he defined with his love, accomplishments, and investments in others” lives. After the accident, when the doctors told Kelly all the things we would never do, Kelly rose up to define himself by what he could and would do.

    After graduating with his CHS class he continued his education receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration from West Texas State University in 1980. Kelly worked for Merrill Lynch for 20 years rising through the ranks as a financial advisor, vice-president, and as the Director of the entire West Texas Complex. He currently serves as Senior Vice President and Senior Trust Officer with Happy State Bank. Kelly has served on a number of boards and associations, including the Canyon ISD School Board.

    A colleague summed it up by saying, “Kelly”s positive attitude and gregarious nature make for a winning combination. Kelly is more than that. He is a man who cares about others” needs before his own; whose energetic love of life is both awesome and inspiring; whose love of God comes first. He motivates others to greatness and has shown the way by his perseverance in the face of difficulties both small and large.”

  • Blair Garner

    Class of 1982

    Discovered by a local radio executive in his hometown of Canyon, Texas, Blair Garner has been on the radio waves since age 17. working on local radio stations all through college, Garner quickly climbed the ranks as his voice caught the ear of program directors from many major markets. He quickly found himself working for legendary stations in Washington, D.C., New York City, Houston and Los Angeles.

    It was in the early 1990s, though, that Garner found an untapped niche- late-night radio. He found the demand for third-shift disc jockeys was high across the country and set out to fix that problem. Garner planned for two long years before After MidNite ever hit the airwaves. It quickly became a fast-growing syndicated country radio show with over 100 affiliates picking it up in the first year.

    In 2013, after 20 years with After MidNite, Blair decided to take on morning radio and began hosting America’s Morning Show with Blair Garner. Then, in the fall of 2016, Garner chose to return to the overnight shift that catapulted him to the national stage with The Blair Garner Show. With three national shows under his belt, Blair’s distinct voice mixed with his conversational-styled interviews to make him one of the most recognizable radio personalities in North America.

    Garner credits his drive and success to the unwavering support from his parents growing up. “Every day they would tell me to ‘work hard and be kind,'” says Garner. “And even today, when I tuck my kids in at night, I say the same to them. That’s how important I think it is.”

    In his 30 years in the business Blair has definitely done those two things. As proof, he has been hailed three times from the Academy of Country Music as their “National Radio Personality of the Year.” He has also been nominated for the prestigious Marconi Award in broadcasting and not to mention the invaluable adoration of country music’s biggest stars. In 2013, he was inducted to the National Radio Hall of Fame and in 2016, to the Country Radio Hall of Fame.

  • Bryan A. Garner

    CHS Class of 1977

    “I realized early — at the age of 15 — that my primary intellectual interest was in the use of the English language. The interest may be partly genetic. My grandfather, Frank Garner of Amarillo, had more than a passing interest in language. This was magnified three or four times in my father, Gary T. Garner of Canyon, a true language aficionado. And then, as my father tells it, his interest seemed to be magnified a hundredfold in me. It became an all-consuming passion.

    “This passion has taken various forms at different times in my life. At 15, it consisted primarily in building my vocabulary. Then I discovered general semantics — the Works of S.I. Hayakawa, Wendell Johnson, Stuart Chase, and Alfred Korzybski. Because I grew up in a university town — small though it was — these and other books were readily accessible. I read everything I could find on the subject.

    “Then, on a wintry evening while visiting New Mexico at the age of 16, I discovered Eric Partridge’s Usage and Abusage. I was enthralled. Never had I held a more exciting book. I spent hours reading his advice on the effective use of words and his essays on everything from Johnsonese to précis writing. He kept mentioning another author, by the name of Fowler, so when I got back to Texas I sought out Fowler’s Modern English Usage. And that book turned out to be even better.

    “Suffice it to say that by the time I was 18, I had committed to memory most of Fowler, Partridge, and their successors: the Evanses, Bernstein, Follett, and Copperud. I knew where they differed, and I came to form opinions about whose positions were soundest on all sorts of questions. I knew the work of those writers better than I do today.

    “College presented a wealth of opportunities. While at the University of Texas, I studied the history of the English language and the Latin and Greek element in English, as well as Latin and French. Though I never mastered Old English, I acquired a passing knowledge of the Middle English of Chaucer and Gower. Two summers at Oxford University — where I studied Chaucr and T.S. Eliot — deepened my appreciation of how language and literature intersect. It was at Oxford that Ifirst go to know Robert W. Burchfield, the editor of the Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary (then underway) and Christopher Ricks, on eof the great modern literary critics.

    “While at Texas and Oxford, I attended many lectures by noted linguists who were dogmatically descriptive in their approach. The most bothersome thing was that they didn’t write well: their offerings were dreary gruel. So I gravitated away from the Linguistics Department and toward English and Classics. My mentors were John W. Velz, a Shakespearean of the first rank, and Thomas Cable, whose history of the English language (with Albert Baugh) is a classic. So while I was still in college emboldened by Professor Velz’s assurances that my work was worthy of publication, I knew that I would one day write a book in my favorite genre: a dictionary of usage.”

    [From the preface to the first edition of Garner’s Modern American Usage.]

  • Joe A. Gibson

    CISD Superintendent

    Joe Gibson was born November 13, 1901. He graduated from Paducah High School in 1921 and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Hardin Simmons University in 1924 in math and science. In 1940, Joe completed his Master Degree in Education at Texas Technological University.

    Joe started teaching and coaching at Sweetwater High School. From there he went to Abilene High School. Next he went to Eastland High School as head football coach. In 1928 Joe became the head football coach at Childress High School. While at Childress, Joe became the high school principal and finally the superintendant of schools.

    In 1952, Joe moved to Canyon to serve as the superintendant of schools. He served in this postion until retirement in 1964. Joe Gibson and Louise Heim married in 1928. They established five scholarships for graduating seniors, the Joe A. and Louise H. Gibson Scholarship. Each year two seniors at Canyon High School, two seniors at Childress High School, and one senior at Paducah receive scholarships to help with their college education.

    Joe was inducted into the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame for his coaching record at Childress High School. He has also been named as a Distinguished Alumni of Hardin Simmons University and as Canyon”s Man of the Year.

    Joe Gibson always enjoyed writing poetry; whenever he spoke to the student body during assembly he would always read one of his poems.

  • Lillian Greene Graham

    CHS Faculty, 1945-1977

    Lillian Greene Graham was born November 7, 1911, at Binghampton, New York to Harry Luella Greene. She graduated from Endicott High School, Endicott, New York. Lillian received her Bachelor of Science degree from Cortland College, Cortland, New York, and her Master of Education degree from New York University.

    Lillian started her teaching career in Sodus, New York school systems, Lillian taught in Bedford Hills, New York. While in the New York school systems, Lillian taught physical education and coached hockey, tennis, and basketball.

    During World War II, Lillian”s husband, Charlie Graham, was transferred to the Air Force unit which was stationed in Canyon, and Lillian became a resident of the Texas Panhandle. The Grahams decided that this region was where they wanted to make their home and moved to Canyon in 1945.

    Lillian taught boy”s physical education in Amarillo at Horace Mann Junior High School before coming to Canyon High School in 1945. Lillian taught at CHS until her retirement in 1977.
    During her teaching career, Lillian taught physical education, world history, American history, government and economics.

    Lillian has two children, a song and a daughter, and two grandchildren.

  • Jack Hazelwood

    CHS, CISD Faculty | Inducted October 2015

    Jack Hazelwood, a Canyon ISD vocational counselor for twenty-nine years, served students at both Canyon High School, and Randall High School. He was involved in all areas of CISD’s Career and Technology Education program, first as a vocational counselor and then as the CISD Director of Career and Technology Education. After his retirement from Canyon ISD in 2003, Mr. Hazelwood worked as a part-time counselor for the Reigon 16 Education Service Center, serving several smaller schools in the Texas Panhandle

    Mr. Hazelwood served as a tireless advocate for vocational students. He is fondly remembered by other teachers for keeping his “kids” in school, on track, and making sure they graduated ready to take on the real world.

    Mr. Hazelwood was a member of many district committees. Most recently, he was on the Superintendent’s Citizens Committee for new school construction. He also served the community of Canyon on various committees, including the District Attorney’s Commission on Law Enforcement and has been a member of the Canyon Lions Club for many years.

    Mr. Hazelwood holds a Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling from East Texas State University and a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Social Studies from North Texas State University in Denton. He is also a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Board Certified Counselor, and holds a mid-management and superintendent certificates from the Texas State Board of Educatior Certification.

    Mr. Hazelwood is a verteran of the United States Army and served as a medic during the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star Medal.

    Mr. Hazelwood and his wife Kay reside in Canyon, TX. Mr. Hazelwood’s children, Charles and Amy, both graduated from Canyon High School.


  • J. Pat Hickman

    CHS Class of 1970, CISD Board of Education

    J. Pat Hickman was born in Canyon, Texas to J.B “Bud” and Mildred Hickman on March 17, 1952. He was the youngest of four siblings; his brothers don and Mike as well as his sister Sara Jo were all graduates of Canyon High School.

    During his school years Hickman was active in many organizations; most noteworthy being his involvement in Student Council, football, drama and musical. Hickman is also an Eagle Scout. Following graduation from CHS in 1970 he attended Texas Tech University.

    Mr. Hickman married his “bride” Nancy in 1977. They have four children; J. Brad (CHS class of 2000), J. Grant (CHS 2003), Tara (CHS 2005) and Crista (CHS 2008).

    In 1975, Pat “fell into” the banking business, and for fifteen years worked for various financial institutions in Canyon and Amarillo. In 1990, Hickman led a group of investors in purchasing the First State Bank of Happy, Texas (Today known as the Happy State Bank) and serves the bank as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. At the time of the purchase, the bank had six employees and approximately $10 Million in total assets.

    At this writing, the Happy State Bank has twelve offices located in eight communities in the Texas Panhandle and once office in Phoenix, Arizona. The bank employs over 160 people and guardians over $430 Million in assets.

    Hickman is recognized as a leader by his banking peers as evidenced by his just completed term as Chairman of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas. He has testified in front of the United States House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on behalf of community banks. He was chosen by the Texas Banking Commissioner to serve on the Commissioner”s Counsel from 1997-2003. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Independent Community Bankers of America.

    Pat has been involved with many civic organizations in Canyon and Amarillo including Lion”s Club, Randall County Ag Extension, Canyon Main Street, Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation, Texas Tech Ex-Students Association, United Way, and Chamber of Commerce. He was instrumental in starting the Canyon Crisis Pregnancy Center, the Canyon After School Program and the CISD Education Foundation. He was elected to three terms on the CISD Board of Trustees (1990-1999), the last two years as Board President. The Hickman”s are active members of First Baptist Church in Canyon.

    J. Pat is known for his passion. He commits himself 100% to his undertakings and endeavors. He is most passionate, even fanatical, regarding his Fighting Canyon Eagles, Texas Tech Red Raiders, independent/community banking, Happy State Bank, his babies – Brad, Grant, Tara and Crista, his bride – Nancy and his Savior – Jesus Christ.

  • Dr. Emily McFather Hunt

    CHS Class of 1998 | Inducted 2015

    Dr. Emily (McFather) Hunt was inducted in the Canyon High School Hall of Fame in 2015. She gradated as the CHS Class of 1998’s valedictorian and later earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Texas Tech University. She joined the faculty of West Texas A&M University in 2005 as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, teaching primarily in the thermal fluid sciences. She currently serves two roles: one as Dean of the WTAMU School of Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics and the other as the Chief Technical Officer of Advanced Nano Solutions. Dr. Hunt’s most impactful work to date has been the creation and devleopment of a new material that is antimicrobial. This coating can be applied to any existing surface to prevent the growth of bacteria. Is is being used in a wide variety of applications: from coating tattoo machines to clean water systems for third world countries.

    Dr. Hunt’s first book (co-authored with Dr. Michelle Pantoya), Nanostructured Metallic Alloys: Synthesis, Properties, and Applications, was published in 2007. She has also co-authored 26 journal publications and has made numerous presentations as an invited speaker, both nationally and internationally. In addition to her academic contributions to the field of mechanical engineering, Dr. Hunt encouraged children to develop interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) through the release of children’s books titled Engineering Elephants (2010), Pride by Design (2011), Designing Dandelions (2013), and Engineering in Space: True Tales from an Astronaut Engineer (2014). Dr. Hunt has appeared on national television programs as a voice for STEM education and West Texas A&M University. She has traveled internationally with WTAMU engineering students as a part of efforts to incorporate real-world experiences as a part of engineering education. She also encourages younger students to cultivate their interest in STEM as the director of WTAMU’s Engineering Camp. Dr. Hunt holds two patents for material developments in the field of nanotechnology. Her husband, Dr. Aaron Hunt, is a researcher and educational consultant and together they have worked on project all over the world to promote engineering education.

  • Dr. Marty Kuhlman

    Class of 1979

    Marty Kuhlman was born in Canyon, Texas on May 13, 1961 into a family of his father, Alvin, his mother, Liselotte, and two sisters, Monika and Bernice. Marty spent his childhood in Canyon involved in Little League, Cub Scouts, and swimming at the city pool. He began his education at Rex Reeves Elementary School during the late 1960s. In the summer of 1971 a car hit the bicycle he was riding, and he spent three months in Northwest Texas Hospital. After leaving the hospital he started rehabilitation consisting of physical and occupational therapy lasting for a number of years. Marty reentered public school in 1973 as he began sixth grade in a wheelchair to crutches. But Marty also continued to have fun and discovered a love for history, which his father introduced him to.

    In 1977 he entered Canyon High School. From classes to extracurricular activities Canyon High School prepared Marty for life. Although he faced many challenges such as mobility and dexterity, students and teachers played a large role in replacing these challenges with opportunities. He fondly recalls many teachers such as the History and Economic teacher Jane Stephens for enabling him to have equal educational opportunities. The education he received at Canyon High School colored his world in a positive manner, but the years there meant much more. Marty gained many of the qualities needed to become a well-rounded person. Football games, dances, and student organizations helped him grow. Due to the acceptance and assistance of his fellow students Marty cultivated many life-long friendships.

    After graduation from Canyon High School in 1979 Marty attended West Texas State University. He received two bachelor”s degrees and a master”s degree in History. He received a doctorate from Texas Tech University after writing his dissertation on the civil rights movement in Texas. In 1994 he became a professor of History at West Texas A&M University where he teaches classes in Civil Rights, the Old South, Civil War and Reconstruction, and the United States Since 1945. He has had a number of journal articles published and is currently writing the centennial history of West Texas A&M University. Many forces, such as friends and family, have played an important role in Marty”s life. Yet Canyon High School will always hold a place of prominence for him. When thinking about Canyon High School, Marty likes to quoted the Beatles” lyric, “There are places I”ll remember.”

  • Dr. Michael LaGrone

    CHS Class of 1969 | Inducted 2012

    Dr. Michael LaGrone is a nationally recognized expert in the treatment of spinal deformities and children’s orthopaedics and in the treatment of scoliosis and complex spinal problems in both children and adults. He has special interest and expertise in the management of flatback syndrome. Dr. LaGrone is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. He meets the challenge of an ever-expanding volume of knowledge by ongoing research, teaching and continuing medical education.

    Mike LaGrone grew up in Canyon and graduated with honors from Canyon High School in 1969. During his high school years he wasinovlved in athletics, art, and played guitar with a band call the Torrents. Mike received his bachelor’s degree in biology from West Texas State University with honors in 1974. He served as Student Body President his senior yar. He attended medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. After serving as an Army doctor, he established his practice in Seattle, Washington. He moved back to Amarillo in 1994 after extensive training and experience in orthopaedic surgery. His practice in Amarillo draws patients from all over the country.

    Dr. LaGrone has lectured and written extensively on several topics related to the spine and orthopaedics. He has published papers on “Treatment of Symptomatic Flatback,” in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery; “Loss of Lumbar Lordosis” in Orthopaedics Clinics of North America; “Derotation Analysis of Cotrel-Dubosset Instrumentation” in Spine; and “Comparison of Same Day Sequential Anterior and Posterior Spinal Fusion,” also in Spine.

    Dr. LaGrone has contributed chapters entitled “Surgical Treatment of Idiopathic Scoliosis” in The Textbook of Spinal Surgery, and “Flatback Syndrome, Avoidance and Treatment” in Seminars in Spine Surgery.

    Dr. LaGrone is on the Medical Advisory Board of the National Scoliosis Foundation.

  • Joe Lombard

    CHS Faculty, 1985-Present | Inducted 2013

    Joe Lombard was born on March 5, 1953, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He attended Wayland Baptist College on a basketball scholarship where he saw his first ever women’s basketball game. In 1978 Lombard began his coaching career at Nazareth High School as the head girls’ basketball and cross country coach. Over the next seven years he won six state championships in basketball and two in cross country. He and his wife Babs are the only husband and wife who have won a state basketball championship the same year coaching teams in different classifications.

    Lombard came to Canyon High School in 1985 as the head girls’ basketball coach and won nine more state championships. His 2003 team is the only texas girls’ team to have won the USA Today mythical National Championship. Lombard has been named Texas High School Coach of the Year by the TABC and the TGCA many times and was name the National Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2011. His career basketball coach record is 1,158 and 109 through 2013. His fifteenth basketball state championships is a UIL record, and he has coached four undefeated teams in his career. More than 100 of Lombard’s players have received college basketball scholarships. He also has seven cross country state championships, including five undefeated season in Canyon from 1989-93.

    Lombard has served as president of the TABC, the  largest high school basketball organization in the United States. He has also been inducted into the Texas Hall of Fame and the Texas Girls’ Coaching Association Hall of Fame. He received the UIL Excellence Award in 2003 and was honored by Wayland Baptist University with the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Harley Redin Caoching Award. In 2000 Lombard was named by the Amarillo Globe-News as one of the 100 Best Sports Legends of the 20th Century. He also has been named Canyon’s Citizen of the Year. Lombard was twice recognized in Sports Illustrated‘s “Faces in the Crowd.”

    Coach Lombard enjoys his involvement in Coaches vs. Cancer each year. He also helps lead the high school Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is honored to have worked with such an outstanding group of administrators, faculty, assistant coaches, players, parents, and fans of the Lady Eagles. Coach  Lombard said, “I give thanks to God for the opportunity of working at Canyon High School.”

  • WV “Willie” McAlpin

    Assistant Football Coach
    Asssistant Girls Basketball Coach
    Assistant Principal
    Administrative Assistant


    A native of Spur, Texas, Willie McAlpin earned both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s Degree in Education from West Texas State University. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

    Willie joined the education profession in 1962 when he started coaching at Muleshoe. He coached at Beeville during the 1967-68 school year before coming to Canyon High School as an assistant coach for football and girls basketball in the fall of 1968. He served as an assistant principal at CHS from 1973-76 and as a CISD administrative assistant from 1976-84. In 1984, Willie moved to Sudan to take the job of superintendent, a position he held until his death on February 22, 1993.

    Regardless of his place of residence, Mr. McAlpin was always an active community member. Named as the 1982 Canyon Citizen of the Year, Willie was known for his leadership with youth, having coached baseball for the Pee Wee, Little League, Kids Inc., and American Legion. He was a member of the Canyon Park and Recreation Board, was a life member of Girlstown USA, the High Plains Eye Bank, and the Crippled Children’s Camp at Kerrville, where he assisted with the remodeling. An energetic member of the Lions Club, Willie served the organization as the Canyon Lions Club president, as the Lions’ zone chairman, as deputy governor and as District 2T-1 governor. In 1983, he retired after a three-year term as a director for the Canyon Chamber of Commerce. He also aided the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon in identifying items donated for display. Mr. McAlpin was a representative on the University Interscholastic League legislative council, a member of the Panhandle Barbed Wire Association, and the Sudan Masonic Lodge.

    Willie McAlpin was a member of the Methodist Church, a certified lay speaker, and the lay director of the Llano Estacado Emmaus community.

    Willie McAlpin married Jackie Timberlake in Canyon in 1959. Their family consists of two daughters, one son, and six grandchildren.

  • Doug McCause

    During Doug McCause’s years at Canyon High School, he led the CHS choirs to Sweepstakes and 1st Division awards at UIL, Greater Southwest Music Festival, and at least a dozen regional and national choral competitions and festivals from Texas, to Washington State, to New York City. Doug spent hundreds of hours in the choir room before school, after school and in the evening, teaching and coaching his students as they prepared for solo and ensemble contests, All-Region choir auditions and scholarship auditions. In partnership with Dave Yirak, Doug produced and directed twenty-five All-School Musicals and firmly established Canyon High’s reputation as home to the best high school musical theatre produced each year in the Panhandle.

    Apart from the statistics, it was Doug’s ability to inspire and support his students that makes him stand out in his field. Doug’s choir room had a warm, supportive, family home quality that offered a haven to many students over the years.

    Cody Cosmic, CHS Class of 1996: “I was a sophomore when he (Mr. McCause) arrived to salvage a demoralized choir. He jumped right in and worked tirelessly to revitalize the choir. He also instantly won our hearts by contributing as the music director of our beloved annual musical. Mr. McCause taught us that it was possible to be both disciplined and light-hearted. He also taught us that it was possible to have integrity and not lose cool points.”

    Kim Word Miller, CHS Class of 1979: “To say that choir and his (Mr. McCause’s) mentoring/encouragement became one of the anchors…through my young life would be an understatement. That eighth grade year was pivotal, in that I found that I had a teacher who fully believed in me – poured his efforts in to helping me reach my goals – and discovered a love for singing that is as natural to me as breathing.”

    Julie Brantly Petruccione, CHS Class of 1973: “I first met Doug McCause the summer I was thirteen when Doug cam eto Canyon to begin workin gas an accompanist for my father at “TEXAS” rehearsals. That summer was the beginning of Doug’s adventures in music edcuation his long and fruitful relationship with my dad. Dad was an ideal teacher and musical mentor, and I believe that Doug chose Dad to emulate in his own career as a music educator. Doug was the student teacher in the Canyon High choir room during my junior year at CHS, and even then, it was obvious that he had a way with young people.”

  • James E. Miller

    CHS Principal, 1947-1964

    James E. Miller was born on September 28, 1901, in Everett Springs, Georgia. A 1923 graduate of Stephenville High School, he attended John Tarleton College until 1925. Then he began his teaching career at Gannawar Rural School near Sweetwater. In 1926 JE taught at Champion Rural School, southwest of Roscoe. He moved to Hale Center High School in 1928 where he served as principal for four years and as superintendent for ten years. He received his Bachelor of Science in history from Texas Tech in 1930 and his Master of Education Degree in 1937.

    JE was a civilian employee of the Army Air Corps at Amarillo Air Force Base during World War II. He was a technical instructor in aircraft instruments. He spent one year in Denver, Colorado, at Lowery Air Force Base.

    James E. Miller and Lela Pearl Rampy were married in Hale Center on May 29, 1930. They became the parents of three sons, James W., Charles L., and Ralph E. MIller.

    Mr. Miller came to Canyon High School as principal in 1947. He held this position until 1964. While at CHS, he was instrumental in starting the band program and the tennis program; he believed that students should have a choice of other extra curricular activities in addition to football and basketball. From 1964 until 1967, he served CISD as the curriculum coordinator.

    After retiring from education in 1967, JE sold life insurance and mutual funds for Hamilton. He retired from this business in 1974.

    He was a member of the First Baptist Church where he taught an adult Sunday School Class for 26 years. Mr. Miller also held membership in many educational associations including CCTA, TSTA, NEA, PTA, TASSP, NASSP, Phi Delta Kappa, and TRTA. He was also active in Canyon”s Masonic Lodge, Rotary Club, Lions Club, Senior Citizens, and Panhandle Heritage Association.

    James E. Miller passed away on his 94th birthday in 1995.

  • WE Miller

    CHS Class of 1924

    Winfield Edward Miller and his twin brother Willard John were born on January 15, 1906, in Wakefield, Nebraska to William and Clara Miller. In 1909, the Miller family moved to Happy, Texas. Eventually, the Miller family would consist of WE and WJ being the second and third children in the family. The twins attended the Happy schools until they had finished the grades available there at that time the family moved to Canyon so that the twins could graduate in 1924.

    At some time in his life Winfield Edward became “Windy” Miller because of his talent for telling stories after graduation windy attended West Texas State for several years.

    Windy was the first scout master for Cub Scouting in Canyon. He also held membership in the Phoenix Club at WTSU and was active in Lions Club. Windy held the office of treasurer on the district level in Lions Club. His paticular interest was in the Lions Club camp for crippled children in Kenville. Many Canyon residents will remember him in his Santa Claus suit at Taylor & Sons, a part that he played for over forty years.

    Windy married Beulah Clevinger on March 29, 1929 in Amarillo. They were to become the parents of three children all of whom graduated from Canyon HS. Windy was always an avid Eagle Fan and was a familiar site at the Homecoming Assemblies. He was frequently recognized as the earliest graduate of CHS to be present.

    For 42 years, Windy married worked for the US Postal Service, first as a postal clerk and then as a rural mail carrier. He retired from the postal service in 1965. He was an active member of the Presbyterian church serving as a Deacon, an Elder, and also as treasurer.

    Windy enjoyed cooking; and finally collected his favorite recipes in a cookbook which was published. It was not unusual to see Windy at garage sales on Saturday morning hunting for a bargain or for a keychain to add to his collection.

    Winfield Edward Miller died on February 5, 1984, at the age of 78.

  • Robert Don Ray

    Class of 1995

    Reared at a ranch near Clarendon, Texas, Ray focused on the subjects he grew up with. He moved with his family in the early 1950″s to the Happy Hereford Ranch south of Canyon. Don graduated from Canyon High School in 1955. Don received a BS and MEd in Art from West Texas State University.

    Don worked for American Quarter Horse Journal and was the first graphic arts director for the regional education service center in Amarillo. He served in the United States Army from 1961 to 1963.
    Working in bronze and oil, Don Ray concentrated his work on the landscape and historical events of the Panhandle-Plains region and on Civil War History. He exhibited widely in the southwest and with the Hudson Valley Art Association, White Plains, New York: Abercombie and Fitch, New York; Mountain Oyster Club, Tucson; the Nita Stewart Haley Library, Midland, Texas; and the Panhandle Plains Invitational Western Art Show and Sale.

    Major sculpture commissions include the life-and-a half bronze The Lesson for the Lovett Memorial Library in Pampa, TX;The Harvester for Pampa High School; and a bust of a Erastus “Deaf” Smith for the Deaf Smith County Court House in Hereford.

    Don Ray also created Boss of the Plains, a rancher astride his favorite cow horse, in 1999 as an annual recognition of the individuals throughout the nation who have provided outstanding support of the Nation Ranching Center.

    For Haley Memorial Library and History Center in Midland, Ray sculpted bas reliefs for the “Foy Proctor Memorial Cowman”s Award of Honor”. He also sculpted bronzes of Charles Goodnight, J. Evetts Haley, Jeff Milton, and George W. Littlefield, for the J. Evetts Haley Literacy Bust Series.

    The artist was a long-time member and supporter of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society and Museum. Don Ray passed away on September 27, 2006.

  • Coach Jerry Robinson

    Inducted May 16, 2008

    I have been blessed to have the great game of football in my life, both as a player and now as a coach. Even a greater blessing is the incredible collection of coaches that I have had the pleasure of getting to know, and work with. There have been old coaches that had the great stories, the young coaches that made the mistakes that everyone made fun of. Coaches that try to be the loudest person on the field, and coaches that with one word, could make you a better person. I”ll never forget the day that I met one of the greatest football coaches to ever work in high school football. His name is Jerry Robinson from Canyon High School.

    In my first year at Canyon High School, I developed a great relationship with our head coach Blake Bryant, one of my best friends today, but I always walked on eggshells around Coach Rob. Not because of anything he said or did, but just because of that fear admiration, scared to death to screw up, awe that I felt when he was around. One of the best moments was when that first year ended, and Coach Rob came up to me, put his arm around my shoulders, again making me feel physically small, and said to me, “I wasn”t sure about you, but I want you to know that you did a terrific job of coaching this year.” To this day, it is one of the best moments in my coaching career.

    I”m in my eighth season with Coach Rob. Some have been good, some not-so-good, and some great. Over the last eight years, I”ve watched the way he coaches kids, and it”s worth watching. I”ve seen our QB”s, RB”s and WR”s all stop what they were doing to watch the linemen doing all of their drills, and I”ve heard their whispers when a lineman messed up and Coach Rob let him know about it. But I”ve also seen the kids that have come back after graduating, and how they can”t wait to see Coach Rob. He worked them hard, but everyone of them will tell you how much they love Coach Rob.

    Coach Rob is the 7th of 8 sons: Randall, Ray, Duane (who is the topic of many of Coach Rob”s stories), Dale, Wendell (who is in the Texas Coaches Hall of Fame), Wynn (a former football coach), and James. He graduated from Crosbyton High School in 1969, and accepted a football scholarship to North Texas State University. He married his high school sweetheart, Nonette Mayes, on January 7, 1971, and they have two sons, Taylor and Jackson, who Coach Rob will gladly tell you about.

    Coach Rob has completely restored 3 different cars, loves to play golf, a human almanac of useless knowledge about movies, especially westerns, and loves to travel. He and his wonderful wife are dear friends of our family, and nobody is better at rocking my kids to sleep than Nonette.

    He has made me a better football coach, a better husband, a better father, and a better person. Many of you know great coaches across the state of Texas, but in my heart I know that if you don”t know Coach Rob, you”re missing out. We have bled, sweat, coached, prayed, cried, and laughed together. It has been my pleasure over the last eight years, and I hope there are many more to come. We love you, Coach Rob!

    Article found in Texas Coach April 2008, written by Todd Winfrey.

  • Geneva and Stanley Schaeffer

    Class of 1951 | Inducted 2012

    Geneva (Gressett) and Stanley Schaeffer graduated from Canyon High School in 1951. Both were moved to Canyon by their parents because of the reputation of the Canyon school system. CHS gave them a solid foundation that has served them well throughout life. That foundation included a thirst for higher education that culminated in both receiving Bachelor’s degrees from West Texas State College in 1955 and later both receiving Master’s degrees, Geneva from Colorado State College and Stanley from West Texas State University.

    Geneva majored in political science with a minor in English while at WT and received her advanced degree in reading and clinical testing from Colorado State. She was an honor student and was named to “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.” Geneva taught in public schools for 17 years and her passion for education of herself and others never dimmed.

    Stanley majored in accounting with a minor in geology and paleontology, and receive his master’s in professional accounting. He practiced as a Certified Public Accountant in the public sector for 48 years in Dimmitt, Texas, where he was named Citizen of the Year in 1985. Through the years he has been involved in a broad range of other activities, including banking, oil and gas, cable television, manufacturing, real estate, cattle and farming, and has served on various boards related to private industry, community service, and public foundations.

    Both Geneva and Stanley have served on the West Texas A&M Foundation Board, where Geneva was president for two years. Also, both have been named distinguished alumni at WTAMU, as well as receiving the first ever Pinnacle Award and the first-ever First Choice Award from the Department of Agricultural Sciences. They received a 1998 Golden Nail Award for their contribution to the arts. In 2006 they were honored with the Outstanding Philanthropist Award for the Panhandle area.

    The Schaeffers have been instrumental in helping hundreds of students gain their dream of a college education, both financially and through mentoring. But, the greatest success is their own immediate family that consists of a daughter Jackie, who taught school all of her professional career, a son David who has practiced public accounting as a CPA for all of his professional career, and another son Jerry who has been in the field of public education as a coach, teacher, and school administrator all of his professional career.

  • Bob Schneider

    CHS Girls Basketball Coach

    Bob Schneider was born August 25, 1936. He graduated from Darrouzett High School in 1954. He then attended Panhandle State University, Clarendon Junior College, and West Texas State College on baseball and basketball scholarships. Bob received a Bachelor of Science (1958), Master of Education (1968), and Administrative Certification in All-Levels (1977) from West Texas State University.

    From 1958 until 1966, Bob coached and taught at Darrouzett High School, Clayton High School in New Mexico, and at McLean High School.

    In 1966, Bob came to Canyon High School as the head girls’ basketball and track coach and the junior varsity football coach. While at CHS Bob compiled an impressive record of championships including the following:
    3A State Champions in Girls Basketball 1969, 1972, 1974, 1977, 1978
    3A State Champions in Girls Track 1976, 1977, 1978
    3A State Runner-up in Girls Basketball 1970, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1976
    District Champion, Regional Finalist 1968

    In 1978, Bob became the head women’s basketball coach at Texas Women’s University. He moved to West Texas A&M University as the head women’s basketball coach in 1981.

    Bob Schneider has received many honors during his career. He has been named as the Basketball Coach of the Year by the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame (5 times), the Lone Star Conference (4 times), the Texas High School Girl’s Coaching Association (2 times), the Oil Country Athletic Conference and the Texas Sportswriter Association. He was also named the Super Coach of the Year for all sports by the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 and again in 1996.

  • Eddie Smith

    Inducted 2015

    Coach Eddie Smith coached the Canyon Eagles from 1969 to 1998. He n in the old, old junior high building while the new building was under construction behind the existing school. Coach Smith began coaching in seventh grade as almost all new, young coaches do. He coached football, basketball, and track while he scouted for varsity football on Friday nights. The junior high coaches prepared the scouting report early on Saturday mornings and worked with the high school coaches the rest of Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

    He coached high school hurdles and high jump when Richard Shade was the high school track coach. Robert Johnson and Jeff McKay went to state in hurdles and Ernie Mendez won state in the high jump. He taught eighth grade American history, then Texas history, then computer for a year to help the junior high principal with a scheduling problem. Then, when the sixth graders came to the junior high he started teaching world geography. He had finished college with teaching field in English and physical education; he earned a teaching field in history at the request of the administration. Coach Smith completed his master’s in education in 1991.

    He traveled between schools when he took over the boys’ cross country team in 1987 and he continued coaching ninth grade football in high school until 1992 holding cross country workouts after football. He started coaching cross country and track exclusively in 1993. His cross country teams began winning state. The 1995 state championships were recognized as Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame team of the year. During his tenure they won state 3 times, runner-up 4 times, third place once and fourth place once. He also took the reins of the boys’ track program in 1988. His teams won 9 district championships in ten years. He had coached two state champions and four second-place individuals. Coach Smith always instilled in his athletes that although individuals won medals, teams won championships.

    Of course, his greatest joy was working with his son, Dale. Dale ran both cross country and track. He filmed all the high school football games, and he wrote the basketball stories for the local newspaper and sports copy for the yearbook. Long conversations about sports were shared on the trips home. Dale, a Canyon alum, taught for 10 years after receiving his bachelor’s from the University of Texas. He will receive his master’s in fine arts from Columbia University in May. He continues to make Dad very proud.

  • Bess Brillhart Sommer

    CHS Class of 1960
    CHS Teacher, 1968-2000

    Mary Elizabeth Brillhart was born in Perryton, Texas, on September 16, 1942. She was the salutatorian of the Canyon High School Senior class in 1960. She received a Bachelor of Science from West Texas State College in 1963 and a Master of Math Education from West Texas State University in 1965.

    Ms. Brillhart returned to Canyon High to do her student teaching with Ray Wells in the Spring of 1963. She would teach in Austin, San Angelo, and Amarillo before returning to her Alma Mater when Mr. Wells retired in 1968. She would be the cheerleader sponsor for nine years and would then work with Canyon students as Student Council sponsor for seven years. She taught Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Analysis, Mathematics of Money, Mathematics of Consumer Economics, TAAS Review, Pre-Calculus, and AP Calculus AB.

    Ms. Brillhart was head of the math department and lead teacher of Advanced Placement. She was the class sponsor for the classes of 1972 and 1986. She is a life member of the Texas State Teachers Association and the National Education Association. She has been a member and an officer in both the Canyon Classroom Teachers Association and the Zeta Epsilon chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma. She is now a member of Canyon Retired Teachers and School Personnel. Since 1972 she has been on the Education Credit Union board of directors and has been chairman of the board since 1986.

    Ms. Brillhart retired from Canyon High School in 2000 and married John D. Sommer, who is also a member of the Canyon High School Hall of Fame. They now live in Round Rock, Texas.

  • John D. Sommer

    CHS Principal, 1968-1884

    John Sommer was born June 29, 1933. He graduated from LaGrange High School, LaGrange, Texas, in 1950. In 1954, he received a Bachelor Degree in Music Education from Texas Lutheran College. He then served two years in the U.S. Army.

    In 1956, John began his teaching career as a band director at Bandera High School. Three years later he completed his Masters Degree in Music Education from Southwest Texas State College. He then moved to Edna High School where he served as the band director for seven years and was the principal for two years.

    In 1968, John came to Canyon High School as the principal. He held this position until 1983 when he became the director of Personnel and Special Projects for the Canyon Independent School District. In 1984, John received his Doctorate in Education from Texas Tech University.

    After receiving his doctorate, John was employed by the Texas Education Agency in Austin in the Division of Curriculum Development as the Program Director for Fine Arts. He retired from this position in 1993. He now works part-time with several companies in the field of curriculum development.

    John and his wife, Bess, reside in Round Rock. He has three daughters and one son. Their family also includes numerous grandchildren.

  • Dr. Charles Newton Starnes, Jr.

    CHS Class of 1966
    Captain, US Navy (Retired)

    Charles Starnes was born in Abilene, Texas. He moved to Canyon in 1960 with his parents, Newton and Alice Starnes, when his father was assigned as pastor of First United Methodist Church.

    Charles graduated from Canyon High School in 1966. During his high school years, he participated in choir and drama, and he was a cast member of the State Champion One-Act Play presentation of “Othello” in 1964. In 1966 he won a second place at the State UIL prose reading competition in Austin. In 1967 he played the role of Quanah Parker in the outdoor drama “TEXAS.”

    He graduated from West Texas State University in 1969 with a double major in physics and mathematics. Having joined the Navy during college, he began active duty in the Navy”s nuclear submarine program. During his twenty-seven years of naval service in the Cold War he was assigned all over the world. He was captain of the ballistic missile submarine USS George C. Marshall (SSBN 654) and served as Naval Attaché to the Federal Republic of Germany. He earned numerous awards including the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy Unit Commendation. He says that the Navy promised him an adventure, and it delivered in the fullest measure–the countries he didn”t visit he saw through a periscope.

    After completing his naval career, Charles returned to Canyon. He earned a PhD in Economics from Texas Tech University, and he began a second career teaching economics, finance, and management at the university level. He conducts research on the transformation of the former Soviet states to the free market. He also holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College and a Master of Science in Finance and Economics from West Texas A&M University.

    Charles married Susie Doyle of Houston, Texas, in 1970. They have four children who traveled with them on all their Navy adventures. Their youngest daughter, Kathryn, is a 2004 graduate of Canyon High.

  • Jane Stephens

    CHS Teacher & Counselor, CISD Administrator – 1976-2000

    Jane Stephens began her association with Canyon High School in 1961 when she began her student observation classes as an education major at West Texas State College. This was the first year Canyon High Spent on the campus located at 910 9th Avenue. She did her student teaching in 1963 with Mrs. Lillian Graham. She fondly remembers her student teaching as “an amazing opportunity to sit at the feet of a Master Teacher.”

    Teaching experience at Canyon High School includes two years in the late 1960s and eight years from 1976 to 1984. She taught Social Studies classes, especially Economics, and French. During those years she co-sponsored Future Teachers of America. She also spent several years as cheerleading sponsor. She served as the Social Studies Department Chairperson and as president of the Randall County Unit of the Texas State Teachers Association. She also attended West Texas State University and received a Master’s degree and certification in Counseling.

    In 1984 she took the position of counselor at Canyon High School. She served in that position for three years, helping to move CHS from hand-generated scheduling to computer-generated scheduling. In 1987, she became Director of Secondary Curriculum for Canyon ISD. During that period, CISD opened Randall High School and expanded curriculum offerings in computer-related fields. She served in that position until 1992 when she was named Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. From 1992 to 1999, Mrs. Stephens assisted in building strong curricular programs and adding Westover Park Intermediate and Crestview Elementary School to the district. She is especially proud of the advancements CISD made in Technology and in Campus Improvement Planning.

    Jane retired in June 2000. At the time of her Hall of Fame induction, she was active in the First Presbyterian Church, serving as ruling Elder. She also worked for the Education Department of WTAMU supervising administrative interns and for the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum as a curriculum consultant. She was a founding member of the CISD Education Foundation, a member of the Canyon Boys and Girls Club and Opportunity School.

    Her family includes: husband Dr. J. Pat Stephens; her daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Robert Stubbs and their two children Xander and Mayabella; and son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Robert and Heather Gumbert Stephens. 

  • Ginger LaGrone Tucker

    CHS Teacher

    Ginger LaGrone Tucker, a native of Canyon, attended Canyon schools with the class of 1971. Ginger received a Bachelor of Science degree in history and English education from Hardin Simmons University in 1980 and a Master of Arts degree in history and geography from West Texas State University in 1987. In 1995 Ginger received her administrator”s certification in mid-management from WTAMU.

    Ginger spent twelve years in the classroom at Canyon High School where she taught geography and served as Social Studies Department Chairperson.

    Following her classroom experience, she spent five years as an education specialist and Title 1 Coordinator training teachers and administrators for the Region 16 Education Service Center.

    At this time Ginger owns her own consulting and professional development company. She trains school, business, and church personnel.

  • Jim Whinnery

    CHS Class of 1964

    Jim Whinnery graduated from Canyon High School in 1964. During his time at CHS, he was co-captain of the football team. He was also co-captain of the basketball team that won the 3A Texas State Boys Basketball Championship. Jim was named to the All State Basketball team that year.

    Jim obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from West Texas State University where he earned a PhD in physical chemistry and a MAT in teaching Chemistry. Jim also has a Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

    Upon entering the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam conflict, Jim became a Chief Flight Surgeon. He has nearly 1,000 flying hours, mostly in fighter aircraft, including F-100, F-4, A-37, F-16, and F-15s.

    Jim has held numerous positions including the following: Chief of the Biodynamics Branch at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Commander of the 149th Tactical Fighter Clinic, Air National Assistant to the Command Surgeon U.S. Air Forces in Europe, The Air Surgeon National Guard Bureau, Chief Aeromedical Scientist of the Naval Air Warfare Center, Jim is a graduate of the Air War College and the Center of Aerospace Doctrine, Research and Education. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American Institute of Chemistry, and the Aerospace Medical Association.

    Promoted to Brigadier General in 1993, he is the Assistant to the USAF Surgeon General. Jim is considered a world expert in acceleration physiology and military decorations including the Theodore G. Lyster and Arnold D. Tuttle Awards of the Aerospace Medical Association, the Legion of Merit, and Honorary Doctor of the State Scientific Test Society of the Russian Republic.

  • Eddie Kent Wilson

    Class of 1975

    Eddie Kent Wilson was born December 30, 1956 at Neblett Clinic in Canyon, TX. He attended CISD all of his public school years, and he graduated in 1975. He received a Bachelor of Science in criminal Justice from West Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts in Political Science and Sociology from West Texas A&M University. He was also a graduate of the Distinguished Law Enforcement Management Institute at Amarillo College.

    Wilson began his law enforcement career in 1976. He served as a deputy for the Randall County Sheriff”s Office and in the following years held the ranks of patrolman, sergeant and captain. he became Chief of Police at WTAMU in 1989 and served in that capacity until 2002.

    During his tenure at WTAMU, he initiated several policies that led to a safer environment for youth to continue their college education. He helped establish and was chairman of the Texas A&M University System Police Administration from 1995-2000. Wilson also created a Police Advisory Board of Students, Faculty, and Staff for WTAMU so that police could be better assisted in serving the community. Under his guidance, major crime was reduced by 69% on the WTAMU campus.

    Chief Wilson played an influential role in involving law enforcement in both national and state prevention programs. He served as chairman of the US Department of Education Task Force in Washington, DC and was also the only university law office to ever serve on that board. He participated in such national committees as the Review Board for the Higher Education Center, the Gender Equity Committee, and the Violence Prevention Annual Conference.

    Chief Wilson was a member of the executive board of Texans Standing Tall, the sole statewide coalition to prevent underage drinking. Because of his groundbreaking work that helped reduce major crime on the WTAMU campus, he was honored posthumously by the Texans Standing Tall Organization. He was only the third person to receive this yearly honor. The Thesis of the “TST Champion” award was “Chief Wilson (is) landed for his pioneer work in changing the traditional role of law enforcement by bringing new ideas to the community police, while also drastically reducing the major crime on the WTAMU campus.”

    In addition to major contributions within the University Police Department, Chief Wilson traveled extensively, worked on committees, and spent countless hours of personal of personal time securing grants, structuring programs and training others to prevent violence and underage drinking on the state and national levels.

    Colleagues and co-worker recall with admiration Chief Wilson creative ideas in law enforcement and his proactive leadership and make them a reality. They remember him for his forthrightness and honesty. They also recognize that he understood the environmental change that was needed to accomplish campus safety. They all agree that he was very deserving of each honor he received.
    After fighting a lengthy battle with Lou Gehrig”s disease, Chief Wilson passed away at age 45 on October 11, 2002. He was survived by his wife, Terri, two children, JoeDan, and Kristen, his parents and two brothers. He left a huge void in many areas and is greatly missed by all who knew him.