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Delphos St John

2006 Hall of Fame Inductees

2006 Hall of Fame Inductees

Biographies by Sue (Klausing) Gerker, Class of 1992

Service to Mankind

Fr. Thomas Weinandy Class of 1964

The recipient of the Service to Mankind Award is a Capuchin Franciscan priest, an evangelist, a teacher and an author. He has taught in a number of Catholic universities in the United States and at the University of Oxford in England. He is regarded as one of the leading theologians in the Roman Catholic Church today. The 2006 inductee into the Hall of Fame is Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M. Cap.

Thomas G. Weinandy attended St. John’s from first through tenth grade before going to the Minor Seminary when he was 14 years old. He entered the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin at the age of 20 and was solemnly professed four years later. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1972. During that time he earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at St. Fidelis College, Herman, Pa., and a master’s degree in Systematic Theology at Washington Theological Union. Just three years later he received his Doctorate in Historical Theology at King’s College, University of London.

He has held positions at Georgetown University, Mount St. Mary’s College, Franciscan University of Steubenville and Loyola College in Baltimore. He was the Warden (President) of Greyfriars Hall in Oxford and taught History and Doctrine in the Faculty of Theology in the University from 1991 to 2004. His major fields of specialty are Christology (the theology Christ), Trinitarian theology, the theology of Salvation and philosophical notions of God. He has published 15 books and more than a 100 articles in scholarly journals and popular magazines.

Fr. Tom said he was surprised to be nominated for the St. John’s Hall of Fame and is pleased with the honor.

“It was at St. John’s that I grew up in my faith – from my family, the sisters and the school and the parish as a whole,” he said. “St. John’s helped me love the Church and the Gospel. It was the foundation of the whole rest of my life. I have always remained a Delphos Catholic. St. John’s also helped form me in my love of learning.”

Although he has lived away from Delphos for many years he still has special memories of his early education.

“I very much enjoyed playing trumpet in the band and marching out to the football games on a crisp autumn evening. In grade school, I enjoyed playing marbles in the playground during lunch hour,” he said. “I also very much enjoyed being taught by the Sisters of Notre Dame. They had a great impact on my life.”

In January 2005, Fr. Tom was appointed Executive Director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Msgr. William Fey, former USCCB General Secretary, said that his colleagues hold Fr. Tom in high esteem.

“I am confident that Fr. Weinandy’s work with the Bishops Conference will make an enormous contribution to the life of the Catholic Church in our country,” Fey said.

Athletic Achievement

Gene Klaus Class of 1963

Many men have found success on the hardwood after their days of playing basketball at St. John’s High School but none more so than Gene Klaus, the 2006 recipient of the Hall of Fame Award for Athletic Achievement.

Klaus scored 1,121 points for St. John’s during the 1960-63 seasons. His senior year the Jays had the most successful Class AA basketball team in the school’s history with a 17-4 record.

He then took his talent to the University of Dayton where the 6-foot, 1-inch guard scored 670 points his three years as a starter for coach Don Donoher. The Flyers compiled a 70-19 record during that period and Klaus played in 11 NCAA tournament games, the most of any player in UD’s history.

Klaus came up against some notable players during the Flyers’ appearances in the tournament. In 1965 Dayton lost to the top-ranked Michigan Wolverines led by Cazzie Russell. The following year it was Pat Riley’s No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats that played spoiler. Klaus served as captain his senior year when the Flyers made it to the title game only to lose to Kareem Abdul Jabbar and the rest of the UCLA team.

The university recognized the former winner of the most outstanding UD senior athlete award by inducting him into its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003. He is the only Blue Jay basketball player ever to receive that honor at the Division I level. Receiving a similar accolade from his first alma mater is also special.

“I was honored and humbled to be numbered among the many quality athletes who are deserving of such an honor at St. John’s,” Klaus said.

While at Dayton, Klaus earned a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education. He went on to achieve a Master of Science Degree in Guidance Counseling from Wright State University and a Master of Science in Educational Administration from the University of Dayton. He is currently the principal at Northmont High School in Englewood.

Athletics still plays a large role in Klaus’ life. He has been a member of the Southwest District Athletic Board since 1993 and served on the State Board of Control both as president and vice president. He was a recipient of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Naismith Meritorious Service Award.

“The quality of education that I was given by the Sisters of Notre Dame and the mentorship of coach Bob Arnzen have prepared me for my academic, athletic and professional success,” Klaus said.

Professional Achievement

Karen (Klausing) Austin Class of 1979

The 2006 recipient of the St. John’s Hall of Fame Professional Achievement award was the valedictorian of her 1979 class. Since leaving Delphos she has become a leading executive at one of the country’s largest retailers.

Karen (Klausing) Austin earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Tri-State University in 1983. She worked at Central Mutual Insurance Company during the summers while attending college. Karen worked at The Timken Company in Canton as a computer systems engineer after graduation and then joined Kmart Corporation in 1984. She held numerous Information Technology roles at Kmart and was named SVP, Chief Information Office (CIO) in 2002 and held the title of Interim Chief Marketing Officer in 2003.

The daughter of Richard and Alene Klausing didn’t always know what profession she would choose.

“I think back to the day when I asked my guidance counselor what I should go to college for. I loved math and he recommended computer science. At this point I had never even touched a computer,” Karen said. “He was right. St. John’s taught me the importance of balancing hard work and family, teamwork, smart decisions and prayer. I believe you are a product of your upbringing. My family and St. John’s have so much to do with who I am today.”

As president of Kmart.com Karen spearheaded an overhaul of the company’s Internet presence and developed it into an award-winning web site. When Kmart and Sears, Roebuck and Co. merged in March of 2005, she became the CIO and an executive vice president of the newly formed Sears Holdings Corp. She leads an information technology team of 1,400 associates.

Karen and her husband and two daughters moved to Lakewood, Ill., in 2005. They enjoy spending time on Crystal Lake, renovating their 1920s Chicago Bungalow built by the Schwinn bicycle family and making new friends. She hasn’t forgotten her life in Delphos, however.

“St. John’s has always held a special place in my heart. Receiving this type of an award gives me a sincere sense of accomplishment,” Karen said. “I’m grateful for being selected from a group of very accomplished professionals.”

Service to St. John’s

Gilbert "Gip" Pohlman 1938 - 2006 Class of 1956

In any successful business or group there are people who work behind the scenes to get things done. They don't do what they do for credit or recognition. They get involved because they believe in what they are doing. They serve with passion and devotion. They are special. Gilbert "Gip" Pohlman was such a person for Delphos St. John's.

Gip graduated from St. John's in 1956 and soon began his service to his alma mater by coaching junior high boys basketball. For 34 years, he devoted his time to teaching young men the game he learned from legendary coach Bob Arnzen.

A former player noted, "Gip's biggest asset was his smile and sense of humor and his uncanny knack for understanding his players' personal challenges, not just their physical limitations. Not only was he instrumental in teaching the basics of basketball, he was influential in educating his players that life was not bounded by athletics."

Gip's service to the school he loved extended beyond the hardwood. He was involved in the All Saints Building project and helped create a high school scholarship fund. The school also benefited by Gip's tireless dedication to the Knights of Columbus Lodge 1362. His association with the K of C led to the inception of the annual St. John's golf fundraiser, K of C Sunday Breakfast and many other events that ultimately benefited St. John's financially.

Helping St. John's was not the only aspect of Gip's life - he was married to Pat (Kimmet) Pohlman for more than 46 years and had four children and seven grandchildren; operated a family business for 28 years before selling it; and was a longtime Washington Township Trustee.

But Gip's dedication to St. John's is what is so memorable about him. Whether it was as a coach, event planner, trusted advisor or consultant, Gip did everything he could to make St. John's stronger.

That is why Gilbert "Gip" Pohlman is honored posthumously as the recipient of the 2006 Hall of Fame award for Service to St. John's.
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