Valerie Best Class of 1969
The recipient of the 2007 Hall of Fame Award for Professional Achievement conducts her business in our nation’s capital.
Valerie Best has been a licensed attorney for nearly 30 years with a focus on administrative and banking law. She works in the Legal Division of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as Supervisory Counsel and manages a staff providing logistical support to the FDIC Board of Directors. On two occasions she was the recipient of the highest award available at the FDIC, the Chairman’s Award for Excellence. She won her first award for her work on legislation implementing deposit insurance reform. She won her second award for assisting in the organization of the FDIC’s International Conference on Deposit Insurance. She has assisted in public hearings held by the FDIC on electronic banking, financial privacy, and industrial loan companies, and was selected by the FDIC to help the Kyrgyz Republic prepare deposit insurance laws.
Her job requires he to think globally, but she hasn’t forgotten her roots.
“I was pleased to hear about my nomination into the St. John’s Hall of Fame and I was also humbled. I know anything I’ve accomplished is due to the help and support of others. None of us stands alone. We can all draw upon the talents, creativity, and support of others,” Valerie said. “The nomination reminds me that, although the modern world may be a daunting place, we can meet any challenge if we work together, share what we’ve learned, and use our small-town street smarts.”
The 1969 graduate of St. John’s earned her bachelor degree in political science and English from Miami University, Oxford. She obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Case Western University in 1978 before taking a job in the Sixth District Court of Appeals as a staff attorney. Her professional journey included time at a law practice in Lima and one year as the assistant city law director for Lima before going to work for the FDIC in Dallas, Texas, in 1984. She then moved to the agency’s Washington, D.C., office in 1989. She is a member of the American Bar Association and the Ohio and Texas Bar Associations.
It was her first experience with education that helped form the person she is today.
“The message I took from the teachings of the Catholic Church imparted at St. John’s was the importance of love. I was particularly taken by the concept of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy — to feed the hungry, visit the sick, to bear wrongs patiently, to comfort the afflicted, and more,” she said. “I think these admonitions have led me to become someone who is always striving to understand other people. Of course, I have my priorities, my values, my ‘agenda’ but I try to consider the perspective of each person I meet.
“When I reflect upon the years I spent at St. John’s, it is always memories of the people I met there that make me smile. High school can be an especially perilous time for young people. Shakespeare said that “Youth to itself rebels,” and I think it is true that high school can be a period of exploration, of trying on different attitudes and personalities. Whether a student surfaces as a person of strength and resilience or is overwhelmed by distress depends, to a great extent, on the support and tolerance of their classmates and teachers.
“Most of us like to think we are self-made individuals. But it was the day-to-day acts of kindness that inspired me to keep showing up at school, and it was observing my classmates creating their own path — trying, failing, looking silly but trying again — that gave me the strength to persevere.
Service to St. John's
John Dickman Class of 1967
The 2007 Hall of Fame award for Service to St. John’s is given posthumously to John P. Dickman. St. John’s is a better school, parish and community because of John’s devotion to his alma matter and his willingness to offer financial expertise for more than 20 years.
After graduating in 1967, John obtained a degree in accounting from Bowling Green State University. He served six years in the Army National Guard as a second lieutenant then became a Certified Public Accountant, stockbroker, financial planner and Series 7 Securities representative.
John’s vast knowledge, ability to work with others and generous spirit made him a vital component of many successful fundraising campaigns for the school. He was instrumental in initiating the Visitation Sunday campaign and chaired the school’s first technology committee. He took charge of the church beautification campaign, which met its goal of $2.4 million in three months, and he served on the Finance Committee for more than 20 years. He was the auditor for the parish at the time of his death.
“John often mentioned that the religious training and discipline he received at St. John’s was very instrumental in the way he lived his life and conducted his business,” said his widow, Kathy. “I know from being with John for 23 years that he conducted many, many acts of kindness and helped people in his business and expected no monetary return or recognition. He was extremely honest in life his life and business and I know he believed his experience at St. John’s contributed to how he lived his life.”
His generosity did not stop at St. John’s. John was a member of the Delphos Stadium Club and co-chaired the fundraising drive to install the all-weather track at Jefferson high school and new tennis courts, football field, stadium lights and Little League Diamond at Stadium Park. He was a director of the Arnold C. Dienstberger Foundation and assisted several other communities and parishes with projects. He was city auditor from 1980 until 1988 and was on the Commercial Bank Board of Directors.
John and Kathy were married for 20 years and had four children: Jeff, now living in Columbus; Daina, San Francisco; Derek, Phoenix; and Steve, at home.
“I know John would have been very proud to be inducted into the St. John’s Hall of Fame, but also very humble. He never sought any recognition but was always excited and happy when he was working on a project that would help the school or community. His heart and spirit were truly with St. John’s and the entire community.”
Service to Mankind
Bob Schmit Class of 1943
Service isn’t a voluntary act for Bob Schmit; it’s a way of life.
The 2007 recipient of the St. John’s Hall of Fame Award for Service to Mankind knows the importance of giving back to the community and he has used every opportunity to do just that.
Bob began working at his family’s grocery store at a young age. When his brothers fought in World War II he took the responsibility of running the market while attending high school and did both tasks well. He was president of his class when he graduated in 1943.
Families in the community were financially burdened by the war, but Bob was known for his charity. No matter the situation, he made sure that families always had the necessities despite mandated rationing.
Bob married Patricia Weber and they had five children. As their children grew so did Bob’s giving ways. His dedication to helping others is evident by the committees and boards he’s served on, including: Past president of St. John’s school council, charter member of the Delphos Kiwanis, past president of Rotary, guide for senior historical tours, member and past treasurer of The Delphos Club, past member and president of St. John’s Band Boosters, past member and president of the Delphos Senior Citizens Board, charter member of Delphos Institute of Music, past member of St. John’s Finance Committee, member of the board of directors at Delphos Community Oil, Fourth Degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus, volunteer for the Allen County Right to Life and American Red Cross, past volunteer and tutor for children at Trinity United Methodist Church, presiding judge for Allen County Board of Elections, Eucharistic Minister at St. John’s parish, school festival volunteer and volunteer for the church renovation project.
The Delphos Herald named Bob “Man of the Year” in 2004. At that time he said he doesn’t consider himself a dedicated volunteer because he enjoys his involvements.
“Anything that I did I really had fun and I can’t say that I was contributing to society so much as I was enjoying myself. I don’t think you should be given credit for enjoying yourself,” he said.
Bob’s modesty is rooted in the teaching given to him by the Notre Dame sisters at St. John’s.
“The Sisters of Notre Dame taught what we needed to do with our life,” he said. “Love of God and fear of hell. The fear of hell has always been the attention-getter. Life is too short for only a few years of worldly pleasures as compared to an eternity with God and our family.”
Dick Youngpeter Class of 1951
There’s a controversial adage that says, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”
But there is no controversy when it comes to the accomplishments of Dick Youngpeter, the 2007 St. John’s High School Hall of Fame inductee for Athletic Achievement. When he could, he did, and did it extremely well. When he could no longer do it himself, he taught hundreds of others how to achieve.
Dick had a good hardwood career as a Blue Jay. He was a substitute for the 1949 state championship team, was part of the 1950 team that suffered just one loss in the regular season and was a starter on Coach Bob Arnzen’s first team in 1951. But baseball is the sport where he truly excelled.
St. John’s brought back baseball Dick’s senior year, but he had plenty of experience before then. Playing ball with his three brothers on the farm was common and he had the opportunity to learn the game as a child while his father, Clarence, coached the Landeck softball team. “I could always hit the ball,” he said.
As a freshman at The Ohio State University Dick tried out for the basketball and baseball teams and earned a spot on both. He earned a Jr. Varsity O in basketball for the 1952-53 season and a Jr. Varsity O in baseball in 1953.
Political uprising across the world impacted Dick’s course at OSU. He volunteered for the Army during his junior year and became a member of the Northern Area Command stationed in Germany as the Korean War concluded. While there he participated in Regimental basketball at U.S. Army bases.
Dick returned to OSU and followed through on his baseball career. He earned a Varsity O for baseball in the 1957-58 season and a Varsity O in 1958-59 when he was elected captain. He was named to the second team All Big Ten and was homerun leader in 1958. He attributes his success to the values instilled in him at St. John’s.
“I believe that the best education possible for a young person is obtained at St. John’s,” Dick said. “St. John’s instills a desire to excel in all of its students. All graduates understand the world is competitive and a person must grit their teeth and not be afraid to be the best they can be. Students also learn to ask God for help by learning prayer is an OK thing to do.”
In his junior year, Dick hit .311. Season highlights include hitting two 350-foot homeruns in a game against Indiana and a game-winning homerun on Wisconsin, putting OSU in the chase for the Big Ten title. Dick hit cleanup his senior year and the right-hander has fond memories of hitting a homerun that helped the Bucks sweep a double-header against Michigan.
Dick went home to Delphos with his wife, Marilyn, and together they raised five children. He also gave his time to the athletes at St. John’s. He began a basketball program for fifth grade boys in 1968 and did the same for junior high girls in 1977. He coached the eighth grade girls teams from 1985 until 1997.
When he learned of his induction into the Hall of Fame, Dick thought of one of baseball’s greats.
“As Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees said so eloquently on the day they honored him in Yankee Stadium, ‘I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth’,” Dick said. “Wow, what a great honor. I am a Blue Jay and proud of it.”