Jerry Kemper Class of 1966
Big Shoes. On the floor of the locker room at the Delphos Police Department are two big footprints. They were painted in front of Jerry Kemper’s locker by his fellow officers. They represented the big shoes of a big man. But when Jerry passed away in 1999 those footprints represented the big shoes he left to fill.
Jerry Kemper was a family man. But that family went much further than his parents, Leo and Angela Kemper, brothers Mike and Steve, wife Cyndi, sons Scott, Kevin, Jeff and Chris and grandchildren Brittany, Kevin, Cecilia and Christina.. Jerry’s family was anyone he came in contact with and anyone who shared his hometown of Delphos. It was the influence not only of his parents but also the nuns, priests and teachers at St. John’s, especially Fr. Kuhn, that led Jerry to embrace every kid as his kid and every friend as a family member.
As a boy he served Mass at St. John’s Catholic Church and played Little League Baseball. He continued as an adult to serve his church as an usher, Eucharistic minister, parish council member and vacation Bible school camp leader. Likewise he spent more than thirty years coaching and administrating the Delphos Little League Baseball program. Another love was the Boy Scouts. As a boy he was a member of Pack 42, Troop 65 of the Boy Scouts. As an adult he served in every aspect of the Scouts leading to his being awarded the St. George Award in 1999. The prestigious St. George Award is the highest honor that an adult Scouter can receive and was the most meaningful to him of his many Scouting honors. He was a faithful and active member of the Knights of Columbus, the Tri County Ham Radio Club and Delphos Coon and Sportsman Club. He also served on the Delphos EMS, Lima Chapter of the American Red Cross and was Disaster Coordinator for Allen and Van Wert Counties. Jerry might be best remembered by most as a Delphos Police Officer. He spent 27 years on the force, not surprisingly much of it involved with kids programs at the schools. All his activities resulted in Jerry being honored with honors and awards too numerous to mention. But perhaps his greatest reward was the smiles and high fives he received from “his kids” after accomplishing a task or just seeing each other around town.
Jerry and his wife Cyndi always strived to teach their sons their Christian faith, the value of hard work, that friends are family, too, and that to volunteer to do something for no pay has its own reward. Their hope is that their children and all their other “kids” would someday grow up able to fill Jerry’s big shoes.
Jerry passed away on December 4, 1999 at the age of 51 and is dearly missed by all who knew him.
Fran Voll, is a native of Marion Ohio, and a 1968 graduate of Bowling Green State University. He also received his Masters degree in 1972 from St Francis University.
He joined Delphos St Johns in 1968 - and became a legend. For 16 years, beginning in 1975, Fran Voll was the hottest coach in Northwest Ohio.
While serving as girls head basketball coach during nine years at Delphos St. John’s he established the best percentage of wins in the nation (92%) according to USA Today – with 208 wins – 17 losses! His players earned All-American honors and he had numerous All-State players. In nine seasons he took the Blue Jays to the state tournament semifinals six times and came away with three state championships. The Blue Jays were 74-1 over three seasons, while winning the 1977, 1979, 1980 crowns.
"When I took over as girls coach at Delphos St. John's, the boys coach, Bob Arnzen, was very progressive in his views of womens’ sports. He said to me, 'I don't think you coach girls any differently than boys.' I coached the girls the only way I knew how and they reacted very positively!”
Coach Voll was twice named Associated Press Coach of the Year and once by United Press International.
In 1984 he was named the Ohio High School Girls Basketball Coaches Association - Coach of the Year for all classes. During this time he helped give direction to girls’ sports statewide, as he served on the Girls Coaches Advisory Board.
In 1984 he continued his successes for seven more years at Bowling Green State University, where his team won four consecutive Mid-American Conference tournament championships and three regular season Mid-American conference championships (1984-1990). Fran also notes that during was at Bowling Green all three of his sons Joe, Matt, and Mike graduated from the University during his tenure. All three sons are teachers and coaches in Ohio today.
Fran was also named Mid-American Coach of the Year for the 1986-87 and 1988-89 seasons. He led BGSU to the first appearance ever by a Mid-American conference team in the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament during the 1986-87 season and followed that with appearances in 1987-88, 1988-89, and 1989-90 seasons.
Following his career at Bowling Green, Coach Voll went to Central Michigan University for five years, before returning to Marion, Ohio where he served as a high school principal at Marion Catholic High School until his retirement in 2010. He lives with his wife, Marty, in Marion, Ohio.
Barney Altman Class of 1954
Barney Altman’s a Blue jay. He’s been a Blue Jay since the 4th grade when he discovered basketball at Delphos St. John’s. His first exposure to Blue Jay basketball came from his mother Valeria who told him tales of St. John’s first trip to the state tournament in her senior year of 1924. His passion for the game and the Blue Jays grew while watching the ‘Jays play to large, boisterous crowds in the old gym under coaches Don Patthoff, Dick Bechtel and Frank Sowecke. He especially enjoyed watching his favorite Blue Jay Dave Schmelzer from the 1949 state champion Blue Jays. A lifetime of jump shots later he still loves the game but he admits he gets way too nervous to attend St. John’s annual battle with archrival Lima Central Catholic.
Barney Altman’s basketball career started in junior high at St. John’s but really took off his freshman year in a game at Lima St. John’s. A freshman who played JV and dressed varsity, he remembers not playing at all in that night’s JV game and wondering what he did to get into the coach’s doghouse. In the locker room before the varsity game as Coach Bob Arnzen read off the starting lineup for the varsity game he was surprised to hear his name called. A nervous freshman he recalls that game didn’t go very well for him but four years and 93 games later he ended his St. John’s career with 1,193 points and Second Team All-Ohio recognition. As a senior he captained the 1954 team to the Class AA state runner-up, garnering First Team State Tournament honors. He received a scholarship to Bowling Green State University and played two years for the Falcons, lettering in 1956. After that season Barney left school and returned to Delphos and was drafted into the military in 1957. After a two year stint in the military he returned home where he married his sweetheart and former classmate Jane O’Neill, joined the Delphos Police Department and started a family. Barney and Jane would raise five kids, Dan, Mike, Sue, Tim and Becky, all Blue Jays.
It was shortly after his return to Delphos that Barney received a call from St. John’s principal Monsignor Reineck who told him that Coach Arnzen wanted him as an assistant coach for the basketball team. Barney said Yes and that started a long and successful coaching career at St. John’s. Actually Barney had previous coaching experience as he was the 7th grade basketball coach at St. John’s during his senior year in high school. Barney and good friend Gip Pohlman took over the junior high program at St. John’s. Barney states that his goal in coaching wasn’t just to win games but to help kids, especially those who struggled, to become good basketball players and better young men. He coached and helped hundreds of kids during his 24 year coaching career and even had time to rack up six undefeated seasons. He spent nearly thirty years at his real job as a Delphos police officer before retiring in 1987. He even found time to coach Little League baseball with good friend and fellow officer Jerry Kemper.
Barney credits numerous people for helping him to succeed not only as a player and coach but as a man. He recalls the lessons he learned from a great teacher in Miss Marie Hageman along with his coach Bob Arnzen and long time St. John’s pastor Bishop Albert Ottenweller.
Robert Kill - Class of 1955
Robert Kill was his class valedictorian in 1955 - and has been reaching for the stars ever since.
After graduating from DSJ, Bob attended college at the prestigious University of Notre Dame, where he received his Bachelors degree in Economics. Next he attended Michigan State University and received his MBA. He was immediately hired by the largest food company in the United States - Beatrice Foods Co. His career at Beatrice spanned 23 years, where he rose to Corporate Vice President for the company.
Bob left Beatrice to join Keystone Foods in Philadelphia (one of the largest dedicated suppliers to McDonalds), becoming President. After Keystone he became a senior executive for a food research and marketing organization where he had the chance to travel the world. However, “About my third trip to Hong Kong I discovered it was just like going to Detroit, except the plane ride was a lot longer.”
Bob credits his father for much of his success: “My father was an amazing man who taught me the value of hard work. He delivered Meadow Gold milk, a physically demanding job, and yet I don’t remember his ever taking a day off!”
Bob tried to retire from corporate life in 1994, but a friend suggested taking over the Indiana-based Hacienda Mexican restaurant chain. Bob was intrigued and claims: “I became an ‘accidental entrepreneur’ that day.” With Bob’s guidance as CEO the chain grew from eight restaurants to eighteen and he retired from the company as Chairman of the Board.
He recalls that the job brought a lot of satisfaction as a mentor, “I enjoyed working with the managers and then hearing my philosophy repeated as they trained their teams.”
Following his second retirement Bob took the time to publish some of that philosophy in a booklet he titled “Top 20 List, Advice on How To Be the CEO of Your Life”. He donates all of the book proceeds to charity.
Bob has always believed in the importance of “giving back” and has done so in many ways, and in many areas. He has been the member of Notre Dame’s Advisory Council for the College of Arts and Letters; and spent time as President of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra; was Chairman of the local Red Cross; on the Board of the South Bend Community Foundation and became the Chairman of a joint venture of South Bend’s two hospitals to create a physicians practice for the underserved of his community.
Bob and his wife Pat, a Toledo native, live outside South Bend, Indiana, not far from his second alma mater.
We are proud to induct Bob Kill into the Hall of Fame and hope that many of our graduates can emulate his life of professional success, leadership and community service.