Professional Achievement - Phil Kortokrax, Class of 1981
I am very honored to be selected by the HOF to be part of the class of 2023! I am the eldest son of Gerald and the late Phyllis Kortokrax and brother to five siblings. My time at Delphos and at St. Johns was instrumental in shaping me as an individual, and instilling the values and beliefs I hold true in my life and my career. While attending St Johns, sports were a very important part of our family. I played basketball, football, and tennis, and my brother Al, and sisters Cyndi and Cheryl played basketball. One interaction with Coach Bob Arnzen is still with me. Beginning my Junior year, I was lucky to be selected as basketball team captain, a position generally held by a Senior. I took Coach Arnzen aside and suggested that he give the position to someone older. He told me that I had been selected by my teammates, and that it was my responsibility to them, but that he would be there to help me. With him by my side I found the confidence I needed - and our team delivered a winning season. After graduating from St Johns in 1981, I attended Northwestern College in Lima, receiving an associate degree in computer programming, while playing basketball for fellow DSJ coach Denny Elwer. I moved to Chicago to begin work in banking. In 1984, I moved to Findlay, Ohio and soon after, married my high school sweetheart, Joyce Hiett, DSJ ‘80. I took classes at the University of Findlay, and in 1990 received my bachelors degree and was hired by the Cooper Tire and Rubber Company, by DSJ grad John Bohnlein ‘69. As I started my career at Cooper, I began night school at the University of Toledo and received my MBA in 1993. Amazingly, I was with Cooper Tire and Rubber Company for over three decades. By building strong teams, I have held executive positions in Technology, Manufacturing, Finance, Sales and Marketing, Business Development and Strategy. I recently retired as President of the Americas. Joyce and I have been blessed to travel the world with Cooper, working with great people and forming friendships that will last a lifetime. As a mentor to some of the junior executives in our company, I have tried to instill in them the values and beliefs that Joyce and I learned here at St Johns: Faith, Family and Friendships. Those virtues define the “True North” direction that guides our life. We are truly blessed, and we will continue to support the faith-based values and beliefs we both were taught at DSJ.
Service to St. John's - Don Huysman, Class of 1966
I want to thank the Hall of Fame committee members for this nomination. I appreciate this honor
more than you can imagine, and know that there are certainly other individuals both past and present more deserving. I grew up in Delphos and graduated from St.John’s in 1966. I went on to receive my Bachelors in Education from Ohio State University in 1972, and my Masters from the University of Dayton in 1984. It was my privilege to serve St. John’s from 1972 to 2013, over forty wonderful years. It was never a job to me, instead it was an opportunity to work with wonderful students, parents, teachers and staff. There was no other place I wanted to be. No one can be successful working alone, and there are many people I would like to thank. I must start with my family - my brother Ron and his wife Barbara. My nephew Lt. Colonel Brian Huysman and his wife Michelle and their two children. My niece, Katrina Lehman and her husband Roger and their three children. There are so many other people to thank, especially: George Adams and Fran Voll who taught me how to be a better principal, Marge Clark and Judy Clark, were the best administrative assistants that anyone could imagine. They supported me and offered good advice- usually with smiles. Ralph Ricker and Nate Stant were always there to carry the load as the elementary principals. And Jane Rutledge helped by doing the athletic report. Bob Arnzen, John Gunder, Al Unterbrink and Todd Schulte all gave me lots of advice. Father Gorman and I used to talk every day. I really enjoyed learning from him. While at St Johns I helped create some valuable projects including: a weekly newsletter for parents. I oversaw the hiring of a professional athletic trainer which helped keep our student athletes safer. And I was Principal when the Hall of Fame was created, funny how things come full circle! During my time at St John’s I wore many different hats, serving as: Teacher, Coach, and Assistant Principal. I also served as the Athletic Director for 16 years and as the High School Principal for the final 13 years of my career. I also taught many classes at DSJ including: Economics, American Government, Current Events and World History. I hope I can be remembered for always trying to do the best for my students, and recalling that I was once a student myself and understanding the challenges facing them.
Service to Mankind - Dan "Kermie" Kimmet, Class of 1975
Dan is the youngest of Joe and Betty Kimmet’s four children. He and his siblings Dennis, Dave and Deb (Kimmet) Nye grew up in a moderate, hard working family. Some of the biggest influences in Dan’s life are long time friend Jeff Drerup and his family and next door neighbors the Osting family. Dan had a typical four years of high school at St. John’s. He served in the Mission Society, played freshman football, was on the golf team, athletic trainer for two years and served as an altar boy. It was after high school that Dan found his passion. He was working with Kenny Mueller at Delphos Quarries when Kenny was serving on the Allen County Fair Board. Kenny would tell Dan about the various fair projects the Fair Board was working on and Dan was intrigued and asked how he could get involved. Coincidentally, Kenny was moving out of Delphos, leaving that Fair Board position open. Dan applied and was elected as the Delphos representative on the Fair Board in 1981. That was the start of 40 years of service to the Allen County Fair. During Dan’s service, the Allen County Fair rose to become one of the best fairs in the state of Ohio and a year round event facility. During his tenure both the Concession and Livestock campgrounds were upgraded and new rabbit and sheep barns were built to accommodate increasing junior fair participation. An addition was added to the show arena by the Allen
County Cattleman’s Association and the Schmidthorst Pavilion covered horse show arena was built. Dan helped bring the Petting Zoo to the fair and put air conditioning in the Youth Activities and Youth Exhibits building to promote off season rentals. Dan also served on every committee at the Fair. In his four decades of service he served as Allen County Fair Board president and vice president, and served on the Ohio Fair Managers Association Board from 2006-present and was president in 2012-2013. Dan was honored in 2006 as Outstanding District Director. He was a 1997 graduate of Allen Lima Leadership and became involved with the youth version, making sure students from St. John’s and Jefferson were involved with the program. In 2001 he was a graduate of Leadership Ohio. He was awarded Honorary Chapter Farmer by the Elida FFA in 1987-88 and served as Elida Young Farmers president from 1994-95. And most importantly he coached his boys BYAA baseball and basketball teams. Looking forward to retirement, Dan enjoys time with Cindy, his wife of 41 years, and their family.
Art/Achievement - Denny Schwinnen, Class of 1967
Denny Schwinnen was born to Ollie and Stella Schwinnen and was the fifth of seven children.
He was introduced to education first by the Franciscan nuns at Landeck and later by the Sisters of Notre Dame at St. John’s. Their hard work and dedication to their students influenced him to the point that he later became a teacher and spent 40 years in the profession. He attended OSU and majored in Marketing Education, which he taught for 24 years at Elida along with spending 16 years as a guidance counselor. He later earned his Masters Degree at the University of Dayton. In the late 1960’s tennis experienced a boom in interest. Denny and his high school friends would go to 7:30am Mass on Sunday and then head to Stadium Park to play for hours. Denny played in the Tuesday Night League and always entered the Delphos tournament finishing runner-up one year. In 1971 Denny started teaching at Elida High School and in 1974 asked the administration if he could start a tennis program at the school. They agreed and that season Denny began the first of 36 years as boys’ varsity tennis coach at Elida high school. He also served as girls’ tennis coach for eleven years. During those 36 years his teams compiled a record of 566-264 and racked up 313 WBL wins including 37 in a row. His teams won 14 WBL titles (11 boys and 3 girls). With these accomplishments Denny was recognized as WBL Coach of the Year 11 times for the boys and 3 times for the girls. In 1979 and again in 2005 he had Doubles Teams win state championships. These decades of accomplishments led to his induction into the Ohio State Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Elida Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019. He received the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Integrity Award and in 2009 received the Jim Rakestraw Award for coaching 36 years at the same school. His accomplishments were not confined to coaching tennis. Denny has been involved in multiple Committees at Elida High School and served as mayor and councilman for the Village of Elida. Today Denny is enjoying retirement with his wife Barb. They enjoy their three children; Chris, Sara and Rob along with six grandchildren. Denny says he “enjoys retirement as every day is like a Saturday.” “I am humbled and honored to be part of a group I have admired for years. For a farm kid from Landeck, Ohio, this is a big deal to join this outstanding group!”