Lawton Hall of Fame


The inaugural Lawton Hall of Fame class recognizes the accomplishments of several outstanding individuals including David Stephayn, Frank Sipes, Charles Gibson, Robert Packer, Ver Hitchcock, and the State Championship Wrestling Teams from 1985 - 1987.


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Charles Gibson

Gibson graduated from Lawton High School in 1927 and the University of Michigan in 1931. His service to the Lawton Community Schools included that of teacher, coach, and administrator. His education career was interrupted by WWII during which he fought at the Battle of the Bulge and was captured as a prisoner of war. He returned to Lawton and became the district’s longest serving Superintendent holding the position from 1947-1963.

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David Stephayn

Stephayn is a 1961 graduate of Lawton High School and one of the school’s most accomplished athletes having played basketball for Western Michigan University. He also served in many other capacities including basketball coach, school board member, and Little League President. Stephayn played many volunteer roles and was a member of the school’s football game chain gang for over 40 years.

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Frank Sipes

Sipes served the Lawton Community Schools as a business education teacher and coach. As the boys and girls varsity track coach from 1982-2007, Sipes compiled a remarkable record that included 44 conference championships and 13 regional championships. His boy’s team had a streak of 139 consecutive victories in conference, dual meet completion. The girl’s had a similar streak of 66 consecutive dual victories.

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Jim & Mary Ann Hitchcock

Hitchcock served the Lawton Community Schools for many years as Head Cook and Food Service Director. Her employment began in the late 1940’s and before her first retirement in 1976. She returned to work in the district’s food service department for several years after her “retirement”. Ver is revered by all who knew her as an outstanding cook and as someone who cared deeply for the well-being of all children. She will be recognized posthumously.

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Robert Packer

Packer graduated from Lawton High School with the Class of 1953 and received his degree from Michigan State University in 1959. He returned to Lawton where he worked for Packer’s Canning Company, a business formed by his parents. Now the Honee Bear Canning Company, Bob rose to become the Company President and remains Chairman of the Board. He also served as a member of the school board, Van Buren County Commission and Lawton Lions Club. The generous donation from the Packer family allowed Lawton High School to complete construction of Bob and Carole Sports Complex.

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1985-1987 State Champion Wrestling Teams and Coaches

Also joining the Hall of Fame are the Lawton High School Wrestling Teams from 1985, 1986, and 1987. Under the direction of Coaches Stan DeBoer and Mike Garvey, these teams won three consecutive MHSAA State Championships thus establishing a long tradition of wrestling excellence in Lawton.