Lawton Athletics Hall of Fame Classes


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.

Lawton Community Schools proudly announces the 2016 Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations to the following individuals, teams, and families.


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Bill and Jeanne Cronenwett

Bill and Jeanne Cronenwett have supported Lawton Schools programs for over 70 years attending countless numbers of student activities over that span. The family history in the area goes back to 1865. In 1888, the family established the first block of commercial grapes which have been a staple of the local agricultural economy since that time. Very soon the 7th generation of the Cronenwett family will be attending Lawton Community Schools. Bill and Jeanne have participated in numerous volunteer activities supporting our schools and community.

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Vaughn Cornish

The late Vaugh Cornish graduated from Lawton High School in 1929 where he was a standout student and track and field athlete. Vaughn was also a graduate of Western State Teachers College and taught in three other school districts before returning to his hometown to serve as a science teacher for many years. His community contributions were many including service as President of the Board of Education. Each year the top male senior athlete is recognized with the Vaughn Cornish award.

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Marilyn Holladay

Marilyn Holladay taught at Lawton High School from 1970 - 1982. During her tenure she was instrumental in establishing the first volleyball, basketball, and softball programs for female athletes. Under her guidance, both the basketball and volleyball teams earned district championships. She is remembered fondly by her former students and athletes. Each year the top female athlete is recognized with the Marilyn Holladay award.

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Charlie Maxwell

Charlie Maxwell, the Sunday Slugger, is a graduate of the Lawton High School Class of 1944 where he was a standout in baseball and basketball. Charlie's career is best known for his many seasons with the Detroit Tigers during which he led the team in home runs three times and was also a two-time All Star. Lawton is very proud to call Charlie one of our most accomplished alumni.

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Cross Country teams of 1966 and 1967

The Cross Country teams of 1966 and 1967, coached by the late Gene Bednarowski, earned back-to-back MHSAA Class C - D state championships.

Lawton Community Schools proudly announces the 2017 Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations to the following individuals, teams, and families.


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John and Zella Reid

Lifelong resident of Lawton, John graduated from Lawton High School in 1929 where he was a standout 3-sport athlete. Zella was a member of the Class of 1927. She received her teaching degree from Western Normal School and spent many years as a Lawton Community Schools teacher. Both John and Zella were well respected as local business owners and active member of the community. A scholarship in their honor has bee awarded to a deserving graduate of Lawton High School for many years. The Reids are being inducted posthumously.

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Robert and Marjorie Howard

Mr. and Mrs. Howard were long-time residents of Lawton, dedicated school employees and active in the community as well. Marjorie graduated as valedictorian of the Class of 1942 before a 29 year career as a secretary for several administrators. Bob served the district for 15 years as a custodian and was active in many civic groups including the American Legion, Masonic Lodge, Fire Department, and Cub Scounts. The Howards are being inducted posthumously.

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James Hunt

Lawton High School Class of 1963. Attended Western Michigan University where he earned his BS in Agriculture in 1967. Following graduation, Jim enlisted in the Marine Corps and attended Navy flight school. In 1969 he was deployed to Vietnam where he flew over 850 combat missions as the pilot of a Huey helicopter. After earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and serving for nearly 27 years, Jim retired from the Marine Corps in 1994.

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1990 Wrestling Team

Class D State Champions. Led by individual champions Sonny Martinez and Bryan Hammel, the Blue Devils earned their 4th state title in 6 years with a 31 - 25 victory over Mendon.

Lawton Community Schools proudly announces the 2018 Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations to the following individuals, teams, and families.


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Earl Lawson - Community Leader & WWII Veteran

Lifelong resident and supporter of Lawton athletic teams, Earl graduated from Lawton High School in 1943. Below are Earl's accomplishments:

  • LHS Class of 1943
  • Sergeant - United States Air Force - Waist Gunner of B17 Bomber
  • 40-year member of Lawton Fire Department
  • Founded Lawson Oil Company in 1964
  • Lifelong supporter of Lawton athletic teams along with wife Dolores

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Bill Marks - Outstanding Athletic Achievement

  • LHS Class of 1959
  • Earned 15 Varsity Letters and All-Conference honors in Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Track
  • Pitcher and Shortstop on undefeated 1959 Baseball Team
  • Signed professional baseball contract with the Washington Senators
  • Varsity Coach in 7 sports over 37-year teaching career

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Donald Russeau - Director of Bands

Mr. Russeau directed the Lawton High School Band program in the 1950's. Under his leadership the band had great participation and was known for outstanding performances. Mr. Russeau embraced his role and strived to provide his students with memorable experiences. These included marching places such as Chicago, Waldo Stadium at Western Michigan University, and Michigan Stadium at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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2001 Cross Country Team

  • MHSAA Division IV Boys - State Champions
  • Regional Champions
  • Lead by Coach Kris Bullock