Thornapple Kellogg School District

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Thornapple Kellogg Alumni Association » Distinguished and Featured Alumni

Distinguished and Featured Alumni

(A Nomination Form and Instructions are located at the bottom of this page)
Thornapple Kellogg’s First​ ​Annual​ ​Distinguished​ ​Alumni
Your​ ​TK​ ​Alumni​ ​Association​ is extremely proud and honored to have presented awards to the following individuals for their outstanding achievements after graduation from Thornapple Kellogg. Each honoree has gone above and beyond in their chosen fields. They have earned significant distinctions and given back to their community and this school.
Honored at the TKHS September 2017 Homecoming:
 Mr.​ ​Robert​ ​Wenger​, Class of 1950​, Leadership in the area of Agriculture
Bob credits his high school teachers Art Smalley, Elton Lawrence and the FFA program for launching his outstanding career. He went on after high school to earn his American Farmer Degree and was named Outstanding Young Farmer. Bob has received numerous leadership awards, served as Barry County Commissioner and on Thornapple Kellogg’s School Board. He has been with Farm Bureau for over 65 years and is a contributing life long member of the United Methodist Church. Bob was named HOMETOWN hero in 2010. Congratulations Robert Wenger!
 Mr.​ ​Robert​ ​Bender​, Class of 1954, Leadership in the area of​ ​Military​ ​and​ ​Public​ ​Service
Bob Bender graduated from Michigan State University in 1958 and went on to serve in the United States Navy as a pilot, aircraft and mission commander. He was a staff officer at NATO Headquarters in Brussels and retired as a Navy Captain. Bob was elected six terms to the Michigan Legislature, was Chairman for the Michigan Aeronautics Commission and served as Chairman for Barry County Board of Commissioners. He was the Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Coordinator for the State of Michigan. Bob, and his wife Carol, served in the Peace Corps in Russia and have made annual house building trips to Guatemala. Congratulations Robert Bender!
 Mrs.​ ​Sharon​ ​Myers​ ​Schondelmayer,​ Class of 1955, Leadership in the area of​ ​Community​ ​Service
Sharon worked for Thornapple Kellogg in the Library Department for 23 years with pride, enthusiasm and passion. She has a reputation for going Above and Beyond while working with TK’s staff and students. Sharon volunteered for over 31 years keeping score at the Boys’ Varsity Basketball games. She travelled to away games, worked at endless track meets and volleyball matches. Sharon was a founding member of the MIddleville Track Club and a lifelong runner. She exemplifies a zest for life and is a role model for students today. Please help us thank her for her many years of service to Thornapple Kellogg! Congratulations Sharon!
 Mr.​ ​Donald​ ​Williamson​, Class of 1957, Leadership in the area of The​ ​Arts
Don credits many TK teachers, coaches and administrators who affected the direction his life would take; However, it was his art teacher, Edna Bender who encouraged him to pursue a career in art at Kendall College of Art and Design. Don went on to become a professor of Art at Kendall College. He served as Dean of Faculty and taught for 29 years. Don’s most visible art is “The Reclaimed Spirit” sculpture & park in front of McFall Elementary. He served on TK’s School Board for 20 years, is the past president of the Middleville Lion’s Club and Thornapple Area Enrichment Foundation. Don currently serves as president of the TK Alumni Association and we are honored to have his leadership. Congratulations Don!
 Mr.​ ​Bill​ ​Rich​, Class of 1969, Leadership in the area of Education
Representing Bill Rich today are his parents, Maggie and Keith Adams, his daughter, Courtney and her husband Brian and his grandchildren, Ebbie and Ryan. Mr. Bill Rich spent his entire educational career here at Thornapple Kellogg. He first was hired as a reading teacher and coached volleyball, track and cross country. Bill left the classroom to become Director of Reading and finally, Principal of McFall Elementary. Bill served as secretary for the Michigan Reading Association and held many leadership roles during his career. He was involved in the National Principals’ Association, gave presentations at the national level and always returned home to TK to share, teach, model and listen. We are honored to recognize Bill Rich as a Distinguished Alumni and extend our gratitude to his family.
Congratulations​ ​to​ ​all​ ​the​ ​honorees​ ​and​ ​their​ ​families
The Thornapple Kellogg Alumni Association invites you to nominate candidates for the Distinguished Alumni Award.
This award honors and recognizes alumni who exemplify the values, the traditions
and the successes of Thornapple Kellogg High School.
Eligibility Requirements
  • Must be a graduate of Thornapple Kellogg High School
  • Graduated at least ten years from nomination date
  • Posthumous nominees will be accepted
  • Nominations may be made by anyone- colleague, teacher, coach, classmate         and/or community member
  • The nominee must have made a significant contribution to their community, field of work and/or have been recognized for an outstanding achievement, accomplishment, contribution or act that has had a profound and positive effect.

TKHS Alumni featured in The KEY, a publication of TKHS


Mar/Apr 2018 Edition     Cailley Howell-McLean '08

Jan/Feb 2018  Edition      Brenda (Swanson) Hess '85


Nov/Dec 2017 Edition     Mike Bremer '68

Aug/Oct 2017 Edition      Walt Eavey '52

May/Jun 2017 Edition     Dr Faith Heikkila '77

Mar/Apr 2017 Edition     Bruce Higgins '96    

Jan/Feb 2017 Edition       Kyle McClure '03


Nov/Dec 2016 Edition     Cindy Middlebush '78

Apr/May 2016 Edition    Tyler Coburn '04

Mar/Apr 2016 Edition     Abie Ezinga '14

Jan/Feb 2016 Edition      Don Williamson '57


Nov/Dec 2015 Edition     Bob Bender '54

Sep/Oct 2015 Edition      Cade Dammen '09

May/Jun 2015 Edition     Erica Carter '00 and Zia Shook '01

Mar/Apr 2015 Edition     Kevin Michael Schmitz '02

For the full article of the featured TKHS Alumni, see the monthly ALUMNI FEATURE in the TKHS publication THE KEY. Simply go the TKHS website and look for the Publications heading. The Alumni Feature is usually toward the back pages. You can also go there from here by the following link:
Don't miss the outstanding ALUMNI FEATURE presentations found monthly in the TKHS publication the KEY (a link to the site can be found at the bottom of this page). Amazing Alumni profiles are published monthly.