Local Henry Hall of Famers reach heights

This article was written by Cathy Peterson

The Patrick Henry Foundation is inducting five new members into their Hall of Fame this year. We will be honoring the 2020 inductees which were put on hold due to the pandemic. The 2020 inductees include a NASA research engineer Thomas J. Horvath and two career educators Wesley Anderson and Michael J. Skavnak. A full picture of their very full life stories may be accessed at PHHSFoundation.org under the Hall of Fame tab along with all previous inductees.

Wesley Anderson will be fondly remembered by many as he spent 30 years bringing Social Studies and American History alive to numerous Patriot students. Anderson was born in Buffalo, MN and unfortunately lost both of his parents at an early age to tuberculosis, after which, he moved to Minneapolis to be raised by an aunt and uncle. After graduating from Minnehaha Academy, he joined the U.S. Navy and was active during World War II and the Korean War. After serving seven years, he enrolled at the University of Minnesota and earned his B.A. in Education. He started teaching at Patrick Henry in 1955. After his military and education careers, he took on the duties of maintenance for his church. As a lifetime active church member, Anderson was taking the next step in his life of service to others. Wes will celebrate 70 years of marriage to his wife this fall.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration research engineer Thomas J. Horvath is a 1980 graduate. After graduation, Horvath earned a B.A. in Physics from Ripon College, followed by a M.S. degree in Aeronautics from George Washington University. He is now in his 33rd year working with NASA. Besides his research work, Horvath has been published in over 100 agency, conference and journal publications. Check the website as his awards are too numerous to list here. Most significant is his contributions to the understanding of Space Shuttle Orbiter aero thermodynamic phenomena which was critical to the Columbia Accident Investigation and the subsequent safe entry of Discovery’s Return-to-Flight mission. Thomas and his wife and daughters are very involved in their local church coordinating the children’s service as well as finding time to be a community volunteer.

Our third inductee is a 1956 graduate, Michael J. Skavnak. Skavnak earned his education degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth in science and physical education. After graduation, he and his wife began their teaching careers in Princeton, MN. Our honoree spent 35 years teaching science and coaching, and served another 12 years as a substitute teacher. He coached football, baseball and hockey, but still found time to work games as a referee, umpire, timer and score keeper. Michael has been the humble recipient of numerous Lions Club awards, as well as a frequent volunteer at his church. He enjoys wood working and has used his skills as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.

A quote from Michael Skavnak that seems to apply to all three of this year’s inductees: “I believe in paying back for all blessings I have received in my life.” Congratulations to our 2020 Hall of Fame Inductees!

 Our 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees are teacher and State Representative Lyndon Carlson and Author Anne Gillespe Lewis.

Teacher Lyndon Carlson was a career public servant spending 33 years in the classroom and 48 years in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Education was always close to his heart as he was able to help pass legislation to fund universal all-day kindergarten and to help funding to make college affordable for Minnesotans. As a forward-thinking individual, he was also a proponent of wind energy. Lyndon still found time in his busy life to travel and spend much valuable time with his family as well as volunteering to serve on the YMCA board and the nonprofit PRISM which provides food, clothing and stable housing for hungry and homeless families.

Our second inductee is Anne Gillespe Lewis from the class of ‘62. In high school, Anne loved chemistry and languages, but elected to major in journalism at the University of Minnesota. After graduation, her road took many turns. She was the first female sportswriter at the Star. She moved to Norway for graduate studies in Norwegian. Later, another turn took her down the road to become a prolific author. Anne and her husband Steve have opened their home to numerous visiting students in the Minnesota Agricultural Student Trainee Program.

All five of these newly, and belatedly, elected Patrick Henry Hall of Fame inductees are fine examples of Henry Patriots who give back extensively to our communities. They will be honored at the all-school luncheon to be held at Edinburgh at noon on October 20. If interested in attending contact Cathy Peterson at tcpeterson1@comcast.net.