Distinguished Kearny Komets Hall of Fame Inductees
Founders of Comic Con
A car, a few thousand dollars, and a love of comic books would unite five young men and establish a San Diego event known as Golden State Comic Book Convention. Shel Dorf would move to San Diego from Detroit in 1970 and organize a one day convention for what he hoped would be the start of bigger and better comic book conventions. Going forward, Richard Alf, Mike Towry, Ken Krueger, and Greg Bear would join Shel. San Diego Comic Book Convention would hold its first three day gathering in August of 1970 at the U. S. Grant Hotel. “Comic Con” has grown through the years to a four day event held during the summer at the San Diego Convention Center.
Elton served as senior class president in 1964 and was voted Most Likely to Succeed. He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1968 with an Engineering Management Degree. In 1969, he received his pilot training at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia. He was an instructor pilot. He “developed and presented the United States Air Force Fighter Force Structure and Procurement Program to Congress. It was accepted and implemented.” He was responsible for ALL Air Force weapons testing. Additional accomplishments included two years at the Pentagon; special assistant to a Four Star General; student at the Canadian National Defense College; test pilot/exchange pilot with the Canadian Air Force; Commandant at the USAF Test Pilot School, Edwards Air Force Base; and responsible for all USAF weapons flight tests at Elgin Air Force Base, Florida. Elton retired from the Air Force in 1994. The next 16 years he was employed in the aerospace field at Lockheed and Raytheon.
John graduated in 1969. He earned a degree in accounting from the University of San Diego in 1973 followed by a law degree from New York University in 1976. He practiced law in Bakersfield, California for six months before joining the accounting firm of Arthur Anderson and Company. From Arthur Anderson he would join the front office of the Los Angeles Rams. During his 31 years with the Rams, he would serve as President, General Manager, and Senior Advisor/Owner’s Representative. John’s legal knowledge would prove instrumental in the team’s move from Los Angeles to St. Louis. With John’s guidance, the Rams would obtain key players during the NFL Draft which would ultimately lead to a win over Tennessee in Super Bowl XXXIV.
William “Bill” Peterson
The distinct honor of being known as Kearny’s coach with the most wins goes to Bill Peterson. Coach Peterson’s tenure at Kearny spanned the years 1981 to 1995. His knowledge of basketball and respect from his teams led to several championships. Coach Peterson has been inducted into the Brietbard Hall of Champions.
An accident while serving in the Navy would leave Wes Johnson, Class of 1975 a paraplegic. He soon realized that accessibility for the physically challenged was a problem. To assist others and himself, he co-founded Accessible San Diego. He assisted with the building of the first wheelchair that allows disabled people access to the beach. He also opened a travel agency geared to the disabled.
John was born in Yamanaski-ken Perfecture, Japan. He and his family came to Southern California when he was nine. Learning English was hard for John. He would use his drawing ability as a way to communicate. One of John’s fondest memories of his time at Kearny was a pencil sketch he did of President Lyndon Johnson which, unbeknownst to him, was sent to President Johnson by the ASB. He received a thank you note from the President. John graduated from Kearny in 1969 and would continue his education at San Diego City College earning a degree in commercial arts. He credits his discovery of working in water color to his instructor, Harvey Adams. He would work as a designer and illustrator for 16 years. John’s paintings are included in the collections of many well known TV and movie personali-ties as well as the Captains’ Quarters aboard the Battleship USS Missouri, Carriers USS Constellation, Kitty Hawk and Independence. John currently offers art classes at his studio in San Diego.
1956-57 Wrestling Teams
Under the guidance of our 2011 hall of fame inductee, Coach Lee Bogle, the wrestling teams from 1956 and 1957 would finish their seasons as true state champs (North and South). Two years in a row they won the title of 1st place SCIF Champions. The 1956 team members were Dennis (Shurtleff) Burchett, Carl Swauger, Charles Cartmill, Johnny Nunez, Scott Boyd, Rudy Rabago, Morris Akers, Larry Daily, Bill Inderwies, John Youngs, Bob Werts, George Kinder, John Lamb, Richard Anaya, and Joe Wagner. The 1957 team members were Frank Cantrell, Willie Green, Carl Swauger, Johnny Nunez, Scott Boyd, Charlie Cartmill, Lawrence Talamantez, Bill Inderwies, Morris Akers, Jimmy Jenks, Bill Marino, Phil Tilden, Roy Riesgo, Donald Mojado, R. J. Romo, and Wayne Bell. Individual champions for 1956 were Carl Swauger, Johnny Nunez, and John Youngs. Johnny Nunez and Morris Akers would claim individual championship status in 1957.
1963 Football Team
Forty young men would don Kearny’s beloved striped jerseys and hit the football field in the fall of 1963 with great expectations for a winning season. Team members were Jim Arhens, Gary Arvin, Jeff Beetem, William Bolden, Jim Bridges, Charles Buchanan, Melvin Buchanan, William Carroll, Ronald Edwards, John Erquiaga, Dan Fulkerson, Tom Gadd, David Gill, Jeff Henderson, Ben Johnson, Ronald Johnson, Steve Jones, Robert Jones, John Levi, Dan Mahlum, Larry Maxwell, Bill Molskes, Frank Oberreuter, Robert Odom, Rob Oliphant, Ernie Oyama, Terry Page, Elton Pollock, Bruce Reed, Steve Reina, Alex Samaniego, Dennis Santiago, Artie Shaw, Larry Shepard, John Simpson, Jim “Coy” Smith, Steve Stamos, Gary Thomas, James Townsend, Charles Wilker, Joe Williams, and John Fricke. Under the leadership of Coach Birt Slater and Coach Len Smorin, the 1963 football team would put Kearny on the map by being the first San Diego football team to win the coveted CIF championship.
Three alumni were presented with the Linda Shannon 12th Person Award for Adult School Spirit. Louis Whitney, Class of 1953, utilized his company, BizWebsUSA, to design and maintain a website for his classmates. Lou has been a member of the alumni association since 2000. Earl Sopher, Class of 1955 has been a member of the association since 1996. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees and actively participates in all alumni functions. Ray Brokaw, Class of 1961 is one of the original members of the association, attending the first meeting in 1995. Ray is co-chair of the annual golf tournament, past association vice-president, and was a member of the Board of Trustees.