kearny komets hall of fame


Distinguished Kearny Komets Hall of Fame Inductees

Joe Eggert

Joe Eggert, self-taught western artist, is often asked how he comes by ideas for a new sculpture and that answer is easy; “I see it in my mind from experience, or putting together a thought or emotion. I imagine the finished piece and then get to work on it. I enjoy telling folks about the background and development of each sculpture and then they can relate with their own story and love of the western lifestyle. I love sculpting in clay. My passion for Western culture fuels my imagination and it inspires the subjects of my work.

A native of San Diego, California, Joe Eggert is an avid horseman who spends time working cattle with his friends. He grew up with a passion for the West and the cultures of the American Indian. After retiring from 20 years in the restaurant industry, he discovered his sculpting talent and now pursues it full time.

Joe has received many awards including the 2002 Phippen Family Award at The Phippen Fine Art Show in Prescott, Arizona, and the 2002 Silver Award for Bronze Sculpture at the National Finals Rodeo.

At the 2003 San Dimas Festival of Arts, Joe won the Festival Choice Award for “More Than Friends” and also first and second place for sculpture. The 2003 San Dimas Festival of Arts for the first time in the show’s 27-year history also presented Eggert with a special award “in recognition of an exceptional body of work.” He considers this a very high honor indeed.

He and his wife Debbie enjoy the horses, dogs, and other “family members” at their home in Lakeside, California

John Edward Richardson

John was born on May 25, 1945, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a former professional American football player who played defensive tackle for seven seasons for the Miami Dolphins and the St. Louis Cardinals.

John graduated from Kearny High School (1963). He was a member of the 1966 College Football All-America Team.

Paula West

Paula West is an American jazz and cabaret singer known for her rich, powerful contralto voice and for her sensitive interpretations of an extraordinarily eclectic selection of songs.

Paula was born on April 4, 1959, and raised in the San Diego area, the daughter of a Marine Corps family. As a child she wasn’t exposed to very much jazz music, as her father preferred classical music. She only started to explore jazz and jazz vocal music during college; these explorations became more serious and focused when she moved to San Francisco after graduating from college

She arrived in San Francisco around 1988-89 and worked as a waitress (indeed, she held one job or another waiting tables for many years until her singing career was well established). During this time, she gradually started to appear at open mike jam sessions, during the course of which she met pianist Ken Muir, who would eventually become her long-time accompanist. She also undertook a program of serious vocal study while continuing to appear at local lounges

West performed predominately in clubs in San Francisco and New York, with occasional performances in Europe. For ten years she held a one-month residency at the Empire Plush Room at the York Hotel in San Francisco (since closed). She also had recurring engagements at the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel in New York. Paula is one of the contributors on BBC World News’ The Real… talking about her favorite places in San Francisco.

For a number of years, Paula performed with Eric Reed and reviewers began to take note that her career was “spiraling in the right direction.”

In 2007 West began performing with noted pianist/arranger George Mesterhazy (who accompanied the late Jazz great Shirley Horn), and their work together has been lauded in the New York Times, ”Ms. West is accompanied by the George Mesterhazy Quartet, a limber ensemble whose leader, pianist and arranger shares her passion for taking songs in unexpected directions and deepening their meanings without wrenching them out of shape. With each engagement, Ms. West displays more courage, maturity, interpretive insight and vocal confidence. She and the quartet are a match made in pop-jazz heaven.”

Zivia Wilson Sweeney

Zivia Sweeney, Assistant Professor of Clinical Accounting, is an expert in strategic planning and budgeting, mergers and acquisitions, and accounting and finance operations for manufacturing, healthcare, service, and nonprofit organizations.

She has served in senior management roles in public corporate and nonprofit arenas, and has held the titles of Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Finance, and Corporate Controller. Professor Sweeney is a PriceWaterhouseCoopers alumnus.

She has served for a number of years as a member of the USC Leventhal School’s Accounting Advisory Board.

David Buttles

Coach Buttles was born on April 27, 1961, in San Diego to Ray and Evelyn Buttles. He graduated from Kearny High School where he lettered in three sports. He passed up a scholarship to California State University, Fullerton, in favor of a shot at the majors and was drafted in the eighth round by the New York Mets and sent to the minor leagues as pitcher. He spent three seasons in the Northwest, Carolina and South Atlantic leagues before an arm injury ended his baseball career.

Undaunted, he returned to San Diego and enrolled at Mesa College and later San Diego State University where he graduated cum laude in 1988 with a degree in kinesiology and physical education, obtaining his teaching credential at the same time. He then earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Counseling from CSU San Bernardino.

He met his wife, Jill, when they were both employed at Laguna Beach High School, he as the varsity baseball coach, she in the Registrar’s office where she was the self-described “attendance lady.” That was in 1990. A year later Coach Buttles took the coaching job at College of the Desert and the two got married and moved to the desert.

The couple was married for 19 years and had two children: Samuel Raymond Buttles and Haley Michelle Buttles.

David passed away on February 1, 2010, from cancer. Asked to sum up his life in a few words, Jill said, “I know that honesty would be there. He was a competitor with focused goals and a major gamer. He was very proud of his kids.”

David Buttles died at home, holding hands with his loving family. The outpouring of sympathy and respect came from all over southern California where David grew up and spent his time surfing, fly fishing, and engaging in competitive sports. He was a role model to his children, his student athletes, and all who came into contact with him in a lifetime that was full of promise and much too short.

Miss Mary Viletta Hutchinson

Miss Mary Viletta Hutchinson was a prominent English teacher in San Diego for well over 30 years, with the majority of those years spent at Kearny High School. She worked diligently with her students to advance their achievements, through both classroom work and personally to enable their growth to full potential. Miss Hutchinson helped numerous students that she had taught to obtain scholarships for higher education after their graduation from Kearny.

Her teaching skills and the reading materials that she selected for both discussion and written response provided a major impact on the lives of the majority of her students. Her students will willingly share these experiences with you at a moment’s notice.

In a recently published book titled “Thank you, Teacher”; copyrighted by Holly and Bruce Holbert; there are roughly 270 pages that contain grateful sketches from prominent people telling the stories of the teachers who changed their lives. Page 119 of that text contains a tale of the influence that Miss Hutchison had on a Kearny High 10th grade student that became an internationally recognized author, Mrs. Tess Gerritsen.

Miss Hutchinson recognized at that time that this student had exceptional skills to write and went so far as to discuss this with her parents. The parents were set on their daughter becoming a medical doctor. After graduation from Stanford University and the University of California at San Francisco, where she received her M.D., this student gave up her career as a physician to become an author. To date, Tess Gerritsen is the author of over two dozen published books and articles. Some of her novels have been turned into movies and her series of crime novels featuring homicide detectives Rizzoli and Isles has become a major television series. Her tribute to Miss Hutchinson in “Thank you, Teacher” is very poignant and definitely recommended reading.

Mary Viletta Hutchinson was born in Kennesaw, Nebraska, in 1914 and only recently passed away in her early 100’s in Alpine, California. Her family moved to Upland, California, in 1929. She was a graduate of Chafee Union High School in Ontario, California. She then graduated from Chafee Junior College and obtained her Bachelor’s degree at San Diego State. She received her Master’s Degree from Pomona College. She was an accomplished pianist. By the time she was 12 she was playing in the school’s orchestra and was the unofficial pianist for all civic functions. She also studied and played the pipe organ.

Miss Hutchinson was never married. Her passion was always to pursue her own education, teaching and traveling. Her first adventure with traveling was on a Cook’s tour of Europe on a “shoestring budget.” During the years since that first trip she traveled all over the world as well as traveling extensively all over the United States.

Miss Hutchinson often combined her work with pleasure. She took courses at various universities, such as the University of Mexico and Mexico City, University of Guatemala, San Marco’s in Lima, Peru, Whittier College, University of Hawaii and additional courses at the University of California. She was indeed a wonderful teacher and a remarkable human being.

Harold K. Forsen

Harold K. Forsen was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, on September 19, 1932, to Mabel and Allen Forsen.

In 1952, he married his high-school sweetheart Betty A. Webb while he served in the Air Force (1951-55); they had three children. After his tour of duty was finished, he enrolled in the California Institute of Technology and earned his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1959.

Following graduation, Forsen worked at the General Atomics Company in San Diego, California, on various nuclear energy issues including nuclear fusion, which became an integral part of his career in later years.

He decided that a PhD was required to make significant contributions in the plasma physics field and enrolled in the Electrical Engineering Department at the Berkeley campus of the University of California. He obtained his PhD in 1965 under the mentorship of Professor Al Trivelpiece.

Harold’s career then turned toward the academic side and in 1965 he was hired into the Nuclear Engineering Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was
there that he became well known internationally for his insight and scholarly work in the field of plasma physics. He was also instrumental in starting the fusion technology program at Wisconsin. Several of his PhD students went on to become leaders of the United States fusion energy program.

The next chapter in his life was in the area of nuclear fission and in 1973 he left the University of Wisconsin to lead a mostly classified program in the use of lasers to separate uranium-235 from uranium-238 at the Exxon Nuclear Company in Bellevue, Washington. He eventually became an Executive Vice President in the company. At Exxon he created many patents utilizing laser isotope separation. While at Exxon, Harold continued his “academic” role and served as the President and finally Chairman of the Board of the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington, for six years. He also was a founding member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences board of directors. He was then lured (in 1981) to the Bechtel Company in San Francisco to be the Vice President and Manager of the Technology Group. After serving in that capacity for 14 years, he retired in 1995. He lived in three different locations after retirement; Kirkland, Washington; North Lake Tahoe, California; and Indio, California.

He served on numerous advisory and review panels, including the 1990 DOE Fusion Policy Advisory Committee (FPAC), established by then Secretary of Energy James D. Watkins. Dr. Forsen is the recipient of many professional society and national awards, including the Arthur Holly Compton Award of the American Nuclear Society. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Nuclear Society and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1989. He was very active in the governance of the NAE and after retirement served as the Foreign Secretary for eight years (1995-2003). He was elected as a foreign associate to the Japanese Engineering Academy.

Harold was an avid skier and sailor. Like everything in his life, he approached these two hobbies with the same vigor and vitality that he devoted to his academic, industrial, and advising activities during his career. Despite several injuries in later years on the ski slopes in Truckee, California, he consistently led all skiers in his age group in the yearly downhill vertical distances achieved. His boating trips on Puget Sound were legendary as he was not one to be deterred by inclement weather. This was also typical of the many Canadian fishing and canoe trips he participated in while at the University of Wisconsin.

Harold will be remembered by his colleagues as someone who embraced the need for new forms of energy and was willing to put in whatever effort was necessary to achieve that goal. He did so with a zest for life and an enthusiasm that was contagious.

Harold died on March 7, 2012, at the age of 79.

Mrs. Virginia Mashin

It is an honor and with deep appreciation that Mrs. Virginia Mashin is inducted into the Kearny High School Hall of Fame. Mrs. Mashin’s personal interest in her students, her dedicated commitment to their education, her endless efforts and encouragement, and her dependability to provide solid advice upon request, is often stated by anyone that knew her as a teacher. She was always recognized for her passion to education at the highest standard of quality. She was a stern and demanding teacher. However, the majority of those students that she taught returned to thank her for their own advancements in higher education and/or the jobs that they held.

Ms. Mashin was raised in the small town of Vivay, Indiana. She was the only woman in her math class to graduate from Purdue University, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in mathematics in the early 1930s. She then received her Master’s degree in math from the University of Southern California (USC). Mrs. Mashin first taught at Grossmont High School where she met and married her legendary husband, Jack Mashin. (Jack Mashin’s coaching career spanned over 60 years). Mrs. Mashin started her career at Kearny Junior-Senior High School from the school’s inception in the early 1940s and extended through the early 1960s. (She originally came to Kearny as Miss Virginia Sullivan and married Jack Mashin in the early 1960’s. She was then with the San Diego Unified School District administration office until her retirement in 1969.

At Kearny, she taught all phases of high-level math; including algebra, advanced algebra, trigonometry, geometry, solid geometry and honors math for seniors. This honors program was long before the advanced programs (AP) now in existence, and included extensive training in calculus. All students that went on to take calculus at the college level will tell you this was a tremendous advantage for them. They will also tell you that her homework assignments were tough and she was a strict teacher for any class. When you turned your homework assignments in and you were incorrect on any one of the problems assigned, she simply told you that it was wrong and it was to be correctly included with your next day’s homework. If you didn’t stay on top of your work, this could become an awesome task.

Mrs. Mashin was a staunch supporter of the Komet athletic teams and was the head scorekeeper for all of our home track and field events; even sometimes for our away events. Mrs. Mashin’s husband coached for over 60 years. He coached football, baseball, track and field, and basketball at Grossmont High. He also coached at Grossmont College and at California Western University. At Grossmont High School, he racked up 143 league championships in all sports and 121 football victories. However, in 1955, Kearny beat Grossmont. It was rumored, under threat of expulsion and the possibility of divorce, that Miss Virginia, who was so tired of her husband’s glee at Kearny’s impending doom, she took the two Kearny team captains aside and shared with them the trick play that her husband intended to run. This may only be a rumor shared by very few, but this form of early scouting stands alone as a major reason (in my opinion) for Mrs. Mashin’s induction into the Kearny Hall of Fame.

Mr. and Mrs. Mashin attended all Olympic Games together, from 1956, up until the 1972 games, where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed by Palestinian terrorists in Munich. Jack Mashin actually attended the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany, as World War II appeared imminent. As requested by the United States State Department, Jack coached Pakistan’s track and field team in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. Mrs. Mashin attended these games and served as a track and field scorekeeper.

Together, they traveled to over 150 countries. They grew up during the Great Depression. They lived frugally, they never had any children, they never owned a home; but simply shared their life in modest one and two-bedroom apartments. They saved and invested their money slowly and wisely into Municipal Bonds, Government War Bonds, and stocks; that Miss Virginia most likely selected. Jack Mashin died in 1987 at the age of 92. Virginia Mashin died in October 2005 at the age of 93. Together, Jack and Virginia acquired almost $3 million in wealth. At the time of Mrs. Mashin’s death, and after all their nieces and nephews were financially cared for, these two educators bequeathed over $2 million for scholarships and other philanthropic causes. The San Diego Education Fund, a scholarship program associated with the San Diego Unified School District, received two checks totaling $687,766. The Grossmont Union High School District received $346,683, designated for scholarships for students in the local area, the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park received $88,970. Pat Richins, Virginia Mashin’s niece, stated: “they just thought education was what the future was all about.” How many of our citizens believe this today?

San Diego Union-Tribune articles and other sources, with first- hand knowledge, were used to obtain the information within this biography.

Leon Moyes

Among his many other achievements while attending Kearny High School; he was an outstanding varsity baseball player. As a consequence, Leon attended Brigham Young University (BYU) on an athletic scholarship along with several of his other Kearny teammates. Leon was a member of the 1958 BYU baseball team that cast a tremendous influence on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules regarding playing on a Sunday. NCAA tournaments have berths that have to be earned and in 1958, BYU earned one of those spots. Because of the Sunday play rule, at that time, BYU requested that the schedule be revised so that the team would not have to play on a Sunday. Consequently the 1958 BYU baseball team was rejected its berth to play in the College World Series even though they were the first squad in school history to secure a spot in National Championship play. Most teams end their seasons in defeat, except the 1958 BYU baseball team season was ended by a rule. Although that was a bitter disappointment for many students, athletes, and administrators at BYU, that team is still recognized today for its sacrifice and standing up for a principal in faith and not being allowed to see how good their record could have been.

In 1961 BYU was undefeated in league competition and had a 24 game winning streak. But it was not invited to the regional playoffs, however, because of the school standard on Sunday Athletics. That Sunday ruling was later modified that year in August when the NCAA executive committee voted to establish an executive regulation precluding scheduling of any NCAA meet or tournament on Sunday.

Following the 1958 decision, Leon Moyes provided dedicated support to the Public Relations department at BYU with written articles and documentary films recognizing the significance and the moral obligation of Christians so to honor their Sabbath. Today BYU and Campbell University are the only two Division I schools in the nation who annually file petitions that are recognized by the NCAA for a waiver and do not play on Sundays. Leon’s contribution to this end has been recognized by many.

Leon Moyes went on to become an umpire for the Western Athletic Conference and in 2004 was inducted into the Utah Sports Foundation Officials Hall of Fame for a career spanning over 50 years. In addition, and clearly not as a minor side note, Leon has dedicated years of his life as both student and teacher in the development of physical education and recreation programs for the handicapped. Programs that Leon help initiate remain very successful and have continued long after he left school.

1975, 1976 & 1977 Cross Country Teams

The teams were coached by Rich Cota and the teams won league and are considered the best Cross Country Teams in the school history.