kearny komets hall of fame


Distinguished Kearny Komets Hall of Fame Inductees

Vanessa Andrada (Class of 1991)

Vanessa is the Proprietor of Studio FX Dance and Performing Arts Inc. Established in 2005, this dance facility was opened where the recreational and/or professional dancer could come and train. Her primary goal was to expose the community to the urban style movement, Hip-Hop, in a non-intimidating and fun atmosphere. Studio FX is the home of Urban FX, Studio FX Kidz books and Syde FX, for whom she is the Executive Director.

Vanessa’s extensive background and experience in training thousands of dancers makes her a credible and reputable figure in the dance community. She has judged competitions such as World of Dance, Body Rock, Fusion, San Diego’s Best Dance Crew, Maxt Out, Vibe and Prelude for many years.

Vanessa has traveled as an international instructor and performer in Moscow, Vienna, Zürich, and in such US cities as San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Atlanta and many more since 1994. She has promoted, performed and instructed for well-known companies and programs that are too numerous to mention here

Wilmer Green (Class of 1957)

Wilmer completed 37 years of government service with the City of San Diego, Park and Recreation Department.

Wilmer joined the US Marine Corps upon graduation from Kearny, serving three years. He then attended San Diego City College and one year later received a full scholarship to play football for Pepperdine College. When Pepperdine terminated their football program Wilmer returned to San Diego and attended Mesa Junior College, later graduating from San Diego State University in 1996 with a Physical Education major and Microbiology minor. While at State, Wilmer maintained a position with the Park and Recreation Department and was also a Teaching Assistant at Memorial Junior High School. Upon graduation from SDSU, Wilmer became a full-time Senior Park and Recreation Department employee at Memorial. Wilmer was promoted to Principal Recreation Leader and then transferred to Skyline Park and Recreation near Morse High School. Wilmer managed both people and athletic programs and projects with complete control over the Park and Recreation activities.

In 1974, Wilmer moved to Allied Gardens. Following Allied Gardens, he was promoted to Area Manager and Head of the Southeast Sports Field. He went on to become Area Manager at Colinas; Ocean Beach; and Martin Luther King.

He received numerous monetary bonuses for his performances. Wilmer’s achievements at all levels are exceptional. Most of all, are the quality people that remain dedicated to the man who taught them. Wilmer’s own achievements and awards for his outstanding athletic abilities are too numerous to mention here, well just one (1957 KHS Athlete of Year).

Wilmer and his wife of 50 years, Mary, are the parents of two sons and have one grandson.

Jim Jenks (Class of 1957)

Jim was an employee of Don Hansen and a member of the surfing team sponsored by Hansen surfboards. Jim had a vision to create a clothing line that met the extreme demands of surfers both in and out of the surf.

In 1972, Jim became the primary founder for the Ocean Pacific Clothing Company. Jim’s ideas for clothing designs, under the Ocean Pacific label, quickly became popular as number one with the surfing culture and the “OP” label became an instantly recognized logo; not only with surfers, but with the general public for swimwear apparel.
The OP impact on fashion throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s was truly substantial with surf wear, swimwear, and other clothing brands across the United States. In general, the impact on fashion design that resulted under Jim Jenks’ leadership, shows influence from the OP design lines that still exist today.

With the three other members from his class of ‘57, Chuck Butner, Henry Ramirez, and Elmer Walker, this local apparel corporation influenced fashion design for more than three decades under Jim’s control.

In 1998, Jim sold the company and moved on to other clothing lines such as Newport Blue, etc.

To be honest, Jim is still not retired. He and his wife Lynn were married in 1957 and they have two adult sons. They enjoy traveling, fishing, and boating. They truly enjoy their friends and family and their lives together

Evelyn Kohr (Kearny PE teacher 1962 to 1990)

Evelyn was born Evelyn Ingalls and graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1951. Her first teaching position was at Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, California, where she met and married her husband of 47 years, Gary Kohr.

After the birth of their daughter, Kimberly, Evelyn took 15 months off from teaching and gave birth to a son, David.

Evelyn came to San Diego in 1961 and began at Kearny as a substitute teacher and was immediately given a permanent position as a Physical Education teacher; a career that spanned 28 years. During that time, Evelyn started the Kearny Girls Athletic Association (GAA) and the Letter-girl program where women athletes earned junior varsity and varsity letters. She coached Women’s Gymnastics, Men’s and Women’s swim teams, Men’s Water Polo and Women’s Volleyball. She was the Junior Varsity and Varsity Cheer faculty sponsor, as well.

Evelyn believed that participation in sports was an important part of young women’s education and was dedicated to being the best teacher and coach she could possibly be. She retired from teaching at the end of the 1990 school year and traveled with her husband, Gary, in their RV around the United States.

Evelyn lost her 15-year battle with Alzheimer’s in November 2003.

Lauren Mack (Class of 1973)

Lauren holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish from San Diego State University. She is currently the public affairs officer for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in San Diego, California. She supervises media relations for ICE along California’s border with Mexico, including two large field offices and two major immigration detention centers in San Diego and Imperial counties. As the spokeswoman for ICE Homeland security investigations and one of the biggest border regions in the nation, Ms. Mack has worked with media on a number of high profile investigations involving child exploitation, money laundering, sex trafficking, drug trafficking and worksite enforcement. She also works with the media on high profile immigration enforcement initiatives.

She began her career in 1984 with the former Immigration and Naturalization Service where she received extensive law enforcement training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. After her first assignment with US border patrol she worked as an INS inspector at the San Ysidro Point of Entry until 1991. She was then promoted to INS adjudicator and district-wide foreign student officer, serving four years on an interagency task force to develop an automated system for schools and government to share real-time data. In 1999, she was appointed public affairs officer for the INS San Diego District and has continued in that position for ICE since 2003, with the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security.

Hugh McMillan

After graduation from Brigham Young University in 1961, under a full athletic scholarship, Hugh was drafted into the Army for two years. Upon completing his service in 1963, he began a teaching career that spanned 32 years and included all levels of education, elementary through high school.

His employment began with the La Mesa Summer Valley school district, followed by four years with the sixth-grade camp program at Camp Marsden. The next four years were at Einstein Junior High School.

In 1970, he returned to Kearny High School for a 14 year stay. Hugh’s primary teaching credential was in physical education; his secondary credentials included life sciences and physical sciences. At Kearny, in addition to teaching many classes with his secondary credentials, Hugh coached Junior Varsity baseball teams and was the varsity cross-country and distance running coach with the track and varsity baseball teams. With varsity baseball, his teams won the Eastern League and many of his players went on to play at higher levels (Alan Trammell was only one of many).

Hugh then taught at Hoover High School, as Junior Varsity football and baseball coach. He then went on to Clairemont High School for a five year period where he was varsity baseball coach, winning several league championships. Patrick Henry High School, Wanenheim Middle School; Silvergate and Sunset View Elementary then followed. At these schools, he worked with children from all classes, including those with Special Education needs. His last four years teaching were at Horace Mann Middle School.
He retired from teaching in 1996. It would indeed be a feeble attempt to reflect on Hugh’s outstanding athletic skills and awards which are truly excessive.

To this day, he is still active in senior baseball, softball and Over the Line and enjoys a summer camp each year playing baseball at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, New York.

Jim O’Brien (Class of 1956)

Jim was the ASB President for his senior year (1956) at Kearny High Sxhool. He attended Brigham Young University under a full academic scholarship and played college baseball during his time at that school. Jim began his teaching and coaching career at North Torrance High School in the Los Angeles area. In his 12 years at that school, his teams won eight league championships, two CIF – 4A championships and one CIF runner-up spot. He also coached ten championship football teams and was voted the California high school Baseball Coach of the Year in 1973. Jim served as head baseball coach at Los Angeles Harbor College from 1976 to 1990.

His teams won 11 conference championships and three California state titles. During that time, Jim was honored as national community college coach of the year on three separate occasions. In 1985, Jim was named as the athletic director for the college and held that position until his retirement in 2001. In 1986, Jim was honored with the college’s most prestigious Eugene Piemental Award for teaching excellence by his fellow faculty members of the college. Jim taught math as well as Physical Education.

Jim was selected one of the first inductees into the Harbor College Athletics Hall of Fame and also has a star on the San Pedro baseball “Walk of Fame.“ His highest honor came in January 2014, when he was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Jim and his wife Anna (KHS Class of 1957), have five children, a foster daughter, and 20 grandchildren.

Henry Ramirez (Class of 1957)

Henry graduated from San Diego State University in 1966 with an Art Major and a Minor in Business Administration. Upon graduation, Henry worked for May Company Realty, and then spent three years at Channel 10, where he primarily sold advertising time.
When Jim Jenks and Chuck Butner offered him a position at Ocean Pacific with the promise that he would not have to wear a tie, he became their primary California Sales Representative. Henry moved up, became a Regional Sales Manager for Ocean Pacific in the early 1970s. His efforts supported the growth of this somewhat small local company into a major apparel corporation that influenced fashion design for over three generations while under Jim Jenks’ control.

OP Regional sale offices included California, Hawaii, Texas, New England and Florida. This list is not all-inclusive. To mention only a few of the Major Department stores, we can list Macy’s in New York, Liberty House in Hawaii, Riches in Atlanta, Filenes in Boston, May Company, etc.

Following his career with OP, Henry worked in the silkscreen business until his retirement.

Henry has been married to his lovely wife, Carol, since 1965. They have two children and five grandchildren.

Louis E. Repaci (Class of 1954)

Louis joined a musical group known as the “Starlighters” when he was 13 years old. At the age of 15, Louis was the orchestra leader, and under his leadership and direction his orchestra became the number one dance band and musical group in San Diego through high school, college and after.

For several years, he studied saxophone and clarinet with Russ Cheever, First Chair with 20th Century Fox Movie Studios. Louis wrote and performed original copyrighted music in concerts, shows and conventions (28 original compositions/ballads, Latin, Jazz, Country-Western and Classical).

Louis graduated in 1958 from San Diego State University with a BA degree in Speech Arts (Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations) and a Music Minor.
Louis won a national competition under the auspices of the State Department and Fred Waring in 1956. He was one of 20 musicians selected out of more than 20,000 competitors to tour Europe in 1956, the Far East in 1957, and Europe in 1958; entertaining that year at the Brussels World’s Fair in Belgium. The tour group was known as “The Kids from Home.” They won the same award Bob Hope was presented on his tour of Asia — the “Far East Medallion.”

They performed numerous one and a half hour shows for the people of each country where they stayed (with translation) and for US Military Personnel stationed at bases in or near cities.

In 1954, he was elected the first Associated Student Body President of the brand new Kearny High School Facility and received the Bnai Brith “Youth of the Year” Award.
At San Diego State University he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, Junior Class President, and inducted into the Blue Key, Men’s National Honorary Fraternity.
His successful Corporate Management, Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations career included Dome Laboratories (12 years), Black & Decker (8 years.), and WD-40 (18 years).

He was married to the love of his life, sweetheart and soulmate for 60 years and has three children, nine grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Roy Riesgo (Class of 1958)

Roy completed 40 years of government service with the California Division of Highways, now known as the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans). Roy began as an entry-level Junior Engineer Technician in the Survey Department in 1964. He was promoted from Level I to Level II while in the Survey Department. He was then promoted to a Transportation Engineering Technician Level I in the Construction Department. Roy’s next promotion was to an Assistant Transportation Engineer in the same department. Roy ended his career as a full Associate Transportation Engineer in 2004.

During his career, Roy served as the Resident Engineer on numerous construction projects and as the construction liaison representative to the Environmental and Planning Departments. The quality of Roy’s public service was often recognized with numerous awards for his achievements. Roy’s personal life has also exemplified Kearny spirit and tradition.

In July 1986, Roy underwent quadruple bypass surgery. Since then, he has participated in numerous sporting events; 5Ks, 10Ks, numerous half marathons and a full marathon. In 2002, Roy successfully climbed Mount Whitney (elevation 14,505 feet). Eighteen months later Roy received both the silver and gold star medals for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa (19,341 feet)

Robert Rowley (Class of 1969)

Robert is a practicing family physician and healthcare information technology consultant. From its inception through 2012, Dr. Rowley had been Practice Fusion’s Chief Medical Officer, having created the underlying technology in his own practice, and using that as the original foundation of the Practice Fusion web-based Electronic Health Records (HER).

Dr. Rowley brings a depth of experience and expertise in health care as well as health Information Technology (IT), having been in clinical practice for more than 30 years. Dr. Rowley’s experience includes Medical Director with Hill Physicians Medical Group and primary developer of the early EMR system Medical ChartWizard.

His family practice in Hayward, California, has functioned without paper charts since 2002.

Elmer Walker (Class of 1957)

Elmer attended San Diego City College, San Diego State (University and National University. Elmer earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Accounting in 1965. He later earned a California Teaching Credential in General Studies and Educational Technology.

His primary work experience has always been as a Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer. As one of several accountants with Ocean Pacific in the early 1980s, his work experience was essential and he satisfactorily watched the company grow and expand from simply a concept into an extremely large multifaceted company.

Elmer retired from accounting in 2000. He continues to work steadily as a substitute teacher throughout San Diego County and has done so for the last 17 years. Elmer always enjoyed returning to Kearny High School to teach. It’s truly unfortunate that our Boys’ Vice Principal, John Brose, was not able to welcome him.

Elmer has two daughters and three grandchildren. He enjoys fishing, hunting, hiking and skiing. He and his wonderful lady, Terri, live in the Tierrasanta area and enjoy a full life together.

Bruce Ward (Class of 1967)

Bruce graduated from San Diego State University in 1971, specializing in physical education, geography and health. In 1972 he became the sixth-round draft choice for the San Diego Chargers and was an active player for the Kansas City Chiefs football team until 1974. In 1975 he played for the Southern California Sun in the World Football League.

Following his football career, he became a teacher/coach at Mt. Carmel High School and in 1981 he earned his Masters of Education and Administration from Hills Anderson College.

From 1985 through 1989 he was a teacher, head football coach, athletic director and instructional Dean at Windsor Hills, Oklahoma. From 1989 to 2000, he was a physical education teacher, coach, athletic director and vice principal at Escondido High School. Following that, he became the program manager, PE/Health and Athletics, with the San Diego Unified School District. From 2004 until 2015, he was the Director of PE/Health and Athletics for the San Diego Unified School District.

Bruce is currently the North County Athletic Conference Coordinator for the North County athletics, Conference Coordinator for California State, AD Associate and Corporate Manager. Mr. Ward is a member of numerous professional organizations and the recipient of multiple awards that are too extensive to mention here.