2019 Crown Point High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame

Colonel John Ward Wheeler   Class of 1911

John Ward Wheeler, the son of John J. and Virginia (nee Ward) Wheeler, was born on May 31, 1893.  His family’s history in Crown Point is as old as the community itself.  He was the great-grandson of local Civil War hero, Colonel John Wheeler, who was killed at Gettysburg in 1863 for whom Wheeler Middle School Point was named.  John Ward Wheeler was the great-great grandson of Crown Point’s founder Solon Robinson.

John Ward Wheeler graduated from Crown Point High School in 1911.  He graduated from Purdue University in 1916 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.  Like his great-grandfather, John Ward Wheeler attained the rank of colonel in the US Army.  He served in the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) in World War I and World War II. Colonel John Ward Wheeler had a distinguished military career. His civilian career as a transportation engineer was equally impressive.  In the 1930’s, Wheeler served as Indiana Governor Paul McNutt’s Highway Commissioner.  He served on Purdue University’s Board of Trustees from 1937 until 1942 when he returned to active duty in the USACOE.  Following WWII, he served as the Assistant to the President of the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad.  During this period, he was a consultant to the Association of American Railroads.  Purdue University conferred an honorary doctor of philosophy degree upon him for his outstanding accomplishments on the USACOE’s Alcan Highway and Burma Road transportation projects.

On September 26, 1954, John Ward Wheeler was severely injured after being thrown from his horse, Babe, while riding at the family’s estate east of Crown Point.  The accident crushed three vertebrae in his back and, as a result, John Ward Wheeler was a paraplegic for the rest of his life.  John Ward Wheeler faced the challenges of life in a wheel-chair with the same “soldier-like” determination shown throughout his life.  Despite nearly constant pain, John Ward Wheeler was a source of strength, kindness, and good humor to his family.  He passed away in May 1970 and was survived by his wife Ruth and sons Harold, Henry (“Hank”), and John.

Dr. Mary Catherine Georgas-Flath  Class of 1980

 Dr. Mary Catherine Flath is a Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, and has been teaching at Ashland Community & Technical College since 1994.  She received her B.S. in Biology from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN (1984), and her Ph.D. in Pathology from the Medical University of SC, Charleston, SC (1991).

Mary Cat serves as Science Discipline Leader for General Education Assessment, Team Leader for the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk, Making Strides to End Breast Cancer Walk, and March of Dimes Walk Teams.   Mary Cat serves as ACTC’s representative to the Coalition (Community Health Improvement) Advisory Board, and supports many other community agencies and charitable organizations.

Mary Cat currently serves on Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital’s Foundation Board, she served on OLBH’s Board of Directors, from 2009-2017, and Chaired the Board’s Quality Improvement Committee from 2010-2017.  Mary Cat has been President of Epsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, a Key Women Educators Society, for eight of the last ten years, and she is DKG Kentucky State Recording Secretary.

Dr. Mary Cat has a published textbook supplement, Detailed Lecture Outline to accompany John Hole’s Human Anatomy & Physiology Textbook, McGraw-Hill Publishers since 1998.  She has updated her publication seven times, as new textbook editions are prepared, and she and her students serve as reviewers of this text, as well.  She completed the latest revision project for the 15th textbook during 2018.

Dr. Mary Cat was honored as the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Central Region Faculty Award winner in Seattle in September 2005.   She was also honored by her former students as the Gussler Award Recipient in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2017.

Mary Cat is President/CEO of Mary Cat’s Cuisine with Family and Friends for All Seasons Cookbooks.  Her Fall and Winter editions were published in 2010, 2011, respectively, and proceeds benefit OLBH Women’s Health Fund and “I Believe Foundation”.  Her Summer cookbook is in the works.

Mary Cat is married to husband Al (32 years), and her pride and joy is her son Allen, age 25, who will be completing his Master’s from University of KY, in Electrical Engineering May.  Allen will be marrying his college sweetheart, Emily Edmiston on May 25, 2019, in Lexington.

Larry Geisen    Class of 1984

Larry is the son of Robert and Marilyn (Foss) Geisen.  He has two sisters, Cathy (Larry) Maglish and Nancy Geisen.

Attended St. Marys Catholic School where he enjoyed playing Basketball, Football and Track.  He went on to attend Crown Point High School and again played Basketball and Football (Captain senior Yr). He served as Vice President of CPHS Student Council along with his close friend Jeff Georgas who was President. He was a member of the Latin and Letterman Clubs.

Larry graduated from Purdue University Krannert School of Business in 1988. Then attended and graduated from the Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago.  He then joined his father in the family business, Geisen Funeral Home in Crown Point as the 5th Generation Geisen to come into the family business.  Larry’s son Anthony has just joined the family business in September 2018 as the 6th generation.  The Geisen Funeral Home proudly celebrated its 150 year anniversary in 2017, which was started by Peter Geisen in 1867 in Crown Point.  The Geisen Funeral Home is one of Indiana’s oldest family operated business and one of the oldest funeral home in the country. In addition to the Crown Point location, Larry has added locations in Merrillville, Hebron and Michigan City.

Larry is proud to have received for the past five years the “Pursuit of Excellence Award” from the National Funeral Directors Association.  An award only given to roughly 200 of the nation’s 20,000 funeral homes for excellence in family service, community involvement, employee retention and education.

Larry is a lifelong member of St. Mary Catholic Church where he currently serves on the Finance Council. He is a board member of the Crown Point Community Foundation, and a member of the Crown Point Rotary Club.  He is a former board member for over 10 years of the Crown Point Cal Ripken Baseball and was proud to have been one of the coaches of the Crown Point Cal Ripken 2013 World Series Champions which his son Nick played on.  He also enjoyed coaching his daughter Alle in basketball and son Anthony in Jr. Bulldog Football.

Larry still resides in Crown Point with his high school sweetheart and now wife of 28 years Kim (Watson), together they have 3 children Alle, CPHS-2011, Purdue 2015, Ryerson Steel, Chicago, Anthony CPHS 2013-Purdue 2017, Geisen Funeral Home) and Nicholas CPHS 2019-Butler in the fall)

Dr. Heather “Stacks” Harder    Class of 1966

Heather is the daughter of Wendell and Anne Stacks and one of six children, all alumni of CPHS (Jean ‘63, John ‘68, Elizabeth ‘70, and twins Brent and Brian ‘77). She has two birth daughters and one foster daughter who are also CPHS alumni (Kerri ’91, Stacie ’96 and Victoria ‘2004), as well as four other foster children (Sarah HCHS 2008, Zach GED 2010, and Benjamin MHS 2005).

Heather earned a Bachelors’ Degree in Elementary Education in 1970 from Indiana University Bloomington and went on to receive a Masters’ Degree in Education and Reading in 1974. In 1988 she received a Ph.D. from Indiana State University in Reading and Literacy. Her Dissertation research focused on the impact of nonverbal communication on behavior, achievement, and performance. After graduation, she returned to the Crown Point School District to teach, first as an Elementary Teacher and then later as a Reading Specialist (1970 to 1979). In 1979 she left the comfort and security of the classroom to enter into the world of business with the creation of the first of four Child Care Centers. These Licensed Centers were located in Illinois and Indiana and served children from birth to age 12. She was the Executive Director of these centers for over twenty years. She became a full-time Professor and Coordinator of the Early Childhood Program at Governors State University and eventually retired from Concordia University Chicago in Reading (1986-2016). Heather was named the Outstanding Reading Professor for the State of Illinois, in 2014 by the Illinois Reading Council.

Heather is a passionate activist and has worked to bring about positive change wherever she can. Once disillusioned with our political system, she was determined to do her part to make a difference. After three years of researching, and a year of political training from every campaign school she could find, Heather threw her hat in the ring as a Democratic Candidate for President of the US. She spent six years on the campaign trail participating in up to 13 events in a single day, for her 1996 and 2000 Presidential bid. Although she lost the elections, she gained tremendous knowledge and firsthand experience of what we the people can do to make a difference. Her seventh and soon to be released book, The Game of Politics: How to Play it, Win it, and Change it: What Every American Needs to Know, details her lessons learned and the insider secrets discovered in her ten years invested in politics. Heather is also an active entrepreneur and businesswoman.

Heather lives in Crown Point and enjoys writing, speaking, and traveling the world. She serves on several nonprofit boards and provides consulting services to school districts, businesses, and innovative entrepreneurs. For fun, Heather dabbles in acting and has appeared in the background of numerous movies and television shows.

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