Dr. James Thobaben is a professor and Dean of the School of Theology and Formation at Asbury Theological Seminary, one of the largest such institutions in the U.S. In addition, he currently oversees Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, managing the decanal accreditation process for the institution. His academic fields are bioethics, social ethics, and sociology of religion. His special research interests include disability issues (especially traumatic brain injury related), social benefit from and concern with genetically-modified non-human organisms, the spiritual and cultural meaning of pilgrimage, ecclesial architecture, and rural life. As well as working full-time at Asbury, he serves as the pastor of a small, rural church, is a part-time professor in the University of Kentucky, College of Public Health, an adjunct professor at Trinity International University, and operates a small tree farm. Dr. Thobaben was Visiting Ethics Scholar in Molecular Biology at the University of Missouri. He is the recipient of several teaching grants for instruction on American rural life. His work, Healthcare Ethics: A Comprehensive Christian Resource, is used as a primary bioethics text in several graduate programs across the U.S. For both academic and spiritual reasons, Dr. Thobaben has twice walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela and several of the long pilgrimage routes in Great Britain. Prior to assuming his current position, he was vice-president of a physical rehabilitation facility centered on the treatment of those with traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. His academic degrees are from Oberlin, Yale, and Emory.
Kirk has always had a knack at being a manager. In his days at CFHS, he ran the summer tennis program at the Rec Center. His managerial skills blossomed as well as his responsibilities. He has been in the role of President of Red Lobster; President & COO of Lifetouch, Inc., which includes 450 portrait studios; Senior Managing Partner of The Zyman Group; and Co-founder & Partner of McHugh Consulting. His expertise and leadership have also been greatly valued on the many community boards Kirk has served on over the years.
Beginning with performances on the stage of the Chagrin Falls Schools’ auditorium on Philomethian Street, Tina Shafer has become a successful singer/songwriter. She has written songs for some of pop music’s biggest stars, including Celine Dion, Bette Midler, Donna Summer, Sheena Easton, Phoebe Snow and many others. Her song “Love Is On The Way” was the featured ballad in the film “The First Wives Club.” Her debut CD “Backyard Sky” was dedicated to Chagrin Falls and her own backyard where she said, “so many dreams took seed.” Tina has a publishing contract with Artemis Music, a division of Warner Chappell. A great believer in bringing the work of songwriters to the public, Tina has been coordinator of The New York Songwriters Circle for the past 12 years. It has served the songwriting community as a stepping-stone to record labels and publishing companies. She is also a teacher and worked with major record label artists such as Vanessa Carlton and Avril Lavigne.
Soprano Steffanie Pearce has enjoyed a distinguished career throughout Europe and the United States as a singing actress. She has won The Pavarotti Competition, Montreal International, D’Angelo and the American Traditions competition among others. On the opera stage she is most noted for distinctive portrayals of tragic heroines including: Violetta, Leonora, Marguerite, Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, The Countess in Figaro and Tosca. She has performed with many opera companies including: Opera de Marseille, The Bulgarian State Opera, Opera Lisboa, The Opera Co. of Philadelphia, San Diego Opera, The Buxton Festival in England and many European and U.S. tours with Teatro Lyrico d Europe. Equally at home on the concert stage, she has performed with The Montreal Symphony and The Lexington Philharmonic. Steffanie has appeared as a soloist at many famous theaters including; Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center. She enjoys performing solo recitals and teaching voice.
Jack Schron is a success in the business world and also as a public servant. He is president of Jergens, Inc., a privately owned manufacturing company that distributes manufactured products throughout the world. He is also president of Tooling University, which provides an online manufacturing training resource for individuals and businesses. It has over 120 industrial classes with 40 in Spanish. Jack is a member of the Cleveland State University Business School Advisory Board. In 2004 he received from the Ohio Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association one of 10 statewide Friend of Education Awards for contributions to education in Ohio. He has served his community through hours of volunteer service. Most notably, he served on the Chagrin Falls Board of Education for 12 years, seven as vice president and president. He is a licensed attorney with three years active duty with The U.S. Army JAG Corps and served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 28 years. Jack is also a founding member and current president of the Chagrin Falls Alumni Association.
A 1974 graduate of Purdue University, Chris was graduated from Harvard Business School in 1979. Currently, he is Chief Operating Officer for Inter-Con Security Systems, an 18,000 employee, privately held international security company in Pasadena, California. He is responsible for worldwide operations, including strategic planning and profit and loss of the company. From 1995 to 1998, he was president of Pacific Enterprises International, a Fortune 500 energy services company which included one of our country’s largest gas distribution companies, Southern California Gas. From 1990 to 1994, he was president of Pacific Energy, a $170 million business. During his tenure at Chagrin Falls High School, Chris honed his competitive instincts in football, wrestling and track.
The valedictorian of the class of 1951 chose the field of medicine to continue his practice of excellence. A graduate of Denison University (1955) and Harvard University (1959), Dr. Rodgers is a recognized expert in lipid research and has been published widely in medical journals. His research efforts were recognized by his election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the New York Academy of Science. For the past 36 years, he has been associated with Albany Medical College, where he earned the position of Professor of Medicine in 1974. He continues to be active in clinical research involving abnormalities in lipid metabolism and also in the area of liver disease. The Albany Medical Center recently honored him by establishing the Dr. John B. Rodgers Endowment Fund for Continuing Education in Gastroenterology.
A career of distinction was John Thomas’ 34-year experience with J.P. Morgan Investment Management, Inc. He served for twelve years as a member of the board of directors, five years as president of J.P. Morgan Trust Bank, the group’s operating company in Japan, and nine years as head of marketing. Currently, he is president of JRT Research of San Francisco, providing international management investment consultant services to private industry. He is a visiting professor at the Golden State University Graduate School of Business and is director of The Japan Society of Northern California. He has had several articles published in the Japan Security Analysts Journal. John earned a B.A. in economics from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1961. He received his M.B.A., with distinction, from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania in 1963. He was a superb athlete at CFHS and at Ohio Wesleyan, where as a halfback and linebacker, he was a two-time All-Ohio Conference selection.
This former Blossom Time Queen blossomed into one of our state’s best educators. In 1997, Suzanne became Ohio’s first recipient of the Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award. In 1994, she received the Outstanding Special Educator Award from the Northwest Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center. Suzanne has been instrumental in curriculum development in adapted aquatics. She is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, where she is a part-time instructor. She is also co-founder of Wood Lane Travel, which offers recreational activities for students with special needs.
An early aptitude for music helped pave the way to a distinguished medical career for Robert Rosner. An accomplished trombonist, he played during the big band era with such notables as Guy Lombardo, while attending medical school at Ohio State University. After completing his studies at the Ohio State College of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Ophthalmology, Dr. Rosner practiced ophthalmology for more than 50 years, until age 80. Known for his compassion for his patients, he invented the tonometer sterilizer in response to the viral eye epidemic in Chicago in 1950. He developed a color blind chart, used by pediatricians and ophthalmologists. He also invented an air conditioner to aid in breathing for use during local anesthesia. Dr. Rosner is a founding member of the Association for Research in Ophthalmology.
Elizabeth Rodgers was born in Chagrin Falls and has devoted much of her life’s work to the historical preservation of her birthplace. A passionate overseer of Village Council proceedings, she authored the book, CHAGRIN : : . Whence the Name? Her writings have painstakingly detailed the history of the Village of Chagrin Falls, including the origin of its name. Dr. Rodger’s remarkable energy and considerable talents resulted in numerous professional accomplishments. In 1936, she earned a Ph.D. in physical education from Columbia University. She was a high school teacher and professor at several colleges, including Madison College in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the University of Colorado, and State Teachers College in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Much of her research in physical education has been documented in journal articles. More than 60 years ago, she developed the first standardized achievement tests for athletic skills and information. While a student at Chagrin Falls High School, Elizabeth Rodgers excelled in both academics and athletics. She was an outstanding basketball player and track and field athlete. For many years, she held the school record for the softball throw.
This quiet, unassuming man was a tough teacher in a noisy classroom. His classroom was the Chagrin Valley Herald, which he founded in 1946. The bylines of his former students grace the pages of newspapers and magazines across the country. Allen “Pete” Tenny, “Mr. Tenny” to most, was hired as a youth by editor William R. Bailey to work a couple of summers in the Chagrin Falls Exponent office. Newspaper work took Mr. Tenny to Illinois and Michigan, where he became assistant city editor of The Detroit Free Press. He returned to Chagrin Falls in 1946 to serve as editor of the Chagrin Valley Herald for the next 22 years. During Mr. Tenny’s tenure, the Herald and its reporters earned numerous journalism prizes. He, himself, won many awards including the “Golden Dozen” award in 1969 for writing one of the 12 best editorials in weekly newspapers throughout the world. After 43 years as a newsman, Mr. Tenny retired as “Editor Emeritus” of the Herald Sun in 1973. He died in Vermont in 1981.
The accolades were many for “Quiz” during his career as a teacher, coach, and athletic director at CFHS. In 1972, he was named National Athletic Director of the year. He is a member of the Ohio High School Athletic Directors Hall of Fame, the Ohio High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame, and the Ohio High School Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame. His 1947 and 1961 football teams were undefeated. He also coached basketball, track, golf, baseball, and swimming. During his 35 years in Chagrin Falls Schools, Ralph impacted the lives of just about anyone with whom he came in contact. His gym classes became legendary – the unforgettable voice ordering the seemingly impossible tasks. For many a Chagrin youth, Coach’s “basic training” became a lasting memory. Following his retirement in 1980, Ralph L. Quesinberry Gymnasium was named in his honor.
“Rompin’ Bill” earned his nickname on the gridiron where his many spectacular runs as a Tiger halfback and kick returner left fans gasping and defenders grasping. It is, however, in track and field that we are reminded of his superb athleticism. His long jump (21-21/2) has stood as a CFHS record for 60 years. In the spring of his senior year, Bill won a state championship in the 100 yard dash and placed second in the 220 yard dash. He also ran on the Tiger 880 yard relay team, which placed third in the state. He was an All-County football selection, playing on Ted Gurney’s 1930 undefeated team. In addition to his prowess in football and track, Bill lettered four years in basketball.
Bob exemplified the term “winner” during his athletic career at CFHS. At times he was nearly perfect, pitching three no-hitters and playing four years of football, never losing a game. He played varsity football for three years, leading the Tigers from the quarterback position during the final two seasons of the 29-game win streak. In basketball, he was his team’s MVP during his junior and senior years. Bob earned All-Conference honors in football, basketball and baseball. He won a baseball scholarship to Northwestern University, where he pitched a no-hitter against Illinois in 1968. He played baseball for three years in the Washington Senators’ organization.