MODESTO — The Modesto High School Hall of Fame will gain seven notable alumni. The hall's inductee Class of 2013, announced by committee Chairman Diana Scott, will add six graduates and a longtime coach, the late Dick Windemuth.
Windemuth coached baseball and football at Modesto High for 15 years, leading his teams to three championships. "His positive influence on a generation of young men is unsurpassed. He not only taught baseball and football, but he taught us how to live," notes the nomination paper, submitted by Steve Pedego and Windemuth's daughter, Susan Windemuth.
The coach was born in Russia, immigrating to the United States as a teenager. He went to school in Minnesota and spent a year as a catcher with a farm team for the New York Yankees. An injury sent him on a fresh career path, including coaching at Modesto High from 1946-60 and at Davis High from 1960-76.
Here are the committee's other selections. Drum roll, please:
ERIN CAFARO, Class of 2001: Cafaro won Olympic gold in rowing at the Beijing competition in 2008 and again in the London Games in 2012. A slew of national and international wins has made her "the most decorated athlete in any sport, male or female, in the history of Modesto sports," notes her nomination submitted by Steve Grenbeaux.
BOB J. ROMMEL, Class of 1942: One of the original members of the "Screaming Eagles" of the 101st Airborne Division, the late Bob Rommel distinguished himself in key battles of World War II. He jumped on D-Day into Normandy, into Holland for Operation Market Garden, which was portrayed in "A Bridge Too Far," and fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, France, notes his nomination by Thomas Stedman.
Rommel was awarded the French Croix de Guerre, three Bronze Stars and Distinguished Service Medal. His story is told in part in "Tonight We Die as Men."
After returning to Modesto, he formed Rommel Construction Co. He was awarded his Modesto High diploma 67 years after leaving school to join the military.
JERRY STREETER, Class of 1950: A three-letter athlete while at Modesto High, Streeter went on to play semi-pro baseball before becoming a baseball coach at Downey High and Modesto Junior College. He was nominated by Deb Brown and Bob Heath.
GARY SMITH, Class of 1955: A Jesuit priest, the Rev. Smith has ministered to the poor, from the streets of Oakland to refugee camps in Uganda. He now works on the border of South Africa and Zimbabwe. He has written three memoirs, including "Street Journal: Finding God in the Homeless," says his nomination by Ken Williams and Frank Damrell.
CY YOUNG, Class of 1946: He took gold in the javelin at Helsinki, Finland, in 1952, the only U.S. gold medal in that sport. A twisted ankle ended his run at the 1956 Olympics. He was inducted into the Olympic Club Hall of Fame in 2008.
KEN WILLIAMS, Class of 1955: He left as senior class president and returned to his alma mater as an English and journalism teacher from 1963-97. Williams created and co-wrote the English text series "Voices in Literature, Language and Composition" and edited "Frank Mancini, Modesto's Music Man," for the McHenry Museum and Historical Society, notes his nomination by daughter Marcy Williams. He was founding director of the Great Valley Writing Project.