Hall of Honor
Public schools have existed on Galveston Island since 1884. In those 139 years, many notable individuals have walked the halls of Galveston schools, including the 18 individuals highlighted below. These outstanding Ball High School and Central High School graduates have distinctly distinguished themselves as role models within their profession or in their communities and comprise the inaugural class of inductees that will be memorialized in the Galveston Public Schools Hall of Honor.
"I am really proud of the work that the Hall of Honor has done," GISD Superintendent Dr. Jerry Gibson said.
"Upon my arrival two years ago, I was informed that the beginning of a Hall of Fame Committee was being formed. I encouraged them that we should have a Hall of Honor instead of a Hall of Fame. In many instances, a Hall of Fame is tied to athletics and I was learning about the successful businessmen, doctors, lawyers and so many more categories who had graduated from Ball High School. I thought we would be short-changing ourselves and our alumni to only look at our successful athletes. This is long overdue and I will be excited to watch the inductees grow each year."
Detailed information about each Hall of Honor inductee is available in the "Honoree Bios" section on the right-hand side of this page.
The individuals below were honored during an official induction ceremony hosted by Mario's Seawall Italian Restaurant on Jan. 19, 2023.
2023-2024 Hall Of Honor
The nomination process for the 2023-2024 Hall of Honor Nominations is now open. Please use the form below to submit your nomination.
Click Here to view the letter sent to Nominators for the Hall of Honor Ceremony.
Dr. Vivian Hernandez
If you are interested in serving or would like to nominate someone for the committee this year or in the future, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Charles Brooks
- Albert Choate
- Ray Dohn Dillon
- Ed Mitchell Sr.
- Mike Evans
- Jessie McGuire Dent
- Dr. Ralph Horace Scull
- Dr. Clyde Owen Jackson, PHD
- Sterling Patrick Sr.
- Dr. Dudley W. Woodard, PHS
- Dr. Donny Cleary, DVM
- Norman "Bubba" Miller
- Dr. James Courtney, DVM
- Emmitt Frances McCoy
- Col. Rudolph Korbard
- Sgt. William A. Hernandez
- Lt. Justin Green Mills
- William N. Fitzhugh
Coach Brooks is a 1962 graduate of Central High School and served over 41 years as an educator in the Galveston Independent School District.
Mentored by his high school coaches Ed Mitchell Sr. and Ray T. Sheppard, Brooks started as a teacher at Ball High then became Dean of Students at Central Middle School and then went back to Ball as an assistant principal.
His tenure at GISD is one that’s revered and one of the longest periods of service to the children of Galveston in the district’s history.
According to his nominator, David O’Neal, Brook’s blunt truthfulness along with his smile and his sense of humor has been the mainstay of his effectiveness among decades of educational service.
To name a few of his athletic accomplishments:
- He’s touted as the only Galveston public high school athlete to earn All-District and All-State honors in four sports in the same school year in football, basketball, track, and baseball when Central won the 1962 State Championship in baseball.
- He earned a football scholarship to Wiley College where he graduated and is a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
Now an avid golfer and tennis enthusiast, Brooks has served the community of Galveston and Galveston County for the past 63 years. Kudos for a job well done!
Albert Choate graduated from Ball High in 1963. Albert made the All-District first team in football and was named MVP in District 24-4A for baseball. And at the age of 16, he pitched two perfect games back-to-back and had his picture in the New York Times!
He earned a baseball scholarship to Sam Houston State University where he still holds records as a pitcher during 1964-65 and he also pitched in two College World Series. In 1965.
He was named an All-American Pitcher during his sophomore year at Sam Houston. He was selected fifth in the Major League Baseball first round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1966 and had a 18-11 record as a professional.
After his professional career ended due to injury, he returned to school where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1969. He’d later come back to Ball High where he coached the baseball team from 1970-79. His teams won or tied for eight district championships in those nine years and fell one game short of state in 1971. He retired at Ball after 32 years and spent an additional 12 years mentoring new teachers.
He also was inducted into the Sam Houston State Hall of Fame in 1996.
In addition to his outstanding athletic career, Albert has made a huge impact on the entire island community with his years of dedication and service to several organizations such as the Pony-Colt Baseball League; Noon Kiwanis; Galveston Parks and Recreation Board; Island Rotary Club, and more.
He’s also held political office for the last 22 years and is currently serving as Navigation Commissioner for the Galveston County Navigation District.
Ray Dohn Dillion graduated in 1948 from Central High School. Mr. Dillon played football and excelled as a defensive back and running back, helping the Bearcats win a state championship.
Mr. Dillon went off to Prairie View A&M University where he was affectionately known as “Tank” due to his toughness to be taken down. He was the first three-time All-American honoree in the history of Panther football. In addition to his prowess on the gridiron, he also was a standout track athlete and ultimately earned enshrinement into the Prairie View A&M Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.
Following his collegiate days, Dillon made history as the first Black man from Galveston to be selected in an NFL draft, as he was chosen by the Detroit Lions in 1952. Dillon went on to also play in the Canadian Football League, where he won a Grey Cup championship as a member of the Hamilton (Ontario) Tiger-Cats.
Upon conclusion of his playing days, Dillon dedicated his life to giving back and serving the youth, becoming a recreation director for the City of Galveston at Wright Cuney Center, and coaching at his alma mater, Central High School, something he always desired to do. Mr. Dillon was a defensive backs coach at Central High until the school was integrated with Ball High in 1968. At Ball he coached football alongside Kermit Courville and taught swimming to many students.
Ed Mitchell Sr. graduated in 1939 from Central High School. He played on the 1938 Regional State Championship Team as the Unified State Championship Team wasn’t sanctioned until 1942. He coached football and track at Central High School for over 22 years, and coached the last Galveston Texas Public Schools high school state championship when the Central Bearcats won the football championship in 1963.
Additionally, the 1968 Ball High School football team was the first highly ranked team. But that team was the remnants of the 1967 team of Mitchell where they were two games from playing in the state championship of 1967.
The coaching tree of Ed Mitchell is extensive as he coached: Kermit Courville, Ben Mays, Edgar Collins, Charles Ferguson, Ben Marshall, Joel Smith, Ed Mitchell Jr., Charles Brooks, Spurgeon Wynn, William "Bill" Harris, Gerald Pope, Lonnie Fomby, Jerry Waddles, Reggie Matthews, Milton Morgan, Eric Harris, Ed Fisher, Philip O'Neal, Larry Smiley, Ron Holmes, Mike Holmes, Doug Matthews, Ken Pope & others.
And to note: His students went on to excel academically and athletically at their various colleges and universities including integrating some.
His coaching legacy continues as many students coached and/or played from the youth league through the college level, with several becoming professional.
Mike Evans was a 2011 graduate of Ball High School, who would later attend Texas A&M University to play football which has catapulted him into becoming one of the best receivers in the NFL today with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A Super Bowl Champion, Mikey as he’s affectionately called, is a proud Galvestonian and not only gives back with his money and time to his hometown, but also in Tampa Bay through his Mike Evans Foundation founded in 2017, which he runs along with his wife, Ashli.
Mikey is a three-time NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, which just goes to show his giving heart toward those less fortunate. He also provides thousands of dollars annually through scholarships. He even helped with funeral expenses after the passing of one of his classmates.
In addition, through their foundation, they work with women who have been victims of domestic violence to help them get back on their feet and live their best lives.
In college, Mikey received freshman All-Southeastern Conference honors, was a first-team All-SEC selection during his sophomore season and also was selected to the 2013 AP All-American First Team.
He was drafted by Tampa Bay at No. 7 in 2014 and became the first rookie since Randy Moss to have three consecutive games of over 100 yards and at least one touchdown; youngest player in NFL history to have more than 200 yards in one game; and finished his rookie season with 68 receptions for 1,051 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s the first receiver in NFL history to catch over 1,000 yards in each of his first eight years.
Jessie McGuire Dent graduated from Central High School in 1909 as valedictorian of her class. She went off to Howard University where she was one of the 22 founding members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority during her senior year.
After obtaining her degree in English and Latin, McGuire Dent returned to Galveston to teach at Central, where she later became the Dean of Girls. Active in her community in a myriad of ways, McGuire Dent lent her voice to civic issues and accepted leadership roles to assist the underserved through a wide array of organizations, too many to name.
It was through her activism that McGuire Dent sued the Board of Trustees of the Galveston Public Schools in 1943 demanding equal pay for African American teachers, deans, secretaries, and principals. McGuire Dent’s ruling, issued in Galveston on June 15, 1943, ruled for the plaintiff, and instructed the Galveston school district to equalize pay for African American teachers, deans, secretaries, and principals over a period of three years.
She died on March 12, 1948, but has left a legacy that deserves to be shared to the masses. To that end, in 1999, the city of Galveston’s recreation center at Menard Park was named after her and her father, Robert McGuire, who owned the land that the city acquired around 1914, in their honor.
The Texas Historical Commission approved a State Historic Subject Marker honoring Jessie McGuire Dent on February 3, 2021. The marker was sponsored by the Galveston Historical Foundation and will be placed at the McGuire Dent Recreation Center.
Dr. Ralph Horace Scull was a 1914 graduate of Central High School. Born in Galveston, Oct. 5, 1897, to Ralph Albert and Florence Scull, his father Ralph Albert Scull had been emancipated from slavery as a child, moving with his parents to Galveston in 1865.
Dr. Scull was the uncle of island trailblazer and legend, Izola Fedford Collins, and Florence Fedford Henderson who both studied and taught in Galveston public schools.
After graduating from Central, he attended Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio until World War I when he joined the Army and rose to the rank of First Lieutenant. After WWI, he returned to Wilberforce where he was a track star among other activities and graduated in 1922. He later graduated from Rush Medical School and studied dermatology at the University of Chicago, where he later also taught.
Dr. Scull began his medical practice in Chicago and was the second Black dermatologist in U.S. history. He was featured in the 1941-1944 edition of Who’s Who in Colored America and was an entrepreneur who invested in many promising inventions including motor cars with engines in the rear.
He received many honors but cherished the Central High School Outstanding Alumnus Award in Galveston at the Central High graduating ceremonies in the City Auditorium in 1943.
Dr. Scull passed away Dec. 15, 1959, at the age of 63 in Chicago.
Clyde Owen Jackson was a 1945 graduate of Central High School and a 1949 graduate of Tuskegee University. Jackson. He also had an extensive history in the military, excelled in journalism and music. He studied music under composer William Levi Dawson, Ceramic Art under sculptor Isaac Hathaway (creator of the Booker T. Washington half dollar) and creative writing under famed author Albert Murray.
On September 5, 1952, he became Second Lieutenant after graduating from Infantry Officer Candidate School in Ft. Benning Georgia. In 1953-54
Jackson was noted for journalism in Japan and Korea. In 1955 the National Newspaper Publishers Association awarded him for newspaper writing. In 1971, EBONY Magazine featured Jackson as a versatile journalist as he had served as editor of Omaha Guide, the Arkansas State Press and the Texas Informer Group of Newspapers.
Rosenberg Library cites him as "one of twelve African American Galveston Pioneers of the Twentieth Century." On three different occasions, the mayors of Houston and Galveston declared "Clyde Owen Jackson Day." The Galveston Police Department has awarded him. Jackson is also cited in the Texas Museum in Austin.
In 2009, Jackson was nominated the CNN Hero of the Year. His accomplishments are cited in the congressional records.
Jackson is a noted author of several books and hundreds of articles that promote education and intervention to improve the community. Jackson served as Adjunct Professor of Fine Arts at Texas Southern University and on the faculty of North Harris County College and Houston Community College.
Simultaneously, Jackson excelled in Fine Arts and Music. He was founder and conductor of the 63rd Infantry Regime Chorus, the Texas Southern University Men's Glee Club, the Houston Post Office Chorale and choirs at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church of Houston, Choral Director & Interim Artistic Director of Houston Ebony Opera Guild, guest conductor of joint venue with Wheeler Church & Community Music Center of Houston & Houston Symphony Orchestra, and Interim Director of Tuskegee University Choir.
He also was the first African American Postmaster of Galveston in 1978.
Sterling Patrick Sr. graduated from Central High School in 1948. He graduated from Prairie View A&M University with his bachelors and master’s degrees and served in the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant.
A proud BOI, Patrick served the children of Galveston for 33 years in various capacities in the Galveston Independent School District. He served as assistant principal at Central and Lovenberg middle schools, as a principal at Austin Middle School, and retired as an executive director, of which he was the first African American to hold the position in administration for the district under the leadership of Jim Pickett.
He served in many capacities such as the first and only African American to be appointed to Galveston County Draft Board No. 49. He was the President of Galveston City Classroom Teachers Association, was the only African American to serve as Team Leader in GISD for the National Teacher Corp.
He also was very instrumental in the following organizations: Phi Delta Kappa, Texas Association of Elementary and Secondary Principals, Board of Directors for the United Way, and Citizen Advisory Committee for the citizens of Galveston.
Throughout the years, he received a plethora of accolades such as Administrator of the Year, Community Service Award from the Top Ladies of Distinction, and was voted to the Central High Centennial Hall of Fame in 1985. He was a lifelong member of the Historic Avenue L Missionary Baptist Church where he always supported the Youth. He spent his life serving the youth of Galveston in so many capacities making sure that all students experienced every opportunity possible in becoming successful and productive citizens.
He believed in making sure all students reached their fullest potential.
Although he dreamed of becoming a doctor, Patrick said getting into education was the best decision he ever made. He was truly a Galveston ISD hero.
Dr. Dudley W. Woodard graduated in 1899 from Central High School. He was the second African American to be awarded a PhD in Mathematics in U.S. history from the University of Pennsylvania and was the first African American to establish a Master of Science program in Mathematics at an HBCU, which was Howard University.
Woodard is the author of the first mathematics papers by an African American to be published in a top-class mathematics journal. In 1929, the prestigious journal FUNDAMENTAL MATHEMATICS published his "On two-dimensional analysis Situs with special reference to the Jordan Curve Theorem." In 1937, his paper "The characterization of the closed N-cell" was published in the equally prestigious journal TRANSACTIONS of the AMERICAN MATHEMATCS SOCIETY.
In many ways, Woodard was the highest achieving African American of his day. The University of Pennsylvania claim him among its most distinguished alumni.
The Galveston Central High School alumni claim him among its most distinguished alumni and honored him in the 1950 Bearcat Yearbook.
Dr. Donny Cleary is a 1964 graduate of Ball High School. Following graduation from Ball High School, he completed his undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University and was accepted to the prestigious School of Veterinary Medicine.
Following his graduation from vet school, he returned to Galveston and established a practice that provided his clients the best of veterinary care with expertise, compassion, and often without consideration of ability to pay.
He and his wife Carlene retired to Iola, TX and are active in civic and charitable organizations in Brazos County as well as Galveston County. He is dedicated to making his hometown a better place to live for all of its citizens.
Norman “Bubba” Miller is a 1958 graduate of Ball High School. He also graduated from the University of North Texas in 1962. He’s currently the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Interstate Batteries, which is the No. 1 replacement battery in North America. For the past 61 years, he has moved through the ranks of Interstate, from his father’s Tennessee distributorship to the National Field Sales team at Dallas corporate headquarters, and on to where he is today. He’s also a board member for Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas Seminary Foundation, and the Overseas Council. He’s co-founder of the Great American Race, which is America’s premier vintage car event. Through this endeavor the company teamed up with Joe Gibbs Racing in 1992 and won the 1993 Daytona 500, the 2000 Winston Cup Championship, the 2015 Sprint Cup Championship, 2019 Monster Energy Cup Championship, and the 2022 Xfinity Series Championship. According to his extensive bio, Bubba Miller is a man who’s after God’s own heart. He changed his life around in 1974 after admitting to becoming an alcoholic in his early years and, through God’s saving grace, he found the Lord and has led a life leading others to salvation. His faith walk has led him to be the successful businessman he is today. Miller and his wife, Anne, have been married for 60 years and have two children and five grandchildren.
Dr. James Courtney was a 1964 graduate of Central High School. Dr. Courtney was the first African American to receive an undergraduate degree from Texas A&M, and in 1970 he was also the first African American to receive a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from A&M.
After graduation, he went into private practice in Compton, California. He later joined the USDA's Meat and Poultry Inspection program as Inspector in Charge. He later became Food Service and Inspection Service circuit supervisor in Kansas City, assistant area supervisor in Albany, NY, and Baton Rouge, LA, and area supervisor in Jefferson City, Mo. In 1997, he was named district manager for the newly created district of Dallas.
Emmett Frances McCoy was a 1939 graduate of Ball High School. He died at the age of 88 in San Marcos on Jan. 7, 2012. His family moved to Galveston when he was four years old, the same year Frank McCoy, his father, founded McCoy Roofing Company in 1927. Emmett was active in Boy Scouts growing up and was an Eagle Scout. He was also a member of ROTC at Ball High School.
After graduation, he attended and graduated from New York Trade School. Working in the shipyards in Orange, Texas at the beginning of WWII, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in April of 1943. He served in an Engineer Aviation Battalion in the Pacific Theater, and he was discharged with the rank of Sergeant in January of 1946.
Emmett founded McCoy Supply Co. in the 50s, which later became the present-day McCoy’s Building Supply. At the time of Emmett’s retirement in 1997, McCoy’s had grown to over 90 locations with sales exceeding $400 million. He was a pioneer in the cash and carry building materials market, and today McCoy’s is one of the largest family-owned businesses in the industry.
Other business enterprises that Emmett was involved in during his career included Balcones Bank, which grew from one location to four during the family’s ownership, and McCoy Land & Cattle Co., which he expanded into a large cow-calf operation in far West Texas.
Emmett was always very generous to the community, and once retired, Emmett and his wife Miriam focused on philanthropy in a bigger way than ever before. Their gift to the Emmett & Miriam McCoy College of Business is the single largest gift received by Texas State University to date.
Col. Rudolph “Buddy” Kobarg Jr. was a 1965 graduate of Ball High School. Kobarg served his country for 30 years as a decorated officer for the United States Air Force, with tours in Vietnam and elsewhere abroad.
He was also a devoted husband and father. Throughout his travels, he never lost his love of the Island or of being on or near the water.
Kobarg entered the Air Force in 1970 as a graduate of Officer Training School. During his time in the Air Force, he served as an electronic warfare officer, instructor, flight instructor, crew commander, squadron commander, support group commander and base commander. He was a future concepts officer and warfare branch chief for the Strategic Air Command and the chief of the Inspection Division of the Air Education and Training Command in his last assignment.
After his retirement, Buddy led the civilian operation for Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX, supervising the 500+ civilian staff that supplemented the military personnel at the flight training base.
Kobarg was promoted to his final rank of Colonel on March 1, 1992. He earned a Master Navigator Rating, with over 4,300 flight hours. His awards and decorations at the time of his retirement included the Distinguished Flying Cross; Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters; Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters; and the Aire Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management from the University of Texas at Austin in 1969 and received a master’s degree in Management from National University in Sacramento, CA. Kobarg was a graduate of Squadron Office School, Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College.
Kobarg passed away in January 2018 where his funeral was well-attended by family, friends, and colleagues from all stages of his life.
Sgt. William A. Hernandez, who graduated from Ball High in 1968 was nominated by Salvadore “Buddy” Farina who stated in his nomination letter that Hernandez paid the ultimate sacrifice, which was his life, for the love of his country.
He stated that several members of the Class of ’68 went to the service because our country was at war; and unfortunately, 75 Galveston County men didn’t return. Hernandez was one of them and left behind was his wife who was pregnant with his son, who never had the privilege of knowing what a good person his father was.
To that end, Farina, along with members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Galveston County Chapter No. 685 honor Hernandez, and those other 74 young men who paid the ultimate sacrifice, each Memorial Day at Jack Brooks Park.
A quote from Farina: “I’m thankful to have known William and have had the honor of meeting the son and grandson he never knew. His name is where it should be, in our Ball High School Hall of Honor and I thank the committee for choosing him for this worthy honor.”
Lt. Justin Green Mills was a 1935 graduate of Ball High School. Mills, of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, was presented the Silver Star for his actions against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands Area on November 3, 1942. Although his platoon suffered heavy casualties, he succeeded in capturing and holding his objective.
His heroic devotion to duty, maintained at great risk in the face of grave danger, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. After this heroic fete, he was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant. Mills died on Nov. 20 during the “Battle of Tarawa.” He was reportedly buried in Division Cemetery on Betio Island - a temporary location chosen by his fellow Marines, the survivors of the battle, until the Fallen could be recovered and returned to their families. In 2014 his remains were found, and he’s now buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
For his service and sacrifice, his parents accepted his awards and decorations, including:
- Purple Heart
- Combat Action Ribbon
- World War II Victory Medal
- American Campaign Medal
- Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation
- Asiatic-Pacific Theater Campaign Medal
- Marine Corp Expeditionary Medal, and
- Gold Star Lapel Button.
William Fitzhugh graduated from Ball High in 1932. He then went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas. He then entered the service in November of 1940 and graduated from Advanced Flying School in Stockton, California, as Pilot and commissioned as Second Lieutenant in July 1941. His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross and Chinese Army, Navy, Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade. He also co-piloted the second aircraft to launch from the USS Hornet on the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo in April 1942. Fitzhugh remained in the Air Force Reserve until August 4, 1955. He died on August 31, 1981, and was buried at the Mobile Memorial Gardens in Mobile, Alabama.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary achievement while participating in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland on April 18, 1942. First Lieutenant Fitzhugh volunteered for this mission knowing full well that the chances of survival were extremely remote and executed his part in it with great skill and daring. This achievement reflects high credit on First Lieutenant Fitzhugh and the military service.