Morenci Distinguished Alumni 04.07.10

Written by David Green.

Three Morenci alumni will be honored April 17 at the annual Morenci Education Foundation dinner. A graduate from the 1940s, one from the 1950s and one from the 1980s are in line to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award.

William Van Arsdalen

1947 graduate William Van Arsdalen earned a degree in education from Albion College, then joined the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He later earned a master’s degree from Michigan State University.

His teaching career began at the Chesterfield school southeast of Morenci. Bill later taught in Brooklyn, Mich., and finished his 42-year career in Hillsdale.

He taught history, physical education and mathematics at the middle school level and also served as a boys and girls basketball coach.

He led the staff at Hillsdale’s Davis Middle School for 14 years as the school principal. In 1994 he was chosen by his colleagues as Teacher of the Year.

Upon retiring in 1994, Bill rejoined the Kiwanis Club and traveled throughout Michigan as a district governor and lieutenant governor.

Bill has been involved with the Hillsdale United Methodist Church, Hillsdale County Senior Citizen Board, United Way of Hillsdale County, Hillsdale County Fair Board and Hillsdale Community School Board of Education.

In 1956 he married Joan Guss from Hudson and they are the parents of a son and a daughter.

Glen Smith

Glen Smith was the valedictorian of the Class of 1954. He went on to earn a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from the University of Michigan, studying chemical engineering.

Glen spent his career working as a research scientist with the Mead Paper Corporation in Chillicothe, Ohio. He developed national and international patents for paper pulp processing and traveled the world as a corporate consultant. He also served on several professional societies in his field.

Glen volunteers in a variety of civic and church organizations, ranging from the annual Gus Macker basketball tournament to community musical and theatrical performances. He recently began working with the Stephen Ministries which trains lay people to assist others in need.

Glen is also a skilled woodworker who has built items to benefit non-profit organizations.

Glen married Carolyn Boyers of Wauseon in 1959 and they are the parents of four children.

Janice Clelland Donnell

Janice Donnell earned a degree in geography/earth science from Central Michigan University following graduation from Morenci Area High School in 1983.

She also served with the National Guard signal battalion in Adrian. After her marriage in 1988, she served as a National Guard platoon leader with a maintenance battalion in Carthage, N.Y., earning second lieutenant rank as a reserve commissioned officer.

Annual training resulted in deployment to Germany and Italy. She earned a master’s degree in education in Hawaii.

While living in New York, she served as a community development coordinator with a county planning department. The Donnells now live in Virginia where Janice works as a substitute teacher.

At the many communities where the Donnells have lived, Janice has served as an elementary school volunteer, a Sunday School teacher, an Awana Kids leader and as a volunteer with Mothers of Preschoolers and Moms in Touch. She was formerly involved with a prison ministry project and her family still entertains residents of nursing homes.

Janice and her husband, Chuck, are the parents of two daughters.

Guests have until April 10 to sign up for dinner tickets. Tickets can now be purchased with a credit card at the foundation website (morencieducationfoundation.org).

The auction fund-raiser will begin around 7 p.m. The public is invited to the auction even if not attending the dinner.

 Adam and Gail

 Morenci graduates aren’t the only people to be honored at the April 17 Morenci Education Foundation dinner. A pair of distinguished transplants will also be commended.
Adam and Gail Johnson lived in Garden City, Mich., Springfield, Ill., and Washington, D.C., before taking the lead from Adam’s brother—a Gamble’s store owner in Chelsea—and purchasing the Gambles hardware store in Morenci in 1980.
Their immersion into Morenci life includes Adam’s role with the local and county United Way, the Kiwanis Club and the Rex Riley Scholarship project. He also served on the Morenci Board of Education.
Adam and Gail have both been active in the Morenci Business Association (now Chamber of Commerce) and Gail was instrumental in leading the annual community-wide garage sale effort.
Gail was also a member of the Morenci Child Study Club and taught mathematics at Siena Heights University.
The Johnsons’ children Ron and Jennifer are both Morenci graduates.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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