Five people have been inducted into the 2020 East High School Alumni Hall of Fame, an honor that recognizes alumni who have lived the school’s motto of “For the service of humanity.”
The 2020 honorees include:
- Daniel P. Finney, Class of 1993| former storyteller, Des Moines Register. Finney has been a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist for 27 years, working at publications that include the Des Moines Register, Record-Herald and Indianola Tribune, St. Louis Post Dispatch and Omaha World-Herald. For nearly two years, Finney wrote about his struggles with obesity and depression and his efforts to lose weight and become physically fit. His blog “Making Weight,” generated hundreds of responses from readers with similar struggles. Many thanked Finney for his candor, saying his openness was inspiring.
- Lowell A. Long, Class of 1975 | teacher and coach, East High School. Long has been a biology teacher at East for 27 years as well as the girls’ golf coach and assistant athletic director. He’s also been involved with coaching basketball, volleyball, track and softball. He was a sponsor of East’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and helps with Science Bound, a program affiliated with Iowa State University. When alumni visit East during the annual Scarlet Celebration, Long often gives tours of the building pointing out new features and nostalgic points.
- Lyle L. Simpson, Class of 1956 | attorney, Simpson, Jensen, Abels, Fischer & Bouslog, P.C. Simpson served in the Iowa National Guard from 1955 to 1968 and the Naval Reserve from 1968 to 1996. He is a founding member of the Morning Club, which began in 1963. He currently is a member of the UnityPoint Health Des Moines Foundation Board, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Advisory Committee, and legal counsel for the Iowa Great Ape Trust. Over more than 60 years, Simpson has committed more than a third of his time to benefiting the public through volunteering, military service and community and board involvement.
- Marilyn Dennis Wilson, Class of 1950 (January) | secretary (retired) and community service volunteer. Wilson was a volunteer with the Blank Memorial Hospital Guild and University of Iowa Hospital. When she moved to Memphis, she became involved with the “Ladies of St. Jude,” which is tied to St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Wilson, who started St. Jude’s first library, was board secretary of the volunteer group. She and her late husband Jim Wilson are financial supporters of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital and Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.
- Marvin J. Wilson, Class of 1970 | retired chief, Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Throughout his life, Wilson has been heavily involved in the Boy Scouts of America including serving as an assistant scout master and unit commissioner, troop committee member and currently as a unit commissioner. He also has been a volunteer firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician in Delaware Township and is active in numerous groups at New Hope Assembly of God, where he is a member.
The Alumni Hall of Fame, sponsored by the East High Alumni Association, began in 1990 with 12 inductees. To date, 114 people including this year’s recipients have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The 2020 inductees were to have been recognized in early May at the annual Scarlet Celebration. However, the event was canceled because of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The Alumni Association was formed in 1939. No one can recall if the annual alumni event has been cancelled in the past, although it may have been during World War II. The group will be honored at the 2021 Scarlet Celebration.
Also at the Scarlet Celebration, graduating seniors who received a scholarship from the EHS Alumni Foundation were to have been recognized. This year the foundation awarded $169,225 in scholarships to 88 graduates. The scholarship program began in 1970 when Dr. Jack Wakefield (Class of 1937) awarded two $500 scholarships. He later bequeathed nearly $400,000 to the foundation, which now has assets of $3.8 million.
Videos of three of these Hall of Fame Inductees, along with previous years’ videos, can be viewed on our YouTube page or on our Hall of Fame page. Videos for Marilyn & Daniel were delayed due to the pandemic. We will post at a later date.