South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Carrick High Alumni Assoc. will honor four distinguished alumni


October 20, 2009

 The Carrick High School Alumni Association will designate four of its alumni as Distinguished Alumni at a ceremony Saturday, Oct. 31, at 10 am in the high school's auditorium. The public is invited.

The event will be dedicated to U. S. Marine Sgt. Ryan H. Lane, a 2002 graduate of Carrick High, who was killed in action in Afghanistan July 23.

The Distinguished Alumni are:

• The late Phyllis Linda Hyman, Class of 1967, a Jazz and Rhythm and Blues singer and songwriter who starred on Broadway in Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Ladies."

• Robert Haskins Miller, Class of 1936, who is the retired Chief Justice of the Kansas State Supreme Court.

• Royland Earl Wild, Class of 1933, a world renown legendary concert pianist.

• Victor F. Koontz, Class of 1943, the retired managing director of the Robe River Iron Ore Project in Australia. He and his team oversaw the construction and start up of two company towns complete with schools, hospitals, water and sewage, power plants, shopping facilities, police stations and houses in a remote part of Western Australia 700 miles north of Perth, the capital and only city in that area.

In a 1995 issue, People Magazine described Miss Hyman as infusing her music with passionate, life affirming energy. She sang at many Pittsburgh night clubs with musicians such as Walt Harper, George Benson, and Stanley Turrentine. Well known singer Patti LaBelle said Miss Hyman was a true diva — a grand lady. Miss Hyman's manager, Glenda Gracia, said, "It was easy to find Phyllis in a soup line feeding people or donating her services to combat AIDS or the abuse of women and children."

Chief Justice Miller was appointed to the Kansas State Supreme Court in 1975 by the then Governor Robert F. Bennett. He became the Chief Justice in 1988 serving as the state's highest law maker until his retirement in 1990. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas and the University of Kansas Law School.

Mr. Wild, a child prodigy, was placed into a program for artistically gifted young people at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie-Mellon University) while in junior high school at Carrick and was in the program through his high school and college years. He graduated from Carnegie Tech in 1937. By 19 he was a concert hall veteran. Mr. Wild has been a legendary figure performing throughout the world for eight decades. He has been featured in Time magazine on two separate occasions; the most recent was in 2000 honoring his 85th birthday.

Mr. Koontz began his career with the Dravo Corporation after his graduation with an engineering degree from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1970 he joined Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company to assist in the new Australian Robe River Project. He became president and managing director of Cliffs Western Australian Mining Company; president of Cliffs International, managing director of the Robe River Mining Company and chairman of the Robe River Participants Executive Committee prior to his retirement.

Previous Carrick High alumni who have been designated Distinguished Alumni include: Dennis Logan, Class of 1978, chief of detectives for the Allegheny County District Attorney; Screen and TV actor Tom Atkins, Class of 1956, who is well known for his one man performance as Art Rooney in "The Chief;" Raymond Kaskey, Class of 1961, the sculptor of the National World War II Memorial in Washington DC.

Also, Jimmy Beaumont, Class of 1958, founder and lead singer of the Skyliners; the late Tony Grossi Abrams, Class of 1966, company owner trading in stocks, investment manager and investment banking; Denis Colwell, Class of 1975, musical director and conductor of the River City Brass Band; Daniel Ortiz, Class of 1946, chemical engineer and attorney.

And, Sherry Kloss, Class of 1963, famed concert violinist; Capt. Carl Nelson, Class of 1948, Vietnam Vet ship captain and author of novels and world trade books; Brigadier General Otto Szabo, highest ranking officer of Carrick High alumni; Dr. Vincent Venturella, Class of 1948, drug researcher; Dr. Alan Washburn, Class of 1958, professor of military tactics; Byron Williams, Class of 1946, TV on screen talent, TV executive; Robert Fragasso, owner of investment firm, community organizer; Robert Kirkham, Class of 1948, lumber company executive, race horse breeding.


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