Sedalia Sacred Heart H.S. honors its first, six of its greatest


The Sacred Heart School Foundation honored seven individuals and the Sacred Heart High School “Pioneer Class of 1945” as the 2018 inductees into the Sacred Heart Hall of Fame.

The daylong Sept. 16 celebration included Mass in St. Patrick Church, a reception at Sacred Heart School, and the induction luncheon and program in the Bothwell Hotel Ballroom.

Inductees included:

  • Precious Blood Father Vincent Hoying, former Sacred Heart pastor, who fought to keep the school open;
  • Chris Lawson (Class of 1985), an educator and coach at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City;
  • Dick Pfeiffer (Class of 1961), a retired electrical engineer and Sacred Heart volunteer;
  • Lee C. Redmond (Class of 1957), a retired biologist with the Missouri Conservation Commission;
  • U.S. Air Force Col. Philip White (Class of 1948), a highly decorated Air Force officer; and
  • the late Mary Jo (Welliver) McMullin (Class of 1951), a long-serving local healthcare professional.

The Class of 1945 was the high school’s first graduating class.

Mr. Lawson, who has devoted his career to Catholic education, emphasized that Sacred Heart helped him become the man he is today.

“Sacred Heart is a great community that motivates and elevates others to become better,” he stated at the reception.

He called himself “that 2.8 student” who didn’t fully appreciate what Sacred Heart had to offer him as a young teenager.

That changed after he graduated and moved on to college.

“I want others to know that Sacred Heart is great for the honors 3.5 to 4.0 students, but it was a defining experience for me and countless others who needed a smaller student-to-teacher ratio and a more personalized learning environment where I could be and was held accountable,” he stated.

“Lastly and just as critical, Sacred Heart kept me close to God,” he said. “It was and still is easy to see Christ through the Sacred Heart teachers, coaches and administrators who bought into and lived the Gospel teaching, forming and coaching me and the countless students who have come through Sacred Heart.”

Here is some information about each of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees:

“Pioneer” Class of 1945

“Four years ago, in 1941, 27 wondering and determined pupils gathered with their teacher, Sister Mary Rosetta, for the first time, to begin their high school career.

“During the four years, this class ... established a glee club, a Student Council, athletic teams, pep squad and various other school organizations. They have shown a fine school spirit and loyalty in all their undertakings.

“... They shall leave behind them precious memories and a grand tradition of being the first graduating class, but they shall take with them lessons well taught in religious, social and educational matters.

“This class has established the foundation on which the school shall grow in the future. They leave to the classes who follow, the responsibility of raising the standard of the school as high as possible. And to this class of graduates the school says, ‘Thank you’ and ‘Good Luck!’

School Echoes, May 1945

On Sept. 8, 1941, 27 students registered to become the first freshman class of the newly founded Sedalia Catholic High School (soon to be renamed Sacred Heart High School).

Their days were filled with studies, much the same as our students now. It’s hard to fathom that three months into their freshman year — on Dec. 7, 1941 — the United States was attacked and launched into World War II.

Throughout their high school years, war efforts at home soon became part of the “daily routine.” Even the school’s mascot wasn’t immune. When pilots experienced mishaps in the airplanes, they blamed the “gremlins” on board. Inspired by their mischievous and endearing character, the Gremlin mascot came to be a treasured part of our school’s identity.

The class soon became the upper-class men and women the following classes would look up to. They continued blazing the trail, but always being ever mindful of keeping in touch with their classmates, no matter how much time and distance separated them.

“Whether it’s stepping out onto the stage or the court, we still cheer on our Gremlins, and sing our Alma Mater wearing red and white with pride, just like our founding classmates did,” organizers of the Hall of Fame induction stated.

Deceased members of the Class of 1945 include: Anne (Hurley) Cooney, Earleen (Paxton) Dick, William C. Dick, Hazel Fiedler, William A. Karigan, Ida E. (Myers) Kroeze, Margie Marie (Behrens) McKelvey, Jewel U. Myers, Margaret (Fiedler) Reissen, Edna B. (Westermeier) Reusch, Patricia Ann Sullivan, Daniel J. Weller, Donald R. Weller, Thomas H. Welliver, and Virginia Marie (Mergen) Whitney.

Class members who were unable to attend include: Betty L. (Sedlak) Ash, Mary E. (Behen) Donahue and Shirley Marie (Weimholt) Schieberl.

Fr. Vincent Hoying C.PP.S.

Precious Father Vincent Hoying, a beloved priest and pastor, made a profound impact on the Sacred Heart community.

His dedication to the longevity of Sacred Heart School and its community is remembered by those who knew him.

Born in Ohio to Charles and Agnes Hoying, Fr. Hoying attended Brunnerdale Seminary in Canton, Ohio, for high school, graduating in 1949.

He became a member of the Missionary Society of the Precious Blood through the Ritual of Incorporation in 1952. After studying theology, philosophy and practicum, He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on June 1, 1958, in Carthagena, Ohio.

Fr. Hoying served Sacred Heart parish and school from 1971-80, shepherding his flock with enthusiasm and compassion.

A strong advocate for Catholic education, Fr. Hoying was a guardian and champion for Sacred Heart School, refusing to entertain the idea of closing Sacred Heart School. Instead, his passion and perseverance generated a renewed energy among the community and recommitment to Catholic education, which would serve as a catalyst for sustainability and growth in the years to come.

Fr. Hoying spent a total of 31 years serving as a pastor or associate pastor in several parishes in Michigan, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa and Oklahoma. He also spent 12 years in hospital ministry in Ohio and served as the vocation director and council member for his congregation.

In 2004, Fr. Hoying volunteered to return to the Sacred Heart community, where he served until his official retirement in 2008. He celebrated his 60th anniversary as a Precious Blood Father this year.

Fr. Hoying’s personality and approachability quickly endeared him to parishioners, students, faculty, staff and alumni. In 2008, a special ceremony was held to name Sacred Heart’s east gymnasium the Father Vincent Hoying gymnasium in his honor.

Fr. Hoying was always proud of his hook shot!

Christopher Lawson

Chris Lawson’s childhood passion for soccer evolved into a successful coaching career that has garnered state and national accolades.

Known and admired for his integrity and exemplary coaching, Chris is considered one of the “go-to” coaches by Missouri State High School Athletic Association (MSHSAA).

His involvement — both on numerous policy-making committees and in personal involvement in the game — has helped to promote and perpetuate the game of soccer.

Born in Wurtzburg, Germany, to the late Oscar and Barbara Lawson, Mr. Lawson grew up in California before relocating to Sedalia in late elementary school.

During high school, he was involved in the school play, baseball, basketball, and soccer.

Following graduation from SHS in 1985, he earned an associate’s degree from State Fair Community College (1987), a bachelor’s degree from Park University in Parkville (1989), a Master of Arts in Teaching from Webster University in St. Louis (1997), and a master’s in educational administration from William Woods University in Fulton (2005).

Since 1987, Mr. Lawson has taught and coached at Rockhurst High School, a private, Roman Catholic, Jesuit, all-boys, preparatory school in Kansas City. At present, he serves as the Social Studies Department Chair, AP and US government instructor, and head soccer coach.

In his 24 years as coach, the Rockhurst Hawklets have garnered seven state championships, four second-place finishes, and eight third-place finishes.

His awards include: MSHSAA Coaches Association Hall of Fame and KC Metro Coach of the Year. He was selected by ESPN to be a representative of high school coaches in a nationally televised panel discussion on the implementation of professionally sponsored soccer academy teams.

His advocacy on behalf of small schools was influential in the formation of MSHSAA establishing a Class 4 boys’ soccer. He serves as a volunteer clinician for multiple soccer groups in the Kansas City area, including two years with TOPS, a soccer club for youth with disabilities.

Even though he is a highly respected and sought after coach, he has never forgotten his roots and invites Sacred Heart soccer players to attend his very popular annual camp free of charge.

Always speaking highly of SHS, one of Mr. Lawson’s mantras is “never forget where you came from.” He lives out this mantra in many ways, including assisting with the delivery of meals for the annual Christmas Eve dinners sponsored by the Sacred Heart School National Honor Society.

He has two sons, Owen and Caleb, and is a member of the Knights of Columbus.

The late Mary Jo McMullin

Mary Jo McMullin epitomized what it means to live a life of service.

She considered nursing her vocation and embodied the role of caregiver to her community.

A lifelong member of Sacred Heart parish and an inductee of the Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame, Mrs.  McMullin spent her life giving to her community and would continually comment on how Sacred Heart had prepared her well for her life’s calling.

She was born in 1933 in Springfork to Robert and Rose Mary (Alt) Welliver.

She attended Sacred Heart for elementary and high school, graduating in 1951. She continued her education at St Mary’s and Donnelly College, in Kansas City, receiving her nursing diploma from St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in Kansas City in 1954.

She married the late Jesse McMullin in 1955 at Sacred Heart Church.

That same year, she took a nursing job at Bothwell Hospital in Sedalia. Since then, she obtained additional stoma nurse training at Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Webster University in St. Louis.

She served the Sedalia community as a Registered Nurse for over 50 years, many of which were spent helping cancer patients live with their ileostomies or colostomies through her private ostomy service.

In 1984, she was appointed Bothwell Regional’s Nursing Administrator, a position she held until her retirement in 1996.

4-H was another passion for Mrs.  McMullin. She served in various roles during her 40-year involvement with the organization, including a 20-year role as Community Leader for the R-1 Hustlers 4-H Club.

She also was a fixture at 4-H Camp, where she served as a camp counselor and nurse for over 40 years. By the time her grandchildren were in 4-H, it wasn’t uncommon for children and adults to come up to her in public and call her Grandma, since that was how she became known at camp.

She was involved at the University of Missouri Extension Center as a member and past president of the Pettis County Extension Council. She was also a member and past president of the Agriculture Committee in Pettis County. In 2006, she was inducted into the Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame.

Not only did she have an extensive nursing career and involvement with 4-H, she was dedicated to Sacred Heart. She was involved in various school and church activities throughout her life. She took pride in her Sacred Heart education and in seeing her four children — Jim (Class of 1974), Tom (Class of 1983), Rose (Class of 1984) and Jane (Class of 1987) — and three grandchildren – Matt (Class of 2001), Ben (Class of 2008) and Laura (Class of 2009) — attend her alma mater.

She missed very few athletic competitions during her years as parent and grandparent. Some of the lucky teammates of either her children or grandchildren also got to experience her cooking abilities when she hosted team dinners.

Mrs. McMullen would have loved knowing that two of her great-grandchildren currently attend Sacred Heart.

Richard C. Pfeiffer

Richard “Dick” Pfeiffer is known for his longstanding loyalty and service to the Sacred Heart community.

Through active participation in the church and school, Mr. Pfeiffer, a grandson of Sacred Heart parish co-founder Gerlach Pfeiffer, has helped to preserve and to enhance the work his grandfather helped begin back in 1882.

Dick was born to Charles and Mary (Dick) Pfeiffer. A member of Sacred Heart since birth, he attended Sacred Heart School for elementary and high school, participating in Boy Scouts, basketball and baseball.

He was elected the senior class president of his Class of 1961.

Following graduation, he served our country in the U.S. Navy from 1961-65.

The Navy trained him as an electronic technician in submarine and nuclear power. This training helped him find employment as a Validation Engineer of missile silos and also as a cable television technician and electrician. He retired in 2005.

His volunteer work at Sacred Heart Church and School is far-reaching. He has served as a Boy Scout leader, school board president and bus-driver, in addition to planning class reunions.

He has spent many hours helping with maintenance, painting and electrical tasks at the school.

He has also served in the parish as a lector, a member of the Administration Commission, and a general volunteer for the Sacred Heart Bazaar.

He and the former Beverly Long were united in marriage in 1972. They have a daughter Lisa (Jeffrey) Sevick (Class of 1993), and a grandson, Zachary.

Mr. Pfeiffer regularly donates blood, having given over 200 times. He is also a Master Gardener through the University of Missouri Extension.

As a retiree, he and his wife donate regularly to Sacred Heart to give back to the community that has provided an education and many opportunities to multiple generations of his family.


Lee C. Redmond

Lee Redmond has excelled as a scientist, mentor and international leader in the field of fisheries science.

During his employment with the Missouri Department of Conservation, he received numerous professional awards and personal accolades, earning him national recognition for his innovative approach and success in conserving and enhancing fisheries in the state of Missouri and nationally.

Mr. Redmond was born to Lee C. and Nadyne (Grother) Redmond in Sedalia, Missouri. He attended Sacred Heart School for elementary and high school. In high school, he participated in a variety of activities including Student Council, basketball and softball, Camera Club, and serving as an altar server.

He worked for Sacred Heart for three summers as a maintenance employee.

He also earned a scholastic letter for three years in high school. He was president of his class and graduated as valedictorian of his class in 1957.

 During his pursuit of higher education, Lee earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Central Missouri State University in 1961 and a master’s degree in Zoology from the University of Missouri in 1964.

He was hired by the Conservation department upon graduation.

During his 37 years there, he became a valued leader. His life’s work has had a profound impact on the conservation of the state’s aquatic resources and on the people he mentored.

 Following his retirement in 1998, he was elected into the National Fisheries Hall of Excellence in 2001.

He and his wife, Marjorie (Weller) Redmond, live in Lohman and are members of St. Martin parish.

They have one daughter, Dr. Shannon Lee (Scott) Windemeyer, DVM, and two grandchildren.

Col. Philip J. White, USAF (Ret.)

Col. Philip White is a distinguished war hero, pilot, sailor and world traveler.

During his 27-year career with the U.S. Air Force (USAF), he was assigned to 30 different units and earned 23 awards and decorations, including the Silver Star.

He served as First Commander of the “Red Flag” training group, which developed aerial training combat exercises that are still in practice by the USAF.

Despite these accomplishments, Col. Philip J. White said: “One of my best achievements was being able to send my four grandchildren through Sacred Heart School. It was the best thing I knew to do for them because I knew what it produced.”

Born to William and Sarah White in Sedalia, Col. White was baptized at Sacred Heart Church. When he was 5, his family became members of St. Patrick parish, of which he is still a member.

Col. White attended elementary school at St. Patrick and high school at Sacred Heart, where he excelled both academically and athletically.

His interests included basketball, baseball, Catholic Youth Council and choir.

Following graduation in 1948, he continued his education at Rockhurst University in Kansas City.

In 1950, during the Korean War, he halted his academics and enlisted in the military.

He eventually returned to the classroom to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Arizona in Tuscon (1962), and a Master of Science degree in political science from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama (1967).

During his 27-year career with the Air Force, he served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

He was a commander with the Misty FACs, a group of combat-experienced fighter pilots that flew missions into heavily defended North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

His awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross (2), Bronze Star, Presidential Unit Citation, Outstanding Unit Award (2) and 15 Air Medals.

In 1976, Col. White was named the Commander of the 440th Tactical Fighter Training Group. Nicknamed, “Red Flag,” this group, under Col. White’s leadership, trained pilots through realistically simulated combat missions in a safe training environment.

This training was expected to significantly increase the odds of a fighter pilot surviving actual combat. Today, Exercise Red Flag is a two-week advanced aerial combat training exercise held several times a year by the Air Force. 

After retiring from the military in 1977, Col. White worked as a staff engineer at Martin-Marietta in Littleton, Colorado.

He then started Sandia Airways, an air charter/ambulance service in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Retiring for the second time, Philip embarked on a sailboat voyage from California through the Panama Canal, then toured the Caribbean before landing in Galveston, Texas.

Wanting to be close to family, he returned to Sedalia in 1994.

He is an active member of St. Patrick parish and has volunteered with the VFW and American Legion.

Meals on Wheels is an activity he continues today.

Philip was married to the late Laury Weir. They have a daughter, Lisa (White) Tanguay, a son-in-law, Randy, and four grandchildren: Amanda (Kessman) Kreisel (Class of 2008); Caleb Tanguay (Class of 2014); Lauren Tanguay (Class of 2015); and Micah Tanguay (Class of 2018).