Induction of RHS golfers into Hall of Fame a family affair

Posted on February 3, 2020 1:34 PM

The reception for members of Russellville’s 1970 state champion golf team Friday before they were formally inducted to the Russellville Alumni Association’s Athletic Hall of Fame was much like a family reunion.

It was the first time all four of them had been together in decades. Gerry Switzer lives in Russellville while Stewart Wheeler and Hal Freeman have spent much of their adult life here, but Tom Threlkeld has lived and worked in the Lexington area most of the time since his graduation from the University of Kentucky in 1974.

The family ties continued. Both Switzer and Threlkeld asked a brother to be his official presenter at center court during halftime of the boys game matching the Panthers and crosstown rival Logan County. For Switzer, it was his brother Dick of Franklin while Threlkeld chose his brother Mike of Knoxville.

Those two are married to sisters who are RHS alums. Mike Threlkeld’s wife is the former Janice Guion. Dick Switzer is married to the former Carol Guion. They are daughters of the late Bob and Joyce Guion.

The Switzers had other relatives in the building. Their great nieces, Paige and Peyton Vanzant, are standout players for the Logan County Lady Cougars. As always, they and their teammates were being supported by their mom, Lori Switzer McClure.

Also there for Threlkeld were his mother, Lisle Threlkeld of Russellville, and his sister Mary Crit and her husband, Danny Johnson, of Lake Malone. Mrs. Threlkeld is the lone survivor of the eight parents of the players.

Wheeler had several family members with him, including his wife Nova, sister Marilane Kersteins, and some of his children, including step-son Ethan Wills, who was his presenter. Stewart Wheeler continues his law practice in Russellville but now lives, appropriately, near the Olde Stone golf course in Warren County.

Freeman was accompanied by his wife Jennifer and his sister, Sherrie Freeman, who owns and operates the Shoppe on the Square in Russellville. His presenter was his friend and high school drama director, Jim Turner of Russellville. Hal and Jennifer Freeman now live at Gilbertsville on Kentucky Lake.

Representing the state champions’ coach, the late Ron Beckham, were his wife, Lillian Beckham, a former RHS teacher herself, and their grown children—Robin Beckham Frisby, her brother Russ Beckham and sister Reggie Beckham. Russ accepted the plaque for his dad from retired Russellville Superintendent Leon Smith, who has ties with the Beckhams at other schools.

Also at the reception were retired coaches/administrators Wayne Mullen and Mickey Meguiar. The Clash of the Cats session held at Jim Young Gymnasium each year is named in their honor.

Jean Sosh Reynolds is president of the Russellville Alumni Association and Ann Province McReynolds is vice president. Greg Owens oversees athletic alumni events for the city schools.

This was the 15th group of alumni inducted into the Hall of Fame.


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