Connie Palmer Shown, president of the Fulton High School Alumni Association, has attended every Falcons football game she could since age 10. The self-described Falcons fan calls the North Knoxville school a tight-knit community.
“It’s a blessing to be a part of Fulton,” she said.
That’s why she and her fellow alumni association members put so much work into the school and into a biannual event set this year for Thursday, Oct. 4, at Rothchild Catering on Kingston Pike: the Fulton High Wall of Fame induction. Meet-and-greet starts at 5:30 p.m., with the banquet starting at 6:30.
This time around, the group is inducting 10 individuals, including one teacher and two posthumous inductees. The event is the association’s major fundraiser, helping it provide scholarships to Fulton students and boost the sports teams, among other projects. Tickets are $60, and this year there will be a silent auction with historic Fulton and North Knoxville memorabilia available for bidding.
Shown invited everyone to attend the event, even if they’re not currently active in the alumni association.
“They would see that we have a lot of people from Fulton High that are really success stories,” she said. “I think they would enjoy seeing the older people and just connect with people and see how far people have come in their lives.”
Tickets are available at the door or by contacting Fulton High School Alumni Association, P.O. Box 27431, Knoxville, TN 37927-7431 or [email protected].
This year’s inductees include:
Dr. William L. “Bill” Burkhart, born and raised in Knoxville, has practiced medicine for over 30 years, currently with Summit Medical Group. As a third-generation family practitioner, he has expertise in several areas, including diabetes care, hypertension, COPD and mental health. Board certified in family practice, Burkhart served as chief of staff of St. Mary’s Medical Center in 2004 and several times earned the accolade of being one of Knoxville’s “Top Docs.” Both of these distinctions were conferred by his peers. Bill earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at UT Knoxville, an M.D. at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis, and completed his internship and residency at UT Medical Center in Knoxville. Bill played snare drum in the Pride of the Southland Band and has been a loyal booster and contributor to the band as an alumnus. In addition to the Dean’s Advisory Board, Bill is a member of the UT’s College of Medicine Alumni Board. His other interests include performing as a percussionist with the Tennessee Wind Symphony and the Knoxville Christian Arts Ministry, and serving on the board of the Knox Area Rescue Ministries. Bill and his wife, Jeannine, have four sons: William, Matthew, James and John, all of whom attended UT.
David Dunaway, after graduating from Fulton High School in 1967, went on to be an attorney in Knoxville and LaFollette, practicing for the last 43 years. He is one of six children born to William and Geneva Dunaway. He grew up in Happy Hollow and the Lincoln Park community of North Knoxville. His early mentors at Fulton were Dr. James A. Newman and Linnie McMillan, Fulton principal and English teacher. Dunaway also ran for Congress twice and was a finalist for the National Trial Lawyer Award in 2003. He has always believed that one voice could make a difference.
Dr. Arlene Garrison is a 1971 graduate of Fulton High School. Garrison is vice president of University Partnerships at Oak Ridge Associated Universities. ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of over 120 major research universities, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers. Dr. Garrison also currently serves on the board of the Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair, the Anderson County Chamber board, and the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for the Small Business Innovation Research program. In recognition of her volunteer work in science outreach to pre-college students, Garrison was one of the 10,000 Olympic Torch Bearers as the torch moved to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Dr. Michael Douglas Leahy graduated from Fulton in 1966. Leahy and his wife, Carolyn, have two daughters, Emily and Meredith. He graduated from UT Knoxville and UT Medical Center Memphis with his bachelor’s and medical degree. He did his residency at UT Medical Center Memphis and a fellowship in cardiology. Leahy was board certified from the American Board of Internal Medicine in 1977. In 1987, Leahy was the chief of staff at St. Mary’s Medical Center and was president of Tennessee Society of Internal Medicine in 1993. He is a member of the American College of Physicians, American Medical Association and Knoxville Academy of Medicine, and other organizations.
From 1998 to 2012, he was medical director of Select Hospital of North Knoxville. He also was part of the Greater Knoxville Business Journal 2010 Health Care Heroes and master of the American College of Physicians.
He has been a member or president of many civic organizations over the years. In 1985, Leahy was president of the American Heart Association, senior warden of the Church of the Ascension in 1990, and is a former board member of the YMCA.
John Martin, a 1958 Fulton High School graduate, was born in Harlan, Kentucky. He lived with his grandfather most of his life. After his grandfather retired from the U.S. Post Office, they moved to Knoxville. Martin attended Fulton for 11th and 12th grades, taking radio and electronics. He worked at the radio station at Fulton (WKCS) for two years, as well as the White Stores in Broadway Shopping Center.
After high school, Martin went into the U.S. Air Force. While at Thule Air Base Greenland, he worked for Armed Forces Radio KOLD and sister station KIBC. When he left the Air Force he later got a job at Lockheed Aircraft and worked there for 32 years.
In 1977 he decided to go back into the Air National Guard. John got his pilot license, joined the Civil Air Patrol and became a squadron commander. He later started running the Senior Lighthouse Center, taking seniors on train rides, cruises, trips to the Grand Ole Opry, shopping and out to eat. Martin follows up and checks on his seniors to make sure they are OK. All of his work with Civil Air Patrol and the Senior Lighthouse Center was as a volunteer.
David Spencer is a 1956 graduate of Fulton. He grew up in the Arlington area of North Knoxville. He began playing trumpet in the fifth grade, and was first chair, solo trumpet in the Fulton Band.
Trained as a church musician, after graduation from Carson-Newman College in 1961, Spencer served churches in both Florida and Tennessee as a minister of music. It was while working at a church in Nashville that he began to feel the need for more education. In 1965, he was accepted into the Master of Music program at the George Peabody College School of Music, now part of Vanderbilt University. After graduation in 1967, Spencer began a career in teaching. In order to stay in town to work on his doctorate, he taught voice at Trevecca Nazarene University and later became the choral director at Nashville’s Central High School. In 1979, Spencer arrived at John Overton High School where he remained until his retirement in 1999.
In 2008, Spencer received the highest honor of his career when Tennessee ACDA chose him to receive its first “Lifetime Achievement Award.” He has been married to Deloris Campbell of Dandridge for 58 years. They have three daughters and eight grandchildren.
Diane Evans Whaley graduated from Fulton High School in 1961. She attended the University of Tennessee, where she met Charles Whaley. They married in 1962 and have three sons.
She was active in many community projects with Fountain City Jaycettes, Fountain City Lions swim team, American Heart Association and Halls PTA. She returned to UT and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and religious studies.
In 1995 she joined the American Red Cross and became part of the national disaster team, working in more than 25 disasters. In 1996 she began going to Haiti providing free health care to people in the mountains of southeast of Port au Prince, serving as medical director with teams numbering 5-18. This is a continuing work.
She has received several awards, including the International Red Cross Florence Nightingale Award and the Clara Barton Award from American Red Cross.
The late Dr. Joseph W. Harb attended Knoxville High before graduating from Fulton High School in 1952. He continued his education at UT Knoxville, graduating in 1956. He graduated from the UT Medical School in Memphis in 1960 and was president of his graduating class. Following specialty training, he began his practice in internal medicine in Knoxville in 1967. He retired from private practice in 1985, at which time he became Knoxville’s city physician, and he and his wife, Mary, opened Harb’s Oriental Rug Gallery. Through the years, Dr. Harb served Knoxville’s medical community in several capacities. He was president of the Knoxville Academy of Medicine, chief of staff of St. Mary’s Medical Center, and medical director of the 1982 World’s Fair. He was also proud of his Palestinian heritage. Dr. Harb and Mary raised three kids and were immensely proud of each of them.
The late Stanley Wrinkle was a 1960 honors graduate of Fulton High School and an “all city” guard on the 1959 football team. He played football while attending Mars Hill Junior College and Maryville College before transferring to the UT, where he completed work for his bachelor’s degree in 1964. He became an assistant football coach at Marietta High School and a teacher in Marietta, Georgia, city school system. He returned to UT for his doctorate in 1972.
After 18 years as assistant superintendent, retirement opened new opportunities to share his experience and expertise in education. He served as adjunct professor at Kennesaw State University, co-principal of the school at Roswell Street Baptist Church; member of the board at Mt. Paran Christian School and board member and mentor in the Marietta Mentoring for Leadership program at Marietta High School.
While Stanley’s official title was Dr. Wrinkle, he preferred to be just Stanley Wrinkle. He will always be remembered for his kind and humble disposition and a life very well lived.
A native of Lake City, Tennessee, and a 1979 graduate of Lake City High School, Jody Wright started his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Lincoln Memorial University under the tutelage of head coach Rick Byrd. He then took the head basketball coaching job at Horace Maynard High School. After one year he accepted a position teaching science and coaching basketball at Fulton High School, where he has been the head basketball coach for the past 33 years.
Wright has been honored as district coach of the year 16 times, named KIL coach of the year 10 times, East Tennessee coach of the year twice, PrepXtra coach of the year four times and state coach of the year in 2008. His teams have won more than 700 games in his career, and in 2011 Fulton High honored him by naming the Fulton gym “Jody Wright Arena.” In 2008, he was inducted into the Anderson County Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the LMU Athletes Hall of Fame in 2012.
Jody Wright is the assistant principal, athletic director and basketball coach at Fulton High School. He is a member of Second Baptist Church of Clinton, where he serves as a deacon. He is married to Kim, and they have two daughters.