Union Grove

Five inductees added to Bronco Hall of Fame

Thomas Smart

On Oct. 7, five graduates of Union Grove High School were inducted into the Bronco Hall of Fame.

These individuals are: Thomas Smart, Class of 1953; James Vyvyan, Class of 1964; William Kingore, Class of 1977; James Thomas, Class of 1978; and Diane (Knight) Billmyer, Class of 1986.

The induction ceremony will begin at 6:45 p.m. on Laverty Field, prior to the homecoming football game against Elkhorn.

The Bronco Hall of Fame was established in 2006 to honor former students, teams, coaches, advisors, teachers and administrators who had participated in athletics a minimum of three years, have given meritorious service to the school, their community, and distinguished themselves in their professional career or volunteerism within their community.

James Vyvyan

To date, 27 individuals have been inducted into the Bronco Hall of Fame.

Nominations for the 2012 Hall of Fame will be accepted in March 2012.  All Bronco fans are invited.

• Thomas Smart.  As a student at UGHS, Tom participated all four years in football, basketball, baseball and one year in track earning nine varsity letters.  He played on the 1952 Southeastern Wisconsin Conference championship baseball team, which also won the regional and sectional titles and played in the WIAA State Tournament.

Besides athletics he found time to participate in band, chorus, Letterman’s Club, Math Club, Bronco Times staff, and Bronco Tales staff.

William Kingore

He represented the school at Badger Boys State his junior year and was the second recipient of the UG Lion’s Club scholarship.

After graduation, Tom attended the Racine-Kenosha County Teachers College in Union Grove where he also played on the basketball team.  Graduating in 1955 with a two-year diploma to teach he began his teaching career.

He continued his schooling while teaching through night classes and summer school and received a Bachelor of Education from UW-Whitewater in 1962 and a Masters Degree in Administration and Supervision from the UW-Milwaukee in 1971.

Tom taught sixth grade followed by work as a Principal at the Eagle River Elementary School

James Thomas

District beginning in 1968.  With a district restructure to a K-12 system in the 70s, Tom decided to operate two small businesses in the Eagle River area, Tracsters Speed Center and The Forge.  These businesses were sold in the 80’s and he took over the teaching and administration of the Humpty Dumpty Preschool for 3-5 year olds, where he worked for 12 years before retiring.

As a member of the UG Methodist Church, he was instrumental in the beginning of the educational addition where he also served as a teacher and superintendent.  This same work continued when he moved to Eagle River.  He also served on the Eagle River library board for a number of years.

While enjoying his retirement, the teacher in him still surfaces every Friday he is at the Eagle River Elementary school guiding the students in the importance of recycling to keep our earth’s beauty.

Over the years, Tom has coached 7th and 8th grade basketball, Little League baseball, and youth hockey.

Diane Billmyer

As a certified hunter safety and snowmobile safety instructor, he has taught hundreds of 12 year olds in the safe handling of guns and snowmobiles.  For 37 years he has been active in the Boy Scout program, earning the rank of Eagle Scout, Silver Award in Exploring and as a volunteer presented the District Award of Merit.

Tom and his wife Carol reside in Eagle River.

• James R. Vyvyan.  A graduate of the Class of 1964, while at UGUHS Jim participated in football and track, earning three varsity letters, second team All-Conference in football, and on the medley relay team that held the school record at the time.  He also was a member of the National Honor Society, Homecoming King and the Lions Club Scholarship recipient. 

Following graduation, Jim attended UW-Madison and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Math later earning his Master of Science degree from UW-Whitewater and Webmaster Certificate of Design from Marquette University.

Jim began his teaching career at Union Grove Union High School in 1968 where he taught Mathematics for many years and later computer science and multi-media classes as well as serving as the Districts technology coordinator.

Jim was instrumental in purchasing the first computers at UGUHS and building the computer program to over 200 computers and five servers.   In 1993 the State of Wisconsin recognized the Union Grove High School program as “Outstanding”.”

In 1995, Jim was one of four teachers in Racine County recognized as Tandy Technology Scholars which recognizes academic excellence in mathematics, science and computer science and was chosen by the Mathematics Teachers of America-Wisconsin Division as the “Mathematics Teacher of the Year.”

Jim is a member of the Union Grove High School Quarter Century Hall of Fame and retired in June 2008 following 40 years of service to the District.

Over the years Jim has been a 4-H leader, church youth group leader, little league treasurer, president of Shephard’s Pass subdivision and a volunteer tutor at Literacy Services of Wisconsin.  He recently wrote and published “The Vyvyans,” which is the story of his family and what they have accomplished and endured starting with his great, great, Grandfather leaving Cornwall at the age of 18 to come to America through the years to the present time.

Jim is currently an instructor at Alverno College in Milwaukee and resides in Waukesha with his wife, Barb.

• William C. Kingore. During Bill’s high school career, he was class president, student council member all four years, and a varsity letter winner in golf, basketball, and football.  He was a golf state sectional qualifier two years in a row, a state golf regional medalist in 1975 and held the top-10 all-time low individual match scoring average.

In 1975, he performed in the UGUHS production of Li’l Abner.  During his junior and senior year of high school, he was a member of the basketball statistician team for the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette University in 1982.

Through the course of his business and professional career, Bill has served several leading investment banks and financial services firms.

He also has devoted his time, energy and skills to philanthropic causes in a variety of leadership roles, a focus that he is now committed to as Vice President of the Western Golf Association/Evans Scholars Foundation.

A member of the WGA/ESF executive team, he is currently responsible for cultivating major and principal gifts on behalf of one of the most prestigious and largest scholarship organizations in the nation. WGA and its charitable-arm, the Evans Scholars Foundation, currently provides over 860 full-tuition and housing annual scholarships to hard working, bright and financially challenged young men and women. Between 2005 and 2011, Bill also served as a Director of the Western Golf Association, and in 2009-10, he served on the WGA Board of Governors and was Chairman of the Endowment & Fundraising Committee and the Corporate & Institutional Development Committee.

Bill began his business career with the investment bank of Goldman, Sachs & Company. He served the firm as a member of The Chicago Board of Trade and provided institutional money managers and professional trading firms with direct access to financial futures market coverage from the largest derivatives exchange in the world.

Bill’s career evolved into positions of increasing responsibility as he began to serve institutional fixed-income clients at the investment banks of Drexel Burnham Lambert and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

In 1990, Bill and a group of professionals formed Wilmington Securities, Inc. The firm provided highly specialized advisory services to a group of blue-chip institutional clients. Bill was the leading revenue producer during each year of the firm’s history.

In 1995, Bill became an executive search professional. He later joined Sullivan & Company and was subsequently named Partner with Heidrick & Struggles upon the merger of these two firms in 1999. Bill has conducted and completed a wide-range of senior and high-profile executive searches within capital markets, global banking, asset management and the exchange community, including several for Chief Executive Officer.

In 2002, Bill was invited to become a Partner of Liquidity Direct Technology. As a member of the executive management team and head of business and product development, Bill helped orchestrate the sale of the firm to Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings in 2004.

Prior to joining Western Golf Association/Evans Scholars Foundation, Bill was Principal and Founder of Kingore Partners, LLC. The firm provided traditional executive search consulting services and also worked to arrange introductions of capital to clients who required additional funds to augment their business operations.

Bill is a member of The Economic Club of Chicago.

Bill has been a long-standing supporter of the UGUHS golf team supplying equipment and financial support.

• James Thomas. While a student at UGHS, Jim participated in football and wrestling earning five varsity letters.  He represented UGHS at Badger Boys State, was named Outstanding Senior Student, a member of NHS and Student Government.

Upon graduation Jim went on to attend UW-Madison.  After receiving his MD degree he completed    completed an internal medicine residency while simultaneously performing a postdoctoral research fellowship in biophysics, studying free radical biochemistry at the Medical College.

He then went on to complete a medical oncology fellowship and joined the medical oncology faculty at the University of Wisconsin in 1998.  Dr. Thomas was an Associate Professor at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center from 2005-2010 where he directed clinical trial activity of 85 research staff for the cancer center.  Dr. Thomas joined the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2010.

Dr. Thomas is currently a Professor of Medicine in the hematology/oncology division at the Medical College of Wisconsin as well as a part of the medical staff of Froedtert Hospital.  His clinical research will be instrumental in steering new cancer treatments from the College labs through the trial process and into clinics.

Dr. Thomas is chairman and chief executive officer of Perscitus Biosciences, LLC, a company he founded in 2006 creating innovative solutions for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.  It also has patents in his field of study.  In his clinical practice, Dr. Thomas treats patients with gastrointestinal cancers.

Dr. Thomas has published over 75 scientific articles in the areas of reactive oxygen species and cancer drug development, is a member of numerous professional organizations and is the current chair of the Association of American Cancer Institute’s Clinical Research Initiative, a national group that helps cancer centers share best practices for performing clinical trials.  He is also an ad hoc manuscript reviewer for major medical journals.

In his free time, Jim has participated in a medical mission to the Dominican Republic by Doctors of Cuban Association and Knights of Malta providing medical assistance to patients in this poor area.  He has also participated in the Ohio State Cancer Center “Pelatoni” fundraiser, and founder of the University of Wisconsin Cancer Center “Bowlin’ for Colons”.

Jim and his family reside in Delafield.

•  Diane (Knight) Billmyer. Throughout Diane’s high school career, she was involved in the drama program either as an actress or choreographer, qualifying for State completion twice in one-act plays.  She was a member of the national honor society, student council, symphonic band and forensics.

She was the 1985 Badger Girls State representative, and was the recipient of the Daughters of American Revolution Good Citizen Award, Elk’s Most Valuable Student Award and the American Legion Most Exemplary Student Award, graduating in the top percent of her class.

Diane dreamed of becoming a nurse from little one, pursuing that dream attending Carroll College and Columbia College of Nursing in Waukesha receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing in 1990.  In June of 1996 she received a Master’s Degree as a Physician Assistant Practice through Finch University of Health Sciences-The Chicago Medical School-Graduate Program.

During this time she received many distinguished awards.  She went on to teach courses for PA students at Finch University of Health Sciences and was adjunct professor for the Physician Assistant Program at Carroll University for a year helping them develop a Master of Physician Assistant studies program, which launched this past June.

Diane started her professional nursing career at Wheaton Franciscan Health Care-All Saints, Racine, (formerly St. Mary’s Medical Center) as a nurse on the orthopedic/neurologic floor and in the emergency room.  In 1997 she began her career as a physician assistant in the emergency room and later in Orthopedics at All Saints.

Currently she is the physician assistant with Dr. N. Kohli, an orthopedic surgeon practicing out of the Aurora Health Centers in Racine and Kenosha.

Diane has been involved with 4-H for many years, Chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Bike-A-Thon, a volunteer singer and dancer in two annual Cardiac Capers variety shows to raise money for St. Mary’s Medical Center and the Burlington Haylofters.

Most recently, Diane was a Sunday school teacher at Franksville United Methodist Church, currently leads the Foods & Nutrition project in the Tucker 4-H Club and also serves as a co-advisor for the Tucker 4-H Junior Leaders.

Diane is an active runner, participating in several run/walks over the past several years (Super Saturday Run/Walk, Union Grove, Lighthouse Run, Racine, Full Moon 4-Miler, Waterford, and Fox Cities Half Marathon, Menasha).

Diane and her family reside in Racine.

One Comment

  1. Congratulations Diane. You have a very busy life.