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2009 Inductees

July 14, 2011
North Bend High School

George  E. Gebhardt Sr.  Class of 1933

George Edward Gebhardt was born in North Bend in 1915. While a student at NBHS, George was class president, won the Coos County extemporary speaking contest, and was selected "Outstanding Senior Boy". He graduated in 1933 with outstanding grades, then attended the Colorado School of Mines earning a degree as a geological engineer by 1940.  George served in the Army for the duration of WWII and by war's end was in France with the rank of captain in an engineering battalion. He then resumed his civilian engineering career in the oil fields of Texas until 1947 when he was offered a chance to return to Coos Bay as a restaurant owner. By 1951 he was sole owner of the Top Hat Drive Inn. George and his wife Kay ran this popular North Bend business for over 17 years. In 1965 George switched careers and went into the real estate business until retiring in 1980. In 1985 he founded the successful Gebhardt Mining Company.  George was an active member of the Lions Club for over 45 years, earning the highest awards from that organization. He was instrumental in numerous projects connected with his church, Holy Redeemer. He was the key person in formulating the first ever North Bend High alumni directory, overseeing four editions of this directory. The North Bend School Board awarded George an "Unsung Hero Award" and the city honored him as "Citizen of the Year" in 2006 for his work with a successful fundraising project to rebuild the town's municipal pool.

Cliff Saxton  Coach

Cliff Saxton came to North Bend High School in 1957 as the varsity football coach. Between 1957 and 1964 his teams posted 45 wins, 24 losses and 3 ties. They had three consecutive 7-2 records and were contenders for the District 5 title. Cliff was also an assistant basketball coach with Wayne Fox.  Heart problems curtailed his coaching and he served two years as athletic and student activities director. Cliff graduated from Portland's Jefferson High School where he played tackle for the Jeffs. He played football at Linfield College for four years and was an All-Northwest selection as a junior and senior and was named to the All-Conference team as an offensive lineman under the two platoon system. As a senior, Cliff received recognition on several small college All-American teams. He was inducted into the Linfield College Hall of Fame and selected to the NAIA District 2 Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991. The first two years of his football coaching career Cliff was at Shedd High School. He moved to Siuslaw High School for three years before coming to North Bend. From North Bend, he moved to McNary High School for 6-plus years, then finished his 33 year educational career as athletic director at Sprague High School. Cliff retired in 1985 and sold real estate on a part-time basis. He presently resides in Keizer with his wife, LaRene, whom he met at Linfield. Their two children, Gayle Toft and Rob Saxton, and their spouses and one granddaughter are also Linfield graduates.

James C. Ulum  Superintendent

James C. Ulum served as superintendent of North Bend Schools from 1970-1993 and is remembered as one of the finest administrators the district has known.  During his tenure, he led the construction of the high school gym, founded the North Bend Scholarship fund, and supported nationally recognized professional technical programs. Dr. Ulum was at the helm during Oregon's most challenging school funding crisis.  During this difficult time in the district's history, he remained steadfast in his support of teachers and the quality of North Bend's schools.  Teachers and district staff honored and respected Jim Ulum as an educator, first and foremost, who consistently advocated for their profession.  He loved kids and relished their accomplishments.  He was a one-of-a-kind administrator who enthusiastically attended games, concerts, and plays because he truly wanted to be there.  Dr. Ulum gave back to the community he loved, serving as president of the Chamber of Commerce and numerous service organizations.  The Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA), the foremost state organization of school administrators, was actually founded at Dr. Ulum's house, and he served as one of its distinguished presidents.  Dr. Ulum worked long and hard for the school district and the community.  At the same time, he was deeply committed to his family.  His legacy lives on in the school district he led with distinction, the community he served with such commitment, and the family he loved so well.


Richard Lee (Rick) Wetherell was born in Pendleton, Oregon to Del and Kate Wetherell. He was raised in Echo, Arlington, and Hermiston, Oregon with two brothers and one sister. Rick graduated from Hermiston High School and earned his BS degree in Secondary Education from Eastern Oregon College. He completed his graduate work at Oregon State and Portland State Universities.  Rick began his 40 year teaching and coaching career for the North Bend School District in 1965. He taught English, Speech, and Forensics. He also coached three sports for over 30 years. While at NBHS he served as the advisor to the Shakespeare Club and 15 Junior Proms. His coaching career at both the sub-varsity and varsity levels includes football, basketball, and baseball. He drove the school vans well over 300,000 miles transporting students during this time. He coined the "TGWB" logo (Thank God We're Bulldogs), which has appeared on the uniforms, scoreboards, school yearbooks, and in classrooms.  Rick was named Oregon Teacher of the Year in 1985. In 2005 he was awarded the Assistant Coach of the Year in Oregon by the Oregon Coaches Association.  Rick was elected to the North Bend City Council in 1997 and has served as the Mayor of North Bend since 2002.  Rick is currently a Superintendent, Principal, and a Teacher at Kingsview Christian School. He has been married to his wife Judy for 43 years and has two children and four grandchildren. He has truly made a positive difference in the lives of students, colleagues, and fellow citizens during his teaching/coaching career and he continues to serve his community. And Lou Gehrig thought he was ... "the luckiest man on earth."

Tom Younker
Class of 1959

Tom Younker was an outstanding three sport athlete at North Bend High School. He received the Bryant Cup as an outstanding football player and was the team captain and the recipient of the Dean Crowell award as the outstanding basketball player his senior year. In baseball he posted a perfect 9-0 pitching record while hitting an impressive 460 batting average.  Tom went on to Linfield where he earned four varsity letters, in both football and baseball. In football he was a three time all-conference player and a second team NAIA All- American. In baseball he was a four time All- American Conference player. He received NAIA Academic Honors his junior year and second team NAIA All-American Honors his senior year. He played in the Los Angles Dodgers Organization for one year, and then returned to Linfield to earn his Master's Degree. Tom is recognized twice in the Linfield Hall of Fame as an athlete and member of an outstanding team.  Tom's return to North Bend marked the beginning of a 30 year commitment to North Bend students and the community. Tom taught physical education, science and math while coaching football, basketball, and baseball. He led the girl's basketball team to eight state tournament appearances and one district title. Throughout his career Tom was known for his belief in hard work and providing opportunities for any student athlete who wanted to improve.  Tom and his wife Diana have three children; Jason, Jeranna & Shirod and six grandchildren.

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