Saturday, December 20, 2014

‘Awfully good company’ for Wall of Honor

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 8/12/2013

He is a chemist, a musician and one of the world’s leading researchers in dust explosion protection for grain elevators and other structures.

John Going, a 1959 graduate of Ottawa High School, also is one of three 2013 inductees who will have their names added to the Ottawa High School Wall of Honor this fall.  

He is a chemist, a musician and one of the world’s leading researchers in dust explosion protection for grain elevators and other structures.

John Going, a 1959 graduate of Ottawa High School, also is one of three 2013 inductees who will have their names added to the Ottawa High School Wall of Honor this fall.  

Longtime Ottawa banker and World War II veteran Robert Hill (Class of 1938) and entrepreneur and conservationist Lauren Ward (Class of 1959) complete this year’s class of inductees, the OHS Wall of Honor inductee selection committee recently announced.

“I was very humbled,” Going said of being selected as an inductee. “I’ve been to several of the previous presentations, and I’ve had several friends awarded the honor. So, I feel like I’ve been brought into some awfully good company.”

Going, Hill and Ward are set to be formally inducted into the Wall of Honor during halftime of the OHS varsity football game Sept. 13 at Steve Grogan Stadium, next to the high school, 1120 S. Ash St., Ottawa, capping off two days of activities to honor the three men.

The public is invited to attend a banquet and program in the inductees’ honor set for 6 p.m. Sept. 12 in the Ottawa High School Cyclone Room. Tickets are $15 and will be available beginning today at the OHS office. The last day to purchase tickets will be Sept. 5, and no tickets will be sold at the door, according to a Wall of Honor committee news release.

On Sept. 13, the inductees are to be honored during an all-school assembly. Also that day, the trio have been invited to join previous Wall of Honor inductees in meeting with OHS students in their classrooms, followed by the induction ceremony that night at the football game.


At OHS, Going was active in sports and music.

“I played in the band, marching band, orchestra — all those things,” Going, a trumpet player, said. “And I have some fond memories of playing in the Swing Kings [school band group].”

Going enjoyed playing the Big Band tunes of Glenn Miller and other famous bands of the day, he said.

“We got to go on tour — not as you would think of a tour these days. We went to other schools to perform, which I really enjoyed,” Going said.   

After graduating from high school in 1959, Going attended Kansas State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry in 1964.

“I think Lester Hoffman [OHS teacher] was the one who got me interested in chemistry,” Going said.

Going enrolled at the University of Iowa, where he received a doctorate degree in analytical chemistry in 1968. He did post-doctoral work at the University of North Carolina from 1968 to 1969, according to a Wall of Honor release.

Between 1969 and 1975, Going was an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he supervised graduate students.

From 1975 to 1994, Going worked at Midwest Research Institute, Kansas City, Mo., as a senior chemist, department director and senior adviser of chemistry, the release said. He joined Fike Corporation in Blue Springs, Mo., from 1994 to 2011, where he was responsible for research and application of global explosion protection technologies.

Going has received international recognition as an expert in explosion protection and has chaired several national symposia, the release said. He was an invited presenter at National Fire Protection Association Symposiums on dust explosions. He also chaired the American Society for Testing Materials Committee responsible for standardized testing of explosibility parameters. He has authored numerous scientific articles, has been awarded many patents and has presented his research in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Russia and South America, the release said.

“If you accept that accidents are going to happen, and it’s usually people who cause them, then explosion protection tries to mitigate or control dust explosions” to prevent injuries and loss of property, Going said, citing grain elevator explosions in Atchison and at Imperial Sugar in Savannah, Ga., as examples of dust explosions that caused loss of life and tremendous property damage.

“I think the Imperial Sugar explosion cost about a quarter of a billion dollars,” Going said. “We conducted large-scale experiments where we intentionally set off dust explosions that we could control and study, and then used that research to make it safer. The research projects were ultimately used to design [explosion] protection that a company buys.”

Explosion protection research serves the global community, which gave Going the opportunity to travel extensively, he said.

“It’s a global problem,” Going said. “Dust explosions occur in Spain just as well as Texas.”

Going and his wife, Anne, live in Leawood and have two children, Jonathon and Elizabeth.


Bob Hill played basketball and was active in Hi-Y and Latin Club at OHS, according to a news release from the Wall of Honor committee. After graduating from high school in 1938, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Ottawa University, where he lettered in golf all four years and continued to play the game for decades afterward.

Hill was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He served in North Africa and Italy and was commanding officer of an LCI (Landing Craft Infantry) at Utah Beach on D-Day June 6, 1944, the release said.

After the war, Hill attended the University of Kansas School of Law, where he received a juris doctorate degree in 1948 and was admitted to the Kansas Bar Association, the news release said. He returned to Ottawa and pursued a more than 60-year career at the Kansas State Bank, 236 N. Main St., Ottawa, founded by his father in 1917. He has served as principle owner, chairman of the board and president. He currently is chairman emeritus.

“With his training as a lawyer, his personality and abilities, and his skills in finance, Bob could have got out of Dodge and  had a big banking position in St. Louis or Chicago, but he chose to stay in Ottawa, and I find that commendable,” Hurst Coffman, a an OHS graduate, Topeka attorney and longtime family friend, said.

“I think sometimes [young people] think they have to move to New York or LA to be successful, and that’s not true,” Coffman, who nominated Hill for the Wall of Honor, said. “Bob is a great example of someone who chose to make a difference in the community and had great success in doing so.”

Hill was an Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce leader and a founder of the Ottawa Industrial Park, the news release said. In the early 1960s, he co-chaired the bond drive to raise Ottawa’s matching funds for the construction of Ottawa’s flood control system. South Main Street business development grew in large part out of his work to bring Walmart to Ottawa, the release said.

A trustee of Ottawa University from 1956 to 1987, Hill was awarded Life Trustee status in 1987. He is a lifelong member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, 401 W. 13th St., Ottawa.

He and his wife, Betty, a 1938 OHS graduate, had three daughters, Kathy (OHS 1966), Marty (OHS 1968) and Glenda (OHS 1974).


While a student at OHS, Lauren Wood was a member of Kays and O’Club as well as a Summerfield Scholar and National Merit finalist. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business from the University of Kansas in 1963, a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University in 1965 and completed Harvard University’s advanced management program in 1980.

A California resident, Ward has been an entrepreneur, real estate developer and management consultant. A sampling of his business pursuits include running a trucking company, serving as vice president of finance for a paper merchant, building and operating a successful franchise restaurant and owning several rice farms, the news release said.

Since the 1980s, Ward’s passion has been environmental conservation. With Ward’s assistance, more than 300,000 acres of land from Alaska to the Mississippi River have been preserved, providing not only refuges for wildlife, but unspoiled landscapes that can be enjoyed for generations to come, the Wall of Honor release said.

Ward, a saltwater fly fisherman and duck hunter, also is an avid traveler and pilot, logging more than 5,000 flight hours, the release said. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

“Lauren has had a tremendous career as a businessman and as a philanthropist, and I think he will make an outstanding member of the Wall of Honor,” Ralph Gage, a classmate of Ward’s and a recently retired journalist from Lawrence, said.

Gage had been working on putting together Ward’s nomination for several years, he said.

“He’s so modest that it was hard to get him to give me anything [about himself],” Gage said.

Gage pieced together enough information to submit Ward’s nomination this year, he said.

“I was delighted when I heard he was accepted,” Gage said.

Ward and his wife, Mary Margaret, live in Sonoma, Calif. They have two children, Patrick and Lindsay. His brother, Roger Ward, lives in Ottawa.


The Wall of Honor was created in 1997 to honor OHS graduates for outstanding professional achievement and/or for their service to society, the news release said. Since its inception 16 years ago, 51 OHS graduates have been inducted into “The Wall.”

Inductees are chosen by a selection committee comprised of OHS students, teachers and alumni.

Going is looking forward to the induction ceremonies, he said.

“I’m very excited,” Going said. “It’s going to be a nice honor, and I am truly appreciative.”

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