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ALHS Alumni Hall of Fame

The ALHS Alumni Hall of Fame has 86 members to date. If you would like to nominate an accomplished alumnus for the Hall of Fame, please submit your written nomination to Al Graziano c/o Lincoln High School. Please include a detailed description of what the nominee has accomplished since graduating from Lincoln, including career successes, community service, and service to Lincoln High.

Click HERE to download the Hall of Fame Nomination form.

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Congratulations, 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees:

Joe Tursi, Class of 1941
Dr. Ted Harper, Class of 1947
Paul Tursi, Class of 1950
Suzette Stephens Jensen, Class of 1964
John Haigh, Class of 1972
Tim Leach, Class of 1974
Jim Edwards, Class of 1975


Ted L. Harper, Jr. D.D.S.-- Class of 1947.
Ted’s biography in the June 1947 Yearbook states that “his ambition is to be a successful dentist.” And that is exactly what he accomplished after graduation in 1947. His interests at Lincoln included Science and Latin and he lettered in swimming and track. He held the school record in the high jump in 1946.
Ted went on to earn his B.A. from the University of Iowa in 1951 and his D.D.S. from Iowa in 1954. He earned an M.S. and Residency from the University of North Carolina in 1955. Ted served as a Captain in the Army Dental Corps in Japan, 1956-1957, followed by a forty-seven year Orthodontics practice in Spokane Valley, Washington. Orthodontics is a
branch of dentistry dealing with irregularities of the teeth and correction techniques. Ted was an innovator in the care and treatment of patients with cleft lip (or palate) and associated speech defects and other unique oral facial conditions. He was very generous in donating his time, talents, and resources in the treatment of his patients and sharing practices with colleagues through guest lectures, seminars, and clinical demonstrations throughout the United States and five foreign countries. Ted’s awards and honors, professional experiences and service, affiliations, activities, publications, all attest to his career achievements. He has particularly been honored by the American Association of Orthodontists as an active member for fifty (50) years.
The Late Joseph “Joe” Tursi—January Class of 1941.

Joe was born in Terravecchia, Italy, November 8, 1921. He immigrated to the United States when he was eight years old, about the time of The Great Depression in 1929. Hard work and devotion to family defined his journey through life until his death in February 2010, at the age of 88. The Tursi home, where he grew up, was on the corner of SW 9th Street and Loomis Avenue, across the street from Lincoln. In 1937 Joe’s father bought Park Ave. Shoe Repair and Joe worked at the shop throughout his years at Lincoln. In 1942 Joe volunteered for the Army Air Corps, serving in England during World War II. A picture of Sergeant Joe Tursi, 22 years old, is featured in the October 6, 1944 American Citizen Columbus Day edition. Joe married Sarah Fazio (LHS Class of 1948) in 1950 and together they raised four children, Carmela, Frank, Joe Jr. and Bob. Joe and brother Paul Tursi expanded Park Ave. Shoe Repair into Tursi’s Clothing in 1952 that became one of the largest privately owned clothing stores in the Midwest located on the south-side of Des Moines. Joe “retired” in 1984 after a business career spanning five decades and enjoyed gardening, but remained very active at the store helping brother Paul and sons Frank and Joe Jr. and son Bob at the Latin King Restaurant. Joe’s community service included the Society of Italian Americans, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, Isaac Walton League, Scouting, St. Anthony’s Church, the Build Lincoln Higher Club (BLH), and positions on the Board of Brenton Bank and the Board of Health for the State of Iowa.

Paul Tursi—January Class of 1950.

Paul was Vice President of his senior class and President of the Student Council in ninth grade. He was a member of Service Homeroom, ran the noon movies and the P.A. System for school programs, and lived across the street from Lincoln at 2700 SW 9th Street. This made it very convenient to get to school on time and also to “slip” away for lunch. Paul’s yearbook picture is side-by-side with Darlene Torri’s picture. Each biography mentions the other, Paul saying “he hopes his future plans will include Darlene.” They were married in September 1951 while Paul was serving in the Air Force. They raised five children, Scott, Susan, Paula, Liz and Christopher. Paul worked after school and weekends at Park Ave. Shoe Repair with his brother Joe Tursi. Paul and Joe expanded the business in 1952 into Tursi’s Clothing that became one of the largest privately owned clothing stores in the Midwest on the same corner (on the south-side of Des Moines) where the business started as a shoe-repair shop in the late 1930’s. Paul took over the women’s clothing line in 1984-85 when Joe retired, while Frank and Joe Jr. took over the men’s clothing line until the store closing in 1997. Tursi’s customers included “many southside families, business leaders, and politicians from across the city.” Paul retired in 1993 and enjoys the family lake place and woodworking. His community service has included the American Legion, Knights of Columbus, the Society of Italian Americans, the SW Ninth Street Merchants Association, and the Y-Board. When asked to sum up his business career, Paul concluded “I think we established a decent name on the southside.”


Suzette (Stephens) Jensen-Class of 1964.

Suzette was an active student while at LHS, participating in Latin Club, Drama Club, Girls’ Club, Accompanist Staff, Railsplitter Back Page Editor, Prep Choir, Girls’ Glee Club, Senior Choir, Flagtwirler, Drama Plays, Drill Team and Class Day Committee. Being “involved” would continue to be a big part of her life as she studied at the University of Iowa, Grand View College and Drake University, earning a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications and an MA in Mass Communications from Drake. In nominating Suzette for the Hall of Fame, classmate Sue Ellen Bogatto Hudson stated that Suzette “has always been involved in education and community service for the betterment of the city of Des Moines.” Suzette volunteered extensively in Des Moines schools for many years including PTAleadership at Elementary, Middle and High School levels leading to two terms as President of the Des Moines PTA Council and as a Board Member of the Iowa PTA. Suzette was elected to the Des Moines School Board in 1990 and re-elected in 1993, serving until 1996. Suzette worked tirelessly on many issues facing the Des Moines Public Schools including class size, instructional programs, classroom equipment/supplies, an adult smoking ban in all buildings, dropout rates, technology advances, student employable skills, facility maintenance, and district finances to name a few. Suzette has been instrumental in leading a change in the way Des Moines School Board members are elected to establish district representation insuring all sections of the city are represented on the School
Board. Suzette is active in her church, her neighborhood association, and Grand View University. She traveled thoughout the United States with her late husband, Ed Jensen, following his auto racing hobby with a 1967 Camero Z-28. Her sister, Celeste Comito, manages the Attendance Office at Lincoln. Travel, gardening, reading, and her grandchildren all occupy Suzette in her spare time.


John Haigh—Class of 1972.

John distinguished himself at Lincoln as an outstanding student and also excelled at basketball, baseball, and tennis. He was an all-city and all-state basketball and baseball selection and served as captain of the tennis team. He represented Lincoln on the Younkers Advisory Board for senior boys and appeared in the Younkers Yearbook Ad. Leadership qualities and high scholastic standing were two main standards in the selection process for the Younkers Board. John attended Grinnell College where he earned the scholastic distinction Phi Beta Kappa, was an Academic All-American and All-Conference basketball player, graduating in 1976. He then worked in Washington D.C. for Resources for the Future, focusing on environmental and energy issues. John attended Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and earned a Masters in Public Policy in 1982 and then joined Mercer Management Consulting for thirteen years, focusing on strategy issues in multiple industries. He joined AT&T in 1996 followed by AT&T Wireless and held a variety of leadership positions including President of International Ventures and Senior Vice President of Wireless Emerging Initiatives. John joined Harvard in 2005 and is currently the Executive Dean and Co-Director of Harvard’s Center for Business and Government and also the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. John is married and has two children. John has family in the Des Moines area including his mother and brother’s family residing in Urbandale.

Tim Leach—Class of 1974.

Tim emphatically states today “I enjoyed high school at Lincoln, played baseball, and went to all the games.” And Tim had some exciting games to attend as Lincoln’s basketball team was on the verge of a state championship (1975) and fans lined up outside the Roundhouse hours before the Lincoln-Hoover game to get seats. Years later Tim would return to Lincoln as President of Build Lincoln Higher Club (BLH) for two terms (2004-05 and 2005-06) to help focus attention on improvements needed at Hutchens Stadium and work on the Vision Campaign to secure funding for the upgrades. Right after graduation from Lincoln, Tim attended DMACC for two years, worked at southside Hy-Vee and Super Value Stores and Rite Beverage Company, married Rhonda Van Nausdle (also LHS 1974) and moved on to the University of Iowa. Tim earned his BS in Journalism and Mass Communications in 1981 and went to work for Iowa Power and Light Company through several company transitions. Tim started at the Greater Des Moines Partnership as Vice President of Downtown Development. His focus has been on business development and working closely with all levels of government to promote economic development in Des Moines. Tim earned his credentials as a Certified Economic Developer in 2000 and has served as Board Chairperson for the Professional Developers of Iowa and the Mid American (10 states) Economic Development Council. Tim and Rhonda were very active parent volunteers throughout the years their children (Lindsey, Class of 2002, and Adam, Class of 2006) were at Lincoln.

Jim Edwards—Class of 1975.

Jim excelled at swimming while at Lincoln earning letters all four years and competing in the State Swim Meet all four years, as well as the Junior Olympics in 1971 in Colorado Springs. The 1975 yearbook Swim Team page salutes senior Jim “Cricket” Edwards as a member of the first place Metro Conference medley relay team, his record in the 500 yd. free style and placing at State in the backstroke and individual medley events. Jim is pictured in the yearbook coming up for air on his way to taking first place in the breast stroke. Son Jimmy, Class of 2008, and daughter Kelsey, Class of 2011, followed their dad’s lead to the pool while at Lincoln along with other activities. Jim graduated from Iowa State in 1979 with a degree in Civil Engineering and went to work for the Federal Aviation Administration in Kansas City. He returned to Des Moines in 1983 to work in the family business, Edwards Graphics. Jim and his four siblings all work at the family business, located on Bell Avenue that has grown from twenty employees in 1983 to seventy-five employees today. Clients include the State of Iowa, Principal Financial, and many Ad Agencies in the Des Moines area. Edwards Graphics, under Jim’s leadership, has received numerous certificates of appreciation and awards from organization such as the Special Olympics, the American Red Cross, the Boy Scouts of America, and the South Des Moines Chamber of Commerce. Jim has served as Treasurer and President of the Build Lincoln Higher Club (BLH), provided many, many hours of volunteer service to Lincoln activities, and provides printing for many events and performances at Lincoln. He has two younger children, Emma, 8th grade and Lauren, 7th grade, so we look forward to having Jim around Lincoln in the coming years.



Hall of Fame


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