April 5, 1992
Wyandotte Distinguished Graduate


Downing, Edward J. - 1953
Foster, Beatrice (Jerome) - 1937
Homeister, Orville E. - 1941
Juchartz, Donald D. - 1946
Skocpol, Theda (Barron) - 1965


Edward J. Downing - Class of 1953


Edward J. Downing distinguished himself in the field of Music Education.

In 1953, he graduated as valedictorian of his Theodore Roosevelt High School class and entered the University of Michigan, where he earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Music Education.

His teaching career began in Wyandotte in 1957 as a public school music educator. He also taught in Flint, Belleville, and Ann Arbor. At the University of Michigan, he served as Instructor, Conductor of the University Wind Ensemble and Varsity Band, Assistant with the Marching Band and Administrator of the University of Michigan All-State Program.

Mr. Downing's musical groups consistently earned first division ratings at district and state festivals. He has received national recognition for performances at conferences, clinics and college and professional football games. Mr. Downing was named Teacher of the Year by the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association and served the organization as its President.

He has been guest conductor at numerous festivals both in the United States and overseas. On five occasions, he conducted youth bands in Europe under the auspices of Musical Youth International and Youth for Understanding. Under his leadership, the MYI Band won first prize at Tees-side International Eisteddfod in Middlesborough, England.

In 1978, Mr. Downing was appointed Vice President of Interlochen Center for The Arts and Director of Interlochen Arts Camp. As Director, he is responsible for the leadership and management of the educational program offered the Camp's 1400 students. He is also responsible for concert programming throughout the year.

Beatrice (Jerome) Foster - Class of 1937


Beatrice Jerome Foster, Nurse Anesthetist and inventor, has been involved in the field of Nursing since her graduation in 1937. Her career spans over 50 years; 25 years as a registered nurse and 30 years as a certified registered nurse anesthetist. Although she officially "retired" at age 65, she continues to work.

An inventor, Beatrice Jerome Foster holds six patents; three American and three Canadian. Beatrice discovered the missing link in waste anesthesia control and developed a system to protect all operating room personnel from breathing ambient air contaminated with waste anesthetic gasses. She was the only woman invited to display her invention in Washington, D.C. during the National Inventors Exposition. Later, her invention was showcased by the Ohio Society of Engineers. The Foster Anesthesia Evacuator has been the subject of numerous medical papers and journals, and is in use in several hospitals and universities through the United States, Europe and Asia.

Mrs. Foster organized the Downriver Nurses Association and continues to serve her community. She is a much sought after "Career Day" speaker.

Orville E. Homeister - Class of 1941


Orville E. Homeister's name is synonymous with the development of peaceful uses of atomic power.

A Wayne State University Distinguished Alumni, he has lectured extensively and presented papers on nuclear energy, receiving awards from Detroit Edison and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for his exhaustive work.

In 1958, Mr. Homeister was designated a Technical Advisor on the United States Delegation to the Second International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy at Geneva Switzerland. He participated in the start-up of the United Kingdom's atomic energy breeder reactor at Dounreay, Scotland. He similarly worked as a United Nation's representative to a hydro-electric power survey in British Guiana in 1965. During the Korean War, he was hand-picked by Admiral Rickover to work on the "Submarine Advanced Reactor Project" at Argonne National Laboratory.

From 1948, through his retirement in 1986, Mr. Homeister was employed by Detroit Edison where he worked on the design and start-up of the fast breeder reactor for the Enrico Fermi I Atomic Power Plant in Monroe, Michigan, as well as other fossil and nuclear power plants.

Donald D. Juchartz - Class of 1946


Donald D. Juchartz distinguished himself in the fields of agriculture and horticulture. After earning his B.S. degree at Michigan State University, he served as a destroyer executive officer in the Navy during the Korean Conflict. He returned to Michigan State University and earned a M.S. degree in Horticulture.

As a member of the Extension Faculty at Michigan State University, he served as horticultural extension agent, agricultural agent, county extension director and district extension horticultural agent. He designed and built the Michigan State University Extension and Education Center for Wayne County. In 1980 the facility was named in his honor. This facility has been duplicated in eleven different states as well as in the Netherlands.

As an extension agent, Don has worked with the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, Wayne County Executive Office, been a member of the Wayne County Planning Commission since 1967, and on the State of Michigan Land Trust Fund Board of Trustees for eight years. He played a major role in writing state law in the areas of agriculture, pesticide use, and wetlands. He has been involved with the Downriver Community Conference and been very active with Rotary International maintaining "Perfect Attendance" since 1963.

He attained world-wide recognition as a horticultural specialist, authoring 900 publications, appearing on more than 1000 programs throughout the world, presenting more than 16,000 radio programs, as the "Garden Doctor," on WJR and other radio stations, and appearing on more than 150 TV programs. He was honored with over 40 national and state awards in the field of horticulture, including Communicator of the Year by the Farm Bureau and the International Master Gardener Award.

He organized the annual "Flower Days" at the Eastern Market in 1966 which is presently the most unique event of its kind in the world. He was chairman of the Wayne County Wetlands Task Force and a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport Wetlands Advisory Committee.

Theda (Barron) Skocpol - Class of 1965


Theda Barron Skocpol, Ph.D. in Sociology, Harvard University, 1975, is a respected educator, author and guest lecturer. Upon her high school graduation in 1965, Theda attended Michigan State University as a National Merit Scholar, where she earned awards for "Top Honors College Student," Woodward Wilson Fellow, National Science Foundation Fellow and Danforth Fellow. In February, 1972, Theda earned a Master of Arts Degree in Sociology from Harvard University, where she passed her Oral Examination "With Distinction." While completing her Ph.D. program, she became a Sociology Instructor at Harvard and subsequently advanced to Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor of Sociology. At the University of Chicago, Theda taught as an Associate Professor, Professor, and Director for the Center for the Study of Industrial Societies.

Theda has been the recipient of Russell Sage and Ford Foundation research grants and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. She was elected to the Sociological Research Association and has been a member of The Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.

As an author, Theda has served on many editorial and advisory boards, including Associate Editor for "American Sociological Review," Senior Editor of "Theory and Society," and Consulting Editor for the "American Journal of Sociology." Her first book, "States and Social Revolutions: A comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China" was published by Cambridge University Press in 1979 and has been translated into Italian, Korean, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. It received the two highest awards in her discipline. Theda's most recent book is "Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States," published by Harvard University Press in 1992. Articles on social revolutions, on theories and methods in historical macroanalysis, and on American social politics in historical and comparative perspective have a world-wide audience. Theda's publications also include edited books, book reviews and newspaper articles.

Theda Barron Skocpol, a respected educator, has lectured throughout the United States, as well as England, Sweden, Korea and Taiwan. She maintains professional citizenship with numerous committees and associations, and currently works as Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, where she is also a Faculty Associate at the Center for American Political Studies.