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New Taft Hall of Fame Honors All Eagles, Not Just Alumni

By Heather Cherone | May 7, 2015 5:52am | Updated on May 7, 2015 8:50am
 The new hall of fame will honor Terry Kath, the leader of the band Chicago, whose virtuoso guitar skills anchored a long list of Top 40 hits.
The new hall of fame will honor Terry Kath, the leader of the band Chicago, whose virtuoso guitar skills anchored a long list of Top 40 hits.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone; Terry Kath Experience

NORWOOD PARK — Twenty-six people, three sports teams and one family will be inducted into the William Howard Taft High School Hall of Fame, designed to honor the high school's best and brightest.

The Taft Alumni Association already has a Hall of Fame that honors the Norwood Park school's most distinguished graduates, including Jim Jacobs, who based his play and movie "Grease" on his time at Taft, and Chicago Bears legend Jim Grabowski.

After a proposal by a member of the Taft Local School Council, Principal Mark Grishaber said he agreed that "there were many more people who built this fine institution and that there should be a vehicle in which to honor retired teachers, coaches, retired [Parent Teacher Association] leaders, local business leaders and alumni, too."

Heather Cherone talks about the Taft Hall of Fame:

The new hall of fame will induct new members every year, whereas the alumni association selects new members for its hall of fame every three years, Grishaber said.

Voting on members for the new hall of fame will be open to the public, Grishaber said.

One notable alum who will be in the new hall of fame but did not make the alumni association's list is Terry Kath, the leader of the band Chicago, whose virtuoso guitar skills anchored a long list of Top 40 hits. Kath, who struggled with alcohol and drugs, fired what he thought was an unloaded pistol into his head and died in 1978 at age 31.

In 1999, a bid to induct the Grammy Award-winning musician into the alumni association's hall of fame was rejected by board members, who told the Tribune Kath's history of drug abuse made him a poor role model for students.

The inductees will be honored Sept. 12 at a celebration and fundraiser hosted by the Taft High School Foundation at the Ridgemoor Country Club in Harwood Heights. Tickets, available online, are $75 per person or $600 for a table of eight, organizers said.

The inaugural members of the Taft High School Hall of Fame are:

• Fred Allegretti (1959)
• Wayne Andersen (1963)
• Rich Coady (1962)
• James De Leo (1969)
• James Delmedico - Local School Council member
• Cara Dunne Yates (1988)
• Chuck Dobrath - teacher and football coach
• Robert Forney (1944)
• Jim Grabowski (1962)
• Patrice Gramarossa (1970)
• John Graven - principal, 1968-1977
• Leo Hoeffer - first pincipal of Taft, 1939-54
• Frank Hood - Taft basketball coach
• Roy Horton - teacher
• Jim Jacobs (1960)
• Terry Kath (1964)
• Joe Kupcinet - teacher 1940s-60s
• Steve Lombardo (1960)
• Al MacFarlane (1960)
• Larry Marsh (1959)
• Lynn Morley Martin (1957)
• Howard Moore (1990)
• J.J. Stamm - teacher 1956-83
• Dick Thorton (1957)
• Joseph Tunzi (1971)
• Robert Wislow (1963)
• 1957 Baseball Team
• 1960 Football Team
• The Weinstein Family: June Weinstein, Stuart Weinstein (1964), James Weinstein (1968), Susan Weinstein (1971)

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