Class of 72 News

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Fred Kurtz:
Fred Kurtz has been an IndyCar Official on the Observer crew for the Indianapolis 500 since 1987.  He works at the entrance to the pits and his territory is from the exit of turn 4 to Pit- In.  His responsibility is to communicate with race control any accident, debris, moisture or any other information they need to know.  Fred is also a very serious amateur photographer and has made eight books that chronicles the Observer crew for that year.  These books are also in the IMS Hall of fame museum historical archives for all of eternity.  Following is the PDF of the 2021 Observer book.  Click on the "Download" button to view.

And for those interested, here is a link to Fred’s website showing all the countries and events he has photographed.

NTT INDYCAR Series Observers 2021.pdf

Mr. Ken Earl:

Mr. Ken Earl has passed away.  He was 80 years old: (1/4/1942 - 6/20/2022).  I know Mr. Earl was a favorite teacher at Speedway Jr. High School for many of us.  Here are the details: memorial will be held at Conkle’s Funeral Home in Speedway on August 6, 2022, 1-4 pm. 

Speedway Sparkplugs:  how we were named:

In the 1940s, Speedway HS was in need of a school mascot. There was a competition among students and staff to see who had the best name. One student had a particularly intriguing idea.

Speedway, located just miles away from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, had a strong tie to the world famous racetrack. Knowing so, student Jim Kellam entered a unique name, paying homage to Speedway’s location.

Jim nominated “Sparkplugs” and it stuck. In an interview with @KyleNeddenriep in 2017, Helen Kellam, wife of Jim said “…He was a bright man. The smartest man I’ve ever known. An engine couldn’t go without a sparkplug. It was a perfect name.”

The name makes sense…a race car can’t race without a sparkplug, and a school sports team can’t function without a mascot!”


Additional information provided by our own Janie (Kellam) Hayden:  "The two final choices for school colors and mascot were green and white with the mascot Trojan and brown and gold with the mascot Sparkplug. Sparkplug was Barney Google's horse in the comic strip "Snuffy Smith". I can remember my father (Jim Kellam) saying he was really glad they chose "Sparkplug" because he felt a school mascot shouldn't be named after a prophylactic. "  Janie also wrote, "I checked with my Mom and she has nothing from the original proposal. Keeping in mind that was over 80 years ago. She did say that Agnes Spencer who was the sponsor was pushing for the Trojans."

Carey Crittenden:  We just received the sad news that our classmate, Carey Crittenden, is in Hospice Care and declining.  i have attached the information posted by his daughter on Facebook.  I remember him as always being so nice to everyone.  I also remember, in Junior High School, he was very ill with Rheumatic Fever, I believe.  We all took turns carrying a receiver/speaker from class to class so he could participate in our various classes and not get behind.  This was "high-tech" for those days!  I believe it plugged into a phone line in each classroom.

Update:  Carey passed away on the same day as the reunion:  8/20/2022.  Please see the Memorials page for more information.

One of our classmates, David Harrison Blind, passed away April 5th, funeral services was Saturday April 15th. .

David didn't attend SHS his senior year, but was one of our classmates for several years prior.  While at SHS, he was involved as a Projectionist, Sparkle-Aires, and Boy's Booster Club.

We learned today that another of our classmates, Craig Warrick Smith, passed away on May 19th.  Please see the Memorials page for his obituary information.

Another of our classmates has passed away, Joan Milakis Love.  You may recall she was married to Jerry Love, and twin sister to Janet (Milakis) Sauter, who are also classmates.  She passed away on September 8, 2023.  Jerry and Joan were married for 48 years.  Here is the link to her obituary: .  Information is also on the Memorials page.

Mr. John W. Butterworth:

Sorry to share the sad news that one of our teachers, Mr. John Butterworth, has passed away. You may recall he taught history during our Junior High years and coached football and basketball.