NORTH CANTON Hoover High School’s Hall of Distinction celebrated its 28th year Sept. 27 by inducting five new people.
The Hall of Distinction has a long and rich history, starting in 1990 as part of a yearlong celebration of education in North Canton. It continues today to recognize those Hoover High School graduates who have shown outstanding achievement in their profession.
Inductees can also include those employees of the district who have performed outstanding service or persons who have performed outstanding community service related to the field of education in North Canton. This year’s class brings the total inductees to 124.
"It’s always fun to hear the stories the inductees have to tell, all of them are honored to receive the designation and many become overwhelmed by the induction," Alumni Association President Jim Strauch said. "The Hall of Distinction is important because it’s a way for us to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to education and our community. Their contributions benefit all of us as a whole and they represent the best of what North Canton is all about."
The evening started with a dinner and socializing. Then the inductees and their families and friends all moved to the Performing Arts Hall to watch each be recognized.
This year’s inductees include the following:
Dr. Gregory Gray – Graduated from Hoover High School in 1966 and led the Vikings as a successful quarterback, winning MVP in 1965. He attended Rutgers and graduated from Ohio State medical school cum laude in 1974. Gray interned at the University of Texas Health Science Center Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas with a residency at Ohio State Department of Ophthalmology. He was an ophthalmologist in Stark County for 38 years and has been honored with a certification of excellence in eye surgery through the American College of Eye Surgeons. He is a former board member of the North Canton YMCA, was in the North Canton Rotary Club and a past president of the North Canton Heritage Society. Gray was recently inducted into the North Canton Athletic Hall of Fame.
James Phillip Holl – Graduated from North Canton High School in 1949. Hool earned his BA in geography in 1957 after serving in the U.S. Army. He Received a master’s degree in Regional Planning from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1962. He also attended the University of Sydyney, Australia. He then moved to New Zealand where he met his wife, Pat. Holl’s career included 35 years in regional planning in North Carolina, Florida, Oregon, New Zealand and Ohio. He spent the last 16 years of his career in the Stark County Regional Planning Commission, retiring in 1996. Holl has authored many books and articles. Among his many achievements, he traveled 1,800 miles solo on the 100th Meridian in 2016. He volunteers with Quail Hollow Park and is involved with the North Canton Historical Society.
William J. Lhota – Graduated from Hoover High School in 1957. Earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Ohio State and began his career with AEP in Canton. He was selected by AEP to study at MIT and earned a Master’s of Science in Management degree. He returned to Canton as executive assistant to the president of AEP, in charge of governmental affairs. He was president of Energy Delivery when he retired from AEP in 2002. He was then elected president and CEO of Central Ohio Transit Authority in 2004 and retired from there in 2012. Lhota was a member of the National Institute for Engineering Ethics, chaired the NPSE Board of Ethical Review, led the development of code of ethics for Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio State Alumni Association, chaired the Columbus Regional Airport Authority and received numerous honors and awards throughout his career. Lhota passed away on Aug. 10, 2017.
Lewis Miller – Lived close to the settlement of Greentown, and in 1834 his father built a red brick house that still stands on Cleveland Avenue. Miller was a prolific reader. He bought a machine shop in Greentown with his brother and step-brother. It was named the Ball, Aultman and Co. They produced mowers and reapers. In 1855, he invented and patented a prototype of a modern-day lawn mower. Miller had 92 patents on farm machinery and equipment. He became a Sunday School superintendent for the Methodist Church in Canton and designed a multi-purpose Sunday School building in 1868, the first of its kind. With Pastor John Vincent, he organized two weeks training for Sunday school teachers in Lake Chautauqua in New York. He served as the president of the Chautauqua Institute until his death in 1899. Miller also served on the Board of Trustees for Mount Union College in 1865 and became president of the board in 1868. He was a trustee at Ohio Wesleyan University and was appointed by the governor in 1868 to a commission that would plan and organize the Ohio State Agricultural College.
Lee Russel Sahadi – Born in London, England, she moved to North Canton as a child with her father, who was an evacuee brought to the area during World War II by the Hoover Company. She attended St. Paul School and Hoover High School and graduated in 1975 and became a U.S. Citizen in 1975. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Walsh University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Tiffin University. She works with Cleveland Clinic Akron General as executive director of Medical Staff Services. She has chaired Ohio Reads steering committee and has served on the boards of MedPro FCU, Boys and Girls Clubs of Summit County and Canton Montessori School. Sahadi was recognized in 2000 by Governor Bob Taft for her role in the Ohio Reads program and received the Women of Achievement Award from the Women’s Network in 2013. She is currently active with Women’s Network Community Leadership Institute, Leadership Akron Alumni, Leadership Stark County, the Austen BioInnovation Institute and St. Paul’s Catholic Church and Sancta Clara Monastery.