Congratulations to the class of 1972 on the 50th anniversary of your graduation from Ranken Technical College! It is our institutional tradition to honor our Golden Graduates – all those celebrating five decades as alumni – at our annual graduation event. Unfortunately, we are unable to conduct graduation in the traditional sense this year.  However, Ranken is taking special steps to honor the class of 1972.  Below you can find pictures and personal stories from graduates of this class, serving as a tribute to their accomplishments. We also have the class composite picture (click here to view) so the class of 1972 can see themselves and their friends and recall their days as students.  If you would like your story and picture added to this page, please email [email protected].


Allen Keck – Automotive Maintenance Technology

Allen graduated with a degree in Automotive Maintenance Technology. After finishing his Ranken degree he went to Oldsmobile school in South County. When Nixon Buick saw that he went to Ranken and the Oldsmobile school they hired him. Read More

After Nixon, Allen worked at Jung Brothers Pontiac for ten years, Meyer Olds for 5 years, Meyer Honda for 13 years and then moved to Huey Honda. He retired from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Automotive Lodge 777 in 2000. Allen has been married for 47 years and has two sons and one grandson. He and his wife have a Can-Am Spyder which they enjoy riding. They also have a 24 foot motor home which they enjoy using on their travels.



Don McReynolds – Automotive Maintenance

When Don finished high school, he spoke with the Manager of Research at the Shell Oil Refinery in Wood River to find out what he should do. The manager told Don he should go to Ranken and apply for a job at the refinery. Read More

Don followed his advice and enrolled in Ranken’s Automotive Maintenance program. Don remembers driving to class with his classmates, Bruce Schell, Ron Kraner, and Joe Certa. He remembers his teachers, Mr. Kyle, Mr. Ruth, and Mr. Wilson. He also remembers playing soccer every day after lunch on the field in front of Finney Hall. After graduating Don went to work at Albrecht Hamlin Chevrolet Dealer where he worked for four years. He then moved to the Shell Oil Refinery in Wood River. Don worked at the refinery for 37 years. Don said that Ranken was highly thought of by Shell and that all of the auto mechanics were from Ranken. He also said that Ranken opened the door for him to get hired by the refinery, make good money and advance in his field.


The last 15 years at the refinery Don was a supervisor over the truck drivers, mechanics, cranes and crane operators and managed the fleet. One year his boss instructed him to develop a rigging program for the refinery as they had just been informed by corporate that they were lacking in this area. Don developed the program. In three years when corporate returned, they informed Don’s boss that they had the best rigging program in Conoco Phillips. Don has been married to his wife Patty for 49 years and has two children and four grand kids.

He and his wife enjoy traveling and watching Cardinal Baseball and he is involved with Model Railroading and playing cards. He recently found out that one of his card playing friends, Karl Pachesa, was at Ranken the same time as him. Small world.



John Naeger – Communications Electronics Technology

John remembers having the three Rays for instructors at Ranken, Ray Goss, Ray Hemker and Ray Underwood. He also remembers his time at Ranken as a very positive experience because of the focus on skills and work ethic. He loved the hands-on aspect of instruction. His classes were in a building on the north side of Cook Avenue at the corner of Newstead, possibly an old shoe factory. Read More

One of his fondest memories is the relationships with classmates who were Viet Nam Veterans. These guys were a little older and were great mentors for the younger students. After graduation John repaired Motorola two-way radios, was in the Air Guard for 20 years at Lambert, worked at MCI World Comm for two and a half years. He ended his career after working as an FAA Navcom Technician at Lambert for 20 years. He is grateful that he has been able to work for 50 years. John had several family members who have also graduated from Ranken:

Urban Naeger    1963      Uncle                    Industrial Electricity/Electronics Technology
Bruce Naeger    1977       Brother                Automotive Maintenance Technology program.
Ben Joggerst      2002       Cousin                  Industrial Electricity/Electronics Technology



Bruce Prinster – Automotive Maintenance Technology

Bruce started classes at Ranken Trade School in March of 1970 as one of nine students of which only three graduated.  One was Ron Hoffmeister and the other was Dan Sabo who became such a good friend that he was a groomsman in Bruce’s wedding.  Read More

Bruce has been married to Donna for 41 years and has three children and two grandchildren.  After graduating from Ranken he worked for several years at auto repair shops in St. Charles County and eventually went to work at Weber Chevrolet from 1986 until retiring in 2009.  Bruce still likes to help friends with minor repairs on their cars.  He is an active member of Assumption Catholic Church in O’Fallon, Missouri where he was raised as one of less than 800 people in the early 1950’s.  In his spare time Bruce has served on the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) since it started in 2009 and obtained his Ham Radio license in 2012.  Bruce believes he was among the first students to attend classes in the converted streetcar garage renamed the Rodenheiser Building.  He remembers the gray shop uniforms and playing soccer in the central grass field between the wrought iron fences after lunch.  His father Glennon apparently used that same field for training while in the Army Air Corps.  Bruce also remembered driving from O’Fallon daily with Bill Fischer (’71) over the I-70 Missouri River bridge when it was a single span.

Gary Fields – Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating Service and Installation Technology

Gary went to Viet Nam after high school and married Sandy, the girl next door, between 1st and 2nd year at Ranken and has two sons, both of whom are Eagle Scouts, and three grand kids but lost his wife, Sandy in 2000.  Read More

After graduating from Ranken he moved to Columbia, MO and started at University of Mo in 1974 as a Mechanical Trades Specialist/Refrigeration and retired in 2009 as a Chiller Technician

He is a Vietnam Veteran and on the Board of Directors of Tan Son Nhut Association, which has been established to respect all of those service personnel from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as the many civilians who served at any time during the Vietnam conflict at the great airdrome at Tan Son Nhut, Air Base, Saigon, Republic of Vietnam.

Gary rejoined the Air Force Reserve in 1981 and retired in 2006 as Chief Master Sergeant after 30 plus years including active duty from 1966-70. His deployments include Korea, Philippines, Germany, Italy, England, Honduras, and El Salvador. He was a Civil Engineer Manager 442 CES at Whiteman AFB MO.

Gary says that Ranken provided him the opportunity to make a living for 42 years. Charles May, Department Chair,

Gary enjoys golf and had a hole in one 2007 and double Eagle 2021. He was elected to Columbia, Mo USBC Association Bowling Hall of Fame in 2015.

Karl Pachesa – Plumbing Technology

After high school Karl went into the military and went to Ranken and the GI bill. After graduating he worked for several plumbing shops in Springfield and Litchfield, Illinois. He eventually got a job at Memorial Medical Center and worked there for 36 years. Read More

To continue his education he got his backflow license and brazing license so he could silver solder the hospital oxygen lines. Karl has remained single and in retirement he enjoys playing pinochle and sporting events. He has attended seven University of Illinois bowl games. Karl said that his Ranken education turned his life around. He has fond memories of his classmates Tom Rizzi and Mike Tranter

Dan Sabo – Automotive Maintenance Technology

Dan has had many automotive service jobs with various companies and several dealers. Dan says, “The automotive filed led me into a very satisfying and successful 15 year career with Snap-On Tools Corporation. Read More

For the most part, my Ranken education helped me make a living and support my family.” Dan has been married to his high school sweetheart for 48 years. He has one son, one daughter and one granddaughter. He is a passionate Blues fan and has had a love of dogs his whole life. He has had a dog sitting, and training business for ten years and is a certified professional dog trainer. His favorite Ranken memory is sharing all of the ups and downs of school with a great friend, Bruce Prinster. They have not spent much time together since their Ranken days, but they keep in touch.

Dave Trower – Architectural Design, Drafting and Structural Technology


Dave has lots of memories of his time at Ranken. He remembers it being very strict. For example, one day in class an administrator came into class and told John Rozycki that he needed to leave class get his hair cut and his sideburns trimmed. If he did, he could come back to class.Read More

John left got his haircut, sideburns trimmed and came back to class. He remembers his classmates Harry Smith and Wes Wehrend. He also remembers the committees the school had for business leaders. “These committees gave us the confidence that the education we were receiving would help us get a job because industry leaders were helping to establish our curriculum.” Dave also remembers his class entering the Old St. Charles Design Competition. This competition was intended to help Old St. Charles develop into a tourist attraction. The Ranken Architecture students won first place.

After graduation David worked for twenty-one years in the field as a retail store designer for the May Co. and then several small businesses that did retail store design. He then got a job at Granite City High School as a Vocational Education teacher. Along the way he got his bachelor’s degree in Workforce Education from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. Whenever people talked with him about workforce education, he would point them to Ranken as the model because of his confidence in Ranken’s methods. He also sent many of his students to Ranken.

Dave has been married to his wife Marlene for 49 ½ years. He has 3 kids and 9 grand kids and all live nearby in Illinois. His son Robert is a 2006 Ranken Graduate from Electrical Automation Technology program. Dave has been retired for eight years and golfs twice a week and spends his time keeping up with the grand kids from age 5 through High School age. He also enjoys boating.


Greg Helfrich – Architectural Design, Drafting and Structural Technology

Greg says, “I’ve been extremely blessed over my career.” After his Rankin years he worked for 1 year in Springfield, IL and then went to the University of Illinois and received a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering.  Read More

After graduation he worked in the drinking water treatment world for 10 years in Tulsa Ok – and then moved to the Atlanta GA area – He  was fortunate to grow with a regional engineering  firm and helped water systems throughout the SE with their drinking water issues.

Greg adds, “I grew into a senior leadership role and expanded our business development capabilities within our firm of 500 people. Ultimately we sold our firm and I was able to retire!”

Greg says his career was extremely rewarding in which he and many great members of his team were able to help millions of people get a better quality drinking water.

“My final (recent) best accomplishment is my fantastic granddaughter in the picture, Harriet  – 2 years old this past Sept 1st – not much compares to that – BUT another coming my way in April 22!”


Steve Glasgow – Communication Electronics Technology

When Steve graduated from Ranken he went to work at a foundry in East St. Louis as an electrician. He was there for 10 years and when he left he had advanced to Maintenance Superintendent. He also worked at Stag Brewery in Belleville as Electrical Supervisor. His last 30 years of employment were at Lange- Stegmann as Maintenance Supervisor and Project Manager. Read More

He retired in 2016 and now spends his time gardening, performing handyman tasks for friends and traveling. Steve has been married for 35 years and has three sons and eight grandkids. His memories of Ranken are the great teachers he had. In his program he remembers Mr. Hempker and Department Chair Mr. Goss. He also had a math teacher that managed to make Algebra, Trigonometry and Geometry enjoyable. His English teacher told him, “If your trade job does not work out you should become a writer.” He also remembers going to lunch with classmates to the Red Barn on Lindell for lunch every day.

Herman (Andy) Donnelli, Jr. Electronics-Communications and Computer Technology 

I fondly remember my classmates and all of Instructors, especially Mr. Goss (who attended my wedding in September 1970), Mr. Hemker and of course Mr. Underwood and his stories. Who remember the orientation assembly, where several incoming students refused to get their long hair cut and left to get their deposit returned? Who could forget the competitive lunchtime handball matches in the alley? It was highlight of my second year to work on the IBM 360 and Remington Rand Univac computers. I think I still have some burn scars from the lighthouse tubes.

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My wife, Susan supported me in my last year at Ranken and my partner every day since then. We are proud to have two sons who are Engineering Managers at Caterpillar. We have great daughters-in-law and six wonderful grandchildren.

Everything I learned at Ranken played a role in my future success and getting the all-important first job after graduation.

After graduation, I was hired by Fru-Con Construction Corp. as an Electrical Planner with the responsibility to plan, estimate and schedule the activities of electricians for projects at a consumer products plant in Kansas City, KS.

I was transferred to do the same role for at client’s plant in Saint Louis. After three years of successful projects, I was promoted to Project Engineer and transferred to Sacramento, CA, again working for same client.

I was then transferred Mehoopany, PA again working for same client. While there I was promoted twice serving as Project Manager during my last year before being transferred to Saint Louis in 1981.

The next five years I travelled all around the United States working as Project Manager in a wide variety of various industrial projects.

From 1986 to 1996 I returned to our consumer products client’s plant in St Louis.

In 1996, I was offered and accepted a promotion to Operation Manager within the Fru-Con Industrial Business Unit, with responsibility for construction services at six of our consumer products client’s plants.

In 1998, I was promoted Business Group Manager and Vice President.

In 2001, I was promoted Business Unit Manager and Executive Vice President.

In 2007, I became President and CEO of BIS Frucon Industrial Services, with annual revenue of $250 million.

At the beginning of 2011, I retired after a challenging and rewarding career of almost 40 years with the same family of companies.

Retirement has allowed us to spend more time be with our family. We have enjoyed the freedom to take several international and domestic trips.