Bob Anderson, Bruce Blackstone, Charles Byers, John Donahue, Greg Kangas, Jim Karnofski, Bill Niemi and Amy Norquist will be inducted in the individual category; Birck Cox and Paul Laufman will be honored for Lifetime Achievement; and the 1971 girls’ league champion swim team round out the induction class for the R.A. Long High School Hall of Fame at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Dana Brown Mainstage Theater.
The event at RAL is free to the public, and the school’s archive room will be open after the ceremony.
This year’s inductees were selected by a committee of former and current administrators and community members.
Here’s a look at this year’s honorees:
Bob Anderson (Class of 1953): A letterman in football, basketball and baseball, Anderson played on the 1952 football team which was inducted into the RAL Hall of Fame in 2012.
Anderson led the Lumberjacks to three state basketball tournament appearances in three years as a starter. He later studied and played basketball for two seasons at the University of Oregon before joining the U.S. Navy in 1955. When he was discharged in 1957, he enrolled at the University of Washington, graduating in 1961.
Anderson worked for 34 years in the Seattle School District as a Special Education teacher and Vocational Counselor before retiring in 1996. He is married to RAL ’55 graduate Lois Hendricksen. Their three grown children are teachers and school administrators in the Seattle area.
Bruce Blackstone (Class of 1970): Blackstone was a 2008 Hall of Fame inductee in the Lifetime Achievement category for his continued support of the high school through free annual coaches’ clinics.
Blackstone lettered in football, track and wrestling at RAL. A three-year football letterman, he was the lone starting junior as a left tackle. He started at guard and defensive tackle as a senior. Blackstone was named team co-captain, and earned team MVP and Merit Award accolades, and was named to the all-Southwest Washington Conference team.
Blackstone earned two letters in track and one in wrestling, where he placed third at the district meet at 191 pounds as a senior. He also earned the Johnny Hammer Memorial award at the conclusion of his senior wrestling season.
A “walk-on” to the football team at Stanford, he was a redshirt and later member of the scout team before earning varsity time as a backup guard in 1972. One year later, he was named starting right guard and earned Academic All-American honors.
Blackstone later enrolled at the University of Washington, where he earned his doctorate from the Medical School in 1978 and completed orthopedic surgery training at the University of Utah in 1983.
Blackstone returned to Longview where he started Longview Orthopedic in 1983, and later worked in partnership to create the Pacific Surgical Institute. In 2007, he was one of the first 500 doctors in the nation to receive certification in sports medicine.
In 2009, Blackstone earned placement on the Lower Columbia Area All-Century Team.
Charles Byers (Class of 1950): A three-year letterman in basketball, Byers also lettered in baseball and track during his prep career.
As a senior, Byers decided to try out for the track team, where he became the school’s top 800 runner. He also earned the Johnny Hammer award for overall athletic excellence.
At Lower Columbia College, Byers played basketball for two seasons and was the manager of the football team for one. He participated in basketball and track while stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and later enrolled at what was then Seattle Pacific College, where he lettered in both sports from 1953-‘55.
While at SPC, he ran on the two-mile relay that placed fourth in the Drake Relays in 1953, second in ‘54 and fourth in ‘55. The relay also won the 1954 state NAIA finals in the mile and two-mile runs, and Byers qualified for nationals in the 440 in 1955. The Falcons also set records at the Washington State Intercollegiate Invitational indoor meet, the Willamette University Relays and the Vancouver Relays.
After graduation, Byers embarked on a career as an educator which included coaching football, basketball and track at Sequim, Mark Morris, Columbia (White Salmon), Castle Rock and Rainier high schools, and LCC.
He retired from the classroom in 1985, but not from coaching. Byers has coached and served as an assistant in high school track for a combined 45 years, mentored girls basketball for 15, football for nine, boys basketball eight, community college women’s basketball for 17, diving for two and softball for one. In addition, he coached five years of community college track and six years of basketball as well as six years of junior high track.
Byers assisted with the Longview Track Club and at camps sponsored by Seattle Sports Medicine and served as president of the Washington State Track and Field Coaches Association. He was inducted into the WSTF Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Seattle Pacific University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.
John Donahue (Class of 1972): A three-year letterman in basketball and two-time letterman in baseball, Donahue earned the nickname “Little Big Man” for his scoring prowess on the hardwood.
A two-time all-Southwest Washington Conference pick in basketball, Donahue earned league MVP honors as a senior after netting a league-record 52 points against Camas, a record which still stands.
Donahue also earned all-SWW honors in baseball as a senior.
He later played basketball for a season at LCC and participated in city league basketball.
Greg Kangas (Class of 1977): A three-year track and cross country letterman, Kangas earned all-league, all-district and team MVP honors in track. At state, he won the 1600 as a senior and placed third in the 800.
Kangas was named cross country team MVP, earned all-league accolades and competed in the state championships.
Kangas studied and ran with the cross country and track teams at Highline College in Des Moines, Wash., and later transferred to the University of Idaho where he also participated in both sports as a junior.
Kangas returned home to run in the Rotary Relays in 1979, where he set a meet- and Longview Memorial Stadium record that still stands in the Alumni 1600 (4:10.3). He later enrolled at the University of Washington, where he ran on the cross country and track teams as a senior.
After college, Kangas joined Club Northwest, an AAU track club based in Seattle. He manages an Athlete’s Foot shoe store in Seattle.
Jim Karnofski (Class of 1971): A three-year varsity letterman in football and baseball, Karnofski was team co-captain in football and earned all-conference honors senior year and earned the nickname “Mr. Hustle” in baseball.
Off the field, Karnofski was elected sophomore class president, served as Boys Club president as a senior, participated in the all-school play and held membership in the Oceanography and Latin clubs.
At LCC, he played baseball on the conference championship team in 1972 which included future professional players Rick Sweet and Hank Jones.
Karnofski transferred to the University of Washington and earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology in 1975. He went on to Columbia University where he attained a degree in nursing in 1977. He eventually attained a master’s degree from City University in 1990.
After a 30-year career as a registered nurse specializing in trauma and administration, he moved into the field of sustainable food production through the creation of fertile soils using biochar-mineral augmented organics.
Karnofski is an instructor in this field, and can be heard on the USAprepares.com radio shows about sustainable living through production of nutrient-dense vegetables.
Bill Niemi (Class of 1969): A standout runner, Niemi was a three-year letterman in track and cross country. He twice earned all-league accolades in track, and was selected team captain and earned team MVP honors as a senior.
Niemi was the district champion in the mile as a junior and placed 13th at state. As a senior, he set a school record in the 800 in 1:54.9, a mark which still stands. He placed eighth in the 800 at state, and was a member of the district champion 1600 relay quartet.
In cross country, Niemi competed in the state championships as a junior and senior.
He studied and participated in track at LCC before transferring to WSU, where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. While at WSU, Niemi joined the cross country and track teams which won the Pacific-8 Conference championships.
Niemi worked in manufacturing and retail for Mercedes-Benz USA since 1982, and is currently the General Manager at Mercedes-Benz of Wilsonville, Ore. where he has earned numerous corporate regional and national awards.
Niemi and his wife, Connie, have three grown children and three grandchildren.
Amy Norquist (Class of 1981): A member of the 1981 state champion girls basketball team which was inducted into the RAL Hall of Fame in 2005, Norquist lettered in basketball and track with the Lumberjills.
She earned three letters in basketball, was the starting point guard as a junior and senior and earned team MVP honors as a senior. In track, she set a school record in the long jump at 18-3/4 in 1981 which is still the Lumberjills’ top mark.
Norquist graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in history from Stanford University. She also participated on the school’s track team for three seasons, qualifying for the NCAA Women’s Track Championships in 1982.
After a 20-year career working for environmental non-profit groups, Norquist started Greensulate, a green roof/green wall company based in Manhattan, N.Y. She’s a graduate of the Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program for Entrepreneurs, was named a “Top 10 Fierce Woman Entrepreneur” by New York Report magazine, and earned the Aspen Institute/Intel Computer Top Innovator award.
Norquist resides in New York.
Birck Cox (Class of 1963): A love of drawing as a child led Cox to a career in medical illustration.
Cox went to Reed College, earned a bachelor’s degree in English and worked in Portland for many years before landing a job at Good Samaritan Hospital doing computer programming.
He took classes at Portland State University in art, biology and comparative anatomy, and later transferred to the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta where he earned a Masters in Medical Illustration.
Cox’s work has included medical advertisements, illustrations for medical articles, “teaching packets” for drug sales, courtroom drawings and exhibition art. A new museum on the battle of Gettysburg has artwork by Cox that describes Civil War-era medicine. He’s working on a second edition of a book that illustrates the “tricks of the trade” in spine surgery.
Cox worked at universities in Texas and Virginia before going to Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife and cat, and works from home as a freelance illustrator.
When Birck started his career in 1980, he worked at medical universities as a freelancer.
Paul Laufman (Class of 1956): He lettered in basketball and baseball, but Laufman’s future was anything but rooted in sports.
Laufman attended LCC and WSU, where he graduated in 1961 with a degree in mechanical engineering. His first job with Hercules Inc. allowed him to work on the nation’s first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Minuteman.
By 1966, Laufman went to work for Lockheed in its propulsion division. He helped design an escape motor for the Apollo 11 launch vehicle that would pull the astronauts to safety if something went amiss on takeoff.
Laufman joined Rohr Industries in 1974 as a manufacturing research manager, and later moved on to GenCorp AeroJet where he helped to build the next generation of ICBMs. While at AeroJet, he helped win the NASA contract to develop a new space shuttle engine after the 1986 Challenger tragedy.
After retiring from AeroJet in 1994, he co-founded United Paradyne Corporation in Santa Maria, Calif. UPC delivers rocket fuel and provides support for U.S. and international aerospace projects, and supplies fuel and oxygen for shuttle launches. Laufman retired from day-to-day operations in 2004.
Laufman earned placement on the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Wall of Honor in 2003, and received a Lower Columbia All-Century Team Lifetime Achievement award in 2009.
Laufman and his wife live in California.
1971 girls’ swim team: The squad coached by Jean Lancaster was the first at RAL to go undefeated during the regular season and claimed the league championship. The team placed fourth in the district. Six swimmers qualified for the state meet, where the Lumberjills finished ninth.
The team included Dawn Bishop, Robin Brinkerhoff, Cathy Bean, Cindy Cole, Jan Cox, Susan Davis, Jackie French, Kit Furness, Tracy Gravelle, Karen Gross, Kim Hegedus, Marilyn Hill, Val Hirsch, Nancy Krall, Nan Leuschel, Charlene Mansfield, Carla Mealy, Pam Mealy, Cathy Morrill, Joann Peppers, Vickie Philbrook, Sandy Stiles, Cheryl Walther and Becky Winiger. Theresa Wood was team manager.