1994 DISTINGUISHED GRADUATES
April 24, 1994
Wyandotte Distinguished Graduate
Halstead, L. Lindsey - 1948
Laister, Jr., Jack (John) William - 1932
Palamara, Sam A. - 1946
Purdy, John E. - 1938
Sieloff, Alice F. Croll - 1963
L. Lindsey Halstead - 1948
Since graduating from the University of Michigan (1952), L. Lindsey Halstead's rise in the hierarchy of Ford Motor Company has been nothing short of meteoric.
From 1975 - 1984, Lindsey, who is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, held various positions for Ford Motor Company in South America. This included President/General Manager of Ford Mexico, Director/President of Ford of Brazil, Vice-President of Latin American Automotive Operation, and Vice-President of Latin American & Asia Pacific Automotive Operations.
Lindsey was totally responsible for Ford Automotive Operations in Europe. Ford of Europe, is a fully integrated product development, manufacturing and sales company, which operates in 15 European countries and 21 export markets. The European automotive company had $25 billion in sales revenue with assets of $12 billion producing and selling 1.9 million vehicles. Ford of Europe employs 100,000 people, operates 20 plants and purchases $10 billion from suppliers each year.
At his retirement in December of 1992, Lindsey held the positions of Chairman of the Board, Ford of Europe; Vorsitzender des Aufsichtrates, Ford Werke, A.G.; Director, Ford of Britain; Director, Jaguar Limited; Director, Aston Martin Lagonda Limited and Vice President, Ford Motor Company.
One of Lindsey's most significant accomplishments was the negotiation and implementation of Ford joint ventures in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Europe. He also negotiated transactions and policy with governments in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, and Europe, including industry interface with the European Community.
He has directed Ford Activities in all Ford Companies outside North America, including Mazda, Autolatina, Auto-Europa, Samcor, and Jaguar.
Mr. Halstead is retired, traveling extensively with his wife Joanne (Joanne Lodge, RHS 1949) and they have six children (Printable PDF Version).
Jack (John) William Laister, Jr. - Class of 1932
Jack W. Laister, Jr., Lawrence Technological University, BAE, 1938, is a renowned Aero Engineer who distinguished himself as a pilot, designer and entrepreneur in the aircraft industry.
Jack first became actively engaged in aircraft at Roosevelt High School in 1926 while in the seventh grade. That year the newly formed Aviation Club started to build a full-sized glider. During his senior year, he built his own glider and won his first competition with it in 1933. While at Lawrence Tech., he designed and built one of the first, if not the first, two-place glider with dual controls for pilot training. He won the 1936 National Intercollegiate Gliding Competition with this glider. He also designed and built the famous Yankee Doodle sailplane that was selected to represent the United States at the 1939 Paris Air Show.
With World War II underway, Jack founded the Laister-Kauffmann Aircraft Corporation (1941-1949) and was recognized as the youngest CEO of a major Air Corp contractor during the war. His aircraft corporation employed over 4,000 workers directly and over 1,000 employees at sub-contractor shops. The company developed and produced his famous CG-10A "Trojan Horse." This design is the standard military cargo airlift concept for our country and most of the world's Super Powers.
In 1952, Mr. Laister developed the first Multi-Socket Nut Runner, a type of tool now used throughout the world in the manufacturing industry. Jack's expertise in aviation was shared as he worked for Pacific Airmotive Corporation (1955-1957), Rockwell Aero Commander Division (1957-1960), and as founder and CEO of Laister Sailplanes Incorporated (1965-1980).
Jack is recognized and honored for his many contributions to aviation. His life story was featured on the General Electric Radio Hour during WWII. He was inducted into the National Soaring Hall of Fame (1969) and received the Soaring Society of America's Outstanding Achievement Award (1975). He co-designed the much acclaimed Nugget LP-15 Sailplane with his son Bill. The Nugget won the U.S. National Standard Class 15 Meter Competition in 1975. It is the only U.S. built sailplane to win this event. In 1993, the WWII Combat Glider Pilots awarded him their Michael C. Murphy Service Award, their highest, for his work in WWII.
Records of Mr. Laister's contributions to the aircraft industry are contained in the National Archives, the National Air & Space Museum, and in Jane's Publication: All the Worlds Aircraft. Several museums display and exhibit aircraft built by Jack's companies, including the War Museum at St. Mere Eglese, France. Jack enjoys seeing many of his sailplane designs still in use throughout the world. Today, he remains active writing, doing some engineering, playing a little golf and traveling (Printable PDF Version).
Sam A. Palamara - Class of 1946
Sam A. Palamara, community leader as an athlete, coach and administrator, has distinguished himself in the field of recreation.
Upon his graduation from Roosevelt High School in 1946, Sam played professional minor league baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox and the Brooklyn Dodgers. This center fielder regularly hit over .300 in pro ball, and twice, was selected to play in his league's All-Star game.
In the 1950's, sandlot baseball took on new meaning in Wyandotte. Sam coached t-ball at Pulaski Park and high school baseball at St. Patrick's where his team won the Catholic League Championship in 1959. Wyandotte also burst into the limelight in adult baseball, where Sam served as a player-manager on some terrific Class "A" teams that won three state championships and was national runner-up in 1957.
In 1965, Sam began a 25-year career as an administrator in the Wyandotte Recreation Department, 17 of which he served as Superintendent of Recreation. During the span, youth programs were expanded, the state's premier municipal ice arena was built, and handicapped programs, as well as senior citizen programs, were established to a point that distinguished Wyandotte as a model recreation department. The Wilson Middle School Recreation Facility, as well as the development and improvement of several city parks, are just a few of the many projects he initiated.
Sam continues to serve his community as an elected member of the Wyandotte City Council, and as an active member of many service clubs and charitable organizations. For his countless contributions, Sam has been recognized with the Jaycees "Distinguished Service Award", the Wyandotte Inter-Service Club Council "Citizen of the Year Award", the Kiwanis Club's "President Award", the induction into the Catholic League Officials Hall of Fame, and with the Michigan Recreation and Park Association's highest honor, the "Fellowship Award". In 1993, he received the RHS Alumni Football Club's "Henderson Award" for a lifetime of service to youth.
Sam Palamara has dedicated his life to the City of Wyandotte, and throughout his long career as coach and as Superintendent of Recreation, has demonstrated his deep and genuine love for this city and its residents of all ages (Printable PDF Version).
John E. Purdy - Class of 1938
John E. Purdy is renowned as one of America's outstanding fighter pilot aces of World War II, who went on to found and operate a multi-million dollar manufacturing corporation in Ohio.
After high school, John began his studies at Wayne State University but was drafted into the Army in 1941. He was accepted into the Army Air Force Cadet Program and graduated from Luke Air Force Base in 1943. Assigned to the Southwest Pacific Theatre, 475th Fighter Group, New Guinea, Captain Purdy flew the Lockheed Lighting P-38. His plane had "Wyandotte, Michigan" and "Lizzie II" inscribed on the nose fuselage.
During his 18 months of service with the 433rd Squadron, 5th Air Force, he flew 184 combat missions. Captain Purdy tallied seven air kills and two probables during his combat service. He survived five crash landings with one behind enemy lines in Cavite Province, Philippine Islands. John spent 16 days with native guerrillas recovering from injuries, before rescue by the air-sea PBY Rescue Team.
Captain John Purdy's military efforts earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters. Other honors include the Purple Heart, the Unit Citation Ribbon, the Asiatic Pacific Theatre Campaign Ribbon with 4 Bronze Stars, and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with 1 Bronze Star.
In 1947, John founded the Dayton Showcase Company. This multi-million dollar company employs over 250 people and manufactures store fixtures and casework for hospitals, laboratories, schools, universities, and corporate and retail installations. On the 40th anniversary of his Dayton Showcase Company (1987), he turned over the company to his employees on an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
In addition to his successful career, John served on the Board of Trustees and Board of Nominations for the National Aviation Hall of Fame. He was President of the Board for the American Fighter Aces Association and established the Association's Museum Foundation. In 1993 a completely restored World War II P-38 Fighter Plane, adorned with the historic "Lizzie" and "Wyandotte, Michigan" on the nose fuselage, was preserved in his honor at the Champlin Museum. Historical Images has issued a collector card of American Fighter Aces that highlights Captain Purdy's USAAF military career (Printable PDF Version).
Alice F. Croll Sieloff - Class of 1963
Alice Florence Croll Sieloff has distinguished herself in the fields of Marketing and Journalism.
In January of 1963, Alice graduated from Roosevelt and entered Northwood University, Midland, Michigan, where she received an Associate's Degree in Journalism and a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration.
Alice began her career with the J. L. Hudson Company writing advertising copy. She put the word "colorful" in Hudson's highly successful "White Sale" advertising campaign and while at Hudson's she received the company's "Writer of the Year" Award in 1968.
In 1969 she joined The Detroit News. During her 15 years with The News, Mrs. Sieloff was the recipient of numerous creative writing and advertising campaign awards. In 1981 Alice became the Marketing Services Director and was the first female member of the "executive committee" for the newspaper.
In 1985, she became Corporate Marketing Director for Crain Communication, Inc., While at Crain's, Alice worked closely with their 26 publications, worldwide.
She continued her dramatic career achievements by becoming the publisher for two different area magazines before starting her own publication in 1991. Alice is founding President, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief for the highly successful Detroit Metropolitan Woman Magazine. She will be publishing a second magazine, Lansing Metropolitan Woman debuting in July, 1994.
Among her many honors, she is most proud of receiving the "Dynamic Woman Award" by the Women's Economic Club of Detroit. In addition, Alice is an active member of many community and civic organizations. She is a life member of the Women's Committee of the American Lung Association, a member of the Detroit Neighborhood Block Association, and chairperson of Northwood University's National Women's Board. Additional memberships include the National Association of Women Business Owners, Adcraft Club of Detroit, the Detroit Press Club, and the Women's Economic Club of Detroit where she is currently on their Board of Directors (Printable PDF Version).