Happy Birthday to Centenniel Colonist Martin Geissler

Happy 100th birthday to Martin Geissler from Class of 1936. He will become a Centennial Colonist on Dec. 24, 2017.

He lives in Temple, Texas, now but lived most of his life in California. Martin graduated from Anaheim Union High School in 1936. He held odd jobs until he was drafted in the Army in March 1941. He was discharged in Jan. 1946.
In December 1945 he married Aline Schroeder who graduated from AUHS in 1938. They were married for 66 years and have four children, 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
For 20 years he owned his own orange juice business. In retirement, Martin and Aline spent time with family, traveled and volunteered their time and talents with Mobile Missionary Assistance Program (MAPP).

AHS ’62 Grad Brings “Man Trouble” to Stage

Arthur and playwright David Macaray (’62) has brought “Man Trouble” to Fullerton’s Stages Theater in the form of two one-act comedies “Food Court” and “Discount Murder.”

His two newest playlets, playing through Sept. 16,  feature his signature quirky characters “whose oddities bounce off one another like pinballs, yet whose issues and problems reflect the concerns of everyday Americans,” according to a review in the OC Register.

A ninth-generation Californian and son of Larry Macaray (’36), David has written for the LA Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Huffington Post and other publications. Among his novels is a work recently published about his time spent as a Peace Corps volunteer in India in 1967-68. As a playwright, he has had more than a dozen stage plays produced.

Click on this link to read an interview with Macaray about his work and plans to write his first novel.


Another Hall of Fame Honor for Davini from Class of ’65

AHS Hall of Famer Ron Davini from Class of 1965 is receiving another Hall of Fame induction, this time from his alma mater, Arizona State University.

Davini, one of the most decorated baseball student-athletes in ASU history, will enter the ranks of the Sun Devil Athletics Hall of Fame at an Oct. 13 luncheon in Tempe. Click on this link for more information or contact Tony Grandlienard: 480-727-7446 or tgrandli@asu.edu.

As ASU’s starting catcher in 1967, Ron Davini was instrumental in the Sun Devils’ second National Championship as his .409 batting average at the College World Series earned him Most Valuable Player honors.

Ron also led the Sun Devils that year with a .311 batting average and a school-record .992 fielding percentage en route to picking up 1967 College Baseball Player of the Year recognition by the Columbus, Ohio Touchdown Club.

A two-time all-Western Athletic Conference selection, Ron was a first-round selection of the Chicago White Sox in the 1969 Major League Baseball January Draft-Secondary Phase and played five professional seasons.

Following his playing career, Ron became one of the top high school baseball coaches in Arizona, serving for 28 years as the head coach at Tempe Corona Del Sol and Tempe McClintock.

Click here to read more about this outstanding AHS graduate who is a great supporter of Anaheim High and its Alumni Association. Congratulations Ron!

Anaheim High’s Connection to Jerry Lewis

A bit of fun trivia has come to light with the recent death of Jerry Lewis. Did you know that Anaheim High has a connection to this comedy great through Class of 1933 graduate Marie Wilson?

Katherine Elizabeth “Maybelle” Wilson – a.k.a. Marie Wilson –grew up in Anaheim. An inheritance helped her fullfill her dream of becoming a Hollywood starlit. Maybelle dropped her family nickname and transformed herself into radio, TV and film star Marie Wilson, a voluptuous blonde bombshell who earned three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Marie earned national recognition for her role in “My Friend Irma,” the title role of a radio series that became one of the most popular shows of the late 1940s. The radio show evolved into a TV series from 1952 to 1954, which then led to two movies titled, “My Friend Irma” and “My Friend Irma Goes West” featuring the comedy team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

More about this famous Anaheim High graduate is available via this link.

Artwork Donated by Artist, Collector Larry Macaray – Class of 1938

Lawrence “Larry” Macaray (’38) – artist, teacher, art collector and author –  has contributed several pieces of art from his vast collection of work he amassed as proprietor of Anaheim’s first art gallery and as a world traveler.

Larry represented Californian, as well as national and international artists. An arts professor at El Camino College, his career also included serving as the Torrance Press-Herald Arts and Travel Editor. His award-winning art has been displayed at galleries and museums in California and throughout the nation.

The professionally framed pieces available for auction (shown below) include limited edition wood block prints by Yosida Hiroshi, regarded as one of the greatest artists of the shin-hanga style. Two of his pieces are available: “Tsurugaoka Hachima Shrine” and “Hirosaki Castle” from the “Scenes of Sacred Places and Historic Landmarks” series.

Another highly collectible piece is a Salvidor Dali plate signed etching of Cervantes valued at $500.

All three pieces are avaiable for bid (starting at $100) by contacting anaheimalumni@yahoo.com.

Class of 1960 Stan Vosburg – Engineer & Award-Winning Aviation Artist

Anaheim High’s Class of 1960 graduate Stanley Vosburg is an artist with a unique and warmhearted approach to aviation art.

His limited edition print series, “Home Front Aviation,” embodies a nostalgic look at America’s love affair with military aviation during the 1940s.

Stan’s realistic narrative style and impeccable historical fidelity, make his period paintings a window into one of aviation’s most exciting eras.

A native Californian, Stan spent much of his youth in Southern California which, in the mid-1950s, was a national focal point of aviation with numerous aircraft manufacturers and military airfields.

A stress engineer in the aerospace defense industry for 30 years, Stan originally turned to painting as a means to relieve stress and serve as a diversion. Stan’s early successes convinced him to take his painting more seriously.

After discovering the American Society of Aviation Artists, Stan merged his love of aviation with his desire to paint. Encouraged by other aviation artists, he has started to develop his own approach to aviation art, one that combines history, aviation and the human interface that makes aviation so important to all of us. With images quite different from the main stream aviation art, Stan has found a unique niche that satisfies both artist and collector.

Stan began producing and marketing limited edition prints of his works in 1995. One of these works, “Impressing the Night Shift,” was recreated in “living art” during the Laguna Beach Pageant of the Masters’ 1999 millennium season. In 2008, Stan’s latest painting, “Lightning Lady,” won the ASAA award for Women’s Contribution to Aviation and third place in Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine’s annual art contest.

Stan has donated two of his framed prints to the AHSAA to auction as the 2017 Golf Classic, Dinner & Auction. Thank you, Stan, for your support of “Old AU.”

See more of his work at www.stanvosburg.com.

Anaheim Grad’s Reconnection to Culture Inspires A Celebration of Life – “Viva Los Muertos!”

“Embracing death gives more meaning to life. Embracing life gives more meaning to death.”wp_000749

Peter Perez has taken on new lives and lifestyles throughout his existence. His first life was that of an immigrant’s son who used his artistic talents to buy a one-way ticket to New York after graduating from one of the country’s best art schools.

From fledgling artist growing up in an Anaheim barrio, to Madison Avenue superstar, Perez has now metamorphosed back to his cultural heritage to become a renown Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) creator and curator.

“The Day of the Dead celebration awakened deep personal roots that had been lost and forgotten,” said Perez. “Spanish, my first language, and a connection to my native culture, had been erased at an early age.”

Peter Perez '57 was on campus for a recent celebration of the historic Anaheim vs. Downy CIF Championship game. He was on the LA Coliseum field as a yell leader.

Peter Perez ’57 was on campus for a recent celebration of the historic Anaheim vs. Downy CIF Championship game. He was on the LA Colliseum field as a yell leader.

Perez recently related his story to students at Anaheim High School, his alma mater. He told them about being renamed Peter from Pedro and being forbidden to speak Spanish. His story is especially relevant to Anaheim High’s performing arts students who see Perez, a Class of ’57 graduate, as someone from their own background who became a successful artist despite the odds.

“Be the best at what you do and success will come naturally,” he told the classroom of students who are staging a Nov. 5 Dia de los Muertos festival to raise funds for future productions.

Along with showing slides of his artwork (he is donating several pieces to the event’s silent auction), Perez shared the history of Dia del los Muertos and how he has used his art to make political statements, as well as a way to express loss in his own life.

peter-perez-art-workThe introduction of a City of Anaheim Day of the Dead celebration was, in fact, sparked by the death of his nephew, an Anaheim resident who died in a motorcycle accident in 2009. Initially not embraced by city officials, Perez persisted and, with the help of the Anaheim Heritage Council, Arts Council, Downtown Association and several volunteers, a new tradition was started that has evolved into celebrations being staged throughout Orange County.

For Perez, the opportunity to paint and explore the life of the dead has resulted in solo shows, group exhibits, and serving as a curator for fiestas, art and altar exhibitions for the largest Dia de los Muertos celebrations in the nation. He has also introduced the celebration to India and Australia. Most recent is his Dia de los Muertos installation at the Sonoma County Art Museum.peter-perez-day-of-the-dead-3

“The ancient cultures believed that you died three times, once when your body ceases to function, a second time when your spirit leaves your body, and the final most tragic death, when you’re forgotten,” said Perez. “Through my art and my involvement with Dia de los Muertos, my nephew and others I’ve embodied in ofrendas (altars) throughout the world will not be forgotten. Viva Los Muertos!”

What is Dia de los Muertos?

El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) has been celebrated for nearly 3000 years in Mexico, Central and South America. This observance honors those who have passed before us and keeps their memories alive. It is celebrated Nov. 1st and 2nd, All Souls and All Saints Days. It has evolved into a cross-cultural event, with traditional roots, that invites all to participate. Altars (ofrendas) are created and decorated with photos, food, drink, marigolds and the favorite things of the person being honored. For a more complete history, click here.

Football + Fassel = New Fitness Center at AHS

Jim Fassel with Colonist athletes who will benefit from new fitness equipment.

What do you get when you add an alumnus who grew up on Anaheim High’s athletic fields with access to Grade A exercise and training equipment? Happily, for AHS, the answer is a new fitness center, a first for the Colony campus.

Three semi-trucks filled with state-of-the art weight room, training equipment, furniture and more has been donated to Anaheim High by alumnus Jim Fassel (’67). Ultimately, the donation will fill two refurbished rooms remembered by some alumni as the auto and machine shops. These large workspaces will house equipment valued at more than $100,000 to create a fitness center and a top-notch training room. Fassel has also funded new flooring for the facility that will be named the “Fassel Family Fitness Center” once approval is received by the AUHSD.

Bud Fassel working on a pair of shoulder pads.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Anaheim athletes were shaped and guided by Jim’s father, Bud Fassel (‘39), who served as right-hand man to Clare Van Hoorebeke in his role as equipment manager. But Bud did much more than care for athletic equipment, according to Gerald “Woody” Woodward from Class of ’59, who serves as AHS Alumni Association president.

“Bud counseled, guided and supported the young men who were part of the Anaheim High athletic program,” said Woodward. “He cared for the kids and was a father figure to us all.“

Woodward said there were many occasions when Bud asked his wife to pack extra sandwiches in his lunch that he shared with students too poor to afford lunch.  He also hired students to work in the equipment room so that they could afford to buy lunch or pay for the medical insurance that the student-athletes had to purchase. “He was one of the most caring and generous people I have ever known.”

AHSAA President Gerald Woodward congratulates Luis Amaya, recipient of the Bud Fassel Memorial Scholarship.

Bud’s impact was evident when, in 1992, hundreds of former students and athletes attended his funeral to honor him for his more than 25 years at Anaheim High. His contribution to Anaheim High continues today through an annual Bud Fassel Memorial Scholarship.

Bud’s son was among the outstanding athletes produced by Anaheim High. From the days of playing football at AHS, Jim went on to a successful career in the world of football. He was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1997, and he took the New York Giants to Super Bowl XXXV in January 2001. Most recently, he served as head coach, manager and president of the Las Vegas Locomotives in the United Football League, winning several UFL titles during the league’s existence. He also works as an ESPN sports announcer.

Jim’s son, John Fassel, is also walking in his grandfather and fathers’ footsteps. Once a ball boy for his father at the University of Utah in 1976, John was recently named interim head coach for the LA Rams, taking a break from his usual position of special teams coordinator.

Once the new fitness and training centers are complete, the Colony community will be invited to the grand opening in 2017 to celebrate this outstanding donation by one of Anaheim’s favorite sons.

Sid Sowder Freudenstein – Class of 1963

Sowder_Sid002It was a long walk f0r a boy from Anaheim, who used to dive off the garage rafters on to an old couch, to carrying the flag in the ’68 Olympics as co-captain of the Men’s Gymnastics Team in Mexico City.

But Class of 1963’s Sid Sowder Freudenstein’s transition to a world champion, from that 6th grader whose grandfather found him alone doing dangerous diving stunts, started when he was enrolled him in Sammy Lee’s swim & dive club.

It was in junior high where he discovered some bars and rings outside in a sandpit and he taught himself kips and giant swings (with straps). “I didn’t know the names of the skills then; I just saw other kids doing them,” he wrote in his autobiography.

Sowder_Sid001Freudenstein started formal gymnastics as a sophomore in 1960 under Ron Amster at Anaheim High. He credits his coach as being responsible for his initial success. He won many competitions, mostly on tumbling, floor and vault. In his senior year, he was the High Point Man (closest to All-Around) at the Southern California State Championships.

He wasn’t able to attend his first choice, UC Berkeley (Cal), because his grades weren’t quite good enough. He was awarded a scholarship to USC and was excited to attend there since many of his friends were also at USC. Unfortunately, when went to matriculate, he was told his scholarship went to someone else.

He was devastated, but kept up his studies at Santa Ana Junior College and continued to train at Anaheim High. He finally made it to Cal in 1964 and graduated in 1968 with a degree in physics. As a UC Berkeley student, Freudenstein won many invitationals, PAC 8, regional titles, and national and international awards.

In the summer of 1966, he was chosen to attend an Olympic training camp at Penn State, and most importantly, as a U.S. Gymnastics Federation alternate to the World Championships in Dortmund Germany.

In the summer of 1967, he was chosen to compete in the World University Games in Tokyo. He placed second in floor exercise against some of the best in the world.

freud1In his senior year in 1968, at the NCAA Championships he tied for first on floor exercise, and his team won the title in a thrilling ending.

He was on the way to the Olympics after placing 19th out of 20 selected in first trials. While he did well in the 1968 games, he was sick for several training days and the compulsory floor finals were held first thing in the morning when scoring was generally low.

Freudenstein continued to stay involved in his sport, even after returning to school at the University of Colorado (CU), earning a Ph.D. in physics in 1976-77. He occasionally judged high school gymnastics meets, announced CU’s home meets, and took the job of head gymnastics couch a year before he started to teach physics at Metropolitan State College of Denver in the spring of 1977.

He taught and coached until CU dropped seven sports, including gymnastics in 1980. During his coaching tenure at CU, he brought the team from shambles to a top-10 preseason ranking.

In 1980 and 1982, he was chosen by the State of Colorado to be the exchange coach of a sister-state program in Brazil. In 1982, he started and directed a not-for-profit private club called Colorado Academy of Artistic Gymnastics (CAAG). It grew to its maximum of 417 students right after the ’84 Olympics.

Freudenstein has published and given talks on the biomechanics of gymnastics and authored a teaching manual for major textbook in physics. He has also published several papers in plasma physics and teacher education. He has chaired Denver’s Metropolitan State University Physics Department since 1995. In 2005, he was inducted into the University of California Athletic Hall of Fame.

For a more complete look at his Olympic career, visit:


Rick Sloan – Class of 1964

Rick Sloan senior photo class of 64As a skinny sixth grader in 1957, his photo appeared in the Anaheim Bulletin’s sports section competing in a long forgotten jumping competition. The caption suggested that “maybe someday little Ricky Sloan” will make it to the Olympics.”

The prediction came true but in such a roundabout way that some might call it miraculous.

Miracle or not, Sloan’s hard work and perseverance certainly played a role in his athletic career that led him to the 1968 Olympics and a coaching position for more than 40 years with Washington State University.

Apparently, there was something about running, leaping and jumping over poles that attracted this Anaheim youngster’s attention enough that he kept at it until he began setting records. Ultimately, he placed 7th in the 1968 Olympics decathlon, setting a world record decathlon high jump record in try outs of 6-11 ¾. He also became the fourth American in the sport to exceed 8,000 points.

Upon reading the Anaheim Bulletin article, Sloan had to ask his parents what the Olympics were. Once it was explained to him, Sloan said in another newspaper article about himself, this one in 1995, that he thought, “yeah, that’s something I would like.”

What followed was his mechanic father welding uprights and Sloan using old mattresses and sticks of bamboo as his first pole vault apparatus.

sloan doing high jumpDespite having Osgood-Schlatter disease in both legs as a teen, Sloan would straddle-style into saw dust pits to high jump 6-foot-7-inches at Anaheim High to win the CIF title. (The California record at the time was 6-9.)

Universities with the reputations as major track powers wanted him, but his grades held him back. Instead, he worked and enrolled at Fullerton College, eventually improving his mark to 6-10 in the high jump.

He made it to UCLA, where he became the first Bruin to exceed 7-feet in the high jump; he vaulted 7-1 when the world record was 7-7.

Near the start of his senior season in 1968, Sloan broke a bone in his ankle and required surgery. He could not recover soon enough to make the Olympics team in the high jump or vault, and was talked into training for the decathlon.

To quote a May 16, 1995 article about him in the Spokesman-Review by Dave Boling: “At age 21, truly a baby in the decathlon, he went on to win 7th place in Mexico City. After the two-day ordeal had completed, Sloan walked through the empty stadium with his poles. On the P.A. system, someone had piped in Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” Sloan said he looked up at the Olympic flame against the blacken sky and cried from the realization of his amazing accomplishment.”

Sloan continued competing after the Olympics and was runner-up in the 1969 AAU Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) decathlon. He also competed with the Southern Cal Striders track and field club, which in its day, laid claim to being “largest and strongest multiracial track-and-field club in the history of the sport, with a collection “America’s finest Olympic Track and Field Stars.”

Unfortunately for Sloan, he couldn’t sustain his athlete career and support a family. With a new baby on the way with his wife, Sandy, Sloan gave up competing at age 22 and sold paint in a hardware store for two years while earning his teaching degree.

He told the reporter that he wished the system had allowed him to continue his athletic career. “I honestly believe I could have won gold in Munich in ’72, or at least bring home a medal.”

Rick SloanBy 1973, Sloan was coaching track and field part time for Washington State. He spent 41 years at the university, retiring in 2014 at age 67. During his four-decades-long coaching career at WSU, about half spent as an assistant, then transitioning to head coach in 1994. He finished as the men’s and women’s track and field head coach and the dean of Cougar coaches.

During his tenure as the Cougar track program’s mentor, Sloan has seen the men set 22 school records and the women set 84 school records. He has directed 42 WSU athletes to NCAA outdoor all-American status 76 times and directed 33 athletes to NCAA indoor all-American status 47 times.

Sloan is well known internationally in the multi-events circuits because of his 14 years as coach for four-time world decathlon champion, Olympic champion and former world record-holder Dan O’Brien and because of his mentoring of Olympic heptathlete Diana Pickler. He’s also coached the late Gabriel Tiacoh, the quarter-miler from Ivory Coast who won an Olympic silver medal in 1984.

For more statistics on his appearance in the 1968 Olympics, visit: