Pacelli to induct seven to Hall of Fame Friday

Published 7:33 pm Monday, June 17, 2013

Seven individuals will be inducted into the Pacelli Hall of Fame at a dinner hosted by the Pacelli Booster Club on Friday. This event is held annually in conjunction with the Pacelli Golf Day, an annual fundraiser sponsored by the Pacelli Booster Club.

This year’s inductees include Joe Wagner, Stephen Lickteig, Jerry Kurina, Rich Decker, Tom Rockers, Judy (Allen) Keen and Susan (Kemmerick) Horner.

Joe Wagner – class of 1949 deceased (1931-2011)

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Joe Wagner had a long and significant connection to St Augustine/Pacelli H.S. Joe was a three sport athlete participating in football, basketball, and golf. He was the quarterback on an undefeated State Catholic Championship team. He captained the Irish basketball team that went 17-7 and won the southern Minnesota Catholic Conference and Region 2 crown. They went on to win the consolation championship at the Catholic state tournament. Joe’s involvement with Pacelli did not end there however. He and his wife Rita, were instrumental in the creation of the Austin Area Catholic Schools Foundation and the fund raising efforts that established a one million dollar initial endowment for the foundation. In 1977, Joe and Rita also started another very successful annual fundraiser, the Gala for Catholic Education, which continues to raise money for the schools today. Joe passed away in January of 2011 but his memory and a lasting legacy will live on in the Pacelli Catholic Schools now and into the future.

Stephen Lickteig – class of 1958

Stephen was a three sport athlete, lettering in football, basketball, and track. Stephen was a starter on the 1958 State Championship basketball team and was selected as a member of the All Tournament Team. He was named to the All-State football team his senior year. In college, Lickteig attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he played both quarterback and defensive back for their football team. After graduation from Eau Claire Lickteig attended the University of Minnesota Law School. Upon earning his law degree he then practiced law for the next 40 years in the St Cloud and Metro areas. Stephen is now retired and living in the Faribault area.

Jerry Kurina – class of 1962 deceased (1944-2002)

Jerry was an outstanding student as well as athlete at Pacelli High School. He was a 3 year starter on both the football and baseball team. He also found time to run track and play basketball.

The 1961 football team were named the Catholic Schools State Champion his senior year. Jerry was named to the All-Conference teams in both football and baseball. After high school Kurina went on to earn a B.A. degree from St Mary’s College, M.S. degree from Auburn University and his Doctorate from M.I.T. Kurina served 22 years in the United States Air Force, retiring as a colonel. He spent his last eight years teaching math at Hillsborough Community College. Jerry passed away on June 21, 2002 after a battle with cancer.

Rich Decker – class of 1964

Rich played both basketball and baseball at Pacelli. He continued to play basketball and baseball at Austin Junior College 1964-1966 and then continued has baseball and basketball career at Winona State University where he was selected to the All-Conference team in baseball.

Upon graduation from college Rich spent two years in the military serving in Vietnam. Decker’s teaching and coaching career began at Wells H.S. in 1972. He then moved on to Kenyon H.S. where he coached basketball from 1973-1982. Decker’s 1979-80 team placed 3rd in State. His next stop was Faribault B.A. where he had two winning seasons and two district championships before moving on to Rochester Lourdes. Rich coached Lourdes boys basketball from 1984-2004 and earned two more state tournament births in 1999 and 2000. He was inducted into the MN State Coaches Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004. Decker was recently hired as the new Mayo girls basketball coach for the 2012-13 season and immediately made an impact by coaching them to a state tournament berth.

Tom Rockers – class of 1965

Tom lettered in football, basketball, baseball and tennis while in high school. While playing football he was selected to the WCCO radio All State Football team as well as the All-State Catholic football team named by the Star and Tribune. In basketball Tom was a starter on the 1965 State Championship team that went 25-1 on the year. He was named to the all tournament team along with teammates, Dave Lobb and Ray Halverson. In addition to sports Tom served as the all school President. Tom also lettered in both football and tennis at South Dakota State University and was selected as a two time All Conference defensive end for the North Central Conference. Tom retired in 2012 after a very successful career in Hospital Administration.

Judy (Allen) Keen – class of 1970

Judy is being inducted as a distinguished alumni. Judy began her life long dream to be a reporter by starting at the Austin Daily Herald. Since then she has worked at newspapers in Ohio, Illinois and California. She joined the staff of USA TODAY in Washington D.C. in 1987. In this assignment, Judy had the opportunity to cover the White House and interviewed several Presidents, including George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Most recently she was able to speak with George W. Bush while covering the opening of his presidential library in Dallas, Texas. In 2006 Judy became USA TODAY’S Chicago bureau chief and has been acting in that capacity until just recently. She and her husband, Tom Keen, are now planning to make a move to Minneapolis and in Judy’s own words, “I’ll be writing for the New York Times as a freelancer while finding my next adventure”.

Susan (Kemmerick) Horner – class of 1980

Susan was a three year starter on the girls basketball team from 1978-1980. She was the high scorer on the team her sophomore and junior year. Named to the All-Conference team 3 years. Named to the WCCO All-State team both her junior and senior year. Starter on the 1979 and 1980 state basketball teams. The 1980 team finished with a 25-1 record, its only loss coming in the finals of the state tournament. Susan was also named to the MN All Star team her senior year. Their team played Indiana and she scored the basket that put her team into overtime and helped lead them to victory. In addition to being a great basketball player, Susan was also a member of the National Honor Society and involved with the Pacelli singers. Susan is now a successful business woman in the health and beauty industry and lives in Texas.