LHS Hall of Honor inducts new class

Inductees for the Lawrence High School Hall of Honor for 2008 are, from left, Rex Johnson (LMHS '50), a former Douglas County sheriff; John McGrew (LHS '56), a Realtor and developer; Dr. Michael Miner (LHS '61), a neurosurgeon; and Chuck Mead (LHS '79), founder and lead singer of the country rock group BR549.

Four new faces were added to Lawrence High School’s Hall of Honor on Sunday.

The Lawrence Alumni Association inducted Rex Johnson, former longtime Douglas County sheriff; John McGrew, a Realtor and developer recognized for his nature preservation efforts; singer/songwriter Chuck Mead; and Dr. Michael Miner, a neurosurgeon, professor and author.

The men joined more than 40 other Lawrence High alumni who’ve been honored since 1994. Principal Steve Nilhas said the Hall of Honor includes a diverse group of alumni.

“If you look at the people on the wall, you’ll see doctors, farmers, law enforcement personnel, social activists, professional athletes, musicians and artists,” he said. “I think it keeps out to the forefront the kind of people who come through Lawrence High.”

Mead, a 1979 Lawrence High graduate, is the lead singer of the country rock group BR549. He could not attend, and his mother, Lois Mead, accepted the honor on his behalf.

Johnson, who served as sheriff for 24 years, said receiving the award was a great honor, but bittersweet following the death of his dear friend and former Lawrence Police Chief Dick Stanwix, who died in March. Both Stanwix and Johnson graduated from Liberty Memorial High School, which now is the site of Central Junior High School.

“He should have been honored ahead of me,” Johnson said. “He’s done as much or more than I have for the city of Lawrence and Douglas County.”

Miner, a 1961 Lawrence High graduate who currently is professor of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and chief of surgery at North Texas VA Medical Center, said he had fond memories of his high school years.

“I made great grades, had wonderful friends, participated in sports – poorly – but enjoyed it immensely and left here fearless,” he said.

McGrew, a 1956 Lawrence High graduate, was lauded for his preservation efforts. A Realtor and developer, he also has contributed land for several nature areas, including the Pat Dawson Billings Nature Area southwest of 27th Street and Crossgate Drive. McGrew said he was humbled by the recognition.

“I’m a little overwhelmed, especially when I think of the accomplishments of the other honorees,” he said. “I think I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to deserve the honor.”