Shidler Schools Foundation has announced the first three members of the newly created Shidler Schools Hall of Fame. The charter members are Jim LaBorde and John D. Parker from the SHS class of 1953 and Stanley I. Betzer Jr. from the class of 1955.
According to Foundation president David McCollum, these three men were selected not only on the basis of their professional success, but also because through the years, each of these Hall of Fame honorees consistently demonstrated the positive values of leadership, benevolence and service to their communities — all traits that were instilled through their experiences and education in the Shidler school system.
LaBorde’s Shidler experience included playing basketball under Jack Hartman on one of Shidler’s most successful teams. He also loved to play trumpet and was often called on to play Taps at military funerals. After graduating with a B.A. degree from Northeastern State University and a master’s degree in accounting from Oklahoma State University, he joined the Tulsa office of Arthur Andersen & Co. where he spent his entire career, becoming a partner in 1970 before being named the firm’s Chief Financial Officer in 1977 where he was engaged in strategic planning, traveling often between his office in Chicago and the firm’s international offices in Europe. In 1987, LaBorde returned to the role of office managing partner, and transferred to the Albuquerque office until his retirement. He was instrumental in establishing scholarships at Northeastern State, Oklahoma State University and the University of New Mexico. He also accepted leadership roles with Junior Achievement in Oklahoma and United Way in New Mexico. LaBorde currently resides with his wife in Celina, Texas.
John D. Parker enjoyed every opportunity afforded by Shidler schools. He was musically inclined and participated in band, chorus and glee club. He also played on Shidler High’s football, basketball and baseball teams. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University). His first business experience was with a major department store in Houston. He and a partner then opened a clothing store in Lufkin, Texas. Later, he established a homebuilding business with his sons and became a director of the National Association of Builders. He was appointed a commissioner with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. An avid hunter and fisherman, Parker also served as a national trustee and state chairman of Ducks Unlimited. His love of fishing led him to support a successful campaign that brought a freshwater fish hatchery to east Texas. Parker passed away on Jan. 26, 2009 in Lufkin, Texas. In 2012, Parker’s wife Barbara cut the ribbon to officially open the John Parker Fish Hatchery in east Texas, named in Parker’s honor..
S.I. “Stan” Betzer Jr. was captain of the Shidler High School football team his senior year and was a member of the school’s band and chorus. Additionally, he participated in school plays and dramatic competitions and edited the school yearbook. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in Letters, Betzer was serving a two-year commitment with the U.S. Army when he joined the Central Intelligence Agency. There he was assigned to a program to identify and support young leaders in non-government organizations in developing countries. He was then elected to a non-official position as an officer with an international organization that sought to educate its audience in democratic values and provide training and support for youth and student leaders. After seven years with the CIA, Betzer returned to school and earned a juris doctorate degree from the University of Texas law school. He then practiced law with major law firms in Los Angeles, Tulsa and Albuquerque. He played a role in amending corporation law in Oklahoma and the original creation of rules governing limited liability companies in New Mexico. In Tulsa, he chaired a non-governmental program to provide legal services to the poor. In New Mexico, he helped form and served on the board of a foundation that provided private financial support for community services in his village of residence. Betzer and his wife, Grace, currently live in Corrales, New Mexico.
In searching for ways to give back to Shidler schools, in 2007, this trio of dedicated leaders came together to form the Shidler Schools Foundation, a private 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to supporting Shidler schools and its students and teachers. To date, the SSFI has provided more than a quarter-million dollars in funding for scholarships, teacher grants and school building improvements.
LaBorde, Parker and Betzer will be officially inducted as charter members of the Shidler School Foundation’s Hall of Fame during Shidler homecoming on Nov. 5-7, 2020. Each Hall of Fame member will be permanently recognized with a commemorative plaque that will be displayed in the new Shidler school building, that will be completed in 2021.
Nominations for the next Hall of Fame class can be made now through Jan. 31. Forms are available at the Shidler school superintendent’s office and can be requested via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Announcement of additional Hall of Fame honorees will be made by July 1, 2020.
Contributions to the Shidler Schools Foundation can be made to by sending checks to Shidler Schools Foundation, c/o Keith Bowen, treasurer, 217 South Magnolia Ave., Newkirk, OK 74647. For additional information about the foundation or Shidler Schools Hall of Fame, contact foundation president David McCollum at 575-649-1006 or by email at email@example.com.