February 29, 2020

Five distinguished alumni will be inducted into the Lee’s Summit High School Hall of Fame on March 28 at Lee’s Summit High School. Alumni being honored for the 2019-20 school year are Ray Betts Davis – Class of 1915, Dr. Rebekkah Johnson Stuteville – Class of 1987, Dr. Heather Lyons-Burney – Class of 1986, Susan Place Sims – Class of 1959, Don Cameron Thomson – Class of 1959.

The distinguished alumni will be recognized at the annual LSHS Hall of Fame banquet to be held at 6 p.m. on March 28, 2020 at Lee’s Summit High School. Cost per person is $25, and reservations are required. For more information, please contact the high school at 816-986-2107 or e-mail to melodye.wehmhoener@lsr7.net.

Lee’s Summit High School has inducted distinguished graduates into the school’s Hall of Fame for 24 years. Alumni are inducted each year during a dinner ceremony. Plaques featuring the honorees are displayed on the wall of fame at Lee’s Summit High School, which is located just outside of the James T. Brockman Lecture Hall.

The LSHS Hall of Fame inductees are selected by a committee of graduates and staff. Alumni are eligible for this honor 10 years after graduation. Nomination forms for the 2020-2021 school year are available by calling Lee’s Summit High School.

Ray Betts Davis, Class of 1915
Ray moved to Lee’s Summit at the age of ten and was a 1915 graduate of Lee’s Summit High School where she enrolled in several business classes, including bookkeeping. She married classmate Henry T. Davis in 1919, and they, along with their son, Charles moved to Nebraska in the midst of t he Great Depression. Jobs were hard to come by, and Henry, for health reasons, was unable to work. The family returned to Lee’s Summit in 1929 and Ray went to work at the Farmers Trust Company in Lee’s Summit. The Board Chairman, Mr. Willis, said at the time, that some members of the bank were upset Ray was given the job over men. Ray never let him down.

Mrs. Ray B. Davis was best known for her professional life as a bank officer. She treated customers as neighbors and friends, and developed relationships and trust at the bank. She earned promotions first as a bookkeeper, then as a teller, assistant cashier, cashier and vice president. Ray worked 45 years, retiring in 1974 as First Vice President. She was active in the American Bank Women’s Association and often enrolled in courses to prepare for new banking laws. For many people Farmers Trust Company was Ray B. Davis.

Along with her bank employment, Ray was an engaged citizen in a growing community. She volunteered as the Secretary of the Board of Education, and served in that position for almost twenty years. The school district was reorganized in 1949, and at superintendent, Dr. Bernard C. Campbell’s request, she ran for the school board. Ray became one of the first women elected to serve on a school board in the state of Missouri.

Ray Davis was also a vital member of the management team of the young Lee’s Summit United Methodist Church, transferring her membership from St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal in 1940. As treasurer, she volunteered for over thirty years and advised the Finance Board of the Church. Ray was also an active supporter of the American Legion Auxiliary and their and other efforts that supported troops abroad during war. Ray was a trailblazer for the community of Lee’s Summit and women across the Midwest.

Dr. Rebekkah Johnson Stuteville, Class of 1987
Dr. Rebekkah Johnson Stuteville is the assistant dean of academic support services, teaching associate professor in the School of Applied and Interdisciplinary Studies, and director of the professional science master’s degree program at Kansas State University’s Olathe, Kansas (K-State Olathe) campus. She joined K-State Olathe in December 2017.

Stuteville is responsible for developing and delivering new academic programs and initiatives. She also improves the administrative policies and procedures related to the graduate-level academic programs at the campus. In addition to her guidance on academic programs, Stuteville teaches, mentors and advises students seeking their master’s degree.

Prior to joining K-State Olathe, Stuteville served in various roles at Park University for nine years. From 2015 to December 2017, she was vice provost of Park University, overseeing its academic programs and units as well as its ability to serve student needs.

From 2008-2015, Stuteville held various roles in Park University’s Hauptmann School of Public Affairs. Her roles included serving as director the school’s Master of Public Affairs program; teaching graduate-level public administration courses for eight years as an associate professor of public administration; and chairing the department of public administration for two years. She also served as associate dean for the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs.

Stuteville spent 17 years in various roles in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development before transitioning to higher education. These included as a senior community planning and development representative in the Office of Community Planning and Development for eight years; a program analyst/administrative staff specialist in the Federal Housing Administrative for seven years; and as an urban intern in the department for two years.

Stuteville holds a B.A. and M.A. in Political Science and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D., political science/public administration, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Stuteville has published in the field of public administration and policy and given multiple presentations throughout the world. She has been a member of numerous university committees and professional and community service organizations. She has served the Kansas City community through her work on the boards of the Homeless Services Coalition of Greater Kansas City and the Greater Kansas City American Society for Public Administration. She has received awards for her leadership and teaching from Park University, the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce and the American Society for Public Administration.

She lives in Parkville, Missouri with her husband, Robert Stuteville; daughter, Chomphunut Sornlam Stuteville; and two dachshunds, Greta and Maisie.

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Dr. Heather Lyons-Burney, Class of 1986
Dr. Heather Lyons-Burney serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the UMKC School of Pharmacy’s satellite site at MSU in Springfield, Missouri. A 1986 graduate of Lee’s Summit High School, she followed with undergraduate pre-pharmacy work at UMKC. In 1994 she graduated with a Doctorate in Pharmacy from the UMKC School of Pharmacy followed by a residency with Cox Health Systems in Springfield.

Throughout her career she has promoted the profession of pharmacy and has encouraged the development of team-based patient-centered care and innovative services, as well as the importance of community engagement. Her career path began as an inpatient clinical pharmacist serving neonatal and high-risk pregnancy families, followed by community pharmacy ownership of three pharmacies with her husband, Brian. Currently she serves as an ambulatory care clinic pharmacist and professor of pharmacy.

In 2007, Heather joined a group of community leaders to establish Faith Community Health clinic in order provide affordable health care for the uninsured and under-insured population surrounding Branson. Locally, Heather serves on the clinic’s Board, as well as co-Chairs both the Taney and Greene county coalitions focused on prevention of substance misuse – receiving the Generation Rx Champions Award in 2012, and a Southwest Missouri Jefferson Award in 2018. In November 2018, she received the ACT Missouri’s Champion of Change for Prevention statewide award for her continuous prevention efforts. In 2010, she served as president of the Missouri Pharmacy Association, and received the UMKC School of Pharmacy Alumni Achievement Award in 2017.

Heather and Brian were married in April 1996 and have three children, Alex, 17, Maya, 16, and Will, 14.

Susan Place Sims, Class of 1959
Susan Place Sims, Class of 1959, is a retired teacher from LSR7. Teaching 30 years in Lee’s Summit R-7, she taught grades five and six at Mason, Westview, and Prairie View, and then ASPIRE, primarily at Hazel Grove and Westview. After retiring, she taught part time at Our Lady of the Presentation School for 13 years. She capped off her 43 year career by teaching Rocketry at Longview College in “College for Kids” on Saturdays assisting in the Paradise Park Field Trip Program, teaching themed classes to the many schools who participated.

Susan graduated from Missouri Valley College with a BS in education in 1963. Her graduate work included a UMKC Elementary Science Specialist certification earning a gifted education certification from KU. Special recognitions included an LSR7 Excellence in Teaching Award in 1995, the 1987-88 Friend of 4-H Award, and, in 1975, she was recognized as the Outstanding Young Woman of Lee’s Summit by the Lee’s Summit Business Women.

Mrs. Sims has contributed to her community as a member of the Retired Personnel, a Golden Reunion committee member, and a P.E.O. Chapter ET member, supporting students at Cottey College. Susan also volunteered with the knitting group, “Knitted Knockers,” for women with breast cancer in need of a temporary prosthesis. She is a member of the Lee’s Summit Historical Society and a volunteer at the museum, assists with American Doll Teas, and 4-H. A member and deacon of the Lee’s Summit Christian Church, Susan attends Hanna Women’s Ministries, volunteers in Bible School, attends Sunday School, church, and is currently working on the Historic Committee of the church’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2020.

Mrs. Sims married her husband, Bill Sims, in 1963. They were married 52 years when he passed away in 2016. Her daughter, Sarah Burns, and husband, Mike, have 2 children, Meredith and Evan. Her son, Mark Sims and wife, Tania, have 2 children, Amelia and Tate. Their children and grandchildren are her pride and joy.

Don Cameron Thomson, Class of 1959
Don Cameron Thomson, a 1959 graduate of Lee’s Summit High School, attended the University of Kansas for one year, graduated from Baker University in 1965, and returned to Baker University for a year of postgraduate studies. Don was hired by Richard Downing Pope in 1962 to water ski professionally at his world-famous Cypress Gardens tourist attraction in Florida. Don worked in this capacity for four summers from 1962 thru 1965, and full-time from 1974 thru 1978. He twice skied over 1,000 ski shows at Cypress Gardens in a single year. Don directed and skied in water ski show performances in the United States, Canada and Japan, and taught and trained generations of young persons in water skiing for over 60 years. A founding member of the Lake Lotawana Water Ski Club, he served as President five of its first six years. Don worked in the Entertainment Division at Disney World Productions and was an author of numerous articles for the American Water Ski Association (AWSA) publication “The Water Skier.” He was a Product Development Director and water ski designer for the world’s largest water ski manufacturer and was recognized for developing the use of carbon graphite materials in water ski construction. Don was inducted into the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Hall of Fame in 1983, and in 2012 was inducted into the Water Ski Hall of Fame with The Award of Distinction.

Don enlisted in the Navy flight training program known as Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS) in October 1966, became an Ensign that April, and received Naval Aviation Wings of Gold in April 1967. He flew for the Navy/Navy Reserves for 20 years, followed by flying for the Missouri Army National Guard for 18 additional years. Don wears Navy Aviator Wings of Gold AND Army Master Aviator Wings. He flew over 400 combat missions in the Legendary Helicopter Attack Squadron Three (Light) Seawolves and was awarded 18 Air Medals. He retired on December 14, 2003, at age 62, as an Army Lieutenant Colonel.

Don’s son and his surrogate daughter are a constant joy in his life.