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Class of 1943


Jack Curtis Shader

Morrison Trophy winner, 1943

Principal, Dondero High School, Helen Keller and Clara Barton High Schools

Provided trust donation for an annual scholarship to a Royal Oak High School senior

Inductee, Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame, 1997

Jack Curtis Shader graduated from Royal Oak High School in 1943 and returned to the school district to serve as a teacher and an administrator. Jack loved sports and music. In high school he participated in the choir and played on the football and basketball teams.  He was awarded the Morrison Trophy as the most outstanding athlete of 1943. After high school Jack served as a radioman in the United States Navy.

Although Mr. Shader worked part time at Chamberlain Real Estate, his love was in teaching and administrating the Royal Oak Schools. He was appointed the principal of Keller Junior High the year that the building first opened. He had previously held administrative positions at Addams and Barton Junior Highs. He fulfilled his dream when he became the principal of Dondero High School in 1975.

Jack Shader was proud of Royal Oak and he was active in civic affairs.  He enjoyed attending the high school sports events and loved to mingle with the students in the halls. Even as principal he was known to hop up on the stage and join the alumni choir at school concerts.

The love and respect for Jack C. Shader was evident when friends and family established a memorial college scholarship fund in his name.  Each year, since his death, an outstanding high school senior at Royal Oak High School receives a substantial grant from the trust fund bearing Mr. Shader's name.

Class of 1943


Judge Keith J. Leenhouts

District Judge, City of Royal Oak

Developed National Court Volunteer Probation Services Program

Published Author

Winner of national awards for excellence in probation practices

Royal Oak Citizen of the Year

Inducted into Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame, 1996

Keith J. Leenhouts is a graduate of Royal Oak High School, Albion College and Wayne State University College of Law. He has received Distinguished Alumni Awards from Albion and Wayne State.

Mr. Leenhouts served as Royal Oak District Judge from 1959 to 1969.  During his tenure on the bench he developed a court volunteer probation system that helped win the city of Royal Oak the All-American City Award in 1967. Through his leadership the probation project became part of a national program. The success of the program in reducing repeat offenders earned Judge Leenhouts national attention. His work appeared in articles by the Readers' Digest and Guidepost magazines. He was given awards for excellence by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and the Foundation for Justice.

Keith Leenhouts was also an author. In addition to articles published by the Readers' Digest in 1965, 1968 and 1975 he authored a book, A Father A Son and A Three Mile Run which was later made into a motion picture.

Judge Leenhouts took an active role in his church and community. He was a Sunday school teacher at the First United Methodist Church in Royal Oak and was awarded the Michigan United Methodist Church Evangelism Award in 1995. For his extensive volunteer work in the community, the city of Royal Oak name him Citizen of the Year.

In 1996, Judge Keith Leenhouts was inducted into the Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame.

Class of 1943


Charles L. Knox

Graduate of Royal Oak High School

Morrison Trophy Winner, 1943

Graduate of Western Michigan University

Royal Oak teacher and principal, 1950-1984

Inducted into Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame, 1996

Charles Knox attended Royal Oak High School and earned four varsity letters in three different sports--football, basketball and golf. He was awarded the Morrison Trophy for the outstanding athlete in the class of 1943.

"Charlie" (as he was known by his friends) earned a B. S. degree from Western Michigan University and an master's degree from Wayne State University.

He served in the United State Army Air Corp in the African Theater from 1943-1946. He received a service medal for his work.

Charles Knox taught in the Royal Oak schools beginning in 1950. He served as Principal of Washington Elementary, Barton Junior High and Adams Junior High in the Royal Oak District. He was quoted as saying, "I am proud to be a product of the Royal Oak Schools and to have served the young people of this community."

He was inducted into the Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame in 1996.

Class of 1943


Robert W. Groves

Founded one of the nation’s first alcohol and drug information schools

Served as Director of Royal Oak Substance Abuse Program

Served with the Royal Oak and Huntington Woods Police

Played AAA baseball for the Chicago Cubs

Inductee, Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame, 1999

Robert W. Groves graduated from Royal Oak High School in 1943. One of the more gifted athletes in Dondero history, Bob earned nine letters as a member of the baseball, football and basketball teams. He joined the Marines after graduation and was engaged in heavy combat during World War II. After the war he played baseball for Michigan State University and the farm teams of the Chicago Cubs.  His knowledge of baseball was later shared with Little Leaguers in Royal Oak and Madison Heights. His players included his son Mark and a young catcher named Bill Freehan.

In an interview with the Daily Tribune in 1976, Robert Groves shared the fact that he was an alcoholic and that his drinking had ruined his promising baseball career. The people of Royal Oak remember Bob Groves not for his failed baseball career, but rather for his personal victory over his disease and the inspiration he provided others.

Bob Groves was a law enforcement officer in Oakland county. In addition to saving several lives which were threatened by fires and accidents, he used his personal experiences and communication skills to counsel and save the lives of many people who were misusing drugs and alcohol. In the 1960's Robert Groves, and other members of the Royal Oak District Court probation department, established a formal program to provide information and counseling for offenders with drug and alcohol problems. Bob later served as the director of the Royal Oak Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center that was eventually named in his honor.

Robert Groves was a gifted educator. Although criminal offenders were actually sentenced to attend his mandatory classes, they often ended the eight week session voluntarily staying after class to drink coffee and continue their discussions. His vision of using compulsory education as part of a court punishment/rehabilitation program and its success in eliminating repeat offenders received national attention. The concept has been copied by many courts throughout the nation. The court program created by Bob, and implemented by another Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame inductee Judge Keith Leenhouts, was one of the major factors in the selection of Royal Oak as the 1967 All American City by Look magazine.

One event illustrates why Robert Groves was inducted into the ROHS Hall of Fame. At a Dondero-Kimball football game, Bob was given a standing ovation in recognition for being chosen Alumnus of the Year. Bob then saw a youth apparently under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He left his friends to go to the aid of the youth. His friends called him back protesting that, "Bob, you can't go. This is your night!" Bob turned to them and replied, "I have to go. This is my life." Robert Groves was inducted into the Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame in 1999.

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