A suffragist, a Hollywood comedy writer, a Vermont lawmaker and local business leaders are among 12 new inductees to the Central High School Hall of Fame.
The 2018 honorees also include two pairs of married Central grads. All will be inducted during a dinner at the school on Thursday.
The inductees and year of graduation:
Doris Stevens, 1905
Stevens was one of the nation’s leading suffragists, joining members of the National Women’s Party in picketing outside Woodrow Wilson’s White House. She was arrested, but Wilson ultimately backed women’s right to vote and the 19th Amendment passed. Stevens’ book about her experience became an important historical account of the movement.
Harry A. Koch Jr., 1947
Koch led his family-owned insurance agency for more than four decades, modernizing its systems, expanding into new lines and doubling its workforce. He served a year as president of the National Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers and was named to the Omaha Business Hall of Fame.
Barry Combs, 1950
Combs has become known as the school’s unofficial historian. As a founding member of the school’s alumni association, he helped document the school’s historical collection and co-authored a 54-page school history. He has also served on the board of the Douglas County Historical Society.
Stephen and Judith Hutton Olson, 1960
The couple have been strong advocates for animal welfare in Nebraska. Judith established the Nebraska Humane Society’s Friends Forever guild, and both were leaders in the $12 million campaign for a new facility. An attorney, Stephen helped push to passage new animal welfare laws.
Olive Graham, 1961
Graham broke ground for African-Americans during an award-winning career as a public radio journalist in Texas. Leading figures she interviewed on her 14-year public affairs show included Henry Kissinger, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro, Yasser Arafat and Walter Cronkite. Graham died in 2016.
Jerry Slusky, 1963
The real estate attorney founded Omaha’s annual Commercial Real Estate Summit, which draws more than 1,000 business and real estate leaders to assess trends and growth opportunities. He became the third Nebraska attorney inducted as a fellow into the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.
Sally Fox, 1968
The state lawmaker served nearly two decades in office in her adopted home state of Vermont, becoming known for her work to improve the lives of children, the poor and the disabled. When she died of cancer in 2014, the state’s largest newspaper remembered her as a “Champion of the People.”
Merle Rambo, 1969
The Omaha architect made his mark designing educational facilities, including the courtyard cover at his alma mater that created a year-round gathering place and plaza for students. His firm has been nationally recognized for educational design excellence, innovation and cost management.
Michael and Susan Strauss Lebens, 1970
The couple left Central and went on to successful professional careers, Susan in the law department of Mutual of Omaha, Mike as a top executive of Tenaska energy company. Both have been leaders in the CHS Foundation, including making a substantial donation for the school’s new arts and music addition.
Sam Johnson, 1981
The Hollywood comedy writer was one of the creative minds behind “Beavis and Butthead.” He’s also earned writing and production credits on numerous sitcoms, including “News Radio,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Hot in Cleveland” and “Frasier” — in the latter sharing in multiple Emmy nominations.