Southeast Honors St. Louis Area Alumni and Friend



April 18, 2008 – The Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association recently presented the 2008 Southeast Salutes award to six outstanding alumni from the St. Louis area and a Distinguished Service Award to a life-long friend of the University April 16.

The recipients were honored at a luncheon at the Sheraton Lakeside Chalet at Westport in St. Louis.

This year’s Southeast Salutes recipients are James Frisella of St. Louis, Mo., retired director of vocational and educational counseling for the eastern region of the State of Missouri Division of Youth Services; Michael Gohn of Bridgeton, Mo., director of athletics and activities for the Parkway School District; Mimi Brandt Hiner of Florissant, Mo., site coordinator for the Hazelwood West Early Childhood Education Center in the Hazelwood School District; August “Gus” Koebbe Jr. of St. Louis, Mo., owner and president of Gus’ Pretzel Shop; Kevin Montgomery of Ballwin, Mo., business manager of Defense Logistics Agency Programs and Large Aircraft Spares and Repairs at Boeing; and the Honorable Timothy Patterson of Hillsboro, Mo., retired Jefferson County Circuit Court judge.  The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Veryl Riddle of Chesterfield, Mo., senior counsel with the Bryan Cave Law Firm.

The St. Louis Chapter of the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association created Southeast Salutes in 2001 to honor outstanding alumni from the St. Louis area who have brought distinction to themselves and to the University through career and community achievements.  Selected from more than 18,000 alumni in the St. Louis metropolitan area, honorees come from a wide variety of career fields and education backgrounds. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes former students, graduates or volunteers for professional and personal achievement and service to the University and community.

James Frisella ’58 – Frisella graduated from Southeast with a bachelor’s degree in history and physical education. He went on to pursue a master’s degree in 1964 and later earned a doctorate in 1990. Frisella retired in 2004 as director of vocational and educational counseling for the eastern region of the State of Missouri Division of Youth Services. Frisella previously retired as a St. Louis community college and St. Louis high school teacher, coach and athletic director. He taught in both St. Louis area private and public schools.

While a student at Southeast, Frisella played football for four years, and was president and secretary of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. He was recently inducted into the Southeast Missouri Athletic Hall of Fame with the 1955 football team. In 2003, Frisella also was inducted into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame as a coach. He has served on numerous boards and committees throughout his career and has coached many sports in the greater St. Louis area for more than 60 years. Frisella holds a career record of over 1,200 total wins and is currently the president of the St. Louis Bocce Club. He and wife, Teresa, are proud parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.

Michael Gohn ’81 – Gohn received a bachelor’s degree in high school education with an emphasis in industrial arts. Gohn’s career began at Pattonville High School where he was a teacher and coach. Later, Gohn accepted a position on the football staff at the University of Illinois. After two years at the collegiate level, Gohn returned to St. Louis to teach and coach for Parkway North High School. During his time at North, he has been the coordinator of industrial technology, track coach, football coach and activities coordinator. In 1996, Gohn was named director of athletics and activities for the Parkway School District. He currently supervises 23 varsity programs and more than 300 coaching positions.

While at Southeast, Gohn lettered in football and track for four years. He was named to the All American Football Team as a defensive end. In 2007, Gohn was inducted into the Southeast Missouri Athletic Hall of Fame and was awarded Pillar of the Parkway School District. He currently serves as the Missouri Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association treasurer, is a member of the board of directors for the Missouri State High School Activities Association, and is the president of the St. Louis Suburban South/West Athletic Conference. Gohn was selected as the St. Louis Area “Athletic Director of the Year” in 2001. Gohn, who has three children, Caitlin, Derek and Mariah, is married to Dawn.

Mimi Brandt Hiner ’68 – Hiner received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a specialization in German from Southeast. She went on to earn a master’s degree in elementary counseling from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Hiner is the site coordinator for the Hazelwood West Early Childhood Education Center in the Hazelwood School District. She is also the coordinator for Parents as Teachers in the district.

While at Southeast, Hiner was an active member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. She has remained active as a national officer for more than 30 years, holding executive positions such as national president, Foundation board member and chairman.  Hiner received the Founder’s Award for outstanding service to the sorority and was honored as a Woman of Distinction for service to the education profession and community. She and her husband, Bill, have two grown children.

August “Gus” Koebbe, Jr. ’78 – Koebbe, who majored in computer science, is the owner and president of Gus’ Pretzel Shop in St. Louis, Mo. At the age of 23, Koebbe, purchased Gus’ Pretzel Shop from his parents and became the third generation to run the family business.

Gus’ Pretzel Shop has been twisting pretzels since 1920 and has become a St. Louis destination. Koebbe maintains a small group of devout employees who twist each pretzel by hand daily.  As owner, he expanded the pretzel shop’s retail space, giving customers increased access to view the pretzel making process. Koebbe and his wife, Suzanne (Wichern) ’78, have two children, Allison and August, III.

Kevin Montgomery ’78 – Montgomery received a bachelor’s degree in business administration, majoring in management from Southeast. He also holds an associate of applied science degree in computer technology. He earned a master’s degree in management from Maryville University in 1992.  Montgomery is the business manager of Defense Logistics Agency Programs and Large Aircraft Spares and Repairs at Boeing where he will be celebrating his 30 year anniversary this year.

For the past four years, Montgomery has ensured Boeing’s participation in the Harrison College of Business St. Louis Interview Days, which resulted in numerous business students finding initial job placement at Boeing. As Southeast’s Boeing liaison, Montgomery has been instrumental in securing thousands of dollars in scholarship money for undergraduate students majoring in management information systems and computer science. He also has played significant roles in acquiring equipment grants for the School of Polytechnic Studies, which provide an extra margin of excellence to the school’s outstanding programs. He and his wife, Cheryl (Daman) ‘80, have three children, Nicole, Andrew and Samuel.

The Honorable Timothy Patterson ’63 – Patterson, who majored in secondary education, is retired after serving more than 24 years as a circuit court judge in Jefferson County, Mo. His career began with a two-year stint as a teacher at Hillsboro High School. After serving four years in the U.S. Air Force, he returned to the University of Missouri-Kansas City to finish his law degree and following his graduation, served as chief auditor and counsel for the probate court in Kansas City, Mo. Patterson was later hired as first assistant prosecuting attorney in Jefferson County in Missouri. In 1975, Patterson was elected to a four-year term as prosecuting attorney for Jefferson County. He joined the law firm of Anderson, Hammon & Dieffenbach in Hillsboro, Mo., for four years, prior to being elected to the Circuit Court in 1982. He served three terms as presiding judge of the Circuit and served one term as president of the Missouri Circuit Judges Association.

Patterson currently serves as a member of the Jefferson Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, the Hillsboro Rotary Club and the Knights of Columbus. He serves as a Eucharistic Minister, lector and member of the choir at the Church of Our Lady in Festus, Mo.

Veryl Riddle – Riddle was born and raised in the Riddle Hill-Bethany Community in north Dunklin County in Missouri.  Upon graduating from high school in 1939, he attended Southeast Missouri State College for two years.  Riddle then obtained a teaching certificate and returned to Dunklin County to teach in the rural one-room school that he attended as a youngster.

During World War II, Riddle served in the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Army, where he served as a Special Agent with military intelligence.  Riddle later returned to college and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Buffalo and his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis.  Thereafter, he returned to Dunklin County, where he practiced law in Malden, Mo., for 17 years.  He and the Honorable Harry Blanton of Sikeston, Mo., were the only southeast Missourians to serve as a U.S. Attorney in Missouri.

In December, 1969, Riddle joined the Bryan Cave Law Firm, in St. Louis, Missouri, where he established the Litigation Department and litigation capability, allowing Bryan Cave to become a worldwide firm with more than 800 lawyers.  He has hired, trained and guided hundreds of young attorneys, while continuing to excel in the courtroom.  In 2006, he received an Award of Merit from the American College of Trial Lawyers, only the fifth Missouri fellow to ever receive the award.

Riddle’s passion and love for Southeast Missouri prompted him to establish an endowment through the Center for Regional History in Cape Girardeau, Mo., which created the Riddle Distinguished History Lecture Series.  He recently donated a 40- acre cotton patch, west of Malden, to commemorate the contribution that cotton has made to the political, cultural and material values of the area.  Additionally, as a member of the presidential search committee, Riddle played a substantial role in selecting Dale Nitzschke as president (1996-99) of Southeast Missouri State University.  He also serves as an emeritus member on the Southeast Missouri Foundation Board of Directors.