Lt. Col. Robert “Bob” Carlson looked happy, yet a little out of place, during John R. Rogers High School’s homecoming assembly, what with all the cheerleaders and dancers accompanied by pounding music, funny stunts cheered on by loud squeals.
“That’s something else,” Carlson, who graduated in 1938, said afterward. “No, we didn’t have anything like that when I went to school here.”
Carlson was there because he was inducted into Rogers’ Walk of Fame, an honor given to Rogers alumni who distinguish themselves in business, academia and civic life. The Walk of Fame is a series of large portraits that line the halls at Rogers. Inductees are nominated by community members, then selected by a group of Rogers supporters and alumni coordinated by Sharon Travis.
Carlson is a highly decorated World War II veteran who flew P-51 Mustangs. After a long and distinctive military career, Carlson formed Choctaw Associates, a civil engineering and land surveying company, on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where he now lives.
“I do visit Spokane a lot,” Carlson said, “and I am honored that they picked me for the Walk of Fame. I hope students see me as an example of how, if you work at something, you can have it.”
Myron Bursell, a 1974 graduate and the owner of Green Gables Photography, also was inducted.
“It’s such an honor,” Bursell said. “I was completely surprised when they called me.”
Bursell is the official photographer for the Spokane Lilac Festival and several other local pageants, and he has served as president of the Lilac Association. Bursell is involved in countless civic and volunteer organizations such as Toys for Tots and Kiwanis, and he has served on the advisory board for Spokane Falls Community College.
“It is just amazing that we were chosen to be an example for the students here,” Bursell said. “To show them that we can all strive to do better for the community.”
D. Michael Jones, a 1960 Rogers graduate, was inducted into the Walk of Fame, because of his outstanding banking career which includes stints with Deloitte & Touche in New York City and as president of Banner Bank in Walla Walla. Jones has also served as president of the Spokane Club and as a member of the Spokane County Library Board among a long list of civic engagements.
Christopher Jurey, who graduated in 1968, and his brother Steven Jurey, who graduated in 1965, were both inducted posthumously. Their mother Joan Jurey accepted the symbolic key to the school that comes with the induction. Christopher Jurey had a long and distinguished career with Inland Northwest Bank, which every year awards a scholarship to a Rogers senior in his honor. Steven Jurey reached the rank of commander in the U.S. Navy and served in Vietnam. In 1990 he served in the Middle East during the first Gulf War and he had command of U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay, a major ship-repair, supply, and rest and recreation facility in the Philippines.
New Walk of Fame inductee Nancy Bell joins her husband, Larry Bell, who joined the club in 1995.
Nancy Bell graduated in 1964, and was a teacher at Rogers as well as at Shaw Middle School, and she has participated extensively in fundraising events benefiting Rogers students. Since 2007 she has been making prayer teddy bears that are distributed at nursing homes and to homeless girls at the YWCA school. Bell said she has a strong feeling her husband nominated her.
“I couldn’t believe it when they called me; I started crying,” Bell said. “It’s just humbling. I don’t want the attention, but if one kid can look at my picture and grab that and say, ‘If she can do it, then I can do it’ then I’m happy.”