Lake Schools honor two new Distinguished Alumni

Press Staff Writer

        Each year, Lake Schools honors past graduates who have made a significant impact – both at Lake during their school years, and in the community and places they have lived.
        Two new Distinguished Alumni have been recognized this year. They include Ronald G. Huff, a graduate of Lake High School Class of 1949 and James E. Bunke a 1967 Lake graduate.
        Huff grew up in Lake Township during the Great Depression and attended Lake Schools from 1936-1949.
        He was not an inspired student, and for reasons mostly beyond his control, he was required to repeat the second grade. In the sixth grade, the Loudenslager family moved into a house near Huff, and they ended up having a major impact on his life.
        John Loudenslager was the superintendent at Olney Schools and his wife, Bertha, was a teacher there, however, their children attended Lake Schools. Their son, John, became Huff’s best friend. Mr. and Mrs. Loudenslager became Huff’s mentors.
        One day while at Lake School, a WWII bomber flew into Metcalf field, flying so close that Huff could see the pilots inside. He recalls becoming enamored with airplanes and flying. As he entered his junior year at Lake, Huff decided that he wanted to be an aeronautical engineer, so he buckled down and became serious about his education. He still remembers the look on his teacher’s face when she handed back a history test and told the entire class that “Ronald has a B.” It was his first good grade in high school.
        With the help and encouragement of his best friend, John Loudenslager, who later became a doctor, Huff graduated from Lake High School in 1949 and was accepted into Toledo University’s College of Engineering. He graduated from TU (now the University of Toledo) in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in mechanical engineering, with a minor in aeronautical engineering.
        At TU, he was also a member of the ROTC program, the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps, and received the commission of second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He then served as an Army engineer from 1953-1955 during the Korean War, with seven months in the Korean War Theater.
        After the Korean war, Huff was hired as a research engineer for NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, near Cleveland. In 1958, NACA became NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He worked at NASA from 1955-1987 as a research engineer and technologist.
        One of the many projects Huff was responsible for at NASA was called “Boundary Layer Inlets,” which was used to calculate the lifting force of the shingles on John Glenn’s space capsule, Friendship 7. He also secured three patents while at NASA – two for an apparatus used for sensing the temperature inside rocket engines, and a third for a supersonic jet exhaust noise suppressor.
        In 1987, Huff started his own consulting business, Huff and Associates, where he focused on noise control issues for manufacturers around the globe. Here he secured his fourth patent on a multi-folded side-branch muffler that was used in C-5 Corvettes. He continued with the business until 2022 when it was dissolved at his age of 91.
        In 1983, Huff finally got his pilot’s license and has enjoyed flying ever since.
        In 1957, Huff married Nancy Carroll Warnes, also a Lake High School graduate, class of 1952. A registered nurse, she provided nursing care and instruction for many years. She passed away in May 2017. The couple had two children and four grandchildren, with a great-grandchild expected in June.
        In March 2022, Huss established a college scholarship fund for Lake High School named “The Ronald and Nancy Huff Scholarship.” This scholarship will be paid using the interest generated from a $100,000 endowment and will be awarded to Lake students pursuing a college degree in engineering, nursing or education, especially to those students who have shown the greatest academic improvement since entering Lake High School.
        At Lake, James E. Bunke, was a top-notch athlete, earning two varsity letters each in basketball, football and baseball. He earned all-league honors in basketball – his favorite sport – and his basketball skills later played a major role in his life.
        Bunke attributed his life successes to three of his Lake High School coaches – Bob Slykhuis, Gene Hodulik and Bob Filiere, with whom he has maintained a close relationship.
        After Lake, Jim attended Bowling Green State University, however, college did not go so well for him, and he dropped out in 1969. His college roommate was Jim Penix, the legendary Rossford and BGSU basketball star and hall-of-famer and the men remain friends to this day.
        After BGSU, Bunke was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and in New ULM, Germany during his service from 1969-1971. He was a member of the 81st Artillery Regiment (equipped with eight Pershing Missiles) in Germany.
        He was spared the battlefield in Vietnam because he was “drafted” by the Army brass to play on the Fort Dix Brigade travel basketball team. One of his teammates was former University of Toledo and NBA star Steve Mix. Not surprisingly that Fort Dix team won the Army Eastern Seaboard Championship.
        After his service in the Army, Bunke began a long and prosperous career in insurance, wealth management and retirement planning. From 1971 to the present, he has assisted hundreds of clients with their wealth management and retirement planning. Currently, he is carrying out his own retirement and transition plan by working with S & D Capital Financial Advisors in Oregon.
        Bunke and his wife, Deborah, have three children and five grandchildren. Tragically the couple had to endure the death of two of their adult children.
        Although he resides in Springfield Township, Bunke has always been there to assist Lake during its times of greatest need.
        During Lake’s severe financial crisis in 2006 and 2007, he stepped up and led an alumni group effort to help pass a desperately needed operating levy. In 2010, after the tornado devastated the Lake campus, Bunke was one of the first on the spot to assist with the clean-up, fundraising efforts and rebuilding process.
        Also, throughout the years, he has at his own expense sponsored 10-20 Lake High School athletes and coaches to attend the annual Fellowship of Christian Athlete Banquet.


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