WATERLOO — The Lowell Elementary Hall of Fame Committee will honor inductees at a school assembly at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the school.

The Lowell Hall of Fame honors Lowell alumni who have distinguished themselves in their chosen profession or in community activities. Lowell alumni are invited to attend the ceremony.

This year’s recipients include Gene Carey, David P. Odekirk, Don Perkins and John Rooff.

Carey attended Lowell in grades 1-6. He graduated from East High in 1961 and from the State College of Iowa (now the University of Northern Iowa) in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He earned his master’s degree in school administration from UNI in 1970 and taught for 33 years, retiring in 1997.

Carey began his teaching and coaching careers at East High School in 1965. After three years there, he spent most of his career at West High where he became head of the math department and coached the men’s swim team for many years. He also served as part-time principal at Hoover Middle School and district computer facilitator.

Carey implemented the Advanced Placement Calculus program at West and the first computer programming course in the Waterloo schools. He was one of the first teachers in Iowa to have a computer in the classroom. He was twice a presenter at the National Educational Computer Conference and wrote a textbook on computer programming for the Apple II. Highlights of his coaching career include being awarded District Swimming Coach of the Year in 1978 and 1981.

First Judicial District Court Judge David P. Odekirk earned a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctor with distinction from the University of Iowa. He then returned to Waterloo to begin a lifelong commitment to serving his community. He worked for Legal Services Corp. of Iowa prior to joining the law firm of Dunakey & Klatt, PC, where he became a partner with the firm.

Odekirk has been a member of the Iowa State Bar Association, American Bar Association, Iowa Association for Justice, American Association for Justice and the Black Hawk County Bar Association. He has served as Zion Lutheran Church Council president and vice president for numerous years, as well as on the church’s finance committee. He has also served as the chairman and vice chairman for Vision Iowa, an organization providing state funding for community attraction and tourism projects.

Don Perkins attended Lowell Elementary and later graduated from West High. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he played football, and in 1958 he led the nation in kickoff returns. The school retired his number (43), a first in the university’s history. He was inducted into the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame and began playing for the Dallas Cowboys in 1961.

Perkins ranks third on the Cowboy’s all-time rushing yards and rushing touchdowns behind Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett. He was selected to six Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team.

Following his days with the Cowboys, Perkins was a football analyst for CBS Sports, ABC Sports and other TV and radio networks. He was the director of the Work Incentive Program for the Department of Human Services from 1972 to 1985.

John Rooff graduated from West High School and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa. He later studied business at Northeastern University in Boston.

Commissioned a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1968, he served for two years in Germany and in the Army Reserve as a captain for five years. Rooff served on the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors for eight years and was also chairman of the board for numerous years. In 1993, he was elected mayor of Waterloo.

Rooff has since focused on low-to-moderate-income housing in Waterloo. This year will see the 125th home built by his company, Black Hawk Contracting & Development.


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