Kenneth Dickson                 Inducted 2008 - Class of 1965

"Chalky Red" and "Firetop" are not two guys Ken Dickson met at Woodward, but they are definitely two characters he knows from Point Place. He writes about them in his acclaimed book about prohibition in Toledo--Nothing Personal, Just Business. By the time Ken was born “The Point" had put away its rolled stockings, roadsters, raccoon coats, fedoras, bootlegged liquor, and tommy guns. It was a great place to raise a family- yours and your neighbors'-and everyone took the job seriously. Streets were safe and everyone understood that when the streetlights came on you headed home. Ken and his brother Bruce joined their friends at Edgewater Elementary, Point Place Junior High, and then on the long bus rides to Woodward.

By the time Ken graduated from WHS he knew many things not taught in any class:

* Freshmen get lots of detentions.

* Bonnie Baer (1964) was a good friend and certainly someone he could spend the rest of his life

   with.

* Males and females engaging in a cafeteria food fight got a whack as they left the cafeteria.

* A study hall in Auto Mechanics meant you could wash your car and go out for lunch.

* You could build a life as a carpenter's apprentice and journeyman.

* The importance of friends, including Bob Foeller, Alan Fritz, Bobby Wheeler, Bob Badman, and Garey Budzinski.

* Custodians, teachers, and principals valued education and were there to help you.

At The University of Toledo Ken majored in education. He wanted to teach math because of his fantastic role model at WHS, Jim Wilusz, who proved that firmness and caring were the keys to bring an outstanding teacher. Ken spent thirty-one years at Bowsher teaching math and taking on the advisor jobs that go with teaching high school.

Ken has also spent countless hours giving back to the community. As an Eagle Scout, Ken knew the value of Scouting. As a carpenter he saw the need for new signs at Camp Miakonda. Together he and his son designed and installed the wooden outdoor signs that you see there today. However, not all of Ken's projects are made of wood.

He has been recognized for his accomplishments as a historian, lecturer, and author on the Great Lakes, Maumee Valley, and the Northwest Territory, as well as prohibition, and organized gambling in the greater Toledo Area. He has volunteered many hours as Trustee for Western Lake Erie Historical Society, Great Lakes Historical Society, and Toledo History Museum.

His interest in local history has produced numerous articles, and four books, chronicling the life and times of Point Place. In its infancy, "The Point" was a recreation area for the wealthy. Its teen-age years were spent in drive-by shootings and bootlegging. With age has come respectability and pride. Ken and Bonnie Baer (married in 1967) have made Point Place their home, where they raised two children, Renee and Jeffrey, also WHS graduates. They enjoy their five grandchildren, Zach, Taylor, Trevor, Kenneth, Derrick, and look forward to a new arrival in May. It's a small town in a big city and the people from "The Point" like it that way. It's Ken's business and he does take it personal.

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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