2004 Hall of Fame Inductees

Audie Hittle
Class of 1975

Audie Hittle helped found the first Explorer’s Post in the Benton area and was that organization’s first president.  He served as class president and held other high school offices.  He holds three degrees – one in engineering plus two advanced degrees.  Audie is a highly decorated military veteran, nationally recognized pioneer of government-industry collaboration and intrepid entrepreneur.  During his twenty-two year military career starting in 1975, he was twice awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the highest USAF non-combat award and distinguished himself in outstanding service to the United States.  Audie transitioned to the private sector in 1997 and has since held key leadership roles in Fortune 500, small and startup companies.  Audie is married to his high school sweetheart, Karina McMillan.  The couple has one daughter and resides in Tyngsboro, MA.

Mary Lucinda Dodson Gearhart
Class of 1922

Mary Dodson Gearhart graduated from Benton High School loving tennis, swimming, and dancing.  She especially loved sledding and rode bobsleds, dishpans, and coal shovels.  She was an excellent singer and played the piano and the violin.  She graduated from Bloomsburg Normal School and received a Master of Arts degree from Duquesne University.  Mary served as President of the Association of Retarded Children for Monroe County and served on the board of directors of Burnley Workshop for physically and mentally challenged people in the Stroudsburg area.  She founded weekly and summer programs and managed Camp Daddy Allen for twenty-seven years in addition to serving as president of the board for fourteen years.  She was a member of numerous professional and civic groups and is listed in Who’s Who in Outstanding Citizens of the Nation and Who’s Who in Outstanding Special Teachers.  Mary retired from the Stroudsburg Area School District after teaching for more than forty years.  She married in 1935 and was widowed in 1954.  She has one daughter, Margaret J. Dawson, who lives in Lambertville, MI. 

Donald Nelson Baker
Class of 1952

Donald graduated from Benton High School and completed his undergraduate work at Pennsylvania State University.  He received his Masters and his Doctorate from Cornell University.  He was named by the United States Department of Agriculture as the Outstanding Scientist of the Year in 1987.  His teaching experience includes Clemson University and Mississippi State University.  He is currently a cotton production consultant with responsibility for approximately 15,000 acres.  Donald holds numerous awards and citations, but says that the most difficult was the one “at the bottom of the stack,” which read simply, Airplane Single Engine Land, Instrument…Donald lives in Starkville, MS, with his wife, Bobbi.  He has five children, two stepchildren, and numerous grandchildren.

Frederick P. Baker
Class of 1967

Fred graduated from Benton High School and attended Mississippi State University.  Fred started his own company in 1976, Baker Installations, and it has now grown into a 17,000 square-foot facility and is a $45 million telecommunications company located in Pittsburgh.  The company has grown to producing revenues estimated at $134 million in 2004.  The enterprise focuses on installing cable television, voice and date, telephone and Internet connections.  The company has about 2,000 employees.  Fred serves in numerous positions with the Pennsylvania Cable and Telecommunications Association, Allegheny Regional Asset District Board of Directors, and the Governor’s Council on Small Business.  He serves on the board of directors of the Caleb Project, which focuses on mission mobilization to lesser-reached nations.  Fred is married to the former Beth Christine Kocher; they have eight children and seven grandchildren.

Donald D. Rabb
Class of 1940

Donald graduated from Bloomsburg State Teachers’ College.  He received his Master’s degree from Bucknell University and his Doctor of Education degree from Pennsylvania State University. 

Donald taught all of the sciences in the Benton schools where he was coach of the baseball and soccer teams.  He was also an Eagle Scout and inspiring scoutmaster.  Donald (Dr. Rabb) joined the faculty of Bloomsburg State Teacher’s College in 1957.  During his 26 ½ years at Bloomsburg, he taught a variety of biology courses specializing in genetics, anatomy, and physiology.  He served as chairperson of the Department of Biology from 1965 to 1973.  Numerous degree programs were developed during this period.  Donald married his high school sweetheart, Dottie McHenry, and they have three children.

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