Boaz High School held its fifth annual Wall of Fame ceremony Friday, honoring seven new members for their success and achievements.
The 2019 Wall of Fame class includes Ben Gamel, from the class of 1955; Bob Moody, from the class of 1949; Bob Steed, from the class of 1961; James Stewart, from the class of 1961; Jonathan Roberts, from the class of 1992; John Thweatt, from the class of 1984; and Keith Hefner, from the class of 1980.
Each inductee was given a chance to address the students of Boaz High School after a brief biopic video was played. Ashley Walls, who is the director of general administration for Boaz City Schools, said she hoped the students saw the many possibilities for them after high school and college.
The ceremony was followed by a luncheon where the new members were presented plaques.
Gamel was born in December 1936. He played football at Boaz High School, serving as the co-captain of the team in 1954. He also played baseball and was a member of the “B” Club. He was declared “most handsome” for his senior Who’s Who.
After his father was unable to work due to a stroke, Gamel lied about his age and joined the Alabama National Guard where he served for two years while completing his high school education.
He graduated in 1955 and went on to join the Air Force where he earned the Wingman of the Month award. In 1959, after briefly working for Republic Steel in Gadsden, he joined an Alabama State Troopers where he served with distinction for 31 years.
Gamel married his wife, Linda Carroll, in June of 1991 before joining the United States Marshal Service. He currently serves on the Marshall County Legislative Committee.
John Robert “Bob” Moody was born Oct. 28, 1931. His ancestors were founding members of the town of Moody in St. Clair County. However, his parents were both schoolteachers who settled in Boaz. His father, Ellis E. Moody, became principal of Boaz High School in 1945 during Bob’s freshman year.
Bob Moody made the most of his time at Boaz High, being active in multiple clubs and playing on the football team. He was voted “neatest” for his senior Who’s Who. It was during high school when his passion for sketching began.
After graduating from Auburn in 1953 with a degree in architecture, he moved to Dallas, Texas to do commercial art at R.G. LeTourneau Technologies. In 1959, he returned to Alabama to create concept art at NASA. From there, he moved to Birmingham where he started his own design firm, Moody & Associates, in 1974. Bob Moody has published multiple books and been featured in prominent art magazines.
He married his wife, Rebecca, in November of 1979.
He was unable to attend this year’s Wall of Fame ceremony.
Jonathan Roberts was born Jan. 8, 1974 in Dawson, Alabama. He transferred from Geraldine Elementary to Boaz in the seventh grade. He played saxophone in the Boaz High School band, played tennis and was a member of the National Honor Society. He also liked to act and won the best actor award for his role in “You Can’t Take It With You.” He was also active in his youth group and graduated from high school in 1992.
He then served as a White House summer intern for George H. W. Bush. He was accepted into Samford University where he was active in campus ministries and fraternities. He graduated with a degree in international relations and a double minor in Spanish and Russian.
He then studied at Harvard where he met his wife, Dayna. He took his first job at First Data Corporation, overseeing multi billion dollar retirement account plan. He then took a job at BBVA Compass in Montgomery to be closer to family. It was while working here Roberts took an interest in the film business.
Roberts has worked on projects with the Discovery Channel and ran an independent film company, Comic Book Movies, along with the executive producer of the Batman franchise, Michael Uslan.
He is a cancer survivor, which he attributes to his strong family support and his faith in Jesus Christ. After recovering, he began a new hobby of cooking and has been featured in several magazines.
He and his wife are active in the church in Beverly Hills, California. Currently, he operates a hardware and software company with two partners, endeavoring to become the next leader in data analytics.
“You can do it; you should do it, so go do it,” Roberts said to Boaz High School students during his acceptance speech.
Steed’s sister, Ellen Perryman, accepted the award on his behalf.
He was born in Spring Garden, Alabama in 1943. His family moved to Boaz in 1955 when his father became principal of Boaz Elementary School.
Steed attended Boaz High School in 1957 where he was active in the Science Club, Key Club and the Beta Club. He also played football, basketball, baseball, making All-County, All-Sand Mountain and All-District in basketball.
He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1965 with a degree in American Studies and was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Fellowship to study at the University of Virginia. He went on to earn a master’s degree and doctorate in Government.
He then accepted a position in the political science department at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, where he taught for 40 years with distinction. In 1978, he helped found The Citadel Symposium on Southern Politics. He wrote and co-authored 79 peer reviewed articles for professional journals and 106 conference papers and reports.
He retired in 2009 but still consults with The Citadel on programs and curriculum. He and his wife of 54 years, Angelyn, currently live in Charleston.
James Wallace Stewart was born Dec. 10, 1942 in Boaz. While at Boaz High, he was president of the Science Club and captain of the football team. He also worked part time at Marshall-Dekalb Electric. He graduated in 1961, having been voted “most likely to succeed.”
He earned an electrical engineering degree at Auburn University and went to work at a private engineering firm. He worked there for 18 months until joining the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. He went on to join the National Guard, making rank of color.
He returned to Marshall-Dekalb Electric and worked for 10 years before becoming general manager of the Albertville Municipal Utilities Board. In 1988, he went back to Marshall-Dekalb Electric, replacing the general manager there.
Stewart has served on several boards in the Boaz community including the Alabama Rural Electric Association, the North Alabama Industrial Development Association, the Marshall County Economic Development Council Board and the Albertville Chamber of Commerce Board.
He married his wife, Charlene, in June of 1987. They have been married for more than 30 years.
John Clinton Thweatt was born in Feb. 6, 1966 at an Air Force base in Columbus, Ohio. He spent much of his childhood in Ocean Springs, Mississippi when his father became the student minister at First Baptist Church of Boaz in 1979.
Before graduating Boaz High School in 1984, Thweatt lettered three times in football, ran track, was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and president of Youth for Christ. He was voted “most school spirited” as a senior.
He graduated from Jacksonville State University with a degree in education. Though planning on becoming a teacher, he felt like God was calling him to preach.
He then entered the South Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas where he earned a master of divinity degree in 1992. After earning his degree, he moved back to Alabama, serving as student minister of First Baptist Church in Guntersville. He then became the pastor of Beulah Baptist Church in Albertville.
In 2000, he earned a doctorate degree in ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Pell City for the past 18 years while also going on mission trips all over the world. He was elected as president to the Alabama Baptist Convention in 2016 and re-elected the following year.
He is married to his wife, Kim, and has four daughters.
William Keith Hefner
William Hefner was born in Marshall County on Aug. 30, 1962. He showed an interest in math in science from an early age at Boaz Elementary which grew through his academic career. He was a member of the math team at Boaz High School as well as the Beta Club, Math Club and Science Club. He was encouraged by his teachers to become an engineer.
He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alabama College of Engineering in 1984, receiving the George C.K. Johnson Award for being a top student.
He went on to accept a position at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where he worked on various projects including the Hubble Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
He was selected to join the Senior Executive Service, the top federal rank for a civilian, in 2012. He retired from NASA after 34 years of service. He then joined MTS, Inc. serving as vice president of program management.