The Bismarck Hall of Fame received two new members in an induction ceremony at Bismarck High School held Friday night as Bismarck graduates Louie Lucas and Harold Gallaher joined 20 other previously-announced hall of famers.
Jerry Freeman spoke about the nature of the Hall of Fame, saying not just anybody that graduates from Bismarck makes it into the Hall of Fame. Rather, it’s a privilege and honor reserved for the best and brightest, who prove themselves to be examples for generations of Bismarck grads to come.
“There’s a purpose for the Bismarck Hall of Fame,” Freeman said. “And there’s criteria that we go by. The purpose of the Bismarck R-5 School District Hall of Fame is to recognize Bismarck High graduates, as well as students who may have been called to military duty prior to graduation.
“To be a part of the hall of fame nominees shall have distinguished themselves in the areas of leadership, character, service, suitability as a role model, and contribution to society as a whole.”
Freeman said he’s personal friends with both Lucas and Gallaher and can personally vouch for the two men as "bona fide role models." First introduced was Lucas, whose accomplishments were briefly outlined by Freeman.
“Louie Lucas is a graduate of the class of 1974,” Freeman said. “He attended Mineral Area College where he graduated with an Associate of Arts Degree in 1976. From there, he attended John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas on a baseball scholarship.”
According to Freeman, Lucas went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and also played on the NAIA All-American Baseball Team. Upon graduating, Lucas took his first teaching and coaching job at De Soto, where he worked for five years.
In 1983 he began a career with State Farm Insurance that would last more than 34 years. Lucas has been inducted into the State Farm Hall of Fame for outstanding agents, and has coached summer baseball.
“Also, Louie was the only person that we know of in our school system that was a two-sport, first team all-state athlete,” Freeman said. “Baseball and basketball. That’s quite an accomplishment.”
Lucas accepted a plaque from Freeman and expressed his gratitude to the school system that helped make him who he is today.
“It’s my pleasure and privilege to become a member of the Bismarck Hall of Fame,” Lucas said. “When you’re from a small town, the school is the focal point of the community. It’s where the adults gather for games, but it’s where the kids come to get an education and a foundation for the basics that will carry them through life. And I’m really, really proud to be from Bismarck High School.”
Freeman then went on to introduce the night’s second inductee, Harold Gallaher. He said Gallaher was a member of the Bismarck Class of 1965, and then went on to what was then the University of Missouri at Rolla and obtained an engineering degree before returning to Bismarck.
“In 1976, Harold purchased S.T. Echols, which was always known as a small town factory,” Freeman said. “Harold added to and developed the business from 5,000 square feet to over 20,000 square feet and expanded sales to international status. Echols produced equipment known worldwide and was a force for Bismarck — it kept our name on the map for years.”
Freeman said Gallaher then opened a crematorium in Bismarck, which was also a successful venture. Next, he assisted Alan Williams of the city of Bismarck in creating the first wastewater treatment plant for the community.
His most recent venture has been Harold’s Famous Bee Cream, which Freeman said is related to Gallaher being a cancer survivor.
“He’s been very active in the research of cancer, and bee cream is one of the things that his research has taken him into,” Freeman said.
He added that Gallaher holds multiple patents, with another currently pending. Gallaher also served on the Bismarck Board of Alderman from 1978 to 1982, the Bismarck School Board from 1982 to 2000, and is currently serving as the presiding commissioner of St. Francois County.
“He also helped rear 11 children,” Freeman added. “Two biological daughters, one adopted son, one foster son, five foreign exchange students and two sponsored children in Honduras and Zambia.”
Gallaher added to Lucas’ comments about the roles played by the local school system.
“In every town the school is the biggest part of the town,” Gallaher said. “They’ve got the biggest transportation system, a cooking staff, the biggest buildings and employment base — everything about it. Education is always the biggest part of the community.”
Gallaher went on to thank the Bismarck teachers who helped him prepare to be the first member of his family to pursue a college degree.
Bismarck Superintendent Jason King said while he didn’t know the two inductees personally when he first came to the district, he quickly came to know them by reputation.
“It’s a real honor to have the inductees here tonight,” King said. “I’ve been around the Bismarck School District since 2002 and when I first came I honestly didn’t know who Louie or Harold was. But I heard about Louie and Harold all the time, and I didn’t have to meet you guys to know how special the people around here think you are.”
King thanked the two men for their contributions to the legacy of the Bismarck School District, and ended the ceremony by reiterating Freeman’s sentiment that the two men are indeed role models for current students.
“One of the things that is important to me is that the people who go into our hall of fame are great examples for our kids,” King said. “So we can look at the inductees and show them to the kids of Bismarck and they can say, ‘I want to be like them.’ Those are the kind of people we want, and you guys exemplify that.”