Read about the 81st Annual Alumni Banquet Hall of Fame Inductees Col. Steven dePyssler '38, Joseph O'Gallagher '57, Mike McGarry '71, Dave Novosel '77, Don O'Keefe '81 and Mike McGrew '92.Click here to read more…
Congratulations to the 81st Annual Alumni Banquet Hall of Fame Inductees Col. Steven dePyssler '38, Joseph O'Gallagher '57, Mike McGarry '71, Dave Novosel '77, Don O'Keefe '81 and Mike McGrew '92. You can read about their life and legacy below.
COL. STEVEN DEPYSSLER ’38
Steven dePyssler came to Mount Carmel from Holy Cross Parish. At Mount Carmel he excelled in athletics, including becoming the state boxing champion. He also played football, basketball and handball.
When 21-year-old boxer Steve dePyssler joined the U.S. Army in 1941, it was because he wanted to box for the Army. He enlisted just before Pearl Harbor was attacked, and it’s probably safe to say that when he boarded that train in Chicago that would take him on his new adventure, he didn’t have a clue he would end up serving in four wars and hold every enlisted, warrant and commissioned officer rank in the Army and the U.S. Air Force, particularly since there was no U.S. Air Force when dePyssler enlisted. At that time, the USAF was a division of the Army – the U.S. Army Air Corps. But by the time dePyssler retired almost four decades later, however, there was an USAF and he was a Colonel in it. A full-bird colonel.
Retirement for Steve dePyssler didn’t mean kicking back and trading war stories with other veterans down at the VFW Hall, though he’s done some of that – along with everything else - along the way. In fact, when he retired from active duty in 1979, dePyssler was just getting started. As a retiree himself, he saw first-hand the difficulty getting through bureaucratic red tape to access benefits to which veterans are entitled; and he also saw how many veterans, and widows of veterans, didn’t even know the benefits they were entitled to. Since dePyssler and Gloria, his wife (now of 70 years) had their home in Bossier Parish, dePyssler did what he had done throughout his life – he bloomed where he was planted. He started helping veterans - and their widows – plow through the mountains of paperwork necessary to access money, goods and services available to them. Possibly because dePyssler had held every enlisted, non-commissioned and commissioned officer rank up to colonel in the Army and Air Force, he was as sensitive to the needs of the lowest ranks in the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard, as he was the officers. Through the eyes of Steve dePyssler, everyone who has honorably served in any branch of the military, regardless of the rank, is a hero. And dePyssler has spent the last 33 years wading through red tape for every hero who has come to him for help.
He is the only known American to have served in four wars, including World War II, Korean, French Indochina and Vietnam. He worked with the state legislature to develop the Louisiana Veterans Honor Medal and other legislation. He was instrumental in the development of the Northwest Louisiana War Veterans Home, the War Memorial at the Bossier City Civic Center and the Purple Heart Stamp. He organized and served as host of numerous luncheons and events to honor Medal of Honor recipients, including the 2002 Medal of Honor convention in Shreveport, at which the late Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf gave the keynote address. Schwarzkopf commanded coalition forces during the Gulf War. In addition, dePyssler put together POW/Purple Heart members and veterans from all wars. Devoted to the Ark-La-Tex Military Officers Association of American Chapter Scholarship Fund, dePyssler is founder and editor of two military and retiree newspapers for 20,000 readers.
DR. JOSEPH O'GALLAGHER PHD ‘57
Dr. Joseph O’Gallagher was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He is a “South Sider”, having grown up in the neighborhood of Avalon Park where he attended St. Felicitas Grammar School. He attended Mount Carmel High School where he was a member of the marching and concert bands and a member of the National Honor Society, the Student Activities Committee, the Carmel-Lite newspaper, the Oriflame Year Book, and the Third Order of Mount Carmel. Upon graduation in 1957, Joe was awarded a National Merit Scholarship to MIT where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in physics in 1961. He then returned to Chicago where he received Masters and Ph.D. degrees (both also in physics) in 1962 and 1967 respectively, from the University of Chicago. In 1960 Joe met and started dating a young woman named Ellen Blie. Ellen had graduated from St. Benedict’s (of the parish league) on the North Side and would eventually graduate from Loyola University with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. Joe and Ellen have now been married for 53 years, have two grown sons, four grandsons and one (very special) granddaughter.
Dr. O’Gallagher is an experimental physicist with over forty years of research and teaching at two major universities. At the University of Maryland, Joe taught physics and conducted experimental research in high-energy astrophysics with satellite and balloon borne instrumentation. He was co-experimenter on four high altitude balloon launching expeditions from Northern Manitoba and participated in some or all phases of experiments carried on the Interplanetary Monitoring Probes, the International Sun-Earth Explorers, Voyager 1 and 2, the Mariner IV mission to Mars, and the Pioneer 10 and 11 missions to and beyond Jupiter. In 1975 he was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship by the German Government, under which he spent a year working in Garching (near Munich) at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics.
At the University of Chicago where, as a Senior Scientist in the Enrico Fermi Institute, he was co-director of the solar energy group and was responsible for the development of advanced concept solar concentrators. Dr. O’Gallagher also held a visiting appointment in the solar energy group at Argonne National Laboratory. He established an international reputation in this relatively specialized yet very interdisciplinary research area and he continues to maintain a high profile well into retirement. As a Senior Lecturer, Dr. O’Gallagher, was chair of the undergraduate physics program and the Departmental Counselor for both undergraduate and graduate physics students. He served as the Director of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program for Minorities and Women, conducted each summer for more than 10 years. He also was Project Coordinator for the Physics Department's Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Needs (GAANN) Fellowship Program supported by the U. S. Department of Education. He taught at all university levels, including a "Physics for Poets" course.
Joe is a life member of the American Solar Energy Society in which he has been active for over 40 years and recently completed serving six years on its Board of Directors. Joe retired from the University of Chicago in 2005 and since then has been dividing his time among consulting, volunteer work, writing, teaching and lecturing, re-learning how to play the piano, and getting to know his grandchildren. He holds an Adjunct Faculty appointment at Governors State University in University Park, Illinois, where he has taught courses on Energy and Society and Global Climate Change. Over the past couple of years, with the help of the science faculty here at Carmel, Dr. O’Gallagher has become involved in the STEM (for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program. This involves lecturing and leading discussions with students on topics of Global Climate Change, renewable energy and the environment. Dr. O’Gallagher has published more than 190 articles and technical reports and has lectured frequently on the topics of Space Science, Energy and Society, Solar Energy, “peak-oil” and global climate change.
MICHAEL MCGARRY ‘71
Mike McGarry came to Mount Carmel from Visitation grammar school. He is the eldest of ten children born to Gerald (MC Honorary Alumnus) and Delores McGarry. All six of his brothers, Marty ’72, Dennis ’73, Steve ’77, Pat ’78, John ’78 and Dan ’80, attended Mount Carmel. Mike also has three sisters, Diane, Debbie and Marikay
At Visitation, Mike participated in all sports. In addition, Mike was an altar boy and a member of the choir at Visitation. His role as a mentor extended not only to his siblings, but also as a camp counselor at Sherman Park.
A member of Mount Carmel’s class of 1971, Mike was a class officer each of his four years. As a student, he won medals for French, English, Religion, Geometry and Russian. He was a member of the football and basketball teams, and was involved in student government, student activities counsel, junior prom committee and homecoming committee. He was also a member of the National Honors Society.
As a senior, he won the football/scholastic award, was an Illinois State scholar and a Notre Dame Scholar. Mike was on the honor roll all four years.
At the University of Notre Dame Class of 1975 he majored in math and physics and he was a Bengal Bouts Boxing Champ.
After college Mike came back to Mount Carmel as a math teacher and football and basketball coach from 1975 to 1977. Mike reintroduced intramural boxing at the school, which eventually became Fight Night and remains one of the biggest fund raising events at Mount Carmel.
Entering the business world, Mike went to work for IBM in various sales, marketing and leadership positions for the next 16 years.
Mike then decided to become an entrepreneur. He started out assisting a world-renowned expert in the field of artificial intelligence, cognitive science and learning. He helped build a company from scratch, developing technology based learning software. He was influential in growing the company to $10 million in annual revenue and 140 people. Mike is currently the President of Socratic Arts Inc. A corporate education & training company. He sits on the board of directors of a nonprofit organization called Opportunity Knocks, that serves young people who have developmental disabilities. He currently serves on the Campaign for Mount Carmel Committee.
He married his wife Lynn in 1981. They have 2 children, Courtney and Mark and will be celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary this year in June.
DAVE NOVOSEL ‘77
Dave Novosel came to Mount Carmel from Annuciata grammar school on the Southeast side. Dave was a terrific student athlete at Mount Carmel excelling in football and track. He was a starting defensive back on the 1975 and 1976 teams and was named the Most Valuable Defensive Back his senior year. Dave also was a member of the track team, where he served as captain.
Dave also excelled in the classroom at Mount Carmel and was a member of the National Honor Society. He also was involved in the Letterman’s Club, Chess Club and the Math Club. Dave was then accepted into Yale University.
Dave played football at Yale where he was a member of three Ivy League championships and was twice named 2nd Team All Ivy League. After earning his B.A. from Yale, Dave earned his M.B.A. from Northwestern University.
Dave has been dedicated to Mount Carmel High School since he was a student and the Caravan has been a large part of his family. Dave had three sons, Blake 2010, Brent 2012 and Neil 2016 all graduate from Mount Carmel. In addition, his wife Jane has been involved with the Mount Carmel Mothers’ Club. Dave currently serves Mount Carmel on the Board of Directors, the Educational Foundation Board and the Investment Board. Dave and his family are supporters of many Mount Carmel events, including the Caravan Gala and Alumni Banquet. Dave taught Math and coached Football for one year at Mount Carmel and also coached for two seasons at Northwestern University.
Dave is currently a Senior Investment Analyst for Gimme Credit Publications and is a member of the Chicago Association of Chartered Analysts. Dave, Jane and their sons resided in Orland Park.
DON O’KEEFE ‘81
Don O’Keefe came to Mount Carmel from Wolcott grammar school in Thornton. As the youngest of Bill and Celeste O’Keefe’s eleven children, Don continued the great O’Keefe legacy to Mount Carmel. His father graduated in 1938, followed by his older brothers Mike ’65, Pat ’68 and Tom ’78.
At Mount Carmel, Don was heavily involved in the Student Activities Committee (SAC), helping organize school pep rallies, dances, Junior and Senior Prom, and Intramural programs. Don also worked with the maintenance department at Mount Carmel and at longtime chemistry teacher Matt Smith’s concessions stands to pay his Mount Carmel tuition.
After graduation from Mount Carmel, Don attended Northern Illinois University and soon after that began devoting his time and talents to the Mount Carmel Alumni Association, which he has been a part of for over 30 years. Don has served in every Alumni Association executive officer’s post, some multiple times, and was also the Alumni Association President and Banquet Chairman. Don has been instrumental in the resurgence of the Frank Kiszka Memorial Golf Outing, and has worked on the Caravan Gala Committee, Fight Night, and the Mount Carmel Fathers’ Club when his two sons, Liam 2008 and Conor 2015, were students at 6410 S. Dante.
Whether at Gately Stadium, his Evergreen Park neighborhood, St. Bernadette, St. John Fisher, the Chicago Board of Trade, or Western Avenue, Don has been a tireless advocate for Mount Carmel High School. He often talks with prospective students and their families on the advantages of a Mount Carmel Education. Always dressed in MC gear and driving one of his cars with “MCHS 81” or MC NO 1” plates, Don is always showing his love for Mount Carmel.
Don and his wife Cathy have been married for 28 years and are strong proponents of Catholic education. In addition to his sons, Don and Cathy have three daughters, Brigid (2009 Mother McAuley), Maggie (2013 Mother McAuley), and Delia (St. John Fisher). All five of their children have attended Catholic grammar and high schools.
Don has been employed with the Federal Government for over 30 years, the last 22 at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He is currently a Supervisory Analyst in the CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight.
MIKE MCGREW ‘92
Mike came to Mount Carmel from St. Agnes grammar school in Chicago Heights. When Mike enrolled at Mount Carmel the football program had captured one State Championship (1980). After Mike’s senior year, Mount Carmel had five State titles and was recognized at one of the top high school football programs in the country. Mike was a member of three State Championship teams and was the starting quarterback on the 1990 and 1991 teams.
Mike went on to play football for the Northwestern Wildcats which won back to back Big Ten championships for the first time in school history. He was also named a co-captain of the 1996 team. Mike earned a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing communications and a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Studies from Northwestern.
Mike assumed the role of Vice President, Corporate Communications for Constellation Brands in January 2017. In this role, he leads the Corporate Communications function, which is responsible for developing and executing internal and external communication strategies designed to enhance the company’s reputation with key stakeholders and support the company’s business strategy. These activities include executive and internal communications, media relations, issues management, crisis communications, brand public relations and corporate social responsibility. Mike joined Constellation Brands in 2014 as Senior Director, Communications for the company’s beer division. He was promoted to Vice President, Communications – Beer Division in 2016.
Prior to joining Constellation Brands, Mike held a number of roles with increasing responsibility at Grainger, a $9B global provider of industrial supplies and equipment. Prior to joining Grainger, he held a number of roles in Corporate Communications for Alliant Foodservice (one of the nation’s largest, privately held broad-line foodservice distributors) and Morton International (a leading manufacturer of salt and specialty chemical products).
Mike is also a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, Alumni Captain of the Northwestern’s Football Mentoring Program, and serves on the Board of Directors for Urban Initiatives, a non-profit organization that partners with over 40 Chicago Public Schools in underserved areas to provide sports-based programming, healthy eating choices, mentoring and leadership development programs.
Mike and his wife, Sheila were co-chairs of the 2014 Caravan Gala and Mike was also a co-founder of the Class of 1992 Scholarship fund. Mike and Sheila have three children, Michael, Mia and Madilyn and reside in Grayslake.