Chosen for induction in the Pasadena High Wall of Honor are Dr. John Morgan, Class of 1959, and John Eddie Williams, Class of 1972.
A pastor who built one of the largest churches in the country and an attorney whose courtroom victories helped fund a new stadium for his college alma mater have been chosen to headline Pasadena High School’s efforts to rebuild one of its lost traditions.
Dr. John Morgan, pastor of Sagemont Church and a 1959 Pasadena High graduate, and John Eddie Williams, one of the nation’s most successful personal injury attorneys and a member of the PHS 1972 graduating class, will be inducted on Thursday into the school’s PHS Wall of Honor.
Morgan and Williams will join 18 other PHS alumni, all of them Wall of Honor members when the tradition lapsed roughly two decades ago.
All will be honored during a Homecoming Week ceremony starting at 5 p.m. in the school auditorium. A reception will follow in the school cafeteria. New plaques of all the alumni inductees will be placed on a wide stretch of remodeled wall space in the cafeteria.
The Eagles’ Homecoming Game against Dobie is Friday night.
“It is important to honor the outstanding lifelong achievements of students who have graduated from PHS,” said Joe Saavedra, the school’s principal. “We also welcome these alumni to contribute to the continued success of our students through encouragement, mentoring and the imparting of their experiences.”
Both Morgan and Williams rank among the most successful graduates in Pasadena High history.
Morgan’s Sagemont Church congregation now numbers nearly 20,000 with ministry programs that reach across the globe. Williams’ college alma mater, Baylor University, recently named the field at its new McLane Stadium complex after him. Williams made a large donation to the stadium project.
Previous Wall of Honor inductees include four men known primarily for their careers in athletics.
Weldon “Stoney” Phillips, Class of 1933, coached football at PHS and later, as Pasadena ISD athletics director, helped modernize facilities for the rapidly expanding school district. Bill Newcomb, Class of 1956, also served as athletics director for the district. Mickey McCarty, Class of 1964, starred at TCU in three sports and played with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.
T.J. Mills, Class of 1972, won four straight state football titles during his long tenure as coach of the Sealy Tigers. Mills, who earlier this year, was inducted into the Texas State High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor in 2014.
The list of previous inductees also includes a local attorney, Frank Hale (1963), and a local architect, Calvin Powitzky (1964), both of whom were standing football players for the Eagles.
The earliest graduate among the previous inductees, J.B. Isaac (1929), played on PHS’s first football team. Isaac founded Pasadena Transfer and Storage in 1943 and operated the company for 54 years.
Other inductees from the 1940s and 1950s are: Harry Riley (1943), a former Pasadena city councilman; Dr. E. Don Turner (1952), a retired Houston physician; Frances Powell (1955); Shirley Stone Bonner (1955), a longtime Pasadena ISD secretary and clerk; Jerry Bull (1956), a Pasadena grocer; Ben Meador (1957), a Pasadena civic leader and owner of Meador Staffing Services; and Frank Young (1958), founder of Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars.
Other inductees from the 1960s and 1970s are: Larry Forehand (1962), founder of the Casa Ole restaurant chain; Don Spradling (1962) and wife Sylvia Estes Spradling (1964), owners of a pipeline supply company; and Roberta Brown-Pugh (1971), a veterinary science professor at Texas A&M.
Isaac, Phillips, Riley, Bonner, Don Spradling, McCarty and Mills are deceased.
Morgan and Williams were selected by committee of PHS alumni assigned to gather nominations and make selections on an annual basis.
Morgan established what would become Sagemont Church in 1966. His original congregation consisted of 16 members.
He is also well known for his “Financial Freedom” seminars, as well as seminar recordings and his book under the same title, all of which have reached more than one million people.
Morgan has served on numerous boards ranging from the chairman of trustees at Houston Baptist University to president of the Texas Baptist Pastor’s Conference. In 2005, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Dr. Morgan attended Kruse Elementary and Jackson Intermediate before enrolling at Pasadena High. He continued his education at Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He earned his doctorate from Southwest Baptist University.
The founding partner of the Williams Kherkher law firm, Williams gained national stature as the lead counselor for the state of Texas in a landmark case against tobacco companies in 1995.
The case eventually resulted in a $17.3 billion settlement -- at that point the largest legal settlement in American history. Williams’s firm specializes in mass torts and pharmaceutical litigation.
Williams played football at Baylor and graduated with a business degree. Passing up the change for a corporate career, he decided to study law. He graduated first in his class at the Baylor School of Law and served as editor-in-chief of the Baylor Law Review.
In 2002, he was honored by his alma mater as Baylor Lawyer of the Year. Ten years later, Williams was named Baylor’s Alumnus of the Year for 2012-13.