Distinguished Alumni (courtesy of Jeanne Stern Laurie)


  • Bob St. John '55

  • Dr. William Ross Maples ’55    1937 - 1997

  • Lt. General C. Norman Wood ‘56

  • Others to be added later.

Bob St. John ‘55

Bob St. John was co-sports editor for The Compass and played Varsity baseball and basketball during his three years at North Dallas High School.  After graduation he earned a B.A. Degree in Journalism from North Texas State University.  In 1986 he was honored by NTSU with a Distinguished Alumni Award.  He was also named to the NTSU Journalism Hall of Honor.

Before taking early retirement the first part of this year, he was with the Dallas Morning News for over 35 years.  He was a sportswriter and sports columnist from 1964 to 1978, covering the Dallas Cowboys for eleven of those years.  He was then a State Columnist until 1981 and a Metro Columnist the remainder of his career.

He has also published eleven books with a twelfth one to be released the latter part of this year.  Two of his books have been national best sellers:  Landry, The Man Inside, and The Landry Legend.  Another of his works, On Down the Road, is a sociological study of the rodeo cowboy culture and is generally recognized as the definitive work.  His research on this book prompted him to come out of the chutes on a full sized bull!!!

During his years as a sportswriter, his stories were included in the Dutton & Company anthology of Best Sports Stories in 1969, 72 and 73.  Among over 40 awards were two first-place honors from the Pro-Football Writers Association of America.  His books have sold over 300,000 copies and his newspaper columns have been used in a number of high school and college writing classes in Texas.  His work has been praised on ABC and NBC, and he has appeared on numerous radio and television shows.  Such people as Pulitzer Prize winners James Michener and Larry McMurtry and award-winning telejournalist Bill Moyers have lauded his columns, stories and books.

Bob has homes in Rockwall and in the Northeast Texas Woods near Cypress Springs Lake.  He has five grown sons and four grandchildren.  He is married to artist-entertainer, Sandy Rings, former Miss Kansas and Miss America finalist.

Bob’s classmate, John Vandy Moore, both presented and accepted the award for Bob, who was unexpectedly called out of the country.

Dr. William Ross Maples ’55    1937 - 1997

After graduation from NDHS in 1955, Bill Maples attended UT Austin where he studied anthropology, earning his BA Degree in 1959, his MA in 1962 and his Ph.D. in 1967.  During these years he also served as the Darajani Primate Research Manager in Darajani, Kenya, East Africa 1964-66.  He became Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Western Michigan University from 1966-68 and then joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1968.  There he progressed from Assistant Professor to full Professor of Anthropology by 1978, and in 1994 became Distinguished Service Professor.  His specialization was in physical anthropology and in particular forensic human skeletal identification and trauma analysis.  His expertise led him to be involved in the identification of the skeletal remains of Don Francisco Pizarro in 1984; video superimposition analysis of tissue thickness changes of Joseph Merrick (the “Elephant Man”) in 1988; the exhumation of President Zachary Taylor to determine possible arsenic poisoning in 1991; and the examination of the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and other members of the royal household in 1992-93.  He also helped identify eleven of the twelve children killed in the ValuJet crash.

At the Florida Museum of Natural History he became the Curator of Physical Anthropology, the Chairman of the Department of Social Sciences, the head of the State Medical Museum and Curator-in-Charge of the C. A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory.  In addition to numerous law enforcement, medical examiner, and judicial consultations, he served as consultant for the Armed Forces Graves Registration Office to review all identifications (Southeast Asian Conflict) made at the Army Central Identification Lab in Hawaii.  Bill has received many merit and distinguished service awards, testified before U.S. Congressional and Senate Committees, authored or co-authored more than 30 professional articles, given numerous lectures and workshops and had his work highlighted in numerous television programs.  His book Dead Men Do Tell Tales, written with Michael Browning, is now in its fifth printing.

Bill died February 27, 1997 at the age of 59.  Bill’s award was presented to his widow, Margaret Kelley Maples ’56 by her sister Barbara Kelley Cook ’55.

Lt. General C. Norman Wood ‘56

Norman received many honors and awards, but chief among his interests was his ROTC participation.  He was named Outstanding Cadet at Camp Dallas in 1955 and was Regimental ROTC Commander as a senior graduating in 1956.  After earning a BA in Personnel Management from UT Austin in 1960, he entered the Air Force School at Lackland AFB in San Antonio.

He was the first graduate of that school to become a general officer.  In July 1961 he received his navigator wings and his flying career began as an electrical warfare officer flying RB-47s.  He logged over 1,000 combat hours in Southeast Asia as an instructor electronic warfare officer with the 82nd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron.

Norman joined SAC Headquarters as Chief of Current Intelligence Branch, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff Intelligence in 1970.  He became Chief of the Defense Analysis Branch, J-2, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Headquarters and Chief of the Operational Intelligence Division for the 7th Air Force Headquarters.

After Vietnam he completed Air Command and Staff College as a distinguished graduate and earned a MA Degree in Public Administration from Auburn University.  He also graduated from the National War College and became Wing Commander of the 544th Strategic Intelligence Wing in 1980.  His Washington assignments included Executive Director for the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence at Air Force Headquarters.  After promotion to Lt. General in 1990, he became Director, Intelligence Community Staff, serving as senior military advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence.

Norman is a Master Navigator with 3,400 flying hours and wears Missile and Presidential Service Medals too numerous to enumerate.  A few of these include the Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal.

He retired from the Air Force in 1992 and is today President and CEO of the Armed Forces Communication and Electronic Association in Fairfield, Virginia.

Norman accepted his award from classmate Lynn Copeland.