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Blackduck inducts first-ever Hall of Fame class

Left to Right: Steven Parker and Jennifer Parker, Jim Ross, Bob Ness, Jim Goodwin, Jerry Sonnek, and Dwight Kalvig. (Audrey Zimmerman / The American)

The inaugural Blackduck Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held Friday in a full gym with six standing ovations.

The six inductees for the first Hall of Fame class were Willard Anderson, Jim Goodwin, Bob Ness, Betty Parker, Jim Ross and Jerry Sonnek.

Blackduck head baseball coach Dwight Kalvig accepted on behalf of Anderson and Speech coach Jennifer Parker accepted on behalf of her mother, Betty.

Each inductee was given a commemorative plaque outlining their various accomplishments.

Willard Anderson was a 1940 graduate of Blackduck High School, where he played baseball and basketball. He signed a professional baseball contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and served in the Army during World War II. He received two Purple Hearts and Bronze Star for his service.

Jim Goodwin graduated from Blackduck in 1970. He played football and basketball in high school and at Gustavus Adolphus College. Goodwin was voted Most Valuable Player in his senior college year. He graduated valedictorian from Blackduck and Magna Cum Laude and became the first Gustavus student to earn a NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

Bob Ness is a 1953 Blackduck graduate. He attended Bemidji State where he played varsity football, basketball and track as a freshman and is the only Blackduck High School graduate with that accomplishment. Ness later studied at the University of Minnesota for a Masters degree in psychology and education. He has worked extensively in education and was a legislative staff member for Rep. Collin Peterson.

Betty Parker was a 1938 graduate of Hibbing High School and a 1942 graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She taught at Blackduck High school more more than three decades. Parker directed multiple drama productions and coached the first Blackduck student to compete in the Minnesota State High School League State Speech Tournament. She created and coached the Blackduck Speech team from 1945 to 1969 and was twice named Teacher of the Year.

Jim Ross, a 1962 graduate of Raymond High School, coached the Blackduck basketball team for 27 seasons and captured nine conference championships as well as the school’s only District 29 title. Ross’s teams went undefeated five times in conference play and racked up an impressive 65-5 record in five years.

Jerry Sonnek is a 1959 graduate of Wells High School and a 1963 graduate of the University of St. Thomas. Sonnek coached football in Blackduck from 1965-1999 and captured 11 conference championships, one section championship and a trip to the state tournament in 1979. He was voted conference coach of the year five times and was inducted into the Minnesota High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2005.

Audrey Zimmerman

Audrey Zimmerman is a reporter for the Blackduck American, covering everything from high school sports to City Council meetings. She graduated from the College of St. Scholastica in May 2015 and joined the Pioneer staff the following February. She also contributes to the Pioneer, reporting on local goings-on and events. 

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