Whitesburg KY

Moments and Memories of WHS

ORELL T. COLLINS WHS Valedictorian Class of 1941

ORELL T. COLLINS WHS Valedictorian Class of 1941

Orell T. Collins
by F. Byrd Hogg

Orell T. Collins, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Nalco Chemical Company, Oak Brook, Illinois, died March 15, 1985 of what has become known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He had retired from Nalco Chemical on September 1, 1984. Nalco Chemical Company is one of the largest chemical companies in the world.

His father was a coal loader in the mines of Letcher County, and following his graduation from the eighth grade at Hot Spot, now known as Premium, Kentucky, he graduated from Whitesburg High School and was valedictorian of his high school graduating class and thereafter attended Georgetown College some two years prior to his entering the United States Air Force, where he served as a pilot during World War II. Following his service in the Air Force he entered Purdue University, received a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering and thereafter attended Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management program.



He began his career with Nalco Chemical in Texas in 1956 and steadily advanced up the ladder to vice presidency in 1965, director in 1968 and then was named the chief executive vice president in 1972, president and chief operating officer in 1977 and chief executive officer in 1979. When he stepped down as president and chief executive officer in 1982 he was elected chairman of the board and thereafter served until April, 1984 when he was elected chairman of the Executive Committee.

In addition to his accomplishments and honors received as the chief executive for Nalco Chemical, he took an interest in others and was as an active fundraiser for the Boy Scouts of America; United Way Crusade of Mercy; and Chairman of the Board of Sponsors for Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Illinois.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, daughter Peggy Shulha, sons Paul and Jeff ery, and his mother, Mrs. James B. Collins of Letcher County, Ky. and one sister, Mrs. Loren C. Bentley.



Orell, sometimes known as “Tex” to his colleagues at Nalco Chemical, came from a background that did not have a lot of the material things of this life, and his ascension to the top in the world of business came about by his own hard work and intellectual ability. Nothing was given to him. He started with very little but accomplished a great deal in his relatively short life. His family, his children, his wife, the people of Letcher County and in eastern Kentucky can be justly proud of what he achieved and should set an example for others who come from a background such as his that through hard work much can be accomplished.

He had many friends in Letcher County and in his age group is well remembered as being a hard worker and a lot of fun to be with. Those with whom he attended Whitesburg High School will remember him, as well as others at Hot Spot/Premium and around Letcher County. Some of his classmates, of course, have passed on, but many still survive. Including among them are Harry M. Caudill of Whitesburg, Dr. Bill Adams in Louisville, Ky., Ralph Tolliver in California; Burl Franklin in Louisiana; John Dill Brown in Louisville and R.R. Crawford, Jr. and many others, including F.Byrd Hogg, Judge of the Letcher Circuit Court, Whitesburg, the writer of this piece.

(The above article was written by the former Judge F. Byrd Hogg, who was Orell’s roommate at Georgetown College, and was published in the county newspapers in March of 1985.)

Orell Fields was born on June 28, 1911 and died on May 4, 1992. During World War II, he was a second lieutenant in the Navy. He served as principal of Whitesburg High School from 1940 to 1942.

Head Football Coach
Follace Fields
(1940-42 and 1945-46)

Whitesburg High School coaches announce opening of football practice.

Coaches Follace Fields and Dean Addington of the faculty at WHS announced this week that the fall practice will begin on Monday, two weeks before schools open. It was learned from Mr. Fields that uniforms will be issued at 1 o’clock p.m., Aug. 19, at the Grade School Building. Fields stated that, “All candidates for the 1940 team must be at the Grade School Building promptly at one o’clock, first come, first served.” The first practice session will be held on Lewis Field, rain or shine, promptly at 3 p.m., Monday, Aug. 19.

Probable candidates, excluding incoming freshmen, will include the following: Ends – Anos Cook, Dave Fields, Eric Rierson, Keith Reynolds. Tackles – Clifton Barnett, Darius Auxier, Watson Farley, John Edwards, Eugene Polly, Buddy Johnson, and Dewey Day. Guards – Byrd Hogg, Newton Cornett, Wendell Hunsucker, Billy Craft, Stamper Collins, and Carrol Hogg. Centers – John Brown, John D. Sergent, and Dale Mullins. Backs – Walker Pigman, Bill Tolliver, Bennett Sexton, Paul Little, Ed Moore, Jack Little, Paul Pigman, Junior Keith, Vergil Frazier, Harlan Morton, Joe Tom Mullins, Jack Hall, Dee Dawahare, and Billy Day.

The schedule for 1940- 41: Sept. 13 – Everts at Home; 20th – Benham at Home; 27th – Middlesboro (night) away. Oct. 4 – Hazard at Home; 12th –Pikeville away; 19th Prestonsburg away; 26th Fleming – Neon – Away. Nov. 1 – Van Lear – at Home; 9th – at Jenkins; 15th – Belfry at Home

(The above article from the August 8, 1940 Mountain


Jackets open 1940
football season;
tie Evarts, score 7-7

The Yellowjackets of Whitesburg High School opened their 1940 grid season by playing a 7-7 deadlock with the strong Evarts 11 at Lewis Field here last Friday.

The result was somewhat of a mild upset as the Yellowjackets, definitely of an unknown quality, and playing under a new system and a new coaching staff were accorded little chance of stopping the Evarts Wildcats, ranked as co-favorites with Corbin and Middlesboro to cap the Cumberland Valley Conference crown.

The game was a thriller from the opening whistle with Cook of Whitesburg kicking off to Evarts and after holding for three downs, the Whitesburg line, led by Hogg and Auxier, broke through to block Sweeny’s punt and took over the ball on the Evarts 14-yard line. However, three line plunges netted only 5 yards and Pigman’s 4th down pass fell incomplete over the goal line. Evarts took over the ball and paced by Sweeny, 185 pound fullback, drove for 2 consecutive first downs to the Whitesburg 45, where the Yellowjacket line, aided by the stellar defensive work of John Brown, held and Evarts was forced to kick. Little received the punt on his own 10. However, Lady Luck completely deserted the Yellowjackets at this point and Little fumbled after being hit hard by Fleenor, with Evarts recovering the ball on the Whitesburg 14-yard line.

Three Sweeny plunges netted a first down on the Whitesburg three; then, two tries gained but 1 yard against the stubborn Yellowjacket line but on the third down Evarts completely crossed up the Jacket defense when, on a fake plunge, fullback Sweeny passed to Warneke in the flat zone for a touchdown. The kick was good and Evarts moved to a 7-0 lead.

Whitesburg received and the Yellowjackets offense really began to click. Two passes from Pigman to Brown picked up 21 yards and Moore and Pigman gained 25 more on three off-tackle plays. With but seconds remaining, Sexton took a lateral pass from Cook and threaded his way through a broken field for 27 yards to the Evarts 9, where the gun sounded for the half, stopping a Yellowjacket drive.

Whitesburg received to open the second half, and playing a brand of offensive football that seemed inspired, kept the Wildcats on the defense throughout the third period. However, their efforts failed to tally the much needed touchdown. Beginning the 4th and final quarter the “Jackets” would not be denied and, taking the ball on their own 36-yard line stripe, began a touchdown march. Pigman slipped off tackle for 15 yards, Moore picked up 8 at center, and a forward and lateral pass, Pigman to Brown to Sexton, carried 18 yards to the Evarts 23- yard line. Sexton took the ball on a reverse, sweeping around his left end, evaded two tacklers and, aided by some beautiful open field blocking by Ed Moore, flashed across the goal line to score the initial tally of the 1940 season. Walker Pigman plunged the center of the Wildcat line to convert the extra point, making the count 7-7. The game ended a few minutes later with Whitesburg trying desperately to score with the ball in their possession on the Evarts 36-yard line.

(The above article from the August 1940 Mountain

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