Thank you Bill Gohr, and our generous alumni
As the Leo alumni gathered last week for their Appreciation Dinner, the “Man of the Hour” was not in attendance. Bill Gohr was not present for the spring Leo Alumni Dinner either. If he were, the former Leo yearbook editor would have heard his name called as the $10,000 raffle prizewinner.
The 1966 graduate made his presence felt in a big Leo way by donating his entire winnings to supplement tuition costs for today’s Lions. While many would have used the windfall to vacation or buy a “want” item, the former Chick Evans scholar and Northwestern graduate says his career as a physician assistant in Georgia and his wife’s as a medical technician has taken care of his needs.
“Someone else could use the money better than I can,” said Gohr, from his home in Marietta, Georgia. “The only thing that I asked is that the donation not go into a general fund but rather be something I can control so a young man can put it toward a good education at Leo.”
Leo men take great pride in bolstering up a school that could have become a Catholic League trivia question along with defunct powerhouse schools of their day – Weber, Mendel or Saint George.
Two years ago when Gohr joined his 50th anniversary class for the annual Leo Alumni Banquet, he left for Chicago by telling his wife Audrey that if he won the raffle, he’d donate it back to the school. A week out from the 2018 event, a school representative called to inquire about this year’s raffle, so, he mailed in his check which arrived two days before the banquet.
“It wasn’t my money to begin with, so, I wanted someone else who could use it better,” said Gohr. “I have a nice income and benefits.” Gohr and his wife met at Northwestern University in Evanston and settled into medical careers in Atlanta in the early 1970s and never looked back. Audrey attended Mother Guerin High School in River Grove and is a few months older than Bill.
“She robbed the cradle,” said Bill, his wife laughing in the background.
Gohr attended Saint Leo Grammar School with his brothers Frank, ’64 and Don, ’67. They all walked from their boyhood home at 80th and Morgan, which included a “run” home and back for lunch each day. “Course when we got to Leo we had to say in the cafeteria, which was a shame because we were even closer to our house,” said Gohr.
Stop a Leo man wearing his orange and black and he’ll do more than sing the Leo Fight Song for you. He’ll tell you: Leo has graduated 100 percent of its seniors in each of the last seven years, and, that more than 96 percent of them have gone on to college, several of them top Midwest schools; and, if you have time, there’s sports, where everyone plays – no one sits.
Gohr’s gesture was celebrated in his absence and more than matched by the collective efforts of hundreds of Leo alums. “I am continually surprised at how the alumni connection to Leo High School has translated into ongoing support for today’s school,” said Tom Lynch, Leo alumni president. “The generosity of many makes dreams come true for tomorrow’s leaders, who will graduate from Leo.”
A second check for $30,000 was presented to Leo President Dan McGrath and Principal Shaka Rawls for tuition assistance.