Amy Swenson (Staff, History, THS 1914)

2015 Distinguished Staff

Her June, 1914 THS yearbook described Amy Swenson as being “smart,” occupation as being “quiet, ambition “we musn’t tell,” and favorite expression “well, dear me.” Miss Swenson obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Washburn College and later a Master’s in history from the University of Wisconsin. She began teaching at Linwood, Kansas, followed by stays at Peabody and Manhattan. Next, for two years, she taught at the old Lincoln Jr. High in Topeka for two years. Miss Swenson came to Topeka High in 1926, on the faculty as a history and government teacher until retirement in 1959; she passed away in November 1985. One of her students at Manhattan H.S. was Fred Seaton, future Secretary of the Interior under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Linda Dickinson Spalding (1961)

2015 Hall of Fame Inductee

Novelist and literary editor Linda Spalding has resided in Canada since 1982 and prior to that in Hawaii and Mexico. She taught English and writing at the University of Hawaii, York University (Canada), University of Guelph (Canada) and Brown University. With her husband, Michael Ondaatje, the couple edits the Canadian literary magazine Brick, a bi-annual publication. Ms. Spalding has written several novels and works of non-fiction including A Dark Place in the Jungle and The Purchase, for which she received Canada’s top literary prize, the Governor-General’s Literary Award. Among her activities at Topeka High, Linda Dickinson participated in Girls’ Pep, A. Representative Council and was a proctor.

Col. Richard Snyder (1941)

2015 Hall of Fame Inductee

Richard Snyder served as manager of the undefeated/untied Trojan football squad of 1940 and as a proctor. In the music department he was the orchestra concertmaster and a drum major in the band. Like many members of his class, within a couple of years he entered the military, the Army Corps of engineers in Patton’s Third Army. After graduating from the Washburn Law School in 1949, Snyder received a direct commission in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Appointed a trial judge in 1967, Col. Snyder tried cases across the globe, in Southeast Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. After serving as chief judge for Hawaii and Southeast Asia, col. Snyder retired in 1976. Back in Topeka, for a short period he was Acting General Counsel of the Kansas Corporation Commission before taking a position with the Georgia Court of Appeals. Col. Snyder passed away in June of 2015.

Fred L. Slaughter (1960)

2015 Hall of Fame Inductee

Literally and figuratively, Fred Slaughter was a “big man” on the Topeka High campus, activities including track, A.F.S. Council, Sr. Boys’ Council, and attendant at the All-School Party. At 6’5”, of course he was center for the Trojan basketball squad. Slaughter received his B.S. in Business Administration at U.C.L.A. in 1964 but is best remembered as being on Coach John Wooden’s first NCAA basketball championship team and the ‘63-’64 squad which went 30-0! Next, he earned his Juris Doctor degree at Columbia University Law School (1969) and for several years served as an administrator at the U.C.L.A. Law School. During the ‘70s through to 1997 Slaughter was an attorney and agent for several NBA players. The first and for a time only African-American NBA agents, the New York Times called him the “dean of black sports agents.” He also represented NBA referees.

Charles B. Axton II (1950)

2015 Hall of Fame Inductee

After coming to Topeka High mid-way through his junior year, Charles Axton did quite well: lead role his senior year in Seven Keys to Baldpate, news editor for the fall World, and performing his own composition at the orchestra’s spring concert. Next followed Washburn and then a stint in the Army, affiliated with the Army Field Band. He postponed his musical career to come home and manage KTOP radio station (as DF “Charlie Christian”). In 1969 Axton and his family moved to Germany where he became associated with the Nuremberg Opera House. While living in Europe, he introduced the American musical (e.g., West Side Story, Camelot, Anything Goes, etc.) to German audiences. Axton also guest conducted many symphony orchestras including the prestigious Berlin Symphony. Retired, he and his wife (Barbara Cross Axton 1951) live in Florida.