Hudson High School
Hudson High School Distinguished Alumni

2016 Alumni Award Inductees

Leigh Livermore – Class of 1967

Leigh Livermore has served his community, country and family as an outstanding role model and mentor. His successful high school football and wrestling career paved a path that led him to a variety of coaching positions within the Hudson community. Leigh has also volunteered to share his time to promote physical activity for youth of all abilities.

While serving in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1971, Leigh was recognized as being a distinguished leader and was quickly promoted several times before becoming a graduate of NCO Academy in Fort Benning. Leigh served in a combat role in Vietnam/Cambodia where he earned several awards. After leaving the Army, Leigh obtained a degree that gave him the opportunity to teach and work in his community while he and his wife raised their family. His community service, dedication to his country, and loyalty to his family has left a legacy that future generations will aspire to attain.


Joan (Ryan) Richie – Class of 1944

Joan Ryan, Valedictorian of the Class of 1944 has left a legacy that defines the word service. After high school and serving the Army Nursing Corps, Joan received her RN degree. Returning to Hudson to serve her community in a variety of professional paths. She worked as a school nurse and initiated the Future Nurses and Candy Striper Programs. These programs gave high school students exposure and experience to guide their future career selections. Joan also spent time at Hudson Hospital and expanded the Home Health Care Department. She also helped to create the Certified Nursing Assistant Program at WITC.

Joan is diligent in her service to her community and church. Her volunteer hours are countless and she does each one of them to serve one purpose, to help a neighbor. After losing her husband, she was left to raise seven young children. She raised each one to be successful and responsible adults who now praise their mother for her quiet consistency in the life lessons she taught them. The Hudson community and Joan’s family would like to thank her for living an “extraordinary ordinary” life.


Gary Zappa – Class of 1974

Gary Zappa, president of Zappa Brothers Excavating and Site Development Company of North Hudson, Wisconsin, can best be described as honest, hardworking, dedicated to task, and focused upon giving his very best. His personality and character reflect a time-honored and family-promoted virtue which he learned well early and has continued to demonstrate during his adult life.

An outstanding high school wrestler and football player, Gary was awarded the coveted “Vince Lombardi Outstanding Wisconsin High School Down Lineman Award” in 1974. This award also required that an outstanding personal record of community service by the recipient be fulfilled.

After working during high school with his father, Tony and Tony’s two bothers, Eugene and Jim, who established Zappa Brothers Excavating in 1946, Gary took some college work and eventually migrated back to the company.

Company incorporation occurred in 1983 and under Gary’s able leadership has continued to grow, diversify, and flourish financially. Historically, the company has been accorded a very high level of positive recognition from both the public and private sectors of business, a task not easily achieved in today’s business world.


2015 Alumni Award Inductees

Kenneth Larson – Class of 1953

Ken has left his legacy by serving his community through countless hours of volunteerism focusing on his passion for youth sports. He has given Hudson a stepping stone for producing talented, compassionate and skilled players. Ken is best known for his dedication to the Hudson Booster organization for over 40 years. He consistently sought out programs that would better the youth programs and worked tirelessly every 4th of July during the Booster celebration to raise enough money to keep programs and help those in need. Serving as a coach for a wide variety of youth programs, Coach Larson is remembered fondly and often given credit for their future athletic success. Ken continues to serve on several boards and still helps with junior golf league. As part of the HHS chain gang for over 40 years he is on the sidelines for every home football game and continues to support all high school sports. The Hudson community is grateful for his generosity, willingness to give back and for making a difference in so many lives.


Judith Green – class of 1960

Judith obtained her undergraduate degree from U W-River Falls and special certifications from University of St. Thomas and UWEau Claire. Ms. Green began her teaching experience in Saratoga Springs, NY and also worked for the Department of Defense/Johnson Air Force Base in Japan as a Special Education teacher. She began her Hudson School District teaching career at Hudson Middle School in 1979 and served special students at Fourth Street Elementary, E.P. Rock Elementary and North Hudson Elementary. Ms. Green retired in 2007, but her passion for students with unique and special needs called her back to the profession a year later.

Ms. Green developed the Extended School Year Summer Program to maximize the consistency of needed skills for her students. She is known for her advocacy and energy in the field of special education in the Hudson School District. Judith has supervised many student teachers and Hudson High School student assistants. Guided by teachers who supported her, she prides herself in growing and supporting new and future special education teachers. Ms. Green is lauded for her commitment to special education and her dedicated achievement in the Hudson School District.


Denis L. Hennessey – Class of 1892 (posthumously)

Denis L. Hennessey was born in the Town of Warren, Wisconsin in 1873. After graduation from Hudson High School, he attended River Falls Normal School. He held both teaching and principal
positions in Western Wisconsin and earned a Bachelor’s Degree from UW-Madison. He returned to Hudson to serve as both principal and superintendent from 1904-1907.

Denis then headed west and received a Master’s Degree from UC-Berkeley. In 1911 in Berkeley, he taught junior high civics and soon became principal, a position that he held for 22 years. Driven by an intense interest in immigrants and their need for assistance to become citizens, he authored a civics text entitled Twenty-five Lessons in Citizenship. It became widely used throughout the United States and at its last update in 2008 it had reached estimated sales of over 150 million copies.

Following Denis’s death in 1952 the Berkeley Gazette ~11-24-52-published the following tribute: “He leaves a remarkable record as an educator that few teachers can ever hope to equal. Mr. Hennessey undoubtedly has prepared more men and women from foreign lands for American citizenship than any other instructor in the United States.”


2014 Alumni Award Inductees

Thomas O’Connell – Class of 1946

Tom O’Connell was born and raised in Hudson, Wisconsin and has dedicated his life to his community and family. Tom has earned the respect and gratitude of the Hudson community and beyond. His contributions start with his own successful business as a funeral home owner/director in his home town for over 30 years always putting the needs of grieving families first.

Volunteering and Public Service are second nature to Tom. He has served numerous years on the board of directors for a number of organizations which serve the needs of many in our community.

His dedication and service has continued in the public sector as a 35 year member to various committees in which he help guide and lead those organizations. Tom’s dedicated and caring service to others will serve as model for future generations to emulate. Tom O’Connell, a true and dedicated public servant.


Elliott Ross – Class of 1967

Elliott received a B.A Degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin in 1974. He founded, and serves as President of, Ross Realty Group, Inc. of Tampa, FL and has over 36 years of experience in the commercial real estate profession.

Elliott reflects an authentic and generous giving of self as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pinellas Association of Retarded Children (PARC) and the Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation Academy.

As an aircraft owner and pilot, Elliott is an active member of Angel Flight Southeast. More recently he has added the Veterans Air Lift for wounded veterans to his flight service schedule.

He is a dedicated financial supporter and fan of Badger Football, a member of the UW- Madison Bascom Hill Society Foundation, and presently serves as the Director of the Wisconsin Alumni
Association of Tampa Bay.

Click here to view the inductees from 1994 – 2013