“Still crazy after all these years…” Paul Simon

What do the winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Economics, a trauma surgeon who transformed emergency care in America, a leading golfer on the LPGA tour, “one of America’s most gifted trial lawyers,” and a Marine fighter pilot have in common? I’m sure there is a good punch line, but the answer is that they all graduated from one of America’s best public high schools in 1955.

Roosevelt is a large urban high school serving a mostly affluent population in Seattle. Out of a graduating class of 750 eager, impulsive teenagers, Saturday night’s turnout was 150 older and hopefully wiser adults. The mood was overwhelmingly celebratory in spite of the sobering fact that more than 100 of our brethren (and sistren) have passed on.

Over the 60 years since graduation there have been a number of reunions on benchmark anniversaries – 10, 20, 25, and 50. Roosevelt sits only a mile from the University of Washington and a majority of its graduates go on to college. After graduation our class had it’s diaspora and Roosevelt graduates moved on to live and work in other places before coming back this weekend to celebrate their common experience. There are exceptional people and classes in high schools across the country, and we may not be that remarkable, but the RHS Class of ’55 has a memorable share of successful graduates.


Bob Lucas, “our” Nobel Prize winner, is still actively working in the prestigious Department of Economics at the University of Chicago where he was a protégé and colleague of Milton Friedman’s. In Jr. High a group of us learned to play bridge in the Lucas’ dining room. It was clear to us that Bob had a superior intelligence but it’s even clearer now why I never won then. I’m the Marine fighter pilot. He’s the Nobel laureate. It’s not that difficult to understand.

What is more difficult to understand are the career achievements of Dave “Pook” Boyd and Gary “the Hood” Gwilliam. Pook is the famous trauma surgeon and The Hood is “one of America’s most gifted trial lawyers.”


Dave Boyd was the laconic quarterback on a high school football team whose singular distinction is that it failed to score for an entire season. “No score in ‘54” is the cry that still haunts our class – but it is catchy and memorable  After graduation Dave “Pook” Boyd did not go to the NFL. He went over to Central Washington University in Ellensburg intending to become a teacher and coach, but sometime during his tenure at CWU he encountered a surgeon from Seattle who convinced him that medical school at McGill University in Montreal was his next stop. And so it was.

After graduating from McGill Dave “Pook” Boyd became Dr. David R. Boyd, a resident surgeon at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. His experience at CCH led him to identify the need and develop a plan that revolutionized emergency room care nationwide. He spearheaded the creation of what would become a nationwide network of Trauma Centers.

If you were ever a fan of the TV series ER, you owe Dave Boyd some of the credit for your pleasure. County General Hospital in Chicago was the setting for the series but the real model was Cook County Hospital and the Trauma Center established by Dr. David R. Boyd. Think George Clooney not “No Score in ’54.”

My favorite Boyd story is typical of our favorite quarterback; at some point, in frustration over bureaucratic blockage, he called the White House and asked if the President was in. Two clicks later the voice on the other end said, “President Ford here. How can I help you?” That’s Dave Boyd. He doesn’t believe in forming committees and never relied on data. He knew what needed to be done and did it.


Gary “The Hood” Gwilliam is another unlikely success story. In high school no one knew Gary. He came late and left early – he didn’t go to one of the feeder schools and when he arrived at RHS he decided life on the dark side was more interesting than football, pom-poms, and field house dances. Gary joined a gang and started using drugs, including heroin.

Though he didn’t know his real father, was ignored by his stepfather and spent time as a gang member, by some mystical transformation Gary found his way from community college to Pomona College and on to law school at Boalt Hall at UC Berkeley. Though Gary and I went to high school and law school in the same places our paths never crossed until the Class of ‘55’s 50th reunion.

Within a few years of law school graduation he opened his own law firm in Oakland and began building his reputation as a trial lawyer. He eventually cleaned up his life and wrote about it in an autobiography entitled “Getting a Winning Verdict in My Personal Life. Part of his transformation took place when he decided to attend that 50th reunion in 2005. He didn’t know a soul but wanted to meet the people he went to school with at that formative time in his life. Someone who knew I had gone to law school at UC Berkeley brought us together, and we’ve been friends ever since.

Looking in the rearview mirror today it is clear how different 1955 was from the present. Our yearbook reveals not one person of color, and though many of the women became teachers I’m aware of only one lawyer and no doctors in the class. My wife, Marilynn, has her own senior healthcare consulting business but for 25 years she experienced bias, hostility, and a glass ceiling as she moved up in her chosen profession. I’m sure others experienced the same bias and hostility. My entering class in law school  had 3 women out of 250. Today’s classes are almost equally divided between men and women. The same holds true for medical schools.

Our single female celebrity was Ruth Jessen, one of the pioneers of the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association), who was denied the opportunity to play on the RHS golf team because of her gender. Ruth won 11 LPGA titles between 1956 and 1971. Unfortunately, she wasn’t with us this weekend having passed away of lung cancer in 2007. None of this is to suggest that Seattle was racist, misogynist, or intolerant. Our Class of ‘55 was simply representative of society and the entrenched social norms of the times. By 1964 Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changin’ was released revealing the shifting norms and changing awareness of the next decade.


I’ve never been a big fan of reunions – like New Year’s Eve they often seem to be setups for disappointment. These two – our 50th and 60th – are notable exceptions. I’m sorry I didn’t get to talk to more people on Saturday night. It was a great success and that is due in large part to the generosity of a few people who gave selflessly of their time and resources. Carolyn Bryant Scheyer is that one in a million person who knows everyone in the class and keeps track of them. She has been the glue for all of our reunions since the 10th in 1965, and the prime mover and organizer of all of them. Along with Carolyn is a classmate who is our primary benefactor, a guy named Jim Weymouth who, with his wife Roberta, is the owner of a chain of boutique hotels called Silver Cloud Inns. Jim has given untold sums to Roosevelt, hired a few of our down on their luck classmates, and donated hotel facilities to host these reunions. We couldn’t have done it without these two.

We’re all in our late ‘70’s now. 100 of us are gone already. How many more reunions will we have? Not many, I’m sure, but it’s always good to live in the present and in the present this one was terrific. I saw friends who live in Maryland, Florida, California, Arizona, Idaho, and Illinois. The Internet is an amazing tool for keeping in touch with people, but there is nothing like shaking hands or getting a hug from a friend you haven’t seen in 60 years.

My friend, Tom Wilson, died earlier this year. We had known each other since the 5th grade. Tommy was always the Emcee for these gatherings, He had what my father called “the gift of gab,” so when Carolyn asked me to step in and say a few words as the Emcee I was touched. I felt like an imposter – this was Tommy’s gig – but I did it and in the end I enjoyed being able to stand in for my old friend.


Campbell Thomas Wilson


Dr. Dave “Pook” Boyd’s Essay on “No Score in ’54”

After I published my reunion blog Dave told me he had written an essay “explaining” how No Score in ’54 came to pass and how it matured into a lasting legacy in Roosevelt’s history.

Here is Pook’s story:

 Not many high schools, football teams or quarterbacks can say that. But we can and I can, and have for the past 60 years. And this was, of course, a recurring theme at the RHS Class of 1955, 60th reunion in Seattle this summer. I was repeatedly invited to comment on this indelible memory, but the raucous reunion event precluded any serious discussion of this historical footnote to our senior year. I recently learned of Jack Bernard’s blog and subsequently offered a short explanation and my analysis of that memorable experience. I think that most high school graduates at their 60th reunion would not remember their football team’s season final rank (unless they won their championship), but we, the class of 1955, will never forget ours. The story: The 1954 football season looked good for the RHS Rough Rider Football squad. We had, after all, been undefeated while winning the junior varsity league the year before. We looked and played well and were all together as a group and as a team. We, especially the senior leaders, were brimming with confidence, youthful energy, and enthusiasm. That summer, as many of you might recall, Head Coach Lou Hull’s son was killed during a climb of Mt Rainier. Gene had been the RHS quarterback two years before, leading RHS to a good year. There was some talk that Lou might not coach that fall, but despite the tragic loss of his son, he returned to the field, with the same offensive strategy as in previous years, which was classic Big Ten and Notre Dame Football of the time. It was an over-shifted right wing, (i.e., bringing the left tackle over to the right side and to run the strong side run-pass option). We all knew it by heart. I took books out of the library and studied it all summer. This system worked best when it was new in 1950 when Mike Monroe was the running/throwing half back and RHS won the city championship. It had worked less well over the next years, even with good players, because unfortunately, every other high school football coach in Seattle also knew about it and planned accordingly. Our right guard, two tackles and the end were reactively covered by the opposition’s left shifted defensive line, line backers and safeties. The other teams were ready. Over and over, we ran and threw into this stacked defense. (More on that later) Even though the record books say that we did not score a point all season, here is the Real History: Playing West Seattle in the first quarter of the opening Jamboree, we did, in fact, Score in’54 —the first touchdown of the new season. And I did it! We drove the ball down the field to the 1 yard line. I called a quarterback sneak on a quick count and Viola! 6 points! And one more after we converted the P.A.T. 1st Quarter score: RHS 7 vs WS 0. However, because this touchdown was made in the Jamboree essentially an exhibition game it wasn’t counted in the league statistics. The following week, we played Lincoln, and we were pumped! But lost 30 to zero. This was the first of a sad set of losses and the progressive doom of questioning when would we win and eventually when would we score a touchdown, or anything? The team was initially surprised as we truly thought we were pretty good and certainly we could beat Cleveland, West Seattle or Queen Anne. But we did not. Our postgame analysis was always, “critique light” and Lou would embark with a talk on a theoretical level of “becoming men of virtue” and that it was not whether we won or lost, but how we played the game. Of course that was not what we wanted to hear nor felt we needed. We wanted to win……..and, later on, to at LEAST score a touchdown. Late in the season, when we did score two touchdowns, both were called back on penalties. This did nothing but deepen our gloom. Team talk was all about if we could or would score a TD. Not a pleasant atmosphere. From a play-by-play analysis, we were disadvantaged by the opposition knowing that every play went to the right and being anticipated by a ready crowd of defenders. Tom Orrell, our able running-throwing half back, came back to the huddle more than once and said “Pook, give it to someone else, they’re killing me”. Unfortunately there wasn’t much else we could do. I drew up some sand-lot X and O plays in the huddle, i.e., counter runs and traps back to our left “weak” side and some quick slant passes. It really became a burden for the whole team by the end of the season. Friends, interested folks and classmates were supportive, hopeful and sympathetic but everyone around town seemed to have already seen the end of this movie. The RHS student body remained loyal, energetically supportive and optimistic to the very END, which in some ways made it even more challenging Because of a coach rule the football team didn’t go to the school’s 7:00 am pep rallies on days when we had night games. But for our last game vs Queen Anne, the cheerleaders corralled me and a few others to come to the pep rally. Standing on stage as a packed house of our classmates and friends cheered and rooted us on to victory was an overwhelming experience. We all knew they would settle for a score, which we didn’t produce! When the final gun went off, ending the QA game, I thought this nightmare was finally over, but it wasn’t. The local press and national news wires found our plight “interesting” and the “No Score in ‘54” legacy was born. The next year, when Russ Orrell scored the RHS first TD in the ’55 season, he and a crying RHS cheerleader were in a full page photo in Life Magazine. (I would appreciate a copy of this from any one. Thanks.) During that football season there was amazing solidarity among the team. There was no bitching, no complaints about others’ performance, no back stabbing, no bad mouthing Lou Hull or going to Assistant Coach Don Harney to have him take over the team. Likewise, neither I nor we experienced any booing, negative criticism or demonstrations from the student body. Everyone seemed to understand that it was not that we didn’t play hard for 48 minutes every game, but this was something that we were all experiencing and living through together. Sort of a bad group Karma…team members and the entire student body. I was honored and humbled at the end of the season when the team quite surprisingly voted me both the Team Honorary Captain and the Inspirational Award. No Score in ’54 has been a “binder of sorts” over the years. But, I didn’t expect any of us thought it would go on for 60 YEARS! And maybe forever. Lessons learned: There are many. The value of hard work, team effort and hanging together in bleak times, I am sure, was gained by the entire team and the student body. For me there are two personal elements; 1) don’t accept the leadership responsibility for a group of young people unless you are prepared to lead them. And 2) hanging together in a group during hard times is an experience that hopefully provides the grit, optimism and trust in others essential for the long haul of life. Post Script: Jim Mullins, our very capable team center, went on to college and medical school as I did. He specialized in Internal Medicine and enjoyed a successful professional and happy family life. Jim passed away in July 2001 and my sister Marietta (RHS 1964) sent me his obituary. The obituary, correctly described Jim’s professional and family life. It then went on to remind everyone that Jim had played center on the now infamous Roosevelt High School “NO SCORE IN ‘54” football team. I said to myself, “Oh my god”! We will all carry this to our graves, (and beyond). I sent a message out to Seattle, that it wasn’t Jim’s fault. In fact everything was quite OK when Jim had the football. It was when he gave it to me that the trouble started. You can see why my exit plans are to die silently out of town. Way out of town! The perpetually nasty press will have to find me. Please don’t tip them off.

David R “Pook” Boyd MDCM


  1. Jack, thanks so much for thinking to send us all this delightful blog! And also to Dave for his really interesting addition with the rest of the story. My dad was a skier, mountaineer and UW varsity rower, but I don’t think he once mentioned football, ever. So I didn’t know much about football all those years ago -I was there in the stands cheering but often had a hard time figuring out what was going on on the field. Roll the motion picture of life out these 60 years and now I have a cute and fun ‘grandson of the heart’ 9 yr. old Malachi, a new age ‘foundling’ (new reproductive morality, new-century drugs = no responsible parent) who lives with me, and who loves to play football. So at last I’m learning the lingo and the plays and am thoroughly enjoying watching him play (flag football at this stage -who knows what will evolve).
    I love hearing about the lives of every one of our 1955 cohort. Many extraordinary people and interesting lives. Lucy

  2. I think I have attended every reunion since our graduation. While I enjoyed every one this one was especially memorable.

    Jack you did a great job filling in for Tom.

    Thank you Jim, Carolyn, and everyone else who made this event possible.

    I loved high school and am very proud of being an RHS grad.

    Pook thanks for filling in all those details. I certainly remember those games but did not know the full story.

    I hope to see all of you again soon.

  3. Jack, this is wonderful. Thank you for sending your Blog to the reunion list.
    Hopefully Marilyn and I can talk in early 2016 about the FB for our awesome classmates.
    Happy Holidays to you both. I am very happy to continue reading your Blog.
    I’m going to RHS Nutcracker Jazz concert tomorrow afternoon. My family is all going.
    Love to you both,

  4. Jack—
    Thanks for taking time to write this blog— Ed Fisher sent it to me. It is very well written by the way. We can thank Ellen Smith and Dr. Leist for some of what remains when we sit down and start the process, and a skill that seems virtually non-existent today if my grandsons’ emails are any indication…LOL, BTW.

    Old Doc Boyd’s piece is a classic, he should be proud of what ‘wasn’t accomplished’ actually. It was muddy, cold, and wet the winter of ’54 /55 as I recall and could anyone have had more tenacity then those guys to stay with it. Nice comments about the coaches and teammates.

    We run into Vicky Sutter at the Seattle Symphony every month, and have kept in touch with Sally Robbins Still, and Harriett Bowlin Mell over the years. Currently have an Art query into Lynn McAllister who established quite a reputation in the art world for fine art appraisals.
    I had the opportunity to retire twice, once from the airplane company now headquartered mistakenly in Chicago, and the second time after 13 years running around the state examining abandoned metal mine lands with the DNR. It’s been a blast.

    At the risk of sounding too terribly philosophical, I have to say that our class generated a tremendous amount of good for the country and the world in general–what a fine group. I know one thing for sure, we learned how to get things done.

  5. Missed this reunion.. sounds like it was a winner. I’ve been an “easterner” since 1966…VA & D.C. still work part time at Washington Post … my BSN from UW has been a winner..as has my MBA from a nearby college.
    Cheers and Happy New Year


  6. Jack, Many thanks for publishing the recap of the RHS 60th reunion. I so wanted to make the event, however, late notice (my fault) and an art show that I had made a commitment to a year in advance kept me from attending. It reads from your blog and the replies as a wonderful party.

    So many classmates that I remember replied. Many good friends from the class of ’55 have passed, Jim Dupar, Tom Wilson, Pat Stewart, and many that were from the ’51-’57 classes that were great friends. So many teachers too, Ellen McComb Smith, Armond Colang, Mr. Prebizak, and Doris (Sunderling?) my art teacher. The ’50s were incredible years for producing gifted graduates.

    Hope that RHS has a 65th or 70th and that I’m around to attend.

    Thanks again to Carolyn Bryant Scheyer, Dixie Thompson and all who made the 60th possible. And, to Jack — this blog is a real gift.

    John Hopper

  7. Excellent blog you have here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours nowadays.

    I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

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