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2015 Hall of Fame Inductees

Rice Lake Sports Hall of fame: Fifteenth induction banquet. 12-06-2015 at Lehman's Supper Club.  Inductees from left: Jeff Lee accepting for his Brother Fred Lee, Jessie 'Emerson' Kunz, Linda O'Donnell accepting for her Father Bob Curtis and lower right John Leary. 

Bob Curtis

Bob grew up in the township of Madge near Long Lake.  He attended Spooner high school through his sophomore year and then moved to Belvidere, Illinois where he graduated in 1943.  Bob was Bob Curtisone of the state of Illinois’ premier fastpitch hurlers for Belvidere during the mid to late 1940’s. Among the opponents he faced was the nationally known Aurora Sealmasters.  He returned to Rice Lake in 1950 and pitched fastpitch from 1950 through 1967.  He accumulated over 350 wins while dominating the Barron County Fastpitch League, the Rice Lake Municipal League and Northwest Wisconsin.  He began playing for Sockness Shoe Company and then played for Breunig’s Lager, Manson’s Clothing Store, Grouchy Don’s Café, Mathison Tire, Corner’s Bar and Club 48.  Bob simply overpowered hitters with his fast ball and 6’ 5” stature and was an excellent left-handed batter as well, doing as much damage hitting against an opponent as he did pitching.  Throwing a softball at an incredible speed came easy for Bob and he thoroughly enjoyed the competition and the camaraderie with all the players.  He was a gentleman on and off the field and embodied what entails good sportsmanship. Bob served in the U.S. Army as a military policeman in the South Pacific during WWII.  When he returned to Rice Lake in 1950, Bob purchased Lake Area Disposal and was a part owner of the Lake Area Landfill near Sarona until his retirement in 1991. He was instrumental in organizing many northwest chapters of Ducks Unlimited and was a member of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Muskies Inc., and the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep.  He was also one of the organizers of fastpitch softball in Rice Lake.  Curtis Field, a softball diamond at the Tate Park complex was named in his honor in 1983.  Bob died in 1992 at the age of 65.

Jessica Emerson-Kunz

A 1988 graduate of Rice Lake High School, Jessie earned 11 varsity letters for the Warriors in basketball, softball and volleyball.  In basketball, she was voted MVP in both her senior and junior years as the Warriors were 17 & 3 all in 1987-88 and 18 & 3 all in 1986-87. She was first team all-Jessica Kunzconference in her senior season averaging 15 points per game and scoring 31 points in one game good for third on the school’s all-time list.  She averaged 15.4 points as a junior and 12.5 points per game as a sophomore.  In softball, Jessie lettered all four years.  She was co-captain and 1st team all-conference her senior year and was a leading hitter all four years.  Jessie helped lead the Warriors to four conference championships with a combined record of 34 & 4 and 54 & 13 in all games.  In tournament playing against Division I competition she was on three regional championships in 1986 through 1988.  In volleyball, Jessie was team MVP in both her senior and junior years.  She was the leading spiker as a sophomore and junior and was the leading digger her senior and sophomore seasons.  Jessie was awarded the ‘Most Outstanding Athlete’ award by the Jaycees for females during the 1987-88 school year.  After high school, she attended UW-Barron County where she played basketball and volleyball.  Since 1984, Jessie has played women’s slowpitch in Rice Lake.  She and her husband Kurt currently reside in the Rice Lake area.

John Leary

John Leary graduated from RLHS in 1981 as a three-sport athlete in football, hockey and baseball.  In football, John was a two-year letter winner as a right guard and middle linebacker. InJohn Leary his junior year, John helped his team to their first and only State Football Championship with an 11-0 record.  As a senior he was Team MVP, All-Conference guard for the second time and Eau Claire Leader Telegram All-Northwest linebacker as the Warriors were State runners-up with a 10-2 record. John was a three-year letterman for the hockey team as a first line left wing. In his junior year he scored 59 points which advanced Rice Lake to their only WIAA State Hockey Tournament appearance which resulted in a State runner-up and a 20-2 record. In his senior year he was named NHC All-Conference, All-State and Team MVP for the 14-5 Warriors.  He is the 5th leading scorer in Rice Lake hockey history with 126 points.  John was a letter winner in baseball his junior year and played American Legion Baseball as a shortstop and third baseman.  Post high school sports include playing adult hockey for teams in the Chippewa Valley and the Hayward Muskies at the local, State and National levels.  Teams he has played on have won 5 gold medals, 7 silver, and 1 bronze in the Badger State Games.  John graduated from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin Law School.  He and his wife Judy and family reside in Eau Claire where John is associated with the Ruder Ware law firm.

Fred Lee

Fred graduated from Rice Lake High School in 1967 after having earned 8 letters in basketball, football and baseball.  In basketball, the 6’ 3” guard earned 3 varsity letters and played without the benefit of the 3-point shot, nevertheless scoring a career 938 points with 356 points his senior Fred Leeyear and 328 as a junior.  He earned All Ho’N honors in both his junior and senior years and co-captained the Warriors to a 1966-67 record of 14-5.  He was named All-Northwest and All-State Honorable Mention as a senior, which gained him a scholarship to Mankato State. In football, Fred was the leading scorer for the undefeated 1966 Ho’N champions with 44 points on 5 TD receptions and 14 extra point kicks.  As a tight-end, he caught 17 passes for 277 yards and also handled the kick-off duties.  He was First Team All Ho’N and named to the second team Eau Claire Leader All-Northwest team. In baseball, the 3-year letter winner helped lead the Warriors to 2 Ho’N championships in 1965 and 1966.  In 1966, the left-handed hitting power-hitter hit 5 home runs in 6 games, a school record, and ended the season with 6.  Fred received All Ho’N accolades in both his junior and senior years.  In addition, he played four years of Class A American Legion Baseball for Post 87 of Rice Lake.  In the field, he played center field and had the ability to quickly get to the ball and possessed a strong arm.  As a result of his success in baseball, he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds major league baseball team in 1967. In the fall of 1967, Fred suffered a leg injury while trying out for the Mankato State football team that prevented him from playing any further competitive sports.  He briefly played amateur league baseball and fastpitch softball in Rice Lake and then chose the U.S. Army as a career.  He passed away at the age of 55 in March of 2003.