DOWNEY – Downey High School will induct seven alumni its its Hall of Fame on May 19.
This year’s inductees include:
■ Jim Stecklein, park design visionary and community volunteer
■ brothers Paul and Peter Martini, cyber security entrepreneurs
■ and Wesley Terasaki, Rodney Terasaki, Stanley Terasaki and Carey Terasaki, brothers who have earned a combined 11 university and advanced degrees, including two medical degrees.
Induction ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Downey High School theatre. Below are brief bios on each of the inductees, as provided by Downey high School.
James Stecklein (class of 1947): While a student in Downey schools, and during his college years and his years of military service, James Stecklein excelled in athletics and demonstrated effective leadership, both on and off the field. Although the Stecklein family had a successful business* in Downey that was central to the needs of its citizens, it was Mr. Stecklein’s passion for sports, interest in physical activities and fitness, combined with his aptitude for service, that channeled his efforts into a lifetime of dedication in strengthening the community through focusing upon the need for shared recreation.
Stecklein had a vision for a park, not only to be a place of relaxation, exercise, and escape, but to provide a setting where people can join together in celebration of the arts through music. Stecklein’s conception and establishment of a park, designed with a concert venue as its central feature, has significantly influenced both the layouts and activities of today’s community parks.
Following his retirement from the Parks and Recreation program, Stecklein continues to work with the cities of Downey and Whittier. His keen interest in the importance of community and prioritizing recreation is evidenced by his on-going dedication to developing programs, which draw communities together. His efforts concentrate upon reaching out to youth, as well as all-the-way through the more-seasoned members of these communities, by his volunteerism with the local philanthropic historical societies.
Stecklein’s work in preserving and sharing the historical and cultural aspects of a community, help society hold onto the rich heritage of its unique history while he endeavors to help foster the neighborhoods of today.
* Steck’s Hardware & Furniture Store, from 1931 – 1960, located on Front Street aka Crawford Avenue aka Downey Avenue. The store location did not change; only the street names changed. The family sold the building in the 1970’s. Today, the old hardware store is the site of the Assistance League Thrift Store on Downey Avenue.
Paul Martini (class of 1997): Paul Martini is the CEO, cofounder and chief architect of iboss Cybersecurity, where he pioneered the award-winning iboss Cybersecurity Platform that protects networks against malware, advanced threats and data loss direct-to-cloud, with an innovative node-based architecture.
Prior to founding iboss, Paul was with an electrical engineering firm where he developed proprietary security solutions for clients such as Phoenix, the U.S. Navy and Hewlett Packard, leading the design and implementation efforts for HP’s e-tester used in their TIJ print heads.
Paul holds a computer science degree from the University of California, San Diego and has had his work published in prestigious scientific journals including, the Journal of Foundations in Computer Science, and Journal of Analytical Biochemistry. Paul has been recognized for his leadership and innovation, receiving the Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the technology category for San Diego, and one of Goldman Sachs’ 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2014.
Peter Martini (class of 1997): As President and co-founder of iboss Cybersecurity, Peter Martini has played a major role in developing iboss’ innovative technology and has helped shepherd iboss’ phenomenal growth, since its founding. He has been awarded dozens of patents focused on network and mobile security, and with his brother, has been recognized by the industry with several prestigious awards including, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year and one of Goldman Sachs 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs.
More recently, iboss was ranked #3 for Security Companies in the Deloitte Touch Fast 500.
Peter is active in the community, serving on the board of the San Diego Economic Development Committee and working on the California Office of Emergency Services Cyber Security task force.
The Martini brothers have pioneered proprietary algorithm technology that has paved the way for their iboss cybersecurity product and corporation to become one of the leading companies in the web security market.
The Four Sons of Dr. Shigeo and Mrs. Ryo Terasaki: Certainly, the impressive accomplishments of all four children of Dr. Shigeo and Mrs. Ryo Terasaki satisfy the threshold for induction into Downey’s Hall of Fame; however, it is examining the Terasaki sons’ achievements in light of their full context and background, which makes for a powerfully inspiring story. The Terasaki parents made a choice to be positive and productive – despite encountering vexing circumstances.
Wesley Terasaki, Ph.D., MD (Class of 1965): Wesley Terasaki graduated from Downey High in 1965. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at the University of Southern California in 1969 and immediately started graduate school there in cellular and molecular biology. USC awarded him his PhD. in 1974.
He found a research position at the School of Pharmacology at the University of Virginia and conducted research there until 1979. He also taught at the School of Pharmacology. His research addressed the metabolism of cyclic nucleotides, and resulted in three patents, including a betaadrenergic blocker and a machine to automate immunoassays.
Terasaki entered a special program at the University of Miami (FL) School of Medicine, in which all students are holders of doctorate degrees. The program compressed medical school into two years; he graduated in 1981. (His completion of medical school in 2 years inspired his youngest brother, Carey, to complete law school in 2 years.)
Terasaki’s medical career took him to the Seattle area; he served his residency at Virginia Mason Medical Center. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, and practiced as an Internist for more than 30 years, retiring in 2016.
He recorded “Waves Upon the Sand” in 1985 and “An Evening with Wes Terasaki and Friends” in 1997; both are compilations of his faith-inspired songs. He has written approximately 100 songs total.
Stanley Terasaki (Class of 1968): Stanley Terasaki was a 1968 Downey High School graduate. As a senior, he ran track, including a leg on the mile relay team, which set the DHS record that lasted until metric distances became the norm. He graduated the University of Southern California in 1972 and began his career in teaching, for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
He earned his Master’s degree in counseling and guidance in 1990, from Cal State Los Angeles. He was employed by LAUSD for 36 years, primarily at the secondary level. He did almost everything one can do in education, including teaching aide, teacher, counselor, assistant principal, and principal.
Terasaki has written a children’s book, “Ghosts for Breakfast,” which was published in 2002. It won Lee and Low Books’ New Voices Honor and was one of Smithsonian magazine’s Notable Books of 2002. He has also written two drama/musicals, “Gardena, U.S.A.” and “A River in the Desert: Christmas in Manzanar.” The backdrop of those plays is the World War II imprisonment of Japanese-American civilians; the plays have been performed in Southern California. He has conducted writing workshops and spoken at writing conferences throughout California.
He retired in 2010, and is currently helping his son establish a church in north Texas; their experiences in establishing the church are on his blog at https://aplanolife.wordpress.com/.
Rodney Terasaki, MD (Class of 1971): Rodney Terasaki is a Downey High graduate of the prestigious Class of 1971. As a senior, he was the fastest sprinter on the swimming team and was its captain and MVP.
He became somewhat of a Renaissance man after graduation, earning bachelor degrees in English and in biology; prior to entering medical school, he drove ambulances and taught middle school. He graduated from the medical school at Tulane University in 1983, with honors.
His medical career took him to the Seattle area; he served his residency at Virginia Mason Medical Center. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, and has practiced as an Internist for more than 30 years. He has taught students at the medical school at the University of Washington since 1993.
Today, Terasaki continues with his love for water and for the practice of medicine. He competes for age group titles in several triathlons each year and enjoys time out on the waters of the Pacific Northwest, chasing the elusive king salmon. He enjoys filling-in for primary care practitioners at Pacific Medical in the Seattle area.
Carey Terasaki, J.D. (Class of 1973): Carey Terasaki has had the good fortune of two rewarding careers, the first in the aerospace industry and the second in federal government service. An engineering graduate of the University of Southern California, he served as an Engineer/Scientist for the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, helping to design transport airplanes.
In 1984, Southwestern University School of Law awarded him a John J. Schumacher scholarship; he completed Southwestern’s Conceptual Approach to Legal Education program in the requisite two years. Terasaki was hired by the Federal Aviation Administration in 1987 and was fortunate to complete his career there as a staff attorney and manager.
At the FAA, he became a recognized expert in administrative law, rulemaking and civil penalty enforcement, with special emphases on aircraft maintenance and aircraft airworthiness issues. He represented the FAA in several capacities, including as counsel for the agency’s Europe, Africa & Middle East Area Office in Brussels, and as Deputy Regional Counsel in Los Angeles.
Carey Terasaki retired in 2016.
Background: Both Terasaki parents, Shigeo and Ryo, were born in the United States (California). Being Japanese-Americans in California in the 1920’s and 1930’s presented unique struggles of finding opportunities for employment. But the events on and subsequent to December 7, 1941, brought a new set of challenges.
In 1941, Shigeo attempted to volunteer for the US Air Force – and later the Navy and Marine Corps – and was denied based on his ethnicity. Soon thereafter, the US Army did draft Shigeo. Meanwhile, following the Pearl Harbor attack, Executive Order 9066 required that Ryo (and nearly all the members of her family) be imprisoned.
The family was initially moved to live in horse stalls at the Santa Anita Racetrack, and then was relocated to an internment camp in Wyoming. Through a chain of events, Ryo and Shigeo met in the Southwest and were married in 1945. When the West Coast ban was lifted against Japanese, the Terasaki couple moved back to California, essentially restarting their lives from the ground floor (or possibly the basement, considering the lingering prejudices held by many).
Each had obtained some college studies before returning to California, which were ultimately completed, resulting in advanced degrees: Shigeo earning a medical degree and establishing a successful family practice, and Ryo receiving nursing credentials.
Later, Ryo earned a teaching credential, and also developed an avocation for the arts through the medias of oil and watercolor. She devoted many decades to her passion in furthering the arts through creating, competing, demonstrating, and also teaching art in several Southern California communities’ programs. For the Terasaki parents, rather than viewing the world as a place filled with obstacles and roadblocks, they saw the beauty in opportunity.
The journey of parents Shigeo and Ryo provided life-lessons for their family, upon which their sons have fashioned their own lifeworks, instilled with key core values: tenacity and hard work are rewarding; education is viewed as a means to grow and to fully contribute to the community; in spite of current circumstances, one makes a decision to rise each day to see beauty, finding both humor and pleasure amid the toil; and achieving the ultimate satisfaction in knowing that good work remains to be done.