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Richard Wood, Mark Osteen inducted into LHS Hall of Fame

| April 4, 2007 12:00 AM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

A Libby dentist and an English professor-author are this year's inductees into the Libby High School Hall of Fame.

Dr. Richard Wood, who graduated in 1961 from LHS, and Dr. Mark Osteen, a 1972 graduate, will be inducted at 7 p.m. Monday, April 16, in the high school gymnasium. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Libby High School National Honor Society induction.

"It's a really big honor," said Wood, who has spent most of his 38-year dental career in Libby.

"It's a big thrill," added Osteen, a professor and director of film studies at Loyola College in Baltimore. "It's nice to get recognized."

A committee for the hall of fame has chosen one or two LHS graduates for induction annually since 1984.

"We've always felt that Libby High School has had a quality education system, and there have been numerous very successful people who came out of Libby High School," said Wood, who also serves on the committee and is a founding member of the hall of fame.

Committee member Gary Roberts said Wood and Osteen fit the criteria.

"These people have been successful in life and are giving and good members of the community," Robert said. "We know Dr. Wood is involved and we found out that Mr. Osteen has been quite involved with many activities and what he has done with his education."

Born in 1942, Wood grew up in Libby. As a youngster he shoveled walks, mowed lawns, delivered auto freight and drove truck for the city. When he was 16 and 17, Wood spent his summers working for Great Northern Railroad.

At LHS, Wood was a four-year letterman in football and co-captain during his senior year when the Loggers went undefeated and won the conference. He also was a three-year letterman in track, freshman class president, president of the letterman's club and student council president as a junior and senior.

Also while at LHS, Wood spent four years in the chorus and played the male lead in the all-school musical of Curt Weill's "Down in the Valley."

After graduating from LHS, he worked on the green chain at J. Neils Lumber Co. before heading for Carroll College. He graduated in 1969 from Marquette Dental School in Milwaukee, Wis.

Wood entered the U.S. Navy. As a lieutenant in the Navy Dental Corps, he did a two-year internship in San Diego before returning to Libby and opening his practice in 1971.

"Being able to come back to Libby to work and live is something that a lot of our high school grads are not able to do," the 64-year-old said. "It has been a rewarding life, and because being busy has always been a part of my being, there were a lot of projects to become involved with."

Wood served 23 years in Libby Volunteer Fire Department and 25 years on the Libby Rural Fire Board. He coached Little League and Babe Ruth baseball for 10 years, served as president of Libby Area Chamber of Commerce and was Citizen of the Year in 1990.

Wood also was involved with constructing the chamber building, upgrading Fireman's Park and parking lot, and helping the Community Center, Turner Mountain Ski Area and St. John's Lutheran Hospital.

He and his wife, Janice, have four children, Terri, Steve, Jim and David. The couple also has three grandchildren.

Osteen, 53, graduated fifth in his class at LHS and played tenor saxophone for All-State Band in 1972.

He graduated with honors from the University of Montana in 1977, majoring in English and philosophy, and received his master's in English from UM in 1982.

Osteen received a George Woodruff Fellowship to attend Emory University in Atlanta, where he received his doctorate in 1987. He has taught at Loyola since 1988.

Osteen has published more than 30 articles and book chapters, and delivered more than 50 papers and lectures at conferences and universities in the United States, Italy, England, Ireland and Denmark.

He also remained active in music as a singer, saxophonist and composer. In the 1970s and '80s, Osteen performed in clubs across the Pacific Northwest. In the 1980s, he played in an Atlanta rock group.

Since 1994, Osteen has performed regularly in Baltimore and Washington, D.C..

He is married to Leslie Gilden, a 1974 graduate of LHS and the daughter of Harold and Jo Gilden of Libby. The Osteens have a son, Cameron.