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Crestwood to re-dedicate Memorial Fieldhouse to honor four KIA in Vietnam

Crestwood to re-dedicate Memorial Fieldhouse to honor four KIA in Vietnam


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


Tim Benner wants his community to remember.

Worried that history would be lost in time, the Crestwood High School graduate (Class of 1975) stepped forward to remind the school board that the district’s field house was originally dedicated as a memorial to four boys that died serving our country in Vietnam.

Kenneth R. Keefer died on June 7, 1967.

Denver J. Berkheimer died on May 22, 1968.

John E. Lorence died on June 8, 1969.

Robert W. Zoller II died on July 2, 1970.

Crestwood’s Memorial Fieldhouse was then dedicated in honor of the hometown heroes on Sept. 16, 1972.

A few years ago, all of the historical material, including newspaper articles and pictures that were featured in the enclosed trophy cases on the south side of the field house, which acted as a remembrance, were removed when new artwork was installed to celebrate distinguished alumni Jack Lambert (Pro Football Hall of Famer) and Bridget Franek (Olympian).

Benner was proud of those “very beautiful” displays as well, but it fell on his heart to speak up for the families about re-dedicating the field house as the memorial it was intended to be.

“I took the newspaper article to a school-board meeting and presented the idea,” said Benner, who is semi-retired and has been a firefighter for 50 years. “Everyone felt great about the idea and (Superintendent) Dave Toth supported the idea, and they took it from there.”

Maybe so, but Toth said it was truly Benner’s voice that made the project become a reality.

“We are so thankful that Tim brought this to our attention,” Toth said. “Once he did, we knew it was something we couldn’t do fast enough.”

A new plaque has already been placed on the south side of the field house, which reads:


Beneath those memorial words are the full names of Keefer, Berkheimer, Lorence and Zoller, along with their Killed in Action dates.

All four were part of families that were active in the community and Benner remembers the news of their deaths and the profound impact it had on the town.

“They all were tragic, but I remember Robert’s (Zoller) funeral vividly,” Banner said. “That loss was a personal one for me. I actually knew him. He was older than me, but he had a sister my age and we were very close friends. I hung out at their house often so there was a real personal connection there. The funeral was the first time I ever saw adults cry, including my own parents. I was 13. It had a huge impact on me.”

Record-Courier newspaper archive

The district has scheduled a formal re-dedication, which will be held on April 6 as part of the track and field program’s Don Faix Invitational.

It will connect the dots back to 1972 for the field house that was constructed by community members that volunteered their time and materials. The actual value of the building, at that time, was believed to be $50,000, with donated materials and labor totaling around $15,000. Fundraising originally began in 1969 and the construction began in 1970.

“I am not a veteran, but dad was and my uncle was, and I grew up during the Vietnam War,” Banner said. “I have very vivid memories of that time. It shaped me and it shaped our generation. When we are gone, having the memorial on the building will help people realize why it is there and that is important to me, and I know I am not the only one. This is for the families. I think about them often.”

With Benner’s work, so will many others for many more years.


  1. Sue Wright March 26, 2024

    My sister in law dated Bob Zoller she was Pat Wright She was devestated when he died She talked about him and visited his Grave This was a difficult time with the Vietnam war I often prayed for the soldiers Then there was May 4th it was a sad time .

  2. Elizabeth Meeker March 26, 2024

    What happens to the pictures of athletes memorialized in the field house? Our son’s picture was there unless it had been removed prior to this…

  3. kim March 28, 2024

    RIP..Bobby…my BFF

    1. David Adams Pifer April 2, 2024

      All four lost,along with more than 58,000 others ‘For whom the bell tolls’. A great national tragedy. Have we learned anything?


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