Brockmeyer to be inducted into Muir Alumni Hall of Fame

Neal Brockmeyer, a life-long La Cañada Flintridge resident and stalwart advocate of local public schools, will be inducted next month into the John Muir High School Alumni Hall of Fame.

Brockmeyer, 73, attended Muir from 1954 to 1956, where he was a standout basketball player and student-body president. Fifty-five years later, he continues to fill a leadership role at the Pasadena school, serving on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and helping with fundraising to support extracurricular activities and teachers.

"He has worked with the Alumni Association, so it was very nice when he was actually put up for [the honor]," his wife, Molly Brockmeyer, said. "We have strong feelings for Muir and they are in hard times right now, so we are trying to do what we can to help them."

An attorney specializing in corporate mergers and acquisitions (he still works full time), Brockmeyer is also a celebrated community leader within La Cañada. He was a founding member and the first president of the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation, and served for several years on the board of directors at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, spearheading the organization's annual giving campaign.

"Even though his occupation is as an attorney, he has done quite a number of things for the local community," said David Rutherford, a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Brockmeyer attended La Cañada Elementary School, where he met Molly in kindergarten. He went on to La Cañada Junior High, which at that time included grades six through eight, as well as grades nine and 10. And in 1954, he started the 11th grade at Muir alongside classmates from La Cañada, Altadena and Pasadena (La Cañada High would not open until 1963).

His time spent at Muir was a unique experience, Brockmeyer said, not least because the school boasted a diverse student body in which black, Latino and Asian students had equal roles on athletic teams and in student government.

"To think about what was going on [at Muir] with respect to the athletic teams, compared to the South or other areas of the country in the 1950s and '60s, it was extraordinary," Brockmeyer said.

Muir also had a distinguished faculty because up until fall 1954, the school was partly a junior college. Aided by his 6-foot, 8-inch frame, Brockmeyer was an all-Foothill League first-team basketball player. He was recruited by UCLA's John Wooden, but decided instead to join 13 of his classmates at Stanford. There he would face the likes of Jerry West on the court.

"I tell people that all I remember about Jerry West is he would jump up, and everybody else would jump, and they would come down; and he would stay up there and all you would see was his feet," Brockmeyer said.

After marrying Molly and earning a law degree at UC Berkley, Brockmeyer settled back in La Cañada, where the couple raised three children. In addition to his involvement with the Educational Foundation and the YMCA, Brockmeyer is a trustee at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, a post he has held for more than 20 years.

His dedication to Muir and the Alumni Association includes everything from planning reunions to ensuring that the school's faculty and coaches are properly supported.

"We have been making mini-grants to teachers every year so they have a certain amount of money that they can do with as they choose, because teachers are now buying pencils and books," Brockmeyer said. "So we try to help out the teachers individually."

And although they spent just two years together at Muir, Brockmeyer and his classmates continue to be a very tight bunch.

"It was just a very unique experience," Brockmeyer said. "There was something about sharing the experience for two years that kept people together."

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