Independence High School Alumni

Alumni Meeting Minutes

Latest News from the Alumni...

Attention Class of 1975

Attention Class of 1975. Please save the date of Friday, October 25. It will be our 50th anniversary of beating the Brecksville Bees in football.  This exciting event happened exactly 50 years ago to the day. We plan to go to the IHS game that night and then out to dinner afterwards.
RSVP to Rhonee Trakas-Iula to attend for the start of our 50th Class of 75 Celebration events!
More info to follow….

Have updates or corrections to this page? Email

Homedays Booth Volunteer Sign-up

We are looking for volunteers to help at the Alumni Tent at Home Days on Friday, August 2 and Saturday, August 3! The gig is simple: greet people, have them sign the guestbook, give out alumni stickers, collect membership dues and sell raffle and brunch tickets. Two-hour shifts are available on Friday and Saturday. If all shifts are filled you can still come and help out as there’s always people to greet and memories to share!

Sign Up Here

If you would like to post this information, use this pdf containing a QR Code

Russell Fortlage 2024 Recipient of the Diploma of Distinction

Russ Fortlage, '59 recipient of the 2024 Diploma of Distinction

Photos From the Ceremony

Russell Fortlage was born in Independence and has remained an Independence resident his entire life. He was a member of the first-ever Independence kindergarten class, held in Historic Hall, which at that time also housed the Council Chambers and City Jail! Russ attended first grade through senior year of high school in the old brick school building on Brecksville Road (now demolished) across from St. Michael Church. As a senior, Russ was elected president of his class as well as Student Council President. School policy did not allow one person to serve in both positions, so a classmate took on the Student Council leadership role. …Read More Russell Fortlage 2024 Recipient of the Diploma of Distinction

Bill Taylor Memorial Bench

Accepting Donations

(Sample Bench)

IHS Graduates & The Alumni Association are partnering to place a memorial tree, bench and plaque in the Independence city park in honor & memory of Bill Taylor. You are welcome to participate! Questions: Call or text – Bob Wagner (’66), 757-202-7750

The cost for the bench, tree and plaque are estimated to be $1,150.00. To Date, Over $500.00 has been donated.

Checks should be made out to the IHS Alumni Association, with notation “Bill Taylor Tree,” and mailed to:
IHS Alumni Association
6001 Archwood Rd,
Independence, Ohio 44131

In Memorium Raymond E Matejka, IHS Alumni ’54

Raymond E Matejka

Raymond E Matejka, age 88, passed away on Monday, April 8, 2024. Cherished husband of the late Marsha Matejka for 55 years; dear father of Raymond Matejka (Carrie), Randall Matejka, and Melanie Prestage (Jim); brother of Norma Macuski (the late Mike), and Glenn Matejka (Judy); grandfather of Melissa Hendrix (Tim), Kayla Pashovich (David), and Jacob, the late Justin, and Emily Prestage. Great grandfather of Jameson, Finn,
Sawyer, Dani, Silas, and Judah.

Ray was a proud lifetime resident of Independence and was the kind of person who made an impression on everyone he met.
He served his country in the United States Army at Ft. Knox and retired as an electrician from The Illuminating Co. Ray could be described as kind, loving, faithful, and cheerful.

Friends may call at Vodrazka Funeral home, 6505 Brecksville rd., Independence on Friday, April 12, from 4-8 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be observed at St. Michael Catholic Church, Independence on Saturday, April 13, at 12:30 pm. Ray will be laid to rest at Resurrection Cemetery in Valley City immediately following mass. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation at


In Memorium Lucy Sobieraj, IHS Alumni ’75

Lucy Sobierj

Lucinda “Lucy” Sobieraj Champa, 66, passed away March 17, 2024. Beloved wife of the late Mirko; Loving mother of Andrew Champa (Caroline) and Zack Champa (Kelsey); Cherished grandmother of Livy Champa;

Dear sister of Ted Soberay (Barb), Ron Soberay, Linda Sobieraj, and Laura Hurst (Eric); Life partner of Bob Beastrom; Beloved aunt of John, Mark, Ryan and Adam Soberay, Xandra Hurst and Nicholas Randlett.

Preceded in death by her parents Ted and Angie Sobieraj. Lucy was an accomplished entrepreneur, most recently the owner of Zero Zest in Parma and previously Cone Zone. She was the glue that held her family together, and was always the catalyst for fun and memorable parties. Lucy will be dearly missed by all who knew her, but her spirit will live on through the memories she created with her loved ones. Rest in peace, dear Lucy. Family will receive friends on Monday, March 25, 2024 from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Fortuna Funeral Home in Independence. Prayers at the funeral home on Tuesday, March 26, 2024 at 11:30 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Michael Church at 12:00 p.m. Interment Maple Shade Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or the American Heart Association in her memory.

Solar Eclipse Happy Hour

Hosted by the Alumni Association

All graduates and their significant others are welcome to our Solar Eclipse Happy Hour kicking off the weekend before the Solar Eclipse on Friday, April 5th from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The Alumni Association is sponsoring a BYOB, (beer or wine,) Happy Hour at the Independence Civic Center. Yes, beer and wine are permitted on the campus for this event! This “Bring Your Own Spirits,” is one of three pilot events allowing alcohol on the premises and approved by the Independence Civic Center. You may also bring soft drinks and we encourage guests to bring an appetizer or snack to share. You must be 21 years or older to consume alcoholic beverages on the premises. There is no cost for this event, but a donation to the Independence High School Alumni Association would be appreciated.

For more information, please contact one of these IHS Alumni:
Dale @ 216-407-8657
Kelly @ 216-410-6151
Joanie @ 216-233-1885