Category Archives: Mississinewa High School Class of 2001


Remembering fellow Mississinewa HS Class of 2001 Aron Wilson

It is my sad duty as the webmaster of this website I launched 18 years ago at as a junior at Mississinewa High School. When I launched what is now as a my duty to inform, entertain my fellow Ole Miss grads on November 1, 1999, I had a mission as a first as a journalist to report the news. Today, as I had just finished an obligation to a commitment, news comes from Gas City about my fellow Class of 2001 alumnus Aron Wilson. Were that is wasn’t.

(Sergeant) Aron Wilson, a Mississinewa High School Class of 2001 graduate, passed away at the age of 34, according to his family. He was a month shy of his 35th birthday

My memories of Aron were if they serve me right, was on the football and basketball teams while at Mississinewa High School as well as having the best car (photo posted here) with Kimberly (Ott).

As a fellow MHS 2001 graduate, Wilson (if memory serves me right) brought the excitement of Mississinewa Football and Basketball into my life and I do occasionally wear the Mississinewa attire when appropriate or when I make a bike trip to Gas City (something I’ve done over the years since I’ve graduated with Aron). Wilson left an indelible mark on Mississinewa sports history as during the Homecoming Game (if I recall) senior year of high school was then- the first Homecoming win in 6 years beating Elwood (if I remember correctly).

“I’m awfully saddened to hear about the death of Aron Wilson,” said my daughter, Samantha. “I grew up with him and my dad (yours truly) as a member of the Ole Miss football and basketball team and of course my dad anchoring “RAT TV.”  Although I never did meet Aron in person, I remember my dad talking about the professionalism and class Aron brought. The Mississinewa High School Class of 2001 and Gas City has lost a true icon. All of our best to his family and friends in this difficult time.”

A graduate of Mississinewa High School in Gas City, he entered the the United States Air Force and served in tours in Aghanastan and Iraq.

He is survived by his wife, Tara, a sister, two sons and their families. Additional survivors include his parents, many aunts, uncles, cousins.

Private and a celebration of life services for Aron are planned for November 11, 2017 at Needham-Storey-Wapner Funeral Chapel in Gas City.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Aron’s children. An account has been set up for them at any Chase Bank.

As for yours truly, I decided not to attend either the visitation or funeral due to a previous commitment. What I will do instead is send a condolence card to Tara Wilson as many of my fellow Ole Miss Class of 2001 alums will be there.

Ava Zinn Statement on the passing of Sgt. Aron Wilson

I, Ava Zinn, am saddened to learn about the passing of my fellow Mississinewa High School Class of 2001 alumnus, Sergeant Aron Wilson.

Aron brought Mississinewa High School Sports into the lives of my daughters (Samantha, Tiffani, and Tabitha) and my family’s lives, especially with my memory of Aron on the basketball and football teams. I still remember during the senior year with Aron that Ole Miss won its Homecoming game for what was at the time its first win in six years.

My thoughts and prayers are with Tara and Aron’s children. Although I will not be able to attend Aron’s visitation or funeral due to a previous commitment, posting my condolences is the best option.

© 2017, All rights reserved.


Addressing Response Regarding Facebook post about 1994 Eastbrook/Mississinewa Inclimate WX Cold Case…

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to reaction to one decision made by the late Eastbrook Consolidated Schools Superintendent Dennis Fox (1945-2016) in February 1994. This is considered to be a “civil cold case” now resolved.

Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to Dr. Fox’s family and friends during this extremely difficult time. A brave husband and educator lost his life after an illness. We also extend our sympathy to one of my late brother’s friends Jessica (Todd) Fox and offer thanks to those who have stood by yours truly after Albert’s suicide on August 10, 2002 (even though he drowned at Pine Lake).

I have received a number of comments about a Facebook post that I had to post since it met my threshold of a post that seemed necessary in my judgement. It was Dr. Fox’s obituary nonetheless. The reason why I intercepted that particular post after I read it on Facebook via Jessica and the fact back in February of 1994, Mississinewa Community Schools was either under a delay or running on time while the home district at the time (Eastbrook) was closed due to weather conditions, and in violation of a Zinn Family Policy that went into effect on July 4, 1993 (follow the Mississinewa Community Schools Schedule regardless of the schedules of the home district–even if Eastbrook is on delay or closed).

As a fourth grader at Northview Elementary School (located in the Mississinewa School District) living in Van Buren (in the Eastbrook school district) back in February 1994, I had begun to take the role more of a parent than a child. Education then as now is important. It is just one reason why at the end of every Vote for the Girls episode, I add the phrase, “Help control your child’s education, have them immunized.” I would go on and on and on explaining in further details like the Energizer bunny, but I am not going to.

Twenty-two and a half (22 1/2) years later–in 2016–now as a woman and a father (yes, I still am a father despite the ongoing gender transition) of four daughters (one of them has since graduated from college, two in high school and one in middle school), it is safe to say that a dispute is finally resolved. Fall/Autumn is now in full swing. It’s chilly. It’s a time of year when you start preparing for winter weather conditions such as snow and ice, which is an even greater hassle than usual because of the cold conditions. Nonetheless, I used to love snow and play in it, but not anymore after 1994 after that incident and seeing a water heater pipe bursting when I lived at my mother’s in Van Buren. (I never forgot it as long as I’m alive)

After celebrating my 11th birthday, I took a vow of loyalty when I got the flu back in January 1994 and had to miss school due to that. It is also a vow of perfection and doing whatever it took and anything to achieve that goal–even if means going to school sick, making the three hour walk or one hour bike trip from Van Buren to Gas City in the event Mississinewa Community Schools is running on schedule while Eastbrook Community is either closed or delayed (which meant back then no transportation).

That particular incident of which following an investigation that was later determined to be at the decision of Dr. Fox back then (and at one point, if memory serves me right, even tried to confront him right after my brother’s high school graduation in June 1996, but my mother wouldn’t allow me to do so–despite knowing what I knew was right and wrong on my part). That decision of Dr. Fox to have the audacity to closing Eastbrook for the day in February 1994 while Mississinewa wasn’t, which to this day (and have now officially forgiven Dr. Fox for that) was ruled (based on 1994 rules and regulations) for CAUSING (yes, I said “causing” since then as now as it could have easily all been avoided had Mississinewa AND Eastbrook closed for the day) yours truly to lose out perfect attendance back in the 1993-94 school year.

It was after my mother, brother, and I relocated from Van Buren to Marion on October 15, 1996 influenced of what my immediate family would become and learning from the mistakes a parent made while growing up: to ensure my children get their education and becoming a far better parent than my mother was when she raised my brother and myself, I adopted a special system (dubbed the “Bothwell system” after the then-Mississinewa Community Schools superintendent Dr. Robert Bothwell when I attended RJB and Ole Miss High School), while my four daughters and son (Samantha, Tiffani, Ashli, Tabitha, and Kenneth) as well as my step-daughter Denise (Kymberly’s youngest daughter) would contractually stipulate (it’s a rule that I have enforced since July 4, 1993) about school closings/delays involving my children’s and my alma matter school district (Mississinewa Community Schools) regardless of the home school district (in this case since 1996, Marion Community Schools and from 1985 until 1996 Eastbrook Community Schools), and ensuring my children meet or even exceed a good attendance record–a very important aspect of having a good education.

Under the terms of the July 1993 rule passed by the family legislature, I had a contractual obligation as a 10 year old boy, I have to arrive promptly at Northview Elementary promptly at 8:25 a.m. Eastern, and cannot arrive late or be absent for any reason whatsoever, even weather conditions. I was inclined to favor my education over whatever any administrator says (two clear examples were on April 18, 1996 and in January 1997), as I only had two friends (Holly Everman and Robyn Hurd) being well treated well in hopes of return loyalty.

That obligation, unfortunately, often times includes controversy, backlash, negative criticism, uncomfortable subjects that are at times difficult to hear, make you upset, or even make you angry. And while this Mississinewa High School Class of 2001 Alumnus is now living as a woman 34 years of age, everyone involved is human and have similar reactions. So these are situations we take very seriously.

By learning about Dr. Fox’s death this week from a long-time friend of Albert’s that I inherited, I was able get a resolution to a 22 1/2 year old dispute automatically and officially forgave Dr. Fox.

Also by deciding to posting the obituary on Facebook with my thoughts, you were able to get an answer to “who caused Ava Zinn to miss school that day in February 1994?” I also wanted to give some insight and direction into someone I did not agree with about the decision to delay or cancel school involving two school districts–attending and home districts. For some, maybe it’s something you are already familiar with in Grant County or wherever you live; for others it may be something you simply do not understand or comprehend and I suggest you do some research–that’s how you will learn by reading and doing research.

Plus, if my memory serves me correctly when I read the obituary, I learned Dr. Fox was pretty much the predecessor of Dr. Bothwell and in a bit of an irony (not 100 percent sure or even confirmed this) from what I remember, I’m pretty sure there is an indirect lead (maybe just a hunch) to my dis-enrollment from Indiana Wesleyan University 15 years ago and the hunt for another college/university to attend in order for readmission to IWU after completing a few credit hours at another college/university (something I have determined back in January 2002). It was very difficult for to see, comprehend and understand — mostly for anyone who attended Mississinewa Community Schools but doesn’t live in the school district.

This story was just only one small part of my complete coverage of the IWU Cold Case and ensuring what I know is right for my children. I will continue to fight for family and continued do so.

It is not my my intention to bash someone that has recently passed while that same individual’s family is in mourning, as one person commented on Facebook. This is not the first time it has happened, and I’m sure it will not be the last.

Again, I honor Dr. Fox for his dedication to the Eastbrook Community Schools and we hope you understand the tough choices that must be made. Like my friends and fans–BOTTOM LINE–justice is officially served .

Ava Zinn
Transgendered sister of Albert Zinn (1977-2002)

© 2016, All rights reserved.


Remembering Amber Pulley

Amber Pulley (1986-2014)

Fellow Mississinewa High School alumni like myself are saddened to hear the passing of Class of 2004 grad Amber Pulley. She died at Marion General Hospital Friday (December 5.)

Ava Zinn Statement:

Kymberly and I are deeply saddened of the news about Amber Pulley. Our condolences are with Amber’s Family

Amber was a lifelong resident of Marion. She was a 2004 graduate of Mississinewa High School and attended two years at Brown Mackie College in Fort Wayne. She worked as a bank teller and also as a waitress at Take-a-Break Café in Gas City.

Photography was one of Amber’s favorite hobbies, as well as going for walks. She was also an avid Pacers and Cubs fan. Most of all, though, Amber loved her family and treasured the time she spent with them.

The family will receive visitors on Thursday, December 11, 2014, 4-8 p.m., at Needham-Storey-Wampner Funeral Service, Storey Chapel, 400 E. Main St., Gas City.

The funeral service will be at Storey Chapel on Friday at 1 p.m. with Mark Tabor officiating. Burial will follow at Grant Memorial Park, Marion.

© 2014, All rights reserved.


Remembering Salome Padilla

It’s pretty much a very sad month for one of fellow Ole Miss graduates and as I and nearly 132 other Mississinewa High School Class of 2001 are now mourning the death of Salome Padilla.

Salome passed away December 3, 2013 in Indianapolis.

Salome was a 2001 Mississenewa High School graduate. He married Veronica Rodriguez on November 25, 2007. Mrs. Padilla survives in their Converse home. Salome was an avid sports fan and coached T-ball and basketball for young kids. He loved the Indianapolis Colts and was a Chicago Cubs fan. In his free time Salome loved music and watching his favorite show, “The Walking Dead.” He was most happy hanging out with friends and family.

Salome Padilla, Jr. is survived by his wife Veronica; children: Salome Padilla, III, Rolando J. Padilla and Mauricio Padilla, all at home; parents: Salome and Maria (Aguilera) Padilla, Sr., Converse; sisters: Blanca (Javier Vargas) Padilla-Vargas, Auburndale, Florida; Jessica (Miguel Vega) Padilla, Indianapolis; Anabell Padilla, Converse; paternal grandmother: Olivia Padilla, Brownsville, Texas; and maternal grandparents: Julian and Columba Aguilera, Aburndale, Florida.  Several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins also survive.

Mr. Padilla was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather: Jose Dolores Padilla; special cousin: Eduardo “Eddie” Estrada; and niece: Nyla L. Vega.

Visitation for Salome Padilla, Jr. took place place from 3 to 8 pm on Friday December 6, 2013 at Open Door Fellowship, 1388 North 800 West-27, Converse, Indiana.

The funeral service for Salome Padilla, Jr. took take place at 10:30 am on Saturday December 7, 2013 at Open Door Fellowship, 1388 North 800 West-27, Converse, Indiana with Pastor Jim Miller officiating. Owen-Weilert-Duncan Funeral Home, Larrison-Martin Chapel, 308 East Marion Street, Converse, Indiana was entrusted with the arrangements. Mr. Padilla was buried in Converse Cemetery, Converse, Indiana.


© 2013, All rights reserved.


Ava Zinn considering making changes following funeral snafu…

Travis Simpkins (1979-2013)

Travis Simpkins (1979-2013)

The last time I had attended a funeral and endured many more weaknesses revealed by several of my friends, the late Frank O’Bannon was governor of Indiana, American Idol was in its first season, and yours truly dealt with two deaths in her family three months apart and forced to find another college/university, that as of July 2013 has not become a reality, to replace Indiana Wesleyan University.

While I was at the wake of the late Travis Simpkins, Here’s my thought when I saw Wendy–I clearly saw a friend with raw emotional pain and knew first hand what that was like when my wife, Angie (Willis) passed in June 2010.
I would have stayed longer, but apparently left somewhat disappointed and at 10:00 on the morning of July 19, 2013 it was CONFIRMED (according to Sheena Fromholz) out of the concern of my safety due to inadequate transportation (I was well aware of the Heat Advisory and was already taking precautions, apparently that may prove to be the case according to long-time friend Ashley Dawson, unfortunately after yours truly biked from Marion to Ivanhoe’s in Upland last August after losing a wager with Jennifer (Tedder) Morris on who won American Idol.)

Unlike many companies that terminate individuals for blowing the whistle–While I was at Mr. Simpkins’ wake, I was alerted from either Ashley (Dawson) and/or Sheena (Fromholz) about what could potentially change the funeral policy of yours truly–should that become the case, those two ladies will get a reward. I was wanting to utilize the six hours, but was asked to leave feeling more disappointed. Many would have believed I was asked to leave because this parallels to a similar situation from Owen Weilert Duncan Funeral Home when my late brother handled my mother’s funeral arrangements, and knew my brother messed them up because he was the next of kin (I had wanted to do a memorial service for my mother and a burial, which did not happen as I was still in deep pain since I was close to my mother until late 1999 when my little 4-legged girl, Tiffani (formerly Timothy Rags) was born.

The BOTTOM LINE is that I am always supporting my good friends and Wendy happens to be one of them, regardless of what Mother Nature plans. I’ve been friends with Ashley and Wendy since 1995 and 1997, respectively, in times of need. Clearly, by the medium response to AVA ZINN,, my Facebook page and/or profile, many of you share the grief Wendy is currently going through and is clearly saddened when a spouse passes on. I know first-hand of what that is like first hand and I’m sharing the pain Wendy’s been through as my wife (Angela Willis) died three years ago.

I also understand the concerns whether I was asked to leave due to the heat advisory and my safety, and usually have a plan in action. I also had to factor whether the correct course was really being followed, considering yours truly being one of Mississinewa High School’s strongest  Alumnus (as well as the very first transgender alum), higher expectations year after year, several (nearly 25 percent) of my friends or followers on Facebook and/or Twitter are tied directly or indirectly to Travis. I will assure you that I will be taking a closer look at every single action I am taking to make sure a similar snafu does not happen again.

Near the end of the funeral service, I joked about the fact that I still don’t have my first driver’s license and my driver’s ed teacher was also attending the funeral. But I had the next best thing called bicycle that had traveled nearly 2,700 miles since 2010 and has been to Gas City (many times), Muncie, Wabash, my hometown of Van Buren, Upland, and until a more appropriate time Fairmount. It’s been in three counties (Grant, Delaware, and Wabash.) The last time I checked it was not against the law to go to a funeral or wake via bicycle or even walking, and has never been against the law nor had a problem when I attended the wakes of Nichole Birky in April 2006, Jessica Berg in April 2010, and Ashley Rheam in March 2013.

Once again, thank you again for your support in my work to get you this basic information. I welcome your feedback, phone calls and emails. There is not one that is not important to us. We will continue to investigate every piece of information the public provides us and keep everyone updated in person and online with every development in this possible new policy in honor of the late Travis Simpkins called Travis’ Policy.

© 2013, All rights reserved.