Indian Lake Alumni Inducted Into Hall of Fame


Submitted by: Jamie Ross

In the midst of the ILHS Softball Team’s first-ever state tournament appearance and sprinter Elayna Richardson advancing to the State Track and Field meet, two legendary Lakers who are known for their contributions to sports were officially inducted into the Indian Lake Schools Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

Earlier this year, the committee selected Jeneane “Lefty” DesCombes Lesko and the late Doyle Miller as the 2023 inductees from a pool of nominations. Dozens of friends and members of both families gathered for the ceremony in the ILHS Auditorium after the community send-off for the softball team and sprinter.

IL Superintendent Dr. Rob Underwood said things certainly fell into place for this event. “When we scheduled this ceremony back in March, we had no idea we’d be sending athletes to state on this very day. I’ve got to think that’s some kind of sign.”

Dr. Underwood first presented the award for Doyle Miller to Miller’s daughter, Diane Mouser. Miller was a 1941 graduate of Stokes (Lakeview) High School and a talented baseball player. He fought in World War II and lost a leg to a grenade. Upon his return, Miller started Little League Baseball in Lakeview and coached youth sports for decades. He volunteered as an ILHS assistant softball coach for 20 years in the 1980s and 90s. Miller is the namesake of the Lakeview AmVets Post #381 and despite his death in 2011, he is still known as one of Indian Lake’s biggest fans.
Mouser said, “He would be so excited for this softball team and these girls. He’d already be in Akron scouting out the opponent. He just loved youth sports!”

Next, Dr. Underwood presented Jeneane “Lefty” DesCombes Lesko the Distinguished Alumni Award. “Lefty” graduated from Stokes (Lakeview) in 1953 and went on to play for the Grand Rapids Chicks in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (A League of Their Own). She is a member of the AAGPBL Hall of Fame and at 88 years old she still throws out first pitches at events all over the country. Fellow inductee Doyle Miller encouraged her to play baseball in Lakeview with the boys, because there were no local teams for girls back then. Lefty has been a vocal advocate for Title IX-Women in Sports which is marking 50 years of becoming law. “I am so proud because we had nothing in my days in this community. I’m so proud of the community and of the parents, how supportive they are.” She continued, “Lakeview and Indian Lake, it hasn’t changed that much, But certainly sports for girls has rocketed and I’m so, so happy to see that.”
Lefty is also an inductee of the Ohio Northern University Hall of Fame and a member of the LPGA in its very earliest days. She is a math, physical education and science teacher who spent years teaching in Europe and Puerto Rico. She now lives in Washington state.

After the ceremony, Lefty and Miller’s family posed for photos, checked out their newly hung plaques outside the ILHS Auditorium and enjoyed an intimate reception.
This the first time since the inception of the awards that Indian Lake has honored two alumni in one year. This is also the first time an award has been given posthumously.


More about Doyle Miller and Jeneane “Lefty” DesCombes Lesko:

Doyle Miller was a 1941 graduate of Stokes Local and is our first Distinguished Alumnus to be inducted posthumously. Born July 7, 1923 in Lakeview, Doyle dedicated his entire life to serving his family, community, and country. At the age of 19 he enlisted in the military to serve in World War II in Africa, Sicily, and Normandy, which included landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day June 6, 1944 as a squad leader of the 1st Infantry. On July 12 during hedgerow fighting, he smothered a hand grenade with his left leg causing an amputation below the knee.

Despite his war injury, Mr. Miller never let his disability keep him from working or serving his family and community. He was a rural mail carrier for 35 years. Upon his return from service he pitched sandlot baseball for 9 years before starting Little League in Lakeview and continued coaching boys for 20 years. He also was a volunteer assistant coach for girls fast-pitch softball at Indian Lake for 20 years and he taught many Indian Lake children to hunt, fish, and trap.

Mr. Miller served on the American Legion Boys State committee for over 40 years and was on the Doyle Miller Amvets Scholarship committee for 20 years. He gave countless speeches to local government and history classes over the years. At the age of 60, he completed a 10-mile walkathon for the Amvets to raise $2,500 to purchase hospital equipment for public use. He also volunteered his time to counsel other amputees to reassure them that they could live a full life with their disability.

Mr. Miller epitomized what it means to be a mentor and a coach. Not only did he teach physical and technical skills, but he instilled life skills such as patience, teamwork, and respect for nature and your opponent. Doyle served as an example of and demanded good sportsmanship, integrity, endurance, and work ethic. In addition to the long list of prestigious awards he won over an amazing lifetime, he can now add Indian Lake Distinguished Alumni.

Jeneane DesCombes “Lefty” Lesko was a 1953 graduate of Stokes High School. Growing up in Lakeview, she was described as not being a “girly” girl; she wore jeans, which was unheard of at the time, and was a tremendous athlete who played with the boys, which again, not a common occurrence. Although she practiced with the boy’s team throughout high school, she was not permitted to play in the games.

She joined the All-American Girls professional baseball league in 1953 as a pitcher with the Grand Rapid Chicks and that team eventually won the championship. In 1955 she joined a national touring team known as the All-American All-Stars. The team played 100 games at different times against male teams while traveling over 10,000 miles. After baseball in 1957, Lefty earned a degree from Ohio Northern University and taught math and science to dependent children at Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico until 1962. While in Puerto Rico, she learned to play golf.

Jeneane then taught physical education and math in France until 1965. During the summer, she traveled throughout Europe on a motor scooter. She also was an avid skier and took golf lessons from an English pro. She transferred to the Clark Air Force Base in the Philippine Islands where she played golf year-round from 1965 to 1967. She moved back to the US in 1967 and joined the LPGA in 1968 after establishing a 4 handicap.

She played professional golf for several years before eventually settling in Seattle with her husband and three children. She began a career in Real Estate in 1976. Lefty has been involved in sports her entire life and encouraged her children to get involved as well. She officiated basketball, volleyball, and softball and has been a relentless supporter of women’s athletics. One of the Distinguished Alumni nominees wrote, “If it were not for remarkable women like Lefty, it is unlikely that my own daughter could have played high school and college sports. This Indian Lake alum is an inspiration to all women and girls.”

As we celebrate 50 years since the creation of Title IX and opening the door for women to compete in athletics, it is an honor and privilege to present the 2023 Indian Lake Distinguished Alumni award to Jeneane DesCombes Lesko.