Special Tribute Paid to Prairie Band Potawatomi’s Jim Potter by Banner Creek Science Center Board

July 24, 2015 –

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From left to right:  Carrie O’Toole, Camilla Chouteau, Patty Potter, Marilyn and Gary Revelle and Tom Wabnum after a tribute ceremony for Jim Potter who was a founding member of the Banner Creek Science Center Board.


MAYETTA:  The Banner Creek Science Center Board of Directors gave a special tribute on July 23 to Jim Potter (deceased) who was one of its founding directors at the Center.  Potter was killed in a motorcycle accident in June, 2014.

Members of Potter’s family and several Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation members attended the event. Also on hand were members of the Board and Janet Zwonitzer, a Jackson County Commissioner.

Bill Zirger, another founding member of the Center, opened the ceremony and made introductions. Following that, he gave an overview of Potter’s contributions to the Center and highlighted how Potter’s Native American knowledge of cosmology, combined with his background, was influential in defining the Center’s purpose and scope.  The tribute was symbolized by the placement of a dozen roses into a vase by Mike McManigal, another board member, which was then given to Potter’s widow, Patty by Zirger.  A photograph of Potter was also unveiled during the tribute and will remain at the Center.

Tribal members Tom Wabnum and Rey Kitchkumme also spoke during the ceremony about their friendship and work with Potter and the many accomplishments he achieved.   Zirger announced during his tribute that the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation had donated over $40,000 since 2005 and Tribal Council Secretary Camilla Chouteau has replaced Potter on the Banner Creek board.

Following the ceremony, Mike Ford, Banner Creek’s Director of Astronomy, gave tours of the facility and showed off the 20-inch Ritchey-Chreitien space-viewing telescope t at the Center.  He also discussed how computer technology is advancing views in space from earth and the educational opportunities available at the Center.  Ford and Potter were both selected into the Holton/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame this year for their contributions to the community.