History with Chuck: CHS grads Reggie Jackson ’64 & Helen Spigel Tax ’33

Reggie Jackson

Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson, Cheltenham High School’s most well-known alumnus, celebrated his 77th birthday on May 18.

The 1964 CHS graduate grew up at 149 Greenwood Avenue in Wyncote just down the street from the train station known today as the Jenkintown-Wyncote station.

Jackson is an intelligent, outspoken, and often controversial figure who was highly recognizable, whether it be for his famous left-handed swing or from his candy bar. He is an inspiration that a baseball player can be respected, successful, and clout 563 home runs without the aid of anabolic steroids or other performance enhancing drugs.

The legacy of the Major League Baseball and Cheltenham High School Alumni Association Hall of Famer is that of a winner. Reggie played 21 seasons in the Big Leagues and reached the post-season in 11 of them, winning six divisional pennants and five World Series.

Photo from 1964 Cheltenham High yearbook, “El Delator”

Helen Spigel Sax

Helen Spigel Sax, a 1933 graduate of Cheltenham High School, overcame a lot to become one of the most accomplished CHS graduates that you may have never heard of.

The estate-planning lawyer defeated childhood polio and workplace gender discrimination in becoming the first female law partner at Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen.

Helen was a pioneer and role model among women lawyers aspiring to partnership in large law firms. Afflicted with polio during her high school years, Helen did not let a cane and braces stop her from graduating with honors. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1937 from Swarthmore College and a law degree in 1940 from the University of Pennsylvania.

Helen served as President of the Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia and was a board member of the National Museum of American Jewish History. She was also a board member of the Big Brother/Big Sister Association of Philadelphia, among other educational and charitable institutions.

In 2007, three years after her death in 2004, Helen Spigel Sax was posthumously inducted into the Philadelphia Bar Association’s “Legends of the Bar” Hall of Fame.  

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Information and photos courtesy of Chuck Langerman, local historian