News Posted 1/12/14 - 6/24/14


Diane (Sadewater) Holmes has lost her husband

(posted 6/20/14)
HAYWARD, WI — We only recently discovered that classmate Diane Sadewater had lost her husband Vernon Holmes June 2, 2012. He had fought cancer for four and a half years and died at the age of 72.

Diane is planning to come to our 55th reunion so if you will be there, please express your condolences to her for the loss of her husband. Also her address can be found in the member section to send a note. See the obituary for more information.


Friends of West Memorial Day Service

(posted 5/26/14)
ROCKFORD RRstar — Friends of West will have their 10th annual Memorial Day service at 11 a.m. today around the flag pole in front of West Middle School, 1900 N. Rockton Ave. The garden around the flag pole contains 200 bricks, each inscribed with the name of a West graduate who died in wars, beginning with World War II.

West was built in 1940 as a high school. It became a middle school in 1989. The speaker this year is attorney Robert E. Canfield, a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War. Also, the West High Memorabilia Room will be open from 10 a.m. to noon on Memorial Day on the north side of the school. It contains artifacts from West High School’s history.

EDITORS NOTE: This year I added three bricks to the flag pole garden one for my first wife and classmate Josephine (Arco) Ingrassia who died in 1995, for my late brother Frank X. Ingrassia who graduated from West in 1963, and for myself - Ron Ingrassia.


We have lost "Ferge" at 73

(posted 5/26/14)
MONROE, GA — Bill “Ferge” Ferguson has died Monday May 19, 2014 after a year-long fight with lung cancer. Bill has been living in Monroe, Georgia with his wife Donna.

A memorial service will be held at 5 PM Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at First Presbyterian Church of Monroe, GA. You can read more about Bill in his obituary and link to the funeral home where you can share an online memory or condolence. Also his home address in Georgia will be available in the member section of this website for a few weeks if you wish to send a note or card to Donna Ferguson and the family.


Sudden Heart Attack Takes Rita Cruz at 73

Rita Cruz(posted 5/15/14)
ROCKFORD, IL — Rita May (Cruz) Elizondo died suddenly September 24, 2013 in Fort Myers Florida at the age of 73. We were notified by her companion of 40 years, Claude Sanders.

Rita attended all three years at West High through graduation. In school she worked as a library assistant. She attended the 50th reunion. You can read more about Rita in her obituary.


Heart Disease Takes Classmate at 73

(posted 4/27/14)
ROCKFORD, IL — Diabetes, heart attack, and stroke finally caught up to Richard "Dick" Vincent as he died April 25, 2014 at the age of 73.Dick and Mary Ann

He is shown dancing with his wife of 8 years Mary Ann (Cacciatore) Vincent who is also a member of the Class of 59. They were married October 28th, 2005 at Holy Family Church in Rockford. Both regularly attended the class annual reunions. You can read much more about Richard in his obituary.

Arizona Classmate Passes On After Long Dementia

Penny Unger
(posted 4/25/14) GILBERT, AZ — Penny Joanne (Unger) Martenson, passed away Easter Sunday after suffering from Dementia for several years. We had heard last month, in a reply to a reunion mailing, that Penny was in a nursing home. It was a suprise that she died so suddenly.

Condolences can be mailed or emailed to David Martenson, her surviving husband, at the address listed for Penny on this website. Mortuary is Queen of Heaven, 1562 E Baseline Rd, Mesa, AZ 85204. A memorial service will be held in Arizona. See the obituary for more information.


Paul Gessner Loses Battle with Cancer at 72

(posted 4/16/14)
ROSCOE, IL — After a year-long fight with cancer we lost Paul Gessner April 13, 2014 at the age of 72. Services and visitation are next week at McCorkle Funeral Home where you can share an online memory or condolence. You can read more about Paul in his obituary.

(posted 4/23/14) On August 20, 1960 Paul married Sandra (Anderson) Gessner from West High Class of 1960. Paul and "Sandy" lived in and traveled to many different parts of the world during his 21 years of service in the United States Navy, including three years on Midway Island. Paul's son Jeff said that they lived in 19 different locations during the military years. Sandy ran the household and raised the children during the many separations and long deployments as the true military wife. They had two children Jeff and Audra.

After returning to Rockford in 1980, Sandy and Paul built and became the owners/operators of Gessner's Pioneer Restaurant in Roscoe, IL. It is still there today known as Jessica's Restaurant.

On December 9, 2003 Sandy died at the age of 61 from complications of previous strokes. Paul later remarried.


Gerry and Rose Mastroianni Celebrate 50th

(posted 3/30/14)
ROCKFORD, IL - The following article was published in the RRstar March 30, 2014:

Gerry and Rose Mastroianni are celebrating 50 years of marriage. Gerry and the former Rose Schopf were wed on April 4, 1964 at St. Patrick’s in Rockford, IL. Their children are: Jeff and Leslie Mastroianni, Freeport, Scot and Amy Mastroianni, Rockford and Ann (Herschel Jones), Rockford. They have 5 grandchildren and 2 great­grandchildren. The couple celebrated their anniversary with a trip to Hawaii in March.


Husband of Marjorie (Jost) Schumacher passes on

Husband of Marjorie (Jost) Schumacher(posted 3/25/14)
QUARTSZITE, Arizona - Jimmie Schumacher, husband of Marjorie (Jost) Schumacher, died January 28, 2014 at the age of 75 after a six year battle with cancer. They had been married for 49 years and reside, during the summer months, in Blairsville, GA where they had a family business.

The couple have two children, seven grandchildren, and four greatgrandchildren.

You can find more information in the obituary and can leave an online condolence at the funeral home listed there.


Gary E. Johnson has Lost his Fiancee

Cathy Schwab(posted 3/9/14)
SARASOTA, FL — We just learned that Cathy Schwaab, the Girl Friend and five year Fiancee of Gary E. Johnson, died March 6, 2014.






Mother of Henrietta Perteete Dies at 103

(posted 2/3/14)
ROCKFORD, IL — Classmate Henrietta (Perteete) Dotson-Williams has lost her mother Woodsy Perteete January 30, 2014 after an extraordinarily long life of 103 years. She leaves 8 children, 21 grandchildren, and 30 great-grandchildren. More details can be found in the obituary.




Jacksonville Florida Socializing for Class of 59ers

(posted 2/1/14)
JACKSONVILLE, FL — What is there to see in Jacksonville, FL? - Well John Contarino of course. It seems that that Gerry Johnson and his wife Judy (Jonason) Johnson (both from the class of 59) who live in Milledgeville, GA spent some quality visiting time in Jacksonville reminiscing about the past with John before heading to St. Augustine. They all are shown in the photo at the left - John is on the right.

Soon after joining the Jacksonville Sons of Italy Lodge, John realized that of the fourty or so members, about a fourth of them were ninety or over. He could see that some younger blood was needed to carry the club forward. So he wrote to the president suggesting they have a "bring a guest" dinner night and he volunteered to organize the event.

John's guests were our other classmates living in Jacksonville - Bill Carriere and his wife Sara Beth. Bill, as you know, is a retired M.D. although he still works every day at several clinics in Jacksonville. His wife graduated from IL Wesleyan in Bloomington, IL. They have two children. You can see them all having dinner at the club in the photo at the right.

The dinner was a big success with over 100 guests and John is confident that many of them will become members. The club meets once a month to have a potluck dinner.


Coach Don Kriechbaum has died at 93

(posted 1/29/14)
ROCKFORD, IL — Teacher and Coach Donald W. Kriechbaum has died at 93 years of age. He has a long career of interesting achievements from Athlete and WWII pilot to teaching and coaching at several local schools. You can read about Don in his obituary and share a memory or condolence if you wish.




Jack Tower has lost 37 year old son

(posted 1/18/14)
DENVER, CO — Classmate John (Jack) Tower and wife Sandra lost their son Alex on the day after Christmas December 26, 2013. He was 37 years old. Jack is shown in the photo at the right with his wife, two sons and two daughters. A memorial will be held in June in Rockford. For more photos, information and to leave a condolence see the obituary.