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Welcome to our Class Website!

During the years 1956 through 1959 a group of more than five hundred teenagers from the west side of the city of Rockford Illinois came together to acquire a high school education.  At the time we probably did not realize that so many years later we would look back and see the friendships and memories as a treasure of life past that was a special bond among us all.  This website (see the website description) is dedicated to the task of documenting and preserving, in one place, the memories of old along with the continued experiences of our group as time marches on.



** News Articles & Stories**


The Sbragias Grew Closer to Family During Covid

New news! (posted 4/14/21)
PARKER, COLORADO — We have heard from our popular class couple Sharyn (Simpson) and Gary Sbragia:

Gary and I are doing well. We survived the Pandemic very pleasantly. We live in a multigenerational house with our daughter, son-in-law and two teen boys. There is always something going on. All were exceptionally kind and respectful of our age and vulnerability to Covid. One grandson is attending Colorado State University and the other is a junior in high school. Both have been able to attend classes on line and at school.

Gary and I have both been vaccinated and encourage others to do the same if possible. Our daughter works in the school system so she got her vaccinations around the same time we did. Her hubby Todd is in process of getting his 2nd vaccine shot! If this year has taught us anything, it’s to value family and to appreciate the lives we have.

In August, we’ll be celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary. We are so blessed to still have each other. We send you in the Class of 59 our love and wishes for continued good health! We are so proud to be members of your group!


Al Buckler Passed Away Short of His 80th

New news! (posted 4/10/21)
DURAND, iLLINOIS — Albert Joseph Buckler died April 8th, 2021 just 4 days before his 80th birthday April 12th, 1941.

Al leaves his wife Jean after 61 years together. He is also survived by three children.

Al attended Roosevelt Junior High and then all three years at West graduating in 1959.

See his obituary for more.


Karen Rudehs Passes on at 79

New news! (posted 4/10/21) MACHESNEY PARK, ILLINOIS - Classmate Karen Kay Rudehs (Holmes) died March 23, 2021 at the age of 79.

Karen attended Washington Junior High, all three years at West and graduated in 1959. She was preceded in death by her husband Raymond E. Holmes who died November 10, 2006 at the age of 68. They had been married 46 years.

Karen's wish was to be remembered with a Celebration of Life, full of laughter and memories, which will be held later this summer.

Arrangements by Affordable Cremation and Funeral Services, Belvidere, IL.

See her obituary for more information.


Wife of Bill Lamps Lost to Leukemia at Age 80

New news! (posted 4/6/21)
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — Nancy Jane Lamps wife of classmate William Lamps, Jr. died April 3, 2021 from Acute Myeloid Leukemia. They were married for 52 years. See their 51st Wedding Anniversary story posted on this website 8/5/2019.

Funeral service will be held on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 620 N. Alpine Rd., Rockford, IL 61107 with Bishop Kaden Hardening officiating. The visitation will be from 9:00 a.m. until time of service. Burial in Willwood Burial Park. Masks are required and please observe social distancing. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity in memory of Nancy. 

See her obituary for more information.


Husband of Gloria Shafer Passed Away at Age 79

New news! (posted 4/2/21)
LOVES PARK, ILLINOIS — Harry "Jack" J. Pillmore, husband of classmate Gloria Shafer, died March 31, 2021. They were married for 57 years.

Cremation rites have been accorded to Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, 3910 N. Rockton Ave, Rockford, Illinois, 61103. To send online condolences, please visit www.fitzgeraldfh.com.

See his obituary for more information.



John Russell is Enjoying Life in Phoenix

New news! (posted 3/28/21)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA — You may remember John Russell in high school as a talented Saxophone player in the high school band.  He could well have been a professional musician but while serving in the army at Fort Lee he found a weekend job in Virginia Beach at a local nightclub and became very interested in nightclub and theater lighting.   This then led to opening his own theatrical lighting, stage sound and electrical business.

John’s business led him to Arizona to continue designing lighting and sound systems for nightclubs and county fairs and this is where he met a talented young lady, Candi, who had been hired as artist and designer for one of his new lighting and sound projects.  They were married in 1978 and decided to live in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

Later John and Candi opened a retail store in Santa Fe called the Creative design Store.  The store sells elegant ladies designer clothing, unique gifts, and jewelry. Go to their website at http://www.creativedesignstore.com to see more. 





Kathy Shuga Remembers the Florida Gulf in 2020

New news! (posted 3/2/21)
— COLMAN, WISCONSIN. Classmate Kathy (Shuga) Albert sent us the following:

Hi Ron and fellow classmates,

My biggest regret is the fact after sending my reservation and funds in for the 60Th reunion health reasons stopped us from being there.  It is the first reunion missed since graduation and I am sorry.

We live in northern Wisconsin and it seems our weather has been milder than Rockford.  My family of four siblings and many nieces and nephews still reside there. With the virus raging we have not been able to go and see them.  Good Lord willing this will be over so we can have another class reunion.

Our last carefree days were in Florida 2020 when we had no idea there was a virus.  Will try to attach a picture from the gulf shores to remind us we will be carefree again. 

I enjoy this website and thank you for all the hard work.

Kathy Shuga Albert


Ed McCollough has Passed Away at Age 79

New news! (posted 2/22/21)
ROSCOE, iLLINOIS — Edward Michael McCollough died February 18, 2021. He served our country as a US Marine.

It appears that Ed was only with us for the senior year through graduation.

See his obituary for more.


Donna Robbel Passes on Valentines Day at 79

New news! (posted 2/17/21) WESTLAKE VILLAGE, rural WINNEBAGO, ILLINOIS - Classmate Donna Rae Robbel (Wallace) died at the age of 79.

Donna attended Roosevelt Junior High, and graduated from West in 1959. She was preceded in death by her husband James P. Wallace who died September 1, 2005 from cancer. They had been married 42 years.

A private family graveside service will be held at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

See her obituary for more information.


Kaaren (Wellman) Scanio Says HI to the Class

New news! (posted 1/23/21) QUEEN CREEK, ARIZONA and GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

Dear Ron,
I was sitting here thinking about how life is speeding by and thought I would contact you.  First I must tell you what a great job you do keeping us informed.  It takes lots of organization and patience and I thank you for that.

This past year certainly has been a time for reflection.  As I think about my life, there is very little I would change, certainly not anything major.  At Knox College I majored in Applied Music,& History, minored in Far Eastern Religions (I was curious) and picked up a teaching certificate.  During the summers I was in NYC at Juilliard in voice.  Opera was always my goal, so after a couple of detours on Broadway,  I eventually ended up in Europe with the Vienna State Opera Co, as my home company.  Under my professional name I spent many years happily singing here and there. 

During that time, I broke into a man’s apartment (trying to get out of a massive snowstorm) fell in love with that man and we have been happily married for 56 years,.  He is a chemist and owns a small chemical company.  Because he is of Swiss extraction, we inherited a home just outside of Geneva, Switzerland, which we have used as a home base when in Europe.  That proved to be very handy because of our occupations.

At 50 I quit singing professionally and become something of a “show or opera doctor” which proved to be just as much fun as singing.  I still kept the old vocal chords in working order when needed, but more importantly, helped young singers and some smaller, European opera companies to stay in business and get better.  Very satisfying work!

We also had two sons, one now an engineer and the other a police officer, now a Lt., and in charge of Riot Control and Operations, both men living in Mesa, AZ.  We have wonderful daughters-in-law. The light of our lives now is Emily, 5.5 years old, our only grandchild.  She is in the French Am school.  She started French at 3 and is now completely bi-lingual.  She also has a great set of lungs, a lovely singing voice for her age and almost perfect pitch.  There is hope for the future!!!!!!!

I have also spent 40 years as a dog trainer, primarily of working dogs, Akitas my specialty, busy with church and also as an oil painter.  I learned to paint for the fun of it, but somehow ended up selling quit a lot.  However, my most important commission is happening now.  I am painting, in acrylics, a 32 X 8 ft., mural of a French village at the French Am school, and my granddaughter is thrilled.  That is my payment and it couldn’t make me happier.
Life is good! 

When the world wakes up to the fact that it doesn’t have to live in fear and it opens up again, watch our dust as we head out.  If anyone is in the Phoenix area or Geneva Switzerland, our door is always open so come on in.  Hope we have a 65th because I plan to be there!  Health and happiness to the whole class of “59.

Kaaren Wellman Scanio


Terry Swift has Passed Away at Age 79

New news! (posted 1/13/21)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA — Terrance Marshall Swift died January 6, 2021. He served our country as a US Marine.

Terry attended Roosevelt Junior High and his Sophomore year at West High with most of us from the class of 59 and then later graduated with the class of 60.

See his obituary for more information.



Michael Craddick Dies Just Before Christmas at 79

(posted 12/22/20) ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS - Classmate Michael Kenneth Craddick died December 21, 2020 at the age of 79.

Mike attended St. Marys elementary school, Roosevelt Junior High, and graduated from West. He was very much involved with ROTC in all years of Junior and High school although it does not appear that he was in the Military after high school.

Per Mike’s wishes, there will be no services.

See his obituary for more information.


Robert Sanders has died at 81

(posted 12/1/20) ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS - Classmate Robert Stewart Sanders died November 25, 2020 at the age of 81.

Robert came to Rockford from New Albany, MS and attended West High for all three years graduating in 1959.

Moving visitation will be held Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at Carl E. Ponds Funeral Home Inc. 200 N. Johnston Ave from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Burial in Willwood Burial Park. Private services will be held 12:00 noon and may be viewed via our Face Book page.

See his obituary for more information.


Husband of Norma Johnson Passed Away at Age 80

(posted 12/1/20)
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — John "Jack" W. Lucas, husband of classmate Norma (Johnson) Lucas, died October 21, 2020. They were married for 60 years.

Memorial visitation will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials in his memory can be made to Alpine Lutheran Church 5001 Forest View, Rockford IL 61108.

See his obituary for more information.



Patricia Hoffman died at the age of 79

(posted 10/5/20) MACHESNEY PARK, ILLINOIS - Classmate Patricia Ann Hoffman (Mandera) died October 1, 2020 after a brief illness. She was 79.

Her husband George Mandera predeceased her Dec 12, 2012 at the age of 75. They had been married for 55 years.

Private graveside service. Burial in Sunset Memorial Gardens, 8800 North Alpine Road, Machesney Park. A get-together will be held on Thursday, October 8, 2020, at noon for family and friends at Patricia’s residence. In lieu of flowers, a memorial will be established. Arrangements by Delehanty Funeral Home, Ltd., 401 River Lane, Loves Park.

Patricia attended Roosevelt Junior High and then it appears that she was married during or shortly after her Sophomore year at West as they were married Oct 19, 1957.

See her obituary for additional information and also the obituary of her husband George Mandera.


Sandra Nelson had died in 2016 at the age of 75

(posted 9/30/20) ASHLAND, MISSISSIPPI - It was recently discovered that classmate Sandra Lee Nelson (Mellenthin) had died March 29, 2016 at the age of 75. She was last at a Health and Rehab Center in Holly Springs, Mississippi evidently to be near her daughter Sherri Briggs who lives in nearby Snow Lake Shores.

Her husband Dale Mellenthin died June 12, 2012. His obituary can be found in the archives of this website posted on June 14, 2012.

Sandra attended Roosevelt Junior High with many of us and then graduated from West in 1959. Over the years she has attended several class reunons with the most recent photos appended to her obituary along with other information.


Husband of Sanchia Bruer Passed Away at Age 89

(posted 9/24/20)
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA — We recently learned that Robert James Mazza, husband of classmate Sanchia Ann (Bruer) Mazza, died April 13, 2019 at the age of 89. they had been married for 32 years. He left 5 children, 3 grandchildren, and 4 greatgrandchildren.

See his obituary for more information.




Marilynn Tunison Lost from Cancer in June 2019

(posted 9/19/20) CARBONDALE, COLORADO - Classmate Marilynn Roberta Tunison (Cook) died June 30, 2019 at the age of 78 after a three-year battle with cancer. She has been in Colorado since 1987.

She leaves three children and a granddaughter.

Marilynn (as we knew her she spelled her name Marilynn with two "n"s) attended Roosevelt Junior High and then graduated from West in 1959.

See her obituary for more information.


Bunny Beckovich Visits Friends in Rockford

(posted 9/16/20) ROCKFORD, iLLINOIS - Janice "Bunny" (Beckovich) Cook who lives in Cookeville, TN was visiting Rockford recently and managed to get together with some close friends from the class of 59 for Lunch. They all removed their Covid-19 masks long enough to pose for the photo shown below.

Front row: Rosanne (Cuppini) Hemmens, Marion (Nardiello) Licari

Back row: Mary Lou (Spinello) White, Mary Ann (Cacciatore) Vincent, Janice “Bunny” (Beckovish) Cook, Marion (Cassioppi) Ginestra, Ginny (Bufalo) Harezlak, Gloria (Mortellaro) Gustafson (East High)


Tommie Sue Adams Died in May at the age of 79

(posted 9/13/20) GLENDALE, ARIZONA - Classmate Tommie Sue (Maxwell) Adams died May 15, 2020 at the age of 79. She had been on the missing list since graduation until she found us in April of 2013. Evidently her interest in genealogy research led her to our website.

Sue, as she likes to be called, was widowed in 2001 after being married for 37 years to Monte S. Maxwell. She has two sons.

She attended Roosevelt Junior High and then graduated from West in 1959.

See her obituary for more information.

Earlynne Morris Passes from Cancer at 79

(posted 8/2/20) PECATONICA, ILLINOIS - Classmate Earlynne Marion (Morris) Desmond died July 31, 2020 at the age of 79. She had a rare form of liver cancer and has been on chemo for a long time.

Earlynne has attended countless reunions over the years and has been a constant class contributor serving on the reunion committee and as moderator for our Yahoo Groups chat room.

She attended Church Elementary and Roosevelt Junior High and then graduated from West in 1959.

Earlynne lost her husband Dan Desmond who died from a stroke January 27, 2013. They were married for 53 years. You can see his obituary in our archives posted January 29, 2013.

Visitation will be held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at Fitzgerald Funeral Home and Crematory, Riverside Chapel, 3910 N Rockton Ave. Please wear mask and practice social distancing. Funeral services and burial will be private. If you would like to share online condolences please visit www.fitzgeraldfh.com.

See her obituary for more information.


Randy Swenson Died a day after his 79th Birthday

(posted 6/20/20)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA — Classmate Randall Stewart Swenson died June 4, 2020 at the age of 79 with his wife JoAnn at his side. He died of Lewy Body Dementia a disease that is a combination of Parkinson's and Dementia that affects the motor skills making it difficult to control body movements. The first hint that Randy was having dementia problems was just before the 55th reunion which he attended with his wife in August of 2014. Recently he had been living in a memory care facility in San Diego.

Randy is shown with his wife JoAnn in the photo at the right at the 50th class reunion

He attended Roosevelt Junior High and graduated from West High where he played violin in the orchestra at both schools.

Because of the current pandemic situation, services will likely be held at a later date.

See his obituary for photos and more information.

Sharon Hanson has Passed 2 months after Husband

(posted 6/14/20)
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — Classmate Sharon Lee (Hanson) Bare died June 12, 2020 at the age of 78. She had Stage 4 Lung Cancer diagnosed in October 2018.

Sharon attended Roosevelt Junior High and Graduated from West in 1959.

She is shown with her husband Ronald in the photo at the right during the 52nd mini-reunion at Linos in September 2016. Ronald also just died this year in April at the age of 79 - he is a graduate of West High Class of 58. They would have celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary June 3, 2020. See Ronald's obituary for more information.

Private Services to be held. Memorial may be made to Swedish American Cancer Center, 3535 N Bell School Rd., Rockford, IL 61114, Attn: Pam Lunde, or the VA, 705 Rote Rd., Suite 105, Rockford, IL 61107, or the YMCA Retired Men’s Club Pool Hall, ID Pennock YMCA, 200 Y Boulevard, Rockford, IL 61107, Attn: Kim Lape.

See her full obituary for more details.


Roger Anderson has died at 78

(posted 6/6/20) CHEROKEE, IOWA - Classmate Roger Charles Anderson died February 12, 2020 at the age of 78.

He attended Washington Junior High and then Sophomore and Junior years at West after which his family moved to Iowa where he completed his senior year in a small school with a group less than a tenth the size of our senior class.

Roger was living with his wife Joan in Cheokee a small town of just over 5000 in northwest Iowa. He was in the Navy and worked as a carpenter until he retired after a vehicle accident in 2003.

See his obituary for more information.


Husband of Carol Keig Passed Away at Age 73

(posted 6/6/20)
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — Valentine Chevchuc, husband of classmate Carol Louise (Keig) Chevchuc, died Saturday August 6, 2019. Valentine "John" was an Auburn High graduate. They were married for 44 years.

Funeral Service was Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, Mulford Chapel, 1860 S. Mulford Rd., Rockford. Burial in Greenwood Cemetery. Online condolences may be submitted at www.fitzgeraldfh.com.

See his obituary for more information.



Classmate Howard Partch Comments on Covid-19

(posted 4/8/20) ANACORTES, WASHINGTON -

To Class of 1959
Since we probably are all hunkered down,  wearing face masks when we venture our and generally worried about this Covid-19  virus surrounding us all, thought I would  mention a few things circulating around  in what’s left of my 79 year old brain.

I sincerely hope we all get through this  pandemic with nothing more than a cold or two.  Both Serena & I have been recently fighting off colds.  Whenever I feel  a cold coming on, I  self-medicate with the green & orange gel  Cold/flu capsules you find @ Walgreens or CVS.  They seem to work-probably all in my head.

The thing so troubling about all this misery is so many who pass, pass on alone.  No  chance for husbands, wives, kids, grandkids, grandparents & friends to stop by to share and give comfort.  And I understand it is so hard for the caregivers with all their PPE gear on to assist relatives via FaceTime or whatever to actually see or talk to the patient. And then the noise in the crowded ICU’s is so very loud that grieving relatives can’t always hear.

I like this Chris Cuomo guy on CNN who is sharing his Covid-19 experience w/ listeners.  He mentioned the other night it is so important to breath deeply when you have tested positive for the virus and are isolated @ home, even though it hurts to do it.  Also, he says it is equally important to exercise, even in your sequestered space and to get some sunlight,  IE: Vitamin D. The idea is to fight it, never give in! So even though I am not a Covid positive guy, I have been proactively exercising, breathing deeply and working in the yard which is always waiting for me!

For me, keeping active even while separated from our neighbors, and friends is still a good thing. And if by chance I do contract the virus, I am preparing myself for the additional isolation that will be necessary.  And I will use part of that isolation to remember all the great memories I have of these past 79 years.  I have always felt it is our memories that help get us thru the hard times of life. So I encourage everyone to face our future with hope, and courage.  What is the mantra being voiced these days?  IE: separate but together!

Take special care.
Howard Partch


Chuck Pernacciaro Gone at 80

(posted 3/20/20) ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS - Classmate Charles Alec Pernacciaro died March 18, 2020 at the age of 80. This follows the death of his wife Rosile (Mangiaracina) Pernacciaro October 26, 2018 as posted previously below on October 28, 2018. Rosile was from the west High Class of 58. They were sweathearts since 8th grade and married September 17, 1960.

Chuck attended Washington Junior High, and then all three years at West graduating in 1959. During High school he was a member of the Baseball and Basketball teams.

In the words of classmate Howard Partch: "Chuck was a quality guy. He was a kind, fellow student with a big smile and I just know he exemplified that strength throughout his life.  He will be missed."

See his obituary for more information.


What Ever Happened to Candy Carter?

(posted 1/19/20)
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — It was so nice to hear from classmate Candy Carter who is alive and well living in Rockford with her husband Allen Long. They just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary September 15th, 2019.

Candace (Carter) Long, as she is formally known, has been following all of the class activity via the website and news emails. She is very appreciative of the way the website is structured and maintained and enjoys reading new class postings.

For the past 10 years Candy and Allen have been living at the Cloisters condo community between Alpine and Forest Hills roads. It so happens their next door neighbor is also from our class - Nancy Conrads. In the same community they have met Sandy Campbell who is the younger sister of two of our 59 classmates Bette Alexander and the late Connie Alexander who were childhood friends of the Carters playing many hands of Canasta together - what a small world.

Candy and Allen still have the same three kids who have produced 11 grandchildren. These grandkids will soon add one more to their number, giving them an 8th great-granddaughter!

The Allens want to express their warmest wishes to all of our classmates for a happy and healthy 2020.


John Delia has Died at Age 78

(posted 1/8/20)
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — Classmate John Ralph Delia died January 4, 2020 at the age of 78.

John attended Barbour Elementary School, Washington Junior High and Graduated from West in 1959. He is shown with his wife Diana in the photo at the right during the recent 60th reunion. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in November 2019.

Memorial Mass will be at 1:00pm Saturday, January 11, 2020 in St Bridget Catholic Church, 600 Clifford Avenue, Loves Park. Memorial Visitation from 12pm until service time, Saturday in the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Rockford Firefighters Relief Association 204 South First Street, Rockford, IL 61104 or Noah’s Ark 111 N. 1st St Rockford, IL 61107.

See his full obituary for more details.


Bonnie Alberts Passes On During the Holidays

(posted 12/25/19) ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS - Classmate Bonita Mae Alberts (Mund) was born on July 4th and died during Christmas week December 23, 2019. She was 79 years old.

Bonnie attended Roosevelt Junior High, and then all three years at West graduating in 1959. During High school she was a member of the glee club.

Bonnie married classmate Jack Mund June 24, 1960. Jack predeceased her August 15, 2010.

See her obituary for more information.


Husband of Janice Brown Passed Away at Age 78

(posted 11/15/19)
YORK, PENNSYLVANIA — Peter Michael Rosella, husband of classmate Janice Ellen (Brown) Rosella, died Saturday November 9, 2019. Peter was an East High graduate. They were married for 59 years.

Funeral services will be private and at the convenience of the family.

See his obituary for more information.




Ginny Bufalo Celebrates 56th Wedding Anniversary

(posted 10/19/19)
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — It may have seemed like eons ago but well-known classmate Virginia (Bufalo) Harezlak and her husband John just celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary last September 14th.

Ginny or Ginger, as she is referred to by many of us, and John Harezlak, a graduate of St. Thomas high school were married on September 14, 1963 in St. Anthony's Church.

The couple met in 1958 after Ginny's older brother Tony Bufalo brought John home for dinner one evening. They continued their relationship for five years as Ginny attended St. Anthony's School of Nursing and John went to Notre Dame and then Marquette University - they both graduated in 1962. John then enlisted in the US Marine Corp Reserve.

Their oldest son John Luke was born in 1964, Charles Joseph in 1966, and David Anthony in 1969. They were then blessed with four grandsons, Joey (22yo), Jack (18), Gabe (12), and Zeke (14). All of their children, their wives (Theresa, Marge, and Michele), and families live in Rockford where they can see each other often and participate in their school and sports events.

The couple's parents are now deceased but the children were able to enjoy them until they became young adults creating many special memories.

It is a story-book marriage and you can see, with all of the family nearby, why they love calling Rockford home!

Follow the link here to see more photos of the wedding, newspaper coverage, and the 56th celebration.


Ed Adams Dies Unexpectedly on his Birthday at 78

(posted 9/23/19) ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS - Classmate Edward Earl Adams died unexpectedly on his birthday September 17, 2019. He was 78 years old.

Ed attended Roosevelt Junior High, and then all three years at West graduating in 1959. During High school he served with the Yearbook editorial staff and was a member of the Quill and Scroll acquiring skills tht he used later in life in the printing and publishing industries.

Celebration of life with stories and fellowship to be held September 28, 2019 from 1 – 4 at Park Lanes, Loves Park, IL.

See his obituary for more information.


Large Geographically Diverse Turnout for the 60th

(posted 9/10/19) ROCKFORD, IL — Over one hundred classmates and partners turned out each night at the Hoffman House for our 60th reunion. As shown in the class directory, given out to those classmates who attended the Saturday night dinner dance, this event has been happening regularly every five years since graduation. It was an excellent showing especially when you consider the fact that almost one third of the original class of about five hundred has passed on.

Of course the majority of the attendees were from Illinois but there were many from other states plus our foreign exchange student Annegert Bock called Ann or Anna Klamroth who came from Neu-Ulm Germany. Other states represented were Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. A few were attending their class reunion for the first time.

There was continuous visiting both for the Friday August, 23rd casual mixer and the following Saturday dinner dance with hardly enough time for dancing to the Mike Williamson Band. Many posed for photos with their Junior High and Elementary School friends. Photos of the event will be available in the "Gallery" section of this website within a couple of weeks.



From Rosanne (Cuppini) Hemmens:

[to the] Reunion Committee,
Thank you for all of your time and effort to make our 60th class reunion such a success and memorable event. The food was excellent, the entertainment was great, and most of all, reuniting with our classmates and recalling old memories made it seem like yesterday. All of your dedication and hard work is appreciated!
Love, Rosanne (Cuppini) Hemmens.


From Anna (Klamroth) Bock:

Dear classmates, I had much fun joining the reunion in Rockford Illinnois and I want to thank you for your kindness. I am back home now in Neu-Ulm in Germany, but I will never forget the 60th Diamonnd Reunion 2019. Annegert Bock, former AFS-Student, called Ann or Anna Klamroth.


From Chuck Espy:

To all the hard working committee———

                The reunion was an absolute blast…. The hard work you guys did made it a really fun weekend… I was pretty apprehensive that it would be 1— Boring, 2— Waste of Time, 3—Too much of a blur….. $—Wouldn’t recognize anybody….

                Instead it was great…. The alums were happy, engaged, curious, & seemed like they wanted to be there to catch up with old friends,,  The Hoffman House banquet food was terrific. Some of the best we/ve had, & we’ve had plenty of hotel banquet food… It was good to be there both nights  as some folks were only there one or the other..

                Couple of questions—— The spiral booklet that was passed out to everybody… Is that also going to be mailed to the alums that couldn’t be there??… or can they request a copy??

                We were at the 40th, now this is the 60th… I promise, the good Lord willing, we will be at the 80th if you guys plan it….

Thanks again, Chuck & Jan Espy


60th Reunion Golfers Do it One More Time

(posted 8/31/19) ROCKFORD, IL — A golf game prior to the reunion is a tradition and this year is no exception. The Rockford team is joined by classmates from the west coast to play at Ingersoll one more time August 23, 2019. They are from L to R: Bob Stoll, Sandy Jacobson, Jeff Saunders, Marty Pirrello, Howie Partch, and organizer Jim White.


From Sharon (Simpson) Sbragia Prior to Reunion

(posted 8/25/19)
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — Classmates Sharon and Gary Sbragia, a class couple, who live in Parker Colorado could not make it to the reunion this year but wanted everyone to know they miss us. She sends the following message prior to the reunion to classmate Dave Ferreira in respose to the question "are you coming to the reunion?":

"Hey Dave, you’re probably in bed, sound asleep by now. It’s almost midnight here. I just finished looking through all the pictures Ron had up in the Gallery from Reunions gone by, stars that graduated in 1959 and what records were popular in ‘59. Plus old grade school pictures. Fabulous job Ron. Just a fun trip into the past. However now I have a problem!!! I AM SO HOMESICK FOR YOU ALL! So here’s what you can do for me..... Live it up, love each other as never before and laugh, God laugh as if this can’t ever come to an end. I’ll feel it and hear it out here. Gary and I will hug each other and shed some happy tears in remembrance of you. Stay well.

If you want to share with the Class feel free. It was your comment that got us started. Bless you for bringing it up!!"


NOTE: Sharon Simpson was the homecoming queen in our senior year. Also today is husband Gary Sbragia's birthday - Happy 78th to Gary!


Joe Adams Retires back to Wisconsin

(posted 8/17/19)

The Adams’ have retired to Bayfield, WI, the Cape Cod of Lake Superior.

They have volunteered some years, 3 years in Peru South America, 5 years with the National Parks including 5 months as light house keepers on Michigan Island int Apostle Lakeshore National Park and 4 years as docents at San Javier Mission Church in Tucson Arizona. They are also licensed guides in Mexico and led many groups into Mexico. 

They finished their very active careers going back to their farm and turning the production to organic vegetables which fed 80 families, a roadside stand and contributed 2,500 to 3,000 lbs to various food shelves.

"At last we are retired but volunteering for the “Big Top” music events, cooking and teaching for CORE, and active in St. Francis Church on the Red Cliff Reservation".

They feel "Life is full of opportunities".


Linda Sandwick Passes On after a Long Illness

(posted 8/16/19)
CARMEL, INDIANA — Classmate Linda Joan (Sandwick) Buselli died August 4, 2019 at age 77.

Linda was with us since Montague Elementary, Washington Junior High and graduated West High in the top ten. Then she went on to the University of Illinois where she received a BS degree in Journalism.

A memorial service will be held 1–3 PM on Saturday, August 24, 2019 at Indiana Funeral Care, 8151 Allisonville Rd, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250.

In lieu of sending flowers, please send donations (tax deductible) to the Urantia Book Fellowship at P.O. Box 6631, Broomfield, CO 80021 or online at https://urantiabook.worldsecuresystems.com/donation.

See her full obituary for more details.


The Lamps are Shining Brighter Than Ever

(posted 8/5/19)
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — Classmate Bill Lamps and his wife Nancy just celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary August 1st, 2019! William "Billy" Lamps Jr. and Nancy Jane Hills Lamps were married in salt Lake City, Utah August 1st, 1968.

Billy was drafted into the Army and served in Kornwestheim, Germany for almost two years before returning to the States to pursue further education. He later met Nancy who was working as a child welfare worker in Huntsville, Alabama.

The couple now reside in Rockford where they have raised three sons, Mike, Dana, and David who have given them eight grandchildren. After all these years, they are still very much in love with each other! Congratulations to them both!




Bob Armstrong Says Hello from Oregon

(posted 7/18/19)
DALLAS, OREGON— Classmate Bob Armstrong thanks us for keeping up this website as he visits it frequently to get the latest class news.

Bob's wife Erma will be 90 this year and she struggles with a painful back. Luckily for her, she has great caregivers in her daughters and husband. Bob has taken over all of the household chores.

You may remember Bob as the close friend of classmate Pat Block who was the first from our class to die November 19, 1962. Bob accompanied Pat to the Senior Prom. You can read about Pat along with some photos of them in Pat's obituary.

Depite living in Oregon, both Bob and Erma are die-hard Cubs fans. They keep up with Cub games via a radio hookup. Bob says don't count out the Cubs this season as they will turn on the steam after the all star break!


Mona Felvey Passed Away Suddenly at 78

(posted 6/28/19) ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS - Classmate Mona Suzanne (Felvey) McHughes had been planning to come to the 60th Reunion but her wish ended suddenly as she died June 26, 2019 at the age of 78.

Mona attended Roosevelt Junior High, and then all three years at West graduating in 1959. She could be found playing the French Horn in the orchestra at both Roosevelt and West.

Mona lost her husband Willard C. McHughes September 14th, 1992 having his fifth heart attack at the age of 58. He had retired from the U.S. Army and taught JROTC at several area high schools.

Funeral Service will be held Saturday, July 6, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, Mulford Chapel. Visitation will be held at 10:00 until the time of service at the funeral home. Burial at Greenwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Mona’s name to the Arthritis Foundation, 1355 Peachtree St NE Suite 600 Atlanta, GA 30309. Share online condolences at www.fitzgeraldfh.com.

See her obituary for more information and photos.


Mother of Ron Dobratz Passed Away at Age 102

(posted 6/15/19)
AMES, IOWA— Helen R. Dobratz, Mother of classmate Ronald A. Dobratz, died June 4, 2019. We had previously lost Ron February 11, 2006 at the age of 64.


Alan Gabel has Died at Age 78

(posted 6/12/19)
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — Classmate Alan Walter Gabel died June 6, 2019 at age 78.

Alan attended Rossevelt Junior and West High Schools and is shown in the photo at the right at the West High 50th reunion.

A memorial visitation for the family and friends will take place on Friday, July 12, 2019 at Sunset Funeral Home 8800 N. Alpine Rd, Machesney Park, IL 61115 from 3-5 pm with Services from 5-6 pm. A celebration of Al's Life will follow at a venue to be announced. To share a condolence, please visit www.Advantagefunerals.com.

See his full obituary for more details.


Nate Martin has Died at Age 78

(posted 6/12/19)
PENDELTON, INDIANA — Classmate Nathaniel "Nate" Martin died May 3, 2019 at age 78. He was well known and well liked throughout his high school years and beyond.

Nate attended Washington Junior High and all three years at West High graduating in 1959. He will be remembered as an outstanding athlete participating in three high school sports Track, Football, and Basketball.

His family is planning a special memorial service to be held at Nicholas Conservatory in Rockford June 29, 2019 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

Refer to Nate's full obituary for more information about Nate's exciting life in Rockford since graduation.


Rosemarie Sansone Taken by Cancer

(posted 3/29/19) CHANDLER, ARIZONA - Classmate Rosemarie Emma (Sansone) Gulatto lived only a short time after the diagnosis of Cancer. She died just a day before her 77th birthday.

Rosemarie leaves her husband Peter Gulatto after 56 years of marriage. They were married in St. Bernadette's church in Rockford in 1962. They have been living in Arizona since 1987.

Rosemarie attended Roosevelt Junior High, and then all three years at West graduating in 1959.

A funeral mass will be said for Rosemarie on Wednesday, April 3rd, at 10:00 am at St. Steven's Roman Catholic Church in Sun Lakes, Arizona.

See her obituary for more information and photos.


Husband of Linda Groves Passed Away at Age 78

(posted 3/23/19)
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — Jerry L. Clifton, husband of classmate Linda D. (Groves) Clifton, died Friday March 22, 2019. They were married for 50 years.

Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at Temple Baptist Church, 3215 E. State St., Rockford, IL with Reverend Dr. Bill Patterson officiating. Visitation will be from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. prior to the service in the church. Burial in Greenwood Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Temple Baptist Church.

See his obituary for more information.


Howie Partch Sketches on his iPhone

(posted 3/19/19)
It is not hard to understand why classmate Howard Partch decided to become an architect. He evidently is fascinated by large buildings and structures. This past summer in his travels about the State of Washington where he lives, he visited the Deception Pass Bridge and did some finger sketching on his iPhone as shown below:


Randy Swenson Diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia

(posted 2/27/19)
The first hint that Randy Swenson was having dementia problems was just before the 55th reunion. He is now living in a memory care facility in San Diego as his disease has been getting progressively worse.

According to his good friend Lyle Clugg, Randy has Lewy Body Dementia a disease that is a combination of Parkinson's and Dementia that affects his motor skills making it difficult to control his movements. Lyle has visited Randy in San Diego a few times since his diagnosis and says he is in good spirits and very accepting of his fate.

If any of you would like to reach out to Randy and his wife JoAnn the home address is: 16180 Avenida Venusto Apt 32, San Diego, CA 92128.


We have lost Tom Castree at age 78

(posted 2/8/19)
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — Thomas John Castree died February 7, 2019 at the age of 78. It happened within a few days as he felt ill and went directly to the hospital where he eventually needed life support.

Tom attended Montague Grade School, Washington Junior High, and then graduated at West High where he was well known and well liked. He maintained contact over the years with a group of golf buddies from West High. Tom also attended Western Michigan University receiving a degree in retail management.

Memorial Service will be at 11:00 AM on Tuesday February 12, 2019 in Gasparini & Oliveri Funeral Home with Fr. William Wentink officiating.  Visitation will be Tuesday morning in the Funeral Home from 10:00 AM until service time.  Burial at a later date.  

See his obituary for more information.


Anna Klamroth from Germany Reserves First Room

(posted 1/31/19)
The first room reserved at the Holiday Inn for our 60th reunion was for Anna Klamroth our AFS exchange student from Germany. We are excited and looking forward to visiting with her in August. She is a retired Journalist and her husband is a Judge. They live in Neu Ulm, Germany.

During High school, Anna lived here in the USA with the late Sue Tull and her family (Sue passed on in 1991).


Joe Richter Dies at 77

(posted 1/20/19) ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS — Joseph Larry Richter died January 18, 2019 at the age of 77. Joe, who graduated with our class, was apparently with us only during the Junior and Senior years.

See his obituary for more information.




Wife of John Dowling Passed Away at Age 77

(posted 1/8/19)
THE VILLAGES, FLORIDA — Judy Y. Dowling, wife of classmate John Dowling, died Thursday January 3rd, 2019. She was formerly from Memphis, TN.

The couple are shown together at the right as they attended the 50th class reunion.

See her obituary for more information.






Recent Photo of Terry and Barbara Cagnoni

(posted 1/5/19)
LAKE HAVASU CITY, ARIZONA — We have heard from classmate Terry Cagnoni and his wife Barbara who hope to see us at the 60th reunion giving them a chance to escape from the 115 degree average August temperatures where they live in Arizona. They have been married for 56 years!






NOTE: Previous news articles can be found in the newsletter archives - see the archive table.


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