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Class of 1937 gathers for final reunion

December 16, 2007

The Hagerstown High School Class of 1937 held its 70th reunion on Saturday, Sept. 15, in the dining room of Homewood Retirement Village's community center in Williamsport.

Nineteen members of the class were able to attend, plus friends, daughters, wives and husbands, bringing the total in attendance to 32 people.

A warm greeting was given by Vivian Foltz Dean as she placed a name tag on each individual. Upon entering the dining room, guests were greeted with old songs of the 1930s, being played by Andy Hamilton at the piano. The tables were attractively decorated in maroon and silver, with centerpieces of African violets (later given as prizes).

Lewis Leiter read a story describing the changing times between then and now. The Rev. John Cazziola and his guitar entertained guests with "The Retirement Song," to the tune of "My Favorite Things" from "The Sound of Music." The reverend's song made reference to false teeth, pacemakers, walkers, back pains, confused brains and shrunken frames.

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The invocation (written by homebound Earl Stouffer) was read by Walter Stehl. Vivian Brown Neikirk lit a candle in memory of the 170 known deceased class members. The names were displayed on two open framed tablets, with an open Bible and a white rose on the table.

A memorabilia table had been prepared by Josephine Pittinger Houck. The display consisted of letters, pictures, news items and yearbooks.

A special luncheon was enjoyed by all. Classmates reminisced, renewed old friendships, told school day stories, and declared the class of 1937 the best class of Hagerstown High School. It was the first class to enter in the tenth grade, having completed ninth grade at either South Potomac Junior High or at Woodland Way Junior High. The yearbook was renamed "The Heiskelite," and a junior class play was instituted. Graduation exercises were held in the St. John's Lutheran Church auditorium on South Potomac Street, because a section of the high school had collapsed and needed repairs.

Seventy years ago this past June 9, 249 graduates went their separate ways, some to further their education, others to find employment and some to military service. This reunion was again a time of tears and goodbyes, since this was the last reunion.

Classmates present were: Virginia Lee Ambrose and husband John Barger, Dorcas Barkman, William C. Barr, Catherine Bragunier Lynn, Vivian Brown Neikirk, Vivian Foltz Dean, Elizabeth Hartle Harp, Frances Heighberger Hartle, Catherine (Katie) Kershner Shook, Theda Herman Shea, Betty Hill Jayne, Belva Hock Snyder, Lewis Leiter, Janice Phleeger Lusbaugh, Romayne Miller, Josephine Pittinger Houck, Frances Rice Cruger and Walter Stehl.

The reunion committee members were Frances Rice Cruger, Vivian Brown Neikirk, Vivian Foltz Dean and Josephine Pittinger Houck.

For information or phone numbers of classmates, please contact Frances Cruger at 301-791-1896.

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