Saturday, December 15, 2007

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

Diane Gurgens Urbanckas, Keith Schnepp, Roy Borg, CE Welch, Mary Houghton Elberson
Carolyn Baldwin Quinlan, Janet Bailey Kerner, Janet Frederick, John Brownback.
(Missing: Ann Tobin Hart, Judy Vicars Van Hagen)

Here's our hard-working 50th Reunion Committee, out in an early Illinois snow and wishing all the '58s a very Merry Christmas and healthy, happy New Year! (Click the picture to enlarge.)

In February they will send us a letter with details of the fantastic reunion they've cooked up, so watch for it. They look forward to seeing us in September, 2008!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Georgia Gehr Luttrell

Judy Vicars Van Hagen writes that an obituary appears in the SJR today for a former teacher at Dubois grade school, Georgia Gher Luttrell, who died on Dec 8, 2007 at the age of 80. At Dubois she launched the 8th grade Sextet (see below), which sang in programs all over town, and several of its members joined the Singing Seven at SHS.

Mrs. Luttrell received degrees from SIU and Northwestern. She taught at Huntington College in Montgomery, AL and toured as a concert pianist in the Gulf states. As an music educator, she taught in Marion, IL and Springfield, where she also directed choirs for several churches. She was pianist for the Springfield municipal choir, opera, and symphony. She also sang in the Illinois Symphony Chorus and published poetry.

Judy recalls, "When we 8th graders first met her, Mrs. Luttrell was a most imposing person. She wore high platform heels, was quite a buxom lady, had bright red hair and was much in command. Actually, we were almost afraid of her."

Mrs. Luttrell was preceded in death by her husband, Claude E. Luttrell, and she leaves several cousins and surrogate grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her friends and students may leave messages of tribute at the SJR obituary. A copy also appears at this memorial site.

The Dubois 8th Grade Sextet, 1954
Elizabeth Tinsley, Lynda Bradley, Carolyn Baldwin,
Judy Vicars,
Betsy Mylroie, Joanne Grove

Monday, December 03, 2007

State Fair Museum

Several of the '58s are State Fair buffs, so they may like to know that an Illinois State Fair Museum Foundation has formed in Springfield.

Currently located under the fair grandstand, the foundation plans to raise $5 million for a permanent building on the fair grounds. A full story appears in the SJR today.

History: in the 1860s, Springfield had a choice between the new state university and the "annual agricultural exposition." It took the Fair, and Urbana got the school. Far-sighted?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

So long, SHS?

A story in today's SJR says that the SHS building at Lewis and Adams is obsolete. The principal and a committee are proposing a $200 million makeover for District 186 schools. The centerpiece project: replacing SHS with a $57 million high school on the west side.

Since that means raising bonds or taxes, look for much heated discussion of this issue in months to come. The principal says the current SHS, built in 1917, is outmoded. He may be right: after 90 years of hard use, we all get frayed at the edges.

My own view is that the building I knew 50 years ago has already vanished. The lawn and trees have shrunk, the new additions are ugly, and the neighborhood is Parking Lot City. About the only reminder of 1958 is the Maid-Rite shop, now on the National Historic Register.

Yet it will be sad if the old building has to go. I believe in preservation, not destruction, so I'd rather see SHS returned to its early footprint and turned into a center for adult education. It has one of the best auditoriums in town, and the only Orpheum organ.

Perhaps UIS would like to have a downtown campus, close to the State House. Perhaps a developer would convert SHS into condos for seniors. What would you do? Your comments are welcome.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.
Here's a nice card from Harriett and Rom.
May you all have a wonderful day with family and friends.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Max Bitter, SJR

Big news in Springfield last night:
The CWLP plant at Lake Springfield blew up.

On a quiet fall evening, the plant exploded at 6:50 pm.
No one was killed. But the plant is a wipe.
Walls gone, holes in the ceiling, turbine and generator, kaput.

Even worse, the 1936 plant was full of asbestos.
Which has now seeped into the lake.
So, no one may go into the water
or drink it.

Talk about a crisis.
I hope that all the '58s in Springfield
are safe and able to get water and power.

Please send us comments
and let us know how you are coping.

Full story, pictures, and video are at
the State Journal-Register site.

Friday, November 09, 2007

50th Reunion for '57

3. Bill Coffinbarger, Gary Kerber, Gary Williams, Rod Delay, Dick Garfat.
2. Carol Fleming Morimoto, Judy Barton Williamson, Bob Schuster, Judi Critchfield Mullen.
1. Kay Anderson Arthur, Judy Bennett, Jane Lemme Wing.
(click picture to enlarge)

These SHS '57 grads, at their 50th Reunion this summer,
also attended Harvard Park School in 1944-53.
(Judy Bennett was at HPS, but not SHS)

Thanks to Judy Barton Williamson
for the picture and names

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

1957 Reunion

This image is of a 1959 Prom, held at the Abe Lincoln Hotel.
Hard to say if it's SHS '59--do you recognize anyone?

Some of you probably had friends in the Class of '57.
They held their 50th Reunion on August 17-19, 2007.
C. E. Welch sent me their list of attendees.
Perhaps you remember some of these folks.
Your comments are welcome.

Thanks to Sue Ervin and Judy Van Hagen
for clarifying this news item.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Route 66 Festival

For car-culture fans, Route 66 is the Main Street of America. Running nearly 2,500 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles, 66 was the highway for Midwest and Plains migrants seeking work during the Depression.
Each year in late September, Springfield hosts the Route 66 Festival with a parade of vintage autos. They cruise up Dirksen Parkway, circle the Old State House, and park along Gasoline Alley, on Washington between 5th and 6th. See the Festival site for film and event schedule.

These images show a few models that may be familiar to you. Can you identify all three as to make and year? (Another prize is available--leave your comments).

All pictures are copyright DS Digitals, by Dulany Sriner '64. Visit his site for a large set of festival images, available for a small download fee.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Driving in Springfield

Someone named Brody Johnson
has posted on YouTube
a video called
Driving in Springfield, Illinois

The above scene is from a blog called
He lives in Springfield, too.
Well, in Jerome, to be exact.

Anyone who lives outside Illinois
and can identify that street
wins a special prize from the editor.

No, not World Series tickets.

Friday, August 31, 2007

State Fair Recipes

Here's a Labor Day present
For the foodies in our crowd.
You know who you are.
A site featuring State Fair Recipes.
That is, prize-winning food at state fairs.
Pies, doughnuts, ribs, fried chicken.
And lots of mmmm good chili, or chilli.
So long summer, hello fall.
Enjoy the long weekend.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Mid-August is State Fair time in Springfield. It's time to close down summer, get ready for fall, and also do some remembering. Think we're getting older? Nah, just longer memories.

The picture above, of the Fair grandstand and harness races, is from a site called Penny Postcards from Sangamon County, Illinois. Thanks to Diane Urbankas for sending it.

C. E. Welch found a cool site called Take Me Back to the Sixties. It's a slide show with music, images, and good memories of 50s and 60s days.

And finally, I found a hilarious You Tube video that displays 59 kinds of food on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair. Now, that's what fairs are really for!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Geoff Sutton

Geoff Sutton died on August 11 at his home in Peoria, Illinois. A few years ago he suffered a stroke, but his death was sudden and unexpected. His family was on hand, including a granddaughter on whom he doted.

The 58s who may remember Geoff best are his classmates at Butler School in 1945-1954. A while back he wrote me that he enjoyed viewing the '58 web sites and agreed to be listed in our directory.

I remember Geoff as a gentle, friendly boy with a quick sense of humor. We were distantly related: Geoff was the uncle of Patrick Noonan, husband of my sister, Jo Howarth Noonan.

Update: an obituary appears in the SJR of August 14. It notes that Geoff worked as an aviation photojournalist and was a consultant to Boeing Helicopters. The visitation and memorial service are on Friday, August 17 in Peoria. You may post tributes and condolences in the Guest Book at the SJR obituary.

Allan Stephens, Geoff Sutton, Kim Funk
Spring 1946

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Illini Swimmers

Click on the picture to enlarge.
You'll find four 58s and many others.
Thanks to CE Welch for spotting it.
And to Suzi Lee Boyd for scanning it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Harmony Brothers Show

Chris Reynolds is a retired state employee who has created a BIG visual and oral history of the Harmony Brothers band. He interviewed Ben and Charlie Harmony at length, located their music, and edited a film of their reunion concert (played in a local chili house).

You may hear a one-hour version of this project on WUIS on August 4 at 8 pm. If you aren't in Springfield, you may hear it on the Internet. WUIS has set up a special page on the show, with links to let you hear the program, the interviews, and the music. If needed, you'll get instructions to set up your computer for webcasts. Rock On!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jan Guiffre Sables

Another milestone: Jan Giuffre and Roger Sables celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary recently with a party at Island Bay Yacht Club. They married on June 23, 1962 in Blessed Sacrament Church.

They have three children and seven grandchildren, all living in Springfield. Roger is the owner of Giuffre Buick and Jan is a broker associate with Re/Max. Congratulations to the couple, and thanks to Libbie Peterson Britton for locating the story and picture, now appearing in the SJR.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Golden Anniversary

Dee Dee and Bill Benedict have reached a life milestone earlier than anyone else in our class: the 50th wedding anniversary. They married on April 21, 1957 when she was 17 and he was 20. After a three-day honeymoon, she returned to her Junior year in high school and he went back to the Navy.

Dee Dee says some folks said the marriage wouldn't last, but today they have three children (Michael, Kathy, and Amanda) and five grandchildren. They've lived in Pompano Beach, Florida for 42 years and both are now retired. Congratulations to Dee Dee and Bill on such a long and happy union.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Mr. Fantastick

From left, Rusty Rechenbach as El Gallo, Dave Eaken as Bellomy, and Allan Stephens as Hucklebee rehearse a scene of the Rose Barn Theatre's production of “The Fantasticks.” Photo by Bill Robinson / The Register

In our Sophomore year, Allan Stephens starred in “The Skin of our Teeth,” playing George Antrobus in Thornton Wilder’s madcap survey of history repeating. Charles Boughton directed. Now 51 years later, Allan will appear as Mr. Hucklebee in “The Fantasticks,” a musical with elements drawn from Shakespeare and Rostand. It played off-Broadway for 42 years and brought fame to the likes of Jerry Orbach and F. Murray Abraham.

Allan first appeared in "The Fantasticks" in Austin, Texas about 35 years ago, for 40 performances. The current show plays at the Rose Barn Theatre in Richmond, KY on July 12-13 and July 21-22. A full story appears in The Register of Richmond, KY. Of this gig, our favorite thespian in Kentucky says “ It’s the best coverage I have had since Bill Tranquilli and I buried the skull.” (Do you remember that story? Let us know in a comment.)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Harry Hyndman

On this Independence Day, another military career to honor is that of Captain Harry Hyndman, who served in the United States Navy and Reserve for 27 years, 1962-89.

Harry was Chief Engineer aboard the USS Warbler, a coastal minesweeper. His other duties included damage control, repair and salvage, movies, morale, and recreation, which meant coaching the ship's football team, with little prior experience.

His home port was Sasebo, Japan, and he spent much duty time patrolling the shores of South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, where he was on duty during the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the start of the shooting war.

In his later years Harry assisted with intelligence operations in the central Pacific, at Guam and the Micronesians, for support of air patrols and nuclear submarines. For a man trained as a research scientist, he had many assignments that roamed far from the laboratory.

Before retirement, Harry served as professor of Naval Science, and commander of the NROTC unit, at the University of Missouri in Columbia. As a reserve officer, he had a long career with the Monsanto Company and in recent years served the Berean Mission in the USA, Latin America, and Asia.

Harry and his wife, Kathleen, raised three children and have six grandchildren. They live today in Olivette, Missouri, and have attended most of our Reunions, after decades of service abroad.

USS Warbler MSC-206

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Joe Magro

We have just learned the sad news that Joe Magro died two years ago in Alton, Illinois. He was nearly 65 and had been retired for 10 years. With the help of Libbie Peterson Britton, Judy Van Hagen and CE Welch, we located the following obituary text from the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

Joseph Magro, a retired teacher in Alton, died June 30, 2005, of cancer at Alton Memorial Hospital in Alton. He was 64 and lived in Godfrey.

Mr. Magro was born in Springfield, Ill., and graduated from Springfield High School in 1958. He received a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's in education, both from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Mr. Magro was an educator for more than 25 years at JB Johnson Career Development Center in Alton. He served in many capacities at the center, such as librarian and head of the television studio. Mr. Magro was also a longtime sponsor of the school's drama club. He retired in the mid-1990s.

While at the center, Mr. Magro taught night art classes at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey for about 12 years.

In his spare time, Mr. Magro raised orchids and won numerous awards. He also enjoyed designing stained glass, martial arts and line dancing, in which he had several choreographed dances patented.

Mr. Magro is survived by a sister, Joanne J. Rockwood of Gainesville, Fla.

A memorial service was held at the Rose Garden Restaurant and Banquet Center in Alton.

Memorials to the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation, Magro Art Scholarship Fund, Erickson 211, 5800 Godfrey Road, Godfrey, Ill., 62035; or the American Cancer Society, No. 5 Schiber Court, Maryville, Ill., 62062.

Friday, June 29, 2007

50th Reunion

You should have received this in the mail by now.
Hope you will mark the calendar and attend.
(Click on the pic to enlarge.)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

East Coast Trip

Suzanne Lee Boyd moved last year and found this picture in her basement. A little dusty and wrinkled, but what a souvenir: it's of the group that traveled to the East coast in June, 1957 to take in the American History sites between Washington, DC, and New York.

Itinerary: overnight train (with Vista Domes) through the Appalachians to DC, toured the town and Mount Vernon, then overnight boat via the Chesapeake Bay to New York and toured that town. Our leaders were SHS history teachers Ruth McKinnie and Irene Burnette.

Suzi says the teachers could out-walk us all. She recalls going to the NBC studio in NYC and standing outside the windows of the Today Show, with Dave Garroway and the chimp. Then she called her parents, who watched every day, and sure enough, they saw her on TV.

Here is our best rendition of the names. At present, 9 are missing. If you know the people marked ?, please tell in a comment. And add your memories, please. (Click on the picture to enlarge, and see also below.)

Row 3: ? Susan Olsen, ?, Nancy Fromm, Nancy McBrian, Bill LaForce, Harry Hyndman, Lois Gibson, Dana Furry, ?, Kay King, Lynn Prater, Laurel Loibl, Jean Taylor, ?, Sarah Temple, Stan Thomas, Richard Hollis, Bill Bruce, Norman Baker, CE Welch, Robert Carter, Ruth McKinnie, Rep. Peter Mack, Irene Burnette, ?, Jan Schemerhorn, Darlene Lynn, ?, Bonnie Bruce, Judy Guy, Betty Martin, ?, Miss McKinnie's niece, Sylvia Staley, ?, ?, Beth Biendarra, Pat Stein.

Row 2: Nick Graebel, Alan Schilsky, Charles Buchheit, Bob Schuster, Joe Manuele, Will Howarth, Don Savage, Charles Baumann, Kim Funk, Dave Barr, Tom Brydges, Bob Hails, Dennis Carroll, Bob Schmidt, Steve Dilts, Don Childs, John Harrison, Bill Ice, Fred Langenbach, Mike Newby, Lee Lochbaum, Bob Brunsman, Ralph Keiser.

Row 1: ?, Suzanne Lee, Sue Jacobs, Beverly Blue, Janet Hansen, Marcia Ruzes, Leslie Heineke, Peg McKenzie, Sandra De St. Jean, Elaine Feir, Ann Tobin, Nancy McKibbin, Donna Kaiserman, Pat Flamm, Janet Moody, Judy McCoy, Carol Schroeder, Louise Funk, Ruth Lance, Jeannette Davis, Nancy Swartout, Darlene Willi, Gay Logan, Debbie Baker.

For a really BIG view of the faces, click the NEW link on the SHS '58 site.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mr. Wizard

Don Herbert, the "Mr. Wizard" of 1950s television, died in Los Angeles yesterday at the age of 89. He was not a scientist but knew how to make experiments and principles visible to kids, by using everyday objects from the household. He also featured 11 and 12-year-olds on his show, and his easy, respectful manner toward them was a model of good teaching.

Such a nice man was, naturally, from the Midwest. He grew up in Minnesota, went to college in Wisconsin, and broke in his TV show on WMAQ in Chicago. Many scientists today give him credit for inspiring their careers. He continued to appear on television long after the 1950s, and in recent years he reprised his original shows on DVDs.

A full obituary appears in the New York Times and many other online newspapers.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Elgin, Illinois: June, 1941

John Vachon of St. Paul, Minnesota, took photographs for the Farm Security Administration during the Depression and World War II. This image represents many early 20th-century neighborhoods built in the Midwest, along streets graced with American elms.

The picture is from an online site, Language of the Land, sponsored by the Library of Congress.

Just thought it might remind us a little of where and when we grew up.

PS: If you live in Springfield and enjoy history, please see the Iles House blog. The house needs to recruit 8 volunteer docents to help lead tours.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Jim McGeath

Jim McGeath attended Hay-Edwards grade school, graduating in 1954, and was at SHS in our freshman year, 1954-55. He was a Marine Corps veteran, worked in various factories, and was an avid fisherman.

He died on May 15 at his home in Germantown Hills, northeast of Peoria. He leaves four daughters, nine grandchildren, and two brothers. An obituary appears at the SJR site.

The picture above is an enlargement of the 8th grade picture from Hay-Edwards school. Jim is in the middle of the 4th row.

Thanks to Janet Bailey Kerner for a note about the obituary.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ruby Time

Congratulations to John and Connie Brownback on their Ruby anniversary.
And thanks to C. E. Welch for the scanned announcement.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

I don't know how many '58s have served in the armed forces. Maybe a hundred or more.

Pete Kobes has the longest tenure as an officer, followed by professionals like Bill Ice, Allan Stephens, Bob Shewmaker, Bob Wicks, and Bob Willis. Taavo Saviste was a Green Beret. Charley Harmony spent two years in Alaska. C. E. Welch, Steve Kwedar, and Dave Dodge served in Vietnam. Bo Overaker died on duty in Europe.

Doubtless, I have skipped many names—please, supply them in comments, and did any women in our class serve?

On this Memorial Day, the veteran I remember is Mike Nation. We were friends, and the only picture I have of him is the one above, from our yearbook. On our Memorial page, Mike is the second casualty. He died on Sunday, July 25, 1965. He was flying a Navy patrol plane and it crashed in the sea. He was 24 years old.

The yearbook is right: he was sharp, fun-loving, and in college he studied psychology. In the summer of 1960 we both worked on a state parking survey. Every morning, Mike arrived at my house to give me a ride. On the survey, he liked to ask people where they had been or were going. I said he would make a great shrink. He was dating Patty Lock, said he would marry her, and he did.

After that summer I lost track of Mike until 1965. His death made me ask why him and not me, or any of his other friends. All these years later, I still don't know, and the wars go on. Bill Golladay has a son flying in Iraq. I have a nephew on duty in Afghanistan. We all have connections to veterans, and to many who died in service. Today is a day to remember them.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


In our life journeys, we hope to acquire knowledge and in time also wisdom, that most elusive of virtues. It's hard to attain or define, but we all know some who had it and passed a little to us, along the way.

Want to know your Wisdom Scorecard? Then take this brief test featured in the New York Times. It's 39 statements for you to evaluate and takes only a few minutes. Whatever your score, the statements teach a lot about growing older and wiser. If you remember someone wise, let us know in a comment.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Less-Traveled Roads

With gas approaching $4.00 a gallon, long road trips may be too costly, but it's still possible to take short drives here and there along the National Scenic Byways.

These are 126 less-traveled roads across America, designated by the federal government as having historic or scenic importance. The program protects and upgrades the highways, so you'll have a smooth ride, and the roads all have plenty of good places to eat or lodge.

To plan a trip in your home state or elsewhere, visit the America's Byways site and check out the slides, maps, and comments by fellow travelers. Then crank up some tunes, hit the road, and enjoy the ride.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Roberta Grove

Roberta Dunnigan Grove, 97, died on Saturday, May 12, at her home in Springfield. She was the mother of our classmate, Joann Grove Dilts, who died in 2003.

Mrs. Grove was born in Virden and moved to Springfield in 1914. She graduated from SHS in 1927 and later from Brown's Business College. As a secretary, she worked for Lincoln Life and Northwestern Mutual Life. In 1939 she married H. Leroy Grove, who died in 1991.

She is survived by her son-in-law and our classmate, Stephen Dilts of Denver, two grandsons, and three great-grandchildren. Of her, Steve wrote "She led a quiet life that was a model of graciousness, humor, and family commitment."

Services are in Springfield on May 16 at St. John's Lutheran Church. Visitation begins at 9:30 am, with services at 10: 30 am and burial at Roselawn Memorial Park. An obituary notice and guest book appear at the SJR site.

Our condolences to Steve Dilts, who kindly supplied the portrait of Mrs. Grove.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Wesley Hilligoss

Wesley W. Hilligoss, 83, of Jacksonville died Friday, April 27, 2007, at Barton W. Stone Home in Jacksonville. He was born July 18, 1923, in DuQuoin, the son of Leigh and Myrtle Heiple Hilligoss. He married Marjorie Jolley May 9, 1947, in Tuscola, and she survives.

He is also survived by a daughter, four sons, eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and one sister. He was preceded in death by his parents, a granddaughter, two sisters, and two brothers.

Mr. Hilligoss was an art teacher and guidance counselor at Springfield High School. Earlier in his career he coached football and golf. He served as camp director and caretaker of the Western Illinois 4-H Camp on Lake Jacksonville from 1960 to 1972. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star. He was an award-winning wildlife wood carver, enjoyed gardening, camping, and was an avid golfer and St. Louis Cardinals fan.

A funeral service was held at 11 a.m. Monday, April 30, 2007, at Williamson Funeral Home in Jacksonville, with burial in Asbury Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the American Cancer Society. Condolences may be left online at the Guest Book on the obituary page of the Springfield Journal-Register.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Web Videos

We 58s are plenty computer-literate, as evidenced by our directory of e-mail users, and the frequent notes we send pointing to jokes, cards, or Web sites. The new hot item of exchange: links to web videos, short films that run directly in a browser.

Janet Frederick sent one that tickled her, as a librarian: It's in Norwegian, with English subtitles, but its humor is universal.

Another video link came from Bill Ice, of a dazzling performance at the Edinburgh Tattoo by the Swiss Army Drum Corps.

And Ted Leach '60 sent one that smiles at "senior moments," the Remember Song by Tom Rush.

The main Web video sites are Google Video, YouTube, and LiveVideo. You'll find thousands of video clips on every topic, including this set on Springfield. If you have a favorite clip or site, please tell us in a comment.

(No one we know; I just liked the picture.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dorothy Grace Vicars

Dorothy Grace Vicars, mother of Judy Vicars Van Hagen, died on April 13, 2006. A funeral was held on April 17, and many of Judy's '58 classmates attended the visitation and service.

They were CE Welch, Ron Wilson, Janet Bailey Kerner, Mary Houghton Elbertson, Roy Borg, Keith Schnepp, John Brownback, Bob Hails, Jack Billington and Carolyn Baldwin Quinlan.

Dorothy Vicars was the daughter of a Methodist minister and grew up in several Illinois towns, including Hillsboro and Champaign-Urbana. She met her husband, Thomas J. Vicars, in Pontiac. They married in 1939 and raised four daughters. He died in 1997.

In Springfield, she worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation and was active in community affairs. An obituary with more details appears at the SJR site. The class sends its condolences to Judy and her family.

Sunset near Pontiac, Illinois: by Dulany Sriner, SHS '64

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ray Page

Ray Page died last Thursday in Tucson, Arizona, from complications after a fall about a month ago. He was 85. Mr. Page and his wife, Kathryn, had lived in Arizona for more than 30 years.

A native of Loami, he spent 17 years teaching history and coaching in Illinois high schools, including SHS in 1955-62. The highlight of his career was winning the state basketball championship in 1959. He also coached baseball, and his 1958 team won the district title.

In 1962 Mr. Page was elected state Superintendent of Public Instruction, a post he held for two terms, 1963-71. He then retired to Arizona. Survivors include his wife, son, daughter, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Services will be held in Springfield.

A full story appears in today's Springfield Journal-Register.

1959 State Champions

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Personal Transporter

Diane and Al Urbanckas spent the winter in Florida, where recently they had a visit from her son, Ross Taylor. Together they went to Mount Dora to get acquainted with the Segway, known also as a personal transporter.

The Segway is two-wheeled and self-balancing. You move by leaning forward, backward, or sideways, and the machine follows. It's designed for journeys of under five miles, say to the store or around the golf course.

Our intrepid travelers put on helmets, got about 10 minutes of practice, and headed outside for a journey: down an alley, over railway tracks, and into a park. They moved along dirt paths and boardwalks, but Diane saw mostly roots and moss. At one point, Al failed to scale a brick wall. At the end they posed for the above shot, and all want to do it again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Steve Kwedar

Some recent notes from Steve Kwedar brought this fine picture of his bountiful family, consisting of Steve and his wife, Becky (center), their four daughters Gwen, Julie, Amy, and Katrina, their four husbands, and ten grandchildren. (Click on picture to enlarge.)

For many years Steve practiced ophthalmology in Springfield, specializing in cataract surgery. He retired in 1994 and moved to Naples, Florida. The picture above was taken in his backyard on Thanksgiving, 2006.

He keeps busy with outdoor sports, says the day is not long enough, and advises us all to take care of our health. He also sent a link to a jukebox site called Take Me Back to the Fifties. They won't come back, but the music still sounds great. Thanks, Steve, and many happy days ahead.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lands of the Buddah

Laurel Loibl McKee has just returned from a journey to Cambodia, Malaysia, and Java. On a tour sponsored by the Center for Khmer Studies, she visited Angor Wat, Phnom Penh, Singapore, and Borobudur. She has a brief account and selection of pictures on her web site.

Laurel earned her B. A. and J. D. from the University of Chicago. She spent her career as an attorney for IBM and later its spin-off company, LexMark. She lives in Manhattan, enjoys its museums and operas, and makes frequent journeys to visit and photograph exotic places.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


A year ago, we had a spirited discussion of "chilli" and now I'll tell you about another Midwest comfort food: burgoo, a spicy meat stew that takes three days to prepare and a week to digest.

Burgoo possibly arose from French or Irish pioneers, known to favor "beef burgundy" or "Mulligan stew" in cold weather.

The recipe:
  • roast all available meat (pork, beef, squirrel, rabbit, road kill)
  • add baskets of vegetables (corn, carrots, taters, peas, okra)
  • mix in savory spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, onion, pepper)
  • stew the mess in giant kettles, stirring slowly and constantly
Toward the end, add a thickening agent (wheat, cornmeal, ground beans) until the mixture holds a spoon upright in a bowl.

I attended burgoo dinners with my Dad, during his campaigns. The folks at those gatherings were mostly from Kentucky and Missouri. Owensboro, Kentucky, puts on a big Burgoo Days Festival in September, but so does Arenzville, Illinois, only 45 miles west of Springfield.

OK, let's hear from you: did you ever eat burgoo? Where and when?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Hail to the Chief

Chief Illiniwek: Last Dance

On Feb 21, the U of Illinois men's basketball team plays its final home game of the season. At half-time, Chief Illiniwek will dance for the last time. He arrived in 1926 and now goes into retirement, thanks to an NCAA ruling that bars the use of mascots or insignia seen as "abusive" of racial or ethnic minorities.

The real issue is money, because if the Chief stays, the U of I will not be eligible to host post-season NCAA championship events. Think of the ESPN revenues slipping away!

Many folks are sad or angry about this change. Since the controversy is over symbols and traditions, it will not soon fade away. A little history may provide some perspective.

The ancient Illini or Illiniwek were a confederacy of six Native tribes along the upper Mississippi River valley. In the early 1700s many moved west, pushed by the arrival of Iroquois and Europeans. Federal Indian Removal in the 1830s moved the rest out. Today the few remaining descendants of Illini live in Oklahoma, as the Peoria Tribe.

Over the years, dancers who portrayed Chief Illiniwek were often white, but also trained in the traditions of Native dance and costume. The regalia is Lakota Sioux, presented in 1983 by Frank Fools Crow, a nephew of Black Elk.

Advocates see the Chief as a celebrant of the Native traditions of Illinois, while critics see him as a misuse of sacred symbols and rituals. The Peoria tribe at first supported the advocates but then recanted and joined the critics. They won their case, and thus the Chief will go.

In his last dance, he will perform the "3 in 1" that for 80 years has been the halftime show at football and basketball games. You may read more, and see a film of the dancing, in this story in a New York Times blog.

Final irony: the book that launched the modern revival of Native American pride is Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1970), written by Dee Brown, who at the time was a professor and librarian at the University of Illinois.

Update: Bill Ice sent me the picture above, taken on Feb 21 at the Chief's last dance.