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  • Announcement

The 49er’s Gather for Luncheon - PHS Class of 1949

On June 22, 2022, eight original classmates from the Portland High School class of 1949, gathered together at the Wagon Wheel for their bi-annual luncheon. Pictured left to right: Ruth (Almy) Bennett, Eleanor (Gensterblum) Peake, Jennie (Eddy) Weber, spouse Jim Wickman, Bev (Durie) Wickman, Bill Reed, Frederick Hart, spouse Hope Hart, Gladys Stiffler (spouse of former classmate Dale Stiffler), Mary (Lanz) Tasma, and pictured together Hal Merrill and spouse Lenore Merrill. There were at least four classmates who are still living but did not attend: Leon Platte, Arlene Pranger and Henretta Howe and Brother James Leik, was also unable to attend, because he still works as a professor at the University of Norte Dame.

As the classmates came together, they greeted one another and spouses with smiles, strong handshakes and warm hugs. Everyone had a kind word or story to tell about one another. They shared first impressions of classmates and memorable moments that have sustained the test of time for over 73 years. As a much younger outsider looking in on the gathering, it was easy to see that this was a very special group of people, who have a very special bond with one another.

The classmates very first class reunion was not until 1989, after 40 years had passed. Ten years later, at their 50th class reunion in 1999, they decided that life was too short and they didn’t need to wait another ten years to get together. So, they began meeting twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Since then, they have consistently kept to that schedule, minus the shutdown in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.

Jenny (Eddy) Weber shared some interesting facts about the class. As freshman they entered the doors of Portland High School, still standing on Brush Street, with a total of 83 students. Upon graduation there were only 59 who crossed the stage and received their diplomas. Ms. Weber attributed the drop in enrollment to WWII, with classmates either enlisting in the armed services or staying at home to help maintain their family farms. All of the men in the class have served in the armed forces in one capacity or another and every classmate has been a volunteer at some point in their lives.

After a wonderful meal was enjoyed by all, plans were discussed for the next gathering. And as the classmates dispersed, departing words of “Good to see you…take care…and I’ll see you in the Fall” could be heard being repeated from classmate to classmate.


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