Gifford Grade School class of 1969 holds reunion

Members of the Gifford Grade School class of 1969 who attended a recent reunion were, from left, front row, Dale Franzen and Ray Ihnen; second row: Sandy (Kopmann) Norris, Phyllis (Fitton) Buhr and Patricia (Rocker) Evans; third row: Eveleen (Schenk) Gill, Brenda (Wolken) Self, Janice Reynolds and Dean Gehrt; fourth row: Robert Heimburger, Earl Smith, Leon Flessner, teacher Steven Pickett and Bruce Busboom.

GIFFORD — The Gifford Grade School class of 1969 recently reunited on the 50th anniversary of its graduation.

They took a tour of the school, hosted by Janice Reynolds, a member of the class and an employee of the school. The group then met at The Stagecoach Steakhouse & Saloon. There were 25 in attendance.

Special guest for the evening was Steve Pickett and his wife, Marlene.

The class’ eighth-grade teacher, Pickett was a 20-year-old recent graduate of the University of Illinois, and Gifford was his first teaching job. He taught two years at the school before taking a teaching job in Effingham.

Introductions were made, and the class will and prophecy were read. Each class member present told what he or she had done in the past 50 years.

The group observed a moment of silence for those who had died — Debbie Cassidy, Mike Cassidy, Ronnie Head, Jim Bruns and Lynn Schluter.

There were 10 members who sent their regrets and were unable to attend — Jeanette Ackerman Harris of Morris, Janice Buhr Lanto of Collinsville, Debbie Watson Shenker of Columbia, Mo., Marlene Mennenga Gielow of Gilbert, Ariz., Gary Hein of Loda, Dennis McFadden of Terrell, Texas, Phil Herbert of Rantoul, Lynn Johnson of Ogden, Lois Christians Calgano of Champaign and Linda Roberts of Rolla, Mo.

The class is considering holding another reunion in 2020.

Gifford Grade and Stagecoach Bar and Restaurant assisted the class with the reunion.