Wednesday, March 4, 2015

1962 High School Grads -- 50 Years Later

In 1962, I was one of 640 graduates from Robbinsdale High School, home of the mighty Robin, in the Minneapolis suburbs. In September of 2012, the 1962 RHS grads held a 50th reunion gathering at a country club in Minneapolis, followed by a gathering at the home of one of the grads the following day. I was unable to attend.

The RHS 1962 grads also created a booklet containing information of each grad. Some had passed away and some could not be located. When invitations were sent to the grads, we were asked if we'd like to submit a brief biography about our lives. Less than 20 percent submitted a bio -- some of which I condensed below (along with current city of residence). I didn't include all bios, just enough to get a feel for the different paths we all chose to follow.

Carol A. -- Victoria, MN -- retired teacher, enjoys traveling, yoga, walking, reading, attending the theatre, art museums, gardening, church activities, volunteering -- go Robins.

Ken A. -- Brainard, MN -- journeyman carpenter -- married high school girlfriend.

Carol A. -- 9 months in Houston TX & summer in Lakeside, MT

Jan A. -- Oakland, CA & keeps an apartment in Golden Valley, MN

Roger A. -- deceased -- U of Minn (electrical engineer), served in Vietnam in U.S. Air Force as a gunship pilot, while on duty in the Air Reserve he was killed when struck by a car as he was walking back to the base.

Marcia B. -- Lake Forest, WA -- taught German & English for 34 years, opened a piano studio in her home.

Maxine B. -- Grantsburg, WI -- has 3 boys, 1 grandchild, 4 step-children, 18 step-grandchildren, 6 step-great-grandchildren.

George B. -- Richfield, MN -- "don't play golf, haven't written a book, haven't traveled the world" (but has traveled the lower 48 & Alaska), hates to fly, spends a lot of time hunting & fishing, collecting Aladdin lamps & old fishing lures, maintaining his 4 homes.

Becky B. -- Anchorage, AK -- married Peter A from the RHS class of 1962.

Richard B -- Milaca, MN -- has 5 children, 13 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren

Laurel B. -- Los Angeles, CA -- worked in Glacier National Park in Montana, lived in New York City, worked as a labor lawyer for 27 years, loves travel & birding & raising orchids.

Bob B. -- Marquette, MI & winter in Naples, FL -- served in U.S. Coast Guard, 30-year career in the business world.

Pam B. -- Litchfield, MN -- worked in data processing dept. at Honeywell, later worked at Control Data, moved to New York City, later moved back to Minneapolis, has a cat and a Norwegian Elkhound, involved in Masonic activities & Shriners & Job's Daughters.

Bob B. -- Maplewood, MN -- principle in secondary schools for 15 years, specialist in the Minnesota Dept of Education for 20 years, his hobby is digging for dinosaurs, found a dinosaur in Montana in 2002, enjoys exercising & gardening

Bret B. -- Salem, AR -- B.S. & M.S. from U of Minn., was a computer programmer & general manager for software companies in Minneapolis & Los Angeles, gold prospector, independent computer contractor, mountaintop hippie, novelist, wandering adventurer, college instructor, newspaper columnist, author of 11 books, hermit in the Land of Ark.

Donna B. -- Minneapolis, MN & Palm Springs, CA -- managed accounting dept. at Guthrie Theatre, worked for the City of Minneapolis, appointed/elected to the Minneapolis Arts Commission during the last 30 years, was a delegate to many International Association of Theatre Amateurs festivals (including in Morocco, Monaco, Turkey, Ireland, England, Japan), was chosen to greet Princess Caroline on behalf of the United States, generally sees 2 or 3 plays per week

Eylene D. -- Minneapolis, MN -- teacher at a school in Monterey, California, retired back to Minnesota

Pat D. -- Champlin, MN -- married Rod E. of RHS class of 1962, taught 2nd grade in Robbinsdale for 30 years, was a trail guide, team driver for hay rides, riding instructor, she and Rod took many riding vacations in the Southwest.

Ron D. -- New Hope, MN -- worked in the insurance industry, he and wife were foster parents to 110 children, volunteers at a homeless shelter.

Sharon E. -- Pequoit Lakes, MN & winters in Englewood, FL -- enjoys golfing & quilting & traveling.

Rod E. -- Champlin, MN -- married Pat D. from RHS class of 1962, played drums in various bands, worked in a recording studio, wrote about movies for a magazine, taught filmmaking, owned an audiovisual company, runs model trains in the backyard.

Wally E. -- Crosby, MN -- deputy sheriff for 5 years, freelance outdoor photographer, built house on 80 acres, collects antiques, gardening, fishing, lapidary, woodworking, geology, natural history exploration.

Kathy E. -- Oak Grove, MN -- she & husband own a tree farm, Christmas trees & flowers & shrubs, plays tennis & golf.

Dave E. -- St. Michael, MN & winter in Florida -- U.S. Marine Corps, landscape business with Ron R. from the RHS class of 1962, enjoys traveling & golfing & playing hockey & flying floatplane.

Ginger F. -- summers in Chanhassen, MN & winters in Phoenix, AZ -- taught school, interior designer, planning & escorting groups to Europe & Asia & America.

Judith F, -- Edina, MN & Scottsdale, AZ -- enjoys traveling.

Thomas F. -- New York, NY -- Columbia University grad in 1966, College of optometry.

Anita F. -- Rhinelander, WI -- B.A. from U of Minn., served as Vista Volunteer in New Hampshire, nursery school teacher in Vermont, lived in Norway for a year, worked as a Research Biological Lab Technician for the U.S. Forest Service in Carbondale IL, hiking & skiing in many National Parks, kayaking on local lakes, biking on Minnesota & Wisconsin trails.

Corine F. -- Olympia, WA & Estes Park, CO -- Bachelor & Master's degree from University of Washington, worked for various non-profit organizations to provide shelter & housing for homeless people, has 3 Portuguese Water Dogs, activities include running & hiking & mountain climbing.

Sharon F. -- Robbinsdale, MN -- became a grandmother at age 38 -- worked as a waitress & bartender, lived in Frisco Bay area for 5 years, married & divorced 3 times, "Now, I don't have to get married anymore (three times and out)", retired from the City of Minneapolis (human resources) after 26 years.

Rodger G. -- Tracys Landing, MD -- degree in Mathematics from the U of Minn., worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency for 40 years.

Paul G. -- Apple Valley, MN & Vero Beach, FL. -- worked as Clinical Director for teen sex offenders.

Sharon G. -- Plymouth, MN -- had an advertising business, spends time volunteering & traveling, assisted staff at a children's home in Bogota, Columbia.

Cheryl G. -- Arlington, TX & summer in Great Smoky Mountains, TN -- teaches physical education.

Dianne H. -- Buffalo, MN -- was a hospital RN for 26 years, enjoys woodworking & scroll saw & fretwork, volunteers at the Community Center Wood Shop where she makes little cars & trucks & tractors & etc. as kits to give away to children all over the world.

Raymond H. -- Harlingen, TX & summers in MN -- a journeyman carpenter, was in the U.S. Navy, retired to become full-time RV traveler. 

Thomas H. -- Brooklyn Park, MN -- wrote his life in 99 words: "World War Two ends year born. Kindergarten, wet pants. Third grade, appendix out. Sixth grade, trouble reading. Ninth grade, band. High school, band and drama. College, more band, radio commercials. Army, more band, announcing. Discharged, married, taught school. Bought farm, raised goats. Wife smoked, no kids, got divorced. Lived alone, lonely. Met woman, got married. Did radio. Left farm, had kids, started business, failed. Found Job. Big city. Built fence. Son, marries doctor. Twin one, job medical. Twin two, job media. Fourth kid sings, writes music. Visited India. Kids gone, rent out their rooms. Busy doing voiceover, love life."

Jim H. -- Plymouth, MN -- teacher & principal, 5 years in Arizona, degrees from Arizona State & U of Minn.

Leslie I. -- New Castle, NH -- "Still tall & still blond", lived in Boston with her U.S. Navy "starter husband", graduate school to get MBA from Simmons College in Boston, marriage failed, remarried to a "serial entrepreneur", ran a calligraphy company, skiing & traveling, is a local election official, lives on a harbor island next to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

George I. -- Barrington, IL -- after graduation in 1962 drove to Montana in a 1951 Ford Starliner with 3 passengers and rolled it 4 or 5 times, all survived, took train back to Minnesota in 1963 and drove back to Montana in a souped-up 1957 Chevy, married in 1964, moved back to Minnesota, moved to Illinois in 1968 and worked for a Trade Show Contractor, divorced in 1984, married in 2004, "life is good".

Pete J. -- Medicine Lake, MN -- Fire Marshal & Firefighter for Robbinsdale Fire Dept. for 24 years, Safety & Security Director for North Memorial Medical Center for 23 years.

Sandra J. -- Big Lake, MN -- has 2 sons, 2 grandchildren, 4 step-grandchildren, 8 grandchildren, recently a sister that had been given up for adoption at birth (unknown to her) found her and her brothers.

Audrey K. -- Phoenix, AZ -- worked summers at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, moved to Arizona in 1978, 2 children loves dogs, has a German Shepherd she is training to be a medical assist dog, is a certified graphologist (handwriting analyst), a member of Sisters-on-the-Fly (2,500 ladies across the U.S.) where they go fly fishing & kayaking & riding & camping in vintage trailers.

Pauline K. -- Surprise, AZ -- married & had 4 children "way too early", started & operated an interior design company, moved to Billings Montana in 1977 to operate Econo Print Printing Company, operated several businesses, divorced, sold printing company, went into residential real estate, moved to Arizona in 1985, did real estate sales, cemetery sales, started a vending locator business, "a typical Gemini that likes to do it all, I guess", remarried, dances & performs in shows, "life is GOOD."

Dennis K. -- Dayton, TN -- In 1966, worked for a medical supply company in Minneapolis for 23 years, became district manager, In 1990, began a business in landscape design & nursery stock sales for 16 years, moved to Tennessee, bought a custom frame & arts & crafts store, hobbies include woodworking & scroll saw & gardening.

Jaque K. -- Miltona, MN & winters in Florida -- became Registered Nurse, M.A. degree from Redlands University in California, involved in the building of the Eisenhower Hospital & Medical Center near Palm Springs, California, participated in the establishment of the first 100 beds, took part in the opening of the King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, she & husband ride BMW motorcycles, plays the banjo, teaches Ukulele, has a Hospice Dog named Snuffy.

Orlyn K -- Bloomington, MN -- worked in the IT department at Honeywell, Inc. where he made many trips to Norway. His sister (Hollywood actress Kathryn Leigh Scott) was married in Vikebukt, Norway where their father was born, moved to Norway in 1972 as Data Center manager for a large Norwegian building products company in Oslo. 6 years later moved back to Minnesota to work as Corporate Information Security Manager at Honeywell for 8 years. In 1988, joined the Sons of Norway to direct fraternal operations for 12 years, in 2000, he & wife started a wholesale/retail company called Nordic Home Interiors (importing furniture & products from Norway), in 2000, started a rug weaving compound in Kathmandu, Nepal (adding hand-knotted wool rugs to product line) initially an outreach project to eliminate child labor in the rug making industry, periodically leads tours in the Himalaya Mountains, in 2007, began working with the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights in Olso, Norway, in 2008, established the Olso Center Foundation in Minneapolis, "life has been extremely interesting".

Lynn L. -- Plymouth, MN -- married Robert W. from the RHS class of 1962, B.S. & M.S. degrees from the University of Minn., taught economics & political science for 24 years, "life is very, very good".

Kathy L. -- Delano, MN -- married 29 years, divorced, worked in management at local corporation for 24 years, received Masters degree in Divinity at the University of Minnesota, became Trauma One Chaplin at North Memorial Medical Center, studied 12 years in the woods with an American Indian Elder "learning the beauty and wisdom of their culture", she reads a lot and likes to sit around the fire playing her drum, "I make a great red sauce and a mean pecan pie".

Chirs L. -- Farmington, MN -- After high school, went to Miami and became a lifeguard until he crashed his motorcycle, returned to Minnesota after 4 months in the hospital, was a wholesaler for Levis, managed restaurants, sales rep for Pitney Bowes, district manager for McGarvey Coffee, mitigation specialist for mortgage companies, investigator for the Minnesota Dept. of Commerce, has 6 children & 12 grandchildren, "Life is good and we are blessed with love, health, happiness and each other".

Barbara M. -- Big Lake, MN & Lake Ozark, MO -- married in 1970, husband passed away in 1986, remarried in 1989, divorced in 1991, remarried in 1994, enjoys traveling, has been to Israel (5 times) & Rome (twice) & Alaska & Hawaii & Europe & Central America.

Mary Ann M -- Delano, MN & Ft. Myers, FL -- Married Tom M in the RHS class of 1962.

Patricia M -- Birmingham, MI -- B.S. in mathematics from University of Detroit, computer programmer for AT&T, worked as a golf course rater for the Golf Association of Michigan, rated over 230 golf courses during 18 years, retired as Golf Course Rating Captain.

Janice M. -- Minneapolis, MN -- married a guy from RHS class of 1963, taught elementary school for 7 years, adopted a girl from Korea, got divorced, became a psychologist, remarried, went to an interfaith seminary, was ordained in 1990, was the founding minister of Spirit United Interfaith Church, served as full-time minister for 7 years, wrote a memoir, enjoys travel & reading & writing.

Nancy N. -- Aurora, IL -- elementary teacher, still working 8 hours per week as a GED teacher at a community college, has worked in Wisconsin, Iowa, California and Illinois, has visited or lived in all 50 states except Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Chuck N -- Hayward, WI -- became a veterinarian, University of Minnesota for 6 years, 1 year internship in NYC, 2 years at Ohio State for a Masters degree and 2 years of surgery residency, University of Pennsylvania-Philadelphia to complete residency and remained there for 40 years, relocated to Hayward, Wisconsin but commuted back and forth to Philadelphia every 2 weeks for 10 years. "Lots of flight miles, but got to see eagles in my trees in Wisconsin rather than pigeons in my trees in Philly."

Jerry O. -- Minneapolis, MN -- enlisted in the U.S. Navy serving on shore duty for 4 years, was based in Virginia, England, Scotland and Vietnam, career in the Hospitality Industry, retired after 30 years, presently a first grade teacher's aide.

Russ O. -- Plymouth, MN -- married RHS class of 1962 Renee T, worked in sales in the plastics industry, enjoys playing competitive church softball, running, hiking, writing, messing with old cars.

Carol O. -- Elk River, MN -- retired after 23 years in the insurance industry, keeps busy making soap, teaching community ed classes, volunteering at a local nursing home,  traveling,  reading, "I'm told I will be a great grandmother in July -- I don't want to own that yet".

Jim P. -- Paynesville, MN -- retired from the Robbinsdale School District, continues to work part-time at a fitness center.

Laury P. -- Lincoln, NE -- worked for 6 years in the Minneapolis & St. Paul YMCA, moved to Nebraska in 1971, became a
Lincoln Police Officer & Emergency Services Dispatcher & restaurant manage & a Juvenile Detention Officer, gave up his search for the perfect career to retire in 2008, plays golf, has run in 17 marathons & many shorter races.

Don P. -- Minnetonka, MN & Los Angeles, CA -- did promotion work for the Beatles 1965 tour, moved to Detroit for Northwest Airlines, signed with Motown as a manager, managed Stevie Wonder, also worked with Gladys Knight and the Pips & The Four Tops & The Jackson Five, moved to Los Angeles for Motown, moved to London, managed David Bowie & Gary Glitter & Marianne Faithful & Iggy Pop, moved to Minneapolis and bought a Ford dealership with his brother, went back into the music business with the Jets, wrote a play about Cole Porter, moved to Los Angeles, created a TV marketing program for Spanish-language Supermercados, currently working on a new musical for Stevie Wonder, "not as insufferable as I was in high school, but still a smartass."

James P. -- Watkinsville, GA -- has a PhD in Chemistry, assistant professor at Yale University, accepted an offer from the University of Georgia to do research with his NMR spectroscopy expertise to the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, has mentored over 80 students and post-docs, has a beach house on Jekyll Island off of Georgia.

Marilyn R. -- Plymouth, MN -- had a long career as a marketing research consultant/trainer & consumer research manager, retired to devote her time to fiction writing, her first novel (with a co-author) is titled HEADACHES CAN BE MURDER.

Barbara R. -- Tucson, AZ -- received an MBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Minnesota, worked for Control Data designing software applications, became a Master Gardener through the University of Arizona extension and gives classes on many gardening subjects throughout the year.

Dennis R. -- Alamo, CA -- worked in sales & marketing at 3M Co., retired in 2009 after 41 years with one company, has lived in Nashville & Atlanta & Boston & St. Paul & San Francisco, enjoys travel, golf, skiing, sailing, scuba diving.

Joyce R. -- retired after 33 years of teaching home economics, breeds & shows Lhasa Apso dogs, has had 8 AKC champions and 2 Best in Show, her husband proposed to her atop the Arc di Triumph in Paris at night, has traveled to France & Italy & England & Netherlands & Belgium & Austria, her husband had his pocket picked in Rome, "We figure one more trip to Spain and then we may act our age".

Caroline R. -- Charlottesville, VA -- semi-retired from the Interior Designer business, still has horses but doesn't show professionally anymore, became a certified Pilates instructor and has her own fully equipped Pilates studio.

Kathleen S. -- Maple Grove, MN-- married a guy from the RHS class of 1963, moved to Massachusetts in 1976, widowed in 1984, returned to Minnesota in 1996, retired on January 1, 2011, has a Bearded Collie puppy she is training to be a therapy dog, enjoys walking, gardening, dancing and most anything active.

Bill S. -- Loretto, MN & Marco Island, FL -- 2012 will be his last year in Minnesota.

Susan S. -- Christiansted, Virgin Islands -- attended University of Minnesota for 2 years and graduated from the Minnesota School of Business, worked in the Special Events Department at Dayton's, moved to New York City in 1967 and was Fashion Editor of Teen Magazine, a fashion stylist for Grey Advertising, Eastern Merchandising editor for Glamour Magazine, moved to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, in marketing for 5 years before opening her own retail store called Island Sport at the Club Comanche Hotel, had a staff of 10 people and made buying trips to NY 4-5 times per year, after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, became Events Director for St. Croix Landmarks Society for 13 years, in 2005 worked for Media Marketing as a sales rep and helping to develop visitor publications Discover & Places to Eat & the USVI Marine Guide, is also the bi-monthly Managing Editor of St. Croix This Week.

Janet S. -- Henderson, NV -- retired from teaching French & Spanish & Japanese for 21 years in Nevada and 7 years in Germany, bowled a 688 scratch series in league play, has traveled to 6 of the 7 continents.

Linda S. -- Del Mar, CA -- married in 1966, lived in Urbana, IL, U.S. Air Force relocated them to Norton AFB in San Bernardino, California, relocated to Thailand, widowed in 2010

Rick S. -- Long Lake, MN & Tucson, AZ -- B.A. in psychology, M.A. in Industrial Psychology, worked for multiple companies.

John S. -- Washington, DC -- managing editor of AARP The Magazine, in grad program at Georgetown University in Public Relations & Corporate Communications, plans to "embark on my encore career as communications consultant to organizations and institutions whose causes I care about, especially sexual-assault prevention".

Nila T. -- Monticello, MN -- married, built a log home in the 70s and still enjoy living in it in the middle of the woods, worked at several sales positions, likes singing & playing vibe, "In my opinion, helping others in any way we can, is a way to stay healthy and active as we age".

Renee T. -- Plymouth, MN -- married Russ O. from the RHS class of 1962, keeps active in her Red Hat group & card club & subbing for adult English Language Learners & rose garden & Bible Study Fellowship.

Russell W. -- Windham, ME -- retired from being a teacher, designs & builds furniture, has written several murder-mystery novels which have been published, his son went to the Naval Academy & served in the Persian Gulf in the Iraq War

Dan W -- Golden Valley, MN -- earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Minnesota & became editor of Minnesota Daily, lived & worked a year in Mexico, was a reporter & columnist for the Minneapolis Tribune and Star Tribune, after retiring in 2007 he played the piano accompanying singer Baili Vegners, performed at restaurants & corporate events & private events, produced a CD and appeared on local TV, taught writing courses at the University of Minnesota, gives piano lessons, travels often.

Steve W. -- Tucson, AZ -- earned a B.A. in Math from Augsburg College, spent 3 years at Honeywell as a computer programmer, managed programmers for 25 years at GE, retired at age 60, lives in a retirement community called SaddleBrooke.

Bob W. -- Plymouth, MN -- married Lynne L. from RHS class of 1962, B.A. & M.S. in Public Administration from the University of Minnesota, worked for 32 years for various public agencies, works two days per week at Baker National Golf Course & plays golf whenever he's not working.

Gayle W. -- Buffalo, MN -- retired, previously employed as a secretary & department coordinator & later as an over-the-road truck driver (driving with her husband), was in the U.S. Navy for 18 months, has lived in California & Guam & Minnesota.

Caleb W. -- Palm Springs, CA -- was active in the Labor Movement for over 40 years in Minnesota, in Palm Springs he remains active as President of his resident's association.

Jackie W. -- New Hope, MN -- has been married for 19 years, earned an Associate Arts degree in marketing & B.A. in Human Services, hobbies include gardening & sewing & exercising (swimming, bicycling, weight lifting), has 2 dogs named Angel & Sam.

George Z. -- Minnetrista, MN -- has lived on his 80-acre hobby farm for 26 years, served 3 four-year terms as councilman on the city council, "We have 3 dogs, 5 cats, 12 head of Scotch Highland Cattle, one Harley Davidson motorcycle and a few John Deere Tractors".

Erma Z. -- moved to Los Angeles in 1963, has been married to a now-retired LAPD detective for 42 years, worked in TV & Theatre & movies, then moved into Human Resources Management & seminars & publications, interests include reading & sewing & crafting & cooking & shopping & traveling & scrapbooking, is writing a cookbook and memoir.

* * *

The Robbinsdale Class of 1962 was an amazing collection of people with differing life choices. Some of those who did not submit a biography include a couple of clergymen, a couple of doctors, at least one lawyer, an assortment of wanderers beyond the Bell Curve, and others living lives of quiet desperation one day at a time.

It was an honor to go through high school among them -- a wonderful slice of humanity.

Quote for the Day -- “High School is like a spork -- it's a crappy spoon and a crappy fork, so in the end it's just plain useless.” John Mayer

Bret Burquest is the author of 10 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and has many fond memories of his former high school classmates.

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