From the beginning, our goal was to honor and to remember our departed classmates. Towards that end, we hoped to provide information to help others know what sort of persons our classmates had become after high school…what had they done with their lives as concerns marriage, children, grandchildren or employment, or anything else of interest…when they died and where are they buried.
Since none of us will probably be remembered in a book or biography, this modest effort becomes a way to leave something behind for posterity.
It is far from a perfect effort. At the same time, all of the memorials have been good and some have been exceptional. Can you read what Carol wrote about Jim Foster and not feel her love for that gentle giant? After reading Bonnie Lindgren’s account of Bob’s life, you know that Bob was a successful businessman and a great husband and father. Others are equally compelling.
If you know someone who can provide any additional information, please ask them to contact Joe, Jack or me.--GRB.
Born July 25, 1937, in DeKalb, the son of Kenneth H. and Rachel Jane (Dahlen) Raymond, Ken married Marcia Lou Foster on March 24, 1962.
Ken was a veteran of the US Army. He was a 1956 graduate of Sycamore High School and a member of Sycamore United Methodist Church. Ken drove a truck for Barnes & Roberts Oil Company in Sycamore, and later for Floit Sand & Gravel in Sycamore. Following that, he worked for the Sycamore School District Transportation Department, as a bus driver, bus-driver instructor and mechanic. Ken also was a former Sycamore auxiliary policeman.
He is survived by his wife, Marcia; daughter, Marcy (Roger) Stone of Batavia; granddaughters, Kelsey and Shelby Stone; several nieces and nephews; sisters-in-law, Carole (Paul) Dolder and Sandy (Gary) Miller; and many dear friends.
She was a beautiful lady who filled the room with her smile, called everyone, "Darlin" and was an avid Crimson Tide fan. Even while suffering from Alzheimer's dementia over the last few years, she would often respond cheerfully with a "Roll Tide!" when prompted. She also lit up when presented with her favorite dessert: two apple pies from McDonald's.
Laurie left behind a long list of survivors, including two brothers, Chuck Maveus (Jeanne) and Mike Maveus (Vicki); one sister, Karla Dorneden; children Wendy Troxel (Jerry) and Jim Gates (Kim); stepchildren, Pam Sakmar (John), Lisa McLeod (Tom), Kris Drensky (Mark), Gregg Currier, Scott Currier (Toni) and Peter Currier (Jaime); and grandchildren, Matt, Nick, Corey, Betsy, Tommy, Billy, Ashton, Scott, Kacey, Jacob, Sidney, Bailey, Davis and Wesley.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Captain Eugene "Gene" Currier, who was a West Point Graduate and veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars; and parents Orrin and LouRene Maveus of Sycamore.
Laurie loved God, her family, and her friends fully. She will be laid to rest next to her parents at Elmwood Cemetery in Sycamore.
She graduated from Sycamore High School and worked for Northern Illinois University as a secretary for 12 years. Nancy married David A. Wirsing on March 5, 1960, at Burlington Methodist Church. She was a member of Sycamore United Methodist Church and Illinois Pork Producer's Women's Association. Nancy enjoyed going to the YMCA for their "Mermaids" water exercise class for many years.
She is survived by four Children, Mark David (Elizabeth) Wirsing of Bloomington, Ind., Angela Kay (Thomas) Mecklenburg of Sutter, Susan Marie (Scot) Rankin of Sycamore and Steven Eugene (Virgina Velazquez) Wirsing of Sycamore; 12 grandchildren, Scott, Jeff, Rachel, Audrey Wirsing, Clint, Jasmine, Karly, Melina Mecklenburg, Emma, Andre Pankin, Milo and Clara Wirsing; step-grandchildren, Wesley and Justin Parker; one great-grandchild, Jayde Philips; one sister, Lori (Ray) Byro of Sycamore; two brothers, Bruce (Donna) Hardesty of Sycamore and George "Bill" (Gerlinde) Hardesty of Las Vegas; two sister-in-laws. Carol (Raymond) Larson of Sycamore and Kay (Barry) Schrader of DeKalb; and many nieces and nephews. Nancy was predeceased by her parents; husband in 2003; two brothers, Richard and Gary Hardesty.
A memorial service was held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at Sycamore United Methodist Church, with the Rev. GaHyung and Rev. Harlene harden, co-officiating. A memorial visitation was held from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the church. Internment was at Elmwood Cemetery.
Memorials can be made to the David & Nancy Wirsing Community Fund through the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, IL 60178 or to KishHealth Cancer Center.
She moved to the White Mountains in 1971 where she worked for the school system and the Lakeside Market. She was the first female detective for the Navajo County Seheriff's Office where she retired in 2002.
She married Jerry in December of 1986.
Nancy is survived by her loving husband, Gerald "Jerry" Little; sons, Allen (Jeannette) Minnihan, Bret (Loa) Minnihan, Curt Minnihan and Dale Minnihan; grandchildre, Michael Minnihan, Gregg (Sachi) Minnihan, Kevin (Diana) Minnihan, Kristen Minnihan and Ryan (Natasha) Keatley; great-grandchildren, Andrew, Chelsea, Alex, Emily, Ryland, Kayla and Emma as well as two sisters, JoAnn Beirmann and Patsy (Dale) Remala.
A memorial service was held at 10 a.nm. Wed., May 22, 2013 at the Porter Mountain Fellowship in Lakeside, Az.
Roberta Carol Young, 73 of Sycamore died Friday, January 20, 2012 at Kishwaukee Community Hospital.
She was born Nov. 5, 1938 in Sycamore. The daughter of Walter and Marian (Jakes) Anderson. She married Warren C. Young on Aug. 24, 1957 in Sycamore.
Roberta was a graduate of the Sycamore High School and worked as a lab technician with Degraffenried Medical Consultatants out of the Sycamore, DeKalb and St. Mary hospitals. She also worked as a cashier for Brown's County Market for 10 years.
Roberta was a member of the Church of St. Mary in Sycamore. She and her husband were former leaders of the multiple sclerosis society support group for many years.
She is survived by her husband, Warren of Sycamore; four sons, Anthony (Patricia) Young of Sycamore, Mark (Diana) Young of Rockford, Christopher (Heather) Young of Cherry Valley and Jeff Young of Oxford, IA; nine grandchildren, Nicholas (Laura), Kaitlyn, Timothy, Caleb (Michele), Sarah (Charles "CJ") Peterson, Joshua, Morgan, Ian and Colin; one great grandchild, Jaiden Peterson; her mother, Marian Anderson of DeKalb; two brothers, David (Pat) Anderson of Phoenix, AZ and Steven (Ellen) Anderson of Sycamore; two sisters, Judith (Stan) Mund of Reno, NV and Adele (Edward) Gabriel of Sycamore; several nieces and nephews and special thanks to her loving caregiver, Jana Merema.
She was preceded in death by her father, Walter and one brother.
A Memorial Mass will be held on Tuesday, January 31st at 1100 AM at the Church of St. Mary in Sycamore, with Fr. Frank J. Timar, M.S.C. officiating. A time to visit with the family will be from 10:00 AM -11:00 AM on Tuesday at the Church. A luncheon will be served at the St. Mary Parish Center following the Mass.
GAYLA J. (McMILLAN) WARFORD
Gayla J. Warford, 71, of Sycamore, Ill., died Saturday, May 8, 2010, at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.
Born June 22, 1938, in Sycamore, the daughter of Wesley and Pearle (McCutchan) McMillan, she married John T. Warford on Nov. 15, 1969, in Malta.
Gayla was a compassionate, Christian woman. She was a cook and server for the Sycamore School District. She taught the Rainbow Sunday school class. She became involved with Public Assistance to Deliver Shelter, and became its administrator at 311 N. Fourth St., DeKalb, and located its new home at 316 S. Sixth St.; P.A.D.S. has evolved into Hope Haven.
Gayla was a founding member of the local chapter of Woman's Now. She was an active member of Woman's Aglow and hosted a thriving Bible study, led by Verla Holder. She completed The Disciple Bible Study Class at Sycamore United Methodist Church.
Gayla went down to Mount Vernon to care for her mom and her terminally ill stepfather, staying with them until his death, singing songs he wanted to hear, and cooking meals he had never tasted.
She delighted in baking bread for her family. Her mission in life was to help others, so she and her husband established Sonshine Road, People Helping People. Donations were given out to individuals, shelters, missions and nonprofit organizations.
Gayla will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
She is survived by her husband, John T. Warford of Sycamore; son, Jonathan T. Warford of Sycamore; two sisters, Vinita (James) Murphy and Juanita Stirling; and many nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her parents; stepfather, Floyd Worden; and sister, Wava Dunbar.
Frederick C. Sibley
August 22, 1938--November 2, 2009
Fred Sibley or Sib, as many of his classmates knew him, was the 14th member of the Class of 1956 to pass away. His Memorial, which is in four parts, follows:
Part 2--"How I Remember My Brother" written by Chuck Sibley.
Part 3--Tribute to Fred by members of the Sycamore Park District Board of Directors and its Executive Director which was published in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle.
Part 4--"Memories of an Old Friend" written by Gene Behler.
Frederick C. Sibley, known to his many friends as Fred or Sib, was born on August 22, 1938 with his twin bother Charles in Sycamore, the son of Francis and Esther (Morison) Sibley.
He graduated from Sycamore High School in 1956. He then served in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany and Texas.
On September 30, 1961 he was married to Patricia Henigan at the Methodist Church in Sycamore.
Fred participated in many sports and was a member of the first undefeated football team at Sycamore High School coached by Pete Johnson. While in high school, he represented Sycamore at Boy's State.
He was an active member of the Sycamore Veterans Home. Fred was also a member of the Univets Post #1 and the American Legion Post #99 in Sycamore. He was past president of the Memorial Home Board. Fred was the Club Manager of the club for more than 25 years, doing many things at the club for the citizens of the community. He was president of the Baseball Little League for many years.
His proudest accomplishment was when he and his many friends formed the Baseball Complex Committee, of which Fred was chairman for many years, and through his hard efforts along with many friends and volunteers the complex was built and is now known as the athletic complex.
Fred died on Monday, November 2, 2009 at home after a battle with cancer. He was 71.
Fred is survived by his twin brother, Charles "Chuck" (Ann) Sibley; brother, Gerald (Jane) Sibley of Florida; sons, Scott (Michelle) Sibley in Naperville, Tom (Julie) Sibley of California; sister, Rose Marie Tarmichael of West Chicago; son-in-law, Chad Wiersma of Milton, WI; sister-in-law, Sue Henigan of Batavia; sister-in-law, Judy (Jim) Cochrane of Malta; grandsons, Maxwell, Michael, and Benjamin Sibley of Naperville, Hunter Wiersma of Milton, WI; grand daughters, Logan Sibley of Arizona, Nicole Sibley of California and Jill Sibley; several nieces and nephews.
Fred was preceded in death by his parents; wife Pat; and daughter, Suzanne.
Part 2--"How I Remember My Brother"
I remember many good times that my twin brother Fred and I had together throughout our 71 years. It goes back to the years when we were in grade school and our mother made us wear those ugly galoshes to school. Fred and I would hide them, go to school, and then put them back on when we got close to home. We were always afraid that Mom would catch us but she never did.
Fred was not only my identical twin brother, he was also my best friend and team mate in our sports careers at Sycohi where we both made many good friends. We talked often about our great Class of 1956 and of the many wonderful times we shared with our classmates.
I remember Fred as a very caring guy, proven by his success (with the help of his many friends) in building the Sycamore Sports Complex and as the Sycamore Veteran's Home club manager where he often donated the use of the club to many high school and civic organizations at no charge.
Both of us were rather "hard nosed" and the brotherly love between us was never verbally expressed. Sitting by his bedside a few days before his death, I broke down and cried. I took his hand and said "Fred, I don't want anything to happen to you. I love you very much." His voice was weak as he nodded his head and said "I know."
He will surely be missed by all of us.
Part 3: Tribute by the Sycamore Park District.
We were saddened to hear of Fred Sibley's passing and wanted to convey our deepest sympathies during this difficult time.
Fred left an indelible mark on the Sycamore Park District with his vision, dream and passion. Much like Ray Kinsella in the movie "Field of Dreams", Fred knew if he created his vision for the Sycamore Park District Annex people would come.
Without Fred's enthusiasm, determination, and ability to rally friends, the Sycamore Park Annex could not have become what it is today: a place for Sycamore's youth to play, learn and dream.
Fred saw potential for Sycamore's youth... and went to work to create what he envisioned.
A special part of Sycamore may have left us, but Fred's indomitable spirit will live forever on those annex fields.
Our sincerest condolences.
signed: Sycamore Park District Executive Director and Board of Commissioners.
Part 4--"Memories of an Old Friend"
One of the last people I saw before I left for Vietnam in August 1969 was Fred Sibley.
Fred, his twin brother Charles, and I went to kindergarten together and stayed together through high school. Fred married his high school sweetheart and stayed in our hometown (Sycamore, Illinois) while I went into the Army.
Fred, his wife Pat, Jackie, and I went out for supper a few days before I left for Vietnam. Over drinks and cigarettes, we reminisced about good times and old friends. It was a pleasant and nostalgic evening.
During our conversation, I told Fred that one of the things I was going to do while in Vietnam was to give up smoking.
He wanted to know why.
I said I wanted to quit and just thought it would be a good time to do it.
Fred pointed out that it was difficult to stop smoking...in fact, it was a real struggle...not easy to do...many try...most fail...most are miserable while trying to quit.
He was very convincing. However, what was most convincing was when he said "You know, Geno, I can see you going through all of that misery and finally being successful...then getting your damn head shot off. It ain't worth it."
We laughed over his words. Still, Fred had planted a small seed in my mind although I didn?t recognize it at the time.
Fred's last words to me as we said our goodbyes were Keep your head down, Geno.
I did not even try to stop smoking in Vietnam. I suppose Fred's sage advice had something to do with it. Nevertheless, it was nearly impossible to quit smoking given the daily stress of life and duty serving with an infantry division in Vietnam. I did finally quit in 1985--some 16 years later.
Evelyn M. Hall
John Bell Clark
November 19, 1937 -- May 1, 2006
John Bell Clark was born on November 19, 1937 to the late Dr. Carl Clark and Maurine Bell Clark in Sycamore, IL. He had one sister, Audrey, now deceased, who graduated from Sycamore High School in 1951 .
One of Sycamore’s best and brightest; John was an outstanding scholar who was elected to the National Honor Society in his junior year. He was active in many school clubs and organizations. At the same time he was a fine athlete who lettered in football all four years of high school. He was the punter for Sycamore’s great undefeated team in his senior year.
John had a lifelong interest and passion for science. In high school, he researched and worked on something called polymer resins. John was a pioneer in polymer resin research--quite an accomplishment for a high school senior. Later, as explained in a subsequent paragraph, he developed and patented a polymer resin product.
As a result of his efforts, while in high school he was elected to the Illinois Junior Science Academy and honored by the Westinghouse National Science Talent search.
After high school, John attended the University of Illinois where he earned math and chemistry degrees. He then accepted a graduate position in biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Following that he did post doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology near Boston.
John married Merrill Hahn on August 22, 1959 at the First Congregational Church in St. Charles. John and Merrill first met at high school band concerts. They met again at the University of Illinois where both were members of the campus church choir.
John’s wife, Merrill writes:
Music was big in John’s life. His French Horn playing was excellent. He also played in the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra and the Illini Marching Band (not his favorite activity, no matter how up-lifting to the Illini in the stands).
Once, while I was in high school, I sneaked a trip with a girl friend from St. Charles to Sycamore to look John up after having "met" him at a St. Charles District Music Contest in which we both played French Horn solos. I left a note in his mailbox, and surprise, he actually responded to it. We, however, never met up with each other again until I saw him on campus at U of I and then, at the First Presbyterian campus church choir. I had to remind him that I was "that girl who left the note". etc! Well, he was intrigued, we went out ... etc, etc. Got married after we graduated.
He continued playing the French horn almost up until he died, actually. He had had a heart attack and subsequent stroke on the train to California many years ago, and the muscles around his mouth/lips never regained their French horn status, unfortunately, so we had to back out of the bands he played in here. Not too many years ago, however, we sang our one solo duet at First Presbyterian in Niles, Michigan, where we sang in the choir for years.
After obtaining his doctorate, John took an assistant professor position at the University of Notre Dame. Later, he did research work at Miles Laboratories.
More interested in creating a creative niche of his own, John and Merrill founded and patented Vesperglas, a natural plant craft product consisting of resins and fiberglass-embedded flowers, grasses, leaves and butterflies. They sold this product at craft trade shows, at Mole Hole shops around the country, and at local gift shops.
In the 1970s, the Clark’s Vesperglas Originals booth was featured in an Arts and Crafts Show held at the Ellwood House in DeKalb. The booth won the "Best of Show" award.
Despite the Clark’s great success in the craft business, John set those endeavors aside when he began farming 1800 acres near Cassopolis, Michigan with his wife and two sons, Toby and Lincoln. They named the farm Roseland Organic Farms.
Roseland Organic Farms is one of the first and largest, certified organic beef farms in the Midwest. The Clarks marketed certified organic beef to stores, distributors and individual customers in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.
John is survived by his wife of 46 years, Merrill, daughter Merry Clark of Los Angeles, CA and sons Toby (Holly) Clark of Cassopolis and Lincoln (Shelly) Clark of Dowagiac, MI and three grandchildren, Emily, 10, Landon, 7, and Grace, 5.
John would be pleased to know that Merrill and their two sons continue to carry on the family business. In March, Merrill, her three children and three grandchildren attended the 2007 Michigan Organic Conference in East Lansing which was dedicated to John.
Merrill is currently working with the Dean of the College of Natural Resources at Michigan State University to establish an annual "Symposium on the Reducing the Use of Pesticides in Michigan" in John’s memory.
Merrill writes, “John talked at several MSU and organic events over the years on the back-firing of pesticides in the environment and leaned heavily on the fact that chemical pesticide use not necessary for the control of insects or weeds. Given that there is chemical resistance and chemical exposure all over the place now, he was right on target with his knowledge on how those particular chemicals would and do impact the health of the earth and its inhabitants.”
Merrill recently donated three acres to a community theatre group for use in rebuilding its theater building, which had burned down. Merrill and son Lincoln have been active in the theater group.
Merrill can be reached by regular mail at 27427, M-60 West, Cassopolis, MI 49031 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Clark was a great classmate, an accomplished scientist and inventor, a successful farmer, a loving husband and father, and our good friend. His life has had a positive influence on us all.
Marjorie Buell Harris
(Information is from a DeKalb Chronicle obituary printed in January 2006)
Marjorie (Buell) Harris, 67, of Chicago, Ill., formerly of Sycamore, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006, after a brief illness.
NORMA SABLE JOHNSON
January 16, 1938--unknown date
Norma Sable Johnson was born January 16, 1938. She married Gary Phelps in 1957. Their marriage was blessed with three children: Teresa, Gary Jr., and Steven. Gary Sr. passed away in 1972.
She met and married Elmer Johnson in 1973.
Norma worked at General Electric in DeKalb for many years.
Elmer and Norma moved to Florida where Norma worked for a school district.
In 2004, Norma developed Parkinson’s disease. She passed away that same year.
Shortly before Norma died, her son Steven died of a heart attack. Steven was only 41 years of age.
Norma leaves behind many friends and a family who loved her very much.
Robert Warren Lindgren
December 13,1937 - September 4, 2003
By Bonnie Erickson Lindgren
Robert Warren Lindgren was born in Sycamore, Illinois to Walter and Virginia Lindgren. He had an older sister, Diane. They were raised on the family farm on Route #64 west of Sycamore where Bob's love of the outdoors began. He attended South School and Sycamore Junior and Senior High Schools. In high school, he lettered in basketball two years, and four years in football. He was named to the all-state his senior year. Bob was captain of the football team his junior year and co-captain his senior year. He was a member of the Spartan Club for three years. After graduating from high school in 1956, he worked on the family farm and for a local trucking company.
Bob and I began dating in August of 1959.1 knew it was serious when he introduced me to his parents...a very good sign. Knowing he needed to get his military responsibility out of the way, he enlisted in the Army Reserve in January of 1960. Reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant, Bob was honorably discharged on December 31, 1965. Bob began working at D.C. Litho, Inc. in December of 1960. We were married at Salem Lutheran Church November 4, 1961, honeymooning in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Our home for the next 13 years was the family farm where Bob took over the farm responsibilities when his father passed away in 1966. After having pneumonia twice in a short time, his doctor suggested choosing farming or printing, but not both.
This part of his life's story is written by George Holland, Bob's and my brother-in-law, his business partner and friend. George tells about Bob's years following graduation and what led to his eventual career in the printing business.
"John Dunmore, another classmate of 1956, met a very untimely death shortly after his high school graduation, as most of you know. John's father Brune Dunmore and Howard Campbell had formed a Printing Company known as D.C. Multi Copy, later known as D.C. Litho, Inc. Mr. Dunmore had hoped that John would take an interest in the company and eventually take over his interest. I began working for them in 1955, and Bob and I became brothers-in-law in 1961. During this time, the business was growing rapidly. Mr. Dunmore, who had known Bob from Bob and John's high school football days, asked Bob to work for them in 1960. Bob and I worked side by side as co-workers, learning everything we could, until the mid 1970’s, when Mr. Dunmore was ready to retire. At that time, he approached Bob and me saying that it was his desire that we buy his interest in the company. He thought a lot of us, and knew of our genuine interest in the company. At that time, he set Bob and me up, as he would have for his son John, to purchase his half of the company. With Mr. Campbell's approval, Bob and I became minority partners in D.C. Litho, Inc. February 1, 1976.
"The company grew rapidly at this point, with major customers being: Seymour of Sycamore, DeKalb Ag., Turner Corporation, Duplex Products, to name a few. Bob took over all production management...handling all production personnel and printing operations. This allowed me to work with Mr. Campbell handling customers and quotation work. In 1984, Mr. Campbell decided to exercise his sell agreement with Bob and me. April 1, 1984, Bob and I became full partners in business. Each of us had found our nitch in the business world at this point in our lives, so our partnership worked out very well, as the company continued to grow with a rapidly growing customer base. The company never had a salesman, as our guaranteed promise of quality, service and price kept us busy.
"In late 2002, Bob became ill and was unable to continue working, making it difficult to handle all of his duties as well as my own. But with the long-term dedicated employees that Bob had trained so well over the years, I was able to keep the company going until Seymour of Sycamore purchased the company on June 4,2004. Seymour's desire was to print their own paint can labels and literature, which we had done for over 50 years.
"Bob gave everything he had to our company, as he did with the rest of his life. He will forever be missed by me, his brother-in-law, friend and partner in business".
Bob and I became parents the first time on July 29,1968 with the birth of our son Neil, and a second time when our daughter Jennifer was born on December 23, 1974. At that time we moved to our present home on Deerpath Road in Sycamore. Bob was deeply involved in our children's lives from the time they were babies, showing his love and devotion as a family man. He was a wonderful father in every way.
He had a great love for cars, new and old. In February of 1959, he and his good friend, Dale Johnson, took a trip to Florida where they came upon a race that they decided to take in. Turns out, it just happened to be the first Daytona 500!! His first brand new car was a 1959 Chevy Impala with "4 on the floor and sweet sounding duals", which he sold before we got married because I couldn't drive it. I knew for sure then that he loved me.
Bob acquired many varied interests during his lifetime…from sitting on his porch listening to the birds sing, to watching his favorites, the Chicago Bulls and Bears and attending many Cubs games with his family. Music -- from country to classical, which our daughter Jennifer introduced us to -- and cooking were enjoyable to both Bob and me. He taught me how to fry "butter burgers" with steamed buns on one of our dates. He always mashed the potatoes at our holiday dinners. He was the best!
Bob spent many years on a bowling league, looked forward to the Sandwich Fair and Steam Power Show each year with our son Neil. His love for tools and machinery parts was evident when he over wound a clock (received as a wedding gift) and broke the spring. With parts all over the floor (and my thinking there goes the clock), he proved his mechanical prowess when the clock began ticking again.
Over the years, Bob enjoyed family vacations that took us from Ft. Lauderdale, to Seattle, Denver, Duluth, and many places in between. But our favorite place for rest and relaxation was Chetek, WI, where we loved the water, boating and fishing.
In describing Bob's character, he was honest and trustworthy, always dependable and very humble. As coach Pete stated at Bob's funeral service, "He was a team player. He knew no I in team". He had a deep faith in God, was baptized, confirmed and served as head usher for 35 years at Salem Lutheran Church in Sycamore.
He was a fun loving guy who was strong in body until he was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2002. He began radiation after which a kidney was removed and then in May, his entire hip and pelvis were removed also. He came home to continue fighting the battle he had before him and did it with courage and all the strength he could muster. What would we have done without Bill Lenchow. He was our rock!!
We miss Bob every day. We are so fortunate to have had him in our lives as a wonderful father and as my loving husband and best friend.
(You can reach Bonnie via regular mail 11636 Deerpath Road, Sycamore, IL 60178 or telephone 815-895-5003).
Darlene and her brother attended North Grove Country School, a one room schoolhouse, until it closed along with the others in DeKalb County; she then came by bus to Sycamore Central School.
Darlene and Fred O. Swanson were married on September 19, 1959.
Their first daughter, Karen Sue Swanson, was born November 11, 1962, and died suddenly September 19, 2006.
A second daughter, Carol Ann Swanson, was born January 19, 1966, and married Glenn Bolander on September 17, 1988. They have two sons, Justin, born in 1995, and Josh, born in 1997. They are the 6th and 7th generations to live on Glenn’s ancestors’ family farm near Sycamore.
After Darlene attended Northern Illinois, she worked at Duplex and Automatic Electric in Genoa, cleaned homes for 35 years, and was a homemaker. First and foremost, Darlene was a devoted, loving wife, mother, and grandmother.
Entertaining, cooking, baking and going out dancing were some of Darlene’s favorite things. She was known for her good meatballs, tapioca, rice pudding, and cream puffs! Cousins and other visitors to her home always felt welcome and had a good time.
She was member of the Sycamore United Methodist Church and was active in circles and get-togethers in addition to volunteering in the kitchen and at the rummage sales.
Darlene waged a courageous, 15 year fight against breast cancer which took her life on July 10, 2003. Her death was mourned by many. She is buried in the Hampshire Center Cemetery in Hampshire, IL.
Her friendly smile is missed!
Jane Elaine Henry Hudson
September 24, 1938 -- March 16, 2001
by Grant Henry
Jane Elaine Henry Hudson died at age 62 on Thursday, March 16, 2001 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Illinois after a brief illness. She was born on September 24, 1938 in Chicago, Illinois to Bill and Charlotte Henry her parents, who at that time lived with his relatives. After two more kids were born and another was on the way, the relatives (Grandma Chapman, two aunts, and uncle) had enough and Bill and his family moved to Sycamore. Luckily, Charlotte's mother and stepfather lived there and were able to get my Dad a job at Anaconda Wire and Cable Company.
For all who knew Jane, affectionately known as Janey or Red (she had red kinky hair and hazel gray eyes), she was full of life, excited about everything except homework, very loving toward her family, full of pranks and devilment. She used to chase her sister, who was four years older, around the house with a crutch, which allegedly belonged to an old man who died in the house.
She aspired to be a singer, dancer, baton twirler, model and homemaker. Jane was very entertaining and did become a great cook for family and friends. She graduated from SHS in 1956 after yelling and screaming for the basketball and football teams as one of the best cheerleaders ever and much to the relief of her family. Jane chose the homemaker role and married Billy Hart of Aurora, Illinois, shortly after high school. Jane had three daughters: Sharon was the first followed by Kim and Lisa. Her brothers and sister got to become uncles and aunts and loved it.
Jane did join the workforce and held a variety of jobs. She was telephone operator and entertained her family with interesting calls such as, “How do you bake a cake? How do you get to Alabama?” When the kids were small, she took a job as a nurses' aide on the night shift and did enjoy it. Later, she returned to Illinois Bell (Ameritech), where she held a number of positions. In her last job there, she held an engineer title and determined where to lay cables. As the industry and technology kept changing, she was encouraged to take an early retirement. She divorced after ten years and returned to Sycamore for several years to raise her daughters with family support. She moved to Aurora when the girls were in their teens.
Jane was not a person to sit still for long and soon other career choices were under consideration. She contacted a friend who had a travel agency in Chicago and every weekend she traveled to the city to learn the travel business. She thoroughly enjoined learning the mechanics of booking travel, using the computer, and expanding her horizons.
She acquired a taste for Las Vegas and the slot machines and the Caribbean. She met her next husband, Madison Hudson, who also worked at the same travel agency and who also loved Las Vega. They were married in Las Vegas in the wee small hours of the morning in one of those cute little wedding chapels. Her maid of honor was that older sister she use to chase around with the crutch. The rest of the family had to watch the video of the nuptials. After the wedding vows, breakfast, and a glass of Dom Perignon, they returned to the slot machines. They resided in Chicago and she worked part time for a travel agency in Riverdale, IL.
Jane enjoyed the final chapter her life. She traveled much further than she ever dreamed and affected many more people than she ever imagined. She dearly loved her daughters Sharon, Kim, and Lisa; she adored her grandchildren Christina (took her to Las Vegas as a graduation present), Monique, and Ny; grandchildren Amber, Rodney, Maghon, and Jasmine; and last but not least granddaughter Jalaine who she babysat for and looked forward to picking up from the school bus. She died before there was a chance to see her great-granddaughter who was born on the anniversary of her death.
Jane devoted herself to her mother and cared for her until she passed away. She took care of two elderly aunts as well as assisting with her mother-in-law. Her husband Madison died in 1995 after a brief illness. They only had five years together but they were happy years and I think she felt she finally made it.
Surviving relatives include her brother Grant, sisters Audrey and Charlotte Asalee, two nephews Donald and Stacey; and all of her children. Daughter Sharon, born in 1957, is married and lives in River Falls, Wisconsin. She has three daughters and a granddaughter. Kim, born in 1959 lives in DeKalb and has five children. Lisa, born in 1960, resides in Sycamore and has one daughter who is a senior at Sycamore High School.
Her parents and brother Willie preceded Jane in death. Her oldest sister Shirley died one year after Jane passed away.
I will always remember her compassion for family and friends, extraordinary sense of humor, and great cooking, with an avid appetite for reading. She left us with a greater sense of life and family.
Jane is buried in Elmwood Cemetery.
James Paul Carlson
January 31, 1938 -- October 24, 1999
James Paul Carlson was born on January 31, 1938 in Sycamore. He was known as Mongie or Mungie to his high school friends. His parents were Paul Edward Carlson and Alice Genevieve Carlson. He had two older brothers, Gordon and Ronald and a younger sister Nancy, all Sycamore High School graduates. He died October 24, 1999 in McMinnville, Tennessee.
Following graduation from high school, Jim went to work for Ideal Industries. He began working for Ideal while in high school with the Diversified Occupations (DO) Program. Later, he moved to Missouri where he was employed by Breakshoe Manufacturing as their chief engineer.
His final employment stop took him to Tennessee where he served as Purchasing Agent for a large gear manufacturer. His purchasing agent duties required him to travel occasionally to Europe and Asia.
Jim married Barbara Ann Pitts on November 16, 1968 in Sycamore. Their marriage was blessed with two children: Charles (Chuck) Darrin Carlson and Christy Dawn Carlson.
Chuck married Christy Michelle Craven on September 6, 1991 in McMinnville, Tennessee. They have three children: Cole Landon Carlson, born November 19, 1993 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Cali Alexis Carlson, born April 8, 1999 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and Cade Landon Carlson born January 15, 1997 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Christy married Anthony Quinn Dishman on July 13, 1995. They had one child; Keesha Ann Dishman born September 23, 1986 in Cookeville, Tennessee.
Jim’s main hobby was playing golf – anytime, anywhere.
He was very active in the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. He served a term as President of the State of Tennessee Eagles and served on the Eagles’ National Board.
Jim was killed in an automobile accident in 1999 shortly after he retired.
Editor’s note: Mongie was quiet and few people really got to know him well. Most would be surprised to know that beneath that rotund and seemly quiet exterior was a very competitive person who had a subtle but great sense of humor.
I first became aware of his competitive spirit when I came home on spring break during my first year in college. I had played a lot of ping-pong in my spare time and felt I had mastered the game. I mentioned that to Mongie. He said he liked to play and suggested we go to Ideal Industries’ recreation room to play a few games on a Saturday afternoon. With my long reach, good reaction time and overall quickness, I figured it would not take long to dispatch my good friend. He beat me soundly. The games rarely were close.
He was an excellent card and game player. In fact, in any activity where he was able to compete physically, he was a strong competitor. Mentally, he was competitive in any endeavor.
However, Mongie’s real competitive edge came in business matters where he had exceptional skills. In any kind of financial or like dealings, he invariably came out on top. His later success in life is a testimony to astute skill in business matters.--GRB.
(Most information furnished by Nancy Carlson Spoor who can be reached at Nancy@omniranch.com.)
Francis “Fran” Elaine Blade Hartman
Died March 8, 1999
Francis “Fran” Elaine Blade Hartman was born in Sycamore. Her parents were Vernie and Pauline Blade. She had two sisters: Carol and Linda. Linda died when she was 6 or 8 years of age as a result of a freak accident.
Fran started school at Lovell’s Crossing, a country school east of Sycamore. Later, the Blade family moved to a house on Walnut Street in Sycamore. Eventually, they moved to the house on East Exchange Street where Fran lived during her high school days. That house has since been demolished to make way for a parking lot.
Fran attended Central School and junior and senior high school in the old high school building.
She was very active while in high school. She was a baton twirler with the band, sang with several music groups, worked on the class play, was on the Leaves staff and was a four-year member of the Pep Club. Fran was a member of Marilyn’s Majorettes for several years.
After high school, Fran went to nurse’s training at the Swedish American Hospital in Rockford. She successfully completed the training and became a Registered Nurse following in her mother’s footsteps who also had been a Registered Nurse.
She met her future husband, Henry “Hank” Hartman at Swedish American Hospital where he was a patient.
Fran and Hank were married for 40 years. They raised four beautiful daughters: Pamela who lives in Michigan and Lisa, Carla, and Christina all of which live in Arizona.
The Hartmans lived in Woodstock, Danville, and, for the last 26 years, in Shorewood, near Joliet.
Fran died on March 8, 1999 of complications of breast cancer. While we were unable to find her birth date, we think Fran was either 61 or 62 when she died.
Editor’s note: I am sad to say that I did not see Fran after graduation. I always thought that Fran was the most attractive woman in our class. She was tall, slim and had a perfect complexion. Everyone liked her. And why not? She was bright and always pleasant and friendly to everyone.
She must have been a terrific nurse. She was well organized, competent and efficient even as a high school student.
I am sure Fran had a very positive influence on all with whom she came into contact. She must be greatly missed by Hank, her children, and her grandchildren.--GRB.
James Frederick Foster, Jr.
March 16, 1938- June 28,1987
by Carol Stroburg Foster
James Frederick Foster, Jr. was born March 16,1938 in Sycamore, the only child of James, Sr. and Edna Foster. He spent most of his childhood years growing up on Maple Street with his mom, dad and grandpa, Carl Hoffmann. He attended Central Grade School and Sycamore Junior and Senior High School.
During his high school career he lettered in football, basketball and track all four years and was a member of the Spartan Club for three years. Always willing to have fun and laugh at himself, he decided one day to dedicate the football field to himself. "FOSTER FIELD” was printed on the blacktop at the west end of the football field. Principal Jess Shrout, trying not to laugh, demanded that he wash off the lettering and was to receive an "F" in all classes he missed while doing so. Before starting this task with a mop and a pail of water, he asked teacher, Leland Strombom, to grade his lettering for extra-credit in Industrial Arts. He received an “A”! No one gave him an "F" in any of his other missed classes.
After high school, Jim attended two years at North Central College in Naperville on a football scholarship. A knee injury ended his football career and he transferred to NIU his junior year. After a bout with double pneumonia, he graduated from NIU in January 1961 with a degree in Education.
On August 20,1960, Jim and I were married. I think Jim fell in love with my mom, Berniece Stroberg, before he did me. He had the uncanny ability of arriving at our home on Saturday morning just as mom was icing the warm Swedish coffeecakes and cinnamon rolls. He never turned down her offer of an ice-cold glass of milk and a warm cinnamon roll.
We moved to Aurora in January of 1961. Jim began teaching 6th grade in the West Aurora School District 129 at Hill Elementary School. Jim loved teaching! The first Halloween at Hill, all the children and teachers dressed in costume. Jim went as the "Jolly Green Giant". Dressed from head to toe in green with a green corn stalk on his head, he was well over 7 feet tall. We only lived a half block from school so he walked to school. Needless to say at the corner when he crossed the street, traffic stopped in all directions. For years afterwards, wherever we went, children stopped their parents to point out the real "Jolly Green Giant".
After 13 years in 6th grade, Jim moved on to teach 7th and 8th grade Math at Franklin Middle School eventually ending at Washington Middle School. Coaching sports was also an important part of Jim's life. He coached football and basketball at the 6th grade level and then at the 8th grade level. He believed in teaching fundamentals, defense and then offense in that order. He always stressed fair play and good sportsmanship. Many of his 8th grade teams went on to win citywide titles.
For over 20 years, Jim worked for the Fox Valley Park District during the summers. He was the director of 23 playgrounds and in charge of hiring staff, ordering supplies and overseeing the daily operations in East and West Aurora. During the winters, he was also the director of the Park District Open Gym Program at 16 schools. These programs were free to the public and provided hundreds of children a safe place to play and have fun.
Throughout Jim's teaching career, he was also very involved in the local AEWA, state IEA and national NBA teacher organizations. He served as president in the 70's and 80's of the local and on the IEA Board.
A fellow hoard member, Ben Loyd, once stated, " Jim really cared for people, and for integrity and for justice, and for right. He was never one to stand back from taking a position.”
He could be passionately for something and just as passionately opposed to sham and hypocrisy, to exploitation, to error and deliberately faulty reasoning. Jim had the ability to cut through a lot of mental red tape and view an issue with clarity and perception.
During the time that we served on the IEA Board together, I considered Jim to be one of the most clear-headed and responsible members we had. One could always depend on an honest and an intelligent reaction from "Big Jim". He had been one of the pioneers who moved the organization from being essentially a social club to a position of strong teacher advocacy."
At the time of his death, Jim was serving as president of the local AEAW,
Jim's most favorite role of all was being a father to daughters Lisa (06-16-61), Lynn (06-09-63) and Patty (03-29-66). He loved his girls! He was involved in all aspects of their lives, making sure they did well in school, attending all the plays, recitals, ball games, etc. He taught them to swim in our backyard pool and always built the biggest snowman on the block. Because his many responsibilities took time away from the girls, we decided to set aside the month of August as family time.
We started taking family vacations on Treasure Island in Florida.. He totally focused on the family, enjoying the beach, swimming, building sand castles, looking for shells and fishing. There was always a day or two spent at Disney World. Jim had as much fun there as they did. The girls’ memories of their father during this time are priceless. Jim had the honor of walking Lisa and Lynn down the aisle at their weddings. He was involved with the early planning stages of Patty's wedding in May of 1988 when he died. Jim's best friend, Bill Sweeney, did the honors of walking her down the aisle. Bill was Jim's best friend and they were as close as any two brothers could have possibly been.
Jim was looking forward to being a grandfather. Our first grandchild, Tony, was born January 31, 1987. Jim was thrilled. The first time we were asked to baby-sit, as soon as his mom and dad left Jim asked me to show him how to use a disposable diaper. He wanted to be able to take care of the baby himself. He had such plans for spending lime with Tony like he had with his own grandfather.
Our second grandson, Corey, was born on April 6, 1987 in Florida. His mother, Lisa, had plans to bring him to our home on July 1, 1987. Unfortunately, Jim died suddenly on June 28, 1987 and never got the chance to meet his second grandson. (Inow have 5 grandsons; Tony, Corey, Jameson, Trey and Cody and 2 granddaughters; Sarah and Kylie).
I thank God everyday for the love and joy Jim brought into our lives, His memory continues to bless and inspire us. We wish that his life had been longer, but few people have lived more fully and with more zest for living than he did.
James Kenneth Tucker
April 27, 1937 - June 29, 1986
by Barbara Tucker Makela
James Kenneth Tucker was born at Sycamore Hospital on April 27, 1937. He was the second son born to Florence (Pete) and Ernest Tucker. He had an older brother, Dale.
Jim grew up on Park Avenue in Sycamore with only one house separating him from Lois (Lloyd) Christensen. Oh my, the stories they could tell!
I met Jim in 1961 while he and Lois were working on your 5th Class Reunion. I worked at Ideal Industries with Lois and occasionally stayed at Lois and Al's apartment so I didn't have to drive back to Sandwich every night. Well, one night Jim came to their apartment to discuss the plans for the reunion, and I thought he was "pretty cute". After he left, I asked Lois if she could set us up on a date. She did and the following week all four of us went out.
Jim attended Sycamore schools all his life. But because I didn't meet him until five years after graduation, I can only remember what he told me. Jim was the center for Sycamore Spartans Football Team and was nicknamed "Yato", which I believe is a Swedish word meaning "something"!
Jim did rub it in about the day Sycamore played Sandwich in 1955-56 season, and Sycamore beat us 52-0. My brother happened to be the quarterback for Sandwich that year and you know how brothers can be. I kept telling my brother what a great guy Jim was and all I got from him in reply was "Yeah, right." Many times when Jim and I were out somewhere I would hear someone yell "Hey Yato" from across the room, store or wherever else we might have been.
After graduating from high school, Jim enlisted in the Marine Corps. He spent some of his duty in Okinawa, Japan and in Korea. He was trained in heavy artillery. When he was discharged he was a Corporal in rank. I remember he told me the worst part of being a Marine was when they were shipped overseas and had to sleep in a hammock style bed aboard a naval ship, swaying back and forth, across the Pacific Ocean.
When he returned from the Service, he began working as a plumber-pipe fitter. Jim worked for several local plumbers in Sycamore and DeKalb area and at the time of his death was employed at the Nuclear Power Plant in Byron, IL.
Jim and I were married on June 1, 1963. We moved into our first apartment on Fair Street in Sycamore. One year later we bought our first home around the corner on Albert Avenue. Then we moved all the way across town to Bethany and Perry Court and our last home we bought together was around the corner on Lynn Avenue.
I always told Jim he was like an "Oak Tree" with roots so deep he could never leave Sycamore. When we lived on Albert Avenue, Jim would take our daughter Julie and walk down to all the home football games.
Remember the Chicago Bears 1985-86 Season? Well, Jim never missed a game during that season, all the way to the Super Bowl win. He was such a Bears fan. I am so glad he lived long enough to see his team finally win. He really enjoyed watching and cheering them on.
Jim was not only a great person but an awesome father. We had 2 daughters, Julie born on August 29, 1964, and Deborah born of April 15, 1969. He was so excited the day Julie was born that he drove through a red light and it just happened that a policeman was watching and the chase began. It took about a mile or so before Jim realized he was being chased and pulled over. Jim was such a sweet talker, he never got a ticket.
Jim was a girls’ softball coach and helped me with many Girl Scout projects. He offered his help at school events and always at the school Fun Fairs. He didn't just build the games to play; he also had to be part of running the game during the fair. I remember a bean bag toss game he built and painted in very bright colors for one of the events. It seemed like every child there waited in line for their turn. I'm not so sure they just wanted to play the game or just get closer to Jim. He was like a magnet, surrounded by children most of the tune.
Jim was diagnosed with a malignant astrosytoma brain tumor on May 3, 1985. The doctor at St. Anthony's Hospital in Rockford told us Jim only had 6 weeks to live without surgery, and maybe 7-9 months with surgery. We of course decided on the surgery hoping to give us more time for a miracle to happen. Jim outlived the predictions and we had 14 months before his death on June 29, 1986.
Jim got the honor of walking our oldest daughter down the aisle for her marriage on October 29, 1983. During his illness, Julie (and husband Mike) who lived in Florida at that time, became parents to our first grandchild, a beautiful little girl. Out of the love they both had for Jim, they named her "Jamie Michelle" born on September 26,1985. Jim was still able to travel, so Debbie, Jim and myself, left for Florida to see our grandchild. Jim was so proud of her, and did get to see her a few more times, but she was the only grandchild he would ever hold. Julie and Mike gave me another granddaughter, Kristin, born July 31, 1988, and then a grandson, Eric, born on December 9, 1993, who looks and acts a lot like Jim.
Debbie was married on September 30,1995. In the absence of her father she asked me to do the honor of walking her down the aisle. It was my honor to do so, but always thinking of Jim being with us during this important day. At the reception everyone took balloons outside and released them in his honor. We all watched as the balloons disappeared into sky. Debbie was only 16 years old when Jim became ill, but she was an attentive caregiver for her father. Deb (and husband Dale) gave birth to my granddaughter, Emilee, born on July 7, 1997, and another grandson on March 7, 2003, who they named "James Dale". Such an honor our girls bestowed upon their father.
Jim was deeply loved, not only by me, but by our girls, family and friends. During the last several months of Jim's life, our friends and family began planning meals to bring, scheduling household duties, building ramps for Jim's wheel chair, sitting with him while I went shopping or ran errands…just being with him in his last hours here on earth.
God Bless you, Jim, for being a beautiful part of all our lives. You’re Spirit and memories will live in our hearts forever.
(You can reach Barb via email at email@example.com.)
Phyllis Eggers Knutson
December 28, 1938 -- July 6, 1976
by Cindy Eggers Adams
Phyl got her start in a Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camp in the mountains near Spokane, Washington. From there, she went to an army camp near Baraboo, WI, then on to Sycamore. She was born at Evanston Hospital on December 28, 1938.
She really did not get to know her father, Doctor John F. Eggers, until he returned from World War II in which he had served as an Army field surgeon. There was not a good connection at first…my dad giving orders and my mom, Frances (known as Fritz to friends), keeping Phyl under her protective wing. Phyl and dad ended up being very close.
Since I was thirteen years younger than Phyl, I was entering kindergarten when she was entering college. I remember her bedroom being far down the hall filled with stuffed animals, but I do not remember her being there until I was about ten years old. By then, we had moved to the woods north of town.
Phyl was a very happy person, always laughing and joking around. She held a lot of respect for my parents. We had a stern upbringing and mine was more isolated as we did not live in town. I anticipated Phyl’s visits to our country home with joy.
Phyl attended Northwestern University, graduated from Milton College, and then from Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago in 1963. She married Richard D. Knutson on August 16, 1963. Their only child, son John, was born in 1966. John lives with his wife and children on the northwest side of Chicago.
I was a year or two into college when Phyl was diagnosed with cancer at age 33. She died at age 37 in July, 1976. She was a delight to know and we still miss her.
Phyllis is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Sycamore.
(Editor’s note: Phyllis had two sisters: Cynthia (Cindy) Eggers Adams who lives near Stockton and Christine Eggers Hunt who lives in Atlanta. Her parents passed away some time ago.)
Editor’s note: Most of the information we have concerning Juanita Campbell Schou is from an obituary published in The Chronicle 34 years ago. That information follows. Fortunately, Nancy Niewold graciously offered to share some of her memories of “Nita” with us. Her memories follow the obituary information. Thanks, Nancy, for providing this insight. We welcome and encourage anyone who wants to share memories of any classmate, living or dead, to send their thoughts to Jack, Gene or Joe.
Juanita “Nita” Campbell Schou
September 1, 1938--February 18, 1973
Juanita Campbell Schou (pronounced Scow) was born September 1, 1938 to Howard and Lillian Verdell (Burdick) Campbell in Sycamore. She died on February 18, 1973 at the Sycamore Municipal Hospital following a long illness. Juanita or Nita, as most of her friends knew her, was only 34 years old when she passed away.
Juanita had three siblings: Robert Allen, Howard Leroy, and Jodi Lynn. Howard, who once was a member of the Class of 1956, was born on June 3, 1937 and died on October 26, 1995, in Meldrin, Georgia at age 58.
She married Wayne A. Schou in DeKalb on September 5, 1959. The Schou were parents of a daughter, Lori Ann and a son, Bradley Dean.
Nita is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Sycamore.
Memories of Nita Campbell Schou
by Nancy Niewold
I met Nita in grade school and we became friends in 7th or 8th grade. That summer we spend a lot of time together. I rode my bike to Nita’s house several days a week.
It was always fun going to the Campbells. Lil, her mom, made fresh bread every weekend. She always gave me a loaf to take home. Nearby there was a gravel pit where Bob and Harold used to swim.
Nita and I would ride our bikes to the park every chance we could to swim at the pool. We were like fish in water. Later on, when school was out, I took her to Lake Ripley, WI and we spent weeks on end there. We had a lot of fun there and nearly fried ourselves in the sun every summer. Nita was light skinned and burned easily and often had a blistered nose. My mom used to fill a big pan with vinegar and water and rinse us off. It was suppose to take away the burn. We went to bed smelling like vinegar.
We met other kids there and had boyfriends if you can call swimming with other boys that. We were growing up. The next summer we decided to detassle corn. We made a pact that when we graduated from high school we would go to California. We never wavered.
We traveled in different circles in high school but we always were friends. We saved our money doing baby sitting and detasseling. Nita got sent to the tall corn and I got the short corn. We would meet uptown by the bank and wait for the trucks to pick us up and away we went for the day. Before school started, my mom took us to Madison, WI to buy a few school clothes with our hard-earned money. We each still had that savings account for our trip to California.
Before our freshman year, I met Roy Dodson while we were detassling. He became my boyfriend and Nita, Harold and Bob’s friend as well. Roy was two years older than Nita and I and had an old car. Bob was in the TB sanitarium during our freshman year. Harold, Nita and I loaded up in Roy’s old car and visited Bob about every week…sometimes twice a week. We nearly got the boot a few times for being loud and laughing too much.
Nita’s mom and dad always listened to bluegrass music. Back then, we called it hillbilly music. That’s where I learned to love what is now called country and western music.
I started working different jobs and Nita had a job now and then. We were still planning that trip to CA that we had planned in 8th grade. Half of my weekly paycheck went in the bank until I graduated.
Nita and I made our trip to California after graduation. We flew. At that time, it was an eight-hour flight and I was sick the entire time.
Nita had an aunt and uncle in California and I had two aunts and uncles. One of my uncles picked us up at the airport and off to Riverside we went. They had planned for two young men that lived in their rental next door to take us to see the "Home Town Jubilee". TV was fairly new then and they were televising it. It was bluegrass for sure.
One day we went to the pool in Riverside. Ssome man gave us his card and told us to call him and he would take us to Hollywood. We could be models. We told my aunt and needless to say, she said that’s not where you will wind up. We just couldn’t believe it.
A few days later, we went to Nita’s aunt’s house. I don’t remember where she lived but we went to Knott’s Berry Farm while staying with her.
Nita’s aunt had spoken to some girls in the neighborhood about us and they called us for a “come as you are” party. They picked us up and everyone else was all dressed up. It didn’t take long to figure out they did this just to laugh at us. I was ready to go home but Nita said "no, just laugh with them. Don’t let them think we care." Smart girl there. That’s what we did and we could tell these girls were a lot wiser than us little country bumpkins were.
After that we took a bus to northern California where we stayed with another aunt and uncle of mine. The first thing we noticed was that California cows looked skinny compared to our corn fed cattle at home. Nita mentioned this and my uncle told us curtly that California has the biggest cattle industry. We looked at each other and agreed later that those cows did look skinnier. Later we really laughed about this.
We decided to take a train home. We met some sailors on that train and I don’t think we slept for about three days. Once the conductor came and took us all into another car because we were laughing and keeping other people awake. Nita was a girl who laughed at about anything. She had a good sense of humor and good sense.
After that trip, we seemed to go our separate ways. I went on to beauty school and in November got married. You just don’t think anything is going to happen to anyone when you are young. Nita was such a wonderful girl with so many friends. Everyone liked her so much. You get busy and go your separate ways and don’t realize that time can be so short. Nita’s time was short.
I’m sure many others have wonderful memories of Nita. These are just a few of mine.
(Editor’s note: I didn’t have the opportunity to know Juanita or her family after high school. Our paths just never crossed again. That is unfortunate because I always thought she was a very special woman. She had something of a Doris Day quality about her. That is, she was blond, attractive, always ready to smile, easy going, and pleasant to be around. No one was better liked or more popular. It is sad that her life was so short. I know she is missed by her friends, classmates and family--GRB.)
John Brune Dunmore
May 28, 1938 -- June 30, 1957
John Brune Dunmore was born on May 28, 1938 in Sycamore, son of Brune and Aileen Dunmore. He had one sister, Kathleen, who was a year older. John died on June 30, 1957 as a result of a water skiing accident on the Fox River near St. Charles. He had just turned 19 years of age.
Remembering my brother, John Brune
by Kathleen Dunmore Johnston
John was born in Sycamore, Il on May 28th, 1938. He was the second child of Brune and Aileen Dunmore. When John and I were young, we had four grandparents, many aunts and uncles, the majority of whom all lived in Sycamore. Family and family functions were a big part of our early years as we shared birthdays and holidays with relatives.
John died on Sunday evening June 30th, 1957 after a water skiing accident on the previous Saturday afternoon. He had been out boating and skiing with the Florent boys after working all week for my Dad. I was working at Henderson’s Department Store when I remember receiving a phone call to come home. Mom, Dad and I then drove to the St. Charles Hospital where John was taken and to find out what had happened. John had been placed in an iron lung to assist his breathing but died on Sunday evening. When we finally returned home, I remember many family members, friends and many of John’s friends coming to the house after receiving word of his passing. John had just finished his first year at Carroll College in Waukesha, WI where he was a Tau Kappa Epsilon(TKE) pledge
John loved Door County, Wisconsin where our Grandfather Dunmore had built a cottage on Green Bay in the late 1930’s. This was a favorite family vacation place where we fished, went swimming, worked in the woods moving rocks and brush, clearing an area for an addition to the cottage. We also cut down many dead trees which were then cut for fire wood in our wood burning stove. John and I used to carry drinking water from the nearby light house and also from a spring in the local area. This cottage is now used by the fifth generation of Dunmores.
John played drums in the school band and I remember he had a contest with Ronnie Bowman, another drummer, where he broke a drum head for which my parents were asked to pay the damages. I also remember we had to stay home on Memorial Day Weekend for John to march in the band to get credit for the year.
John was also an outstanding athlete and was a member of the undefeated football team in his senior year. When I got my driver’s license, I used to pick John and his friends up from football practice. I never will forget the night he had broken his nose and it was smeared all over his face. He had re-occurring problems with headaches from this accident in college.
John and my Dad enjoyed working on projects together. I recall them restoring an old canoe using a new product called “fiberglass”. We used this canoe at the cottage in Wisconsin and John, Sue Safford, Don and myself canoed across Sawyer Harbor(and Don didn’t know I couldn’t swim!!) Dad had given John an old Jeep for graduation and they had fun fixing it up, painting it white, and John gave many rides to his younger cousins. During high school, John also had a speed boat and we spent many Sundays on Lake Delavan, usually with Dave Drenckpohl and his family.
These are some of my memories of John’s life. John’s life was cut short and he has been sorely missed by all of his family.
Remembering My Friend, John Dunmore
By Gene Behler
John Dunmore’s death was tragic. Of course, you could say that the death of any young person is tragic. However, John’s death was especially tragic. His future was so very bright. He had just successfully finished his first year at Carroll College in Wisconsin and looked forward to returning in the fall. He was in love with a great young lady and looked down the road at the possibility of running the very successful family business after college.
No one really knows exactly what happened that fateful day. John and John Florent were water skiing behind a boat driven by the late Martin “Jockie” Florent. Suddenly, John disappeared into the river. The Florents found him partially submerged in the water. His neck was broken and he was unconscious. He was rushed him to Delnor Hospital in St. Charles. He died the following day.
The night John died is indelibly etched in my memory. On learning of his death, I hurried to the Dunmore’s house on Turner Place. It was a warm evening. Mrs. Dunmore was sitting in a chair in the front yard surrounded by friends and family. Everyone seemed to be almost in shock. People were talking in hushed tones and you could hear soft sobbing. The only light came from the street or maybe a yard or porch light. As I approached Mrs. Dunmore, she looked up at me and smiled. I put my arms around her but it was almost as if Mrs. Dunmore and her husband, Brune, were consoling and comforting me.
Brune and Aileen Dunmore were some of the most gracious people I have ever known. How they made it through those dark days and kept their sanity is beyond my understanding. They both have passed away now.
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church was packed with mourners for the funeral. While I felt honored to be a pallbearer, at the same time it was a painful duty. I am sure the other pallbearers shared that feeling. While funerals are supposed to offer closure, I did not feel closure. For a long time afterwards, many of us struggled with the idea that John Dunmore was no longer with us.
John and I had been close friends throughout high school. We both were involved with the Student Council and other student activities and we both played on the basketball team. We often double dated. John usually drove his parent’s black Olds with the sun visor. John’s friends were always welcome at the Dunmore house. I felt almost as comfortable there as I did at my own house.
In my mind’s eye, I can still see John. This was, of course, in the days before anyone talked of body fat and the word “buff” was not yet in vogue. Tall, slim, good looking with a shock of dark hair, there was not an ounce of fat on his hard body. John clearly was buff. He was a talented athlete who lettered all four years of high school in football and basketball. He excelled in football and was known as a hard-nosed player who often delivered bone-crushing blows to opponent’s ball carriers.
People looked up to John Dunmore and for good reason. Yes, he was a physically imposing person. But his real strength was in his heart and mind…in his intelligence and spirit. He had the heart and courage of a lion. At the same time, he was a compassionate man concerned with the well-being of others.
John did not hesitate to stand up and be counted even if he held an unpopular view. During our junior year, school authorities threatened to expel John for the heinous crime of growing side burns. In those days, facial hair was not permitted. Apparently, it was considered a rebellious act. This happened in the days before the Beatles and before long hair and sideburns came to prominence. John was not being rebellious--he just wanted to wear sideburns. After careful consideration of the consequences, he chose to cut the sideburns. He was a stand-up guy but he also knew a no-win situation when he saw it.
Had work ethic been a term used in the 1950s, John would have been its poster boy. When he had a job to do, he let nothing get in his way until that task was accomplished and accomplished well. No one was more dependable or determined than John Dunmore. You could always count on John.
John dated the same young woman through much of high school and after graduation. While he never spoke of their plans for the future, when you saw them together there was little question in your mind. One of my favorite high school pictures is Image #19 in the Class Website Activities photo album. If you go to that image, you will see John, Dave Drenckpohl, Jack Lindstrom and me with our dates at the Sadie Hawkins Dance. I believe it was our sophomore year. Those were happy, carefree days. As usual, John is flashing that wonderful boyish grin he so often shared with others. How could anyone forget that grin?
He was blessed with a loving family. His parents and sister were among the nicest folks around. John’s friends were always welcome at his house and treated like adults.
John was a good and loyal friend. His life held such great promise. He was destined for success as a husband, as a father, as a businessman, and as a community leader. How sad that he did not have a chance to live up to his potential.
John is buried in Mayfield Cemetery north of Sycamore.
John Dunmore was my friend. For that, I will be forever grateful.