Rock Island High School, Class of '54
News of classmates
55th Reunion
Click on any of the links below in this column
Good News / Communications
Memories, pictures
Classmates' Websites
Lyrics to School Songs
Memory Jogger
Class Roster
Group Reunion Pictures
Your Reunion Committee
Classmates we've lost.

My tribute to Teachers.
 I believe that the measure of a life is  the good that we've done. Success, to me,  is how many lives we've touched and how much of a difference we've made... Have we left the world a better place because we were here? 
Albert Schwitzer said, "Those among you who would be happy, are those who have sought and found how to serve."
I admire the dedication it takes to be a teacher and help mold the lives of students.  The financial compensation is clearly less than (I think) is deserved.
Teachers have made a world of difference in my life ... Thanks....

I have added notes when received. Here are notes from Alan Spector's son, Seaton, Wilson, Schmacht, Washington, Stephenson, Flemming, Nolin, Carlton, Lester, Manhard,  Beeman, DeCrane, Hubbart, Stephenson, Stoleson, Bercheckas, Sheets, Goff, Rudolph, Lowitz, Schroeder, Withrow, Pealstrom, Buck, Knudson, Huntley, Olsen, Barta, LeGuire, Carlton, Bryant and me.

Harlan O. Braner

March 17, 1936 - August 13, 2011


Harlan O. Braner, 75, of Moline, passed away Saturday, August 13, 2011, at Trinity Rock Island.

Funeral services will be held at
12:00 p.m., Friday August 19, 2011, at DeRoo Funeral Home, Moline. Visitation is Thursday from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial is at Rock Island Memorial Park, Rock Island, IL
. Memorials may be made to the family for a fund to be established.

Harlan was born
March 17, 1936 in Jacksonville, IL
, the son of Raymond & Marie Mason Braner.

Harlan was employed 40 years at the former Iowa-Illinois Gas & Electric Co.,
Davenport, IA
, retiring as Supervisor of Computer Operations, in 1994.

He was a member of the MidAmerican Energy Retirees. As a teenager, he loved to visit his aunt and uncle, Lucille & Paul Mason, in
. He enjoyed new automobiles, classic cars and country music.

Survivors include his daughters and sons in law, Debra & Shannon Webster,
Rock Island, and Dr. Lisa & Robert Gillette, Eleva, WI and granddaughters, Hannah & Oliva Gilette, Eleva, WI. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Harold Braner.





Alan L. Spector

Born April 5th, 1936, Rock Island IL – Passed Away May 3rd, 2011 Van Nuys, CA

Alan was born on April 5th, 1936 to Bertha and Walter Spector in Rock Island, Illinois. The youngest of three children, Alan was a quick study and demonstrated an early passion for family, cars, music, and animals (especially his beloved dogs) that would last his entire life.  A devoted family man with an infectious laugh and sense of humor, he never missed a wedding or a bar mitzvah and was always present to help mark another milestone.  He graduated from Rock Island High School in 1954 and a few short years later answered the call of his country and served four years in the United States Army (stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas,  and Fort Huachuka in Arizona, respectively). After his honorable discharge in 1962, he relocated to Dayton, Ohio to work for the Field Abrasives company (whom he stayed with for nearly 20 years). In 1964 he married Connie Blumenfeld of Dayton and relocated to the suburbs of Los Angeles, CA two years later.

In July of 1968 Alan and Connie welcomed their first of three children Warren, followed by sons Jeff in 1972, and Craig in 1980. In 1983 Alan went to work for Standard Abrasives in Northridge, CA and remained there until his retirement.

In his spare time he indulged his hobbies with zeal. He collected antique jukeboxes and had an impressive collection of vintage 78 RPM records. He also loved to travel and took frequent cross-country family road trips. In his retirement he started collecting classic cars and was a member of his local Buick car club. His cars even made their way on to the silver screen (one of them can be seen in the 2005 film “Starsky & Hutch”) and enjoyed driving around  local Los Angeles dignitaries from time to time (including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa once) in several parades in his 1969 Buick Elektra convertible.

His heart was never too far away from Rock Island and he made several trips back over the years (and most recently attended his 50th and 55th high school class reunions).

Alan passed away in Van Nuys, CA of respiratory failure at the age of 75 on May 3rd, 2011 and was preceded in death by his parents Walter and Bertha and his brothers Jerry and Herb. Immediate survivors include his wife Connie of Chatsworth, CA, sons Warren (of Chandler, AZ), Jeff (of Van Nuys, CA), and Craig (also of Chatsworth, CA). Alan is also survived by his 5 beloved grandchildren Jake, Ellie, and Abby Spector of Chandler, AZ & Nathan and James Spector of Van Nuys, CA.

Harry and Morgan Lester

Harry and Morgan Lester, now

We took off to the scenic Smokie Mts in Western N. Carolina and spent a month and a half helping around the Forest Service Campgound, enjoying the wonderful weather, mountain flowers and campfire get-togethers, living in our camping trailer.
We headed home early for the Olympics, but ran into two Hurricaines. Frances ripped the roof off our Florida-room and the second one blew in gusts of 60-90 mph and spread our neighbors' carports all around the neighborhood.
The hurricaines kept me from sharing my colorful and wonderful experiences at Rocky with you guys at the reunion.
Harry Lester


Hello to all my RIHS classmates.  It's hard to believe that we're celebrating our 50th year class reunion.  I was unable to attend the 45th because my husband, Paul, passed away on August 2nd, but I did receive the class picture.  I'm still living in Virginia Beach, VA and am retired (hooray), and am enjoying every single moment.  I  retired from the U.S. Coast Guard base in Elizabeth City, NC with 34 years government service. Ten of those years were spent in Elizabeth City.   I entered civil service right after graduation and have worked at various government facilities in the good old USA.  My husband was in the military so we changed locations every 3 years.  I enjoyed the military life and the opportunity to travel.  I have four children, two are married....two still single.  I have 5 grandchildren...the oldest 21 and the youngest 7.  My 21 year old has promised he will not make me a Great Grandmother...I'm not ready for that.  I'm currently working with Fun Tours in Virginia Beach as a tour director/escort on a motorcoach.  It provides me with the opportunity to travel and get paid for being with the folks (mostly seniors).  I've found out that the senior citizens are keeping the traveling industry afloat.  They're on the move and going places, which is wonderful.  Looking forward to seeing everyone soon.

Nancy Wilson-Shick
My husband, Jack Shick, class of '53 will be in Rock Island over the reunion week-end.
 Since I last
                                    wrote in early May, Jack's step-dad suffered a bad stroke, and Jack has been traveling more frequently to visit his parents
                                    at Friendship Manor.
 He may call some of you when he's
                                    in town. he feels a little awkward about it since I will not be coming due to the start of school here in Virginia and
                                    current plan to come to RI in November for Jack's mom's 100th birthday,I hope that he does make contact with some of our classmates!
 Thanks again
                                    for all your hard work.  I think the weekend will be Just great.
 Nancy Wilson-Schick


Sally Schmacht-Nichols


Hello to all of you.  I was waiting before I wrote to see if I would be able to make it to the reunion -- but it looks as though I probably won't.  There is always the possibility however...


I was so happy to read the bios of those of you who wrote one and find out what has occurred in your life since graduation.  I'd love to be at the reunion and find out a little more from others of you.  I have been to two reunions and it was truly wonderful to see you all grown up after so many years.  It was like a magic trick.  The last time I had seen you we were all teenagers and then there you were -- thirty years older -- and you all looked so good.


My bio:  I went to Elmhurst College in the fall of '54 and transferred to Wichita State in the spring of '57 from which I graduated in the summer of '58.  Soon after I moved to Los Angeles and married my husband in 1962.  My son, Dimitri, was born in 1964, and David in 1966.  In 1975 I moved with my family to Austin, TX where I enrolled at the University of Texas (UT).  I received a Master's degree in Library and Information Science in 1978, and another Master's in South Asian history in 1982.  I worked in the main library at UT until 1988 when I moved to Worcester, MA to work at Holy Cross College where I was Head of the Cataloging Dept. in their library.  Always planning to eventually return to Austin, I did so in December of 1996.  I then worked in the Manuscripts Dept. in their Research Center at UT on a grant.  When the grant expired I worked as a school tutor tutoring children from 3rd to 6th grades in reading and math.  Now I am retired -- hooray! -- although I do still tutor occasionally privately.


I am so sorry we have lost so many of our classmates.  I can hardly believe they are no longer on this earth.    By the way, the list we received of those who will be coming to the union has indeed made me all the more want to attend.  If I do not, I will certainly be thinking of you that week-end and following you along with my thoughts. (Follow on the website, too, Sally...Bill)


My home is definately Austin.   My sons still live here, thank goodness, and they've given me five grandchildren, ages 7 - 14.  I have a dog and a parrot living with me.  Now that I'm retired, I finally have time to give attention to my personal interests.  I like to prepare really good, unusual, and healthful food and I've put in some beautiful gardens in my yard and have all the heavy duty yard work that goes with a yard.  I've also studied personal coaching, hypnosis, massage, and various alternative healing methods.  My main focus now is the exploration of consciousness (inner space).  I also read a lot (after all, I was a librarian : )  ).  But I don't do as much dancing any more : (  .  I hope more of you will send in your bios -- and a picture too.  I love reading them.


1961-- YM/YWCA trip to
Hungary, USSR, and Poland. Visited Moscow,  Stalingrad  (now Volgograd), Sochi, Kiev, Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).   My  favorite  trip.

1962 --Year in
on a Fulbright. Taught ESL, on the national  track  team--100 meters, 110 hurdles, discus, shot put, relays--and running  from  bullets from political unrest

1965 -- Experiment in International Living,
Nigeria--with a stop in  Rome
.  The weirdest experiences living with families in a number of cities.   One  great, the rest material for a horror novel.

1968-- Co-leader of student group from the U of Wisc. in
Brazil. Lived  with  families, recreation program with kids in the slums, visited Manaus,  Brazilia, Belo Horizonte, Rio, Sao Paola, and Salvador

Fun trips: 
Dominican Republic a number of times, the Cayman Islands  (scuba), Cuba, Jamaica

Baha'i pilgrimage:
Haifa, Israel

Teaching Spanish aboard warships in the
Persian Gulf with stops on the  way  home: Bahrain, Oman, Dubai, Singapore, Darwin, Australia, Naples,  Italy,  Spain.

Hi, Bill,

Would you please throw out the travel list by my name.  That is simply  a  very misleading view of what I am all about.  Instead, you should let  classmates know that I have the dubious honor of being accomplished in  many  ways--while at the same time can be considered the least successful  member  of the class of '54--due to a number of virulent forms of  discrimination  that have destroyed 90% of the quality of my life and 95% of my  potential to  contribute to society in the ways that I have the desire and capacity  to do.

If anyone is interested, just a few "lowlights" will help them to  understand  the above statement:

1965:   I am very allergic to tobacco smoke, dust and pollen. Doctors  over  the years have given me pills to alleviate this. While teaching at a  high  school in Detroit (Spanish/English) an unscrupulous doctor gave me a  shot of  streptomycin up my nose instead which destroyed 80% of my hearing  within 1/2  an hour and left me instead with the cacaphony of tinnitus 24/7  (buzzing,  cricket sounds, squeaking, etc.) He and every other doctor I consulted  for  15 years, including at two universities, looked me in the eye and said,  "No,  it could not have been the medicine."'

I finally met a doctor with integrity who said, "Yes, that medicine  destroyed your hearing."  I sent that info to an attorney in Detroit  who  informed me that "You have a right to sue him for $1,000,000 for doing  that  to you, but unfortunately the statute of limitations (5 years) has  passed."

I have survived with two hearing aids until two years ago when I had  cochlear implant surgery in my right ear because it had deteriorated to  a  level of uselessness.

1974-1982  I went back to college fulltime to get a Ph.D. in Spanish &  Latin  American Literature.  No one in my family on either side back to the  days of  slavery ever went to college so I did this for my family as well as to  prepare myself for college teaching.  (1981) I met a wonderful woman  with  two great teens whom I loved and planned to marry as soon as I  completed the  degree work and  got set in a job. I considered myself one of the top  10  people in my field so it would simply be a matter of picking the best  offer  from the tons that would come pouring in, I assumed.

May, 1982: Graduation.  I sent out 30 job applications across the  country...and never received back even one response! I continued that  exercise in futility for the next 2 1/2 years with the same result--so  with  no job, no future, and no hope, I ended the relationship and have lived  instead with the acid pain of loss eating at my guts for the past 22  plus  years: no love, no relationship, no intimacy, no family, no home, no  economic stability, no grandkids, no nothing. Because of the constant  pain,  I don't know if I will survive to the next reunion, so that is why I am  sharing this with you now.

I also went into deep depression which I am finally getting some  control  over with the aid of an anti-depressant (effexor).

Instead of being at the top of my income earning years as a college  professor, I survived over the next 16, self-employed teaching and  lecturing  on self-defense, personal safety and anti-violence.  I believe that I  have  done quite a bit of good in this field, but being self-employed meant  no  health or life insurance, living hand-to-mouth, and minimal  contributions to  a meaningful retirement.  Instead of $3-5,000 a month that I should be  living on, I am jobless (not retired), living in a shelter for the  homeless,  and subsisting on $778 a month in social security benefit.  The state  paid  for my cochlear implant surgery ($60,000) so that was one benefit of  being  destitute.

1996:  An idiot driving at high speed on wet pavement plowed into the  back  on my car at a stop light which caused permanent and severe damage to  my  lower back.  I went to a doctor the next day, bent over and unable to  stand  up straight.  I told him about the accident.  He responded, "Well, take  two  aspirin and come back and see me in two weeks." I went to another  doctor  instead. I should have sued him for medical malpractice, but depression  prevented me from doing that.  I worked with a physical therapist over  100  times and had a comparable number of visits with a chiropractor over  several  years which helped a great deal.  But the injury and pain are  permanent.

1998:  I got my first teaching job after 16 years!  I could no longer  think  about teaching literature (after three years absence, it's like being a  computer expert who hasn't touched computers for that length of time)  but I  could still teach basic language course--on a 1 year basis to replace  people  on sabbatical, generally is all that I could hope for.  I have had  three of  those kinds of positions since, plus two 8-week courses teaching on  navy  ships doing duty in the Persian Gulf.

I created two concepts and programs that I know could be of great value  to  society: "Commitment to Courage" which can help to reduce social  violence at  all levels--from domestic abuse to gang predations to international  conflicts--and "The Love Pyramid" which can be used as a counseling  tool to  help people understand the dynamics of both positive and negative  relationships.  I still have hope that I might one day be able to carry  these forward, but I am in no position to do so at the moment.

I am happy for all of you who have accomplished much and have wonderful  families to enjoy.  Happy Holidays to everyone and may the New Year be  a  most blessed and prosperous one for you all.

Tom Washington


(From Bill... Tom's had a tough road, he's been tested mightily. He's going to need a lot of hugs when we get to see him.)

From Dave Stephenson:


Life since graduation has been both diverse and rewarding.  I was fortunate to have a career choice in mind by graduation.  My decision of becoming a geologist perhaps was preordained given a Scottish ancestry (Scotland being the home to early, very influential geologists), our family farm on the ROCK River, and of course attending ROCKY High. 


Early jobs included shifts at several farm implement factories in Moline to finance attendance at Augustana and with the Illinois State Geological Survey to finance graduate school.  Once all degrees were obtained, my various hats and assignments included: professor of geology (University of Wisconsin-Madison), geosciences consulting firm owner and president, president of two geosciences professional societies, three-time U.S. representative to UNESCO in Paris, advisor to a number of university science departments, working on pineapple and banana plantations in Central America, participating with the former Atomic Energy Commissions underground nuclear testing in Nevada, and continuing now as a consultant in water and geologic hazard issues in the western U. S. and as an Adjunct Professor with the University of Wyoming. 


From two marriages I have four daughters, two of whom are still in college (can any others of our class say that?).  One daughter works for the State of Wisconsin in Madison, one owns an art gallery in Phoenix, one is at St. Olafs College in Minnesota (political science major), and one at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (engineering mechanics and aeronautics).  We are also fortunate to now live in such a scenic and geologically historic and (shades of Ray Nolin) cowboy-oriented place as Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which is my eighth state of residence.  The others included Illinois, Colorado, Washington, Nevada, Wisconsin, California, and Arizona, in that order. 


I agree with Phil Hubbart when he talked of a Midwestern character and of how that character gets ingrained.  Wherever we travel, Midwestern-raised folks stand out with their friendly and genuine approach to life.


My wife, Heidi, and I will be at the big event in September, where I possibly will be one of the few non-retired persons from the class of 54.  Maybe the organizing committee should have a prize for not being retired.  I recall winning a jug of wine at our 30th class reunion for being the newest parent.  Dennis Sheets will likely travel the longest distance.  Jack Ullemeyer will still look the most like his graduation picture and Tom Washington will look the least like his graduation picture (he grew up at least a foot). 


See you all in Rock Island.


Dewey Flemming


After high school, I worked at Servus Rubber before going into the Air Force and serving 4 years as an electronics technician specialist in special weapons.  I served 2 years in the Pacific - Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Iwo Jima and a lot of other islands.  The last 2 years I was stationed in Florida

After getting out of the service in 1960, I met Shirley Riddell from
Milan and we married in 1961.  We have 3 sons: 

Jeff, an electronics repair technician, who lives near Milan and has a 12 year old daughter;

Tim, an accountant on Rock Island Arsenal, who married Jackie Swanson and has 2 sons, 1 1/2 and 4, and lives in East Moline; and

Joel, in Freeport, who married Starr Smith and has 3 children - a daughter 8 1/2 and sons 6 and 2 1/2, and is a systems analyst for Honeywell Corporation.

I graduated from
Black Hawk College and worked for AMETEK in East Moline
where I took an electrical apprenticeship.  I worked there as an electrician until they closed and then went to Farmall where I worked as an electrician until Farmall closed.  Then I worked as an electrician for the contractor on Rock Island Arsenal.  I quit working in 1996 and my wife retired from Installations and Services Activity at Rock Island Arsenal in 1997. 

We have enjoyed traveling, camping, and hiking in all 50 states.  We especially enjoyed taking a pickup camper to
Alaska for 2 months and to Nova Scotia
for 6 weeks.  We enjoy playing with our 6 grandchildren.   I also enjoy woodworking and have helped remodel and update homes for each of my sons.  I've made many pieces of furniture and toys for family and friends.

We have also volunteered for various projects in the community and at church.  I have served on the Andalusia Village Council for 32 years and coached my sons' baseball and basketball teams.  I also served as Cub Master for many years.  My wife and I work with another couple to run the food pantry at Edgington Presbyterian Church. 

Ray Nolin
                                    	Always look forward to returning to my home town for reunions. Even 
                                    more anxious after spending time with you and Elsbeth in Phoenix. It is 
                                    always special catching up with folks from RIHS'54.
                                    	Through the years my career took me to New York, Washington DC, 
                                    Chicago and a number of Illinois cities. People would say, "Oh you're 
                                    from the QuadCities and I would say---"no, I'm from Rock Island." I 
                                    don't know if that is RI/Moline competition or just hometown pride but 
                                    it was important to me even if it didn't impress anyone in Manhattan or 
                                    "K" street in DC.
                                    	Currently Kitty and I live in Steamboat Springs, CO and St George, UT 
                                    and try to keep pace with a busy ski and hike schedule with a little 
                                    travel to England and France. We recently sold our Naples, FL residence 
                                    and became full time "westerners." A RI cowboy. (After all Buffalo Bill 
                                    is from LeClaire, IA)
                                    	In 1975 I had an interesting experience of being a Congressional 
                                    Fellow, sponsored by The Conference Board, and spent a year as an ATT 
                                    executive on loan to the US House of Representatives. My role was to 
                                    help implement an on-line computer system in Congressional offices. 
                                    Unfortunately we were successful and now no one can shut them up.
                                    	On returning to ATT I spent a number of years in various positions in 
                                    marketing, personnel and regulatory roles (couldn't find anything I 
                                    could do) before going into government relations. A very interesting 
                                    time in dealing with the US Congress's efforts to break up the Bell 
                                    System in their own unique fashion. They were unsuccessful. In 1991, I 
                                    retired from BellSouth as VP-Federal Relations.
                                    	I suppose I was drawn to government through the many hours of debate 
                                    with Phil Hubbart, Marty Katz , Norm Lefstein and others. We had great 
                                    fun and they will always be special friends. Another reason was that 
                                    after time as a Central JHS football guard and Wheeler and company 
                                    running over me it was time to find a new endeavor,
                                    	My greatest pride and joy comes from our three kids and their 
                                    families. Kitty and I are working on making our 4 grandkids who live in 
                                    Maine and Illinois into Steamboat skiers and hikers. We are making 
                                    great progress. See you in September.    Ray

Joan Bryant (Carlton)


Bill, as I read the biographies of some of our classmates I realized that we all shared an important beginning point in our growing up at Rocky.  For some, Rocky was a time of great confidence and achievement; while for others, Rocky was a place that we did not yet have the confidence to participate in fully.  While I enjoyed watching others take an active part in many activities, I participated in only a few myself.  I did have fun with several good friends and meet Allan there - that was a great bonus in my life.  As Allan has stated in his biography, we have two children and four grandchildren which we adore.


I worked in Rock Island as an elementary teacher for about twenty years, and then we moved to the Washington D.C. area.  While I loved teaching children, I left teaching and began a new career developing computer programs.   Instead of always giving, I began to have the confidence to take as well. I started as an analyst and a programmer.  I ended up managing large Information Systems contracts for Treasury.  It was at this time that I realized that I was intelligent, competent, and could achieve many things if I decided to.  I am now retired, enjoying our family and traveling.


Its funny how a place, and time, in our lives can make us feel about ourselves. It will be interesting to see how I feel about Rocky when we come to our 50th reunion.   


Hello Bill...


It was nice to hear about the plans for the 50th.  


I was up in the Smoky Mts. when we received the notice back in July.  We escaped the Florida heat and pulled our camper trailer to N. Carolina where we spent 5 months working at a Forest Service campground.  We did simple stuff and were through by noon to enjoy the fantastic weather. We were only at about 4000 feet but that elevation is enuf to cool things down nicely.  


Have you retired from practice? 


Retirement is quite pleasant when one has things to do as in hobbies, travelling, etc.   


Well here are my highlights from over the decades.  Sounds heavy, man. To make a long story short. Who's short!!  Oh, I said that, sorry.


Spent 27 years teaching school with the last 17 at our old rival, Moline High.   Had a nice career of coaching wrestling and was inducted into the Ill. Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame.


Proud father of two grown daughters, Kim and Kristin.  Kim is a CPA with two girls and a son and Kristin is a teacher with 3 children also, two boys and a girl.  How time flys. One grandson is in the Marines. All of them are smart and  funny and a lot taller than me! (one grandson wears a size 13 shoe. I slept in it one night when I visited.)     


Got the travel bug...Aruba, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Istanbul, Dublin,  and my all time favorite (so far) Thailand. A re nowned scientist informed me,"Thai girls are the cause of Global Warming".    


New hobby...took up windsurfing in Fla and won 2nd place in Nationals for age group 55 up.  We raced off the coast of Hilton Head Island back in  1992.   


I certainly would love to purchase a copy of the class booklet when available and it seems as if the committee is doing another outstanding job.     


Harry Lester      

ll00 Curlew Rd. #215     

Dunedin, Florida  34698       


Hi, Rocky High Friends!


I've been all but out of email circulation since October when we decided to move to an adult community. ( I had to forge documents to get in because you had to be 55, or over . . . Yeah, I know HA! ) 


We made a "life style change", but our new home ain't much smaller than our previous abode of 22 years. We're in a community soon to be about 3,000 strong< or weak, depending on how you look at it called Heritage at Eagle Bend with lovely Club House, Golf course, lots of planned activities, etc. I guess they figure we're to feeble to plan our own activities.  It's located on the east side of Metro Denver.  We immediately made quite a few changes to our new home, including doing our own contracting of a new rec room, bath, & bedroom. 


We have a wide view of the mountains from our deck. We closed on our former home & the new home on the same day.  I enjoyed building our house in Homewood! But living in this new home simultaneously making lots of changes has been hectic & demanding.  We're on a  postage stamp lot so I won't have a chance to do some gardening like I used to. 


We still own and operate  2 car washes & emissions testing stations in Albuquerqueand retirement for me is about 4 or 5 years off . . . I told Kathy that no matter how great the new place looks when we're finally finished, it won't have been worth it.  Just kidding, I think . . .


We're looking forward to meeting Tammy & the kids at Cocoa Beach Florida and off to Disney during spring break for a week and also to spend several weeks with close friends & both brothers in Siesta Key prior to the family thing.


We had brunch with friends Stan ( 2 time Mayor of Moline & wife, Willie Leach) when they came to Denver for the annual Mayor's Conference several months ago.  You all may remember that fateful night after a Maroons - Rocky basketball game when Stan "stood down" a crowd of Rock Islanders just outside our fieldhouse daring anyone who had guts enough to fight . . . That night will live in disgraceful infamy. Why can't I just forget it?


Also, Dick Lovelace & wife live north of Sarasota & we hope to interrupt his peaceful retirement if we get half a chance!


Wonder if Bill Allred & band have another Gig in Fort Meyers this year. 


This is probably more information than most of you want to know, but I'd love hearing a brief update from you.


See you in September of "04.


Bob Manhard


Hope  all is well with you two!


Bob & Kathy


(Bill's note:  Regarding Bill Allred. We have information that he and his wife will be attending the reunion. He will not be playing, he's going to be just plain Bill. )

Milt Beeman:
Hi Bill....I am now living in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I took 20
yr. retirement from the ministry and moved to New Jersey where
we lived for 20 yrs.  In early 2002 we moved back to Indiana to
be near the family. I am married, have three children and 8
grandchildren.  Being in Indianapolis, I am a Big Indpls. Colts
fan as well as the Indiana        PACERS. I also enjoy Indy car
racing.  I am working part time selling major appliances.  I
look forward to Sept. '04...Milt

Chuck DeCrane

Bill, received the letter regarding the 50th reunion in September '04.  I haven't attended any of the previous reunions, but am certainly looking forward to this one.

A brief look at my life since graduation:

After graduating in '54, moved to San Diego, CA.  I worked in Aerospace industry for 18 years as a designer/design engineer.  Employed at Rohr Corporation, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed & Northrop.  Worked on design elements for B52H, P3V, B58, B770, Gemini Space Capsule, F-4K, DC-9, C5, C-141, 727, 737, 747, L1011, F-14, DC-10 & C130. 

San Diego is also where I met my wife, Shirley, who sadly passed away in June of 2002.  44 years of marriage produced three children and one grandchild. 

In 1972 I left the aerospace industry and moved to Louisiana to work in machine design, designing packaging equipment.  In 1980, I established my own company, Custom Equipment Design, Inc. (CED), designing and manufacturing packaging equipment for major companies such as Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, John Deere, etc.  We currently have equipment in operation in Mexico, South America, Mainland China, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea, Northern Europe, Italy, etc., including the U.S.

Please feel free to update me on the reunion plans by mail, along with e-mail to:

Thank you and look forward to seeing everyone next year!

Chuck DeCrane
Custom Equipment Design, Inc.
1057 Hwy 80 East
Monroe, LA  71203
(318) 345-2222 ext 222 or 224


Dear Bill,

 I understand that you are collecting reflections of the RIHS class of  1954 in preparation for our 50th reunion next September.  Although Thomas Wolfe  once famously wrote that you can't go home again, perhaps one canif only  briefly, and then only in memory. Anyway, I'll give it a try.

 For me, my formative years at RIHS were bittersweet.  Setting aside the  bitter and recalling only the sweet, I remember with great fondness the  following:

At the top of the list, my experiences on the debate team with our  coach P.J. Martin and my friends Marty Katz, Ray Nolin, and Norman Leftstein.  This experience together with my college debate experience  helped  prepare me for a later legal career, both as a lawyer and an appellate judge. I have since kept in touch with Marty and Ray. But
Norman sort of slipped away from me after we debated together at Augustana College [and incidentally won the  National Collegiate Debate Tournament at West Point
in 1957].

The Jr.-Sr prom my senior year. Caryl Marsh, whatever happened to  you?

The ventriloquist act I used to do for school assemblies and for the  "Enterteeners" [a local teenage talent group]. I still have my dummy "Woody."   He sits in the garage among the cobwebs to be disturbed only occasionally for grandchildren.

Mr. Sents, my history teacher. A college-caliber teacher. The best  teacher I had in high school.

Running cross-country my sophomore year with Don Bawmann whom I lost  track of long ago.

Covering RIHS basketball games for the Davenport Democrat.

Making the National Honor Society.

 At the time I left Rocky High in 1954, I vowed never to return again --  embarrassed I guess at my adolescent immaturity, and full of eagerness to  forget high school, to reinvent myself as an adult, and to "make it" in the world.  Fifty years later I see how important those days were for me.  There is such  a thing as a midwest character, and that character was indelibly stamped on me  without my quite knowing it. After living in
Miami, Fla. for the past 40  years far from the midwest, I know this only too well. Indeed, Marty Katz and I  were recently reflecting what a wonderful time it was to grow up in Rock  Island
in the 1950's. For me, RIHS was a big part of that experience, an  experience I will never forget.



 Phillip A. Hubbart  RIHS Class of 1954




Roland Stoleson:
Hope you plan reunion for early July--I have a National
Smokejumper Association reunion in Missoula in June
                                    and since I'm am
president of that 1600 member organization, want to be there.  But would also
                                    be at the Rocky High 50 year event.  By the way, my mother told me a few
weeks ago that she
                                    saw an article in the LaCrosse Wisconsin paper about Bill
Allred, your cohort in the Corn Band etc. 
                                    He is still playing Jazz and so is
his son. 
They were both at the annual Jazz festivle in LaCrosse.  Do you
have any contact
                                    with him??

 Editor: Rollie did exactly as he had wished, he was a Forest Ranger and rose in the ranks.  (Bill)



Carmen Berchekas:
Received your e-mail message concerning the
                                    reunion.  Let me
know what I can do to assist....even though I am in south Florida.  In response
to your questionairre
                                    concerning what type of music....almost any type
that might include the members of the Corn Band as participants...although
I am not positive
                                    if all members are alive. (It won't work...Bill)
 Carmen Berchekas Campbell






Thanks. I could not pull  up the RIHS54 Invitation, by the way.

Of course you are still working, you are a doctor aren't you!  Yes, I am retired from the  financial world, and am dedicating my time to ornithology... writing and guiding international birdwatchers who come to Ecuador for the ultimate experience. Quite a few MDs are amateur birdwatchers... I guess the "differential diagnosis" thing applies to identifying closely related species of birds as it does in medicine. I may be off to Papua New Guinea part of next year as a financial consultant for the old company I worked for in Washington DC. I seem only to go to the countries where one cannot drink the water!!!!  I do plan to make it to RI for the 50th Stay well, Dennis Sheets 






I just finished perusing your website.  It was gratifying and exhilerating to view your images of family and travels.  I was so impressed!  It appears that you have accomplished so much and at the same time done some good in this world.  I appreciated your ability to express who you are and at the same time allow your vulnerbility to shine through.  Wow!!!

Where am I?   I live in Toms River, NJ.  
Who am I?  I am a retired marriage, family and child therapist.  I had a practice in
Woodland Hills, CA
for about 15 years.  I am now a water colorist, teacher (English as a Second Language) and a Literacy Volunteer.  I have four daughters, Lisa, Keely, Eleni and Roxanne and one grandchild (Hendrix).  

I have been married twice, a widow and a divorcee.

Comment:   I have a newspaper photo of you and me at the annual Snowball that we attended when we were seniors!  Unfortunately, it only shows your back, however, you are immediately recognizable by the tilt of your head.  I wish I could send it to is old and faded.  (Almost 50 years ago....impossible!)  

I wish you and your wife blessed good health and hope all goes well.

Take good care Bill...





I live in Arlington Wa, a small town 50 miles north of Seattle.
I retired 3 years ago from Metro Transit of Seattle. I am currently back playing and teaching music which I did prior to employment with Metro.  I was a Trumpet player at Rocky but I play guitar and keyboard now.
I remember Bill Allred of course as we were in Band together.   Tony Rosa Gastaldo and I were in the same homeroom together.  Zane 


John Lowitz, MD
University of Illinois Med School, psychiatry residency, practiced in California, involved with his wife in an Eating Disorder Clinic. Retired and taking care of his teenage daughter.

Ron Schroeder:

       Retired from railroading in 1996, after almost 40 years.  Started out with the Rock Island Lines, ended up with BN and it's affiliates.
       Married Sally Reuther ('55') in 1956.  We enjoy traveling; have been throughout the
and been on over 25 cruises to four continents.
       Hobbies: gardening (roses & vegetables), traveling, sports and
       (unfortunately) the Cubs.
       Children:  Two sons, four grandchildren, two great-grand babies.

Bill Withrow


Bill Withrow entered the Navy in July, 1954. Married Jackie Timmerman of East Moline in 1957. Had three children Bill, Jr., Debbie and Linda. Stationed in Virginia 1954 to 1960, was transfered to Alameda, California. Discharged from the Navy in 1964 and remained in California. Went to college and graduated with a degree in business and accounting from Golden Gate University, San Francisco. Worked for the Department of Defense as a auditor and retired in 1992. Worked another five years as an auditor for a private firm until he had major health problems and retired for good. Moved back home in 1999. Have a beautiful home in East Moline. All three children have relocated here and we are very happy to be back home. We are the proud grandparents of seven grandchildren.  Looking forward to seeing everyone at the reunion.




Earl Pealstrom


God has been good to me.  I've been here in Calif since 1957 after three year "Kiddy Cruise" in the U.S.S. Norfolk (U.S.N.)  It has really been great...I stood Generator switchboard watches aboard ship, and God led me to Southern Calif Edison Co. to stand switchboard watches in varions forms for 35 years. Isn't He great!.   As a member of the dispatching shift at Devers Substation north of Palm Springs, I was involved in the Devers-Palo Verde 500Kv project.   The 500Kv System is really a horse of a strange color.   The hairs on your head actually stand up when you walk through the U.H.V switch rack.  I teach junior boy's (4th, 5th & 6th grade) Sunday School class at Calvary Baptist Church in Yucca Valley.


My hobbies are:  Ham Radio; I have an old Swan 350 (1963 model) HF transciever and a Heathkit antenna match.  Is anyone in the class into ratchet-jawing?  I also have a small HO scale latout and I mutilate pieces of leather now and again.   I am interested in Biblical Archaeology.  How about that Ossuary with the names of James, Joseph and Jesus that just recently came to light!


 Earl Pealstrom


Sara Buck
Dear Bill:

I live in the Grand Strand area, known as "the golf capital of the world!"  Myrtle Beach, SC, however, I actually live just about 3 miles from the North Carolina border.  My home is approximately 3 miles from the ocean on the West side of the Intercoastal Waterway.  Our development is actually "addressed" as Little River, SC, "Blue Crab Capital of the World."

That beautiful sky you see is "Carolina Blue" sky and it was 71 degrees here today.  It's down to 61 now and will get into the mid 50's unless it's very clear and then it could be low 50's. 

I used to live in North Myrtle Beach just .3 of a mile from the ocean before I built the new house.  Mine was the first lot sold in Ashton Acres and I designed this one to accommodate my "changing needs."  I still failed to see some of the needs that were yet to come.  There are 100 lots in "AA" and only 3 remain unsold and about 6 lots yet to be built on.  We have lived here 2 years, March 2003.

I sold my condo this April which is located in Myrtle Beach on Myrtle Wood Golf Course in "Magnolia Place."  It had been eating me alive for two years and I operated at a loss the entire time I owned it!  Duh, no not blond, I had bought it to live in.  First floor, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, w/swimming pool right behind me and scaling down from over 1400 sq. ft. to 900.  It was perfect for one person, then all hell broke loose.  I met Clark and "my plans got changed!"

So, instead of scaling down, I built a bigger home, w/"Clark's Place" to the right of the garage.  The garage is still 1/2 "full of our stuff," so the new van that my elec chair goes into is inside and my Lincoln stays outside.  When you move two homes together, excess stuff.  You know the drill, maybe?  Two bread makers, two dining room sets, extra dishes, etc., but no extra money DAMN, LMAO!

Hugs 'n such,
Sara Wicklund-Buck

Ted Knudson


I just spent a good part of the evening going over every piece of the RIHS54 site you prepared and put on the web for us to see, marvel, remember, wonder, and "cry."


Thank you!  Lots of time has passed though it does really seem like yesterday. From the message you've included it seems as though all goes well with and for you.  Me too!  Judy and I will soon be celebrating our 46th wedding anniversary, and that too doesn't seem possible.  Those Boetje girls turned out to be pretting darned good women and I was very forturnate that one of them was meant for me ... a real soulmate!


I retired after 38 years in education as a teacher, coach, principal, business administrator and school superintendent.  A great career ... and I feel I truly contributed to the betterment of a lot of lives, student and staff alike.  Very rewarding, but after four years "off the job," not missed nearly so much.


It will be good to see classmates again (as if I'll be able to recognize them) ... just have to swallow my pride, bend over, and read the nametag so I can get it right the first time.


I'm going to leave for now, but, if I can be of any assistance in data gathering, let me know and I'll do the best I can.


Ted Knudsen 



I AM Sherry Jean Huntley who graduated from RIHS in 1954 (still have my diploma).

I married Donald Watson in 1956, had one son (Ronald) who lives in Mesa. I have 4 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Divorced Watson in '79, married Bob Tucker in '81. Divorced him in '90 and took back my maiden name, Huntley.

Single for 13 years, living in Tucson on 1.25  acres where I have had Arabian Horses, currently 5 Shi Tzus for company.

I didn't get a class ring or photo in the year-book because I spent the first semester in Oregon.

My friends were Janeen LeGuire, Mary Ruth Niles, Sonya Marks and I remember you, too.

Thanks,  Sherry


Ron Olsen,   50 years, say it isn't so, I retired the day I turned 55, 37 year's in the plumbing and heating trade was enough for me, I now enjoy the good life, travel, new cars, and being married to the girl I met in grade school, dated thru Washington Jr High, Rocky and then married her in 1957. She did date other boys but she always came back to me (lucky her, lol) who is this girl you ask, its Cecily Ann Barta, also class of 54, 46 years of good company and having lots of fun together. We have two daughters, four grandchildren, two of which just graduated from Rocky, it was great to see the school again. We live in East Moline Ill, love the Quad Cities.
     We built a new home here in 1972 and still live here, a few years back I had a four season sun room built on, all glass enclosed, put in a Hotsprings hot tub spa, seats eight people, 36 jets, really helps the old bones, (swim suits is a option) I have a wet bar, fridge, TV, really great for sporting events, let the games begin (and the beer)   We have three other family members, they are show quality Ragdoll cats and we dearly love them (Cecily wants one more and I say if I can have a new Corvette, its a stand off right now)  Cecily"s main hobby is making beautiful quilts, she works on them night and day and she loves doing it, she sells them as fast as she can make them to people all over the country, keeps her out of trouble.       Ces and Ron (Barta) Olsen



I am the former Janene LeGuire.  In l955 I married Stanley Carver. We had a  daughter Colleen born in l957.

We divorced in l968. I married Donald Collins  in l971. He had three children.

We then had one of our own.  We both  legally adopted each others Children. So, for many years it has been one big happy  family.

Now with six great grandchildren..

Over the years I  worked at the Modern Woodmen of America and was a member if several local  service and fraternal organizations.

I served as officers in many of them.

My  biggest feat was for twelve years I was associated with the Rock Island Summer  Festival.

As on of the originating members of the fest., It was a big step  serving as Queen chairman and many other positions.

But believe the  fest has really changed over the past.

I am now working as the Library Aide at  
Lincoln School in Rock Island.

It is so enjoyable to be able to spend time with  so many youngsters.

I finally landed a paid job at
, as I volunteered  there for so many years I can't count them.

The library is in the "new  school" that was built after Central Junior High burned.

I would  very much like to get in touch with Sherry Huntley. We Had so many good times  together. It would be great to hear from her.

Also, can remember the great  times with others.  My biggest thing that my family hears about is the PepBand.   My daughter was a band member and in what was called "PepBand" nothing like  the one in our days.

Still live in
Rock Island not  far from Rocky on Stadium Drive.  Would llike to hear from anyone.


Bill, after graduation I attended Augustana; married Joan Carlton; had a son, Jack, and a daughter, Nancy and began an 8 year stretch in the Marine Corps Reserves.  I worked in the private sector as an accountant, and became an Army employee in 1966.  I stayed with the Army until my retirement in 1998. During this time I received a degree from Upper Iowa University, studied and worked in Management Science and moved to Army Material Command (AMC) Hdqts in Washington D.C. in 1980.


At AMC, I directed the activities of teams of engineers, accountants and systems specialists in evaluating the adequacy of and trouble shooting management systems used by most of the Army defense contractors in the US and some overseas; working in almost every state in the US including Hawaii, as well as in Europe, Kuwait and Turkey.


I was  part of a team that created the government and industry guidelines for the development and management of  Project Management Systems. I was involved with almost all the major weapon systems used by DOD in the Gulf Wars.


Since retiring, I have been assisting the Army and the Navy as a Management Consultant on a part time basis.  When not working, Joan and I have visited 35 countries in all but one continent, as well as islands in the Pacific, i.e.. Guam, Saipan, Palau and Pelilui. We intend to stay active as long as the good Lord allows us to be.


Allan Bryant


Bill McCabe
   After med school the Air Force sent me to Italy for a couple years.  Practiced in Davenport and Bettendorf till 1984 when we relocated to Arizona.
   I've been in full time family practice and managing a couple of Physician groups since the move to AZ.
   I've traveled a lot, you can follow some of those travels in the pictures on Webshots, accessible from my website:
    April 2006 I married Karen Kane-Unger (RIHS '56) (my senior-year sweetheart). I moved back to the QC (home in Coal Valley) and am working as a physician in the ER at Genesis in Davenport. I've met lots of old patients and even sutured a 40 year old I delivered during my practice years in Davenport-Bettendorf.
I've enjoyed getting to know my kids, grandkids and sisters who are happy to have me home. I've been blessed with a new extended family from Karen (even 3 great grand children).