ST. MARYS — Attendees of the St. Marys Memorial High School Class of 1961 reunion will receive a special surprise this weekend.
Members of the reunion committee have put together a book containing pictures of past reunions, old schools and class pictures in addition to information on each of the 141 classmates they could contact. Committee members Bill Huber and Rosemary Poppe Goodwin did the bulk of the work, compiling a list of all their classmates and contacting all they could find and including information from obituaries of classmates that are deceased. Huber said the committee wanted to do something special for the 50th reunion.
“When we started planning for the reunion, we were just going to do a little booklet, but this is our 50th, so we tried to make something extra special,” Huber said, noting that idea continued to grow, as the booklet turned into a loose leaf copy, which turned into the hardcover that was published.
Huber said everyone who attends the dinner or contributed to the book will receive a copy of the 100-page hardback, in addition to a copy that was donated to the St. Marys Community Public Library, something the committee felt was important.
“From day one, donating a book to the library was something we wanted to do,” Huber said. “It’s not only about the history of St. Marys, it’s a good research tool for people that want to do family history.”
Huber noted that in addition to the help with tracking family history, the book can show area residents the how the area has changed over time.
“Being around 50 years, it’s amazing how much St. Marys has changed,” he said. “If you live here, you don’t see it because it happens a little bit at a time.”
The book can also allow classmates to connect, Huber said.
“They can remember their classmates, who they were, maybe connect with classmates,” he said.
“And there are people who are married to our classmates that are from different classes — the class before or the class after — they can all connect.”
Goodwin said she is happy with the outcome of all her hard work.
“I am very happy with it,” Goodwin said. “I was excited to see it. I’m proud we got it done.”
Huber said putting the book together took a lot of time.
“It’s a lot of work,” he said. “It’s a lot of evenings and a lot of dead ends.”
Goodwin said she was surprised by the amount of time it took.
“I didn’t realize the amount of time I was going to spend, but I think I have you have to put in the time and the effort,” she said.
He noted that the most challenging part of the process for him was finding his classmates.
“Some people didn’t want to be found,” Huber said, noting that a picture of the classmates that he and Goodwin were unable to find was included.
Goodwin also expressed that it was frustrating when they were not able to find classmates or get them to respond in a timely manner.
“When you’re doing it, you want to be responsible and you want to do something for everybody,” she said. “You want everybody to participate.”
Goodwin said she does not regret taking on the project.
“I don’t regret any of it,” she said. “I had a great time with it.”
Huber was also proud of what they were able to accomplish.
“There were interesting things and hitches along the way, but we got it all done,” he said.
Huber challenged future classes to take on the project as well.
“I’ll make the challenge to class of ‘62 to do the same thing,” he said. “And those (classes) after that because I think it’s neat.”