Class of “56” News Page
Current weather for the Ludington, Michigan (Mason County) Airport
The 64th reunion of the LHS class of “56” was held at the Waterfront Park Bandshell (South end of William street) in Ludington on Friday, September 11, 2020. (See the news article with pictures for September 11th below.)
The next class of “56” morning live brunch will take place at the Kotecki residence in Ludington on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. EDT. Make sure your email is on the invite list for details.
We are on the way to a new normal in a world of virus and vaccines.
March 31, 2021
The Class of “56” has been meeting on Zoom twice a month on the 3rd Tuesday morning and then a Tuesday morning either 2 or 3 weeks later, depending on the month. Make sure your email is on the invite list for Zoom calls. We send out a clickable link invitation to everyone on the invite list a day or two before each scheduled call.
Spring is here. Soon, if the weather warms up a bit, we may be able to have an in-person eyeball gathering at the Riverfront Park in Ludington. Yipeee!
March 7, 2021
We regret to report that John Arthur Reinberg aged 82 of Grand Rapids, formerly of Ludington passed into the loving arms of our Heavenly Father on Saturday, February 13, 2021 at Allendale Nursing and Rehabilitation Community.
John was born on November 11, 1938 in Ludington, the son of Arthur John and Florence Elizabeth (Bourgette) Reinberg and married Carolyn Pearl Hoch on September 10, 1966 in Ludington. John worked for many years at Outstate Tool & Die along with Handy Things Manufacturing located in Ludington and later on in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. John also served as a volunteer firefighter both in Ludington and Poplar Bluff. He proudly served his country with the United States Army from 1964-1966. John will be greatly missed by his wife of 54 plus years, Carolyn Pearl Reinberg of Grand Rapids; his daughters Susan (Dale) Ringold of White Cloud, and Annette Reinberg of Grand Rapids; and his granddaughter Tiffany Lynn Ringold of Grand Rapids. John was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters Dottie Sue Garzynski and Sally Marie Hartung. Cremation has taken place and a Celebration of Life service will be held at a later date. Those who wish to remember John with a memorial donation are asked to please consider the Alzheimer’s Association
December 23, 2020
We regret to report that Alice “Libby” Elizabeth Benson, 83, of Rockford, passed away Saturday, December 19, 2020. She was born July 5, 1937 the daughter of Kennard and Elizabeth Matthews.
In 1957 Libby married her childhood sweetheart Phil Benson. Together they were blessed with 63 years of marriage. Libby was a caretaker. She not only cared for her own children but also fostered countless children through the Catholic Social Services. She truly saw it as a ministry in her life. She enjoyed camping in her hometown of Ludington, but especially loved her peaceful view at their house on Brower Lake. The most important thing in her life was always her family. Libby was a spunky, funny, open-minded, loving woman. She will be deeply missed.
A prayer service will be held at 10:30 on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church, 4865 11 Mile Rd NE, Rockford, with Father Tony Russo officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Catholic Charities of West Michigan.
December 16, 2020
Eight classmates from 4 states met for a Third Tuesday breakfast online Zoom meeting yesterday morning. (December 15th) Not quite the same as the now foregone Big Boy breakfasts, but definitely a delight to speak with and see some (not so old) classmates. We are all excited (or apprehensive) about the newly announced Covid-19 vaccine(s) that, hopefully will someday allow us to meet with hugs and chow together, albeit for some, with teeth of questionable origin and body parts of unknown vintage. In the meantime, we try to keep the ever encroaching virus at bay with comment, advice, quoted facts and alarming figures, during the marvelous and entertaining video conferences that keep us in touch and active in our virtual (and real) confinement.
November 10, 2020
We are sad to report that Larry Allan Smith, aged 82, of Ludington, passed away on November. 8, 2020.
Larry was born in Lapeer on June 2, 1938. Larry will be greatly missed by his wife of 27 years Joan Smith; his three daughters Patty (Jim) Terryn, Janet (Dean) Raspotnik and Karen (Bruce) Larsen; stepdaughters Barbara (Carl) Galeana Cindy Urban and Nancy Urban; grandchildren Jamie (Nick) Eager, Billy (Jill) Terryn, Ryan (Alex) Raspotnik, DJ (Alecia) Raspotnik, Deana (Trevor) Schigur and Logan Larsen; stepgrandchildren Holly (Rich) Dodt and Derek (Kate) Wilson; five great-grandchildren and five stepgreat-grandchildren; and one brother Gilbert Charpie. He was preceded in death by his first wife Martha, infant son Daniel, his mother, two sisters and one brother.
He graduated from Ludington High School with the class of 1956 and the following year enlisted into the U.S. Army, serving his country for the next three years.
Larry married Martha Herrick in 1958 and settled in the Riverton area where they would raise their three daughters. During his lifetime he worked for Great Lakes Castings, 7-Up, Ludington Lumber and finally for Standard Lumber from which he retired.
In 1993 he married Joan Urban and they enjoyed many years together at Ford Lake and most recently residing in Ludington. They enjoyed their travels together and making life long memories. Larry loved the outdoors, especially deer hunting and fishing trips to Canada with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a huge supporter of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, rarely missing any of their extra-curricular activities.
Private family services will be held at this time with burial at Lakeview Cemetery in Ludington. A public gathering to celebrate his Life will be held at a later date
Memorial contributions in Larry’s name may be directed to the family. The family will distribute all contributions to local addiction and recovery centers. Larry was a proud member of AA for 17 years and he had a special place in his heart for the Walhalla AA Group.
October 20, 2020
The classmates had a lively Zoom conference today to catch up on the current news and views at our monthly breakfast meeting. It seems everyone is getting better at the ins and outs of video calls and virtual meetings. Not so easy to eat and gab when you are the star of a live video, but us older folks are quickly learning the protocols of the Twenty-First century.
September 22, 2020
Only a hardy few were at the regular 3rd Tuesday breakfast at Waterfront Park on September 22. The group decided to meet on Zoom at 10:00a.m. for the October 20th breakfast meeting.
September 15, 2020
Thirteen classmates met on Friday September 11th at the Waterfront Park Bandshell in Ludington for a socially distanced 64th reunion of the LHS and St. Simon class of “56”. Note the masks and outdoor seating. We brought our own lunch, under the sun and blue skies. It was a most unusual reunion for the most unusual of times. We all had a great time catching up on our activities in the midst of a pandemic and an economy reeling from the effects of a virus gone wild. Note the masks and lawn chairs for our circle of classmates.
August 18, 2020
Eight classmates met on Tuesday August 18 at the Waterfront Park Bandshell in Ludington for a socially distanced breakfast meeting. We had to move to the Gazebo in the park, because the bandshell roof was being repaired but it was a wonderful setting as noted in the photo below.
July 22, 2020
Nine of us classmates met at the Waterfront Park Bandshell in Ludington on Tuesday July 21 for a socially distanced breakfast meet. We had a great time with gab and grub and then some entertainment from Rob and Ione with a song about the coronavirus!
Here is a link to the song on a Google album:
We all “masked up” for this photo!
July 7, 2020
Here is our schedule of Class of “56” activities for July, August and September 2020.
Tuesday July 21 Meet for breakfast at 9:00 am at Waterfront Park in Ludington.
Bring your own food, drink, mask and chair (To allow social distancing).
Tuesday August 4: Zoom conference call. Hosted by Ione and Rob. Contact Ione and Rob via email for info and instructions to participate.
Tuesday August 18: Meet for breakfast at 9:00 am at Waterfront Park in Ludington.
Bring your own food, drink, mask and chair (To allow social distancing).
Tuesday September 1 Zoom conference call. Hosted by Ione and Rob.
Contact Ione and Rob via email for info and instructions to participate.
Friday September 11: LHS 64th Class of “56” Reunion at 11:00 am at the Waterfront Park Bandshell (South end of William street) in Ludington. Bring your own food, drink, mask and chair (To allow social distancing).
Tuesday September 22: Meet for breakfast at 9:00 am at Waterfront Park in Ludington.
Bring your own food, drink, mask and chair (To allow social distancing).
July 7, 2020
The Zoom video conference today allowed the group to catch up on our collective July 4 holiday happenings and decide on a schedule of activities for July, August and September 2020. (See the above post)
June 18, 2020
There is a Zoom video conference call scheduled for 9:00 am on July 7, 2020 for interested classmates. Contact Ione and Rob via email for info and instructions to participate.
This July 7 Zoom call is a follow-up to our June 2 video call.
June 16, 2020
Around 10 of us classmates met at the Waterfront Park bandshell in Ludington on Tuesday June 16 to test a new way of meeting in person after 3 months of required personal isolation due to the Covid-19 Caronavirus outbreak. It was absolutely beautiful weather, we brought our own food and drinks, and we were able to have a great socially distanced conversation to catch up on the activities and observations of us active seniors during the virus caused lockdown. We agreed to do it again on Tuesday July 21.
March 20, 2020
Dine-In service at all Michigan Bars and Restaurants is currently closed by order of Governor Gretchen Whitmer due to the Covid-19 Caronavirus outbreak.
The Class of 56 will have to meet by phone or social media in lieu of face-to-face meetings. We will update this report when the closure order is lifted and/or conditions return to normal and we can meet once again at the Big Boy.
March 29, 2020
We are sad to report that Caryl Barnett Ferguson, 81 of Ludington, passed away on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
Caryl was born on December 10, 1938 and was a member of the Ludington High School Class of “56”.
Caryl Jane (Barnett) Ferguson of Ludington, Michigan passed away in Sarasota, Florida on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at age 81 from complications after open-heart surgery. It was only recently she learned the source and severity of her impairment: a calcified mitral valve, undiagnosed and untreated for many decades. This “rheumatic valve” stemmed from childhood rheumatic fever she’d suffered as a five-year-old. In the end, after a bright and inspiring life, she deemed herself “Too pooped to participate.”
Caryl was predeceased by her parents, Harold “Barney” Barnett and Bertelle (Broom) Barnett, and by her husband of 50 years, Robert “Bob” Ferguson, who died in 2010.
Born on December 10, 1938 in Pontiac, Caryl Jane Barnett was raised on the shores of Lake Michigan, after moving to Ludington with her family in 1944. After graduating from Ludington High School in 1956, Caryl attended Michigan State University, where she received a degree in early childhood education in 1960.
While home from college one summer, Caryl was set up on a blind date with Bob Ferguson, a lifeguard and summer resident at Epworth Heights. The Ludington “townie” and “Epworthian” dated for several years before marrying in 1959. Caryl and Bob had 2 children: Karen Ferguson Bagwell of Fountain, MI and Sarah Ferguson, who recently moved from Washington, DC to Ludington to be a caretaker and companion for her mom.
Caryl will be missed by many, including the dozens of nieces and nephews who remember her as “my favorite aunt,” “a shining light,” and “my biggest cheerleader.” While staying at The Open Door — the cottage at Epworth owned by Bob’s family — her nieces and nephews by the carload would descend on Aunt Caryl’s house for a summer dessert and hours of laughter.
She will also be missed by the women and girls for whom she had been a confidant during difficult periods in their lives, a fact learned by her family only after she died.
An avid reader, Caryl remained active in two book groups. Night-owl neighbors could spot her in the early-morning hours, reclined in her favorite chair, spellbound by a novel or her latest non-fiction find.
Book groups were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to Caryl’s community involvement. She was a lifetime champion of causes for women and girls, and so was thrilled to find herself simpatico with the many friends she made as a member of P.E.O, a philanthropic organization that supports and celebrates women in their educational pursuits.
The documented evidence of Caryl’s generosity as a volunteer and patron goes on for page after page. A small sample includes: Member and chair of the Big Rapids Zoning Board of Appeals; founding member, president and secretary of the Epworth Historical Society; Girl Scout troop leader for six years (and three years as county co-chairman); and, until just a few months before her death, board member of the Mason County Historical Society and secretary for her local P.E.O chapter. Though still actively grieving her husband Bob’s death in 2010, she did talk about one empowering plus: She could be as generous as she wanted to be to the people and causes she cared about.
A sense of humor and a playful nature were two of Caryl’s signature traits.
She liked to sing and dance, despite noticeable deficits, particularly in her singing abilities. While her daughters would cover their ears and tease, “Oww, Mom, you’re hurting us!” she would grin and continue her merry singing. When her children — and then grandchildren — were little, Caryl lovingly chased them around the house, while threatening (with a huge smile and sparkling eyes) to hug and kiss them with her characteristic wild enthusiasm.
She was colorful, literally and figuratively. Her clothing was often wildly multi-colored, like joy-in-fabric, and her surroundings reflected her personality, as well. When her house on Hamlin Lake needed a new roof, she ordered a metal one — in fire engine red! She loved to tell people (while laughing) how her neighbor, upon seeing it for the first time, asked, “Didn’t it come in any other color?”
Compulsively creative, handy, and resourceful, Caryl was a dumpster diver and beachcomber. She was always fashioning something new from everyday objects, including a stylish coffee table from an old wooden ironing board, earthy hanging sculptures from oddly shaped driftwood, and a planter from an old rain boot. Whimsy combined with practicality was a way of life for Caryl, as evidenced by the colorful socks and Birkenstock sandals she wore from early spring until the snow got too deep.
A woman with pizazz and a down-to-earth lack of decorum, hilarity would often ensue if you spent much time with Caryl. To remember her or get a sense of who she was, just sit down with her favorite movie (The Birdcage) or find Tim Conway’s dentist skit online, and get ready to laugh.
In addition to her daughters, Caryl is survived by her granddaughters, Cally McShane of Asheville, North Carolina, and Dana McShane of Traverse City, Michigan; and her sisters, Kay Combs of Ludington, Beverly Barnett of Wilmington, Delaware, and Deanna Velick, also of Ludington.
A memorial service for Caryl will be held in the late summer or early fall.
Courtesy of Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington
February 16, 2020
We regret to report that Edward Joseph Albrecht Sr, 82, of Wilmington, North Carolin died Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. He was born in Ludington, Michigan on Dec. 7, 1937, son of Joseph and Jule Albrecht. He was preceded in death by his wife of 30 years Kay, his sister Jean Comstock and brothers Donald and Robert Albrecht.
He is survived by his sister Nancy Rodriguez of Ludington, Michigan; his four sons, Edward Albrecht Jr (Denise) of Wilmington, North Carolina, Dale and Todd Albrecht of Leland, North Carolina, and Rick (Penelope) Romans of Marne
Ed served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves. For many years, he owned a snow plowing business and Albrecht Blueberry Farms in West Olive and Pender County, North Carolina. After retiring from farming, he became a technician for Air Serv. In recent years, he helped his sons at Ingram Bros Inc and Albrecht Construction.
There was a memorial service at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, 4849 Castle Hayne Rd, Castle Hayne, NC 28429, on Feb. 15, 2020.
November 19, 2019
It was a lively group with a couple of new (to our breakfast meeting) faces at the LHS meeting for a senior breakfast on Tuesday, November 19. There were some great stories (true) to be heard from a Great Lakes ship captain who spent 40 years commanding (on occasion) the giant boats (1000 feet long) hauling freight around the Lakes.
We all have our aches and pains stories, but many of our group have truly book worthy stories to tell in the first person at our informal breakfasts.
November 10, 2019
It is with great sadness we report that Marilyn Jean Parks (Olson) Thorne passed away at age 81 on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019 at Oakview Assisted Living. Marilyn was born April 28, 1938, to Minnie and Ralph Parks.
She worked in the sporting goods department at K-mart for many years and always loved talking with and serving the customers. Marilyn was known for her loving hugs and funny stories, always trying to tell jokes but forgetting the punchlines. She loved to collect photos, knick-knacks and plants, and really enjoyed a clean and neat home. Marilyn was always there to pick anyone up who had fallen, no matter who they were or how many times it happened without judgment. She loved to read, and encouraged that and a love of the outdoors in her children.
Marilyn is survived by her husband, Lewis Thorne of Custer; daughters, Susan Olson McIntosh of Grand Haven, Barbara Olson of Ludington, and Michelle Olson Zank of Palm Bay, Florida; and son, Richard Olson; grandchildren, Melissa McIntosh, Sarah Petersen, Ashley Kelsey, Cody, Danyelle, Erica and Zackery Zank, and Tiffany Olson; several great-grandchildren; and one sister, Pat Niedzielski.
October 15, 2019
An awesome crowd of classmates was there at the Big Boy in Ludington on Tuesday morning the 15th of October, 2019! Who would ever think that the folks of the class of “56” could manage to get up and get out this early in the morning? Almost everybody had a story or two to tell.
September 6, 2019
The 63rd Reunion Lunch celebrating the LHS Class of 1956 was held on Friday September 6, 2019 at Scotty’s Restaurant in Ludington with 19 classmates attending. Here is a group photo and some candid pictures. (Click on the picture to get the big picture!)
August 20, 2019
The Big Boy breakfast on the third Tuesday in August was a lively discussion among the classmates.
July 16, 2019
The Big Boy breakfast on the third Tuesday in July was gab and grub for a table full classmates. The weather was very good and the conversation was outstanding. Check out the new book by one of the classmates titled “Crossing Lake Michigan in a Bathtub”. Available now on Amazon.
June 18, 2019
The breakfast gang had a table of conversation and class news to discuss on this fantastic June 2019 day. New faces are always great for our monthly meets.
May 21, 2019
The Big Boy breakfast group on Tuesday May 21, 2019 is pictured below. We had a great conversation while meeting some old (Young at heart) classmates in Ludington!
May 16, 2019
We are sorrowful to report that classmate Barbara M. Gutschke, age 81, of Ludington passed away peacefully, Friday, May 10, 2019 at Oakview Medical Care Facility. Barb was the informal historian for the LHS Class of 1956.
Barbara was born March 3, 1938 in Ludington to Frank and Bertha (Andersen) Hansen. Barbara graduated from Ludington High School in 1956. She married the late Donald Gutschke on June 2, 1956 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Ludington.
Barbara worked as a legal secretary for Wilfred Hocking and Ronald Wilson. She retired in 1994 after 38 years with the office. She was a member of the United Methodist Church. Barbara enjoyed her daily breakfasts at Brenda’s Harbor Café and her daily trips to the casino and enjoying friends at both places. A funeral was held on Wednesday, May 15, 2019.
Barb was laid to rest next to her husband at Lakeview Cemetery in Ludington. Memorial contributions in Barbara’s name may be directed to the Ludington United Methodist Church.
March 18, 2019
Recently John Nyuli reported that he had lunch with Tom Hall in Chicago.
A reunion of sorts for old high school buddies. John says he plays lots of golf.
You are lookin’ good Doctor John. Hope to see you at breakfast sometime!
October 18, 2018
The Big Boy breakfast group on Tuesday October 16 was a lively bunch. No picture, but it was a fun time and a great meeting for some old classmates. (We have known each other for a long time but we are all young at heart!)
September 8, 2018
The 62nd Reunion Lunch celebrating the LHS Class of 1956 was held on Friday September 7, 2018 at Scotty’s Restaurant in Ludington with 25 classmates attending. Here is a group photo and some candid pictures. (Click on the picture to get the big picture!)
July 18, 2018
The Big Boy breakfast group on Tuesday July 17 is pictured below. It was the start of a great summer day in Ludington!
Pictured left to right – Axel, Walt, Jan, Barb, Jo Ann, Janet, Janelle, Vic
July 13, 2018
We are sad to report that classmate Arlene McCumber Nelson Marston passed away on July 8, 2018. She was born April 5, 1938 in Ludington to Bill and Irene (Moline) McCumber.
Arlene graduated from Ludington High School in 1956. She married Hurley Nelson in 1956.
Together they had four children. After his passing in 1988, Arlene married David Marston on Jan. 27, 1989. Arlene loved traveling with David in their motor home. She especially enjoyed wintering in Florida and Mississippi. She enjoyed the slots at the casino and swimming whenever she had the chance.
Arlene will be greatly missed by her husband, David Marston; her children, Cindy (Mark) Hamilton, Chris (Nui) Nelson, Cathy (Mike) Gunberg, and Cheri (Mark) Staley; her stepchildren, David, Keith, Kevin, and Becky Marston; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren; and her brothers, Jim (Yvonne) McCumber and Mike McCumber.
Besides her parents, Arlene was preceded in death her first husband, Hurley Nelson, and granddaughter, Amanda Gunberg.
May 16, 2018
Tuesday, May 15 started as a rainy early morning, but it turned out to be a really great day!
Breakfast at the Big Boy in Ludington was quite entertaining and held a very pleasant surprise! Here is a picture of the lively group.
The surprise is that two of our classmates have become an “item” . Our lips are sealed in the name of privacy. This is exciting news! We’re looking forward to the next chapter in this adventure! Maybe you should plan on being at the July breakfast and catch up on what your classmates are up to!
April 24, 2018
We are sorry to report a classmate’s passing on April 22, 2018.
Carol Dewyer went to be with her Lord and Savior on Sunday, April 22nd after a courageous three month battle with cancer.
Carol Fern Dewyer was born November 11th, 1937 in Ludington, where she lived her entire life. She grew up with four brothers and three sisters and is survived by her sister Margorie Dewyer and brother John Dewyer, both of Ludington along with brothers Tom Dewyer and Ray Dewyer both of Tucson Az.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Emma Marie (Roberts) and Leo Charles Dewyer and sisters Marion Nephew and Lois Setterbo and one brother, Robert Dewyer. Carol was the baby of four girls and had fond memories of family picnics, trips to the beach and Sunday drives.
An LHS graduate of 1956, Carol enjoyed many years of playing sports, especially rec. softball. After High School, she spent three years studying under established writer, Mary Frances Donor. Her time with Mary was well spent and much enjoyed as Carol had several of her short stories published in various magazines.
Carol loved gardening and raising plants of all sorts. Following graduation, she worked at P.M. Floral and attended the Sixth St. greenhouses. For over 25 years, Carol raised an impressive vegetable garden along with blooming plants and a variety of flowers. She worked for Floral Craft of Ludington for over 21 years, retiring in 1997.
You are invited to a celebration of Life for Carol Dewyer on Saturday, May 12th, 2018 beginning at 11:00 am, with visitation beginning at 10:00 am. at Bethany Lutheran Church, 1101 S. Madison St., Ludington with the Reverend William Huether officiating.
March 28, 2018
Calling all Classmates! Carol Dewyer is in desperate need of cards and letters. Carol is very ill and is currently at Medi-Lodge of Ludington (Used to be Tendercare of Ludington). If you are in the Ludington area, stop in for a visit. You will then be excused from sending a letter, but a card would still help. Carol does not have any electronic devices that allow email or other communication, so this is your opportunity to exercise some long forgotten penmanship and refresh your memory of socializing before Facebook, Twitter and Instagram existed.
Send your greetings today! And thanks for cheering on a classmate!
March 21, 2018
The first day of spring is upon us. It has been a long, snowy winter, but the sun is beginning to shine in more meaningful bursts of warm.
January 21, 2018
Sad news, Classmate Don Braley passed away on January 17, 2018
Donald C. Braley, age 79, of Ludington passed away Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Don was born April 13, 1938 in Muskegon to Donald Chase and Dorothy (Kline) Braley. He lived in Reed City and Scottville as a child attending Mason County Central Schools through the third grade, moving to Ludington in 1948 where he grew up, attending Longfellow School and graduating from Ludington High School in 1956.
Don served two years of military service with the U.S. Army in the 2nd Division, 7th Cavalry at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was employed by Ludington State Bank, Ludington Bank and Trust Co. and then Old Kent Bank for 39 years before retiring from Old Kent Bank in 1998 as Senior Vice President. He was a past master and secretary of Pere Marquette Lodge No. 299 Free and Accepted Masons.
He previously served as manager of the Masonic Temple Association. Don was also a member of the NRA and the American Legion Post 76. He enjoyed his grandchildren, hunting, fishing, gardening, the outdoors in general and a special place called the “Beaver Pond” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Don is survived by his wife, Nancy L. (Hodge) Braley; children, JoLynn M. Braley, Jeffrey D. (Kelly) Braley and Carole A. (William J.) Lenzo; and grandchildren, Ryan Braley, Andrew, Carter and Ethan Lenzo.
January 2, 2018
Our classmate, Karen Cloutier, age 79, passed away quietly at the home of her daughter with her family by her side on December 29, 2017. Karen was born on September 21, 1938 to John and Rose Johnson in Ludington, Michigan.
Karen worked as a Certified Nurse Aid at Heartland Manor for more than 20 years, retiring at the age of 70. Karen was a wonderful caregiver and enjoyed helping others.
In 1957 she married William Cloutier. Together they were blessed with four children and 33 years of marriage until his death in 1990.
Karen was a member of Lebanon Lutheran Church. She enjoyed gardening, reading, music, and family gatherings at the Gaslite Lodge. The most important thing was always her family. She was a kind, funny, optimistic, passionate loving woman. She will be deeply missed.
Karen is survived by her children, Susan (Orville) Crain, Craig (Susan) Cloutier, Diana (Craig) Schultz and William Cloutier Jr.; grandchildren, Joshua, Kyle, Alicia, Ryan, Kailey (Jon), Brandon (Angela), Jared, Jacob, Andrew (Anya) and John (Elizabeth); four great-grandchildren; sister, Sandra (Ken) Kolb; and brother, Donald (Paula) Johnson.
She was preceded in death by her husband, William; her parents; and brothers, Philip, Warren, Tom, Dean and Jim Johnson.
A memorial service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 at Lebanon Lutheran Church, 1101 S. Mears Ave., Whitehall, Michigan. The family will greet friends one hour prior to the start of the service at the church and also Friday Jan. 5 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Beacon Cremation & Funeral Service — White Lake Chapel, 413 S. Mears Ave., Whitehall. Memorial contributions can be made to the Harbor Hospice Foundation, Lebanon Lutheran Church or the Johnson Cancer Center. Beacon Cremation & Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements. http://www.beaconfh.com.
December 28, 2017
It is with great sadness we report the passing of George R. Peterson II on December 26, 2017 at Mercy Hospital in Muskegon. He was born Aug. 7, 1938, in Ludington, the son of George and Jeanette (Pederson) Petersen. He attended Longfellow Elementary School and graduated from Ludington High School in 1956
George married Kathryn Johnson in 1959 and they celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary Sept. 19, 2017.
George worked his entire life as a cabinet maker for his father and mother who started Petersen’s Furniture Specialties in 1954. George and his brother purchased the business in 1982.
In 1986, the business was partially destroyed by arson. When George rebuilt the business he changed from designing and making kitchen cabinets and furniture to building furniture for handicapped children. He designed the furniture at the direction of a physical therapist who wanted to develop a line of furniture to assist very young children with physical handicaps — educational aids that would help them learn to stand, sit and walk. The business known as TheraDapt was the result of their vision.
George was an Exhausted Rooster with the Ludington Jaycees. He was one of the designers of the Jaycee’s Mini Golf Course and built many of the original obstacles. He was an avid golfer, hunter and fly fisherman. He was a member of Lincoln Hills Golf Club and the Ludington Elks and Eagles lodges.
George loved Saint Bernard dogs and had nine during his lifetime.
October 18, 2017
It was a lively Class of “56” breakfast meeting on Tuesday October 17, with 10 classmates and 1 guest sharing both old and new tales of life and living. We all left, when it was time to go, with smiles and happy faces. We’ll see you all next month, that is assuming the Michigan weather cooperates on the warm and sunny side.
September 14, 2017
The 61st Reunion Lunch celebrating the LHS Class of 1956 was held on Friday September 8, 2017 at Scotty’s Restaurant in Ludington with 28 classmates attending. Here are some candid photos of our gang at lunch.
September 8, 2017
Robert Lee Huber, age 80, of Ludington passed away Thursday, September 7, 2017. He was born July 26, 1937 in Ludington to William and Marcella (Michaud) Huber.
Bob graduated from Ludington High School in 1956 and enlisted in the US Army. He served his country in Germany as a Military Police Officer. On October 13, 1962, Bob married Rose Alice Winczewski in Ludington. Together they raised three children.
Bob worked for Dow Chemical for 32 years as a Millwright, retiring in 1992. After retirement, Bob worked part time for Peterson Furniture where he did wood working for over 10 years.
In his spare time, Bob enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, gardening, and watching sports. He was a big fan of the Detroit Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings. He was a member of the American Legion and St. Simons Catholic Church.
Bob was an amazing husband, father, and grandfather. He will be greatly missed by his beloved wife of 55 years, Rose; Children: Susan (Joseph) Caudill of Scottville, Julie (Bruce) Lowing of Ludington; daughter-in-law: Pam Huber of Ludington; five grandchildren: Stephanie (Sal) Virzi, Alexandra and Nicholas Lowing, Ethan and Haileigh Huber; sister-in-law, Evelyn Kokx, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents, Bob was preceded in death by his son, James Huber and his brother, Richard Huber.
According to his wishes, cremation has taken place and a Celebration of Life service will be held at a later date.
Courtesy of Oak Grove Funeral Home and Cremation Center
July 21, 2017
Below are some photos from the class breakfast at the Big Boy in Ludington on July 18, 2017. Always great to see and visit with some “old” classmates!
June 11, 2017
It is with great sadness that we must report on three of our classmates that have passed away recently.
James (Jim) Peter Johnson 6/28/1937 – 6/4/2017 , A “Victor Valiant…” Jim was an enthusiastic and loyal fan of University of Michigan football. But his family and friends knew that he was the real “conquering hero”. Jim used his grit, determination and optimism to battle many illnesses over the years. Each time he got back up to again live life fully. Yet Jim also knew when to admit defeat. “This is not a life,” he recently said. Jim died peacefully on June 4, 2017 to be with his Lord and Savior. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:57. Jim was born in Ludington, MI, the son of a loving and athletic Swedish family which included six brothers and four sisters. “Watch out for those Johnson boys,” was what coaches of opposing high school sports teams advised. Jim served in the Michigan National Guard. He retired from the General Motors Coopersville Plant. Jim was a proud and caring father and grandfather. His opportunities to travel enhanced his passion for history and politics. He loved to golf. While spending many winters in Florida, Jim learned the art of fused glass and created many beautiful pieces. Although living many years in the Grand Rapids area, he moved to Grand Haven to again be near his beloved Lake Michigan and its memorable sunsets. Jim is lovingly remembered by his wife, Eunice; two sons Paul (Renee) and J. Peter (Jamie); four grandchildren, Ryann, Britt, Erik and Gage; one brother, Don (Paula) and two sisters Karen Cloutier and Sandra (Ken) Kolb; brothers- in- law John and James (Michelle) Thurman; and many nephews, nieces and cousins. He was preceded in death by his first wife Karen, the mother of his two sons; by four brothers, Philip, Dean, Tom and Warren, and two sisters, Phyllis and Alice. The memorial service for Jim will be at 11am on Saturday, July 15, 2017, at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 3215 4 Mile Rd NE, Grand Rapids, MI, with a visitation at 10am.
Carole Jan Schierholt peacefully passed away on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at Spectrum Health of Ludington, with her family by her side. Carole was born on April 30, 1938 in Pontiac to the late Ernest and Ella (Smith) Engel. She attended Ludington High School and graduated with the class of 1956. She graduated from Ferris State University, with a BA of Science Degree, in 1964. She married Donald Schierholt in Branch on July 18, 1982. Carole was a teacher for Ludington Area Schools for twenty nine years. She retired in June of 1993. She had a huge passion for knitting, as well as the game of golf. She was an active member of the Manistee National Golf Club, and Lincoln Hills Golf Club. She served as the past president and secretary of the Women’s Western Golf Association. She was highly recognized as a high school and college gymnastics judge. Her passion for golf was tendered by coaching the LHS girl’s golf team for twenty two years. Her love of golf provided her the opportunity to compete on multiple championship golf courses throughout the United States; Including, Hawaii, Florida and Arizona. Carole will be remembered most for her pure kindness, strength and passion for life. She is survived by her Loving Husband: Donald Schierholt, Brother: Ernest Fritz (Deloris) Engel; son: Randy (Renee) Hansen; daughters: Christina (Ed) Arnold, Nancy (Lou) Patterson, Beatta (Marc) Needham; granddaughters: Randi (Kevin) Sniegowski, Stephanie (Random) Messeder, Teri Arnold; grandsons: Jake (Erica) Irwin, John Arnold, Kyle (Megan) Hansen, Dylan Hansen, and numerous nephews and great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her parents, and son SSGT Steven Mark Hansen.
A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered. Please join Carole’s family at Lincoln Hills Golf Club, 1527 N. Lakeshore Drive in Ludington, on Saturday, June 24th 2017 to celebrate her amazing life. We will meet from 2-5 p.m. to share memories, stories, laughter and appetizers.
David Norman Beimer, 78 of Grants Pass, Oregon passed away Thursday, April 14, 2016 at his home. (We hope to gather more information on Dave’s life shortly)
April 1, 2017
Classmate Gary Wayne (Wikorejczak) Wickery, 78, of Ludington, passed away on Monday, March 27, 2017.
Gary was born on August 13, 1938 in Ludington, son of Joseph and Viola (Case) Wickery. He graduated from Ludington High School in 1956 and married the love of his life, Judith Nickelsen, in 1959. Gary retired from Harbison-Walker Refractories in 2000 after 38 years of service as an instrument technician. He and his wife, Jude, were long time members of Lincoln Hills Golf Club and Ludington Outboard Club. He enjoyed volunteering his time to the annual Fish Boil. He was also a member of Danish Brotherhood #51.
After retirement, Gary could be found golfing, fishing or hunting with the guys. Gary and Jude raised their children and had an incredibly loving marriage. They enjoyed camping together and going to the casino. In 2003, Gary had a stroke and through his perseverance, was able to recover almost fully after three months. Although Gary could only golf with one arm after that, he was still a better golfer than Jude!
Gary is survived by his wife, Judith; children, Ronald (Rachael) Wickery and Lyn Deshawne; grandchildren, Jason Wickery, Gary (Shanley) Deshawne, and Aaron (Christine) Deshawne; great grandchildren, Johnathon, Alex Marie, Aidynn and Rylan Deshawne; sister-in-law, Mary Wikarejczak; and brother-in-law, Meryln Davenport.
Preceding Gary in death are his parents, Joseph and Viola; and siblings, David Wikarejczak and Lois Davenport.
March 15, 2017
Classmate Luella Spaulding age 78, passed away on March 12, 2017. Luella did not have any known relatives that would provide details of her obituary.
October 19, 2016
Photo’s from breakfast at the Big Boy in Ludington on Tuesday October 18, 2016.
Click on the photo to get the big picture!
It was a great fall day in West Michigan!
Some photo’s from our 60th Class Reunion on Friday, September 9, 2016, at Scotty’s Restaurant in Ludington.
(Click on the photo to get the BIG picture)
Moved recently or changed cellphone number or email address?
Send a note via USPS or email to Jack Madsen with the updated information so we can contact you for class events.
April 22, 2016
Dear LHS and St. Simon Class of “56”, it is time for our 60th get together!
When: Friday, September 9, 2016, at 12 Noon.
Where: Scotty’s restaurant in Ludington located at 5910 US-10, East Ludington Ave.
Then: On to Caryl’s at 2939 N. George Lane, Hamlin Township for an, after lunch, Bring Your Own Beverage and Finger Food meet and greet session.
RSVP: To Jeanne or Janelle (Telephone, email, or USPS; 505 N. Lewis St. Ludington MI 49431) so they will know how many will be at Scotty’s for lunch and can reserve your seat(s).
Note: We will order off the Scotty’s Menu and Pay Individually.
To Commemorate this 60th Reunion, the class poets have composed the poem below for your enjoyment.
By Mary Wickwire and Carol Farley
So our reunion will be on Friday, September 9th
We’ll try not to forget the date
But if all of us should forget,
Hey, we’re all about seventy-eight!
So we’re starting at noon at Scotty’s in town
And we’ll have to watch our weight!
We’re not the teen we used to be,
So hey, we’re about seventy-eight!
Then afternoonish we’re invited to Caryl’s
Try to be there and bring a mate
Don’t worry [that] you’ll be too tired
So hey, we’re about seventy-eight!
Don’t forget we bring our own bottle
If we do forget, we’ll just wait
Until it’s time to drive someone home.
So hey, we’re about seventy-eight!
And while at Caryl’s, we may want to visit and dance,
Well, maybe that could be just fine
But none will be doing the bunny hop,
‘Cause we all want to be seventy-nine!
April 5, 2016
The planning group (shown below) for the 60th Reunion of the LHS Class of 56 met today at Chef John’s Bakery and Cafe in Ludington for a Tuesday lunch. Tentatively, when the venue for our group is confirmed, we are contemplating a Noon lunch on Friday, September 9, 2016 with a following cocktail get together at Caryl Ferguson’s home on Hamlin Lake . We will have more news and specifics on this exciting event as it develops. [Photo by Vic Jackson]
December 1, 2015
The photo above taken December 1, 2015 is the Class of 56 December monthly lunch with each month being at a different restaurant. The gathering this month was done before so many of us take off to warmer climates for the winter. This is a point in our lives when our children come to get us, as is the case for two of us, as they don’t think we can make the trip without escorts! Foolish kids!
October 21, 2015
The October Big Boy meeting in Ludington was sparsely attended to say the least. But we all had a good chat over breakfast. Lots of classmates traveling or visiting this month. It’s a good fall time to see the leaves turning colors and the earth getting ready for a Michigan winter.
Maybe we will see more of you in November.
September 21, 2015
A very small gang met at the Big Boy in Ludington on September 15 because some people didn’t realize the third Tuesday in September was the 15th, not the 22nd of the month. Fall is upon us with winter not for behind. Let us hope for an El Nino influenced winter that will bring sun and fun to Ludington in January and February 2016.
August 18, 2015
Below are some photos from the August 18, 2015 breakfast gang at the Big Boy in Ludington.
July 21, 2015
The July 21 Big Boy breakfast in Ludington was it’s usual good time with lots of gab among the cozy crowd of 7.
Summer in Ludington is one great time to sample the beach, eat at the eateries and receive visitors from far and near.
June 30, 2015
Mr. Lester Earl Hillier, age 77, of Montague, passed away Thursday, June 18, 2015. He was born May 26, 1938, in Burt, MI to Perry and Ada (Durham) Hillier. Lester graduated from Ludington High School and served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. On June 20, 1964, Lester married Marjorie Snyder in Hart; they were married fifty years. He was employed at Howmet as a set-up machinist where he worked for thirty-five years. Lester enjoyed classic cars, country music, sitting on the porch, and bird watching; he also had a wonderful sense of humor too.
Lester is survived by his wife, Marjorie Hillier of Montague; one son, Lester (Trish) Hillier of Montague; one sister, Norrine Hendrickson of OK and one brother, LaVern Hillier of FL. He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Betty Mead and Joyce Darling; and two brothers, Virgil Hillier, and Russell Hillier.
June 18, 2015
Some photos of the June 16 breakfast at the Big Boy in Ludington.
January 30, 2015
Some observations from a classmate:
(Note, Tom Hall is a retired newspaper man)
Our website is back. I mean our own, custom crafted, Ludington High School class of 1956 website. It was gone from the web for many months because its software was verging on extinction—which hypothetically, existentially, could have been our fate as well.
Thank Vic Jackson—the man who crossed Lake Michigan in a bathtub. He built our original website in an ancient era of computer science, and now he has labored many lonely months to resuscitate it in robust new software (which may well outlive all of us and immortalize our historic presence in cyberspace.) He says our resuscitated website still is a work in transition as he fixates on details that only he understands. But as of Oct. 30, 2014, our website is up and viable at both its old address…
…and at its new one…
It’s actually quite unusual, even now, for a high school class to create its own website. It’s rare indeed for a class as old as ours to build a site and then to rebuild it when old software falters. So again, give thanks to Vic. I don’t pretend to know how he did it, and I can’t imagine what sustained him through the long, confounding process of redoing it. I can only guess that Vic is driven beyond motivations that the rest of us will never comprehend.
I used to look at the old website now and then just because I was stirred by old, abiding memories. In later years, the website gradually took a more somber turn as old classmates died off, but I still felt compelled to keep informed. On the bright side, I saw that our class looked to be surviving uncommonly well, so far having a notably low mortality rate . This gives me hope for a 100th reunion—a stupendous gathering of redoubtable 117-year-olds.
Our resuscitated website will have an obligation to fill in the events that occurred during the many months offline. Frankly I don’t have much to report for that period: I’ve just settled into a quiet routine. I still write, though I no longer try to make a living at it. I build curious things, like floating docks, and reinvented doghouses and dollhouses. The only reunion I attended was the 45th, and since then I’ve wed for the second time, acquired two grandsons, and traveled quite a lot. I’ve returned to Ludington only on occasion, mostly for weddings and funerals. I live in a very nice house in Chicago, with a wife, dog, and two cats. My health is good enough that I’m hopeful of making the 100th reunion.
So yet again, many thanks to Vic Jackson. And how about the rest of you telling of events during the time of website dormancy–and sharing your wisdom on faring as senior citizens?
Above: Tom Hall and his wife Diane Graham-Henry learning to row a gondola in Venice.
(That’s Tom there in the background, attempting to sing Italian Opera while commanding the ship!)
From the April 4, 2013 breakfast at the Big Boy.
Class of “56” Calendar of Events
An informal breakfast starting at 8:00 AM is held at the Big Boy Restaurant on East Ludington Avenue in Ludington every third Tuesday of the month
Ludington Area School District web site: http://www.lasd.net/content.aspx?page=home