Class of “56” News Page
Current weather for the Ludington, Michigan (Mason County) Airport
The next class of “56” Breakfast is scheduled for the Big Boy in Ludington on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.
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…
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?
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