Welcome to the Ludington High School Class of 1956

Keeping track of the Class of "56"

Class of “56” News Page

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February 9, 2023

The LHS Class of “56” met for a “Zoom” video call on Tuesday February 7, 2023.  A few of us brave souls met for a breakfast time chat on the Internet. Meeting online lets those of us who do not live in the Ludington area join up as a group from far and near.

We recently received the sad news that Joe Evans, an esteemed member of the Class of “56” passed away in August 2018. An update on Joe Evans will be made if we receive any more information on his passing.  Many thanks to Sarah Ostrander Shao, LHS Class of “57” for this information. 

December 29, 2022

Russel M. Vorce of Coronado, CA, passed away on December 11, 2022, at the age of 84. He was born on February 21, 1938, in Ludington, MI, where he grew up on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Russ attended Navy boot camp in 1956 at Great Lakes, and was his unit’s Company Commander. He served at Barber’s Point, HI, flying on the AEWBARRONPAC “Willy Victors” on a route from Midway Island circling around the Aleutians. While in Hawaii, he met Nancy Kueper, the love of his life, where they had an amazing courtship, culminating in their marriage in St. Louis, MO, in 1960. He attended Air Traffic Control school and was assigned to duty at North Island NAS control tower. They lived in Coronado, CA, where their first two children, Rusty and Susan were born. His next assignment was at Atsugi, Japan, and their son Jeff arrived while they lived in Yokohama. There were several years when Russ attended or taught AC or CATCC classes. Russ served on the USS F.D. Roosevelt, and on the USS Ranger. The family moved back to Coronado in 1975. His final Navy assignment was at NPRDC (Naval Personnel and Development Center) in San Diego. Following retirement in 1986, Russ started his civil service career at NPRDC and then SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare Center), working as Program Manager of the Navy Science Assistance Program (NSAP), then becoming Deputy Director of the program at the Office of Naval Research where he received the Navy Superior Civilian Service award in 1996. He retired in 1999 from SPAWARSYSCEN as Deputy Executive Director, Science, Technology and Engineering Operations.

Russ was a long time member of Sacred Heart parish in Coronado, CA, and the Navy Chapel at NAS North Island. He was a member of the Fleet Reserve Organization, Sea and Air Men’s Golf Club, the Coronado Tennis Association and was a past president of the Coronado 20/30 Club. His passion was his children and grandchildren, who called him “Opa.” He not only read to them but created stories for each of them and drew illustrated books for each, giving them special super-hero names. He taught everyone to swim, having been a lifeguard on Lake Michigan, and then to body-surf; his technique was unmatched. He was also known to instigate singing old songs in mediocre harmony at bonfires or other gatherings. Finally, he was renowned for his jokes and story-telling, given the nickname of “the Velvet Samurai.”

He was preceded in death by his parents, Russel L. and M. Catalina, his brother Jacques, sister Jeanne and her husband Roger. He is survived by Nancy, his wife of 62 years, son Rusty (Sarah), daughter Susan (Tom) and son Jeff (Gina), as well as his older sister Weedie (Louise Thomsen) and his grandchildren Megan and Hollie Vorce, Matt and Joey Gill, and Jeorge Vorce.

The family would like to thank the Fredericka Manor nursing staff, and the Advantage Hospice team for the care and compassion they showed to Russ in his final days. His wish was their command, including a steady supply of ice cream.

Courtesy of Coronado Eagle & Journal, Coronado Calif. 

December 14, 2022

The breakfast gang met for a Zoom chat session on December 6, 2022.  Five were present to spread the news and views. 

The next LHS Class of 56 third Tuesday breakfast meeting will be at the House of Flavors in Ludington on Tuesday December 20 at 9:00 a.m. 
This will be a live eyeball to eyeball meeting of the minds for the Ludington local crowd. 

November 16, 2022

There were 8 hardy souls attending the November 15, 2022 LHS Class of 56 Third Tuesday breakfast at the House of Flavors in Ludington. It was a snow and cold day but the weather was warm inside and the conversation was plenty. 

The group decided to meet again on Tuesday, December 20, 2022 at the House of Flavors in Ludington. 

September 13, 2022

The capacity of the room reserved for the Tuesday September 20th LHS Class of 56 reunion breakfast at the House of Flavors in Ludington, has been reached.
However, the regular dining room at the House of Flavors is available on a first come- first served basis and we encourage you to come and visit with all of the attendees, both in the reserved room and in the regular dining rooms.
Contact Jo Ann for details on the reunion seating.

August 23, 2022

The 66th Reunion breakfast/brunch of the Ludington/St. Simon Class of “56” will be held on Tuesday September 20th at 9:30 a.m. at the House of Flavors in Ludington.
We will order from the menu.
Seating is limited, so please RSVP to Jo Ann by September 15.
The later date in September was chosen to avoid the summer crowds in the city.

August 16, 2022

It was a great day for a meeting of the Third Tuesday Breakfast bunch in Riverfront Park in Ludington. 
We all had a wonderful time in perfect weather for 2 hours! Next up is the Class of 56 annual reunion. 
More on the date, time and venue shortly for the September reunion. 
The selfie photo is an art to be learned by us old folks with a new fangled cellphone camera. 


July 20, 2022

The Third Tuesday breakfast for July 2022 was held at the Riverfront Park in Ludington on July 19.
Great weather, lots of sunshine and a gentle breeze. Who could ask for more?
It was a sparse crowd of 6 but we gabbed up a storm worthy of a crowd of 50. We set Tuesday, August 16 for our next meeting in the Park. 

Photos V. Jackson

June 27, 2022

Burton Clare Spalding obituary, Lakeland, FL

We regret to report that Burton Clare Spalding, 84 of Lakeland, Florida went home to be with the Lord on June 18, 2022. He was born on January 6, 1938, in Ionia, MI; a son of the late Leon and Viola (Nichols) Spalding. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Amy Wallace; his grandson, David Spalding; and stepfather, Lloyd Strandburg.
He is survived by his wife, Frankie Beck Spalding; children, Mary Brown, Kerri Wagner, Shawn (Ashley) Mason, Christopher (Jackie) McGraw, Paula (Steve) Parker; sister, Judy McKinney; 12 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Burton was the owner of Detroit Tool and Manufacturing in Lakeland.
He was a U.S. Army Veteran and a member of Seekers II at Lakes Church, Lakeland Florida.
Courtesy of Heath Funeral Chapel & Crematory, Lakeland, Florida

May 28, 2022
Apparently, your online editor has been amiss for the past 6 months in updating the activities and news of the Class of 56. We will try to be more timely going forward. 

May 17, 2022
The Third Tuesday breakfast for May 2022 was held at the House of Flavors (formerly the Park Dairy) in Ludington on May 17. Twelve of us (more or less) enjoyed a great visit for the first time indoors in more than 2 years. 

Below are some Very candid photos of the gang with one exception, who stopped in to say “hello” but didn’t stay. 

Photos J.Kagey, V. Jackson

December 1, 2021

LHS Madsen, Jack_

Jack Lee Madsen of Muncie, Indiana passed away at the age of 83 at home the evening of Tuesday, November 23, 2021. He was born on June 2, 1938 in Ludington, Michigan to Borge and Irene Madsen.

Jack attended Ludington High School, where he knew he wanted to become an engineer. After high school, he attended Gale Institute and became a telegraph operator. In 1959, he joined the United States Navy and was assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois. After attending basic Submarine School, he was sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and was assigned to the USS Halibut. In 1960, he was assigned to Nuclear Power School in Mare Island, California. After school, he went to Nuclear Welding School.

On April 7, 1962, Jack married Janet Kay Campbell. They had a daughter, Beverly, in 1963. Also in 1963, Jack was selected to attend advanced gyro school and then received orders to report to the General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York to help with the design of a new submarine reactor. Jack, Janet, and Beverly moved to Blackfoot, Idaho. On April 26, 1965, Jack and Janet welcomed their son, William, into the world. In 1966, Jack left the Navy to go to college. In 1967, he joined the Navy Reserve in Cadillac, Michigan. He started college at Ferris State College in Big Rapids. In 1968, he transferred to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. He studied year-round and graduated in 1969 with a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. In 1970, he took a job at Indiana Michigan Power in Muncie and then transferred to the Navy Reserve Center in Anderson, Indiana. He stayed with the Navy Reserves until 1980. In 1993, Jack retired from Indiana Michigan Power as Station Supervisor at the age of 55.

Jack spent much of his time volunteering, serving 14 years as a Boy Scout Leader and 8 years as a 4-H Leader. He formed a Sea Cadet Unit and got his commission as a Sea Cadet Ensign in 1972. He volunteered with the Sea Cadets for 49 years. Jack computerized all of Mason County, Michigan’s cemetery information. In 1997, Jack began playing Bridge. He worked his way up to Bronze Life Master, missing Silver Life Master by about 38 points. Jack went on to teach and direct Bridge. Jack loved woodworking, computers, and gardening, but most of all, he loved and enjoyed his family.

Jack is survived by his wife, Janet Kay (Campbell) Madsen; daughter, Beverly Salmon (Jeff); son, William Madsen (Denise); four grandchildren, David, Kaylee, Emilee, and Ethan; and three great grandchildren, Benjamin, Elliston, and Taylor; and sisters, Arlene and Donna.

Jack was preceded in death by his parents, Borge and Irene Madsen and sister, Janet.

Private services will be held. Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Garden View Funeral Home and Gardens of Memory Cemetery, Muncie. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial contributions be made to Muncie Senior Center. Visit https://munciedelcoseniorcenter.org/ for more information. Online condolences may be made by visiting www.gardenviewandgardensofmemory.com
Courtesy of Garden View Funeral Home

November 6, 2021

We regret to report that Janet Elizabeth Dipple, 83, of Ludington, died Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, at Oakview Medical Care Facility in Ludington. She was born April 12, 1938, in Ludington, the daughter of Lawrence and Dawn (Bashaw) Jensen.

Janet worked at Old Kent Bank for many years, and more importantly, helped run their family farm. Janet enjoyed traveling to go country line-dancing with her husband, Lloyd, RV Camping during their retirement years and more recently, playing computer games, especially Farmville and Solitaire. She also enjoyed collecting barns and roosters.

When she was younger, Janet was an avid skier and snowmobiler, and taught her children to ski. Being a great cook, Janet’s family loved her creamed asparagus on toast, the smelt dinners, and her delicious strawberry shortcake. She was a member of the Red Hat Society and the Meisenheimer Ice Cream Bus.

On April 8, 1961, in Ludington, Janet married Lloyd Eugene Dipple, who survived her. She is also survived by her daughter Doreen (William) Bodin of Muskegon; her sons Mack (Lesa) Dipple of Scottville and Eric (Delores) Dipple of Ludington; five grandsons Adam Visser, Christopher Visser, Stephen Dipple, Jonathan Dipple and David Dipple; two brothers James (Judy) Jensen of Ludington, and Jon (Sharon) Jensen of Toledo, Ohio; and, several nieces and nephews.

Janet was preceded in death by her sister Jeanne Zabihaylo and her brother Jerry Jensen.

A celebration of Janet’s life will be held Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Lakeside Links in Ludington.
(Courtesy Shoreline Media Group)

November 3, 2021

Sadly, Janice M. Clark, age 83, of Ludington, passed away Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, at her home surrounded by her family.

 She was born Feb. 27, 1938, in Ludington, to Ross and Alma (Witte) Dewyer. Janice married Gerald L. Clark on April 24, 1955, in Ludington. Together they raised three children.

Janice was mostly a homemaker, but she did co-own Clark’s Market with her husband. She also spent some time working at Stokley’s. In her younger years, Janice enjoyed bowling and she was an American Legion Auxiliary member. She also enjoyed pizza and beer at the American Legion, spending time with her grandchildren and camping and boating.

Janice will be greatly missed by her children Bill (Sherry) Clark of Rockford, Deb Courtland of Scottville and Mike (Ann) Clark of Freesoil; her 20 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren with one on the way; her sister Sandra Summers of Comstock Park; her sister-in-law Nina Clark; many nieces and nephews; and, her puppies Coco and Molly.

Beside her parents, Janice was preceded in death by her husband, her son-in-law Richard Courtland, her daughter-in-law Terri Clark and her grandchildren Shelbie, Tim and Devin Courtland.

A funeral service will be held Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, at 1 p.m. at the Oak Grove Funeral Home in Ludington. Family will greet friends starting at 12 p.m. Janice will be laid to rest next to her husband at Lakeview Cemetery.
(Courtesy Shoreline Media Group)

October 29, 2021

There will be a Third Tuesday breakfast on Tuesday November 16, 2021 starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Rob Kotecki residence at 853 North Lakeshore Drive, Ludington. Ione and Rob will provide a meat/egg/potato casserole, coffee, tea, and butter and homemade jam. Jo Ann will bring some juice. Other attendees are asked to bring fruit, sweet bread and non-sweet bread(bagel?). Our hosts are asking that those coming notify Jo Ann Smith by Sunday, November 14, and indicate what viands they will bring. 
Sunny, warm weather is forecast! It is after all, mid-November in Michigan!

September 10, 2021

The 65th reunion of the LHS class of “56” was held at the Waterfront Park Bandshell (South end of William street) in Ludington on Friday, September 10, 2021. Fifteen of us including 12 classmates had a “bring your own lunch and chair” with lots of conversation and reminiscing.

Here is a link to more 65th reunion photos:  https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOFOsiWwRULG53pHRk4z8nT8lGdYeGOlEsNiyFDk6jfsxscEfsiWKqx1J09-lyuvQ?key=TE96YjJESnM4UWJPeTBYdXpKZmY1d1VWTm1qT0Vn

September 10, 2021

There will be a Third Tuesday breakfast on Tuesday September 21st 2021 in Ludington at the Waterfront Park Bandshell (South end of William street). Bring a chair and your brunch to munch. Gab is optional. 

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 (September 15, 2020) with pictures for September 11th below.)

August 22, 2021

The 65th reunion of the LHS class of “56” will be held at the Waterfront Park Bandshell (South end of William street) in Ludington on Friday, September 10, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. EDT.  We will practice social distancing and wear masks when not eating. Bring your own choice of food if you wish to grub while you gab. Bring a chair. Make sure your email is on the class list for updates and last minute info. 

We are on the way to a new normal in a world of virus and vaccines. Ye old Covid-19 has returned as a variant and is scourging through the unvaccinated crowds. 

July 20, 2021

Only 4 of us today, Tuesday July 20th at Riverfront Park for brunch. Beautiful day, pleasantly warm, and interesting conversations. We discussed the possibilities for meeting at restaurants in the future, but decided to hold off on decisions until the current resurgent virus pandemic becomes more settled. Meeting outdoors is a pleasant way to insure the minimum exposure to the new bugs currently on the rise. If (or when) the weather becomes an issue, we will revive the Zoom meetings. The class of “56” gets it done regardless! 

June 15, 2021

We had a wonderful brunch meeting on Tuesday June 15th at the Kotecki residence in Ludington. A birthday was afoot and the weather was perfect for brunch on the patio. Entertainment was provided by one of our hosts and his guitar. When one of the ladies arrived in a very fancy Corvette automobile, it was assured that this would be no ordinary meeting of the classmates!  We all had good food and great fun on a grand scale. Special thanks to our hosts!

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. 

LHS Breakfast 8-18-20

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. 

Barnett Caryl Modern
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!)

Class of 56 Luncheon 9-6-19 (2)

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!

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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!)


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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 Fern Dewyer

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.

Carol Dewyer   Room 53
   1000 E Tinkham
      Ludington, Mi 49431

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

Braley Donald Modern

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!

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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]


IMG_20160405_ lunch-john-and-vic-040516.jpgPhoto by Jeanne Kagey

December 1, 2015

Ladies Fall 2015 120115photo

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.

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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.

Lester Hillier

June 18, 2015

Some photos of the June 16 breakfast at the Big Boy in Ludington.

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January 30, 2015

Some observations from a classmate:

(Note, Tom Hall is a retired newspaper man)


Hall Tom


Tom Hall

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?

Tom Hall

Tom Hall and Dianne Graham-Henry Vemice 010615


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