The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 25, 2013

A 60-year celebration

(Continued)

"There were only 21 people in our class, we were pretty close," he said. "My wife graduated from OHS with about 400 people, and she didn't know everyone. Since we were the last class, decided to have a little party. (Friday) night we got together and just hooted and hollered. Even this morning at breakfast, we were just sitting around telling stories."

Those stories and those memories may have happened 60 years ago, but they're still vivid for the men who lived them. Looking back at 60 years of life is a powerful thing, as the five couples soon learned. Lewis (Lew) Gray, who retired from IBM as a corporate vice president and president of U.S. National sales/marketing division, says he never would have guessed where all of his friends would have ended up at this point in their lives.

"Back then, we were just wondering how to get out bicycle tire fixed," Gray said. "Every one of these guys came from humble beginnings, but just look, here we are."

During that 1952-53 school year, there were 11 boys from the south side of town and 10 from the north side. Because they had the deciding vote, all four class officers were from the south side.

Because the building they were in was already quite old, the men remember many of its special features.

"It had very old, wooden staircases," Reardon said. "I could sit in study hall and hear the pigeons twittering up there."

Some stories they told will never make it into print, but the men were glad to share many others. There was the time one boy brought a dead cat to biology class. And there was the hole they made through the hall into the library to hide from the nuns. And then there was the pool hall.

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