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Catlin History Online

The Class of 1932

This is a story of a group of kids who graduated Catlin Grade School, Catlin High School, grew into adults but never lost touch with one another. The Catlin Heritage Museum has been the recipient of the scrapbook and photo album that tells the story of that journey.

On May 29, 1928, twenty five students from Catlin Grade School and sixteen students from the outlying country schools, met for the ceremony that would throw them together for a lifetime. Some of the names
50th reunion
that would continue as the movers and shakers of this close knit class were on the program for the evening. Dorothy Bell gave a poem written by Eva Budislik, Madeline Carrigan, Eva Budislik and Twila Keller sang a song "My Playmate", and Madeline Carrigan and Lois Sherfield played a violin duet. Lois Sherfield gave the valedictory speech. This was only the beginning of the sharing of their lives.

After four years of fun and hijinks as well as a relationship with favorite teachers and the many sports in which the group excelled, they graduated Catlin High School in 1932. There were 32 of them, some had left but others joined to make a strong class bond. We have Dorothy Green Pate to thank for this incredible record.

August 20, 1933, was the first recorded reunion of the "Class of 1932." The group met at Homer Lake Park and as you might guess Eva Budislik, Lois Sherfield, Dorothy Bell and Dorothy Green planned the meeting. Sixteen members of the thirty two were at this reunion. Officers were elected and it was decided to meet every year on the third Sunday in June. In 1934 fifteen members showed up as well as the class sponsor, L. E. Newtson. Robert Crosby sent the first of many letters regretting that he was unable to attend as he was busy at work in Vallejo, California. In fact he was only able to attend that very first meeting but never failed to send pictures of his family and letters at every meeting until his death in 1976. Bob Crosby suffered ill health at times but remained faithful to the class often repeating the class motto in his letters and wires. "Luck is not the key to our Success" was the motto of the graduating class that year and he felt the class should take it to heart.

Each year is represented in the scrapbook and the secretary of that year kept the minutes and included in them marriages, births of the children, moves to other states, health problems, good times and bad times. In the front of the book is an attendance record that shows the members names and the years that they attended. The war years brought times when those who would have attended were in service or married to someone who was. The war years did not keep the class from having its reunion. In 1940 a newspaper clipping revealed that Marilla Gilliland died at her parents' home on August 15 of a lung ailment following a tonsil operation. She had planned to be married in two months and to attend the reunion. The 1941 reunion brought letters of regret from Bob Crosby and Marcella Dolan. Letters written to each other within the class throughout the year were shared by those present to keep everybody up to speed on those who could not be there.

The World War II years found Leona Kinder Carpenter with her husband who was in the Army, Claude Brown was also in the Army, Bill Stimac in the Navy, Chuck Dalbey in the Army Air Force and Eva Budislik Weese's husband in the Army as well. Herman Keeney, principal and teacher at CTHS served in the Army as a colonel. Letters came to the reunion telling the group of their times in the service.

Teachers and parents of this class were invited to the reunions and often came or sent letters. The teachers were especially pleased to be invited. Mrs. Eva Bell Dukes was remembered as their first teacher and Lawrence Newtson was the class sponsor at graduation. He came to join the class at the reunions several times. G. W. Burroughs, principal of the Grade School, came to the reunion bringing the group a picture of their grade school graduation. Nella B. Lawless, teacher, sent a letter most every year.

A news clipping from The Commercial-News features the marriage of Marcella Dolan and Edwin T. Rhatigan who were married in Tokyo. The letters from classmates continued at each reunion and Dorothy Green Pate is now sending reports of them to classmates that are scattered far and wide. Dorothy Budislik is now in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June and Evan Neiman and Jerry and Eva Weese are in Florida, Chuck and Lillian Dalbey are in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Marcella Dolan in New York, Martha Chase in Washington, D.C., and Ellen and Bob Crosby in Orville California. Many of the group chose to stay close to home. As far as we know all the letters were delivered. A letter written by Bob Crosby sends a letter to "Mr. Claude Brown Danville, IL." There is no zip code but written at the bottom edge of the envelope is a notation "Mr Postmaster, Claude's phone number is HI-2-7817. Would you please look up his address and deliver this by Saturday AM June 25th." Claude got it!

Along about 1962 the clippings report happy occasions such as childrens' weddings. Tommy Clark, son of Wayne and Nadine Clark, married Ruth Ann Brackney and Mary Jo Weese, daughter of Jerry and Eva Budislik Weese, married Don L. Ritzenthaler. The clippings are now starting to contain obituaries of teachers and the families of the class as well. In 1970 news clippings reported the classmates' grandchildrens' accomplishments. Geraldine Carrigan Spesard's granddaughter, Debra Garwood, was salutatorian at Ridgefarm High School and in 1971 Claude Brown's son, Raymond Michael Brown, had received his CPA.

In 1972 the class celebrated its 40th reunion during the Alumni Banquet of Catlin High School. The table was decorated with the class colors -- old rose and seafoam green. The class motto "Luck is not the Key to Our Success" was prominently displayed. Thirty four seats were occupied with eighteen class members and three teachers present. The next day the group met at the 300 Room of the Bowling Ball for lunch and some prime visiting. Wayne Clark had been named Master Farmer of the Year for the State of Illinois.

Now it was time for the 50th anniversary of this class to graduate from CTHS and there was a clipping from The Commercial-News with the class picture from 1932 and a group picture taken at the reunion of 50 years. Twenty two class members had attended. Different occupations of the group, to name a few, were farmers, teachers, nurses, bankers, realtors and union representatives. A 1983 newsclipping shows Dorothy Green Pate and Sam Gritten sitting on the little bridge in the front of CTHS. It was falling apart and a group of alumni formed a committee to have it repaired because it had so many special memories. Another clipping reports Claude Brown, retired bank official of the First National Bank of Danville, had passed away in 1983.

Those meeting in 1988 were Wayne Clark, Dorothy Green Pate, Katherine Budislik Russo, Lois Sherfield Stanton, Dorothy Yount Padgett and Madeline Carrigan Trimmell and their spouses.

By 1989 the class had shrunk to only four in the immediate area. They were so saddened by the deaths of Wayne Clark from leukemia, Lois Sherfield Stanton and Katherine Budislik Russo that they decided not to meet that year. Dorothy Pate and Madeline Trimmell wrote to class members to tell of the situation.

A clipping from 1990 ends the scrapbook with a picture of Don and Madeline Carrigan Trimmell's 50th Anniversary.

These are but a few of the many records in the book that was kept over 58 years. You have to see it to enjoy the many letters, pictures, and other memorabilia. The Class of 1932 did not meet again except at the regular Alumni Banquet and so the record ends here.


Catlin Historical Society
210 North Paris
Catlin, Illinois 61817
(217) 427-5766