Date: October 29, 2006
About: QHS Class of 1936 - Class of 1936
QHS Class Holds 70th Reunion, Plans Another
George Newkirk sat in a wheelchair at the Pier restaurant Saturday afternoon, looking at an old photograph of members of the Quincy High School Class of 1936.
"I think I have a copy of this one," Newkirk said to his son, Tony, who drove his father from Ocala, Fla., to Quincy in order to attend his 70th class reunion.
Newkirk broke his hip in August, and his left knee is causing him some pain. But those health problems didn't keep him from returning to his hometown to catch up with classmates he hadn't seen in years.
He was even more determined to attend because he was the one who got the ball rolling for the reunion to take place.
"I wrote to a friend, Johnny Burns, and asked what the plans were for a reunion, and he said there weren't any plans. I thought someone should make some," Newkirk said. "I felt it was the last hurrah, the last chance for us to get together when we are still well enough to get together."
He contacted the QHS Alumni Association and was given names and addresses of the 1936 graduates the association thought was still living. The number was 155 out of 307 graduates.
Newkirk sent letters to those 155 people to determine if there was any interest in a reunion, and he discovered that a quarter of those classmates had died and another quarter had moved.
But those who responded were enthusiastic.
"I got very favorable replies and one thing led to another," Newkirk said.
He then convinced a few Quincy-based classmates to help organize the reunion.
The result was Saturday's lunch, attended by 21 classmates and 21 guests.
The classmates came from Illinois (11 from Quincy), Missouri, Texas, California, Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Arkansas.
Catherine Eston Sanders traveled the farthest, from Santa Rosa, Calif., where she moved three years ago after spending all of her life in Quincy.
"I enjoy being back in Quincy and hearing the stories of what the classmates have done in their lives," said Sanders, who attended the reunion with her son and daughter-in-law, and friend Earlene Mosby, whose late husband, George, was a member of the 1936 class.
"It's been a beautiful afternoon," Sanders said.
Charles Hermann didn't have far to travel to attend the reunion. He's lived in Quincy his whole life. While he still sees some of his classmates on a regular basis, it's been years since he's seen those who moved to other parts of the country.
"I recognized most of them," he said. "It was fun."
While Hermann admits his memory isn't as good as it used to be, he still remembers playing in the orchestra and band while a student at QHS, and the fact that his class was the first to attend all three years of high school in the new high school building at 14th and Maine, now Quincy Junior High School.
"It was a brand new building. It was great," he said.
Other classmates reminisced about their favorite Latin teacher, about singing in the Glee Club, about playing football, about the basketball team being state champions their sophomore year, about publishing the first Q-Review their senior year.
Those in attendance shared what they've been up to since graduating from high school 70 years ago. They also took a moment of silence to remember the 193 classmates who are deceased.
Before the party broke up, the committee asked for volunteers to plan their 75th class reunion.
"Let's see ... 88, 89, 90, 91, 92," Newkirk said, counting on his fingers to determine how old he'd be in five years. "I guess we can do that."
Contact Staff Writer Kelly Wilson
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