Sauk Centre’s All-School Reunion could be the last

Hank Jones, Class of ‘55, rode 24 hours on a train to attend what might be the last All-School Reunion for Sauk Centre. Pictured are (from left): Jones, Jan Kleinschmidt Lieser and Cliff Jones, both members of the Class of ‘66.

Hank Jones, Class of ‘55, rode 24 hours on a train to attend what might be the last All-School Reunion for Sauk Centre. Pictured are (from left): Jones, Jan Kleinschmidt Lieser and Cliff Jones, both members of the Class of ‘66.

 

By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
jennie.zeitler@ecm-inc.com

Hundreds of high school graduates spanning many decades gathered in Sauk Centre for an All-School Reunion, Aug. 16-18.

While none who attended classes in the first Sauk Centre High School building are still living, many of the alumni remember the old high school building behind the library.

Sue Bosshardt Neal, a spry 1937 graduate, didn’t have far to go for the reunion. She grew up on a farm six miles north of town and has spent her adult life in Sauk Centre.

“I went to the ‘little red schoolhouse,’ then high school in town,” she said.

Now living in Lakeshore Estates, Neal said candidly that she “can remember more of long ago than now.”

Hank Jones, Class of 1955, rode 24 hours on the train from the tiny town of Trego, Mont., 30 miles from the Canadian border.

Gail Gruse Nelson, Class of ‘52, left, greets fellow alumnus Sue Bosshardt Neal, Class of ‘37, at the Sauk Centre All-School Reunion, Aug. 17.

Gail Gruse Nelson, Class of ‘52, left, greets fellow alumnus Sue Bosshardt Neal, Class of ‘37, at the Sauk Centre All-School Reunion, Aug. 17.

“I’m staying with my best friend, Paul Theis,” Jones said. “We’ve known each other since 1945. I come back to see the people — see my classmates.”

Class of 1961 member Tom Morgan, now from Grand Rapids, entertained fellow alumni with fond memories. One of them recalled his kindergarten teacher, Edna Wallace.

“I went to school for about two weeks and then thought I’d much rather be doing other things,” Morgan said. “My grandma walked me to the corner, I’d walk another block, turn the corner, then go to the park.”

Morgan did that for two weeks, spending time with a railroad work crew. One day the crew went to lunch at the Palmer House, where Morgan’s mom worked, and mentioned the little boy who was hanging out with them.

It wasn’t until Wallace went there for lunch that the cat was out of the bag.

“She asked my mom, ‘How sick is Tommy?’” said Morgan. “When mom found out I hadn’t been to school in two weeks, she put two and two together with the work crew.”

Morgan returned to class and had to draw an apple tree on butcher block paper with an apple for each day he’d been gone, writing “I will not miss school.”

Tom Morgan, Class of ‘61, left, recalls stories with Al Butler, Class of ‘56. Butler was one of Morgan’s babysitters, many moons ago.

Tom Morgan, Class of ‘61, left, recalls stories with Al Butler, Class of ‘56. Butler was one of Morgan’s babysitters, many moons ago.

“The day I graduated from high school, Edna was waiting as I walked off the stage and handed me that rolled-up paper,” he said. “She was a very caring person.”

Morgan and Al Butler, Class of 1956, recalled Butler’s friendship with Morgan’s older brother, with Morgan as the tagalong.

Mike Weisser, alumni association chair and Class of 1961, credits Pam Borgmann, Class of 1967, and John and Jan Murch, both Class of 1965, for putting the reunion together.

Begun in 1990, and held every three or five years since then, the reunions may be coming to an end.

“We just can’t find the volunteers,” said Weisser. “If someone would like to step forward and take it over, we’d be happy to turn the website and all information over to them.”

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