60th East Aurora High School Reunion

In 2003 I was in East Aurora, New York, to attend my 40th East Aurora High School Reunion.  The day after the reunion, I had the opportunity to wander the halls of the old three-story brick school on Main Street, from which I had graduated in 1963 (today it is a middle school).  I bumped into a few "elderly" people in the hallway and learned from them that they were in town for their 55th reunion.  Wow, I thought, that's amazing!  These people are old!

Now, in 2023, our Class of 1963 has held its 60th reunion at the historic Roycroft Inn.  This happened thanks to my classmate Holmes McGuigan (first row, far right).  She chaired the 60th reunion "committee," which consisted of Holmes, yours truly (third row, far right), and some heavy lifting from Sandy Knodel (first row, second from left), and Phyllis Zent Shapiro in abstentia.

My responsibilities, performed remotely from the west coast, were to maintain the address list, send invitations and reminders, and help handle responses.  Holmes kept telling people that she couldn't have done the reunion without my help.  My response was that without Holmes there would have been no reunion at all.

Our graduating class was about 173 students, as I recall, of whom 20 made it to the 60th reunion (see photo above and legend below).  About 45 of our classmates are confirmed deceased, including a few who passed away within the past year, while the reunion was being planned.

Everyone at the luncheon introduced themselves and told, all too briefly, their stories.  I can't do justice to all their stories, but let me mention a few.  One is a lifelong educator and school administrator; she is still working at age 78 - simply can't say no.  Others were teachers as well.  Another classmate is a retired orthopedic surgeon.  A third was East Aurora's chief of police for years.  Yet another dedicated his career to helping Appalachian coal miners get health care and financial compensation for black lung disease.  A book has been written about him, Soul Full of Coal Dust, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chris Hamby.  It's a great read.

Not bad for a handful of people from a beautiful small town in upstate New York.  We're all united today by the common bond of having graduated in the Class of 1963 from East Aurora High School.  Some among us have enduring friendships.  In my case, I first connected with Holmes McGuigan on Facebook about fourteen years ago.  Since 2020, we've been part of a small group of classmates who do weekly calls on Zoom.  Now, having worked together (remotely) to organize this 60th reunion, Holmes and I are dear friends.  How great is that?

First row, from left:  Barbara St. Aubin Fry, Sandy Matchulat Knodel,  Diane Bilbrough Meade, Holmes Clark McGuigan
Second row:  Elaine Trempe Scruggs, Louise Stadelman Spahn, Joan Dorsey Thomas, John Cline
Third row:  Kathy Shed Taylor, Lee Winstrom, Linda  Schoch Hamilton, Roger Gloss
Fourth row:  Gail Stewart Daugherty, Bill Wright, Jude Smith, Dwight "Sandy" Campbell
Fifth row:  Cathy Doran Streb, Nancy May Wilder, Herb Stenzel, Bill Nye