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Galleries: 2003 Reunion: |Day One|Day Two|Day Three|Day Four
Gatherings: |2007 Midwinter|2008 Midwinter|2009 Midwinter|
2008 Reunion 55: |Picnic|Train Ride|Tappa Keg Inn|Banquet|
Introduction: Thanks to my sons - Jack, whom you all know, and Gunnar, oldest son in my family of computer whizzes, and our good friends Milt Hill and Jerry Fitzpatrick, phtographers extraordinaire, we are proud to tell you that the photos are up and ready for your absolute enjoyment. Thanks to them all, Milt and Jerry for taking the photos, Gunnar for helping me get them burned onto a DVD and in the mail to Jack, and to Jack for creating the photo galleries and his infinite patience talking me through the captioning process and the uploading - Voila! - we have photos!
A word about the captions. Space limitations being what they are, necessitated the use of first names only. On the News Page you will find a list of all those who attended. If you need to put a last name together with those first names, check out the list of attendees there..
So first up, the picnic and the ice cream social, from earliest morning, putting up tents, tables, chairs, to the anticipation of the arrival of the first of our classmates. The odors of Jerry Goar's cooking tantalizing those of us involved in the preparations. And then you all came. Smiles of excitement on you faces. Hugging, kissing, laughing, overjoyed to be with one another again. How wonderful that we had several wives of deceased classmates that wanted to be with us for this day. My gosh, we must be doing something right. The setting was perfect, the food out of this world, and Patsy, as always, the perfect, perfect hostess. Helpers, Boots and Rog, Dale and Joan, Claudia, Shirley and Bernie, plus all the members of Your Reunion Committee - WOW! what a team we have. And what a fantastic reception to our nomination of David Karpeles to the Denfeld Hunters Hall of Fame. It's all there, in the photos. Enjoy!
You will love these photos of the train ride as I think they truly capture the delight we all took in this event. Who knew all this beautifulness was just there, on the other side of the tracks. This was a great event enjoyed by over 50 classmates and their guests. Thanks to Mary and Helmi for making the arrangements - the coffee was great - and to Joanne who was the overall watchdog. We sure do have fun, don't we?
Well, what can we say. It was handy. The expected "extra help" didn't seem to materialize so the service was a little slow. But we were together, talking, laughing, enjoying the company of friends some of us have know for more than 75 years. That's what's important - not how long we had to wait for the hamburger, eh?
How many of you remember that old radio show, "Can You Top This?" How do you top our great picnic and ice cream social? How do you top the wonderful, beautiful train ride along the St. Louis River? How do you top Tappa Keg burgers? (Ya don't need to answer that one.) Ya don't try to top it, you just keep adding to it. Our banquet, simple, straightforward, brimming with what is really important at a banquet - good food, was a perfect exclamation point to our delightful two days together. The goal of this Reunion 55 was providing opportunities to spend time together. No big shows, no big events, just time to hang out, catch up, and talk, talk, and more talk. And we did that, didn't we? If the reports that are coming in reflect the overall consensus of the attendees, this was one of the best reunions this class has ever experienced. Thanks to everyone who by your attendance contributed to the success. And hats off to Your Reunion Committee for a fantastic reunion.
The photos in these galleries are by Milt Hill and Jerry Fitzpatrick.
Thanks to Milt Hill for these photos from our events and to the indomitable Patsy Munger Lehr for hosting memorable afternoons/evenings in her wonderful home on the banks of the St. Louis River. And to everyone who comes and males them great events, thanks to you. Thanks to my son Jack, who like leading the blind through a dark room, is doing his best to guide me through this process.
Before Mickey's big hand was on 12 and his little hand on 10, the singers, members of the A cappela choir, a few spouses and one sister, were arriving, filled with giddy excitement and anticipation of singing with their beloved choir one more time.
Milt was frantically cranking out additional copies of the music on the Xerox machine as 30 singers showed up to make up this incredible choir, many more than anyone had guessed or dared hope. Singers came in a day early from California (Caroline, Larry, Sharon, Bruce, Don & Virgil), Maine (Darlene), Washington (Enid), Colorado (Glenn), Florida (Claudia), Virginia (Roger), Texas (Boots), Wyoming (Jay), New Jersey (Stubby), and of course, from all around Duluth and out state Minnesota.
After a lunch break at Grandma's on Grand, arranged by Berta Donaghy Finch and Mary Haug Larson, these enthusiastic singers were back, filling the afternoon air at Westminster Church with song. Trios, duets, and soloists rehearsed towards the end of the afternoon. The payoff came, Friday night at the Reunion Show.
It was back to Grandma's on Grand for a quick lunch, and then the 50th Anniversary of the Denfeld Class of 1953 officially got underway at Dear Old Denfeld High School.
Claude Lutzka and Joanne Cameron Robson hosted a wonderful Root Beer Float Social in the cafeteria, followed by a tour of Denfeld conducted by Denfeld teacher Joe Vukelich, who got his start with reunion school tours when he escorted our class ten years earlier.
After filling up on root beer floats we moved on to the beautiful Karpeles Museum where we enjoyed a fantastic display of treasures that included Janis Lilliberg's Kid Day costume, as well as a wonderful scrapbook kept by Jack McKillop's mother with newspaper clippings, many medals and of course, his letter sweater. Eli Miletich had brought the game ball from the Denfeld Central game. What a treat it was to have our memories tweaked by these great collections.
Repeating their well received performance at the '98 reunion, Larry and Barbara staged an hilarious version of a play called I'm Herbert, that hit pretty close to home for all of us.
A short break and we were downtown at the Holiday Inn for A Night to Remember. A poignant memorial tribute started the evening (see In Memoriam page for details) followed by the much anticipated Reunion Show. How about that finale with Roger on his trumpet, Shirley on the piano, Boots with her baton, and our cheerleaders leading us in the singing of the Denfeld Fight Song. In our memory forever. WOW!
While most of us were still trying to get the sleep out of our eyes, a hardy bunch of classmates met in the kitchen at Milt's church to help Patsy prepare fruit and other goodies for Sunday's brunch. Only one trip to the Emergency Room was reported - that we know of.
By noon, the cruise crew was gathering at the dock behind the DECC, boarding their mighty ship and setting sail for a great day on board the Vista Star. We had our own private deck and did not let a wee bit of rain dampen our spirits.
While some were boating, others (those stalwart members of the Reunion Committee and some surprise helpers) were upstairs at the DECC getting the ballroom and reception lobby ready for the big event.
By 5:30 p.m. everyone was gathering, fitted out in their best bib and tucker for the most wonderful night of the year. The food was wonderful, Steve Johnson's entertainment was great. Following dinner, Claude and Barbara conducted the Open Mike portion of the program after first giving away ten super door prizes. So many classmates had memories to share, we could have been there all night, and we almost were. (It's all on the video tape.) Eleanor shared her touching poem about our 50 years and the evening ended when Claude called Caroline to come up and close out our evening as Ernie had done in '93 and '98. Very few dry eyes in the house this night.
The Survivors' Brunch—two times makes it a tradition. Patsy had thought we would have - maybe -150 attend. As near as she can calculated there were at least 200 served. And after the rain of Saturday, the sun came out and it was a perfect summer day in our home town. And her buffet was fantastic, delicious, wonderful - as it always is. Patsy's home has become the official meeting place of the Denfeld class of '53.
Eli had prepared a resolution supporting the continuation of Denfeld as a High School and it was resoundingly approved, taken to the Karpeles Museum for signatures and sent to the School Board office.
Then came the elementary school and junior high school photos. As you look and enjoy these photos one thing will become abundantly clear: there are no photos of the schools east of the ore docks. What is up with that? Somebody had to have taken photos of Adams, Monroe, Bryant, Ensign, Lincoln Elem. and Lincoln Jr. And there is no photo from Merritt. Come on kids, we know those photos were taken - somebody has them. Send them on over, okay?
It was 3 o'clock before significant numbers of classmates started drifting away. The Minnesota Long Goodbye. Nobody wanted to leave and that was understandable. We had just participated in the biggest, best, most incredible class reunion Denfeld, or Duluth, had ever seen. And it may have been the last one. The jury is still out.
Several classmates have written to say they don't recognize the people in the photographs. Understandable. Even if you were there it might be hard to identify everyone.
If you are looking to identify a particular person in a particular photograph, send us an e-mail and we will do our best to figure out who that person is. Can't solve all the mysteries but we can surely tackle a few.
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Last updated: January 26, 2009.