East High Class of 56"

                   East High “Class of 56”


                                                       June, 2003 






  We had another well attended dinner get-together at the Okoboji Grill in Pleasant Hill. More new faces, but mostly a lot of familiar faces.

  There were several announcements. Perhaps the most significant was that the EHS Booster Club will no longer be known as such, but instead will now be called The Scarlet Club.

  Janeene (Miller) Carlisle had 5 EHS pens for sale that lit up scarlet red at the click of the button. They sold fast for $5.00.

  Announcement about the upcoming 126th Annual Alumni Banquet at East on May 8th, and the Pancake Breakfast at East on May 10th.

  Janeene said that she and Linda (White) Towers would love to see a lot of their classmates at these functions.

  The Not New Shop on Penn Ave & E. University has a number of EHS girls that help out there. The Shop needs donations badly, and will accept clothes, shoes, underwear, pots, pans, etc. Apparently some of the East Girls do some of their shopping there also. Help out if you have something to donate.  

  Those in attendance at the Dinner were:

Kay (Edwards) & Chico Alcantar – Buddy & Joy Bellis – Nancy (Lund) Belluchi – Norma (Treanora) & Bill Burke Janeene (Miller) Carlisle – Marilyn (Overton) & Harrison Davis – Larry & Margaret Fogelson – Jerry & Carole Hall – Pat (Rounds) & Larry Hockersmith – Gary & Romona (Hitchcock) Moore – Mary (Crum) & Donald Moses – Yvonne (Miller) & Sonny Nauman – Phil & Barbara (Lowe) Penn – Shirley (Grant) & Ray Robinette – Jerry & Nancy Reese – Jerry Smith – Don & Arlene Spaw – Larry & Jackie Soloman – Bob & Connie Trotter – Marlene (Roberts) & Dale Wheeler – LaVae (Benshoof) Willson.

  The next Dinner Get-Together will be: Monday Sept 29th at 6:30 PM at Pagliai’s Pizza located at 5312 Merle Hay Rd. (about ½ mile north of I-35 on west side of street)

  The call committee will do their usual good job of contacting you about 10 days to 2 weeks ahead of time. Then they will call Janeene Carlisle who will pass on the numbers to me.

  I can’t say enough about our call committee, their time and efforts is what holds these Dinner Get-Togethers together. THANK YOU to the following:

  Jerry Smith A-B and Kaiser thru Kruzich

  LaVae Willson C – F

  Ruth Haag Girton-James L. Johnson and P     thru Smith

  Norma Burke L – O

  Don Spaw  Stroh thru Yeager



  In the last issue I reported the passing of Sarah (Nass) Struthers. I am excited to announce that it was in error. She is very much among the living.

  It had been reported to me in good faith that Sarah had passed on. So, I reported it in the NewsLink. Fortunately, Nancy (Lund) Belluchi, saw this and contacted me, to tell me that she had just received a letter from Sarah a couple of weeks ago.

  In a email contact with Carol (Graney) DeChant, Carol passed on the salutation from a letter she received from Sarah: Which began: “Dear Carol, Did you ever get a letter from a dead person before?” and then added a string of excuses as to why it took her so long to respond to Carol’s letter.

Her final excuse was “That she was dead”.

  Apparently Sarah has a very good sense of humor, and took the mistake much less serious then I did.

  Thank You Sarah, I am very happy that you are alive and kicking.




      Kay (Edwards) Alcantar


  The Board of Directors of the Altoona Area Chamber of Commerce has selected Kay (Edwards) Alcantar as a lifetime, honorary member.

  This award is to honor an individual who has been a long-standing and dedicated chamber member

  Kay has been involved with the chamber since 1987 when she took the position as administrative assistant.

  Kay has served on the board of directors in 2001/2002 representing her current employer, Prairie Meadows.

  Kay has served on numerous committee’s during her tenure.

  Paulette Franklin, executive director said “What is great about Kay is that she is always willing to do more. She is dedicated to the Altoona Chamber and her community, and an outstanding volunteer”.

 (Congratulations Kay)

  Also, as the “Grants Manager” of Prairie Meadows, I think we can thank Kay for the $12,000 donation to the EHS building fund.



  Jerry Schartner, girls’ basketball coach at Des Moines Lincoln, was inducted into the Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association on April 5th in Cedar Rapids.

  On March 15th, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union awarded Schartner the Golden Plaque Award of Distinction that goes to the Superlative Iowa Coach.

  Jerry had retired from teaching, but is continuing to coach Lincolns Girls Basketball.

(Congratulations Jerry. You have achieved many bright moments in your career, and I am sure that Joan was looking down, smiling and enjoying this one with you also..)



  Loretta (Woods) Ware sent me an email apologizing for missing the April Dinner get together. She had committed without checking her calendar.

  Loretta said she had just arrived home in April from doing a Missionary project, and was going on another trip the month of May and June. Retirement???

  Maybe we can plan on the fall dinner. We should stay home sometime. Loretta thinks she married a workaholic on wheels.

  She and her husband Milo still do a lot of bicycling when they can.



  John Moody sent Tom Lettington an email on trying to stay in touch with the class of 56 activities.

  John said he had been back in Des Moines over Memorial Day and had talked to Billy Jensen at his 50th wedding anniversary. John says that as we get older, we seem to like to go back and see the changes some of our old friends have gone through.

  John had lived in Whittier, CA. After 22 years in the Navy, John retired and is now living in Carlsbad, CA.

(Good to have a current address for you again John)



  Our Class of 56 committee treasurer Shirley (Grant) Robinette has retired after 44 years of working in different administrative office positions at Roosevelt High School.

  Her husband Bud, daughter Cindie, and son-in-law Mark set up a surprise retirement party at Hilltop Restaurant & Lounge.


  Shirley walking into a room of 90 of her co-workers, family and friends.


  There were many people there who Shirley had worked with over the years, Teachers, Office Staff, and Principals, family, friends. There was a lot of laughing, kissing, sharing of unforgotten moments, and tears. Shirley appeared overwhelmed but extremely happy.



Proof that Elvis had not left the building. Shirley was holding him captive in a closet..



  Carol (Graney) DeChant recalls how Sarah (Nass) Struthers was the Oscar Levant of East 9th St. as a child, but in the form of a little girl with braids.

  Carol recalls how Sarah was the one who told her the truth about there being no Santa Claus. Sarah replied that she couldn’t believe she would disillusion other kids with such news. So Sarah called her brother, who said, “Well you disillusioned me!”

  While Carol was reminiscing, she shared another image of how she, Peggy (Danials) Grund, and Janice (Crain) Stueckrath had taken Driver’s Ed from Mr. Sargeant, a jittery man whose nerves were not soothed by his occupation.

  We were no help of course, Carol said. We had a little contest (Would anyone question that it was Jan’s idea?) It was to see which of us, behind the wheel, could get to the highest mph before Mr. Sargeant applied the brake on his side of the car. The ones in the back seat would ask dumb automobile questions to distract him, as the driver accelerated.

  On the day that we passed our exam, Peggy and I went together to get our licenses. One of us had the fee in pennies and nickels. They refused to take the money in change!   Peggy and myself, were so excited to get our licenses, only to be temporarily thwarted by some heartless bureaucrat, unwilling to count out change. We eventually got our licenses. Memory is so odd, and I wonder if Peggy even recalls the episode.

  Carol issued a challenge to other NewsLink readers to share “snapshot” memories of classmates that occurred when they see names from those EHS days.

(OK Carol, the challenge is out. Now let’s see how many other classmates will tell stories on themselves and their friends.)



  We made the big decision after the first of the year that it was time to make the big move.

  We placed our house on the market, and it sold in a few days. We went on a planned 10 day vacation to Denver for our niece’s wedding. Came home to pack, and to look for another home.

  We found what we were looking for in Apple Valley, CA., about 80 miles north from Whittier. We have a new four bedroom with 2500 sq. ft. on a ½ acre. We are learning to like the high desert where the sun shines 360 days a year. It is quite hot in the summer, and it freezes and snows in the winter.

  We don’t see the kids and grandkids as ofter as we would like, but they all lead very active lives on their own. We stay with my mother when we go “down the hill”, and she enjoys having our company.

  Thanks so much for keeping the NewsLink going. I read it from cover to cover. Enclosed is a check to help with expenses.

Your time & effort is very much appreciated.  Marilyn (Day) Schoonover



  Here is a contribution toward the “NewsLink”. My trips to DSM never seem to coincide with any of the Reunion activities. So, I enjoy reading about former classmate’s activities in the NewsLink, and seeing pictures of them on the Web Site.

  You all are doing a great job. Keep it up, and Thanks for all your efforts.

Nancy (Harris) Robinson



  Thanks so much for the NewsLink. It is great being kept informed as to what is going on with our Ex-Classmates, and the different functions. Thanks so much.

Harvey J. Thompson



  East High School officials, alumni and supporters have received more than $1 million in contributions for a proposed activity and community center and music and performing arts center.

  School backers had less than one year to raise the money in order to receive $1 million from a federal program to modernize and repair public schools.

  News that supporters were able to match the grant comes as a project to renovate and expand the 91- year- old high school begins. A ground-breaking ceremony was held on Thursday, May 22nd on the north side of the school located at 815 E. 13th.

  East, the first Des Moines High School to be renovated with money from a countywide local-option sales tax passed in 1999, will receive $18 mill to:

1.      Add classrooms, a science wing and air


2.      Install an elevator

3.      Improve fire and other safety equipment.

4.      Replace windows.

  There was not enough money from the sales tax to build the activity or performing arts centers, so school supporters decided to raise what was needed to accomplish that goal.

  The school has received about $2.5 million in contributions and pledges so far. Supporters hope to raise $5 million in all. The money will be used to build a $2.2 million activity and community center and a $1.1 million music and performing arts center, all on the northeast side of the building. Another $1.4 million will be spent to renovate the 1912 building and make the auditorium handicapped accessible. About $300,000 will be spent on an industrial technology addition.

  So far, East has received 730 individual donations that range from $5 to $250,000.

  Principal Lee said he is hopeful that construction of the community and fine arts centers will coincide with the other work to be done at the school.

  “We are going to make it Lee said. We will be seeing more donations come in.”

  Expansion and renovation of the school is expected to be finished by the fall of 2005.




  In order for our alma-mater to reach their goal, they need our help now, so they can plan the Activity and Community center, the Music and Performing Arts center and the renovation of the original building. One such item they want to do, is to replace the badly worn and concaved marble steps in the interior stairways.

  Please send your donations in now. As you can see, every little bit helps. But, they need it now, so as to be able to Plan for The Future.



BILL OWENS         1/3/03


  Bill died of a heart ailment at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines.

  Bill lived in Runnells, IA for the past 40 years. He was a retired Chief Deputy of Planning and Resource with the Polk County Sheriffs Department, an Army veteran, and a member of Home Masonic Lodge.

  Bill was an environmentalist and had written some stories for the Des Moines Register.

  Bill was survived by two daughters, his mother, and a brother.


JOAN (SMITH) CHANCE        4/20/03


  Joan died Easter Sunday morning at home.

  She was born in Oskaloosa, IA and grew up in Des Moines and was a homemaker after graduating from East.

  She was a member of Staves United Methodist Church. She enjoyed playing softball, fishing, camping, gardening, stained glass, and her animals.

  Joan is survived by her husband of 43 years, two sons, and five grandchildren,



  Your reputation precedes yourself. I received an email from Sandy (Hartzer) Harne from the Class of 58. She praised you for all your help in trying to set up a website for them.

  Apparently, our class is doing something right. We are constantly getting inquiries on setting up a website, doing a newsletter, setting up periodic dinner get-togethers, etc.

  I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT. It does make one feel like you are doing something right.

  I think that through Lettingtons Website and the NewsLink, our class is better informed as to what is going on, and it has allowed us to enjoy probably the most up to date contact list of any class..



  To my lifelong friend Tom Abbott for always scanning graphics for me.


  Our appreciation to the following individuals for their recent donations to keep the NewsLink going.

  Nancy (Lund) Belluchi – Norma (Treanor) Burke – Eugene Davis – Jan (Holman) Green – Pat (Rounds) & Larry Hockersmith – Barb (Lowe) Penn – Doris (Rasmussen) Richards – Nancy (Harris)_ Robinson – Marilyn (Day) Schoonover – Jerry O. Smith – Harvey Thompson

  Our thanks to all of you.



  I bragged about how well we can keep in touch as a class. Well, that’s true, BUT, we can do better.

  Please send any change of address to me. I know that we are coming into the time in many of your lives when a move may be imminent. Please remember to send me your new address. Remember, our 50th celebration will be coming up in a couple of years, so we will need to have your current address to send you the info.

Address changes - Articles for NewsLink

To: Larry Fogelson

       3121 Twana Drive

        Des Moines, IA   50310

       (515) 279-0013

       Email: chieffog@mchsi.com


Mail Donations to:

        Shirley (Grant) Robinette

        812 E. 22nd Ct.

        Des Moines, IA    50317



  Kathleen (Graney) Finkanauer who lost her husband George early this year.

  My wife’s mother and George were in the same nursing home. So we would often run into Kathleen. Please accept our heartfelt sympathy.


  Next class dinner get-together will be Monday Sept 29th at 6:30 PM at Pagliai’s Pizza at 5312 Merle Hay Rd.




  It has been a while since I have given credit, and my special thanks to my lovely wife Margaret.

  She proof reads my material, helps me stuff envelopes, puts labels on, stamps, and seal the envelopes. Thank You again dear.






Next NewsLink in December