It was a fabulous day of reuniting with old friends and classmates during the 50 year reunion of the class of 1967 of the Lacombe High School.
On July 14th, just over 100 people gathered at the Lacombe Memorial Centre to mark the event – folks from as far away as Ontario and Iowa came to the City to enjoy a day of fellowship and catching up.
And among those taking part were 60 classmates as well as five former teachers.
Teachers who were able to make it included Bob Duke, Bob Enders, Don Gustafson, Sally Henderson and Allan Koole.
Also recognized were 13 former classmates who has passed away since 1967 – these included David Abelson, Ernie Borley, Kay Braithwaite, Sharon Harty, Darlene Hegberg, Dale Kells, Sue Kocher, Dale Shoup, Mike Tennant, Brent Thompson, Sid Wagner, Lawrence Williams and John Wynia.
Planning for the event began back in February of 2016, and the first committee meeting was held on Sept. 28th under the leadership of Bob Burris, said committee member Jack Oudman.
Rounding out the committee were Gordon Brown, Gerald Creasey, Elaine (McKibbin) Huston, Margaret (Martin) Kamps, Oudman and Linda (Williams) Richter.
This particular reunion marked the third time a get-together had been planned over the years – there was also one at the 20-year mark and a 30-year reunion was held as well.
Oudman said that the class of 1967 with 97 students was the last class to graduate from Lacombe High School which was located then in what is now the Lacombe Upper Elementary School.
The Lacombe Composite High School opened in the fall of 1968 as a new campus, he explained, adding that the Class of 1967 was also known as the Centennial Graduation Class since 1967 was the nation’s 100th birthday.
Oudman said that virtually from the start, organizers wanted to keep the event relatively short – just one day. But it was packed with plenty of opportunities to visit and catch up with old friends.
“We met at two o’clock in the afternoon with the goal to pick a venue, pick a date and pick a caterer. With a couple of phone calls, we had all of that arranged within the first hour of the meeting,” he said. “But our meeting went on for another two hours after that – mostly just with reminiscing,” he added with a laugh.
There was a banquet catered by Bob Ronnie followed by a short program with Gordon Brown serving as master of ceremonies.
Included in this time was a recognition of those classmates who has passed away, and there was also an open microphone where folks could share plus a thank-you to the former teachers who were in attendance as well.
Oudman, who originally hails from Innisfail but has called Lacombe home since he was in Grade 9, said it was terrific to sit at the registration table, see folks come in and that it was amazing how many were quite recognizable even after all of these years.
Having the chance to see how everyone was doing after all of this time was a real treat.
“Another highlight was that we invited teachers, and we had about five or six teachers that were able to come,” he added. “I spent a fair amount of time talking to the teachers – and just meeting all of the people.” Another striking thing was how the teachers recognized almost everyone that was there, he said.
“A couple of them said, you know, you have the same mannerisms that you had in high school.”
Oudman said the formal part of the evening wrapped up with a group photo of the classmates, and this was followed by more visiting before folks said their good-byes.
It was a really fun opportunity of re-connecting, said Oudman, adding that even some for who the high school years maybe weren’t the happiest of times – they still had a good time nonetheless in chatting with others about how their particular lives and careers had turned out.
“One gentleman hadn’t been to our other reunions – but he came to this one. He so thoroughly enjoyed it that when he left, he said, ‘Let’s do this again in five years’. We actually heard that comment from more and more people, too.”
So plans will soon be starting to take shape for a reunion five years down the road as well, and Oudman couldn’t be more pleased at the thought.
“We have all of the information now (for reaching people) – why not?
“I really enjoyed it.”