A half century of memories

by Buckley Jensen
The Class of l962 celebrated its 50th anniversary of graduation from Monticello High School during the Pioneer Days celebration on July 21. The 19 graduates of the class who came back are from as far away as Amarillo, TX.
This class, whose incomparable three day senior trip to Phoenix in April of l962, caused the school board to outlaw future overnight out-of-state parties by graduating seniors has, (believe it or not) started to mellow.
Linda Johnson Lewis did not get chucked into a cow pond this year. There were actually serious conversations about heart attacks, artificial knees, health insurance costs and the posterities this class has produced.
There were 37 of us who marched down the aisle to Principal Jack Burr and Superintendent Kenneth Maughan to receive our “sheepskins” a half century ago. Just three of our class have passed away: Ross Hards, David Christensen and Bill Nebeker.
Only three deaths in 50 years is remarkable considering the class of l960, just two years ahead of us, has lost 22 members. Three of that class, all local residents, have died since the first of the year. (Karl Barton, Gary Wilson and Jimmy Joe Pehrson)
Our class did lose three class members while in grade school. They were Sidney Bailey (spinalmeningitas) Sue Tatro (dragged to death by a horse) and Glen D. Cash (ruptured appendix).
The class should have lost two other nut-cases (Buckley Jensen and Keith Nielson) who spent an afternoon as silly teenagers throwing a half a case of dynamite (one stick at a time) into Max Dalton’s pond northwest of town.
Keith’s experience with blasting caps was such that we should have both been blown to bits, but I guess the good Lord was watching over us. I could name others who should have never reached puberty. One such would be Buddy Redd (the Keith Brent edition) who drove his hot rods at speeds that would have made Batman swoon. It seemed like the more classmates he had in his car the faster he went.
But we survived to obey the Lord’s admonition to “multiply and replenish.” The 19 of us who gathered Saturday have a total of 107 children 334 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. Winner in the grandchild derby is Bill Hyde, with 45 which includes Bill’s step children by his second wife, Connie.
Second place goes to Teresa Frost Guymon, with 32. Betty Barton Lewis took third with 30. Buckley Jensen and Linda Johnson Lewis round out the diaper derby with 25 and 23 grandchildren, respectively.
Top producers in the great grandchildren department are Mike Bailey with eight and Roque Manzanares with six. Well done you good and faithful servants!
Other data on this gang of 19: Eight have college degrees with several also having master’s degrees. (Double the national average for a class our size.)
There are five teachers with more than 100 years of teaching experience between them: Betty Barton Lewis, Janean Lyman Tullis, Buckley Jensen, Bill Hyde and Teresa Frost Guymon.
There are two big-time local farmers: Gary Crowley and Linda Johnson Lewis.
One CPA: David White
One former mayor (of Monticello): Jack Young
Two general contractors: Gary Crowley and Buckley Jensen
Two Realtors: Rye Nielson and David White
One Mechanical Engineer: Craig Young
Two Electrical Engineers: Keith Nielson and Roque Manzanares.
Business Owners Jack Young, Buddy Redd, Gary Crowley, Buckley Jensen, David White, and Rye Nielson.
Barbara Wright Yant has been a victims-advocate for the Sheriff’s department in the Delta, Colorado area for 28 years. Last year she received the top award in that department for the entire state of Colorado
Mike Bailey spent most of his career with Black Oil of Monticello.
Roque Manzanares spent his career with E-Systems in Salt Lake. He started out in product development and traveled the world as one of their top sales representatives for 30 years.
Georgia Dalton Rasmussen returned to Monticello about five years ago and lives with her husband in a new log home on the road to Blue Mountain.
Two of our class, Relva Sonderegger Bowring and Merlene Redd Lovejoy, are currently serving missions for the LDS Church with their husbands. Dave and Jeanine White have served two missions since retirement. Bill and Connie Hyde served a mission in Mexico City after he retired. Teresa Frost Guymon returned from her mission last year.
Charlene Miller has never missed one of our class reunions. She has lived in Amarillo, TX for 49 years. She has driven by herself to all our reunions every decade since graduation. She works at a shelter for abused children and is called “Grandma” by scores of small children who know the unconditional love that she gives. She says her work is her life and she will never retire. The class of l962 loves our little Charlene. It is people like her who keep this country glued together.
We enjoyed an outdoor dinner in Linda Lewis’ beautiful gardens Saturday afternoon. When it started to rain about dusk, we went inside and each had a chance to share our thoughts. There were tears, laughter and a lot of love. It was a deeply spiritual experience for this writer. We totally forgot about the fireworks at the football field. The fireworks of our collective memories were far more wonderful than the sparkly kind from China.
The class of ’62 has no celebrities except Linda Lewis, but we hope we have been a credit to our alma mater, our hometown and the world. Our influence will continue to grow as our posterities are counted in the thousands a few generations hence.
Most of the 19 in attendance at this year’s reunion were together for all 12 years growing up in Monticello schools.
We all deeply love Monticello and San Juan County. Sadly, there will be fewer of us ten years from now. But happily, the love and respect we have for each other will only grow stronger as we wend our way toward the next reunion in 2022.

San Juan Record

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