Tamaqua High School Class of 1953 hosted its 60-year reunion on Sept. 21 at the Top of the 80's Restaurant in West Hazleton. Forty-seven classmates attended, including those from California, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, Delaware, New Jersey and New York.
The evening started with a social hour, after which departed classmates were remembered. Those who passed away in the past five years are Samuel Dampman, Robert Clemens, Rodney Werley, Catherine Haggerty Orach, Nancy Madden McMorran, Donald Hadesty, Harold Hosler, Kenneth Campbell, Joan Robertshaw Shilko, Joan Welsh Kucharik, Patricia Rice Garnier, Robert Wetterau, Daniel Kriner, Phillip Krapf, Rosemarie Comisac Peiffer and Mildred Collins Weaver.
The class has lost a total of 59 members to date. A memory wall was constructed by James and Jean George, which included individual yearbook photos of all the deceased along with other photos from high school days.
Following dinner, Curt Williams, co-chairman, was honored with a gift of Corinthian Bells (wind chimes) from the class "For what you have done for all of us the past 60 years." Williams and his wife Virginia, also a class member, were further surprised with a cake to celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary, which was the following day.
Class officers in attendance were Floyd Berk, president, and Marion Aiken Miller, secretary. Berk commended the reunion committee and the Georges for their work on the memory wall.
Following a business meeting, conducted by Williams, the classmates enjoyed entertainment by Elvis impersonator, T.J. Fitzpatrick of T&M Entertainment. Following his performance, Fitzpatrick served as a DJ.
Class members who spent the night gathered Sunday morning for breakfast.
The "Big 60" reunion committee consisted of Williams and co-chairwoman Alma Schaeffer Fisher. Other members included Floyd Berk, Marion Aiken Miller, Phyllis Bower Pruett, Geraldine Breiner Balliet, Marlene Cutter Turner, Claire Fagan Stancavage, Nancy Frey Pasho, Joan Gober Tracy, Nancy Hoffman Dreisbach, Marie Kistler Gursky, Nancy Knepper Nunemacher, Shirley Lauer Milot, Virginia Main Williams, Joan Plasko Kast, Jean Rinker Stephens, Ida Sinn Piccin, Mae Stribic McKeever and Robert Fisher.
The Class of 1953 has hosted a formal reunion every five years since 1963, and has been meeting more often since the summer of 2000, when it held its first informal picnic, a tradition that it has followed since, filling in the years between formal reunions. The next class picnic is scheduled for June 28, 2014 at Leiby's Grove in the New England/Lewistown Valley.