"The good old days....when we weren't good and we weren't old" Barbara Schwarz Moss 2010

We seem to all be suffering a common problem these days, WHERE DID OUR LIVES GO? Our brains seem to still be 18, but our bodies are talking a different language. Sarah Orne Jewett puts it much more eloquently than do I:

“Neither of my companions was troubled by her burden of years. I hoped in my heart that I might be like them as I lived on into age, and then smiled to think that I too was no longer very young. So we always keep the same hearts, though our outer framework fails and shows the touch of time.”


Interactive news, reviews, gossip, musings, activities, photos, mysteries, histories, stories, truths, lies & video tapes from & for graduates of the Kirkwood (MO) High School fabulous class of 1965. Email us anything you would like to share to leslieatkhs65dotcom. See photos at - comment here or on the website to make yourself heard! FIND US ~ ~ ~ FACEBOOK KHS65 ~ ~ KHS65 MAKE IT A HABIT!

Saturday, December 23, 2017


I realize not everyone attended our Senior Party after graduation, but I did and remember it well.  The Hotel Jefferson has a checkered history and has been shuttered for ages; every time there is a new proposal to reopen it, I begin dreaming of a class reunion there just for nostalgia's sake!  In recent years there have been several plans put forth to refurbish/reopen/reuse it but none has come to fruition.  Here is an article about the current status.  This article says it was published 12/21/17 but I am looking at the 12/22 paper and the lead article in the Business Section has this article and the photo.  A Marriott would be great, but as the lead article on 12/22 points out, there are already a LOT of hotel rooms in St. Louis, and if all 9 current proposals came to be, there would be 1200+ additional hotel rooms downtown, and can we really support that?  Many people, including me, think not.  We just don't have the draw we once did...anyway, I thought some of you might find this of interest if you follow any of our local "issues".
Jefferson Arms rendering

Thursday, December 21, 2017


I recently received a wonderful message from Bruce which he has given me permission to share.  I am always so gratified when the memories or information from one classmate prompts contact from another!  And it's especially pleasing to know some of our classmates actually read what I write!  Thank you all for that!  Here goes Bruce's article:

"It is amazing to me the names of the people I either didn't know or can no longer remember, yet still sound vaguely familiar.  Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for what you do on your blog.  I do check it out every couple of months.  Like this morning, for some reason I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and said, oh, what the heck.  I have been working on our own family genealogy and as I sat down at the desk with my laptop for some reason thought I would check your blog to see if there was any new news regarding classmates.  Sorry to hear about Jim Olson.  I do not remember Jim, at least I don't think so.  I could tell you had become good friends.

Your posting of the JerryJazzMusician [Alan Yount's poetry has been published there twice lately, see earlier posts here] brought back my own horn playing memories.  At Keysor and North I played Alto Sax.  Lew Williamson was 1st chair in band at North, I was 2nd chair.  My music teacher at Mel Bay's encouraged me to enter into a music contest called the "Five Penney Music Contest" named after the movie of the same name starring Danny Kay who played trumpet in the movie.  I played NOLA and for my age group and instrument won first place which was my one and only musical claim to fame. For first prize I think I got a $15 gift certificate from Mel Bay's Music Store and a "Five Penney" record album.   Mel Bay's son, Bill Bay, asked me to join his band, to which my parents said no.  Doc Williamson was our family's dentist and prior to my musical accolade I thought I wanted to be a dentist because he was always complimentary after a visit.  My parents thought keeping me on a track of dentistry was a better option than musician. The music teacher at North asked me to join the orchestra as the only saxophone player, which I did, although he asked me to insert a mute to soften the tone. I was also asked to perform on stage at the high school during some kind of talent show.  Bobbie Jo Leech accompanied me on the piano.  I wonder what happened to Bobbie Jo? [she was living in Florida as is Bruce currently.  I'm not sure if she's still there.]  I believe she also played trumpet in band at North.  I got so nervous on stage, somewhere in the middle of NOLA I forgot where I was, as I had memorized it, and Bobbie Jo somehow  picked up on my memory loss, and either caught up with me or filled in the blanks, she was just great and a real life saver.  Either way it was my last semi-professional performance.  

Looking back, I wish I would have continued playing the sax in high school.  I would have enjoyed playing in the marching band at halftime.  It would have been a better option for me then football.  I did try out for football in 9th grade.  I thought I was a pretty good quarterback, at least in our neighborhood.  For J.V. made third string but at 5'8" and around 100 lbs. was no match for the bigger guys.  Jim Ballard wanted to learn out to play the sax and I gave him some instruction sheets and tips. He picked it up immediately and really became a great saxophone player and I believe part of the KHS marching band.

Just last week I asked my daughter who has five children (two who are in college, two in high school and one in middle school) if any would be interested in my sax, which I hadn't played in many years?  She replied, no, but wanted to hear me play as they are coming for a visit to warm, sunny Florida over the Christmas break.  I pulled it out of its case, not knowing if it would even play, if all the pads were hard and needed replacing?  Surprisingly it did play.  Not surprisingly, it was very hard, not the pads, me.  After several days I might be able to play Silent Night, but NOLA, not a chance."
A bit later I received another fun message from Bruce:  
"Alan Yount's memory of his great grandparents' house stirred up some additional ones of my own.  

The House on Woodlawn
My mom was always proud of being a KHS girl.  Of course, in her days Kirkwood High was as we know Nipher.  She moved to Kirkwood from the city in 1925 at the age of 12.  Her father, Percy Wall or P.H. which was for Percival Herbert built the house or at least his company, Wall Construction, built the house.  It was red brick with black mortar, a special request by her mom, Sadie. The house was located on the "other side" of the Ferguson-Kirkwood streetcar tracks, just down the hill and on the same side as the stately residences that lined the street north of Adams (Lockwood)​. It was across the street from the Kirkwood.Country Club (later renamed the Woodlawn Country Club.)  When golfers would tee off from the #3 tee, balls would often land in their yard. Today streets with the name of Par and Bogey are a little reminder of the past. The street [Woodlawn Avenue] from their house up to Manchester had not yet been paved and in the winter they would help to oil it.  Heavy rains or wet snows would cause cars to get stuck and for a modest fee there were always a few neighbors still with horses and wagons to help in their distress. My grandfather lived in the house for almost 40 years.  When it was sold the new owners painted the brick white and built on top of it.  They couldn't believe how thick the foundation was.  Wall Construction was a commercial builder.  They built schools, factories and breweries.  Very little evidence remains of the street car tracks next to the house.  As boys my brother and I used to collect a few spikes from the area.  Last summer I got out of the car just to prove to myself of its existence, and although most of the area has long since been turned into roadways, houses and lawns, I could still see and walk next to the ditch where the bed of the track use to be.  The one picture we have of the house was taken during the winter. The second is as it currently looks."

I love these stories of our childhood and especially those also about Kirkwood.  If YOU want to send some memories, please do and I'll post them.  And thanks to Alan Yount for his sharing of his memories which inspired Bruce to be in touch too! 

William Lee Hedrick leaves us too early

Jim Day was kind enough to contact me to let us know that Bill Hedrick died on December 10, 2017.  Here is an obituary that Jim wrote up for us in the absence of a published one that I could find.
Thanks go to Jim for being so kind to keep us posted on classmate activity.  Bill and Rusty Nelson were good pals, so I wonder if it was Rusty with whom Bill joined in the buddy system.  Thank you again Jim!

"William (BILL) Hedrick lived in Rosebud, MO. Graduating from Kirkwood High School he joined the Navy with the Buddy System, serving our country in the U.S. NAVY.  He served in VIET NAM from 1965-69 receiving medals for his service during his time there. Bill was involved in the recovery of APOLLO 10 & APOLLO 11.  He earned a degree in design engineering and, working for MONSANTO, Bill designed and developed machines to assist in the paint industries.  He eventually left MONSANTO to work within his family business and upon his retirement Bill was able to continue his avid love for golf, and his enjoyment as a master mechanic." 


Friday, December 1, 2017


In October I was at Bopp Chapel attending visitation and the memorial service for the mother of a friend of mine.  She had been a music teacher here in St. Louis and my friend an alum of Ladue High.  I wasn't expecting to see anyone I knew other than my friend's Aunt whom I have known for some time through a mutual friend and my business.  So, I'm sitting in one of the pews in front of the lady whom I know and as I turned around and chatted with her the two ladies sitting next to her joined the conversation.  Somehow or other growing up in Kirkwood came up, imagine that, one of the ladies said something about the "Pickel Girls".  Despite the fact that sometimes I think I am getting senile, something triggered in my brain.  I looked at the darling lady who had said she'd been a teacher in Kirkwood for awhile many years ago, and I asked where and she said Nipher, I said when?... she began to calculate and I said,"wait, Nipher - Art - Miss Pickel" and then even her first name fell out of my mouth!  Charlotte Pickel, art teacher during our years at Nipher!  Well  ~ of course we had a great time discussing teachers, the fact that I did NOT have her as a teacher, which is a good thing, she would have remembered me if she had taught me for my totally unartistic self!  And we reminisced about Mr. Beltz, Dr. Wagner, other art teachers, etc.  She left Kirkwood, married, spent 11 years in Omaha teaching and along the way, not sure of the time frame as I didn't make good notes, she taught at Ladue, Webster and Parkway West Jr.  She and her sister are both retired, and enjoying life.  She is chipper, adorably cute and perky, smiles a lot!  Just an older version of the way I remember her as a short, perky teacher!  
One just never knows who she'll run into at Bopp Chapel...and what memories will be triggered...a great thing about blooming where you're planted as Mary Engelbreit admonishes...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Rock Star with a Connection to KHS65 - well sorta!

For someone who spent over 12 years in the computer biz sometimes on-line stuff goes over my head.  Yesterday while working quietly at my desk, I went on Facebook for some specific reason, and as those funky dropdown things sometimes do, an OLD message from my good pal Ric Porte fell into my view.  I have no recollection of ever having seen it before, so maybe I hadn't.  I don't do the "chat" stuff very any rate what he told me in that message was that our classmate Janet McCleary Sheldon, who died 7 Sept 2004, had a very famous son, one rapper named Mac Lethal - who knew?

Well not me, because I'm not into rap or rappers and things named lethal give me the creeps.  But I made a quick note of the info and just took a few moments to google around.  Well, good grief, Mac is a big deal rapper!  He has his own Wikipedia entry which puts him above a lot of people I know!  SO, may I recommend you google Mac'll find YouTube videos, stills, tons of music, and all sorts of posts about Janet's son David McCleary Sheldon, aka Mac Lethal.  Nice to know that our classmates' children are making inroads of their own, even if their parents don't live to see them succeed.  Mac was only 23 when Janet died.  And please don't send me zillions of messages, like, "Gee Leslie we've known about him for years, where've you been?"  I've been right here, just not on the rapper scene!

Saturday, November 11, 2017 once again recognizes our musician Alan Yount!~ Way to go Alan

Courtesy of, comes another of Alan's crossover literary triumphs, a poem about his 1962 visit to Gaslight Square to hear the GREAT Dizzy Gillespie in person.  Scott Heuer and Dennis Winkler were in the group too, and I'd bet Bob Heuer was there to drive, but of course he was a VERY talented musician himself....we need not wonder where Scott got his musical genes. Thanks for sharing ALAN!!!  Keep blowin' that horn and writin' those lines!!!

          For Scott Heuer, and all the other
        musicians in our dance band.

we all were
three fifteen year olds
along with one of our fathers.
we were
the only white guys
in the club.
it was at dino’s club
in st.louis, in the fall of 1962
at the corner of
debaliviere & wabash …
also known as gaslight square.
before the concert started
a guy my age
(in the booth next to me)
tapped me on the shoulder.
“do you play trumpet,” he said.
I said “yes.”
he said, “me too.”
just then …
everything seemed o.k.
we talked about our horns …
and charts we had played:
both of us
had played in a jazz band.
we found we had both played
the “leads series” of stage band songs:
tunes that dizzy also played.
the concert was amazing …
groovin’ high & night in tunisia
with dizzy playing tight staccato notes
on his silver harmon mute.
dizzy’s playing … wow!
an infectious
infused joy, of boppish phrasing.
the crowd
would not stop clapping …
and cheering … after every song.
the guy next to me
& his family
left at the same time.
outside, we both said
we would meet
in st.louis somewhere
& get together
and play some jazz
also, we both agreed
for sure,
we were going
to remodel our trumpets
to have an uplifted bell …
just exactly like dizzy had done,
for his own horn,
for sure.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Missing Jim Olson, creative talent, runner, funny man and good friend, gone way too soon.

I'm still reeling from learning of the death of our Jim Olson on August 12th.  I and other of his good friends did not know he was close to death earlier in the summer.  Jim was a man of many words for many years on many topics, but silent to a fault about his own health.  Yes, men tend to be that way, but even as he knew his health was failing he didn't reach out.  Perhaps he couldn't face it, I certainly hope it wasn't because he didn't think we cared.  

I received a great gift from Jim last summer, in fact on July 4th, '16, and I am going to share some of it with you.  I won't finish this post right now, but will come back to it until it's complete.  It's going to be a big job, he wrote me a diary of sorts, 7 1/2 pages typed single space.

Some of you know his sports fame, either because you remember his accolades on the track team at KHS or because you actually read stuff I publish and have seen my 2009 post about his being inducted into the first class of KHS Sports Hall of Fame.  If you haven't read that post please go to the 2009 post list on this blog and scroll down to it.  Then for photos and more information, go to, my photo site, and click the 2009 album Dave Holley (KHS67, Tom's brother & KHS principal) & Doug Vaughn listen as Jim Olson makes his acceptance speech.for many photos of the HOF ceremony evening...there is more there than just Jim!  I was honored to be his date for the evening, along with Maxine Lyons, Fred's widow, and there is news of other classmates in that album and several photos.  Jim really did try to be humble in his acceptance talk, but he was really basking in being recognized.  We had a great night!

Jim and I didn't know one another at KHS.  Back in 1988 I had changed jobs within McDonnell Douglas, the computer biz founded by John McDonell, and I was going to Santa Ana, CA to my new boss' office for the sign up with Personnel, meet the other folks with whom I'd be working and to do some training.  In those days, email was in its infancy and the internet not yet well-known but I was doing my "newsyletters" to the KHS65 members for whom I had email addresses.  I had begun my database right after we worked so hard to gather the addresses for our 1975 10th reunion and I had Jim's contact information.  I knew he worked for Grey Advertising in Huntington Beach, but his office was up in Cypress, not far from my boss' office, our Santa Ana service office, and a fun restaurant across the street called Crazyhorse where we hung out often.  I also knew Cypress wasn't far up the interstate so I called him and told him I would be in town and would he like to meet and "talk KHS"...we met for a long lunch and instantly bonded.  We became very good friends, and no, not a romance!  Over the next few years we saw one another in CA or here for one reason or other when we were in the same place at the same time.  We had lunch the day of our 50th reunion in 2015, and we visited that night.  We talked on the phone - he always called me on the holidays and on my birthday, or sent me a card.  He always made my day with his calls.  He normally called when he and Jim (Speed) Herb were lunching together to see if there was any Kirkwood news they should know.  Sometimes he shared KHS news with me!

Jim was an incredibly creative guy...a dog which never let go of that chew rag...a perfectionist in many ways...but mostly he was a creative guy who found himself fighting the typical battles of creative folks working in the midst of business tycoons, finance guys who didn't "get" the cost of creativity, and likely couldn't understand much of the creativity anyway, and the always present bosses who were jealous of the creative genius' salary. 

My first memory of Jim's long list of advertisements is when there began to be a lot of flak about all the paper trash McDonald's fast food created, do you remember that?  His slogan "Put Litter in its Place" was everywhere before long.  The trash cans at McDonalds were white, tall with a swinging door and on the face was a rectangular green sign with white lettering.  I wanted to begin this post (which will end up with Jim's own words telling the stories of his almost 30 top "All Time Favorites" - his own ads) with the McDonald's ad because it is a great example of Jim's ability to pack a huge punch in a few words.  In looking on the internet for a photo of one such trash can, I found this video, his slogan in an Aussie ad for McDonalds, and I do not know if he produced the ad, but we know he wrote the slogan, and no, it's not on his own All Time Favorites list.  Check it out here:  

In researching the "Put litter in its place" ad, I found this on eBay and purchased it!  A nice reminder for my bulletin board of "souvenirs" of my life.  I'll wear it at our next KHS65 "do" and see if anyone knows why!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mrs. Hunter, Third Grade, Robinson School dies at 110

Our dear dear teacher, Dorothy Hunter has passed away.  She was 110 years young!  Please see my past post about her.  She was a great teacher...remember her classroom was right next to the principal's office?  Miss Backus lived as a boarder with Mrs. Hunter and her husband on Geyer Road.  The house is still there, a bit different than it was, but still much like it was when they lived there.  What a life well- lived... see her obituary here:…
I am sure she will rest in peace and love. We are SO fortunate to have had her caliber of educators as youth in Kirkwood. What a life she led!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Anyone know John Ramon Barnett from our class?

I have gotten word that John Banrett has died, but no further info yet.  If you know him or knew him or can add any information, please email me at  Bob O'Neill's wife knw his sister Lana, I believe from church - but I don't want to report him as deceased unless he really is.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Dr. George Beltz dies at age 90

I imagine you Nipherites will doubtless remember George Beltz, known to us as Mr. Beltz, not Doctor.  Funny about that...but perhaps he earned his PhD after we were at Nipher.  From Webster Kirkwood Times, and courtesy of Pat Corpening Hoag, comes his obituary.

Dr. George W. Beltz

Died: Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Age: 90
Beltz, Dr. George W., longtime resident of Kirkwood, Mo., died peacefully in his home in Steelville, Mo., on July 25, 2017. He was 90 years old.

George was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Dorothy Sager Beltz. George is survived by his children and grandchildren: son George Sager Beltz and grandson Connor Jason Swan of Tulsa, Okla.; daughter Jessica Beltz-Mohrmann, son-in-law Al Mohrmann, and granddaughter Gillian Beltz-Mohrmann of North Plainfield, N.J.

George earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education and English from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU). He received his doctorate in education from St. Louis University.

He met his future bride, Dorothy, at SIU and married her in 1948. He was a career educator. George was a coach, teacher, and then administrator for Nipher Junior High School (Kirkwood), East Ladue Junior High School and Clayton High School.

George was a loving and lovely man who was a gentleman to his core. He will greatly be missed by his family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are appreciated to Webster Groves Christian Church. Additional condolences and memories may be shared online at

Memorial visitation: Friends and family may visit with one another from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, at Webster Groves Christian Church, located at 1320 W. Lockwood Ave., St, Louis, Mo. 63122.

A memorial service will begin immediately following the visitation at 12:30 p.m. with Rev. Dr. Jeff Moore Sr. officiating. Interment will follow in Valhalla Gardens of Memory Cemetery, 3412 Frank Scott Parkway, Belleville, Ill. 62223.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


I have no idea why I can't copy the obituary from today's Post Dispatch, but here is the link:

I do not know any of the circumstances but we have had a local address for her for many years but I do not recall ever having heard from her.   Another of our classmates gone too soon.
Kennedy, Betty Jean passed away peacefully on June 17, 2017. Lifelong resident of the Kirkwood-Des Peres area and member of St. Peter's Catholic Church. Born on July 13, 1947, Betty was the beloved daughter of the late William F. Kennedy Sr. and the late Dorothy E. (Wolter) Kennedy of Kirkwood area; dear sister of William F. Kennedy Jr. (Nancy) of Wildwood and John J. Kennedy of Manchester; aunt of Kimberly Kennedy of Portland, OR; Christopher Kennedy of Colorado Springs, CO; and Sean Kennedy of Manchester. Dear cousin and friend. Betty's immediate family sends best wishes in her memory to residents of Concordia House in Kirkwood and the ICU-490 staff at Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur. Services: Private graveside service and interment were June 20 at Resurrection Cemetery in Affton, MO. In lieu of cards or flowers, donations may be made to Equine Assisted Therapy, 3369 Hwy 109, Wildwood, MO 63038 or Wildlife Rescue Center, 1128 New Ballwin Road, Ballwin, MO 63021.

Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on June 21, 2017
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Kennedy, Betty Jean passed away peacefully on June 17, 2017. Lifelong resident of the Kirkwood-Des Peres area and member of St. Peter's Catholic Church. Born on July 13, 1947, Betty was the beloved daughter of the late William F. Kennedy Sr. and the late Dorothy E. (Wolter) Kennedy of Kirkwood area; dear sister of William F. Kennedy Jr. (Nancy) of Wildwood and John J. Kennedy of Manchester; aunt of Kimberly Kennedy of Portland, OR; Christopher Kennedy of Colorado Springs, CO; and Sean Kennedy of Manchester. Dear cousin and friend. Betty's immediate family sends best wishes in her memory to residents of Concordia House in Kirkwood and the ICU-490 staff at Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur. Services: Private graveside service and interment were June 20 at Resurrection Cemetery in Affton, MO. In lieu of cards or flowers, donations may be made to Equine Assisted Therapy, 3369 Hwy 109, Wildwood, MO 63038 or Wildlife Rescue Center, 1128 New Ballwin Road, Ballwin, MO 63021.

Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on June 21, 2017
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Saturday, June 10, 2017


Happy Anniversary to KHS65! We sure have had, for the most part, an amazing adulthood haven't we? Fifty-two years is a long time, and so many of us have accomplished amazing things, borne amazing off-spring, served our families, our employers and our country to make ourselves valuable members of society. I say HERE HERE to US and send a yellow rose of friendship to remember our class and all our friends, especially those no longer able to celebrate with us. Have a great day and try to take a bit of time to wander thru your memory book of those days and our graduation day. My memories are very clear and I always enjoy pulling them out, especially on June 10th.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


I'm soliciting articles for my blog from our many many talented classmates.  Alan Yount's amazing poetry writing, 106 published so far, has given me the idea to see who else out there is staying creative in our 70s!  HA, what a title that is...ugh.  Alan and I share an interest in several things, genealogy among them.  I particularly like this poem and you will likely see why.  Thanks Alan for sharing!!! And happy 70th to Alan on June 6th!  [Which is not only the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, but would have been my parents' 75th wedding anniversary.]


          “You can’t have the same dream twice:

          it’s impossible”---An old saying.

climbing the creaking stairs

to my great-great grandparents house,

I had found in fayette, missouri:

in the same dream,

over & over, when I reach …

the top of the stairs:

in their old victorian house,

where they grew up and lived:

their house is suddenly

gone … it is, there, no more.

and they are long gone, yet repeated

in my dreams and primal memory:

for a reason, also related, for forever.

you are my great-great  grandparents

your blood

is in mine.

for some reason, which you can figure:

your house, is also

locked in my memory, forever.


An interesting irony. In the early 1970’s I had been in their house, after it had been abandoned for many years. It was years later, after studying genealogy, that I found out they were related to me. They were actually my great-great grandparents.  By 1975, sadly the grand old house had fallen in, into ruin. Their house was the Thomas Carr  and Lavinia Boggs house, called “Fairview.”  It was between New Franklin, Mo. and Fayette, Mo., and could be seen from Highway Five, for over 100 years.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Thank you to Jim Day, by way of Beth Browning, for letting me know of the death of Dianne Gorbell Taylor.  Dianne began school with us at Robinson, but did not graduate with us.  She has been to a couple of reunion events over the years.  Below is her obituary, with thanks again to Jim and Linda.  In the deep recesses of my mind it seems like her mom Shirley and my mom were either friends or active together in some Kirkwood something.  Perhaps Theatre Guild or PTA?  Can't remember but I believe that is why I knew Dianne.  May she rest in peace.

Dianne “Dee Gee” Taylor (Gorbell), age 70, of Eureka, MO, died Friday, February 3, 2017 at Marymount Manor in Eureka. She was born July 2, 1946 in New Rochelle N.Y., the daughter of the late George Leighton “Rick” Gorbell and Shirley (Franke) Gorbell. Wife of Bobby Taylor. Loving mother of Jeanna Sample and Michelle Stevens. Dearest grandmother of Tobias and Jessica. Dear sister of Rick Gorbell. A memorial visitation will be held Thursday, February 9, 2017, from 4:00 p.m. until the time of the memorial service at 5:00 p.m., at Faith Community Church, 4824 Scottsdale Rd. House Springs, MO 63051 Memorials may be given in Dee Gee's name to Conquer Cancer Foundation P.O. Box 896076 Charlotte, NC 28289-6076 or online at

Sunday, April 23, 2017

JEROME RAWLINGS would have been 70 today.

Many of us in KHS65 are turning 70 this year, and some of us didn't have the privilege of long and happy lives. One such is Jerome Rawlings who would be 70 today, if he had not been killed by ground fire in Nam, just days before his separation and return to the USA and his family. Let us hope he has found eternal peace and love. We continue to remember and miss him, along with his loving family. Next Sunday will be the 49th anniversary of his death, what a waste. Sending best wishes to his brother Keith Rawlings and their family.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dr. Ross Wagner, Historian, Teacher, Friend, Community Treasure

Having just returned home from a ten day sojourn to Washington, DC, I'm still opening my mail and catching up with myself.  I was sad to read in the latest issue of the newsletter of the Sappington-Concord Historical Society that one of the most knowledgeable historians of our area passed away on December 30th.  I am sorry and surprised I didn't read or hear about it before now.  I have spent some time gathering information and hope you will all read about Mr. Wagner as we called him. I had the privilege of spending an evening with him in more recent years and was reminded of his strong force in the historical activities of our area, what a treasure! He was one of my teachers also at KHS.  I had never known he held a PhD and had never heard him referred to or called "Dr. Wagner".  What a shame, the honor was his due.  The obituary and comments are copied from and the articles from the SCHS Newsletter, Spring, 2017.  SORRY, I have changed the photos of the articles 4 times and still don't have it large enough.  If you go to the first two pages and right click, then do it again, the text will enlarge a bit!  I can't figure out why it won't enlarge more!  It's worth the trouble to read it though...

Obituary from  Wagner, Ross A. of Sappington, asleep in Jesus, December 30, 2016. Son of the late Christian R. and Lorina A.W. (nee Klingemann) Wagner. Mr. Wagner was a Charter Member of the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Sappington-Concord Historical Society, Affton Historical Society, Save Grant's White Haven, Member of the Carondelet Historical Society, Concordia Historical Institute, St. Louis Genealogical Society and Concord Farmer's Club. No Services; Internment St. Lucas Cemetery.

jim perry February 02, 2017 | Maplewood, NJ

Mr. Wagner was fun. Had fun. Made fun. Personified droll.

katherine forsyth katte January 22, 2017 | Milwaukee, WI

Mr. Wagner opened up the world to me. I have so many fond and amusing memories from being in his class in the 1970s! We went through Nixon opening China together. US History gained new dimensions in his class. He brought out our intelligence and demanded we think.
Though he likely never knew it, he inspired me to become a teacher, and I believe his influence and all that I gained in his presence has been spread still further through my own practice. May Mr. Wagner Rest In Peace.

sally Bernard January 22, 2017 | Arden, NC

One of the best teachers I ever had. It was a privilege to have been one of his students. Rest in peace.

barbara nabe January 22, 2017

Although many years have flown by, I have often thought of this wonderful, bright man with respect and gratitude in my life. He was by far the best teacher I had in high school by motivating you to excel. Work and come to class fully prepared. I frequently quoted him to my own daughters as they went through school: "A word to the wise is sufficient therein." Thank you, Mr. Wagner, for enhancing so many lives.

captain william bonsack January 21, 2017 | O'Fallon, MO
Mr Wagner was a man that taught each of us as individuals but taught the class. The class of 1976 was blessed to have been touched by him. He was truly an icon that has remained with me into adulthood. May God continue to hold you in the palm of his hand and may you walk with him along calm and still waters. Until we meet again. May God shed his light on your family and may they relish in the memories of all that was and is good.

stephen eson January 21, 2017 | Philadelphia, PA

I was concerned when I did not receive a Christmas card from Ross this year and was saddened to learn of his passing. He was my history teacher at Kirkwood High School for two different classes in 1971 and 1972, and was without a doubt the most influential teacher I ever had. I had intended to visit him this coming March as I do every time I return to St. Louis. May he rest in peace, and may his remaining family take comfort in the knowledge of the enrichment he gave for so many.

john Hopkins January 21, 2017 | Chesapeake, VA

Mr. Wagner could be exacting, and enthralling at the same time. He could get you to think about historical figures in a human, almost personal if you could put yourself into their place. He would also relate stories about past students, and you could see the pride in his face while he would tell you about them. I don't know if he told any about me or not,...although I did use him as a reference when I was applying for my security clearance. Not related to AP History, but he also...

gwyneth Williams January 21, 2017 | St. Louis, MO

Ross Wagner was the single most important teacher I ever had (including grad school). He introduced us to the work of various historians, taught us to think--and write--analytically, and refused to water down his academic expectations. Beyond that, he had a wicked sense of humor and the ability to engage students of all types. I was honored when he attended my father's funeral. Rest In Peace, Mr. Wagner: your life's work echoes beyond anything you could have imagined.

bronwyn Williams January 21, 2017 | Louisville, KY

Ross Wagner was one the best teachers I've ever had, and part of the reason I went into teaching myself. And he continued to be good friend and mentor after I went off to college. I will miss talking world events with him. I will miss the Margaret Rutherford Society. I will miss his laughter. A good, good man.
January 21, 2017
Ross was a wonderful teacher. I always enjoyed visiting him when I came to St. Louis. God bless you Ross.

jeanne Jarvis January 05, 2017 | Glencoe, MO

Impossible to calculate the impact he had as an AP history teacher at Kirkwood High. We who were privileged to study under him are still informed by his unconventional insights and challenging teaching methods. And all that "Gonchagaschmiraria." He left an impressive legacy and I was honored to share a beer with him as an adult.

susan croce Kelly January 05, 2017 | Gravois Mills, MO

Ross Wagner was probably the most important teacher I ever had. He was a wonderful educator who fussed at us in German, shared wise insights, had a sly sense of humor and taught us that learning history could be interesting and fun.

jim denigan January 04, 2017 | St. Louis, MO

A long-time family friend and an outstanding human being. None finer.

sappington-concord historical society January 03, 2017 | South St. Louis County, MO

The Sappington-Concord Historical Society offers its deepest sympathy to the family of our late founding member ROSS A. WAGNER on his recent passing.

His many contributions and foresight added a distinctive leaven to the development of the mission and effectiveness of our historical society--and we are both grateful and remembering of his involvement and accomplishments.

scott mcallister January 03, 2017 | Raleigh, NC
Ross, Mr. Wagner, was a fabulous teacher and a friend. I am so glad that my son got to meet him last year. He had the boldness to teach history with the world view that applied to actors at that time. If that meant learning about the Russian Orthodox Church, then he taught us about it. He had treated his AP class students like college students; a humbling experience and such a good lesson. I loved hearing about the local history from him as well as in class. He will be missed.

wayne laurentius January 03, 2017 | Perryville, MO

We will miss our dear friend and neighbor. Ross was a very kind and honest man and we always enjoyed conversation with him.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Dorothy Hunter is 109.5 years old, the oldest person in our area. She did teach in Normandy for awhile before going to Kirkwood, which is mentioned in the interview.  We on Facebook had wondered if she ever taught elsewhere. She married in 1930 and raised a daughter. Her voice is strong, you'd never think she is that old from listening to her!!! She said that in growing up she heard one word repeatedly, that being MODERATION, and she still follows that pattern. The radio commentator said her life "reads like a history book." We who had her as a teacher were blessed indeed.  Here is the link to this past week's radio interview with her; I think you'll enjoy it!  If you're on Facebook, check out my personal FB page, Leslie Vander Meulen Richards, for some fun talk about Mrs. Hunter and Miss Backus, or principal who lived as a boarder with Mr. and Mrs. Hunter on Geyer Road, just north of Essex.  
Thanks to Durrie Bouscaren of KWMU, St. Louis Public Radio for ferreting out this story and reporting on our beloved Robinson School third grade teacher.  On the link you'll also see quite a few very well-known Robinson School faces!  ENJOY!  I have just tried the link, the story is there, but the audio for the actual interview is not.  HERE is another link which works for me much better!  The written article is great, hearing her voice, priceless.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

THE DART passes away at 91

Mr. Smith, aka The Dart to us KHS folks, passed away 2/19 at age 91.  Thanks to Pat Corpening Hoag for the heads up about the obituary in today's Kirkwood Webster Times.  You can see the Obituary here.  Several of us were privileged to spend an evening with Mr. Smith not too many years ago, courtesy of Ken and Darleen McBride who had him and some of us to their beautiful Chesterfield home.  We had a great time chatting with him and reminiscing.  I love to tell the story of my manning (or is that personing?) the KHS Alumni Assn check-in table at Greentree one year, with our large poster of one of our Yearbook pix of him blown up and mounted, hanging from a nearby tree limb.  Boy was I ever surprised when he walked up to the table and asked if the poster belonged to me; I said well no, not really, it belongs to the class of 1965...he thought it was great and a bit surprised that we'd remember him all those years later and even bring along his photo.  

The visitation is Weds 3/1 4 to 7pm at Bopp, with Memorial Service on 3/2 at 11:00am at Webster Groves Christian Church.  I'm thinking his family would love to see many of us who grew up, behave ourselves, and didn't forget him.

Thursday, February 2, 2017


When we KHS65ers think of Kirkwood bands my guess is Jack Toman and Alan Yount come to mind.  Who knew Al Hoemann had a band from the mid 1930s to mid 1960s?  I sure don't remember knowing it.  As a member of the Kirkwood Historical Society I often find great tidbits in their quarterly bulletins, and today while trying to find an elusive something else, I stumbled on this section of an article in the Kirkwood Historical Review, Summer 2015.  I couldn't resist...

"Alfred R. Hoemann closed the doors to his jewelry business, after 47 years, in the early 1990s.  Most Kirkwood residents could tell you how to get to his shop on 123 W. Jefferson Avenue.  He was Kirkwood Citizen of the year in 1980, and continued with watch and clock repair until his death in November 1997."  Thanks to Kirkwood Historical Society (my OTHER KHS) for this great article.

Today P J's Tavern is located in the jewelry store space, where so many of us spent our time, money, and probably money of our loving parents.  Hoemann provided our class rings, the "lavalier" charms that many of us wore on necklaces, the KHS gold pins with the chain attached to a 65, and maybe our Gold Ks.  My class ring, lavalier and a gold disk to which I had the KHS 65 pin (after removing the backs) attached reside today on my gold charm bracelet.  I still have the scarab watch I bought there too, but it wasn't like the one EVERYONE else had.  I didn't want mine to be just like everyone else's, so I bought, from Hoemann's, another scarab bracelet, and another watch, had one scarab link removed and the watch, sans its band which I pitched, inserted to custom craft MY scarab watch.  It still runs, I wear it with a smaller scarab bracelet given to me in the 1970s I think, and a pair of funky small scarab earrings I found much more recently.  (I also still wear a watch given to me by my dad the Christmas of 8th grade.)

Then there's PJs, a favorite restaurant and pub in Kirkwood, frequented by many of us here in town.  We've hosted several reunion activities there, and just last month Peggy Entenman Kramer and Pat Corpening Hoag and I had a gossip-fest over drinks and great food, and lo and behold we chatted with Steve Woodard as he was exiting.  (Our table is always one near the front door, even in the cold winter!)  We frequently run into someone we all three, or at least one of us, knows while dining at PJs.  Funny to think of standing at the bar ordering a drink in about the same spot we stood at Al's counter ordering our jewels!

I'd LOVE to hear any stories some of you might know about the musical history of our favorite hometown jeweler!!! Jack??  Alan??  Other class musicians??

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Bill Illing passes away, gone too soon.

Yet another of our classmates has passed away recently.  I learned today of his 12/22/16 death.  Please go
here to read his very complete obituary.  Bill has kept in touch with us over the years, and was a pleasure to
hear from.  Such an active and full life he had with his careers and his beautiful family. We were lucky to have had him with us.