Proving the old adage that if you give the people what they want, they’ll come out for it, more than 200 revelers invaded the Prestige Hotel in Vernon Sept. 19 to 20 to celebrate the 50th anniversary reunion of the Clarence Fulton Senior Secondary Class of 1965.
Attendees enjoyed an evening of great food and much laughter as they renewed friendships with classmates, many of whom had not seen each other in more than 50 years.
Honoured guests for the evening included three teachers from that era: John Baumbrough, Chuck Clarke and Elaine Towgood, who enjoyed reminiscing with their former students, as did the students with them.
The reunion was a homecoming of sorts as many of the attendees had traveled some distance to get here, notably Bill Ingersoll from Belfast, Maine; Gerry Sloan from Santa Paula, Calif.; Brian Dedora from Toronto, both Mike LeDuke and Dave Morse from Kitchener and the winner of The Longest Drive Contest, Lynn Fulford Aubrey from Auckland, New Zealand.
This year’s class had quite a few grads who have made a meaningful impression on the world.
There was the usual array of lawyers and doctors, notably Vivian Merchant, who has a PhD in physics and is a world expert on the industrial application of lasers.
A few served Queen and Country: Gary Gillette and John Kendall in the RCMP; Bob Hodgson in the Canadian Army; Bob Novitsky in the Canadian Navy; and Pete Smith in the RCAF.
The sports world featured Irene Glowacki Snow, who was a national class bowler; Lynne Sawicki Fulton,who spent many years with The Ice Capades in the U.S. and who taught some NHL officials proper skating technique; and world championship dragon boat racer Mavis Pillar.
Arts and entertainment starred Manfred Taron, a Broadway actor and singer; Shirley Kucherak Byman, a TV talk show hostess; Brian Dedora, a noted author and art expert; and the late Chris Malcolm, who carved out an exciting career on the stage, screen and British television.
The travel bug bit many of the class, with quite a few who have visited more than 40 countries. The champions here must be Anita Tischer Paulton, who has visited 86 countries, and Bill Ingersoll with “too many to count.” Dave Wills is more than adventurous, having ridden his motorcycle from Vancouver Island to Cape Horn at the bottom of South America and back, to Newfoundland and back, and around Australia. And The Frequent Flyer Award goes to Herb Crowe, who spent many years piloting Boeing 747s for Singapore Airlines.
After Saturday evening’s festivities wrapped up, the group reconvened for Sunday brunch at the Predator Ridge Resort for more fine dining and reconnecting. Many phone numbers and email addresses were exchanged as old friends re-established what will become enduring friendships.
If two words could be used to describe this entire group of classmates it would be “giving back.” Over the years, almost everyone has been involved in charity work and community volunteering of some kind, regardless of where they have lived. This is remarkable, considering the stresses and strains of everyday life and the time pressures we all face.
All of this supports the notion that this group is more than “The Class of 1965” —they are “The Class of Every Year.”
The organizing committee for the reunion was comprised of “The Usual Suspects”: Nick Alexis and Vi (Ewanchuk) Alexis, Patsy (Firman) Anderson, Sandi (Palmer) Boulianne, Nan (Harwood) Bristow, Lynn (Kendy) Farrer, Brenda (Brown) Fulbrook, Hazel (Tews) Hennig, Vivian Merchant, Linda (Macaskill) Witter and Jim Laughlin.