GHS Class of 1963 reunites for 100th Corn Carnival

Attendees included (front l-r) Craig Tessau, West Des Moines; Sue Handorf Koster, Corrine Sash Jensen & Joyce Knaack Swangel, Gladbrook; Dale Sienknecht, Spirit Lake; back: Leo Lohse, Gladbrook; Ken Storjohann, Reinbeck; Dennis Maassen, Elyria, OH; Dean Hoppe, Edina, MN; Steve Lau, Shiloh, IL; Ken Clar, Pacific, MO; Jim Bauch, Cedar Falls; Kim West, Gladbrook; Ralph Thomsen, Little Rock, AR. -Contributed photo

There were a lot of moments of laughter, reminiscing and friendships renewed when the Gladbrook High School class of 1963 gathered to participate in the 100th anniversary of Corn Carnival on June 17 and 18, 2022. Fourteen members (60 percent of classmates still living) gathered for the grand parade on Friday night. Their float’s theme, which was “100 years = 1 Million Memories,” told the story about how they felt about growing up in the community of Gladbrook. It is noteworthy that over half of the members of the class made the journey from kindergarten to graduation together. The class is proud of its accomplishments in the classroom, vocal and band competitions, drama, and athletics. The boys’ basketball and undefeated football teams were conference champions. Many members of the class went on to accomplished careers in education, farming, the military, law, medicine and business.

Their reunion dinner was held at Gladbrook’s Memorial Building on Saturday night with 23 in attendance. Classmates drove from as far as 680 miles to be present. We observed a moment of silence to honor the memory of classmates who were deceased, including Pat Fish Billerbeck, Alan Lage, Tom Street, and Larry Russell.

Following a meal that was catered by Hometown Family Market, attendees gathered in a large circle for a fun trivia contest facilitated by Leo Lohse and group reminiscing led by Dean Hoppe. Memories around teachers, pranks, class trips and special moments of growing up in a supportive, proud, and encouraging community like Gladbrook were shared. Awards were given to classmates who traveled the greatest distance, had the most grandchildren, and who are faithful fans of G-R athletic teams. It was a great and memorable evening. Thanks to Corrine and Larry Jensen, Sue and Stan Koster, Joyce Swangel, Leo Lohse, and Dean Hoppe for making it a special occasion.

The class plans to reunite in three years for our next reunion, which will be chaired by Jim Bauch, Dean Hoppe and Ken Clar.