Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Growing nostalgic about my youth, I decided to post some memories of a lost era:
Moline, Illinois and the Quad-Cities.
MHS 1966 - 50th Reunion, 2016 -
September 9th -
Miltown Coffee and Restaurant
3800 River Drive, Moline
September 10th -
Oakwood Country Club
1067 US Highway 6
Coal Valley



Monday, September 19, 2016

Rest in Peace, Forest Wagner

 Forest Wagner

Forest L. Wagner, 75, of Tionesta passed away unexpectedly Monday, September 12, 2016 at the Clarion Hospital.

Born on January 14, 1941 on the Wagner Homestead and he was the son of Cecil C. and Alma Carll Wagner.

Forest attended the Shriver School and West Forest High School. He was a member of the local 4H club with many of his cousins and neighbors. He was also a member of the FFA.

He was a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Venus.

Forest was a dairy farmer in Red Brush area but always dreamed of seeing the United States. In 1989 he attended truck driving school so that he could see the country. His family members took bets that he would be home within 6 weeks but he went on to enjoy a 25 year driving career and logged over 2 million accident free miles.

After he retired from long hauls, Forest worked for Long Acres Potato Farm driving grain trucks and plowing fields.

Forest married Nancy Rhoades in July 1968 and she preceded him in death in April 2015. He is survived by his children Jodie Ellison and her husband Jim of Royal Oak, MI; and Stephen Wagner and his wife Jayme of Red Brush. Also surviving are five grandchildren, and a sister Doris Mills of Lake Lucy. Later in life Forest was remarried to Beverly Sorensen Wagner who also survives.
In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by a brother Delbert Wagner and a sister Donna Thompson.

Friends will be received at the Faller Funeral Home, Inc. in Fryburg on Thursday, September 15, 2016 from 2-4pm and 7-9pm.

Funeral service will be held at Faller Funeral Home, Inc. in Fryburg on Friday, September 16, 2016 at 10am, with Rev. John A. Wood, Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church presiding.

Interment will be in the Venus Cemetery following the service.
Please visit www.fallerfuneralhome.com to share your memories and photos and offer your condolences.

Apple canning day! My husband, Forest got put to work. We have a beautiful day to set on deck to peel apples
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Rest in Peace, Jerry Lucas, MHS66

Jerry Lucas

Mr. Jerry S. Lucas, 68, of Pooler, passed away on Sunday, September 11, 2016 in his home.
Jerry was born in Moline, IL to the late Clifford & Esther Lucas. He served his country in the U.S. Navy, was on active duty from 1968-1972, and was a Purple Heart Recipient due to combat in Vietnam. Jerry graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelors of Science Degree and continued his post-graduate work in the field of Botany. He retired from both the CIA, and Lockheed Martin, where he received awards for innovative programs and initiatives with his work for the government.

Throughout his various career experiences, he combined his knowledge and enthusiasm for education, photography, technology, medicine, and anthropology. He also helped to map the Myan Ruins in Northern Yucatan and the wetlands of the Tennesee Tombigbee River. Jerry’s heart was in his faith, which he served through local, national, and international mission efforts, including his advocacy for Apple of His Eye ministries, and trips to Macau and Haiti. He was an avid naturalist, a wetlands guide at Huntley Meadows, and had recently begun volunteering at Oatland Island and the Ogeechee Canal. A serial hobbyist, Jerry loved any excuse to buy a new gadget. He was always present for encouragement and excited to share in family celebrations. Jerry had lived for the past 33 years in Alexandria, VA before moving to Pooler last summer.

Survivors include his wife, Lois Lucas; children and their spouses, Matthew Jason Lucas & Kendra, Justin Theodore Lucas, Gregory Paul Lucas & Catherine, and Andrea Marie Korb & Christopher; grandchildren, Evan Paul, Lianne-Maia, Logan Augustus, Levi Ellis, and Aiyanna. He is also survived by several cousins, nieces and nephews.

The memorial service will be on Friday, September 16th at Trinity Lutheran Church, located at 12391 Mercy Boulevard in Savannah. Visitation will begin at 11:00 a.m. with the memorial service beginning at 11:30 a.m. The graveside service and burial will follow at 2:30 p.m. at Hillcrest Abbey West Cemetery.

Donations to the following missions are welcomed in lieu of flowers: Trinity Lutheran Comfort Dog Minisitry of Savannah, GA, Tents of Mercy, Armed Forces Ministry of the LCMS, or Lutheran Hour Ministries.

Of course, what Jerry would have liked most is that you go out and share the Gospel.
Thomas C. Strickland & Sons Funeral Homes – West Chatham Chapel (912) 748-2444

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Second Installment - MHS 66 50th Reunion Photos









Moline High Class of 1966. The Class the Stars Fell On. 50th Reunion

Patty and I were considered the most talkative at Garfield Grade School.
Kris Streed and my wife were in the same dorm at Augustana College.

This MHS66 reunion was especially fun but also poignant. Everyone came to the event, if at all possible. The 55th reunion, far in the future now, does not have the same drawing power, and some of us will no longer be available.



Toby McGriff
Our first priority was to see Toby McGriff, a friend from the 7th grade at John Deere - and also in the band. He has undergone a lot of surgery, thanks to MRSA and other problems. We were happy to learn dogs were welcome at Rosewood, so Sassy went along.

Toby is at Rosewood Care Center.

At one point I took an outside break for Sassy, so we went all the way through the facility and back again. Sassy, as always, looked for new friends, and they looked for her. We came to a stop at the big room, and soon the corridor was so choked with wheelchairs that no one could pass through. Sassy and I sang the Cattle Dog Blues together, an unlikely duet. The residents and staff loved it.

Why wasn't I in the MHS Madrigals, long ago?

Sassy has such kindly expressions that everyone is attracted to her, and her missing leg makes them especially interested in her history and abilities.

Sassy seemed to think I was talking too much to Toby, so she asked for extra petting. That reminded me of taking Erin Joy to see an ALS patient in the hospital, about 30 years ago. I placed her on the bed but talked to him too much. She began to pout. I said to him, "Erin is not getting enough attention."

He said, "She needs to learn she is not the center of the world."

I said, "YOU tell her." Erin grinned, because she was the center of the medical staff, attended meetings, passed out meds with them, and wore a Nurse Supervisor hat.

We enjoyed seeing Toby and would not have missed the chance. As he said, "The time went too fast." We were in band together most of the way through high school (except my years at Coolidge) and we saw him later at SSU - Sixteenth Street University, the nickname for Blackhawk Community College. He drove me home from high school, even the day I forgot I had my father's car in the lot. I realized a bit late and he grimly turned around in rush hour traffic and dropped me off at the almost empty high school parking lot. It's funnier now, but I did not mention that particular memory. My wife thought it was funny.




Guy Johnson
Another great visit was with Guy Johnson, MHS 68. We lived a block apart and attended Garfield Grade School. We were fanatical readers then - comics and everything else - and have not stopped. Guy just came back from a long visit in Germany. We have the same interest in WWII history.

Guy brought his dog Sneakers (part Border Collie) and Sassy came with us - to the park behind the Comfort Inn Motel.

 Guy Johnson met us at Lago's last time.


Sneakers and I got along so well that Sneakers warned Sassy away from me, so Sassy sat feet away from us for a time, a bit sad. This was finally resolved in Guy making a big deal over Sassy - who loved it - while I talked to Sneakers and petted her.

Chris was born in Germany so we all had plenty to talk about. Guy traveled all over, not only seeing the classic WWII sites but the graves of many notables.

Our class has always been welcoming, including those who transferred in late. One mentioned how much she appreciated Debbie Mitchell introducing her around and making sure she had plenty of friends from the start. That was mentioned about 45 years afterwards, so obviously it meant a lot to her. My wife has always felt she was part of the class, so she laughed when I suggested Photoshopping someone out of a shot because he was not MHS66. She knew I was kidding.

Garfield Grade School was so close that I walked one block, met Guy, and went on to school for two blocks, sometimes coming into his house, sometimes arriving way too soon. My mother, as I recall, left early with my brother, and I came along later, but that was still very early for most.

I got the early-bird gene from both parents. One classmate said something I grew up with - "The perfect family, the best teacher (your Mom) and the best donuts (your Dad)." That also meant everyone knew me and I got away with nothing.

The NSA has not caught up with Moline parenting as we knew it. But that was a great characteristic of the town.

 My family posed at our Dairy Queen. I ate.

Thursday Whiteys Country Style Smackdown
We had an informal gathering at the corner of Whiteys Ice Cream and Country Style. Kym Dennhardt always argued that Country Style (soft-serve) was the best in the world, better than Whiteys. Everyone chose a favorite. Whiteys clearly won, and I had a chance to try CS again. My wife had pumpkin ice cream from Whiteys and I grieved that I used up my carbo allotment with CS. We had a great turnout because it was posted for everyone to see, not a private party.

Sassy came along and asked for her tithe of my cone. That goes way back, when we got water in Phoenix and bought a cone similar to Whiteys. Sassy sat in the back seat and tapped my shoulder as I ate the cone in the car. No sound, but tap, tap, tap, every few minutes.

Friday and Saturday Gatherings
The Friday gathering was in a big room with great food. People kept arriving and soon we were shouting at each other,  squeezed together like kittens in shoebox.

The combination of two formal events was good, because we saw many (or missed them) one night and made up for that the other night. I prodded Billie Seesland about not seeing me Friday, and she responded on Facebook. At the country club, she drove into the next spot as I was parking.

I have to mention Garfield Grade School friends there one or both nights:

  • Billie Seesland
  • Kathy Wilcox
  • Bruce Johnson
  • Patty Puck and her husband Jeff Hall. They were not dating yet at Garfield, they hastened to tell me once. But who was?
  • Mike Matalik
  • Barb Williams
  • John Schneck
  • Jim Kron
  • Mike Fleck










Lawrence Eyre (Garfield) had to coach tennis on the reunion dates.
Lane Gans came to the 50th.
The homecoming queen likes my blog posts.
Our Table, Saturday
My wife and I spotted Rex Bullock on our way to pick a table, so we went together. Soon Mary Parsons and her husband sat down with us, including Sheryl Ramsdale. Finally, Barb Williams and her Methodist minister husband sat down to complete the table.

Everyone was either clergy family or active laity, so we had a great time. Barb Williams told me how special my mother was as her teacher, and I remembered that my mother thought a lot of Barb too.

That was the key to the Garfield teaching staff. Except for one psycho teacher who hit kids without provocation (and soon retired), the teachers really loved the students and considered them family.

 The Panama Canal project in my mother's classroom made George Small
want to be an engineer. Later, he visited the Panama Canal and said,
"It was just like the working model we built in your Mom's room!"