The Odessa Record -

82nd annual alumni banquet fills community center


--Photos for The Record by Terrie Schmidt-Crosby.

Class of 1948: Robert Hemmerling and wife Casey.

The Odessa High School reunion of 2018 drew a large crowd to Odessa this past Saturday. The 50-year class of 1968 was especially well represented, with only six of the alumni not being able to attend, in addition to the eight (out of the original 38) who had passed away over the years.

Through the hard work of local alums, the class was able to locate some classmates who moved away from Odessa prior to graduation and invite them to attend: Nancy (Richardson) Hoffman, who lost her mother at a young age and moved with her father to Harrington when he remarried, and Brad Lewis, whose family moved to Odessa in1962 or 1963 to run what was then the local bowling alley (now Walter Implement). The Lewis family returned to Spokane prior to Brad's graduation.

Those who left the class prematurely were Rodney Walter killed in a farming accident at the age of 10, Larry Auker who died during heart surgery at the age of 25, Mary (Carr) Morse who succumbed to breast cancer as a young adult and Cheryl (Hardt) Logue, Jim Evavold, Janice (Floether) Wasson, Neil Lobe and Gary Seibel who all died within the past 20 years. There were, of course, others who spent time in the Odessa schools but did not stay long or develop lasting ties with their classmates. Their stories would interest us, too, if they would care to share them.

One former teacher also joined the class for dinner and reminiscing, Sharon Cox, the former Mrs. Ray who encountered the class of '68 in their junior-high years as a newly minted educator. Even after leaving Odessa, she maintained her connection to the town throughout her teaching career and ultimately worked under the administration of the class of '68's Terri Weishaar at the same Spokane high school.

Unable to attend the reunion but in touch with the class of '68 via email, long-time Odessa English teacher Anona Heimbigner (soon to be turning 105 years of age) sent her greetings to all of the alumni and wished them well.

Since the author of this piece is a member of the class of 1968, we are able to provide more information about this particular class. Members of any of the other honored classes are invited to submit additional updates about their respective classes over the next few weeks. We will publish them as space permits.

The various honored classes met at Chiefs Bar & Grill, the golf course clubhouse, Any Occasion Banquet Hall and at private homes in Odessa beginning Friday evening and early Saturday afternoon to give themselves plenty of time to reminisce about the past, take pictures and catch up on what their classmates had been doing since the last time they had encountered one another.

Host class of 2008: Travis Todd, Matthew Zeiler, Raye (Galloway) Scrupps, Jordan Frederick, Lauren Crosby, Jacob Schmidt, Josh Allen.

Following the dinner prepared and served buffet style by the Odessa High School chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America, the host class of 2008 chaired a brief business meeting of the Odessa Alumni Association. The 2008 class president Jordan Frederick led the meeting, with vice president Josh Allen reading the minutes of last year's meeting, secretary Matthew Zeiler recording the minutes for this year and Travis Todd providing the financial report in the absence of treasurer Matt Cronrath. Winners of the 2018 alumni scholarships were Colton Hunt, Kiegan Wehr and Danielle Tebow.

The meeting ended with prizes awarded in various categories. The oldest alum present at the banquet was Robert Hemmerling and the oldest alum to RSVP for the banquet was Wilma Schmidt (even though illness prevented her from attending). The award for the couple married the longest went to Jim and June Walter. The award for the alum who traveled the farthest to attend the banquet went to Myron "Sam" Smith who came all the way from his home in Brazil.


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