Southern Class of 1960 Mini-Reunion

at Mike Linnig's Place

The Full Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011, Report  

Shall we gather at the river? That was the question some three dozen of us answered with a resounding Yes! It might well have been a bigger turnout, but Tuesday, September 6, 2011, turned out to be the "coldest high temperature" in Louisville for that day of the year, ever -- besting the previous record set back in the 1870s! But fish, fries and friends were beckoning so out we went.

OK, so it's wasn't quite at the river, but it was just a short walk up and over the flood wall from the mighty Ohio River. Besides, we didn't plan on catching our own and the only view we wanted at Mike Linnig's Place on an unseasonably cold evening was waitresses with heaping trays of piping hot fish. The venerable Louisville restaurant delivered. We cleaned our plates and left the mess to the wait staff.

Three people were in a birthday mood; two gals were attending on their birthday, and a third had one the following day.  After we sang "Happy Birthday," one classmate's daughter brought out a birthday chocolate chip cookie cake loaded with flaming candles and many of us had a piece for dessert. Mostly, we talked, but we did convene a meeting long enough to select Tuesday, October 11, as our next meeting date. That session is to be at 6:30 p.m. at the Fairdale Playtorium, and maybe this time you can join us!


On arrival Lovie (Higdon) Baker (center) chats with Lana (Ownbey) Beyerle, while Wendell Cash (left) talks to Lana's husband, Chick. George Shirley gets in an early food order, and Frank Parr, Joe Ball and Buddy Stillwell are in background.

Betty (Beasley) Miller and husband, Ernest "Sonny" have four children. They were happy we had inside seating at Mike Linnig's, as Tuesday set a new weather record for that date for coldest high temperature of the day. For once, the popular outdoor picnic tables were deserted.

Frank Parr always seems to have a tale to tell. JoAnn Stratton's daughter, Angela, and granddaughter, Allison, provide rapt attention. Lovie Ann (Higdon) Baker is in background.

If you tied Lovie (Higdon) Baker's hands could she still talk? She and Jo Ann (Stratton) Payton could have made lemonade while they chatted. Lovie retired last January from Baptist East Hospital where she had spent a quarter century as a heart monitor technician.

Three shades of hair represent three generations of pretty ladies in the Payton family. Birthday gal JoAnn (Stratton) Payton, in red, is seated with her daughter, Angela Payton Weaver, while teenaged granddaughter Allison Rae Weaver hovers.

Larry and Susan (Whetstine) Raisor, who live in Taylorsville, keep horses and still ride regularly. "We'll be riding until the Lord calls us home," proclaims Susan. She married Harold Barnsfather right out of high school; they divorced after 17 years. Barnsfather is now deceased.

Warren Stanley persuaded his wife, Judy, to join us even though she had her sights on a more elegant setting to celebrate her birthday! "She's a high-maintenance woman," deadpans Warren. "Oh, he'll make up for it," counters Judy. Warren taught English for 40 years at Jefferson County Public Schools, with the last 26 years at Male High School. Even in retirement, Warren still enjoys substitute teaching, "but only at Male High."

Seated with husband, Jim, Brenda (Hildabrand) Havey  is vice president of the Fairdale Area Community Ministry and she and Jim are very active in Mt. Holly Methodist church. "We both have attended since childhood," says Brenda. "All but three years of my life have been spent in Fairdale." Brenda convened a planning meeting at our Linnig's event just long to pick our next meeting: 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the Playtorium -- in Fairdale.

Though a hard-riding motorcycle mama for 17 years, Lovie Ann (Higdon) Baker reports, "Having grandchildren is one of the most exciting times of my life." She loves to fish, though we cannot imagine her sitting for long. Some other shots of her are blurs.

Three amigos: Retired beef cattle farmer Buddy Stillwell (left) sold his farm a while back. Frank Parr (center)  divides his time between mud racing and restoring old tractors. Now retired from hotel management, George Shirley has five children and "at last count" eight grandchildren.

Barbara Ann (Forrester) Fultz took a short water break from her photographic pursuits. She now lives in Bardstown, but she and her camera rarely miss any SHS get-together. "The long drive is no problem," notes Barbara Ann. "I just climb into the car and say 'Home, James!' "

With a 36-acre farm and a sweet spot for Arabians, Sandy (Priddy) Page is one of the nation's top endurance riders. For the drive down from Southern Indiana, though, she opted for horse-less transportation.

Bobby Jackson (left) and Rich Stevenson were once roommates at Murray State College. Bobby is an artist using a variety of media working in his studio home. An independent political writer and web page publisher living in Cincinnati, Rich is our planning committee's long-distance correspondent.

As if it wasn't hard enough for a confirmed square dancer to have two knee replacements, Kathy (Pybus) Ryan recently fell and broke her leg. Allemande left, crutches up and do-si-do!

Pat (Hogan) Morgan, an avid karaoke singer, led the group in singing "Happy Birthday" for our two birthday gals and one "birthday tomorrow" gal. Pat has a son, a daughter and five grandchildren.

Harold Risner and his wife, Brenda, live out in Prospect, about as far away from Mike Linnig's as one can get and still be in Jefferson County. He got little sympathy when he announced, "We must have driven 40 miles to get here," since some others came from more than twice as far.

Jo Ann (Stratton) Payton's daughter, Angela, and granddaughter, Allison, came with her to Mike Linnig's and brought along a cake to help Jo Ann celebrate her Sept. 6 birthday. Joann's husband of 49 years, Isaac, passed away back in May of this year.

None of the three birthday gals would reveal her age, though we count three dozen or so candles on JoAnn's cake. But maybe that was just one for each of us in attendance. JoAnn blew them all out on the first try.

Our longtime buddy Joe Ball attended Southern for three years but then transferred to Bullitt County High to complete high school. Still, he's kept in touch all of these years. The next project for Joe's "Kentucky Changers," a Kentucky Baptist men's volunteer group, is to help renovate four homes in Louisville’s Shawnee neighborhood (Boston Court) community.

"Feisty" keeps coming to our mind when we think of then 90-year-old Virginia Cruse, who came with her daughter, Beverly (Sanders) Humphress to our September 2011 event.
Mrs. Cruse passed away in July 2013.

Wendell Cash, who worked some 32 years at Ford Motor Company and has long since retired, is a regular at our Class of 1960 planning sessions and events when he isn't traveling or RV camping. While he has three children and seven grandchildren, the one who really keeps his heart thumping these days is his "leap year baby." 

JoAnn (Stratton) Payton poses with her granddaughter Allison, (Butler High, Class of 2012) who is known on Facebook as "Allie RaeRae," and daughter Angela. Angela came with JoAnn to the 50th reunion activities last year.

Lana (Ownbey) Beyerle and her husband, Chick, arrived back in town from their longtime camp on Nolin Lake just in time to head out to Mike Linnig's. In addition to their four bedroom vacation cabin, which they built themselves, they also frequently hit the road for Florida and other parts of the country, pulling their fifth wheel camper.

Wendell Cash (left) and Sonny Miller appear almost ready to arm wrestle, while Betty (Beasley) Miller (left, rear) and JoAnn Stratton engage in their own lively chat. Like most of us, Betty and Sonny, who live in Valley Station, took home a hefty brown bag of Mike Linnig's leftovers and, reports Betty, "We ate off them the next two days!"

Her first time at Mike Linnig's, Bonnie (Carney) McMurray says it was "fun to See Susan Raisor again. Even though we both now live in Taylorsville, we never see each other." Bonnie is a Mary Kay consultant and, "Like April [Burks Bond], I go dancing a couple of times a week. Line dancers live longer. It keeps you young." Looks to us like it's working!
Betty (Beasley) Miller and husband, Sonny, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in October. Sounds like party time to us!  The Millers have two girls and two boys. "We also have seven grandchildren and one great-grandson," adds Betty. Sony is an inveterate Internet blogger, who loves nothing better than to reminisce about the good old days.

Sharon (Rennirt) Paschal married Southern classmate Reggie in 1964. They have three daughters and two toddler grandsons. Sharon taught school for almost 40 years, including a decade at Southern High. She and Reggie are active in "our church, our community and in our Eastern Star and Masonic Lodge Activities." She joking tells us, "Neither of us has gone very far in life because we both still live in Fairdale, and our home is in the field about 150 feet from the home where I was born and raised."

"Judy and I were married in December 1966," reports Warren Stanley.  They have three daughters: Leigh, Michele, and Allison, and six grandchildren. The Stanleys live in Shepherdsville. "We moved from south Louisville about seven years ago," notes Warren, "to be closer to the children who had moved to Nelson and Bullitt counties." Hey, kids, ask grandpa about his own high school days. Start with Miss Motherhead's car tires! Where's that flattop you had in high school, Warren?

April (Burks) Bond now lives in Crestwood with husband, David. "We met at Whispering Hills Country Club in the summer of '64," notes April, "and we got married in the fall of '65." The Bonds have a son and a daughter and five grandchildren. April spent her entire teaching career at Rangeland Elementary. "David and I enjoy line dancing at least twice a week," April says, though she played hooky this time, just to be with us.

Beverly (Sanders) Humphress came to Mike Linnig's with her mom, the late Virginia Cruse, who always had her hat ready for a night out. While she was Mom to our classmate "Cuz," Mrs. Cruse was also Pat (Hogan) Morgan's Aunt Jenny!  

Larry Raisor lives near Taylorsville with his wife and our classmate, the former Susan Whetstine, who worked in production at General Electric for 28 years. They keep horses and enjoy trail riding.

Bobby Jackson (in plaid) and Joe Ball get hugs from Susan (Whetstine) Raisor, for whom our reunion gathering was something of a homecoming. "I worked at Mike Linnig's for a time many years ago," notes Susan, though most of her working life was at G.E. "I loved school, and I cried all day the day we graduated," confides Susan. For our Tuesday evening together, she sported a big smile!

Turnabout is fair play. Usually with her trusty Nikon in her own hands, Barbara Ann (Forrester) Fultz lent her camera to Pat (Hogan) Morgan, who skillfully captured a pretty picture. Barbara Ann, who lives in Bardstown, is busy editing another big memory book, very much like the one she did for us, this time for the SHS Class of 1961. See Barbara and Jim's photos of that recent reunion at SHS61.INFO.  

Jim Reed, who took up photography as a hobby at Southern and later incorporated it into his work as a magazine editor, took lots of photos, as usual, and he happily smiled when camera to camera with Barbara Ann, who was on our annual staff with him at Southern. "Both Barbara and I get carried away with camera duties," admits Jim. "Later, I regret how little time I have allocated for simply talking with old friends. But, the pictures are important, too."

Sandy (Herdt) Potter and husband, Mike, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this coming February 23. They have served as key planners for two Southern High class reunions, our 50th last August, and her own Class of '61 50th anniversary get-together this past August. Sandy uses her Internet skills and other researching tools to root out those hard to relocate classmates.

George Shirley was a key go-between in our arrangements with South Park Country Club for last year's Class of 1960 50th reunion and is also a liaison as we look to having another major reunion on August 11, 2012. That upcoming event is being referred to as our "70th birthday party," as many of us will hit that bumpy milestone next summer.

Kathy (Pybus) Ryan reports, "I keep leaving places and forgetting my cane," which is shown hanging from the brass rail in background. The "good news" part of that is that she's relying on it less and less as she recovers from a nasty fall suffered on a stairway a few months ago.

Wendell Cash and Lovie Ann (Higdon) Baker (yes, they're "an item") had already packed the familiar brown bag most every Mike Linnig's patron expects to take home, given the huge portions the restaurant provides. At upper right in photo, Barbara Ann manages to catch herself in action in the window reflection.

Mike Potter retired at age 55 and now enjoys buying and flipping houses and gardening.  He also  cheerfully helps with our reunion events, whenever and wherever Sandy "volunteers" his services. 

Brenda and Harold Risner met at Eastern Kentucky University and married in 1966. They have a daughter and three granddaughters. Harold's mom, Mildred, taught at Okolona Elementary and his dad, Ben, was a math teacher at Southern. Harold taught, too, for a short time before being tapped out by Uncle Sam to serve in Vietnam. Brenda is retired after 35 years teaching English in Jefferson County Public Schools.

William Thomas "Buddy" Stillwell is a regular at SHS reunion planning sessions. If we head to Jerry's J-Boy Restaurant after a meeting, as is frequently the case, count on Buddy to opt for a chocolate sundae.  For many years, Buddy ran a 400 acre farm  as a beef producer. "I also did trucking, hauling lime and fertilizer, but it got old, and I got old," he notes. Driving is likely in Buddy's future, though: "I hope to do some traveling, now that I am not so tied down, maybe to Florida and then out west."

Wendell Cash waits his turn as Lovie Ann Baker (hidden) signals "just a pinch" for her helping of JoAnn (Stratton) Payton's chocolate chip cookie birthday cake. Betty (Beasley) Miller looks on.

Harold Risner and Joe Ball get it in writing, as Jim Reed records their interaction, while Barbara Ann includes Jim, too, from her perspective. Joe is very active as a Boy Scout leader and in other volunteer endeavors. An oil company buyer and petroleum supervisor for many years, Harold continues to manage the family's rental properties.

Contact Barbara Ann for more information!