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VAN WERT - Van Wert High School Class of 1957 held its 55th class reunion the weekend of Sept. 14, 15, and 16. Thirty-two members of the class and their guests enjoyed all or part of the weekend. The class was the 86th class to graduate from VWHS.

Classmates started Friday afternoon with a tour of Central Insurance's Fire Museum. This collection is known as one of the finest privately owned collections and after the addition is now housed in a new location in Central's grandiose office building. Tracy Myers, employee of Central, gave a most informative tour.

Activities on Friday evening started at the remarkable Eggress Stadium to enjoy the football game. This brought back memories to several of the classmates. Those who had played football or marched in the band had many memories to recall.

An informal gathering started at 8 p.m. at the Van Wert Elks Lodge for socializing. Jackie Hoghe Seplak, Sandy Makuh Talboom and La Rita Whitcraft Jones greeted the members.

Saturday morning a tour of the impressive restored "Castle" was given by owners James and Shirley Hillier. The classmates recalled many memories of this home and were in awe at the work that had been accomplished for bringing this home back to life. The Hilliers were most gracious hosts.

Saturday evening's festivities began at Willow Bend Country Club with greeters Frank Brown and wife Linda. A social hour at 5:30 p.m. was held; group photos were taken by classmate Jim Anderson. The sit down dinner followed at 6:30 p.m. The dinner was planned by Jean Bennett Miller and Sandy Makuh Talboom. The invocation was given by Stan Smith.

Following dinner a memorial service was given by Barbara Ditto Ohlemacher and David Allen. There are 34 deceased members of the 1957 class. At the dinner tables there were a total of 34 candle votives. As the deceased classmates name was read a votive was lighted in memory by a classmate at the table.

David Gamble was the master of ceremonies for the evening. We had newlyweds; many, many grandchildren, great-grandchildren to be accounted for and many years of marriage. Class members mentioned fun memories from the high school days. Janet Monce Snyder read correspondence from many classmates who could not be with us this time, but sent their greetings. Faithful classmate John Saylor, as usual, had a few amusing remarks for the class. Gamble gave a special thanks to Ella Hofmann Jackson for her dedication of composing the address booklets and performing duties as treasurer.

Barbara Ditto Ohlemacher was the winner, by luck of the draw to be the Buckeye Queen for the evening. She received a necklace strung with buckeyes and plastic beads. She was told not to forget her roots.

Linda Poling Hoffman thanked everyone who had helped with the planning and preparation for the reunion. She also mentioned the distance many had traveled and some had preparations to be made at home in order to be here with us. She closed by saying how grateful we are that we can be here together, to share good times, laughter, and to live life to the fullest.

The evening closed with Diane Roth Perry leading the group in singing the VWHS' s alma mater and God Be with You Till We Meet Again.

The weekend concluded on Sunday morning at Trinity Friends Church in their lovely Fireside Room. Peg Brown Wiseman and husband Jim greeted the members at the door.

A buffet lunch was held from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. catered by Linda Grant's business. Former teachers Delana Galbreath and June Merten joined us for lunch. Final weekend good by's said and many hugs given as the class separated once again.

Classmates attending were from California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and North Carolina.