Madison West, Class of 1954

West High School, Madison, WI, 1954

Class Gift
Forever Eighteen67 Year Reunion
65 Year Reunion
60 Year Reunion
55 Year Reunion
50 Year Reunion
Class Night
Classmate Contacts
Deceased Classmates
Deceased Teachers
High Times, Apr. 1, 1954
High Times, Dec. 17, 1953
High Times, June 10, 1954
High Time, May 6, 1954
High Times, Nov. 19, 1953
High Times, Oct. 15, 1953
High Times, Oct. 29, 1953
High Times Staff
Old Photos
Class News, 2005-06
Class News, 2007
Class News 2008
Class News 2009
Class News, 2010
Class News, 2011
Class News, 2012
Class News, 2013
Class News, 2014
Class News, 2015
Class News, 2016
Class News, 2017, 18
The Committee
Feb. 9, 2011

Jo Ann Seamonson Davidson died on Feb. 4, 2011.  See the Deceased Classmates page for an obituary.  Thanks to Willie, our Madison correspondent,  for alerting me to this.

Dottie Jones King sends her annual valentine:

She writes: "Did you see the article in Bloomberg's Business Week on Baidu last November?  We were in Beijing in August for the 5th year anniversary.  It is great you listened to me, John.  Can you believe we are 75 years old?  Amazing!"

It looks like they did an extensive remodeling job on their house at 925 Hermosa Way in Menlo Park, CA.  Dottie seems to be a talented worker, driving a gravel spreading machine and climbing a ladder.  That ladder picture makes me think of working on the sets for the class plays.  Remember them? You can read about them on the High Times pages.   Maybe she developed her skills there.

Did you notice the boat under the bridge?  Guess where it's coming from?  China!  Dottie has had a long time interest in foreign students, and included a foreign element in her valentine.

Her reference to me listening to her refers to the story about, first appearing on the Class News, 2005-06 page.  See that page for the story.  Here's the link she refers to: Bloomberg's Business Journal.

If you missed the earlier opportunity in 2006, BIDU is still recommended by many analysts, and it is still early in the China story.

March 7, 2011
Susan Edgeton Sell writes:
I'm sending you pics from a Feb. trip to AZ where Jack and I visited Jan ( Tande) Gaumniz and Jack. We had a great day of hiking in the desert and wonderful time enjoying Sun City Grande (west of Phoenix ) where the Gaumnitzes spend
part of the winter. By chance we ran into Babs Chapman and her husband at an art show where Jan was exhibiting some of her ceramic pieces. It was fun "catching up" with news of classmates.

Sure looks like a fun hike in the desert.  Babs, if you see this, how about making it to the next reunion?  We'd love to see you.

Ruth Rapoport Stotter writes on 6/24/2011:

This spring I wrote, produced and directed Four of A Kind: A Poker Game in San Francisco, 1888. The characters were Sam Brannan, Sam Hall, Sam Hill and Sam Clemens. Sub-texts were money (all went bankrupt) and how you view posterity in living your life. Twas F-U-N!  

The characters were (from left to right in the photo) Sam Hall, Sam Brannan, Sam Hill, Sam Clemens, and Jake, the bartender.  A croquet friend who teaches ukulele provided transition music when the characters walked to and from the poker table.  For a story about Ruth's croquet career, see the Class News, 2007 page.  Too bad West didn't have a croquet team in 1954.

Sure does sound like fun, Ruth.  Remember the one act plays we produced in Speech Class in 1954?  I guess Ruth got the bug back then.  Mrs. McCarty would be proud of you!

She also writes:

"I decided not to go to India this November.  Too many other things came up ...   I hope I will make it later.  I am a mentor (adjunct faculty)  to an M.A. student at Prescott College in AZ  (which means designing her course work, reading and grading it) and spending w-a-y too much time playing bridge on line on BBO. I am off to do a week of storytelling in Honolulu next month.   As a result of helping this student I've gotten back into Folklore and gave a paper at the Western Folklore conference meeting in April and will attend the American Folklore Society meeting in Bloomington, IN in October." 

See the Class News, 2009 page for Ruth's visits to India.  She visited Claudia Schroeder Gitelman in New York recently, and had a good visit with her.

Ruth's husband Larry is also an author, having recently published "To Put Asunder, a History of Matrimonial Law"  So, two authors in the same family.  Wow!

Thanks for keeping us up to date on your activities, Ruth.

Wisconsin State Journal, Sunday, July 10, 2011

When I go to our cabin, I like to read the home town newspaper.  On this Sunday, there was an article about Camp Wakanda.  I went there as a boy, and I'm sure many boys from our class did too.  This should bring back some memories.

Campfires Still Burn

Long gone after 54 glorious years, Camp Wakanda returns to life for a special, one time YMCA reunion.

by Doug Erickson

Among the fond traditions at Camp Wakanda, a long-gone YMCA facility on the northwest shore of Lake Mendota, were the pranks played on camp counselors.

That's why wearing underwear was so important.

"Invariably, you'd be standing up there making announcements and another counselor would yank your pants down," said Bill Schultz, 60, of New Berlin, who attended the camp as a child and returned as a counselor and waterfront director.

For decades, summer meant one thing to thousands of boys in the Madison area - a stint at Camp Wakanda. Saturday, as part of its 125th anniversary celebration, the YMCA of Dane County is inviting back all former campers and counselors for a reunion at the camp's former site, now part of Governor Nelson State Park.

Founded in 1919, the 22 acre camp operated 54 summers before closing after the 1972 session due to societal changes and budget shortfalls. For most of its existence, the facility operated as a day camp, busing kids in and out for two-week sessions, with overnight campouts every Thursday.

"It was always a treat to go there," siad former UW-Madison athletic director Pat Richter, 69, a former camper who hopes to attend the reunion. "You were just on the other side of the lake and not that far from home, but it felt like you were in another world."

At its peak, the camp had a main lodge and 10 cabins and served some 750 boys age 7 to 13 over the course of a summer. (Girls had a nearby camp, also now closed.)

In a 1973 interview, Harold Rudolph, director of the YMCA's East branch, told the Wisconsin State Journal the camp would not be reopening that summer because attendance was down by half from its peak and its costs had out stripped its revenue.

Also, "more and more families in Madison are weekend campers now," he said, a trend that was cutting into the camp's uniqueness.

But in its heyday, the camp taught boys how to water ski, shoot BB guns, sail and make their own wallets. There was an archery range, a craft shop and an array of athletic fields.

"It was kind of a rite of passage for children then" said Bob Anderson, 59, of Milwaukee, referring to camps in general and Camp Wakanda specifically.

Anderson, a retired executive with the Boy Scouts of America, said that as a boy growing up in Madison, he mainly wanted to go to camp to swim and shoot arrows. Later in life he realized "that what you really learn are group dynamics and the social aspect," he said.

Schultz, executive director of alumni relations for the Medical College of Wisconsin, said he pitched the idea of the reunion to the YMCA because he considers the camp "an institution."

"We looked up to the camp counselors like they were gods," said Schultz, whose father, also named Bill Schultz, was executive director of the Dane County YMCA from 1957-72, a period that included the construction of both the current West and East YMCA buildings.

Saturday's reunion likely will include references to the ghost stories passed down through the years at the Thursday night bonfires.

At least one story always featured an escaped serial killer from Mendota Mental Health Institute, a state psychiatric hospital just across the lake.

Sometimes the fear factor worked a little too well, said Jim Haugsland, 68, of Bayside, a retired sales executive who attended the camp as a boy and returned as a counselor.

"You'd always have several of the kids pee in their beds because they were too scared to leave their cabin at night," he said.

Six campers practice their archery skills at Camp Wakanda in 1945.  From left are Lowell Hugo, John Stuhldreher, James Ttreadwell, Walker Johnson, Tommy Bergman and John Lonergan.  The camp operated for 54 summers before closing in 1972.  On Saturday, as part of its 125th anniversary celebration, the YMCA of Dane County is inviting back all former campers and counselors for a reunion at the camp's former site, now part of Governor Nelson State Park.

Camp Wakanda's campers, from left, Thomas Dean, Peter Stuhldreher and James Rasmussen, work on making moccasins in 1948.

Three campers gather under the Camp Wakanda emblem, the giant eagle, at the camp's council ring in the summer of 1948.  From left are Robert Hesse, Peter Cash and Fred Malcolmson.  The YMCA camp operated on the northwest shore of Lake Mendota for 54 summers until closing after the 1972 season.

Can you recognize any names?  Fred Malcolmson was in our class, and John Lonergan and Tom Bergman in the class ahead of us.  I think Tom Dean was in Junior High with us.  The name Stuldreher is familiar, but I can't place Peter or John.

Roberta Marling Morris, July 26, 2011
Roberta has a cabin at Land O’Lakes, WI, which is just 35 miles from Three Lakes, where my cabin is located. I visited Berta and had a nice time with her. Her sister, Dorothy, and her family were there too, so I got to see her too. Remember Dorothy from the class of ’53? We had a good time reminiscing about West High School.

They have two cabins on Lazy Bay of Black Oak Lake, one belonging to Berta and one to Dorothy. Berta has the “new” old cabin, originally bought by her grandparents in 1926.  They added 2 bedrooms and a stone fireplace. I say “new” old because in 1990 lightening struck and fire destroyed all but the two log bedrooms from the first cabin.  Her grandfather, who started Marling Lumber Company in 1904, had some business at a roofing mill in Michigan, and was impressed with the lake, so bought an existing cabin on the lake. It has remained in the family since. Berta was able to save a few things from the fire, and they, along with some old family pictures of the area, add to the décor of the cabin.   Bob and Dorothy Marling Aikins built a new cabin next door in 1956, so together they can host all of both families upon occasion. Dorothy's kids were occupying Berta's cabin, so most of our visit was in Dorothy's cabin.  Both very nice!

Here are some pictures:

Berta and John on the deck of Dorothy' cabin.

Entrance to Berta's cabin - kitchen door.

Entrance to Berta's cabin - kitchen door.

This is Black Oak Lake, as seen from the dock - the cleanest lake in Wisconsin, according to the DNR

This is the four car/boat garage with a two bedroom apartment above it.  Dorothy added this in 2007.  That's Berta and Dorothy and R.D. Atkins, Dorothy's husband.

This is the 1963 Mercedes Benz the we used to drive to lunch.  Berta's parents bought it in Europe and used it to tour the continent and then shipped it back to the U.S.  Nice car, and it runs great after all these year.

After 57 years, I finally had a lunch date with Berta.  We went to Bent's Camp and Resort on Mamie Lake, on the famous Cisco Chain, near her lake.  It was established in 1896 and has lots of pictures and mounted  fish.  Very nice place.

If you want to check on the Marling Lumber Company, see Marling Lumber Company on the web.  For some interesting history,  click on the about tab and then history.  A very interesting story.  Roberta and Dorothy are on the Board of Directors and travel back to Madison for board and shareholder meetings.  That's three times a year, and then they head to Land O'Lakes.  Both cabins are available for a weekly rental from Memorial Day until the fall Colorama.  The family usually is there in July.

Berta runs a B&B at her house at 313 Cross Road, Alamo, CA, just East of San Francisco.

August 29, 2011.  Alice Ragatz White competed in another dance competition. See the class news 2005-06
and class news 2008 for other stories about her dancing career. There’s a movie of
her dancing on the 2008 page, so you can see her in action there. She writes:

“This was a CanAm (Canadian American) Dance Sport competition. People came from all
over the United States, many from Michigan, Ohio, Florida, California and New York.
And also from Canada, Quebec, British Columbia, and Manitoba. We stayed in the
Toronto Westin Castle Hotel for three days without setting foot outside. Suddenly
television and newspapers lost their appeal. We were sucked into another world. It
was fun, fun, fun. Everyone was laughing and having a good time.

That is Carlos Lourenco, my main dance teacher, dancing the waltz with me. Richard
Velastigui is my other teacher, and I performed the tango with him. In each case we
went before a panel of judges and received written evaluations and a numerical score.
I am proud to say that my comments were constructive and positive. The scores range
from 90-93. There were three judges in total giving six evaluations. I did win for
best solo performance in the preliminary both categories. Also I won the most gold
medals accumulated in the competition--thirty in all. I never dreamed that I would
have done this well!”

Congratulations, Alice. Looks like lots of fun, and I'm impressed that you can still
do such a physical activity. Can't be many in our class that are still flexible
enough to do such a physical activity. So, keep it up!

Aren't these pictures nice?  They were taken professionally.  It's not easy to take dancing pictures.
Alice and Carlos
Alice and Carlos

Alice and Richard
Alice and Richard

Dottie Jones King and husband Bob, Susan Edgerton Sell and husband Jack, and John Snell
attended the Bascom Hill Society dinner at the new Union South on the University campus
on Friday, November 4 and the football game on Saturday, November 5. The dinner is an
annual event for members of the society, and was a special one for the class of “54
because Dottie and Bob have recently endowed the “Willis L. Jones Leadership Center” at
the Memorial Union on Langdon Street. The other two members of the class got in on
some of the fun. Here are some pictures:

Bob and Dottie, John and Susan. It doesn’t show here, but we did a silent “U Rah Rah West Side High” before the dinner.

Who would have thought in 1954 that we would be together at this event in 2011? We shared some fond remembrances of Coach Jones during the dinner.

The program after the dinner included, among other things, an update on the Great People Scholarship program at the University. See  This was especially appropriate because this what the Willis L. Jones Leadership Center and The Thrive Foundation for Youth are about. See, and be sure to go to the “about page”.

Wisconsin 62 Purdue 17. Way to go, Badgers! Beautiful afternoon at Camp Randall.

At the tail gate party before the game, I ate my bratwurst next to a guy and started the following conversation:

John: “I grew up in Madison”

Other guy: “What high school did you go to?”

John: “West High School”

Other guy: “My mother went there too, what year did you graduate?”

John: “1954”

Other guy: “I think that’s when my mother graduated. Did you know a Margery Mead?”

John: “Yes, I took her to the 1953 May Dance! Our picture is on the Old Photo’s page of”

Other guy: “Wow, I’ll tell her I sat next to you today!”

How’s that for wierd?

So, great weekend which brought back lots of memories of West High, the University, and Madison.

Marling Lumber Company update.

After spending the weekend of November 4 and 5 in Madison, I did some genealogy work in Southern Wisconsin
and checked up on the Marling Lumber Company.
Here are some pictures:

Here is the Marling Lumber Company in the same location that we remember on East Washington Avenue. Still there going strong!

The Janesville store at 1138 Hwy 14, Janesville.

They now have their flagship store in Janesville, called Marling HomeWorks. The original Marling Lumber
Company concentrated on lumber and roofing, but the new company has diversified into a complete home center,
competing with Home Depot and Menard’s. This must be stiff competition for them, because it offers a nice show
room and a nice display of merchandise, with good customer service. I don’t like to shop at Home Depot because
of the cluttered atmosphere and difficulty finding things. They also have HomeWorks stores in Waukesha, Madison
and Green Bay. This company is on the move!

Here’s the Madison store at 2024 S Stoughton Rd.

The Green Bay Store

The Waukesha store.

Marling Lumber Company, 1236 Barberry Drive, Janesville.

The Barberry Drive store is their commercial division which does remodeling of apartments, condominiums, etc.

See more at and

Any classmates in the above cities, stop in at a Marling HomeWorks store.  I think you'll be impressed.

While doing genealogy work in Southern Wisconsin, I stayed one night at Steve Zwicky’s house.
Steve is still practicing law, but from his house now. Here’s a picture:

Ardis did the cooking, but my picture of her didn’t turn out. Sorry about that, but thanks for all
the good meals. Steve also had his old picture from May Dance of 1953. Here are Steve and Gwyn Fair:

I took Margery mead to the dance, and I think we had a party first at Bob Winn’s house.
There’s a picture of Margery and me on the Old Photo’s page. Anybody remember other things about
that dance? Like, what was the theme and decorations? Was the dance in the gym or cafeteria?
Drop me a line if you do.

Dick Hook  died Dec. 12, 2011 in Madison.  See the Deceased Classmates page for his obituary.  Thanks to Willie for alerting me.

Mrs. Trewartha
MADISON - Sarita Trewartha, age 104, long time resident of Attic Angel Place, died peacefully on Dec. 19, 2011. Sarita was born Pauline Sarita May Ferebee, to James and Lillie May Owen Ferebee, in Richland Center, on July 15, 1907. She was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, and was married in 1929 to Professor Glenn Thomas Trewartha. They lived for many years on Sweetbriar Road in Shorewood Hills.There they raised their four children, Dan, Nan, Mark and Susan. Sarita is survived by all her children; 11 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren, with one on the way, and two great-great-grandchildren. Her parents and her two older sisters, Dorothy (June) Ferebee and Nellie Ferebee preceded her in death, as did a grandchild and her husband, who died in 1984. She is remembered by her family and those who knew her as a loving, caring and gracious woman. She loved birds and nature and contributed to the preservation of Baxters' Hollow in the Baraboo Hills, a Nature Conservancy Area. She rarely complained, even in her declining years, and constantly remarked, "they take such good care of me," speaking of the Attic Angels staff. Her family indeed, feels grateful for the excellent personal care she received. The date for a memorial service is to be announced.

Again, thanks to Willie for alerting me.  I know some members of the class knew Mrs. Trewartha, and we all send our sympathies to Dan.  Wow, 104 years old!  I think that puts us down to one surviving parent from our class: Mrs. Tande, living in Oakwood Village in Madison.

12/22/2011:  I talked  to Gwyn Fair Ellis last night, and she was full of information, some from Lorna Stuel  Winn :

1. Agnes Rusy is alive, and we can resurrect her her from the Deceased Classmates page.  She lives in Brookfield, WI.  Welcome back, Agnes!  That's a nice reversal of the trend.  I talked to her on the phone and she's alive and well.   See the classmate contacts page for her address, etc.

2. John Cole died Sept. 29, 2011.  Here's the information from the Social Security Death Index.

Name: Llewellyn John Cole
Last Residence: 85331 Cave Creek, Maricopa, Arizona
Born: 16 Jun 1936
Died: 29 Sep 2011
State (Year) SSN issued: Wisconsin (1959)

I couldn't find an obituary, and am of the opinion that one wasn't written.  I had tried to find him for the 50th, but couldn't find him then.  Too bad we had to wait until he died to find him.  I conclude dead people are easier to find than live people.

3. Nancy Meinke Koch died Oct. 28, 2011, in Afton, MN.  See the Deceased Classmates page for her obituary.