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The Willis Class of 1961

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August 13, 2016


The reunion was a blast!  After a long, hot, dry summer, the rain was welcome and even though it drove us indoors, it was not enough to dampen the spirit of the evening.  Talking, laughing, hugging, and reminiscing prevailed.  And good food didn’t hurt either.


There were 27 classmates in attendance, and a total of 41 folks.  Between raindrops, Jerry Donovan captured a photo of the attending class.  The photo is posted here.  Click on the image to enlarge.  There is not enough room to list all the names below the photo so I will list them here, from left to right: 

Liz Amick Murtfeldt, Nancy Pool Hartley, Patricia Welch Kelley, Sondra Parks Davis, Karen Oller George, Melissa Blair Wyss, Linda Brackney Spradlin, Judy Myers Rosebrough, Becky Ross Donovan, Dallas Evans, Nancy Hough Bendle, Vicki DeVries Mills, Shirley Brimhall Welsh, Brent Wilson, Ruth Ann Ebright Mitchell (front), Sharon Kiernan Maggard, Dick Burns, Sandy Patrick Woods, Nick Firestone, Hope McLain Lynch, Terri Norris Bischoff, Fred Oehler, Lynn Sheets, Dick Patrick. Gene Buckingham.  Betty Henry Daubenspeck and Ann Lawson Sanderson left early and missed the photo shoot.                                                          

Between cameras and cell phones, pictures were being taken all evening.   Many are rolling in already.  If you have shots you would like to share you can forward them to me for inclusion or you can send the link to those you have posted online yourself.  Sondra Parks Davis has shared this album of photos of the evening.  The album is open to all so feel free to add your collection if you like.


Since Norman “Ron” McDonald couldn’t attend due to health issues, Sondra also created a video of each classmate saying hello to him.  We are all pulling for him.


During the evening, Brent Carson, the president of the Delaware County Historical Society, addressed the group about the future uses of Willis School, particularly the Alumni Room.  The Alumni committee would like to decorate with and display items with historical significance to Willis, such as letter jackets or sport uniforms, even pens or pencils with a Willis inscription.  If you have something to contribute, the mailing address is:


    Willis School

    Attn: Jen Ruhe

    74 W. William St.

    Delaware, OH  43015


He went on to say that the Historical Society always welcomes donations and right now they are looking for things related to old businesses in town, such as pictures, advertisements, or endorsements.


It was a terrific evening and we can’t thank Becky and Jerry Donovan enough for hosting our get-together.





Classmate Norman "Ron" McDonald has been putting his memories on paper and perhaps one day they will result in a book.  In the meantime, we can share his stories and remember growing up in Delaware when the town was small and living was simple.  Enjoy!






Ron Gabriel, class of 1954, has written a memoir about growing up in Delaware, Ohio in the 1940s and early 1950s. The first part of the book contains stories of his childhood and high school years.The rest of the book chronicles his life with entertaining observations on the times we now live in.  The title of the book is Sonny.


You will find comments on grandparenting, getting old, Ohio State fandom, buying bananas, washing your hands and many others. These stories are written with humor and from his unique point of view.


For a sample of Ron's work, check out his Musings page.




If you are not currently receiving the Class of 61 monthly gossip sheet, The Willis Grapevine, please drop me a line. I would be happy to add you to the distribution list. Back issues are available upon request.





Be sure to visit the other great Willis websites:

Memory Lane, created by our own Sondra Parks Davis, '61

Willis Alumni Registry, created by John Crawford, '59, has moved to   Send all additions and corrections to Sondra.


The next time you are downtown, visit Delaware's newest coffee and confection shop, Choffey's. It is located at 17 West Winter Street, across from Bun's. Take advantage of their free wi-fi while you linger over the coffee, tea, or smoothie of your choice, and I guarantee you won't be able to resist their fine chocolates made by Marie's Candies. Indulge yourself.