Review of 45th Reunion


I would like to thank everyone who helped with the Reunion, especially Brenda Brown Dickey and Phil Dyer, my two BRFFs—Best Reunion Friends Forever (although they may object to the second “F”). Also, special thanks to Phil Fielder, Tommy Thomas, Lance Cantor, Steve Keene, and Bob Kirkpatrick, all of whom had significant responsibilities for our events. As always, I would like to thank Sandra Spieker Ringo, my webmaster/adviser.

Thanks also to everyone who contributed photos, especially Marc Robins of Marc Robins Photography in NorthPark. Recruited by classmate Billy Hines, who is general manager of NorthPark, Marc took photos throughout the Main Event, even printing photos on site. He took a group photo for us, and he even donated his services! Phil Huber also contributed photos and assisted Sandra with some aspects of posting photographs. Others contributing photos were Tommy Thomas, Karen and David Seidler, Sandra Spieker Ringo, Mike Marks, Bruce Anderson, Jane Gibson Maiers, Ruth Wallace Stauffer, and David Cordell.

All photos are now posted on the website. You will see our 45th Reunion group photo above, in the middle of the page. We moved the 40th Reunion group photo down on the page. Don’t look too closely at the respective photos for changes in the appearance of some of us! Just assume that we are aging gracefully. To see photos from some of the events, click the link in the left margin:  45th Reunion—2014.

We were very pleased with the 45th Reunion events. Here is a rundown.


Friday afternoon a group of about 20 of us took a SCHOOL TOUR of the RHS building, arranged by classmate Phil Fielder. Thanks to Principal Charles Bruner for arranging for Student Council officers and class officers to escort us through the building, and of course, thanks to those students.

The building itself is much nicer than it was in our day. The lighting is better and the institutional brown lockers are now either purple or gold. The library was expanded considerably and it has a very open look. The original gym is more colorful and includes banners from various sports championships. Another gym was added, and it helps accommodate additional sports, such as women’s volleyball.

Did you know that RHS is a magnet school for communications, health science, law, photography, robotics, environmental research and engineering sciences, theater, visual arts, and culinary arts?  For the last, the school has a full commercial kitchen just to train students in that program. There is also a television studio, and morning announcements are made by video.  Spacious computer rooms allow access to both PCs and Macs. It is really an impressive school.


Phil Fielder also arranged for our TAILGATE EVENT, and served as chief barbeque chef. A good-size group, including many of those who toured the building, gathered to get the weekend started. David and Karen (Kennedy) Seidler and Bruce and Karen (Byler) Anderson provided considerable support to the effort.

The game itself wasn’t as well attended as the game at the 40th Reunion. The overall crowd was smaller, as was our contingent. When we set the Reunion weekend, it was after we had been assured of the Homecoming date. After we were committed to that weekend, the school changed the Homecoming date, ostensibly because of a conflict with Jewish and Muslim holidays. Who’d’a thunk it??


After (actually, during) the game, classmates started gathering in the lobby/bar of the Doubletree Hotel, where many out-of-town classmates were staying. There was a lot of circulating and reminiscing among old friends and acquaintances, and just as important, among classmates who didn’t really know each other.


Saturday morning brought the Fallen Eagles ceremony, spearheaded by Lance Cantor and Steve Keene. Prior to the program, an excellent continental breakfast was provided. Several classmates offered their memories of some of our deceased classmates, and I learned quite a bit that I didn’t know about people whom I thought I knew pretty well. The ceremony ended with a balloon release from the parking lot. By coincidence, or maybe it wasn’t a coincidence, we had the same number of attendees as the number of known deceased classmates.

Although we honored all classmates who have passed away, we know of only 62 names. Unfortunately there are many classmates whose deaths have been unreported. If you know of a Fallen Eagle who is not listed, please let us know.  Click here to see the program handout, which includes name and photos. 


Saturday afternoon’s golf event, organized by Tommy Thomas, was blessed by fabulous golfing weather. In that sense, the golf gods gaveth. (Sadly, with regard to the quality of my game, the golf gods tooketh away.) The venue was Canyon Creek Country Club. For Tommy, it was something of a double homecoming since his family’s home used to back up to what is now the 11th green and 12th tee when we were in high school. (No, the house hasn’t moved. The club switched the front nine to become the back, and vice versa.)  Anyway, a good time was had by all. As a special reward, classmate Jim Richmond, who is an amateur beekeeper, gave each participant a jar of fresh honey. That’s in keeping with the times, I guess. Everyone gets a trophy! And this was tastier than any trophy I have won. Not that I have tasted any of my hundreds of trophies. Never mind.


Saturday night was the Main Event in a ballroom upstairs at Maggiano’s restaurant at NorthPark. My Reunion Wife, Brenda Brown Dickey, was in charge of the soiree, with my great friend Phil Dyer watching over the business end with his customary attentiveness. We worked together in the early planning and decision-making phases, but for the actual execution of the plan, it was Miss Brenda in charge. She’s not a very large person, but when she is at the heln, it is best to give her a lot of leeway, or else risk getting run over! What a wonderful job she did! And Phil’s banker skills ensured that all funds were accounted for and all debts paid in a timely manner.

We had an excellent turnout, and the stately ballroom was perfectly sized for our group—just enough room to circulate among the tables. And there was a lot of circulating. Bob Kirkpatrick prepared a slideshow that played throughout the event, and sixties music blasted through the sound system. (It had to blast loudly for our sixty-plus-year-old ears to hear it!) The food was excellent. There was even a bit of dancing, or at least what passes for dancing when one reaches a certain age! Mainly, we just had an opportunity to mix and mingle. Great fun!


A basket was placed on the buffet table at the Fallen Eagles Ceremony to solicit funds to establish a scholarship for RHS students. By the end of the event, the basket contained $192. This money is segregated from the Reunion account, and we are considering possibilities for a scholarship. One thought is to establish a fund at RISD Endowment and to formally solicit tax-deductible donations from our classmates. Perhaps each gift can be made in memory of a specific, named individual. Brenda, Phil and I met with the CEO of RISD Endowment, which is a separate entity from RISD but is housed in the Greenville Avenue Administration Building. No decisions have been made. Hopefully, we can eventually create a large enough fund to provide an annual $1,000 stipend – The RHS Class of 1969 Memorial Scholarship. If you have ideas about this venture, please let me know.

Many thanks to everyone who helped with and everyone who attended the 45th Reunion. I hope I get to see as many of you as possible before the 50th!


David Cordell,


Here are a few comments from Brenda Brown Dickey, Steve Keene, and Tommy Thomas.


From Brenda Brown Dickey:

The Main Event Team did it all to make the evening a tremendous success!  Thank you to:

Roxanne Baxter    Janet Veerman Harvey Melinda Nelson Moody
Cynthia Woodward Debbie Mabry Karen Kennedy Seidler
Marsha Hensel Johns Susie Shannon Barshop Nancy Otto O’Neal
Debbie Dupree Green Susan Nevins Patterson Dian Zimmerman Cox

They did all of the decorating, checked everyone in, adapted as things changed.


Janet Veerman HarveyBig shout out for making the signs for both  the Main Event check in area and for the Doubletree hotel lobby welcoming all to the reunion - Thanks Janet!

Thanks to all who brought items to display in the Main Event room - pictures, scrapbooks, Eaglette boots, spirit ribbons - it was all so appreciated and really added to the festive atmosphere!

Bob KirkpatrickThank you for providing everyone a wonderful look back through your incredible video.  Everyone was raving about how great it is.  You are so talented!  This year’s venue was perfect for all to really enjoy.

Billy Hines: God Bless You!  As general manager of NorthPark, he treated us as if guests in his own home, always ensuring that all was OK. He helped me get all the flowers from the Fallen Eagles to NorthPark. He got his team involved with carts to take all from our cars to his conference room for storage and then helped get everything to the Main Event room.   He also arranged for a photographer to take pictures including our class photo at no cost to us!  Finally, he worked to have the Valet Parking stay overtime until 11:30 PM so all could enjoy the evening to the end.   Billy - thank you for everything you did. 

David Cordell and Phil Dyer: There are no words.  I just say a huge thank you for all the hours and effort.

Last but not least:

Maggiano's - Elaine Maben/ Sales Director

Doubletree Hotel Richardson - Brenda Welborn/ Sales Director

Elaine and Brenda were absolutely awesome to work with from start to finish.  Negotiating prices, meal offerings, room accommodations, drink specials, etc etc etc.  I cannot recommend them more highly for any of your event or hotel needs!  

I hope I've not forgotten anyone.  If so, please let me know! 


From Steve Keene:

I would like to thank everyone who participated and helped with all the Reunion events.  I had a great time at each one and I do not think I missed anything.

As for the Fallen Eagles event which I was honored to co-chair, I wish to thank my co-chair Lance Cantor for arranging the venue and helping to create a memorable event.  I would like to thank Steve Partlow, David Grant, Bill Sieling, Karen Kennedy Seidler, Tommy Thomas, Susan Nahkunst and Dian Zimmerman Cox for their contributions to the event and for putting up with Lance and me. It is not an easy task for the faint hearted or anyone else for that matter.  Thanks to each individual who shared from the heart, memories of Fallen Classmates that they loved. 


From Tommy Thomas:

Tommy, you were fabulous in organizing the golf tournament! All except for forgetting to have pictures taken, not providing everyone with clear instructions on the dress code at Canyon Creek so Hull Barbee had to sneak around the course in jeans, and playing really crappy golf at the tournament itself. But other than that, the hour and a half you put in over four months to make this a great event really paid off!

Phil Dyer, you REALLY did a great job in handling the contract and financial arrangements with Canyon Creek. Thanks for all your help!

Jim Richmond, thank you for the sweet gifts you provided for every player in the tournament!