Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Looking back – the Delano class of 1949
Oct. 19, 2009

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

DELANO, MN – Fifteen of the 43 Delano High School graduates from 1949 attended their 60th class reunion recently. While they may look a little different now than their high school yearbook photos, the classmates still share a special bond with each other, along with a mischievous sense of humor.

Gloria (Stein) Adickes got married the October after high school graduation. “I’ve been living in Montrose ever since,” she said. Adickes raised four children, and now has 12 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. She attends the high school reunion every year. In the Delano High School yearbook, it states that she was involved in chorus, science club, and the girls athletic association. The yearbook also has this phrase next to her name; “Eyes of blue, heart of gold.”

Eileen (Grotz) Klaers of Maple Plain has five living children, 12 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. “I married a farmer,” she said, and they enjoyed 51 years of marriage together. “I was a city girl who went to the farm, and I just loved it,” she said. “I helped him out in the field and in turn, he helped me. We had a good life together.” Klaers likes going to the reunions to catch up with classmates who have become like family to her. “Every year we get together, we come up with something new,” she said. By her yearbook photo is the phrase, “Never too quiet, never too gay; but a happy medium in every way.”

Henry “Hank” Vogelgesang lives in Richfield, and spends the winters in Arizona. He was in the plumbing business from 1954 until 2006. “My son has it now,” he said. Vogelgesang has five children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. In his spare time, he enjoys going up north. “I go fishing all summer long,” he said. In high school, he played football, and had this saying by his yearbook photo; “He likes to step out with the boys and have some fun with lots of noise.”

Marlys (Brandenburg) Johnson has lived in Anoka since 1955. She has had several secretarial jobs throughout the years, and her husband, Gerald, worked at the Anoka-Hennepin School District. Her first job was at Delano High School. The superintendent, Mr. Parsons, asked her to be his secretary. Johnson has one son, a daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters, ages 15 and 17. During high school, she was involved in band, chorus, and the girls athletic association. She was also the 1949 homecoming queen. “We had so many sleepovers and so many good friends,” she said of her high school days. By her yearbook photo, it says, “Her face is her fortune. It runs into a nice figure, too.”

Marlene (Brandenburg) Gabbert lives in Plymouth, and for 19 years, has been going to Texas in the winter. She was married in 1953 and spent 31 years working for the JCPenney office. Her first daughter was born in 1958, and her second daughter was born in 1961. One of her daughters has lived in Alaska since 1986. Gabbert also has five grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at church and visiting family. She has lived in the same house for 52 years. Gabbert’s twin sister is Marlys Johnson, and they enjoy getting together with classmates.

Ruth (Sutton) Bauman raised six children, has 12 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Seven of the grandchildren are out of college, and the rest are younger. Bauman’s most recent job was as an apartment manager in Delano. Throughout her life, she lived in various locations in Delano. Now, she enjoys sewing pillows and quilts, traveling, and camping. She also likes to visit her children and grandchildren. In high school, she was involved in chorus, band, drama, the girls athletic association, and science club. By her yearbook photo, it says, “Life is fun, but what is fun without men.”

Sadie (Mara) Theisen lives 3.5 miles from Delano and has four daughters, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandsons. In high school, she was involved in cheerleading, chorus, the girls athletic association, and science club. “At the time, we were the largest class to graduate from Delano High School,” she said. “It’s a lot bigger now.” Next to her yearbook photo, it says, “A pint with a quart of energy.”

After four years in the service, Don Oestreich became a bricklayer, and custodian. His wife passed away in 1979, and he has five sons, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. His hobbies include woodworking, fishing, and watching football. In high school, he was involved in football and “girl chasing.” One of his high school memories is having bonfires out in the woods with his friends. “You have your girlfriend along and you sit by the fire,” he said. Next to his yearbook photo, it says, “A football field isn’t the only place you need a line.”

Eugene “Gene” Neisen went into the Air Force for four years after high school He then worked for Honeywell for 35 years. He’s been living in New Hope Since 1960, and has been retired for 19 years. He married a “Delano girl” and has two children, and five grandchildren. “Four are in college and one is in high school,” Neisen said. During high school, he played football and basketball. By his yearbook photo, it says, “His head is like a doorknob; any girl can turn it.”

LeRoy Bock of Cokato has been employed as a land surveyor for Gronberg Associates in Long Lake for more than 50 years. “I started in 1955, and I’ve been at it ever since,” he said. Before becoming a land surveyor, Bock was in the service for four years. He has been married to his second wife, Janice, since 1986. They have six children between the two of them, along with several grandchildren. He enjoys hunting and fishing in his spare time. Bock has been on the same trap shooting team in Delano, the Lucky Fives, since 1964. By his yearbook photo is the phrase, “He never frets, he hasn’t a worry, he studies a bit, but there isn’t any hurry.”

When Ed Leuthner graduated from college, he spent four years in the service, stationed in Washington state. He then had a career in the education field for 32 years, and has lived in St. Cloud since 1967. “I am now retired and enjoying the easy life,” he said. In the summer, he goes fishing, and likes to read in the winter. Leuthner is married with five children, 13 grandchildren, and one great-grandson. In high school he played football, basketball, and baseball. “As a junior, we played in the first state baseball tournament,” he said. “We had a good team and a wonderful coach.” In the high school yearbook, this saying is by his photo; “He puts his problems away for a brainy day.”

Lawrence Bauman has six children and 12 grandchildren, and has enjoyed 53 years of marriage to his wife, Anna. “I still live on the farm that I’ve been on for 52 years,” he said. After graduation, he went into the service, then worked for the Delano creamery. After that, he spent 23 years working for Cloverleaf Creamery. Now, he rents out the land on his 80-acre farm and has a small apple orchard. “I do some small engine repair just to keep out of trouble,” he added. Next to his high school yearbook photo, it says, “His mind never knows what his mouth will say next.”

Wallace “Wally” Johnson earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Cloud State and spent his career in the education field. In 1954, he got married to Naomi, who’s nickname is “Tiger.” His decision to go into education was based off of English teacher Margaret (Anderson) Parsons, who was married to Delano High School’s former superintendent, Fred Parsons. “They spent extra time and wanted to be sure that everyone learned,” he said. “I’m grateful for their time and commitment.” Johnson has one daughter, who is married and lives in Fargo. In high school, Johnson was very active on the baseball team. Later on, he had the opportunity to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but decided to finish school instead. By his yearbook photo, it says, “ A finished gentleman from top to toe. Ready to work, ready to play, ready to help whenever he may.”

William “Bill” Eppel worked for the machine shop in Honeywell for 25 years, then worked for the bus service in Delano. He also had other jobs throughout the years. Most recently, he worked at NAPA Auto Parts. “I had a varied career,” he said. “Now, I’m really interested in the history of Delano.” He has about 2,000 historical photos, along with more than 1,000 old souvenirs, and about 300 historical postcards. “I’ve got a full room of stuff here,” he said. He encourages people to come to his home in Delano if they’d like to see his collection, but said they should give him a day’s notice. Eppel has four children, nine grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters. “The oldest one is driving already,” he said. By his yearbook photo, it says, “Breathes there a man with soul so dead who never to himself hath said, ‘Hmmm, not bad!’”

After spending a few years in the Navy, Joe Swartzer, Sr. worked for Minnesota River Company in St. Louis Park for 38 years. He now lives in Watertown, on a farm he bought in 1958. Swartzer got married in 1965 and has 10 children, nine of which are still living. He also has 10 grandchildren. He enjoys selling tickets for Watertown-Mayer sporting events, and has been doing it for about 18 years. He’s also involved in the Knights of Columbus in Delano. Next to his yearbook photo, it says, “I can’t make my eyes behave.”


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