Walnut High School Class of 1959



As the class of 1959 started school in September of 1947, the class members were Carol Ann Bigelow, Teddy Briggs, Alfred DeShazo, Deanne DeVoss, Sharon Evans, David Fell, Lyla Gibson, Dona Hansen, Dora Hansen, Billy Jones, Sandra Kirkpatrick, Rose Marie Kuchel, Louis Pedersen, Freeman Ping, Dennis Sievers, Dennis Sullivan, Judy Stevens, John Stanley, David Woltmann and Carolyn Young.  This made a total of 20 first graders.


1st row: (L to R) Freeman Ping, David Fell, Larry Jacobsen, Terry Kobs, Charley Suhr, Karen Kohlscheen, Sharon Schluter, Marilyn Peterson, Rose Marie Kuchel, Robert Bornholdt, Twyla Neff

2nd row:  Cathleen Sievers, Carolyn Young, Lyla Lea Gibson, Janet Lorenzen

3rd row:  Mrs. Larson, David Woltmann, Robert Kite, Billy Jones, Kenneth Milbrandt, Louis Pedersen, Kreig Kohlscheen, Dona Hansen, Dora Hansen, Dennis Sievers, Janice Murphy, Ross Eilts, Carol Bigelow, Marilyn Norton, Twyla Bowman

The 34 students who graduated from the 8th grade together were Carol Ann Bigelow, Sharon Burk, Ross Eilts, Bob Eslick, David Fell, Lyla Gibson, Douglas Gries, Larry Gries, Dona Hansen, Dora Hansen, Marilyn Hyatt, Billy Jones, Jesse Jueden, Terry Kobs, Karen Kohlscheen, Kreig Kohlscheen, Rose Marie Kuchel, Rosemary Kutnink, Janet Lorenzen, Janet McDermott, Marlene Maassen, Janice Murphy, Marilyn Norton, Louis Pedersen, Marilyn Peterson, Ronald Rock, John Runyon, Janice Schlicht, Dennis Sievers, Mary Ann Smyser, Charles Suhr, Rosetta Whitsitt, Nancy Wilson and David Woltmann.

Their 8th grade class officers were President, Rosetta Whitsitt; Vice-President, Bob Eslick; Secretary, Carol Ann Bigelow, and Treasurer, Rosemary Kutnink.  The class colors were blue and white, the class flower was the pink carnation, and the class motto was “Not the end, but on the way.”

Teachers for the class had been 1st grade, Miss Roberta Robinson; 2nd grade, Miss Roberta Robinson; 3rd grade, Miss Doris Bathurst, 4th grade, Mrs. Bernice Larson, 5th grade, Miss Dorothy Waters; 6th grade, Mrs. Lorraine Pflugshaupt; 7th grade, Miss Wanda Campbell; 8th grade, Mr. Bruce Lilly and Mrs. Lorene Bigelow.

Marilyn Peterson and John Runyon did not start high school with the class, but Gary Lebeck & Lois Peterson joined the class. Twyla Neff rejoined, making 35 students. 

Activities of their freshman year were freshman initiation, entering a float in the homecoming parade and sponsoring a dance during the first semester.  The class was honored by the election of Rosetta Whitsitt as the 1955 Carnival Queen.

Their sophomore year began with 35 members, but during the year the class lost Larry Gries, Billy Jones, Mary Ann Smyser, Karen and Kreig Kohlscheen, and Jess Jueden.  They were excited when the girls’ basketball team went to the state tournament.  One of their most pleasant memories was the class picnic at the end of the year at Avoca.  Twelve of the class served at the Junior-Senior banquet, themed “Oriental Gardens.”

Soon after their junior year began, Jerry Nelson, who had moved to a farm north of Walnut, joined the class.  A few weeks after school started, Twyla Neff moved to Minden and Nancy Wilson moved to Booneville.  Some of the class activities were selling refreshments at ball games; building a float entitled “Sweet Defeat,” which won first prize in the homecoming parade; a slave auction; and their class play called “Tattletale.”  They held a dance for their class party and a prom for the seniors of 1958.  The theme was “Southern Rose” and many long hours of preparation were required.

Twenty-five students entered their final year of high school and graduated together.  The list of names can be found in this newsletter in “Walnut Alumni Class Rolls.”  Carol Ann Bigelow, David Fell, Lyla Gibson, Dona Hansen, Dora Hansen, Rose Marie Kuchel, Louis Pedersen, Dennis Sievers, and David Woltmann attended all 12 years as classmates.  In addition to these 9 students, Billy Jones was in the class through the 9th grade.

Their homecoming float, “Popping the Bluebirds” won third prize in the parade.  The homecoming king and queen were Bob Eslick and Janet Lorenzen.  Important events for the seniors were an all school party, senior pictures, class play, sports and musical activities, Junior-Senior banquet and prom, skip day and commencement. 

Baccalaureate for the Walnut Community School class of 1959 was held on May 24.  Rev. Whitehouse gave the invocation; read the Scripture, Psalm 119: 1-16; gave the sermon, “The World’s Greatest Literature;” and gave the benediction.  Commencement exercises were held on May 25 with Rev. Fieker giving the invocation and benediction.  The address, “Doors,” was given by Mr. Edmund Grooves.  Rosemary Kutnink gave the valedictorian address and Carol Ann Bigelow did the salutatorian address.  Class colors were red and white, the class flower was the red and white carnation and the class motto was “Take the world as you find it, but leave it better.” 

The class of 1959 has lost members Bob Eslick, Terry Kobs and Dona Hansen.

Their 50 year reunion will be celebrated this fall over Labor Day weekend.  The class will get together at the home of Ross Eilts.  On Sunday, September 6, 2009, they will have breakfast at the Villager Restaurant at Walnut.  All alumni who would like to visit with the class of 1959 are invited.  (Thank you to Mary Ellen Woltmann and Janice Schlicht Montony for helping provide information for this article.)

1959 School Personnel

Edwin Smith—Superintendent

Clarence Devine — Principal

Tom Beckham — Coach and Social Studies

Paul Charter — Vocational Ag

Mrs. Clarence Devine—Commercial

Mrs. E. W. Drake—Home Economics (1/2 time)

Mrs. Ernest Kreis  —  English            

Paul Nichols—Instrumental Music

Bill Roberts—Coach and Science

Mrs. Edwin Smith—Mathematics (1/2 time)

Ann Stevenson— Vocal  Music     

Mrs. Joe  Bigelow— 8th  grade

Mrs. Abner  Undem  —  7th

Mrs. Ruby  Woodring — 6th

Mrs. Everett  Sievers  —  5th

Mrs. Bernice  Larson —  4th

Mrs. Paul Charter— 3rd   & 4th

Mrs.  John  Juhl — 3rd  grade

Roberta Robinson—2nd grade

 Mrs. Leo Kopp — 1st & 2nd

Mrs. Myrna Lockhart — 1st

Mrs. Jean Seymour— Kindergarten

Elaine Larsen — Office Sec’y

Ralph Ridnour — Custodian

Maurice Croghan—Custodian and Bus Driver

Other bus drivers:  Harold  Kuchel, Bob Lafrentz,  Art Lebeck, Elmer Pflugshaupt, Bob Walter, & Gordon Wilcox. (The Walnut Bureau, August 27, 1959, page 1)