The Greenbrier High School Class of 1953 celebrated their 60th Class Reunion during the weekend of Sept. 20 and 21. The class consisted of 70 members in the beginning. Prior to graduation two class members, Ervil Burns and Richard VanBuren (deceased) were drafted into the military service, and were given diplomas at an earlier ceremony that year. And two members of the class moved out of the area, leaving 66 members, thus this class was destined to become the largest graduation class in school history.
The reunion events were held at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Ronceverte. Joyce and Jim Coiner presented each guest with a beautifully designed personalized 60th reunion name tag in school colors. Layola Sarver, reunion chairperson, welcomed guests and James Rader had the Invocation.
The focus for the class celebration was “Stars” in keeping with the spirit of the Class Motto: “ Ad Astra per Aspera – To the Stars through Difficulty.”
Shirley Moore Clowser presented an inspirational memorial service honoring our deceased faculty and class members. The table was decorated with a floor length tablecloth with a five-tiered candelabra with a garland of silver stars draped between each candle representing: Domeneck Gaudino, Principal; Frank Ford and Martha Ford Boyles, senior class sponsors; Noble Clay Legg, teacher and band director; and a dear friend and loyal supporter, Zella Graybeal Ford (widow of Frank Ford).
A candelabra displaying 30 tea lights, forming a star, was in honor and memory of 30 deceased class members. An easel holding the large memorial board was framed in school colors with names of each classmate whose memory was being honored. As Shirley Clowser read each name, Betty DiRaimo would light a candle and Emma Jean Cantrell would chime a bell in memory of each deceased class member. The memorial service included Biblical Scripture, an emotional and beautiful poem and closing prayer.
After the banquet dinner, a DVD of the 40th Class Reunion, compliments of Doran Samples and a DVD of the 50th Class Reunion, compliments of Steve and Lynda Morgan were enjoyed by class members and guests as they reminisced about years of treasured memories.
Emma Jean Cantrell presented each class member with a brief summary of Class History for the past 61 years, and announced that her collection of class history, pictures and GHS memorabilia, would be donated to the State Archives and History Section of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History in Charleston. Debra Basham, archivist, advised that over 3,000 yearbooks have been donated from colleges, universities, high schools and junior high schools from across the state. However, to this date, the GHS Class of 1953 will have the distinction of being the only individual class with this extensive history, beginning 1947 through 2013. Anyone wishing to review the current collection can log on at http:www.wvculture.org/history/yearbooks.html.
The following class members and special guests attended the 60th reunion celebration: Dorothea and Harris Judy, Fredericksburg, VA; Emma Morgan, Ronceverte; Emma Jean and Harvey Cantrell, Louisville, KY; Nancy Ford, Dillon, SC; Jack Thomas, Alexandria, VA; Joyce and Jim Coiner, Princeton; Imogene and Carl Newcomer, Loudon, TN; Betty Di Raimio, Newport News, VA; Norma and Harold Howard, Ronceverte; Shirley Clowser, Charleston; Steve and Lynda Morgan, Warner Robins, GA; Henry and Joyce Dean, Procious; James and Barbara Rader, Lynchburg, VA; Dorothy O’Dell, Ronceverte; Mary Sue McDaniel, Ronceverte and Layola Sarver, Ronceverte.
Special guests attending: JoAnn Cohernour, wife of James (deceased); Nancy Masterson, Dillon, SC, guest of Nancy Ford; Sue McDowell, wife of Jack (deceased) and their daughter, Debbie Omen, West Jefferson, OH.