We are Taft - June Class of 1959: Special Then - Special Now - Together Again & Staying Together!
WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT HIGH SCHOOL - JUNE 1959 REUNION SITE
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Friday, December 29th - Annual Holiday Party - Pizza/Salad Luncheon
CHECK OUT THE NEW Registration Form for 64th Annual Reunion
This page was last updated: November 9, 2023
Spring Pizza Party / Luncheon - Friday May 19, 2023
On Friday, May 19, we had our Annual Spring Luncheon at our usual Class meeting hotel, The Hilton Garden Inn on River Road in Des Plaines. Again, we had a very successful Pizza/Salad Party, which included all the pizza, salad, soft drinks and iced tea anyone could eat and enjoy. It was another wonderful time to reunion, reminisce, and catch up with classmates. Once again, we were honored with the presence of current Taft Principal, Mark Grishaber, who gave a comprehensive update on current happenings, including sports, at Taft. He also answered many questions. And, to show his sincere appreciation for our Class, and our continuing support of Taft and its Alumni Association, he passed out a special engraved Taft pen and pencil set to all who attended, which was greatly appreciated. He vowed to continue to attend all our future reunions and luncheons, which was applauded by all.
First Row on chairs; Nelda Quast Livorsi ('45) Karen Drinan Johnson ( '58) Pat Santell Lutz, Rita Glaubich Morser, Jackie Schmidt Sheehan, Leanne Mattick Spiegel, Mark Grishaber, Terri Sheehan Arenot, Dona Olson Mc Laughlin
Back Row standing; Kerry Kremer , Gordy Lund, Anne Fear Mc Manus, Tom Wise, Gail Wise, Penni Eichin Isaacson, Bruce Isaacson, Lucia Barth, David Barth, Barb Peterson, Larry Marsh, Lee Marsh
Christmas / New Years Pizza Party - December 30, 2022
Classmates and guests had a good time at the Christmas/New Year Pizza Party! We were privileged to be entertained with holiday music by the Prairie Singers, a choral group led by Dave Barth (brother of Classmate Ron). Taft’s Principal, Mark Grishaber, shared an update on happenings at the School.
Linda Schmidt Joob (‘0), Donna Olsen McLaughlin, Rita Glaubich Morser, Nelda Livorsi (’45), Karen Drinan Johnson (’58), Jackie Schmidt Sheehan, Pat Santelll Lutz, Marlene Rizza Crawford, Ruth HaaLinda Schmidt Joob (‘0), Donna Olsen McLaughlin, Rita Glaubich Morser, Nelda Livorsi (’45), Karen Drinan Johnson (’58), Jackie Schmidt Sheehan, Pat Santelll Lutz, Marlene Rizza Crawford, Ruth Haasis Babka
Fred Joob, Barb Peterson, Tom Wise, Gail Wise, Ken Monhan, Anne Fear McManus, Bruce Isaacson, Penni Eichin Isaacson, Lucia Barth, Laenne Mattick Spiegal, Dave Barth (’62), Gail Lombardo Brandt, Principal Mark Grishaber, Barb Marsh, Larry Marsh.
If you have questions or comments about any part of the website, or about any of our past or planned Reunion or Luncheon events, or information about our class or classmates in general, please contact any of the Reunion Committee members listed in the last section of the website. They will be happy to assist. THANK YOU!
TAFT June 1959
Special Then, Special Now “Together Again”… And Staying Together!
Your Reunion Committee
We ask you to consider donating to our Class (“Taft June 1959 Reunion”) to provide ongoing support for this website, class correspondence, our annual reunions and our periodic luncheons at Christmas time and spring. Class donations should be sent to our Class Treasurer:Donations:
7629 W. Isham Ave.
Chicago, IL 60631-1540
Make check payable to “TAFT Reunion 1959”
Donations may also be made to Taft High School and should be sent directly to:
Mark Grishaber, Principal
Taft High School
6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago, IL 60631
Make checks payable to “TAFT High School” and reference the Taft June Class of 1959
Taft 63rd Class Reunion, September 30 - October 2, 2022, to be held at the Hilton Garden Inn. Our tentative plans include a Friday evening Pizza Party, a late Saturday afternoon reception, a full sit-down dinner that evening, and a farewell brunch at the hotel on Sunday morning. The cost will be very reasonable and we will leave plenty of opportunity to reconnect and enjoy visiting classmates.
Taft Graduation 2022. In June, 830 students graduated from our high school. The Class of 1959 was recognized at the ceremony and honored for its activities and contributions to the school and the Alumni Association. Principal Mark Grishaber reported that Taft is recognized by US News and World Reports as one of the best high schools in the Nation.
This is the only graduating class that can say its football team beat Lane Tech’s football team three times in one year. Taft‘s sports teams are now competing at the highest level in the State of Illinois. Taft’s robotics team is now on the world stage, and its Performing Arts Department, Visual Arts Department, Drama Department and NJROTC are the best in the State.
Academically the class of 2022 has applied to and been accepted to 233 colleges and universities. The class of 2022 earned over 20 million dollars in scholarships and next year the class of 2022 will be studying in 34 states, attending colleges and universities from Hawaii to Vermont and from Minnesota to Florida, and attending every Big Ten school as well as Princeton, Yale and Harvard.
Principal Grishaber asked the audience to stand and take the Alumni Network Induction Pledge*. The Pledge was initiated a few years ago to get the students interested in joining the Alumni Association. Current enrollment at Taft is 4,300; 1,300 at the Taft campus; and 1300 at the Academy campus.
* I (state your name) do solemnly pledge to faithfully fulfill my duties as a graduate of William Howard Taft High School imbued by the spirit of its mission to serve the needs of students. I commit myself to the highest standards of service to my country, community and school. I will provide moral and intellectual support through the Alumni Network and I will encourage others to contribute and participate in the activities and noble work of the Alumni Network.
1959 Classmates at the Alumni Clock prior to Graduation. The Alumni Clock, a gift to the school, has been installed. Principal Mark Grishhaber thanked all the alumni, especially the Class of 1959, for all their generous donations that made the Clock possible. There are plans for landscaping around the base with flowers. Verdin, the manufacturer, is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the birthplace of William Howard Taft.
Pictured here alongside the Taft Alumni clock are classmates and friends who attended the graduation ceremony.
Left to right: Leanne Mattick Speigel, Barbara Peterson (January 1959), Lucia Barth (Schurz), Penni Eichin Isaacson, Anne Fear McManus, Marlene Rizzi Crawford, Bruce Isaacson (Lane), Rita Glaubich Morser.
Post Graduation Pizza Party. Following the graduation, classmates and friends enjoyed a get together and pizza party at the Hilton Garden Inn in Des Plaines.
Left to right: Larry Marsh, Pat Santel Lutz, Lucia Barth (Schurz), Barbara Peterson Class (January 1959), David Barth (June 1962), Bruce Isaacson (Lane), Penni Eichin Isaacson, Gordy Lund, Rita Glaubich Morser, Leanne Mattick Spiegel, Anne Fear McManus, Marlene Rizzi Crawford. Also attending but declining to be included in the photograph were Lee Marsh, Larry’s younger brother and Roberta Lund.
Taft 1959 61st and 62 Reunions. On October 1, 2, and 3, we celebrated our 2 for 1 (61st and 62nd) Reunions at the Hilton Garden Inn on River Road in Des Plaines. This has been our usual Reunion location ever since our 50th, which we had there. We missed last year (61st) because of Covid; hence, we celebrated two this year. We celebrated with a Pizza Party Friday night, a Banquet Saturday night, and a Farewell Breakfast Sunday morning. Joining us was Taft principal Mark Grishaber and his wife, Tina. We were honored to have them attend. Mark gave a wonderful, positive video and power point presentation with photos and commentary from both our era and the currrent one at Taft.
Front Row: Gordon Stewart, Louse Knuth Stewart, Annette Knuth, Rita Glaubich Morser, Karen Knuth Neibarger, Jane Werling, Arnie Werling, Gordy Lund, Betty Henning Murphy, Susan Bartel, Karen Bartel.
Back Row: Sherry Lorh, Barb Knudsen Newlin, Pat Gasway, Jim Fisher, Barb Peterson with William Howard Mark Eagle, David Barth, Lucia Barth with William Howard Eagle, Bill Rice, Bruce Isaacson, Penni Eichin Isaacson, Joe Bartel, David Murphy, Barb Marsh, Larry Marsh.
Front Row: Jane Werling, Arnie Werling, Tom Hookanson with William Howard Eagle and son, William Howard Mark Eagle, Rita Glaubich Morser, Tina Grishaber, Mark Grishaber, Betty Henning Murphy, Joe Bartel, Jim Fisher Barb Knudsen Newlin.
Back Row: Mike Murray, Bonnie Murray, David Barth, Bill Rice, Lucia Barth, Kerry Kremer, Barb Peterson, Penni Eichin Isaacson, Bruce Isaacson, Karen Knuth Neibarger, Dave Murphy, Marilyn Moldenhauer Gossell, Bob Henning, Suzanne Henning, Tom Wise, Pat Gasway, Gail Wise, Barb Marsh, Larry Marsh.
Taft 63rd Class Reunion Recap from September 30 - October 2, 2022
We had another great time with over 35 attending the Friday Pizza Party and the Saturday Banquet. Both began in the late afternoon this year. As the Friday Pizza Party was concluding, current TAFT Principal, Mark Grishaber, arrived at the Hotel with the TAFT Mini-Bus and escorted many of us to the TAFT football game played in the new, modern, and lighted football stadium at TAFT (see photo below! The Principal is at the far left). TAFT won the game against Westinghouse High 23-6, as we were honored with a pre-game on-field visit and announced introduction, choice seating with the Principal, and an exciting and memorable time. The cost of transportation to and from the Hotel and game tickets were courtesy of TAFT and sincerely appreciated.
The Banquet also was most enjoyable as we reminisced, got caught up with each other, had a served full course meal with a lovely cake provided by the hotel (see photo below), and enjoyed special music and comedy entertainment provided by Classmate George Coghlan and his wife Esther, who traveled from their Las Vegas home to be with us. We also gave out door prizes & attendance awards, took the photo below, and viewed several tables of memorabilia from our time at TAFT. We concluded the evening as usual by all singing the TAFT FIGHT SONG from our era. Overall, it was another fun and memorable evening. All of us now look forward to our Annual Christmas Luncheon during the week between Christmas and New Years, our Annual Late Spring Luncheon, and our 64th Reunion the first weekend in October next year. You will hear more about these events through your e-mail.
Left to right, seated on the floor; Barb Marsh, Larry Marsh, Terri Sheehan Arenot
First Row on chairs; Arnie Werling, Esther Coghlan, Marilyn Moldenhauer-Gosell, Rita Glaubitz-Morser, Jackie Schmidt-Sheehan, Ruthie Haasis-Babka, Barb Peterson, Dona Olson-McLaughlin, Bard KnudensArnie Werling, Esther Coghlan, Marilyn Moldenhauer-Gosell, Rita Glaubitz-Morser, Jackie Schmidt-Sheehan, Ruthie Haasis-Babka, Barb Peterson, Dona Olson-McLaughlin, Bard Knudensen-Newlin, Jim Fisher
Second Row seated; Roberta Lund, Sherry Lohr, Bruce Lohr, Leanne Mattick-Spiegel, Marlene Rizzi-Crawford, Betty Henning-Murphy, Dave Murphy, George Coghlan, Pat Gasway
Back Row standing; Jane Werling, Tom Wise, Gail Wise, Gordie Lund, Bob Henning, Susan Henning, Joe Bartel, Dave Barth, Lucia Barth, Bill Rice, Bruce Isaacson, Penni Eichin-Isaacson
Taft Class of June 1959 Cornerstone is Complete! The Taft Cornerstone was recently completed and reflects the contributions of the Class of June 1959. It will be officially dedicated soon.
Annual Christmas/New Years Pizza/Salad Luncheon/Party. Our holiday party will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Des Plaines. Watch your email for details.
Welcome to the Taft 1959 Reunion Website. This site was developed and produced by our late classmate Fred Allegretti. For Fred it was a labor of love and for us it is a wonderful repository of our schooldays at Taft and for announcing and reporting on our reunion activities. Explore the website for a walk down history. To find out what is happening at Taft today, click on “Other Taft Connections” to see how the school has grown and blossomed and continues to be one of the best high schools in the country.
Taft Alumni Clock in the News
On September 29 and 30 and October l, many of us enjoyed our 64th Reunion held again at The Hilton Garden Inn in Des Plaines! It was another GREAT time to be “Together Again!” Over 30 attended the Friday evening Pizza Party, and over 40 attended the Reunion 64 Banquet on Saturday. The food again was delicious and plentiful, the room was well decorated with our memorabilia and the “Special Entertainment” indeed was very special and appropriate. The Banquet began with all joining in to sing our National Anthem, which was followed by Goerge Coghlan leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance as we honored America! Joe Bartel then offered prayer before we sat down for dinner.
Principal Mark Grishaber attended the Saturday Banquet. At the Banquet, Mark was made an Honorary Member of the Taft Class of 1959. We presented Mark with a specially designed formal framed certificate prepared by our Class Vice President and Artist, Barb Knudson-Newlin. Mark gave everyone a good, positive update about Taft.
He then ate with us and took his place (yellow shirt, back row the photo below). He remained for the Special Entertainment as well, which featured Lucia Barth (with a keyboard accompanist) singing a number of “our songs” from the 1950’s (see photo below). Lucia sings with several choruses and in her church and has a wonderful voice. For several songs, she asked us to sing along. She concluded her program with “You’ll Never Walk Along,” which was sung at our graduation! Lucia’s husband, Dave, provided brief, interesting histories related to each song she sang. All enjoyed the music as Lucia received a standing ovation and repeated applause!
We ended both evenings with door prizes, then by standing and singing to great acclaim the Taft Fight Song of our era which begins “Dear Taft You’ve our Loyalty.” We sang it twice in honor of our Class and Taft!
Many then enjoyed the Farewell Breakfast on Sunday morning, and all looked forward to attending Reunion 65 next year. HOPE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO JOIN US!
Stay in touch, You are reminded to keep us posted of any changes in your contact information, of any needs you may have, and we encourage you to go to our extensive, award-winning website often: WWW.Taftreunion1959.com. And, remember we have a ZOOM opportunity for all classmates to connect with us and each other once a month on a Saturday morning. A monthly All-Classmate E-Mail has details on how you can connect.
Front Row: Barb Marsh, George Coghlin, Esther Coghlin, Karen Knuth-Neibarger, Marilyn Moldenhauer-Gossell, Arnie Werling, Jackie Schmidt-Sheehan, Marlene Rizza-Crawford, Ruth Haasis Babka, Barb Knudson-Newlin, Betty Henning-Murphy, Karen Anderson-Sterbenz, Larry Marsh.
Back Row: Terri Arendt, Jane Werling, David Barth , Louise Knuth-Stewart, Gordon Stewart, Lucia Barth, Me, Bruce Isaacson, Gail Wise, Tom Wise, Bill Rice, Kerry Kremer, Leanne Mattick-Spiegel, Mark Grishaber, Joe Bartel, Tom Hookanson, Dave Murphy, Bill Henning, Barb Peterson, Bob Henning, Rita Glaubich-Morser, Susanne Henning, Butch Sterbenz, Johnny Morser, Muriel Henning (Bill's, Rocky Sterbenz, Moe Sterbenz and David Borger (Lucia's accompanist)
Front row is Leanne (Mattick) Spiegel, Penni Eichin-Isaacson, Gail Wise, and Roberta Lund.
Back Row is Ken Yonan, George Coughlin, Tom Wise, Gordy Lund and Bruce Isaacson.