Keeping busy while practicing
social distancing.
Dick Snyder
Bakersfield, California
I've been blessed with three marvelous children. Rick, Rand, and Jessica have
raised my seven grandchildren and are now enjoying professional careers in
Denver, Twin Cities and Grand Rapids. My wife, Susan, died of ALS in 2001,
and I retired from the History Dept, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. A
year later, I met Linda again for the first time. We married in 2003 and I
moved back “home” to Bakersfield. In years since, we have traveled...Europe,
Russia, Latin America, China (my favorite), Alaska and Australia. In 2007, I
produced a CD album, (
Life's True), searching out local musicians to put my
lyrics to music. In doing this, I re-established a high school friendship with Ken
Sorenson who astounded me with his ability to read a lyric and with guitar in
hand, spin out a compelling melody in 20 minutes. He performs on four of the

In the summer of 2008, I wrote a letter to Stan Barrett, noting that in its
first two years, TUHS-HOF had inducted 14 men and
no women. He appointed
me to the committee, and I later served as Chair for five years (2009-2014).
In spring, 2009, Jane Bush Kinsey and Jeanne Cooper were inducted, followed
over time by Louise Lowe Chiu, Melanie Parrent, Mary Simon Wilson, Velma
Ritter, Trish McLeod Robin, Hazel Hitson Weidman, DeAnn Gaither Sampley,
Janice Garratt Ashley, and Paula Rivers Gordon. It is a start. .

When I left the Committee, in 2014, I wrote a fictional autobiography,
Boomerang. I followed that with a series of short stories featuring an engaging
playboy who solves murders in Woodland Park, MN. (
Jonas Kirk Mysteries: The
Three novellas, Bingo, Pumpkin Fest and Marquee Murders, concluded
his adventures.

During the time of writing books, I fell into a treasured yearly meeting with
high school classmates. We sampled good wine, great food and memories of
life's oddities. Linda and I are very lucky, still laughing, enjoying good food,
confined to home and walking daily, distance depending upon the mood.
Page 2
Sharon Hanst Ziegler
Olympia, Washington
Dear TUHS Class of 1955:
Sixty-five years since we graduated? No Way! I had forgotten that so many
years had passed by when Linda sent us a reminder! Where did the time go? It
doesn’t seem that long ago that we were walking the halls of our alma mater.
Allen and I have lived in Olympia Washington for the past 40+ years and in the
same house. Our home is on Puget Sound so we have a beach on which we are now
growing geoducks and oysters. Eagles and wildlife are abundant. We settled here
after living in Monterey, California; Springfield, Virginia; Chapel Hill, North
Carolina. Our children live close by in Seattle. So we spend lots of time in Seattle,
that is until three months ago when the coronavirus hit. Before being “housebound”
we also took advantage of the great musical performances at the Seattle Fifth
Avenue Theatre. Unfortunately, all our shows have been cancelled for this season.
What are we doing now? I hate to say “not much”. Our activities are reduced to
walking our road everyday and waiting to hear from friends and relatives, and then
anticipating the 5:00 pm. hour.
We like to travel and the last two years we decided it was time to visit the
National Parks. We visited Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, and Death
Valley all by car. We met our son, Kip, his wife, and our two grandkids at the
parks and had a wonderful time.
In early fall of 2019, we vacationed with our daughter at Long Beach,
Washington, enjoying scenic sights, good food, and lots of history in this area,
including the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail at the mouth of the Columbia. There
still is so much to see and enjoy.
While in Olympia we are involved with our church and enjoy local activities and our
wonderful friends. I belong to a group of women who meet once a month to plan
activities and support for young girls in a local group home. We also promote the
interests of some YWCA programs for girls and young women.
I enjoy visiting Taft with all the memories of living there during my first seven
years on “A” street. We moved to Arroyo Grande for several years and then
returned to Taft for the 8th grade and high school. How fortunate all of us were
to have such a wonderful education and in such a safe environment. Happy Reunion
Memories to everyone in the class of 1955.
Sharon & Allen
I volunteer at the West Kern Oil Museum giving tours, talking with school
children, and doing research for people who call or email the museum. I enjoy
photography and belong to the Taft Camera Club.  The club is currently making
DVDs of Oildorado celebrations beginning with 1935, and also the history of
Taft using a lot of old photos.  We hope to purchase a new projector for the
club with the profit we make from the sales.  I drove myself on a visit to
Wyoming and Montana through rain, snow and sunshine – I saw it all. I also go
on short photography trips with the Camera Club, and I sing with a group of six
at church every Sunday. Now that we have to stay at home, I am finishing
writing about my Dopyera family.  There were ten children in my dad’s family,
and I am now writing about the last two. I also try to take three or more mile
walks as often as I can.
Esther Dopyera Livingston
Taft, California
Tom Lutton
Fresno, California
I retired from Clovis Unified School District after 35 great years working in
Administration. During that time I completed my Doctorate at the University of
LaVerne. After retiring I began working as a counselor for California State Teachers
Retirement System  and National University as a Student Teacher Supervisor.  I enjoyed
my work at both places, but after about ten years or more we decided it was time to
really retire.  We needed more time to visit our children in Southern California, spend
more time at our Shaver Lake cabin and out on our pontoon boat.  Lots of fishing in the
summer and snow skiing in the winter.  I also belonged to the Belmont Country Club and
played a lot of golf.

When we began to travel some of our trips were cruises and golfing trips to Mexico and
Hawaii, a trip to China, an American River boat trip to Tennessee and Kentucky. A
beautiful river cruise starting in Prague and ending in Budapest, a bus tour of the East
Coast that started in Boston.  We also took a cruise to Alaska that began in Seattle
and ended in Vancouver. We spent a week in Vancouver visiting with some of my family's
relatives from Belfast, Ireland.  My mom and dad were both from Belfast.  We have
also cruised from Canada to Florida.

Dorothy was a credit manager and an Administrative Assistant at a major retailer for
over 25 years.  We raised three successful and very loving children, Mike, Steve, and
Jennifer.  We have been blessed with seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

We celebrated out 64th anniversary in February. Currently we both stay busy.  I
volunteer every Friday morning in a kindergarten classroom where the children read to
me.  The school is Pinedale Elementary which was one of the schools where I was
principal.  I also try to golf two or three mornings a week.  Dorothy is a member of the
Saint Agnes Hospital Guild Board and also a volunteer there.  We are members of a
church close by and also attend various functions there.
Tom & Dorothy
64th Anniversary
The Lutton Family
Pete Magee
St. Paul, Minnesota
Fred & Martoria
Barbara Haynes Geary
Lewiston, Idaho
We are fine - walk daily and go nowhere. Our son is here and does groceries,
and we order a lot. Our son retired, sold his townhouse, and came over for what
was supposed to be a short visit before he settled somewhere. He had made
plans to go to Hawaii and look at property, and then the virus hit!  They closed
Hawaii! He has been such a blessing to us, and we coexist well as we have two
floors to our house, and he has the downstairs to himself in the evening.

We have seven grandchildren, and all are working at home except the youngest
who is in Portland finishing his fourth year at USC.  Very sad that there will be
no graduation after all that hard work. Our oldest granddaughter is having her
first little boy in a couple of weeks. Her sister has an 8 month old boy, and she
and husband are both working at home and keeping up with him.

I'll be so glad when life gets semi-normal again.
Barbara & Jim
62nd Anniversary
with granddaughters
Barbara & Grandson
Greetings from St. Paul, Minnesota, in the great Midwest, where we had snow the
third week in April. I enjoy hearing from other members of the TUHS Class of
1955 about what’s happening in their lives, so here’s my contribution.

Having been retired since 2007, my wife, Bebe, and I have travelled a good bit
and we just slipped under the wire to avoid getting stuck abroad when we returned
from a trip to Costa Rica and Panama on February 19. Since then we’ve stayed
close to St. Paul. Our house is on the west side of the city center, and we’ve
been walking through parts of Minnesota’s state capitol city that we’ve never
really explored, even though we’ve been here for 32 years.

Many Minnesotans are Scandinavian in origin, a group known to like solitude, so the
social distancing works very well here. Today we were waiting in line to get some
scarce hand disinfectant, and the woman ahead of us said, “We Minnesotans ask,
‘Do we have to stay as close as 6 feet to the next person?’” As a result we’re
doing pretty well in avoiding the virus in the state. Our walks have shown us that
there are pockets of fun in neighborhoods near us, and I’m attaching a few
pictures to show what I mean. All of these places are within walking distance of
our house.
The famous author, F. Scott Fitzgerald,
grew up near where we live, and about five
blocks away the building where he went to
school in 1915 has a statue memorializing
him, waiting for the first bell of the day
to ring. I wonder if they had a librarian
like Mrs. Pete?
Finally, one of our neighbors made an
Easter bunny party in a birdbath.
Apart from walking, we mostly follow news and the Metropolitan Opera online and
do a lot of Zoom online conferencing, once a week with old friends from the class
of 1955 including Susan (Pearson) Dudzinsky, Dick Snyder, Linda (Hannon) Snyder,
Tricia (McLeod) Robin, Murray and Rita Johnson, Tom and Dorothy (George)
Lutton, Lee Elton Smith, Doyce and Terry Burke, and Kent and Lynn Estabrook.
Conversation and wine both flow freely. We very aging Wildcats find that though
we live in places as far apart as Virginia, New Jersey, Minnesota, Idaho, and
California (from Sacramento to Los Angeles), we still have fun with our classmates
of 65 years ago.
Stay well!
Pete & Bebe
Victoria Falls, Africa
Luanne Harris Lee
Corrales, New Mexico
Since I moved to Corrales, NM in 2001, I have added another modality to my
training in art therapy, Sandplay, developed by Dora Kalff, a student of Carl Jung.
My work has always been based on my Jungian studies, and after intensive study,
hours of consultation, papers on chosen symbols and an in-depth case study, I
became a Certified Sandplay Therapist-Teacher two years ago.

I have continued to have a private practice. Retirement? Not so much. The worst
part of this quarantine is that I can’t visit my family in CA, especially my two great-
granddaughters (6 & 8).

I love this work and it is so painful to only do Telehealth at this point.
Below is a sandtray I did in response to the Corona-19 virus quarantine and the
unknown future. On the left are those that are ill and attended by Doctor Plague.
The right is the mask worn by Dr. Plague and coffins for the dead. Below the
photographer looks at the puzzled man, a heart with the choices of an open hand or
a closed fist. My response to our lack of positive government response. The rock is
the stability I struggle to find.
May you all be well and find the strength to stay the journey.
2016 Washington, D.C.
Smith, Lutton, Johnson, Burke,
Magee, Snyder, Estabrook
Maurine Peterson Ratekin
Angles Camp, California
The hardest part of this "assignment" is writing about myself. I have never
been good at this. However, my life has been very quiet and routine lately.
Living in the Sierra foothills offers unique opportunities that are now off limits.
So I walk, ride my stationary bike to nowhere, and read. My two Jack Russell
terriers, or terrorists, are very lively and demand a lot of attention which I am
happy to give. During this time I miss the frequent visits from my family, and
my trips to the Bay Area to visit long time friends.
The first is a statue of
Puss-in-Boots, from the old fairy
tale. Minnesotans like to carve
statues from the trunks of dead
trees that are still standing, and
this is one
Susan Pearson Dudzinsky
Cresskill, New Jersey
Lee Elton Smith
Washington, D.C.
Susan & Lee
Maurine, Dick, Susan Pearson
(from Class Archives)
Deciding what to write is difficult, because I do not know what you know about
me. We weren’t born knowing anything, but Taft schools and Taft High changed
that with an excellent education. From Taft I went to Cal and thereafter
entered medical school at UC, San Francisco. While there I married Sylvia
Fernald, who was a nursing student, and one of the brightest people I have
ever encountered. We had a child, Justine, while there. Interestingly Justine
never crawled. Place her on the floor, and an hour later she would be in the
same spot; (Rule 1W) then she went from sitting to walking.    
We left the state and I interned at the U of Utah. I remember little of that
as all interns are sleep deprived. The navy paid a good portion of my tuition,
books, living allowance, etc in medical school and internship.  Now it was time
for payback. My family and I ended up in Yokohama, Japan. At this time Sony
made only a tiny transistor radio, giving you an idea of those times. Japan was
still arising from their defeat in WWII. Life there was great in that there
was a lot of leisure, that is until I was sent to Vietnam in 1964. My team
outfitted an old WWII LSM ship for taking care of patients. It was
supposedly a psywar venture that never really influenced anyone. On this ship
we had a monk, a priest, a movie team, dancing girls, and a band. We were
able to practice primitive medicine and dentistry. Interesting stories here.

After return to Japan my son, Alex, was born. While observing Sylvia in the
delivery room, a call came to the obstetrician that he was needed in the
adjacent delivery suite. He asked me to check it out, and I missed the delivery
of my son while delivering a baby. I got notice that I had been accepted into a
general surgery residency at Naval Hospital, San Diego. We worked our asses
off in that we were at the height of the Vietnam War with all the returning
wounded, plus being the VA Hospital, plus receiving patients from the Marine
Corps Recruit Depot, two Naval Air Stations,  the primary Pacific Naval port
with all the ships stationed there, and  a huge number of retired military.
During the time that I was there, it was decided that a good place to take
care of trauma was Vietnam; so back to Vietnam I go and boarded the USS
Repose, a navy hospital ship. Most of the time I traded with surgeons at Da
Nang where the primary site for the marines was located. This was near the
time of the TET attack. Someone in his wisdom had located the hospital next to
the marine helicopter pads, which were under fire every night such that any
dud rockets or mortor shells would fall on the hospital. Interesting stories

From San Diego we went to Bremerton, WA, the main ship repair facility and
submarine base on the west coast. This was my favorite station in my naval
career. Lots of sports and enough surgery to keep it interesting. However, the
operation for peptic ulcer (this was before all the ulcer meds) included
transection of the vagus nerves. If done well, the patient had side effects
that were intolerable in my estimation, ie severe diarrhea every time something
was eaten. To escape this large group of patients, I applied for and got a
residency in colon and rectal surgery at the U of MN. My mentor was super,
and I learned all the techniques that would serve me the rest of my career.

From MN I was sent to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.
This was a busy place, and fortunately there were excellent residents. My
leisure time permitted me to coach my son’s little league team, which I knew a
lot about, and his soccer team about which I knew nothing, but at times I did
things by default. At this time I was assigned to be part of the physical exam
team at the Capitol. Once a month I would have an office at the Capitol where
I performed sigmoidoscopies. I met many of the House and Senate, Cabinet,
and Supreme Court members. For example, I had Sam Erwin of Watergate
fame, Sen. Howard Baker, Justice Thurgood Marshall, Justice Thomas Brennan
and Pres. Gerald Ford. Those undergoing the knife included, for example,
Justice Lewis Powell, Justice Potter Stewart, Pres. Jimmy Carter and Pres.
Ronald Reagan. Name dropping.

I retired from the navy in 1982 after 22 years. It was time.  George
Washington U recruited me so I was able to stay in Rockville, MD. I was
always in a teaching position, but the university position led to several national
jobs that I came into. I was elected Pres of SAGES, a society of
gastrointestinal surgery and endoscopy, Pres of ASCRS, a society dedicated to
the postgraduate training of colon and rectal surgeons, and Pres of ABCRS, an
examining board responsible for testing of trainees prior their entry into
practice. My kids graduated from college, and we were empty nesters. This
contributed to our separation in 1988 and subsequent divorce. After being
single I married Carole Brown in 1994. Thus I got two step children who were
just leaving home to college.  In 1996 I was recruited to Washington Hospital
Center where I started the first training program in colon and rectal surgery
in Washington, DC. This was perhaps my personal favorite accomplishment.
Though colon and rectal surgery has been around for 100 years, there were no
dedicated programs in DC. Thus I started dedicated sections in Naval Hospital,
George Washington U, Washington Hospital Center, and Georgetown U. While
at the Wash Hospital Center I had Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg as a patient
for colon cancer. She tolerated this surgery well, but she has had two more
different cancers since, one of which will kill her. We can only hope that she
stays alive through Nov. and Trump loses the election.

In 2011 it was time to retire. I did not want anyone to tell me that I should
retire. For a year I was at loose ends, but then I found that retirement
agreed with me. Unfortunately Carole was diagnosed with ALS in 2013, and she
died in 2015. I have become a gardener and love my dog, Snickers. I did not
name him that. Some kid must have named him before I got him. I have been a
bit of a hermit with my dog, but my life was improved when I met up with
Susan Dudzinsky (Susan Pearson) in May 2017 when she was in DC visiting her
son who lives here. Though she lives in New Jersey and I live in Washington,
we can make the drive in 4.5 hours; so we make it work to our satisfaction.  
However, at this time we are both hunkered down because of the Covid 19.

I have a diagnosis of prostate cancer for which I underwent radiation therapy.
Prostate Cancer is the biggest killer of men, after lung CA. The PSA blood
test is how the disease is followed. Tomorrow I am to call my radiotherapist to
find whether I am cured or whether I know what I will die of.
Rita Plaugher Hamilton
Bakersfield, California
Pat Whitted McLaughlin
Gonzales, California
Pat was visiting with a daughter who lives in Hawaii when COVID-19
closed everything.  So she has been "stuck" there since March.  She
will be flying to Los Angeles May 14th and plans to visit with a
granddaughter and then make her way back to Gonzales.
Via phone call on May 13th:
Emma Stover Gilbreath
Bakersfield, California

I am a stay-at-home person. I love to cook and bake. Don't go anywhere that I
don't have to. Had a case of heart failure 3 years ago...only take medicine for
high blood pressure....have had that for 30 or so years when I quit smoking. I am
doing well.  I binge watch TV: mostly cooking shows and Bull, FBI and Young
Sheldon and Murder, She Wrote.....Love 'em.

I don't have any recent pics of myself.
Talking with the animals.
"Time is a Lonesome Traveler"
Music and vocal by Ken.
Lyrics by Dick Snyder
Click Here
After graduation, like many rudderless kids, I found a low-paying job suitable
for my skills: cleaning used telephones.  Planning to marry Darlene Turner, I
knew I needed a better income, and I began working in Cuyama as a draftsman
for Richfield Oil. A year later, I found work with Ed Wilkerson, Bakersfield,
and soon after with Dave Cross. This was in early 1964.
Dave introduced me to the 20-30 Club where I learned to temper my smart-
ass mouth, while increasing my vocabulary, and, for the first time, I became
an accepted part of something. Many of my classmates, successful in school, no
doubt knew the feeling, but this was my first taste of a true accomplishment.
In a short time, I was elected president.
The several years I worked for Dave Cross essentially gave me the experience
and expertise that enabled me to become an architect. Dave had more than a
dozen employees at the peak of his business. Two college graduates working in
the firm encouraged me to take the state exam to become a licensed
architect. At the time, the law allowed non-degreed candidates who
apprenticed under a licensed architect for a period of eight years, to sit for
the exams. In succeeding, I became a rare bird…a licensed architect who
never went to college.
A few years later, visiting a high school friend, Larry Hunter, I listened to
him play guitar. I told Darlene I wanted to do that, and she gave me a little
black Stella for my 30th birthday. So began my infatuation with guitars. A
little later, I started flying lessons and got my private pilot’s license in 1972.
In 1982, I built the KSA Building, which we still own. Also, in 1982, we were
invited to submit a proposal to the Tenneco Corporation to build a new
headquarters, by far the biggest single construction project in Bakersfield
history. We brainstormed our strategy with Chris, a former Dave Cross
manager now working in San Francisco. I asked him to ask his boss if they had
an interest in joining us as a consultant on the Tenneco project. They said yes,
and we got the $15 million project.
In time, I became a founding member of Stockdale Savings and Loan, later the
Bank of Stockdale where I served as chairman of the loan committee. In the
late 90’s we were acquired by Valley Independent Bank, out of Palm Springs,
and then in the early 2000’s VIB was purchased by Rabobank.
Despite the ups and downs of the economy, my firm, KSA, prospered and over
my career there, we mentored 27 employees who became licensed architects.
We designed some local landmarks: State Fund Building, Aera Building and
Darlene and I live in comfortable retirement at our home in the Vineyards.
While we lost our son, Darren to complications following an accident and
paralysis, our son, Kirk, is a significant part of our lives, and I continue to
play guitar and sing the songbooks of Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson. It’s
been a good life.
When finished listening to the song,
click on the upper left arrow to
return to this page.
Ken Sorenson
Bakersfield, California
Ken & Darlene
Fred Sherman
Taft, California
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