WELCOME... to the website of the 1974 Class of Elkhart Central & Memorial High School Alumni!
It is hard to imagine that we have been out of High School for over 40 years!
Our journey has brought us many joys, triumphs and challenges, as well as fond memories of our classmates who are no longer with us. It is time to reflect, reconnect and renew old friendships and make some new ones.
1. Surpassing the usual or ordinary, particularly in size and scope.
Thank you for joining us for an "EPIC" 40th REUNION on August 1st & 2nd, 2014!
The Class of 1974 40th Reunion Planning Committee welcomes you to our class website!
Please view the latest news and announcements below and visit our tabs above.
We hope to see you all again in 2019!
THE WAY WE WERE Thank you to all who attended our EPIC 40th Class Reunion in the beautiful Lerner Crystal Ballroom on Friday evening, August 1st, 2014! Following two years of planning and anticipation, classmates ventured from 27 states to reconnect and celebrate our UNITED 40th!
Sandy Robison McCarthy was the MC for the welcome program and Lora Minichillo shared our class "pay-it-forward" philosophy by announcing two charitable contributions made by the Class of 1974; $750 to Riley's Hospital for Children and $500 to Five Star Life, a local group that supports at risk middle school students. A Silent Auction was held with original art pieces donated by classmates and local artists, to benefit our reunion fund.
Following the Invocation, given by Beth Batten North, a memorial tribute video slideshow was shown in honor of our deceased classmates, as well as a nostalgic Way We Were music video presentation, during dinner. A display in the foyer, created by Debbie Miers, honored our deceased classmates with a beautiful memory tree, which held a purple ribbon for each classmate. We would also like to thank Anne Stutsman Gee for the beautiful photo name tags she designed for our 40th!
A delicious buffet style dinner with Chicken Marsala and Chef Carved Steamship Beef Roast was enjoyed by all. White tiered raspberry torte filled cake, proudly displayed our 40th Reunion Logo, followed by a late night pizza snack bar. Following dinner, classmates mingled and partied "like it's 1974" to 70's dance tunes, with DJ, Ben Decker. The dance floor was packed with conga lines and electric slides...yes, we still have it!
More importantly, we embraced our past and connected with new friends and classmates. Members of our class now live in 35 of the 50 states and we have one classmate in Brussels, Belgium. We welcomed 97 Chargers and 88 Blazer classmates, with 285 classmates and guests registered for our event. Over 75 classmates participated in our daytime activities (see below). Janie Bueter accepted the award given to the classmate who traveled the furthest, from Anchorage, Alaska! Janie received a certificate for two free tickets to the 45th reunion. Many classmates were recognized for attending their first reunion in 40 years!
Our décor reflected our message of unity and inclusion. A purple theme was chosen to blend our two school colors together to unite as one, with equal parts of Charger Red and Blazer Blue. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our 40th reunion committee members for their hard work and commitment and to all of our classmates. It wouldn't be EPIC without all of you! We hope to see you all again in 2019!
Scroll down for all the latest announcements
Our next 45th Class Reunion will be held in the summer of 2019!
We will begin posting dates and details in 2017.
Please make sure we have your current contact information on file, by keeping your contact form up to date on our Contact Page above.
Visit our montage of photographs from our entire EPIC 40th Reunion weekend of events on our Event Photo Gallery Tab above.
Click on the 'ORDER FORM" tab above to place your order today for a memorabilia music CD, entitled~
"The Way WeWere"
The CD includes a blast to the past with 70's era nostalgia, as well as a collection of yearbook photos. A special Memorial slideshow musical tribute honoring our deceased classmates is included on the CD, as well.
In addition, we have had many requests for our new Classmate Directory. The Directory is available for a small shipping and handling fee. Supplies are limited, so place your order today!
...A good time was had by all!
We had quite a few Karaoke singers Rockin' the Riverwalk at McCarthy's On The Riverwalk and b on the River in downtown Elkhart on Saturday evening. Who knew we had such a great class of entertainers?
Randy Clark, pictured here, received a standing ovation for his tribute to our classmate Veterans, singing... "God Bless The USA"
A heartfelt thank you to all of our Class of 1974 Veterans for your service and sacrifice for our Country!
CLASS OF ‘74 ROCKED THE RIVERWALK
McCarthy's On The Riverwalk & b on the River
Rockin' the Riverwalk
The Class of 1974 concluded it’s festive reunion weekend with a casual patio party on Elkhart’s scenic Riverwalk on Saturday evening. The weather was a summery 80 degrees, the cocktails were cold, and the music was hot, creating a perfect, relaxed and casual party.
About 253 classmates attended the final reunion activity, “Rockin’ the Riverwalk” at b on the River and McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk. McCarthy’s provided slider-size hamburgers and hot dogs, chips and salsa, a variety of summer salads, and cocktails/soft drinks.
b onthe river provided a larger-than-life, all-purple dessert station. Thanks to classmates Merril Mossey McCarthy and Liz Naquin Borger for being such terrific hosts for the evening.
The evening included karaoke by talented singers in the class, including Gary Cappelletti, Debbie Miers, Linda Minix Sellers, Paula Gluck, Randy Clark, Ellen Green Andrews, Barb Garman Kwiatkowski, Phil Baldwin, Ken Koval, Dawn Goss Wolf, Beth Batten, Laura Doty, Linda Boylan McCreary, and Steve Nusbaum. Even a few spouses showed their talents -- thanks Kami Gunnoe and Dale Ostrom. Dale provided a highlight with a romantic song dedicated to his wife, classmate Jan Keim Ostrom. Paula Gluck’s version (below) of a popular Whitney Houston song also got a standing ovation!
The casual atmosphere gave classmates an opportunity to visit with those they missed or wanted to spend more time with after Friday’s dinner dance. It also gave the Class of 1974 a chance to enjoy a mid-summer’s night in Elkhart, sharing memories and catching up with friends, old and new.
Beth Batten North, Lora Minichillo, Liz Naquin Borger and Linda Minix Sellers
Closing out the night to Donna Summers'...Last Dance
FINAL ART FUNDRAISER IS EPIC
To complete the 2014 fundraising for the Reunion Fund, a silent auction of Elkhart art was held on Friday, August 1, 2014 as part of the festivities on the first night of the 40th Reunion.
The auction included art of talented 1974 classmates, including Bob Bieber and Jody Froelich, as well as Elkhart-themed art by Elkhartan Scott Hendrie and out-of-towner Kathy Foster. Bieber donated a dozen unique and exquisite ceramic vessels of all shapes, colors, sizes and finishes. Froelich created “Blended”, a glass mosaic that reflected the blue + red = purple unity theme of this reunion. Hendrie, well-known for his waterlcolor renditions of famous Elkhart buildings, donated, via Cindy Clement Andrews, a print of the Sophomore Division. Foster’s contribution was a watercolor of the Rice Field press box.
Bidding was fast and furious for each of the 15 pieces of artwork. All tolled, the Silent Auction added about $1,585 to the reunion coffers. Thanks to the artists for their generous donations, and to the successful bidders in supporting the reunion fund and purchasing some stunning new art!
Class of 1974 Fundraising Chairperson
STAY IN TOUCH
We have concluded our extensive search for missing classmates and our master Class of 1974 database has been updated and increased to include almost 600 classmates. The master includes current/maiden name, HS attended, phone number(s), email(s), address, spouse name and publication privacy wishes. In addition, we developed a new Classmate Directory in 2014, which we distributed at the 40th reunion.
We have created many new tools to help keep classmates connected, to improve communication and help keep us notified of changes. We have set up a new mass e-mail distribution list, which is a great form of communication for our planning team to send announcements and update over 250 classmates of upcoming events. (If we don't have your email on file, please send it to Linda below and we'll add you to our mailing list).
In 2012, we developed our new Class of '74 website and created a new class Facebook site, which has grown to over 246 classmate members, to date. Please refer below to join our facebook group.
Due to the large size of our combined classes, as we move forward to our 45th and 50th reunions, we kindly request that our classmates take the responsibility to keep us updated of any changes in the future. It's easy...complete a contact form on the website above and click "submit". Please help keep us notified if you move, or just want to update your information on file (name changes, emails, phone, deceased notification, removal from our database, etc.). Or, feel free to email Linda Sellers with any changes at:
We will send email confirmation of your update. If you elect not to keep your contact information up to date, we'll assume that you prefer not to be included in future mailings and Class of 1974 reunion announcements.
We appreciate your assistance!
Linda Minix Sellers
'74 Database Admin
Share your comments...
Please visit our guest book page above and leave a comment for everyone to read:) We look forward to hearing your thoughts...stories from school, reunion comments and fond memories.
Here are some comments we received from our classmates we would like to share:
"Many thanks again to you and the entire reunion committee for a job really well done! I had a blast and it was so great to reconnect with my classmates. It is sadly a part of my life that I have not kept up with and this was a chance to change that!!
I am so thankful! Elkhart is a wonderful community. When you live out of town and get to visit, you can see its many strengths, which include its great residents and the very strong sense of community that so many people share.
Thanks again for creating such a great weekend and the chance to see so many friends"!
All the best,
Marla Treckelo Buck
"Way too much fun.......a huge thank you to the entire committee for an outstanding weekend and one that will be remembered for a long, long time. And to cap it all off with the late night cocktail listening to "Sharks" on Saturday just seemed to be perfect.....the only thing missing was the usual fight that occurred during the high school dances...ha,ha.
I found myself chuckling the other day after thinking about the numerous conversations and how, after 40 years, it didn't matter who was who, what they did, where they were from, etc. etc., ...it only mattered that they made the effort to get there and to enjoy everyone's company.
Thanks again to all who helped make this a special event and for your tireless efforts.
See you all in 5 years, hopefully sooner!"
"Thank YOU and the rest of the Committee for all the time and hard work that went in to putting on a fantastic event where all the rest of us had to do was show up and have a good time. I had not been able to make it back for a Reunion in thirty years so it was great to see a lot of old friends from Rice, Northside & both high schools! I only wish we would have been able to stay for Saturday night, so I could have visited with a few more people. I’ll plan better for the next event!
Thanks too for making me and especially my wife, who was not an Elkhart Grad, feel welcome at your table Friday night.
Thanks again and say hi to Jim for me.
David R. Slaughter
Our planning leadership team will be keeping you up to date on all the latest news over the next five years, until our next reunion in 2019. We will post announcements on Facebook when we have new updates, such as classmate spotlights to view on our website. Join our Facebook group below to view classmate photos, comments and stay connected with all the latest classmate news.
Stay tuned....in 2017 we will announce our new date and location of our 45th Class Reunion, in the summer of 2019!
Bill Wagner, Kathy Kress Schott, Sandi Robison McCarthy,
Mark Willard, Joni Adams Irwin, Jeff Finfrock,
Chuck Damp & Lora Minichillo
Chicken Fundraiser Huge Success
do you get when you combine Nelson's delicious BBQ chicken, a sunny day, and
lots of enthusiastic classmates from the United Class of 1974?
A hugely successful fundraiser!
United Class of 1974 held its final 2014 fundraiser on June 21, a Nelson's BBQ Chicken Sale,
including chicken and Pit-Tatoes. Cars were lined up two abreast (pun
intended) and out the Walgreen's parking lot for the delicious food, and we
ordered more chicken and Pit-tatoes three times to accommodate the sales!
In total, we sold more than 700 chicken halves and 300 servings of Pit-Tatoes,
for a profit of $2,369 to the United Class of 1974 Reunion account!
to everyone who helped plan, organized, worked, and purchased chicken.
Our success, in large part, was due to our high pre-sales -- thanks to
those members of the reunion committee who did a great job selling tickets!
Thanks, too, to those who worked the sale: Chuck Damp, Barb Garman
Kwiatkowski (who came in from the Chicago area to help out!), Steve Nusbaum,
Cindy Clement Andrews, Danny and Kathy Kress Schott, Sandy Robison McCarthy,
Joni Adams Irwin, Jacqie Abbott, Mark Willard, Jody Green Wilson, Jeff
Finfrock, and Sylvia Van De Sompele. Thanks to Jim Sellers for
the set up and use of his canopy! And...a big round of applause to Bill
Wagner, chair of this fundraiser for all of his hours and hard work! And,
thanks to Lora Minichillo, who helped organize with Bill and acted as cashier!
In fact, the fundraiser was so successful, we are going to do it
again next year --same weekend, same place -- June 20, 2015 (Jazz Fest weekend)
at the Walgreen's at Bristol and Cassopolis Streets, Elkhart. Mark your
calendars! And, if you're interested in being a part of this great fun,
contact Lora Minichillo at email@example.com
and she'll keep you apprised of plans and details!
Special thanks to Rose Cavinder Darrah for donating
the personalized "purple" united beverage koozies for
our Saturday events!
Thanks to the suggestion of classmate, Lora Minichillo, our Alumni Spotlight page has been a highly anticipated feature series on our website. We hope to continue these classmate spotlights throughout the next five years.
We highlight our '74 classmates for their accomplishments, as well as giving back in their communities and beyond. If you know of anyone who you feel should be recognized for an accomplishment, please contact Lora @:
We are proud to recognize some of our outstanding Class of '74 classmates and citizens! Visit our Alumni Spotlight page for the latest highlights.
Alumni Golf Outing 2014
Thank you to all of our classmates who participated in the 2014 EPIC Alumni Golf Outing at Christiana Creek Country Club on Saturday, August 2nd, 2014.
Jim Sellers organized the golf outing, with the assistance of Jim Powers and Scott Yeoman. 37 players and 9 foursomes teed off in a scramble format, with a shotgun start off 9 holes.
Barb Garman Kwiatowski, LuAnn Walters Powers,
Anne Stutsman Gee & Cheryl English Reisinger It was a beautiful day on the links as classmates competed for several awards. Best Men's Foursome; Jim Bigler, Jeff Holdread, Kurt Hostetler and Ron Smith shot a 62 to take the first place prize.
Congratulations to Ron Watson for Longest Men's Drive and LuAnn Powers for Longest Women's Drive.
Each classmates received a custom logo golf ball & tee sleeve, as well as a Class of '74 personalized koozie and logo bottled water.
Special thanks to Christiana Creek CC Pro, John Fischer. We would also like to thank Bill Wagner for taking great candid photographs at many of our weekend activities.
Visit our Event Photo Gallery page to view more golf photos.
Hotel Hospitality Room
Marla Kruis Williams resting up after
the exciting weekend activities were over!
The Hilton Garden Inn Hospitality Room was available to welcome our traveling classmates, as well as a gathering place for local classmates to stop in and visit.
A huge thank you to Marla Kruis Williams for staffing the registration table schedule both nights. Marla also organized the complimentary hospitality junior suite at the Hilton Garden Inn for our classmates to stop in, relax and mingle. Thanks to LuAnn Powers for assisting Marla with setting up the suite.
Yes....even 40 years later, we can still party! It is rumored we did receive a call to keep the noise levels down in the hospitality suite....:)
Class reunion yearbooks were on hand from 1972 - 1974, for classmates to browse through and reminisce. The suite was also stocked with local event information, tourist packets, maps, logo bottled water and more. Martin's Supermarket generously donated snacks and beverages for our classmates to enjoy!
Traveling guests received a beautiful welcome bag created by Lora Minichillo, complete with snacks, beverages and travel gift items, as a thank you for joining us.
Marla reported that over 15 classmates visited the hospitality suite on Friday night and several more on Saturday and Sunday.
Thank you to all of our traveling classmates for taking time away from your home and families to join in the festivities!
PUMPKINVINE NATURE TRAIL
BLUE GATE LUNCH & SHOPPING
SATURDAY, AUGUST 2
PUMPKINVINE TRAIL RIDERS
Pumpkinvine Nature Trail bicycle enthusiasts met at the Middlebury entrance to the trail and were greeted by classmate, Marlene Mast Weatherwax with a koozie and bottled water. Riders enjoyed a beautiful scenic ride through the Amish countryside in route to the BlueGate Restaurant in Shipshewana.
We had over 25 signed up on Saturday for the trail ride and lunch. Classmates who chose not to ride, gathered at the Bluegate at 12:30 for a "family style" luncheon and enjoyed a complimentary dessert from the reunion committee. Home made dessert choices included:
After lunch, classmates enjoyed shopping at their leisure in the quaint shops full of Amish crafts and handmade goods!
Congratulations to Super Sleuth
Jody Gold Comer
You can run, but you can't hide! Thanks to Jody Gold Comer's efforts to help chair our Missing and Search Committees, we have reduced our missing list to an all time low of 78!
Jody took her mission very personally and did a great job contacting and "searching out" classmates to help build our database. Over 210 classmates were listed as MIA when the search began, due to 10 years between reunions. Jody worked closely with Linda Sellers and helped locate and update many classmates contact info back to our Sophomore year. As a result, 90% of the class is identified and accounted for, thanks to this hard-working team! Jody also assisted Chris Gordon Brown with our deceased database to verify records for 75 of our deceased classmates (see deceased update below).
We had a record turn out at the reunion weekend events and many classmates were excited to attend our reunion for the very first time in 40 years! Jody never divulged her "secret" to her investigative techniques, but she enjoyed talking with many family members, ex-husbands, and Mothers of classmates. However, don't try to get any contact information out of Jody... her lips are sealed tight! All information collected in the FBI Comer "vault" is confidential, unless authorized for release from the classmate.
Jody was very surprised to receive recognition as our class "Super Sleuth", during the 40th Reunion program. She received her detective magnifying glass award to the tune from Pink Panther, from Sandy Robison McCarthy and Lora Minichillo.
If anyone has leads on long time missing classmate, Brent McFarlan, please let Jody know. We're sure she'll find him in no time at all!
We extend our sincere thanks to Jody Comer for her successful mission accomplished!
Twenty classmates rose bright and early Saturday morning to “give back” to Elkhart by participating in a community service project during the 40th Reunion weekend.
Classmate Brent Curry, a/k/a City Councilman Curry, worked with the Elkhart Parks Department to identify a project to beautify Elkhart. The site selected, the NIBCO Ice Rink, needed landscaping work to prepare the site for delivery of a new piece of art to be displayed, as well as the permanent installment of a piece of the Elkhart Armory façade which will soon be placed on the Riverwalk.
Classmates gathered at b on the River for scrumptious breakfast of egg casserole, croissants, muffins, scones, coffee and juice before heaving out in the summer heat to beautify Elkhart. The landscaping work took about two hours to complete. Each participant received a bottle of water with the class logo, as well as a purple koozie with the logo and reunion theme to keep their water cold!
The Parks Department Superintendent asked that a member of the Reunion Committee attend the City Council meeting the week after the reunion to be recognized for this project. Lora Minichillo attended the Council meeting, and after thanking the Parks Department and classmate Curry for the opportunity, she urged other classes, during reunion time or any time, to create projects where classmates can “give back” to the community that has given so much to us.
FOR COMPLETING OUR SURVEY
79 classmates completed our survey at the Friday evening venue. Please click on the survey tab above to view the results of our survey. We appreciate your input, which will help us in the planning phase for the next reunion in 5 years!
ALMOST GONE! ALMOST GONE! ALMOST GONE!
Our initial fundraiser, designing and selling t-shirts is almost over!
We have only a few t-shirts left (size XL and 2XL) to sell of the more than 80 shirts ordered...so get yours before it's too late!
Click on the "Donation & Order Form" page to order your EPIC T-shirt today. XL shirts are $18 and 2 XL are $20. Shipping and packaging fee is $6.00. If you are local we can arrange pick up. Order your reunion keepsake now, while supplies last!
These shirts are a reunion fundraiser and we appreciate your support! If you have any questions about class reunion memorabilia, contact Lora at:
We appreciate your assistance in helping us
locate our missing classmates!
We would like to thank our deceased search team for their tireless efforts to honor our classmates and keep our deceased database and website Remembrance Page current.
You might wonder how we managed this important task? We have all been moved by the stories we have heard and the connections we have made with some of the families of our classmates. We felt it was a privilege and an honor to preserve their memory for our 40th Reunion.
Chris Brown has done an outstanding job as our Deceased Search Chair. Chris created the database in August 2012. Sadly, we began with 54 deceased classmates and through extensive research and investigation, we have located 74 of our fallen classmates.
The deaths were confirmed by checking daily obituary listings in local newspapers, Elkhart Truth microfilm in the Elkhart Public Library's database and library website. They also used google searches for names on the missing list, talked with friends or relatives, visited websites such as, funeral homes, findagrave.com and ancientfaces.com.
All of our master databases are being preserved on flashdrives, along with complete yearbook copies back to our Sophomore year, so photographs can be cropped and placed on our website.
We would also like to thank Jody Froelich for helping to post these photos on the Remembrance page, as well as Jody Comer for assisting with the search and statistics. In addition, we would like to thank Cindy Clement Andrews for her original "Angel" art design above, Debbie Miers for helping create our In Memoriam display table and Terri Weldy Adams for creating the Memorial Tribute slideshow video for our Class Reunion event.
Please take a moment of silence to visit our Remembrance Page above to honor our deceased classmates.
The Reunion Planning Team
EPIC CLASSMATES BREAKFAST CLUB
The planning of our Epic 40th Class Reunion was in full swing for just over two years; however, the desire to re-connect with classmates started several years prior.
In August of 2009, classmates Chris Gordon Brown, Joni Adams Irwin, and Terri Weldy Adams, organized a River Queen cruise- thirteen classmates attended. Then in late January 2010, Chris Gordon Brown organized a breakfast at the Golden Egg with a ten-plus attendance. The desire to meet with classmates kept growing and in April of 2010 a huge party of classmates gathered for dinner at Lucchese's Italian Restaurant, thanks to Chris' suggestion, Kathy Kress Schott's organizing, and Michele Lucchese's help.
Breakfasts were held sporadically until several months ago when this became an organized monthly event. We have so much fun!
The EPIC Classmates Breakfast Club was created as a "group" on Facebook to get the word out more easily and reach more classmates. (See our Facebook search name below to join).
Attendance at the monthly breakfasts has been outstanding! Some classmates who were hesitant to attend the reunion say the breakfasts have helped "break the ice." If you are near- please come! Steve Nusbaum has driven 3 1/2 hours to attend several breakfasts!
We plan to keep the breakfast, and sometimes dinner, events going "forever" or until no one shows up. If you are an "out-of-town" classmate and know you'll be visiting or passing through Elkhart any time- let us know! We'd love to have a breakfast, lunch, or dinner event with you!
Join our Facebook groups for all the latest updates and class news...
Class of '74 Facebook Group Search Name: Classof'74-ECHS/EMHS
Breakfast Club Facebook Group (Class of 1974) Search Name:EPIC Classmates Breakfast Club
UPDATE CONTACT INFORMATION: Help Us Fill In the Blanks....
Please register and update your contact information by clicking on the Contact Form page above. It is from these forms that all communication will be sent to classmates. Our website will be active thru our 45th reunion, so please help us by keeping your contact information current thru the years. If you have a change
of address, know of a deceased classmate, have email or contact changes...please notify us, so we can update our lists.
Following our 40th Class Reunion, we may use email addresses as our primary form of invitation, to help save postage and printing costs, so it is helpful if we have a current email address on file.
Many of us were on our journey together as classmates from Elementary thru the Sophomore Division. We made history as the last class to attend the Elkhart "Sophomore Division" (the old Elkhart High School), which closed it's doors after 100 years. The Elkhart school was split into two High Schools in the Fall of 1972.
The Elkhart Central & Elkhart Memorial students became Blazers and Chargers. In honor of coming back together, we have created our own new class logo above, designed to show our unity as ONE class of 1974.
* United class logo design above, created by classmate ~ Anne Stutsman Gee
Please feel free to contact the Reunion Planning Group with any questions, ideas, or comments on our
Guestbook page, or visit our facebook page below.