95 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE

by Suzy Millar Miller

 Members of the Reynoldsburg High School Class of 1943 will be turning 95 this year. Most of the classmates were born in 1925 and we still have a few members, or relatives, of that class listed as members of RTHS. I wanted to honor them at the beginning of a new decade to show how much they mean to us. You will recognize many of the names of this outstanding group of people immediately.


In 1925, when the class of 1943 was born, the average income was $2,239 a year. A new car cost $290; new house was $7,809 (but you could get a “self-build” house from Sears in the $2,000 range); a loaf of bread was 9 cents; gallon of gas 12 cents; gallon of milk 56 cents.

The President was Calvin Coolidge and the Vice President was Charles Dawes. Some of the great inventions of the time were Scotch tape, the circuit breaker and methanol. Life expectancy was 54.1 years.


Headlines of the nation included: Scopes found guilty in Tennessee’s “Monkey Trial”; Walter Chrysler founded an automobile company; the Charleston was the newest dance craze; American Automobile Association declared that women drivers were as competent as men; tornadoes killed about 800 people in the Midwest.


Popular songs were: “Sweet Georgia Brown”, “Moonlight and Roses”, “If You Knew Susie Like I Know Susie”, and “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue”.


Famous people born in 1925 included: June Lockhart, Cliff Robertson, Art Buchwald, Dorothy Malone, Peter Graves, Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, William F. Buckley, Paul Newman, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Fess Parker, Angela Lansbury, Jonathan Winters, and Sammy Davis, Jr.

When the class of 1943 graduated, the United States was fighting in World War II and many of the Burg’s residents were serving in the Armed Forces. Some of the 1943 classmates who joined early were: “Snerd” Hays (Navy), Don Marcum (Navy), “Pod” Hayes (Naval Reserve), Lee Hall (Naval Reserve), Tom Arnet (Army), Jim Morris (Naval Air Corps), Bill Brennon (Army), and Ralph Rickly (Army). According to the 1943 Reynolian, “Jim Gordon is working at the Depot, and Bill McCall is attending Monmouth College. Spike Myers was planning to enter the Merchant Marines but at the last moment he was rejected. He is staying in Detroit. In the near future Bill Nirote plans to enter the Army.” – quote by Peggy Bingham. Most of the boys in the class joined the Armed Forces within the next year.


The senior class of 1943 produced the first Reynolian, the RHS yearbook, with Connie McNary (Parkinson) as editor. Lee Hall was elected editor, but the Navy got him. Connie is still an active writer of Reynoldsburg history and the most treasured contributor to the RTHS Courier. The class motto was “We are not at our height, but still climbing.” The class colors were maroon and silver with a red rose as the class flower.


RHS Class of 1943


Thomas Arnet (Tom), Hi-Y two years; Marion BinghamHoward (Bingy), Girl Reserves, F.H.A., Basketball, Physical Education Instructor, Annual Staff; Margaret(Peggy) Bingham Esterly, Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, Girl Reserves, F.H.A., Cheerleader, Honor Society, Scholarship Team, Annual Staff; William Brennon (Bill), Orchestra, Golf, Annual Staff; Birdella Marie Butts Wagner (Birdie or Marie), Honor Society, Girl Reserves, Girls’ Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, Scholarship Team, F.H.A., Annual Staff; Betty Carey Holly (Honey), “Never too sober, never too gay – a rare good girl in every way.”


Jack Carson, “Downbeat”, Annual Staff; Patty Click Butler (Chicken), Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, Girl Reserves, F.H.A., Homecoming Queen attendant in Freshman year; Ralph Connell, F.H.A, Band; Sybil Duffy Heim (Sybbie), Girl Reserves, Glee Club, F.H.A., Homecoming Queen attendant in Junior year; Charles Phillip Esterly (was spelled Oesterle) (Chuck), Senior Class President, Varsity Basketball, Baseball, Mixed Chorus, Hi-Y; Margaret Fulton Brown (Peggy), Annual Staff.


Gladys Lucille Gillespie Mapes (Tiny), Glee Club, Basketball, Cheerleader, F.H.A., at Summit School; Franklin Gornall(Frank), Orchestra at Rome, Honor Society; Leland Hall (Lee), Senior Class Vice President, Hi-Y, Boys’ Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, Basketball, Annual Staff; Charles Hanners (Charlie), Senior Class Treasurer, Honor Society, Student Council, Annual Staff; William Alden Hayes (Pod), Hi-Y, F.H.A., Basketball, Baseball; Richard Hays (Snerd), Basketball, Baseball; Marvin Hicks (Tuny), Honor Society, Student Council; Betty Hollinger, Honor Society; Richard E. Johnson (Dick) (Slim), Sergeant-at-arms Freshman year, F.H.A.


Ester Jones Early (Essie), F.H.A. two years; Maryalys KarnesHill (MAK), Girl Reserves, Band, Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, Sextet, Honor Society, F.H.A., Annual Staff; Marjorie Kielmeyer Thornton (Margee), Girl Reserves, F.H.A., Annual Staff; Grace King Ducey (Dynamite), Glee Club, Mixed Chorus; Betty Lewis Gornall (Sugar), Glee Club, Mixed Chorus; Don Marcum (Butch), F.H.A; William McCall (Bill), F.H.A., Hi-Y, Band, Glee Club, Orchestra; Marilyn McCandlish Friesland (Chick), “A flower of meedness on a stem of grace.”


Dorothy Alice McCray Miles (Sue), Girl Reserves, Honor Society, Glee Club, Sextet, Band, Orchestra, F.H.A., Cheerleader, Mixed Chorus, Annual Staff; Cornelia McNary Parkinson (Connie), Senior Class Secretary, Scholarship Team, Annual Staff, Cheerleader at Bloomingburg, Ohio; Mae Mitchell Freeman (Maxie), “Humor is like history – it repeats itself.”


James Elmore Morris (Elmer) (Jim), Hi-Y, F.H.A., Band, Orchestra, Woodwind Ensemble; Bonnie Murphy Kuehner (Murph), F.H.A, Honor Society; William R. Nirote (Bill) (Reggie), F.H.A, Basketball, Band, Music, Baseball; Wilfred R. (Ron) Nirote; Ralph Dean Rickly (Beany), F.H.A., Hi-Y, Basketball; Doris Sanders Spradlin (Red), Glee Club one year; Virginia Sands Porter (Ginny), Girl Reserves, F.H.A.; Marye Louise Schultis Mansfield (Ann), Band, Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, Sextet, Girl Reserves, Orchestra; George Seltzer (Bromo), Basketball, Orchestra, Speedball, Track, Baseball.


June Stillwell Weber (Blondie), Glee Club, Band, Mixed Chorus, Cheerleader, Girl Reserves, F.H.A., Annual Staff; Mary Jane TudorSchmitt (Red), Girl Reserves, F.H.A., Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, Annual Staff; Donna Turner Gordon (Squirt), Girl Reserves, F.H.A., Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, Annual Staff, 1943 Homecoming Queen; Leon Walker (Welding Walker), F.F.A., Annual Staff; Lagatha Walz Fledderjohann (Dade), Girl Reserves, F.H.A., Glee Club, Mixed Chorus, Homecoming Queen Attendant, 1943; Ben Weber (Web), Basketball, F.H.A., Hi-Y; and Ruth Janet WilliamsRickly (Janet), Girl Reserves, Honor Society, Glee Club, Sextet, Orchestra, Mixed Chorus.


The members of the class of 1943 contributed on every level of society as business owners, executives, professional men & women, writers, parents, mentors, friends, and even a federal auditor who helped Reynoldsburg grow into a stable, thriving community.


I feel blessed to have known almost all of them. Thank you.

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The Reynolian Staff