A Lesson For Alumni

Representatives from the Orrville High School Alumni Association recently received a lesson in alumni relations when they traveled to East Liverpool, Ohio to meet with Frank “Digger” Dawson, one of the founders of the East Liverpool Alumni Association (ELAA).

Making the trek from Orrville were Vicki Dreher, Dean Reusser and Phyllis Wiebe.

Founded in 1982, ELAA currently has more than 16,000 members. In 1995, ELAA moved into their very own new building which was funded by alumni donations. The Orrville Alumni representatives were impressed with what ELAA has accomplished and came away with many ideas to move the Orrville High School Alumni Association forward.

The Orrville High School Alumni Association was officially founded in 2008 and serves to support
the Orrville City Schools, to preserve historical school records, to maintain an alumni database and to provide channels of communication among alumni.

Stay connected with the Orrville High School Alumni Association by visiting Also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Hold Fast To Friendships Made Here

The following friendship letters were the inspiration for the Tribute to Friendships show at the Old OHS Forever Alumni Reunion Weekend, Sat, June 26.  We are grateful to these alumni for sharing their stories with us.

Story #1

Mark Moffett and I were Junior Marshals for the Baccalaureate Service of the Class of 1952, leading them down the aisle of the OHS auditorium to the strains of the orchestra under the direction of Mr. Capper. Our selection for this honor was determined by our grades. We were good students and respected each other but we did not see each other outside of school. I was nervous that evening, self-conscious in a pretty long white dress that my mother had made for me, and it pleased me very much when Mark told me I looked very nice.

After our graduation from OHS I went to Goshen College in Indiana and Mark attended DePauw and graduated from MIT. Then we both came to live and work in the Cleveland area. Our former Jr. High Social Studies teacher, Virginia Bica, also lived in the area and had kept tabs on her former students. She made sure that we knew of each other’s whereabouts. Five of us, Willeane Beyler, Joyce Kaufmann, Lee Smucker, Mark and I met for dinner one evening for a very pleasant time of catching up. Mark and I started dating and a year and a half later we were walking down another aisle together when we were married at the Mennonite Church on West Market St. on June 17, 1961.

Submitted by Marilyn Liechty Moffett, Class of 53

Story #2

I lived in the South End when I was growing up. So, I went to Oak Street grade school my first 4 years in school. Dick Genet went there too. I always though he was a nice boy. He was a member of my church & we were in Sunday school together & confirmed together. But we never really became good friends until our freshman year in high school.

At the end of April of my freshman year in 1954, my family moved to the West End (West Market Street). Ron Herman lived down the street a little west of me. That summer he called me & wanted to know if I wanted to play tennis. I had never played before, but Ron taught me how to play & Dick too. For two summers, 1954 & 1955, the three of us had a lot of fun playing the game.

Later, in 1955, I got a job at Fouch’s Grocery & didn’t have as much time to play tennis, but I played whenever I could. Ron, Dick & I ran around together the rest of my high school days. Dick played baseball on Orrville’s team & was an all-star shortstop. He also played in the summer. I enjoyed watching him play.

I bought a ping-pong table my Senior year & the three of us played quite a bit in the summer of 1957. A few other guys from the area played, too.

When we graduated, Ron went to college somewhere in the New England states (I forget where). He still lives there today with his wife in New Hampshire. Dick stayed in Orrville for awhile & he played softball for Orr Parks in 1957 & 1958. In the winter of 1957-1958, Dick & I went to 3 or 5 Cleveland Baron hockey games at the old Cleveland arena. I had never seen hockey before. I also saw my first Cleveland Browns game in November 1957 with Dick & his dad.

October 1958, Dick & his family moved to Arizona. That was the saddest time of my life.

Dick, Ron & I kept in contact with each other by writing letters as the years went on usually just at Christmas. In September 1991, my wife & I flew out to Arizona to see Dick in Show Low, our former pastor & his wife in Phoenix & my wife’s good friend in Tucson. I got Dick’s phone no. & I called him every Christmas & lately after the football games so we can talk about them.

Now with the Internet, we don’t write letters as much. I keep him up to date on the Red Rider teams. He still follows the Indians & Browns. Ron & Dick are still my very good friends. I don’t know what I’d have done without them in high school.

Submitted by Donald Huff, Class of ’57
Story #3
The horrors of moving to a new town to begin my junior year at Orrville High School in 1960, were quickly transformed into a wonderful life-long friendship!

I had no friends, no roots and I was scared. I quickly realized that the clothing styles in Orrville were quite different than how we dressed in Ada. I stood out like a sore thumb in a red plaid full skirt and red anklets on the first day of school. I truly looked like a dip!

I will never forget, Avril Laibe gave me her big warm friendly smile and invited me to join a group of girls to ride to the football game on Friday night in her Father’s pick up truck! I was thrilled! She will never know how much that invitation meant to me and was the start of a life-long friendship with Avril. I connected with Avril periodically through the years since high school, visited her at OSU and visited her at both homes in Cincinnati. We have the kind of friendship that no matter how long between visits, we can always pick right up from where we left off no matter how many years between visits and feel like we have never missed a beat!

Avril gave me the acceptance, friendship and love I needed when I was most vulnerable and opened the door for many wonderful friendships with Teri Osborne, Molly Johnson, Suzanne Scallon, Judy Falb just to name a few….

In 1994, seventeen “Class of 1962” women met at Chincoteague Island for a long weekend reunion to celebrate our 50th birthdays! What a wonderful experience that was to rekindle old friendships, make new ones, share life experiences, eat pizza and Lurch’s donuts and stay up all night talking! What a treasured memory for us all.

Submitted by Bobbie McElroy-Sigmond, class of ’62

Story #4

When I saw that “Hold Fast to Friendships Made Here” was the title for the Saturday evening tribute show, I immediately thought of my dear friend Tina Codiano Fellin ’64. We have held fast to our friendship since we met in third grade at Walnut Street School, and now celebrate 56 years of wonderful memories and friendship. Through the ups and downs of elementary school, junior high, high school, and all that came after she has been a constant in my life. Even though she moved to the west coast, married a career Navy man, and lived in lots of places, we have somehow managed to be close friends. I’ve watched her support her husband’s career (including being “mother hen” to Navy wives under Tom’s command) and marvel at the woman she has become. She is strong, independent,loyal, fun, and caring. No matter how long it is between visits, the most wonderful thing occurs when we are together – the conversation begins right where it left off the last time we were together. There aren’t enough words to describe having a true friend like Tina. I know I’m very lucky, and consider her the sister I’ve never had.

Submitteed by Phyllis Mainsel Wiebe, Class of ‘64

Story #5

It was two hours before guests were to arrive at our 2010 Super Bowl party. My friend Curtis would not be at the party because he now lives in Munich, Germany. My wife, who’s a pediatrician, was seeing patients at the hospital. I was freaking out.

I emailed Curtis. “Things are not going well,” I said. “We got over a foot of snow yesterday and our furnace stopped working. Two hours until guests start arriving and I’m shoveling snow, there’s a repairman tracking dirt through the house, the kitchen’s a mess, and I haven’t had a chance to shower, yet. I’m stressin’. I may break into the Bacardi’s early.”

Curtis promptly wrote back. “No worries, mate,” he said. “You’re dealing with some serious stuff…Screw it, have the rum and have some fun. Geaux Saints! stran”

It was a simple reassurance from an old friend. The shot of Bacardi’s helped, but, believe me, the shot of kind words from an old friend helped a lot more. Curtis Stranathan and I have been helping each other get through the day like this for thirty-nine years, ever since the day we met at Orr Park before our sophomore year. That summer I had introduced Curtis to my other friends, including Jeff Martin, with whom I’ve been friends since junior high, when we often competed for the same spot on the basketball team.

Now back to Super Bowl day, not long after Curtis encouraged me by email to relax and enjoy the party, Jeff arrived at my house. Soon we were playing cards and reveling in the easy laughs that come only with countless shared memories.

After graduating from OHS in 1974, Curtis, Jeff, and I went separate ways to college, Jeff to Indiana, Curtis to Michigan, and me to Maine, but we kept in touch the old fashioned way – with pen and paper. During summers we would reconnect. In the summer of ’77 Jeff and I decided to drive to East Lansing, Michigan where Curtis was working for the summer at a gas station. Was he surprised when we pulled up to the pump and said, “Fill ‘er up with regular”! After the handshakes and backslaps, Curtis told his boss that he was taking the rest of the day off. He hopped in the car and off we went. I don’t remember if he got that job back or not.

By that time we had already been through a lot together, but, amazingly, it was still early in our friendship. From the late seventies through the eighties Curtis, Jeff, and I all lived in the Cleveland area, some of that time in the same apartment building. It would be impossible to list all of the things we did together, but it often involved chess, poker, golf, parties, or following Cleveland sports teams. Sometimes we had heavy discussions about art or girlfriends or the meaning of life. Of course now I realize that we were living the meaning of life.

We hung out at Bob’s Tavern on Mayfield or the Arabica coffee shop on Coventry. We often dashed down to old Municipal Stadium for an Indians game, using public transportation or even our bicycles before we had reliable cars. We had our own seating area in the lower deck, general admission, left field. No need to call in advance, just show up at the ballpark and at least one of our group of friends was sure to be there.

Through our various careers, marriages, and kids, we have held fast to the friendships that we made in Orrville. Jeff Martin became an education administrator for Strongsville schools. He and I still get together whenever we can, usually for a “big game” of some sort.

Curtis Stranathan moved to China in 2003. I visited him there in 2006 and got to meet his fiancée, Cathy Yao, who became his wife six months later. Last year Curtis moved to Germany where he teaches.

I live in Wooster and practice psychiatry, and I am beginning to think ahead to retirement. And now it occurs to me as I write about these old friends – I wonder what fun is to come for us in our leisure years?

Submitted by Denny Helmuth, Class of ’74

Story #6

All roads that lead to Orrville have beautiful fann land on each side. One of my most treasured memories about growing up here was having the beauty of countryside surrounding this town, and the people who lived there. No matter what the season, some of the most beautiful scenes were all around us, and I want to thank all those farmers whom I consider my dear friends.

Many were in FFA (Future Fanners of America). The yearbook from 1941 ‘stated that “FFA is composed of mainly farm boys, to develop competent, aggressive, rural and agricultural leadership. ” Looking through those yearbooks at the library, I saw pictures of our Dad, Phil Mengert, Bob Hersbey, the Bishops, Roy Steele, and other hometown boys. For about a decade, the yearbook captions said,”Tbe FF A clubhouse is often the scene of many a lively parties.” I wish I knew where that clubhouse was and why it was disbanded! One can only surmise about those country boys!

Through the years, the captions reported hayrides, weenie roasts, sled riding parties, and some service projects which included putting firewood and live chickens in community Christmas baskets! Imagine receiving a live chicken in a gift basket today!

1 think the hayrides stopped when, in the 70′ s, ooe tipped over on the square downtown, and a Yungen boy broke his legl Those FFA boys gave new meaning to the word “wildlife”! They were also the ones who told us Lover’s Lane was a street, not a dirt path in the cornfield!

In FF A, our biggest disagreement was whether Jolm Deere or Massey Ferguson had a bctter manure spreader, or whether Dckalb had the best com for animal or human consumption. Then ofi’we’d go to choir practice to sing America the Beautiful- in my heart, I was singing about my hometown and my mends.

It was a happy day when we returned from the Ohio State fair witb blue ribbons.

We came in 1st place for the milk judging contest. It was an amazing day, too, when we got to witness someone’s cow, borse, or pig give birth- wbo needed sex ed classes when we had livestock, the birds, and the bees to watch!

Who do we have to thank but the FF A boys for filling the quad, over the years, with a wide variety of chickens, pigs, and goats, all boisted over the roofwitb mnn equipment?!

These FF A boys were truly intelligent and fun, and we owe so much to tbem for providing us witb our food, dairy products, and scenic countryside. If you close your eyes and imagine driving to Orrville, what do you see? Wonld it be the Butzer fann with a group ofborses and a little foal in the pasture? Or would you see a flock of sheep at the Markley’s7 How about the rows of com and wbeat at the Weeman’ s or the cows at the Stciners, Troyers, Gochnauers, or Kohler’s? To me, it speaks clearly, the words to Psalm 23.

Whenever I bear songs about the country, I think of Orrville and it’s rolling hills, with every season of God’s beauty, and the people who unknowingly gave me such comforting scenes for a lifetime, to match the songs in my heart.

“Happy trails ….. ”

Run for the Roses ”

“Out in the Country ….. ”

” O Beautiful for spacious skies ”

“God bless tbe broken road ”

Submitted by Jane Sheard, Class of

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: Old OHS Forever Alumni Reunion

Please disregard any other reunion schedule that was distributed previously.  6/6/2010

Please check-in for the Reunion at Orrville High School on Friday, June 25, noon – 4pm or Saturday, June 26, 7am – 11am.

Reunion nametags, event updates and more.  Purchase or pick-up reunion souvenirs, enter the basket raffle and learn about the OHS Alumni Association.


Noon – 4pm 

Welcome/Check-in, Orrville High School main lobby


We’ll Always Think of You Alumni Luncheon, The Pines Golf Club & Restaurant
Outstanding OHS Alumni
RSVP required

Noon – 5pm

Visual Arts Display, Heartland Point, 200 N Main Street

4pm – 8pm

The Spirit That We Found Here Kick- Off Party & Chicken BBQ, Orrville High School Parking lot
Meal includes ½ chicken, cole slaw, baked beans and macaroni salad. Cost is $8 pre-sale and $10 the day of the event. In addition, beverages will be available to purchase as well as Bob’s Italian Sausage sandwiches and French fries. Covered outdoor seating provided. Carry out also available.

4pm – 8pm

New Multi-Purpose Facility Open House, Orrville High School

6pm – 8pm

OHS Band and Majorette Reunion, OHS Band Room & parking lot

9:30pm – 1am

“Blues DeVille,” Eric Tipton, ‘80, Orrville VFW, 430 W Market

BYOB. $5 cover



7am – 11am

Welcome/Check-in, Orrville High School main lobby

7am – 11am

Orrville Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast, OHS Cafeteria
The menu includes pancakes, sausage, applesauce, coffee or fruit drink. Cost is $5 for adults, $3 children under 12.


OHS Alumni Golf Outing, The Pines Golf Course
Shotgun start 8am
Register a team

7:00am – 11:00am

Visual Arts Display, Heartland Point, 200 N Main Street

8:30am – 11:30am

Cars of Your Youth, Bill & Pat Lytle’s home, 1808 Lynn Drive, Orrville


Orrville Elementary School dedication, Mineral Springs Street

Alumni Book Signings, Orrville Elementary School Library

9am – Kerrie Kaufmann, ‘90

10am Kathi Brenneman Baron,‘74

9:00 am – noon

School Building Open Houses

• Orrville Elementary, Mineral Springs St

• Orrville Middle, Mineral Springs St

• Maple Street, Maple St

• Former OHS/OJHS, 217 Church St

9:00 am

Tennis Mixer, Orr Park
RSVP to Play

11am – 5pm

Growing Up So Strong & True Street Party, N Vine/W Market/Sterling Ave
Food vendors will operate continuously throughout the event serving concession favorites: burgers, BBQ chicken and pork, Italian sausage sandwiches, French fries and lemonade shakes. Robeks smoothies and Kettle Korn will also be available.There will be plenty of covered seating

Party highlights include replica of the graffiti bridge, Shutter Booth picture strips, “future Red Riders” Kids Tent, short train rides and tours of the Depot Museum and the Orrville Historical Museum will also be available.
Live Music

11:30am – Special Request featuring Chris Conway, ‘74

3:30 pm – Downforce featuring Will Armentrout, ‘91

1:30 pm

OHS Alumni Baseball and Softball Classic, Fleet Brenneman Field
Register Today! If we don’t have enough players to make two teams the game will be cancelled. Questions about the game may be referred to Josh Randles, OHS ’90, at or call 330-858-1033.

3:00 pm

Corn Hole Tournament, Smith Orr Homestead, 365 W Market Street
Register to Play

*Food vendors serving continuously downtown 11am – 1am.  Covered seating available.


Hold Fast To Friendships Made Here Tribute Show, Red Rider Stadium
Celebrate friendships past and present! Expect the unexpected at this commencement that will be unlike any other you’ve seen. Along with reliving a few unique friendship stories direct from OHS alumni, you’ll have the distinct pleasure of hearing selected songs of friendship sung by these talented OHS alums: “In My Life” by Vic Schantz ’71; “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Bryan Fetty ’75; “Friendship” chorus led Sue Curie Briss ’78; “I Will Remember You” by Danielle Fulks ’95; “I’ll Stand by You” by Jessica Thomas Maughan ’00; and “Stand by Me” by Gretchen Pleuss ’09.

9pm – 1am

Joy & Memories Sweet Block Party & Beer Garden, N Vine/W Market
Food vendors and beer garden available



10:00 am

Old Orrville High We Love You, We’ll Always Be True Ecumenical Worship Service, Red Rider Stadium

Speakers, Jim Arnold, ’59 & Mark Hutchinson, ‘80

Special Music, Jack Schantz and the OHS Alumni Choir


Class Gatherings Planned for Reunion Weekend

Here is a complete list of all the class gatherings that are planned for Reunion Weekend.  If your class has an event planned that is not on this list, please email the details to and we will add it to the list.


Class of 1952

Chicken BBQ at OHS, 6pm

Dessert to follow at Don & Barb Yehl Weaver, 528 Spring Street

Contact: 330-682-1751

Class of 1956

Cars of Your Youth preview, 4-6pm

Bill & Pat Lytle, 1808 Lynn Dr

Contact: 330-682-3249

Class of 1957

Appetizers. BYOB, 7:30pm

Bill & Kary Shonk, 734 Homestead Pointe Dr

Contact: 330-682-4101

Classes of 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963

Food, Music and fun, 8-midnight

Maibach Ford Community Room, 1780 N. Main

Contact: Vicki Wolgamot Dreher, 330-683-1735

Class of 1964

Open House, BYOB. 8pm

Gary & Jeanne Finsel Gonter, 816 Apple Blossom Lane

Contact: 330-683-2433

Class of 1970

40th Reunion. 6-11pm

Wayne Coon Hunters Club, 5040 Secrest Road, Wooster

Contact Mike Guster. 330-201-0989

Class of 1974

Bring snacks & BYOB. Swimming. 7pm

Tom and Dee Dee Snyder Hochstetler, 1991 Meadow Lane


Class of 1979

Schmid Hall, Orrville

Contact Jerri Hranko Geiser

Classes of 1980, 1981, 1982

Mega 30th Reunion. “Pig Roast” BYOB. 6pm-1am

Orrville VFW, 430 W Market

Contact: Staci Bishop Lohrenz. 330-828-0362

Class of 1985 (& 1984)

25th Reunion BYOB. 6pm

Wayne & Nancy Shie Yoder, 147 N Kansas Rd

Contact: Mark Auble. 330-682-2966

Class of 1990

20th Reunion. 7:30pm

The Pines, 1319 Millborne Road

Contact Tracie Zody.

Class of 2000

10th Reunion. 7pm

The Pines, 1319 Millborne Road

Contact Marissa Wenger Hofstetter. 330-857-2439


Class of 1946

Lunch, noon

Buehler’s, 1114 W. High Street

Contact: Nancy Longshore Brest, 330-682-6766

Class of 1953

Breakfast. 9am

Heartland Point, 200 N Main

Contact: Carol Frey Kovacs, 214-592-4151

Class of 1954

Brunch. 9am

Buehler’s, 1114 W. High Street

Contact: Pat Stocker Saurer.

Class of 1960

50th Reunion, 9-noon

The Pines, 1319 Millborne Road

Contact: Bonnie Lacy Scallon, 440-458-6286

Class of 1968

Birthday Brunch, 9-11am

Augsburg Lutheran Church, 140 Water St

Contact: Patty Schmid Graham.

Classes of 1984, 1985, 1986

Reserved tent at Block Party downtown at 9pm

Contact: Mark Auble. 330-682-2966

Class of 1995

15th Reunion, noon – 2pm

Pavilion 13, Orr Park


Also reserved tent at Block Party downtown at 9pm


Class of 1950

Lunch, following worship at stadium

The Pines, 1319 Millborne Road

Contact: Mary Yehl Budd, 330-682-1601

Class of 1952

Lunch, following worship at stadium

Buehler’s, 1114 W. High Street

Contact: Barb Yehl Weaver, Contact: 330-682-1751

Class of 1965

Lunch, 1pm

Ruth Ann Knight Martin, 7625 Palmer Rd, West Salem

Contact: 419-846-3670

Reunion Weekend is about Reconnecting

Old OHS Forever. The alma mater was chosen as the theme for our 2010 gathering because it serves to connect Orrville Alumni throughout the decades. It is timeless and endearing to all who walked the halls of OHS.

We’ll always think of you. Reconnecting with Orrville High, the people and the community that were part of your high school years is what the Orrville Alumni Reunion Weekend is all about.

And the spirit that you found here
The lessons learned in the classrooms, on the athletic fields and yes, in the hallways, on the school buses and in the parking lots of OHS, established the foundation upon which we built our lives.

Growing up so strong and true
Never doubt the quality of the educational experience received in Orrville to prepare you for whatever lies ahead. Orrville Alumni, we are an impressive bunch! Our paths have taken many different directions, yet we are all doing amazing things in the world.

A handful of those “amazing things” will be showcased during reunion weekend. It is up to you to share your personal journey. It doesn’t matter if your journey since high school has taken you around the block or around the world.

Hold fast to friendships made here. Full of joy and memories sweet.
Come home to Orrville and share what your journey with those that have known you since the beginning.

To those OHS alumni that continue to reside in and around Orrville, your participation in Reunion Weekend is vitally important. Why? Because you are the reason many alumni return to Orrville. Reconnecting with people is what a reunion is all about.

Old Orrville High We Love You. We’ll Always Be True.