Hayden conducts annual homecoming


The 78th annual Hayden High School Alumni Association’s homecoming was June 24 at the Hayden Historical Museum’s pavilion with 89 people in attendance.

Alumni vice president Giles Spaulding requested that all veterans in the audience stand and be recognized, and then he led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. He then offered the invocation to begin the program.

President Pat Sullivan welcomed everyone to the reunion and introduced secretary-treasurer Rodger Ruddick. Ruddick said Class of 1948 member Katherine Robbins Waltermire was now living in Florida and sent her regrets that she would be unable to attend the program. He had a card for everyone to sign, which will be mailed to Waltermire to let her know the group was thinking of her.

Ruddick reminded everyone that the money donated during the program is added to the scholarship fund. The annual payout from the fund makes the $800 alumni scholarship award possible each year.

The scholarship was named in honor of Spencer Township’s last resident to lose his life while serving his country. Michael Euler was killed in Vietnam, and the alumni scholarship fund was established in his memory.

Since 1986, the award has been presented to an outstanding Jennings County senior who had attended the Hayden Elementary School. Euler’s older brother, Glen Euler, was on hand for the homecoming program.

The award winner for 2018, Cody St. John, was introduced by Sullivan, and he spoke briefly, thanking the alumni for making the scholarship possible. St. John will be attending Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis pursuing building construction management as his course of study.

A moment of silence was observed to remember the deceased members of the anniversary classes and the other Hayden community members and alumni who had passed away since last year’s homecoming.

Those included Billy Brooks, Judy Gilley Angel, Shirley Stearns Bergsieker, Eddie Swindall, Jo Ann Gerringer, Dorothy West, Virginia Wilson, Doris Stewart Sinkes, Grace Ramey, Elmalee Hauersperger Barr, Eric Maschino, Mary Colvin, Evelyn Elsner, Julia Kehrt, Charles Maschino, Betty Robbins Johnson, Robert Wheeler, Barbara Barnthouse Ertel, Nick Bode, Doris Lawdermilt Vinson, Tony Merry III, Helen Spaulding Ritchie, Don Hamm, James Poer and Vernon Ingram.

When asked if anyone else should be included on the list, the names of George Habenicht, Marjorie Lahne Brackemyre and Lillian Swindall Goldman were mentioned.

As a way to recognize individuals for their personal achievement and community service, the Hayden Historical Museum board of directors established the Hayden Hall of Fame section in the museum in 1990. The induction ceremony is conducted as part of the homecoming program, and those joining the Hayden Hall of Fame for 2018 are Theodore Brunner and Ben and Mary Richman.

Accepting the award on behalf of Brunner were his wife, Marcia, and two sons, Andrew and Duane. The Richmans’ children, Philip and Beth Richman Walker, were on hand to accept the award on behalf of their parents.

Their names will be added with the other Hayden Hall of Fame members: Roger and Mary Ann Maschino, Hulda Reichenbach, Louis Wilson, Raymond Coryell, Eddie Maschino, Clara Eakins, Charlie and Helen Graham, Rolland Schleibaum, Kenneth and Nellie Maple, Dr. Warren Bannister, Shepherd Whitcomb, Max Tuttle, Henry Bruner, Naomi Roberts, James Maple, Ray Vaughn, Frances St. John, Jackson Kendrick, Charles Hurley, Arlie Barnes, Glen Morrison, Conrad Sullivan, Ed Whitcomb, Paul Van Riper, Alice Wohrer, Pauline Jackson, Father Ed Eisenmann, Bill Luedeman, Steve Elsner, Kathleen Myron, Tom Judd, Carl Megel, Ora Tracy, Oscar Elsner, Harry Whitcomb, Larry and Teri French, Willard Wohrer, John Megel, Charles Whitcomb, Carl Elsner, Laurence Burgmeier, John Wohrer, Margaret Kahrs, Mary Maple, Ed Kehrt, Ed Clarkson, Judy Love, Willard Sheedy, Aubrey Bessenger, Dr. A.D. Hauersperger, Eugene Ebbing, Lee Bridges, Lawrence Nichter and the eight pro baseball players.

The members of each anniversary class who were present introduced themselves and spoke briefly. Representing the Class of 1953 were Verda Marshall Ruddick, Joann McGill Castetter, Mabel Robins Christian, Fredonna Boner Habenicht, Barbara Roberts Morey and Eva Tindell Hunter .

The members of the Class of 1958 who were in attendance included Ray Vaughn, Perry Capes and Mary Whitcomb Richman.

The members of the Class of 1963 who would have graduated from Hayden High School had it not closed were invited to the homecoming. Attending were Dorothy Brooks Beasley, Robert Carr, Bob Edmundson, Juanita Gerth McClellan, Sandra Farley Kleber, Jean Jackson Nichter, Maurice Jackson, Diane Kleber Jackson, Nancymae Poer Witters and Wilma Capes Miller.

Former Hayden High School teacher Aubrey Bessenger spoke about coming to the Hayden community as the student minister for Hayden Baptist Church. He also was hired by Spencer Township Trustee Willard Wohrer to be a teacher for the high school.

A note was sent by another former Hayden teacher, Mitchell Dunker, who regretted she had a scheduling conflict that kept her from attending the program.

Sullivan recognized a former North Vernon High School teacher that he had, Harry Stewart, who was in attendance. Sullivan said he began his career at the Hayden school as the sixth-grade teacher in 1974 and held that position until he retired in 2012. He said Cody St. John was one of his students during his last year as a teacher. He remains active in the field of education by serving on the Jennings County school board.

Erin Ruddick Collett was recognized as one of the current teachers at Hayden Elementary School, teaching kindergarten there for the past 12 years.

Before adjourning the meeting, a motion was made that the 2018 officers be carried over to serve for the 2019 homecoming. Those included president, Sullivan; vice president, Spaulding; and secretary-treasurer, Ruddick.

Plaques with the engraved image of the old Hayden school were presented as door prizes. Winners were Lowell Cobbs for being the oldest person in attendance (90), Leroy Martin for traveling the farthest (Texas) and Debbie Lawdermilt Batts (random drawing).

At the conclusion of the program, the group enjoyed an ice cream social, which was made possible by a donation from the Nichter family. Batts volunteered to pay for the ice cream in 2019.

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