Donnie's Updates

Aug. Social Event

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED to a social gathering of the WHS Class of 1966 on TuesdaySeptember 11, 1:00 p.m., at Crystal Park Cantina located at 178 Crystal Park Road in Manitou Springs.

Mexican hamburger for the gringo,” said our classmate Bruce McAlexander upon referring to himself and what he wants to eat at the Crystal Park Cantina, which specializes in Mexican food.

Our events (luncheons, reunions, etc.) are always open to people from all WHS classes of the 1960s, so please know that you are welcome even if you did not graduate with us.

So that the restaurant can make advance plans to put all attendees together, please RSVP no later than Sunday, September 9, to Bruce at (719) 685-1420 or via email at LeviMcAlexander1@Gmail.com

At this time 60 years ago, many of our classmates were getting ready to start our new school year at North Security Elementary SchoolAt this time 50 years ago, some of our classmates were getting ready to start their third year of college. Some of our classmates were in their third year of marriage or making wedding plansSome of our classmates were on the battle fields due to the U.S. war in Vietnam. Some of our classmates were still trying to figure out what they wanted to do with their respective lives.

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August 2018

UPDATE  AUGUST 2018

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 All WHS classes from the 1960s, 1970s and BEYOND are invited to attend a Rock ‘N Roll Dance Party/Concert on SaturdaySeptember 8, 7:30 p.m. at Western Jubilee Warehouse Theatre located at 433 East Cucharras Street in downtown Colorado SpringsSponsored by the WHS Class of 1968 as part of their 50-year reunion taking place that weekend, the event will feature the nationally renowned Flash Cadillac performing artists (one of whom is our Class of 1966 Committee member Warren Knight) who have been playing traditional rock n roll since 1969The admission is $45 for one person and $80 for a coupleMake checks payable to “WHS Reunion Fund” and mail to:

WHS Reunion Fund

c/o Sue Anderson

4575 Bell Flower Drive

Colorado Springs CO 80917

 Along with your checkplease include the name (s) of the people covered by the amount of your check. All names will be added to a list of attendees, who will be checked in at the door on the night of the eventThe doors will open at 6:30 p.mand Flash Cadillac will perform the first of their two sets starting at 7:30 p.m.

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EIGHTH GRADE is the topic and title of the new movie currently showing at theaters. Although it is rated R because of a brief scene that verbally refers to doing the nasty and because the f word is used a few times by a few teen characters, the film definitely is not about a romp in the hay. Using real-life teenaged actresses and actors instead of people in their 20s playing the roles of teens, the film is billed as a comedy despite almost all audience members (including me) not laughing on the night of my attendance at the theater.

The protagonist is Kayla, who is selected as Most Quiet among the various awards appropriately called “Superlatives (best athlete, most popular, prettiest eyesetc.) presented to students in their last week of 8th grade before summer begins and they prepare to start their first year of high school. Although quiet and shy at school and simultaneously displaying a bubbly persona on her YouTube channel, Kayla slightly steps out of her shell upon developing a crush on the 8th-grade boy who wins the Prettiest Eyes award.

It is noteworthy that the plot is set in modern times with cell phones and other modern technology used by young teens, but the personal and interpersonal dynamics are not much different from the early 1960s when we were in junior high schoolThe well-done film captures the mixed personality traits (awkward, doubtfulanxious, insecure, confused, uncertain, shy, curious, indecisive, uncomfortable) common to students in their early teens while in junior high school. One of the most touching scenes is a prolonged monologue delivered by Kayla’s single father, who raised her on his own.

Upon watching the film, I fondly reflected on our classmate Patti Kueck passing around a slam book that was popular during our years at Sproul Junior High School in Security. A journal of classmates opinions of one another, the slam book contained a sign-in page on which participants entered their names next to a specific number. Participants then used those assigned numbers to correspond to their remarks about classmates and topics listed throughout the slam bookMany years ago Patti gave me the original of her 8th grade slam bookwhich was on display at our 40-year reunion and which has been preserved by me as one of several historical documents from our school years in the era of the 1960s.

The film also prompted me to reflect on our classmate Bruce McAlexander always being fond of telling the junior-high story about the time I ended up in the after-school detention room (termed by Bruce as our introduction to prison) strictly supervised by Mr. Chambers (uncle of our classmate Terry Chambers) for several weeks after showing several guys a Polaroid photo of a nude female classmate, who selected me to show the photo to our classmate Joe Good as she had a crush on him.For the juicy details of that incident, see the July 2008 article titled Sproul on the Bruce’s Updates page of our class website OR see my article titled Fondly Remembering Our Classmates Joe and Jean on the In Memoriam page of our class website.

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 A 1960s HIGH SCHOOL BULLY recently APOLOGIZED to the victims, who were tormented by the bully and his accomplices all the way from grade school through their senior year in high school. It took 60 years after the bullying started in grade school for the bully to finally come forward and ask the victims (two sisters) to forgive him, as revealed during a live show with broadcast journalist Robin Young on National Public Radio (NPR) in May 2018[Due to not having a TV by choice, I listen to NPR programs on an almost daily basis on my old-fashioned General Electric radio.]

The nonstop harassment included shunning the two sisters — at school and on the school bus — by calling them names and refusing to sit next to them. When the sisters walked down the school’s halls, the bully and his friends would jump against the wall until the sisters passed and then laugh at them. I was just sort of following the crowd because it was the thing to do,” said the former bully on the NPR show.

As for the two outcast sisters who endured the bullying from grade school through high school, they buried their hurt feelings and never reported the situation to anyone in their family or to school officials. Day after day, year after year, the two victims would go home from school and just stay by themselves in their own little world.

I think it impacted in the way that it’s hard for me to make friends today,” said one of the sisters on the NPR show. “Its hard for me to get close to somebody. I feel like I don’t belong. Even today I feel this way.”

As one example of the isolation that faced the two victims, one of them showed her senior yearbook to the former bully during their meeting this yearStill in brand-new conditionthe yearbook did not have any signature or well wishes — not even one — from any of her classmates. There were some very difficult moments when we were talking, and this is one of them,” said the saddened former bully.

Acknowledging his guilt and feeling remorseful, ashamed and disgusted with his behavior long ago, the former bully carefully planned his remarks to issue an apology.Before he could deliver his remarks, the two sisters beat him to the punch by telling him that they forgave him.

 If we can make a difference in somebody’s life with this story, it’s been worth all of the effort,” proclaimed the former bully on the NPR show.

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TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and has been maintained since April 2009 by our Class Committee member and Webmaster, Paul Snellplease go to: www.1966whs.com

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OUR CLASSMATE Bruce McAlexander’s sister CHARLA has been facing serious health challenges the past four monthsToward the end of July, their oldest sister Claudia did a public post to announce that Charla (WHS Class of 1969) has become paralyzed on the lower half of her body. Three days later, Charlas husband provided more detailed information that is listed below.

Hello to all of Charla's prayer warriors. This is Eric, Charla's husband. She has not been healthy enough to update her last post due to her current condition. She wanted me to help her update all her prayer warriors on what is going on with her. In the middle of June, Charla started losing control of her legs. By June 21st, Charla was paralyzed from her rib cage down. She decided to call Hospice to come and help with her paralysis and not knowing how long she would live she thought this was the best thing to do. Their goal is to comfort a person at their end of life. My goal is very different than theirs. I am trying to save Charla from this terrible cancer. We are not sure whether her paralysis is caused by the full brain radiation or the brain cancer itself. Traditional medicine almost killed her after four full brain radiation treatments. They wanted to do ten treatments. The doctor told us if we didn't do any more treatments, she would be gone in a month. Her last treatment was April 20th. All ten treatments would only give her four months. I told him we elected to discontinue his radiation treatments. I took Charla to Mexico to do immune cell therapy. New Hope Hospital [located in Mexico in the city of San Luis Rio Colorado] first did numerous treatments to build Charla's immune system. They then removed 350 grams of blood, purified it, added a growth factor and incubated the cells overnight. This created millions of her own white cells.This was done twice. A few days before we left they removed from her hip bone morrow. The bone morrow was inspected and the next day seven hundred million stem cells were put back in her body. She has more stem cells than any of us. The attack white cells Charla has go right to the tumors and they along with the stem cells kill the cancer. This will continue until the middle of October. God willingwe will see a miracle and she will live. Charla is very strong and positive. She loves you all and she asks for continued prayers to help us.

Please join me in keeping Charla in thoughts and prayersOnline messages can be sent to her via Facebook (Charla Ann Bogren)If you are like me and are not part of Facebookcards and letters can be sent to her via postal mail at the address listed below.

Attn.: Charla

c/o McAlexander family

801 Hallam Ave.

Colorado Springs CO 80911

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 FEEDBACK FROM READERS includes the below-listed entries that were submitted in response to information contained in previous updates.

Donnie, thank you so much for sending information [July 2018 update] to everyone about Helena Spagnolini. Sorry I didn’t get to talk to you by phone, but I’m glad you got the information from Linda Nolin Weber and Bruce McAlexander. Here’s hoping you have some better days [with your health] and hope we can all get together for lunch sometime soon.

-- Lydia Romero Fine, Class of 1966

 Don, thank you for keeping me in the loop. Even though I did not spend all my years at Widefield, I did enjoy my classmates and the school

-- Donna Williams Humphrey, Class of 1966

Thanks, Donnie, for sending along this memory [mid-1960s booklet] of our classmates and their writings. Interesting and fun to read what was written then. I agree with Barbara Garrison (May 2018 update) that you are the glue that keeps us connected.Facebook is fine, but you keep us up to date on people and issues we share but which can be found no other place for most of us. Thanks so much.

-- Dean Otey, Class of 1966

 Donnie, thanks for the wonderfully written tribute (February 2018 update) to Rod Gilliland. It was interesting to learn a little more about him that I was unaware of when I lived in Security. When my parents and I came to the area in 1962 we moved into a house on Ponderosa Dr. (525). The house that abutted ours in the back was Rod’s. In the remaining 4 years there, I never once had any interaction with him or his family and really had no contact with him at school. But since I was a newcomer to the established group of Security kids, I sort of didn’t fit in very well and because of shyness never made much of a try. Sad. Your tribute helps me realize so clearly how easy it is to glide through life just missing people who whoosh by so closely with no actual contact. It is important to connect or to at least make an attempt! Hope your health has stabilized.Incidentally, Rod’s birthday was the day after mine! Yep70 is coming right up!

-- Larry Hazlett, Class of 1966 

 Don, as always, thanks for the updates. I appreciate all you do for each us. Stay well!

-- Mick Martin, Class of 1966

 Donnie, you are so generous to share with us [Class of 68] your recollections of our own classmates, as well as your Class of 66. I so appreciate your taking the time to do this, and especially loved your recollections of growing up with Frankie and Yolanda Lopez – and hitchhiking to see The Beatles! Wow! I am sad to learn that Frankies life ended in a violent way. I had not heard of the death of Larry Chavez [Class of 68], so was glad you included your info on his life and death. I remembered Larrys brother Greg Chavez [Class of 65] died in Vietnam. When Warren [my brother] visited me when I lived in D.C. years ago, we found Gregs name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall on the Mall. He died in 1970. Sad. Thank you for your communications and gregarious nature  it seems that Frankie had it right [about you being gregarious].

-- Carol Knight, Class of 1968

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 PEOPLE COMING FROM OUT of STATE to the Class of 1968 reunion event probably will do some type of sightseeing while visiting in Colorado. If you want something different beyond the usual landmarks (Seven Falls, Garden of the Gods, Cave of the Winds, Royal Gorge, etc.), you might consider a one-day roundtrip train ride in a little-known area hidden away in southern Colorado. Built in 1880 and almost unchanged since it was built, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TSR) is the highest and longest coal-firedsteam-operated, narrow-gauge railroad in the U.S.

The C&TSR train operates from June 1 to October 15 each year and departs daily at 10:00 a.m. for the 120-mile round trip between Antonito, Colorado, and Chama, New Mexico. [Antonito is an old-fashioned small town three hours from and 180 miles south of Security.] Through flat ground, hillsmountainsforests, curves, steep declines, the edges of a river and an old-fashioned rock tunnel, the train ride is stunning. At one curve, the loop is so tight that the train seems almost folded in half as it heads towards El Paso Cumbres (Cumbres Pass). With an elevation of 10,000 feet, El Paso Cumbres is the highest pass reached by rail in the U.S. All train passengers have access to the open-air observation platform (gondola), which provides unobstructed views and photo opportunities of the colorful mountainous landscape and the abundant wildlife (bears,elk, horses, deer and numerous species of birds) all along the train route.

The C&TSR train-ride fare is $99 per adult for a reserved coach seat. Lunch is included in the ticket priceA 25% discount is available (only between June 1 and September 2) to people who have an I.D. showing a valid address in Colorado Springs. For more information on the train ride, call 1-888-286-2737 or check it out online at www.CumbresToltec.com

 The Spanish word Cumbres means Peaks or Summits in English. The word Toltec refers to the indigenous American Indians whose empire flourished from the 10th century until it collapsed under the invasion of the Aztec Indians in the 12th century.

According to the written record about the history of my Martinez family in the geographic area of the C&TSR train ride, in 1876 two of my ancestors were in a horse-drawn wagon that left the family farm in Antonito, Colorado, and crossed Cumbres Pass to settle at Rio Navajo just across the border in northern New Mexico. The following year in 1877, they moved down the canyon to an area that one of my ancestors named "Agua Dulce" (Sweet Water) because of the sweet taste of the waterThe "Agua" (Water) part of the name was later dropped and the town name of Dulce remains to this day. My ancestors homesteaded this area by 1887, at which time the U.S. Government chose the site of Dulce as the headquarters for the Jicarilla Apache Indians who were natives of the nearby area long before the U.S. was a country.Brought to the newly-formed town of Dulce were Indians who were poor, sick and destitute, and my ancestors provided them medical assistance and home remedies. My family ancestors always maintained friendly relations with the indigenous Apache Indians, some of whom later became blood related to our family. Many of my Martinez ancestors are buried in the family cemetery in Dulce, which is down the road from Chama to which the above-mentioned C&TSR train goes. Our family had been in that same geographic area (northern New Mexico and Antonito) for many generations dating back to 1780, long before the area became part of the U.S. with the end of the U.S.-Mexican War in 1848. Our family left that northern New Mexico area in the 1940s as part of a big migration of Mexican American families who moved to Colorado Springs in search of a better way of life. The move was a transition from several generations of a monocultural rural way of life to a multicultural urban setting. In Colorado Springs our family settled with other Mexican American families in the Conejos district, which was called the "Mexican part of town" in those years. Circa 1957 I moved from Colorado Springs with my mother and stepdad to relocate a few miles south to a newly-formed subdivision called Security.

 

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This update was prepared by me.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

a/k/a Butch, family nickname since childhood

a/k/a Don, presumably the adult version of Donnie

a/k/a Primo (Cousin) to dozens of my Martinez cousins

a/k/a Frank to older women saying I look like their idol Frank Sinatra

a/k/a Dee Dee, a fun name used by people to mean Dear Donnie

 

I don’t care what people call me, just call me.

 

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July 2018

UPDATE  JULY 2018

 

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OUR CLASSMATE HELENA SPAGNOLINI has ended up in a nursing home as a result of being disabled. Her situation was recently conveyed to our classmate Lydia Romero Fine by Helena’s sister Arleen, who thinks that cards or letters would really help to lift Helenas spirits and brighten her days.

 

Anyone who has known somebody whose disability reached the point of nursing-home care knows that the transition oftentimes can be vast and awful for someone who has been mostly independent all of his or her life. The transition can lead directly to the type of loneliness that Arleen has described as facing Helena in her current situation.

 

As an independent person all of my life, my greatest fear always has been the likelihood of my health deteriorating to the point of having to rely on other people to take care of me. Although I can still live on my own despite my health challengeslurking in my mind is the unpleasant thought of totally losing my independence in the event of health deterioration.

 

Helena, her parents and siblings moved to Security circa 1959Helena was with many of us all through junior high and high school clear up until graduation at WHS. I remember her always being a very nice person with a warm smile despite being shy and not very talkative.

 

Please join me in sending a card or letter to HelenaEven if you did not know her personally, it would greatly lift her spirits to hear from you. It takes only a few minutes to send well wishes, which can mean a lot to our classmate who has reached a point in her life of being in a confined environment.

 

Helena Spagnolini 

c/o Arleen Spagnolini 

15620 North 25th Ave. Apt. H103

Phoenix AZ 85023

 

A photo of Helena can be found in the S section of the alphabetical list of senior photos that were emailed to everyone one year ago in July 2017.

 

Many thanks to Lydia for bringing Helenas situation to the attention of our classmates. Thanks are also extended to our classmates Bruce McAlexander and Linda Nolin Weber for using the email method to convey Lydias messages to me.With me having only an old-fashioned landline phone that does not have the long-distance feature and Lydia not having an email address or online access, people probably can imagine the communication difficulty that arose between Lydia and me. With two people living outside modern technology, the terminology communication gap certainly takes on a different connotation that could be the subject of a skit on Saturday Night LiveI thought about using the old-fashioned method of smoke signals to get through to Lydia, but fortunately Bruce and Linda were kind enough to act as liaisons through their use of the modern-day method of online communication.

 

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TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and has been maintained since April 2009 by our Class Committee member and Webmaster, Paul Snell,please go to: www.1966whs.com

 

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PLEASE do not TAKE IT PERSONALLY if you do not hear from me right away.As a volunteer in several nonprofit entities, I have only so much time within which to do my volunteer work as well as tend to my health challenges and other aspects of my personal life. Delays in my replies, in particular, are due to my long sleeping hours during which there is total relief from my neurological illness for which there is no cure. It is now thirteen (13) years that I have had massive nerve damage.With this neurological illness continuing to take center stage in my life each day,there cannot be very much so-called normal or routine activities on my part as long as a state of normalcy has not been returned to my life. As noted in my update in July 2013, another reason for delays in my replies is that I have been “slowing down” more and more since late 2012  it takes me forever to get something done.My doctors attribute the slowness to me getting older, not the neurological illness.

 

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This update was prepared by me.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

a/k/a Butch, family nickname since childhood

a/k/a Don, presumably the adult version of Donnie

a/k/a Primo (Cousin) to dozens of my Martinez cousins

a/k/a Frank to older women saying I look like their idol Frank Sinatra

a/k/a Dee Dee, a fun name used by people to mean Dear Donnie

 

I don’t care what people call me, just call me.

 

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June 2018

OUR CLASSMATE Ron Petty’s wife DARLA passed away in Colorado Springs on Thursday, June 7, 2018The memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday,June 16, at Pikes Peak Christian Church located at 4955 Bradley Road (about four blocks East of Main Street and Bradley Road) in Security. Founded in 1956, the church met in a small house on Morningside Drive and later built its first facility on land purchased on Aspen Drive. In 2001 the church moved to the Bradley Road location,where it has been located to this day.


Born November 24, 1951, in Corpus Christi, Texas, Darla Kay Salmon was raised in Security in the 1950s and the 1960s until she graduated from Widefield High School (WHS) in 1969. Once married, Ron and Darla Petty lived in Texas for many years. They and their three children moved back to Security in 1988. In 1999, Darla and her two sisters (Sheryl and Merrie Ellen) organized a reunion for people who graduated from WHS over a 40-year period from 1959 through 1999. Called a sock hop and held in the WHS gym, the event was successful with 175 people in attendance.


Attached in JPEG format is a photo of Darla and Ron at their wedding in the early 1970s.

 

I knew this news was imminent but it is, nonetheless, so very difficult to read and to accept,” wrote our classmate Vickie Hawes LessaShe went on to add: “Ron and Darla have been so heavy on my mind.  My thoughts of them and the accompanying sorrow have been unending. Please help take care of Ron. He will be in such a fragile state and will need a lot support from his friends and loved ones. It is very, very lonely when you lose the love of your life. Sending more prayers their way.”

 

Vickie's words say it all and I couldn't say it better,” wrote our classmate Gillie Walker.“Please keep us updated. For some of us, Bruce and Donnie are our only source.”

 

Always thanks of appreciation to Bruce and Don for keeping us updated on things,” wrote our classmate Rhonda Richards Shamburger. Have been praying for Darla and Ron and family for some time now. Have had Darla in my thoughts all day today. God bless her for putting up such a fight.”

 

In addition to being survived by her husband Ron Petty, Darla is survived by their children Matthew Petty (age 42), Philip Petty (age 37), Emily Petty Campbell (age 34),Darla’s two sisters (Sheryl Salmon Pyle and Merrie Ellen Salmon ODonnell), and Darla’s father Tom Salmon (owner of the trash-collection business, which he started in Security in the 1950s and which still exists albeit operated nowadays by his daughter Sheryl and her husband Joe Pyle)Darla was preceded in death by her mother Darleen Salmon, who passed away in 2003.

 

Please join me in extending condolences to the Petty and Salmon families. To respect their privacy, their street addresses will not be stated in this update nor will their addresses be posted on our website that is accessible to anyone in the public. For people who are unable to attend the funeral, condolences can be extended via email to our class website OR this email box and we will provide hard copies to the family.Because Darla always was the only one who handled the email address for her and Ron, it won’t do any good to contact him directly via email as he never has done online communications. If you want to send an actual card via postal mail, address it to:

Petty + Salmon

c/o McAlexander

801 Hallam Ave.

Colorado Springs CO 80911

 

Another online option is to express your condolence or share a memory via the funeral home. To sign in through Facebook OR your email address, click here!

 

Please be sure to check our class website periodically for updates about the funeral. To access our class website, go to:

www.1966whs.com

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

 

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February 2018

UPDATE  FEBRUARY 2018

 

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OUR CLASSMATE ROD GILLILAND recently passed away in Kansas, where he resided for many yearsOur classmate Denese Clark Bigelow had been a longtime friend of Rod, and four months ago (October 2017) was the last time she visited Rod at his home in Kansas. A very friendly and nice guy, he was with many of us from grade school through high school in Security. When we were youngsters at Sproul Junior High, Rod was the second boyfriend of our classmate Della Romero. She was the first girlfriend I ever had. She and I were in 4th or 5th grade at North Security Elementary School when we went steady. I bought her a ring at Simms Grocery Store, where her father worked, and Della proudly wore the ring on a chain around her neck. Throughout the time she and Rod were together in junior high and part of high school, Della and I remained good friends and had many good laughs.

 

Rod was one of many of our classmates who were featured in the “slam book” that was popular when we were in junior high and high school in Security. A journal of classmates' opinions of one another, the slam book contained a sign-in page on which participants entered their names next to a specific number. Participants then used those assigned numbers to correspond to their remarks about classmates and topics listed throughout the slam book. Listed below are some of the comments about Rod in the slam book that our classmate Patti Kueck Daniel had from 8th grade when we were in junior high in Security.

 

"Real cute and sweet.”

“A doll, lots of fun."

"Nut, but very cool."

"Good dancer."

"Nice guy."

"Wow, adore him. He's all Della's."

 

Attached in JPEG format is a modern-day photo of Rod. In case you forgot what Rod looked like when he was with us for many years at school in Security, his photo is among the online senior photos that were emailed in PDF format to all of our classmates in July 2017.

 

Rods father (who died in 2015) was only nine years old in the early 1930s when he and his parents and siblings moved from a small town in Kansas to the small town of Fountain, Colorado, where he learned the practice of “bartering” by using a horse-drawn wagon to haul fruits and vegetables from the Gilliland ranch to the dirt main street in FountainIt was there that he met Fountains grocery store owner, whose daughter Margaret later married Rod’s father in the early 1940s after they graduated from Fountain High SchoolBefore they started having childrenRod’s father joined the Marines to serve in World War II at which time he flew fighter planes (two of which were shot down with him inside).

 

Listed below is the obituary about Rodwhose funeral will be at 1:00 p.m. on February 13, 2018 at Mount Moriah Funeral Home in Kansas City followed by burial at the cemetery there.

 

In loving memory of Roderick Lee Gilliland who mercifully passed on February 8,2018. Rod we send you off to heaven with our love and caring and fond memories as full as the ocean. You were a precious soul so full of life and joy. Your life touched so many people and we will remember your wit, charm, and deep faith in your redeemer. Your life was cut short by illness, and your last years were tempered with failing health. But you are in your loving saviors arms now free of pain. 

 

Rod was born on August 27, 1948 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is survived by his loving mother Margaret, older brother Robert and younger brothers, Douglas and John.

 

Rod was a magical soul. He had a mischievous nature and often shared a lighthearted smile coupled with an ornery twinkle in his eye. His imagination was unlimited and expressed itself through his passion for creating art. He loved music, lots of rock, and soul. His gentle personality was committed to making amazing works with stained glass. He created poetry with his writing. He had so many friends and touched uncounted lives with his magnetic personality. 

 

Professionally, Rod was a successful real estate marketing professional. He had a talent for selling new homes and worked for years with his father and older brother to sell homes in many of the best communities in KC and Johnson County. 

 

One of his many passions was prison ministriesFor years he gave love and hope to those that were the least of our society. He spread God's love and message to those that needed it most. 

 

Rod, we will always remember your smiling beautiful face. Your spirit will carry on,and your soul is finally at rest with Jesus, your special grandmother Amy, your father Hudson, and your only son Jonathan. As a family, we will be reunited, I know, in your new home in heaven that will be as unique as your spirit. We love you Roderick.”

 

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ALMOST ALL of our CLASSMATES WILL BE 70 years old this year. A few of our classmates (Gary Storm, Roy Manuszak, Andy Stumpf, Lydia Romero Fine, Daryl Kuiper) already turned 70 in late 2017, and the rest of us will reach that old age this yearA few classmates (Starr Coakley Miller, Peggy Flynn Meredith, Glenda Windle Armstrong, Denese Clark Bigelow, Debbie Armknecht Allen, Andi Armstrong Crowner, and Bobbi Stephens Eberhardt) turned 70 last month. Bruce McAlexander will turn 70 this month. Shirley Guinta Tafoya, Ken Loveless and Barbara Billingsley Massarano will go next in March. Ron Petty and Paul Snell will be next in April. Linda Nolin Weber will turn 70 in July. The seven youngest classmates (Bruce Brian, Rhonda, Maryellen, Gillie, Doug, Warren Knight and yours truly) will have to wait until the last three months of the year.

 

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THE DEATHS of SIBLINGS are the reality that our classmates will be facing more and more as we grow olderMany of us went through the deaths of our respective parents over the past yearsbut now that they have been laid to rest there has been a new chapter with the deaths of siblings. Our longtime classmate Barbara Garrison recently lost her beloved younger sister Christina (WHS Class of 1968)and my oldest brother passed away last monthWith the death of a sibling, surviving siblings periodically look at one another and wonder aloud, Are we next?” It is hard enough to go through the grief process with the loss of parents, but the loss of a sibling brings the death issue closer home.

 

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TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and is maintained by our Class Committee member and Webmaster, Paul Snell, please go to: www.1966whs.com

 

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THE 2018 OSCAR NOMINATIONS are the focus of my essay, which is enclosed herein at the tail-end of this update immediately after my farewell remark “I don’t care what people call me, just call me.”

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THE ONE DOLLAR STORY is a very touching tale written by our classmate Bruce McAlexander’s father, who passed away in 2016Listed below is what Mr.Alexander wrote.

 

In the end of our crew training and being transferred to Lincoln, Nebraska Air Base to pick up a new B-17 Flying Fortress to fly to the 15th Air Force in Italy, each of us crew members signed a dollar bill to give to our closest of kin. I gave the $1.00 bill to my sweetheart wife, Bonnie Jean, who placed it in her knick-knack box where she kept her keepsakes. After the war we lived in WaldoKansas, and then OberlinKansas. Then in 1957 we moved to Security, Colorado and in 1966 we moved to 801 Hallam AvenueSecurity, Colorado, where I reside now. Bonnie Jean said to me the signed $1.00 bill was gone. In the meantime, we forgot the $1.00 signed bill.

 

Onto May 2, 2014

 

The doorbell rang at my home and my daughter Charia and friend Trish answered the door. A man was at the door and asked if they lived there when they were teenagers and they said yes. He said when he was a dumb and young 16-year-old,he broke into our house and stole this $1.00 billHe said: “I was saved and became a Christian and the Lord told me to return this signed $1.00 bill. This house is as pretty now as it was when I was a kid.” Charla and Trish stated the guy said he was a graduate from Widefield High School in 1974 and he lived in Georgia and was back here for his dad’s funeralCharla and Trish did not get his name, so I was unable to thank him for the wonderful gift he brought back to me and my wonderful family. When Trish and Charla brought the $1.00 bill into the room where I was sitting, the tears came. I remembered well the signers of the $1.00 bill.

 

I wanted to thank the good man for what he did. Trish got the school yearbook and looked to see if we could get a name. No luck. I pulled out the expired newspapers,dated April 20 to May 12 and went and recorded all the men that passed away or were born from 1936 back and all their surviving sons. When I came to Bobby-Gene Spradlin with 5 sons and the memorial service was at the local Catholic Church, I thought possibly I could find the person I am looking for. I again started looking in the school annual for names in the 1974 class. I found the name Robee Spradtn (spelled incorrectly). In the 1973 yearbook I found a Tom Spradlin, so I looked in the phone directory and looked up Bobby's number and a couple other names. The first name I called was wrong. The next number I called, a lady answered and I told her who I was and asked if she was a daughter to Bobby. She said she was his wife.She knew all about the $1.00 bill. I enjoyed the visit with your mother.

 

Thank you, Robee, so much! Robert, you are a special person to do what you did after 42 years. I would love to meet you and your wife, Amy.

 

(Excuse the errors, I'm 88 years old.)

 

Charles J. McAlexander (May 15, 2014)

 

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PLEASE do not TAKE IT PERSONALLY if you do not hear from me right away. As a volunteer in several nonprofit entities, I have only so much time within which to do my volunteer work as well as tend to my health challenges and other aspects of my personal life. Delays in my replies, in particular, are due to my long sleeping hours during which there is total relief from my neurological illness for which there is no cure. It is now eleven (13) years that I have had massive nerve damage. With this neurological illness continuing to take center stage in my life each day, there cannot be very much so-called normal or routine activities on my part as long as a state of normalcy has not been returned to my life. As noted in my update in July 2013, another reason for delays in my replies is that I have been “slowing down” more and more since late 2012 – it takes me forever to get something done. My doctors attribute the slowness to me getting older, not the neurological illness.

 

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This update was prepared by me.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

a/k/a Butch, family nickname since childhood

a/k/a Don, presumably the adult version of Donnie

a/k/a Primo (Cousin) to dozens of my Martinez cousins

a/k/a Frank to older women saying I look like their idol Frank Sinatra

a/k/a Dee Dee, a fun name used by people to mean Dear Donnie

 

I don’t care what people call me, just call me.

 

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THIS YEAR’S OSCAR NOMINEES

by Donnie Martínez (February 2018)

 

Just as I have done for many years, my picks for the Oscar Awards are now once again shared with friendsrelatives, activists, neighbors and people with whom I went to school. It is now thirteen years of my ongoing neurological illness for which there is no cure, yet my spirits continue to be lifted whenever my health challenges allow me to get out to a movie theater.

 

BEST ACTRESS NOMINEES are: Sally Hawkins; Frances McDormand; Margo Robbie; Saoirse Ronan; and, Meryl Streep. Ms. Hawkins is very good as a mute janitor who falls in love with and rescues a human-like sea monster while working at a U.S. government secret research facility in 1962, as detailed in the well-done film “Shape of Water.” Ms. McDormand is very good as a grieving mother whose unrelenting anger is directed at the police chief for not solving the brutal murder of the mother’s daughter, as detailed in the well-done film “Three Billboards.” Ms. Robbie is very good in her portrayal of the famous ice skater Tonya Harding whose career was tarnished in a sports-related scandal, as detailed in the true story “I, Tonya.” Ms. Ronan is very good as an outspoken Catholic high-school senior whose relationship with her strong-willed mother is marked by ongoing tension and heartbreak, as conveyed in the film “Lady Bird.” Ms. Streep is very good as the first woman publisher of a major U.S. newspaper and the tough decisions she made in standing up to President Nixon upon publishing secret government papers that exposed myths and realities of the U.S. war in Vietnam, as detailed in the true story “The Post.” Frances McDormand is my choice for the award, but I won’t be disappointed if the award goes to Ms. Hawkins or Ms. Streep.

 

BEST ACTOR NOMINEES areTimothee Chalamet; Daniel Day-LewisDaniel KaluuyaGary Oldman; and, Denzel WashingtonChalamet is very good as a 17-year-old Jew who has a romantic relationship with a 27-year-old man who is also a Jew, as conveyed in the film “Call Me by Your Name. Day-Lewis is very good as a 1950s upper-class man who designs dresses for high-society women and who becomes abusive in his romantic relationship with a working-class womanas conveyed in the well-done film “Phantom Thread.” Kaluuya is very good as an African-American young man who encounters racial stereotypes and a horrifying hypnotic procedure upon meeting the wealthy liberal parents of his young white woman partner, as conveyed in the film “Get Out. Oldman is very good as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who faced tough decisions about British soldiers trapped by the Nazi military at Dunkirk, France in World War II, as detailed in the well-done film “Darkest Hour.” Washington is good as an idealistic lawyer whose civil-rights principles are contradicted by his acceptance of reward money for locating the killer in a store robbery, as conveyed in the mediocre film “Roman Israel Esq.” Gary Oldman and Daniel Day-Lewis are my choices for the award, but I won’t be disappointed if the award goes to Daniel Kaluuya.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR NOMINEES are: William DafoeWoody HarrelsonRichard Jenkins; Christopher Plummer; and, Sam Rockwell. Dafoe is very good as a protective father figure who manages a motel in which poverty-stricken single mothers and their children are tenants, as conveyed in the well-done film “Florida Project.” Harrelson is very good as the police chief who is targeted by the rage of a grieving mother for not solving the murder of the mother’s daughteras conveyed in the well-done film “Three Billboards.” Jenkins is very good as a gay visual artist who is the next-door neighbor and accomplice of a mute woman janitor who rescues a human-like sea monster while working at a U.S. government secret research facility in 1962, as detailed in the film “Shape of Water.” Plummer is very good in his portrayal of billionaire J. Paul Getty who refused to bargain with the kidnappers of Getty’s grandson in 1973, as detailed in the true story “All the Money in the World.” Rockwell is very good as an overtly-racist police officer who is targeted by the rage of a grieving mother for not solving the murder of the mother’s daughter, as conveyed in the well-done film “Three Billboards.” Sam Rockwell is my choice for the award, but I won’t be disappointed if the award goes to Woody Harrelson or Christopher Plummer.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEES are: Mary BligeAllison JanneyLesley ManvilleLaurie MetcalfandOctavia SpencerMs. Blige is very good as an African American woman who assists her husband as caretakers of a white family’s farm in World War II, as conveyed in the well-done film “Mudbound.” MsJanney is very good as the abusive mother of the famous ice skater Tonya Harding whose career was tarnished by a sports-related scandal, as conveyed in the true story “I, Tonya.” Ms. Manville is very good as the sister of a 1950s upper-class man who designs dresses for high-society women and who becomes abusive in his romantic relationship with a working-class woman, as detailed in the well-done film “Phantom Thread.” Ms. Metcalf is very good as the strong-willed mother who has an intense and heartbreaking relationship with her outspoken Catholic high-school daughter, as conveyed in the film “Lady Bird.” Ms. Spencer is very good as an African American woman janitor who is the co-worker of a mute woman janitor who falls in love with and rescues a human-like sea monster while working at a U.S. government secret research facility in 1962, as detailed in the film “Shape of Water.” Mary Blige and Octavia Spencer are my choices for the award, but I won’t be disappointed if the award goes to Laurie Metcalf.

 

BEST PICTURE NOMINEES are: “Call Me by Your Name”“Darkest Hour”“Dunkirk”“Get Out”“Lady Bird”“Phantom Thread”; “The Post”“Shape of Water”and“Three Billboards.” Noticeably absent from the list are the films “Zookeeper’s Wife” (true story of a non-Jew who rescued non-Jews in World War II) and “Detroit” (true story of events leading up to the 1967 riots).

 

“Call Me by Your Name” is a mediocre film about a 17-year-old male Jew who falls in love with a 27-year-old male Jew, but the film fails to clarify to the viewer how the Jewish identity is part of the bond in the gay relationship between the two guys.

 

“Darkest Hour” is a well-done film based on the true story of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who faced tough decisions about thousands of British soldiers who were trapped by the Nazi military at Dunkirk, France, in World War II. With its focus limited to Churchill’s decision-making process in government venues far away from Dunkirk, this film is a nice companion piece to the “Dunkirk” film that spotlights the experiences of British soldiers on the battlefield.

 

“Dunkirk” is a well-done film based on the true story of thousands of British soldiers who were trapped by the Nazi military at Dunkirk, France, in World War II. With its focus limited to the experiences of the British soldiersthis film is a nice companion piece to the “Darkest Hour” film that spotlights Churchill’s decision-making process in government venues far away from Dunkirk.

 

“Get Out” is a well-done film about an African American young man who encounters racial stereotypes and a horrifying hypnotic procedure upon meeting the wealthy liberal parents of his young white woman partner.

 

“Lady Bird” is a well-done film about the tension and heartbreak in the stormy relationship between an outspoken Catholic high-school senior and her strong-willed mother.

 

“Phantom Thread” is a well-done film about a 1950s upper-class man who designs dresses for high-society women and who becomes abusive in his romantic relationship with a working-class womanThe film’s 60-year-old star, Daniel Day-Lewis, has stated this is his last movie.

 

“The Post” is a well-done film based on the true story of the first woman publisher of a major U.S. newspaper and the tough decisions she made in standing up to President Nixon upon publishing secret government papers that exposed myths and realities of the U.S. war in Vietnam.

 

“Shape of Water” is a well-done film that is visually stunning with an outrageously-themed plot set in 1962 at a U.S. government research facility at which a mute woman janitor falls in love with and rescues a human-like sea monster that a Russian spy also seeks to rescue for a scientific study.

 

“Three Billboards” is a well-done film about a grieving mother whose anger is directed at the police chief for not solving the brutal murder of the mother’s daughter.

 

For me to enjoy a movie, it must almost always have two main qualities: (1) it reveals events of a historical era unfamiliar to me; or (2) it is set in a geographic location or situation unfamiliar to me. Because they were set in locations unfamiliar to me and they had many historical details that I did not know until seeing the films, “Darkest Hour,” “Dunkirk” and “The Post” are my choices for best picture.

 

ABC will televise the awards on Sunday, March 46:00 p.m. Colorado time.

 

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October 2017

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED to a social gathering of the WHS Class of 1966 on Friday, October 27, 11:30 a.m., at Savelli’s Pizza Restaurant located at 301 Manitou Avenue in Manitou SpringsFrom downtown Colorado Springs, head west on Colorado Avenue until it turns into Manitou Avenue OR head west on Highway 24 to get there.

 So that the restaurant can make advance plans to put all attendees together, please RSVP no later than Wednesday, October 25, to Bruce at (719) 685-1420 or via email at LeviMcAlexander1@Gmail.com

 If you wish to view Savelli’s menu, which features several pasta entrees and several types of sandwiches as well as a wide selection of pizzas, click here!

 To our classmate Bruce Brian who said he would not be able to make it until 12:15,please RSVP and plan to attend anywayBy the time all attendees dillydally around getting from their respective cars into the restaurant and take more time to get seated as well as hem haw around about what to order, it probably will be around 12:00 noon. If Bruce Brian arrives at 12:15, that will be only 15 minutes after the show gets started when orders start arriving at the table and he will have plenty of time to order and socialize with attendeesBy the time everyone finishes eating and continues to socialize, it may not be until 1:30 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. before attendees start to hem haw around with farewells and once again dillydally around getting back to their respective cars to head home.

 At this time 50 years ago, some of our classmates were starting their second year of collegeSome of our classmates were in their second year of marriage or making wedding plans. Some of our classmates were on the battle fields due to the U.S. war that raged on and on in Vietnam. Some of our classmates were still trying to figure out what they wanted to do with their respective lives.

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Feb. 2017

THIS YEAR’S OSCAR NOMINEES

by Donnie Martinez (February 2017)

Just as I have done for many years, my picks for the Oscar Awards are now once again shared with friends, relatives, activists, neighbors and people with whom I went to school. It is now twelve years of my ongoing neurological illness for which there is no cure, yet my spirits continue to be lifted whenever my health challenges allow me to get out to a movie theater.

BEST ACTRESS NOMINEES are: Isabelle Huppert; Ruth Negga; Natalie Portman; Emma Stone; and, Meryl Streep. Ms. Huppert is very good as an assault victim trying to figure out which man in her life is the disguised rapist, as detailed in the well-done suspenseful film “Elle.” Ms. Negga is very good as an African American whose outlawed marriage to a white man became a 1967 landmark court case that legalized inter-racial marriage, as detailed in the true story “Loving.” Ms. Portman is very good in her portrayal of Jackie Kennedy’s emotional hard times in the aftermath of her husband’s assassination in November 1963, as detailed in the true story “Jackie.” Ms. Stone is very good as an aspiring actress having a love affair with an aspiring jazz musician, as conveyed in the film “La La Land.” Ms. Streep is very good as a 1940s wealthy socialite obsessed with her dream of becoming a great singer, as detailed in the true story “Florence Foster Jenkins.” Isabelle Huppert is my choice for the award, but I won’t be disappointed if the award goes to Natalie Portman or Emma Stone.

BEST ACTOR NOMINEES areCasey Affleck; Andrew GarfieldRyan GoslingViggo Mortensen; and, Denzel WashingtonAffleck is very good as an emotionally-depressed man who worsens as he faces a past family tragedy upon returning to his home town after his brother’s death, as detailed in the film “Manchester by the Sea.” Garfield is very good as a U.S. conscientious objector who without a gun saved lives on the battlefield in World War II, as detailed in the true story “Hacksaw Ridge.” Gosling is very good as an aspiring jazz musician having a love affair with an aspiring actress, as conveyed in the film “La La Land.” Mortensen is very good as a counter-culture principled socialist living with his Buddhist wife and their six children in a secluded forest far away from society when his wife’s death results in the children having their first-time exposure to society upon helping their dad to uphold their mother’s Will, as detailed in the well-done film “Captain Fantastic.” Washington is very good as a 1950s working-class African American man whose past haunts him and whose infidelity threatens to tear apart the life he has with his two sons and devoted wife, as conveyed in the well-done film “Fences.” Andrew Garfield and Viggo Mortensen are my choices for the award, but I won’t be disappointed if the award goes to Denzel Washington.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR NOMINEES are: Mahershala AliJeff BridgesLucas Hedges; Dev Patel; and, Michael Shannon. Ali is very good as a drug dealer who becomes a father figure to an African American gay male being raised by a drug-addicted single mother, as conveyed in the well-done film “Moonlight.” Bridges is very good as a sheriff in pursuit of two brothers who repeatedly rob the bank that seeks to foreclose their property, as conveyed in the well-done film “Hell or High Water.” Hedges is very good as the teen nephew of an emotionally-depressed man who worsens as he faces a past family tragedy upon returning to his home town after his brother’s death, as detailed in the film “Manchester by the Sea.” Patel is very good as an adopted young man who uses modern computer technology to track down his long-lost biological mother in India, as detailed in the true story “Lion.” Shannon is very good as a police detective in pursuit of the criminals who terrorized a family late at night, as conveyed in the well-done suspenseful film “Nocturnal Animals.” Dev Patel is my choice for the award, but I won’t be disappointed if the award goes to Mahershala Ali.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEES are: Viola DavisNaomie HarrisNicole KidmanOctavia SpencerandMichelle WilliamsMs. Davis is very good as the devoted wife of an African American man whose past haunts him and whose infidelity threatens to tear apart the life he has with his two sons and wife, as conveyed in the well-done film “Fences.” Ms. Harris is very good as an African American drug-addicted single mother raising her young gay son, as conveyed in the well-done film “Moonlight.” Ms. Kidman is very good as the adoptive mother of a young man who uses modern computer technology to track down his biological mother in India, as detailed in the true story “Lion.” Ms. Spencer is very good as one of the African American professional women who broke down the racial barriers at the U.S. Government’s space program (NASA) in the early 1960s, as detailed in the well-done film “Hidden Figures.” Ms. Williams is mediocre as the ex-wife of an emotionally-depressed man who worsens as he faces a past family tragedy upon returning to his home town after his brother’s death, as detailed in the film “Manchester by the Sea.” Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are my choices for the award, but I won’t be disappointed if the award goes to Nicole Kidman.

BEST PICTURE NOMINEES are: “Arrival”“Fences”“Hacksaw Ridge”“Hell or High Water”“Hidden Figures”“La La Land”; “Lion”“Manchester by the Sea”and“Moonlight.” Noticeably absent from the list are the films “Free State of Jones” (true story of a white man who led a rebellion of slaves in the 1800s) and “Denial” (true story of a scholar who denied the existence of the Holocaust).

“Arrival” is a science-fiction film about a linguistics professor who learns to communicate with aliens on extra-terrestrial spaceships that appear on Earth as the world is on the brink of global war.

“Fences” is a well-done film about a 1950s working-class African American man whose past haunts him and whose infidelity threatens to tear apart the life he has with his two sons and devoted wife.

“Hacksaw Ridge” is a well-done film based on the true story of a U.S. conscientious objector who, without a gun, saved lives on the battlefield in World War II.

“Hell or High Water” is a well-done film about two brothers who repeatedly rob the bank that seeks to foreclose their property.

“Hidden Figures” is a well-done film based on the true story of African-American professional women, who faced discrimination in their jobs at the U.S. Government’s space program (NASA) in the early 1960s and who eventually prevailed in breaking barriers.

“La La Land” is a well-done film about the love affair of an aspiring actress and aspiring jazz musician. Despite lacking plot substance, the film is visually appealing upon conveying the story with the mix of singing and dancing reminiscent of musicals that were popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

“Lion” is a well-done film based on the true story of an adopted young man who used modern computer technology to track down his long-lost biological mother in India.

“Mancester by the Sea” is a good film about an emotionally-depressed man who worsens as he faces a past family tragedy upon returning to his home town after his brother’s death.

“Moonlight” is a well-done film about an African American drug-addicted single mother raising her young gay son who is mentored by an adult drug dealer and his wife.

For me to enjoy a movie, it must almost always have two main qualities: (1) it reveals events of a historical era unfamiliar to me; or (2) it is set in a geographic location or situation unfamiliar to me. Because they were set in locations unfamiliar to me and they had many historical details that I did not know until seeing the films, “Hidden Figures,” “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Lion” are my choices for best picture.

ABC will televise the awards on Sunday, February 26, 6:00 p.m. Colorado time.

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May 2016

UPDATE  MAY  2016

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 HEAR YE!!  HEAR YE!!  HEAR YE!! Time is quickly running out to meet the deadline to register for the 50-year reunion. People have only about two (2) weeks left to register. All checks and registration forms must be received NO LATER than June 1. With major mail delays to be caused by the U.S. Post Office being closed over the long Memorial Day weekend, please avoid waiting until that weekend to mail your forms and checks.

 Almost 50 of our classmates have expressed “interest” in attending the reunion. If each of them brings one guest, it means there will probably be about 100 people at the event. Expressing “interest” in a situation always is great, but people need to do the next step and transform the interest into action by actually registering for the event.

 A few people have written to say they saw the reunion announcement that our classmate Gillie Walker arranged for courtesy publication in the Fountain Valley Times.

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 THE 50-YEAR REUNION WILL BE HELD on Friday and Saturday, July 15-16. The historic event will begin on Friday, July 15, 6:00 p.m., at Fargo’s Pizza Company located at 2910 East Platte Avenue in Colorado Springs. Our classmate Ron Petty reserved the entire top floor of Fargo’s, which has a low-cost and affordable menu from which classmates can buy their own food and drinks. To get to Fargo’s from I-25, get off at the Bijou exit and head East a few blocks to Cascade and turn left a few blocks to Platte at which you will turn right and stay on Platte for about two miles to Fargo’s.

 The reunion will continue with a picnic on Saturday, July 16, 11:00 a.m., in the gazebo that has a three-tiered turquoise colored roof at Metcalf Park located at 704 East Ohio Avenue in Fountain. Our classmate Ron Petty reserved the gazebo for the event at which food and drinks will be provided by a catering service. To get to the park, stay on Old Highway 85 from Security until Old Highway 85 becomes Santa Fe Avenue. Stay on Santa Fe Avenue until you get to Ohio Avenue. Turn east on Ohio Avenue and go 10 blocks until you reach the park.

The registration fee for the catered picnic event is $20.00 per person. Each attendee will be served two meat choices, sides, tea and lemonade. People who want beer must bring their own and it must be ONLY 3.2 beer in cans (no glass bottles).

The deadline to register is Wednesday, June 1. Print out the registration form from our class website or use the form (see below) in this newsletter.

Our class co-treasurer Maryellen Brada Manuszak will be the person to whom people should send checks for registration. Maryellen was with many of us all the way from grade school through high school graduation, and she married our classmate Roy Manuszak.

If you live out of state and are remotely thinking about attending the reunion, please make advance reservations for travel and a motel room. Don’t wait until the last minute to make plans because travel and motel options may get booked up quickly by July 2016.

 Last-minute changes or updates about the reunion will be posted on our class website, so please be sure to check there.

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 THE FINAL MEETING to PLAN the 50-YEAR REUNION will take place on Saturday, June 4. The time and location will be posted on our class website at some point in the next two weeks. At the gathering, attendees will finalize plans for the reunion. Even if you cannot commit to helping to plan the reunion, please attend the meeting anyway to enjoy lunch and friendly talk with classmates.

 For any last-minute changes on the upcoming meeting, please check our class website.

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 OUR CLASSMATE DOUG ALLEN recently had some health challenges that required surgery from which he has been recovering at home. He and the doctor are pleased with the surgery results. If you want to extend wishes for his continued recovery, his contact information can be obtained in the “Email Addresses” section of our class website.

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 TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and is maintained by our Class Committee member and Webmaster, Paul Snell, please go to: www.1966whs.com

The software that Paul used to build the website allows people to access the website through a regular computer as well as a smartphone or digital tablet. At the bottom of each page of the website is a link to a Facebook page that can be used by classmates who have Facebook and want to communicate and receive information through Facebook. Please be sure to bookmark the website address on your computer so that you will have it handy whenever you want to visit the website.

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GOOD GOLLY, MISS MOLLY, WHAT SHOULD WE WEAR? That question captures an ongoing concern by several people who are planning to attend the reunion. My understanding is that there is not a dress code, and formal attire will not be required. The only certainty is that we all must wear clothing. If you want to dress to the nines in something formal, that should be fine. If you want to wear something casual and informal, that should be fine. If you want to wear something nostalgic, that should be fine as well. To those of you who are nudists, please plan ahead so that you can wear something at the event. Colorado usually has very hot temperatures in July, so people might consider cotton clothing in order to keep somewhat cool. With Steve Rhodes and Barbara Billingsley Massarano among the classmates who have expressed interest in attending the reunion, we will have the two classmates whom our class voted as “Best Dressed” in high school. Rumors are flying around that Steve and Barbara have been frantic upon going through their respective wardrobe closets in order to decide which outfits to wear at the reunion at which it will be most interesting to see if we still consider them the best dressed among us. 

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AS A LONGTIME LOVER of DANCE since childhood, I always have been easily persuaded to get up and dance. My mother always told me that I was dancing while still in diapers. While a baby and young boy growing up in Colorado Springs, my Mexican American grandfather and two uncles used to play the guitars and sing Mexican songs to me and my young cousins. Mexican dances were the first type of dances that I learned to do. Upon becoming fascinated with the Russian ballet dancers performing on one of the Ed Sullivan shows in the early 1950s, I told my mother that I wanted to learn ballet. With tips made from the Mexican bar where my mother always worked, I took ballet lessons at Mary Ruth Dance Studio and performed with my fellow dancers in several recitals at the Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs. Ballet made me so limber to enable me to do complete leg splits, back flips and front flips along with walking on my hands. Our classmate Bruce McAlexander vividly recalls to this day how amazed he was to see me perched on the school playground with my legs wrapped around my neck when we first met in our childhood years in Security.

 In a more light-hearted moment at the college at which I have done volunteer work for many years, one of the young college students recently videotaped me in a classroom while performing excerpts of dances from the late 1950s and early 1960s. The students have been getting a real kick out of watching the performance. One of the students commented, “Wow, he sure can dance.”

It is noteworthy that the dances in the video PRECEDED the Motown era and other musical genres from that era.

 The video was posted by a young Chicana college student, who goes by her nickname Wise Chicana. In case you don’t know the reference of her nickname, it is a take-off on the controversial “Wise Latina” comment that was widely publicized by the media in 2009 when Judge Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The semi-dark lighting in the video was intentional so that people could concentrate on the dance steps. Besides, you don’t want to see the mug shot of this old man. (smile)

I hope you enjoy watching the video as much as I enjoyed doing the performance.

To watch the 6-minute video, click the following link:

https://youtu.be/stU9NSKZJYs

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SPEAKING of the LATE 1950s MUSIC featured in the video of my dance performance, one of my favorite songs from that era was the 1959 hit song titled “Please Please Please” by James Brown. Toward the end of the song, Brown always dropped to his knees to pretend like he was exhausted and a backup singer would drape a big blanket on Brown’s back to help him almost all the way offstage where Brown would rip off the blanket and return to the microphone to the thunderous applause of the audience. After seeing “King of Soul” James Brown perform that song numerous times on TV and once in person, I never thought anybody could ever come close to his rendition of the song. I was proven wrong upon recently listening to a re-run of a 2014 radio interview with blues singers, Dave Alvin and his brother Phil Alvin, who talked about how they were influenced by 1950s blues performer Big Joe Turner and blues man Big Bill Broonzy whose musical career spanned from the 1930s until his death in the late 1950s. Both white, the Alvin brothers did quite well with their rendition of James Brown’s hit song “Please Please Please” despite not attempting Brown’s above-described routine of dropping to the floor. To watch the 3-minute video of the Alvin brothers performing the song, click the following link: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nA0SACW0gI

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PLEASE do not TAKE IT PERSONALLY if you do not hear from me right away. As a volunteer in several nonprofit entities (including the college campus), I have only so much time within which to do my volunteer work as well as tend to my health challenges and other aspects of my personal life. Delays in my replies, in particular, are due to my long sleeping hours during which there is total relief from my neurological illness for which there is no cure. It is now eleven (11) years that I have had massive nerve damage. With this neurological illness continuing to take center stage in my life each day, there cannot be very much so-called normal or routine activities on my part as long as a state of normalcy has not been returned to my life. As noted in my update in July 2013, another reason for delays in my replies is that I have been “slowing down” more and more since late 2012 – it takes me forever to get something done. My doctors attribute the slowness to me getting older, not the neurological illness.

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 This update was prepared by me. 

 Respectfully submitted, 

 Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier 

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname 

a/k/a Butch, family nickname since childhood 

a/k/a Don, presumably the adult version of Donnie 

a/k/a Primo (Cousin) to dozens of my Martinez cousins 

a/k/a El Aguila (The Eagle), a version of Gillie’s name for me

a/k/a Nitpicker Supreme, a title lovingly given to me by Gillie

a/k/a Frank to older women saying I look like their idol Frank Sinatra

a/k/a Dee Dee, a fun name used by people to mean Dear Donnie

 

I don’t care what people call me, just call me.

 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Widefield High School Class of 1966

Registration for the 50-year Reunion

 

Name: ___________________________________

Number of People Attending: _______.

Year of your Class: ____________.

Email address: ____________________________

Phone number: ____________________________

Amount enclosed: $_____________.

         [$20 for each person attending]

Please print this form and send it with your checkpayable to “Maryellen Manuszak” via mail to:

Maryellen Manuszak

P.O. Box 7147

Colorado Springs CO 80933

 Form + check are due NO LATER than June 1, 2016.

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April 2016

UPDATE  APRIL 2016

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 OUR CLASSMATE PAT BRULEY recently passed away in Meriden, Kansas, where she and her husband James Anthony Kelly (also our classmate) lived for many years. Patricia Bruley Kelly was the daughter of Henry and Marcelle Bruley, both of whom preceded Pat in death. Pat had only one sister, Betty (who preceded Pat in death), and no brothers. When Pat’s mother Marcelle passed away in July 2007 at age 90, Mrs. Bruley’s Will designated Pat’s daughter Julie Kelly as the representative of the estate that included the Bruley home on Widefield Boulevard. As the legally-appointed representative of the estate, Julie Kelly sold the Bruley home in July 2009. Pat was preceded in death by her son Brian Kelly. She is survived by her husband James Kelly and daughter Julie.

 News of Pat’s death was conveyed to Bruce McAlexander by our longtime classmate Denese Clark Bigelow.

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 THE MOTHER of our classmate ROY MANUSZAK passed away on March 12, 2016, in Colorado Springs. Born May 11, 1926 in Germany, Hildagard was the daughter of Paul and Brunislava Koester. Hildagard became Manuszak through marriage and was a longtime resident of Colorado Springs. Mrs. Manuszak was 89 at the time of her death. She was the mother of ten children, of which Roy was the oldest. Mrs. Manuszak is survived by her four sons (Roy, Paul, Leonard, Martin) and six daughters (Rosemarie, Annemarie, Angelica, Theresa, Margaret, Bernice).

 “She had a full and active life,” says Roy about his beloved mother. “RIP mom.”

 Please join me in extending condolences to Roy Manuszak. Messages can be sent to Roy at his email address listed in the “Contact Us” section of our class website. People can also extend condolences through the online guest book that will be posted between now and April 16. If you want to send condolences via the online guest book, click here!

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 THE 50-YEAR REUNION WILL BE HELD on Friday and Saturday, July 15-16. The historic event will begin on Friday, July 15, 6:00 p.m., at Fargo’s Pizza Company located at 2910 East Platte Avenue in Colorado Springs. Our classmate Ron Petty reserved the entire top floor of Fargo’s, which has a low-cost and affordable menu from which classmates can buy their own food and drinks. To get to Fargo’s from I-25, get off at the Bijou exit and head East a few blocks to Cascade and turn left a few blocks to Platte at which you will turn right and stay on Platte for about two miles to Fargo’s.

 The reunion will continue with a picnic on Saturday, July 16, 11:00 a.m., in the gazebo that has a three-tiered turquoise colored roof at Metcalf Park located at 704 East Ohio Avenue in Fountain. Our classmate Ron Petty reserved the gazebo for the event at which food and drinks will be provided by a catering service. To get to the park, stay on Old Highway 85 from Security until Old Highway 85 becomes Santa Fe Avenue. Stay on Santa Fe Avenue until you get to Ohio Avenue. Turn east on Ohio Avenue and go 10 blocks until you reach the park.

 The registration fee for the catered picnic event is $20.00 per person. Each attendee will be served two meat choices, sides, tea and lemonade. People who want beer must bring their own and it must be ONLY 3.2 beer in cans (no glass bottles).

 The deadline to register is Wednesday, June 1. Print out the registration form from our class website or use the form (see below) in this newsletter.

 Our class co-treasurer Maryellen Brada Manuszak will be the person to whom people should send checks for registration. Maryellen was with many of us all the way from grade school through high school graduation, and she married our classmate Roy Manuszak.

 If you live out of state and are remotely thinking about attending the reunion, please make advance reservations for travel and a motel room. Don’t wait until the last minute to make plans because travel and motel options may get booked up quickly by July 2016.

 Last-minute changes or updates about the reunion will be posted on our class website, so please be sure to check there.

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 INTEREST in ATTENDING a 50-YEAR REUNION includes 45 classmates whose names appear on the updated list below.

 Shirley Guinta Tafoya; Patti Kueck Daniel; Twila Wilson; Bruce Brian; Rhonda Richards Shamburger; Warren Knight; Pam Rains Shuman; Joy Woods Haskell; Doug Allen; Mickey Martin; Linda Nolin Weber; Mary Ashley Fuchsman; Daryl Kuiper; Bruce McAlexander; Ron Petty; Paul Snell; Gillie Walker; Donnie Martinez; Mimi George Torreano; Denese Clark Bigelow; Gary Storm; Judy Ames Bradford; Dean Otey; Glen Kruse; Bob Cook; Steve Cox; Rich Stroud; Glenda Windle Armstrong; Donna Wiltgen Mills; Lydia Romero Fine; Mike Adragna; Steve Rhodes; Donna Williams Humphrey; Marcia Hagans Allin; Craig Snow; Eldon Lee; Dave Theiss; Tom Nigbur; Carla Whitley Smith; Debbie McGowan Kacey; Marciano “Marc” Anteola; Hak Dickenson; Rich Otto; Ken Loveless; Anne Lively Baldwin.

 If you are remotely interested in attending the reunion, please send a brief message to this email box so that you can be added to the list.

 “Everyone who has a Facebook page should copy/paste the reunion information on their Facebook pages to spread the news to friends, relatives, anyone who might know someone who graduated in 1966,” wrote our classmate Patti Kueck Daniel in her recent email message. In her reference to the reunion planners, Patti wrote: “Thanks for your valuable volunteer hours.”

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 TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and is maintained by our Class Committee member and Webmaster, Paul Snell, please go to: www.1966whs.com

 The software that Paul used to build the website allows people to access the website through a regular computer as well as a smartphone or digital tablet. At the bottom of each page of the website is a link to a Facebook page that can be used by classmates who have Facebook and want to communicate and receive information through Facebook. Please be sure to bookmark the website address on your computer so that you will have it handy whenever you want to visit the website.

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 “I’m so mad at Cinderella, I could just kill her.” Those are the words expressed by our classmate Patti Kueck during a rather lengthy talk in which classmates were talking about idealistic and other relationships. “We were brought up to believe the Cinderella thing,” said Patti prior to making her comment about being mad at Cinderella.

 Her aforementioned statement was among numerous comments shared during a roundtable discussion at the time of the 20-year reunion held in 1986 in Colorado Springs.

 In the March 2016 update, there was detailed information about the video of the 20-year reunion. Over time – especially 30 years – an old film can fade, shrink, decompose and even crumble to dust. Fortunately, my copy of the video was not bad enough to convert to a modern digital format that people can view.

 Please keep in mind that the 2016 updated version of the 1986 video has NOTbeen remastered, enhanced or restored. The quality is not clear, not crisp. It is best to view it on the standard small screen that displays upon clicking the link. Enlarging the screen decreases the viewing quality.”

 To watch the video of 1 hour and 20 minutes, click here!

 For details of the video, see my March 2016 update on our class website.

 “We must always have old memories and young hopes.”

-- Arsene Houssaye, French novelist and poet

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 PLEASE do not TAKE IT PERSONALLY if you do not hear from me right away. As a volunteer in several nonprofit entities (including the college campus), I have only so much time within which to do my volunteer work as well as tend to my health challenges and other aspects of my personal life. Delays in my replies, in particular, are due to my long sleeping hours during which there is total relief from my neurological illness for which there is no cure. It is now eleven (11) years that I have had massive nerve damage. With this neurological illness continuing to take center stage in my life each day, there cannot be very much so-called normal or routine activities on my part as long as a state of normalcy has not been returned to my life. As noted in my update in July 2013, another reason for delays in my replies is that I have been “slowing down” more and more since late 2012 – it takes me forever to get something done. My doctors attribute the slowness to me getting older, not the neurological illness.

 +++++++++++++++++++++

 This update was prepared by me. 

 Respectfully submitted, 

 Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier 

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname 

a/k/a Butch, family nickname since childhood 

a/k/a Don, presumably the adult version of Donnie 

a/k/a Primo (Cousin) to dozens of my Martinez cousins 

a/k/a El Aguila (The Eagle), a version of Gillie’s name for me

a/k/a Nitpicker Supreme, a title lovingly given to me by Gillie

a/k/a Frank to older women saying I look like their idol Frank Sinatra

a/k/a Dee Dee, a fun name used by people to mean Dear Donnie

 I don’t care what people call me, just call me.

 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Widefield High School Class of 1966

Registration for the 50-year Reunion

 

Name: ___________________________________

Number of People Attending: _______.

 

Year of your Class: ____________.

 

Email address: ____________________________

 

Phone number: ____________________________

 

Amount enclosed: $_____________.

         [$20 for each person attending]

 

Please print this form and send it with your check

payable to “Maryellen Manuszak” via mail to:

Manuszak

P.O. Box 7147

Colorado Springs CO 80933

 

Form + check are due NO LATER than June 1, 2016.

 

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Special Update - March 2016

THE FATHER of our classmate BRUCE McALEXANDER passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, March 9, 2016. The funeral will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, March 14, at Pikes Peak Christian Church located at 4955 Bradley Road (about four blocks East of Main Street and Bradley Road) in Security. Founded in 1956, the church met in a small house on Morningside Drive and later built its first facility on land purchased on Aspen drive. In 2001 the church moved to the Bradley Road location, where it has been located to this day.

 The longtime patriarch of the McAlexander family, Mr. McAlexander had been the Certified Public Accountant for many of our classmates’ parents and their descendants for several decades. Our classmate Marcia Hagans Allin’s husband, Jerry Allin, worked at the McAlexander accounting office for many years. Bruce’s mother passed away almost three years ago (July 2013).

 In his brief note to me on Wednesday night, March 9, Bruce wrote the following about the death of his father:

“He had chosen to go off dialysis after being in the hospital for a few days. It made it easier that he made the decision. We’re okay with many tears and that is good. I’ve always been more concerned when the tears don’t flow.”

 The longtime family friend, Trish Reishus, deserves praise for having been Mr. McAlexander’s caregiver the past few years. In the 1950s up until the mid-1960s, the Reishus family were neighbors of the McAlexander family when they lived on Rose Drive in Security.

In his September 2011 “Security Reflections” article that is still posted in the “Bruce’s Updates” section of our class website, Bruce wrote the following in reference to his father being only 19 years old while flying bomber planes toward the end of World War II:

“As a child, I was oblivious to what my dad had gone through in those bombers. I enjoyed his stories for the most part, but had no idea what he must have felt each time taking off on another mission as such a young man. He was nineteen when flying in those bombers during World War II. His crew had been shot down more than once, but they made it back across to the Ally lines. All of our parents had their stories, including our moms even if they were still home doing whatever was necessary to keep the families together with so many of the men overseas during that war or the Korean war, which had just ended a few years earlier before moving to Security. Ronnie Petty’s mom and dad were caring for the wounded on a ship, where apparently their romance continued despite the war going on. Ken Loveless’s dad was in the Pacific flying fighter planes. There we were as kids, at least Bruce was, running the neighborhood and not being very aware of what so many had done or had been through just a few years earlier.”

 Please join me in extending condolences to the McAlexander family. Although it has been my longtime policy not to publicize street addresses and email addresses in the updates that are broadcast by me, Bruce’s street address was repeatedly listed (with his permission) in all monthly updates leading up to the historic 45-year reunion in 2011. Therefore, his street address once again will be posted in this update. People who would like to send a hard-copy card may do so at the following address:

McAlexander Family

141 Spencer

Manitou Springs CO 80829

People can also extend condolences through the online guest book that will be posted between now and April 10. If you want to send condolences via the online guest book, click here!

 Listed below is the obituary about Mr. McAlexander.

 Respectfully submitted,

 Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

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 Obituary in Gazette newspaper 3/11/16

 Charles J. McAlexander was born on August 3, 1925 on a farm South of Holly, Colorado, the son of John and Minnie McAlexander. He died on March 9, 2016 in Security, Colorado. In between, he lived a life of grace, joy, and purpose. Charles brought delight and found success in every task and endeavor.

 While still in high school, he fell in love with Bonnie Jean Miller, and they were married on October 23, 1943 in Hayes, Kansas. Shortly after marrying Bonnie, he joined the US Army Air Corp where he flew in B17 Bombers from 1944 until the end of the war. This was the beginning of a remarkable lifetime partnership, as he traveled with her from base to base, as he prepared for war, and after his return from Europe, he worked beside her building businesses, growing their family, strengthening churches, sustaining deep friendships, caring for others and finding joy in every circumstance.

 Bonnie and Charles moved to Security, Colorado in 1956 where he started his accounting practice. He continued working as an accountant until his retirement. Charles was active in the community in many ways, whether it was serving as an elder at his church or cheering on the local high school teams. He was a person of abiding faith and trusted Jesus to carry him through every adversity.

 Charles was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Bonnie McAlexander, and his brother Harold Lee McAlexander. Charles is survived by his children Claudia (Bill) Newth of Holyoke, Colorado, Bruce McAlexander of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Charla (Eric) Bogren of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is also survived by grandchildren: Tammy Gillis, Renee Cinkosky, Lance Phair, Crystal Lopez, Melissa Thomson, and Charles McAlexander; and by great-grandchildren: Nicles Long, Taylor Phair, Ashlyn Phair, Katelin Lopez, Christopher Lopez, Haylea Lopez, Scarlett Enriquez, Ty Thomson and Jake Thomson. He is also survived by Trish Reishus, who cared for him in these last years. He leaves behind a host of friends and will be deeply missed.

 A memorial service is planned for Monday, March 14, at 1:00 at Pikes Peak Christian Church, 4955 Bradley Road, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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