Welcome West Branch High School Alumni Association West Branch, Michigan

CLASS OF 1940

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2012 SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED-PAGE 1
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A.F. Lucas, Supt.
Mildred Blumenthal, Principal
Dorothy Flora Miller, Class President
Thelma Burns, Class Sponsor
Richard Bendall, Class Sponsor
* * * * * *

Fritz Clark
Ronald Goldy
Iris Jones Hill
John Mellon
Mary Jane Robinson Sanback
Earl Dawson Jr.
Arwilda McPherson Elliott
Arvid McPherson
Frances MacGregor Bedford
Paul Sackos
Jack Allen
Hazel Hamilton Kerns
Leonard Dunn
Marjorie Hagerman Gold
Jack Hammond
Beulah Dixon Mead
Eileen Clemens Schlaupits
Betty Sleeman Verus
Delores Detzler Robbins
Jean Hooper Maisonville
Margie Jones LaRocque
Dorothy Miller Cooper
Carol Rosebrough Vance
Virginia Sigsbee Monitor
Dorothy McCannon Fernelius
Lois Zettel Gehman
Norma Bennett Ranous
Jean Mayer Flynn
Mary Jane Hayworth Reinhardt
Charlotte Sheppard Parliament
Betty Sheldon Freda
Bonnie Thompson DeMatio
Lois Weston Guest
Ella Reilly McPherson
Eileen Doll
Edith Anderson
Alyce Bemis Block
Eloise Clark Ware
Michael Monaghan
Barbara Rau Evans
Gladys Bennett Mason
Neoma Vincent Norton
Orville Ward
James Nelson
Bernard Towner
John Alton


UNKNOWN ADDRESSES
 
Lois Linsenman Harvey
Lois Zettle Gehman
Jean Mayer Flynn
Virginia Sigsbee Molitor
Dorothy Miller Cooper
Edith Anderson
 


DECEASED CLASSMATES
 
Eileen Clemens Scchlaupts
(July 17, 2009)
John Redmond Mellon
(9/8/16)

Barbara Jean Rau Evans
 
Ella V. Reilly McPherson
(January 30,2012)
 
Bernard Towner
 (Died 7/30/70)
 
Frances E. McGregor Bedford
(December 2010)
 
Alyse Benjamin Block
 
Betty Jane Sleeman Verus
November 21, 2010
 
Leonard Dunn (March 2009)
 
Earl J. Dawson
 (April 8,2006)

John Alton
(1993)

Gladys M. Bennett Mason
(1/14/2001)

Fritz Clark
(1992)

Eileen Doll

Ron Goldy
(1994)

Marjorie Hagerman Pindzsu
(1993)

Jack Hammond
(March 2002)

Jean Hooper Maisonville
(1989)

Dorothy McCannon Fernelius

Arvid A. McPherson
(9/13/1997-WW2-Korea)

Arwilda McPherson Elliott

Michael Monaghan
(February 26, 2006)

Jim Nelson
(1999)
 
Mary Jane Robinson Sanback
(1987)

Paul Sackos
(1986)

Betty Sheldon Braaley
(1995)

Neoma Vincent Reid
(September 11, 1998)

Orville Ward
(1977)

Lois Weston Guest
(December 2, 2002)

Orville Wood
 
Beulah Dixon Mead
 (December 9, 2006)

Bonnie J.L. (Thompson) DeMatio
Died July 15, 2019

Posted Tuesday, July 16, 2019 12:00 am
Bonnie Jean Lucille (Thompson) DeMatio, 96, died peacefully at home in Edwards Township, Ogemaw County, on Monday, July 15, 2019.

Bonnie was born Nov. 4, 1922, the fifth of eight children of Joseph Ernest and Audrey (Gregg) Thompson. She developed her love of family, her work ethic and her thrift at the Thompson farm in Selkirk, where she also learned the arts of homemaking that she’d practice seemingly without tire throughout her life. Her parents, staunch Protestants, guided Bonnie and her siblings in their faith both at home and at nearby Churchill United Methodist Church. Bonnie’s childhood was marked by the hard work of a rural Depression-era household but also fun with siblings and playmates from the neighboring Marshall and Peters families in and around the Rifle River. When she was 3 or 4 years old, she and her brother Howard (Speed) found some matches on their father’s bureau and decided to play with them in the barn. The resulting fire destroyed the barn but there were no casualties. As were many young men and women during the war, Bonnie was recruited to harvest milkweed pods for use in life vests and parachutes for the men in service. An important memory of Bonnie’s was being selected to the court of the famous West Branch Trout Festival in 1938.

After graduating from West Branch High School in 1940, Bonnie enrolled in County Normal for teacher training and taught at the Neal and Red Schools. A young man from the other side of the county who was also a part of the rural teaching corps, Robert John DeMatio, came courting. On June 12, 1942, at a military chapel in Columbia, S.C., the two were wed. Bonnie converted to Catholicism, a rather big deal at the time. In December 1943, Bonnie gave birth to the first of their nine children, Nancy Jeanne, just a couple months before Bob shipped overseas with the U.S. Army. Bonnie, like millions of other women at the time, was a wartime bride and anxious young mother, waiting for letters from “Somewhere in Europe.”

Bob returned to the States in fall 1945 and by summer 1946, the young couple had purchased an 80-acre farm in Edwards Township and settled into the life of a young postwar family. With the exception of the 1948-49 school year, when they moved to Mount Pleasant while Bob completed his studies at Central Michigan University, Bonnie lived in the old farmhouse at the corner of Stillwagon and Greenwood roads for the rest of her life, 73 eventful and joyous years. These were busy times as they developed the farm. Bob taught full-time at West Branch High School, and Bonnie gave birth to child number two, Gregory Vincent, in June 1948.

The babies kept coming: Michael Robert in August 1950, Ann Louise in February 1953, Mark Steven in March 1955, David Joseph in March 1957 and Patricia Sue in September 1958. Bonnie ran the household and raised their growing family with efficiency, thrift and kindness. Nieces and nephews from the city still fondly recall their visits to Uncle Bob and Aunt Bonnie’s farm and homestead during these years. As the 1950s drew to a close, Bonnie and Bob took satisfaction in the lives they’d built for themselves and their seven children, centered on home, farm and St. Joseph Catholic Church and School.

They weren’t done. Brian Andrew arrived in February 1964, and child number nine, Joseph Ernest, in October 1965. Bonnie continued to juggle child care, homemaking and farm chores with grace. There were many good times, and some unhappy ones. On July 4, 1967, the family suffered the devastating loss of 14-year-old Ann Louise, who was killed in a bicycle accident.

After sending her last child off to school in 1970, Bonnie took a job outside the home for the first time, as a clerk at West Branch Jewelry on Houghton Avenue. During more than a decade managing the store, she engraved many charm bracelets, Zippo lighters and other trinkets and helped countless couples choose their wedding engagement rings. Bonnie really enjoyed her time at the store and meeting and serving so many members of the community. We remember her getting ready for work each morning in her polyester pant suits, or “separates,” as she called them, spraying a cloud of AquaNet hairspray and dabbing her wrists with Estee Lauder Youth Dew before setting off for town in her Chrysler Newport.

Bonnie possessed the gift of putting anyone at ease. People just naturally liked her. Search Ogemaw County high and low and you are unlikely to find anyone who has a bad thing to say about her. If she had negative thoughts or opinions about another person, whether a family member, a member of the local community or even a national politician, she was pretty much incapable of verbalizing them. More commonly, she would express concern that someone was “having a hard time of it” or make some other comment that was sympathetic rather than judgmental.

In June 1978, Bob died after years of heart problems, leaving a grieving Bonnie as a 55-year-old widow with two kids still to get through high school. As she had done through all of life’s adversities, she persevered, relying on her faith and her love of family to see her through. Bonnie settled into the 1980s and 1990s as a popular mother-in-law, grandmother and babysitter. Farming, in the past a vocation, now became a satisfying hobby, and another generation of family and friends came to know her as the kindly lady on the corner who could show you how to feed a lamb from a bottle or collect eggs. Kind, gentle and compassionate, Bonnie could also be tough on anyone or any creature who threatened her brood. One time when she was well into her 80s, she used a shovel to dispatch a possum that had been attacking chickens in her barn.

Bonnie continued caring for livestock, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren into her later years. In her 80s, she could be seen driving her Buick to church each Sunday or chauffeuring her group of lady friends to senior dances on Friday nights. For years, she faithfully visited her sister Alice Thompson in the local nursing home, and later, her sister-in-law Joan Thompson.

Bonnie was preceded in death by her parents; siblings, Wendell (Joan Wangler) Thompson, Ernest (Alice Selesky) Thompson, Alice W. Thompson, Howard (Jean Lally) Thompson, Lois (Evan Crow) and Robert (Phyllis Meiser); husband, Robert; daughter, Ann Louise; grandson, Matthew DeMatio; and son-in-law, Keith Carden.

She is survived by her sister, Gladys Kovich of Houston, Texas; children, Nancy J. Carden of Anaheim Hills, Calif., Gregory (Patti), Michael, Mark (Rose) and Dave (Jennifer) DeMatio, all of West Branch, Patricia (Bob) VanderLyn of Stonewall, Texas, Brian of Alger and Joseph (Alan Johnson) of Dexter; in-laws, Tonia DeMatio, Wendy DeMatio and Mark Scally; 13 grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren.

The family would like to acknowledge and thank those people who, in Bonnie’s later years, were drawn to her good nature and loved and cared for her like she had loved and cared for so many, particularly Amey Moeggenborg of Evergreen Clinic, Becky Scott, Carole Dillon, Donna Vest, Mona White, Deb Cramer, Julie Globke, Rose Nelson and Father Emmanuel Finbarr. Also the many nurses from Compassus Hospice who tended to Bonnie in her final weeks.

Donations in memory of Bonnie Jean DeMatio may be made to St. Joseph Elementary School Scholarships, West Branch, or the Ogemaw County Humane Society.

Visitation at Steuernol & McLaren Funeral Home in West Branch will begin Thursday, July 18, 2019, from 2-9 p.m. with a rosary at 3 p.m. and Scripture service at 6 p.m. The funeral Mass will be at the St. Joseph Catholic Church on Friday, July 19, at 1:30 p.m. with visitation starting at 12:30 p.m. Father Emmanuel Finbarr will officiate. Burial will follow at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery.

Online condolences can be shared at www.steuernolmclaren.com.

johnmellon.jpg


John Mellon, age 95, passed peacefully to be with his Lord on Thursday, September 8, 2016 at the Villa at Rose City. He was born to James and Mary Mellon on March 24, 1921 in Lupton, MI. He married Vivian Byce on May 22, 1943 and shared their home north of Lupton with her for 73 years. John was a dairy farmer and a devoted member of the Lupton Friends Church where he taught Sunday School and led music for many years. John and Vivian traveled together throughout the United States and Canada as well as to Brazil, Hawaii, Jamaica, Alaska and the Orient. John was characterized by his integrity, vision and great sense of humor. He was an avid deer hunter and bee keeper. He annually enjoyed making and sharing maple syrup and apple cider. He was a contributing member of the WBRC Historical Society and served on Boards of Education for the Lupton, Rose City and Ogemaw Heights School Districts over a period of more than 30 years. He represented small school districts statewide on the Board of the State Schoolboard Association.

John is survived by his loving wife of 73 years, Vivian; his son, Ron Mellon of Shepherd, MI; his daughters, Donna (Steven) Stoddard of Grand Rapids, MI and Doris (Chris) Hall of West Bloomfield Township, MI; his grandchildren, Jeffrey, James, Aaron, Ellen and Mark as well as seven great grandchildren.

Barbara Rau Evans
barbararauevans.jpg
Class of 1940

Barbara Jean (Rau) Evans, 89, died on Dec. 24, 2012 at the Monte Vista Grove Home in Pasadena, Calif.

Barbara was born in West Branch to the late Thomas P. and Florence (Cooper) Rau on June 28, 1923. She attended West Branch schools, graduating from West Branch High School in 1940. Barbara stayed in West Branch and worked with D.B. McDowell, M.D., until he went into the Army. She later moved to Arizona and worked in the medical field, eventually relocating to Pasadena to become manager of a cancer clinic. In California, she met and married Edward R. Evans, M.D., and worked with him in his medical office until his retirement.

Barbara loved traveling, and she and Edward made many memorable trips to faraway places.

She is survived by her sister, Margaret “Dee Dee” (Rau) Cox; her nieces, Barbara Cox Miras and Margaret Cox; and grandnieces, Beverly and Erika Miras.

She was predeceased by her husband, Edward; and her parents.

No matter where Barbara went, Michigan, and West Branch in particular, remained her “home” and her great love. Now, in accordance with her wishes, Barbara will be buried at Brookside Cemetery near her parents in the family plot.

***********

 

Ella Reilly McPherson
ellareillymcpherson.jpg
Class of 1940

Ella (Reilly) McPherson, 90, of West Branch and St. James City, Fla., passed away on Jan. 30, 2012. (Class of 1940)

She is survived by her husband, Kenneth McPherson; her daughter, Linda (Bob) Ham; and her sons, Kari (Vicki) McPherson and Ernie (Pam) McPherson. Also surviving are her grandchildren, Michael, Zachary, Tim, Patrick and Sarah; and her great-grandchildren, Jacob, Carissa, Olivia, Wyatt, Milla, Blake, Ryan, Alexis and Peyton.

She was born the eldest of eight children to Anna and Walter (Ted) Reilly in Hale on July 2, 1921. She will be mourned by one brother, Henry (Elsie); and her sisters, Anna May Illig(class of 1949), Patricia (Keith) LaFountain,(class of 1952), and Janet (Dalton) Wiltse (class of 1956). She was preceded in death by three brothers, Walter, Allen and Robert (Wanda).

She was a loving, loyal wife and mother and demonstrated her hard-working Christian values in everyday life. She will be missed by all left behind as she celebrates her new life with God.

Ella was a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in St. Clair Shores, and of Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Coral, Fla. A Memorial Service will be held this spring in Michigan, with the time, date and place to be announced

Betty Sleeman Verus
verusbettyphoto.jpg

Betty Jane (Sleeman) Verus, 87, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family at her home in McBride late Sunday, November 21, 2010. She was born to William and Helen (Thomas) Sleeman on July 18, 1923 in West Branch, MI. On November 15, 1947, she married Richard O. Verus in Clio, MI. Betty loved and adored her family. She was an avid bowler and a member of the Bowling Hall of Fame. She was a very talented crocheter and knitter. She enjoyed serving as Mayor of McBride for several years. She was preceded in death by two sisters, Barbara Mason and Erma Shepard; brother, Richard Seeman; and children, Timothy Verus and Judith Verus. Surviving are her loving husband of 63 years, Richard O. Verus; sons, Terry (Judy) Verus of Six Lakes and Randal (Janet) Verus of Eaton Rapids; daughter, Pamela (Shane) Delamater of McBride; six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; brothers-in-law, Jerry Verus and Bob Verus; sister-in-law, Mona Sleeman; and many nieces and nephews.

Charlotte Sheppard Parliament..Class of 1940
charlottesheppardparliamentgrad.jpg
Graduation Picture

Hazel Hamilton Daniels..Class of 1940
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Recent Picture Taken in December 2006

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8110 Perry Road, Houghton Lake, Michigan 48629
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