DANSVILLE — A little more than a dozen longtime friends from Dansville High School’s Class of 1953 had the chance to catch up and reminisce at Scoville’s Grill on July 19 for their 65th class reunion.
“They were about every year until last year,” Jeanne (Sterner) Wolfanger said of the reunions. But since this was the 65th year, she couldn’t let it slip by. So, she organized it from her home in Florida.
Wolfanger, a retired Hornell High School guidance counselor, was also the attendee who traveled the farthest. Some of the others who attended traveled from Hornell, Canisteo and Rochester. Some, such as Joseph King and Jim Gray, have lived in Dansville their whole lives.
King served his community as a 50-year member for The Protectives. Gray worked for Shay’s trucking for 30 years, mostly on the loading dock, and was a Dansville school bus driver in the 1960s.
In school, Gray was a member of the Future Farmers of America. Both he and King remember that they had to get back home after school for chores on the farm, with no time for after-school activities.
Few who were asked remembered after school activities or sports, but Carl Gibson remembered fellow classmate Dick Worth as “the best baseball player who ever came out of Dansville.” Worth, who couldn’t be at the reunion, played ball professionally for a time in the minor leagues.
But others reminisced that their after-school ‘activity’ was going to The Sugar Bowl on Main Street. At the time, The Sugar Bowl was located across the street from where it is now.
Dennis Donovan and Rita (Moose) Thomas remembered it well and said it was always full. Onnolee (Burger) Sutfin, who has also lived in Dansville her whole life, remembered the nickelodeon.
“Things were good in the olden days,” Thomas said regarding The Sugar Bowl. “Yeah they were,” Sutfin agreed with a smile.
Another fond memory for Thomas was when the circus came to town — elephants and all — in the elementary school.
The high school was where the Genesee Community College Satellite Campus is now located, with their former elementary school, now demolished, next door along Church Street. The current elementary school building opened their graduating year. Their graduating class had a little more than 50 students.
Donovan remembers how great it was to go from the large classrooms in Rochester to the small classrooms in Dansville.
“It was great,” he said. “It made a difference in my ability to study.”
Donovan went from a ‘C’ average in Rochester to an ‘A’ average in Dansville, and credits the small classrooms as having made the difference.
After high school, Donovan went to RIT to study electrical engineering, and went on to get a Masters Degree in Statistics.
Thomas went to SUNY Geneseo and became a fourth grade teacher in Canisteo. Regarding the 65th anniversary, she said with a smile, “It makes me feel good to see everyone.”
Donovan called it, “A trip of nostalgia.”
Donovan, Thomas and Sutfin all agreed that after 65 years, they still feel like 18-year-olds.