Nineteen graduates out of 26 attended with four deceased. Six were in attendance who attended Verona High School but graduated at other schools.
The class toured the new Verona facility with William Sweet, Verona superintendent, as the guide. The school that the Class of 1961 remembered was gone with the exception of the gymnasium, stage and shop, which is now the kindergarten. The class gathered at Grant's in Monett for a meal and a program.
Donald "Zip" Roder served as master of ceremonies. Kenneth Bandy gave the invocation and memoriam for deceased class members Patsy (Raines) Scheffler, Dona Stafford, William Weathermon and Bula Ruckman.
The class members introduced spouses and shared memories of school days such as trips to Jefferson City, basketball games, band and orchestra concerts, carnival kings and queens, Vern's Berger Bar and drive-through the License Bureau in Aurora.
The following awards were presented: most children, Jackie Gilmartin; most grandchildren, Linda Gayle Jones Vandellen; traveling the farthest distance, Linda Jones Vandellen, of Champlin, Minn. and Teddy Fischer, of Omaha Neb.; traveled most states, Judy Clark Sellars, 44 states; traveled most countries, Donald Zip Roder; tallest person, Phil Hudson; shortest person, Elaine Tidmore Kidwell; most education, college, Derf Eukel; living shortest distance from the Verona School, Peggy Browning Paynter; and highest degree obtained in college, J.D. Berry. The Lifetime Achievement Award with a bouquet of flowers was presented to Peggy (Browning) Paynter for 50 years of keeping the class together.
Johnny Fritz made bird houses that were won by Phil Hudson and Linda Jones Vandellen. Phil and Ramni Hudson furnished the cake with the class picture imprinted on it. Judy Clark Sellars made cloth baskets for all of the classmates. Dale Gage was given handcrafted slippers for the longest feet.
Donald Zip Roder painted "Class of 1961" on the discarded bricks from Verona High School for the classmates to take home for a souvenir. The class will was read by Linda Gayle (Jones) Vandellan.
Sondra (Netzer) Probstfield read "The Remembrance" written by Peggy Paynter on the first reunion held in 1981. It was noted that 11 couples out of 19 have been married 40 to 50 years.
A thank you was given to David Probstfield, videographer for all the class reunions through the years, and to Mike Scott, photographer, who photographed each reunion.
The evening ended with a poem read by Donald Roder entitled "The Class Reunion." J.D. Berry led everyone in singing of the VHS school song.
Original class members present were: Peggy Browning Paynter, Delores Bowling Eukel, Judy Clark Sellars, Jo Lamp Hayward, Sondra Netzer Probstfield, Sharon McRoberts Bandy, Larry Prevo, Linda Gayle Jones Vandellen, Sharon Sanders Young, Donald Zip Roder, Mike Fields, Phil Hudson, Kenneth Bandy, Dale Gage, Teddy Fischer, Robert Garoutte, Jackie Gilmartin, J.D. Berry and Jimmy Mayberry.
Shirley Mann Olson, of Everett, Wash., sent a letter of congratulations. Lynda Garoutte Perriman, of Excelsior Springs, called the restaurant to wish everyone congratulations.
Dale Daniel Wright was the only class member who was unable to be located. Members of the class present who graduated from other schools were: Elaine Tidmore Kidmore, Linda Schnake Fry, June Carr Fritz, Barbara Shumaker Samuels, Mary Edwards McBride and Kay Lawson Manes.