PHS classmates reunite 70 years after graduating

Blake Broding / For the Union-Eagle Members of the Princeton High School Class of 1943 met for 70th reunion this past weekend. They are: (back row, left to right) Russell Sarner, Ruth Hoehn-Teboe, Rosa Mae Renback-Severson, Douglas Sanford, Helen Matson, Doris Linderman-Reinhardt, Verna Anderson-Bolling, Burnadine and Anderson-Johnson. (front row, left to right) Donna Soule-Bigelow, Esther Jensen-Olson, Shirley Webb-Canfield, Murlen Kellar, Betty Umbehocker-Amdall, and Ken Amdall.

Blake Broding / For the Union-Eagle
Members of the Princeton High School Class of 1943 met for 70th reunion this past weekend. They are: (back row, left to right) Russell Sarner, Ruth Hoehn-Teboe, Rosa Mae Renback-Severson, Douglas Sanford, Helen Matson, Doris Linderman-Reinhardt, Verna Anderson-Bolling, Burnadine and Anderson-Johnson. (front row, left to right) Donna Soule-Bigelow, Esther Jensen-Olson, Shirley Webb-Canfield, Murlen Kellar, Betty Umbehocker-Amdall, and Ken Amdall.

Fourteen members of the Princeton High School Class of 1943 met for their 70th anniversary class reunion Saturday, July 13, at Bud’s Place in Princeton.
“It went really good,” classmate Ruth Teboe said about the reunion. Teboe, whose maiden name was Hoehn, said that one of the reasons why there were only four men among the 14 classmates at the reunion was that the class had only 20 males to begin with. The fact that women generally live longer than men might also have contributed to only four male classmates attending.
“There were a lot of widows,” she said.
Teboe remembers the class originally having 65 members and that it was the largest PHS class to graduate at that time.
The class has had a reunion every year since its 60th year reunion, with the exception of 2010 when the two bridges alongside Riverside Park in Princeton were being replaced.
Teboe wasn’t with her class all 12 years, as she was in country school north of the city for her first two years of schooling. Then her father Fred Hoehn moved into town to be part of a dairy farm he bought with his brother Albert on land where much of the Princeton Golf Course is now. The building that was once the 12-grade school is now Crystal Court Apartments. Long before it was closed as a school, it had gone from being a 12-grade building to a junior high and then a middle school.
Because of lack of space at the school in 1943, the graduation ceremony was in the city’s armory, now a funeral home. Teboe remembers the air being “fairly hot” during the graduation ceremony and that she did not like the “overwhelming fragrance” from the gardenias worn by classmates.
“I was sick to my stomach,” she said.
Zelpha Holman was the valedictorian, and the yearbook that year was just paper copies because of the conservation of materials during the war effort.
Many of the males in Teboe’s class joined the military after graduation. One of them, George Abrahamson, died  in a car accident one year after graduating.
“Oh, it was very upsetting because that was one of our classmates and it wasn’t in the service, it wasn’t in the war, and he was killed,” Teboe said.
Teboe, after graduation, began working at the Sears store and office building at Lake Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis. Her job was to read complaint letters from customers and write back responses.
“It was a good starting job,” she said. “Help was hard to get (because of so many being either in the military or working in military industries). Anyone could get a job.”
After 2 1/2 years at the Sears job, Teboe moved to Seattle to begin what would be a short stint for the Army Signal Corps. After a week on the job, the war ended, she said. She stayed on for four more months “to close up the place,” and then transferred to a job in Seattle with the Federal Housing Administration. She worked there until either 1947 or ‘48, she said, and then returned to Minneapolis to work for the FHA office there for a while.
Teboe moved to California in 1951, where she worked for Pacific Gas & Electric in San Francisco five to six years. Her job was secretary to Charles M. Coleman, who she said was writing a book on the history of PG&E, and her part in that was to type and proofread.
She worked at PG&E five years until she had daughter Julie, the first of her two children. Two years later she had son Dan, and later divorced. Her next move was to Sacramento because she had a sister there, she said. She worked for a certified public accountant for six years and then returned to Minnesota, settling back into Princeton. She worked the next 23 years at Princeton State Bank, now Bremer.
She took one more job after that, for which she was affectionately known as “Grandmother Ruth.” Her job was being a foster grandmother for 10 years, assisting in remedial reading instruction at North Elementary.
Retired since 1988, the 87-year-old Teboe reflected on having graduated in 1943.
“I can’t believe we lived that long,” she said. Of course the “we” consists of fewer class members now. “Thirty-four we know for sure have passed away,” she said of her classmates.
Teboe has been sending out postcards each year in advance of class reunions to gauge a classmate’s interest in a reunion, and said that if a postcard is not returned, she assumes the person is dead.
Out of her classmates still living, four of them felt the 70th reunion was important enough to come some distance. Two live in Illinois, one in Georgia and one in Colorado. The two in Illinois are  classmates Kenneth Amdall and Betty Umberhocker, who are married to each other.
Umberhocker wrote for the class’s 50th reunion booklet that she and Amdall explored for gas and oil for 14 years and moved more than 30 times, seeing much of the United States while young. He became a paper maker and she a nursing instructor. As of that writing, the couple called Chicago their home, and they played bridge, square danced, bicycled, cross-country skied, fished and became officers in organizations. Amdall was also using his law degree to do legal work in trusts, estates and wills. Umberhocker at the time was gathering information for the U.S. Census Bureau.
Teboe was asked if she found any surprises in attending the 70th class reunion.
“Some of them have changed so much, while some have not changed at all, other than aging,” she answered.

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