Tell about your family, hobbies, interests, travel, etc., etc..
Your classmates want to know all about you!
Karen ÒJoyÓ Stefon Spindler
ItÕs hard to believe 50 years have gone by since graduation, and in many cases it has been that long since IÕve seen some of you. We may be a little grayer, a little thinner or stockier, and have a few more wrinkles, but I am sure the recognition will be there.
After graduation I attended Wisconsin State University-River Falls, receiving my Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education in 1967. I accepted a teaching position at Centennial High School as a Teacher/Coach in Speech, English and Drama in 1968 and continued through 1976 when we relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah.
In 1966 I married Jim Spindler (Class of Õ59) and we moved to Columbia Heights, Minnesota. We were blessed with our beautiful baby girl, Stephanie, in 1967. In 1995, Steph married her college sweetheart, Brock Varoz in a beautiful outside ceremony at Alta Ski Resort, located in the Wasatch Mountains. Steph has pursued a career in education and Brock is employed at Alta Ski Resort. Jim and I consider ourselves fortunate in having them as our children and our best friends.
As I mentioned earlier, we relocated to Salt Lake City in 1976 when Jim had an opportunity to advance his career with Unisys. After taking a year off to get the three of us settled into our new home, I accepted a position as Executive Director for the Utah Campfire Council (1978-1982). It was a great job at the time, something I could share with Steph, but a lot of hard work. Being head of a non-profit organization, you are constantly writing grants and fund-raising.
In 1982 I had the opportunity to change my career path to Human Resources. I started out as a Benefits Administrator for Natter Manufacturing, a sheet metal fabricator with 150 employees, and advanced to H.R. Manager in 1989. Unfortunately, I had to orchestrate a plant shut-down in 1993 when our Canadian owners decided to move the work to Canada. This was the most difficult job I have had to do. In 1994 I accepted a position as H.R. Manager for Mark Steel Corporation, custom fabricator of plate and structural steel for the oil, gas, and mining industries. I ride herd on 150-200 skilled welders, fabricators, and support staff. I enjoyed the job when I started and still enjoy it. I guess that is why I am still working full-time, I enjoy my work and the little bell hasnÕt gone off in my brain saying it is time to move on. However, I think I will join Jim in retirement next year.
We enjoy traveling with our children, friends and family to warm sunny locations, enjoying the beaches, deep sea fishing and snorkeling. We try to make an annual trip to the Riviera Maya in Mexico, have made several trips to Hawaii, along with cruises to the Caribbean. We even managed to be on the Big Island of Hawaii when the major earthquake hit in 2006. That was quite the experience! Another highlight was participating as a spectator in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games that were held in Utah, taking in several venues and enjoying the international climate. Jim and I dabble at golf and enjoy the companionship of our English Springer Spaniel, Daisy, aka: Crazy Daisy and Daisy Duke.
I am looking forward to seeing you all at our 50th Class Reunion and extend an invitation to each of you to stop and see us if you pass through Salt Lake City.
50 years in a nutshell:
After high school graduation I attended UWRF for three years, took three years off, returned to college and graduated in 1970 with an English education degree. During those three "in-between" years, I lived in San Francisco, earned $60 a week working in an office, paid $80 a month rent, and was there for the "summer of love", Haight-Ashbury, and the height of hippiedom. Never shedding my hayseed essence, to this day I have no idea what marijuana looks like!
I taught high school English for three years and, not wanting to spend several years in prison for assault, acknowledged my error as to a career, enrolled in business school, and worked in offices at the MN Department of Corrections and UW-Stout until retirement in 2009.
I married Lowell Hanson in 1975 and acquired my two older kids, Janell and Paul, as bonuses. Jennie was born to us in 1981. All SVHS graduates, they live in The Woodlands, TX; Casper, WY; and Dammam, Saudi Arabia. The jury is still out on whether excellent parenting gave them a sense of adventure and independence, or they couldn't wait to get as far away from home as possible. But I have all of them home in the summer for several weeks.
I served two terms on the Spring Valley School Board.
Acquiring kids through marriage made me a young grandmother. Janell has a girl and two sets of fraternal twin boys. The oldest (26) are Cory (MI Wolverines football alumnus now coaching at the University of AZ-Tucson) and Cody (USMC). Paul has two talented musicians - Eric (22) and Aaron (17), and Janell's youngest, Caitlin (14), Braeden and Brendan (12) are at home. Jennie is newly married without children.
Travel: I took advantage of the Quarter Abroad program (Europe) in 1965 and another to the Soviet Union and satellite countries (1970) while at River Falls. I took a dream vacation to Tahiti in 1968. Then 42 years went by before spending almost two months in Bahrain visiting Jennie. The Arab world is enchanting. I love it.
In 2001, I helped organize the first Davis family reunion since 1881. Looks like we have them every 120 years. Lowell and I spent a wonderful week in Truro, MA on Cape Cod, my ancestral roots, becoming acquainted with 40+ long-lost, distant relatives. I am this generation's Davis family genealogist. I've spent many years compiling hundreds of family papers, letters and journals; solved mysteries; saw personalities emerge; flushed out scandals; found living relatives; discovered brushes with historical figures; and learned spoiled brats existed 150+ years ago. I organized this information, wrote and self-published several "books", and donated them to the Truro Historical Society. This led to a connection with an author (Stauffer Miller) writing a book about Cape Cod's Civil War history. Two of my ancestors (one good guy, one scoundrel) are included in Hoisting Their Colors: Cape Cod's Civil War Navy Officers (2008). Book number two is Cape Cod and the Civil War: The Raised Right Arm (2010). I became his researcher and bloodhound, declined his offer of co-authorship, but requested he lay it on thick in the books' acknowledgements. A third book is currently seeking a publisher.
Inconsequential bits of trivia: I have seen five US Presidents in the flesh - Ronald Reagan (campaigning for governor in CA), Gerald Ford (convention speaker), Bill Clinton (campaign blitz through WI) , George W. Bush (ditto), and Barack Obama (U. of MI graduation speaker). I saw Robert Kennedy, campaigning in San Francisco, two days before he was assassinated.
I've seen the Bolshoi Ballet perform twice - once in San Francisco and once in Moscow - , Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, and the Metropolitan Opera.
Looking at the big picture, my life hasn't been as mundane as I sometimes think it is.
Lowell died in 2004 and, in what must have been a residual lapse of sanity, Jennie and I acquired two springer spaniels. Kids get dogs, kids leave home, Mom gets dogs. They renew my lease every year and allow me to live in their house.
I'm pumped for our 50th reunion and can't wait to see everyone.