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Manchester High School
437 West Nimisila Road
Akron, OH 44319
(330) 882-3291

  Class of '79 Newsletter

Vol. 4 -- May 2005

Class of '79 Newsletters are written & edited independently by MHS '79 grads, with no implied endorsement from Manchester Local Schools.

I: Mid-Year "MINI-REUNION" at Panchos ..... outside on our own private patio!

Date Change! TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2005 at 6:30pm(instead of Monday---sports banquet conflict)

* Who:MHS Class of '79 friends
* What: Casual dinner/appetizers/margarita & socializing ( No fee...just buy your own food/drinks)

* Where: Pancho's Southwest Grille in Green / 4325 Massillon Rd. (south patio if warm; otherwise, private dining room)

* When: Tue., June 7th, 2005 at 6:30pm

* Why: This is the fourth regular after-work get-together we've organized for our classmates to socialize.

If you'd like them to continue, it's a real good time to show your support--and have some fun.

Suzanne (McKenney) Newman is coming in from Chicago for this particular event.

EASY TO FIND : Exit off I-77 at Masillon Rd. (Rt. 241...this is only a mile south of the Arlington Rd. exit). Head south for 1.5-miles.

II: Where are They Now...? Bob Gegick / Diane Gillig / Scott Roberts

Catching up with: BOB GEGICK Country Club grass IS greener in Pennsylvania !

Bob has been married to Kym for 10 yrs., and has a new-millennium daughter, Grace—who was born New Year's Day 2000. "She plays the piano and occupies most of our time and space," Bob says. The family has lived in Wexford , PA (near Pittsburgh ) since '99.

Education / Occupation : Bob's been in the turf industry since 1976. He got a Business Degree from Univ. of Akron in '83; then his Turfgrass Science Degree from Penn State Univ. two yrs. later. He has worked at Oakmont Country Club (for '83 U.S. Open!), Shaker Heights C.C., Williams C.C. in W. Va. , and since '92 has been at Butler C.C. in Butler , PA. He's held a Superintendent title the last 16 yrs. Bob finds his job "an exciting meld of education and experience against nature and member expectations."

Family : Kym has a successful career as a drug representative; stepson Brad (24) attends college & plays basketball in Pittsburgh ; and stepson Michael (26) is on active duty in the Air Force, doing his 2nd tour in Iraq .

Life is so good, Bob's pooch even won a 2004 Dog of the Year contest, with $1000 going to his local supt.'s organization .

Hobbies, etc : Golf, music, working on yard, teaching his daughter everything he's learned

MHS memory : "Being able to go to school with most of my classmates for 12 years and into my college years is something very special. Manchester was a very happy place for me, and I hold great memories of my time there."

Favorite teacher : "I enjoyed all of the teachers I had." (C'mon Bob, ya don't need brownie-points anymore!) J

Notes: Traveled somewhat in the U.S. , and enjoyed the Grand Canyon & Sonoma Valley in N. Calif. the most.

Pet-Peeve of last quarter-century: "The loss of innocence, although I've found it again with my daughter."

Favorite TV show: Most any sports will do--although he misses NHL hockey

Favorite music: Bob works-out listening to music, but dislikes most of the current stuff. He sticks with Black Crowes, Genesis, Queen, Mathew Sweet & Rush. "I've developed a strong liking for live-recordings versus studio work. So I look for live work by various artists," he says.

Bob would love to hear from old friends at :

Catching up with: DIANE (Bujorian) GILLIG 5 Guys, a Girl....prisoners and Augusta , GA

Diane met John in a class at Akron U, and they've been married now for 22 years, with four kids: Andrew (21), Adam (19), Anthony (14) and Jack (12). The family lived in Munroe Falls until last year, when they finally tired of Ohio winters—and headed south to Augusta, Georgia, home of PGA's The Masters.

Education / Occupation : Diane got her Master's Degree in Counseling from the Univ. of Akron , and in Ohio worked as a mental health counselor with individuals who had pending felony charges in the Summit County Prosecutor's Diversion Program. She was also the facilitator for the City of Akron 's Discretionary Rehabilitation Program (a misdemeanor diversion program). Since moving south, she has worked for the State of Georgia , first as a Treatment Program Specialist in a juvenile prison, and now as a supervisor of the Psychosocial Rehabilitation & Peer Support Programs for McDuffie County Community Mental Health Center .

Family : Diane's husband, John, is a controller at an auto dealership. Andrew attends Georgia Southern, Adam attends Savannah College of Arts & Design, and Anthony and Jack are both in middle school.

Hobbies, etc : Running, gardening and beach vacations

Favorite MHS memory: Pre-gaming while walking to the football games with Sue Housley and Jennifer Jenkins

Least favorite memory: Being one of the only two seniors to ride the bus! Thanks, Bob Gegick, for being there!!

Feel free to drop Diane a note at :

Catching up with: SCOTT ROBERTS ....Missile Defense expert in Nebraska

" First, thanks to all those involved with the MHS Newsletter . Here's my last 25-years, the condensed version: I joined the Air Force in Sept. '79, was a Flight Mechanic & traveled all over the world--sometimes living in a tent in Egypt , or staying in a hotel in Waikiki . After the military, I transferred to the Dept. of Air Force, working as a civilian, and now have 22 yrs. I currently work in the Information Technology field as an Architect/Engineer in Missile Defense."

Family: "I got married at 20, and we had 2 boys, Blake & Chad. Unfortunately, like so many marriages, it ended in divorce. And tragically, Blake passed away last year; we have learned to cherish the time we had together and to appreciate life. He was a great kid and we miss him. Chad is now 20, and attending school in Wisconsin --still undecided on a major. I married Lynette (a Registered Nurse) in 1992, and we have two girls, Amanda, 7, and Megan, 5. We've lived in the Omaha area since '87, so I have come to accept this as 'home,' even though I always thought I'd return to Manchester one day."

School: "I attended the JVS (Machine Trades), and never really used the vocation professionally, but have to say that indirectly it was a benefit; no regrets. I now have degrees in Aeronautics and Computer Science. I remember thinking 'no more school' at graduation; funny how our attitudes change (thank goodness)."

Least Favorite MHS memory : Getting paddled by Mr. McDowell because of my older brother, Dan...a "payback" he (jokingly) told me. "He also gets my vote for favorite memory and teacher because of the really cool science projects and his warped sense of humor. I always looked forward to his class."

Biggest Pet-Peeve: Hands-down, too much information!

Favorite TV show: American Chopper Favorite CD: Eagles, Greatest Hits

Activities & Hobbies: "Amanda & Megan are both involved in swimming, gymnastics & softball—so our time is spent transporting and cheerleading. Our hobbies ARE...'transporting and cheerleading!' It's very rewarding."

Scott welcomes your emails at :

 III: MHS Trivia Answers & added lowdown ( questions from our last issue, Vol. 3 )

Well, we really tried to give them away...but the Seinfeld DVDs are safe. So here are the contest answers :

1) When we staged our well-publicized student walkout, what 2 teachers' jobs (primarily) were we trying to save?

Bruce Wertz & Karen Tabor. Mrs. Tabor, incidentally, has been at Ellet High since her MHS position was cut thru "staff reduction" (by seniority). She teaches with one of our classmates' stepmoms, and now has about 30-yrs. of service.

2) We had 3 different principals during our 4-years at MHS. Who were they?

Jere Edwards , who now lives in the Carolinas ; Dennis Lambes, current Supt. at nearby Northwest; and...Fred Crewse.

3) What brainiac was our class valedictorian? Greg Still (who we hope to profile in a future issue)

4) Which Rod Stewart song did Brenda Nipper lip-sync during our senior Gong Show? "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" // Brenda's loss can't be overstated. She was the "life of the party," and certainly one of the funniest members of our class. Brenda suffered a heart-attack in 2000, shortly before her only son's first birthday, and will always be sadly missed---and never forgotten.

5) Doug Miller started at varsity quarterback for more years than any QB Jim France has ever coached. How many?

Three years ---an impressive accomplishment, considering that Mr. France has coached over 35 years!

6) Name ANY exchange-student Manchester hosted during our years at the high school.

Dominic, Kathy Horosko, Steve Blane, Diana Boccardi...remember any others?

7) Rebels that we were, the MHS students launched a boycott---demanding an improvement of something. What was it?

Better vending-machine food! Apparently, the dry sandwiches in those machines weren't cutting it...and our boycott did actually prompt a change. Do you recall the young (and unaware) male substitute teacher who approached the old machines during the boycott and was booed lustily?

8) Which teacher was unusually fond of "Star Trek"....Mr. Biss, Mr. Armenti, or Mr. McDowell? While all 3 of these guys were pretty funny...geometry wiz Mr. Armenti is the trekkie you'd find discussing time-travel with Capt. Kirk & Mr. Spock.

9) What was our Senior Prom theme/song? "We've Got Tonight" by Bob Seger

-or- What school became our arch-rival in the All-Ohio Conference? Orrville---how many league titles did that school cost us, anyway?! On a sad note: Steve Smith, who became Orrville's fiery, longtime basketball coach during our sophomore year--amassing over 500 career wins--lost a courageous battle with cancer a few months ago at 59.

10) Where in downtown Manchester can you still find the 12-seat old-fashioned soda counter we "dined" at growing up?

Cope Pharmacy ...linked to our class through Matt, of course.

IV: MHS Athletic Clean-Sweep in 2004-05: Three PAC-7 Championships!

The MHS varsity baseball team, coached by Roger Taylor and led by Miami-bound star Jordan Petraitis (.532 batting ave., 7-2 pitching record) , just finished 12-7, co-champions of the PAC-7 with CVCA . This completes a school year in which both the football and basketball teams also won league championships! Congrats to all...  

V: The Email Exchange Say "Hi" to an, former classmate!

UPDATE, Jan. '06 : For over a year, we've gathered MHS '79 classmates' email addresses and requested specific permission to list them here in our "Email Exchange" section. After sharing them in increments throughout '05 , we re-published the entire list in Vol. 7 of our newsletter .

To be listed , SEND YOUR NAME & EMAIL ADDRESS (and any other '79 friends') to:

VI: MHS Grad Submarine Tragedy featured on CBS's 60 Minutes II

Last Wed. (5/17), 60 MinutesII examined the submarine tragedy that claimed the life of 1999 MHS graduate

Joe Ashley in January. The expose uncovered reasons why the U.S. nuclear sub crash near Guam was preventable, and also revealed the magnitude of the accident—the severely-damaged vessel nearly failed to rise to the surface. This year's Memorial Day Parade in Manchester has been dedicated to Joe's honor, and his parents will serve as Grand Marshals. The event begins Monday at 10am at Trinity Chapel on Manchester Rd. , and continues to the Manchester Cemetery , where a ceremony will be held.

VII: News Around Manchester:

* The district's 1 . 58-mil renewal levy for operating expenses passed this month by a resounding 74-26% margin .

* There has long been a need for additional funds, and the administration has held off asking for as long as possible. But the new levy will appear on the ballot in Aug. The teachers and other unions have already agreed to wage-freezes. Let's hope the community rallies behind this effort, as well, so the schools can remain solvent and independent. (By the way, Manchester has the 2 nd -lowest tax-rate among the 17 Summit Co. school districts.)

* The MHS drama club recently staged an elaborate production of The Sound of Music, and we're told it was superb. (Can American Idol fans ever watch this musical again without recalling Simon's one-word review -- "hideous" -- of poor Anthony Federov's rendition of Climb Every Mountain?)

* Did you see the recent news feature about a Manchester family now making hi-fashion purses & other types of tote-bags by sewing together empty metallic/colorful drink-pouches, like Hi-C & Capri Sun? Million-dollar idea??

VIII: New MHS Basketball Website:

Check out this relatively-new website devoted to Manchester High basketball . It's created and maintained by boys junior varsity coach (and H.S. teacher) A.J. Hite and Middle School teachers (and former players) Nate Schindewolf and Scott Ross. While acknowledging the rich hoops tradition at MHS, the site primarily covers the past 20 years under head coach Gene Schindewolf---and even includes links to colleges where former players are now involved. Some of the individual records are especially interesting.

IX: Scene Magazine goes "inside" the Northwest High scandal

Our last newsletter referred to the recent convictions of 14 Northwest students involved in so-called "break-ins" at a 91-year-old man's home. The April 13th issue of Scene Magazine dug deeper into the bizarre case, and made it a Cover Story, "Ghost In The House," complete with shocking photos of the dilapidated "haunted house" where the old-timer lives...sadly, more or less as a hobo. The story—including how the kids were led out of school in handcuffs—seems to question aspects of the prosecution. You can read the very interesting article on-line at this link: (Caution: contains some raw language)

X: NEWSPAPER NEW-MATH: One minus One = 3 Local Weeklies ... only in Manchester

In April '05, The Suburbanite announced it was losing money and ceasing production. This caused immediate unrest in the community, as it was the only remaining weekly newspaper covering the Portage Lakes region in-depth. Within days, the Beacon Journal announced it would begin a new weekly covering the area, entitled "77 South." Then the Green Leader changed its name to the "South Side News" and expanded its coverage to include the news-deprived areas. Then, The Suburbanite folks changed their mind, saying they'd begin accepting voluntary payment for their paper—and continue production. Net result: Manchester residents now have 3 weeklies to read and recycle. How will the area support those production costs, we wonder, with advertisers split 3 ways?

The debut issue of 77 South included a nice feature on Manchester teacher Brad Petraitis. Here's a link to the story, if you'd like to read it:

(It may first lead you to a quick-&-easy free registration page at, the Beacon's website)  

XI: IMPRESS YOUR TEENS with this One Tree Hill odyssey

Cindy (Williams) Schuckert 's 18-yr-old daughter & two friends have " connections" thru a crew member on The WB teen-soap, One Tree Hill—and he arranged for all 3 to travel to Wilmington, NC, and appear as "extras" earlier this month. They were treated like royalty, Cindy says, and got to meet stars like Barbara Alyn Woods & Paul Johansson (who play "Nathan's" parents & were especially nice)... and current heartthrob Chad Michael Murray, who they were less-than-impressed with (very tardy & tipsy). A cool experience most teen girls would flip for...

Our Sincere Condolences...

The Class of '79 extends its sympathies to four classmates, each of whom lost their father within the last seven weeks: Larry Squire... Jeff Copelin... Tanya (Eckroad) Bailey... and Tom McLaughlin. One of our old school custodians, Sam Smith, 84, and longtime Panther supporter Bill Campbell (Jeff's dad) also passed away this month..

Though several of us have tried to acknowledge classmates' family deaths with sympathy cards and, when possible, a visit to calling hours, our committee recently agreed that we'd like to begin showing our concern & support—as a class. So, Brian Benton ('79) , who, of course, owns Flowers By Dick & Son, is working with us to help provide an appropriate flower/planter when needed locally...from the "MHS Class of '79." For now, we'd like to try this for local funerals of a parent, spouse or child. We do our best to notice obits in the Beacon Journal, but occasionally things slip by us. So if you become aware of something locally (or out-of-state), please give us a heads-up email.

FLOWER FUND DONATIONS : To help cover the costs, we're accepting voluntary donations to establish our class funerals "flower fund." If everyone just kicks in a couple dollars, it'll really help us continue these small gestures. You can mail any checks to: Manchester Class of '79, c/o Monica ( Jordan ) Wagar, 677 Gougler Rd. , Akron , OH 44319 . We appreciate your assistance, as will our friends who are going through family tragedies we'll all face at some point.


TUESDAY, June 7: Class of '79 Mid-Year "Mini-Reunion" at Panchos ( 6:30pm )

MID-JULY: Class of '79 Newsletter, Vol. #5 arrives

MONDAY, August 1: Class of '79 get-together at Panchos

FRIDAY, Sept. 9: MHS Hall of Fame induction at first home football game—details later

MID-SEPT: Class of '79 Newsletter, Vol. #6 arrives

FRIDAY, Sept. 23: Homecoming football game, with Alumni Tent event...don't miss this!

SUNDAY, Oct. 9: Class of '79 reps assist Alumni Assn. at Browns game (tentative)

MHS Class of '79 Reunion / Newsletter Committee : class president Monica Jordan (Wagar), Tanya Eckroad (Bailey), Beth Bjerre (Stewart), Dana Tomich (Zaratsian), Barb Carmichael (Wilson), Bob Kolar, Tammy Hercules (Dixon), Suzanne McKenney (Newman), Sue (Guthrie) Snyder, Eric Stone.

Need to contact us? Email / 330-928-0495


Editor's Note: Class of '79 Newsletters are written & edited independently by MHS '79 grads , with no authorization or implied endorsement from Manchester Local Schools. Our purpose is to stay in touch with our classmates in the years leading up to our 30-Year Reunion in 2009, with interesting news items and nostalgic memories. We hope this effort will encourage participation in class activities, and make it easier to locate everyone when necessary.