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

  Class of '79 Newsletter
 

Vol. 5 -- July 2005

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

I: Que pasa? F INAL Summer Mini-Reunion at Pancho's It's our 5th one....each better than the last!

MONDAY, AUG . 1, 2005 6:30pm OUTSIDE , once again, on the south patio — ideal for our group!

* Who:MHS Class of ' 79 friends

* What: Casual dinner/social gab-fest ( No fee...just buy your own food/drinks)

* Where: Pancho's Southwest Grille in Green / 4325 Massillon Rd. (private dining room, if weather's bad)

* When: In less than 2 weeks! Mon., Aug. 1, 2005 at 6:30pm

* Why: The June event was such fun, we closed the place down after 10pm . New faces keep joining us, and wonder why they hadn't come sooner! Stop by just once & see what you're missing — a lot of old classmates who'd really like to catch-up!

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: RANDY SNYDER elected to MHS Athletic Hall of Fame! See the induction LIVE! -- Fri., Sept. 9th

This is a long overdue honor for, quite likely, the greatest tennis player in school history . Randy will be inducted into the Swede Olsson / Jim France Athletic Hall of Fame at halftime of the first MHS home football game, Fri., Sept. 9, 2005 . And there is a Hall of Fame reception, which is OPEN TO EVERYONE , at the High School after the game. Let's make sure the Class of '79 is well-represented to show our support for a true class leader and all-around nice guy! Here are just a few of Randy's credentials, which led to immediate election the first year he was nominated (by our class):

  • Full athletic scholarship to West Liberty State College, where he was team captain Jr . & Sr. year
  • MHS : 4 letters, 3 MVPs, 3-time All-Ohio Conference tennis champion
  • National Honor Society, VP of Ski Club, Chrysler Youth Award winner and Manhood Cup recipient

RANDY is the 8th athlete from our class to join the Hall of Fame, the most from ANY Manchester class ever. The previous members include: Blaine Miller in 1988, Doug Miller in '91, Craig Longworth in '92, Cheryl Vance in '93, Doug Abrams in '94, Chris Edmundson in '96, and Chris Sinley in '97.

III: SALUTING JANET LASATER: The Pioneer of Girls Sports at Manchester High School

2005 marks 35-YEARS since our favorite phys-ed teacher forever changed the athletic landscape at MHS .How?

In her rookie year, Mrs. Lasater single-handedly established all four girls sports from scratch: Softball, Basketball, Volleyball and Track! Not only that, she coached all four sports—both varsity & JV squads!—during the early years, with no assistants or help from an athletic director; Mrs. Lasater had to find & schedule her own opponents, coordinate transportation, practice fields/gyms, officials, field-prep...and she did it all for FREE . In spring, she simultaneously coached two sports (track on M-W-F, softball on T-Th). And remember, with no girls programs at the middle school back then, she faced a LOT of on-the-job instruction/development. It's an amazing groundbreaking story of one person's uphill efforts to bring girls athletics into existence at Manchester .

Mrs. Lasater coached 8 of the first 10 years (between 2 pregnancies), and later coached the boys JV baseball team in 1979, coincidentally the year MHS won its first of 3 girls State Championships for softball. In addition, from '68 thru '70, she was Cheerleading Advisor (varsity & JV ), with her first 2 squads winning Tri-County honors ...and the final team named Grand Champions of Ohio; and for 2½ decades, Mrs. Lasater & Mrs. Young were sole organizers of the MHS Minuteman awards program. The Class of '79 greatly appreciates this historic career.

Since her retirement in '99 , Mrs. Lasater has remained very active, playing in softball, volleyball and wallyball leagues; club tennis, running (many 5K races), golfing, downhill & cross-country skiing; and umpiring — she became only the 2 nd female in Ohio to attain OHSAA-rating to umpire baseball! At the invitation of MHS hall of famer Kathy Edwards, Mrs. Lasater served in administrative positions at the '96 Olympics in Atlanta , as well as the Paralympics for disabled athletes. She currently lives in North Canton , where she also does professional photography work.

Mrs. Lasater's achievements laid the foundation for every female athlete who has attended Manchester .  

V: CLASS of '79 "BIG EVENT " : PRE-GAME ALUMNI TENT / Post-Game at Dusty's Landing .

Remember the BLAST we had last year at this event which kicked off our Reunion weekend? DON'T MISS IT in 2005

FRIDAY, SEPT. 23rd MHS Homecoming Football Game

Featuring: Manchester Alumni Association's annual PRE-GAME "TAILGATE" PARTY for everyone!

It's a HUGE TENT with free food & drinks just outside the Stadium — with the largest gathering of classmates we expect to see this entire year...and we're talkin' Panther friends of all ages! (We had over 50 friends/spouses just from '79 last year.)

JOIN THE CLASS OF '79 : Pre-Game Alumni Tent at 6pm

Post-Game Informal Get-Together at Dusty's Landingon Portage Lakes

Classmate Mark Norris, who operates Dusty's Landing , is working to remodel and open DIETZ'S on Rt. 619. The site's been vacant quite awhile, but we hope to see the legendary 2-level restaurant / bar / club open soon — a great future gathering place for the Class of '79 !

So many LOCAL friends were missing from our festivities in '04...don't make the same mistake. Spread the word.

** Added Bonus: Class of '80 is using the Tailgate event to begin THEIR reunion weekend . More familiar faces!

 VI: WHERE ARE THEY NOW . . . ? ? ? Gary Weber / Barb Gionti

Catching up with: GARY WEBER . . . . . Family "IT" Guy in Hudson Gweber13@aol.com

Gary met his wife, Jill, when they worked together at Kent State Univ . in the early '80s, & they've been married for 20 years, living in Hudson for the last 17, after a stint in Goodyear Heights . They're both now employed by Progressive Insurance ( Westlake Village ), Gary as an I.T. Manager & Jill as an I.T. Executive. He's been with the company nearly 2 decades, following 6-yrs. as a Systems Programmer for KSU. They have two kids, Ryan, 17, who'll be a senior at Hudson this fall, and Joanie, 12, who's heading into 8th grade.

Education: Associates Degree in Data Processing from Univ. of Akron ; Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from KSU; and MBA from Kent State .

Extracurriculars:   " I spent 10 - 12 yrs. coaching various youth sports for my kids , but am now retired from coaching & am just a fan," Gary says.  "I stay active with sports myself by playing golf, softball, soccer & wallyball at various times throughout the year .  I also enjoy working in the yard .  We like to spend time at the beach & manage to get a trip or two in each year for that."

Family Highlights:   "My son is going into his senior year and has decided to play football for the first time in his life after a successful youth playing baseball, soccer, and basketball.  My daughter is a very mature 12-year-old with many varied interests -- and challenges our authority every opportunity she gets."

Favorite Memory from School:   Friday night football games and playing baseball.

Favorite Teacher:   Mr. Csipke . "While he was a little quirky at times, he always made class interesting and challenged me.  He wouldn't give you the answer when you asked him a question but he would prompt you on how to find the answer." 

Biggest Pet Peeve of the past 25 years:   Political Correctness .

Favorite Music CD / group:   Prefer to listen to music from H.S. & college days.   Bob Seger was my favorite band of the day.

Something I wish I'd done in high school:   Play football and taken Physics with Mr. Armenti .

Summary:   "We lead a busy but pretty quiet life.  My spare time is spent between kids activities & trying to stay in shape myself.  We are planning a trip to China this fall to visit friends that are moving there next month."

Catching up with: BARB GIONTI . . . . . Around the world – and back in Akron ! Barbara@gionti.com

Hey, where'd Barb go?: Her family moved to, quote, "the city" after our junior year, so she graduated from Firestone High .

The Career Tour: Barb's next big move came during her senior year at the Univ. of Akron, when B.Dalton Bookseller/Barnes & Noble offered her a promotion to Niles, OH, which led to a string of company-related moves to Jackson, MS; Corpus Christi, TX; Santa Barbara, CA; and Salt Lake City, where she covered 7 states with frequent travel to CO, WA, ID, IA & Alaska ("the most awe-inspiring place I've ever been"). Soon, she returned to the L.A. / Sherman Oaks area for 5-yrs. of enjoying the ocean & a very active outdoor life. And THEN....

WHOA, NELLY: Riding horseback alone in the mountains of Goleta, Barb's horse tossed her off the side of a cliff – only to be stopped by a huge boulder, which saved her life...but broke her back (hairline fracture) & led to long periods of vertigo.

"I'm Outta Here": After the So-Cal years, she became an Internal Consultant (lots more travel) for This End Up Furniture Co., moving to Princeton , NJ , then Richmond , VA , and staying for 9-yrs. Before deciding to quit, her boss convinced her to take a sabbatical—so she spent the next 3-mo. in the south of France , "walking in the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh, my favorite artist. It was probably the most amazing time in my life," Barb says.

OK, then what?: Needing a new adventure, she joined a start-up Internet company (whereoware.com) in northern VA, for 5-yrs. as VP Client Services & Operations. Then, last June she was offered a 10-mo. project with the Food Network Great Big Food Show in Cleveland & Philly—and they moved her back home to AKRON , of all places. Now, Barb's working as a project analyst with Alltel, which pays the bills while she gets her consulting biz off the ground . With family here , she " spends a lot less time working than I have in the past...a good thing "

Playin' the field: Barb dated the same guy on-and-off for a decade; but is currently unattached.

Biggest Pet Peeve : Cell phones. "Seriously, what were we thinking? Anyone can reach us anytime, anywhere...stop the madness."

Least Favorite high school memory: "Ah, yes, when my skirt was stuck in my tights & the cutest guy in school told me 'Barb, I can see your underpants, your skirt isn't the way it's supposed to be.' THAT, I remember...!"

Favorite Teacher? All of them, except Mr. Armenti. "I feel guilty for saying this, because I'm sure he was a nice person—but I didn't like him...and for the life of me, I can't remember why."

After a busy quarter-century, Barb is slowing down the pace and enjoying life's simple pleasures ... like tormenting former classmates with 3 full pages of bio-info to condense. Thanks, girl — hope we did it justice. 

VII: News Around Manchester:

  • First new levy in 12 yrs (8.5 mil) hits the ballot Aug. 2 – workers are optimistic / Operating Renewal passed in May
  • Mr. France just signed a 3-yr contract , which will take him thru his 34th year at MHS, and 24th as high school principal
  • It was nice to see last month's 50th wedding anniversary announcement for Mr . & Mrs. Eugene Thrall , our former middle-school band director (and parents of our classmate, Mary ). It brought to mind a silly episode back in 6th / 7th grade when 2 "unnamed" kids decided to prank a band concert at the OLD middle school, by sucking on lemons in the front row — to make the horn-blowers pucker, as once seen on The Brady Bunch. Trouble was, the kids didn't cut open the lemon beforehand ... and it fell and rolled out into the floor between the crowd & stage for all to see. Horrified, the kids grabbed the lemon & scrammed. One of them grew up to be a writer, the other: Police Chief—wonder if he remembers?
  • Our fundraising plans for working a Cleveland Browns concession-stand went kaput for this season , when the team implemented new training requirements which were impossible for the Alumni Association's 100+ workers to fulfill.

VIII: Our Sincere Condolences

TheClass of '79 extends its deepest sympathies to classmate Terry Stewart and her ex-husband , Gary Eremich, whose 20-year-old son, Gary, Jr., was killed in a motorcycle accident this month. Gary was also the nephew of Jim Eremich ('79). Several of our friends went to the calling hours, and we're told it was a 3-4 hour wait just to get into the funeral home, as Gary had attended both MHS and Northwest.

Classmate Rick Mencer's stepfather also passed away May 31 st .

Three of our ex-faculty members lost a loved one , as well:

  • The mother of former biology teacher Mr. Jim Biss passed away last week
  • The infant grandson of former math/algebra teacher Mr. Bruce Wertz was stillborn last week.
  • 8th-grade "blue team" math teacher Mrs. Margaret Lowe suffered the loss of her 24-year-old son, who collapsed & died from an apparent enlarged-heart while playing pick-up basketball at Ohio U. The Beacon Journal had a nice story and photo about Daniel, who was widely known as the Bobcats' #1 booster & had joined OU's athletic promotional staff. He was also a leader in the school's chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ. Mrs. Lowe & her family had moved to Kentucky after leaving Manchester , but later returned & taught with Cheryl (Vance) Nash at Northwest, where Daniel graduated from.

IX: A Windy, Wet Welcome to Florida . . . land of the perpetual hurricane

Classmate John McDermott and his family just moved from Texas to Navarre , Florida ...the exact gulf city that Hurricane Dennis hit when it came ashore 2 weeks ago. Hopefully any damage was minimal, and John can write to bring us up-to-date when he gets some time. Last year, a few of our other classmates sloshed thru the string of 3 consecutive hurricanes which ripped thru southern Florida . Between the sharks, floods & 100-mph winds... Ohio 's lookin' pretty good.

X: The Email Exchange Say "Hi" to an old....er, former classmate!

UPDATE, Jan. '06 : For over a year, we've gathered 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: ericmhs79@sbcglobal.net

XI: MHS "Pro Athletes" -- First Seasons Mercifully End...with mildly-comical developments

In March , we told you about 3 recent MHS grads who had signed to play with local teams in first-year professional leagues, the AIFL's Canton Legends (indoor football) and IBL's Akron Lightning (hoops). And, well ... it got UGLY pretty quick, though the headlines were fairly entertaining!

QB Rob Adamson ('98): RETIRED after his FIRST GAME , a physical 50 - 28 pounding . He could barely get out of bed the next day, telling the press: "You have to wonder if it's worth $300 a game to get beat up the way I did...I've been in NFL camps, and those guys are getting paid a minimum of $50,000 a week to feel that way."

QB Eric Rector ('00): The day after Adamson's exit, the Legends traded for Rector, another ex - Panther QB, and converted him to wide-receiver...where he became one of the team's top-3 offensive players—all of whom walked out of practice later in the season when the payroll checks were unsigned.

Coaches Canned : The Legends fired their entire coaching staff after a 1-3 start . Needing 2,000+ per game to turn a profit, the team averaged 1,000 fans at home, finishing 4-8 with a semi-final playoff loss. They're owned by the AIFL President, and are on the verge of being sold for appx. $100,000. Any suckers...er, takers?

Nate Schindewolf ('96): He averaged an impressive 17.4 points for the Lightning...but, unfortunately, they finished with a league-low 2-15 record. This team was also plagued by financial woes, and wound up recruiting a group of Michigan players to fill-in when Akron played in Battle Creek —just to save travel expenses. Yikes.

XII: WATCH YOUR MAIL ...for the Manchester Alumni Association's DEBUT NEWSLETTER

Many are unaware that Manchester organized an all-new Alumni Association five years ago . So...to generate awareness and inform Panther grads of their purpose/activities, etc., they will be mailing their first 4-page newsletter in early September. Our class has some involvement with the project, based on our own bi-monthly "publication" efforts. Please take some time to read thru it — this active volunteer group works hard & should be a source of pride for all MHS alums.

REGARDING YOUR ADDRESS: If there's any chance that we do not have your current correct mailing address , send a quick confirmation note for our records to ericmhs79@sbcglobal.net , and we'll make sure the Alumni Assn. has it right.

XIII: EXTRA 25-Year Reunion souvenir "music mix" CDs Get 'em while they last ! ! !

Last fall, we compiled 20 hit '70s songs—all played at our reunion—on a souvenir CD , which was available to all who attended the event. There are a few copies left, which you can still get for a $5 donation (includes mailing).

The tracks include : My Best Friend's Girl (The Cars) , I Was Made For Lovin' You (Kiss), Heart of Glass (Blondie), Take It On The Run (REO Speedwagon), Freebird (Lynyrd Skynyrd), You're My Best Friend (Queen), Shambala (Three Dog Night), Don't Let The Sun... (Elton John), More Than A Feeling (Boston), Heartache Tonight (The Eagles), Baby What A Big Surprise (Chicago), The Best of Times (Styx), Reminiscing (Little River Band), Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' (Journey), We've Got Tonight (Bob Seger), and Michael Stanley Band's great, He Can't Love You. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED ....email ericmhs79@sbcglobal.net to place your "order."

XIV: "Panther Pause " GIVE US FIVE . . . You've all got a creative list — or something .

Got a personal List of 5 ? Five old friends you'd like to see, 5 celebs you'd like to smack, 5 great MHS teachers, 5 gripes, 5 quick memories from school... whateveryou pick the category and give us 5 to print in upcoming issues. Email yours to ericmhs79@netzero.com. Here are a couple examples to start:

5 Forgotten Music Gems from our school-era that you never hear on the radio:

* Just Between You and Me (April Wine)

* Let's Just Kiss & Say Goodbye (The Manhattans)

* I Love You (Climax Blues Band)

* Wham Bam Shang-a-lang (Silver)

* (Put On Your) Dancing Shoes (Nigel Olsson)

5 Class of '79 friends we have absolutely NO CLUE or LEAD as to their whereabouts:

GUYS: Jeff Krizay | Blake Hamilton | Todd Campbell | Jeff Brown | Jim Kaser

GIRLS : Dana Roderick | Claudia Selman | Mary Wood | Lisa Robson | Cindy Bailey

2005 KEY UPCOMING DATES for you :

Mon., Aug. 1: Class of '79 informal after-work dinner/social at Pancho's – last one of the Summer !

Fri., Sept. 9: MHS 2005 Hall of Fame induction (Randy Snyder) at 1 st home football game; post-game H.O.F. reception for ALL of us at the High School

Mid-Sept.: Class of '79 Newsletter, Vol. 6, arrives

Fri., Sept. 23: MHS Homecoming Football Game—with once-a-year Special Events:

Alumni Pre-Game "Tailgate" Tent Party... and Class of '79 Post-Game at all-new Dietz'

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.