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

  Class of '79 Newsletter
 

Vol. 6 -- September 2005

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

* * * One - Year Anniversary Edition * * *

* IMPORTANT! NEW CHANGES for Class of '79 Newsletter and After-Work Get-Togethers *

In the last year, since our 25th reunion, we've worked hard to furnish you with a newsletter and informal-dinner opportunities every other month. Our class leaders agree we're at a good point to scale them back to quarterly. Since the Tailgate Party is such a great chance to see each other, it seems unnecessary to keep our regular Oct. Pancho's date, which would've been just 10 days later. Instead, beginning Mon., Nov. 7, 2005 , the after-work dinners (at Pancho's or wherever) will be held every 3-months: Feb., May, Aug. & Nov. And the class newsletters will arrive the month prior to each gathering. If additional "bulletins" are needed in-between, we can always do that.

Response to our newsletters has been great & much appreciated. Please realize that we do need YOUR cooperation and input when requested, especially for short bio/profiles. And if you have news items or a personal story you want to share, send it. We've had a good mix of friends join us at Pancho's (up to 18 at a time), but we certainly know there are MANY other classmates in this area who could stop in & socialize — at least once. We've done our part to make the "mini-reunions" available for you...now it's your turn to "not be a stranger."

I. BIG EVENT THIS FRIDAY: Alumni / Homecoming Pre-Game Tailgate Tent Party

PRE-GAME: . MHS Class of ' 79 friends will reunite at this annual gathering held at the Alumni Association's huge tent just outside the football stadium — FRIDAY, Sept. 23 rd at 6pm . Panther alums of ALL ages will be there to socialize, including over 100 from the Class of 80's 25-yr. reunion kickoff. There will be free food & drinks. Out-of-state classmates are planning to be there, so please join us!

POSTGAME : The Class of '79 will also get together at Dusty's Landing, located on Dusty's Rd . just off Rt. 619, following the game. Other MHS friends are welcome, as well! (We had earlier planned to meet at Dietz's, but there have been remodeling delays.)

II. Speaking of the CLASS OF '80... here are some recent highlights

THEIR BIG IDEA : The Pre-Game Tailgate Party was actually the brainchild of the MHS Class of '80 , organized as part of their 20-year reunion back in 2000. The newly-formed Manchester Alumni Association liked the concept so much that they asked if they could expand it into an annual Homecoming event for ALL grads. Vicki (Difiore) Segers has continued as chairperson of the party, and attendance has soared year by year.

WHO CAN FORGET...? Baglia...Blough...Scrimgeour...Csonka...Eberly...Elias...Ferich...Herwick... Latona...Lesher...Light... Markham ...McEwen...Menches...Muzio...Ron Stewart...Studer...Tallman...Wood...Yanik...etc.

You know the names — in fact, at least 28 of them are younger siblings of Class of '79 alums. And 5 of the '80 Panthers once married someone from our class, including current couples Rhonda Romans & Doug Abrams, Diane Grishkevich & Jeff Ward, and—just three months ago, Deanna Crawford & Blake Hamilton! (See below)

Here are a few other interesting life / career notes involving Class of '80 grads you might remember:

Dan Davidson... Chief of Police in New Franklin ( Manchester )

Chris Hanzel ...City of Akron detective

Kelly James ... a chemist

Melody Pritchard...a dentist in Green

Kevin Kelly ...an attorney & deputy prosecutor in Washington ...prosecuted a death penalty case

Marty Michelson ...plays drums semi-regularly in a Christian rock band

Greg Zmurk ...says his last 5-years include moving to a walnut orchard in CA, buying an Arabian horse, and becoming a pen-pal with a death-row inmate (presumably not Kevin Kelly's defendant)

Wally Minko ...traveled for years as one of Barry Manilow's concert stage-musicians.

George Noleff ...former on-air news reporter for the old TV-23; now a producer in Baltimore

Phil Hoffman ...a media professor at the University of Akron, he has produced two Emmy-nominated documentaries: " Floating On Air," a 2002 special on Akron's history with blimps and lighter-than-air craft...and last year's "It's Everything and Then It's Gone" — tracing the Akron music scene of the 1970s.  

If there's a Class of '80 friend you'd like to contact, we've probably got the info you need. Just email ericmhs79@sbcglobal.net.

SET YOUR VCR : Local PBS stations 45/49 will re-air Phil Hoffman's one-hour music documentary, "It's Everything and Then It's Gone," next Tue . , Sept. 27th at 8pm. THEN, his brand NEW one-hour sequel to that special, "If You're Not Dead, Play!!" will air on Sept. 28th at 8pm and Sept. 29th at 11pm . Devo, Chrissie Hynde, The Numbers Band, Rubber City Rebels, Tin Huey, The Waitresses, Chi-Pig...the two shows explore the rise of "The Akron Sound" from a downtown hangout called 'The Crypt' to a flirtation with national rock / punk fame. Great history from our era.

III . OUR KIDS ON "COURT" Homecoming 2005 comes full-circle

Three Class of '79 friends have kids involved in this year's Homecoming. Blaine & Robyn Miller's daughter, Brittany... and Chris (Boyce) Sourwine's daughter, Kendal Joseph, are two of the six seniors chosen for the Court; and Barb ( Carmichael ) Wilson 's son, Adam, is one of the escorts. Incidentally, Adam is a senior on the football team, while Brian Benton's son, Brandon, and Jim Eremich's stepson, Blake Marsh, also play for Coach France . And Doug Abrams' son, Scott, is in the marching band. Nice to see our class adding to the "next generation" of Panthers.  

IV. JUST FINISHED! 200 REUNION PHOTOS & MORE on DVDOwn an amazing keepsake!

Suzanne (McKenney) Newman has completed a "Manchester Class of '79" DVD , which includes over 200 photos taken from our school days and ALL FOUR of our reunions... 5, 10, 20 and 25th! This was a big job, but the finished product looks great, with cool transitions and pop-music tracks. The group picture from our 10-yr. at UA is a must-see. (Remember then-Zips coach Gerry Faust talking with us during the shot? He knew all about Manchester .) The DVD also includes a rare find... the team photo from MHS's very first football squad in 1941.

The DVD cost is only $5 if no mailing is needed...and $7 if we have to send it — what a deal. We'll have copies at the Alumni Tent, and you can also order one by emailing ericmhs79@sbcglobal.net, or mailing a check to "MHS Class of '79," c/o 2411 Tenth St. , Cuyahoga Falls , OH 44221.

 V . WHERE ARE THEY NOW . . . ? ? ? Blake Hamilton / Tammy White / Martin Kormanik

Catching up with ... BLAKE HAMILTON Newlywed reunited with decades-old MHS flame...in Idaho ! .

Blake dated MHS '80 alum Deanna Crawford from 1980-83 before going their separate ways. They somehow found each other about two years ago, and were married this past June! While Blake has lived in Texas , North Dakota , Turkey & Arizona, the newlyweds now reside just outside Boise , Idaho . Blake is a Production Supervisor, and Deanna is a caterer.

Family: Blake has two sons, ages 17 & 15...and now two stepchildren, ages 12 & 10, and a dog!

Education: Attended the JVS for 2 yrs., studying horticulture; 4-yr. Millwright Apprenticeship, AAS in Manufacturing Technology, 3 rd year student in Manufacturing Engineering Degree program.

Prior Occupations: Project Manager at a nuclear power plant

Hobbies / Extracurriculars: Hunting, camping, shooting, building rifles, Harleys.

Something Blake still hopes to accomplish: MBA

Favorite CD: Pink Floyd's "The Wall" Favorite music group: Pre-1981 Genesis Favorite TV show: SCTV

Favorite memory from Manchester : "Leaving." (Blake doesn't get back to this area much...if ever)

Say 'hey' to Blake and Deanna at bdhamilt@quik.com

Catching up with ...T AMMY WHITE ( EREBIA ) Twin boys + Cheerleading daughter = Busy Mom in Georgia

Tammy married Ricardo (Rick) in 1994, and they have 9-year-old twin boys and an 8-year-old daughter . Nicholas likes golf & soccer, Nathaniel plays basketball and soccer, and Alexis is a cheerleader for football...with Tammy coaching her squad. (Alexis took 1st and two 2 nd-places in competition.) The family also has 2 teacup Yorkies named Jasmine & Sassy.

They Get Around: Tammy and Rick have lived in Florida , California , Maryland , Michigan , Wisconsin , Ohio , and currently reside in Acworth , Georgia .

And They Work: "We've both worked for Home Depot," Tammy says, though she is now a sub-teacher for Cobb Co. Schools, "so I have plenty of time with my family." Rick is still with Home Depot's Corporate Office in Atlanta .

Favorite Middle School memory: "Being new to Manchester and running against some guy named Eric for Student Council President.  It would have been a really great memory if I had won, but..." (Tough break J )

Favorite High School memories: "Cheerleading, watching SNL at Scarfpin's house with Dianna, Jackie, etc.; the dances and just laughing with my friends." 

Hobbies/spare time activities: "The kids' sports take up quite a bit of time, but when possible we like taking vacations to the beach and hitting a few NASCAR races." 

Tammy would love to hear from old friends and political foes at erebia5@aol.com

Catching up with ...MARTIN KORMANIK Diverse Business-Owner in historic Virginia .

Martin's 25-Year Recap: "After graduating in business from Ohio State (Go Bucks!), moved to Atlanta to work in retail with Federated Dept. Stores, then Macy's, as merchandise buyer and store management. Moved to Alexandria , VA and joined O.D. Systems in '88.  It's a management consulting firm providing assessment, consulting, training, facilitation & coaching services in leadership & human capital development, change management & strategic planning.  Our clients are mostly Federal agencies.  The firm was founded by my sister in 1980.  Since she passed away from breast cancer in 2001, the associates and I have taken the company in some new directions with interesting projects, such as designing & conducting a program to improve NASA leaders' coaching skills.  I was just in Cleveland doing a pilot at NASA's Glen Research Center ." Student Becomes Teacher : Got my master's from U of Maryland ("Go Terrapins!" just doesn't have the same ring to it) and my doctorate from George Washington University (ditto "Go Colonials!").  Aside from client work with O.D. Systems, one of the things that keeps me busy is teaching graduate students at Johns Hopkins University and at GW.  Mostly weekends, which makes it difficult to travel back to Ohio for the class reunions.  It's pretty funny being called "Doc Martin."

Family / Home : "Partnered for 10 years to Ron, who has a real estate brokerage & property management business (~ 350 properties in NOVA).  One thing that keeps us busy is caretaking our historic home...a 200+ years-old townhouse located in Old Town Alexandria near the Potomac River and around the corner from my office.  No kids, but 19 nieces & nephews who love to come to DC to visit, with and without their parents."

Favorite MHS memories: Getting involved in ski club, student council, debate team, drama club, French club and choir; food fights in the cafeteria; pizza at Guiseppe's on Fridays after a football game.

Least favorite memories: Getting teased, tormented, beat up & otherwise harassed because of being gay.

All-time favorite teacher: Jim Biss and Jim Armenti are certainly up there, providing role models for the kind of teacher I like to think I am today.

Pet peeves of the last 25 years: "Generally none.  It seems that every time somebody does something stupid, it means more business, so why should I complain!"

Hobbies / Activities: "Walk / hike a 5-mi. route along the Potomac .  Go to the gym 4-5 times/wk.  Watch a lot of movies. Like Sopranos and The Wire.  Read a lot of detective & action thrillers, though one of my god-daughters recently challenged me to read the Harry Potter series.  Or should I just rent the movie?"

You can drop Martin a line at mkormanik@odsystems.com

VI. Report from the Athletic Hall of Fame induction

We had at least a dozen '79 classmates in attendance for Randy Snyder's induction into the MHS Hall of Fame on Sept. 9. And it was nice to see his wife, Joni, kids Lianna (15) and Joe (12), as well as his mom (a former teacher at MHS & the JVS) and brothers Dan & Scott. Also entering the Hall of Fame as "honorary" inductees were Blaine Miller's wife, Robyn, and Mrs. Ruby Slayman. Thanks to all who made the effort to attend.

VII. THE $ 100 DRAWING Get in on this — Your odds of winning are great!

If we have your correct mailing address, you should've received the Manchester Alumni Association's first annual newsletter a couple weeks ago. The feedback has been positive...and you still have time to get in on the group's $100 Giveaway! All you have to do is go to the high-school's "Alumni" webpage, which is accessed thru www.PantherCountry.org. Just click on "Update Your Info" and add YOURS. On Oct. 15, there'll be a random drawing from all alums registered on the site. Good luck ! [ Didn't get a newsletter? Email ericmhs79@sbcglobal.net ]

 VIII: '79 Classmate working in Hurricane Katrina relief zone

Leslie Kirby had planned to be here for this week's Alumni Tailgate event , but will instead be stationed at a Red Cross Center near Savannah , Georgia , assisting Katrina evacuees. As a Social Security rep, her role is now to pay advance or immediate checks to people who are already receiving benefits; verify their S.S. numbers or get them to apply for replacement cards & benefit verifications so they can qualify for other programs being offered.  "I've found that the simplest act of caring gives those affected energy to create one more smile," Leslie says.  "For the most part the evacuees have been upbeat when you speak to them; some cry, but mostly they can't do anything right now but move on...and that's what they're doing.  They are very gracious, and it's a privilege for me to serve them any way I can." Imagine having all of your legal- and life-records washed away, along with your home and possessions. This is a valuable first step for many of the victims.

Have any other '79 classmates been affected by the Gulf or East Coast hurricanes, either thru damage or relief-efforts? Please let us know your story.

IX: Mr. Woodworth narrowly escapes 9-11 attack at The Pentagon

Remember ex-teacher Mr . Woodworth from Middle School? A bit eccentric...no doubt brilliant...drove an old funeral hearse, etc. He now works for the federal government, and we just learned he was supposed to be at The Pentagon for a meeting on the morning of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. At the last minute, his meeting was re-scheduled because the room was being painted. But that same meeting room was destroyed when the airplane crashed into it.

X. Chasing the " 300 WINS " Club! France, Schindewolf and Taylor enter elite coaching territory

Do you recall the point when Jim France, Gene Schindewolf and Roger Taylor become coaching " legends?" Amusingly , it seems like only yesterday that armchair-quarterbacks were second-guessing their moves every season. But there's much to be said for longevity...like stable programs and a boatload of victories . In early Fall 2006, Coach France will join his MHS basketball and baseball counterparts in the exclusive realm of 300 career wins. Here's how it's playing out:

  • Varsity basketball coach Gene Schindewolf, stands at 341 wins , 191 losses (5 yrs . at Dalton , 20 at MHS)
  • Varsity baseball coach Roger Taylor, after 28 seasons at Manchester , stands at 320 wins , 194 losses .
  • Varsity football coach Jim France, in his 34th year, stands at 288 wins , 74 losses, 3 ties ( .800 percentage )

Taking it further...Mr. France and Mr. Schindewolf are their sports' winningest-active coaches in Summit County . And France ranks in the Top 10 all-time among Ohio football coaches. Only two active Ohio grid coaches have more career victories, and—in state history—only seven have ever reached the 300-wins milestone. Frankly, it would be amazing if any other Ohio school had three major coaches with such impressive credentials. Not to mention, they're good people.

The OHSAA , for some reason, does not keep very good baseball records, so it's hard to know for certain where Coach Taylor ranks among other Summit Co. peers — but in all likelihood, he's at the top of his sport, as well. He recalls '93 as his best season...a 23-2 mark, losing 3-0 in the Regional finals.

Coach France will have a minimum of 7 more games in 2005 to edge closer to next season's celebration .

 XI. QUICK HITS News and weird stuff for out-of-state and out-of-touch classmates

Leading the League in Babies : Manchester has two new PAC-7 foes this fall, Triway & Canton Timken. Remember when you could count on one hand the number of teen-pregnancies throughout our 4-years of high school? Well, Timken made headlines with 65 of their current 480 girls pregnant! How ironic that their school / team nickname is "Trojans."

Triway's Rumored "Ringer": Panther fans & hoops players recall Triway's home court—The Pit—as one of the loudest & toughest places to compete. Last season, the Titans were 23-4 and Div. II state runners-up. This year, Manchester will also contend with their new 6'9" Austrian import . The kid moved in with his aunt/uncle, next door to Triway's head coach. Even though he's in the Loudonville district, he'll attend Triway thru open-enrollment.

Cream, Sugar or Pee? . Manchester attorney Paul Adamson—a Franklin Township trustee & father of perhaps the top QB in Panther history—has the strange task of defending a client who (allegedly)...went postal. The 11-yr. Akron Post Office employee is accused of secretly pouring urine in the staff coffee pot over the course of several months. Co-workers sensed their brew was just not tasting "good to the last drop," and set up a video-camera...twice catching the defendant in the act. With evidence like this, any defense could well be down the toilet.

"Went to the levy, but the levy was dry": After passing a small renewal levy in May by a resounding margin, only 29% of the registered voters turned out to defeat Manchester's much-needed new 8.5-mil levy in Aug. Final tally was 1038 – 874. One longtime observer noted that the district has never passed a new levy in fewer than four tries . This was the first request for new dollars in 12 years, and the schools operate on a bare-bones budget. It's back to the ballot-box in November '05.

Prodigal Panther back...a good idea: Earlier this year, at mid-semester in Jan., one of Manchester 's star football players transferred to Northwest, perhaps seeking more exposure for college...who knows? It took less than two months to realize this was a big mistake, and he's back helping the Panthers cruise thru another undefeated season. Northwest, meanwhile, lost their opener...and already had one of Stark County 's best players at the position in question. Manchester may be a small school — but if you're a big-time college-prospect, scouts will find you.

Déjà vu in the Falls: Cuyahoga Falls is about to have a premier condo high-rise built along the riverfront . For Panthers in the city, what a shock to drive by and see the development's official name... Manchester Place.

Bruce Drennan in big trouble: During our senior year, gravel-mouthed sportscaster Bruce Drennan arrived in Cleveland , working Indians games and sports-talk radio . He continued on the airwaves until the Feds recently raided his house, confiscating items related to an alleged large-scale betting-operation. One man arrested was rumored to be a partner in the biz, possibly with mob ties . Bruce was dismissed from WKNR 850AM...but has re-surfaced on a new internet-based talk site in Cleveland . The kicker? –- Title-sponsor of the website is B etOnSports.com. The case continues...

XII : Our Sincere Condolences

The Class of '79 extends its deepest sympathies to Carol Pastorius, who lost her father in August, and to Larry Perrot, whose mother passed away last week. Also, Todd McKenney (MHS '82) lost his 16-month-old son, Noah, from brain-cancer complications in July. And in talking with Becky (Gerry) Klingbeil, she mentioned that some of our out-of-state friends may not be aware that her brother, Jeff Gerry (MHS '78), passed away ten months ago.

XIII. The "LOST SEASON " 20-Years after Manchester replaced its football coach... UH-OH!

This current season marks the anniversary of a strange footnote in Panther football lore .

Two decades ago—the fall of 1985—our old principal, Fred Crewse, had finally left Manchester...and his natural successor was, of course, assistant principal Jim France. Trouble was, superintendent Marco Burnette felt it could be a conflict of interest for him to assume the new position and continue as football coach.

Thus, a man named Tom Flaherty was brought in to become Manchester's sixth grid coach. The results were disastrous, compared with the long-established winning tradition:2 wins, 8 losses...and a whole lot of upset players, parents and community members.

Another meeting of the minds took place...and it was decided that, well, maybe a principal being head coach wasn't such a conflict of interest, after all. After one fateful season, Flaherty was gone, France resumed his place on the sidelines, and the rest is indeed history.

XIV. Retired-Teacher Profile : MR. ED COWGER Classroom...to "Civil War"...to Mayor and Ghost

P . O . D . Problems of Democracy—a required subject we all took...and probably wish we'd paid more attention to. (FYI: Mr. Cowger will still give you a history-workout during a phone-conversation!) It's doubtful than ANY former Manchester teacher has led such an intriguing post-teaching career than Mr. Cowger. He recently filled us in...

* Taught at MHS for 30 yrs (1959–89) , originating the school's "team teaching" concept with Mrs. Lillian Williams in 1968

* In 1984, Mr. Cowger and his wife, Mary, purchased the 2nd log-cabin built by German Separatists in 1817 in the historic Village of Zoar (about an hour south, off I-77). This cabin was re-named "The Cowger House," and began two decades of their unique Bed & Breakfast operation. The Cowgers eventually added two other buildings to the business, including the town's original 1833 one-room schoolhouse, where they still reside today. (The schoolhouse has additional levels now.)

* What made the Cowgers' B & B so popular...? Mr. & Mrs. Cowger did " performance meals," dressing in Civil War-era attire and entertaining their guests with re-enactments of Early American history as they served . Over a 20-yr. span, they served 50,000+ meals, including dozens of former students and MHS faculty, administrators and school board members!

* From 1992-96, Mr . Cowger served as MAYOR OF ZOAR...population appx. 250...and experienced small-town, "good ol' boys network" politics beyond belief. Mrs. Cowger says she used to return home from town meetings in tears, while her husband would smile, saying "Wasn't that fun?" [Recalling his spirited P.O.D. lectures, this is very easy to envision.]

* They sold the log-cabin and cottage buildings about a year before Zoar's "Great Flood" of January 2005.

* THEY LIVE WITH A GHOST : Zoar, itself, has countless ghost-stories, and many residents can relate specific incidents and sightings that continue on a regular basis. HOWEVER, the Cowgers, their guests and neighbors have personally seen and heard a "ghost," whom they have named P.J., in two of their three buildings—including the home they now live in. He appears, they say, as a regular person (not a vapor, etc.) dressed in a long purple coat...and with hair like the Quaker Oats guy. Neighbors have seen this figure standing in windows...a guest encountered P.J. standing at the foot of the stairs...and poor Mrs. Cowger was alone in the cabin painting one night when she heard the door open & shut, hard footsteps come up the stairs, and a voice loudly call out "Honey, I'm back!" Thinking it was Mr. Cowger, she waited a few minutes for him to come into the room, then began looking for him in the cabin. Finding no one, she called his cell-phone and learned he had NOT been the "visitor." The Cowgers believe the ghost to be a "relative" of the original owners who fought in the Civil War.

Filled with history—check it out on the web—Zoar is a great place for our former history teacher's retirement years.

DID YOU KNOW...?

30-years ago , we had just entered our Freshman year ...when the Edmund Fitzgerald sank on Lake Superior . Seems strange that such a disaster could happen in modern times. This remains the most mysterious & controversial of all shipwreck tales from the Great Lakes , surpassed in books, film & media only by the Titanic. The vessel was lost, with her entire crew of 29 men, on Nov. 10, 1975...just 17-mi. north of Whitefish Point , Michigan —site of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum . The tragedy was forever memorialized in Gordon Lightfoot's haunting 1976 ballad, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

"EMAIL EXCHANGE" ( UPDATE: Complete list in VOL. 7 )

We had planned to re-print ALL of the classmates ' email-addresses we have permission for in this newsletter... but we're running longer than usual. So, we will send them to you as part of a late-Oct. "mini-newsletter," with a reminder about the upcoming after-work dinner/social on Monday, Nov. 7, 2005 at Pancho's. If you have not yet given us the "okay" to include your email address—or if you're changing email addresses—please let us know asap at ericmhs79@sbcglobal.net.

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.