Prayers for Steve Irey

Steve Irey, 1968

Steve Irey, 1968

June Ingersoll Roseberry informs us that our classmate, Steve Irey has only a few weeks to live. They found cancer on his arm and realized that it had spread to his liver and spine which has fractures. He is in immense pain and probably will be moved to a care facility. His brother has cancer also.

You can text Steve at 530-345-7768 or Teresa at 530-828-3363 (Teresa was a boarder for many years with Steve, who was like a dad to her.)

According to his Facebook page, Steve was a former medical administrator in the U.S. Air Force. He studied business administration at Cal State Chico and never left the Chico area. I remember talking to him at length at one of the class reunions — I lived across the street from him when we were in kindergarten and walked to Emerson School together! And for some strange reason, I have an image in my mind of us climbing a tree, which undoubtedly happened.

Here is Steve’s profile photo from his Facebook page:


I also found these pictures of Steve taken in the 70s.

Steve Irey in his younger days

Steve Irey in his younger days

Here is a picture taken in the Thanksgiving of 2014. Steve is in the back row, in the maroon colored shirt. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Alan Landros BHS’70 thought that Steve is actually seated in the second row, in the light blue Hawaiian shirt. However, that is Steve’s brother, Alan.]

Irey family Thanksgiving 2014

Irey family Thanksgiving 2014

Please share your memories of Steve in the Comments section below. Les Heller was good enough to send along this picture of Steve when we were sixth graders at Emerson. The photo was taken by our teacher, Mr. Seymour Novins, a photography buff who won many prizes.

Photo of Steve Irey in the 6th grade.

Photo of Steve Irey in the 6th grade.

UPDATE: Steve passed on 4-21-2016.

I’ve been looking for you since 5th grade!

This was the intriguing title of an email message I received recently. “Saw the 68’ Burbank blog and looked you up from Emerson Elementary … Have no idea if you remember me at all … but in the 5th grade you were something special!!  (We moved to Alabama between 5th and 6th grade .. .there are a few people I remember from Emerson … John Mancini / Carol Aiken / Linda Rodewald …)”

Mrs. Morrow's 5th grade class at Emerson.

Mrs. Morrow’s 5th grade class at Emerson.

The message was from Steve Bowers, one of our “X” graduates (went to school with us but graduated elsewhere).

This is a recent picture of Steve Bowers.

This is a recent picture of Steve Bowers.

I still wasn’t sure who he was until he said that he mentioned that “we had class together with Gedda in the 4th grade and Morrow in the 5th … Saw the photos on the Burbank Class of 68 page … We sat out the dance classes together …” Then I remembered him, although I still didn’t remember what he looked like until Steve told me he was the only one with glasses in the front row.

Steve said that his family moved from Burbank to Decatur, Alabama when he was in the 6th grade and he graduated from Austin High School in Decatur in 1968 … (he was born in 1949 in Athens, Alabama and his family for several generations had lived in North Alabama, so moving to Decatur was in a sense “going back home.”)

Pam and Steve Bowers

Pam and Steve Bowers

He got to West Tennessee after high school by attending Freed-Hardeman University and entered radio in 1976 and has worked media in West TN (Radio, Newspaper, Television) ever since.  For the past 22 years he has worked with News-Talk 101.5 FM in Jackson.  He has also worked in Media and Governmental relations with the Jackson Energy Authority and in that role hosts and produces shows for EPlusTV6 in Jackson, TN.

I found these online quotes about Steve: “Steve is a great guy, very professional on air. . . He is my hero! . . . Steve would give you the shirt off his back. He is a super nice, thoughtful, caring person. One of the nicest people I have ever met.”

Steve married his wife Pam in 1998 and their son Clayton was born in 2003. That means that he is the father of a young teenager! Steve is a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, TN where they installed a large pipe organ in 2001 by the Schantz Organ Company. Hmmm, maybe I’ll have to make a trip to go see it!

So good to hear from you, Steve!




Whatever happened to … ?

Time and time again, we have reconnected with people we haven’t talked to in years — thanks to the wonder of the Internet and social media. It so happens that two of our “X” graduates have found this blog lately and have contacted us. One of them is Brett Wilhelm, who was kind enough to send along some missing elementary school photos (Emerson and Jefferson). I’ll tell his story first.

Look at this picture which Brett sent of Mrs. Gedda’s fourth grade class in 1959-60.

Grade 4, Mrs. Gedda's class. Brett is standing right next to me (I'm the one in the pigtails!)

Grade 4, Mrs. Gedda’s class. Brett is standing right next to me (I’m the one in the pigtails!)

Here's what Brett looked like in his senior year.

Here’s what Brett looked like in his senior year.

I remembered the name Brett Wilhelm, but when I went looking for him in the Ceralbus, his picture wasn’t there. According to Brett, he completed his senior year of high school in South Carolina but returned to earn a B.S. in Business Administration at USC. He worked for several years in the family’s physical therapy equipment manufacturing business which originated in Burbank and later relocated to Temecula. After that business was acquired by a publicly traded firm he started a home medical supply store in Temecula and later opened a second location in Fallbrook.

Brett with his wife, Jan

Brett and Jan in 1988

Brett married his best friend Jan in 1987. Since 1995 they and their German Shepherds have enjoyed living in a very scenic area on Whidbey Island just north of Seattle. In Washington state Brett spent his business time managing commercial real estate.

Brett discovered he was politically libertarian in 1990 and until 2008 most of his volunteer efforts were in support of Libertarian Party candidates. Since 2008, when the Supreme Court upheld the Top-Two primary in Washington state, his volunteer efforts have been in support of libertarian Republican candidates who advocate individual liberty, free markets and peace.

Brett's picture in the newspaper.

Norma Metcalf, wife of the late Congressman Jack Metcalf of Langley, ticks off a few points in favor of Newt Gingrich at Saturday’s Republican caucus on South Whidbey. Behind her at right is Brett Wilhelm, Island County Republican Party Chairman. — image credit: Jim Larsen / South Whidbey Record (Published March 8, 2012).

I did a Google search on Brett and found this picture of him in the South Whidbey Record. Brett said he is wearing the brown V-neck sweater in the newspaper photo.

He wrote, “As the 2011-12 Island County Republican Party Chairman, it was my responsibility to rent locations for the Party’s pooled precinct caucuses. One of those locations was South Whidbey High School where this photo was taken. 

Brett said that he was a few minutes early for an appointment with the school principal to reserve the venue. While he waited in the outer office, another man entered and told the secretary he was there to pick up an envelope for “Zook.” Brett looked up and instantly knew the man had to be related to our classmate, Mike Zook. He was! It was Mike’s brother, Doug Zook BHS’61, who also lives on Whidbey Island. Brett has known Mike Zook since they were both in Mrs. Greene’s 3rd grade class at Emerson. He says, “Now Mike and I have reconnected thanks to meeting his brother by happenstance over 1,000 miles north of Burbank!”

And luckily, Brett happened upon this blog and we are now reconnected!

I’ll tell Steve Bowers‘ story in the next post.

2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Superman retires!

Larry Marak is the latest classmate to retire.

Larry Marak is the latest classmate to retire.

img017Larry Marak posted this picture on Facebook and said, “I’m about to join the rest of our class in retirement next Thursday, Dec 17th. Retirement isn’t the end of a career, it’s the beginning of an adventure.” After working at Burbank Water and Power for five decades, Larry leaves  public service with a vast collection of memories. Can you imagine what his fellow employees are going to feel when Larry isn’t there anymore? The sky is going to fall in! He certainly will be missed by his co-workers, but is only on the cusp of new adventures.

As many of us in the Class of 1968 are turning 65 and starting a new chapter in our lives with retirement adventures, we all have a story to tell. Send us your retirement photos and announcements to me at and I’ll happily post them.


Our condolences

Tonia Szilagyi Mapston mourns the loss of her husband.

Tonia Szilagyi Mapston mourns the loss of her husband.

to BHS’68 classmate Tonia Szilagyi Mapston as she mourns the death of her husband of 45 years, Darrell Mapston. Not long ago we wrote about her wedding with many Burbank High classmates in it (see “A BHS wedding – 45 years ago“).

I didn’t ever meet Tonia’s husband, but by all the Facebook comments, he must have been a remarkable person. Some samples:

Tonia and family, I am very sorry for your loss. Your Husband/Father will be missed. I feel lucky to have had Mr. Mapston not only a teacher and a coach, but also later as a friend. The most memorable duck hunting trips I have ever had were with him. They were so much fun because of his humor. My children have heard those stories many times. I never dreamed he could be so at ease after ruling with such an iron fist in the classroom. If more teachers were like him, this world would be a better place.

Hugs to you Tonia! So saddened to hear about Darrell. He was such a special person in my life. Praying for strength for you and comfort.

I lay here with sleep alluding me, silent tears streaming down my face as I snuggle with my Carter remembering my blessings but yet profoundly sad that my life will no longer have my Dad physically in it. I am deeply grateful for the 2 days shy of 41 years I got to spend with my Dad as my coach, teacher, mentor, protector, biggest fan and most importantly my Daddy!! I know the days and weeks and months ahead will be difficult to say the least and I know I will most definitely need help and support to get through this. Thank you all for showering us with your love, prayers and support. We are humbled by the outpouring of love! Dad truly touched many lives and made such an impact on those who knew him! But of course he saw it so differently! You all were the ones who impacted his life and made it so much better!! Thank you will never be enough!! Thank you for allowing me to grieve openly! I am a sharer (if you hadn’t noticed). I know I need the support of a village to keep me strong. You all will truly never know the depth of My love and gratitude for each and everyone of you for being on this journey with me and my family. The memories you have shared with all of us about our Dad bring me great comfort. Thank you for sharing! God blessings on all of you! (By daughter Danielle Mapston Heissel)

You may write your condolence messages to Tonia in the Comments section below.

Spread to the four winds

I recently found a handy website which creates a map based on your data. Without compromising anyone’s privacy, I simply entered the zip codes of all the Burbank High Class of 1968 graduates, and look what I got!

A map of the Class of 1968 now.

A map of the Class of 1968 now. (Click to enlarge, then you can click any of the red dots for further detail.)

We are now located all over the map, with the bulk of the class still in California. We are spread apart from Alaska to Florida, and from Hawaii to New York! If you want to see the details, click the map above, and then you can click any red dot representing a geographic area. For example, I live in Hawaii, and I found out there are nine of us here, two of us on O‘ahu, four in Mau‘i, one on the Big Island, one on Lana‘i, and one on Kaua‘i! This means we could do a mini-reunion of BHS’68 grads anytime!

What’s interesting is that there are 15 BHS’68 grads in the Denver area, 5 in Las Vegas, and 5 in Philadelphia. And would you believe 65 grads still live in Burbank, California! That’s amazing!

Barbara Weitbrecht

Barbara Weitbrecht, 1968

This past summer, I met up with classmate Barbara Weitbrecht in Washington, DC where she works at the Smithsonian (see my post A Dream job) and we figured it had been 47 years since we saw each other last.

Crilly Butler

Crilly Butler

Steven Lester

And not too long ago, our classmates Crilly Butler and Steven Lester had a mini-reunion, and although they took a picture of themselves, they were too shy to publicize it (even though it was posted on Facebook!) Crilly wrote: Steven D. Lester, recently retired, went on a road trip from his home in Seattle to various places of interest around California. One of those was a stop in Davis to visit his classmate Crilly Butler. Though not having actually seen each other in 47 years, it was a wonderful reunion, including brunch on the patio and a late sushi lunch. The conversation was lively and covered 47 years worth of catching up and more. It was wonderful, and hopefully will happen again, preferably before another 47 years pass, since both will be long dead by then.

All of this is just a reminder that the 50th Reunion is approaching, and we don’t want anyone to be left out. If you move or change your email address, please send us the updated info at the Contact Us tab above. Most likely, the 50th Reunion will take place in late summer or early fall 2018. And if you want to be more involved, volunteers are always welcome! Just email us using the Contact Us tab.

A BHS Wedding – 45 years ago

Our BHS’68 classmate, Tonia Szilagyi Mapston, whom I sent on a chase to find her wedding pictures of 45 years ago, apologized that her photos had faded. Not to worry, I told her, pictures may fade, but there’s always Photoshop! So many BHS kids were in her wedding, I thought it would be fun for everyone to enjoy.

(L-R) Cousin Susan Carole Freeman Edelhauser Suzanne Schweitzer Joyce Mulder Ferguson Tonia Szilagyi Cousin Raquel Corinne Bugbee Cousin Linda Janene Verge Ferguson

(L-R) Cousin Susan, Carole Freeman Edelhauser, Suzanne Schweitzer, Joyce Mulder Ferguson, Tonia Szilagyi, Cousin Raquel, Corinne Bugbee, Cousin Linda, Janene Verge Ferguson. Click to enlarge.

CHALLENGE! Say, if you are in any of these pictures below, please write and give us an update on what you’re doing these days! Click the Contact Us tab above. You can also send pictures to We’d love to hear from you!

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40+ years of togetherness

The Wrays at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The Wrays at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

We’ve learned that a number of our Burbank High Class of ’68 grads have recently celebrated 40+ years of marriage — congratulations to all who have reached this milestone!

Donna Canzoneri Wray and John Wray.

Donna Canzoneri Wray and John Wray.

Donna Canzoneri Wray and husband, John Wray, both BHS’68 grads,  are celebrating their 43rd anniversary this weekend in San Diego at their favorite hotel on Shelter Island, The Bay Club Hotel and Marina. They have a room on the harbor, and “watch ships, sail boats, and planes coming and going all day. . . The weather sure beats the heat here in La Crescenta.” Donna retired from teaching 5 years ago and many friends and family traveled to The Bay Club for her retirement party. “This hotel room has been our home away from home for 12 years, but we have been vacationing in San Diego since 1971. Our girls now 33 and 27 and still single, learned to ride bikes and water ski on Mission Bay where my mom and stepdad kept their AirStream trailer every summer. Lots of fine family memories there. My sister and her sons live there now after my mom set up such a lasting tradition.”

Donna Canzoneri Wray on her 65th birthday.

Donna Canzoneri Wray on her 65th birthday.

Johnston Wray

Johnston Wray, 1968

Donna Canzoneri, 1968

Donna Canzoneri, 1968

Donna says that she “is delighted to stay in La Crescenta, and John agrees to live here as long as I am willing to travel whenever possible. I like everything about this place, our church, our friends, running into people I know, and even testing for the Glendale Schools’ Gifted Program. John stays busy refereeing basketball and doing a fire education program for 5th graders for the Glendale Fire Department.

Donna spent her 65th birthday at Kutna Hora, an hour drive outside of Prague. They visited the Ossuary decorated with 40,000 bones of victims of the plague of 1500, walked through the old square adjacent to St. Barbara’s, enjoyed a gorgeous long view of the valley, saw many bridge statues, and ate a typical Czech lunch.

John and Donna Canzoneri Wray on their recent European trip.

John and Donna Canzoneri Wray on their recent European trip.

The Wrays were in 9 countries in 44 days this past spring. They sailed across the Atlantic on a Celebrity ship and took their first river cruise down the Danube River. Their eldest daughter, Jaisha, who is on a two year assignment working at the the U.S. embassy in London and they all met in Italy for five days. Unfortunately, their younger daughter, Karleen, who works at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA as a Child Life Specialist, couldn’t get away to join the rest of the family. They stayed with a former exchange student from 20 years ago in Munich, and ended up in Paris where they met British friends.

She says, “We feel blessed and privileged to be healthy and able to enjoy this life of retirement. Being able to choose what you do or don’t do every single day is a true gift!” She adds, “We have no elderly parents left, no grandchildren, and no pets, so [there’s] no reason not to travel! The reunion committee is already planning our 50th reunion, and we hope everyone is planning to attend!”

Steve and Mary Raine

Steve and Mary Raine

Steve Raine and his wife, Mary, also celebrated 43 years of marriage on July 15th. Steve says “Mary worked at Security Bank on the corner of Olive and the Golden Mall. When we went to get our marriage license, the clerk recognized her, and said, “Oh! If you’d been here 10 minutes earlier, Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood just got a marriage license!”

Steve and Mary Raine; photo taken "a few years ago!"

Steve and Mary Raine; photo taken “a few years ago!”

[July 15th is the same day my husband, Carl Crosier, and I were wedded in 1977, and we had 37 years together before he succumbed to pancreatic cancer nearly a year ago.]

Steve and Mary Raine's wedding day with BHS classmates Cindy Marshall BHS '69, Jim Sheffield '68, and Steve Irey '68. Click to enlarge.

Steve and Mary Raine’s wedding day with BHS classmates Cindy Marshall ’69, Jim Sheffield ’68, and Steve Irey ’68. Click to enlarge.

Steve says that “On the day of this photograph, I think we both thought our parents might not have given our marriage six months. However…we had been dating for two years: some of it half a country apart, some of it half a world apart, and much of it 100 miles apart. . . After just a few years, I think they figured we were ‘keepers’.

Steve Raine, 1968

Steve Raine, 1968

He also writes that when they met, Mary told him she was a terrible athlete, and always the last picked for teams in P.E. But when she beat him by 187 strokes at miniature golf at the Sherman Oaks Castle, he knew she was either very wrong, or had been training with a US Olympic Team.

Steve and Mary Raine are both ordained Presbyterian pastors (Presbyterian Church in the USA), and members of the San Joaquin Presbytery, in central California. They are both graduates of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Mary is the solo pastor of Coalinga First Presbyterian Church, and Steve is a Presbytery minister-at-large. Steve also serves on the City Council of Coalinga. They have four daughters, a foster son and six grandchildren, shown in the photo below. “When the Bride was 15, she asked me if her boyfriend (JJ, on the far left) could come live with us. (She wasn’t even allowed to date until 16.) My answer was something like, “three bedrooms already occupied by six people leaves zero space for a boyfriend or anybody else. And you don’t need higher math to figure that out.” Well… Would you believe he came to live with us, and off we went into the interesting realm of foster parenthood. (expletives deleted) This photo was taken on the ‘wedding boat’ in the Newport Beach harbor on a beautiful day…!”

The Raine family.

The Raine family.

Of the photo above, Steve describes himself as a”broken down Dad from too many women in his life!” He says that his wife Mary “deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian award in the United States. She has earned it. Should that not be forthcoming, I will gladly present her with the Lifetime Achievement Award for being the highlight and the delight of my life.”

Tonia Szilogi Mapston and husband, Darrell

Tonia Szilagyi Mapston and husband, Darrell Mapston at Niagara Falls, Canada, Niagara River Whirlpool, May 2015.

Toni Szilagyi, 1968

Toni Szilagyi, 1968

Tonia Szilagyi Mapston and her husband, Darrell Mapston, just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. They met at Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR in 1968 when she was a freshman and he was a junior. She was dating his fraternity brother and roommate, and Toni and Darrell started dating the following school year. In three weeks, they were engaged in October 1969 and were married on June 20, 1970.

She says a bunch of BHS kids were in their wedding party, including Joyce Mulder Ferguson, Janene Verge Ferguson, Carole Freeman Edelhauser, Suzanne Schweitzer, Corinne Bugbee — all from the Class of 1968, and Alan Mulder from the Class of 1967. She was married at her childhood church, Luther Memorial in Burbank. Toni remembered that Esther Matica BHS’68 caught the bouquet!

Esther Matica caught the bouquet!

Esther Matica caught the bouquet!

Other BHS classmates at the wedding included Crilly Butler, Janet Robbins, James Edelhauser, Tina Anderson, Cynthia Miller, Mary Morris, Bev Blais, Debbie Martino, John Ferguson, Lynne Giese Anderberg, Kathy Southwick, Jane Giese, Teri Hill Clark, Jerry Clark, Kenda Vaughan, Sue Paquette, Sally Paquette, George Parsons and Meredith Wegner! (Toni sent so many great pictures of the wedding that I’m going to put them in another post.) The reception was at Pickwick Royal Crest Room, and the newlyweds honeymooned at Las Brisas in Acapulco.

She hasn't changed a bit since high school!

Toni hasn’t changed a bit since high school! Here she is on her 65th birthday brunch at her daughter’s house in Iowa.

The Mapstons also have four daughters, born in 1974, 1978, 1980 and 1982 — all are college grads, all married and all have children! —eight grandchildren, four of each, ranging from five months to 14 years. They took a huge road trip this year to celebrate Toni’s 65th birthday in May and their 45th wedding anniversary in June. They were gone for 60 days through 19 states and 5 Eastern Canada provinces!

Beautiful bride, Tonia Szilagyi

Beautiful bride, Tonia Szilagyi

When I told Toni that Luther Memorial no longer exists (it became a Korean congregation), she said she had lots of memories there, including baptism, confirmation and wedding. Her confirmation class had BHS kids in it too — Lark Ziegler, Linda Hausman, Cathy Carlson and Bruce Bierman.

For other classmates who have been married forty or more years, we’ve heard from Robin Neklia Smith and Don Smith (“Made it to the Prom“)—42 years; Teri Hill Clark and Jerry Clark — 45 years (“Joy and tragedy through 47 years“), Bonnie Moody Rapp and Dave Rapp — 45 years (“Five generations in one family”); and Sue Parker Easley and John Easley — 46 years in September! (“Married for Life”).

Anyone else in our class in this elite club? Please write! Use the Contact form above.

Made it to the prom, 47 years late!

Robin Neklia, 1968

Robin Neklia, 1968

Don Smith, 1968

Don Smith, 1968

Don and Robin Neklia Smith finally made it to the prom!

Don and Robin Neklia Smith finally made it to the prom in 2015!

Our Burbank High 1968 classmates, Robin Neklia and Don Smith, finally got to the prom — 47 years late! Robin says when they were seniors, “I so hoped that Don would ask me to our prom. Well, that didn’t work so this past April we went to the school prom that we both work at here (in Georgia). We finally made it to the prom together 47 years later!”

They have been married for 42 years and were blessed with three boys, Mike, Christopher and Sean. Mike just turned 38 and Robin says “that’s what makes me feel old because otherwise I don’t feel any older than I did in high school!” Mike and his wife, Angel, have three children and live with them in Guyton, GA (near Savannah). Tragically, their middle son, Christopher took his own life in 2003, but left them with the “wonderful gift of his son, Tyler.” Their youngest son, Sean, lives in Atlanta with his significant other.

Robin and Don Smith were married 42 years ago.

Robin and Don Smith were married 42 years ago.

Don and Robin have 9 acres of land with three horses, one donkey, six dogs and numerous cats — a real menagerie! Robin’s mom moved back to the area and turned 90 last March. She is in great health and continues to drive to the grocery store.

The Smiths lived in Southern California until 1988, then Don took a job in Oregon with a paper company. They enjoyed their time in Oregon very much except for the rain nearly every day. In 1990 Don transferred to a company in Birmingham, AL, promising Robin it didn’t rain there every day. They spent four wonderful years in Birmingham, meeting lots of great people and becoming Southern! Robin says they “drop the ‘g’ on any ‘ing’ word” and learned to say, “y’all, all y’all (plural) and “fixin’!”

In 1994, Don was asked to help open an office in Savannah, GA, so they moved yet again and have been there ever since. Don had retired but was bored, so Robin got him the maintenance job at the high school where she works as the bookkeeper. They are both hoping that this will be their last year doing this full time, although they might look for something part-time. I guess that they are turning 65 like everyone else in our class!

Robin says, “I’m so glad that there is the BHS blog and Facebook page, Don and I enjoy looking and reading about everyone. If any of you come to visit Savannah, which is a beautiful city, let us know!” She says that she is on Facebook.

Thanks so much for writing, Robin!

Part of the Smith's country home.

Part of the Smith’s country home.

What a handsome family!

The Smith family.