MEMO BLOG Memo Calendar Memo Pad Business Memos Loaves & Fishes Letters Home
Parkrose Elmer's gets royal treatment
Fritz sings to Portland Plan gathering
Parkrose Class of '52: friends forever
Forest of tree regulations confusing
Annual award goes to firefighter, police officer
Growing supper at Fir Ridge Community Learning Center
Sheriff's deputies killed in line of duty honored
Perlman's Potpourri…
Deal done for FBI headquarters at Cascade Station
Clinic marks 10 years in business with new office, strong client base
Walker replaces Reese at East Precinct

About the MEMO
MEMO Archives
MEMO Advertising
MEMO Country (Map)
MEMO Web Neighbors
MEMO Staff

© 2010 Mid-county MEMO
Terms & Conditions
Parkrose Class of '52: friends forever

Bound by the common bond of attending Parkrose schools together more than 50 years ago, friends from the Parkrose High School Class of 1952 reunite monthly


Childhood friends, classmates from Parkrose Class of 1952 meet the third Tuesday at Elmer's Restaurant in Parkrose for lunch and fellowship. Clockwise, from the lower left, are Jerry Hutchinson, Don Lund, Jerry Bettendorf, Bob Barnard, Bruce Turner, Arlen Young, Mike Van Alstyne, Jerry Ringer, Allyn Staley, Dave Dixon and Sam Sorensen.
Clarence “Sam” Sorensen reads the “point shaving scandal” story he wrote for the April Fools issue of the Parkrose High School newspaper, the Parkrose Bud when he was on staff.
Whether or not you've ever owned a computer or a cell phone, the river of technology that American society has been awash in over the last 20 years has changed our lives in ways experts have only begun to determine how to measure.

While we don't know the effect the social media revolution (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Web sites like will have on the way we relate to each other in the future, for now we know it widens our social circle and makes it easier to stay in touch. However, it also diminishes the need to actually see each other on a regular basis.

Unless, that is, you do it old school: meet face-to-face as a group. There is a group of friends who not only met in childhood, but literally attended the old school: two old - very old - Parkrose high schools.

Nowadays, the percentage of students who meet in grade school and go all the way through high school together is about 40%.

When Parkrose graduated 95 seniors in 1952 it was nearly the opposite percentage.

Before Internet social networking sites made it easier to find childhood friends and former high school classmates, you had to wait every five or 10 years or so to re-establish relationships and find lost friends at school reunions.

Some high school classes did get together more often and stayed in touch better because of the efforts of one or sometimes two people who became the equivalent of a social networking Web site before there was such a thing.

More than 50 years later, groups of eight to 14 classmates, along with other childhood friends, meet for lunch once a month at Elmer's Restaurant in Parkrose. “We've lost track of six (classmates); we don't know where they are,” said Clarence “Sam” Sorensen, de facto spokesman for the group after classmate Dick Wagner passed away last year. Their last official reunion was a two-day event in 2007.

Bob Barnard: More than 20 years as a video engineer at KATU Channel 2.

Jerry Bettendorf: Twenty years at Parkrose High School as a health and physical education teacher, basketball and baseball coach.

Dr. Dave Dixon: M.D. General Practice; he continues to run his family medical practice in Vancouver, Wash. “I never made enough money to retire.”

Jerry Hutchinson: A pharmacist for 40 years; attended University of Oregon and Oregon State University.

Homer Berry: Parkrose School District Maintenance Supervisor for 21 years.

Don Lund: Also was a Parkrose School District teacher for 20 years, from 1961-81 at Parkrose Heights Jr. High (current site of Portland Christian Jr/Sr High School). During the summer break, Lund drove long-haul trucks. After retiring, he drove truck full-time for another 20 years for Safeway Stores. According to Sorensen, Lund was the “most famous athlete,” from the Class of 1952.

Ralph Pitt (Parkrose Class of 1953): Forty-one years at Pendleton Woolen Mills. Pitt is the organizer of reunions for his class.

Jerry Ringer: An engineer for 35 years at Burlington Northern Railroad.

Sam Sorensen: Safeguard Business Systems in Eugene for 35 years.

Allyn Staley: Engineer, facility manager for the City of Portland, retired.

Bruce Turner (also Parkrose High School Class of 1953):
Worked for Safeway Stores for more than 20 years.

Mike Van Alstyne: He was a Super Cargo loader for 42 years. His parents owned Van's Drive-In on Northeast Sandy Boulevard for 25 years.

Arlen Young: Fourth grade through freshman year at Parkrose High School, matriculating at Jefferson High School. He was a Teamster for 31 years, driving a route for Wonder Bread and Hostess Bakeries.
Parkrose High School Class of 1952

Patricia Allan
Daniel Baker
Robert Barnard
Richard Bennett, Jr.
Norma Jean Benthin
Homer Berry
Jerome Bettendorf
Lorraine Bitz
Annette Bolton
Ronald Bottaro
Gayle Campbell
Raymond Cathcart
Winford Centen
Geraldine Chamberlain
Eugene Cochran
Ralph Colvin
Bruce Coxley
Bruce Cummings
Velma Curnutte
Millard Day
Barbara Dike
David Dixon
Frances Dodge
Roberta Dortch
Ruth Dunning
Karole Durkee
Glorias Eaton
Edward Elberson
Ruth Emberland
Janet Flewell
Larry Freeman
Helen Frey
Wayne Garbarino
Eleanor Gardner
Virginia Gray
James Hall
Lloyd Hall
Joseph Harrison
Mary Haskins
Shirley Heizenreter
Darlene Hiatt
Larry Hibbard
Eva Hill
Mary Hisel
Dolores Hodges
Jean Holloway
Barbara Howard
Jack Howerton
Gerald Hutchison
Velma Ingram
Clark Jones
Alan Jordan
Lillian Klaus
Jeanne Lofthus
Donald Lund
Patricia McCarney
Dennis McFerran
Patricia Mahoney
Gilbert Marguth, Jr.
Carole Meyer
Patricia Miller
Ralph Neumann
Mary Jane Noetzelmann
Mary Norcross
Charles Pierce
William Piper
James Pitton
Sydney Mae Quigley
Martin Reedy
Jerry Ringer
Thomas Rodda
Richard Rowlands
Wesley Rowlee
Mary Sue Sallee
Donna Siler
Ronald Smith
Clarence “Sam” Sorensen
Allyn Staley
James Sutherland
Thomas Swift
Betty Lee Tayntom
Deljo Thacker
Alice Thompson
Bessie Turner
Myron “Mike” Van Alstyne
Beverly Vrem
Phyllis Wade
Thomas “Dick” Wagner
Janet Weigandt
Floyd Wendlberger
George Whitsett
Marcella Wilson
Valerie Wilson
Dolores Yadon
Until his passing, Wagner, of Wagner Mining Scoop Company, kept his classmates assiduously informed about each other. “He's the one that kept us together,” said Don Lund. “We had reunions every five years because of him. He'd send us all Christmas cards; he'd send out updates on the people, and more than once he had the reunion at his house (in Argay Terrace).”

“I inherited all his files,” said Sorensen. “But I never sent out a Christmas letter …” pausing for effect, “I didn't know what to say,” the whole group laughing at the joke. “There are, oh, about 47 of us still alive,” said Sorensen. Gesturing toward his tablemates, Sorensen said, “I have a computer, most of them don't. I send out an e-mail and call to remind them about the lunches. We invite the girls too, but none of them have showed up yet.”

You can almost see and feel the affection and respect for each other emanating from them like heat waves on a hot day. Decades fall away from these accomplished fathers, grandfathers and even a few great-grandfathers as they laugh and kid each other - the language of love for men friends - as they did back in high school. Having met in elementary school, in some cases they matriculated all the way through college together.

“Most of us either tried to or participated in some form of sports all through school,” Sorensen remembered. “(Bob) Barnard played baseball, (Mike) Van Alstyne was the basketball manager, Arlen (Young) played tennis, and (Dave) Dixon was a wrestler.” Exceptional three-sport athletes in high school, Lund and Bettendorf were on the successful Parkrose varsity basketball team together. Bettendorf, at 6 feet 1 inch, was the point guard while Lund, at 5 feet 10 inches, was the center. Sorensen kept his fellow students informed of their athletic activities as a reporter for the Parkrose Bud, the school newspaper.

“Our school colors were purple and white,” Lund remembered. “We had brand-new (basketball) uniforms until someone kept washing them with bleach - the purple bled into the white and it looked black,” Lund recalled. It being shortly after World War II, the district didn't have money to buy new ones and risk this happening again. So, as Sorensen remembers, when someone at the district got a deal on black shirts they put it to a vote. In 1949, the administration gave the students a choice: black and white or scarlet and gray for the new school colors. To administrators' relief, the student body voted 154-97 for black and white.

One of their former elementary school teachers, who knows the classmates meet regularly, makes a point to call them during their lunch. Lois Campbell - Miss Eddy to her students - taught seventh grade at the old high school - which back then was a combined junior high and high school. Three of their high school teachers also stay in touch with the group: Miss Lind (Agnes Rands/Warren), Miss Deal (Dorothy Wells) and Miss Brishlie (Margaret Young).

The class of 1952 moved into the then-new Parkrose High School on 122nd Avenue - built in 1950 for $599,000 - in their sophomore year from the old high school that was on the north side of Prescott Street between 106th and 107th avenues. That high school's original football field is the same field that sits behind Prescott Elementary. “Our baseball diamond was on one end and the backstop that's there today is the same identical one when we were kids,” said Sorensen.

“We had at least three different spellings for Broncos too,” Sorensen remembered. “The Oregonian kept spelling it B-r-o-n-c-o-s, we spelled it B-r-o-n-c-h-o-s at the Bud, and there was an argument that it should actually be spelled B-r-o-n-c-h-o-e-s. We had a vote (at the paper) and settled on the one they have now.”
But, as these childhood friends will tell you, there is only one way to spell friendship.

They meet the third Tuesday of every month. “If there's someone around and needs to contact me,” Sorenson said, “I'd hope they'll send me an e-mail.” Contact Sorenson at or phone him at 503-253-8131.
Memo Calendar | Memo Pad | Business Memos | Loaves & Fishes | Letters | About the MEMO
MEMO Advertising | MEMO Archives | MEMO Web Neighbors | MEMO Staff | Home