Gordon Petry

Profile Updated: April 28, 2010
Residing In: Pekin, IL USA
Spouse/Partner: Patricia
Occupation: Teacher/Musician/Writer
Children: Michael Petry, born 1967, lives in Chicago, two blocks from Wrigley Field

Kristen Conroy, born More…1969, lives in Naperville, 3 kids-Madison, Kyra and Braden (all soccer players and swimmers) Yes, Kris is the consumate soccer mom.

Megan Larson, born 1969, lives in Lake Zurich

Amy Walser, born 1971 lives in Waterloo, Iowa, 2 kids-Rebecca (a dancer) and Sam (a Lego engineer)

All four kids went to Illinois State and graduated in four years. (Thank goodness--do the math--we had three in college for four consecutive years) All four of our children taught in Illinois public schools. Meg is the only one still teaching.

After graduating from Schurz, I was going to room with Ed Rice at Northern. He wound up at the U of I, and I went to ISU (or ISNU as it was back then) and roomed with Dick Hanus.

I never thought about being a teacher, but I got a teacher scholarship, which paid for almost everything except room and board. The catch was you had to teach for a year or three, or else you had to repay the money. Hey, I can do anything for a while. Forty-six years later, I'm still teaching. Besides teaching English (grammar,writing and literature) in public schools, 7th grade though 12th grade, I also taught creative writing and etymology and coached tennis for 20 seasons.

I've given tennis lessons, private, YWCA, park district, Illinois Central College. I've taught piano lessons, guitar lessons, a little voice and some musical composition. I'm a choir director/accompanist for one church and song leader/ assistant organist for another.

I've taught tennis in a church parking lot for the Y. I've taught short story, poetry and play writing in the Pekin Federal Prison on a NEA grant. (I probably am one of the few who was sorry to leave.)

My youngest student was four and my oldest was 84?
In addition to 32 years of junior high/ high school teaching, I taught English for Illinois Central College for seven years and at Bradley University for 15 and counting.

I'm beginning to think I like teaching. I hope all that fulfills the scholarship requirements, so I don't have to repay the money.

My wife Pat and I went on a European vacation, a gift from my son Mike. Another year we went to England the same time as Mike and his wife. With some friends we took an Alaska cruise one year and visited Ireland the next. (Some wonderful deals on line--And yes, I kissed the Blarney stone). My wife and I took a tour of Italy last year. Venice was our favorite.

I wrote a tennis column for a newspaper for two years. I've had a few stories published and just this year, two of my plays were produced.

My wife and kids gave me a wonderful birthday present last year. I got to spend some time with the penguins at Brookfield Zoo, not swimming, but feeding and petting. FUN!

Finally, (and not a minute too soon, I can hear you out there) I met my wife at Illinois State in, of all places, an English class. She wouldn't go out with me at first because I had a full (well, scruffy at least) beard grown for my part in Brigadoon. We were married two weeks after graduation (out of one institution and into another).

She also taught in the Illinois Public schools, first, Momence and then Pekin. She just retired from working as manager of a photography studio. I call her my trophy wife because she is three months younger than me. She has put up with me through thick and thin, and yes, I'm talking about my waistline and hairline, respectively.

I'm looking forward to seeing all of you and renewing some old friendships.

School Story:

1st person I met --Bob Bell, That insured that my four years at Schurz would be fun

Amy Stodola--I still know how to diagram a sentence (and still hate it)

Miss Falkenroth--What a gentle soul. She'd ask, "What's the square root of four?" and get a answer like "Seven?"
And no matter how bad your answer was she'd gently say, "I don't think so." If Bob Bell makes it to the reunion, ask him for his "spot on" imitation.

Uncle Charley--I was in his physics class when the snowball fight broke out, and he didn't notice. I did learn about pyrex in that class, after breaking a non-pyrex vase with too much heat.

Miss Wincher--rascals would write at the top of her blackboard "Miss Wincher can't reach this," and she couldn't.

Mr. Mcarthy's history class. On the oral quizzes, true was a step forward and false was a step back. He had to know. It sounded like a parade.

Mr. Mietke changing shirts between classes (and pretending to be afraid of Tod Engel--Angel of Death translated from German.)

The biology teacher who describing the size of some worm, gave the class the finger (for quite a while).

John Schwartz--the most outstanding athletic achievement--On the first day of our naked swimming classes (another story for another time), we jumped in the shallow end and swam to the deep end to prove we could swim. John jumped in and then leapt completely free of the water yelling "I can't swim." I've never seen anything like it.

Speaking of PE, I remember holding on to my pants when running to and from the ball diamond. A lot of "pantsing" went on as we ran past the classroom windows.

Don Swanson and I decided to go out for tennis our freshman year. We were too shy to go out as an individual. Neither of us had ever played. Only six people went out for the team. We made the varsity. Our opponents were astonished at how bad we were. But I did earn a varsity letter, my senior year, which I received two days before graduation.

Bud Eldvedt--first of my friends to own a car, and we packed it to go to school on cold days.

Poster parties-enough said.

Miss Minnis--who fell in love with everything I wrote that last semester and read my papers to all of her classes. Thank you. You deserve all the credit (or blame) for me becoming an English teacher.

Last memory--being a human sardine in the third floor hallway right where it intersected the triangle. Talk about up close and personal! And we only had four minutes to get to the next class.

Gordon's Latest Interactions

Hide Comments
It's Gordon Petry's birthday today.
Sep 08, 2017 at 4:33 AM
It's Gordon Petry's birthday today. New comment added.
Sep 08, 2016 at 4:59 PM

Posted on: Sep 08, 2016 at 4:33 AM

Gordon Petry posted a message. New comment added.
Aug 08, 2016 at 4:35 PM

Posted on: Aug 07, 2016 at 11:14 PM

Happy belated birthday. Sorry, I lost my password and couldn't get logged in. After searching futilely, I gave up, so naturally a few weeks later I found it. It sounds as if things are going well for you. More of the same, only double. I read that book you sent and found it helpful. Thanks

Gordon Petry posted a message.
Aug 04, 2016 at 11:01 PM

Congratulations on another birthday. I hope you are healthy and enjoying the good life.

Gordon Petry posted a message.
Apr 07, 2016 at 11:36 PM

Happy Birthday, Bonnie
I hope you had a great day and many more.
Best wishes,

Gordon Petry posted a message.
Mar 02, 2016 at 8:10 AM

Dear Bud,
Another year already. Congratulations. I hope everything is going well for you. I think back to our growing up years and realize what an idyllic time that was. I never felt unsafe. We'd go out after school and play until supper. Our parents didn't see us (certainly weren't helicopter parents) and that was fine. They had their world and we had ours. I always felt safe in school (even if we did have to stick our heads in our lockers for protection in case the Russians decided to atom bomb Barry School.) It was a more innocent time or maybe I was just innocent and naive. Either way, I liked it.
Have a great birthday and the rest of the year.

Gordon Petry posted a message. New comment added.
Jan 23, 2016 at 11:18 PM

Posted on: Jan 22, 2016 at 1:51 PM

Best wishes for a great day and a great year. We're not getting older; we're getting better! (At some things, not so good running a mile, doing chin ups, climbing several flights of stairs, getting out of bed in the morning--oops, talking about me. I hope you're still able and willing.
I hope we can run into each other some time again.
Best of everything always,

Gordon Petry posted a message.
Sep 10, 2015 at 8:07 PM

Once again, happy birthday, Delilah

Gordon Petry posted a message.
Sep 02, 2015 at 1:21 PM

Here's hoping you have a great birthday. (They seem to come around quicker than they used to). Best wishes to you,

Gordon Petry added a comment on Profile.
Jul 19, 2015 at 1:52 PM
Gordon Petry posted a message.
May 27, 2015 at 6:38 AM

Here's hoping you had a wonderful birthday, the day after Memorial Day seems appropriate and fitting. I remember the fun we had playing softball. I don't know if you are planning to attend the 55th reunion. I hope to see you there and do some catching up.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy life.

Gordon Petry posted a message.
Mar 02, 2015 at 6:47 PM

Dear Bud,
Here's hoping you had a wonderful birthday today. Since I'm sending you this message a bit late (forgot my Schurz password, then found it) , I hope that tomorrow and the next day is etc.etc into infinity are also wonderful. There was some talk about another reunion, but I don't know if it's going to happen. Seeing you and Rich brought back the most memories for me. My wife reads the obits and comments on how many are younger than us--that works for me.
Hope to see you again some time soon,
Best Wishes,
Gordon or Gordie

Gordon Petry added a comment on Profile.
Jan 22, 2015 at 8:23 PM
Gordon Petry posted a message. New comment added.
Nov 30, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Posted on: Nov 29, 2014 at 11:18 AM

I hope you have a well deserved happy birthday and another wonderful year to follow.
I don't know about you, but I don't feel any older (maybe a little slower, but not older).
Best wishes always and a huge thank you for the 50th anniversary reunion and this wonderful website to keep track of everybody.

Gordon Petry posted a message.
Nov 28, 2014 at 10:24 AM

What an inspiring story, Jill. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and a great year. There's a possibility of another reunion this summer, something more low key like a picnic. I hope it comes to be and I'll see you there.
Best wishes always,

Gordon Petry posted a message.
Nov 21, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Happy Birthday, Pat
What a wonderful fulfilling life for someone who certainly deserves it. I wish you the best for many more years.

Gordon Petry posted a message.
Nov 15, 2014 at 4:00 PM

I wish I had known. We could have bought out trees from you. I think we got ours at Riverview. (Talk about the good old days) How cool to have a brother who taught at Schurz.
Thanks for sharing and bringing back some memories

Nov 15, 2014 at 3:56 PM

Here's hoping for a happy birthday celebration for you that will last the whole year.
Best wishes for health and happiness.

Gordon Petry added a comment on Profile.
Nov 12, 2014 at 10:54 AM
Gordon Petry posted a message.
Oct 16, 2014 at 1:25 PM

What a life, sailing where you want to go. I've only sailed twice, once on a catamaran (sp?) where we had to hold onto a rope and lean way over the side. My stomach was sore afterwards, but what fun. The second time was about a month later on a rowboat with a sail, much tamer, but I used what I had learned about tacking to sail back up wind.
Best wishes for a very happy birthday.
I met a teacher I used to teach with and she said the best thing about retirement is you don't have to do anything you don't want to. If it's not fun, don't do it.
It seems to me that you are living that credo, and you have earned the right to.
Have a happy birthday and much smooth sailing for many more years.
Best Wishes,

Hide Comments
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:53 AM