2018 Year in Review

2019 has arrived and there is hope for change and a new spirit on the horizon.  If you are reading this, then you are still with us.  Unfortunately, some of our friends and family aren’t.  I’ll go with the sad news first and move on from there.

Unfortunately, we lost two more classmates this year.  Jean Johnson Bowker, a resident of Maryland, passed on May 17.  David Bearr represented our class at her services.

Keith Hardwich lived in San Antonio and passed on June 13.

We also learned of the passing in previous years of David Doyle (2013), Eddie Rosenthal (9/25/15), Dianne Smith (6/29/16) and Vera Jeanne Maddox (5/12/16).

Those classmates who lost a family member include Richard Specia whose mother, Agnes “Teddie” Specia, passed on May 13, 2018, at the age of 97.

Frank Monaco’s beautiful wife Merrie, dancing in heaven now in that red dress, passed on July 3, of pancreatic cancer.

We also learned of the passing of some teachers and staff.  P.E. teacher Challie Thornton passed on August 17, 2018, business teacher James Bissett passed on April 8, 2015, and secretary Suzanne Riklin passed on May 21, 2014. 

Our class is a traveling bunch.  Here are some snippets that I gleaned from Facebook in 2018.

On March 4, Beth Bobby was found attending a High Mass at the Duomo in Florence, Italy.

On May 15, Betsy Lauterstein Rosenberg and husband Lee were in Italy and France.  On May 23, they were in Ibiza, Spain.  On December 8, they were checking in for another cruise in San Francisco and on December 20, they were fishing in Cabo.  Whew!  And, these aren’t the only places they traveled to.


June 5th found Ben Reisz and wife Vania at the Rila Monastery in Rila, Bulgaria. 

On July 6, Ben and Vania returned home from their six weeks escapade in Europe having spent time in Bulgaria, Italy, and Greece.


On July 21, Pam Nauert and all but two members of her large family returned from an eight-day trip to Yellowstone, Montana, Idaho, and other destinations.  Pam has 4 kids and 11 grandchildren.  One new baby and mom were not able to make the trip.  What a beautiful family!

Pam Nauert’s new grandson had arrived on June 11 and was named River William Martin Kuhn.  Pam sent along this explanation for that distinguished name.  “He has two middle names because both sides of the family wanted him named after their relative – both war heroes, so they decided to use both.”  Pam has been spending a lot of time on Ancestry and further added, “The Martin mentioned above is Martin Palmer who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and was quite a character.  His father, Martin Palmer, fought in the Revolutionary War.  So, I am being inducted into the Daughters of the American Revolution on January 12!  I am also getting into the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and will be in the First Families of Texas.  I never knew any of this a year ago!”  Congratulations, Pam!

Congratulations also go out to two of our classmates and their spouses for having reached the 50-year milestone of their marriage.  Jimmy Morris and his wife Wanda celebrated with a surprise party attended by about 50 family members at Billie Gene’s in Kerrville, Texas.

David Bearr sent along this photo of his beautiful family celebrating his and wife Dianne’s 50-year anniversary as well as sending this update.  “Dianne and I marked our 50th wedding anniversary this year. Although we married in her hometown, Miami, Florida, we observed our event at Mountain Lake in Virginia. It's still one of our longtime favorite places despite in recent years the absence of the lake. Folks might recognize it as the location for the movie "Dirty Dancing." It has been a year of multiple small celebrations for us, and all seven grandchildren have joined us on several occasions, including this Christmas season as per the attached picture.

It's been a year and a half of full retirement for me, but continue a frequent contributor to regional historical publications and projects. Am designing cachet for pictorial cancellation for Virginia's Fluvanna Historical Society's dedication of its Emancipation Proclamation Monument. It stands near the vintage one that recognizes Confederate soldiers. We aren't removing anything but instead are telling the rest of the story.”

In addition, David sent this interesting photo, stating, “Passed through Staunton, Va., this summer and saw this sign. Apparently, they didn't consider the L.E.E. HS option, and the school will become "Staunton HS" this July.”




Congratulations also go out to two more classmates.  On May 8, Beth Bobby won the honor of serving another term on the Elgin ISD School Board.

And best of all, on December 18, Carol Anne Lovelady Milliken posted on Facebook that she is now a six-year survivor of breast cancer.



And then, of course, there was the 55-Year Reunion held at the Silverhorn Country Club on September 29, organized by a committee led by Adrien Simon.  All who attended had a wonderful time and look forward to the next reunion.  Will it be a 57.5 or a 60th?  Or, something sooner?




On December 3, I posted on the Message Forum asking for info to put in the 2018 Year in Review.  Only two classmates (David Bearr and Pam Nauert) sent anything, which I have already included, so now I will add my own two.

Number 1:  In June 2017, Jacob, the oldest of  my three grandkids, graduated from Sandra Day O’Connor High School here in San Antonio.  While he did struggle at times in some subjects, he did successfully complete 4 years of JROTC, as his goal has always been to join the military.  He decided on the army and in August 2017, he was off to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, for basic training, leaving behind his family and his new girlfriend that he had met in his JROTC class. 

At Ft. Leonard Wood he successfully completed basic training and 11 members of his family from San Antonio and Cincinnati drove in to celebrate his graduation.  Jacob is also the grandson of our classmate David Reid, whom I was married to from 1966-1972.  From Ft. Leonard Wood, Jacob was sent to Ft. Lee, Va., for tech school training as a Tracked Vehicle Mechanic.  This was not his first choice but a ticket at the age of 17 for getting his truck stuck in the mud and leaving it overnight (not real sure of all the details here) prevented him from getting his first choice of Intelligence Analyst. 

Born and raised in Southwest Texas, Jacob wasn’t quite ready for that brutal winter along the east coast.  Because he didn’t want any “strikes” on his record, he failed to go to the doctor when he came down with a cold, and thus developed bronchitis.  When it came time for his physical before transferring from Ft. Lee to his MOS in El Paso, he couldn’t pass the physical.  A second try a few weeks later failed also.  Jacob would now be discharged from the Army.  Needless to say, Jacob was very upset and felt he had let the family down.  The army held on to him for several more weeks for processing and finally sent him home on April 29, 2018.   

After eight months in the army, Jacob arrived home with an Honorable Discharge, 1/6 of the GI Bill, the military’s Tri-Care Insurance for six months, everything he learned about a tracked vehicle (aka tank), and $12,000 of army pay in the bank. 

The rules state that when you are discharged from one government agency, you cannot apply at another one, or even talk to another one, for six months.  Through someone at his church, Jacob got a job driving a water truck on a construction site.  Can’t work when it’s raining though.  Jacob bided his time, did a lot of internet searching, and talked to people in the know.  Six months later on November 1, 2018, and much wiser about the workings of the military, Jacob was again talking to a recruiter.

 Jacob has now joined the Army National Guard.  The ticket for the stuck in the mud incident has been waived by a Colonel and in February, Jacob will be going to Ft. Huachuca in Arizona for 19 weeks of training at the Army Intelligence Center.  He does not have to do Basic Training again.  After his training at Ft. Huachuca he will return home to his family where he will go to school full-time on the GI bill and work towards a four-year degree in Project Management and spend one weekend a month training with the Army National Guard.  His girlfriend of two years graduates high school at the end of this school year and will be at a separate college studying Veterinarian Medicine.  After graduation they will undoubtedly make future plans which include a career in the military for Jacob. 

On February 17, 2019, Private Jacob M. Reid will be 20 years old.  Jacob’s younger brother and sister will be in high school next year (12th and 9th grade) and I am so anxious to see what the future holds for all of them.  I am so proud of these kids, and my son and daughter-in-law who raised them, that I could just burst!

Number 2:  For the last 2-3 months I have been dealing with a medical issue pertaining to my liver.  My liver enzymes suddenly jumped from a normal of less than 50 u/L to almost 700 u/L.  While I had no symptoms of fever, nausea, or jaundice, and only a little abdominal pain, mostly due to fluid building up in my body, the doctor immediately had me in the ER, twice, and then two nights in the hospital. 

I tore up the internet searching for answers as to why this was happening.  One thing I learned is that lots of people with similar liver problems are walking around without any symptoms or clues and are headed for danger of liver failure and don’t know it.  It could be fatty liver disease (you don’t have to be fat or obese to have this), cirrhosis, hepatitis, autoimmune disease or one of many other things.  It is much more common in women than men.  I also learned that not all doctors order complete labs after each annual visit.  Fortunately, my doctor always has.   

In spite of, or because of, having had most of the common childhood diseases in the 1950s and every cold virus ever, as an adult I have always been very healthy and still have all the body parts that I entered this world with. 

I married my husband Ed in 1979, two years after he retired from 20 years of service in the Air Force.  Thanks to his military service and benefits, I have received the best care possible at BAMC (Brooks Army Medical Center), one of the finest hospitals in the country, all at no expense.  After tests, tests, and more tests and a gamut of other procedures and what seems like gallons of blood removed from my body, I finally have a diagnosis. 

Needless to say, this has been the biggest scare of my life for both my family and me as well as being a life changing event.  On very stern orders from the hepatology doctor, my first line of defense was to lay off the added salt in my diet and to eat 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day instead of two or three big ones.   His guidelines included no canned vegetables, no sodas, no processed meats, no pickles or olives, and other items. 

I immediately began a new eating plan without going on a strict “diet” or giving up all of my favorite foods.  As a result of this new way of eating, an unexpected consequence occurred.  I began to lose weight at the rate of about a half a pound a day.    From my pre-condition status, I have lost 4 inches off my waist and 17 pounds of weight.  I am now just 5 pounds over my high school weight.

Through research on the internet, I found a list of acceptable foods and foods to avoid on my new eating plan. I have now put together a handout on good eating habits that includes these acceptable and non-acceptable foods.  I have shared it with friends and family.  If you would like a copy of this handout, send me a stamped self-addressed envelope and I’ll gladly send you a copy. I will not email it to you.

I have also learned a lot about the amazing liver.  It really is the heart of the body.

I know you are all concerned, and I appreciate that, but please do not swamp me with emails that I then have to respond to; although there are a few special people out that I would like to hear from.  You know who you are.  Also, no phone calls.  I have a slight hearing problem and it’s sometimes difficult to carry on an intelligent conversation when I can’t understand your every word.

Most days only two or three classmates will get on our website.  And, that’s fine.  I’m not complaining.  There’s nothing new to see.  I sometimes go more than a week if no one has posted anything.  However, if I post on the website that one of our classmates has died, there will be 80-90 classmates on there.  Are you looking to see if it’s YOU?  Think about it.  So, get off the Keto diet, the South Beach diet, the Adkins diet, or whatever the diet du jour is.  You don’t need outside help that cost money.  You need to pull it from within.  A chocolate chip cookie at Subway contains 200 calories.  You would then need to walk two miles to burn off those 200 calories.  If you ate just one cookie (or other such treat) a day and those calories don’t get burned off, you could potentially gain two pounds in one month.  You can make excuses, or you can do it.

On December 28, I was finally diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis which has caused a little cirrhosis.  Cirrhosis is not just an alcohol disease and I don’t even drink.  But, because my doctor runs complete lab work every year, we know that this developed within the last year and is far from being advanced.  Treatment for me is merely a daily immune suppressor med, lab work every six months, and healthy eating habits.

Although research is not clear on just what causes the body to attack itself, an interesting article on the Mayo Clinic website states that measles and viral infections are on the list of possible causes.  I had measles in the 2nd grade and a forever cold.  So, if that's the cause, there’s not much I could have done to prevent this, but monitoring and healthy eating habits will keep it in check and allow me to live longer and healthier than the ones who develop diabetes because they are overweight or have poor eating habits.

If I haven’t lost you yet, send me that stamped-self addressed envelope.  If I’m stepping on your toes, exit the site.


Take care, plant pansies, and go to the doctor.

Pansies don’t freeze and they add lots of color to your winter landscape.


Doreene Saunders Barrett

9326 Lamerton St.

San Antonio, Tx 78250