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06/12/20 05:20 PM #390    


Ronald Adrine


You can be forgiven.  It's a sign of the times.  Back then, it wasn't on the radar screen of most whites anywhere in the nation.

06/13/20 12:50 AM #391    

Judith Helf (Fishman)

I have for years told people  about Shaker being one of the first schools to integrate.  I am very proud  and honored to have been a part of those years. I never thought twice about it. It was  just more kids to  be friends with. Shaker  and our class have always been the best growing up experience and even though we have all gone on different paths we will always have a very unique bond.

06/13/20 10:26 AM #392    

Harland London

Judy, You were proud about Shaker being integrated.  But was it? There was a tracking system for academic classes. 5 AP, 4 above average,3 average, 2 below average, 1, well sweatghogs I guess.  I was in 5 ore 4 level classes and I remember only one black classmate in all my classes.  At a student council officier's meeting the asssistant principal came in and asked if we had any ideas about how to improve race relations.  We kind of looked around the room sheepishly and I told him if we knew the answer to that question he should give us the Nobel Peace Prize. So I guess at least one administrator's heart was in the right place.  This is the classic example of institutional racism.  Integration?  The Christian and the Jewish kids hardly integrated. much less black kids.  I don't remember black kids sitting with white kids during lunch.  And senior year most white kids got into their cars and drove off campus to eat.  I doubt any of those cars were integrated. The only black and white at Draegers was  the sundae.  Well that was my experience at least.  Stay safe, and as always thanks to Torchy for doing all he does to keep our community together.

06/13/20 05:25 PM #393    


Cookie Chesler (O'Neill)

Classmates.  In furtherance of the discussions some here have had over the last week in response to Ron's comments about police actions, racism, and life at Shaker when we were all there, I recommend for those interested in learning more about racism, policing, the history and the present, the following:  a podcast called Scene on Radio, Season 4 (this is a deep dive but well worth the time); a podcast called Save The People, especially the episode from Tuesday, June 9th; and a really good place to start, a podcast from Throughline from June 4th, entitled American Police.  For you book readers, author and historian Ibram X. Kendi has written several books, one of which won the National Book Award (Stamped from the Beginning:  The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America), and a more recent book, How To Be An Anti-Racist.  Perhaps even your kids and older grandkids who have an interest in this subject would like to listen to or read some of these suggestions.

06/13/20 06:57 PM #394    

Keith Lacy

Ronald, thank you for the response!  You are so gracious.

06/14/20 08:47 AM #395    


Edward Torchy Smith

Because of this discussion on this website Ron Adrine was on the Radio last week talking about the Shaker letter from the principal of the high school.  Sorry Ron to have made you the point man from our class on this issue.   However, with your background in civil rights it qualifies you as the right representative from our class.  When I first saw you in Junior High, I knew you would go on to big and better things.  You had this huge briefcase that you attempted to carry home packed with every book from your locker. Every day I saw you walking the halls with this briefcase even though you were this thin and wiry kid.  It was that briefcase that you lugged home in the snow, sleet, and hot sun, that build you up and gave you the strength for the track team and the wisdom you would use to become a judge.  For those who might not know Ron is in the Shaker Hall of fame.  Also here is a short bio on him:

I would like to make a couple of observations.  For those of us who attended Woodbury we attended a racially integrated school for 6 years. (Three years Woodbury and the three years at the High School.)  For those you who attended the all-white Byron it was only a three-year experience of integration and only at the High School level with a smaller ratio of African Americans to white.  I bring this up because in Junior High I felt I got to know every Black kid in our class.  It seemed easier at that age with more chances to mingle with the school’s activities.  The integration was somewhat artificial by today’s standards but somehow, we all knew it was a breakthrough. 


06/14/20 12:38 PM #396    


Ronald Adrine


Thank you for the shout-out! I appreciated the opportunity to speak on this topic publically.  I was a little taken aback (but not really suprised) that the first place that the host wanted to go to was how terrible all this rioting and looting was.  I tried to gentlely refocus him on the fact that, although the rioters and looters should be held accountable, the riots were not the REAL story.  The riots were a foreseeable outgrowth of the rage some people felt at the despicable act that was finally the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.  The riots and looting were appended to never before seen levels of peacful nationwide (make that worldwide) demonstrations and protests against racial injustice, particularly against African Americans, but also against other minorities--non-white and ethinic, religious and other-gendered people--everywhere.  What is particularly amazing is that the protests have engendered hard looks, not just at the criminal justice system, but injustice in virtually all segments of American society...and that changes are occurring to remedy many of these inequities as they are exposed, at the speed of light!  THAT's the REAL story!

The riots were over after three days.  The peaceful demonstrations, involving hundreds of thousands of individuals, continue to this day, as do the rapid-fire changes.

Given the chance, I did my best to rep Shaker's Class of '65



06/14/20 01:27 PM #397    


Ronald Adrine

Hey, Cookie!

Thanks for the heads-up!  Those are some GREAT resources!  There is so much out there for folks who are interested or just curious about how we find ourselves here.  Let me suggest some others to add to your list: 

Michelle Alexander's seminal book, " The New Jim Crow--Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" gives you an enlightening look at the policy decisions over the centuries that have resulted in African Americans being criminalized. 

Go to Netflix to a look at the documentary entitled, "Thirteenth," which details the policy decisions that virtually reenslaved African American in the south following Reconstruction.

Read A. Leon Higgenbotham Jr.', s book, "In the Matter of Color," to understand the role that the law played in the enslavement and subjugation of blacks in the Colonial Period. 

Neil Irvin Painter's "The History of White People," traces the concept of race as we know it back to 18th Century Germany, and shows how as it was originally conceived it was intended to exclude all but Anglo-Saxons, from being TRUE Americans, i.e., Irish, Native Americans, Jews, Italians, Slavs and Greeks, etc.  The original concept was designed, therefore, to keep all working class people down.  it's interesting then to see how it evolved to include all but people of color. 

Like I said there's so much out there to inform the curious.

These are historic times.  Those of us who feel moved to do something positive can find many ways to be part of the solution.  

Thanks for what you're doing, Cookie.



06/15/20 02:19 PM #398    


Alice Kuhn (Hansen)

There have been many times since our 50th reunion when I have shared with family and friends how special this message forum is to me.  And now, even more so.  Thank you, Torchy, for making it possible.  Thank you all for contributing respectful, gracious, thoughtful, and kind responses.  During this Pandemic, my husband and I have been watching CBS's Steve Hartman's classes on Kindness 101.  It was particularly directed to school children.  However, I couldn't help thinking we can all begin with kindness for everyone.  I am thankful and happy to be one of your classmates.

11/08/20 10:47 AM #399    


David Brown

Richard Carl Peterjohn passed away on Saturday, October 31st at the age of 86. Peterjohn was a husband, father, grandfather, accomplished athlete and celebrated educator. He was born October 30th, 1934 in Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoyed an adventurous and active childhood of playing sports, scouting and exploring the Adirondacks with beloved cousins in the summers. He graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in 1953, and went on to study and play baseball at the University of Michigan, where he earned multiple varsity letters.

After graduating in 1957, Peterjohn taught in Germany with the US Armed Forces. He returned to Cleveland and began a long career in education as a teacher, coach, counselor, assistant principal and principal in the Shaker public schools. Along the way, he earned a doctorate at Michigan State University, where his scholarship focused on the power of optimism in education. He found immense joy in his profession and mentored countless young people, many of whom continued to stay in touch with him in their adult lives. He had particular impact at Woodbury Junior High School and Byron Junior High School (now Shaker Middle School), where he had a combined tenure of over 30 years. Peterjohn loved nothing more than to bump into a former student out and about in the Heights and hear all about their lives.

Peterjohn married a fellow teacher and the love of his life, Elspeth Barclay, in 1962. Together, they instilled in their family his love of education, travel, and sports. He shared with them many wonderful gatherings on Deep Creek Lake, trips to Ann Arbor for Michigan football games, and thoughtful phone calls. When he saw a newspaper clipping he thought a loved one would like, he cut it out and mailed it to them. Just as he worked for his students, he lived for his family. His two children, two children-in-law and seven grandchildren continue to live by his model of positivity, hope and kindness.

In addition to being a respected teacher and beloved father, Peterjohn was an active member at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church where he worshipped and volunteered. Those who knew him can attest that he was a devotee to the city of Cleveland. He marvelled at its history, cultural institutions and its sports teams. There was none more loyal to the Indians and the Browns. And, of course, none more loyal to the Wolverines! He was a treasure trove of sports history, stats, trivia, and loved watching any competition be it rec league, scholastic, collegiate or professional.

He was a man of his community through and through. Neighborhood friends grew into lasting companions who he enjoyed having regular breakfasts with at Tommy’s and Jack’s Delicatessen. His students knew him first as a teacher or principal, and later as a lifelong cheerleader who took great interest in their stories as they embarked on their own careers and built their own families. He was known for his warm smile, his humor, and a penchant to clap you on the back and call you by your last name in true coach fashion. Peterjohn loved people and connected authentically  with most everyone he met. He found his own happiness celebrating the joy of others.

Today, his family mourns the loss but revels in the magic of his life. Peterjohn is survived by his wife: Elizabeth B. Peterjohn; his children and in-laws: David and Susanne Peterjohn and Kristen and Joe Brown; and his grandchildren: Katherine Brown, Elizabeth Brown, Jack Brown, Joe Brown, Laura Peterjohn, Allie Peterjohn, and Maggie Peterjohn. Though a traditional service is impossible at this time, the family invites those who wish to honor Richard C. Peterjohn to share remembrances at  Those who may wish to make donations in his name can do so to The Yellow House Community, 29 Seminary St, Middlebury, VT 05753 or  to The Abundance Food Pantry at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church 3031 Monticello Blvd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118  
Go Blue!



11/18/20 12:18 PM #400    


Trish Rowe

I want to thank Torchy and the other members of the Reunion Committee who, every 10 years, provided us with a venue to renew old friendships. As I get older, I hold high school memories in a special place. We really did have a great school, good friends, wonderful moments.

I know it was a lot of work, and I'm not sure you all have been thanked for your hard work. I am sure anyone who attended a reunion feels the same way.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart! heart

11/19/20 09:21 AM #401    


Edward Torchy Smith

Thanks Trish.  We should be thankful that we had the school experiences in the years that were truly golden.  A lot of things were wrong during our Systemic Years.  But they were the best Systemic Years that were offered to us at the time.  Now that I reflect on our reunions, I am glad that I took the time to help organize them.  Your thoughful posting at this time is a great reminder.....  happy thanksgiving with a small "h" and a small "t" this year.  We are a party of 5.  

Torchy Smith 

11/23/20 12:35 PM #402    


Edward Torchy Smith

I got this message today and thought I would pass it on this way to the class.

Rhonda Butnick (Scorzelli)
11/22/20 10:23 AM
  Hi Torchy I wanted to let you know that Jules Steinberg passed away this morning. He has been ill for some time after having a stroke a few years ago. He went into a nursing home in February this year because it was getting too hard for his wife to take care of him at home. As soon as the obituary is published from the funeral home I will send it to you. Rhonda

11/23/20 07:40 PM #403    


Edward Torchy Smith

Here is the link to Jules Steinberg's obituary :

11/25/20 06:45 PM #404    


Edward Torchy Smith

This is the third one in a row.  They say bad news comes in threes. Jon Day's obit link is below.


Jon's Day's wife is Kim (Biebers) Day is also from our class.  Our deepest condolences Kim.




12/14/20 03:11 PM #405    


Edward Torchy Smith

The following message was just sent to me from Howard Falcon:

Deceased Classmate: Stuart Eder
Date Of Birth: Feb-4-1947
Date Deceased: Dec-9-2020
Age at Death: 73
Cause of Death:
Classmate City: Annadale
Classmate State: VA
Classmate Country: USA
Was a Veteran: No
Survived By:

I am sadden to inform our class mates that Stuart Eder has passed away on December 9, 2020. I am personally devastated by this loss of a very close friend having known him since my days at Moreland. Stu has spent most of his adult life working for the Department of Justice and has a beautiful wife Lilly and two children and five grandchildren. He spent most of his later life enjoying his kids and grandkids with his wife Lilly. Stu was a person that I looked up to because he was compassionate and humble. He was there when you needed him and you could talk about anything without being shut down. He never looked at success, positions or accomplishments he only cared about your humanity; he was a man among men. I will always be remembering our days playing baseball and football from sunrise to at times after sunset, going to Geraci's for Pizza most Fridays after a wrestling match or just meeting each other in Chicago, Cleveland, Outer Banks, Nashville or DC for quick weekend getaways with our wives. Life truly isn't fair, and I can't wait for 2020 to be over with.

12/17/20 09:42 AM #406    


Edward Torchy Smith

I am sorry to inform the class of another passing.  This just happened last night or early this morning.

I will post her Obituary when it appears.  The beloved Shakerite was:  



December 18th - Here is a link to her obituary:!/Obituary

12/24/20 08:03 PM #407    


Marguerite Comella (Tench)



I cant tell if my In Memory note for Marla Schmittke posted properly.


YES it is there under the "In Memory" section.  I have also cpoied and pasted it here:

Marguerite Comella (Tench)

When I first transferred  to Woodbury Jr. HIgh in 9th grade, I had been an 8 year, uniform wearing outsider from St. Dominic's School.  The only person I knew at Woodbury was Chuck San Fillipo, a friend of the family.

Mickie Schmittke ( we never called her Marla) befriended me, a true fish out of water, and there has always been a place in my heart for her welcoming me so graciously.  She helped me learn the "modern" ways of public school girls, and introduced me to boy crushes.

I remember so well that Mickie was madly in love with Frankie Cassario, (remember the song "Frankie" by Connie Francis)  She was obsessed with him, and all of us girls just loved her stories.

In later years, my sister, JoAnna, saw her regularly at Steinmart's, and Mickie never failed to ask how I was doing and to send her love to me.

Rest well, my dear, old friend.

01/01/21 11:47 AM #408    


Edward Torchy Smith

From:  Jackie Dudek Woods

 Karen Chokel Rohrs passed away last night Jan 1, 2021. She died of a cardiac incident. Her son Jeff Rohrs will be providing more information. Karen was a great friend and fortunately we talked last week to wish each other a Merry Christmas.

Jackie Dudek Woods


Also... Susan Bowerman Payne contacted me about the passing of Karen.

01/24/21 09:54 AM #409    


Edward Torchy Smith

Another...John is a link to his Obituary:


04/09/21 05:46 PM #410    


Edward Torchy Smith

This is a shocker.  Marlene Mesnick passed away.  There is no soft way to say this but deliver the cold hard facts of her demise from the news clippings and  videos.  It seems that Marlene was murdered by a tennant who paid rent to Marlene to stay in her house.  I have posted her information in our IN MEMORY SECTION.  Click on there and then click on Marlene's name.  You can leave your coments here but best to also leave a comment on her page.

Here are some links to the tragic death of one of our most lively energetic classmates.

04/10/21 07:12 AM #411    


Barbara Horovitz (Brown)

Shocking and terrible! Condolences to Marlene's family, who have to deal not only with her loss, but the awful circumstances. 

04/21/21 04:51 PM #412    


Edward Torchy Smith

I just got this email.


From:  Dawn Rini

Please be advised Kenneth Rini passed on 4/13/21 . He enjoyed the reunion he attended years ago and getting the updates about the class. Simple notice and photos at Thank you, Dawn Rini.


Please see posting under the "In Memory" section.  Click on Ken's name and make your comment there.  

04/22/21 01:31 PM #413    


Deborah Smith (Dowdell)

Upon hearing of Ken Rini's passing and looking at the list of those we have lost from our class, I am just amazed at how many!  So many familiar names from high school of which I did not know had passed. I feel very sad knowing we have lost so many but then again we aren't getting any younger! Wishing all our class good health in this age of the pandemic! Hope it is over soon!

04/25/21 03:09 PM #414    

Ronald Fishman (Fishman)

So sorry to hear about Ken Rini.  He, Chucky, and Warbs were a great group.

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