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Alumni News

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We asked and you shared your stories of meeting your high school sweetheart at York. Read some sweet and heartwarming stories about alums who met during their time at York. 

York Alumni News


First saw this girl in 1962--Margie Blumthal- a year younger than I. Cheerleader, played in the high school band--loved her for 55 years. Went to Vietnam in 1969--like Forrest Gump, I had written her letters many times on and off 'the field'. NEVER sent them--returned after 2 years in Vietnam, finished college, worked, etc. Some 10 years later I found ALL those letters and just sent them to her--by then she was married and lived in Minneapolis! I knew the entire family well.  At every reunion I went in hopes of seeing her--usually did! (The one that got away.) Of course, the 2 years in Vietnam didn't help.To this day I still think of her and all that I missed from being too shy in high school! Love her dearly to this day!      

David Ronske (’64)


She was a York freshman, I was a sophomore. I fell in love with her after meeting at Church of our Savior. For three years my love was unrequited. Off I went to the Naval Academy. She graduated and went off to college in Iowa. Christmas and summer leaves were the only times we saw each other. Eventually, she began to see that maybe there might be something between us. She opted to miss her York graduation to attend a gala week at Annapolis - staying with my aunt and uncle in Annapolis. As my graduation approached, three years later, and subsequent orders to head for Lebanon, we made plans to wed. Though she had a final year of college to complete, being married would permit her to join me in Norfolk for a week when I returned (at Christmas) from duty off Lebanon. She returned to Cornell College, graduated, and joined me for a trip to New London, CT where I was to attend Submarine school. Now, over 58 years later, we both think fondly of our years at York and the friends we made. Life is GOOD!

Mike McLane (‘54) & Cindy Mahar (’55)


We met in Spanish Class sophomore year. Barb was somewhere between smitten or entertained or embarrassed by Bob McConachie and Dave not caring about Spanish and goofing off. Further, Barb was in Larry Wyllie's math class and could tell Dave and Bob and the boys what mood Mr. Wyllie was in before basketball practice started each day. We dated through high school and even survived Dave being a dorky novice hunting for a lost contact lens under the dinner table after a school dance on their first official evening out. We also dated during college years where Barb commuted from Northern many weekends to visit Dave at Purdue. After 38 married years, 3 daughters and 5 grandchildren and 30 years in Arlington Heights, we continue to enjoy life doing lots of traveling, pursuing scuba diving / underwater photography trips and playing lots and lots of golf. Dave still works running a few companies he owns and Barb has started a second career as a tour director traveling all over to lead groups. We have no thoughts to slow down.

Dave Bowman (’73) & Barb (Thomas) Bowman (’73)


My husband and I met in American history class in the summer of 1961. We started dating in fall of 1961. We continued to date all thru the balance of high school and 4 years of college. We were married June 10, 1967, just one week after I graduated from college. This June, we will be married 50 years. His name is Ary Alan Spek and he also graduated in 1963.

Patricia E. Mcclelland Spek (’63)


Ann Burgher was one year behind me at Ardmore school for 8 years then 4 years at York. We kind of knew about each other but that was about all until 5 years later we discovered each other at the Villa Park swimming pool, and the rest is history.

William Warren (Willie) Tarr (’54)


Mary Fran and Lloyd's first date was to a house party given by a classmate one night after graduation. Two nights later, Lloyd reported to Navy Boot Camp. His duty station was a tiny, far away island so their time together was brief. Her engagement ring arrived via U.S. Mail. Mary Fran met Lloyd after his discharge in Charleston, S. C. where they married. Reverend C. Rexford Raymond of the historic Circular Congregational Church officiated. They then returned to Elmhurst and began 63 years of marriage. First step was Lloyd's enrollment at Elmhurst College (via the WW2 GI Bill). Both Mary Fran and Lloyd worked while he studied. Daughter, Denise, arrived in time to attend graduation. Son, David joined the "crew" four years later. Together they lived and worked in 10 homes in 6 different states. Both sister and brother attended fine major Universities. Mary Fran was the glue that solidified a loving family. She passed in 2011. Lloyd "soldiers" ("sailors") on.

Lloyd VanSchoyck (’46) & Mary Frances Trantham (’46)


I was invited to a party in Brookfield, Illinois by a girl that my mother was trying to hook me up with, but I didn't like her and didn't want to attend the party. However, I went anyway and the next month was involved in a terrible accident, totaling my car and leaving me hanging in a hammock in the hospital for five weeks to mend my shattered pelvis. A girl from the party came to visit me regularly, and on our first date, I was on crutches. However, my proposal followed in a couple months and we married within six months. Fifty years (2016) and two children and four grand-children later, we celebrated on a cruise this past December with the ten of us. We live half of the year in Greenfield, Wisconsin and half in Austin, Texas. The rule, I've learned, is never pass up a party.

David (’56) and Julie Zersen


We met our freshman year in Orchestra. I played the cello, he played the violin. I was walking with a friend one day during our sophomore year, and an old "souped up" roadster drove up and offered us a ride. Reg was a passenger in the car, but said very little. I figured the drive, Joe T. was interested in my friend. Reg & I became friends, but he never even asked me out until the fall of our Senior Year. We began dating, and then went steady until spring, when he broke up with me, making me very sad (but not too sad to accept a date to the Prom with someone else). We went our separate ways, he to U of I at Chicago, and I to Grinnell in Iowa. While I was away at school my parents would report "Reg stopped by to say hello" from time to time. When I was home on Christmas break in 1955 Reg "stopped by to say hello," and I answered the door. I was already in my coat, planning to go uptown to go Christmas shopping. He said he had some shopping to do too, so would be glad to take me. While in Musil's Music Shop I was picking out a gift for my brother Richard, and Reg & I looked at one another across a display of sheet music, and WHAM! That was it! I finished school, & we married in 1958. It's been 59 years, and counting....

Reg Williams (’53) & Carolyn Tilly Williams (’53)


We met in our senior year, dated and attended the Senior Prom. Continued dating until Wayne was drafted to serve his tour of duty in Viet Nam. We corresponded while he was overseas. Upon returning home we continued seeing each other. Wayne was job hunting. He secured a job with Harris Bank, where he made his career. He proposed to me December of 1970 and we were married October 16, 1971. We were married at the Elmhurst Presbyterian Church, had a beautiful wedding reception at The Drake Oak Brook and honeymooned in Hawaii for two weeks. It was a beautiful start for our life together. Not having children we are totally devoted to each other. We are always together and enjoy each other’s company each and every day, be it with friends, family or just the two of us. We will be happily married for 46 wonderful years this coming October. We have been truly blessed.

Ann Johnson (Sorrentino) (’66) & Wayne Johnson (’66)


Not my story, but would like to nominate two couples who were sweethearts at York, '61, and are still happily married. They are: Ruth Siedel Anglickis and Richard Anglickis, and live in Lehigh Acres, FL. The other couple still lives in the Chicago area. They are Donna Allegra Mazurkiewicz and Ted Mazurkiewicz. Both also class of '61. They all come to our reunions every five years when they can. Richard had ankle surgery this year so could not make our 55th. He is trying to get all of us Florida transplants together for a mini-reunion. They should all be listed as alumni in your records. Ruth and Richard were the "beautiful couple" in our class and I believe prom king and queen. My story with my York sweetheart ended in '69 sadly, but am very happily married now!

Donna Lee Janssen Carden (’61)


Philip Joy and I were dating the last 3 years of high school, but events occurred leading to my return to him of his class ring at senior prom. The following Fall Philip went to U of Illinois in Champaign, and I started a 4 year program for a degree in nursing at St.Francis Xavier College, and Mercy Hospital in Chicago. During our college years we each met our future spouses, and ironically enough, we each got married to someone else one week apart in 1957. We both had marriages that exceeded 50 years. In 2010, my husband of 53 years died of cancer. Philip became aware of my status and within a year we were in touch. Today he lives with me in Sacramento, and we bless each day for good health and the ability to enjoy our lives. I wish there was a way that we could hear more news of other classmates, especially since there are no more reunions. I do have a college friend that recently had some home service done, and the person helping her was Jim Soukup's son. When she found out his family was from Elmhurst she asked more questions, as I had often mentioned Elmhurst and Villa Park in past she asked me if I knew the name Soukup. He said his father now lived in Florida, so I guess that was Jim's son. , small world, she is in Geneva, IL, and I am in Sacramento, CA.

Suzanne Nabers Francino (’53)


Karen and I met in drivers ed sophomore year. We dated and were married 5 years later. We have been married 47 years this year and have 3 sons, a daughter and 10 Grandchildren...

Ron Quimby (’67) & Karen Carter Quimby (’67)


"A second chance at first love," he called it. And that's what it was. Young love has such poignant sweetness and pain. In 1958, I was a junior and Dick Kotz was a year older. We met singing in Senior Choir and dated for that whole year, and, oh, we were so in love. The next year, Dick went away to Harvard College. Time, youth, and distance were more than we could survive. We tried -- we promised to write, and write we did, but when he came home for Christmas, things had changed. We agreed to "see other people." The last time I saw him was the summer of 1963 when he stopped by to say hello. I had just gotten engaged, and he also had marriage plans. Skip now to 1995. Through a mutual acquaintance, I was told that Dick's wife had died, and he was told about my divorce. Thirty-two years after our last meeting, we were making plans to see each other again. I picked him up at the airport and at first didn't recognize him. Then I saw those eyes and felt his hand reach for mine. That's all it took. With our children all with us, we married that November. We lived in Manhattan and Dick had the luxury of walking to work; we thought we would be there forever. But cancer found him. We moved to Florida, out of the rat-race. Dick was enduring treatments for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, but undefeated, he became a Certified Financial Planner, a new career that he really loved. In May of 2004, cancer won. We had had our second chance. I feel so fortunate. Dick Kotz loved me twice.

Joan Strand Kotz (in '60)


He was born in February 1936. She was born in June. They lived next door to each other on Berteau Avenue. They were each other's first friend and playmate and always Cub fans. They went to New Field School, Hawthorne Junior High and both graduated from York in 1954. Then their paths separated. He went to Elmhurst College, married in his senior year and had four children and a successful career with R.R. Donnelley, retiring in 1994. She went to Valparaiso University, earned a Masters Degree from MacMurray College and then taught at DePauw University before marrying and having two children. Their paths crossed again at their 50th York class reunion when they learned he had retired to Southern California and she was about to retire and move to the same area only eight miles from his home. A bit of serendipity here...? His wife died unexpectedly in September 2006 after 49 years of marriage. Then he and she started dating and the rest is history. Judy Beckman and Roger Low married in June 2007 and will be celebrating their 10th anniversary on June 9, 2017 residing in Bermuda Dunes, California.

Judy Beckman Low (’54) and Roger Low (’54)


It was a blind date to a New Year’s Eve (1961-1962) house party where we first met (Mary Adele Lambert "Putsen" IC class of 1963. To say I was taken aback by her would be putting it mildly. We were at opposite ends of the social pecking order, she was a white-shoe cheerleader and me, your basic hoodlum. However, there was a common spark that linked us together. If you could get the car, you would pick up your buddies and cruise around town looking for the girls. The guys were all York and the girls were all IC, you know what they say about Catholic girls. You could hit all of the hot spots: A&W, Wilder Park ice skating, Sky Hi Drive In for making out, Tail Light Park for making out. There seems to be a common thread here. Well, after a five year courtship we were married 11/11/1967 and settled in Woodridge. Had two wonderful children Matthew 07/07/1971, and Joanna 08/16/1974. I wish I could have a happy ending to this story, but on 11/25/2015 after forty seven years of marriage Putsen passed away from the complications of a massive stroke.

Robert Tomy (’62)


I (Richard) came to York High School as a sophomore. I was transferred from Bensenville High School when there was a school boundary change. I met Sally Shaw during that sophomore year. I had a band in high school and she was dating one of my friends who was playing in the band. Sally was a gifted artist and I was very into music, so it was a nice fit. After dating through high school, we married in 1955. Today we find ourselves having been married for 62 years with two children, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Sally still is active in art (besides teaching art to our great grandchildren) and I still have a big band that performs in the area. I also enjoy helping our great grandchildren with their music development. We both feel we have been blessed. We have managed to keep in touch with several friends from York.

Richard M. Gulbrandsen (‘53) & Sally Shaw Gulbrandsen (’53)


Almost 7 years after getting to know each other in 3rd period gym class, Joanna and I are still together. Since York, we've traveled Europe together a couple times, supported each other through college, and are working to buy a house after we travel Japan this spring. We've gone on road trips, attended friend's weddings, frequented cosplay conventions, seen tons of concerts, operas, musicals, and more - we do pretty much everything together. Luckily, I no longer need to keep asking coach to remind me what that cute girl's name is.

Eric Hays (’11) and Joanna Kruczek (’11)


We met when we were 12, at Churchville. The first time that I saw Pat I looked at her pretty smile and long blond hair. I was walking on a cloud and knew that there was something special about her. We became friends and would talk on the phone every day for hours.  As time went on, we became closer.  Freshmen year in we began dating and she was everything to me. During the end of our sophomore year, my friends and my crazy 1970s attitude slowly took me away from my best friend. After a while she decided that enough was enough. We would see each other every now and then going out on occasion, more like friends. At the end of senior year I tried to reconnect again. I stopped by her house and I asked her mom where she was. She told me in Ft. Lauderdale and that she had met someone down there and was planning to get married. I was tasked to try and get her home again by her parents. After a lengthy call I knew it wasn’t happening and had to report back to her folks. I asked her mom to talk with Pat and to please invite me to the wedding. I did get an invite and attended. It broke my heart to see her with someone else. So we parted ways.

I began a career with Marriott, moving around the country as a Facilities Director and got married. I attended the 10 year reunion and didn’t see her. I tried to contact her several times just to talk with her and see how she was doing. Because of her name change, it was impossible to track her down. 

Time went by and then came the 20 year reunion. I couldn’t attend as I just moved to Orlando with my family. I put my contact information in the pamphlet just to keep in touch with others. So we lived our separate lives and moved on.

As it turned out I ended up in a bad marriage and needed to get out. Two weeks after my decision that I wasn’t happy I got an email from guess who?  I was freaking out. So, I replied and I told her that I wanted to talk with her. A day went by and I didn’t hear back from her. Next day a got a phone number and called her. I was sick to my stomach when I heard her sweet voice. We were both nervous. As it turned out, she was in a bad marriage as well and divorced. We agreed to see each other and set a date. I went to pick her up at the airport and my heart was pounding. Then I saw her in the baggage claim, thinking at this point I’m going to have a heart attack, but I didn’t. We spent hours talking about how we both made mistakes and we needed another chance. She told me that she found me in the 20 yr. reunion pamphlet.

We long distance dated for 2 years before she moved to Florida. That was 14 years ago and we’ve been happily married for 10 years.  We never gave up on each other, fate took us apart and love brought us back together.  We’re now talking about retiring and growing old, traveling, and spending time with grandkids and family.

See you all next year for the 40th reunion and to celebrate the 100th birthday of York.

Jeff Plutz (’78) and Trish Browning Plutz (’78)


I arrived at York High School sophomore year, 1964. In Miss Victor's English Class, I sat next to a little boy who was only 4' 11", thick dark hair, thick dark glasses and trousers that came up to his waist - John Martin. That little boy grew into a tall, handsome Submarine Commander and we have been blissfully married 45 years raising five children and now adore six grandbabies - BTW - I still call him "Angel Fluff"....

Patricia Pierce Martin (’67)


Sixty-four years ago in 1953, a young couple, Jim Bowman and Joyce Damron, were high school sweethearts during their senior year and went to the senior prom together. This starry-eyed couple were very much attracted to each other. Upon graduation, and each going their separate ways to college, each found a friend that was very attractive to them. Each student and new friend had very successful college experiences and successful marriages, careers and families.

Jim’s spouse, after 58 years of marriage, died from complications of dementia and a stroke. Joyce’s spouse passed away after 53 years of marriage from an unexpected stroke. Somehow, as though it was meant to be, Jim and Joyce learned of each other’s grief and were able to contact each other and after a visit or two, provided support and comfort to each other. The sweetheart spark of 64 years ago, survived in each person’s heart, unbeknown to each other, begged to be rekindled, and see if the relationship could be picked up where they had left off. This eventually led to this 81 year old couple being married on April Fools Day 2017.

Jim Bowman & Joyce Damron ('53)

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Take some time to read back issues of the York Alumni Newsletters.

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Issue 3 - Version 1


Issue 2 - Version 2


Issue 2 - Version 1

Issue 1- Version 2

Issue 1 - Version 1