Once a month at Lakeside Café, one can hear boisterous laughter sail through the restaurant. It comes from a cluster of tables pulled together by old friends from Central Catholic High School’s class of 1948 and a few members of the class of 1951.
Having just celebrated their 70th high school reunion this past May, the lively bunch has managed to stay close-knit throughout the years. Gathered around the table are John Kiel, Dick Harber, Marian (Ueber) Harber, George Haggerjer, Glenn Voirol, Marcelyn (Batchelder) Filler, Patricia (O’Connor) Meehan and Margaret (Roeger) Hoft. They like to start their once-a-month morning get-togethers with a hearty breakfast and coffee. Conversation includes talk about current events, family happenings or just reminiscing about the past.
Having met each other inside the doors of Central Catholic in Fort Wayne, they have seen many changes to their beloved community. But the changes have never swayed their love for it. One thing that stood out about Central Catholic, according to Meehan, was the fact that “… it was a conglomeration of the city.” At the time, the high school was a melting pot for many of the parishes in the area. Haggerjer still thinks about the “four categories on the pillar out front of the building that named the school’s mission for its students.”
When asked about their favorite classes and teachers, Kiel said “Sister Ursula [taught] algebra. It was one of the only classes I enjoyed in that whole school. Mainly because I had no use for Latin,” he joked.
Some of the most memorable high school moments for Marian Harber were the dances the students attended during the week. “We had many dances, and you didn’t really need a date. Everyone just went to see their friends. We had Glenn Miller and the Jimmy Stier band that used to play at [the dances].”
Unanimously, the friends credit their faith as a large reason their friendship has stayed strong. “I’ll tell you what keeps your friendship going, you marry your best friend. We’ve been married for 68 years,” Dick Harber said of Marian.
“I married one of my classmates. We had 65 years,” said Meehan.
It is through their faith that these wonderful people have stayed so close throughout the years. They started off by meeting every five years, then once a year, now once a month. None of them use social media or any other type of technology to keep in touch. They still call each other on the telephone.
Even though they graduated at a time when the country was war-weary, there was some good that came from it. “Many people think that our class was exceptional,” said Filler. “Some of our classmates went on to be quite successful. [Otto] went on to be a lawyer, Jack Donovan went on to work construction, and Joe Dahm and Ed Dahm, Joe’s brother, were the owners of Mike’s Carwash. They started it the year we graduated. We had some famous people come out of our class.”
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