Lapel High School’s Class of 1950 was a special group of people. This writer has/had many friends who graduated from this class.
While my wife and I lived in Bradenton, Florida, we knew Joan Whetsel, who married John Ballard (deceased) and is now Joan Ballard. Joan was a senior in the LHS Class of 1950.
We were great friends and good neighbors. A couple months ago, we learned Joan was now in an assisted living facility in Bradenton.
I have played many rounds of golf with Ralph Renbarger. He could hit a golf ball out of sight. However, he never knew which fairway the ball was going to land in. Ralph always played golf with colored golf balls. When he passed away, I got permission from his two brothers, Jay Lee and Roger, to place a colored golf ball in his casket.
Ralph’s widow, Judy Renbarger, was a counselor at Pendleton Heights High School.
During the 1990s, this writer developed a “Student of the Month” Program at Pendleton Heights High School. The program was sponsored by Pendleton American Legion Post No. 117. Judy Renbarger was the key to the selection of the students.
The program was very successful, but due to my job duties, I was unable to continue with the program.
There were 30 seniors in the LHS Class of 1950. They were Barbara Jean Anderson, Betty Jane Baker, Kenneth Beach, Max Brattain, Robert Brentlinger, Leroy Delawter, Betty Dunham, Marilyn June Erfurth, Marilynn Figg, Dale Fulk, Lena Helterbrand, Bill Hendricks, Harriett Hersberger, Helen Hollaway, Georganna Horine, Ann Kerr, Joan Martin, Carolyn Jo Milburn, Carole Perdue, Marilyn Reddick, Ralph Renbarger, Irma Jean Smethers, Jerry Smith, Sara Sparks, Betty Jo Stanford, Patricia Lou Teeters, Evalyn Thompson, Joe Turner, Jackie Sue Whetsel and Joan Whetsel.
It is always fascinating to learn how many students are able to complete all 12 years together. The asterisks beside the names denote students who attended school for 12 years together. There are so many things that can happen to prevent this achievement.
The junior-senior prom of that class took place at the Grandview Country Club in Anderson. Jackie Whetsel was voted prom queen, Ralph Renbarger was king, and Joan Whetsel and Patty Teeters were attendants.
The 1950 LHS baseball team included catcher — Jerry Smith; 3B — Dick Mills; 2B — Robert Brantlinger; CF — Dick Haines; P — Kenneth Beach; RF — Dean Presser; LF — Ralph Renbarger; 1B — Harold Huffman; SS — Jack Barker; 2B — Don Stevenson.
In their first game of the season, they beat Markleville; in the next game, they defeated Frankton. Summitville came to Lapel and won. In the last game of the season, St. Mary’s beat Lapel 11-0, ending the year on a sour note.
The basketball team also experienced some hard losses that year.
It began the season with a one-point loss to Frankton. Avon came to Lapel and beat us by eight points. Next, Lapel lost to Pendleton, in overtime, 44-41. After that game, Lapel finally beat Markleville, 33-24. With a 2-9 record, the Bulldogs lost to Pendleton in the annual invitational.
Lapel did manage to beat Pendleton in the sectional but was defeated by the Anderson Indians, which ended the season.
The team played well in several games, but it lost too many games by just one or two more baskets.
We need to include the 1950 LHS cheerleaders. Mary Lou Renbarger, Calvin Conrad and Estella Harry were outstanding. It was reported that, “They gave their all, and we give praise to them.” Peggy Howell and Linda Eiler were the junior high yell leaders.
Sometimes they got overlooked for what they did in agriculture, but senior Joe Turner was awarded a new wristwatch at the National Demonstration Contest, conducted during the International Livestock Show in Chicago. I wonder if the watch was a Rolex?
In the year of 1950, several businesses in the Lapel area supported the LHS yearbook. Sadly, many of those businesses are not around today.
Here are some who supported the yearbook:
Willits’ Hardware Co. sold Hotpoint Appliances, General Electric and Zenith radios and televisions, Kurfees paint, plus plumbing and electrical supplies. Phone 79 (no area code, etc.) was its number back then.
Lapel Dry Goods Co. sold dry goods, shoes and millinery.
Gambles, “The Friendly Store,” sold general merchandise. It called itself “The Store of Bargains.”
The other hardware store was Collins Hardware. In addition to hardware and appliances, it also sold plumbing and paint products.
The State Bank of Lapel had been open since 1898, serving all of the farmers and residents in the area with their financial needs.
Many of the residents traded at Standard Elevator Co., which sold lumber, coal, grain, feed and seed. It claimed, “A Better Market,” for complete building materials.
Citizen Grain Co. sold Master-Mix Feeds, coal, fence posts, seed and grain.
And there was Standard Materials Corp. Eugene George was superintendent.
Dickerson Motor Co. had a local Ford dealership, which also serviced cars and trucks. For groceries and meat, Cascadden Bros. “Invite you to shop in their newly enlarged store and save money while doing so.”
In addition, Upton’s Grocery Store advertised, “We specialize in fresh fruits and vegetables.” Plus, it was open weekdays and Sundays.
There was Pop’s Place.
Montgomery’s was where you could get a soda, sundaes, soft drinks, gifts, cigars, cigarettes and packaged drugs.
Huffman’s Cafeteria advertised it was “Where the Bulldogs Eat after Games.”
Bernice’s Beauty Shop offered machine and machineless permanents, plus cold waving. Bernice Montgomery managed the beauty shop.
There was Lehr’s Barbershop and the Dorothy May Shop.
You could buy flowers at Wolfe Floral and Garden.
If you needed your car repaired, Straber’s Lapel Garage offered day or night wrecker service.
Teeters Texaco Service sold BF Goodrich tires, carburetors, generators and starters, and repaired brakes and tuned motors.
There was also Jarrett’s Marathon Service, which sold tires, tubes, gas, oil and accessories, plus greased vehicles.
Woodward’s Garage offered auto body welding and general mechanical repairs.
Owens Mobilgas Service sold gas, oil, tires and fuel oil, plus it delivered to farms in the Lapel area.
For recreation in 1950, Lapel Bowling Alleys offered light lunches and soda fountain services, in addition to the games.
During this time period, this writer was in training for an assistant manager position at Danner Bros. Five & Dime Store in Rushville.
The tradition back then was, farmers would come to town on Saturday afternoons, park on the street and visit with others. Maybe it is just me, but during those times, things seemed to be more tranquil.
Ray Tincher attended Ball State University and retired from Indiana Department of Correction in 1997. He worked at IDOC for 30 years, serving in a variety of roles, from correctional officer to warden. At retirement, he received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award from Gov. Frank O’Bannon. He wrote several training manuals as part of his employment and is a published author: “Inmate #13225 John Herbert Dillinger (2007).” He and his wife, Marilyn, live in Lapel.