By Ray Tincher | For The Times-Post
In 1979, the United States and the People’s Republic of China established full diplomatic relations.
Remember a bad guy named Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini? He had been in exile for 15 years. He creates the Council of the Islamic Revolution. He returned to Tehran, Iran and took over the Iranian law enforcement, courts and government. Khomeini immediately started making threats to Israel and the United States.
The annual Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans was cancelled in 1979 because of a strike called by the New Orleans Police Department. An intense windstorm struck and sunk the long Hood Canal Bridge. The Sahara Desert experienced a 30-minute snowstorm. The Guardian Angels were formed in New York City as an unarmed organization of young crimefighters.
America’s most serious nuclear power plant accident occurs at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania. Los Angelese passes a gay and lesbian civil rights bill. President Carter addresses the nation in a televised speech talking about the “crisis of confidence in America today;” it would go on to be known as his “national malaises” speech.
In sports, the Pittsburg Steelers beat the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII. The Daytona 500 is televised on CBS, the first ever airing of the complete race. Richard Petty wins the race, after Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison battle for first place on the final lap and crash, followed by a fist fight. Rick Mears wins the Indianapolis 500.
Michigan State University, led by Earvin “Magic” Jonson, defeats our Larry Bird, led Indiana State 75-64 in the NCAA tournament championship game at Salt Lake City. Both players went on to become superstars.
C-SPAN channel is introduced to America. The Muppets make a movie. The Sony Walkman goes on sale for the first time in Japan. And McDonald’s introduced the “Happy Meal” to us in the United States.
Back in Lapel, the new town hall and police department building was opened. They moved from the old office, next to the post office. Sonnie Knotts and Pat Stephenson were busy getting re-organized. Anne Woods announced her retirement from the State Bank of Lapel. She spent 44 years of continued service to the bank.
Some of you may remember the old dime store on Main Street in Lapel? In 1979, it was getting some up-to-date remodeling. The Roberts were giving the building a facelift. Their plan was to move a “Fashion Boutique Shop” into the newly renovated building.
Fire Chief Kenny Bourke was named “Fireman of the Year” by his fellow firefighters. Also, in ‘79, the Anderson Holiday Inn began a dinner theater. The one I remember was called “How The Other Half Loves,” by the Alexandria Community Theater. The evening started with maybe a drink at the bar, with the buffett dinner and the show started at 8 p.m. I’ll call the show theme “adult humor.”
This reminds me of what I want to continue in the Lapel/Fishersburg area. In ‘79, a local senior citizen group wanted the community to nominate several older residents for most outstanding senior citizen. At that time, the nominees included Rowena Moore, Carl Kilburn, Max Aldred, Floyd Walker, Calva Millikan, Earle Cascadden and the Rev. Harry Smith. When I get to feeling stronger, I hope to continue the recognition of people who have given back to the community, as Jack and Jackie Howell were recognized for in 2021. We really need your input by submitting names of friends and neighbors who you think should be considered for such recognition.
The faculty at Lapel High School had lots of experience getting students ready to face the world, and the Class of ‘79 was preparing for its turn. Gerald Roudebush had been promoted to director of West Central School Corp.; Gene Heniser was assistant superintendent.
The members of the board were George Likens, Charles Clark, Rex Etchison, David Woodward, George Hall and Ron Stephenson.
Marvin Pike was LHS principal, and Larry Galliher was vice principal. Jack Howell was named principal at the elementary school. Peggy Stephens was clerk, and Judy Lane was secretary.
Other faculty members were Robert Adams, Michael Andrews, Price Brookfield, Joan Casey, Bill French, Larry Galliher, Cathy Gardner, Denise Gray, Ginger Hatley, Cheryl Hensley, Sue Herseberger, Caroline Howenstine, Dallas Hunter, Marianne Julius, Jerry Kemerly, Greg Layton, Cheryl Perry, Lucille Rockey, Carol Rushton, Larry Schuler, Sharon Schuyler, Jean Sigler, Steve Telfer, Jeannie Terhune, Zoe Ann Terhune, Jon Trippeer, Donald Trisler, Margaret Trisler, Lewis Vaughn, Dr. Larry Warfel and Ann Elizabeth Whalen.
The senior class sponsors were Steven Telfer and Margaret Trisler. The senior class officers were Mark Fulton — president; W. Daniel Sager — vice president; Nancy Ann Cole — decretary; and Robert Schuyler — treasurer.
The following are the seniors in alphabetical order: Durinda Marlene Abbott, Jay Allan Allison, Annette Asbury, James Baker, John Barker, Teresa Marie Bartrom, Lora Bixler, Joyce Ann Bodenhorn, Jeff (Duke) Brannum, Marla Dee Breece, Brad Brown, Joe Burgess, Pamela Cain, Debra Jo Carter, Beth Castor, Gary Wayne Coomer, Marsha Sue Crooks, Theodore Davis, Sherry Dollar, Carol Ann Edgreen, Dennis Edgreen, James Everitt, Wray Jean Fincher, James Fisher, Susan Elaine Flowers, Bridget Forrer, Kevin Foust, Charles Gaus, Teresa Jo Gillaspy, Chris Graham, Julie Ann Hankins, Ann Sylvis Hardwick, Julie Lyn Harper, Georgia Bea Hawkins, Vince Hawkins, Catherine Jo Helpling, Barbara Jean Hennegan, Jeanette Jo Hiatt, Rita Kay Hollopeter, Dawn Hoover, Kathleen Ann Howell, Brad Huffman, Anette Huntzinger, Pamela Huntzinger, Christopher Alan Husted, Rick Irby, Jack Jarrett, Timothy Duane Jones, John Robert Karel, Gayle Kepner, Kimberly Ann Kirchenbauer, Karen Koomler, Hervey Lee Lawrence, Tari Lynn Lempereur, Elaine Diane Looper, Penny McDole, Joe Meyer, Diane Munyon, Buddy Neely, Brad Pavey, Paula Lee Pentz, Eric Richardson, Beth Ann Sandala, Joel Perry Sandefur, Jill Lynette Shafer, Cathie Simmerman, Kemberly Smart, Jeff Smith, Dan Snead, William Springer, Curtis Lee Stephenson, Sam Stinson, Gary Stump, Traci Swift, Cindy Sylvester, Doug Troutman, Renee’ Turner, Tim Veach, James Samuel Willis and Joy Yancey.
Outstanding seniors included: Nancy Sandala — valedictorian; Terri Pershing — salutatorian; Jeff Travin — distinguished performance in Carnival; Shelley Ramsey and Kent Hiatt — “Let’re Rip Award”; Jill Shafer — Girls State; Mark Fulton –—Boys State; Renee Turner and Elaine Looper — volleyball; Joyce Bodenhorn — basketball; Kip Barker — golf; Jon Renbarger, Bob Fields and Brook Fields — baseball; Scot Boles and Bob Fields – basketball.
The senior class expressed itself with the following: “Twelve years to some it seems like a moment and to others it was a lifetime. The things that happened then, whether they were big or small, shape each of us into our own distinct patterns. Now the circle has been completed. As we start outside the doors to our future, we find that we feel much the same as we did from the beginning: happy, proud, confused and frightened. Yet, as we face the future, we will still hold tight to the moments we had in school — the moments we share.”