July 03, 2019IMLAY CITY — The 75th anniversary of D Day earlier this month prompted two women to arrange another much less somber commemoration.
Cousins Sara Bates and Judy Walton were already in the midst of planning a family reunion when the big D Day milestone hit the media for several days leading up to the June 6 anniversary. In print and over the air, some of the few remaining World War II veterans shared stories and memories of the momentous day in 1944 when more than 160,000 Allied troops converged in France to challenge Nazi Germany in the Battle of Normandy.
The stories reminded Sara that 1944 was also a big year for members of her family. Her mom, Maxine Savage, and Judy's mother-in-law Ardeth Walton both graduated from Imlay City High School that year.
She thought it would be a great idea to arrange a 75th high school reunion for the pair, and the three other remaining classmates. Judy jumped right on board. They were determined to make it happen.
On Thursday, June 27, Ardeth, Maxine and family members converged at the Imlay City BB Family Restaurant for the celebration.
Notable community members Senator Kevin Daley, Imlay City Schools Superintendent Dr. Stu Cameron, and Imlay City Alumni Association coordinator Marilyn Swihart joined in as well.
Ardeth Walton and Maxine Savage celebrate their 75th high school reunion at the Imlay City BB restaurant last week.
Daley presented the grads with special proclamations and Cameron handed both women lots of Imlay City Spartan swag. Swihart passed along colorful fresh flower bouquets.
Family member Paula Walton made a special banana cake to commemorate the event.
Along with Ardeth and Maxine, three classmates remain: Jean Ferrier of Minnesota, Alice North
of Dearborn, and
Willard Winslow of
Willard was unable to attend as his wife was not well. Ardeth and Maxine tried to Skype Jean Ferrier—Judy says it's unknown if they were successful.
"Everyone had a great, great time, it was a lot of fun," Judy says, adding that Ardeth even joked around with Daley.
The Valedictorian of the Class of 1944, Ardeth passed along some wisdom to the Senator.
"See, you have to be smart and you'll live a long life," Ardeth said.
Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.