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Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the January edition of “Rise Grand Island” the alumni newsletter for Grand Island Senior High published every other month by the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation. “Rise” is where we connect with thousands of Islanders across the globe, keeping you and them informed on what’s happening in Purple and Gold land, and reminiscing a little bit as well.

This is Volume 5, Number 1, as we begin a new year and a new decade as the official publication for alums of Islander Nation. Thanks for reading us and for your comments and support.

We really enjoy hearing from those of you who find “Rise” in your in-box every other month. Give us a shout, especially if you or a GISH alum you know has a done something new, newsy, or newsworthy. You can reach us at the email addresses on the front page.

Our “At the Top” lead story this issue remembers Dr. Stanley Urwiller, math teacher extraordinaire and equally extraordinary person. Dr. Urwiller died on January 6.

In this month's "Shaking the Word" guest contributor Liz Gamblin, from the Foundation office, who puts every “Rise” together, offers us an unique insight she realized while putting together information on Grand Island veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice, and who will be permanently honored as part the new Memorial Stadium.

Traci Skalberg is asking for your help this month. The GIPS Foundation is participating in a new experience designed to build on their success and think towards the future. Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey linked in this newsletter.

Leigh Lillibridge’s Grand Legacy Update will report directly from a press conference held January 14 to announce the beginning of work on the East Stadium part of the Grand Legacy project.

Our Class Reunion Update lets you know who is going to party and when, in case your class is on deck or maybe you just want to crash another class’s soiree and see a few old friends.

Milestones highlights the newest class that will be inducted into the Grand Island Senior High Athletic Hall of Fame, a ceremony that will take place in February at halftime of a Senior High basketball game.

From the Island correspondent Junior Kendall Bartling gives us an update on a slow activities calendar with the holiday break, but also takes to skies to report on his experiences with the new Academies. You’ll want to read about his experience in the wild blue yonder.

Our “Distant Mirror” correspondent, Mike Monk, Class of 1967,  offer a post-holiday look as music and movies we hear or see only in December.

My “I’ve Been Thinking” column is thinky indeed, delving into the idea that certain teachers and coaches remain with us for a lifetime either through a direct connection or some mysterious wiring found only in a teacher-student relationship. One need look no further than the life of Dr. Urwiller as an example.

As usual we’ll see what songs were popular on the radio, what movies were wooing us on the big screen, what novels we were reading, and what television shows entertained us from each decade during November.

Finally, as we do every issue, we honor those Islanders who passed away the last couple months in our In Memoriam section.

We hope you find this “Rise” to your liking
Remember Islanders: Keep pushing on


George Ayoub, Class of 1968
Editor, “Rise Grand Island”

At the Top
SENIOR HIGH AND ITS ALUMNI MOURN LOSS OF ONE OF THEIR BRIGHTEST TEACHING LIGHTS

Grand Island Senior High has lost one of its legends. Dr. Stanley Urwiller, the extraordinary math teacher and guide for thousands of young minds, died on January 6, 2020. He was 83.

Urwiller taught at Senior High for 39 years, his first teaching position after graduating from Kearney State Teachers College in 1958. He was chairman of Senior High’s math department for 35 years. His full obituary, which appeared in the Grand Island Independent, can be found at this link: Dr. Stanley Urwiller Obituary

Among a long and notable roster of awards — including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching and Distinguished Teacher from the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars —was Urwiller’s designation 2015 as a Grand Island Public Schools Foundation’s Legendary Educator. Only nine teachers from GIPS have been chosen for this prestigious honor. A list of all nine of the Foundation’s Legendary Educator Award winners and their biographies can be found here: Legendary Educator Biography.

Urwiller was also very involved in his community, committed over many years to Kiwanis and serving as faculty advisor for Senior High’s Key Club. He was also one of the driving forces behind the success of the Grand Island Concert Association, serving for 32 years in various leadership capacities on its board of directors.

Perhaps most impressive about this brilliant teacher, accomplished mathematician, and community philanthropist was his endearing kindness to anyone he met inside or outside of the classroom.

Shortly after his passing an impromptu gathering of friends and former students on Facebook offered heartfelt remembrances of someone who had touched their lives. Among the many remembrances were these:

“Not only was he an incredible teacher but he was such generous soul.”

“One of my absolute favorites. Such a kind man.”

“Loved him, wonderful teacher.”

Others wrote about receiving a Christmas card from him years after graduation or that he always wore a suit to teach, one that would be covered in chalk by the end of the day, or remembered fondly for his trademark joke when, with a well-earned reputation for mild manners and soft voice, would yell “5,” often to a classroom of startled math students.

Urwiller’s death was the second loss in about a month of a longtime, popular math teacher at Senior High. Bob Jones, who taught math at GISH for 36 years — and subbed for another 14 — died on Dec. 5, 2019. You can read his obituary here: Robert Jones Obituary.

Services for Urwiller were held on Friday, January 10, 2020, at First-Faith United Methodist Church in Grand Island.

Grand Legacy Update
HALL COUNTY VETERANS MEMORIAL UNVEILING

On January 14, 2020 Grand Island Public Schools and Grand Island Public Schools Foundation held a press conference to announce the start of the renovation and preservation of Historic East Stadium which includes plans for a new Memorial Wall to be installed inside East Stadium. 

Historic East Stadium opened in the fall of 1947 as a War Memorial for World War I and World War II Veterans from Hall County who had died in service to their country. The funding for the facility was raised by more than 1,000 community-minded donors. The community saw the need for the stadium and built the memorial for those who gave their lives for our country. 

Decades later, it is time to carry on that tradition with the renovation and preservation of the facility and to remember the fallen Hall County Veterans who have fought and died in the conflicts since World War II. The Memorial Wall inside the renovated stadium will list the names of fallen Hall County Veterans from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the War on Terror. An interactive video display will list information on each fallen Veteran. A rendering of the Memorial Wall was unveiled during a press conference January 14, along with an announcement that the Memorial Stadium Campaign is at 97% of the $17,000,000 goal. The campaign has raised $16,463,465 with $536,535 left to raise. 

Mr. Jim Kahrhoff, Committee Co-Chair and Vietnam Veteran, encouraged the entire community to give because every gift helps honor our fallen Veterans and will help provide a brighter future for Grand Island. 

To see the Veteran listing, submit information, additions or corrections visit our webpage:  GI Memorial Stadium Veterans Memorial

To make a donation visit: GI Memorial Stadium Ways to Help 

To see the story from the Grand Island Independent visit:
Wall at Grand Island Senior High's Memorial Stadium to honor fallen veterans

Pushing On
MILESTONES

New Class to be inducted into Athletic Hall

Fifteen athletes, two teams, one coach, and one contributor comprise the newest
class to be inducted into the Grand Island Senior High Athletic Hall of Fame. The group
will be introduced at halftime of the Islander boys varsity basketball game vs. Norfolk on
Friday, February 14, 2020. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.

A banquet in the inductees honor will be held the following day at 10 a.m. at Balz
Reception Hall in downtown Grand Island. Tickets, available at the Senior High activities
office or at the door, are $20.


The Athletic Hall of Fame’s 2020 Class:
Alex Armes Tjaden - Girls Track
Gary Baldwin - Wrestling
Megan Bartlett Brown - Girls Golf
Jeremy Buckner - Boys Track
Jana Frymire Flannigan - Girls Swimming
Cody Levinson - Boys Basketball
Kerry McDermott - Boys Tennis
Stacia Robertson - Girls Basketball
Randy Spiehs - Baseball
RD Spiehs - Baseball
Dusty Stamer - Boys Track
Erin Shonsey Murnan - Girls Tennis
Lucas Venegas - Boys Soccer
Elizabeth Wegner Busch - Volleyball
Holly Yencer Rathman - Girls Track

Teams:
1973 Girls Track Team
1973 Wrestling Team

Coach:
Dave Vondra

Contributor:
Bing Ward

To nominate a Senior High alum for the Athletic Hall of Fame, go to the following link: GISH Athletic Hall of Fame.

I've Been Thinking
REMARKABLE RELATIONSHIPS

Of the couple dozen Christmas cards we opened in December, one reminded me of a remarkable relationship.

Two remarkable relationships, actually.

Shutterfly helped capture a good looking family, scrubbed and shiny and smiling into the camera. With the photo card was a handwritten note from its sender, Erin, a former student of mine from my teaching days a hundred years ago in Pasadena, Calif. Erin has become partner in a large Los Angeles law firm and the mother of four. From where I sit, she nudges the world a little in the right direction as a parent and a partner (both kinds). She embodies a future we all want for our children.

Nor is her success a shock to me. She was a dynamo in the Eighth Grade: whip smart, committed to doing the right thing as well as it could be done, as gifted on the field of play as she was in the classroom, and unable, as far as I could tell, to contain an expansive and compassionate heart when it came to the welfare of others.

All those sweet memories from long ago came rushing back when I opened the envelope and there she was. Her note mentioned that her class at the school where our lives had intersected held a “very small” reunion recently, where another former student, Carrie, also a successful attorney and mother of three herself, filled those in attendance in on the details of my life. That’s because Carrie has, for nearly 30 years, been like a daughter to us.

While it is wonderful that Erin and Carrie are successful in their careers and as mothers, I envisioned a long time ago that they would sparkle, and I am overjoyed for them. 

But that’s not the remarkable part of the story. Nor is it the staying power of our connections.

It’s the depth.

That each connected with me this holiday was also a treat but it, too, was neither extraordinary nor unusual. We spent time with Carrie and her family in southern California last summer and, in the spirit of full disclosure, I kind of cheated with Erin: Her fellow partner at the law firm is none other than your “Distant Mirror” correspondent and my lifelong friend, Mike Monk. So I have tried to keep tabs on her over the years.

Here’s what I also find remarkable … although it is happening in every city and state and country as you read this. Sometimes teachers and students’ lives don’t simply intersect by virtue of a schedule or some other administrative serendipity; sometimes they become fused with a benign entanglement, affixed somewhere among the mind, heart, and soul.

So it appears with Erin and Carrie, one of whom I know these days through others and now a special holiday card, the other who is an active and integral part of my life. 

From my experience the delivery system by which we pass on to students the finer points of the ABC’s, calculus, anthropology, contract law, anatomy, statistics, P.E., quantum physics, new math, old math, marriage and the family, whatever, matters less than the relationship between the student and the person making the delivery. 

And Erin’s card reminded me how grateful I am for the relationships I have with her and Carrie and scores of other “formers.”

This column in “Rise” has from time to time sung the praises of some of my teachers and coaches at Grand Island Senior High with whom I became entangled, each enmeshing having enhanced my life. 

Now from the other side of the relationship, as a former teacher, I can report I’ve experienced the same, life-enhancing thing.

The research is clear: Education needs to keep pace with a world changing in a whirlwind outside our schools. The Academies of Grand Island Senior High are a response to that research and those changes. So, too, is an emphasis in many schools on pre-school, project and maker learning, team building, bringing the community to the school and the school to the community. I could enlarge the list.

Still, for my tax dollars or tuition payment nothing outweighs the relationship between teacher and student. Not because of a Christmas card. Not because of a long and enduring friendship born in a classroom. Not because former teachers like to brag about their successful former students.

Rather because of the potential in the relationship’s connective tissue for both the student and the teacher.

Trends, advances, and priorities in education — or any endeavor from banking to building to baseball to baking the perfect pecan pie — can be mercurial. 

But a good relationship between a teacher and a student not only remains steadfast, it pays dividends over a lifetime … for both.

Are you planning a class reunion?

We can help get you started!

CONTACT US FOR YOUR CLASS LIST AND SEND US INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR REUNION. WE WILL POST IT TO OUR WEBPAGE.

Kari Price, Alumni Coordinator
kprice@gips.org
308.385.5900 ext. 1148

Class of 1956
The Class of 1956 wishes to extend an invitation to fellow classmates to join them at its monthly gathering. They meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Midtown Holiday Inn at 6:00 pm. 

Class of 1960
The Class of 1960 gathers the 1st Wednesday of each month at Tommy's restaurant at 11 am. JOIN US!

The CLASS OF 1960 is planning their 60 YEAR REUNION to be held in September 2020. If you have changed your address, please update to receive reunion information.
Contact: Donna Weaver Smith
                308-382-1621
                email: dowesm@yahoo.com
                2127 N. Sherman Blvd.
                Grand Island, NE 68803

Class of 1966
The Class of 1966 wishes to extend an invitation to fellow classmates to join them at its monthly lunch gathering. Classmates from ‘66 meet the 3rd Wednesday of each month at the Platt Duetsche at 1:00 pm. 

Class of 1970 
The Class of 1970 will have their 50th Class Reunion on July 16, 17 & 18, 2020. A mailing will be sent in January 2020 with details. Contact gish1970@gmail.com with questions.

Class of 1990
The Class of 1990 will have their 30th Class Reunion on July 17 & 18, 2020. Join the facebook group at GISH Class of 1990, 30 year reunion for updates and to connect with classmates.

Class of 2000
The Class of 2000 will have their 20th Class Reunion on June 12 & 13, 2020.
Join the facebook group at Class of 2000 GISH. The main dinner will be on Saturday at Balz Reception Hall in Grand Island. $25.00 per ticket for the dinner, RSVP needed. They will have a DJ and cake from the Chocolate Bar. For more information please contact Elizabeth Patterson at epatterson715@aol.com or Erica Wilkinson at ericawilk1326@gmail.com

Shaking the World
THE 16

In my role as administrative assistant at the GIPS Foundation, I get thrown a lot of random jobs. My favorite ones involve research where I get to dive into the internet or yearbooks or graduation programs and try to piece together a bit of our history. 

I love the challenge of trying to find information about people in years past. I love staring at photos in the yearbook trying to imagine their lives then and how they turned out. 

As part of our Memorial Stadium project, we are commissioning a new memorial inside East Stadium, specifically honoring Hall County’s fallen veterans. Using websites like Honorstates.org and a plaque at Memorial Stadium right now, we had a list of names to start with. My job was to research those names, and see what else I could find. I was amazed at the amount of information I was able to find on some of these remarkable men. 

I came across a whole chapter in a book detailing the last days of a sailor who drifted on the ocean for 23 days only to die in the surf while approaching the shores of an island. His crew mate who was with him has since written about their time on that raft, and his story is forever captured. I have come across multiple stories of men who were captured and who died or were killed in POW camps. I read about one young man in World War I who tried to sign up over and over and was finally accepted, only to die 45 days later of Spanish Influenza. For all these incredible stories, there are more where I can’t find much at all. I know when they were born and when they died and I can sometimes find out where they are buried, but that is all. 

These stories, however, are not the ones that most break my heart. It’s the unfound stories that haunt me. I have 16 names of men who I know died for their country, and yet try as I might, I can’t find any reference to them apart from their names on a memorial marker. There is no grave stone, no newspaper article, or yearbook entry. They are just lost. I know these boys had parents and siblings and friends. They had dreams and ambitions. These are men who were brave enough to fight for their country and who paid the ultimate price of dying for my freedom, and I can’t even find their birthdate. How can I learn so much about some and so little of others? I have spent hours following lead after lead online trying to find even a scrap of information all to no avail. I know that for some, if I just found the right reference I could find something. The problem with having so much information at your fingertips, is that you can so easily miss something really important in the avalanche of resources. 

It’s possible that with enough time and direction, I could find something about these 16. But I also know enough about war to know that some of them are just lost. It’s just been too long for some of them. To me, that is one reason this new memorial will be so special. I will never know all I want to know about these brave heroes, but I still know their names. I can read them. I can touch them on the wall. I can remember.

Below are the names of the 16. If you have any information about these names or any Hall county veteran who died in battle, please contact Leigh Lillibridge at leigh@gimemorialstadium.org or visit our website and submit their story:
GI Memorial Stadium

Your Opinion Matters to us!
HELP US EVALUATE THE GIPS FOUNDATION

The Grand Island Public Schools Foundation is participating in a year-long experience called the Non-Profit Excellence Institute. The experience is designed to help us build on our success and plan for the future of your Grand Island Public Schools Foundation. 

We need to gather some baseline data and we need your help! Please take a few minutes to complete the perception survey at the link below to tell us about your perception of the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation. All responses are anonymous and voluntary. UNK is proctoring the survey. 

Here is the link:  Grand Island Public Schools Foundation

On the Island
KENDALL BARTLING, CLASS OF 2021

The weeks leading up to the end of last semester were pretty quiet, save for a couple of final exams and the start of basketball season. The start of this semester has been uncharacteristically quiet as well, with only a few events this first week. I’ll try my best to fill you in on what’s happened and what you can expect coming up.

* * *

Boys Basketball stumbled a little in early December, but rebounded and have with a record of 6-4 after home win against Lincoln High on January 10, 87 to 64. Their record includes a win against rival Kearney in Heartland Athletic Conference over the holiday break.

* * *

Girls Basketball has had a rocky start with a 1-8 record as of January 10. Their sole win came against Omaha South, a convincing 58-30 victory.

* * *

The Grand Island Show Choirs had their Premiere Night on the December 4, which, after several months of practice, went without a hitch. Competitions begin in earnest this month with the Gretna Invite, followed by competitions at Hastings and Lincoln East.

* * *

The Islander Band performed its annual holiday concert a few days before break began. This was a touching experience as GISH Class of 2016 alum Alex Dominguez was a guest conductor returning back home, to where his passion for music began. Another evening of wonderful music happened just 24 hours later, with the GISH Orchestra’s holiday concert taking place. Although no guest conductors were present, it was still an experience to be heard.

* * *

As I said, it’s been remarkably quiet on the home front as of late, so that’s all the current news I have for you. But I wanted to take a moment to elaborate on one of my favorite experiences I’ve had on this Island, or, rather, 4,000 feet above it.

I have been honored to be a part of the Aviation Pathway, ever since I joined it early last semester. Not only have we had meaningful simulator time, where maneuvers are practiced, but, we have had several field trips: to Omaha, to the local airport, and even to the National Guard base here in Grand Island. (That’s me in the photo.)

But the best field trip is the one where I was behind the figurative wheel. After some lengthy discussions with my teacher, we had decided on a relatively uneventful Saturday. October 26, at about 11a.m., I arrived at the airport. It took a while for paperwork to be completed, and for the plane to arrive. We began pre-flight procedures at 11:45, and the engine started at 12:01pm. We taxied out, and I throttled for takeoff at 12:08.

It’s a bit cliché, but it is truly an experience beyond words. The second we lurched off the ground, everything got quiet. Only then did I realize what I was doing — I was flying.

It was only a 48 minute flight, but it was enough for me to realize: I want to fly. And that’s the wonder of the Academies. I flew an actual plane, and that’s something that happens in a select few schools in Nebraska. 

And now, GISH is on that list.

A Distant Mirror
THE HOLIDAYS – JANUARY OF 2020

Today, the Distant Mirror looks back to Christmas memories from the 1950’s. In the recent holiday season, I thought back to some particularly joyous memories at Howard School in the 1950’s. Each Christmas season, on several occasions, the entire school would convene in the foyer. Sitting with classmates on the floor, with crossed legs then known as “Indian Style,” we would sing Christmas carols. For me, this was a transcendent joy. I loved the carols for the kindness, togetherness, and joy they celebrated. I liked the religious songs as well as the Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty songs, but just singing together as a school was magnificent.  

For the last 35 years, we have attended a holiday party at the home of friends in Santa Monica, Calif. One of my friends is an excellent pianist and can play virtually all the carols, so the party ends with all of us singing as a group. We again did so this past December, and it remains one of highlights of my year. I simply love caroling, but the practice of groups going door to door caroling is not nearly as common as in the 1950’s. I hope we do not completely lose this glorious tradition. 


Top Five Favorite Christmas Carols and Holiday Songs:
1. Good King Wenceslas
2. O Holy Night (my Mother’s favorite)
3. Silent Night
4. O Come, All Ye Faithful
5. Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah Song


“Good King Wenceslas” was not among my top carols growing up, but it has now become my favorite Christmas song.  The lyrics are poetic and beautiful. They do not directly address religion, but rather tell the simple story of a monarch and his page. They see a poor man gathering winter fuel though “the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.” Together the King and the page trod through bitter cold to bring the peasant flesh and wine and pine logs. The last lines are:  


Therefore, Christian men be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.


Is that not a wonderful Holiday sentiment? 


“O Holy Night’ is a beautiful song also, peaceful and comforting. “Silent Night" and “O Come, All Ye Faithful” are similar. I am a huge fan of the Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song.” While a bit racy and very modern, it celebrates the Jewish tradition and many Jewish luminaries with humor and affection.


Top Silly Words to Holiday and Patriotic Songs

1. Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Robin laid an Egg
The Batmobile lost a wheel and the Joker Got Away


2. We three kings of Orient are
Tried to smoke a rubber cigar
It was loaded, it exploded,
The noise was heard near and far


3. God Bless my underwear
They are my only pair
Stand beside them and guide them
Through the rips, through the holes, through the tears,
From the washer, to the dryer, to the clothesline in the air
God bless my underwear, my only pair


Best Punk Version of Religious Christmas Carols

1. Bad Religion’s CD of carols


This CD is a real gem. Using punk rock guitars and rapid drumming, the band Bad Religion sings the most prominent religious carols in an upbeat, creative manner. And it works! I highly recommend this CD.  


Favorite Christmas and Holiday Movies

As a life long film buff and movie follower, I am a real softie for a great Christmas movie. My favorites are:  

1. “A Christmas Carol” - 1951 movie with Alastair Sim as Scrooge
2. “It’s a Wonderful Life” – 1946 movie with James Steward and Donna Reed
3. “The Bishop’s Wife” – 1947 movie with Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven 
4. “Scrooged” – 1988 movie with Bill Murray
5. “Elf” – 2003 movie with Will Farrell, James Caan and Joey Deschanel 
6. “A Christmas Story” -1983 movie featuring Ralphie trying to get the Red Ryder BB gun 


By far the most famous and ubiquitous is “A Christmas” Carol, with dozens of movies based on the Charles Dickens classic novella. Some say this book was the true beginning of celebrating Christmas as we know it. Well-known to all, I will just address my favorite part, which is when Scrooge finally sees the light, and finds new joy in being generous. The scene where he shouts to a lad on the street to go buy the big goose down the block for the Cratchit family is wonderful. The technique of using the ghost of Marley, and subsequently the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future, is brilliant, and has been used by many later films.    

In December of 1973, in my second year of law school, just before the holiday break, I turned on my little black and white TV and started watching a movie where some angels were deciding which guardian angel should go down to earth and help George Bailey. I had never seen or heard of the movie but quickly became entranced and watched the whole movie. “It’s a Wonderful Life” came into my life. I loved it. Only later did the movie become a regular holiday tradition and become so well known. For decades my family never failed to watch it on Christmas Eve. It is indeed an extraordinary movie, showing the huge impact a single human can have on so many people. The technique of having a guardian angel show George Bailey what the world would be like without him is not all that different from Scrooge being shown the Christmas Past, Present, and Future. I have probably seen this movie 50 times, more than once on the big screen here in Santa Monica at the Aero Theatre, run now by the American Cinematheque, but I always get teary at the end when Harry Bailey toasts his brother George as “the richest man in town.”

The original “Bishop’s Wife” is a wonderful classic film that is not so well known. It also uses the technique of a guardian angel (here Cary Grant) who comes down to help the Bishop, David Niven, with his problems. The angel charms every one, and eventually helps the Bishop find the right path to happiness. Once the Angel leaves, no one remembers him.  

“Scrooged” closely follows the plot of “A Christmas Carol,” with the obnoxious television mogul Bill Murray visited by hilarious Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.  Much like in his epic “Groundhog Day,” Murray changes from a self-centered jerk to someone who finally acts with the milk of human kindness.

“Elf” is also a charming little movie, and I think Will Farrell’s best acting job ever. Here Farrell’s father, James Caan, sees the light and gains the Christmas spirit.

Finally, the ever-so-charming “A Christmas Story.” The story of young Ralphie, who seeks the Red Ryder BB gun, the Dad who covets the fishnet stocking leg lamp he won, and the boy who licks the frozen pipe and gets his tongue stuck. This film also holds up very well. The scene of Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant after the turkey is eaten by the neighbor’s dogs is a classic.

By the way, this past December I watched each of these movies again, except for the “Bishop’s Wife.”  

Whatever your faith, or lack thereof, to me these movies and songs celebrate some of the best aspects of human behavior.  At the end of “The Bishop’s Wife,” the Bishop gives a sermon that was written by his guardian angel, that ends:


Let us ask ourselves what He [Jesus] would wish for most.  And then, let each put in his share, loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shinning gifts that make peace on earth.


A belated, but vigorous, Happy Holidays to all!  

In Memoriam

November and December memorial list of GISH Alumni ...

DUANE SMITH, Class of 1966, died Nov. 6, 2019, in Canadian, Okla. He was 71.

BETTY (MCELROY) MCKEONE, Class of 1948, died Nov. 9, 2019, in North Platte. Betty lived in Cozad. She was 88.

ANTHONY VALDERAZ, Class of 1988, died Nov. 11, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 49.

RONALD EWOLDT, Class of 1958, died Nov. 13, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 79

HOWARD SPRINGSGUTH, Class of 1967, died Nov. 13, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 73.

ROGER BROWN, Class of 1941, died Nov. 14, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 97.

JAMES SWIATOVIAK, Class of 1972, died Nov. 17, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 65.

RAY JOHNSON, Class of 1942, died Nov. 21, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 95.

BILL MCLELLAN III, Class of 1944, died Nov. 21, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 93.

HELEN (WINTER) STAUFFER, Class of 1939, died Nov. 21, 2019, in Lincoln. She was 97.

RANDY MENDYK, Class of 1989, died Nov. 28, 2019, in Aurora, Colo. He was 48.

ROSELLA “ROSI” (POOLE) NELSON, Class of 1952, died Dec. 1, 2019, in Lincoln. She was 84.

COLLEEN “SUE” (KORN) HOLDER, Class of 1957, died Dec. 2, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 80.

ALANSON JAMES “JIM” WRIGHT, Class of 1943, died Dec. 2, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 94.

BOB HALSTEAD, Class of 1955, died Dec. 5, 2019, in Lincoln. Bob lived in Phillips. He was 82.

BOB JONES, longtime math teacher at Senior High, died Dec. 5, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 77.

JIM KRULL, Class of 1949, died Dec. 5,2019, in Grand Island. He was 88.

DAVID RENZ, Class of 1978, died Dec. 14, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 59.

JAMES SINNER, Class of 1962, died Dec. 15, 2019, in Kearney. He was 75.

EURDIS (NIEMOTH) WILLIS, Class of 1948, died Dec. 17, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 90.

ROGER WHITEFOOT, Class of 1962, died Dec. 24, 2019, in Omaha. Roger lived in Fort Calhoun. He was 75.

JAN (KUTSCHKAU) MCMULLEN, Class of 1957, died Dec. 25, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 80.

MCKENNA BOLANOS, Class of 2017, died Dec. 27, 2019, in Scottsdale, Ariz. She was 20.

DONALD JAMES, Class of 1956, died Dec. 31, 2019, in Elkhorn. He was 81.

MARJORIE (DECKER) PITTMAN, Class of 1957, died Dec. 31, 2019, in Grand Island. Marjorie lived in St. Paul. She was 80.

DR. STANLEY URWILLER, longtime math teacher at Senior High, died Jan. 6, 2020, in Grand Island. He was 83.

To report an alumni death since December 31, 2019, please send an email with the first name, last name, class year, and maiden name if applicable to alumni@gips.org

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