Touching moments, lasting lessons from Fife High School’s 70th class reunion

FIFE, Wash. -- This is a time of year when many students graduate and go off in different directions.

It’s also a busy time for class reunions, when decades later, they gather once again.

We felt incredibly fortunate to be invited to capture the 70th class reunion for Fife High School. It was held in early June at Johnny's at Fife restaurant, a local favorite off Interstate 5.

Members of the Fife High School class of 1949 greet each other at Johnny's at Fife restaurant at their 70th class reunion.

After the initial hugs and greetings, it becomes apparent there’s a special bond with those who have known you as long as you can remember.

“We all had a really good time," said LeRoy Wissinger.  "We were all close. Everybody was really close and it’s been that way for the rest of our life.”

Wissinger, who was the starting quarterback and guard on the basketball team, said the times may have changed since they graduated from Fife High School in 1949, but the personalities have not. Especially Dorothy Spane.

LeRoy Wissinger was a star athlete in high school. He shares what makes longtime friendships so meaningful.

“We have matching walkers," Spane said to another attendee. "We should have a race.”

Dorothy Spane greets another member of the Fife High School Class of 1949.

Spane always had a remarkable sense of humor. She grew up in Fife and raised her kids here. Her oldest son came back and taught in the district for 30 years. He ended up being a principal. Her roots here run deep.

What do 70 years since high school graduation mean to her?

“It means we’re old,” Spane said with a laugh.

The memories come pouring back.

“We had a big fundraiser when we raised money to build the first grandstand they had in Fife," Spane said. "So that was quite an undertaking so... but they’ve since torn it down and replaced it.”

A reminder that nothing lasts forever. Of the 70 graduates in their class, seven and some spouses and partners were able to make it.

Shirley Foster organized the class reunion. She said it’s really about celebrating those who could be here.

“They are just great friends," Foster said. "Everybody’s great friends.”

Organizer of the 70th high school reunion Shirley Foster flips through the yearbook sharing memories.

What lessons can we draw from these 87 and 88-year-olds?

“Just try to keep your friendship going,” Spane said. "And then count your blessings every day.”

They will continue to count their blessings until the next class reunion.

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