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Looking back at the class of 1926
1971 Cl 26 reunion men
Men from the Effingham Academy 45th class reunion were, from left to right: Ernest Gnann, Jack Ramsey, Joe Highsmith (guest), Herbert Kessler and Kenneth Rahn. - photo by Photo provided

The following poem began an article about the May 29, 1971 45th class reunion of the Effingham Academy class of 1926.

“You Haven’t Changed a Bit”
Now gray hair will vanish mysteriously;
And diets be taken more seriously;
And spouses be scanned with more critical eyes
For visible answers to unspoken “whys”.

Cars will be polished; new clothes will be bought;
A cosmetic war against time will be fought.
And why this renewal of fervor and force?
Because of the class reunion of course.

By 1971, the class had lost three members: Rosa Jerald, Robert Kieffer and Chapman Shearouse. Dorothy Arnsdorff Seckinger was unable to attend due to illness.

Sixteen members and their guests attended the reunion. Kenneth Rahn served as host for the evening at the Springfield Masonic Lodge.  Jack Ramsey gave the invocation. Mamie S. Snooks played several selections on the harmonica. The meal was catered by May C. Exley.

Program: Salutatory – Evelyn Neidlinger Cone, History – Willie Kieffer Tebeau, Prophecy – Marguerite Metzger McKendree, Class Poem – Ernest Gnann and Valedictory – Hazel Hickman Adams.

Helen Upchurch Poppell had charge of the decorations and sang the class song. Nelwyn Scott Ward had handled publicity.

They had such a good time, they planned another reunion in two years.

Today the sole survivor of the class of 1926 is Willie Kieffer Tebeau of Springfield, who is 103 years old.

This was compiled by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society from information in The Springfield Herald. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: