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Education

Memories abound during St. Joseph Catholic School's class of 1958 reunion

Members of St. Joseph Catholic School's class of 1958 gather during their 60th reunion festivities Sept. 14 and 15. The celebration included a private tour of the Tivoli Theatre, as well as dinner and a visit to their old school.
Members of St. Joseph Catholic School's class of 1958 gather during their 60th reunion festivities Sept. 14 and 15. The celebration included a private tour of the Tivoli Theatre, as well as dinner and a visit to their old school.

DOWNERS GROVE – Sixty years ago, in the spring of 1958, 74 boys and girls graduated from St. Joseph Catholic School in Downers Grove.

Twenty-two members of the class of 1958 returned to Downers Grove on Sept. 14 and 15 to participate in the group’s 60th reunion.

“We were pleased with the outcome,” said Tom Walker, a member of the class who helped organize the gathering.

While some members of the 1958 class have remained in Downers Grove or nearby communities, others traveled from as far as Seattle and Washington D.C. to attend the festivities.

“They were pretty much from all over,” said Walker, who lives in Alexandria, Va.

Most of the classmates are 74 years old, and many are retired. Discussions over the two days focused on grandchildren, health, retirement and “how our lives have gone,” Walker said.

The group followed an extensive two-day itinerary that included a 90-minute tour of the Tivoli Theatre led by Mike Balsamo, a 1978 St. Joseph graduate.

"We had a great tour of the Tivoli," Walker said. "We had a great time there."

The tour was followed by lunch at Berto’s Deli and Pasta Shoppe, 5004 Main St., the home of the St. Joe School sub sandwich.

The group resumed touring after lunch, this time receiving a downtown walking tour guided by Walker.

Evening activities included a cocktail reception followed by a buffet dinner at Emmett’s Brewing Co.

The gathering was not the group’s first reunion. In fact, they’ve gotten together several times since they marked their 25th reunion in 1983, Walker said.

Throughout the years, the group has remained exceptionally close, he said.

Walker believes the closeness is the result of tight-knit bonds formed at an early age. Additionally, there were no factors such as money, status or political beliefs, which often divide people later in life, he said.

“It was a stage when you developed bonds based on who you are,” Walker said. "We were together every day. The memories are pleasant for us in our old age. The attraction was formed long ago."

Day two of the festivities featured a reunion celebration in the St. Joseph Parish Hall. The event included a buffet lunch and plenty of time to catch up with classmates. A tour of the old and new school was followed by Mass.

The group is getting older but agreed to hold another reunion.

"By the time the thing was over, we were all hugging," Walker said.

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