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Hudson High School 1932 graduate looks for classmates

From left: J. Curtis Burkholder, Ruth (Lovett) Burkholder, who graduated at age 15, and Ruth's brother, Herbert Lovett.1 / 3
This hat is part of the first uniforms worn by the first band in Hudson High School history. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl2 / 3
Barbara Burkholder, left, holds the class portrait that once hung in Applebee's. Her mother, a member of the class, is seated. On her sweater is her husband's Hudson High School letter. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl3 / 3

The Hudson High School graduating class of 1932 has been doing a lot of traveling within Hudson.

The formal portrait of the class once graced the wall of Hudson High School. When Applebee's first arrived in Hudson, store personnel approached the school for photos and artifacts to include in the décor. The HHS principal at the time "loaned" the restaurant a huge framed collection of individual portraits of each class member. It hung on the wall near the restrooms at Applebee's until the establishment remodeled last fall.

One of the class members, Ruth Lovett Burkholder, is interested in finding out if any of her fellow classmates are around. Her daughter Barbara pursued the class portrait when she read in the Hudson Star-Observer that Applebee's was remodeling. The picture was returned to the school and, since Barbara Burkholder's mother, father and uncle were all in that class, the picture is now in her possession, hanging above her computer.

Ruth (Lovett) Burkholder, Herbert Lovett and John Curtis Burkholder were all members of the class of 1932.

Ruth Burkholder is a lively 95 years young and remembers that her class of 1932 was the first in a lot of ways.

Born on the Fourth of July in 1916 Ruth went on to graduate from high school at the age of 15 with her brother Herbert and J. Curtis Burkholder, who would become her husband. Both men were born in 1914.

Ruth started playing the piano at age six and continues to play at the senior center on Tuesdays at 11:15 a.m.

"As far as I know I am the only one left from my class," said Ruth. "E.P. Rock was the superintendent for the school. He was a tall, big man and very stern. Students were afraid of him but he was a fine man."

"We were the best class in school," Ruth said modestly. "We were very proud of our class."

"Music was an important part of our school. We had the first band in Hudson." Ruth played the saxophone, her brother played the clarinet and Curtis played the trumpet. Under the direction of David Dahl, who traveled from St. Paul to teach band two days a week, the band competed in a music festival in River Falls in 1932. It was the first year it included a marching competition. The school had an orchestra and a string quartet prior to having a band.

"We all played in a lot of extra musical groups," said Ruth, recounting a girl's sextet affectionately called the Dirty Half Dozen. "We played for meetings, receptions and weddings." Several of the groups practiced at Ruth's house on Fourth Street. "My mom baked a lot of cookies for us."

FFA to Boys and Girls Glee club and Girls Athletic Association - Ruth can remember them all.

"The juniors always had a prom," said Ruth, who as a senior was asked to prom by a junior boy, Bob Holt. "In the meantime I started to go with Curtis and he asked me to the prom. I had a big decision to make. I decided I had already agreed to go with Bob and honored that decision. Curtis instead of asking another girl went with his sister, and eight years later we were married."

Curtis was the class president and the first Eagle Scout in Hudson, according to Ruth. He joined the Navy, becoming an instructor in radar bombing, which was a precursor to television. In time he would become the vice president of Ashland Oil and Refining. He died in 1998.

The couple enjoyed more than 50 years of marriage. In their retirement years, they volunteered in Ecuador and Alaska.

"I hope to hear from somebody from my class," said Ruth. "There were 56 in our class and I knew every one of them."