Oak Park High class of 1969 comes from across the world to celebrate their 50th reunion with parties, golf tournaments and softball.
By Nancy Magnus Irwin
A lot happened the summer of 1969, including the first man on the moon, a little music festival called Woodstock … Also, a wonderful class graduated from Oak Park High School. More than 280 guests out of a class that numbered about 500 came together for their 50th reunion July 4-6.
Ken Korotkin led the Reunion Committee with help from Lenie Bershad, Sherryl Moss Anctil, Janice Cherkasky, Rob Leider and dozens of others.
The reunion kicked off with a literal bang on July 4th at a reunion committee/out-of-towners’ party hosted at the Birmingham home of Korotkin. Guests came from as far away as Australia (Lisa Goodman Pomeroy) and Israel (Joel Dzodin with wife, Susanne, and Linda Beitner Dagan). The class exchange student, Astrid Lindbergh, came in from Sweden along with former Oak Parkers from Pennsylvania, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Texas, Florida and several from California.
David Wiener and Larry Kantor organized a reunion golf tournament at Salem Hills Golf Course in Northville. World-renowned photographer Todd Weinstein of New York captured the event in stills and video.
Friday night parties were held all over town including a gathering at the Franklin home of Russ and Mary Barnett, followed by a class-wide open house at the home of Janice and Richard Cherkasky.
Saturday morning, 50 people hopped on the Feet on the Street bus for classmate Linda Yellen Wish’s popular tour of Detroit. Then, docent and classmate Judge Gerald Rosen, known as the judge who helped save Detroit from bankruptcy, led a tour of the Detroit Institute of Arts.
A Shabbat kiddush lunch was shared at the hotel’s hospitality suite, which became a popular place to catch up with friends from across the country.
The Detroit Marriott Troy ballroom was decked out with fresh red roses and OPHS centerpieces dreamed up by Janice Cherkasky, a local top party planner. Specialty chocolates were created for the event by Judy Pollack Moss, owner of Dinstuhl’s Fine Candy Company of Memphis.
The reunion entertainment included a live set by Detroit rock legend Mitch Ryder. His appearance was funded by one of the class’ most famous alumni, Geoffrey Fieger, who introduced the band to raucous applause. Ryder was the perfect choice because he had played at several class members’ bar mitzvahs.
The reunion weekend continued at Drake Sports Park in West Bloomfield with the 10th annual Oak Park Old Timers Softball Tournament, spearheaded by Sheldon Rosenberg. Four teams from OPHS classes from 1967 to 1975 slugged it out on the ballfield. The winning team captain was David Wiener, who took home the coveted Joel Noble trophy, named after a much beloved classmate.
The ballgame was followed by an all-you-can-eat family picnic and, later, dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, arranged by Sheldon and Debbie Rosenberg. It was an epic four days with memories made to last a lifetime.
The Oak Park High School Class of 1969 rocks. Always has. Always will!
Nancy Magnus Irwin is a member of the Oak Park High School class of 1969.