Murray class of ’43 holds 73-year reunion

Members of Murray High School’s Class of 1943: front row, from left, Nora Post-Smeed, Bob Hagen, Don Stevenson and Raleigh Nelson; back row, Dick Evans, Jim Manderfeld, Henry Ernst and Dean Kullenkamp.

Members of Murray High School’s Class of 1943: front row, from left, Nora Post-Smeed, Bob Hagen, Don Stevenson and Raleigh Nelson; back row, Dick Evans, Jim Manderfeld, Henry Ernst and Dean Kullenkamp.

The Murray High School Class of 1943 recently held a 73-year reunion at Rudy’s Redeye Grill in White Bear Lake and had a respectable turnout, especially since most of the attendees are 91 years old this year. Eight grads were in attendance, along with a number of family members.

Most reunions are held every five or 10 years, so why the odd number for this one?

“We had reunions every five years for quite awhile, until somebody pointed out that, at our ages, we ought to get together more often,” said Jim Manderfeld, a retired Duluth auto dealer, one of the event’s organizers and senior class president in 1943.

Manderfeld lived in his family’s home on Churchill Street, near Lake Como, during his school years and recalls walking through Como Park, down Midway Parkway, through the state fairgrounds, University of Minnesota campus and St. Anthony Park to get to the school.

He said the years during World War II were an unsettling time for the Murray senior boys. Some quit school to join the military, others enlisted and were allowed to finish high school, while still others waited for the draft.

A number of the Murray alumni saw action in pivotal battles in Europe, and several were killed within a year or two of graduation, Manderfeld said.

He doesn’t know how many of his classmates are still living, but chances are there are more women than men because of a slight gender imbalance in the class of ’43: 99 girls and 59 boys.

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