Pam Dudding-Burch
Contributing writer

The New Castle High School class of 1967 gathered at The Homeplace and had 22 classmates to attend. Front sitting: Ned Sarver and Herbie Hancock. 2nd row: Judy Fisher Smith, Kitty Cartwright Keffer, Wanda Hale Stull, Joan Cromer Damouth, Judy kay Smith Andreas, Sharon Lockett Fowler, Linda Woods Lee, Ann Luger Bushman, Chee Chee Hypes Caldwell, Gail Snider Davis, Dickie Eakin. Back row: Jr. Stull, Steve Linton, Steve Elmore, Oneta Paitsel Toler, Billy Lee, Gary Jeffreys, Gary Wright, Jimmy Myers and Rodney Keffer.

With arms outstretched for hugs that had been saved for years, the New Castle High School Class of 1967 recently gathered at The Homeplace Restaurant in Catawba, on Saturday, June 24. 22 former classmates gathered to celebrate 50 years since their high school graduation at New Castle High School. Fourteen spouses also attended.


Back in the ‘old days’ New Castle only had one school. “We had all the grades, first through 12th in our school,” Billy Lee, a longtime Craig County resident, shared. “We had about 52 in our class,” Lee said. “Sadly, fourteen have already passed and about eighteen weren’t able to make it.”

Twelve classmates still lived in Craig County. Others reside in Roanoke and Salem, Maynard-Arkansas, Baton Rouge-Louisiana, Gambils-Maryland, Chesterfield-Virginia, North Carolina, Buckingham-Virginia and the Blue Ridge.

“It was good to see everybody after so many years,” Lee shared to the chagrin of so many. “They looked good too,” someone added.

Everyone seemed to have a good time as stories were exchanged as well as addresses and telephone numbers. Laughter and chatter permeated the atmosphere and people’s cheeks seemed to feel the ‘sweet’ ache of grinning so very much.

“We also had a little fun by giving awards,” Lee shared. The one that changed the most was Jenny Myers. The one that changed the least was CheeChee Hypes. The one with the most children was Oneta Paitsel and the one with the most grandchildren was Judy K. Smith.

Also, Judy Fisher Smith came in from Arkansas, so she received the one who came the furthest. The class decided that they enjoyed it so much that they will have another one in just five years, 2022. “We’re not old, we’re just in our prime to be able to teach others what to do and not to do!” one said with a giggle.

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