Ilion High School

Class of 1976

Alumni News

1976 Mirror Cover Ilion


Digitized Class Yearbook....

The 1976 Mirror from the New York Heritage digital Ilion Free Public Library Yearbooks collection. Link opens in new browser tab. (added March 25, 2021)


Class History....

Now everything you wanted to know about the IHS Class of 1976 is at your published in the 1976 Mirror Class History.


Class Roster....

Class Roster, Officers and Honor Students, as published in the "The Mirror 1976", are available on the 1976 Class Roster page. (added February 25, 2022).


Class Historical Newspaper Articles....

     Newspaper articles about the IHS Class of 1976 (added February 25, 2023)


Class of 1976 - 40th Reunion........

Get ready to board the Erie Canal Boat Tour for a fun filled evening with your classmates . . . 3 hour cruise with entertainment, food, cocktails plus an additional hour dockside. Time is TBD - more information to follow.

Breakdown for reunion weekend.

Friday Night July 22 - parade and informal get together after. K of C Ilion

Saturday July 23 - Boat Cruise and dinner. Leave from Gems Along the Mohawk (Herkimer) @ 6:00pm. Return at 9:00pm. Cost for cruise, dinner and band will be $40 per person. We would like a head count as soon as possible. Please respond to this page if you are planning to attend. Payment info to follow. (April 16, 2016)


1976 Facebook Public Group Created - Check it for 40th Reunion Info....

A public facing Facebook Group was created for the Class of 1976 to share Reunion ideas/news. see Ilion Jr/Sr High School Class of 1976, administered by Laurie Devins Fischer. (March 15, 2014)


40th Reunion Day 2 - Evening....

An event page on Facebook was created to share information about the July Reunion. July 23 - Ilion Class of '76 40th Reunion Day 2 - Evening Get ready to board the Erie Canal Boat Tour for a fun filled evening with your classmates . . . 3 hour cruise with entertainment, food, cocktails plus an additional hour dockside. Time is TBD - more information to follow. (March 12, 2016)


Class Reunion Info....

Note from Dotti Dauten Pohleven (Oct 3, 2006)

I am seeking help in locating information from family, friends who knew the following people - these are our classmates from the Class of 1976 who have passed away since graduation and we are planning to honor them at our upcoming 30th Class Reunion. We are seeking any memories, special memorabilia, photos, or addresses of family members that I might contact - those that we are seeking information about concern the following individuals:

Dennis Gildersleeve (1958-1982)(Trying to locate his brother, Jeff)
Judy Grotz (1958-1993)
Robert Marks (1958-1990)
Thomas Shaughnessy (1958-1996)

I have contacted Mary Beth Boucher Spanfelner's sister, Barbara and have contacted Verna Martin-Kasper's family but am desperately seeking information about the others listed above.


Class of 1976 - 30 Year Reunion Plans

The Class of 1976 will be holding their 30th Class Reunion November 24th through the 25th. Friday night will begin with a Road Rally with classmates meeting behind the high school to pick up their sheets. There will be an informal gathering, at the Ilion Elks Lodge, in the Lounge area. On Saturday, November 25th, the Reunion will be held at the Hotel Utica with registration to begin at 6:30 p.m. We will also be arranging for a bus to transport those who do not want to drive. Invitations packets will be sent out in the near future. (Oct 29, 2006)

We are still looking for the following classmates.:

Kathy Fuller
Donna Benny Armstrong


Foreign Exchange Student Finds Classmates

Our foreign exchange student Alvaro Simon de Blas sent greetings. (July 18, 2002)

"It has been a great and nice surprise to see the web page of 76 IHS class by surfing in the web. I'm living in Molaga south of Spain and I have never came back to the States since July 1976. I have two sons one 12 and another girl 7 so you can imagine I'm busy. I love to hear news from you and sure I will try for the 30th anniversary. Best regards."

Alvaro Simon de Blas
Director General
Parque Tecnologico de Andalucoa
Molaga 29.590
Tfno: 00 34 951010504
Fax: 00 34 951010527


Class of 1976 - 25 Year Reunion Report.....

The Class of '76 recently held their 25th Reunion at the Ilion Elks Club on Thanksgiving weekend with 80 alumni and guests attending. Colleen Fitzgibbons receives the award for traveling the furthest . . . all the way from Sunny California. Chad Ferguson was also able to make the trek up the east coast. John Doty receives the award for his speedy adjustment of schedules. . . we did not locate him until Monday, November 26th and he was able to make travel arrangements and join us on Saturday flying in from Dayton, Ohio. The evening was a success and fun was had by all . . . a lot of laughs . . . great memories . . . good to see all that could make it. We hope to have some pictures to post of the event soon . . . so that those that were unable to make it can also share the memories from the evening. If anyone would like an updated roster of addresses and e-mail addresses of classmates, please contact Laurie "Devins" Fischer at If you have! an e-mail address, please forward it to me. Also, anyone interested in working on the 30th reunion . . . . please let me know. Hope to see more of our classmates at the 30th. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season. (December 10, 2001)


Class of 1976 - 25 Year Reunion Event.....

Join us for hors'doeurves, cocktails, and entertainment (casual dress)

Saturday, November 24, 2001
7:00 PM
Ilion Elks Lodge
West Street
Ilion, NY
Cost $15 per person

Class of '76 is looking for the following people . . .Winona Ward Reed, Beverly Bruso Wood, Mary Ann Gilberti Chapple, Donna Benny Armstrong, Kathy Fuller, Deborah Thompson. Anyone with information regarding these people, please e-mail Lauri Devins Fischer - email

Contacts are Ted Gage, Lauri Devins Fischer - email to email or Bob McDowell email(October 24, 2001)



Thomas Francis "Tom" O'Connor, IHS 1976, age 65, an Ilion native, son of the late Francis and Ann (Hanretty) O'Connor, passed away on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 in Salina, NY. His funeral arrangements are under the direction and care of the locally owned and operated Mohawk Valley Funerals and Cremations, 7507 State Route 5, between Little Falls and St. Johnsville. There are no calling hours. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the Church of the Annunciation, Ilion, on Wednesday, November 29, 2023 commencing at 10:30 am with the Rev. Paul Catena, pastor, celebrating his Mass of Christian Burial. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Procession will follow to Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Frankfort where burial will take place with his parents. Tom was born on Sept. 7, 1958 in Herkimer, son of the late Francis T. "Chant" and Hannah C. "Ann" (Hanretty) O'Connor and educated in Ilion schools, graduating from Ilion High School. He was of the Catholic Faith. He was preceded in death by his siblings, Daniel, Kevin, Michael, Brian and Patrick. Survivors include his sister, Christine Wellenstein (Mitchell) of Utica, a special aunt who always cared for Tom, Elizabeth O'Connor of Poughkeepsie (her late husband, Thomas), many nieces, nephews and cousins. Kindly consider memorial offerings in his name to the Church of the Annunciation, Ilion. (November 28, 2023)


David Charles Squire, IHS 1976, of Bel Air MD, formerly of Ilion, passed away Saturday March 11, with his loving family by his side. He was born in 1958 to Charles and Rosemarie (Thibault) Squire. He graduated from Ilion High School in 1976 and earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Potsdam. Dave achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and was a past Chief of the Kamargo Lodge, Order of the Arrow, BSA. He joined the U.S. Army in 1983 and served until 1993. He was an IT Specialist for Harford County School System at the time of his passing. Dave was predeceased by his father Charles, his paternal grandparents, Charles and Coral Squire, and his maternal grandparents Lucien and Adrienne Thibault. Dave is survived by his mother Rosemarie, wife Vicky, son Jason (Kayla) and grandson Braden, son Christopher, his brother Robert (Vicki), sisters Christina (Paul) Holgate, and Debora (Peter) Cullen, uncle Lawrence (Jeanne) Thibault, several cousins, nieces and nephews. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made in David's name to any organization that supports U.S. Veterans or Boy Scouts of America. (March 28, 2023)


Judith Ann Meehan, IHS 1976, passed away on December 30, 2022, at the Alpine Rehabilitation facility in Little Falls, NY. She was 64 years old. Judi was a long-time resident of Ilion and was passionate about music and the Adirondack Mountains, in particular about Piseco Lake. She spent many wonderful summers there with her family. She will be greatly missed by her friends and family. If you wish to offer a donation in her memory, it is suggested that either the Piseco Ambulance Corps or the Piseco Volunteer Fire Dept. would be excellent choices. Donations for either organization can be mailed to P.O. Box 1, Piseco, NY, 12139. (January 14, 2023)


Brian F. Dzimitrowicz, Sr., IHS 1976, age 65, of Ilion (Town of Columbia), passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, from natural causes at the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY. He was born on November 19, 1956 in Herkimer the son of the late Anthony J. and Marion D. (Waite) Dzimitrowicz and was educated in Ilion schools. On August 14, 2021, Brian was united in marriage to the love of his life and longtime companion, Nancy (Hitchcock) Nabinger at their home in the Town of Columbia. Brian was last employed at Steet - Ponte Chevrolet in Herkimer, in the body repair department. Prior to that, he worked for Safelite Auto Glass for over 18 years. Brian was a man devoted to his family. He was a caring and loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. Brian enjoyed helping his friends and family with their projects and was always the first to lend a helping hand. He had a great sense of humor and no matter what kind of day you were having, Brian could make you smile. Survivors include his loving wife Nancy; a daughter, Jessica Dzimitrowicz and Matt; a son, Brian F. Dzimitrwoicz, Jr. and his mother, Jill Dzimitrowicz; two step-sons; Mathew Stegich and wife Suzanne and Andrew Owen and wife Renee; two sisters, Beverly and James Kemper and Susan and William Ozog; three brothers, James, Thomas, and Richard Dzimitrowicz and Claudia; a grandson, Casey; several nieces and nephews including a special nephew, Andy(Amish) Ozog; and numerous friends with special mention of his best friends, Jeremy Polley and Jen, and Eddie Devins. He was pre-deceased by a brother, Anthony Dzimitrowicz; nephew, James Kemper and a step-son, Jonathan Nabinger. A celebration of Brian’s life will take place on Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 6:00 pm from the Vincent A. Enea Funeral Service, (next to NBT Bank), 527 E. Albany St., Herkimer, NY 315-866-1500. The family will be receiving relatives and friends on Tuesday, January 11, 2022 from 4:00 pm until the time of the services at 6:00 pm. In keeping with New York State Mandate, facemask and social distancing is required. In lieu of flowers, please make all memorial contributions to either, St. Jude’s Children Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Pl, Memphis, TN 38105 or to the Herkimer Humane Society, 514 State Route 5s, Mohawk, NY 13407. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home. (January 7, 2022)


Earle C. Bennett IHS 1976, age 64, of Ilion, New York, passed away on Tuesday evening, June 29, 2021. He was born on April 3, 1957, in Ilion, New York, the son of Robert S. Bennett and Virginia (Blaisdell) Bennett. He was raised and educated in Ilion, graduating with the Ilion High School, Class of 1976. In his early years, he was an avid hunter and enjoyed snowmobiling. He had spent many years selling Christmas trees and making wreaths at his Tree Lot in Ilion. Later in life the simplest pleasures brought great joy to Earle, having coffee and doing his daily scratch off's with friends at Stewart's in Ilion. Earle was a very caring person, always willing to help someone out. He is survived by his beloved mother, Virginia Bennett; his three daughters: Leigh Parks-Brewer and husband, John, of Ilion, Brooke Palumbo and husband, Matthew, of Frankfort and Nicole Bennett, of Frankfort; grandchildren: Ryan Parks and Blake & Levi Palumbo; his siblings: Raymond Bennett and wife, Sandy, Jeanne Ganey, Kathy Gardner and husband, John, Sharon Carlisimo and husband, Peter, Liz Bennett (sister-in-law); as well as many nieces and nephews. A special thank you to Cookie & Michelle for always being there. Earle was predeceased by: Robert S. Bennett (father); Bertha Bennett (sister); Robert H. Bennett (brother); and Ryan Parks (son-in-law). Family is invited to attend a graveside memorial service on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, at 10:00am, at the Armory Hill Cemetery, in Ilion, New York. Family and Friends are welcome to join the Celebration of Life following the services at 11:00am at the St. Francis Society, in Frankfort, New York. For those wishing to do so, in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Ilion Fire Department and Ambulance, 1 Central Ave., Ilion, NY 13357. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Enea & Ciaccia Family Funeral Home, 4309 Acme Rd., (Town of Frankfort), Ilion, NY, Funeral Directors Harry J. Enea, Jr., Kevin E. Enea and Martin L. Ciaccia (315) 894-8000. (July 2, 2021)


Deborah Leigh (McGrade ) Sterling, IHS 1976, age 64, of Herkimer, New York, passed away unexpectedly, on Thursday September 24, 2020. Deb was born on September 18, 1956, in Herkimer, the daughter of the late Edward McGrade and the late Marilyn (Warren) McGrade. Deb was raised in Ilion, NY and graduated from Ilion High School, in 1976. Deb was a member of the Catholic faith and studied with several local Bible study groups. Deb is survived by her husband, Dennis Sterling, of Herkimer NY; her stepmother, Patricia McGrade, of Hendersonville NC; her sisters, Barbara Scanlan, of Fairport NY and Christine Flint and her husband, Paul Flint, of Ilion NY; her brother, Edward (Randy) McGrade, of Little Falls NY; her nieces, Christie (Flint) Brown, of Rome NY, Mary Caitlin (Scanlan) Wight, of Fairport NY and Sarah McGrade, of Herkimer NY; her nephews, Benjamin Flint, of Herkimer NY, Johnathan Scanlan, of Dayton OH and Corey Flint, of Ilion NY; her bothers-in-law, Robert Sterling and his wife, Nancy (Warmuth) Sterling and Randy Sterling and his son, Michael Sterling; along with many aunts, uncles, cousins, great-nieces and great-nephews. Besides her parents, Deb was predeceased by her brother-in-law, Michael Scanlan; her father-in-law and mother-in-law, Fred and Jean Sterling; and her brother-in-law, Mark Sterling. Deb and her Dad passed away on the same day, September 24th, two years apart. Deb loved sending cards and writing letters. All of her family shares special memories of the cards and letters that Deb sent to them on special days. Deb also loved talking to kind people and she remembered every important detail that they shared with her. For 44 years Dennis's family have held a very special place in Debbie's heart and they have all held the same love in their hearts for Debbie. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, October 3rd, 2020, at 10:30 AM, at the Enea & Ciaccia Family Funeral Home, 4309 Acme Road, Ilion, NY (Town of Frankfort) with Deacon James Bower, officiating. Deb's ashes will be laid to rest with her mother in the Armory Hill Cemetery, Ilion, NY. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral service and interment to follow. If you plan to attend the services, a face mask is required. The family of Deborah Sterling is thankful to the MOVAC EMT's and the Doctors and Nurses at the Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY for all the care Deb received. Deb's arrangements were planned with the honor of her friends, Funeral Directors Harry J. Enea, Jr., Kevin E. Enea and Martin L. Ciaccia (315) 894-8000. (September 27, 2020)


Daniel P. Morris IHS 1976, son of the late Donald and Maureen Morris, formally of Ilion, NY, peacefully passed away on April 20, 2020 at his home in Pensacola, FL. Dan graduated from Ilion HS and received his BS from Utica College. Upon graduation Dan traveled throughout the country, working in many different capacities. He loved music, playing guitar and following The Grateful Dead. Those concerts took him to almost every state in the union. He eventually settled in Venice, FL, living and working there for almost 15 years. Dan ultimately moved to Pensacola, Fl. where he worked as a contractor and operated a Handy Man business. "Trapper" as he was known to family friends, loved fishing, golf, and enjoyed the outdoors. He was also an avid reader and a huge fan of the NY Giants and the Yankees. His love of the Pensacola Ice Flyers was fostered with the help of Dr. Don Dewey and he rarely missed a game. Dan was also a great caregiver. He lived with and cared for his father, Donald, until his passing in 2017. His care, attention and company helped to allow his Dad to live out his life in his own home. Above all, Dan was most proud of his 10-year AA sobriety coin which he received in January. He was very appreciative of the friends and associates that helped him reach this achievement. Dan's family wishes to thank Drs James Smith, Gerald Lowrey and Ranjith Dissanayake who took such good care of Dan. Lastly, thanks to his dear friend Janice Bozant. Janice gave Dan a reason to get up every day, and her support is greatly appreciated. Dan is survived by his brother Mark (Mary Jo), sisters Dr. Nancy Morris (Joe Grossi) and Maureen (Paul Arciero), and seven nieces, nephews, and a great niece. The family asks any donations in Dan's memory be made in his name to the St. Joseph Medical Clinic, c/o David M. Conkle MD, PO Box 13566, Pensacola, FL 32591. Due to Covid-19, a celebration of Dan's life will take place at a future date to be determined. Published in Pensacola News Journal from Apr. 22 to Apr. 26, 2020. (April 26, 2020)


Brett Davis, IHS 1976, 61 of Ilion passed away on Saturday June 8, 2018 after a brief illness. Brett is survived by his Mother Fay; his children Brandon Davis and Audrey Stewart and his brother Shawn Davis. In keeping with Brett's wishes there will be no public services or calling hours. (July 20, 2019)


David A Lewis (Louie), IHS 1976, 61 of Herkimer, passed away on Tuesday March 20, 2019, in Cooperstown hospital with his loving family by his side. Dave was born in Ilion on July 18, 1957. He was the beloved son of Harold and Marie Isabelle Lewis (Leonis). He was a graduate of Ilion Schools and after graduation, Dave served in the United States Navy for several years. Dave worked as a contractor with his lifelong friend, Brian Volo, for many years working throughout this area, as well as in Maine. David enjoyed many things in life such as hunting, fishing, cooking and most importantly spending time with his family and friends. He had a zest for life and lived life to its fullest and cherish every moment. Dave is survived by his mother Marie Lewis Leonis; step mother June Lewis, his former wife Kathy and his daughter Claudia of Houston Texas, brother Daniel Lewis his wife and daughter and his son Justin Lewis, Cindy and Richard Armstrong and their son Brian Armstrong, Robert and Julie Lewis and their children; Kelsey and Tayler Lewis, Donna and Ray (Putt) Watson and their children; Bridgett White, Nicole Shanin, Allie and Ray Watson, Alan and Leisa Merrick and their children; Brandon and Jordan and so many more family members and close friends. He was predeceased by his father Harold Lewis, step father Harold Heimster and his favorite nephew Brad Armstrong. We would like to send a special thank you to Sonya and Laurie of Herkimer for their continued support and close friendship with Dave. A memorial service for Dave will be held on Tuesday March 26, 2019 at 6 pm at the Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home Inc. 100 Otsego St. in Ilion, Rev. Robert Wollaber will officiate. Friends may call on Tuesday from 4 pm until the time of the service. To send an online condolence please go to (March 23, 2019)


Cindy Ann (Hosel) Puckett, IHS 1976 age 59, of Jefferson, NC died Monday, June 12, 2017 at Ashe Memorial Hospital. Mrs. Puckett was born January 15, 1958 in Ilion, NY to Gerald and Louise Hosel. Mrs. Puckett was preceded in death by her parents. Mrs. Puckett was an avid quilter, she also enjoyed knitting, scrap booking, stamping and arts and crafts. Cindy loved working with children with special needs. She had a joyful personality and make friends where ever she went. She was very proud of her children and enjoyed watching them grow up. Funeral services were held on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm at Badger Funeral Home Chapel by Father James Stuhrenberg. Mrs. Puckett is survived by: Husband, Mark Puckett, Son, Christopher Mark Puckett of Greenville, NC, Daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Puckett of Deep Gap, Sisters, Fran Zaccaria of TX and Dana Guyer of NY also surviving are several nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Special Olympics of NC, 2200 Gateway Centre Blvd., Suite 201, Morrisville, NC 27560. Services in Ilion for Cindy will be held on Saturday July 8, 2017 at 11 am at the Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home Inc. 100 Otsego St. in Ilion. Deacon James Bower will officiate, interment will follow in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frankfort. Friends may call from 10am until the time of the funeral. (June 19, 2017)


Ellen Elizabeth (Moss) Hoage IHS 1976, 58 of 99 Sixth Ave., passed away on Thursday February 25, 2016 at Little Falls Hospital. Ellen was born on September 23, 1957 in Herkimer, the daughter of Howard and Phyllis Goodman Moss, she was educated in Ilion High School and attended Herkimer County Community College. Ellen was a kind and loving person, and her family was her world. Ellen was a member of St. Augustine's Church in Ilion. Ellen is survived by her mother Phyllis of Cedarville, a son and daughter in law Jeremy and Missy Hoage of Bridgewater, NY, a daughter Carisa Hoage and her partner Matt Hall of Little Falls, NY, three brothers and sisters in law Howard and Kathy Moss Jr. of Ilion, Arthur and Mia-Wyen Moss of CA, and John and Theresa Moss of Cedarville, her grandchildren James and Jerrod Scanlon, Zachery and Lillian Hoage and Alexandrya and Ashlee Hall, 2 aunts and an uncle Bev, Florence and Earl, also several nieces and nephews and cousins, also very special friends Ronnie and Jackie, and Claude and Angel Bernier. Special thanks to the 2nd floor staff at Mohawk Valley Nursing Home. Ellen was predeceased by her father Howard and step father Raymond Prentice. Family and friends are invited to attend calling hours and funeral service for Ellen to be held on Tuesday March 1, 2016 at 6 pm with Pastor David Green officiating. Interment will be in the Cedarville Cemetery in the spring. Friends may call from 4 pm until the time of the funeral service at the Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home Inc. 100 Otsego St. in Ilion. Friends are asked to consider memorials to Mohawk Valley Health Care, 99 Sixth Ave., Ilion, N.Y. 13357. To light a candle or send an online condolence please go to (March 6, 2016)


Lawrence A. Wentworth, Jr., IHS 1976, age 57, a lifelong resident of Ilion, died after a brief illness on Wednesday January 21, 2015 at Little Falls Hospital. He was born on July 31, 1957 in Ilion, a son of the late Lawrence A. Wentworth Sr. and Sandra (Pierce) Wentworth. He was a graduate of Ilion High School. His marriage to the former Virginia L. Flach "Ginny" took place on August 24, 1997 in West Winfield. He worked for many years with Remington Arms in Ilion and held Union membership. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and photography. A very special thank you goes out to everyone for their thoughts and prayers. He is survived by his wife, Ginny, children Bryan Wentworth, Brittany Wentworth, Daniel Swift, Robert Nedell, Michael Wentworth, and Joshua Wentworth, brothers, Michael & Richard Wentworth, sisters, Cathy Rouillier and Brenda Sabatino, 9 grandchildren, god - children Alexis and Paul Bailey, and in-laws, Jennifer Zalewski, Terry Snyder-Rowe, Allen Flach, James Flach, and Arnold Flach, several nieces, nephews and cousins.Funeral services will be held on Sunday January 25th, 2015 at 4:00 PM from The Enea Family Funeral Home, 4309 Acme Road, (Town of Frankfort), Ilion, NY, and will consist of a small prayer and reflection. Family and friends are invited to attend calling hours at the funeral home prior to the service on Sunday from 2:00 until 4:00 PM. The family is being served by Funeral Directors Harry J. & Kevin E. Enea (315)894-8000. To leave an online note of sympathy please visit The family will gather in remembrance of Larry at the Ilion/Frankfort VFW Post (Acme Road) from 5 until 7 PM after the funeral home service on Sunday and all are welcome to attend. (Feb 18, 2016)


Susan (Stone) Tayler IHS 1976, Susan (Stone) Tayler, 56, of Ilion passed away on Sunday July 20, 2014, at the Siegenthaler Center in New Hartford. Sue was born in Ilion on January 11, 1958, the daughter of the late Horace M. and Mildred (Sturgess) Stone. She was a graduate of Ilion Schools and Utica School of Commerce and worked as an office assistant at the NYS DOT until retiring in 2013. On October 29, 1977, Sue married Alan Tayler in Ilion. Sue was a member of the Mohawk Reformed Church, the Zen-Do Kai Martial Arts Association and was an Instructor at Bailey's Karate School in Herkimer, where she earned her 4th Degree Black Belt. Sue is survived by her beloved husband Alan, their sons Keith, his wife Jennifer and their three children, of Mohawk, and Kyle of Herkimer; three brothers, Bill and his wife Debbie, Paul and his fiancee, Carolyn Bowers, of Ilion, and Brian and his wife Mary of Richfield Springs; two sisters, Kathleen Bryden of Voorheesville and Eileen and her husband, Chuck French of Richfield Springs. Sue also leaves her mother and father-in-law, Bernie and Doris Tayler of Ilion; sisters-in-law Robin Tayler of Yorkville and Tammy and her husband Donald Devins of Newport; a brother-in-law Scott and his wife Marlene Tayler of Ilion, as well as numerous nieces and nephews and great nieces, nephews and cousins. She is predeceased by a brother Daniel Stone and a brother-in-law Wayne Tayler. A memorial service for Sue will be held on Friday July 25, 2014, at 1pm at the Mohawk Reformed Church in Mohawk with Pastor Brian Engel officiating. Interment will be on Saturday in Mt. View Memorial Gardens in Little Falls. Friends may call on Thursday, July 24, from 2-6 pm at the Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home Inc. 100 Otsego St. in Ilion. Donations may be made to the Susan Tayler Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Bailey's Karate, 309 Miller Avenue, Herkimer, NY. Envelopes are available at the funeral home. Sue's family wishes to thank Tom Arcuri and the entire Bailey's Karate family, Larry and Laura Brooks, of Brook's Karate, Terry and Lisa Gollegly and the staff of HOSPICE for all of their care and support during Sue's illness. To send an on line condolence please go to (July 20, 2014)


Jon Backman IHS 1976, age 55, of Fort Payne, AL, formerly of Ilion, NY passed away on November 29, from the results of a motorcycle accident. He was the son of the late Roy Backman and Joyce Backman, of Fort Payne, AL. Jon is survived by three daughters, Jasmine Vega, Holly Backman and Chelsea Vega, of Bakersfield, California, 12 grandchildren that he adored, and a special nephew, Army Special Forces, Donald LeRolland who he raised beginning in 1984. He also leaves behind a brother, Gary and his wife Ellen, and three sisters, Judy Matteson, Linda and her husband Vic Wood, and June and her husband Paul Keddell, with countless nieces and nephews. He also leaves to mourn his memory, hundreds of Motorcycle club buddies who loved him. He was preceded in death by his sister Sharon LeRolland and his brother Roy Backman. In addition to being a life-long, skilled carpenter, Jon was a self-less philanthropist avidly raising money to support cancer patients and Toys-4-Tots. Jon was an awesome fisherman and hunter who prepared his game with the skill of a master chef. He never met anyone who didn't become a good friend because he was so easy to love. We will all cherish our memories of him. Local arrangements are with the Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home Inc. 100 Otsego St. in Ilion. On line condolences may be sent by going to 13, 2012)


Allen 'Al' L. Ashley IHS 1976, age 54, of Elpis Rd., passed away unexpectedly on Friday July 15, 2011 at his home. He was born June 22, 1957 in Ilion, NY a son of Elmer & Dorothy Riddell Ashley. Al was a 1976 graduate of Ilion High School. He was previously employed with Community Options, Syracuse, NY as an aide prior to his disability of the last ten years. Al was a member of the Stanwix Archery Club and had a passion for hunting, fishing, painting and his family. On August 28, 1982 he married the former Kelly Van Tassell in St. Mary's Church, Cleveland, NY. Surviving are his wife, Kelly, his parents, Elmer & Dorothy Ashley, Cocoa, FL, a daughter, Amanda & Justin Palmer, Cleveland, a son, Ryan A. Ashley, Camden, three grand daughters, Madison, Maya and Miranda, two sisters, Tammy & Doug Daniels, Winston-Salem, NC, Pamela & Mike Piper, North Bay, NY and several nieces & nephews. A Funeral Mass will be held 11:00 am Wednesday from St. Mary's Church, Cleveland, NY under the direction of the LaRobardiere Funeral Home, Inc., Camden, NY. Interment McConnellsville Cemetery. Calling hours will be held Tuesday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the funeral home, 109 Main Street. You may view obituary and send a message of condolence online at: (July 22, 2011)


Patricia Sweet Miller IHS 1976, age 51, died Monday, August 23rd in Asheville, NC. A service will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the Center for Creative Living - 2 Science of Mind Way in Asheville, NC. Ministers Barbara and John Waterhouse will officiate. In a word, Patricia was LOVING. She loved everything in nature: the mountains, the sun, the animals (especially sheep); and long hikes. She was inspired while singing and dancing and found the humor in almost all situations. She also loved deeply and sincerely everybody she knew. Patricia will be remembered by her family and friends as an exceptional woman. She was breath of fresh air who was always funny, sweet, and loyal. Born November 21, 1958, Patricia was the last of six children born to Annie Hogan and Ward Sweet in Ilion, NY. In 1977 Patricia and first husband William Marquissee celebrated the birth of their daughter Faith Marquissee Brygidowicz. In 1982 Patricia celebrated the birth of her second child, Alysha Miller, and remarried to Stephen Miller. Patricia, Stephen and her two daughters lived as a family in Ilion until 2001 when Patricia's love for the mountains and her desire to live in a warmer climate inspired her to relocate to Asheville, NC. Before her move to Asheville, Patricia received a Licensed Practical Nursing Degree and dedicated her career and life to helping others. She worked as a nurse and caregiver in several hospitals and private doctor's offices, as a hospice nurse, as a teacher's assistant at a special education facility, and later as a chiropractic assistant. She held a strong passion for alternative and holistic healing modalities. Patricia is survived by her husband Stephen, her children Faith and Alysha, her son-in-law Kevin Brygidowicz , her three grandchildren Jordyn, Jaylin and Bradyn, siblings Eleanor "Snookie" Stubba, Lorraine "Brenda" DeJohn, James "Erkie" Sweet, and Prudence "Prud" Seaman, several nieces, nephews, cousins, countless friends and her beloved cat Muffin. She will always be considered a caring mother, devoted sister, loving nana, loyal friend and she will be eternally missed. The family will host Celebration of Life in her honor Friday after the ceremony, at their home in south Asheville. They request that in lieu of flowers; please send donations to help with funeral expenses to Faith Brygidowicz, 121 Rosscraggon Rd., Asheville, NC 28803. (Oct 3, 2010)


Karen Lee 'Meme' (Hunter) Ratcliffe IHS 1976, 51, of 25 Catherine St., passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, April 15, 2010, at Faxton-St. Luke's Health Care in New Hartford. Karen was born on August 26, 1958, in Ilion, the daughter of the late Robert and Marilyn (Phillips) Hunter. She was a 1976 graduate of Ilion High School and, on April 6, 1978, she married Kenneth Ratcliffe; Ken passed away in 2009. Karen is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law, Scott and Nancy, of Ilion, and Robert and Nicole and Christopher and Tracy, all of Castile, NY; her sisters and brothers-in-law, Kim and Salvatore Francesco, of Little Falls, Robin Hunter and her daughter, Brittany, of Herkimer, Brenda and Lou Kneedham, of Rome, and Bridget and Mark Pratt, of Ilion; her brothers and sisters-in-law, Peter and Gloria Ratcliffe, of Cassville, Susan Ratcliffe, of W. Winfield, David and Sharon Ratcliffe, of W. Winfield, Mary and Rich Monahan, of Mohawk, Tim and Ann Ratcliffe, of Bridgewater, and Edward and Mary, of W. Winfield. Along with many special nieces, nephews and friends, Karen also leaves her very treasured granddaughters Alyson, Madison and Aubrey. Friends and family are invited to a reception to celebrate Karen's life on Monday April 19, 2010 from 5-8 p.m., at the Ilion Elks Lodge #1444. Funeral arrangements are with the Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home, Inc., 100 Otsego St., in Ilion. Online condolences may be sent, and memorial candles lit, by going to (April 25, 2010)


Verna Martin Kasper IHS 1976, age 46, of the 1100 block of Tall Pine Trail, Gulf Breeze, Fl died shortly before noon on Wednesday, July 28th as a result of injuries received in a car accident. Our deepest condolences to Scott Kasper and children. Condolences may be sent to Scott Kasper, Gulf Breeze, FL 32561-4710 (850) 916-0670. (August 9, 2004)

Dorothy 'Dottie' Dauten Pohleven, email, sent a tribute poem in memory of Verna. (Jan 8, 2005)



The Dennis Gildersleeve IHS 1976 - Memorial Commencement Scholarship was presented in 2001 to Steven E. Maley. (July 21, 2001)


Golden Bombers Buzz WebSite.....

Lynne Marshall, Ilion, NY, email sent news. (Nov 13, 2010)

"I Cannot believe its been 34 yrs since graduation. I would love to hear from anyone I graduated with and catch up. Just email me. Looking forward to hearing from someone."

Michelle Kinville Koury, email, Hoschton, Ga, re-registered. (Oct 24, 2010)

Linda Daily Gibbard, marketing manager, email, Navan, ON, re-registered. (May 8, 2010)

Christi Cress Graziano, email, from Goldsboro, NC, registered. (May 23, 2009)

DeeDee Chalmers Scott, Director Quality Managment Services, email, from Cookeville, TN, sent news. (May 5, 2009)

"Hi, to my classmates. I am currently living in Cookeville TN with my husband, Terry. I am the Director of Quality Management Services at Sumner Regional Medical Center. I would love to hear from some of my old classmates. Please call or email."

Maureen McClave Bolon, Quality Enhancement Specialist, email, from Ballwin, MO, re-registered. (Mar 6, 2008)

Candy Etienne, Sorority House Director, from Ilion, NY, email email, re-registered. (Dec 1, 2006)

Ruth Whittaker Pearson, Aide at IHS, email, Ilion , NY, re-registered in the directory. (Dec 1, 2006)

Merrill Jennings, Payroll Manager, email, from Hollywood, CA, registered in the directory. (Nov 5, 2006)

Bill Clements, Professor/Dean, email, from Northfield, VT, re-registered. (Sept 14, 2006)

Donald Karpowich, Machinist Remington Arms, email from Ilion, NY, registered. (July 14, 2006)

Brian McKinley, Corporate Controller, email, from Fort Wayne, IN, re-registered. (Feb 28, 2006)

Cheryl Darling Hennessy, email , Reston, VA, re-registered. (May 28, 2005)

Colleen Fitzgibbons, email, NYC, NY, re-registered. (Feb 29, 2004)

Laurie Devins Fischer, Sr. Administrative Assistant Specialist, email, Ilion, NY, re-registered. (May 29, 2003)

Sandy Johnson Wentworth, email sent the following news....

"Just thought to let everyone know that Teresa Singer passed away on Feb 5, 2003. She did not graduate but was still a friend and will be missed." (February 8, 2003)

Bradley Newman, Midtown Autoworld Used Car Sales and Service from Herkimer, NY, now has an email address. (December 21, 2002)

Scott Hall, email, Herkimer, NY, is attending the mega-reunion. (October 3, 2002)

Phoebe Moore, from Ilion, NY, is attending the mega-reunion.(October 1, 2002)

Susan Stone Tayler, email, from Ilion, NY, sent news. (September 30, 2002)

"Hi everybody, Just a note to let you know that Alan and I are still happily together after 25 years of marriage. We love to practice karate together at Baileys Karate School in Herkimer, NY. Alan has his Certified First degree Black Belt and I have my 2nd Degree Black Belt. We have 2 grown sons and we are really looking forward to seeing everyone at the reunion. See you then."

Alan Tayler, email, from Ilion, NY, sent news. (September 30, 2002)

"Susan Stone Tayler and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary on 10/29/02. We started dating in the 9th grade and are still very happy together with 2 grown sons."

Brian Hendrix, email, from Merrick, NY, is attending the mega-reunion. (September 4, 2002)

Sue Hilliard Smith, email, from Rochester, NY, is attending the mega-reunion. (August 29, 2002)

Robert Berger, email, Ilion, NY, is attending the mega-reunion. (August 29, 2002)

Mary Jo Eller Kaler, Secretary, email, Ft. Wayne, IN, is attending the mega-reunion. (July 13, 2002)

Linda Kinney, Herkimer, NY, registered. (July 13, 2002)

William Pickett, email, Farmington, NY, is attending the mega-reunion. (June 1, 2002)

Kelly Hall, email, Richmond, VA, signed the Guestbook. (May 9, 2002)

Chad Ferguson, email, Iron Station, NC, re-registered. (May 2, 2002)

Debbie Perlock Marley, News Director at WKTV, from Ilion, NY, has a new email, address and is helping with the Ilion All-Class Mega Reunion. (March 15, 2002)

Judy Putch Boyd, Medical Receptionist, email email, from Ilion, NY, re-registered. (March 14, 2002)

Michael Paugh, email, from Ilion, NY, registered. (March 7, 2002)

Carl Stafford, email, Ilion, NY, submitted the mega-reunion survey form. (February 22, 2002)

Bonnie Miller, email, Varnville, SC, submitted the mega-reunion survey form. (February 16, 2002)

Ellen Hilliard Monohan, email, from Ilion, NY, submitted the mega-reunion survey form. (February 16, 2002)

Donna Bouck, from Ilion, NY, email, sent news. (updated October 12, 1999)

"Hello to all !!!! Just a little up date, seeing it's been a couple of years. Still busy, busy, busy, but enjoying every minute of it. Kids are growing (Jenesis is 14, Trisha and Chelsea are now 8). Working in a Fiber Optic Plant. Graduated from HCCC in 1998 with a one yr. certificate in Sm. Business Management (WOW was that a challenge being single and mother of 3). All of you take care till next time we meet."

Bill Clements

"Just a note for most of the class of '76 - I believe the odometer is clicking over on 4-0 for most of us this year. Happy birthday.... I also saw the note from Dave Irving (mentioned by a few others) regarding the McMillans. I too wondered where they went and give them a thought when passing Canajoharie (never could spell the place) on thruway on trips west from Vermont, especially after my daughters took up violin and percussion, and most recently piano. In other strange ironies, Stewart Robertson ('66) also teaches at Norwich University and has an office next to mine, in addition to living three houses down the street and having a son in my youngest daughter's class!" (modified September 9, 2001)

This news item is from family member Stephanie Boucher Buddenhagen '79, who wrote... "I have email address for all of my sisters and brother. Anyone interested in contacting any of them please email Steph and I will pass the message along." Steph's email address is email.

Mary-Beth Boucher Spanflener ... "Mary-Beth Boucher Spanflener lost her courageous battle with breast cancer in December 1995. She leaves her husband, Mickey and son, Patrick. They live in Syracuse." (November 27, 1997)

Brian McKinley, CFO, Fort Wayne, IN, sent news. (modified December 31, 2000)

"Actually I'm looking for anyone that lives in or around the Boston area. The company I work for was purchased by Polaroid last July and I now spend a great deal of time on the east coast. I'm the controller of Polaroid Identification and Transaction Systems division and the controller and treasurer of Polaroid ID Systems, Inc. Normally when I'm in Bedford Mass. (northwest of Boston)I work from 6:30 to 7:00 go back to the hotel order room service and work. If anyone is living in the area contact me, it would be a nice change to see someone from the past and trade some stories."

"If no one lives in the area, then maybe I'll see some of you in July as we come home each year for the boiler maker. Rose and I never got to nine children, we only have OUR THREE SON'S. BJ (Brian) 17, Sean 13, and BUBBA (Kristopher) 6. BJ and Sean run in the Boiler Maker, last year BJ finished 425 overall and is looking to place somewhere in the top two hundred this year. Sean finished 1623 overall but he had to start from the very back not too bad for a 12 year old at the time, his goal this year is the top 500."

"Debbie, if you read this note, when is the next reunion? Are we waiting ten years? I appreciated the amount of work it must take to put one of these on, but I hope it's only five (twenty fifth)." - Brian

Colleen Purdon Rowell, Administrator/Publishing, email, Dover, NH, registered. (December 10, 2001)

Carol Lester Swart, mom/RN, email, from High Springs, FL, registered. (July 24, 1999)

David Plunkett, Remington Arms employee, from Herkimer, NY, registered. (March 26, 1999)

"Hey,its Plunky! I've been pretty busy. I've been married for 10 to my wife,Brenda (Frink)Plunkett. We have four beautiful children Aisha Brianne (9yrs.), twin sons Dylon Robert & Colby Thomas (8yrs.), and our youngest bundle of enthusiasm, Kyria (Ker-ee-a)Savanna (3yrs.) Can you believe "I" have four kids! They are all very active and constantly on the go. I work at Remington, my wife works at H.H.S and attends college full-time for psychology/counseling. She's doing great!( Of course that makes me her test subject.) I don't play in bands right now, its real hard with a family and working second shift. I still play on my own and am actually teaching my daughter, Aisha, she has quite the knack for drums,as well as music. My boys are all sports. Hope to see everyone at our next class reunion." - Plunky

Cindy Hosel Puckett, Out-of-District-Coordinator, email, from Bow, NH, registered. (modified March 28, 1999)

Mark Puckett, Mfg Engineer, email, from Bow, NH, registered in the directory. (modified September 9, 2001)

Michelle Kinville Koury, email, from New Hartford, NY, registered in the directory. (modified March 26, 1999)

Harold Seelbach, counter sales, email, from Ilion, NY, registered in the directory. (November 19, 1998)

Chad Ferguson, Computer Operator/EDS, email, from Iron Station, NC, registered in the directory. (October 16, 1998)

Terry Bates Telesca, Secretary, Clifton Park, NY, email, registered in the directory. (October 19, 1998)

Sylvia Skowron Benkelmann, email, from Pembroke Pines, FL, registered in the directory. (July 7, 1998)

"Hi, everyone! Seems like a million years ago since graduation. I have retired from the Navy and now working for Lucent Technologies and Bell Innovations in Miami as a Technical Instructor. My husband and I have three children, Courtney Chanel -13, Michael Adam - 12, and Erik Joseph - 6. This web really puts Ilion on the map." - Sylvia

Susan Miller, from Cleveland, OH, email, registered in the Directory. (April 2, 1998)

Priscilla Weller LeMay, from Ilion, NY, email, signed the Guestbook. (March 23, 1998)

"Hello everyone! What a great way to keep in touch. I'm living here in Ilion. I'm married to Michael LeMay and have a 3 1/2 month old son Alex. We live on Richfield street but we're currently looking for a larger home now that the family is growing. I work at Remington Arms as a Systems Analyst. I'll be here 20 years in June, hard to believe. I'm working on a software system called SAP. It's a German system that's really hot right now for those in the IT world. Besides working and taking care of Alex, I like to golf, go to the gym, go shopping, and spend time with "the girls". Remember the "Red Coats"? We're all still very close after all these years, even those who've moved away. It would be nice to hear from some of you."

Mary Coupe Salyer, Speech-Language Pathologist, email, from Sompsonville, KY, registered in the directory. (January 30, 1998)

Kevin Matthews, a Logger, email, from Stratton, ME, registered in the alumni directory. (December 27, 1997)

Bill Clements, a College Professor, from Northfield, VT, email, registered in the alumni directory. (December 22, 1997)

Kim Vogel Lien a Pharmecy Technician, from Carthage, NY., email, registered in the alumni directory. (December 11, 1997)

Nancy Hoy Clements, a Veterinary Technician, from Northfield, VT., email, registered in the alumni directory. (modified Feb 25, 2001)

Rene Russell Clive, a Medical Transcriptionist from Ilion, NY, email, the latest alumnus from the Class of 1976 to register in the alumni directory. Rene is married to Ron Clive, Class of 1970. (modified April 10, 2001)

Lyn Manion Cipriano, Herkimer, NY, email, the second alumnus from the Class of 1976, to register in the alumni directory. Lyn's News is ....

Graduated Ladycliff College BA Psychology/Art Therapy 1980
Graduated Army Officers' Candidate School 1981
Graduated Army Ordnance Officers' Basic 1982
Completed Army Airborne School 1982
Currently attending SUNY Oneonta
Married John
Daughter Michelle
Daughter Erica
(August 6, 1997)


Please send news to Laurie Devins Fischer, via email, with all your Class of 1976 news.

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Created and maintained by Aileen Carney Sweeney - Class of 1974

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Modified November 28, 2023