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Paynesville Press - July 26, 2006

Alumni honored at all-school reunion

By Addi Larson and Michael Jacobson

Hub Schwandt (Class of 1939), Peter and Lynne Jacobson (Classes of 1961 and 1962), and Sue (Hendrickson) Warner (Class of 1969) were honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards by the "Keep the Quality" Education Foundation on Friday, July 21, as part of the all-school reunion.

Delores Schwandt The Distinguished Alumni Award intends to recognize the accomplishments of Paynesville graduates. The only specific requirement of the award is to be a PHS graduate.

Delores Schwandt, surrounded by her children and family members, addresses the audience of 200 people at the Distinguished Alumni banquet on Friday night. Her husband (Hub Schwandt, Class of 1939) was one of four inductees this year, along with Peter and Lynne Jacobson (Classes of 1961 and 1962) and Susan Hendrickson Warner (Class of 1969).

It is meant to honor local graduates who have distinguished themselves in their careers, in public service, or through other significant contributions to society.

This year, the Distinguished Alumni banquet was held in conjunction with the all-school reunion, the first all-school reunion in Paynesville since May 1992.

Schwandt, who died in March 2004 at age 83, served in the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1945. He was captured in North Africa in December 1942 and held captive until May 1945. At one camp in Italy, he lost 100 pounds in 56 days.

It was, according to former middle school teacher and Vietnam veteran Bob Bowden, who spoke about Schwandt at the banquet, "truly an epic endurance."

Bowden extended his thanks to Schwandt for his service to the country to all World War II veterans, even asking all these vets to stand. "Thank you," said Bowden, who served in the Army and Army Reserves for 30 years. "This country would not be what it is today without you."

"Hub was proud to serve his country and his community," said his wife Delores, to whom he was married for more than 50 years.

In addition to helping found the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Paynesville, he spent 35 years as part of the color guard for the American Legion, attending numerous funerals. "I realized the enormity of it the day of his funeral when someone presented his flag to me," Delores explained.

Upon his return to Paynesville, Schwandt worked as a mechanic, as a postal carrier, and started Schwandt Sanitation in Paynesville. He helped form the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Paynesville in 1946, started the firing squad and drill teams, serving as the quartermaster of the firing squad for 35 years, and was honored with a lifetime membership to the American Legion at Veteran's Day in 2004.

In addition to Delores, his six children (David, Dan, Doug, Deanna, Doris, and Debbie), their spouses, his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other relatives accepted his award on Friday at the American Legion.

Son Dan said that he was proud that his dad did things from his heart. He and his brother Doug, he added, used to watch Hogan's Heroes - a comedy set in a German POW camp during World War II - and Hub found some humor in that. When the prisoners would get away with things, Hub would shake his head and say, "They'd have shot you for that."

Peter and Lynne Jacobson were high school sweethearts who started dating during Peter's senior year and Lynne's junior year at PHS. They both earned college degrees as teachers and taught before returning to Paynesville in 1973 and becoming publishers of the Paynesville Press.

Former middle school teacher Bob Jung, who said he is proud now to consider them friends, said seeing former pupils, like the Jacobsons, become responsible citizens and successful adults is the greatest joy of teaching.

Class of 1944 ladies Under their tenure as publishers, which ended in June with their retirement, the Press earned seven awards from the National Newspaper Association and 37 from the Minnesota Newspaper Association, including the inaugural Mills Trophy in 1983 as the best weekly newspaper in the state.

Marion (DeBlois) Lundberg, Rosemary (Zapf) Koshiol, and Jean (Martini) Anderson - all members of the Class of 1944 - talk during the lunch at Paynesville Area High School on Saturday.

More than awards, said Peter, it's being appreciated by its readers and supported by its advertisers that has made the Press successful over the past 33 years.

"We've been very blessed to have been part of this community," added Lynne, whose great-grandfather purchased the Press in 1924.

They also have both been active members in the community and in statewide newspaper organizations.

Warner first became a registered nurse and, after a short time as a practicing nurse, began teaching at the University of South Dakota. She has since earned her doctorate and taught at three universities, including 14 years as department chair at the University of South Dakota.

She returned to the Paynesville area in 2000 - and now lives on the south side of Lake Koronis - and started the nursing program at St. Cloud State University, which is now nationally accredited and has graduated three classes of nurses.

Warner was "a sponge" in class, said former choir teacher Mary Ann Urban, in written comments about her former student. She was mature and eager to learn, she added.

Warner - who stepped down as department chair at SCSU in 2005 but remains involved in the nursing program, which plans to add a graduate school - thanked her former teachers "for taking the time they spent to educate me both in and outside the classroom."

She also thanked her parents and family for their constant support.

Over the past three years, Distinguished Alumni Awards have been bestowed on ten PHS graduates. The inaugural awards, in 2004, went to Ken Olson (Class of 1963), Ron Olsen (Class of 1966), and Bruce Stang (Class of 1977). Last year, Gladys Deadrick (Class of 1925), Joe Pung (Class of 1961), and Dr. Jim Hess (Class of 1971) were honored.

(Editor's Note: Press editor Michael Jacobson is president of the "Keep the Quality" Education Foundation.)

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