Thursday, July 26, 2007

Vern Clark taking five . . .

Vern Clark with his ever present pipe, taking a break with old friend Bob Heller at the Conoco Station across the street from the DHS Band Room. Remember saving Green Stamps (see shelf top right)? Photo by Bob Heller.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Prince of Music ~ Laverne "Vern" Clark

Band Photo ~~see larger picture at bottom of page~~
Back Row ~ Elmer Johnson, Chick Peyton, drums Hank Phillips, and bass Kenny Hendrickson
Front Row ~ Marv Palmer, Vern Clark, Dan Murray, and piano Bernadine

Feature written and compiled by Yvonne Hendrickson

Deadwood's admired and beloved Band Director, Laverne Clark (Vern ) passed away on Nov. 18th, 2001 with few realizing he had spent his entire 32 year teaching career in the Deadwood and Lead School Systems. It is our privilege to fill you in on events in his life you may have missed. (We invite you to add your comments at the end of this feature, as we are sure many have stories they would like to share. Vern had a way of making everyone feel you were one of, if not his best friend.)

Vern was born in Lead in 1923, raised in Lead and graduated from high school in Lead in 1941. In school he met Doris Nelson and they did have one high school prom date. Doris saw little of Laverne after graduation as he soon left to attend school at the University of Wyoming for a year and a half until drafted into the U.S. Army. Vern's education and any further romance with Doris was put on hold while he served his country in a tank battalion in the Rhineland and Central Europe for 3 years. (In later years, attending many 717th Tank Battalion reunions, Vern and Dory visited all but two of the United States). The army discharged Vern in 1946 and he returned to the University of Wyoming , to continue his education. After a year, he transferred to Black Hills Teacher's College in Spearfish. One could ask if transferring had anything to do with Doris . While attending college in Spearfish, Vern taught in the Deadwood School System and obtained his Master's Degree in Instrumental Music.

Almost 8 years after that high school prom date, Laverne and Doris (Dory ) married in 1949 and remained so over 52 years. The marriage produced one daughter Vicki, who with her husband lives in Seattle (Vicki has been a part of Seattle's renown Pike's Place Market for many years, making and selling her own jewelry line of copper, brass and sterling silver.) Vern retired in 1985 and the couple continued to reside in their long time home in Lead until 1993 when they moved to Spearfish, where Dory still lives.

Vern was an exceptional teacher and musician. He taught in and out of school. One adult he taught continued to play with Vern until his passing and now owns and plays the US made Martin tenor sax once owned and played by Vern. Bob Heller is proud to be the new owner.

Many of the students Vern taught went on to play with him in various bands. Kenny Hendrickson came to Deadwood High from California and played the bass fiddle. Vern stuck him on the tuba in band. Kenny was a skinny kid and the tuba is big... but it worked out. Kenny did get to play his bass with Vern on weekend dance gigs. One job was playing The Spearfish Pavilion at the college every Friday night, summer and winter. (see band photo) Sometimes the pavilion was so cold on arrival the musicians would have to warm up their horns over the wood stove before they could play. Kenny was sorry when he left the area in 1955 to no longer be part of the group, but always kept in touch with Laverne and considered Vern and Dory good friends.

Duane Palmer was another Deadwood student who played with Vern. His brother Marvin, although graduating in Lead, joined Vern in many gigs with his alto sax. Perry Casteel, another Deadwood Grad who played in bands with Vern , has fond memories of doing so. The one remark you always hear when friends speak of Vern is how kind he was, didn't have a temper, easy going and fun to play with. Students say he made learning fun. He was a great guy who loved his music and got along with everyone. Vern had one long standing gig that lasted 14 years, at Dave's Supper Club in Central City, on Saturday nights. During his career the gigs were numerous and so were the locations. Playing with chicken wire around the stage may have been common at times. He was very active in the Northern Hills Community Band and the Black Hills State University Band. After retirement, Vern and Dory spent winters in Corpus Christi , Texas . Vern found a group of musicians to play with and was never idle.

Many of the great musicians Vern played with, like Vern, have passed on. During their time, music lovers in the Black Hills were privileged to dance to and enjoy the music of some of the best. They are all remembered, especially Vern who blew a sweet clarinet and sax. If I had to bet on anything, it would be they are together again, doing what they love to do best, playing for a new audience. Photos from Bear Log and Yvonne.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Swander's Sunbeam Bread cartoon

Thanks Bill B for this classic image. My Dad worked for Swanders for about 25 years. He managed both the old and new bakery locations. The old building is torn down and is now a Standard Station next to the City Recreation Center. The new building remains and is a brick law office across Sherman Street from the County Court House.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The DHS 1947 Sixty Year Runion

Barbara Allen reports that her DHS47 Classmates Reunion will dove tail without conflicts with the 2007 All School Reunion. Friday night they plan to meet at the new hot spot in Deadwood called the Gallows on Lee Street. Then on Saturday September 9Th Barbara will have an open house at her home limited to DHS47.

Congratulations on 60 years!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

1904 Deadwood Image View from John Korneman

John Korneman gave me this photo years ago. You can see the Bullock Hotel and Trebers Bottling Shop. In near foreground right is what is labeled as John Sohn's Cabin Shop on Lee Street. Sohn was a shoe maker and did shoe repair. In 1947/48 he was my first Deadwood Pioneer Times delivery. He was quiet but knew all the Deadwood history. He was there in 1876 and made boots for Wild Bill and Calamity Jane. He did not like to talk about them as said they were not nice people and those were bad times. I should have listened more and wrote what he had to say. I have wondered all these years if he had family and what happened to all the history he had collected.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Construction to begin soon on Deadwood City Limits (aka Slime Plant)

From Black Hills Pioneer Zwire see details :

DEADWOOD - It was the first time several people had even been inside the Slime Plant, as the plant's owners hosted a site tour Tuesday in Deadwood.More than 20 area business owners, chamber and city representatives and Deadwood-area residents followed investor Ron Wheeler through the former mining facility and its many floors. Dubbed Deadwood City Limits, the 12-acre venue will soon become a huge entertainment complex catering to both touring musicians and local events. It will also include a hotel and parking ramp.

DHS 1957 Fifty Year Mini Reunion

A few classmates of the DHS 57 will celebrate a small reunion gathering on Thursday September 6th 2007. They will slide into the all school reunion the next day without any conflicts.

Hello thar, yup it feels warm . . .

Remember the old school bus gear jamming, school crossing king John Korneman? He nailed the rear end of Mr. Klein's Fleetwood Cadallic when it blocked the down hill bus glide on upper Main Street. That car was so long Mr. Klein thought he was still in his garage.

John's cream green, straight shift, '49 Olds Rocket 88 was a real classic. Yeup! He also had a excellent collection of historical pictures and many were his own. I wonder what happened to his collection?

I believe that John passed away in October 1973 so he didn't have to see too much of the end of DHS. His name stands out in our memories for the DHS Plaque dedication to Staff.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Last Chance 2007 DHS Reunion

About 650 orange post cards similar to this have been mailed as final reminder of the Reunion registration. At the last all school reunion even Paul Snyder DHS 53 was there. You better be there or we will talk about you and you'll never know. Can you imagine all the senior moments flying around . . . "Remember whats their name and what year was that?".

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Reece Palmer's Wife Velida the Artist

Velida is very talented and is a member of the Women Artists of the West. See some of her works on the following link . She and Reece plan to attend the 2007 DHS Reunion and I am going to spend time looking through her portfolio again. I have two of her originals that are my treasured possessions. She loves Deadwood and I think she should be an honorary DHS Classmate.