Monday, September 28, 2009

Gary Mule Deer Performs at the Spearfish Western Hertiage Center

In a special impromptu moment Saturday evening 9/26/09, Gary Mule Deer stepped off the stage to sing "You Are My Sunshine" to his mother Lola Miller Saturday night at the High Plains Western Heritage Center Friendraiser in Spearfish. It was the first time Muledeer performed an all Johnny Cash show, which was done as a tribute to his idol. The event boasted a sold-out crowd in the Bruce Miller Theater named for Muledeer's late father. To learn more about the Western Heritage Center go to

Pioneer photo by Letti Lister
Article Credit: The Black Hills Pioneer dated 9-28-2009

Blog described!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Morris Toppila's 2009 DHS Dinner Is "Top" Rated

Select image for larger view

"Top" the 2009 DHS Dinner Man

Wild Bill Hickok dropped by to show me his gun!
backgound left is Wendal Banigan
and right is Betty Kettlelhut Stoner

Collector Replicas of Hickok's Guns
Originals are in the Adams Museum

Morris Toppila DHS52 and wife Jerry Clauser Toppila DHS56 planned and provided a grand DHS Dinner in Deadwood, Saturday Night, September 12, 2009. It was simply coordinated and held at the Deadwood Social Club above the Historic Old Style Saloon #10.

A crowd of 69 DHS graduates, spouses, and friends were in attendance to enjoy piano by Carlyle Richards DHS53, talk fast and furious, and have an excellent banquet style dinner. As usual there was not enough time to meet and talk to everyone.

Shelia and Carlyle Richards

Roger Geist DHS53 and wife Jerrilee were introduced and celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Charley Bill Leslie DHS51 had the best 3.25 x 5.5 business card.

Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary to Roger & Jerrilee Geist!

There were numerous cameras and I hope they will share their pictures in the near future. I also plan to get the attendees by name. No surprise, a few did not look like their original school pictures.

Many of the DHS classmates had their own mini get-to-gathers on other days and times.

~~Thanks to the Toppilas and other DHS helpers for a reunion dinner well done!

I plan this article to be a work-in-progress and grow with other dhsclassmates help and comments.


Night, Good Dinner, Good Service, Good Friends and Classmates of Deadwood High School, Good Time!

Tell Sherill and Janet that the trumpet player that serenaded Doris Dunn was Ronny Moss. He was a very accomplished trumpet player who came to Deadwood in the 50's. He really liked Doris . . . for awhile until her Dad, the Sheriff, caught him and told him he was making too much noise among other things. Man could he play the trumpet.

Thanks for coming.

Top 9-13-2009


I would say the dinner was a great success, no doubt about it. Top did a great job in getting it together for all of us, THANKS AGAIN TOP.Couldn't have done it without you. About Doris and Ron Maas with his trumpet, I spoke with Ron today and he said it is all true. That was many years ago.

Yvonne, DHS53, 9-21-200P


I just love the photo of you and Mr. Hickok! :o) Looks like you had a really nice reunion.

Jann G 9-28-2009

Last of the Chalk Wagner Daughters - Loretta "Nanny" Elliott

Click on Image for Larger View

This collage is from the Beshara Collection
The Merritt Grocery is now the Home of the Deadwood Magazine

Loretta “Nanny” Elliott, DHS32, at the age of 95 passed away in Rapid City, SD on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at West Hills Village Health Care Facility. Her married surname for 23 years was Gravelle.

Loretta Mae Wagner was born June 25, 1914, in Deadwood, SD, daughter of Chalk (Deadwood Wall of Fame Inductee) and Dinise Wagner. She attended schools in Deadwood, SD and graduated from Deadwood High School in 1932. Shortly after graduation, September 15, 1932, Loretta married her high school sweetheart Fred Gravelle. Moving to Panama City, FL, that same year, Fred and Loretta went to work and started to raise their family. Fred worked in a Sawmill and Loretta made a home for Gary, Sandra and Vincent. In 1941 the family left Panama City and moved to Vallejo, CA. Along with raising a family, Loretta opened a hamburger shop called Loretta’s CafĂ© to serve the local clientele. They said she had the best burgers in CA. Their last child, Michael, was born in 1949, just before the family moved back to Deadwood, SD. In the true entrepreneurial spirit she purchased a small grocery store, Merritt’s Grocery, with living quarters in the back and upstairs she was able to be self-supporting and raise her family at the same time.

Loretta married James Elliott in 1955, and moved to Hill City where Jim was employed by the US Forest Service. While in Hill City, she managed the Scandia Hut and was also the organist at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. Later moving to Rapid City she ran the gift shop at Crow’s I-90 Truck Stop and for several years was the organist at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Starting in 1982 Loretta was asked by her daughter to come to work at the Colonial House Restaurant. She was head cashier until her retirement in January 2000. Loretta became a resident at West Hills Village in November of 1998, and was a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral.

Loretta loved to sew, making many detailed Barbie clothes and also sewed Ragged Andy and Ann dolls and Mr.& Mrs. Pat dolls. She had a green thumb for growing violets and was a terrific container gardener. She was a great cook and was well known for her fried chicken and butterscotch pie. Loretta loved the outdoors and went camping many times.


Thanks for the tribute to Loretta . . . she was such a nice lady.

Yvonne 9-20-2009


Friday, September 4, 2009

Do You Remember this DHS Person and His Vehicles?

The image scans are from a Bear Log Annual and the car picture from public domain.

I believe his car was this color too. I have ridden in his car when it was loaded with people in layers. A dance in Lead or Spearfish was the usual destination. What a charmed life he lived. Look at those neat loafers and rolled up jeans!

These vehicles are now classics.



Bill Berry's Henry J was maroon. Made quite a few trips to Lead and Spearfish dances. Was in the car when we had the accident at Tomahawk. I think that ended the life of the Henry J.

Reece 9-13-2009


Seems to me this car was a "Henry J" or something like that, or was that another one?

Yvonne 9-18-2009


Yes, the color of Bill's Henry J was maroon!

JanetT 9-29-2009