The Bismarck High School Class of 1981 monthly update

Volume 7, July 2001


The count down is over…it’s time for the big gig!

Well folks, this is it! If you haven’t dieted those extra pounds away, didn’t have time to color out the gray, we don’t care! Come as you are, we can’t wait to see you! We are planning on having a great time! SEE YA IN A COUPLE OF DAYS, (gray hair and all!) Lauri

Hi everyone,
This month our newsletter includes interviews with myself, Dan Raszler, the Webmaster, and Sherri Nordstrom Driscoll. Dan and I figured it was about time we "fessed up", and Sherri’s interview is an added bonus!
Thank you to Terri Benson and Kaye Bibelheimer Knudson for volunteering to be interviewed! You have done a lot of work and I felt it was about time we highlighted those who have put this reunion front and center! Also, Terri, so sorry about the misspelling of your name in the caption of your interview, I have no idea how that happened! Dingbat moment maybe???
Next month watch for Brad Wolfer and Wendy (Halpern) Tippett two classmates that are doing very well, and are living on opposite coasts. Also, I hope to have reunion highlights for those of you who missed out and maybe some Bismarck news, I will be home for 10 days, who knows what I might find out!
Take care everyone! Lauri

You wanted to know…so here it is!!

Julie (Mjolsness) Lindstom recently asked me just what is all involved with finding our classmates, she thought it would be fun if I shared the "searching process" with all of you, so here it is!

I have to start by telling you that the process was a group thing. Dan and myself volunteered to help Terri way back in June of 2000. We heard she needed help finding classmates and we said we would love to get involved! Well…here we are one year later and almost every classmate has been found! We were not the only people searching, the rest of the committee helped also, but they were busy with other things so Dan and I took the ball and ran with it!

In the beginning of this whole project Dan and I both agreed that we wanted to make a point of finding every single classmate, we used to joke that we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to say "No Thank You"! Actually we wanted to find everyone, make you feel welcome and give you the opportunity to come to the big gig! It was very important to Dan and I that every single person be found! Trust me when I say, we are still looking for those on the missing list!

We also felt it was very important to recognize those that have passed away. Many of those we found while searching for them. That was hard but we are glad we were able to talk to their families, and let them know that they are still part of our class.
When we started, we started with the BHS ALUMNI Directory 2000, it was a big bonus! We found much of the information to be most helpful and it gave us a place to begin. We also used the 1991 reunion book quite a bit, that old information pointed us in the direction of many of our classmates.

We also utilized lots of different web sites and a large variety of people. We searched the web for hours each night, we used multiple search engines, classmates.com, highschoolalumni.com, driver’s license data bases, property data bases, and any other resource we could find, all legal of course.  We called your parents, your siblings, all other relatives with the same last name, your friends, former employers, neighbors, and in some cases we called every person in Bismarck, ND, and SD with the same last name, that is how we found Tammy Pettis! We left no stone unturned!

Sometimes we would find help in the oddest places. While searching for Lance Haag I called a "John Haag" in Minneapolis hoping it was his brother. It wasn’t, but they guy offered to get his phone book and look up other John Haag’s in the area who might be employed as Dr’s or Dentist’s. Well, lo and behold there was a John Haag in the St. Paul area who was a dentist, I called, left a message on his machine and within about a week or so I had found Lance.

It was wild who would help you, if people knew what you were doing they would normally offer to help you if they could. One family got out their recently made family tree to see if anyone on it matched our classmate. He wasn’t on their tree but that family has gotten back in touch with me and told me that they believe he is a long lost relative. There are only something like 5-6 David Gelvin’s in the world, and somehow they think they are all related.

Finding Bob (Buchholz) Raber was also interesting, a couple of calls to Jay Yeager, had to jog his memory, finding out Bob’s last name, and finding out that his mom married a mayor in Bismarck, well that was all the info. I needed. Took me a while to remember that Mayor Hawkenson had gotten remarried, I didn’t know who to, but I took chance and called his daughter, yep, he married Bob’s mom! Two phone calls later, I was talking to Bob! Cool!

Dan and I both agree that this "searching" job was great fun! We loved the challenge of finding each and every classmate! We have bugged you so much that many of you are probably going to enter yourselves in the witness protection program before our 30th! I certainly hope not! Just remember, you can hide but we will probably find you again!   Or at least we will give it our best shot! Just Kidding!

Next time around our resources will be even greater, we will have the ability to use a credit reporting option that just came available-scary isn’t it? The internet is a great place to play, but the information that is out there is truly amazing! Remember, we only used it to find you for the reunion, not for any other purpose! But we do hope that instead of starting from scratch again in 2010 that you chose to stay in touch with us via the newsletter, and hopefully this newsletter will help everyone stay connected not just to Dan and I but to everyone from the class of 1981!

God willing, Dan and I will both be back in 2010. We loved finding you, catching up on your lives, and the "challenge" of the search but most of all we love all the rekindled friendships that we have made along the way!! This "job" of finding all of you was way too much fun to not do again for our 30th! Start listening for that phone to ring in July of 2010! It will be us!! Lauri and Dan


"In-depth and Personal with …Lauri (Reed) Eckmann

Name: Lauri (Reed) Eckmann

Career/occupation: Currently I am the "mom" of our household. I am also the activities director, housekeeper, chef, financial planner, CEO, etc. you get the idea. This is not what I thought I would be doing 20 years ago, just being the "mom", but yeah, I like this job! Great benefits, full time vacation, pay is not so great, but I like being my own boss. Previously I was employed as a HEADSTART program director, working in the areas of social services and parent involvement. That was easily my second favorite job!

Since 12/96 Waukesha, WI, (a suburb of Milwaukee) before that Green Bay, WI (91-96). We loved Green Bay! When you live in a city where football is king you can’t help but become a big fan! GO PACK GO!

Kevin (CHS83), Rachel-12/96

Spouse’s occupation:
Electrical Engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration since 1988.

If applicable, how did you and your spouse meet?
Kevin literally "hit" on me, the "older women", on the corner of 5th and Broadway in Bismarck, while we were both attending a street party! I was waiting for my "date", but he offered to buy me a beer and that was all he needed to do! I was sold! He came along with Kristi Backstrand and her boyfriend/now husband, because he heard there was a lot of "single women" in Kristi's crowd, there was, luckily for me I was one of them! Our first official date was a three-day camping trip, 7/4/87. SCARY first date! Way to much beer, sleeping in a small crowded tent, terrible hygiene (yeah we were camping), and to much sun, makes for one ugly women! He figured I couldn't get any worse looking than I already was after those 3 days, so he asked me out again, the rest is history, we have been together for 14 years! So much for that "date" I was waiting for!

Greatest accomplishments: Finally finishing my BS in 1989 after a couple of false starts, settling down and getting married in 1990, and pursuing the adoption of a child in the mid-90’s. We met our daughter when she was just five hours old and brought her home in January of 97 when she was one month old!

People whom you admire and why: People who are honest with themselves, who are not afraid of change, and are ready to work to make a difference. Anyone who is willing to tackle a large project, commit to it and do a great job!

What do you have in your pockets: No pockets, I am in my work out clothes, as usual.

Fantasy (or reality) job: I "think" I am doing it, (most of the time).

Latest book you've read: "The Greatest Generation" by Tom Brokaw, I have a whole new appreciation for the generation that fought in WWII, incredible sense of commitment! "Dreams for Our Daughters" by Bonnie Allmon Coffey, and I always have a "romance/smut" novel laying around the house somewhere.

Favorite music/musicians: I still prefer the old stuff but will listen to most anything, except Opera and Rap, there is a limit. Still a big fan of Boston, Prince, Rod Stewart, and Styx. Saw Styx in concert in 95-awesome! When Deb (Isaak) Dosch and family came to visit in 98 we saw Rod Stewart–loved it! It’s so cool to know all the words. On June 28th, Kevin and I are finally going to see Prince, we are big fans and we can’t wait!!! At present, children’s music is also big in our household, we love anything that makes her sing and dance!

Recommended movies: I still love "Top Gun", kid flicks with my daughter, "The Scent of a Women", "Mad Max Movies", and "As Good As it Gets".

Favorite cities and why? I like Chicago, Minneapolis, and Dallas. They are big cities, have lots going on, great restaurants, festivals and museums.

Where have you traveled? I have been to Europe, the Bahamas on a cruise (barfed almost the whole time-never again), and over 25 states. Hope to someday travel the East Coast and Alaska, about the only places in the USA that I would really like to see that I haven’t at this point.

Favorite place to vacation? Disney with my daughter was a great time. If you have kids and you haven’t done a Disney trip, try to work it in before they move out. You won’t regret it.

Favorite foods: Anything except seafood! Prefer great German cooking from ND, Tex-Mex in Oklahoma/Texas, homemade pasta, Chinese and just about anything that someone else cooks.

Hobbies/second career: THIS NEWSLETTER! Seriously, my daughter and exercise are easily my hobbies! I work out over 8 hours a week, and walk about 10 miles a week-when the weather permits. Currently I am into cardio-kickboxing, step-aerobics and weight lifting. I like to do crafts, take sign language classes, mess with the computer-obviously, and bake (not cook, there is a difference). I also love to read, easily my favorite relaxation activity. A second career, who knows? Nursing maybe, foster mom, I am not sure. We are researching doing foster care as we would like to continue to build our family, maybe that will be my second career and a nursing degree will just have to wait a few more years. Someday though I hope to be back working with children and families and doing more adult education, preferably in community health.

What if any community service organizations are you involved with? Church activities, Sunday school, a MOMS group and a women’s sorority.

Pet peeves: People who won’t listen to any other opinions. I can respect that a person has convictions but there are always two-sides to every issue.

Memories of Bismarck (good ones): I will be brutally honest! THE PARTIES!! The Missouri River, Sertoma, camping on the Heart River, Pioneer Park, and last but not least The Front Page! I was in Bismarck until 1987 so my memories go way beyond high school, I had many years to do the bar scene in Bismarck. Once the Front Page closed though I got motivated to go back to college, no place else left to hang out!

Memories of BHS (good ones): The parties and the sophomore year homecoming float. My parents still talk about the night our house on Easy Street got egged and how wonderful those students were who helped clean our house and the houses in the neighborhood. Remember who you were??? My parents still remember you.

Favorite teachers at BHS and why: Mrs. Otto and Mrs. Nelson, they gave me the love of "family" and the want to help families in crisis. Family Science is what I pursued in college and working with families in some capacity is what I have done since grad. from NDSU in 1989.

Favorite high school hang-outs: Corrine McLean and Mary Schmidt’s houses on 26th and 20th street, Sertoma Park, Pioneer Park.

Someone recently asked me this next question, (she decided that I needed to be interviewed), I thought it was good, so I’m going to add it to future interviews, after a little thought, here is my answer:

If you could, would you change anything about high school? I would attempt to do better in school academic wise, be more involved in school activities, I would date less and party with my buddies a whole lot more! Is that all possible, I doubt it!

People you hope will be able to come to the reunion this summer? Lots of people, the list is too long for this newsletter! Thanks to this reunion planning I have made new friends, renewed old friendships and basically look forward to talking to everyone I helped to find. I also look forward to seeing all of you who are in my e-mail address book, a long list, (you all know who you are)! I can not wait to just sit around and shoot the breeze. See ya there!



"In-depth and Personal with …Dan Raszler, better known as the Webmaster!",

Name: Dan Raszler

Career/occupation: Meat Dept. Assistant Manager/Disc Jockey/Television Lighting Engineer & Designer. I am very easily bored just sitting around doing nothing hence all the jobs. Helping organize the reunion has helped greatly with reducing some of my boredom as well.

Home: Port Neches, Texas. Port Neches is east of Houston about 70 miles for those of you who don’t feel like digging out a map. The weather here is tropical, which means no snow, well that’s not entirely true. December of 1990 we had a couple of inches that stayed on the ground for about three weeks, which is very unusual for Southeast Texas. This area where I live has many cultures French, Indian, Hispanic, and Rednecks. Yes, Rednecks are a culture of their own if you go by the world-renowned speaker, Mr. Jeff Foxworthy.

Family: None, other than immediate siblings and parents and an ex-wife.

Greatest accomplishments: I have not found world peace or solved the problems of the world. I think that Living from day to day is a great accomplishment. When reading the paper noticing a 17 year old kid dying from leukemia we say that the kid was to young to die. We really should consider how blessed we are to have been able to live to that age ourselves. We really don’t realize how valuable life really is until we lose a family member, or a loved one because of something that seems so insignificant such as cancer or a minor accident until it happens to one of us. Then we realize how significant the insignificant really is.

People whom you admire and why: Bill Gates, George W. Bush, both men took what little resources they had and used them to become whom they are today, successful wealthy and admired by most for what they actually did make of themselves.

What do you have in your pockets: Money. That’s all you need.

Fantasy (or reality) job: I would like one opportunity to fly one of the space shuttles. It would in no way compare to our current, modern day airplane.

Latest book you've read: I would like to rephrase this question to "What is the latest magazine you’ve read". One of my peer’s had subscribed me to a years long issue of "Woman’s World". I still have not found out who but when I do… At least they had the courtesy to pay for it.

Favorite music/musicians: I like pretty much all music especially oldies from the 50’s thru the 80’s.

Favorite cities and why? Houston because there is always some type of entertainment happening somewhere.

Where have you traveled? It would be easier to ask where I have not been within the U.S.

Favorite place to vacation? Any place you would recommend? San Antonio, the Riverwalk is awesome. It is very romantic if that is your sort of thing.

Favorite foods: Seafood, Italian and Mexican.

Hobbies/second career: In my spare time I do television lighting for TV stations.

Memories of BHS (good ones): I still get a chuckle when I think about the time when our shop teacher, Mr. Eckroth was at a conference and we had a sub in shop class. Certain unnamed students took cement mortar and mixed it into the 5-foot high sand pile in the corner of the shop class. By the time Mr. Eckroth came back, it had hardened leaving a four ton pile of concrete that had to be busted up with jack hammers to remove it.

In shop class, we would build little storage sheds and when we had completed them, we would roll them out the shop’s garage door using pipes under the foundation. As we would move forward, the pipes would eventually come out the backside of the shed and then we would gather those pipes and put them in the front of the shed again to continue the forward progress of the building. The whole class would help in pushing this big shed because of its weight. When it came time to pick a spot to push, there was very little room so about ten students got on the inside of the building and pushed. (There was no floor) When Mr. Eckroth would tell everyone to stop, well those on the inside didn’t. Mr. Eckroth couldn’t figure out how the building kept moving when no one was touching it. It baffled him completely.

Favorite high school hangouts: Main street was like a second home to me.

People you hope will be able to come to the reunion this summer? Everyone! It is my wish that we could be together one last time with everyone present. This may seem rather morbid but the statistics don’t look very good after the twenty-year reunion. Proof positive, look at how many have already passed on. It is very saddening.

If I have to name names then I would like to see Kay Scott. I have something I just have to tell her. Another one I would like to see is Penny Rodenkirck. In studying her whereabouts, I have noticed that we have a lot in common as far as religious beliefs and it would be great just to share that bond.


"In-depth and Personal with …Sherri Nordstrom Driscoll",

Name: Sherri Nordstrom Driscoll

Career/occupation: Nutrition Director Hospitals

Home: Fargo

Family: Husband Brian, Children Alison (14), Alec (8), and Emily (6)

Spouse’s occupation: He is a car broker (he buys and sells, doesn’t break them!)

If applicable, how did you and your spouse meet? He was my boss and this is always a challenge, ask any of ‘em. I do enjoy working autonomously!

Greatest accomplishments: The children of course. Also, the marriage. Was recently elected by my peers to national service organization Board of Directors (Healthcare Food Service Management)

People whom you admire and why: Oprah, because she can relate and teach to so many segments of the population while making a ton of money! (and giving a lot away too). I admire many speakers and teachers such as Billy Graham for retaining the charisma at his age. Jim Bjorge. Same reason. They can both tell quite a message and grasp your attention. They can both tell a good joke too. I cannot.

What do you have in your pockets: Nothing. EVER. I am a neat freak.

Fantasy (or reality) job: Large teaching hospital in the mountains or on the ocean with a
4-day work week and clean air/community.

Latest book you've read: "A Day Late and a $ Short"

Favorite music/musicians: Well, anything really. I like the classics, showtunes, rock, R & B, old R & B, especially, some country (but none of the new stuff).

Recommended movies: "Pushing Tin". Wouldn’t it be fun to do that to your neighbors that have done unpleasant things to you? I think it would be interesting anyway.

Favorite cities and why? Naples, Florida. Nice city parks, clean, well-planned, OCEAN front property which none of us can afford, but fun to look at.

Where have you traveled? Just about every state I guess except Alaska and Hawaii. Mexico I can live without. Canada is a trip.

Favorite place to vacation? Any place you would recommend? I especially enjoyed the Maine coast. Rent a house on the beach.

Favorite foods: That would be the Maine Lobstaaaa. Fresh salmon. Fresh tuna. In that order. With dessert of course.

Hobbies/second career: I consult and teach. I do not have time for a hobby. I have children and I love my work.

What if any community service organizations are you involved with? I chair the United Way for the hospital every year; YWCA fund raising committee ("CHOCOLATE FANTASY") annual thing; I work with NDSU, Concordia, and the U of M Crookston training their dietetic interns. I write and speak about nutrition for anyone that requests me (schools, businesses, Lions, etc.)

Pet peeves: Incompetence or worse, people that are capable but don’t produce. Dietitians that advocate Twinkies, junk food, etc. People that aren’t formally trained in nutrition but claim to be experts. Show me the science.

Memories of Bismarck (good ones): The Desert. Losing my mom’s car (twice?) Sophomore floats. Marching band (were we not awesome?) My friends and our cars. My dad.

Memories of BHS (good ones): That sophomore math teacher whose name was? Scheiblehut? He was so patient with us. Rudy Steidl. What a character. Dances to records. The parking lot.

If you could, would you change anything about high school? I’d still like to know who let the air out of all my tires on my car while parked on the east side of the school. That was so deflating for me!

Favorite high school hang-outs: McDonald’s and the Boy! Various parking lots. The Desert. Double Ditch. Menoken grove

I can be contacted at: sdriscol@mail.dhhs.com and I can’t wait to see everyone!

Gordie Grensteiner has taken a new position in Detroit Lakes, MN. He and his family will be leaving WI and moving to Detroit Lakes very soon! We wish them all safe travels and our congratulations on the new job!

Congratulations also to Kristi (Backstrand) Learn, she recently accepted a PRN Social Worker position at Med Center One in Bismarck.


Earl Jensen who is in the US ARMY has been transferred from
Stuttgart, Germany to Wiesbaden, Germany. He will officially assume his
new position in late July after he returns from his vacation to ND and
after he receives his 2 week training in Italy.
(a side note, don’t worry he still plans on being at the reunion, he wouldn’t miss it for anything!)

Our sincerest condolences to Michael Duffey and his family. His father,
Albert Duffey passed away on June 6th in Mandan.
Please remember them all in your thoughts and prayers.

Surgery Update

Larry Kessler has let us know that Ethan did wonderfully well with his surgery in June. They are
all home and Ethan is on his way to a speedy recovery.

Get Well Soon
Terri Benson is recovering from an infection that ended up requiring surgery in mid June. She is on the mend and plans on being able to party with the best of them at our reunion next week! Thank Goodness! We certainly can’t have the coordinator of this big event home sick, that would definitely not work for all of us! GET WELL TERRI!


Remember when……
you thought that your 20th year reunion was a VERY LONG TIME AWAY! Think of it this way, some of our parents were going to their 20th year reunions about the time we grad. from high school! Man, did they seemed old! Yeah, guess what, that is us!

Well, this year and the last 10 have passed in what seems like the blink of an eye! I can hardly believe the time has come to all gather again in Bismarck and begin the big gig! Without wishing the time away, I hope the next ten years are as fulfilling as the last ten and that they pass just as quickly! See ya there!


-Bismarck had a huge hailstorm over the weekend of June 9th. Check out ndonline.com to read all about it. It sounds as if it was pretty wicked. There are some great pictures at the link, it looked more like a big snowstorm than hail!
-There is also some talk that a Target may be coming to the north side, though it does appear to just be speculation at this point. Maybe I will find out more when I am home.
-THE PARADE IN MANDAN BEGINS AT 9:00 am. on July 4th. In my opinion, the best way into Mandan before the parade is the Sunset exit by the Seven Seas.
-ART IN THE PARK is located by the Train Depot in Mandan on Main Street, it runs from 9-9 on July 4th.

I am having great fun doing this for all of you every month! I am more than welcome to your ideas! Feel free to let me know your thoughts and impressions on where you would like this newsletter to go or what you would like to know more about! Also, if you are willing to be interviewed, contact me, we would love to hear from you! See you next month! Thanks, Lauri keckmann@packersrock.com