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Class of 1940 looks back on past 70 years
The Livingston High Class of 1940 gathers for their 70th reunion at Latif’s restaurant in Turlock. Pictured above in the front row from left to right: Robert Culbertson, Kenneth Brewer, James L. Sousa, Mark Kamiya, Mrs. Marion McDonald Gustavsen and Mrs. Rosella Koenig Kennedy; second row left to right: Mrs. Dorothy Moore Kirkpatrick, Edward B. Light, Mrs. Adeline Jelmini-Bucholtz, Mrs. Betty Lloyd Mitchell and Mrs. Miho Kishi Kunzer; third row left to right: Darrel Shumard, Mrs. Jane Wilkensen Disney, Mrs. Janet Tsuchiya Tashima, Mrs. Elsie Wulff Earl, Mrs. Marguerite Almeida Tyree, Mrs. Angeline Jelmini-Magniez and Mrs. Mary Ellen Jaynes Himmel-Stoss; fourth row left to right: Robert Disney, Walter Loewen, Grant Noda, Doran Hille and Ben Hashimoto. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Livingston High School class of 1940 recently got together to reminisce about the old times at their 70th class reunion.

The event was held at Latif’s restaurant in Turlock on July 31 and brought together 23 of the original 83 graduates from 1940. The close-knit group has held reunions every five years since their 25th reunion.

World War II was a defining event in the lives of many of the Livingston High graduates. Twenty-five of the grads were in some branch of the service. Many of the Livingston graduates also remember vividly the internment of their Japanese classmates. One day they were standing all together at Modesto Junior College and the next they were gone. A number of the Livingston High Japanese-American graduates enlisted in the service and were in the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team — the most highly decorated unit in Europe. One of the classmates received three purple hearts.

During the war, the Livingston High grads fought in all branches of the service and on all battle fronts. One of the Navy boys at age 23 was commanding a LST 714 in Shanghai, China. Two ended up in prisoner of war camps. Another was a career Army officer for 27 years.

The small group of classmates also had a variety of career paths. One became a surgeon specializing in general and vascular surgery at Tufts University in Boston, Mass. Another retired as a Professor Emeritus in Plant Physiology at the University of Georgia. Another classmate had four children, all of whom became medical doctors. Many of the classmates had very successful businesses and some chose to follow in their family members’ footsteps and go into farming.