Fabulous 50s Weekend brings back golden era alumni

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Bob Norris, left, of the Class of 1956 of Marshalltown High School, presented a model of the Marshall County Courthouse to Michelle Roseburrough Halverson of the Historical Society of Marshall County and Mayor Joel Greer on Friday night at the Midnight Ballroom. The model was made 20 years ago by Grigori Fatayev, who studied architecture and modelling in Russia before arriving in the United States. The actual courthouse has special meaning to the Norris family. Bob’s dad, John W. Norris, was instrumental in getting area leaders to renovate the crumbling courthouse in the 1970s. Bob Norris is in town for the Fabulous 50s reunion this weekend. The reunion features graduates from Marshalltown High School from the classes of 1950-1959. It was organized by Class of 1956 graduate Ward Brimmer.

Marshalltown High School alumni from across the country who graduated in the 1950s are reuniting for a weekend to reminisce and revisit.

The idea came from Ward Brimmer, who while planning for the MHS class of 1956 reunion over a year and a half ago, had the impulse to plan for something bigger.

“Why don’t we expand it and have a class reunion for the entire 50s, so everyone from 1950 through 1959,” he said.

Brimmer said over 130 Marshalltown High School graduates with representatives from each graduating class in the 1950s are in Marshalltown for the reunion, visiting from border to border and from coast to coast.

Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer proclaimed the weekend of Sept. 24 through Sept. 26 as “Fabulous 50s Weekend.”

“I contacted the mayor and asked him if he would welcome us to the city, and he said he would be glad to help do that,” Brimmer said.

The event kicked off with a mixer Friday night at the Midnight Ballroom, where Mayor Greer presented the proclamation. Members of the Fabulous 50s Reunion presented to the mayor a model of the courthouse made with excruciating detail both inside and out, complete with lighting and figures.

“I’m more excited about this proclamation on this group of people coming into town than any recent group I can think of, or any other proclamation I’ve done recently,” Greer said. “The gentlemen I’ve talked to have just been just delightful. They’re of an age and era that made Marshalltown great.”

Members of the Fabulous 50s Reunion will also participate in the Oktemberfest Grand Parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday, then will head to the Marshalltown High School for a tour and then hop on a bus for a tour of the city. Saturday will be finished with a banquet at Elmwood Country Club followed by golf on Sunday.

Bob Norris, MHS class of 1956 who helped plan the reunion, is looking forward to meeting new people who graduated across the 1950s. He returns to Marshalltown this weekend from Great Barrington, Massachusetts after over three years.

“I love the idea of getting 100 people from 10 classes in a room, it is unheard of for me,” Norris said. ”

Charlene Holabird, MHS class of 1952 who returns to Marshalltown from Eagle, Idaho, said she has seen lots of change such as many missing trees following the 2018 tornado.

“I think they’re recovering nicely,” Holabird said. “There’s some new facades that are coming along and it seems like it’s really on the rebound.”

Norris said he remembers when large elm trees covered the streets, to the point where dark tunnels shrouded areas. He said he’s looking forward to seeing what has changed during the tour of the city and said he’s already seen some of Marshalltown’s resilience since being in town. While sharing memories and catching up with others is important, he feels another important aspect of the reunion is to see how Marshalltown has survived unbelievable trials.

“Everybody is rebuilding and it’s very impressive and very inspirational,” Norris said. “It’s a time to be very proud of our Marshalltown roots. It’s a town that is resilient and has true grit. It’s wonderful to be part of it here for a very brief time.”


Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com.


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