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East Class of 70

- 50th reunion - 

August 14-16, 2020



Register by clicking on

50th Reunion Registration on the left column



Well here we are at the 45th BBQ. This is a pretty good looking group and it was a great time visiting with each other. This should make us anxious for a 50th Reunion!

A Thought for Our 50thReunion

John Thomas, Tom Clawson and I had a great walk through the flowers of Albion Basin last week and John told me about the East High Student and Family Support program. I knew nothing about it, but maybe some of you already do. It struck me that supporting this program could be a great challenge to do something as the Class of 1970 to help East High students and families as we move toward our 50thReunion. Obviously, it is up to each of us individually, there is no obligation. But read John’s letter and give it some thought. If you think it would be a great challenge for our 50th, then go for it. I will email this letter to the whole class (as far as we have email addresses) so you will have the links and information handy. [NOTE: You may have to copy and paste the links into your browser)


East High School Today

As an institution, East High is over a century old, and what it was created to do - educate students and prepare them for life - it still does. Today, however, there are new challenges for the East High community. Changing demographics in Salt Lake City and expanded school district boundaries mean that East’s student population is larger and significantly more diverse ethnically and economically than when we graduated in 1970. 

Of East’s 2,000 students, 2/3 live below the poverty line and at any time, as many as 80 students are homeless.  Foundations for student success are having enough healthy food, adequate clothing and health care, hygiene and family support. Meeting these basic needs are challenges that many East High students face day-to-day. 

The East High administration, PTA and community are working to ensure that all East High students have the support they need to succeed in school and life. The East High School Student and Family Support program runs an on-campus food pantry, the Leopard Stash, where students and their families have free access to healthy food. The Leopard Boutique is East’s own clothing source where students and families find new and gently used clothing, shoes and jackets. The recently completed East Washrooms provide a safe place for homeless and vulnerable students to shower, wash clothing, and prepare for their school day. The program also supports students and families in times of crisis.  

Check the web site for a description:

There is much debate about how to respond to poverty and educational needs in our communities, and taxpayer support cannot be relied upon to meet these needs. The East High Student and Family Support program is dependent on donations – food, clothing, volunteering and cash. Contributing to the program will help students achieve success and is a direct and personal connection to the East High community. Successful students become successful citizens. 

I encourage all of you to contribute, as I have, to the East High Student and Family Support program. If you would like to make a donation, become a partner, or volunteer your time please contact Kris Barta at  Donations can be made through the Salt Lake Education Foundation specifically for East High at When you contribute please designate “family support” and place the phrase “Class of 1970” in the comments box. Contributions to East Student and Family Support from the Class of 1970 will be tallied and reported on our class website. 

Thanks for your support, 

John Thomas, East High Class of 1970 


Did you know Wallace Stegner was an East High Graduate? My mother (an East High graduate) had him as a professor at the U of U, but he lived in in Salt Lake City for 14 years, including time at East High. That is why he was able to write the very interesting "Mormon Country," and his book on the Handcart Pioneers. I am going to try to past this long Tribune article in here for those of you who are interested. I am sorry the photos did not make the paste. Every time it says "FILE" there was supposed to be a photo. The captions did make it.


Utah observations from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wallace Stegner, 25 years after his death

Payton Davis Published: April 9, 2018 10:00 pm

1 of 12

View 12 Items

Jerry Mosey, Associated Press

FILE - Author Wallace Stegner is shown during a visit to New York, May 8, 1979. Stegner, who sought to capture places in his writing that spanned the entire American West, died 25 years ago this spring. FILE - Author Wallace Stegner is shown in an undated photo. Stegner, who sought to capture places in his writing that spanned the entire American West, died 25 years ago this spring. 

Author and historian Wallace Stegner, who sought to capture places in his writing that spanned the entire American West, died 25 years ago this spring. For Utah readers of the Pulitzer Prize winner, some details from seven decades of creative writing, essays and interviews on a region so vast might seem familiar, even personal. That's because despite all the places he'd been, Stegner's time in Utah as a teenager and University of Utah student, then professor, was never far from his mind.

Read: The Deseret News remembers Wallace Stegner

Stegner experienced both happiness and despair in his 14 years in Utah (1921-30 and 1934-37), according to the U.'s Wallace Stegner Center. Teenage years lived in Salt Lake City provided "images for a lifetime of nostalgia," but complicated family matters from his youth made his memories of some of the city's places "bleak," the center noted. The Deseret News reported in 1995 how Stegner called Utah "home" in his essay "At Home in the Fields of the Lord" despite spending most of his adult life away: "I have always envied people with a hometown. … That is why I have been astonished, on a couple of recent trips through Salt Lake City, to find a conviction growing in me that I am not as homeless as I had thought. At worst, I had thought myself an Ishmael; at best, a half stranger in the city where I had lived the longest, a Gentile in New Jerusalem. But a dozen years of absence from Zion, broken only by two or three short revisitings, have taught me different. I am as rich in a hometown as anyone. …"

Although not all quite as poignant, Stegner's other Utah-related musings found in the Deseret News archives (particularly the nonfiction collection "The Sound of Mountain Water") touched on cornerstones of living in the state — from conservation to Mormonism to art's place in Utah and, broader, the West.

FILE - Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker unveils a new addition to Library Square, an engraved quote by famed Western author Wallace Stegner, a University of Utah alumnus. Stegner, who sought to capture places in his writing that spanned the entire American West, died 25 years ago this spring.

Twenty-five years after his death, here are some of Stegner's memorable observations about the Beehive State. Salt Lake City Stegner's adulthood returns to Utah's capital included conversation on the political and physical changes since the early 1900s. In fact, his novel "Recapitulation" sees the protagonist — a young diplomat who comes back to Utah after years — "thinly disguised" as Stegner. The author "selected" Salt Lake City as his hometown in part due to the "comfortable, old-clothes" feel, the Deseret News noted.

An East High graduate, Stegner studied literature and creative writing at the U. He also wrote his first short story, finished his first novel and "fell in love for the first time and was rudely jilted for the first time" in the city, he wrote in "The Sound of Mountain Water." Salt Lake City School District The historic East High building is pictured in Salt Lake City in this undated photo. Author Wallace Stegner, who died 25 years ago this spring, attended East High. 

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

FILE - Downtown Salt Lake City is pictured on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Author and historian

Wallace Stegner, who died 25 years ago this spring, lived in the city for 14 years. Stegner opined in the same book that few cities transition "so naturally and easily into fine free country" as Salt Lake City. "Up in the Wasatch is another world, distinct and yet contributory, and a Salt Lake boyhood is inevitably colored by it," he wrote.  

Early Utahns

Stegner wove the history of Mormon pioneers who settled Utah into larger points on the West.

FILE - Keynote speaker, Elder Marcus B. Nash, General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, talks during the Days of '47 Sunrise Service at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square on Wednesday, July 24, 2013.

Elder Marcus B. Nash, a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, quoted the author during a 2013 observance of the annual Days of ’47 celebration. Explore: The Deseret News' archives on Stegner The Mormon pioneers "differed profoundly from the Oregon and California migrations," Nash quoted from Stegner:

"These were not groups of young and reckless adventurers, nor were they isolated families or groups of families. They were literally villages on the march, villages of sobriety, solidarity and discipline unheard of anywhere else on the western trails."

In "The Sound of Mountain Water," Stegner wrote that the Mormons were the first settlers in the West to understand that "people live on water as much as on land." He explains "how the Mormons were another kind" further in the book's introduction. "On their very first day in Salt Lake Valley they made their peace with one of the West's inflexible conditions — they diverted the water of City Creek and softened the ground for a potato field, and thus began Anglo-American irrigation on this continent, admitting what Indian and Spaniard had already had to learn."

FILE - Author and retired Stanford University professor Wallace Stegner is shown with his dog, Suzie, at his home in Los Altos Hills, Calif., May 2, 1972. Stegner, who sought to capture places in his writing that spanned the entire American West, died 25 years ago this spring.

The folklore of the early West was "comically at odds" with what it took to build thriving communities in the frontier, Stegner wrote in "The Sound of Mountain Water." So he admired the "suffering, endurance, discipline, faith, brotherly and sisterly charity" of pioneers on the trek to, and the early days in, Utah. Mormons The Deseret News noted that while Stegner, a non-Mormon, wouldn't shy away from criticizing the LDS Church, he held a "fondness and nostalgia for the Mormon culture and admiration of its pioneers."

FILE - Author Wallace Stegner is shown in 1967. 

Stegner died 25 years ago this spring. Stegner respected one subset of early Mormons in particular. "Especially their women. Their women were incredible," Stegner wrote in the book "The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail." "That I do not accept the faith that possessed them does not mean I doubt their frequent devotion and heroism in its service," Stegner wrote.

Literature in Utah, the West

A Deseret News interview with Stegner yielded numerous observations and predictions on the state of literature in Utah and the West at large. Read more: Some words of wisdom from Wallace Stegner "The luck of the draw" and Westerners feeling "inferior and unappreciated" might've had something to do with the lack of first-rate Mormon novelists at the time of the interview (1980), Stegner told the publication. But what would LDS fiction look like when it emerged? "My guess is when Utah fiction arrives at its full stature, it may be less orthodox than some in authority would like. But I don't expect decadent fiction. This is a very moral state and even in its rebellion it's going to be moral … but fiction, by the kind of truths it has to get at, has to risk a lot. And when you're working from within a faith, you have to be willing to risk a little bit."

Ravell Call, Deseret News archives

FILE - A view of Lake Powell above the Hole in the Rock on Aug. 21, 2003. Author Wallace Stegner's "The Sound of Mountain Water" includes descriptions of the "serenely beautiful" Glen Canyon (located in  southeastern Utah) of the past.

Stegner continued that "family quarrels" and "discontents" generally make strong fiction and those would be the themes, rather than epic writing. Conservation Among the list of Stegner's titles was conservationist. According to The Wilderness Society, Stegner joined the conservation movement while fighting the construction of a dam on the Green River in the 1950s; a letter he penned in 1960 on the "importance of federal protection of wild places" was used to introduce the 1964 Wilderness Act. And he rarely abandoned the topic as an author. The collection "The Sound of Mountain Water" is packed with vivid passages on the scenic side of Stegner's Western journeys — but lines of grave reflections about human-nature collisions were also prominent.

Tom Smart (East High graduate), Deseret News

FILE - Glen Canyon Dam is pictured March 26, 1996. Author Wallace Stegner's "The Sound of \Mountain Water" includes descriptions of the "serenely beautiful" Glen Canyon (located in southeastern Utah) of the past.

"The Sound of Mountain Water" includes descriptions of the "serenely 1 comment on this story beautiful" Glen Canyon (located in southeastern Utah) of the past. Then in 1963 the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam created Lake Powell — raising the water level several hundred feet to flood Glen Canyon. 

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

FILE - Buffalo roam on Antelope Island on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. Buffalo have been on the island since 1893. Author Wallace Stegner called Antelope Island the "only oasis on the Great Salt Lake."

Stegner acknowledged the impressiveness of the structure and the accessibility to the public it provided; however, "in gaining the lovely and the usable, we have given up the incomparable," he wrote. Utah places Compelling passages on well-known — and obscurer — places in Utah appear throughout Stegner's work. The author called Antelope Island the "only oasis on the Great Salt Lake."

Stegner also wrote of a "love affair" with Heber Valley in a Vogue magazine article: "I did not know it then, but the Wasatch takes second to no place in America, even Vermont, in the splendor of its fall colors. The slopes of Snake Creek Canyon were a wash of yellows from lemon to red-gold, sometimes on the same tree, but always in great masses from the aspen's habit of growing in groves. Light came off the shimmering leaves until the very  air was gold."

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

FILE - Jordanelle State Park is pictured near Heber City on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Author Wallace Stegner wrote on his "love affair" with the Heber area in a Vogue magazine article.

Stegner described a dirt-road pass in south-central Utah en route to Salina as a place "that in the late mountain spring was so paved with flowers that a man could walk twenty miles and never set his foot down without  trampling them" in "The Sound of Mountain Water." 

Starting a trip in Mexican Hat was to "start off into empty space from the end of the world," Stegner wrote in the same book. 

Dave Cawley, Deseret News

FILE - The view down the Moki Dugway switchbacks from the top of Cedar Mesa overlooks Valley of the Gods, Mexican Hat and the rim of the San Juan River. Starting a trip in Mexican Hat was to "start off into empty space from the end of the world," author Wallace Stegner wrote. THE END of the Article.


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Part of the hiking gang