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Class of 1963

From the very first attempt at a reunion in 1973, who was actually a 1963 graduate of Central was always an issue. We had holdovers from earlier classes that graduated with us, mid-termers, home-schooled, those that entered mid-1963 from other schools, summer school grads, and then those who never apparently graduated. Disregarding the Class of 1963 listing in the latest Alumni Directory, which is fraught with omissions and errors (double entries of names; names of grads from other schools, grads of other years, etc.), this is the best summary of our class to date, and is still subject to change as more information is gathered.

On May 28, 1963 we had 246 graduate and another 17 that summer for a total of 263. The 1963 Champion yearbook pictures 249 seniors and lists 5 more that didn't report to the photographer. Here's the differences:

Of the 254 pictured or listed, 234 graduated in May plus 12 more that summer. Four apparently never graduated from Central, and four more graduated with the Class of 1964.

Of the 246 May graduates, the 12 not pictured included three home-schooled, five transfers too late for inclusion in the Champion, and four 1961-2 seniors who came up short and returned for the second semester of 1962-2 to complete graduation requirements.

The five not pictured, but graduating in summer school, included three serving first-semester suspensions due to marriage and one with recurring health problems.


In addition to the 19 seniors who transferred to Central for the beginning of the 1962-63 school year, five more joined us afterwards, but too late to be in the yearbook: Judy Paulette Hicks Walker from Lee Edwards High, Asheville, NC Frank Lowell Steil from Brevard High School, Brevard, NC Sharon Elaine Brown from Rossville High Wanda Frankie Langford from Tyner High Patricia Jean Bryson from Sweetwater Union High, National City, CA

Judy Paulette Hicks was born June 8, 1946 in Gainesville, GA. Judy married Ben Walker after her sophomore year (1961-2) at Marietta Sprayberry High, and managed to graduate in May 1963 by taking junior English at Grady High, Atlanta in the summer of 1962, then transferring to Lee Edwards High in Asheville, NC in fall 1962. Judy transferred again to Central in December 1962, earning enough credits to graduate. Judy has since re-married to Ed Clayton and lives in Dallas, GA.

Frank Lowell Steil was born in Chattanooga Sept 13, 1945 and attended Central as a sophomore and junior, but his family moved to Brevard, NC in 1962 and Frank spent the first semester of his senior year at Brevard High School. Frank returned to Central for his final semester and is currently married, living in Hixson, selling insurance and: www.sonlifequartet.net.

Sharon Elaine Brown was born Sep 15, 1944 in Brunswick, GA and moved to Fort Oglethorpe shortly after. In the middle of her senior year at Rossville High, Sharon decided to transfer to Central (January 1963) and graduated in May. On Dec 18, 1964 Sharon married Glenn Curtis and moved to Cleveland, TN. Sharon is widowed and living in southern Bradley County.

Wanda Frankie Langford was born Oct 30, 1944 in Harlan County, KY, moving to Chattanooga in the late 40s. While a senior at Tyner, her mother moved into Chattanooga from Igou Gap Road; Wanda entered Central in January 1963 for her final semester. On Sept 5, 1964 Wanda married Red Bank graduate Clifford Wayne Keylon and currently lives on Soddy Mountain.

Patricia Jean Bryson was born in Chattanooga Dec 31, 1944 and attended local schools until moving to the San Diego, CA area in 1961. She attended Sweetwater Union HS in National City, CA until her family relocated back to Chattanooga in February 1963; whence she finished at Central in May. Pat Bryson married Neil Laskowitz (whom she had met in CA) in 1964 and relocated to Sayville, New York.

Three graduates on May 28, 1963 were home-schooled by Hamilton County and awarded diplomas from Central - Corinne Allison Goree, Thomas Everette Hardison, and James Harold Payne. Corinne Goree had attended GPS and chronic health problems forced her to be home schooled one semester before graduation. Thomas Hardison, too, never attended Central because of health, but both parents and his younger sister, Betty (Central '69) were Central graduates. Jim Payne had attended Central as a sophomore in 1959-60, but required home schooling, graduating with his brother John in 1963. Hardison (died 1989) and Payne (2013) are deceased; Ms. Goree married Baylor alum George E. McGee III on June 4, 1967 and currently resides on Lookout Mountain.

Three May 1963 graduates had appeared as seniors in the 1962 Champion - Janie Ann Pruitt, Marcia Ann Martin, and Lynda Carol Tucker. Janie had married 1961 Central grad David Kilgore and had to sit out her second semester in 1962, returning in the second semester 1963 to graduate as Janie Kilgore. Ms. Martin and Tucker came up short in credits and similarly returned to take classes in spring 1963 leading to graduation. Janie is now married to former Central basketball player Buddy Bridges ; Lynda Tucker married Richard McKeel on April 12, 1969; both Janie and Lynda live in Chattanooga. Michael Carroll Wright had been a senior in 1961 and returned in spring 1963 to gain the needed credits to graduate. Marcia Martin Thornton (d. 2013) and MIchael Wright (d. 2009) are deceased.

Five 1963 grads not pictured in the 1963 Champion had to wait until summer school to graduate. 1962 marriages of Mary Babb to Fred Cameron, Gayle Forester to Floyd Keith and Judie Gilliland to Lawrence Holcomb caused a semester delay in graduation. Drusilla "Pat" Slatton's (died 1985 as Pat Coffman) health required some home schooling and a summer graduation. Alvis Elder took an extended 1962 summer vacation before returning to graduate in summer 1963.

Four seniors pictured in the 1963 Champion - Joe Crowley, Joeta Evitt (d. 2006), Jana Smith, and Shan Trotter -did not graduate from Central; Trotter returned to Rossville High and graduated in 1964. Four other seniors pictured - Tommy Davis (d. 2014), Diane Hulgan, Jimmy Payne (d. 2005), and Rachel Terry - graduated from Central in 1964. The senior photos shown on this site therefore are a composite of mostly 1963 Champion photos, photos from the 1961 and 1962 Champions, and three photos from other school yearbooks for senior year mid-term transfers. Photos of Sharon Brown (Rossville) and Russ Brown (Lakeview, d. 2008) were private photos used when yearbook photos were not available.

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