Members of the LDS High School Class of 1931 are masters of longevity.
They have been attending reunions longer than many people have been alive. This year they will hold another gathering - their 65th - on Saturday, May 18.A total of 323 students graduated in that last class of the school, which was located on the administration block of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"We sent out 330 invitations, but we're not sure how many will come because many have died. Because of our diminishing numbers we have decided to invite members of the Class of 1930, because they were in the school the same time we were," said John K. Fetzer, reunion chairman.
The reunion will be from 2 to 5:30 p.m. on the 26th floor of the Church Office Building, where attendees will renew acquaintances, attend a program and be served refreshments. Reunion vice chairmen are Dale R. Curtis and Roland V. Wise.
Elder Royden G. Derrick, emeritus LDS general authority and a junior at the school when it closed, will address the reunion.
Originally known as Salt Lake Stake Academy, the school opened in 1886. Its campus included the Young Building, Barratt Hall, the Business College Building and the "S" (Smith Memorial) Building. A football field was located where the Church Office Building now stands. Students had access to facilities at Deseret Gymnasium, then also located on the block, and ate their lunch at the Lion House.
The school was closed in 1931, the same year that South High School was opened at 1575 S. State, so most of the juniors at LDS High finished up at South.
"LDS High School was closed at about the time when the church also discontinued operating such schools as LDS Junior College, also located on the same campus as LDS High School, Dixie College, Snow College and Weber College," Curtis said.
Fetzer, 81, one of the younger alumni, senior class athletic manager and a swimming and track star at the school, jokingly says that the school was closed because spirited students made a nuisance of themselves during athletic game days.
"On a day of a game we'd have a pep rally in Barratt Hall. We'd then have a snake dance from the campus down Main Street, through the west door of the Hotel Utah (now the Joseph Smith Memorial Building), through the hotel lobby and back onto Main. The manager of the hotel got pretty disgusted with us, but we sure had fun," Fetzer recalled.
He reflected on the school's glee clubs, an orchestra and art instruction given at the school. George H. Durham, father of the late Elder G. Homer Durham, was in charge of music, and the late Frank W. Asper, former Tabernacle organist, directed the school orchestra. A.B. Wright was art instructor.
Former students or graduates include President Gordon B. Hinck-ley, who graduated in 1928; the late George W. Romney, who was governor of Michigan and U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development; the late Alexander Schreiner, former Tabernacle Choir organist; the late Marvin J. Ashton; and the late Bruce R. McConkie. Years after they attended LDS High School, Elders Ashton and McConkie were called to the church's Quorum of the Twelve.
Fetzer, who switched gears from business to painting oils and watercolor paintings when he retired at age 70 as presidentof Fetzers' Inc., has made a watercolor painting of the school campus that will be displayed at the reunion.
Reservations are encouraged but are not required and may be made by contacting Helen B. Johnson, 261-3499, or Amy Amundsen, 467-7681. The cost to attend the social is $5 per couple or $2.50 per person and may be paid at the door.