Sunday, March 16, 2008

Klaus Dreyer

Nancy S. called to let me know that Klaus Dreyer, a member of our class as an exchange student in 1955-1956, died in February. According to a letter from his wife Margit, "he died February 8th, 2008 in a hospital at Kaiserslautern, Germany. He had been there 5 weeks. She says "Klaus would have loved to see you at the 50th reunion celebration in 2007. He had a great time in America & he enjoyed it very much"." Nancy said, "I know that every letter I received that he always said to give his regards to any classmate I see along the way." Nancy also sent along this photo of a mini-reunion in 1984 when Klaus was visiting Illinois friends.

The top photo is from my album of a CBYF meeting at our home on Hannah, probably summer 1956, which includes some of the class of 1956. In the top photo with Klaus in the foreground are Carolyn M., Mary Lou S., Sharon R., and Jean M. Others at that evening event were myself, Sylvia T. and Deborah P. and class of '56 members, Joyce K., Barb N., and Gayle D. (and some I can't identify after 52 years). Klaus lived with the Robert Fridleys on their farm, descendants of original settlers from Maryland in the Mt. Morris area. Sylvia adds that he also lived with Jesse and Imogene Fridley, and John and Nell Thomas. He wanted to see the "West", so that summer he rode to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Eugene, Oregon, with Bill and Marge Powers. Bill and Marge were not coming directly back, so Klaus rode back with Annis and Elmer Paul.

According to the booklet prepared by the reunion committee, Klaus wrote that he'd been retired for 5 years and he and Margit had 2 adult sons:
    "It would have been so nice to see so many of you again. My memories of Mt. Morris have always been very strong, very impressive. The year I was with you had the greatest effect on my life. It was the nicest experience I had in my youth. I have such nice memories, especially of Mt. Morris High. It was all so different from my life in my German hometown, also of life in school. In Germany we still suffered a lot from the after Second World War effects. My attitude toward life, towards the democratic structures was extremely influenced by my stay in Illinois. . . I often look at the MOUNDER and see you before me. It's like there had never been 50 years in between. . . I had always wanted to be a farmer, but ended up being a teacher at a German high school with English and Physical Education as subjects."

Recent photo sent by Margit


Anonymous said...

I remember when Klaus tasted popcorn and watermelon for the first time. He was so fresh and open in his approach to life.

A friend, class of '56

Anonymous said...

I was always impressed that in spite of the fact that he was from a different country, he got along everybody and fit in so easily. He was a nice friendly guy.

Member of class of 1956

Anonymous said...

he was a delight...and his manners were prefect..mid-west,teenage boys weren't guite up to speed yet but Klaus held doors open,walked on the left/street side and was charming to your mother!
It was a good exerience for all of us..sure glad we had it.