In the year of 1978, one of the most shocking events was the Jonestown mosque in Georgetown, Guyana. More than 900 people with the San Francisco-based Peoples Temple, under Jim Jones, died in a mass murder-suicide event involving cyanide poisoning. US Congressman Leo Ryan tried to stop the incident but was killed for his efforts.
And who could forget the Great Blizzard of 1978? Seventy people died during that storm, which covered the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes. It moved on into the New England area and killed about another 100 people, causing an estimated $520 million in damages.
The instrument many of us depend on now called GPS (Global Positioning System) was launched in February of that year. It is used by your phone and in your car, to help you find a location, or prevent you from getting lost. The GPS just makes life a little simpler.
Charlie Champlin died and was buried in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland. Shortly thereafter, his casket was dug up and stolen in what turned out to be a failed ransom attempt. The casket was later reintered.
The US Senate votes 68-32, to turn over the Panama Canal to Panama. Pope John Paul I succeeds Pope Paul VI as the 263rd head of the Catholic Church. Pope Paul I dies after 33 days in the position. Pope John Paul II succeeds him. This resulted in the first year to feature three popes since 1605. Pope John Paul II was also the first Polish pope and the first non-Italian pope since 1522.
The TV show “Dallas” debuted on CBS, giving birth to another soap opera. Pete Rose, also known as “Charlie Hustle” in baseball, gets his 3,000th major league hit. In addition, the last time I checked, Pete Rose held a total of four records — gmes, at-bats, hits and singles. Can you believe he is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame? Al Unser won the Indianapolis 500 for the third time.
Otis Bowen was Indiana governor at this time. This writer got to know him very well while he was governor. Governor Bowen wanted to reduce the number of state mental health patients. New Castle, Madison, Richmond Westfield and INDY East had large facilities and were decided for moving the mental health patients to Muscatatuck or Logansport. As an example, New Castle had a staff of about 215 employees, however, their mental health patients were about the same. We in corrections agreed with the plan, because we wanted to convert those facilities into prisons and reduce crowding. I ended up as the person who went around to each mental health facility, which had been named, and told the staff they would need to become employed with the Department of Correction. That was not fun. These facilities made great medium security correctional facilities.
CB radios were increasing in use. Indiana State Police purchased 20 base stations for their facilities and 128 units for mobile vehicles. Superintendent John Shettle of the ISP supported the CB radio program. CB owners reportedly had been very helpful in reporting emergencies.
In 1978, Indiana was still getting hammered with cold snowy weather. The Lapel Review reported it like this: “The inclement weather started last week with fog that made driving hazardous, then it was followed by rain, freezing rain, followed by snow.” They were also experiencing weather 3 degrees below zero. Several sporting events had to be canceled and re-scheduled for February.
In May, The Ford Street Nursery School conducted its annual graduation exercise. The program included Darrin Ward, Jason Cobb, Jennifer Johnson, Kyle Bloom, Julie Noggle, David Murray, Tony Cole, Jacinda Balser, Mathias Bentley, Jennifer Jones, Dana Wrin, Eliza Tudor, Matt Pape, Leanne Tegtmeyer, Chris Woodward, Jason Springer , Angie Johnson, Jennifer Harry, Troy Smith and Derek Stephenson. They were taught by Abby Noggle and Cindy Stephenson.
The faculty at Lapel High School was focused on getting the Class of 1978 ready to face the world. Gerald Roudebush had been promoted to director of the West Central School corporation; Gene Heniser was assistant superintendent. Members of the board were George Likens, Charles Clark, Rex Etchison, David Woodward, George Hall and Ron Stephenson. Peggy Stephens was clerk, and Judy Lane was secretary. Marvin Pike was principal, and Larry Galliher was vice-principal. Other faculty members were Robert Adams, Michael Andrews, Ruth Bahler, Price Brookfield, Joan Casey, Durinda Mae Cassiday, Bill French, Denise Gray, Ginger Hatley, Cheryl Hensley, Sue Herseberger, Caroline Howenstine, Dallas Hunter, Marianne Julius, Jerry Kemerly, Greg Layton, Cheryl Perry, Lucille Rockey, Carol Rushton, Larry Schuler, Sharon Schuyler, Joe Shephard, Steve Short, Jean Sigler, Jeannie Terhune, Zoe Ann Terhune, Jon Trippeer, Donald Trisler, Margaret Trisler, Dr. Larry Warfel and Ann Elizabeth Whalen.
While the senior class was about to graduate, “It seems to us that we had just enrolled in kindergarten,” the yearbook committee wrote.
Lucille Rockey and Larry Schuler were named class sponsors. M. Elaine Benedict was senior class president, with help from Teri Ellen Persing – vice president; Jo Ellen Huntzinger – secretary; and William Michael Zink – treasurer.
Other class members in alphabetical order were: Jeanette Lynn Asbury, Cynthia Ann Banning, Alan Lee Bays, Jeffery Eugene Berry, Cara Yvonne Brandenburg, Bradley Allen Burk, Lee Alan Carey, Steven Dewane Carter, Brian Kent Colip, Christopher Cook, Beth Ann Davis , Johnathan Davis, William Denny, Karen Elaine Due, Sondra Mae Earlywine, Bobbie Lyn Ehman, Jeffery Eldridge, Robert Allan Fields Jr., Thea Jo Funk, Kelly Gray, Tami Lee Griffin, Patti Ann Hamel, Donald Dean Hamilton, Carol Lynn Hankins , Michael Allen Hazelbaker, Terry Ray Heck, Daryl Kent Hiatt, Karen Elaine Highwood, Wayne Holycross, Daniel Howell, Thomas Lee Howell, Douglas Kevin Huntzinger, Nancy Griffin Huntzinger, Rodney Alan Isaac, Jerry Jay Johnson, Alan Wayne Joslin, Kay Lynne Koomler , Mark Steven Langhorst, Carol Sue Lloyd, Kathy Lynn Maxey, Susan Lynn Maxwell, Bradley Thomas Miller, Jerry David Miller, Gary Mills, Cynthia Ann Morelock, Randall Wayne Morton, Christine Newby, Michael Keith Norris, Janice Lynn O’Connor, M ark Anthony Odom, Leslie Anne Olson, Randy Peckens, Vickie Jean Pettigrew, James Dean Presser, Shelly Kay Ramsey, Debra Dawn Raymer, Linda Ann Rettig, John Roberts, Sherry Elaine Rodgers, Nancy Jeanne Sandala, David Seal, David Brian Seybert, Melanie Sue Shaw, Brian Simmerman, Detra Dee Simons, Jan Elizabeth Smith, Ted Alan Spearman, Sharon Kay Stephenson, Cheryl Ann Stinson, Jeffery Otis Tarvin, Lisa Ann Tomlinson, Charline Tamara Weaver, Cheryl Jean Willoughby, Connie Sue Wise, William Howard Wolfe and Chad David Yancey.
In high school, you can be a go-getter or just sit back and do only what is required. The following students got involved: Nancy Sandala — valedictorian; Terri Pershing — salutorian.
In girls volleyball, Nancy Sandala and Shelly Ramsey made All White River Conference Team. In football; Bobby Fields, Tom Huntzinger and Brooke Fields were named All White River Conference Football Team. Chad Yancey was named to Boys State, with Rodney Isaac named alternate. Leslie Olson was alternate, and Nancy Sandala was named to Girls State. Janice O’Connor was the recipient of the Daughters of American Revolution award.
Awards were given in other areas. Daryl Looper and Janet Heiney earned a first at the band contest at Ball State University. David Bodenhorn, Linda Rettig and Sheldon Benedict were members of the County Crops Judging winning team.
Alan Bays and Elaine Benedict served as pages for State Rep. Richard Dellinger (R-Noblesville). Twelve LHS students were inducted into the National Honor Society.
Joyce Bodenhorn gave it her best in several sports — basketball, vollyball and track — as well as being a cheerleader for several years.
In 1978, perhaps the people most deserving of recognition were the school bus drivers. They battled some of the worst winter weather in years. Ralph Welch, Rosalie Stottlemeyer, Nancy Rice, Diane Lawther, Clarence Bagley, Wayne McClintock, Vivian Kimmerling, James Hall, Hershel Teeters and Bruce Bagley.