From 6 to 80 years old, the bustle and warm conversation flowed through the Humphrey Heritage Village Church at Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center as a group gathered to celebrate the “Hearty Octogenarians.”

Current and former Enid residents from Arizona to South Carolina gathered together Friday to celebrate the 80th birthdays of several Enid High School Class of 1959 graduates.

EHS Class of 1959 weekend activities were headed up by Doug Frantz and Louie Priebe, and coordinated in conjunction with the 128th anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run.

As the group celebrated each other, they simultaneously dwelt on their personal histories, memories and heritage tied to the land run and other Oklahoma history. The “intrepid pioneers” of the land run, exemplified traits still needed today. The heritage and sacrifices passed down from early territory residents still impacts Oklahomans in a variety of ways today.

Priebe said that commitment, courage, conflict and compassion has carried him through his 55-year marriage, just as those four traits were so exemplified by early movers in our state’s history.

The 80-year-olds from Enid in attendance were Jerry Richardson, Joy Richardson, Louie Priebe, Beverly Dieterlen and Dave Brewer. Many of their family members and classmates gathered to attend weekend celebrations with the class of 1959.

The alliance of octogenarians formed their fellowship in their school years, some as early as kindergarten. The group is a gratitude-focused fellowship of former Enid residents who were born in 1941. They highly value the pioneering legacy of their Cherokee Strip heritage and, fittingly, celebrated their own lives in concurrently with the land run celebrations occurring this weekend.

Friday, Sept. 17 2021, was officially proclaimed Hearty Octogenarians Day by the city of Enid.

The octogenarians were recognized by the city for their many contributions over their 80 years, to celebrate their longevity and legacy and to wish them a new decade of optimistic, devoted vigor for life, according the the proclamation.

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Jeanne is a reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. 
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