"When I was 12, my dad was sick with cancer and passed away June 12, 1959, leaving my mother with six kids. I was the eldest at 12, and the youngest was 2. We lived in Stony Brook, N.Y., on Long Island. My dad's family did not care for my mother because she was Irish Catholic and not a member of the Upper Society of New York. The family offered no assistance to help us through this very sad time, so mom moved us back to Springfield, Ill., to be near her family and raised us in the Catholic church. I was not a good student and had difficulty in school. My eighth-grade teacher was Sister Gertrude Ann, a Franciscan nun. She and I had many differences of opinion, and I did not care for her or school. After eighth grade, Sister Gertrude Ann suggested that I would benefit from St. James Trade School. This school was taught by Franciscan Brothers who were from Germany and very strict. I worked in the bakery trade, and continued in the baking industry for 50 years. I went to Chicago years ago and thanked Sister Gertrude Ann for steering me in a direction that I needed at that time."
Ray Lefferts, 66, Merrill