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1:59 AM Mon, Nov. 19th

Half-Century Club: Prescott High School honors oldest graduates

The Daily Courier/Les Stukenberg
Ninety-four-year old Hazel Deming, the oldest attendee at this years Prescott High School’s (PHS) Half Century Reunion graduated from the high school in 1929. Almost 490 people attended this years gathering of people who graduated at least 50 years ago from PHS at the Prescott Resort.

The Daily Courier/Les Stukenberg Ninety-four-year old Hazel Deming, the oldest attendee at this years Prescott High School’s (PHS) Half Century Reunion graduated from the high school in 1929. Almost 490 people attended this years gathering of people who graduated at least 50 years ago from PHS at the Prescott Resort.

PRESCOTT - This year's Half-Century Club of Prescott High School alumni reunion honored the school's oldest living graduate on Thursday.

The annual meeting brings together all alumni who graduated at least 50 years prior to the current year. This year, the Class of '56 inducted the Class of '57, and honored the most senior member, Hazel (Clark) Deming from the Class of '29.

"I'm in pretty good health. I'm working on 100 and I think I'll make it," said Deming, adding that she has attended every reunion since graduating at the age of 16.

"I'm just happy to be here."

Clark, whose family moved to Prescott in 1919, said she is the oldest of six children.

"More than half of them are gone," she said.

Clark showed up at the reunion with two copies of her brother's book, "Willow Creek Road," full of stories of growing up on the family ranches in the area.

Of the memories Clark shares with her brother in the book, she remembers her father and brothers loading a dying pregnant heifer into the back seat of a car to drive home to save the cow and unborn calf.

"It took my dad and a couple of brothers to boost her in. I think it was a Pontiac," she recalled, adding that her mother was upset about the mess left in the car.

"He took her home, greased up his arms, reached in there and turned the calf around so he could be born head first," she said.

Clark said the Prescott she grew up in was quite different than today, mentioning that her father's dairy barn sat next to where a Fry's supermarket now stands on Willow Creek Road.

"When I was a kid, there wasn't anything on Washington Street. Mt. Vernon was the last street," she said.

Clark said she started reading at the age of 5, mostly from trying to figure out the dialogue in silent movies.

"My mom and dad would take me to the movies and I would always ask them what they were talking about. I never learned the alphabet, I just learned words," she said. "I had fun in high school. I took all the hard stuff."

Clark said she wanted to attend the University of Arizona like her father, but her mom discouraged her because she was "too young to go to college with the big boys."

"I got married at 18 instead of going to college," she said.

Clark said about 40 students graduated in her class.

Class of '38 graduates Fay (Walker) Webster and Yvonne (Wilson) Morgan, sharing the table with Clark, met as first-grade students in Mayer.

The two reacquainted at a parade celebrating the opening of the Hassayampa Inn after both families moved to Prescott, Webster said.

"Did we? Well good for her!" Morgan said, adding that she did not remember the event.

The two ended up sitting next to each other all through school.

"They made you sit alphabetically," Morgan said.

Morgan's fondest memory of high school?

"Graduating!"

Contact the reporter

lmclain@prescottaz.com