Tag Archives: Staples High School Class of 1966

Remembering John Lupton

Staples’ Class of 1966 was one of the most politically, musically, artistically, athletically and community-minded group of students in our high school’s long history.

John Lupton

John Lupton III was president of that class. He was always proud of that. Throughout his life, he continued to give back — to his classmates, his alma mater, his town, his country and the causes he cared about.

“Johno” — as he was known to his fellow grads, all of whom knew him and he knew in return — died Thursday in Washington, after a long battle with cancer. He was 69 years old.

Lupton was born in Weston, to a political family. His father, John Lupton Jr., was a longtime state senator.

Weston students at that time did not have their own high school, so he attended Staples. He was involved in a number of activities there.

He took his class president duties seriously. At graduation ceremonies, the seniors donated a handsome “Staples High School” sign for the entrance at North Avenue.

John Lupton (left), Class of 1966 president, shakes hands with ’67 president Dick Sandhaus at the sign’s dedication ceremony. Principal Jim Calkins looks on.

A few years ago — decades after leaving — the class paid to refurbish the exterior of the Lou Nistico Fieldhouse at Staples, and added lighting to the current North Avenue entry sign. They also organized their own special scholarship fund through Staples Tuition Grants. Lupton was instrumental in all those projects.

After Staples, at the University of Minnesota, he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

His professional career was in advertising and sports marketing, in Atlanta. He also served several terms in the Georgia House of Representatives.

Returning to Westport, Lupton was hired as director of the Westport Historical Society.

His interests included baseball, blues music, travel and food.

John Lupton

Late in life he founded PCa Blue. The organization promotes prostate cancer awareness and education through blues music.

Survivors include his son, John Mather Lupton IV, and daughter Laura Adelaide (Lallie) Lupton. His son says, “Throughout his life, he was remarkably outgoing and optimistic. He was an incredibly loving and dedicated father.”

A memorial service will be held at Christ & Holy Trinity Church in Westport in late spring or early summer.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Lupton’s name can be made to his PCa Blue organization (click here).

It Really Is The “Class” Of ’66

Staples High School’s Class of 1966 has always been special.

Growing up in postwar Westport, then coming of age in high school as a turbulent decade picked up steam, they were an active, accomplished bunch.

The Class of ’66 included 14 National Merit semifinalists, 29 All-State musicians and 5 All-State actors. The Orphenians traveled to the Virgin Islands; student government brought the Beau Brummels and Animals to Staples, and as a gift to the school — a tradition that unfortunately has disappeared — the class donated a handsome sign for the entrance on North Avenue.

John Lupton (left), Class of 1966 president, shakes hands with '67 president Dick Sandhaus at the sign's dedication ceremony. Principal Jim Calkins looks on.

John Lupton (left), Class of 1966 president, shakes hands with ’67 president Dick Sandhaus at the sign’s dedication ceremony. Principal Jim Calkins looks on.

But in the 50 years since graduation, the Class of ’66 has really stepped up its game. A few years ago they paid to refurbish the exterior of the Lou Nistico Fieldhouse at Staples, and added lighting to the current North Avenue entry sign. They’ve also organized their own special scholarship fund through Staples Tuition Grants.

Over the years I’ve become friends with many of the members, who I knew only by name and legend as a kid growing up in town. They’ve accomplished amazing things — in music, the arts, journalism, religion, education, even modeling and wine importing — but for half a century they have remained tight and loving. (Very, very fun-loving too).

A number of them remain — or became — reconnected to their hometown through “06880.” I’ve been honored to be a guest at their 2 most recent reunions.

This year’s 50th was fantastic. It began Friday night at the VFW (with kick-ass music from, among others, Rob Carlson, Jon Gailmor and Roger Kaufman). It continued with a lobster dinner last night at the Westport Woman’s Club (and a moving memorial to the 65 classmates who have died). It ended this afternoon at the beach.

Jon Gailmor, Steve Emmett and Rob Carlson reprised the famed Triumvirate group at the VFW. Gailmor replaced the late Chris Avery.

Jon Gailmor, Steve Emmett and Rob Carlson reprised the famed Triumvirate group at the VFW. Gailmor replaced the late Chris Avery.

There were many highlights for me, as I mingled with so many heroes and heroines from my youth. But the coolest came as I was leaving.

Each class member received a goody bag. In every one was a stone — collected, over a long time, from Compo Beach. They were stamped “Staples High 50th reunion, Class of 1966.”

Class of 66

And wrapped around them were these words:

Each stone carries memories created by the gentle and loving spirit of Compo Beach — our playground, our retreat, the safe haven of our youth. Compo loves us unconditionally. It is the beautiful link that will — like each stone and echoes of friendships — last forever.

While they were growing up, the members of the Class of 1966 — like most teenagers — probably did not realize the gifts they were gaining from their school, and town. I did not realize it several years later, and kids today don’t either.

The passage of time does something powerful and good. But it takes a special group of people to actually stop, think about and honor that time.

Well done, Class of ’66. Very, very classy indeed.

Class Of ’66 Helps One Of Their Own

This story came to me via several concerned members of the Staples Class of 1966. Nearly 50 years out of high school, they still care for each other.

Many assume that if you grow up in Westport, do well at Staples and go on to college, life is your oyster.  But many times, that’s not the case.  Life is often not fair at all.

For Janis Kuechenmeister, life has had its ups and downs. Most recently, the down period was devastating.

Janis Kuechenmeister, in high school.

After graduating from Staples, Janis attended college in Vermont. She then moved to California to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.  She was cute, talented, bright, ambitious and extremely loving.

Without going into great detail of what remains a very personal, and at times heartbreaking, journey, things got really tough. Recently the bottom fell out. Her apartment in California caught fire. She lost everything.

The bright side of the story is that the Staples Class of 1966 has organized a fund to assist Janis — and other classmates suffering through some rough times. A sense of comradeship remains instilled in many Staples graduates, 47 years following graduation. It’s not unique to Westport schools — but it is more common here than most.

The class of 1966 has set up a PayPal account (via marykk@tds.net). Checks can be sent directly to Friends of Janis, c/o Mary Kuechenmeister, PO Box 280,  Andover, NH 03216. Any amount is welcome.

If you know Janis, it will be easy to give.  If not, think Westport and Staples pride — and that sense of compassion that makes this town so very special.