“The best class to ever come out of Glenwood,” ready to ride as Grand Marshals in Strawberry Days Parade
Floyd Diemoz maintains that Glenwood Springs High School’s Class of 1955, “was the best class to ever come out of Glenwood.”
The 81-year-old sees his dear friend Glenn Vawter, a fellow Class of 1955 graduate, as one of the many reasons why he has stood by those words for going on 64 years now.
Diemoz, Vawter and others from the 33-member class will serve as the Grand Marshals of this year’s 122nd Strawberry Days Festival Parade.
Appropriately enough, Diemoz a former drummer and Vawter an early saxophone player in the school’s marching, concert and jazz bands will ride down Grand Avenue this Saturday in a 1964 Oldsmobile Starfire, 64 years after graduating.
“The teachers we had were just marvelous,” Diemoz recalled of what he and classmates always said to each other at their reunions. “I remember someone telling us, ‘You guys are just small town, little class and it’s going to be difficult to compete for any of you that go off to college.’”
However, those marvelous teachers helped pave the way for Diemoz and Vawter to earn degrees from the University of Denver and Colorado School of Mines, respectively.
“Success doesn’t necessarily come from pinnacles like Harvard, Yale or Berkeley,” Diemoz joked.
Diemoz, who studied electrical engineering, went on to deliver the keynote speech at the Oct. 14, 1992 opening of Interstate 70 in the Glenwood Canyon after steering the massive, controversial infrastructure project to completion. A bumpy road to navigate, Diemoz had to act as a mediator in many ways between passionate environmentalists and the cutthroat Highway Department.
“And, here we stood in between and actually ended up with the solution,” Diemoz explained.
Additionally, Vawter who had a background in petroleum engineering became a senior vice president for the Fortune 150 Company Tosco, which worked extensively on the Colony oil shale project in Parachute.
Both men also married Glenwood Springs High School Class of ’55 graduates.
Diemoz knew all along that he would tie the knot with his high school sweetheart Lavonne. However, it was not until their 45th class reunion that Vawter reconnected with former classmate Mary Linda Clapham.
Clapham was named Strawberry Days queen both locally and nationally as well as Miss Colorado.
“We were both single and it just sort of clicked,” Vawter said.
The two got married shortly after the reunion and actually took Diemoz and Lavonne with them on their honeymoon to Europe.
“There aren’t many people that take their friends on honeymoons,” Vawter laughed.
Whether the point guard on the Class of 55’s co-champion basketball team, the star quarterback on its football team that not one opponent scored a single point on during its regular season, or musicians like Diemoz and Vawter who cheered them on along the way, members from the Class of ’55 did not have “cliques.”
“We had such great people uniformly across that class,” Diemoz explained. “That to me was just a wonderful thing.”
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