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SMITH: Ledson winery honors alumni from vintage Santa Rosa classes

The world's sweetest high-school reunion is coming up on July 17 in Kenwood.

Alumni of several Santa Rosa High classes will be there, and the youngest of the bunch will be 92 years old, maybe 93.

Steve Ledson, the hotelier, winemaker and entrepreneur, hosts the annual reunion at his castle winery on Sonoma Highway. He invites all surviving members of the SRHS classes of 1934 through '38.

The elegant, all-expenses-paid reunion is a tribute to Ledson's late father, Noble, and to his former classmates who are still alive and able to attend the celebration. The elder Ledson graduated from Santa Rosa High — long the city's only high school — with the Class of 1934. Noble Ledson was 87 when he died in 2004.

Other luminaries among the Santa Rosa High graduates of that era include retired Air Force Lt. Col. George Conners, the late Enrico Traverso of the renowned Italian market family, late city builder Hugh Codding, late Press Democrat heiress Ruth Finley Person and late Rincon Valley School District superintendent and principal Douglas Whited.

The reunion of surviving pre-1939 Panthers makes for the nicest time, said Betty (Barr) Andrews of the Class of 1937. There is wine and hors d'oeuvres, dinner and then dancing under the stars.

"They play the old tunes, of course," said Betty, who's 94 and a retired law-firm assistant.

"A few people get up and move around, if you call it dancing," she said. She added that she's greatly amused see the high school's oldest alumni kick up their heels, and she's quite aware that she is one of them.

Any fellow graduates of the classes of '34 through '38 who would like to

attend the reunion and haven't yet RSVP'd can do so by calling Betty at 542-1272.

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