Alfred Kennedy – Class of 1954

An email from George Sherman brings the following sad news:

“I’m very sad to have to report that Al has passed away.  Thank you to Ann Tankersley for alerting me about it this morning.  I just talked on the phone to one of Al‘s sons who verified that Al passed away late last Saturday night (early Sunday morning).  His obituary should be posted in the Ridgecrest Daily Independent starting tomorrow (which can be viewed at, and his funeral will be at the Holland and Lyons Mortuary in Ridgecrest at 10 AM [Saturday Jan 30, 2016].  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend because I will be in Memphis at the time.  When Al was in Trona High, he went under the name Alfred Adams, but his official name is Kennedy.  He was married to  Dolores (Abbott) Kennedy (Trona High School 1955)”

David Pillott : Class of 1956

David passed away on December 19, 2015 at 5:00 PM. He passed quickly and ever so peacefully in the home that he built in Idaho and loved and cared for surrounded by his family.

Being at home under the care of family and hospice provided a peaceful ending to a long hard battle for a little over a year and a half, with many trips to Minnesota for treatments.

WE Martin

Ralph Edward Martin – Class of 1964

Ralph Edward Martin, age 69 of Lexington, passed away following a long battle with lung cancer, Thursday, October 15, 2015 at his home. Ralph Edward Martin was born September 22, 1946 in Broken Bow, OK, the only son of John Lewis Martin and Edith Viola (Claunch) Martin. He spent his early years in the Criner and Dibble area before moving to Trona, CA. He attended Trona Unified Schools, graduating from Trona High School in 1965. While in high school he was in ROTC and was in a Chess Club. Ralph joined the United States Army in 1969, and was proud to serve his country. After being honorably discharged for medical reasons, Ralph married his best friend and love of his life, Ms. Kathy Giraud. They were married on April 10, 1971 in Las Vegas, NV. Together they raised two children, son Shad and daughter, Sarah. Ralph first worked installing water and sewer lines for a few years. Then he began working for Midwest Communications building teletypes and selling contracts. In 1974 he took a job with Teletype Corporation in OKC. After several years with this company, Teletype merged with AT&T and he was transferred to Albuquerque, NM in 1982. Because of his physical battles, Ralph returned to Oklahoma in 2012 to be close to his mother. Throughout his life, Ralph loved being in the outdoors, he enjoyed elk hunting at Mt. Taylor, NM and camping and fishing with his family and friends. More recently he and Kathy would take meaningful daytrips all over Oklahoma enjoying new scenery. Ralph will be remembered as a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. He will be dearly missed!

He was preceded in death by: His parents, John Martin and mother, Vi Martin in May of this year. Ralph is survived by: His wife, Kathy of the home; Son, Shad Martin of Albuquerque, NM; Daughter, Sarah Martin and husband Brenden Patterson of Beaverton, OR; Grandson, Eli Patterson and A host of other family and friends.

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service is scheduled for 2:00 P.M. Thursday, October 22, 2015 at Wilson-Little Funeral Home Chapel in Purcell, OK. Another memorial service will be held at a later date in Albuquerque, NM. Interment will be at Hillside Cemetery in Purcell, OK. Send online condolences @ In lieu of flowers the family request that you send memorials to the American Lung Association, 55 W. Wacker Drive Suite 1150, Chicago, IL 60601.

Roberta Wilson

Roberta “Robi” (Wilson) Reece – Class of 1958

Roberta “Robi” Reece
Apr. 2, 1940 – Oct. 2, 2015
San Jose, formerly of San Juan Bautista
Friends are invited to join family for a Celebration of Robi’s Life at South Valley Community Church, 8095 Kelton Dr., Gilroy on October 24, 2015, at 11:00am.
Robi was born in Trona, CA and moved to the Bay Area in the early 1960’s to begin her family. She spent 35 years residing in San Juan Bautista, where she was a teacher’s aide at San Juan School and later became the receptionist at SVCC Church in Gilroy for 20 years.
Robi is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Dean and Gina Reece and her grandchildren, Emily and Jacob all of Aurora, Oregon. She is also survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Dee Ann and Michael Harn and her grandchildren, Mikaela and Kylee all of San Jose, California.
Robi loved life! In her memory, if you wish, the family requests donations be made to the , SVCC, or your local Christian School. – See more at:

Lois Leonadi

Lois Knight Leonardi

Lois Knight Leonardi
Oct. 22, 1925 – Oct. 15, 2015

Lois Leonardi, 89, passed away in Redlands on October 15. She is survived by her children Andrea, Katherine and Frank, her brothers Bob and Paul, 10 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

A graduate of the University of Redlands, Lois was a retired school teacher, talented pianist, traveler and adventurer. She lived in the USA, Germany, Mexico, Peru and Iran and had many fascinating stories about her travels to Asia, Europe, UK, the Middle East, Australia, North America and South America. An avid photographer of people and landscapes, she was rarely without her camera and leaves behind a legacy of photographs spanning her lifetime.

She taught elementary school in Trona from 1950 to 1959.  She is mourned  by many former Trona elementary students who fondly remember her.

miss knight

Tiny desert community of Trona hopes to rise from the ashes

The San Bernardino Sun News posted a great article about Trona on October 24, 2015. I just had to link to it here for those Trona fans that don’t do Facebook.

“Anywhere else is not Trona,” Sandy Sprouse said. “It’s unique in every sense of the word.” The tiny unincorporated community is on Death Valley’s southeastern border, about 170 miles northwest of Los Angeles and an hour and a half north of the tiny High Desert community of Adelanto. Souvenirs sold at the Searles Valley Historical Society museum in Trona display a road sign —created to promote a local sign company — that reads “End of the World, 10 miles; Trona, 15 miles.” [ …. more ]


Dear Alumnus:

It’s time again for the Trona All Alumni Reunion in Trona this Homecoming, October 9-10, 2015.  Below is the preliminary schedule, event information, and the reservation/souvenir form..

This year we will be having two separate tents – one for serving the hors d’oeuvres and a bigger tent for socializing.  The festivities will begin Friday night, Oct 9, with the coronation ceremony and bonfire, followed by a street dance on Main Street.   A local family, the Cartmells, will be providing the music and light show.  Saturday activities include the pancake breakfast, car show at the Foursquare Church, Homecoming parade, a catered bar-b-que lunch/social at the high school, and the football game.  Saturday evening includes dancing and entertainment by Bonnie and the Bootleggers, led by our very own John Young. Hors d’oeuvres will be served, but we are not serving dinner, so please plan accordingly.  Commemorative tee shirts, hoodies, and  caps are available for purchase via this registration.

This weekend will also be the Gem and Mineral Show.  For more information and a schedule of events, go to:

Here’s the preliminary  schedule of events for the weekend (the final schedule will be included in your reunion packet).

Friday, October 9th

  • 7:00 pm                        Coronation in the School Auditorium
  • 8:00 pm                        Bonfire and “T” lighting
  • 8:00  pm                Street Dance – Main St.  Beer, wine, and margaritas will be available

to midnight

Saturday, October 10th

  • 7:00 am                        Pancake Breakfast at the Senior Citizens Center
  • 10:00 am                      Homecoming Parade
  • 11:00 am                       Social and Catered Lunch at the school (lunch will be served from 12:00-2:00 )
  • 2:00 pm                        Introduction of Homecoming Court followed by Varsity Game
  • 6:00 pm                        Social hour at the Elks
  • 7:00 pm Hors d’oeuvres served in the smaller reunion tent (7:00-9:00)
  • 9:00 pm Dancing at the Elks, or socializing in the larger reunion tent

Some more details…..

◊  Reunion souvenirs:  Souvenir tee shirts, hoodies,  and hats can be ordered when you sign up.  These souvenirs will NOT be available for sale during the reunion weekend, so buy them now!   Souvenir packets will be available for pickup at the street dance on Friday night and after the parade on Saturday at the high school.   Also, you may order souvenirs  whether or not you attend the reunion.

◊          Floats:  Some classes may be having floats in the parade.  Please check with your class rep for more information.

◊          Motels:  Some of the hotels in Ridgecrest are offering discounts for the Trona Alumni.  Be sure to ask when you make your reservations.  Here is list of some of the hotels:  Hampton Inn & Suites, 760-446-1968; Springhill Suites by Marriott, 760-446-1630;  Clarion Inn (formerly Carriage Inn), 760-446-7910; Heritage Inn, 760-446-6543; Comfort Inn, 760-375-9731; Vagabond Inn, 760-375-2220; Motel 6, 760-904-6979 or Best Western, 760-371-2300.    (Hotels in bold offer discounted room rates)  RV parking will be available at Valley Wells for $5.00/night. Camping will also be available at the Trona Pinnacles  The Pinnacle Inn Motel in Trona is also open, 760-382-9996.

◊  Miscellaneous info:

Cell phones:  Only Verizon or Sprint cell phones will work in Trona.  If you plan to purchase a prepaid Verizon or Sprint phone for the event, please make sure to ask if that phone will work in Trona.  Apparently some do, and some don’t.

Taxi service:  IWV Taxi (760-377-7087) and Yellow Cab (760-384-2227) will be offering taxi service between Ridgecrest/Trona/Ridgecrest.  Cost is $45 one way for  1-4 passengers.

Video:  Ryan Smith will be making a video of the reunion events throughout the weekend.  Attached is an order form.  Please send it separately to the address indicated on the form.

In addition, contact your class representative (see below) if you have any questions, want more information, or if you know the whereabouts or address of a lost classmate.  Up-to-date information about this reunion will be available  at David Stevens website Trona On The Web: (follow the links)

Hope you can find a way to fit this memorable event into your schedule.  Bring your spouse and/or a friend to share the fun.

  1. Fill out the 2015 Reservation/Souvenir Order Sheet and make out a check for the total amount payable to “Trona Alumni Association.”

If you are married to an alumni,  please fill out a separate reservation sheet for each person with your class year indicated.  Your tickets, and any souvenirs you order will be available for pick-up with your class.

  1. Mail the 2015 Reservation/Souvenir Order Sheet and check to the following address:

Barbara Sorges
TAA Treasurer
416 Dewalt Ave.
Ridgecrest, CA 93555


This cutoff date is firm….registrations/orders will not be accepted after this date.

Ron Dill

Ronald Dill – Class of 1961

Ronald Douglas Dill died Saturday, April 18 at Ridgecrest Healthcare Center. He was 72.

Ronald was born Sept. 16, 1942, in Pontiac Mich. He joined the U.S. Army in 1961 after graduating from Trona High School and served in the Army for eight years. In 1976 he and his wife, Angela, moved to Trona, where he worked as a heavy equipment operator for International Minerals and Chemical from 1978 to 2004 when he retired.