Lauper Family Reunion - 2003


an account by Claudia Lauper Bushman

July 5th, 2003, dawned bright and clear, quite warm, but not too hot. It was the perfect day for the Lauper Family Reunion held in Lehi, Utah, a suitable venue as it was the place that Emma Wissing and Emile Lauper met and married and their first son Serge James Lauper was born.

The site was the Lehi Community Center, at 441 East 200 South, the beautiful local city swimming pool, with a multi-story waterslide, playground, and a covered pavilion with four long tables where those not swimming sat, chatted, and admired a variety of babies. The family had EXCLUSIVE use of the pool and waterslide from 11 AM to 1 PM, and Laupers of many names climbed the high tower to go down the long slide. These were really marvelous facilities.

The events were under the supervision of the Marcel Lauper family, and Aunt Frances was there superintending a large flock of her family including Sue and Don Ellison and sons Eric and David, there to see their son and brother Marc as well as attend the reunion. Marc seemed very much present although he had been in the hospital for 51 days recovering from a bone marrow transplant. His wife Yvonne and the six children were also there, saying that they were encouraged because the day before had been a good day. Don Ellison gave a report on Marc later, giving his website, which updates his condition and gives instructions for contributions.

Also from the Marc Lauper family were Margaret and LaMont Wardle with daughters Beckie - with son Timmy, Allie - with new husband Shane Myler, and Whitney. The late Diane Smith's sons Jeff and Roger were there. John and Lory, who were pretty much in charge, were there with daughters Julia, a Yale sophomore, Joy, and Joanna, who later performed. Janelle and David Shields came with their four boys Brian, Nicholas, Marc, and Jarrod.

Lory seemed to be the main manager, setting out the Colonel's best fried chicken, hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, cold drinks, and later fruit and pie. John was the MC, announcing the events of the day: lunch at 1, kids' games at 2, a family meeting at 3 with introductions, a missionary report, a genealogy report, some reminiscences from Auntie Vi, who was there with Linda and David and their David and Lanae and kids, JoAnn and Paul Miner and their Lori Miner.

Alice's family was represented by all three kids, Dennis with Shirley and Barbara, Wilma and Norman with Karen and Ben and their Katherine and Jacob, Brad and Heather and their Abbie, Jared and Julie, and Eric with Karen and their children Greg, Kristin, Mark, Chris, Elizabeth, Jeff.

Serge's family had Georgia and Crawford with their Stephen and Nancy and Stevie, Kathie and Erica, Carole and daughters Merrick and Landon. Claudia and Richard had half their family, more than ever before, with children Margaret LaBianca and her daughters Claudia and Frances, Serge and Patty and their Peter and Shelley, and Ben with his children Reeve and Gwyneth. Paulie and Gib were there with Sloan, who has a new job, and Laura, who has recently passed her Ph.D. oral examination in medieval history at the University of Utah. Bonnie and Glade, who came later, had with them Stephanie, Jay and Sharlene with Timmy and Sophie, Natalie and Tommy with their three Andrea, Alicia and new baby Carlos Kenneth, and Jeanette and Matt who will soon be moving to Ohio for medical school.

The Ralph family had David and Judy, Michael, Julie with Cassandra and Brianna, Troy with friend Nicole, Adam and Aaron. They had cousin Rustin Van Katwyk in tow, the only one of his immediate family there.

Another thin family was Marc D. Lauper, the only rep of the Dennis line, who announced two new grandchildren in the last two weeks.

I will try to correct attendance here according to Lory's attendance list. I took notes, but did not necessarily manage to see everyone. Lory said that 124 people had responded and planned to come, a group which included 4 visitors. If so, that may be the largest group that has ever attended.

[Auntie Vi's attendence list counted 121 family members plus 5 visitors. That is indeed a record.]

The pictures [photographs] recorded some of the changing scene. A picture of first cousins, which is the 3rd generation of the family, showed a very good supply. We figured that everyone was there but Rica Van Katwyk, Karen Lauper, and Diane Smith. Then the male first cousins David, John, Marc, Dennis and Eric assumed the traditional male, bent-elbow, Lauper pose, looking a little older than the original one with Emile and the uncles. Time does fly. Then the next generation of cousins was photographed, maybe about 33 of them. These pictures were of blood descendants, and some of the spouses, who are very much part of the family, felt a little left out. The children played some games, tug o' war and races, the marshmallows being liberally distributed.

The family welcomed home four missionaries, Jeff Smith, Rustin Van Katwyk, and Adam and Aaron Lauper. [How many are still in the field? I should list them.]

Linda Peterson gave a general report on genealogy. She has found a new cousin from another branch of the family and will provide information of new names on a disc on demand. She is learning to read Danish to carry on this research.

Auntie Vi talked briefly of Lehi memories. She had visited the area when she was 15, coming north to pick strawberries, even driving the truck around. She was able to visit Aunt Alice Phillips, her father's much beloved sister at 188 North 1st North. She found the new parts of Lehi unrecognizeable, but she still remembered the city of the past.

Michael Lauper spoke of the Lauper Family Library which he is collecting, books and manuscripts by family members, to be loaned out to other family members. He welcomes submissions and suggestions.

David Peterson, Jr. discussed next year's reunion, to be under the direction of the Viola family. The plans are still taking shape because this next year all the Madsens will be invited, uniting the branches of the family back for three generations. The Petersons are scouting locations and will send information soon.

The Lauper talent show featured Joanna Lauper in her red, white, and blue outfit doing her baton routine. Then Katherine Talbot played "It's a Small World" on her flute. Ally Wardle's husband Shane Myler jumped through a hoop held aloft by Drew Hooper and did some other impressive gymnastics. Finally three cub scouts under the direction of Lanae Hooper did a skit about "The Ugliest Man in the World." John then thanked Lory for doing all the reunion work which had just paralyzed him, although the whole Marcel troup was certainly in there trooping.

People were pleased to see the pie with whipped cream set out and the big plates of cut up fruit. I asked Lory how she felt about the reunion which she had worked so hard on. She said that it was very rewarding to her to see the cousins altogether there reminiscing. Each reunion she learned more Lauper history and came to appreciate the family even more.

Come Again!

Please return to this site for regular updates and more items of family interest.

Upcoming items will include:

  • more reunion schedule details
  • more and better pictures
  • more items of family history
  • registration to attend the reunion
Check the What's New page for a listing of what has changed.