The Remember When . . . ? articles are compiled, researched, and written by Pete Gianopulos for Taft’s first newspaper, the Midway Driller, started in 1910.  Gianopulos can be reached at


(NOTE:  The series continues about my parents who both came from Greece and settled and lived the rest of their lives in Taft.  This information is from the writings of my brother, George Gianopulos, from a document that he wrote in 1994 called “Tom Gianopulos, Citizen of America – Citizen of Taft, a Biographical Sketch,” from George’s book called “Wake up Eddie for a Dime” and from my memory.)

    Tom Gianopulos, the loyal Taftian, proud community and proud of his adopted country, now became a proud father.  Three children were added to the Gianopulos household.  His eldest son, Pete, would be educated in all the local schools and the university, serve in the Army during World War II and would return to Taft to spend a career in secondary education.  He would also hold elected positions in Kern County, the Taft City Council and would be Taft’s Mayor in the mid sixties.  Another son , George, also a product of the local schools would go on to various universities, serve in the Army in the Korean War and spend some time in public education as a teacher.  However, he left teaching early and went on the complete a career in America’s unmanned space program.  One of his greatest achievements was being the Director of Mission Control for the first and second Mars orbiters and Landers. Tom’s daughter, Margaret, would settle in Fresno, California, marry, raise a family and travel throughout the world. 

 Reader’s Responses

From Judy (Webb) Hawks, Class of 1954, from Port Townsend, WA.
    Pete:  Can you give us the graduation years of the inductees?  Thanks a bunch,
 Judy Hawks
The third annual Hall of Fame inductees for Saturday, April 25 are:
Robert Barrett, Class of 1958; Jeanne Cooper, Class of 1946;  Glenn Dolder Black, Class of 1939;  Dennis Fimple, Class of 1958; Jane Kinsey, Class of 19 ?) and Dr. Duane Townsend, Class of 1952.

From Eva Jean (Jeanne)(Shank) Williams, Class of 1941, from Spokane, Washington
    Wow!!!  What a celebration.  Wish I could be there.  A message to all alums from Taft HS and college.  Keep up the good work.  My sincere best wishes to all of you.
    Does anyone remember Miss Baer (Home Econ) or Dorothy Boring?  They were two of my favorites. 

From Steve Willis, Class of 1964, from Palmdale, California
    Pete, I am class of ‘64 and was on the track team as a freshman with Sam.  I’m sure he ran at least a 9.7 that year. Also he went more 24’ in the broad jump. Sam won the broad jump at the West Coast relays that year as well. He was amazing to watch. We also got to see Bill Mackey from EB that year. They had some great races. I think Sam won all of them too!
    Steve Willis
    Palmdale, Calif.

From Dave Hollingsworth, Class of 1954, from Temecula, California
    For the record ———For Workman’s request for track records - I think I still hold the school record for the 120 yard (110 meters) high hurdle record which I ran twice in 1954 - Once in the Kern relays (to better the record of Bob Mathias) and once in the Fresno relays (to beat Rafer Johnson in the finals) the time was 14.3 seconds which was the top time in the country in 1954.  I also ran the 70 yard High Hurdles in the “B” class at 8.9 seconds in 1952 which broke the school record at that time.
    I did notice that when I was in the school that at some time the time got increased to 14.4 seconds.  I don’t know how that happened.
    Just a note - while at USC, I was the high point man producing points in the hurdles, sprints, and relays.
    Our coach in those days was Jess Mortensen who was 74 and 0 in dual meets.
    Thanks,   Dave Hollingsworth

From  Mary (Druliard) Boston, Class of 1942
    Thanks for the news about Preston and Helen’s reply.  I believe Helen’s last name was AGEE not Abbot.  Helen, Louise Holt Geno, Pat Cooper, Virginia Dana Boyd and I have remained friends all these years (good, clean living I guess) except that Pat Cooper passed away suddenly after our 50th class reunion.
    Please keep the Newsletters coming.  I enjoy them and look forward to receiving them.  Thank you !!  Mary Druliard Boston, Class of 1942
    (NOTE:  My apologies Helen (Agee) Larson)

From Paul Masonave, Class of 1958, from Sonoma, California
    Hi name is Paul Mays, class of 58..Janice  smith forwarded me your newsletter, and I enjoyed reading it very much..please add me to your mailing list its..thank you..i came to Taft from Avenal in the fall of 55, graduated in 58 and from Taft jock in that point I moved to the bay area, and my father was transferred to so shortly, other than 2 reunions, I have spent no time in Taft..was at the 50th and spend most of my time with tom Herman, who my best friend in hs..he beat me by 4 or 5 votes for student body pres.. I have lived in Sonoma since 1982, and love it..i got the award for having the youngest child still in school..a daughter, 8th grade, 14 in may, my one and only, and the absolute love of my life..she is with me half time, which gives me time to catch up and rest in between..she’s so bright, deep, strong beautiful..comes home and does her homework on her own, and it’s always been that motivated and already interested in Stanford..what a blessing to have one like her at this point in my life..she does make it easier, and, she is definitely a teenager!  I look forward to receiving your newsletter and although we didn’t speak at the reunion, I was thrilled to see and hear you speak..
    Sincerely, Paul born in Taft 10.30.1940

From Roger Moore, Class of 1958     
    Pete:      Could I be added to recipients for your news letter. My name is Roger Moor (Class of 58), and yes you were my counselor. Am proud that after being a marginal student that I went on to earn an AA, AS & BS. Certified to teach grades 13/14, returned from the Navy after 27 years, and was Director of EH&S at San Francisco State Univ. I finally retired the second time from Sacramento State Univ as an Industrial Hygienist.     Roger

From Virginia (Vlasnic) Bennett, Class of 1942, from Northern California
    Pete, Bud and I just recently visited in Taft and were pleased to see it is still a very active town. We visited with Jack Vaughn, 1942 and Fern Garret 44 .  We both enjoy your weekly news. Though we might see  you at breakfast as we stayed at the Caprice Motel. No luck you were thereto  early.  Thanks again for keeping us posted on news.  Virginia

From Neil McCabe, Class of 1958, from Chico, California
    Hi Pete,
    Regarding my long-time friend and class of ‘58 classmate John Hromyak:  his memorial service will be 10 a.m., March 6, at St. Malachy Cahtholic Church, 407 West E Street, Tehachapi.  The church is at the corner of E Street and South Mill.  
    I’ve been enjoying reading your family history.  Keep those newsletters coming!
    Neil McCabe