(This story is part of a continuing series about a collection of slides that Bob Panter gave to Peninsula Community Library in 2022. Read how it came about here, and check out other vintage Old Mission Peninsula School photos here. -jb)
Today’s installment of “The Panter Collection,” as I like to call it, is a photo of Mr. Galligan drinking coffee with the guys in the OMPS cafeteria. There are several of these types of photos in the collection, so I’m guessing this was a regular occurrence where Mr. G sat down with the bus drivers for a cup of coffee, maybe after they’d delivered the kids to school in the morning.
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That’s Mr. Galligan on the left, of course. This was likely taken in the mid-1960s when he was the school principal. I believe that’s Norm Crampton in the back, Bernie Carroll in front of him, Bill Welhusen in the back right, and I’m thinking that’s Mr. Panter in the front on the right (drinking a carton of milk – way to go). I wish I could see who was in the middle of them. Maybe Ed Brown? Read more about Ed here.
Except for Mr. Galligan and Mr. Panter, all of these guys were bus drivers. Mr. Welhusen was my bus driver in Old Mission for the entire time I went to OMPS, but I got to know the other drivers, all of whom became iconic figures in my childhood. That’s what happens when you live in a small farming community like the Old Mission Peninsula.
I mentioned in this photo of Mrs. Hilt’s Girls Basketball Team that I thought Mr. Panter worked at Home Depot or Lowe’s. I can now confirm that he works at Lowe’s, because when I was in there a few days ago, I spotted him in the paint department! Thanks for being a willing photo participant, Mr. Panter.
We had a great chat about the photo collection and his time at OMPS. He said he began teaching at the school in 1963 and became principal when Mr. Galligan left in the late 1960s (1969?). According to this Record-Eagle story of August 27, 1968, Mr. Galligan was the principal that year.
Below is the Traverse City Record-Eagle clipping about Mr. Panter joining the school in 1963 (Mr. Thatcher was new that year, too.) He taught fifth grade, along with Mrs. Greene, whom I had for fifth grade – read more about her here.
I’m sure the other teachers in the story – including Mrs. DeWitt, Mrs. Robinett, Mrs. Cook, Mrs. DeYoung, Mrs. Van Vorst, Mrs. Elhart, Mr. Matson, Mrs. Edgecomb, Mrs. Hilt and the rest – are familiar to you, as well.
I started Kindergarten in 1965, so I had Mr. Galligan for the first few years, but Mr. Panter was my principal for the rest of my time at OMPS. By the time I made it to the upper hallway, the school went to sixth grade, and then I moved to what is now West Middle School for seventh, eighth and ninth grades (a culture shock!). Previously, OMPS went to eighth grade.
He mentioned that he and Bob Lindsey (our janitor – remember his giant ring of keys?) took a lot of the photos that are in The Panter Collection. Mr. Panter remembered his time at OMPS fondly, and mentioned that he and his wife Joanne (who taught at the high school) bought the house on the Samuelson farm on Bluff Road.
Tim and I ran into Merry Samuelson several years ago out in Leland – read more about that here. Also, Mr. Panter said the Samuelson barn is featured in Evelyn Johnson’s “Barns of Old Mission Peninsula” book – stay tuned for more about that barn.
Mr. Panter also mentioned that the buses for the Old Mission Peninsula School District were always clean and well cared for. Annexation of OMPS to the Traverse City Area Public School (TCAPS) system happened in 1968. For a time, we had both OMPS and TCAPS buses carrying us to and fro. Eventually, it became all TCAPS buses.
Add your own memories about OMPS and this photo/these guys in the comments section below. Or better yet, write them into a story and send it to me – [email protected].
And, as always, feel free to correct anything I’ve gotten wrong in the story – that especially goes for you, Mr. Panter!
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb