• Last modified 693 days ago (Sept. 23, 2020)


Class of ’60

High school sweethearts living in South Dakota

Staff writer

Class of 1960 high school sweethearts Sue Summervil and Dennis Navrat have lived in England, North Dakota, and South Dakota over their years as a real estate agent and college art professor.

Dennis went to Kansas State University right after high school, while Sue spent two years at Emporia State Teacher’s College.

After they married in 1962, Sue switched to KSU.

Dennis got his bachelor’s degree in arts and humanities in 1964. After that, it was Wichita State University for the couple so Dennis could work on a master’s degree in fine arts.

It wasn’t the next step the couple expected. He’d attended K-State on an ROTC program and expected to be commissioned. It was the start of the Vietnam War.

“I failed the hearing test,” Dennis said.

His hearing had been damaged during training at Fort Riley.

The couple moved to Dickinson, North Dakota, where Dennis became an art instructor at Dickinson State University.

While the couple lived at Dickinson, Sue enrolled at the university. That led to a 38-year career in real estate.

They were in Dickinson 22 years, except for a year they spent in England as part of an exchange program where Dennis taught at Southport College of Art. The family, which now included three children, traveled throughout Europe and saw North Africa as well.

“It was a great experience for our children, they were 6, 8, and 10 when we lived in England,” Sue said.

In 1989, Dennis became chairman of the art department of the University of South Dakota at Vermillion. He was there until he retired in 2005.

Sue transferred her real estate license to South Dakota and in 1998 was named real estate agent of the year. She retired in 2014.

“We moved down to a development right along the Missouri river and have enjoyed being down here,” Sue said.

They are eight miles from Vermillion.

Retirement has given them time to travel and spend time with their children, grandchildren, and friends.

“We’re working our way back home,” Sue Navrat said.

The 44-member class of 1960 does not plan a reunion this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A joint reunion with the class of 1961 is being contemplated because venues to gather will probably be limited next year, Sue said.

Class members were friends with the next class down and she expects a joint reunion to be fun.

Of the 44 who graduated together, 19 are now dead, Sue said.

Dennis said Marion High School’s teachers were very involved with the students when they were in high school. That made a difference in the graduates’ success.

Classmates have attended reunions every five years and enjoyed telling stories and learning more about each another, Sue said.

Last modified Sept. 23, 2020