Baumgartner Vaughan column: DHS Forever, with Lougee’s daughter

Apr. 20, 2014 @ 05:14 PM

Bobby Lougee loved to socialize. Even when age made it harder to get around, Lougee kept it up because his old friends appreciated his efforts. He liked it, too, of course. Lougee, who died Memorial Day weekend 2013, was a World War II veteran, a Marine, a good friend to many, and a man who remembered a time in Durham when you could get six hot dogs for a quarter. His mom would send him downtown with 25 cents to get those hot dogs. Sometimes he chased the ice truck to gather up the ice chips that fell off. That was a long time ago now. But not so long that those memories are only found in stories. Lougee lived to 90, and some of his contemporaries are still around.

Every year, Lougee would come by the newsroom and ask us to let readers know about the upcoming Durham High Forever reunions. The reunions brought together former Durham High students who graduated during the war years, and by “the war,” I mean World War II.

Now one of Lougee’s daughters, Mollie Tompkins, has taken up her dad’s efforts. She called me recently to tell me that she’s organizing the reunion this year. It will be held May 3 here in Durham. It’s for DHS grads from 65 or more years ago, so the youngest will be about 83 years old.

It was Lougee’s hope that the reunions continue after his death so graduates could still fellowship with each other at least once a year, Tompkins told me. “In fact, he was rather adamant about it,” she said. Tompkins hopes there will be same amount of interest in the reunions as the past eight years.

“This is the first reunion without Daddy, and believe me, he is sorely missed,” she said. “Many times I wish I could just ask Daddy one more question. He was very peculiar about the way he handled the administrative duties, and I just hope I can do them half as well.”

So if you knew Lougee back when he joined the Marines because it had the best uniform, or if you laughed at his jokes these past years, here’s how to continue his legacy. The Durham High Forever Reunion will be at noon May 3 at the Durham Hilton, 3800 Hillsborough Road. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., and costs $20 per person. If you have any questions, call Tompkins at 919-886-1876.

She’s doing this out of love for her late father.

“I know he’ll be looking down on us that Saturday morning and smiling knowing that his wish is being fulfilled by many people that love him,” Tompkins said.

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan may be reached at or 919-419-6563. Follow on Twitter: @dawnbvaughan.