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Noted local family reunites for a special anniversary

Top, the Alton family poses for a picture in 1964, from left: Tom Alton III, Roy Alton, Barb Alton Stein, Joyce Alton Pell, Brian Alton, Tom Pell, Roger Pell, Jeff Pell, Hadley Pell, Clara Alton, Joan Alton, Steve Fuqua, Betty Fuqua, Laura Fuqua Haendle and Jack Fuqua. Bottom, the family posed for an updated picture, from left: Tom Alton III, Barbara Alton Stein, Allison Pell, Brian Alton, Tom Pell, Jeff Pell, Alexandra Pell, Steve Fuqua, Betty Alton Fuqua and Laura Fuqua Haendle.

Dreams were made and memories relived as grandchildren of Roy and Clara Alton reunited in River Falls last weekend, July 19-20, with one family member biking across the U.S. for the reunion.

The cousins hadn’t all been together since their grandparents’ wedding anniversary 50 years ago in River Falls.

Roy and Clara Alton have since died and the cousins have moved across the U.S. and started their own families.

Brian Alton, son of Tom Alton, grew up in River Falls and decided to reunite his family. 

A number of family members from different generations got together at Kinni Creek Lodge in River Falls, including seven cousins with their spouses and children.

Their 91-year-old aunt Betty Sloan, formerly Betty Alton, was also there to celebrate.

“All of us feel a special affinity to River Falls,” said Brian Alton. “I have real found memories of a small-town feeling of community and friendliness that is still a part of this town.”

Relatives of the Alton family eagerly greeted each other at the lodge with smiles and hugs, as they shared memories from years past.

Brian Alton uncovered old pictures of his grandparents and smiled at the distant memories.

Brian Alton’s grandparents, Roy and Clara Alton, lived in River Falls for many years.

They raised their children, Betty, Tom, Joyce, and Joan in their Elm Street home.

Roy Alton worked at Lund’s Hardware; Clara Alton taught at Greenwood Elementary School.

During the family’s reunion last weekend, the group shared special memories. They even recreated some old memories by going on a pontoon ride like they did 50 years ago.

Family members traveled across the country for the reunion. 

Cousin Jeff Pell trekked across country from Lodi, Calif. to River Falls on bicycle.

His journey spanned about 2,000 miles. It took 65 days.

“I’ve had this dream for 35 years that I’ve wanted to bicycle coast to coast,” said Pell. “If you’re a bicyclist, it’s on many people’s to-do lists.”

For the rest of the story and more pictures, please see the July 24 print River Falls Journal.