The following article appeared in the March 15, 2001 issue of the Kaukauna Times

KHS graduate to arrive at class reunion in style
Lettau plans to bike 2001 miles from Washington

By Chris Baker
Staff Reporter

His love of biking has turned into a quest to reach Kaukauna in time for his 50th high school reunion this summer.

Ken Lettau, Kaukauna High School Class of 1951, will trek from North Bend, Wash., to Kaukauna on a bike to celebrate with the rest of his classmates. The Kaukauna High School Alumni Association's rally is June 16 at Van Abel's in Hollandtown. Anniversary classes will gather Friday night for pre-rally parties.

After graduating from KHS, Lettau worked in and around the Fox Cities for a couple of years and met his wife of almost 48 years, Pat (Elstad) at the Institute of Paper Chemistry. After they were married, the couple headed west and lived in California, Oregon, and, Richland, Wash., since 1968. The Lettaus have raised six children including a set of identical twin sons.

Lettau retired as a contract administrator for a large general contractor in 1996.

He said it was then when he got to thinking about attending his reunion on a bicycle.

"I like to travel, I like to ride and it would surely be different," he said. "How many guys my age have you heard about who ride 2001 miles to their 50th high school reunion?"

Lettau started training by riding about the local countryside. He also came across a book by Fred A. Birchmore about his 1935 bike ride called "Around The World On A Bicycle."

"I called Fred in 1998 and talked to him at his home in Athens, Ga.," Lettau said. "He was in his late 80s and still cycling."

In 1998, Lettau was found to have fast acting prostate cancer and within weeks had a radical prostatectonomy. Being a born-again Christian, he had intended to use this trip to witness to the infinite and amazing grace of God to his classmates and to anyone who crossed his path in the endeavor. The operation was a success and his cancer readings all but disappeared for more than a year before showing a rapid rise once more. Last year, he underwent 34 radiation treatments and started continuing hormone therapy. Through all this, he has remained active and continued to be able to pursue his many activities. Presently, the treatments are keeping his readings tolerable.

"No casual acquaintance would believe the truth of the above things in my life to look at me and follow me around," he said.

One of his twin sons, Randy, who resides in North Bend, made plans early to ride with him. His grandson Joe, who lives in Richland, is the third member of the group.

"It will be very interesting to look at the three-generational perspectives as we review our separate diaries later," Lettau said.

The trip will begin in North Bend, go through Richland, then head east through the remainder of Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin for a total of 2001 miles in the year 2001.

"Actually it will be 2011 (miles) but that's close enough," Lettau said.

The group is planning to average 70 miles per day on the trip, which should last 30 days, Lettau said.

Republished with permission from Fox Cities Newspapers, Appleton, Wisconsin, ©2001

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