FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – In mid-October, Hildegard Hofacker and Denver Sarver met for lunch inside the halls of Electric Works. Hofacker, who is 95 years-old, was Sarver’s 3rd grade teacher at what was then South Calhoun Elementary School during the 1959-1960 school year.
Neither knew all those years ago that their paths were destined to cross again.
In 2020, Hofacker, whose father retired from General Electric in 1965, was watching a PBS documentary about GE and its transformation to Electric Works when a familiar name caught her attention. Denver Sarver, who also retired from GE and was a fierce proponent for Electric Works, was featured in the documentary.
“The name Denver Sarver came on and I thought Denver Sarver, I had him in 3rd grade, you know you don’t meet a Denver Sarver very often,” said Hofacker.
The long-retired teacher admits “I don’t have any high tech at home” so she enlisted the help of her tech-savvy niece, Leesa Kern, to track Sarver down.
“It was just so sweet, she said ‘I wish I could congratulate him on his success,'” said Kern.
“I wanted to see how big he was, what his vocation was, and what he’s doing now,” Hofacker said.
Kern found Sarver on Facebook and eventually connected with him.
The former teacher and her 3rd grade student, now in his 70’s, got together for tea and cookies, they went out to lunch, and finally, in October, they spent an afternoon at Electric Works, the place that brought them back together all these years later. They marveled at the building and had lunch at Union Street Market.
Sitting together at a table, the two reminisced over yearbook photos and a newspaper clipping of their third-grade class that Sarver had saved.
“Just watching them interact, and share these memories, was amazing,” said Kern, holding back tears. “It was the best gift I could give.”
“Through life you’ll meet people who have an influence on you, and you’ll kind of lose track and forget about them, but sooner or later your paths will cross again and it’s fun to reminisce and see where each other went through the years,” Sarver said with a smile.
Kern says the Hofacker and Sarver will stay in touch and get together again in the future.