Ranger Exes Memorial-TX - RHS Class of 1960 Class Newsletter-2000

Reunion 2000 Isn’t Barbara Crabb’s enthusiasm catching? She writes like she talks-with lots of exclamation points! The memorial idea has been enthusiastically endorsed, but I will let Barbara explain that in her letter. Many classmates who were not going to be able to come to the reunion last September and even some who were there asked me if I would please write a newsletter summing it up so that everyone will feel up-to-date. I will try. I was so busy doing things that I almost forgot to visit. By using the 1960 annual, I am going to try to remind myself what I learned in inviting all to come to the reunion and in visiting those who were there. Don Adams is one of us who remained in Ranger to farm with his wife Charlotte. I saw him at the game to say hi, and I was glad that he came to the dinner and party. Last winter when Ranger made the news when it suffered a rash of arsons, the greatest loss was Don’s hay barn stacked with recently purchased(uninsured) Colorado alfalfa for resale. Jerry Anderson is the chief financial officer for North Tree Fire International and also a retired lieutenant colonel in the army. He lives in Salinas, CA, with his wife Karen. He travels a lot for business. Although he was not able to come to the reunion, he definitely intends to be in Ranger for the dedication for the memorial. Walter Blackwell is still in Carrizo Springs, along with his wife Candy, where they have lived most of their adult lives. He currently works on post-graduation job placement for special education students. He was one of the big pushers behind those of us who planned and executed the reunion. Jimmy Don Burnett works at the IGA grocery in town. I know it is almost the only grocery left in town. Adams and a convenience store or two exist. Anyone remember the Piggly Wiggly? I laughed when it was mentioned in movies like Driving Miss Daisy. I talked with him during visits to Ranger while Daddy was sick. He is one of us who married locally--Gay Nell Blackwell Nancy Cantwell is in North Richland Hills. She has been in the Metroplex most of her adult life. She is the office manager for an orthopedic surgeon. Some of you will remember her husband Horst Krause from Ranger Junior College; he is now retired from teaching. She was juggling a family celebration with her dad’s birthday party on the same night as our dinner so I saw her only at the game. Don Chatham was the last one of us that I found. He came all the way from eastern Tennessee! He and his wife Jeannie have a son living in the Metroplex so he could make the trip serve two purposes. Don said he was a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, but then admitted to being the supervisor of a Christian school’s maintenance program. He remembered with enthusiasm his senior year at RHS and having been on the basketball team. He related that his year in Ranger was the only time he had had the opportunity to play school sports. Thomas Chrestman (discovered by Mac Jacoby through the magic of tracing lost class-mates on the Internet) made the trip from his home in Glide, Oregon. He was the one who traveled the farthest and was awarded the prize of a toy pickup truck for his effort. Tom and his wife Jeannine stay busy making and selling handcrafted wooden gift items. Their business, Arty Woods, Inc., was started in 1985. He brought some of his work with him, and it was very easy to see why their business has been such a success. Barbara Crabb had us remembering 1959-60 by wearing a cheerleader uniform just like the one she had worn her senior year. The white jumper and megaphone (that many of us autographed) were new, but the maroon R on the front and the small gold megaphone necklace were the 40-year-old originals. She came armed with pictures of her daughter’s wedding on Padre Island as well as proof (while fishing in the Gulf) of her big catch, a 63-pound stingray, and her huge, white Akita named Cojo (short for Cotton-eyed Joe). Her husband Don Delany is very supportive and patient with all her involvement with her RHS friends. Barbara Craig Graff an elementary teacher, may have had the most unique excuse for missing. I spoke with her in Odessa in July. She wasn’t sure she could make it because it would be the final days of her campaign for county commissioner in Ector County. She had decided to take on the do-nothing incumbent. Way to go! I had forgotten about her missionary experiences in Latin America, but it was fun to share perceptions of life there with her. Norma Gayle Emfinger surprised me in August by walking into my dad’s room at the Eastland hospital, where she works in the administrative office. I didn’t recognize her at first. I said, “But you used to be blonde.” To which she responded, “We all used to be something.” Great comeback! She and her husband Fielding Winchester, also from the college, live in Cisco. They had a conflict with two reunions, hers and his, on the same night so they made a special effort to be with us late Saturday night. Their daughter Melissa lives and works in Saudi Arabia while Fielding continues to work in Yemen. Bobby Fron and his wife Carole live in Roanoke and also own and operate the For Keeps Shoppe, an antique store on Main Street in Grapevine. They left Ranger with a van loaded with local antiques. Bobby has retired twice from computer companies. I wonder, Bobby, would you be able to come over and explain why my computer keeps telling me “illegal operation” and promptly shutting off? Pat Graham Savage recently had a promotion within her company, Kinetic Concepts, Inc., manufacturer of medical devices and specialty hospital beds in San Antonio. She has worked there five years as executive assistant to the vice-president of information services and recently underwent intensive training for her new position as a help desk analyst. She is a shirttail relative of mine, and I spent Christmas Eve in Southlake (part of the Metroplex) with four generations of her family. What fun! Pat has two sons, Jay and Joel. Jay and his wife Sandy live in Carrollton with their three children: Donovan, Jared, and Christina. Joel is single and recently moved to Austin from Phoenix. Jerry Don Hamilton was one of the harder ones to locate. Just when I thought I’d found him, the trail would turn cold. Then on February 2 just before taking this to the printer, I found him in a way I would never have expected. He has been in Cheyenne, WY for almost 20 years. He retired there recently when the P.I.E. trucking firm was sold to another company. That was the last and most recent of several firms Jerry Don had driven for. Since he already had enough years in to retire, he did. He and his wife Barbara Wood have one son, who is a probation officer in Utah. Oh yes, Barbara is Charles David Wolford’s cousin. Now if I had just known that fact sooner, then this process would have been ever so much easier. Rozelle Hatton, another girl who married someone met locally, always is so sweet and appreciative of what others do to make these things happen. She and her husband Joe Sklenar (she met him at Lake Leon while he was based at Dyess AFB) have recently moved since his retirement from Oklahoma to Kansas where he grew up. They are building their dream house. Her mother, now almost 97, was in the hospital at the same time as my father so I saw a lot of her sister Linda. Nina Henry is a very successful realtor in Lubbock. She had to be there for the weekend open houses and to assist her clients in finding their dream home. She regrets having missed our reunion. Sadly, her husband of 35 years, Robert Tramel, died three years ago. She is fortunate to have both her daughters and two grandchildren there in Lubbock. Mike Herrington (okay, that’s me, but let’s keep it in alphabetical order) had just moved to Fort Worth from Omaha/southwestern Iowa where he had been for 23 years. Part of the reason for the move was to help pull off the 40th anniversary reunion. He plans on teaching four more years before retirement. He kept showing off pictures of his three children and three grandchildren as though no one else had any! Nedra Hodges Cummings is in a place with an interesting name: Rhododendron, Oregon. The last-minute letter to her (we were guaranteed that the address was current) came back stamped “No Receptacle for Mail.” Oh come on, knock on the door for Pete’s sake! I was told that she is raising a large family of children. Mac Jacoby, who lives in Allen (also in the Metroplex) with his wife Marie and is retired from AT&T, was a godsend with his computer savvy. Their talents are not limited to computers because the pictures that they showed us of the awesome handmade woodcrafts they create and sell prove it. Very talented couple! On his computer he did everything from using the Internet to find elusive persons to printing address labels. He has done wonderful things with the Ranger Exes’ web page. He took an idea from there to set up the most heart-warming memorial table for the six of our classmates who have already died. That, among other things, gave Barbara the impetus to take the bull by the horns and do something permanent. Check out the reunion photos and other stuff. See web page . Richard Jolly is president of Paramount Investments Corporation in Arlington. He and his wife Jo Ann live in nearby Grand Prairie. He was extremely helpful to me in getting some of the more difficult addresses. Richard’s smiling face brightened up the community building. He has been a regular at our reunions. Rumor has it that his family is looking into buying Lake Leon property. Sharron O’Donnell Jones, according to Marinell, was killed in a plane crash along with her husband several years ago while return- ing from their son’s funeral. That sounds not only awful but also incredulous. If anyone finds out more, please let us know. Karen Killingsworth (Bedford in the Mid-Cities) called me both before and after the reunion. She teaches elementary school and recently staged the wedding for her daughter. Both she and her husband Don McBride, who works for a bank, planned on coming at least on Saturday but became very ill with some bug that had unfortunate timing. Sally Mendez and her husband Russ Ward (another man from RJC) live in a small community called Rendon but have a Burleson mailing address and are a local phone call. Both are now special needs bus drivers for the Mansfield ISD. Their two children are teachers. They have three grandchildren (all good in sports) to spoil. A conflict made being at the reunion not possible. We had so enjoyed Sally’s coming to the much smaller one back in 1994. Russ has just had successful surgery to correct a brain aneurysm. Scary!
Homer Montgomery will always be just Homer to us. He and his wife Donna came late and all dressed up. It had something to do with a political event in their home area of Valley View near Denton. He is a certified public accountant, a position that keeps him up to his elbows in tax returns and extensions. Seeing one of Homer’s twin sisters, Emma Lou, and her husband Clarence Mayer (also from RJC) was a special treat. Everyone had been encouraged to bring memorabilia to the reunion. From Midland she brought a number of Carol Sue’s high school-related keepsakes and set up a special memorial for her. By the way, for anyone who doesn’t know, Homer switched to his middle name years ago. It’s Clay. Jimmy Needham is a little hard to know about for sure, but his mail is never returned from the address we have. At one time (1975) I knew he was living and working in Hempstead and possibly owned a movie theater there. Johnny Pirkle is someone whom I want to mention in this section, even though it has been almost three years since he died in a horrific traffic accident. It touched me deeply that his mother told Mac that my opened letter about our planning a reunion was found on his kitchen table after he died. Judy Ramsey Doggett was also hard to track down, but I found her! Her good friend Alice Brown Jumper (I got her address from Alfred) was willing to make contact for us. Several days later Judy called me. We had a very pleasant, long chat. She is here in the Metroplex. Glenda Rains Ehninger may be the biggest mystery. She is here in the Metroplex and is married. With the help of Jim Robinson, who is an expert at reading maps, I found the house at the address where Glenda lives and left a note on the door. Gail Rapp Hagar, who lives in Justin (between Wichita Falls and Fort Worth) and works as a hotel reservation clerk just north of DFW, did a comic stand up act that had us all in stitches. She played the part of an older woman who returns to her high school homecoming and comments about those changes in her appearance since her teen years. I think it was called “Am I Still Cute?” Yes, Gail, you’re still cute! Sue Rodgers Stuard was there, and she and her husband R.L. Stuard did not have to drive very far since they live out toward the old Ranger Drive-in. Sue looked very nice, but I must admit that I did not immediately recognize my partner for the “Put Your Little Foot” dance we did way back on Kids’ Day. She is a nurse and commutes to Fort Worth to work for Vencor Southwest, a rehab clinic. Alfred Rogers is undoubtedly one of the strongest supporters of getting together in our advancing years. He always brings a camera with which he takes great pictures and then generously shares them with others. He is still working for the University of Texas library, but I am not sure I understand it well enough to explain it. It has something to do with both cataloging and purchasing (I think). His job meant that we could ask him to get the Class of 1960’s donated autographed copy of the new novel Winning (loosely about RHS’s march to the state championship in football) into the UT library. He says that it has been cross-referenced in the catalog under Ranger, Warden, and high school football. Way to go! Thanks, Al! Douglas Rogers came for the formal class pictures. I didn’t recognize him right away either, but as we talked I realized who it was. He and his wife Sharon Brown moved to Stephenville, where she teaches. She survived a horrible automobile accident on the Lake Leon road a few years ago on the way to work so they wanted to eliminate the commute. Douglas took early medical retirement from a grocery store he co-owned and operated in Brownwood, and he worked part time at a auto supply store in Eastland after re- turning to Eastland County. Mary Kay Rush, who began signing her name with only the initial K, was not able to make it for two very valid reasons. One was that she had a mandatory ISD workshop in Arlington Saturday morning where she teaches pre-kindergarten and did not want to fail to be at her stepdaughter Becky’s baby shower that evening. You do know that Mary Kay and Jackie Neeley have been married for several years. Mary Kay and I had several phone chats about the reunion. An interesting tidbit is that her son Joel Faulkenberry recently married a woman from the Ukraine, whom he met on the Internet. Marinell Shockey was another inspiration behind the reunion. At the alumni business meeting we saw her inducted as the new president of the association (She was treasurer for years). Our class presented her with an RHS mum and a card with some extra cash in appreciation of all her work and support. (The extra money will go toward funding a trip to visit her son in Las Vegas.) She is now in Lubbock, where her husband Jack Miller was transferred for five years to get another wholesale tire store off the ground and running. Its area includes most of Texas from I-20 north from Abilene including the Panhandle, much of eastern New Mexico and all the way west to El Paso. They have kept their house in Abilene and plan to return there. They, along with some friends, also took on the huge task of preparing our reunion dinner of barbeque with all the trimmings. Rita Sipes Franks didn’t make it this time, but she is still teaching elementary school in Irving, and I assume like all teachers having so much fun that she dreads the thought of retirement. Aunt Lillie, you wouldn’t believe the challenges in the classroom today! I wish chewing gum were even serious enough to worry about. Jimmie Stroud was widowed when Jackie Williams (who was on dialysis for six years) died about four years ago. I got a sweet note from Jimmie that Christmas, and I am so sorry that she didn’t come on out to the party. She surely could hear us. We weren’t exactly quiet in our celebration. Jimmie and I shared a story of when Miss Ballenger made me sit with her all day (fourth grade) because I kept talking to Jimmie. Her children are all in their 30’s now: Karrol, Richard, and Kamelia. She also has a foster daughter Chris and eight grandchildren at last count. Bill Stuart lives in Steamboat Springs, CO with his wife Kay. Nine years ago they left Dallas for the calmer life of this ski resort town in the northwest corner of Colorado. They own and operate a small grocery and wine market in this community about three hours from Denver. One of the teachers where I was teaching is from Strawn and remembers Bill and his brother when they lived there before Ranger. Bill told me by phone how much he regretted not having been able to come to our reunion. Rita Underwood, my beloved second cousin, was there from Springtown. Her husband Robert McLerran repairs computers. I wish Robert and I had known one another sooner, much less the fact that Springtown is a local metro phone call. Mac got his wife Marie to take a picture of Rita, Nellie Sue, him, and me because we’re all related. It’s a bit of stretching to include Nellie Sue, but her niece Sherry is married to my cousin Larry. I am kin to Frances Veale, too, but on the other side. Nellie Sue Vinson and her husband Terry Warren very recently relocated near the old Scranton school outside of Cisco. It allowed them to be closer to home but also close enough to Terry’s job as a salesman for an oilfield equipment firm to commute to Abilene. She still does a lot of substitute teaching and is as pretty as ever. Patsy Vinson is in Buffalo Gap, near Abilene. Her husband Jimmy Martin, I believe, is a policeman. For whatever reason she couldn’t make it but sent best wishes through some close friends. My recollection is that she is still working in Abilene. Voncille Wells Williamson works at the Western Manor nursing home along with Jimmie. I had hoped that both of them would drop by the community building that evening. Maybe they had to work. If you had been there, Voncille, I could have told the story from Hodges when you squealed because I showed you a baby sparrow, and then Mr. Rogers spanked me for bothering the girls. Charles White is in Ranger and does contract labor for the rural water systems of both Carbon and Morton Valley. In fact, the night of the reunion he had a plant emergency that kept him away. He says he hopes to make it to the next one.
Jerry Wilson, another Ranger farmer who keeps himself young by raising his second family, was indispensable in the preparation. He found the place and asked me to come and check it out. He even found a jukebox in an antique shop in Cisco and bought it for his home. Of course, he shared it with us to play 50’s records. He helped haul a lot of the borrowed furniture in his farm truck. Those two Wilson boys, Whitt and Matt, are so courteous and so polite and helpful. Jerry and Betsy must be very proud of them. In addition to that fact, you’d feel that you were in a time warp to see Whitt, who looks so much like his dad that you’d swear it was Jerry himself. By the way, several of our girls decided to make Betsy Wilson an honorary member of the Class of 1960. The above covers all of us who actually got our diplomas in May, 1960; but we all know how much we loved everybody that was a part of us and that, regardless of the reasons they weren’t at RHS that night when we graduated, they are forever a part of the Class of 1960. Five of these friends from our childhood came to this reunion. Donnie Chesnut and his wife Cindy, who live in his childhood home, were at the dinner. He describes himself as mostly retired. His son Vance does most of the mechanical work at his motorcycle repair shop. After the 1998 mailing about the plans for our 40th anniversary reunion, Donnie was the first to reply. Don’t forget how much he helped in 1990 and 1994 by providing us meeting places. I think 1990 set the style for great times. Robert Fergeson, like George Koenig, made it to the smaller reunion in 1994 but wasn’t able to come to this one. He was president of our class the first semester of our freshman year before his family moved to Texarkana. He and his wife Lynda Jo recently moved from Plano to their newly built home in Canton. He retired from being an accountant with Frito-Lay. I wonder if it’s necessary to count each individual chip when doing inventory. Bad joke. Whitt Hagaman, who is in Madisonville, still manages some of the old Hagaman ranch in Ranger. He was present at the exes’ business meeting to accept some award for the Hagaman family, but he must have had to take off early because we didn’t see him at the dinner. Charles Harper, who is still in New Jersey (I think), came to one of our other reunions in 1990 and/or 1994. That was too long ago for me to remember the details of his visit. Coming that far shows how the old hometown does have a pull on most of us. Walter Hutchins is someone that I have an apparently valid Dallas address for but that I haven’t heard from. Now I don’t know that I could find it, but I may just go looking for Walter some day when I have lots of free time. I remember when you sat behind me in government our senior year, Walter. Joyce Johnson Sawey, who was with us through our freshman year, is on my mailing list. She lives in Pandora and responded in an e-mail that I unfortunately don’t have now. She remembers Ranger well. Arthur Jimenez (these days some know him as Arturo Jiménez) is right here in Fort Worth, where he will soon retire from driving a truck for Central Freight Lines, a local company. Others tell me that his wife Carmen is beautiful. I told him that that must mean his two children look like movie stars because I always thought Arthur looked like one. I had the longest and most satisfying talk on the phone with him. We plan to get together for a meal soon. They also have four grandsons. Billy Patton wrote to me right away in 1998 to let me know how enthusiastic he was about the probability of the reunion. He was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He wrote me an e-mail so I don’t have a way to look back for details. That reminds me that it would be very helpful and fun if any of you who have a e-mail address would share that with us. Carol Phillips was such fun to catch up with. Her husband Dale Cozart has retired from the U.S. Border Patrol. They bought an older home in San Angelo and remodeled it both before and after the move. This move allows Carol to be closer to her family in Olden. Anyone who can do remodeling all by him/herself is to be admired! Aunt Lillie would approve of this Microsoft Word’s usage check. It refused to let me say “themselves.” Earl Reeves came up from Kempner near Lampasas to join us for the dinner. Inside the bib of the overalls he wore for the party was a cute little Chihuahua (perhaps the star of the Taco Bell commercials), but I have forgotten his name. He was obviously Earl’s friend, and before the evening was over that little character had made a lot more. Earl works for the post office in Kempner. Kathy Rogers came with her husband Hal Bowen, retired military, from Virginia and brought all kinds of handmade decorations for the building, including a very good facsimile of the sign from the roof of the Porky Pig. Kathy not only dressed 50’s, but she wore a black wig that made her look as she did at age 16. (When her own sisters came looking for her, they didn’t recognize her.) She was awarded two small maroon pompons for being the best dressed for the 50’s. Sharon Sledge and her husband Kenneth Barr live in Alice, where he owns an iron and metal company related to oilfield work. She remembers her days in Ranger fondly. The family moved to Alice (near Corpus Christi) when Sharon was in the eighth grade. She and her husband have three daughters and eight grandchildren. Sharon said her career was raising a family ( not a role to be snuffed at). In a recent letter since the reunion she mentioned how much the long-lasting friendships from the time her family spent in Ranger continue to mean to her. Marilyn Warden is an elementary school librarian with the Dallas ISD. She and her retired policeman husband Ray Cundiff were among those who dared to dress like the 50’s. Marilyn, who had borrowed a costume for Grease from the school, looked stunning and very convincing. After the party was over we visited Marilyn and Ray’s baby, a Bichon Frise named Bo. Their family has recently grown with the arrival of a new Bichon Frise puppy whose name I can’t remember. Nancy Warren lives in the District of Columbia, where she works for the American Medical Association. Her job title is director of political education. She says that with the new administration’s Texas roots, things are getting more interesting. She tried to make it difficult for me to locate her. She had not only changed her address but her name. She doesn’t know what a sleuth I can be. She has been in contact with a lot of the girls recently. She wants everyone to know she has such fond memories of her time in Ranger and that in her mind’s eye we’re all still 17. Now, Nancy, I wouldn’t mind having my hair back; but I would want it packaged with all the wisdom I have gained in the past 40 years. I do want to say a bit about our high school/junior high teachers because I found out a lot. (You get a free Super Fries at McDonalds if you can remember them all.) Mrs. Penney, who is in Arizona, came to the dinner and also posed with us for our class picture. Most, of course, are deceased since they were already older when we were in high school. Mrs. Arthur Deffebach is in Granbury, Mr. Dudley, Mrs. McDonald, and Mrs. Henderson are still in Ranger, Coach Barrett and Mrs. Milliken are in Weatherford, Mr. Daves is in Sweetwater, Mrs. Koenig (now Mrs. George) is in Illinois. Mr. Hughes is in Eastland (his son is assistant superintendent there), and Coach Prescott is in Cisco. Those from Young will remember Mrs. Oliver, who is also still in Ranger. I didn’t find out anything else about grade school teachers. I am going to plan on seeing lots of you at the dedication of the memorial to our class in April but, if not then, surely in 2010 for our Golden Anniversary Reunion. Wow! Fifty years out of high school. Our grandchildren will probably think we walked miles to school, carried our lunches in little buckets, and used slates. Remember the alumni association has reunions every two years so we might see some of us at one of those. Now I am going to make one more plea. There is only one of our graduating class that I know absolutely nothing about. Buddy (Caldwell G. Jr.) Prather is the one I have not seen since graduation night. Someone help me find out about him, okay? Mike Herrington