Improvements made on Tabernacle in 2001

2001 was a fairly normal year here in Lohn. No earth shaking events occurred to disrupt our community to any degree. Improvements were made on the Tabernacle with new thresholds, new windows and locks on the doors. The usual number of family reunions enjoyed the use of the building. We had a heart-warming experience in July when former resident, Charlie Jo Bowden, shipped two beautiful Wurlitzer organs to Lohn from Sun City, Arizona as a gift to the tabernacle and the Lohn Baptist Church. They were given in memory of her mother, Josephine Bowden, Kate Fields and J.C. Petty and, as she said, “to the happiest years of my life when I lived at Lohn.” The entire community was touched by this wonderful gesture from someone who lived here for only a brief time. The Lohn Independent School welcomed a new principal and her family from Blackwell. Three long-time teachers retired, Becky Martin, Larue Samuelson and Dickye Moore. Four new teachers joined the faculty, Juakana Nelson from Brooksmith, Angie Pigeon from Brownwood, Jamie Smart and Ben Adams. We lost some dear friends and former Lohn folks with the deaths of Jackie Horn, E.D. Solsbery, Minnie Bratton, Audrey Hall, Robert Kennedy, Pearl Blair, Elsie Gassiot, Bill Bates Brock, Burt Lohn, Roy Sallee, Merle Jean Johnson, Grover Beakley, Forrest Roberts, Leroy Kensing, Billy Gordon Lewis and Neil Hayes. Another good thing for our town was the purchase of the former Garland Griffice house by Bill and Peggy Stoker. The house and yard had been a neglected dumping ground for mountains of trash and debris and was a terrible eyesore. The Stokers bought it and hired Skipper Hays and his crew to clean it up. It a was a monumental task, but they got the job done and what a difference it made! The old house is in such bad shape that it is being torn down by Mike and Doniene Fullager and their helpers. Billy Gordon Lewis was buried at Pear Valley last week. Billy Gordon grew up in Pear Valley, attended school there. His mother was Ella Mae Neyland Lewis who married Virgil Faught when Billy was a young child. Matthew and Mattie Neyland were his grandparents. Billy had one brother, Alva Gene Lewis, now deceased, who lived in Victoria. He also had two half sisters, Neva Faught, Nina Faught and a half brother, Sam Faught. Billy married O’Dell West, daughter of Loyed and Blake West in 1939. They had four children, fifteen grand-children, twenty-six great grandchildren and five great great grandchildren. Billy and O’Dell lived in Kingsland where they had an excavating and septic tank service. At the time of his death, they had been married 62 1/2 years. I had an article found among Elsie Gassiot’s things about the Pear Valley basketball team, 1938-1939. I’m not sure if that date is correct. If so they would have been junior high boys. Billy was the team captain’the other members of the team were Allie Thacker, Harroll Watkins, Carroll Watkins, Bill Reed, Durwood Thacker, Scott Fowler, Bobby Reed, Thomas Weldon and Lynn Haywood. O’Dell said she still has a little gold basketball given to the team members. Cleg Gassiot was the coach. Here we are on January 1, 2002, a cold, snowy day. Everyone is staying inside as this kind of weather has little appeal for people who are unaccustomed to snow and ice. Everyone is being reminded to eat black-eyed peas for good luck. I have often wondered where that tradition began, maybe in Athens, the east Texas town that claims to be the black-eyed pea capital of the world’ But no, I discovered it dates back to the Civil War days in the South when the black-eyed pea crop was the only crop not destroyed by the Yankee soldiers! The open house hosted by Brad and Shirley Fullagar Ellis at the Rudolph House was enjoyed by all. The house was brightly lighted with many Christmas candles and the warm Wassail and cool punch and cookies and candies were served from Christmas laid tables with glowing candles. All enjoyed touring the home and seeing all the rooms decorated in the Yuletide theme. Larry and Ann Walker, Brad and Shirley Ellis spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day in Fort Worth with Julie Walker. They enjoyed a bountiful dinner and presents from Santa Claus. The children and grandchildren of Grady and Mary Moore met for their annual Christmas gathering at the Lohn Tabernacle on Sunday at noon. Thirty-six came on Saturday evening for a shrimp and tamale fest to decorate the tree and tables for the Sunday gathering, which numbered 44. Attending were Nelda and Narvel Rogers of Hurst, Mark and Shari Gomez, Mary and Jonathan of Bedford, Jolene Mask of Amarillo, Johnny and Ginger Weeks of Burleson, Mark and Carol Boswell, Iris Moore Hayes of Andrews, Ryan, Cory and Derek Albright of Vacaville, Calif., Corey and Kylie Bledsoe of Coleman, Batista and Elias Simpson, Sam, Jesse and Cheyenne Pritchard, Darci, Katie and Theresa Horton of Ames, Iowa, Ty, Ariel and Zoe Simpson of Salado, Jerry and Nancy Simpson and Chelsea, Elbert Boswell, Roy and Teresa Smith of Brady, Brett and Debra Moore and Bailey of Lubbock, Rob and Heather Moore, Jessica and Reid, Del and Lisa Albright, Chockey Moore of Lohn. Table covers were white, decorated with tinsel and “snow globes” with pictures of the third generation children who were present. Other favors included tree decorations and “birthday calendars” with a cover photo of the Moore home covered in snow, as it appeared in 1961, before the brick was added, and boxes of Godiva chocolates. Following lunch, a Chinese Christmas was observed, beginning with the youngest present and ending with the most mature. The family wishes to thank the community for providing such a wonderful place for families to meet and share memories of Christmas past and look forward to Christmas future. Margaret Bloomer went to Winters for Christmas with Gary and Cheryl Bryan and family. After returning home, she enjoyed a two day visit from Sid and Jennifer Bloomer and children from Lufkin. Ray and Joyce McMurray drove to Sinton to spend the holiday with Danny and Marty Barnett and Daylon, then on to Ingleside to be with daughter, Sandra Coker and her family. Frances and Bill Bingham had a quiet Christmas celebration in Port Lavaca with Shorty and Wanda Shafer and family members. E.W. and Polly Frost’s family, Mark and Denise Matlock, Kristen and Stephanie from College Station were here for the holidays. Although they didn’t celebrate on the exact dates, they did celebrate. E.W., Polly, Paul and Reba Hill from Lake Brownwood had dinner with Jewell Hill at the nursing home on the 25th. The family got together at the Hill’s lake home for Christmas on Saturday. Back at “Whispering Oaks” on Sunday, they lit up the sky around Waldrip with fireworks to celebrate the coming new year. Nell Bray Upton called Polly to report on her (Nell’s) oldest son, Joe, who suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized in Nashville, Tenn, where he lives. Family members, including his aunt, Vivian Bray Doss, went to Nashville to see him. He has been dismissed and is recovering well. The Texas folks made it back home to Itasca in time for Christmas. Tom and Dorothy Kluemper drove to Hutto to visit with Dorothy’s daughter, Dolores Doherty and family. They enjoyed renewing acquaintances with several grand children whom they haven’t seen for several years.

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