Class reunions

Another school year has closed with the 2007 class graduating Friday May 19th. The first school at Lohn was built in 1897. If classes were held in the fall of that year the first graduation would have been in 1898 one hundred and nine years ago, so a great number of young people have passed through this small school over the years. Our busy summer season of class and family reunions is already underway, three classes from the 50s got it off to a lively start on May 12. The 1947 and 1946 classes will liven things up on June 1st and 2nd. The 47 will be here on Friday and stay over to mingle with 46 on Saturday. Friends are invited to come by for coffee a big smile and a hug. The past can never be retrieved or relived, only remembered; 17 out of the 26 graduates from the 56, 57 and 58 classes gathered at the Tabernacle on Saturday May 12 for that purpose and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1957 class. The planning of the multiple class reunion by Ann Walker and Wynette Russell resulted in a wonderful time for those who were able to attend. Both ladies spent many hours preparing for the event, Wynette collected biographical sketches, thoughts and pictures for a souvenir book. After a welcome by Larry Walker and a cat fish lunch, Wynette conducted a question and answer session based on material she had collected for the book, before passing them out. Quite a number of shenanigans were uncovered much to the chagrin of the perpetrators and to the amusement of their classmates. To this day it is still rumored that someone put a cow in the gym over the Thanksgiving break, a bull snake in a teachers desk drawer and loaded the principal`s office door with bubble gum. It is a known fact that after losing their first football game several team members got Mohawk haircuts. The former LHS students have successfully pursued a wide range of careers; there are teachers, a university professor, school administrator, sheriff, farmers, ranchers, electronic technician, a preacher /missionary, bankers, airline pilot, musicians, realtors, county commissioner, bookkeepers, merchants, federal agent, entertainment entrepreneur. All have remained in their home state except three, one lives on the other side of the Sabine River in Louisiana, one in Georgia and one in North Carolina. Students enrolled in Lohn in the past were from the old families who had been in the Lohn Valley from its early settling. It would take several decades and a diminishing population to bring about changes in the school as they are today where transfers out number local residents. A classic icon from the 50s is the 57 Chevy, advertised as Sweet, Smooth and Sassy. The 57 graduates fit into that category, the girls were sweet, the guys were ‘smooth’ and all were a bit ‘sassy.’ Not in a disrespectful manner, of course but with an eagerness to make their mark in the big world outside of the small rural community. There were eight graduates in the class: six girls, Jocele Doyal, Joy Frost, Wynette Moore, Jeanine Simmons, Dee Anna Smith, Jannette Solsbery; and two boys, Charles Marshall and Larry Walker. Jocele, Dee Anna, Wynette, Jeanine and Larry were in attendance. Joy Frost had planned to be back but was unable to attend. Jannette Solsbery is deceased and no information was available on Charles Marshall. Valedictorian of the class, Joy Frost Pruitt, left Lohn with very little money for college, yet determined to get a degree. She succeeded and taught school for 15 years in far west Texas around El Paso. She and her husband, W.D. Pruitt live on a large farm in Fabens, where they once grew cotton but now have a pecan operation. They have one daughter, Denise Salmon, and one grandson, Wesley. Joy has weathered life-threatening health problems for many years, breast cancer and lupus, but with the support of her family she has survived and still keeps books for the farm operation. Wynette Moore Russell was salutatorian of the class. She and Joy have had an enduring friendship since school. Wynette attended business school in Austin where she met Don Russell, and married him in 1958.They moved to D.C., where he worked for Congressman Poage and she worked for an Indiana Congressman. After returning to Texas, Wynette worked at a Fort Worth bank, also with the County Agents office. There were several moves around the country before Don retired. In 1991, after their 18th move, they built a home on a 1,200- acre farm on land near Gatesville that has been in Don`s family since 1875. Don and Wynette have a son, Mark, a daughter, Stacey and five grandchildren. Jocele Doyal Schulze has chalked up 28 years teaching in public schools mostly in Midland. The last 18 years teaching kindergarten were the most rewarding for her. A student gave her a picture and printed on the frame was these words, ‘A hundred years from now it will not matter what your bank account was, the sort of house you lived in, or the kind of car you drove’but the world may be different because you were important in the life of a child. Thanks for being important and special to me.’ Jocele certainly impacted many young lives in those years. She and her husband Ray Schulze have been married for 49 years, raised two children, Douglas and Amy, and have two grandchildren. They live in Early. Dee Anna Smith Willis` accomplishments in the education field, as a university professor of educational computing and journal editor, were featured in a recent column, so we won`t repeat that. Needless to say she has definitely made a difference in the lives of many people. She is semi-retired which allows her to spend more time with friends around the world. She enjoys reading, hiking and photography and plans to get back to painting when she finds time. Dee Anna has two daughters, Beth Bratton Murphy and Amy Bratton Arata. She has five grandchildren and is the only one out of the three classes who has a living parent, her mother, Mickey Huie Bloede. Dee Anna lives in Natchitoches, La. Larry Walker followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father and has been a rancher all of his life except for two years serving his country in Germany assembling nuclear weapons for the army. He is still actively engaged in running the Walker Ranch north of Lohn and has no plans to retire. Larry courted his high school sweetheart, Ann Fullager in his 57 Chevy and has been married to her for 46 years, Their daughter, Julie, has moved back home and is helping him operate the ranch. She plans to take over the ranch which will give Larry more time to devote to his favorite pursuits, hunting, fishing and skiing. Jeanine Simmons Perry lives in San Angelo with her husband, Continued from Page 3 Jerry. Since leaving Lohn she has worked in the home office of a telephone company and for a news-phone publishing company. She and Jerry have two daughters, Belinda Baker and Stephanie Durrim and one son, Scott. Shirley Hemphill Doyal would have graduated in 57 had she not dropped out to marry Gayle Doyal and live happily ever after. Shirley and Gayle have three children, Jo Anne, Janet and Gary; eight grandchildren and six great- grandchildren. Shirley worked for 26 years at USDA Farm Services. The 1958 class had six graduates: four boys, Phillip Bloomer, Buddy Bloomer, Frankie Hodges and Jerry Tedder; and two girls, Dannie Faye Simmons and Ann Fullagar. All were here for the reunion. Valedictorian Phillip Bloomer has led a most impressive life . He was interested in aviation while in high school, majored in Aeronautical Engineering until his junior year at A&M, opted out of the Air Force Corp of Cadets Flight Program and transferred to the Navy. He earned his wings in 1964 and began his career as an attack pilot aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard. Phillip completed four tours in Southeast Asia; two on the Bon Homme Richard and one on the Constellation and Coral Sea, flying a total of 198 combat missions. After two years as a flight instructor he left the regular Navy and began flying for Braniff International, at home and abroad. He remained in the Naval Reserves flying F-8 Crusaders and F4 Phantoms until 1983. He retired in 1995. Phillip has two sons, Rick and Jim, and two grandchildren. He lives in Lowgap, N.C. and returns home as often as possible to visit his old school friend and hunting buddy, Larry Walker. Dannie Fay Simmons Adams was salutatorian of the class . She married Dale Adams who owned a construction business dealing mostly with government funded jobs, while Dannie kept the paperwork current. She also spent about 15 years as a records clerk for a group of doctors. Her main interest in life was raising her son Gary and daughter Barbara. She lost Dale after he suffered a stroke. In May 2002, Dannie discovered that she had a broken hip from a previous fall and along with being diagnosed with Parkinson`s Disease she was no longer able to work. Many activities she enjoyed are no longer possible so she has taken up her mother`s passion, quilting. She lives in Crowley. Almost everyone in McCulloch County who likes country music knows Jerry Tedder. He has been playing in a nine piece band called ‘Country from the Heart’ for years, plays guitar and sings. Jerry is retired now after 33 years as a foreman at Loadcraft Industries. He was County Commissioner of Precinct 4 for eight years and has farmed and ranched in McCulloch County for 42 years. Jerry and his wife, the former Annette McNair live in Brady. They have one daughter, Chanda and twin sons Jed and Jay. They have seven grandchildren. Buddy Bloomer, whose real name is Leo, and wife, Billie, live in Highland Village. Buddy owned American Mercantile U.S.A. Inc., a wholesale clothing and consumer goods company. Raising and educating three sons has been a challenge and a source of accomplishment for them. They enjoy traveling and gardening and Buddy likes to golf when he has a bit of leisure time. Frankie Hodges has crammed a lot of excitement into his life since leaving the farm. He farmed for about 10 years in Lohn while going to college. He taught school in Lott and Melvin; from there, he found a little more exciting work as a Border Patrol Agent from 1970 through 1971. The next 24 years were spent as a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Frankie was involved in every presidential security detail from 1972 to 1992. He and his wife Beth raised three sons, Frankie, Corey and Darby, each one is a Federal Agent, Beth and Frankie have been married over 40 years and live at Brownwood. Ann Fullagar Walker has not been far from her roots, except for time spent in Germany with her husband Larry. She worked at the Brady National Bank on and off for 15 years, starting in bookkeeping , moving up to head the Loan Department and retired as head cashier. Ann left the business world to be a full time mom to daughter, Julie, and to help on the ranch. Ann is very community minded- she volunteers one day a week at Lohn School Library, plays piano at the Lohn Baptist Church, takes great pleasure in volunteering for any and all projects for the betterment of her home town. ‘There were not many kids in LHS during our time in school,’ she commented in her bio, ‘everyone was suffering from the dust storms and drought. ‘There was not a lot of extra money but we were all the same and were true friends. Those friendships have lasted all these 50 years and it is so good that we can all be together and enjoy each and everyone every minute we spend together.’ Next week: the 1956 class.

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