October 3, 2016

A few thoughts from my classmate, Betty Hendrick, and her perspective of the Country Dinner last Thursday before Diboll Day: As Fran McClain remarked, “People will certainly come out to eat Margie’s food!”  Margie, of course, is the amazing Margie Harrell, who took time away from the Housing Authority office to enlist a terrific group of volunteers to prepare and serve two long lines for a fundraiser lunch on Thursday before Diboll Day.  Proceeds from the event were to be shared among the three lovely queen candidates.  Someone could probably give a fairly accurate count; suffice it to say, the Civic Center was filled with friends and family sharing laughter as well as the delicious food.  From Margie’s signature chicken and dressing, that went along with ham, chicken strips, several fresh vegetable dishes, and dessert—move over, Golden Corral….you have been outdone!

Some folks seen in the crowd: Brenda Russell, Geneva Ard, Bess Andrews, Mary and Woody Ingram, Donna and Pete Smart, Dave Martinez, Trey Wilkerson, LeeAnn Roark, Charlotte Parrish, Peggy Burt, Dianne and Mike Gibson, Billie Willmon, Jay Wyatt, Lisa (Denman) Warner, Bessie Ferguson, John and Fran (Rich) McClain, Brother Kenny Gibbs (who offered the fastest blessing before food was served!),Trey and Sally Denman, Harold Maxwell, Nancy and Henry Holubec, Jack and An Sweeny as well as many others.

Diboll Day is a special gift to a community, which was clearly noted by Trey Denman, president of the Booster Club.  Each of the queen candidates offered well- spoken thanks for all who have supported the contest.  Were it not for citizens and visitors, Diboll might well have become just a whistle stop along Highway 59.  Economic downswings and political differences in recent years might have made this celebration a fading memory; however, headlines do not determine the strength of this city; the hearts of people who look beyond their personal choices make the tradition continue!

          David Kellum was another retiree from Temple Inland that attended the Country Dinner and stopped by the round table on his way home. During his visit he updated us on his son Todd who is a plant manager of a particleboard plant in Roseburg, Oregon. Todd’s wife, Melanie, who grew up in Hemphill and worked as a school counselor in the Hudson ISD, has earned her doctorate and is employed as a school psychologist. Todd’s son, Christopher, is a senior engineering major at Texas A&M and completed a Construction Science Internship this summer just in time to join his dad and David in Southwest Oregon for a 3-generation 4-day white water rafting trip on the Rogue River which is surrounded by forested mountains, rugged boulders and rock-lined banks as seen in Meryl Streep’s movie, The River Wild. They camped out two nights and spent one night in the River Lodge which is only accessible by the Rogue River.

          Friday before Diboll Day at lunch we celebrated three birthdays, coincidentally, all three graduated from Diboll High School. Marcia (Warner) Jones and her son Bob were here for her birthday which was September 30th. Marcia was Miss DHS in 1946. Mary Lou Havard and her daughter, Mary Beth from Louisiana also joined us for her birthday which was October 2nd. Mary Lou was a cheerleader at Diboll in the 40’s. Our third birthday was for Thomas “Spider” Linton who has worked here for years and graduated in 1988; his birthday was September 28th. JoNell Placker and Kathreen Chuke also enjoyed Andrea’s delicious chicken spaghetti birthday lunch.

We truly enjoyed having former DHS students stop by later that afternoon to visit at the RT. Former DHS Lumberjack quarterback from the 50’s, Royce Grimes and his wife Cathy from Myrtle Beach, SC stopped to visit. After serving in the US Navy, Royce earned his degree and became a football coach. He continues to keep up with the Diboll Lumberjacks. They barely missed seeing his classmate, Jimmy McCall, when he came in. Jimmy graduated in1955. While he was here, Sterling Burnett and his wife, Bobbie Joyce (Wilkerson) came in. These two were Mr. & Miss DHS in the 50’s and not long after that, Mr. & Mrs.Burnett!

The round table was the first stop in Diboll for Sterling and Bobbie Joyce since leaving Houston on September 16th to celebrate his 80th birthday. They had been to Branson where they enjoyed Moses and several other shows and on to Pidgeon Forge to attend the National Quartet Singing, Top of the Rock, Dollywood Canyon and all the Dillard’s’ in between. These two were staying with her mother, Oda Wilkerson, who is 100 and planning to attend Diboll Day the next day.

Jimmy McCall was still sitting at the round table when the 1954 Diboll Day Queen, Elaine (Bunch) Pinkerton came in with her sister, 1954 Dogwood Duchess, Mary Alice Shivers and longtime friend and Editor of the 1960 Lumberjack Annual and Class Favorite, Johnnie Sue “Susie” (Fox) Stewart. Elaine and Mary Alice laughed about sharing the same green strapless dress they each wore for their special honor. Elaine said her Diboll Day crown, designed by Rosellen Saxton, was made of painted cardboard with glitter. Their brother, Sill Bunch, from Sulphur Springs came in just minutes after the girls left.

We also enjoyed visiting with John and Mable (Nivens) Powers from Pine Crest and her sister Nancy who lives in Brenham. The Nivens’ grew up in Diboll and John and his family moved here from Fastrill. Nancy shared a “small world” story recently when she was in College Station having lunch at Fish Daddy’s Restaurant. A sweet young lady waited on her (remember that Nancy grew up in Diboll) and seeing a pine cone charm, Nancy asked her where she grew up. The young lady said it’s a small town in East Texas you’ve never heard of…Diboll! The young lady was Corrin Presnall, a 2015 DHS graduate attending Texas A&M. On Saturday in the park we shared a picnic table with John & Mable Powers, her sister Nancy and two of the Powers’ daughters, Belinda and Johnnica and visited with folks on their way to the program.

Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day and after the long parade, folks gathered in the park for lots of food, fun, entertainment and awards. The prestigious Lottie Temple Award is given to someone who has been a part of Diboll and contributed their time and talents toward making Diboll better. This year’s worthy recipient was Dr. Woody and Mary Ingram who have been in Diboll 50 years this past August and made the statement that God had a part in bringing them here. All but two of their immediate family were present to see them receive this honor. Daughter Elizabeth Carlyle and her son Cooper were here from Houston. Son Trey, his wife Calista and children, Wood, Nate and Ellen were here from Edmond, Oklahoma. Mary Ingram first taught in the Diboll ISD and later served as high school counselor. Woody served 22 years on the City Council, is an active deacon in his church and was a member in many service organizations and has received Texas Monthly’s Top Super Dentist Award since its inception. Congratulations!

After the parade and a beautiful day in the park, several classes got together for reunions. Donya Stifle sent the following information about the DHS class of 1986. Irma Guerrero did a fantastic job coordinating this night. Decorations, slide show and 80’s music. We had so much fun reconnecting. Paula Sparks entertained us with music with her very talented voice. Dernold Sigars kept us laughing all night with comedy and even had a few of the ex-football players and cheerleaders reliving old plays and routines. Attending: Jill Deen Morrow, Donya Taylor Stifle, Nelda Scott, Paula Sparks, Paula Sheffield, Charles “pig ears” Mark, Stacey Fasske & wife Dana, Eddie Esteves & wife Christi, Dernold Sigars, Frankie Hall, Isabel Martinez Ojeda & husband, Jorge, Deadra Stringer, Jonathan Levias, Susan Hannah Hagen & husband John, Charmion Moses-Cole, Fidela Valdez & husband Jesse Vola, Rodney Grant, Mary Blount, Irma DeJesus Guerrero & husband Chino and Stephanie Joshua.

The DHS class of 1979 and friends met at Ralph and Kacoo’s for dinner: David and Deborah (Donahoe) Gentz; Deborah’s sister, Daphine and husband; Jack and Darla (Smith) Thomason; John Cheavens; Jim Grossman; Rayburn and Tina (Grantham) Hance; Carolyn Cheavens, Kay Capps, Algie Kilgore, Randy and Lisa Cook. The group was entertained by Rayburn and Tina’s son, Marshall, who was performing that evening on the patio. Some of Marshall’s fans that were also there included his Aunt Lisa and David Crager and Shirley and Lewis Ivy.

Bobby Glover and his wife Ruth reported they enjoyed having dinner with Amos and Janette Lewis and Donald and Billy Jean (Baker) Capps Friday night at The Olive Garden then dessert and coffee at the Lewis’s. Went to the parade Saturday then on to the park to visit with whoever he knew which was very few.

The DHS Class of 1983 had their 33 year class reunion Saturday at JR’s Barn.  The fajita dinner was catered by Del Rio Café.  Those attending were Billy Alexander, Matt & Allison (Lazarine) Amason, Vicky (Scarborough) Benoit, Sandy (McCollum) Bradley, Gina Donovan, Melinda (Vineyard) Cole, Ronnie Coleman, Charles Coleman, Deidra (Johnson) Craft, Aida (Moreno) DelToro, Shannon Farrow,  Bay Bay Gibson, Susan (Beene) Hadley, Randy & Debbie (Oaks) Hambrick, Jerry Handy, Demetrius Harrell, Kevin Hurley, Tina (Wolf) Jowell, Walter Levine, Luis Medina, Vicky Mullins, Thomas McGee, Andy Parish, Marty Scarborough, Brenda (Ruby) Siegman, Leticia (Silguero) Soto, Lynn Stanford, Leslie (Chandler) Stubblefield, Andrea (Pouland) Swor, Jerry Teal, Rhonda Teal, Andre Vinson, Kim (Neyland) Williams, Laurel (Hendrick) Youngblood, Sonya Walker, Floyd Reese, James Bray, Shelia (White) Ricks and Mrs. Ann English Richardson.  We had a memorial for our classmates that have passed.  Ronnie Coleman said a prayer as all of the classmates interlocked arms and released balloons for those that have passed.  Randy Barkley, Mary Joyce Clarke, Dennis Kilgore, Mark Rush, Bobby Williams and Danny Ferguson.  We enjoyed visiting, eating, taking pictures and giving out class awards.  Least changed: Leslie Stubblefield; Traveled the Farthest: Aida DelToro; Married Classmates: Randy & Debbie Hambrick and Matt & Allison Amason; Has the youngest child: Bay Bay Gibson; Most Grandkids: Jerry Handy; Married Longest: Melinda Cole; Served in the Military: Andy Parish & Thomas McGee; Most Changed: Charles Coleman; Newest Newlyweds: Bob & Laurel Youngblood; Most Children: Aida DelToro, Jerry Handy & Sandy Bradley.  Everyone had so much fun that they want to have our 35th on Diboll Day October 6, 2018.  Classmates mark your calendars and plan on attending. Four members of the Class of 1986 stopped by to visit after their reunion at the library, Donya (Taylor) Stifle, Jill (Dean) Morrow, Deidra Stringer and Chuck Smith.

It was a great Diboll Day 2016. Please send me news of other class reunions or family and friends that were in town for next week’s RT News.

In the meantime…come see us ‘round the table.