Homecoming draws larger crowd for '09

75th annual event honors classes from Great Depression, 50s eras
By MIKE BROWN Reporter Editor

Reunited after 75 years Sunday, RHS 1934 classmates (L-R) Lucille Kyle Towery, Bonnie McCoy Taylor and Doris Simms Cocek.
When one of the classes being honored graduated in 1934, the word "Depression" gets used a lot.

But organizers of the 75th Rockdale Homecoming were anything but depressed Sunday at the Patterson Civic Center. "We counted at least 175 people in attendance," Dr. Lucile Estell, homecoming association president, said. "That's about 50 more than last year."

Special guests were Lucille Towery, Bonnie McCoy Taylor and Doris Simms Cocek. They graduated together in 1934 and Mrs. Towery ended the homecoming by asking for a Tiger cheer.

Dr. Estell presided over a short program following lunch.

Class of 1931

Pete Keen, 94, was presented a gift as the oldest person in attendance.

He's the only surviving 1931 graduate of Rockdale High School.

Lexie Boswell of San Diego, California, received a gift for travelling the longest distance to attend.

Several other RHS classes, who had scheduled reunion activities over the weekend were also in attendance. In addition to the classes of 1934 and 1959, Dr. Estell recognized the class of 1949 which was having its 60th reunion.

Class of 1959 members, and two of their teachers, gathered for 50th reunion. Seated (L-R) Matilde Muñoz Garza, Mary Alice Head Knight, Charlotte Laurence Dymke, Amanda Kyle Burleson, Mary Holliman Ridgway, Carol Holsonback Yoakum, Ann Dyer; second row, Will Angell, Shirley Suttles Rogers, Mary Ann Tunnell Walker, Leanna Harris Applegate, Linda Gebhart Kessler, Dottie Parker Kyle, Rita Magness Hull, Hal Stanislaw, Delbert Yarbrough, Bill Grusendorf (band director); back row, Bill Scurlock, Gene White, Bobby Bounds, Leonard Kubiak, Vernon Dymke, Ronnie Cummings, Bruce Holliman, Jack Hubert, Judy Walker Bounds, Johnny Moorman, Jackie Currey Thornton, Etta Kay Keeble Kirkpatrick, Jimmy Bartlett, Paul Jenkins, R. D. Jenkins, Ray Birchfield (coach).

Dr. Estell expressed appreciation to the Rockdale Chamber of Commerce, Tom and Lois Fisher of Poor Boy Barbecue (see page 1D), Rockdale Signs (banners and signs), the Rockdale Historical Society, homecoming association board, Vickie Everhart (historic displays), Ramona Barlow (high school archives), Joy Graham and Amie Stone King.

She also thanked The Rockdale Reporter and KRXT-FM for publicity and coverage of homecoming.

Citing that the 2009 homecoming fell on Flag Day, Graham led the crowd in a series of patriotic songs.

Graham also introduced Melissa Jane Morris Neely, Margaret Neely Gould and Loretta Neely Spence, descendants of the Neely family whose home once stood where the Patterson Center is located.

Mayor John Shoemake's procla- mation honoring the homecoming association was read by board member Wenda Dyer.

Willie Phillips, east ward city council member, gave the official welcome from the city.

Rev. Jack Chelf of First Baptist Church delivered the invocation.


Rockdale Homecoming Association board officers are: Dr. Estell, president; Judy Slusher, presidentelect; Wenda Dyer, treasurer; Ramona Barlow, historian.

Dr. Lucile Estell (bottom), Rockdale Homecoming Association president, presided over Sunday's event. She presented gifts to 94-year-old Pete Keen (top, oldest person present) and Lexie Boswell, who travelled the greatest distance to attend. Keen is the sole surviving 1931 graduate of Rockdale High School. Boswell travelled from San Diego, to attend.
Other board members are Gerry Offield, Rebecca Luckey, Charles Hubert, Marie Hubert, Joy Graham, Billie Noack, Ella Caywood, Harvey Holliman, Evelyn Pearson, Lola Pevehouse and J. T. Talley.


A DVD with dozens of historic Rockdale photos was shown before and during homecoming.

Dr. Estell said copies of the DVD will be available to the public for $10 each at the Rockdale Chamber of Commerce office beginning July 1.

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2009-06-18 digital edition

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