Homecoming draws larger crowd for '09
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.
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.
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.
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.