from Kenny Bragg in Sheridan, AR
I just finished the legislative session so I am catching up on some overdue items. I'm in my fourth 2 year term and am serving a second term as Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore. I have enjoyed this role because it allows me to be involved in the leadership of the House. It also gives me an opportunity to fill in for the Speaker and run the legislative process on the floor - presenting of bills, debate - voting, etc. We have completed the session but will still be busy with interim committees and constituent issues.
from Liz Tieskens Ellis in Lafayette, CO
It's been 5 years since I retired, and then moved to Colorado! Wow! Time surely does fly! Still miss my peeps..so many years of sharing the workload with so many awesome friends! Shifting the work emphasis to new experiences, new friends, and especially increased family time..some health challenges along the way...our days are full and our lives are blessed! We still love and maintain our forever friendships with so many and are thankful for the journey that God has taken us on.
WEBSITE's NEW LOOK
I hope you all have noticed the new sleeker, tweeked website that our classmate and webmaster, Mike Lawson, has worked on for months. Some of the changes were completed when Mike purchased updated softwear with the donations we receive. Let us know what you think.
from Shirley Barra Fitzgerald in Beaumont
I just viewed the new website. Mike did an awesome job on making it viewer friendly.
Pat Trahan Knox graciously sent in a website donation in memory of my dad, my sister and our classmate, Jack Etheredge. Thank you so very much for your thoughtfulness.
MINI REUNION LUNCHEON
A mini-reunion luncheon was held on May 18, 2019 at the Reel Cajun Restaurant in Nederland. We had a very nice turnout considering that the middle of May conflicted with college graduations, parties, sports, etc.
Those attending were: Carla Castro, Linda (DeCuir) and Murphy McFadden, Arleen (Lang) and Marlon Hulin, Bill and Rhonda Richey, Loretta (LaLonde) and Glynn Myers, Shirley Barra, Linda Eldemire, Janis Hamilton, Fred McCarty, Linda Gothia, Ernie (Castaneda) and Ron Bullion, Darlene Turner, Joyce (Marceaux) and Ronnie Abate, Chrissy Dupuis, Sharon Lewis, Debbie (Borres) and Raymond Desmond, Debi Tate, Paula Daigle, Laura (Meece) and Bart Darby and Marilyn Jackson and a guest, Sandra Borel.
from Joyce Marceaux in Lumberton
We had our mini reunion in Mid County yesterday! Saw some new faces and we had a great time spending time with old friends. Thanks a lot for the invite!
(below is Janice Jones' account of her husband, Paul Kelly's, shark attack) On April 27, 2019 my husband, Paul, and I left for a relaxing vacation in Boca Grande, Florida with our good friends, Linda and Ed Ferguson. The first few days we checked out the local eateries which served delicious fresh seafood. We enjoyed driving around the island meeting people, shopping, reading books, flying kites, playing “42”, and lounging on the beach. Ed and Paul enjoyed a few days of wade fishing. On Wednesday afternoon Paul and Ed along with their fishing guide, Captain Danny, embarked on a tarpon fishing trip which they had been eagerly anticipating. The first 5 hours of the fishing was great. At the beginning of the 6th hour, Paul hooked a tarpon estimated to weigh 140-150 pounds. He was bending forward and pulling the rod up while reeling it in when all of a sudden the tarpon, a few yards from the boat, decided to change directions. Paul’s foot slipped and he toppled into the water head first. While under, something hit him hard and shoved him. Captain Danny saw an 6-8 foot bull shark hit him. Paul took what seemed like a long time to surface. Ed and Captain Danny feared the worst. When he did surface, he was about 10-15 yards from the boat. They were not sure Paul would make it back to the boat without the shark attacking again. Paul thought that he had been hit by a tarpon. His biggest fear was getting entangled in the fishing line. Little did he know that it was a shark that had attacked him. The captain backed the boat toward Paul and extended a fishing pole to pull him in. He got him up as far as his waist but could not help him the rest of the way in. Paul said, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.” He still had no clue that he had been injured. The captain hollered at Ed, who was holding Paul’s fishing pole, oblivious to the fact that Paul had been bitten by a shark, to cut the line and come help pull Paul into the boat. But, he didn’t have a chance to cut the line before the line snapped. (I know it was an angel that cut the line.) Then, Ed reached down and grabbed Paul by his belt, gave a big yank and landed Paul on the floor of the boat. We tease Ed about knowing the real meaning of being a “fisher of men”. Danny instructed Ed to call 911 while taking off his belt and tightening it around Paul’s leg. At this point, his leg was squirting blood onto the sunroof of the Skeeter. Paul found some towels near him and applied pressure to the wound. The captain then put the boat in gear and throttled down. In the mean time, Ed is hollering into his phone, “I can’t hear you, but this is what happened and this is what we need.” When arriving at the dock, there was a medical team of 7 and a sheriff along with an ambulance and fire truck. As soon as the boat pulled up to the dock, 3 paramedics jumped into the boat and started working on Paul’s leg and then passed him up to 3 more of the medical team on the dock. They put him in an ambulance and transported him to the helicopter. Fifteen minutes later they arrived at Lee Memorial Trauma Hospital in Fort Myers. When Linda and I reached the dock Paul was in the helicopter taking off. We saw Ed and Danny who were white as sheep and were wilting against a fence railing. It took Linda, Ed, and me 1 ½ hours to reach the hospital. Paul’s wound had already been cleaned and they were operating on him. The outcome of the traumatic situation was that God performed a miracle. In fact, we could see God’s hand taking care of Paul every step of the way. Paul had 2 operations by great surgeons and their teams. The first one was performed by the trauma surgeon who cleaned out the wounds and stitched him up. The next day he was operated on by an orthopedic surgeon to repair the patella tendon. I don’t have words to express my gratitude for all of the people involved in saving Paul, along with his leg, and taking care of him afterwards. Linda and Ed were by our sides every step of the way. They were all so kind and knowledgeable. Paul was released from the hospital 5 days later with lots of stitches, a leg brace and a catheter. We returned home having already been referred to an orthopedic surgeon, infectious disease doctor, and a urologist in College Station. He will have to have another operation on one of the wounds as it did not heal. He will also have PT. Paul came home with a great fish story and lots of stitches to prove he is not just spinning a fish tale. He also can witness to the fact that God is still in the business of performing miracles. While Paul was in the hospital he was interviewed by several area news reporters, the Coast Guard, and the Wildlife and Fisheries Department. During the first interview, Paul told them he had just 4 stitches. He had quite a few more than that. I have not seen the interviews but you can see them if you look up Boca Grande Shark Attack, May 2019. There is also some fake news reports floating around. I have since heard that people swim with bull sharks. I don’t think we will try our hand at it.
10520 Commonwealth Dr.
Iola, TX 77861
(Mike has the link on the front page of the website.)
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL MEMORIES
from Beth Anne Sutherlin Coakley
I went to Lee Elementary because my grandmother lived in Lakeview and she took care of us after school until my parents got off of work. My memories are of David Nicholas living across the street from the front door and I think Carol Babin lived close to the front of the school. I remember cleaning the chalk board erasers on the brick wall out back, swinging on the rings in the gym and doing jumping jacks. I remember falling in love with Burt Pluymen when he moved to PA from Holland in the 4th grade! I remember how good Karen Giles was at coloring in the lines and how I hoped I wouldn't get my name down in Mrs. Glover's little black book. I remember taking the train trip and eating freshly churned butter, swinging in the swings, being in the Christmas play with Mrs. Bescher, and walking home to my grandmother's house on Lee Ave in the rain and ruining my shoes. I also remember Linda and Carol Olivier's big birthday parties and sitting in the auditorium and watching Michael Becker play with Kay Campbell's hair! I remember Skippy Cole was the lead singer in Jack and the Beanstalk play and also playing the tonette in Mr. Vela's band. I also remember going to the principal's office because I wouldn't take off the bells on my Christmas petticoat!!!! This was fun thinking of our early school years. Thanks for asking.
NEWS FROM THE HOMEFRONT
By now, most of you probably know that my sweet sister, Gerry, passed away on May 13th. I visited her on the 9th by myself. It was a great, quality time spent even if I knew it might possibly be my last. I whispered in her ear and prayed to her. I fed her and talked to her. I rubbed her hands as she napped. She passed away in her sleep 3 days later before I could be back there. RIP
(Below is my message I read on the day of her memorial, May 25th)
Tribute to my sister, Gerry
Today is a special day. It is not only the day we honor Gerry, but it is the 9 year anniversary of our dear mom's death. Mom's favorite, pink roses, are a tribute to her.
Mom and Dad's first child, born 4 months before WWII, was my big sister, 9 years older. She became my first babysitter. But, by the time I was 5 years old she was already dating my future brother-in-law, Teddy, and I promptly got kicked to the curb. I was in the 6th grade when I became an aunt and earned the name of Nanny by being honored to be Jeff's godmother. That's how I then became a babysitter for her 3 kids.
Gerry and I became closer and closer raising our families ¼ of a mile apart in Bridge City. We planned family gatherings for every holiday and many weekends at my house. She was a tremendous help when I went through several health issues during the 80's. Then, I became her life line in the 90's and beyond when she needed assistance and guidance. That's what families are for.
She laughed and danced often. She made people smile. She was caring and generous to a fault. She loved her church and wanted to volunteer for as many activities there as she could handle.
She had her troubles though, and her life was often challenging, to say the least.
I love my sister. She never forgot her NANNY even with her Alzheimers! I'll never forget her either, my special big sister now in heaven with a full head of red hair, a memory like an elephant and dancing the jitter bug with Teddy.
But, most of all I smile knowing that our Mom and Dad in heaven can stop worrying about HER and can now spend some time worrying about Danny Boy and I. Love you to heaven and back, Gerry Berry!!!
Well, I finally gave in and gave my 2008 Avalon to my oldest grandchild, Bailey. She turned 16 in February and can use a vehicle to get around. This had been my mom's car and when she purchased it she said, “Linda Sue, when I can't drive any more I would like you to take up the notes.” Little did I know that a year later I would be doing that! Oh, well. The vehicle has 214,000 miles on it.....mom only put about 5,000! I will be looking around for another ride probably after the summer. I'll just drive my husband's Tundra which, incidentally, was my new truck purchased in 2005! Life is one big circle.
Oh, and I also had hand surgery for trigger finger at the Fondren Clinic in Houston. I had the surgery on June 3rd and will get the stitches out on June 18th. Dr. Mehlhoff is my surgeon. He came with a great recommendation from Larry Stansbury, TJ '67. Dr. Mehlhoff also treats the Astros players. When asked about it, he did say (very humbly) that he received a World Series ring from the owners of the team.
Yep, I'm married to an OLDER man. Murphy turned 70 on June 13th. He received an early present, a CPAP machine!!! Then, on his actual birthday, I gave him a pair of fitover ENCHROMA sunglasses. They are the ones that let you see COLOR when you are colorblind. Pretty cool.
Also, our daughter and granddaughters gifted us with a weekend in Houston at the end of the month at the Hilton Americas Hotel and tickets to the Astros game on June 30 for a combination birthday and mothers/fathers day gift. Go, Stros!
Ellen Fawvor is recovering from rotator cuff surgery.
2901 Helena Ave. Apt. 201 Nederland, TX 77627
(no e-mail, but you can find her on FB)
Laura Meece and husband, Bart Darby
Bart took a trip by ambulance to the hospital on June 3rd and is better now. He was having stomach issues and has also had ongoing breathing problems.
Laura just had carpal tunnel surgery.
24606 Heirloom Ln. Katy, TX 77493
Allen Andrus called with an update.
He is finished with his treatments for his cancer and is slowly getting his strength back. He was not strong enough to come to our 50th reunion but he said he looks forward to us planning another mini reunion luncheon. He promises to be there.
407 N. 31st St. Nederland, TX 77627
Peggy Foster Hoyt wrote,
“Two weeks before the reunion I had a stroke. I was sorry to miss it. I was blessed. I dodged a bullet. I can walk and talk but was laid off from my job. I am living in assisted living, but it’s ok for now. I think you need a mini reunion in Jacksonville and I’ll be there.”
email@example.com and she is on FB.
Pat Trahan Knox had cataract surgery on one eye on June 3rd. She will have the other eye s
urgery done on the 24th. Also, another visit to the Fondren Clinic in July will have her deciding on what else will happen with her hand issues. firstname.lastname@example.org
925 Brandywine Beaumont, TX 77706
Three classmates gone too soon.
Robert “Bobby” Earl Teufel
(death of a classmate)
October 17, 1950 – May 13, 2019
Jack Walker Etheredge (death of a classmate)
August 17, 1950 – May 15, 2019
Charlotte Cunningham Etheredge
450 Gilmer Bridge City, TX 77611
Cathy Jones Kasper (death of a classmate)
November 19, 1949 – May 21, 2019
PO Box 2594 Crystal Beach, TX 77650
Coach Mack Ross Estes (death of a TJ faculty member)
April 18, 1929 – June 2, 2019
survived by his wife Hilda Brazzel Estes of Ruston, LA
Cherlyn Hebert (death of her brother, Jere' Hebert TJ, '65)
July 27, 1947 – June 6, 2019
8514 Stone Village Lane Houston, TX 77040
Linda DeCuir McFadden (death of her sister, Gerry Landry)
August 17, 1941 – May 13, 2019
A TRIBUTE to my BUDDY, JACK
Jack Etheredge and I have known each other since Kindergarten at Travis Elementary. We were in each other's classes from K-6th. He was my third grade boyfriend and I can remember the valentine he drew of ME with the cutest little shape (HaHa) and a cross hanging from my neck. I can picture his smile in each of our group photos. He was always smiling, always fun to be around. We went to Woodrow Wilson together and hung out at the Lakeview swimming pool. We were entwined in activities at TJ and stayed friends. We both ended up moving to Bridge City and raising our daughters together spending time at the softball fields and attending the same church. We belonged to the same fraternal organization and spent many times enjoying the meetings, conventions and parties. We worked together all these years on the reunion committees. Jack attended our 50th reunion this last July. He was diagnosed with glioblastoma two weeks later on August 15th. I visited Jack and Charlotte the week before he passed away and I reminded him about our 3rd grade “love affair” and he smiled. Jack left this earth 9 months to the day he was diagnosed. Don't let a day go by that you aren't making a difference to someone or enjoying yourself. Don't say, “I wish I would have...” Jack didn't. RIP, sweet friend.
Did you enjoy reading Beth Anne's elementary memories? Did they jog some memories about your early childhood? How about jotting down some to share with the classmates for the next update? Maybe write to someone who is mentioned in the newsletter or on the website update. You could send me a note to add to the Mail Call. How about that crazy Shark Attack story? Tell us if you have someone to be added on the SUPPORT list that could use some prayers. This is your way of helping us keep this going. Thank you for your continued support in this effort.
Happy Father's Day weekend to all. Be safe and enjoy your friends and families.
Stay in touch and contact a classmate,
Linda DeCuir McFadden