Sondra Holstead Provencher, age 69, of Port Arthur, Texas passed away on
Saturday March 16, 2019. Sondra was born December 31, 1949. Sondra, a native
and life long resident of Port Arthur was a member of Glad Tidings Assembly
of God and a faithful member of the 700 Club.
While the first commemorative Memorial Day events weren’t held in the United States until the late 19th century, the practice of
honoring those who have fallen in battle dates back thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans held annual days of remembrance
for loved ones (including soldiers) each year, festooning their graves with flowers and holding public festivals and feasts in their
One of the earliest commemorations was organized by recently freed slaves. As the Civil War neared its end, thousands of Union soldiers, held as prisoners of war, were herded into a series of hastily assembled camps in Charleston, South Carolina. Conditions at one camp, a former racetrack near the city’s Citadel, were so bad that more than 250 prisoners died from disease or exposure, and were buried in a mass grave behind the track’s grandstand. Three weeks after the Confederate surrender, an unusual procession entered the former camp: On May 1, 1865, more than 1,000 recently freed slaves, accompanied by regiments of the U.S. Colored Troops (including the Massachusetts 54th Infantry) and a handful of white Charlestonians, gathered in the camp to consecrate a new, proper burial site for the Union dead. The group sang hymns, gave readings and distributed flowers around the cemetery, which they dedicated to the “Martyrs of the Race Course.”
In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.
The custom of setting aside a day to honor mothers began long ago, our observance of Mother’s Day originated in 1907 with the efforts of a devoted daughter, Anna M. Jarvis of Philadelphia, who conceived the idea of an annual nationwide celebration. The public and the press quickly embraced the idea, and villages, towns, cities, and states soon began unofficial Mother’s Day observances. On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day, and within a few years, the idea gained worldwide prominence.
Bill and Rhonda Richey and grandkids
Betty Bernauer and Kay King
James and Suzanne Miller and grandkids
Linda DeCuir and Allen Baldridge
Sara Hefty's family
Miss Pat Campbell's 4th grade - Travis Elem.
Travis Elementary Christmas Program
Fred Hollier, Jr and sisiter, Joanna
Jack Etheredge and Family
Fred Miller in Downtown Port Arthur
Sara Little Herman
Rose Hill in the early 60's
Linda DeCuir and PE coach, Ms Bertha Hebert
Betty Steck grandson Marshall
Photos of Ken Bragg with family and Legislature
The family that lives there now learned about the story from neighbors when they first moved in three years ago. In 1969, many people were talking about the screen door in a Port Neches home. Jacques Ramirez and his family live at the home where people said they saw an image of Jesus on the house's backyard screen door almost 50 years ago. He said they learned about the story from neighbors when they first moved in three years ago. "They told us the house was blessed back in the day," said Ramirez. Our news partners at the the Beaumont Enterprise published the story. They reported that about 4 p.m. on June 12, 1969, 73 year old Lila Bass said she saw the face of the Christ while brushing her hair near the screen door. After word spread, the Enterprise reported that 1,000 people came to Port Neches to see the door. "It's a bathroom now and there is a door close by where the screen door used to be," said Ramirez. Ramirez said the home was remodeled before they moved, but they have heard stories about the screen door. It's unclear where the screen door is now. However, some said it was destroyed. Some say it was shipped to a Washington museum.