Marshall News

Blue Moon
The moon is in a waxing gibbous phase and is 89.9% full. The next full moon, March 31, is called the Blue Moon as it’s the second full moon in the same month. On Friday night the moon will rise at 6:59pm and will set at 7:28am on Saturday. The moon will rise again at 8:01pm. Let’s hope for clear nights on both days. All times are for Longview. There will not be another Blue Moon until 2019.
from Billy Ayers


Anybody remember this?

Little League Baseball President Charles Spangler presents trophies to Tommie Childs, top batter of National League and Ronnie Carpenter for top pitcher on Aug. 3, 1952. Each day, the Marshall News Messenger publishes a photo from our files that is at least 30 years old.


CLICK HERE to immediately go to HEALTH WATCH





Brian, Robert & Sam 2/15/2017
Bryan and I took Robert a hamburger and had a birthday lunch with him at the rehab center.  It was a great visit and he is doing amazingly well!  I was so relieved to see him looking really good.  He's been pretty sick with pneumonia (and other stuff) and has really pulled out of it.  The guy is Superman, I tell you!  He was in good spirits and all of the nurses were coming in and taking selfies with him, hugging and kissing him, and signing the wall-sized birthday card they had made and posted on the door to his room.  (You can see it behind us in the photo.) 


Big Pines Lodge, March 11, 2016

Below, find a series of Youtube videos, either centering on Marshall 
or its environs.  If you've had enough of a certain scene, just
fast forward by clicking the line that counts the frames ~ bottom
of video.

Wanna take a 5-minute (or less, if you choose) ride on Caddo?


For those of you who live to kill/mutilate innocent animals,
this next one is an episode of "Pro vs. Joe" at Caddo
Lake.  Only hard-core fisherpersons will want to watch
all 27 minutes.  I fell asleep at 7:18, but it's possible to
pick various scenes by using the frame counter.  Just
click along the line to fast forward.  (ZZZZZZZZ)  wink


Take a bicycle ride down Stagecoach Road.  (The dirt
road doesn't begin until 1:01 on the frame counter.)




Well, if you have trouble getting to sleep, here's a video just
for you.  (Said with affection)  A walk through the beautiful
downtown and historic homes of Jefferson.  Wonderful visuals,
but the narration is very slow (love the accent!), so you'll want
to fast forward at your pace.  It does pick up the ambiance,
though, and you'll feel better after the immersion.


 Part 1 is just below, followed by Part 2 (maybe for another
day?).  Now, go take a nap with a smile on your face.

Jefferson, Part 2

You may want to pick & choose which segments of
this video to watch, but if you're missing Big Pines
Lodge, you'll get a good dose.  If you're not interested
in the middle ~ a herd of diners leaving on their motor-
cycles ~ don't give up.  We go back inside for some 
more ambiance.

Published on Youtube in 2011, this video features the
June, 2010, welcome home concert for Marshall-born Boogie
Woogie legend Dave Alexander Elam, aka Omar Sharriff
at the Civic Center.  Goooood music!


From Dr. Harris
Michelson Museum Christmas Exhibit
Pat Mitchell, widow of David Mitchell, has an exhibit at the museum of costumes and related items from 50 years of ballet in Longview, including many Marshall dancers.  If folks are in town, it's a nice place to go with your grandkids.  The link below is to Ron Munden's website where he has posted photos of some of the Museum Exhibits.


Thank you, Ann Sherrill for forwarding a copy of Ray Davis' email to the class re: the 55th Reunion, and Ron Lea's message regarding his absence.  Both are posted below.

Marshall Class of 1961

We are so glad each of you made it to the reunion and made it special.

We all cherish the memories of the days we were teenagers in Marshall.

A lot of people made the reunion enjoyable for us. I would like you to know who the folks behind the scenes were.

Jeff Hankins, did all the boards, badges and directory’s.

Susan Davis, handled all the calls and reservations and dozens of other details.

Mike Davis and his wife Jessica handled photos and made sure the Balloons were ready. Jesse and his helper Govanni did all the work at the two events for us.

Weisman’s did the food for the first event….  I would say they earned 5 stars with great food and service !

The Marshall Country Club handled the main event.  Donnie’s son runs the Club….. again a 5 star performance, unbelievable Service !

We have to recognize Bebe Cole. She was our "go to" Lady. Without Bebe’s support the reunion would not of happened!

Mr. DICK COLE didn’t cook the food, but he was "the man".  Dick kept telling us, “Don’t worry, I got it covered”.

He worried more than anybody about the food. I don’t think he could eat Saturday from worrying, Dick wanted everyone to be pleased.

We think the food was a 5 star winner and Dick came through with flying colors.

I don’t know how many of you know this but Dick Cole is really a big old softy and under that tuff demeanor beats a heart of Gold!  He is tops in my book!

Gary, Harriett, Donnie, Rex, and Ron as always got the job done, even though herding cats is easier than getting you guys to move when you are having fun! They did an excellent job.

We offer a special thanks to Danny Barrett for helping send off the memorial Balloons for our Deceased classmates in what was a tender moment for all ! Ron Lea’s letter to the class 1961 is attached in case you did not hear it all.

Ron Lea’s Letter ….To the class of 1961

It has been quite a while since I have seen all of you. I am wishing all of you good health and many more years of a happy life. I was looking forward to seeing all of you and your silver hair (or no hair) and silver glasses. Not to worry, my (dome) is thinning too. Physical problems have given me some difficulties that limit my “giddy up and go.” That is something I am not use too. I am delaying another hip surgery this fall and am not looking forward to it at all. Right now the old ticker is giving me the worst of my problems but I have to play the hand I was dealt. I am lucky to be living on borrowed time but I’ll keep kicking as long as I can. I have no bitches these past 20 yrs. As I tell my Dr’s and friends I am living on God’s borrowed time and have no regrets. I have missed seeing all of you these past couple of decades. It’s amazing how fast these years have passed us by but we are still here and still kicking. “Tuff” to bring us Texans down for the count. 

All I can say is I hoping the reunion goes well for the class and their spouses. Please tell everyone I have missed them “muchly!” and hope to see them shortly in these coming years.


Ron Lea



 Thinking about...




What's going on there?
Where should I stay?

Any good places to eat, things to do?

Do we have a site for you!

Recently inaugurated by the Marshall
Convention & Visitors Bureau, the site name is

It has lots of interesting things you had no idea were available in Marshall. You are guaranteed some surprises when you visit this attractive & informative website. Click on the address above & give it a try!







from Dr. James Harris

The video above (received from Dr. Jim) is of an MHS track
& field event, some general horsing around, etc by students,
probably in the spring of 1958.  It was made by Lewis Brock
and given to Jim, who had a broken finger at the time,
which is probably why he remembers the year.   


CLICK ON SMILEY'S to read an excellent, published story, by Dr. James Harris.  I would caution readers that it contains the death of an animal.



Norma Jean Nader Coram
received from Sandra Thompson this morning (1/27/2017)

Sorry to report the death of our classmate – Norma Jean Nader Coram.  She suffered with Alzheimer’s and passed away on Jan 21.  Memorial service in FL. on Saturday – January 28th.  You may make on-line condolences at and search for Norma Coram.


Linda Kay Ryan, wife of Lehman Ryan



Marshall - Funeral services for Linda Kay Ryan, 75, of Marshall will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, December 29, 2016 in the chapel of Downs Funeral Home. Interment will follow in Colonial Gardens Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at the funeral home. Linda passed away December 26, 2016.
Linda Kay Ryan was born May 29, 1941 in McAlester, Oklahoma, the daughter of Oscar Lee Walker and Blanche Chastine Walker. Linda lived in Marshall most of her life. She worked at Stereo and Video Center for a number of years. She was also the co-owner, secretary and bookkeeper for L.M. Ryan Plumbing Co. Linda enjoyed playing dominoes with her friends every Friday night.
Surviving Linda are her children, Lehman Michael Ryan and wife, Susan, of Rehobeth, Alabama and Marla Michelle Huxol and husband, Jason, of Hondo, Texas; one grandson, Lehman Max Ryan; and numerous cousins and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Lehman Ryan.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Dementia Society of America, American Bladder Cancer Society or American Diabetes Association.


from Cathy Cole Reeves 6/23/16

Sam:  Thank you for letting us know about our dear Verhalen.  Steve plans to call him in a few minutes and he is certainly in our prayers. 


Meanwhile I decided it is time to let you guys know what has been going on with the "other" Steve and ask for prayers for him as well.  He had been having an irritating cough for a couple of months before we came out to CO, but doctors had thought it was due to first allergies and then medications.  Regardless, when we got here it got worse AND his ankles began to swell.  A midnight emergency room trip to Durango resulted in his hospitalization for two pulmonary embolisms, one in each leg, and another blood clot was discovered in his leg the next day.  He was released on blood thinners and oxygen and he has been pretty much doing nothing but coughing for over a week.  However, a trip to the doctor in Durango yesterday has us feeling much encouraged .

The continued coughing is the lungs' response to the irritation from the clots, which are forming "protective" scar tissue.  Depending on how much scarring there is, he may or may not have to continue on oxygen for a while.  However, this morning he has been without oxygen for several hours and is maintaining 93% oxygen on his own, so we feel there is a real turn-around already. 


I think he is happiest about the fact that his doctor in Durango, a fly fisherman, is coming out to fish Bear Creek tomorrow, and he wants to watch over his shoulder!

Seriously, we are both very grateful for the recovery he is experiencing and ask you to add him to the prayers for classmates in need.  We love you all.....


Cathie and Steve


from Sam - 6/22/16

Steve found out a couple of days ago that he has a malignancy attacking his kidney (he only has one kidney, for some reason that isn't important right now).  He was having symptoms of a very bothersome backache over a period of months and the docs discovered this kidney problem was causing the backache.

The cancer Steve has is a slow-growing one and the doctors seem ​very confident they will be able to eliminate it by removing roughly 1/3 of the kidney.  There are no plans at this time for chemo or radiation.  The exact day for the surgery has not been decided, but it will be early next week at a hospital in The Woodlands.  He expects to spend about 5-7 days in the hospital following the surgery. 

He isn't taking out any billboards, but he did want to let you guys know what is going on.  Although surgery is no fun, the doctors believe he will be back to his old Indian self relatively quickly.  He is, after all, in darn good shape for his age - of course, as he is fond of reminding us, he is the youngest guy in our class (okay, except for Bofus).

Steve will let us know when the surgery is scheduled.  Meantime, prayers for him and Linda are in order.

from Sam 6/23/16

Several of you have asked about Verhalen.  Below is the information about the challenge he faces.  I talked with him a few minutes ago and they have scheduled his surgery for July 18, which, I think, means they don't consider it to be urgent (good sign.)   The surgery will be at The Woodlands hospital (a branch of Hermann Hospital Houston.)  He'll be in the hospital 5-7 days and then in bed for 4 - 6 weeks.  As you are no doubt aware, Verhalen is - to say the very least - an active guy.  Linda will be faced with the daunting task of keeping her ADHD husband indoors for the recuperation period. 

He feels fine at this point, and is still "blowing and going."  If you are inclined to let him know you are thinking about him, or if you later want to send him a get well card, the address is:

21 N. Autumnwood Way

The Woodlands, TX 77381-1306



Dear Friends,

As you may have noticed, Abe Lee joined our class website this year, having retired and moved to Rockville, Md to be near grandchildren (well, his son, too, but probably mostly to be near grandchildren.)  Over the past several years, Abe Lee has had a rough time with back issues and is now hopeful there may be a solution.  He requests the prayers of his classmates.  Here is Abe Lee's email:

"April11th I will check into GW Hospital Washington DC  for spinal  surgery..The first day will be 2-3 hrs of surgery to prepare for the next day of spinal surgery which will be 8-10hrs of surgery to place 2 rods from the top to bottom of my spine. This will repair the mistakes of  surgery done 4 years ago when we lived in Jackson WY.  Recovery time will be 4-12 months.The prayers of  my classmates and friends will be appreciated.The surgery must be done or I will be reduced to paralysis from waist to toes. Hopefully all will be OK and I will be like new with few after effects.  At least I will be able to walk standing straight up and down.  My head surgeon is Dr.Rosner who has 37 years experience and is the Head of Neurosurgery at the medical school. He was the same at Walter Reed before its closing.I am lucky to have him and his team doing it.

This is an update.Thanks for allowing to share this."

Speaking of the website, by the way, I hope you saw what Edd did with the Ides of March and Easter.  Outstanding!  Thanks, Edd for keeping the site entertaining and informative.



I learned yesterday (3/18/16) that our classmate Frankie McConnell unexpectedly died while visiting his son and grandchildren in California.  Frankie is claimed by both the 1960 and 1961 classes.  He was very well thought of in Marshall, where he operated a photography studio and did beautiful work.  For years, he was a photographer for the Marshall News Messenger and did work for many other TV stations and news outlets.  He was a quiet and really good guy and loved being in Marshall, though he had lived several other places because of his work over the years.

Frankie and Lynda celebrated their Golden Anniversary in 2013.  They had three children, Frankie McConnell II and wife, Mandy (who they were visiting at Acton, Califoria), Amie Grubbs and husband, John, who live in Jefferson, and Eric McConnell who lives here in Marshall.  They also have several grandchildren.

The family may be contacted at:



From Robert Nader 3/4/16

William C. McClaran

William C. McClaran

JEFFERSON Mr. William C. Bill McClaran was born January 16, 1942 in Marshall, Texas to Marion G. and Eva Lily Hawkins McClaran, and passed away March 1, 2016 in Bossier City, Louisiana. He graduated from Marshall High school, then married the love of his life, Alice Ann McClaron. He proudly served his country in the Army serving two tours in the Vietnam War. Mr. McClaran was a Master Mason in good standing with the Marshall Lodge No. 22. 
Graveside services for Mr. William C. Bill McClaran, 74, of Marshall, Texas will be 11 a.m., Thursday, March 3, 2016 in Trinity Cemetery with Bro. Mark Markle officiating. Visitation will be at the cemetery, Thursday, March 3, 2016 from 10:30 a.m. until service time at 11 a.m.
He was preceded in death by his parents and wife.
Mr. McClaran is survived by his son, William Craig McClaran of Dallas, Texas; nephew, Kevin Joiner & wife, Jo of Marshall and their children, Todd, Kelli and Kayla and numerous other extended family and friends.
A memorial guestbook may be signed at

Please leave online condolences at


Ann Verhalen Rucker
from Sam - 2/5/16

Sadly, we learned today of the death of Ann Verhalen Rucker, sister of our classmate Steve.  Ann lived in Longview and has battled health problems for some time but has been doing really well for some time.  Her death this morning was unexpected, especially for her family.

There will be a visitation time with Ann's family on Sunday evening, February 7, at 5:00 at Welch Funeral Home on Judson Road in Longview.

Funeral services will be at St. Mary's Catholic Church on Hollybrook Street in Longview, at 10:00 am Monday, February 8, 2016.

Ann's husband, Larry, passed away several years ago.  In addition to her children and Steve, Ann also has another brother, John, and a sister, Linda, who survive her.  Cards to Ann's children and grandchildren may be mailed to

You may send cards to Steve at:



The following from Roddy Stinson via Sam, regarding Ann Verhalen Rucker:

My family moved to Marshall when I was in the ninth grade ... a tough time
for a teen to find a place for himself among the established cliques.
  Two of the "popular" girls were remarkably and memorably kind and
welcoming to me:  Nan Stevens (who married Mitchell Myers) and Ann Verhalen.
  I have had platonic crushes on both of them for 60 years.
  Ann was an Old Soul.
  Mature beyond her age.
  Wise beyond her years.
  Self-confident without egotism.
  Benevolent without artifice.
  Other than brief conversations at class reunions, I have had no
contact with her since high school. Yet I consider her one of the most
endearing and special human beings I have ever known.


Gary Milam Newall ( '61)

Sorry for the late notice about Gary's passing, but I just received the news this morning (2/1/15).  For more, please visit the In Marshall page.


Jerry Power's mother

Today, Jerry Power's mom, Vera Power, died at her home in Marshall.  She was 97 years of age and sharp as a tack.  She is survived by Jerry, his sister Ava and a very large and close extended family. 

Mrs. Power was my client for many years and a masterful businesswoman and negotiator.  About 10 days ago, hospice workers told the family that Mrs. Power's ​days were few, so many family members came to her house to see her for a final time.  Mrs. Power was alert and glad to see everyone.  Seeing more than 30 family members, and enjoying getting to visit with each one, she asked her niece, our classmate Shirley Power Heath, when the funeral would be.  Shirley replied that the date was not decided and asked Mrs. Power if she had a preference.  She said, "No.  Any day will be good."  It was obvious she wanted to be there! 

Family visitation will be at Sullivan Funeral Home on Friday, 6:00 to 8:00 pm.  The funeral will be at Sullivan's on Saturday morning, Jan 23, at 10:00.

If you would send a card or note to Jerry and Kathy, he will be in Marshall for the next couple of weeks, so the best place to send it is:

Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Power

2104 Karnack Highway

Marshall, TX 75672

Additionally, a card has been mailed from the Hog Hunters.  A copy of the card is attached.  This was Soff's idea and I think it is a good one (a similar card was sent to Lehman's widow, Linda, and to his brother, Mike.)




Lehman M. Ryan

Funeral services for Lehman M. Ryan, 74 of Marshall will be at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, January 2, 2016 in the chapel of Downs Funeral Home with Rev. Scott Tagert officiating.A time of visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., Friday, January 1st at Downs Funeral Home.  Interment will be at Colonial Gardens Cemetery.  Mr. Ryan passed away Sunday, December 27, 2015 at his residence in Marshall. Reportedly, he died of a heart attack.

from Robert Nader - 12/14/15
Dale Gordon Key

Dale Gordon Key (Class '60), a life-long resident of Marshall and son to Roby & Luella Key, passed away peacefully in San Antonio, Texas, on November 29, 2015. Please visit our In Memory page for his obituary and where charitable donations can be sent.  

from Ray Davis - 9/18/15

Roy Meisenheimer has past away.  His service will be held at 6:pm, on Friday 18th, at St Joseph's Catholic Church, in  Marshall.  Burial will be at 10:am, on Saturday 19th at St. Joseph's.  Roy was in the MHS class of 1962.  I know a lot of our class mates knew and would want to know about Roy's death.  Roy was one of the Good Guys!  He was loved by all.

Ray Davis

from Dale's '65 Class website

Mavs, the following link is an obituary for Roy Meisenheimer, class of '62.  He was loved by his classmates and will be missed very much.  Even if we haven't seen some folks since graduation, somehow we think of our world as being the better for their presence and the less for their passing.


Roy   ~

from Pat - 8/18/15

Dear Friends,

Chris came home from the rehab facility yesterday (Thursday).  He has made good progress, and we are optimistic about his full recovery.  He will continue to wear the brace for several more weeks (dr. originally said at least 6-8 weeks).  His therapy will be continued here at home by physical therapists who will come several times a week.  The pain has subsided somewhat, but not fully.  Chris is able to walk with his walker, is able to get in and out of bed (even though that is painful), and take care of other basics.  We both are looking forward to his full recovery and are trying to be patient knowing that it will be a month or more before that will become a reality.  As for me, my neck, shoulders, back and ribs are better; I will begin physical therapy next week.

We are so appreciative of your support.  Your prayers, calls, visits, emails, and cards have brightened our days.  We are blessed to have such wonderful friends as you and look forward to seeing you soon.

Chris and Pat


from Soff - 8/10/15





from Steve Verhalen (8/3/15)

I visited Chris yesterday, in Huntsville, and all is well, other than major bruising where the seat belt held him from smashing into the steering wheel.  He told me the main reason he is in the get well center is because Pat is pretty beat up also, and it would be hard on her to help Chris get around, the little gettin' roun' he does.  He expects to be there until the week-end. 

FYI...Pat had emergency surgery just 7 weeks ago, and she was / is still on the mend from that.  She had strapped a pillow between the seat belt she was using, and her body, because she was tender....probably saved her more serious injury.

All in all, two lucky people.....see what happens when you live right ?



from Tom (Henry) Rasberry  - 8/2/15


Just got back from my visit with Chris & Pat. Pat is still very sore around the neck and shoulders. She can almost function normally.  Chris looks like he got in a fight with Mike Tyson. His chest and stomach are purple and pink. Massive bruising. He wears a back brace that goes from his neck to his hips. The cracked vertebrae is on the inside therefore the Dr. wants it to heal on its own. It will take a while………………….

He does not wear this brace all the time, just a few hours of the day.  The logistics are perfect.  The Creekside Nursing facility is just off the highway where they live, easy for Pat to get to. The staff seems to be taking very good care of him. Pat stays there most of the time. Somehow the nurses know Pat and hug here every time they see her, not Chris though, he’s too ugly. I told him that a large number of people are praying for them and was there anything we could do. He thought about it for sometime and said he could not think of a single thing. His son is staying at the house and taking care of things there.  If you send something to the nursing home, address it to Donald Tracy. They do not know him as Chris.  Do not send him books or reading material (it hurts to read)



from Billy & Joyce Clemmons via Sam (7/31/15)


I want you to be aware of Chris and Pat's accident.  Below is the message I received from Billy and Joyce Clemmons:

"Hi Sam, Chris & Pat were in a car accident a few days ago. Chris has a cracked sternum & broken lower vertebrae. He is being sent to a skilled nursing facility to recover, as he requires 24 hr care. Pat will be ok, just very sore. They need our prayers!"

Billy talked with Pat on Wednesday night and she said Chris was still in debilitating pain.  She had still been unable to get him admitted for skilled nursing, but was hopeful that would happen yesterday (Thursday).  I have talked this afternoon (Friday) with Chris and Pat's daughter, Tara. She and Pat are now waiting for the ambulance to move Chris from the hospital to Creekside Nursing Facility in Huntsville.  That will happen today and they are glad about that.  Pat is "pretty beat up," too, according to Billy and Joyce.  They were traveling on a highway near College Station when a car in front of them, pulling a boat, turned off the highway and another driver - whose vision was apparently blocked by the car and boat - pulled out in front of Chris.  Chris said he never touched his breaks and hit the car full-force.    As I can find out more, I will update you.  Meantime, if you want to send a card, their mailing address is:

Chris and Pat Tracy

214 Sumac Road

Huntsville, TX 77340



BILL McCAY (7/14/2015)

from Sam
Our friend and classmate, Bill McCay, passed away peacefully last night (Monday, July 13).  Bill has been in a tough battle with cancer for many months.  He was such a good friend to many of us in high school; a talented bass singer with The Confidentials, recipient of the UIL District "Best Actor" award our senior year, a crazy station-wagon commander, and a fun guy to be around.  After college, Bill spent most of his working life in law enforcement.  He was "Officer of the Year" in the Marshall P.D. many years ago, and was the very popular sheriff of Marion County (Jefferson) at the time of his retirement.  His hobbies, in addition to hunting and fishing, included the study of history and he was active in the Marion County Historical Society, including serving as President.

Services will be Friday morning, July 17 at 10:00 at First United Methodist Church in Jefferson.  His obituary will be posted on the website.
Bill's wife, Janie, may be contacted at:
Mrs. Janie McCay
1112 FM 729
Jefferson, TX 75657 


Bill McCay (6/27/15)
Received this morning from Bailey Moseley and others,

Bailey, I just got a note from Bill McCay's sister that he is "nearing the end". I think he is in Jefferson after being treated at MD Anderson...figured you might want to let your brother Sam know...if I recall they were friends.

Grandson of Jeff and Drucilla Davis

from Sam this morning  5/24/15

It is painful to let you know that Jeff and Drucilla Davis's 19 year old grandson, T. J., lost his life in an automobile accident last night.  T. J. was the son of Jeff and Drucilla's son Todd.  Jeff and Drucilla had been with T.J. and his girlfriend in Hughes Springs yesterday to watch T.J.'s brother Will pitch in two baseball games.  

The wreck was at the intersection of Highways 59 and 80, where someone ran a stoplight and hit T.J.'s car.  Jeff and Drucilla seem to be doing okay but have asked for prayers for all of their family.

Jeff and Drucilla Davis
105 Brassell Drive
Marshall, TX 75672

(903) 935-2105 



Earlier today (3/25/15), Ann Davis reported that Dianne had a closed coffin, graveside service yesterday.  Apparently, no cause of death was mentioned.  Also received from Ann was the brief obituary on the Sullivan's website, and a link to the one posted in the Marshall News Messenger. Dianne's obituary, and the link to the MNM will be posted on our In Memory page.

Click Here to go to Dianne's Tribute page at Sullivan's Website.
The following, from Gary Evers - (3/20/15) 



Received from Dr. James Harris on 7/29/14 - Jackie Henry passed away at approximately noon today.  No other information was received, but the cause was believed to be diabetes related.


James Gordon Pierce

FARMERSVILLE — James Gordon Pierce, 75, of Farmersville, Texas, passed away Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in Plano, Texas. During his two month illness, God blessed and sustained his family through many friends and loved ones. A service for the celebration of Gordon’s life will be 1 p.m. today, June 28, 2014, at First Baptist Church of Farmersville.
Gordon was born November 5, 1938, in Marshall, Texas, to John Patton Pierce Jr. and Minnie Fyffe Pierce. His parents and brother, Larry, preceded him in death. In 1957, Gordon graduated from Marshall High School, joined the U.S. Air Force and proudly served his country until 1961. Gordon and Ina Marie Strong were married on December 21, 1962, in Marshall, Texas. He graduated from Kilgore College in 1968.
Gordon’s life was guided by his love for the Lord. He served many years as a Sunday school teacher, a Gideon and deacon. He also volunteered in the Gideon jail ministry and believed strongly in the power of the Word of God. His career with the U.S. Postal Service spanned from 1967-1992 in various positions including Postmaster of both Diana and Hallsville, Texas.
Gordon enjoyed sports and was an avid golfer. He and Ina lived in East Texas until 2006 when they moved to the Dallas area to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Gordon is survived by his wife of 51 years, Ina Marie; his daughters, Melissa Schipper and Susan Beck; their husbands, Mike Schipper and Keith Beck; and grandchildren, Matthew Schipper and wife, Melanie, Timothy Schipper and wife, Jenna, Jonathan Schipper, Daniel Schipper, Claire Beck and Rose Beck.
Paw Paw and his grandchildren enjoyed a mutual adoration with many hours spent playing barber shop, detective, learning magic tricks and having tea parties. They were each a delight to him. Gordon was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend to anyone he met.
Memorials may be made to The Gideons International or First Baptist Church of Farmersville.


Ina's new address:
504 Jouette Street
Farmersville, Texas 75442



Dear MHS '60 friends,
I have just learned that Jo Ann Adams Seiple's husband, Jerry, has passed away.  Jerry has been to some of our reunions.  Here is what Jo Ann has said:

I know that it has been a while since writing, but I know that you will understand. After nearly three years of Jerry's being cancer-free, the disease came back with a vengeance. At 1:00 a.m. Monday, Jerry died, and I'm still reeling from the loss. We had a wonderful marriage, and I am going to miss him terribly.
If you want to let Jo Ann hear from you, her address is:
Jo Ann Seiple 
6417 New Haven Dr.
Wilmington, NC 28411



Obituary: Wanda Summerford Parker

MARSHALL Wanda Summerford Parker, 72, of Marshall and Forney, Texas, constant prankster, donut lover, yellow dog democrat, avid painter and accomplished traveler, passed away Thursday, April 10, 2014, in Dallas, Texas, after a brief illness.

Wanda was a character; effervescent and sharply funny. Her laugh was head-thrown-back contagious, some­times requiring a change of pants. She kept a fully stocked candy drawer. She devised elaborate pranks that, ahem, weren't always appreciated...except by her. She was a "Mimi" and an "Auntie Wanda" who never seemed to forget a birthday.

She was VERY popular with the boys. Her storytelling is legend. To this day no one knows what was true and what was "just embellished a little."

On a trip through China, she almost started an international incident over an empty glass of orange juice.

She took great pleasure in embarrassing her then teenaged children at the movies, at the mall, in front of first dates, anywhere really. She could throw a tea party like no other 5-year-old could. She asked, no less than five times a day, "How's the market doing?" Yet probably traded stocks less than five times a year. Her singing voice was, well let's say, loud. And charmingly off-key. She wasn't a joiner, and yet she was everywhere all at once. Her pantry was prepared as if every grocery store in the Ark-La-Tex region might close at any minute.

She might have "mistakenly" led her fiancé to believe that she really, really liked dogs. She worshipped her siblings, especially "The Sisters."

A self-proclaimed "poor, forgotten, middle child," Wanda was born July 5, 1941, in Marshall, to Thomas Cherry Solomon and Trudis Lisenby Solomon. She was a cheerleader and a football sweetheart, graduating from Marshall High School in 1959. She attended The University of Texas at Austin, where she was a member of Delta Zeta sorority. Despite her brothers' constant taunts that she was adopted, she was actually the only child to resemble her father.

She is survived by her loving husband and best friend, Andy Parker; son, Keith Summerford and wife, Rhonda, of Sarasota, Florida; daughter, Sharon Kay Summerford of Schererville, Indiana; daughter, Cynthia Summerford Birdwell of Houston, Texas; daughter, Jennifer Summerford Colby and husband, Hayden, of Trinity, Texas; stepson, Jeff Parker and wife, Stacey, of Allen, Texas; and stepdaughter, Jennifer Parker Biddenstadt of Forney, Texas; numerous grandchildren, Steven Summerford, Ryan Summerford, Emeline Birdwell, Everett Colby, Gideon Colby, Wharton Colby, Bailey Colby, Augustine Colby, Bennett Parker, Dayton Parker, Channing Parker and Haley Biddenstad; and great-granddaughter, Annabelle Summerford.

She is also survived by brother, Toddy Solomon; sister, Sharon O'Neal; sister, Kay Andrews and husband, Fred; brother, Walter Solomon and wife, Carolyn; along with numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Wanda was preceded in death by her husband and father of her children, E. Wayne Summerford. They met when Wanda was a contestant in the Miss Marshall pageant, and he was a judge. She still didn't win. Memorial services for Wanda will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 26, 2014, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Marshall, with Father John Himes officiating. Visitation, reminiscence and storytelling will be from 6-8 p.m. Friday, April 25, 2014, at Sullivan Funeral Home. Please bring an extra pair of pants just in case. She was funny 'til the end, and we will miss her.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Paul Medical Foundation, In Memory of Trudis Parker, 5909 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75390. We wish to thank the amazing team in the 3 South Oncology unit for their compassion and care of our Mother.


Helen Jones, mother of Mrs. Emma Jo Jones Ivey 

Sadly Emma Jo Jones-Ivey's Mother, Mrs. Helen Jones, passed away early this morning (1/3/14). Mrs. Jones lived to celebrate her 100th Birthday August 25th. Services will be Monday in Macon, Ga. She was preceded in death by her husband, Glenn Jones, who worked for Longhorn Ordinance Works in Karnack. Their family used to live on College St. close to the Marshall High School - the same house in which Freda, Raymond and Paula Simmons and their parents later lived.
Our deepest sympathies are extended to Emma Jo, her daughter Allison and their families.

Mrs. Jones was a very gracious Southern Belle and she and Mr. Jones reared an incredible, equally gracious daughter - our special friend, Emma Jo.
Below is Emma Jo's message.
Kay Solomon Andrews

-----Original Message-----
From: Emma Jo [] 
Sent: Friday, January 03, 2014 7:44 AM
Something woke me around 5am this morning. My first thought was my mother. I prayed for her and asked myself if God was the one that woke me. I was called and told that my mother passed away when her caregiver arrived at 7 am. Regina who has cared for her for over 9 years hugged her and was holding her hand when she died.  It was as though she was waiting for someone she loved and who loved her to be with her.

Again I thank God for the wonderful week I had with her over Christmas.



from Patty Hadlock Ramsey (1/12/15)
The following is a link to a recent Marshall News Messenger article about Sam Moseley.  You will enjoy the read.



Kay Solomon Andrews informed me that our classmate, Scott, was presented a Distinguished Alumnus award by the University of Texas. 

The award was presented to him during this years UT/Iowa State football game.  Scott and Vivien are certainly deserving of this singular honor!  Others being honored were Earl Campbell from Tyler and Matthew McConaughey from Longview.

Here is a link to the announcement:




Sunday, September 8, 2013 4:00 am

Announced on Saturday, Jerry and Judy Cargill and Richard and Christina Anderson will donate the Hotel Marshall property to ETBU.  It is to be transformed into a home for ETBU's graduate school.  As such, it will be converted to offices, classrooms, laboratories, open areas and living facilities.  The project is estimated to take 36 months to complete.




from Jack Canson and Sam, this morning - 3/27/14
Dear Friends of Caddo Lake,


You may have heard about the terrible threat Caddo Lake is under from the invasive aquatic plant giant salvinia.  Last summer and fall over 6,000 acres of the Texas side alone of Caddo were covered by giant salvinia.  This plant, which can double its mass every four or five days during peak growing conditions, is the most serious problem ever to face Caddo Lake.  Salvinia depletes oxygen and blocks sunlight from penetrating the surface. No fish or other plants can live under giant salvinia.  Some of Caddo Lake’s most picturesque shallow backwater areas are in peril of being lost forever if giant salvinia is not brought under control soon.  Conditions were so bad that for several weeks this Fall you could stand on the dock at Johnson’s Ranch marina in Uncertain and not see water in any direction.


Everything you can imagine has been tried to control giant salvinia at Caddo Lake, as you can see in this 13 minute video, aptly titled “Last Chance to Save Caddo Lake.”


The one control measure that has had success in research trials at Caddo is the use of salvinia weevils.  Salvinia weevils are being used around the world to control giant salvinia, including in south Louisiana and Texas.  Because Caddo Lake is at a latitude where we sometimes have winters as cold as the one we have just experienced, the use of weevils here got off to a slow start.  But research conducted by Texas A&M over the last several years has demonstrated that cold-tolerant weevils are multiplying and surviving on Caddo Lake.


The winter of 2013—2014 has temporarily reduced the amount of giant salvinia, but all experts familiar with conditions at Caddo Lake predict that by mid-summer we will once again be infested with 6,000 or more acres.  Conditions will be worse in the fragile Cypress brakes that are inaccessible to spray boats are mechanical harvesters.  Only the giant salvinia weevil can attack and reduce salvinia in these areas.


The Greater Caddo Lake Association of Texas is now building and will operate a weevil hatchery greenhouse adjacent to Shady Glade Resort in Uncertain to help produce weevils that will be applied to the most vulnerable areas of the lake.  It is imperative that this weevil hatchery be up and running and producing weevils as soon as possible.  Please watch the above video and help support this operation.


You can also help with our fundraising and education by purchasing Caddo Lake Weevil Rancher tee shirts.  These shirts can be obtained on eBay for $20 S&H included. Please specify sizes desired. (Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL)

Inline Image Not Displayed


You can see how bad giant salvinia is in the backwater areas by watching this short video from July 31, 2012.  Conditions have only worsened since then.


Your support will help save the only naturally formed lake in Texas so that future generations can enjoy it as much as we have.  Please forward this email to anyone you think might want to help save Caddo Lake.







MHS 50th Reunion Patriot Salute

Belladier David Hall places his hand over his heart as he rings a re-creation Liberty Bell during the MHS classes of 1960 and '61 Salute the Veterans event at the historic Harrison County Courthouse.


The tolling of the Liberty Bell rang out across downtown Marshall Saturday while people sang and jet engines roared overhead.

The Marshall High School graduating classes of 1960 and 1961 hosted "Salute the Veterans & Military" Saturday on the east side of the historic Harrison County Courthouse.

"Our main goal is to get all of the veterans from the graduating classes and salute them," said Gerald Watson, co-chair of the Salute the Veterans Committee.  "These two classes have over 70 veterans, so it is important to honor them."

One of the veterans, Joe Teodorezik, class of 1960 and the event's MC, said that on November 5 he will be honored in Charleston, SC, where he will be inducted into the Navy's Enlisted Combat Air Crew Row of Honor.  He was a part of the U.S. Navy from Oct., 1961, to July, 1982,  when he served in Vietnam.  "I think today is a great time and tribute for all the veterans," said Teodorezik.  "I really appreciate everyone who has come out today to honor the veterans."

The event began with a tolling of the "Liberty

 Bell" 30 minutes before the ceremony.  The bell is an exact replica of the Liberty Bell and travels around the country to honor veterans.  "Our goal is to support those who serve in our military," said Phillis Hall, owner of the Liberty Bell.  "This is a great event, especially when the overall goal is to honor fallen soldiers."

The 2,500-pound bell has been to over 500 funerals since 9/11 and has traveled about 50,000 miles across the states.  "This bell is a history icon because it focuses on doing one thing; just as the original bell rang for fallen Presidents, we ring it for fallen soldiers," said Ms. Hall.

The Marshall High School ROTC Color Guard, Marshall High School Big Red Pride marching band and the Texas Patriot Guard Riders

A young girl pulls the rope to ring the Liberty Bell replica, while others wait in line during the MHS classes of 1960 and '61 reunion event Salute to Veterans.

were also in attendance.

"We were asked to come out today for veteran appreciation day, and that's what we do," said Texas Patriot Guard Riders Captain Mike Eubank.

The riders escort fallen veterans from their arrival at the airport, train station and such, to the funeral home and, on the day of burial, escort the fallen soldier from the funeral home to the cemetery.

John (Jackie) Graff, MHS '65 and Air Force veteran, gives the Maverick hand signal as he sings the school alma mater.

Michael Johnson, MHS '80 and Army Airborne, 82nd division veteran, salutes during the singing of the school alma mater.


 "This is just a fantastic event.  It is what we are.  We are from all walks of life, and we are here to honor veterans for all different purposes and different ages," said Eubank.

The ceremony concluded with a fly-over by the U.S. Air Force of an A-10 Thunderbolt II from Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, LA, and a Commemorative Air Force of Texas fly-over of five to ten vintage aircraft from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.



Rebuilding Big Pines Lodge to begin this fall

An East Texas icon is making a legendary comeback with construction set to begin this fall on the new & improved Big Pines Lodge.

"Before the rumors started, we wanted to get the word out that we are starting back & have not sold to anyone else," said co-owner Kevin Allen of Marshall.  "It's not going to be condos or townhomes there.  We are still going to build the restaurant & with the look we wanted."

Big Pines Lodge was a favorite of families for more than 60 years before it was claimed June 6, 2009, by a tragic fire.  While plans to rebuild the restaurant began right away, flood regulations along the hauntingly beautiful Caddo Lake have made the process time & energy more intensive.

If it weren't for the flood, it would have already been built, but the new flood regulations are extensive & costly," said Allen.

Fresh lumber went up in smoke with the rest of Big Pines Lodge on that fateful day, as Allen & his family had started restoring the old restaurant to look more like it had during the 1950s & 1960s, a retro look they still hope to achieve.

"When we bought the restaurant, we were restoring it to its look in the 1960s.  We went back to the pictures & found it was a great place in the 60s & had started that before the fire," said Allen.  "The kitchen will be bigger & better.  But on the outside, we're going to try to keep it with the old 1960s look."


 Allen & co-owner Shell Sanford of Jacksonville have turned to Marshall's Gary Closkey of Closkey General Contractors for non-traditional solutions that will also keep the structure within the flood regulations.

"We got notice we were going to have to build it 6 to 7 feet in the air.  We have been fighting this for months, and Closkey has done a great job in creating a plan to keep it on the ground with a lower foundation," said Allen.  "However, we will have to put a pumping system in the floor & build with water-tight walls.  We also have to have a special drain system & everything above ground like the air conditioner."

The modifications to the plan required "a total re-draw" from what was planned & almost became too expensive.





UNCERTAIN - The cast & crew of "Uncertain, TX" took over the home of Cecil Jones for filming Friday.  The landing of Jones' home will be featured in the thriller that includes location shots from Marshall, Jefferson and Caddo Lake.

"We will be filming all of this on location," said Adam Donaghey, producer.  "Today, we're shooting a scene with Johnny Fletcher, who captains the Swamp Thing."

During Friday's filming, visitors were welcomed to the set to watch as scenes with Fletcher, owner/operator of The Swamp Thing Tours, were performed.  Fletcher delivered lines across the brown water of the lake, spotted with lily pads and hopping with green and blue dragonflies.  "I just need to keep things moving along," said David Harstein, assistant director, in a hurry and meaning it.

 The Dallas-based crew just wrapped on "Wuss" two days before filming began at Caddo Lake.  The whole production will be done by a crew of about 20 and a cast of five -- a small footprint that's hoping to make a big impact.

The script for "Uncertain, TX" was co-written by its director, Eric Steele, and its lead actor, Hunter Wood, whose visit to Marshall's Three Oaks B&B inspired the plot and even a few changes to its exposition.  "They were here and decided that Three Oaks is such an amazing space, unique, and they wrote the whole thing around that," said Donaghey.

While the B&B is in Marshall, the magic of movie-making will place it conveniently at the lake shore, so the film can include the most fitting locations for the thriller.

Shouts of "Quiet, please!  We're rolling!" echoed through the bald cypress trees and filtered down through Spanish moss hanging both from the trees and Fletcher's Swamp Thing craft.  As the dock shook so did the camera.  "There are many stumps in the water at Caddo Lake," mused Steele. "But it's beautiful.  Hunter and I were here a few months ago, and we met Johnny when we took a tour."

 The two friends had never seen anything like the lake's "other worldly" views and potential for this type of film.  "The film has five characters, and there are two latent characters -- this lake, with its mood -- and the Three Oaks B&B for its flair," said Steele.  "It isn't very often that a scene incorporates nature that really alters the mood of the film."

Setting the mood was important in developing the action of the film, which follows two drifters who take shelter at the B&B after they assume the identities of other expected guests.  The drifters, however, are the ones in for a "brutal" ending, as the owners have plans of their own.  "We wanted to have a story about a couple going to an exquisite home and getting tortured.  But we decided it needed to be two people taking advantage and then becoming victims," said Wood.  "We started rewriting the moment we found Three Oaks."

They were also inspired by lead actress Caroline White, who was selected for her role before it was ever written.  "We knew she had to play our lead, and everything changed," said Wood, who promised a "brutal" ending.



    For you ex-patriates who would welcome a little taste of home from time to time, this page will link you to some articles & photos from the Marshall News Messenger in order to satisfy your cravings.

Texas' Mystical Caddo Lake Beckons Visitors

Visitors to east Texas' Caddo Lake find 'hauntingly beautiful' tree-lined waterways


The Associated Press


As Capt. Ron Gibbs navigates his pontoon boat down a narrow waterway lined with bald cypress trees dripping Spanish moss, he shuts off the motor. The only noise punctuating the silence is birds calling as the boat glides under the bright summer sun on Caddo Lake.

Visitors to this lake tucked away in Texas' forested northeast corner find a mysterious labyrinth of swamps, sloughs and bayous, home to a vast array of wildlife from owls to eagles to alligators. A boat tour of the lake takes visitors through seas of bright green water lilies, down shaded watery avenues and past islands of dense forest.

"There are some areas that are so primeval it'll make the hair on the back of your neck stand up," said Gibbs, whose Graceful Ghost Steamboat Company Inc. is one of several outfits offering boat tours of the lake. "It's a supernatural feeling. It's downright spooky in some areas."

"It's hauntingly beautiful. It's an enchanting lake," Gibbs said.

The lake's "flooded forest," which has trees that are more than 400 years old, was created when the lake level rose after bald cypress trees germinated on the dry lake bed in a low-water period, said Todd Dickinson, park manager of the state's 484-acre Caddo Lake State Park.

Tourists are drawn to the lake and state park, which is bordered by the 8,000-acre Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area and the 7,000-acre Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, for the camping, boating, kayaking, bird watching, hiking, fishing and hunting.

The 27,000-acre lake about 170 miles east of Dallas straddles the edge of Texas and Louisiana, where it becomes open water.

Dickinson said each season offers something new on the lake. In the summer, the lake shimmers under the hot sun and the vegetation is in full bloom, showing off bright greens and colorful flowers. By fall, the bald cypress trees are turning a rusty red, and when the temperature drops in the winter, the lake takes on a silvery glow as the trees lose their leaves. In the spring, more fisherman appear and the lake begins getting greener.

"This lake just comes alive with something new each week," Gibbs said.

A first glimpse of the lake can be bewitching.

"It looks very prehistoric. Really magical, enchanting, otherworldly," said Vanessa Adams, a biologist for the wildlife management area.

Bird watching can be especially interesting, said Adams. One a recent summer afternoon, there were great blue herons wading in the water.

Adams said that in the fall, when wading birds are doing their "post-breeding wandering," there can be some unexpected sightings in the swampy lake.

English sisters Marilyn Jones and Anita Harris from Liverpool made a stop on Caddo Lake as part of a tour of Texas after reading about it in a guidebook. They said the lake did not disappoint, with Jones describing it as "brilliant, beautiful."

"The atmosphere is just completely different," Harris said.

About 17 miles west of the lake, visitors will find the genteel town of Jefferson, which has its own historical ties to the flooded forest.

Now a small community of elegant homes, antique stores and bed and breakfasts, Jefferson was once a bustling river port, with steamboats traveling up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to the Red River, through Caddo Lake and down Big Cypress Bayou to Jefferson. But in the 1870s, a "log jam" on the Red River above Shreveport, La., was broken up, opening up the main course of the river and lowering water levels so much that steamboats could no longer make it through to Jefferson.

With its tree-lined lanes of antebellum homes and a downtown square near the Big Cypress Bayou, the town makes a relaxing stop. For elegant dining after a day on the lake, try the Stillwater Inn, located in an old Victorian home.

"The beauty of coming to Jefferson is you can come in, park the car, throw away the keys and walk everywhere," said Juanita Wakefield Chitwood, executive director of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce.

Far away from the bustle of Texas' big cities, and a marked difference from the open prairie and desert that people often associate with the state, Caddo Lake and its surrounding forests offer something different.

"It's not like anything else in Texas, that's for sure," said Rick Lowerre, president of the Caddo Lake Institute, a nonprofit founded by musician Don Henley to help protect the lake.

"That flooded cypress forest, thousands of acres of it, is pretty magical," Lowerre said.


If You Go...


GETTING THERE: Uncertain, Texas, located on Caddo Lake, is about a three-hour drive from Dallas or an hour from Shreveport, La.

GRACEFUL GHOST STEAMBOAT COMPANY INC.: or 877-894-4678. Boat tours offered Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday except holidays). Adults, $20; children through age 15 are charged $1 for each year of age. Graceful Ghost is one of several boat tour companies in the area.


STILLWATER INN: 203 E. Broadway, Jefferson, Texas; or 903-665-8415. Entrees, $21.50-$45. Dinner reservations required Friday and Saturday nights; recommended Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. (Dining room closed Sunday and Monday.) Cottage rental, $130 a night.





Sharon Broadus, part owner Lewis A. Williams Insurance, walks to the podium after winning the Boss of the Year award during the Business and Industry Appreciation Luncheon Wednesday at the Marshall Convention Center.

Now, it just doesn't get prettier than this, does it?      2/12/10

        Sam's Cool Video - 2/12/10 

Now remind me once again, why ya'll are still livin' in Texas??????





                   BIG PINES LODGE LOST TO FIRE SAT. OCT 6                         

      And for you masochists, Click Here for more photos of the BPL fire.



Historic Sam Houston School lost to fire.

Sam Houston Hist Photo Very sad news. This long-abandoned Marshall landmark succumbed to a fire yesterday about 2 pm. A report with photos can be read at the Marshall News Messenger Online. According to the news report, the fire apparently started in the basement and arson is suspected.

This building has been one of the hard luck stories of Marshall for the 15 or so years I have been involved there. We have twice conducted studies for the building's restoration, once as a Head Start center and more recently for conversion to multi-family. This past effort got so far as the client acquiring adjacent land. Ultimately, however, the project fell apart and the last I heard, someone else was considering both residential and a basement level restaurant. Nothing has seemed to get past the planning stages. Just yesterday morning I mentioned it to a potential developer who was looking for opportunities with historic buildings. 3 hours later, it was gone.

In any event, this is a painful loss for for the community and for me personally. At one point, I had been away from Marshall for several years when new opportunities called me back. As I drove into downtown on East Houston Street as I had done so many times before, I was a little surprised and relieved to see the Sam Houston School, still vacant and boarded up, but still standing as it had for many decades. Maybe I hadn't been gone that long after all.


 3 indicted in Sam Houston School fire

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, April 29, 2010 7:58 am | Updated: 8:01 am, Thu Apr 29, 2010.

Three suspects, arrested in connection with the Jan. 13 fire that destroyed the historic Sam Houston School, were indicted by a grand jury Tuesday for arson.

Indicted were Gavin Douglas McKinley, 17; Jacob Charles McNabb, 27; and Steven Glenn Murray Jr., 18.


About 25 Marshall firefighters worked the scene, fighting the blaze for hours. The building, however, was declared a "total loss."


Reginald Cooper, fire marshal and assistant fire chief for Marshall Fire Department, actively investigated the fire along with fire inspector Bill Kelly.

During their investigation, they learned that the three suspects were in the building, nicknamed the "Pink Prison, at or near the time of ignition.

As a result, McNabb and Murray were arrested Jan. 26 as persons of interest in connection with the fire and McKinley was arrested Feb. 9.

All three individuals ended up providing law enforcement with statements concerning their involvement, Harrison County Criminal District Attorney Joe Black explained to the News Messenger in a Feb. 12 article.

"Depending on evidence (presented), the defendants may be (found) guilty on reckless or intentional (arson)," said Black in a telephone interview Wednesday.

The historic building, 1203 E. Houston St., was first opened in 1905 and closed in 1981, according to its marker. It was designed by then-prominent architect C.G. Lancaster and had been vacant for years.

Matthew Hatch and Juli Jameson of Jameson-Hatch Properties purchased it five years ago from Marshall Independent School District as a re-sale property. Ms. Jameson described the fire as a "great loss" and "crushing."

"It just wasn't any old fire," she said in a previous article when the third suspect, McKinley, was arrested. "That building would've stood another 200 years.

"It embodied a lot of sentimental history for people in this town," she said then. "This city lost something."

The fire was believed to have been started in the basement.



Lad Moore - Writer
Writer, Humorist, Columnist, Editor
Mailing Address
Jefferson, Texas
Lad Moore
Email send email
Website go to website

Lad Moore:

The author is a former corporate vice-president who left the boardroom and returned to his roots in "Deep East Texas"---the fountainhead for much of his writing. He retired to a small farm near mysterious Caddo Lake and the historic steamboat town of Jefferson, where field chores and writing seem to balance his energies.

Lad's life experiences are splashed freely into his writings. His early years were like a free pinball, bouncing among caring family members between stints at military school. His parents divorced early, and his father was always away--following his dream, soldier-of-fortune style. Much of Lad's life was high adventure--his time in strife-torn Indonesia, the wilds of post-war Burma, and a year on board a steamship-freighter sailing the world. In high school Lad joined a circus--only one event in a series of rites of passages that he reflects upon in his stories.

Lad has been published more than 600 times. His collection of stories about various 'scalawags' titled "Odie Dodie" is available at all major booksellers or directly from the publisher, BeWrite Books.

His second published work, "Tailwind," is a 40-plus story collection of memoirs--true accounts of growing up in East Texas in what Lad calls his "Days of Cottonmouths and Cotton Candy."

His most recent collection of stories, "Riders of the Seven Hills" Tales in Red Clay and Blue Denim" completes his trilogy. This volume is filled with stories of his East Texas youth and some accounts of "local legends" most people from the area have only heard rumors about.

Hundreds of the author's other works have appeared in venues such as Carolina Country, Amarillo Bay, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Paumanok Review, Eclectica, Manx, Danforth Review, Literary House, The Virginia Adversaria, Adirondack Review, and in AIM, America's Intercultural Magazine, among others. A four-story collection, "Natcherly Bad," was published in Creativity Magazine. A heartwarming family story, "Final Approval," was included in Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul, one of the latest in the Chicken Soup line of NY Times Best Sellers.

Lad's prize-winning story, "The Firmament of the Third Day," was published in the Best of Carve Magazine Anthology. "Burger Recollections," a East Texas burger-shop memoir, was published in the Food Encyclopedia, "ABC's of Food" at Peach Blossom Press.

Mr. Moore is a past winner of both The Wordhammer Award and the Silver Quill. His short story "The Day Hunter" was nominated for the 2002 Fiction Award at The Texas Institute of Letters.

Lad's most current work can be found in the Adams Media Anthologies including four titles of "Rocking Chair Reader" and three titles in the Cup of Comfort series. Each is available at booksellers and at larger Wal-Mart stores.


This about Lad Moore is also from Ron's EastTexasTowns website.
Here is a video just for the fun and good music of it.



You will likely remember our High School friend, Ed Bays.  Eddie was a year ahead of us in school.  I got word this morning that he died.  I last saw Eddie about 6 months ago, not long after our 50th reunion.  He wanted to know all about his friends in our class.  He was a good guy in high school, and even much more after we grew up.  In high school, he was among the best liked by everyone.   After college, was an oil and gas landman and lived in Longview for years.  He and our classmate Donald Jones were closest friends for perhaps 20 years before Donald died.  Eddie loved class reunions and was a huge help in planning and executing the Mav Millennium reunion (2000) which included his class of 1959.  Eddie will be missed.  I'll remember him as a friend, always willing to help, unfailingly positive and upbeat, and always with a smile on his face.



Story from Dr. James Harris:


Today I remembered a big turtle that I'd seen on our ranch when I was twelve.
He was old, maybe a hundred years? And big. Almost a hundred pounds? I'd not thought about that turtle, or any turtle, in over sixty years.
My father had hired a crew of colored men, and me, to thin several hundred acres of hard wood flats along a big East Texas creek, Potters Creek. It runs through our land just a few miles before it loses itself in the Sabine River, which in turn drifts on laconically to the Gulf of Mexico, several hundred miles to the south. Were Potters Creek located anywhere but rainy East Texas, it’d be called a river. Through our land, it was about fifteen feet wide and several feet deep even in most droughts. The flood plain along the creek was too wet for pine trees to grow, and hard wood had little commercial value; however, if the foliage was opened up and thinned out, cattle could utilize the land during dry or cold weather. Hunting leases in those days, the early fifties, had minimal value; most folks had neither the time nor the money to hunt, and the deer and turkeys had been hunted out during the depression and the wars. There were still some squirrels, ducks, feral hogs, and the occasional goose.
My daddy had grown up working and had never stopped, even when he became a medical doctor. By his own incessant hard work, he had earned the money to buy a nice sized tract that he and the bank owned together. He didn’t really understand mechanics, but he was innovative and had learned about a portable gasoline powdered router carried in a backpack that would “dead shot” unwanted trees. The operator would gouge out (girdle) a one-inch wide circle around trees, which removed a strip of the bark and the outer layers of wood. This procedure destroyed the circulation of the tree. The culled tree’s demise was then made almost certain by a poison that was sprayed onto the tree’s wound. Over the years, the treated trees would die and open up the canopy to sunlight and promote more efficient tree growth,or so it was said. For a patient rancher, the cost of this type reclamation was reasonable.
The boss of the crew, Freed Lee, was almost owned by a semi-sorry uncle of mine from up around Jefferson. He had helped my uncle with a chicken farm. In those days, fooling with chickens was considered to be about the least glorious way there was to make a living, and it also ruined one’s taste for fried chicken. When his chicken business failed, my uncle bought some cows. But various debts from the disreputable enterprise left both my uncle and Freed Lee owing my daddy some pretty good money. So Daddy borrowed Freed Lee for a summer in payment for some of the debt.
Freed Lee claimed his momma had misspelled his name on his birth papers. However, he later told me that she may have gotten the name the way she wanted it, since her mother had been a slave. Anyway, he asked us to call him Fred Lee or Freddy, but nobody except my daddy and me complied.
Freed Lee was about forty, short and stocky but strong. Invariably, he was cheerful and had a genuine smile, that was often, and which was enhanced by a mouthful of big
white, perfect teeth. He must have been a church going man, because he constantly
hummed hymns under his breath while he worked, or, more commonly, watched us
working. He mostly observed and bossed, although he would on occasion swing an ax and
run the girdler machine, which was usually handled by an old man named Love.
From the first time I saw him, I was fascinated with Love. He was old, but completely
muscular and lean. He must have been six and a half feet tall and likely weighed over two
hundred pounds. His arm and chest muscles were long and well defined and honestly
developed. He rarely spoke, but when he did, it sounded like God was talking — with a deep
low rumble that a preacher would have died for. He was a retired railroad laborer with fifty
odd years of service on several different railroads. He had worked all over the country, and,
when he finally was forced to retire, he was given a pass, which permitted him to ride any
railroad to any destination in the United States that he wished — in coach. He allowed as
how he rarely used the pass and had no plans to quit working. He had lost track of just how
old he was; well, really, he never knew his age for sure, but he thought he was over seventy.
The railroad said he was that old, and so it was official. Love could sharpen a double bit ax
to a scalpel-like edge with an ordinary file; he never let the ax get dull. Every now and again,
he would hold his axe by the tip of the handle with one hand and with his arm extended, let
the ax tilt backwards to his forehead. I figured that he was not showing off his strength to
the crew; rather, he was testing himself, his strength, and his determination. He could also
shave with the ax and did — probably showing off then.
I got Love to teach me how to sharpen an ax, a skill that I still find a use for. He also
taught me how to handle myself and work in the woods while always watching for danger,
especially snakes. However, I never was able to get him to talk about himself or about his
family, or if he even had one.
The third member of our crew, Bobby, was a wiry boy of about fourteen who swung
an ax all day clearing out underbrush. He was pleasant but rarely talked. He never seemed
to get tired and earned every penny he was paid. Bobby had quit school when he was ten.
Over the course of the summer, I appreciated his native intelligence and integrity. He had a
girlfriend and knew some things that I’d not even begun to dream about. He taught me to
chew tobacco, which I enjoyed after first having A couple of bouts of vomiting. We rolled a
few cigarettes, but it was just too hot in the woods to smoke. None of the crew cursed
much, except me — from hanging around cowboys all my life. These were likable,
intelligent, industrious men who worked hard all day with only rare complaints.
I was the low man on the totem pole. Now twelve, I was fixing to start the seventh
grade. At first I resented working on the ground; I was already pretty good on a horse (and
in a corral full of cows). I’d been running old John DeerE tractors for several years. I drove a
pickup on the ranch and on back roads sitting on a couple of cushions. I drove on the
highways when I was with my dad. He was not a good driver because he was always looking
out of the windows at cows while he drove. My mother made sure I learned to drive correctly
and made me go with him on cattle buying trips to Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Tennessee
(which were some of the best days of my life).
My job on the crew was to follow Love and spray poison on the girdled trees from a five-gallon pump up sprayer. If I had slack time, I'd pick up an ax and help Bobby. In fact, I saved my money and bought myself a double bit ax, but it was a little smaller than Love’s.
It didn’t take Freed Lee long to figure out I was trying to build up some muscles that summer, and I did. I was called “Little Doc” in deference to my race and to my dad’s exalted position as a local physician, landowner, and cattleman. I was new to the crew, and they couldn’t rightly call me by my name, Jim, because they didn’t know me well enough, and nobody ever told them it would have been all right — and, I was white and all. In one whole summer, none of them ever called me anything but Little Doc, although, mostly, they didn’t call me by any name. In fact, for the first couple of weeks, they barely talked to me. They didn’t know what to make of me and didn't know if they could trust me or not. This was some years back when a rural black man didn't have much social or close contact with a white man. On the other hand, I'd been around blacks all my life since we had a yardman who also drove the car some, as well as various maids helping and cooking in the house. I instinctively kept quiet and after a couple of weeks, the crew relaxed around me. They were satisfied that I was going to work hard and keep what I learned to myself. I’d have to say we were almost friends except for Love, who remained pleasant but wary.
We went to work after Memorial Day when Texas schools let out, and we worked five days a week all summer until just before Labor Day. We took off the fourth and Juneteenth. This was the only summer job that I ever had that took Saturday off. We’d get paid on Friday. Freed Lee was making a dollar an hour plus gas, and maybe a little dab extra for using his car. Bobby and Love made six bits an hour, and I drew a half dollar. It was pretty good pay since most labor brought thirty to fifty cents an hour.
As the summer went on, it got hotter in the breezeless bottoms where the humidity was so high that sweat couldn’t evaporate and cool you. We took to eating lunch in the shade along Potters Creek sitting on the fenders of Fred Lee’s forty-seven, black, four door Chevy sedan.
Potters Creek was clear; Fred Lee said it was as clear as good moonshine. You could see the bottom, even though it was four to six feet deep much of the time. The banks were mostly vertical, and the best way to cross was to walk or crawl across a downed tree. By July, it got to be so hot that we started taking an hour off for lunch and a nap on the ground. We had ice water and often R C Colas. My lunch generally included sardines, bologna sandwiches, Vi’enna sausage, summer sausage, and rat cheese or Velveeta along with raw onions, tomatoes, and soda crackers and peanut butter — all the major food groups. I sometime brought a boiled egg as well. The rest of the crew usually ate about the same as well as thick, greasy sandwiches from home, wrapped in wax paper. We didn’t bother with fruit or deserts or anything that would melt.
By late July, it was so hot that Bobby and I decided to take a swim in the creek that was never too far away from where we were working. I don’t know why it took us so long to try this. He stripped off, but I was embarrassed to get naked in front of the crew due to my skinny, immature, white body. So, I kept on my underwear. The crew never said a word
about my various inadequacies, which made me a little braver as the summer went on. Although the creek was generally about fifteen feet wide this close to the river, there was an even wider, shallow spot nearby, where a small branch ran into the creek and where there was a gravel bottom. The bank was washed out enough that we could easily climb down into the creek. I could swim but I wasn’t sure about Bobby. We flopped around in the cool clear water, not knowing the water’s pristine appearance was due to lignite contamination from a manufacturing plant about twelve miles away in Marshall. They were said to dump their waste in the creek causing the usual turbid and creek colored water to clear up.
One noon, it was just too hot even to eat, shady or not. Bobby and I raced for the creek, getting shed of our clothes as we ran. Just before we hit the water we saw him — the biggest turtle anyone had ever seen around East Texas. He had to be a hundred pounds, or thereabouts. He had ridges on his shell that made his skin like an alligator’s . He looked like a dinosaur’s to me as he sat in the water facing into the current.
We dasn’t get in the water and yelled for the crew to come over. Freed Lee came over, humming as he waddled, watching the ground all the while for rattlesnakes and moccasins, and the sneaky but deadly little copperheads. He carefully inched up to the creek bank to get a good look. With his eyebrows raised up, he stood sideways and peered over his shoulder, maybe thinking the turtle wouldn’t see him? After a couple of minutes of quiet observation, he sat down on the creek bank and studied continued to study the giant .
Finally, he said, “My lord, have mercy. Looky, looky, looky. So big! Hundret pounds? And that old man’s might near a hundret years old. Ever bit of that. He be’s older that Love.”
He stood up and turned around, “Yo Love, come look at this old man. He’s older that you is.”
Love walked on over in his erect, dignified way, tall and straight, unbowed, almost regal, like a tribal chief. He glanced at the big turtle and said, “Y’all boys best let that old turtle lone. He’s a alligator turtle, a snapping alligator turtle. He ain’t goanna do nobody no harm no way if you just leave him be.”
That sounded like a good idea to me, especially coming from the old warrior, but Freed Lee had other ideas. The turtle to him represented fresh meat for his family and us.
Meanwhile, the turtle paid us no mind; he lay in on the bottom with his beaked mouth open, hopping to entice a little fish to chase his long, wiggling tongue, which looked like a worm. He kept his head almost in his shell although, from time to time, his muscular neck would shoot his head out to catch fish.
After Love went back to the eating area and stretched out on the ground, Freed Lee said, “Bobby, y’all boys wade up behind him and chop him with the axe. We’s can make a bunch of meals out of that big sucker. Don’t let him bite you, boys. He could bite off your fingers, or your toes, or your little … you knows what’s.”
And so we did. We eased up behind him in about two feet of water, me behind Bobby, and Bobby buried a double bit axe into his back. Of course the turtle humped up and tried to get away. I had to help Bobby hold the handle of the firmly embedded axe as the old
turtle bucked and clawed, thrashed and swam in his death dance. It took awhile; it was at least half an hour before he died. Bobby and I were exhausted from holding on and dancing around to keep him off us. We tied a rope around his back legs and Freed Lee helped us pull him up the bank. Bobby and I splashed around in the water, trying to cool off, then we three carried him over to the car and put him in the trunk. We chopped up some ice around him to keep him cool. Freed Lee said he needed special tools and pans to clean him right. I was disappointed not to learn how to clean a turtle right then and there.
Love ignored all our commotions.
It was a Friday, and it was the only day all summer we left the woods early.
That Monday, Freed Lee brought turtle steaks, chicken fried, with some gravy on the side, and biscuits. The taste was not too different from the grass fed beef we lived on. Real good. The next day, we had turtle soup, which Free Lee said was one of his wife’s special dishes. Next day, it was turtle salat, then turtle sausage, and then, finally, more fried. By the end of the week, we all, even Freed Lee, were getting tired of eating turtle. I yearned for some summer sausage and thick, hand sliced bologna with light bread and rat cheese. Happily, by Friday, the meat was gone. None had been wasted. Freed Lee even cleaned the shell and used it to store do-dads.
Love never ate a bite of the old turtle. He was always a taciturn man, but that week we ate the turtle, he never even said a word.
Now, looking back, I wish we’d listed to Love. If we’d left him alone, that old turtle would still be alive. He definitely would have outlived Love; he could have outlived all of us. The creek’s still there, still polluted clear. In the bottoms we girdled, the trees did thin out and allowed the faster growth of splendid hardwood that we haven’t been greedy enough to log. Yet.
I never saw another big turtle near the creek again, and for many years, I always looked as I rode horses through the bottoms catching cows or walking along the creek bank hunting deer and squirrels and ducks, or shooting hogs. In later years not infrequently some or all of my children were with me, and I’d usually pause when we hit my favorite shade tree lunch spots. I never thought to tell the kids about the turtle.
I never saw any of the crew again. I’d especially like to know how Love fared, and for how long and where. There’s something sacred about a man, or an animal for that matter, that lived so long, so well, who saw so much — and did no harm.
I’m old now, maybe older than Love was back then, but I’d like to walk that creek once more before I die. I’d like to see a big turtle again, even though I might not deserve it. When I’m gone, so will be the last recollections of that summer, the big turtle, our crew, and Love.