Monday, August 30, 2010

......LHS News......
Originally sent August 27

So very sorry to report the passing of Robert Henry 'Andy' Andersen, 71, of Lawton. Andy passed on August 23. Andy is husband of '59 classmate Sharon Kay (Cummins). They have been married 53 years. After his retirement from military, Andy and Sharon were big into classic antique cars touring with the Cafe Cruisers.He is survived by Sharon; daughter Lynna; several grandchildren.
Graveside services with full military honors will be 2:00pm Friday August 27, Ft. Sill National Cemetery.
Extended obit and guestbook at

Also, we have lost another of our truly golden Wolverines. Jessie 'Mu Jessie' (Hardy) Overstreet, 94, of Lawton, passed on August 22. She attended McKinley grade school and graduated LHS in 1934. She is survived by one son, J.R. Overstreet; daughter Elnora; sister Clara Burris; numerous grand and great grand children. Services were held August 25.
Extended obit and guest book at:

I know our sympathies are with Sharon in her loss and also the Overstreet family.

From the eMail bag:
I need to make a correction.....Doug Kemper is LHS class '63 NOT '64 as previously reported! Sorry Doug, you just got a year older!

"While Carolyn and I were driving back from Oregon today the subject turned to the price of hamburgers in the mid fifties. Try as I may, I couldn't remember the price of hamburgers at Wayne's Drive In in, let's say, the summer of '55. Someone must remember. Well?"
Don Yancey

"Growing up, I used to go to the Ritz every Sat with my cousin to see westerns. As I got older, I used to go to the Murray Theatre which had become a place showing "art" films that I found fascinating. And, of course, attended the rest of the theaters in town, including Vaska, which as I remember, lasted longer than all those downtown (because downtown went away).Hope you're doing well. All the best,"
Charles Gilbert, '54

"I too remember the Vaska and spent many evenings there in those comfortable seats. I remember Mr Brock used to have the bingo and we would nearly always win at least a six pack of Pepsi -- Once they had a promotion and raffled off a bicycle. I really great bicycle. Handlebar bell, front basket and shock absorbers on the front tires. The win this bicycle you had to put tickets with your name in a big roller thing. To get a ticket to put in here you had to make a purchase at a local merchant. Ten cents would get you one ticket. You would have to write your name on the ticket and place it in a rolling basket at the theatre.
My father was building a house and buying all his lumber from Currell Lumber Co. One evening Dad brought home two giant rolls of tickets and our family stayed up most of the night writing my name on these tickets. Must have been a couple of thousand. And that is how I won the best bicycle of my life."
Jimmy Reynolds

"And don't forget the Murray Theatre on north side of "C" St. near the old Warren Hotel"
Joe Lansden, '56

..." my wife, Nikki (Bentley) class of 62, receives your LHS news. I have read with interest about the Vaska Saturday morning programs. I remember a contest they had one year with Fairmont Foods. I believe they were a dairy producer. We collected their logo off of the milk products and took them each week for a contest. The one with the most won prizes like a bicycle. I do remember going door to door trying to collect empty milk cartons from the neighbors. Several of us pooled our resources in an attempt to win the big prize."
Paul Baker, '61, Enid, OK

Once again Herb Jacobs Sunday column in Lawton paper [August 22 - page 6-C] highlights an LHS grad and the impact sports had on his family and vice versa. The column, 'Where Are They Now', talks about Smokey Torbert and wife Mary Ann and their five children. Smokey was LHS class '48, played football for LHS, Cameron, and SWS before graduating pharmacy school and other endeavors. Smokey passed several years ago. Good read if you have opportunity.

Need your help! Lawton's Field of Dreams is almost over the top [in PEPSI competition] ......IF you will take just a minute to VOTE...will be greatly appreciated. Preston Holsinger and several other LHS grads are helping with this local project. If you type in 'field of dreams' then you go right to the area to vote for the Lawton field.

I am still condensing and editing a lot of info I have received on the Easter Pageant and various other Lawton memories. Soon.
Regards to all........Georgia

Thursday, August 26, 2010

......LHS News......
Originally sent August 24

Sorry to report the passing of Joe N. Mitchell, Jr., 68, of Altus. Joe passed August 22 after a lengthy bout with cancer. Many will remember Joe's father, longtime Lawton physician Joe Mitchell and wife Molly, both deceased. I believe Joe Jr. may have attended LHS his senior year.
Services will 10:00am, Wednesday August 25, Prince of Peace Catholic church in Altus. Burial will follow in Highland Cemetery in Lawton, under direction of Kincannon Funeral Home of Altus.

Also, Barbara Louise (Burrow) Gold Phelps, 79, of Duncan passed on August 18. Barbara graduated LHS in 1949. She married Jimmy Gold in 1949, had one son who preceded her in death. She later married William H. 'Bill' Phelps. She is cousin of '56 classmate Ebb McDuffie. Services were Monday August 23 in Duncan with burial at Highland Cemetery in Lawton.
Extended obit and guest book at:

From the eMail bag:
Reese Russell, '56, emails that his brother - Jerry Russell - is seeking information on Tommy Nelson, who would have been in the '58 class. They were best buds in school. Jerry moved to Tennessee in '58 and graduated there but would like to connect with Tommy if anyone knows his whereabouts!?Anybody?

"My husband and I are going on our 21st cruise in October! It's called the Canada/New England cruise and sails from Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale Florida."
Ann (Sherratt) Theobald, '59

"Glad Jimmy Powers is doing well with his knee surgery. I also had knee surgery and am doing good. I hope to start back at tennis in Sept. Mine was not a replacement, thank goodness. I would love to say "age" had nothing to do with this, but I'm sure it was part of it.Wish I could remember all the fun stuff from the past. Sounds like we all had lots of fun."
Sonya Reynolds Homan, '54

And.....more memories....
"I certainly remember the bingo at Vaska on Friday nights. My whole family went (5) and we won a lot of stuff, six packs of Pepsi, groceries and my dad won me a long sleeve lime green western shirt with black diamonds on it. I wore it for years until I "outgrew" it."
Frankie (Kurtz) Browning

"May not remember all the names of movie theaters in Lawton, but I remember the Lawton, Dome, Palace, Ritz and the Vaska, drive ins, Mt Scott, Hankins and Austin. Liked going to the drive in when was young, because we could go up front and swing. Also liked going to drive ins on 4th of July because they had lots of fire works. "
Geneva (Harris) McIntosh, LHS 62

"Our own classmate George Bridges' ['59] mother Darlene Bridges played the role of Mary in The Easter story film that was filmed in the Wichita Mountains. I, too, remember going to either the Vaska or the old Lawton Theater downtown to see the movie. When we fist moved to Lawton in 1950, we lived at 1705 Cherry; all the neighborhood children would walk up to the Vaska on Saturday mornings for the westerns/cartoon, etc. And yes, I remember playing bingo there, too! Ah..... what fun we had!"
Carlana (Fitch) Murray, '59

"The movie was called "The Lawton Story" and was probably filmed in the early '50s. It used mostly local people and was centered around the Easter Pageant. The star (I guess you could call her that) was a child actress named Ginger Prince who was probably 10 or so years old and who I immediately fell in love with (I was about the same age). The World Premier was held at one of the Lawton theaters, I think The Dome, and was a big deal. The movie's name was later changed to "The Prince of Peace"."
Mike Keeran, '56...

"Nancy says she went to see Sally Rand with her parents, well Lance Carden ['59] and I went to see her one afternoon and told our parents we went to see "Rommel the Desert Fox". I think that Lance's uncle may have been Ms Rand's pianist. If I have dis-remembered this, Lance can correct me."
Ben Ansley, '59

With more perspective on this....
"Sally Rand was in Lawton for the opening of my Restaurant "The Robertson House" One of my badder ideas. She gave a performance of her famous fan dance at the Lawtonian for the benefit of Lawton Community Theatre and was guest of Opal Ford (who almost drove her crazy). One of the Robertson girls was her pvt secretary."
Dan Glascock, '59

"Great picture of David Whitwell and his wife. I too saw Sally Rand as kid. I remember she threw her fans above her head just as the stage lights went out. Oh, the shock!!"
Frankie (Ingraham) Kinderman, '56

Major congratulations to '59 classmate Judy (Mattoon) and hubby Leon Perry. Celebrating 50 glorious years on September 3. Both retired from Lawton Public Schools. Way to go guys!

I had occasion last week to visit with Doug Kemper who has recently returned to the Lawton/Medicine Park area! Doug, class '63, is directly involved with the building of a Museum of Natural History at Medicine Park. The new museum, slated to open in 2012, will feature a wildlife zoo. It is to be located across from the Winery on highway 49 (west side). Sounds very exciting and you can visit the web site (below). I know Doug was involved with the aquarium that opened in Jenks, OK few years back and I believe similar projects in Washington state.

Still have people asking for old LHS yearbooks. If you have yearbooks you do not want, especially '40's -'50's, let me know! Still more memories to come!

Finally!.... a break in the heat, as fall gets ready to blow this way! Georgia

Sunday, August 22, 2010

......LHS News......

Originally sent August 19

So sorry to report the passing of Norma Faye (Allison) Duncan, 86, of Marlow. Norma passed on August 15. She was LHS class 1942. She is survived by a son Dave; daughter Cori; numerous grand and great grand children.There will be graveside service at 11:00am, Friday, August 20, Sunset Memorial Gardens in Lawton.
Extended obit and guest book at:

Also passing, Mary Ellen Godfrey, 81, of Prince George, VA, formerly of Lawton. Mrs. Godfrey passed on August 8 and a graveside service will held at a later date in Walters, OK. Mrs. Godfrey is mom of '64 classmate Sharon (Godfrey) McLawhorn of VA. There is an extended obit in Sunday Lawton paper - August 15.
Our sympathies are with these families in their loss.

Jim Powers, '55, just had some knee surgery. Not exactly sure what, but some new 'parts'. Talked with him & all is well. Parts is parts!
"We are now in Lexington, NC celebrating our son's 50th birthday. How can our baby be so old?"
Tommye (Boudreau) Hobbs...hubby Ray, both '52.

Bon Voyage..." I'm off to eastern Europe, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania (and Transylvania), Slovakia and check Republic and Germany, All on a first class ticket on American. Trying to use all those miles. Don't let people fool you. I have never had a problem cashing them."
Dan Glascock, '59

More memories from the eMail bag.......
"How I enjoy all the memories the mails offer. About Bernice Smith. How I hated going up to her hot,hot class! and for typing too for that matter. Lord only knows how many times over the yrs I've thanked B.Smith and her hard (I thought at the time) classes. I have thanked her in my mind for the wonderful classes. I can so remember her. Hope she does well, I had wondered if she had passed. I send these letters to my sister, Jo Brammer Vittitow in San Antonio, my 2 cousins, Walter Crabtree in CA., and another cousin, Punk Bonner. They are all younger than I so they do get a kick out of the mails. Keep up the good work."
Verna Le (Brammer) Zeiders, '52

"Does anyone remember playing Bingo during the intermission at the Vaska on Friday and Saturday nights? It was a big thing for families of all ages. Also Smiley Burnett was the Grand Marshall for several Rodeo parades while he was coming to Lawton, didn't he ride a white horse with a black circle around his eye and have a dog with him? Great memories, also remember what excitement it was when we had the parades in downtown Lawton. Everyone sitting to the back of their cars or beds of their trucks, even on the curbs. We all were so proud with marching bands, the military and all the other attractions; then to top it off with the rodeos. Miss it."
Ann (Knowles) Saunders. '59

"I do remember the Ritz, my uncle Ted Newman took Bob and I and maybe cousin Sam (Joyner) to see Tarzan as well as cowboy movies. Don't remember the cost? and not sure if my folks knew we went there. The Vaska was owned by Max Brock and I do remember "New Faces", even tho I am much younger than Sam (Hamra). They also had a movie about the Easter Story that was actually filmed in the Wichita mountains and shown on screen with the actors at the Vaska for the premier?..not sure which year. My folks took me to many movies when I was very young. Anyone remember Sally Rand? My folks actually took me to the Lawton Theatre to see her 'in person' (probably to the dismay/shock to my friends parents). Then she was back in Lawton for a Lawton Community Benefit at the Dix home (old Shepler house) in the 70?s??.must say she looked much better the first time!!"
Nancy (Joyner) McKinnis, '59

"I remember Gabby Hayes at the Ritz theater. He had me up on stage and let me pull his beard. He then asked me if I had combed my hair with a vacuum cleaner."
Scotty Brown, '56

.." I recall the drive in Ben mentions. I think it was approximately 11th and Lee. It was called "Smiley Burnette's Checkered Shirt" and had a sharply-sloping roof. I don't think it lasted more than a year or two."
Jack [Rhodes, '59]

"Here is a picture of David Whitewell and his wife, Giselle. David was in the class of 1955, resides in Austin, TX and has conducted orchestras and bands throughout the world. He graduated from the University of Michigan. His wife, Giselle, is a music therapist working with pregnant women in Austin, Texas. Recently found your email and enjoys all the news that you share with ALL."
Barbara Richards, '55
I appreciate Barbara sending this info and the great picture (above).
Several reunions coming up. Info (details) posted on the blog HERE - on right side of page.
Class of 1985 is planning a reunion for September 3-4. Contact Sandra Harrison for information. (214) 794-2097;
Class 1970 has their reunion coming up fast also - September 10-11. Contact: Debbie (Brewczynski) Thompson, 6106 Williams, Lawton, OK 73505, phone: (580) 678-4875.

Class 1955 reunion on October 8-9. This is the NEW date and updated information regarding the LHS Class of '55 Reunion:

Friday Oct. 8, noon at Old Plantation, Medicine Park. Order from menu, 'dutch treat', pick up registration package.

Friday evening: social hour and dinner at Mike's Sports Grill in Lawton, beginning 6:00pm. Order from menu, 'dutch treat', outside on patio.

Saturday Oct. 9th, noon, back at Old Plantation at Medicine Park. Buffet, $25.00 per person. Reservation for buffet due by September 10.

Checks payable to LHS Class '55; mail to Glenda (Doan) Stanton at 1001 NW 16th, Lawton, OK 73507. If planning to eat at Mikes on Friday night, let Glenda know your preference: Catfish or grilled chicken salad.

*Casual or western wear.* Any contact changes, address, email, etc., or for information, email bswilla@yahoo,com OR

Still more memories to come. Regards to all.........Georgia

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

......LHS News......
Originally sent August 12

Sorry to report the passing of Lela M. (Nelson) Hunt Young, 80, of Lawton. Lela passed on August 9. She is class 1948. She is survived by 2 sons - Harold Hunt and Greg Hunt; grand and great grand children; 2 sisters, Katie and Frances.
Services will be10:00am Friday August 13, Paradise Baptist church, north of Lawton, with burial in Paradise Valley Cemetery.
Extended obit and guest book at:

I also received word that Paul Everett McCaig passed on July 2. Paul was living in Moore, OK and we are fairly certain he was in our class 1959. The obit did not mention school, just that he was born in Lawton.
Always sorry for loss of classmates and friends.

From the eMail bag:

Due to OU vs Texas - the class of 1955 has changed the dates of their reunion. Reunion will now be October 8-9. NOT Oct. 1-2. Details soon. If you have contact changes, send to Barbara Richards at:

"Bernice Smith was in my Mother's (Monta (Sanders) Burt) LHS class of '30. Hope if she has to go to assisted living, she'll be at Village on Lee. Mother would love to visit with her there. She would be 98. There are few still here that were in that class. Unbelievable!!!"
Janet (Burt) Terry, '63

'59 classmate Alice (Aurell) Choice will be having a second knee replace we speak! First one went so well, she wanted another! haha! I know we all wish her the best!!!

Dee (Vanderpool) Glass, '52, is still taking therapy for cancer and will be having a serious surgery soon. She would appreciate your prayers. Dee is such a sweet gal and a dear friend. Her husband Hugh has his own health problems and is a resident at the VA Center here.

So appreciate Bert Click for sending link to this web site. I did not know it was out there! He sent it showing the grads in LHS class '48, but scroll to bottom, click on Lawton Seniors & viola!~ Other classes, link to early pictures of Lawton, other interesting info!

Seems Ben Ansley isn't the only one who remembers.....

"Ben is right. I remember Smiley Burnett's food thingy. It was called the "Checkered Shirt." I think it was just hamburgers (not sure I was still young, but I remember it). It was in a little A-frame bldg on south 11th st. That place is now a used car lot, or was."
Suzy (Gill) Salas, '64

"The drive inn was located @ 11th.& Jefferson on the SW corner it was owned by one of the Sassers. It was there sometime in the early 50's, didn't last long. Chris Hedrick worked there as a car hop for about a month."
Spencer Stanley

Hey Chris...what kinda tips did you get??

"Per the recent inquiry from Ben Ansley regarding Smiley Burnett, the franchise drive-in was on south 11th st. and called the "Checked Shirt", and operated by a member of the Sasser family."

"Ben Ansley is correct. Smiley Burnett did open a drive-in on south Eleventh down south of Lee boulevard. He had come to Lawton as the celebrity attraction at the Lawton Ranger Rodeo down at the old LO Ranch on south 11th. As I remember, it wasn't open very long and fell into disrepair."
Robert Looney

"I don't remember Smiley Burnetts place but there was a Roy Rogers sandwich shop at Cache and Sheridan road. It was on the North East corner."
Ed Adams, '59

Ed is right. Now, it's an Asian Wok restaurant.

"My memory is spotty. The Sasser brothers (Sasser's Grocery, etc.) were involved in bringing the Smiley Burnett franchise to Lawton. (I helped my dad deliver Mead's Bread to the Sasser's summers and weekends, and after college I worked with Jack Sasser, cameraman and photographer for the new KSWO-TV.) Don't remember much about the menu at the Smiley Burnett place -- just some sort of large hamburger type sandwich. Can't quite remember what it tasted like. I think the SB drive-in was located near 11th Street and Lee Blvd, pretty much back to back with the first McDonald's golden arch drive in on Lee."
2nd email added...."I searched Google for information on Smiley Burnette's food franchise, but could find only that he licensed some A-frame restaurants called The Checkered Shirt. The one in Lawton may have been an A-frame, but I think it was called Smiley Burnette."
Murdoch [Matthews], '49

"Yes, I remember Smiley Burnett coming to town and I think I have a picture around here someplace. It might have been while I worked for KSWO and that would have been '56 or '57. Oh, these names this time. Some I've known for over sixty years. I had Elaine Smith for a class but never Bernice. Wish her a speedy recovery."
Frankie (Ingraham) Kinderman, '56

"Thanks for the wonderful news of good old Lawton classmates. I really enjoy reading them living away from Lawton in warm Phx Az. My cousin in Calif dated one of Roy's [Rogers] daughters and my cousin's mother went to pick him up at their ranch and had a hard time getting in the gate for she would not move fast enough before it closed. Also one of Gene Autry's aunts lived in Lawton across the street from our home on Williams ave."
Ed Coulson, '59

"No one has mentioned two other cowboys that were regulars at the Ritz. Hopalong Cassidy and Monte Hale. I even got an autographed picture of Monte, come to think of it, I believe there is one of Hopalong around somewhere. My brother, Mike '59, and I were 2 other bus riders from 16th and D."
Mary Harris Thompson, '56

"I was attending a Johnson family sibling reunion in Medora, ND, when Linda Muncy noticed the Lawton dealership ad on the back of our vehicle. We had a nice visit in the parking lot of the stop and go. She forwarded the latest issue of LHS news. I was graduated in 1961 and have remained in Lawton almost continuously since and would like to be added to your email list. I did not see anyone in the current issue from our class but I sure recognized a lot from the 59 Seniors!"
Jim Johnson (class of 61)

"I especially enjoyed this picture of Johnny McKee because he is my cousin and I have not seen him in years. His dad was my mother's brother."
Ella (Price) Hunter, '59

'59 classmate Weldon Davis and lovely wife Marilyn just celebrated their 46th on July 25. Wishing them many more.
And, Glenda (Doan) Stanton, '55 & Jimmy, '56, celebrated their 48th this week kicking back in the cool of the Rockies!

I have had so many comments on 'memories'....I will be sending more soon. Isn't it amazing what we remember when our minds get a memory jolt!
Regards to all.......Georgia

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

......LHS News......
Originally sent August 6

News been rollin in faster than an AP ticker-tape:

A new [soft cover - 127 pages] book out features a history of Fort Sill, Wichita Mountains, founding of Lawton, Medicine Park and tons of neat pictures. 'Images of America: Medicine Park - Oklahoma's First Resort' by David C. Lott. Lott was one of the early forces behind renovation and restoration of Medicine Park. The book is currently available at the Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton, actually some autographed copies at this time. Or check it out at:

From the eMail bag:A dear friend Sue (Chalk) Briggs, '64, will be resuming treatment for cancer soon and probably a serious surgery in near future. She asks for your prayers during this difficult time.

One of our LHS teachers, Bernice Smith, fell at her home recently and is hospitalized in the Towers (rehab) at Memorial Hospital here in Lawton. When discharged she will be going to an assisted living facility. She is 98 or 99 years young! I know we all wish her well and I will try to get an address where cards could be sent.

Bert Click sent this... "I did speak to Peggy Loud by phone two nights ago. She has relocated to a Christian Science assisted living home in San Francisco, should anybody need a contact. She's as lovely as ever."

..." with all the talk about Western stars, does anyone remember that Smiley Burnett opened a drive-in, in Lawton back sometime in the 50's or 60's and came to town several times to promote the place."
Ben [Ansley, '59]
I don't re-call...anyone..?

"Hey Georgia, your mentioning of the Vaska theater brought back memories . Dan Wiseman, '59, and myself, worked at the Vaska during our high school years. It was great place to work and at the time was a really nice place to see a movie. During the summers, they would have first run movies for a two week period with an afternoon showing and then a evening showing. "Around The World in Eighty Days" and the "Ten Commandments" were the specials that were run for two weeks one summer. And of course, we got to see everybody."
Jerry Otis, '59

"We lived on Euclid between 18th & 19th and spent alot of time at the Vaska theater. We could go out our back gate, down the alley and across 19th right to the theater. I also remember the Spudnut place in the Vaska building and the barber shop that was there for years. Lots of good memories."
Barbara (Odom) Smith, '56

"Now I'm not one to argue with Sam Hamra but here's how it went down. The architect who designed the Vaska prepared a preliminary design that included a perspective drawing and, lacking a name for the theatre, showed his wife's first name 'Vaska' on the big sign. Further, being in my hood, I attended the first movie shown to the public there and the movie was 'Smoky' , a movie about some sort of horse. So there."
Don Yancey, '56
Don is exactly right!

"I just have to ask, in reference the Vaska theatre.....I do remember the early bird show was on Sat. mornings. I could hardly wait to go and meet the Shanklin twins (Jean & Jane). Also remember trying to sneak into the room in back that was for the crying babies. Shame on me!!!!! What I really want to know is if anyone remembers some lady that use to entertain us live on stage before the movie. I think her name was BELL or something like that. if anyone remembers her name I would love to know..Just curious, thanks,
Bill Stamps, '60.

I'm not sure but think maybe it was Dorothy Bell who played the piano like a whiz and also taught piano. Her daughter Elayne is class '64 and should be getting these emails. How about it Elayne? Or does someone else remember?

Judy (Matthews) Johnson commented...." I was class of 58! Not like those "old folks" prior to 58!" I do apologize for making Judy a year older in last news. At this point, we need every 'year off' we can get!

Wanda (Smith) Sunderland, '55, writes that she and her husband are both experiencing serious health issues at this time. But, she has a very positive attitude toward the "golden years" and plans to be here for the class '55 reunion this October. It will coincide with her husband Bobby's reunion in Hobart! I know we all hope the best and speedy recoveries for them both.

"Wow!! I always knew that doctors had a pathological attraction for bars. But, how did Sam know about those churches?"
Bobby Spradlin, ' 55

Bob & Sam are good friends OR I wouldn't have sent this out. Well...they were good friends!!! I am reminded of the golden oldie song...'Devil or Angel'. Maybe they were thinking about Sam when they wrote it? hahahahah. OK, Sam, just kidding. We love ya!

Doyce Grayson, '56, and wife Diane have retired and moved back to the home town. We visited a few minutes and while they have a beautiful trailer site out by Lawtonka, Doyce says they may build a house! Welcome home guys!

btw...I am sure Doyce will (per every year) be at the hospitality tent as the Lawton Ranger Rodeo kicks off next Wednesday - 11th - and goes through Saturday night. Gee-haw!

Speaking of Roy Rogers.....have you seen the LaQuinta commercial that features Roy and Gabby Hayes? LaQuita uses them but of course 'mouths' their own commercial words. Afraid all Roy & Gabby had was a rough bunk-house with hard cots at the end of their trail! Well, in the movies!

It's August 6 and that means Lawton's 109th birthday AND, 45 years of wedded bliss for me and Bill!!

Have a great week-end guys..........Georgia

Friday, August 6, 2010

......LHS News......
Originally sent August 4

A big 'news day' and sadly this news is once again about classmates who have passed, wanted to get out in timely manner, just in todays Lawton paper:

So sorry to report the passing of 1959 classmate James Ray York, 68, of Lawton. James passed on August 2. James has had serious health issues for several years. He married Susie (Whaler) in 1972. She survives James as does four sons; two daughters; 17 grandchildren' 8 great-grandchildren' a sister Joyce Cooper of Marlow.
There will be a prayer service at 7:00pm Wednesday (today) at the Callaway-Smith-Cobb Funeral Home in Marlow.
Services will be 10:00am Thursday August 5 at the funeral home with burial at the Marlow Cemetery.Extended obit and guest book at:

Also passing, Col. (rtrd) Robert N. "Speed" Hulley, 81 of Lawton. Speed passed August 2. He graduated LHS in 1946, joined Air Force in 1947, has a long distinguished record of service. He married another LHS grad, Earlene (Corwin) Ketchum in 1977. He is survived by Earlene; 3 sons; 2 daughters; 2 step-children; numerous grad children.
The family will receive friends Wednesday evening (today), 6:00-8:00pm, at Becker Funeral Home.
Services will be 2:00pm Thursday August 5, Centenary United Methodist church in Lawton. Private family burial will follow at Flower Mound Cemetery.
Extended obit and guest book at:

And, Arnold L. Heath, 89, of Norman, formerly Lawton. Mr Arnold passed on July 27 and services were July 31 in Lawton. Mr. Health is father of '62 classmate Darlene; sons Ronald and Rick; he is also survived by his wife Virginia. Extended obit and guest book at:>

Not an LHS grad but the passing of another person who very visible in Lawton during the '60's, many of you may remember him. Gary Smith who was a KSWO AM disc jockey. Gary was born & grew up in Durant, but worked all over the country spinning rock-n-roll records and promoting professional band appearances in Lawton. Gary passed in Durant, OK on July 16 at age 68. He was good friends of Charles Darling, '64, and I appreciate Charles for sending this info along with a personal note about Gary:
" ...Met him while working at channel seven. He was a very energetic fellow, had a great sense of humor and a lot of professional drive. He launched his DJ career at 15 in Midland-Odessa, moved to Lawton, then on to New Orleans, Napa and Chico, California. Spoke with him two weeks before he passed and he recalled some of our family visits in Colorado, the Pacific Northwest and California. He was a long-time friend and will be a long-time missed."
There is an extended obit on Gary posted at:

I am getting quite a few LHS News returns!!! Remember, IF you change your email address and want to continue to receive the news.....have to send me NEW email address! Obviously those whose emails are coming back will not get this. sigh!

Regards to all............Georgia
......LHS News......
Originally sent August 4

Well, once again, I've goofed. If this keeps up, I may have to get a 'ghost writer' for the news. But in some defence....this was all quite before my time. I appreciate Bert Click, '49, for letting me know it was NOT Kitty Wells, but WAS in fact Patsy Montana who sang..."I want to be a Cowboys Sweetheart". Bert's right. But, bet Kitty did too!

And mystery of the 'John's solved. The 'John' who sent the great info on Roy Rogers including picture of his Pontiac was John Mercadante, '64! Thank you John!

Great notes and info in the eMail bag:
"With all of the interest expressed in the movie and TV cowboys, I thought you might find it interesting that I've been doing some teaching and lecturing on classic western films since mid-2008. Next month, for instance, I teach a one-week seminar on "The Code of the West: Duty, Honor, and Responsibility in the Classic Hollywood Westerns" at the Lawrence University retreat center/lodge in Door County. Last year a similar class I did on Westerns for Lawrence drew 21 students. I got into this area of teaching (Rhetoric of Film) while at Miami of Ohio in the 90's. In November I'm doing a series of talks in Wisconsin Rapids on the 1960's/70's/80's transition from the classic Westerns to the more modern variety. And so it goes.Happy Trails.
Jack [Rhodes] '59

"Georgia, your blog is very much appreciated, especially for us ex-Pats. Ray's [Hobbs] story, which he swears is true, can top all those about Ritz Theater prices. He said he walked to the Ritz from 1908 D Street and a potato was his admission. No money for candy, popcorn, bus, but he did get to see the Saturday serials!
I lived over by the park....was it Union or Harmon?....on the South side. Barbara Thaxton and I were allowed to walk to the Lawton or the Dome, but not to the Ritz, Palace, or Murray. C Street was too rough for us "innocent" girls. We loved to play around the train station. We would put pennies on the train tracks to see if they would be flattened. Thanks for sharing the memories."
Tommye (Boudreaux) Hobbs, '52

"Georgia, I must protest Ronny Jones claiming that Sonya Reynolds was his girl friend, she was my girlfriend but like Ronny; I'm sure she didn't even know who I was. I met her along with Mary Beth Lund and some more of the girls from then the JR or Soph class at the old Youth Center on 4th St upstairs over a furniture store. There the girls would try to teach us dumb boys how to dance. One song has always stuck in my mind is "The Little White Cloud that Cried" by Johnny Ray; that's the one where you got to hold the girls close.
As for the old Ritz, every Sat like clock work, except on the 3rd or 4th Sat, I was given a whole $1. I would walk to Old Royal barber shop on 3rd St between "C" and "D", saving bus fare. 50 cent for haircut which gave me a lot to spend at the movies. I just had memory jog, when i met Soyna and the girls, had to be when I was in the 9th grade because we started working on getting a new Youth Center when I got to high school."
Frank Hankins, '57

And some are remembering the Vaska.....
"What about the Vaska Theater Sat morning Shows with the Fairmont name brand that was collected by the young show goers."
Bruce Knowles, LHS 62

"The Vaska was a favorite place to meet for those of us in Junior High who were not yet driving. I think it had a baby room back in the northwest corner for crying babies. Always enjoy keeping up with everyone."

I remember that cry room! Would sit in there sometimes if empty...very quiet!

"The Vaska, I think ,was named after Mrs. Brock whose husband built the Vaska. I think the earliest week featured a blockbuster movie called 'New Faces'. featuring Eartha Kitt in 1954. I was there.Favorite movies not mentioned in earlier emails about the Ritz were 'Lash LaRue' and 'The ?Durango Kid'. Smiley Burnett and Gabby Hays seemed to be the sidekicks for everyone. The Big Six Bar was across the street on the corner, and the Busy Bee Cab was directly across the street. Lawton then had 76 bars, double the number of churches. Probably the same proportion now."
Sam Hamra, '55

I know 76 trombones, but 76 BARS! How did Sam know this???? hahahhahahahhaahaaaa
I will always remember Eartha Kitt and her raspy voice singing, 'Santa Baby'.!!

Note: Sam is on the right track, the Vaska was named after Vaska Redding, wife of Harold Redding, who was the contractor for the Vaska Theater. Max Brock was either the owner or the operator/manager?
btw...Harold & Vaska Redding had one son, James 'Jimmy' Redding, who was a grad of LHS sometime around 1949-50? He was killed in Korea at age 23, fluky accident, a fire in a barracks & he suffocated. Very tragic. My Bill lived in the infamous 1300 block on Cherry and says the Reddings lived in the house right next to Whittier School (on south, in the cul-de-sac). Bill remembers Jimmy from that old neighborhood.

Emails from: Kay (Purvis) Cunningham; Kay (Haines) Young, 59; Ralph Purvis, '52; Tom Newman, '60; Wayne Kniffin,'52.

While funerals are always sad occasions and cause of some reflection for most, they also serve as an occasion of bringing folks together. Such was the case as we attended the funeral this past Saturday for our friend & neighbor Loyal Farmer. A lovely service and Loyal will be missed by so many.
Afterwards, several adjourned to Burgess Grill for a bite of lunch and to reminiscence. It was a good group of LHS'ers. In addition to Bill & myself, Allen Johnson, '54; LuAnn & Jim Powers, '55; Johnna, '59 and Wayne Parks, '60; Judy (Matthews) Johnson, '57; Jeannie (Lee) and Chesley Montague, '52.
It was especially good to see Chesley out as he has had several very serious health issues the past 2-3 years. And so has Jeannie! It was a good visit in spite of the circumstances.
We need to take more time to enjoy our friendships.

I also attended the lovely service for Marjorie Ray and visited with Larry and Shirley and other family members.

Don't do it often enough, so, hugs to all my classmates...... Georgia