Fellow classmate and friends,

After the passing of
Lajuan Hunter I began to realize
that we have lost several of our classmates that
attended the reunion in May of 2007. Within a short
time after our reunion,
Henry Allen passed away. He
was a tremendous help in organizing our reunion.
Shortly after our reunion, he retired. Before his
retirement for almost two years, we had
communicated via email. After he retired, he no
longer had email and I only spoke with him a few
times before he passed away. I knew that Henry was
not well, but I did not realize how sick he was.  At our
age, five years (since our 50th) can make a big
difference. This post will salute several that have
passed away since then. It makes us much more
aware of the inevitability of death. I know it is not the
most pleasant thing to think about, but it is reality.
When we were all young, this was not on our minds
to any great extend; however, when you see the first
passing of one of your classmates, you begin to
realize. Then two, then three. Accidents took at least
two, but most have gone on with either a disease or
just worn out. Genetically we are programed to wear
out, some sooner than others. God has his own plan
for each of us. I don’t want to make light of this, but at
the same time, maybe I should. One of our recent
Jerry Goodgame, had some form of
cancer. During the time leading up to his death, he
sent me a bunch of emails and usually a joke of
some kind. Jerry kept his humor and never once
mentioned anything negative about himself. Shortly
after our reunion, I called and talked at length with
Ronnie Stockman. He tried to be upbeat, but I knew
he had problems, because as we talked, I could hear
labored breathing. I am pretty sure he was on
oxygen. He asked me to send him a list of all of our
classmates and their addresses and phone numbers.
I assured him that I would. But, I didn’t. Like a lot of
things we intend to do, that never get done. I never
spoke to Ronnie again and when I learned that he
had passed away, it saddened me to realize that I
had not gotten back with him. We all get so busy with
our own problems and agenda, that we forget to
contact our friends. I had something similar with
Linder Ray Cliver.  Before he passed, he had lost his
wife. I meant to call him and offer some
encouragement to him, but alas, he became ill and
passed before I contacted him. I think it behooves all
of us to follow our inclinations and do it now,
because tomorrow might not come. I’m not trying to
be morbid, but rather facing reality of life. So, the only
alternative I have for those that I did not contact is to
offer this as a memorial and hope and pray that
perhaps we all will contact our friends and loved
ones more often and..TODAY!!.
Jax Baird came to our
reunion and again I dropped the ball. I called him and
urged him to come, but I never followed up after our
reunion. Jax was a member of our 3rd grade class
and moved to Ft. Worth/Dallas area. In my phone
conversation with him before the reunion, I had
learned that he was an All-City football player in his
district and had been a truck driver and owned some
of his own trucks. I only wish that I had more time to
talk with him, but alas, the next thing I knew, we
received word that he had passed away. In the 3rd
grade, he was the fastest and strongest in our class
and I was the runt and the slowest, but he always
took care of me. That one memory was enough for
me to want to ask him to come to the reunion, which
he did. I did not follow up. I urge all of us to stay in
touch with those you love, not knowing the hour or
the day when we will never contact them again in this
life. I thank you God for our friends and relatives who
have gone on before and I pray that we will see you
again in the next life. May God bless you all.
Ben Garcia Feb, 2014; sadly a new posting of Ben
Garcia. We tried our best to contact him for our 50th
reunion in 2007, but to no avail. He was living in Pt.
Arthur and I had his phone #, but could never get an
answer. The invitation was sent to the Pt. Arthur
address and it did not come back, so it was received.
Ben and I had been buddies, especially our senior
year and we had even done some running around
together after I had gone to live with my family in Pt.
Neches.  Even after I began attending Lamar, we
went bowling a couple of times. After we graduated
from high school, Ben and I went to Athens and tried
to find a job. We put in our application at several
places, but in '57, no one was hiring. That summer I
went to Pt. Neches and worked all summer as a
carpenter helper, making union wages. Later Ben
joined his father, who worked in Pt. Arthur. As the
years passed it wasn't until the late 60's or early 70's
that I saw Ben again. We never saw each other again
after this. I tried unsuccessfully after the reunion to
contact him. I even contacted a friend of mine who
was on the Pt. Arthur city council, but he could not
find him either. Last year, Frank called to say that
Ben was living with him. Frank and I talked for a
while, but I never was able to talk to Ben. Last Friday,
Frank called to say Ben had passed away while in a
nursing home.

Don Henderson
MHS ‘57
BACK ROW FAR RIGHT: Ronnie Stockman, Bo Johnson
Front ROW: Betty Brannon,Judy Farmer, Molly Williams
Molly Williams Carter
James Leopard
Carolyn Cade
Buster Carter