Abilene High School Class of 1961

November 29, 2006

Michael Grant on the AHS 61’s 45th class reunion…

Filed under: Uncategorized — johnodam @ 11:22 pm

Friday, October 13, 2006

The 45th reunion

In the old days, high school reunions left me hung over. Today, they leave me hoarse.

At the 10th and 20th reunions, it was all about breaking into old cliques and drinking your way through your own personal high school highlight reels. Last week, at the 45th, it was all about talking to everybody with a nametag on, with a subtle double-clutch from the past into the present tense. There must have been 100 of us, and if we didn’t all talk to each other, it was because we ran out of time.

All those dipwads, the thumbnail photos of the faces in our senior class yearbook, Abilene, Texas, High School, Class of 1961. Beautiful dipwads, athletic ones, accomplished ones, most likely to succeed, and most likely never to be heard from again, ones. But still dipwads, barely damp with identity after three years in a West Texas high school adult factory.

Now, by God, they all have stories. Amazing stories, happy stories, sad stories, tough ones, routine ones, special ones, brave, even heroic ones, survival ones, triumphant ones, hopeful ones, all written on the road, all those strange highways, that brought us individually from 1961 back to Abilene in 2006. I guess we just had to wait for it. We didn’t have much to talk about, at the 10th and 20th reunions; we hadn’t had enough time yet. Now we have, and it was worth it. I have names, listed on an envelope, just to jog my memory of the fabulous things they said. Many people didn’t come, staying away from the way we used to be. They would have gone home wiser than they are now. But how were they to know?

Sweet, demure, Ellen Turner was there. She taught senior English; I was in her class. Now she’s 94, be 95 on Nov. 18, and I hope somebody in Abilene reading this will bring her flowers. Her best subject, she said, was math. She loved math, but she understood it so well that she didn’t want to teach it, because it would have been boring. I never knew that. She had a relative, a brother or a cousin – 45th-reunionists’ memories aren’t as dependable as they used to be – named Raymonde (I am almost positive she said it was spelled with an “e”) Howard, who was flying a C-47 over France on D-Day and was shot down and killed. Mrs. Turner remembers that as soon as she heard about the invasion on the radio in Abilene, she had an awful feeling that Raymonde had died. She told me how to find his grave, in the military cemetery at Normandy.

Mrs. Turner’s husband was the technician that wired together Abilene’s first television station, KRBC, in 1953. I never knew any of this. Later, he built the studio at KNIT Radio, the first station devoted to rock and roll in the 1950s in Abilene. A disc jockey at that station was Slim Willet, who affected hillbilly dress and accent and wrote unremarkable country songs, with the exception of “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes,” a national hit for Perry Como in 1954. Slim, whose real name was Winston Moore, actually was a smart man with a degree in English. “You know, Mrs. Turner, Slim Willet was actually an erudite man,” I said. “Yes,” she smiled, patiently, “I know.”

I am sorry now that Mrs. Turner may think the former student sitting next to her was named Gary. I had forgotten my nametag, and Molly Cline, the reunionmeister, wouldn’t let me go through the lunch line without one. So off her registration table, I selected Gary Hooker. I wanted Cathy Cox, but Molly wouldn’t let me have it. I had earlier introduced myself to Mrs. Turner as “Michael,” but when I sat down next to her, she said, “Hello, Gary, how are you?”

I stayed with Bob and Marilyn Cluck. When we were in high school, Bob’s mom always seemed to have a lemon icebox pie made when I came over to their house. Last week, Marilyn had a lemon icebox pie ready. A thoughtful thing to do. Bob and I went to the Dixie Pig for breakfast Saturday morning; my uncle Clyde used to take me there for pancakes every Saturday morning when he got back from World War II, in 1946. I bought a couple of Dixie Pig t-shirts – I brag often to my wife, Karen, about the Pig – but I left the damn things in the back of the rental car. At the 45th reunion, we were all starting to slow down.


Passing our our dear classmate, Sharon Sanderson Wolda (loss of our 64th classmate)

Filed under: Uncategorized — johnodam @ 12:26 am


Shari Wolda , 64


November 26, 2006, in a Waco hospital.

Shari Wolda
October 25, 1942 – November 26, 2006

Sharon “Shari” Sanderson Wolda, 64 of Hewitt passed away on Sunday night, November 26, at a local hospital.

Services will be at 11 am Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the First Baptist Church of Woodway, 101 Ritchie Road, with the Rev. Mike Toby officiating.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 pm Tuesday at the OakCrest Funeral Home, 4520 Bosque Blvd.

Shari was born on October 25, 1942 in Abilene to Herman and Aubry (Witte) Sanderson. She married the love of her life, Charles on March 9, 1974 and together they had two wonderful children that meant everything to her.

Shari grew up in Abilene, then graduated from Texas Tech. She has served in Baylor University Development Department since 1988 where she has made many significant contributions. As Assistant to the Vice President of Development, she was a model for all when it came to diligence, professionalism and unflagging commitment to her co-workers, as well as to the important mission of providing resources to support all aspects of the university.

In 1997 Shari received Baylor University’s Outstanding Staff Award and in 2005 the Tom Z. Parrish Outstanding Development Professional award. Her heart was in helping Baylor students to achieve their full potential. She was a member of the First Baptist Church of Woodway.

Shari is survived by her husband, Charles of Hewitt; daughter, Ashley Wolda and boyfriend, Jeremy Sanders of Dallas; son, Joe Wolda of Hewitt; sister, Bobbie Hughes and husband, Al of Odessa; great niece, Emily Fowler; great-great niece, Bella McCarroll, all of Dallas; nephews, Ty Fowler of Dallas and Tab Fowler of Austin; and many cousins and friends.

Shari will always be loved and remembered as a truly special wife, mother, sister and friend.
The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to the Baylor University General Scholarship Fund in Memory of Shari Wolda, One Bear Place Box 97026; Waco, TX 76798-7026.

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Service Schedule 

Visitation Date: 

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 

Visitation Time: 

6-8 pm 

Visitation Location: 

OakCrest Funeral Home  [Map]

Service Date: 

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 

Service Time: 

11 a.m. 

Service Location: 

First Baptist Church of Woodway 

Additional Info: 

101 Ritchie Rd, Woodway, TX 76712 

Burial Location: 

Waco Memorial Park  [Map]

November 20, 2006

Rememberance of Doug Beyer by his friend, Spencer Taylor

Filed under: Uncategorized — johnodam @ 9:27 pm

The service was nothing different than any other service except that it was my friend being buried and I missed him greatly. Counting Doug and me there were 5 people there that were in my wedding party 41 yrs ago that day.The others being Doug’s cousin Ronny Beyer, our classmate Richard Crowell and a friend named Herluth Faulks.
Doug and I met the summer of 1958. He was delivering papers for the Reporter News and I had the route next to his. We were finished delivering our routes and were both behind Throntons on so 14th and Barrow stealing a stalk of banana’s and donuts. We had been doing that all summer but never at the same time until that day. He was riding a cushman eagle and I was on a sears scooter. After that we met every morning except Sunday until school started. For some reason we stayed friends for the rest of our lives. We sometimes went years without seeing one another but always stayed in touch by Christmas cards. Doug ‘s wife Betty, was great at keeping us informed about what was going on with their family and Gayle would do the same. When he retired in 2000 at

brownwood we got back together and saw each other often. He and Betty came to
Colorado to visit us in the summer and we spent a couple of New years eve’s with them. We met at different places to eat during the year and I know I really looked forward to our times together. One thing is for sure, I am really going to miss him! 

November 13, 2006

Death of AHS 61 Classmate, Doug Beyer, 11/11/06: Obit (loss of 63rd classmate)

Filed under: Uncategorized — johnodam @ 3:42 pm


Doug Beyer

Netherton Funeral Home
Sunday, November 12, 2006

BeyerByron Douglas Beyer of Lake Brownwood, formerly of Pampa,Texas, passed away Saturday,

November 11, 2006, at his home

surrounded by family and friends.

Funeral services will be Monday, November 13, at 2 p.m. in the Grace Lutheran Church in Brownwood,

Texas, with Pastor Carroll Kohl

officiating. Interment will follow in the Fairview Cemetery, Grosvenor, Brown County, Texas under the

direction of the Netherton Funeral Home. The family will

receive friends at the Grace Lutheran Church, 1401 First Street on Sunday, November 12, from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M.

Byron Douglas Beyer was born October 17, 1942 in Abilene, Texas to Libert Alois and Ruth Standard Beyer. He graduated from Abilene High School in 1961 and attended McMurry

University and Odessa College. Doug married Betty Kathlene Moore at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Abilene, Texas., on August 5, 1966. They lived in Odessa and Pampa, Texas, prior to their move to Brownwood in 2000. While living in Odessa and Pampa, Doug worked for El Paso Products and Lubrication Service, Inc.. He was an active member of the Grace Lutheran Church in Brownwood. Doug spent his leisure time hunting, fishing, and perfecting his outdoor cooking skills. Favorite times were spent with his children, grandchildren, friends and extended family.

Doug is survived by his wife of forty years, Betty Kathlene Moore Beyer of Lake Brownwood, Texas; two sons, Scott Beyer and wife, Traci, and their children Emmalee and Zachary of

Abilene, Texas; and Jeff Beyer and wife, Angie, and their

children, Cody and Kinley of Pampa, Texas. Also surviving are brothers, James Beyer of Indian Gap, Texas and Daryl Beyer and wife, Sandy, of Hewitt, Texas; one sister, Gay Nell Kayali and husband, Kal, of Roswell, Georgia; one sister-in-law, Phyllis

Walters and her husband Alan, of Escondido, California; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Libert Alois and Emily Ruth Standard Beyer; sister, Frances Elaine Beyer;

brother, John David Beyer; maternal grandparents, Marvin and Lilly May Franks Standard; and paternal grandparents, Louis

Anton and Mary Henretta Vyvial Beyer.

Netherton Funeral Home

1914 Indian Creek Road

Brownwood, Texas 76801


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