Dear Hearts & Gentle People:
It's a dreary winter day in the old hometown, and sad news abounds. But Spring will come, eventually, and spirits will rise again with the grass and the flowers.
I have the sad duty to report recent losses, one just last night. Suzanne Bell Bartley died of liver failure. Her family has not finalized arrangements at this time, but the visitation may be held tomorrow (Tuesday 1/18) night, funeral the next day. If you would like to attend, you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for definite time and place.
Below is a nice letter that Mae Neece '56 Johnson sent to her classmates about the loss of her brother-in-law Garland '56 Grechus. Garland was married to Margaret Neece '57 Grechus.
This is to inform you that my dear brother-in-law, Garland Grechus, passed away yesterday morning, Sunday, December 12. He died of pneumonia, but, as most of you know, Garland has suffered from advanced Alzheimer's for several years. He has been totally non-functioning for some time now, with the exception of swallowing baby food when spoon fed. Garland being a victim of this ravaging disease has been heartbreaking to our family.
Garland was more like a brother to me than a brother-in-law. He was an exceptional individual, putting himself through college, with Margaret's help. He had a successful career, and was a devoted husband and father to his two children. He mentored the less fortunate in math, physics, etc, He and Margaret were active members of their community and church, and highly respected in their community of Red Bank, New Jersey. It is always difficult to lose a family member, but, in this case, it is God's blessing.
I went through our high school 2006 50TH reunion book and have sent this notice to those classmates living locally who had provided their e-mail.
Margaret is flying out tomorrow to make funeral arrangements for Garland. A calling is scheduled this Friday, December 17, at the Nadler-Fuller Funeral Home at 11 a.m., with a service to follow at Noon. I understand that some Grechus family members there locally are helping with a reception being held at one of the local military service halls, perhaps the American Legion.
Regretfully, I will not be able to come back for the services, but did want to let our high school classmates know of Garland's passing.
These losses are staggering, especially to those of us who are of the age of those lost and particularly if you hadn't heard all this news before. The list continues:
Marilyn Sue Boehm, 75, of Lexington, MO passed away Thursday, December 09, 2010 at her home after a brief illness. Marilyn Sue Boehm was born August 23, 1935 in Higginsville, MO, the daughter of Marion Francis and Pauline Camille Rogers Kelly. She was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and the Altar Society. She was a Laboratory Technologist at Lafayette Regional Health Center in Lexington for 49 years, retiring in 2005. Sue is survived by three children: John Terrance Boehm and Kelly Edward Boehm both of Phoenix, AZ and Lori Sue Boehm, granddaughter, Ashley Draisey and great-grandson, Ashton Draisey, all of Lexington. A brother, Terrance W. Kelly, Lone Jack, MO. Two sisters, Beverly Ann (Kelly) Gray, Lexington and Patricia J. “Patsy” (Kelly)Miller, San Diego, CA. There are 5 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents and a granddaughter, Jennifer Boehm. Services will be on Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 2 pm at the Walker-Nadler-Fuller Funeral Home, in Lexington, MO. Visitation will be from 1 to 2:00. The Rosary will be recited prior to the funeral services at the funeral home. Burial in Memorial Park Cemetery, Lexington. Memorials may be made to the Stroke Foundation or to Johnson County Hospice, Warrensburg, MO. Arrangements by: Walker-Nadler-Fuller Funeral Home, 1720 South Street, Lexington, MO 64067 (660)259-2245.
Forrest Lee “Frosty” Small, 74, of Lexington, MO, died Sunday, November 21, 2010, from injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident that occurred on Friday, November 19, 2010 in Jackson County, Missouri. Forrest Lee Small was born January 10, 1936 in Mayview, MO, the son of Robert and Lena Marie Hoeppner Small. He married Marilyn Christian on April 19, 1963 in Lexington. He retired in 1992 from Lake City Munitions where he worked as a tool setter. The last 18 years he had been a school bus driver for the Lexington School District. He also delivered school buses all over the United States. He coached Little League baseball for several years. Mr. Small had served in the Missouri National Guard and was a member of the American Legion. Frosty is survived by his wife, Marilyn, of the home. Two sons, Randy Small, and Chris Small and friend Kim Amor; one granddaughter, Kortney Small, two great-grandchildren, Wyatt McBee and MacKenzie McBee, all of Lexington. Two brothers: Walter M. Small and wife, Shirley, Higginsville and Robert J. Small and wife, Susan, Lexington. Two sisters: Mary Wallace, Lexington and Ruth Ann Cary, and husband, John, Osceola, MO. He was preceded in death by his parents. Funeral services will be 11 a.m., Saturday, December 4, 2010 at the Walker-Nadler-Fuller Funeral Home, Lexington. Burial in Lexington Memory Gardens. Visitation from 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., Friday, December 3, 2010 also at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to the Scholarship fund for “Papa Jerry’s Kids.” Arrangements by: Walker-Nadler-Fuller Funeral Home, 1720 South Street, Lexington, MO 64067 (660)259-2245
Frosty was married to Marilyn Christian '57 Small, who was also injured in the accident. Marilyn is recovering at home, but she has much to deal with these days.
These losses are overwhelming, especially to those of us who are of the age of those lost and particularly if you hadn't heard all this news before. That's all, I hope, for a good long time.
Now...I wonder if any of you remember a place called Tabo? Okay, just kidding. But you may be interested to learn there will be a happy memorial next week.
Tabo Dance Party!
To celebrate the unique roadhouse located just west of Lexington on the historic road Santa Fe Trail and now State Scenic Highway.
It will be held on Saturday, Jan 22 in Lexington at the Moose Lodge on East Main St. From 7 until 11, music of the 40s, 50s, 60s will be played by vintage D.J. Jim Martin.
The Moose Lodge has donated use of its facility, and Jim and Judy Martin are donating all proceeds to Rally For Life Cancer Fund.
Door prizes will be given for the best costumes from the 40s, 50s, 60s (think Poodle Skirts, military uniforms, prom dresses, bridal gowns, etc.)
Cost is $5, and there will be a cash bar operated by the Moose Lodge.
Don't come expecting to dance to hard rock, rap, etc. You can dance your own style, but the music will be from that era.
For further information, you may call Judy Martin at 660-232-4936.
Other mail includes this note from John '58 Cross:
Your server would probably like you more if you merely posted the newest TLC edition on the website, then sent a brief announcement to your mailing list(s), with a link to the website.
I realize “selling news” is in your blood (thankfully!!), so you may want to also include a brief “teaser” as to what’s in the latest newsletter.
You do a great job and those of us who now live many miles away greatly appreciate it. I hope the local citizenry does, as well.
Shirley Briggle '53 Miller enjoyed #127:
This is a good issue! Thanks for Eileen's obit, and all the other notices, too. And I loved the contribution by Don Barrot, whom I have never known. He was in Lexington only part time, and he remembers more detail than I do!
And I'm still laughing over Jan McCoy's guinea pig story.
And this one is from Wellington, but many people know Don Armbruster:
Susan - Excellent job. Really enjoyed the memories Don Barrot told about Lexington. I too remember nearly everything he noted. I am nearly 65 he is 48. Surprised with have such similar memories.
I am 70 and have most of the same memories.
How many folks do you have on your email list? Too bad we can not all share everyone's email address. We could have some great inter-communication. But we can’t and now I understand why. I use to send email (including everyone’s addresses) to about 100 folks. Then some chose to send two offensive/inappropriate self-serving emails to all of those folks on the list I have compiled. You are on it I believe. Now I have had to stop sending out everyone’s address. What gets me is this person does not give a hoot about Lexington and the people that were on the list. Actually it is really humorous how self-serving some folks are with no regard to others.
I guard my list, but one member of the community abducted it. I'm still simmering. But this is the way I handle it: If A wants to have B's address, I tell B and let him/her get in touch with A - IF he/she so desires.
Anyway, keep up the good work. We are so lucky to have lived/grown up/continue to live in communities like Lexington and Wellington. The longer I live here the better I like it.
Next we have a message from John Rostine.
Susan: Thank you for your work and time that you put in writing TLC. I enjoy it very much. In regard to Gerry Helm, I saw her about two months ago in a nursing home in Richmond. She is married to my cousin Lawrence Bersano. Now to the Italians. People back in the early 1900s, the Italians and the French, settled in Lexington in the south side addition, which is south of the tracks on 20th St. They were south and east of Ceno's Market. The Italians and French worked in the coal mines. There were seven mines in Lexington. The East Mine, South Mine, West Mine, Woodrow Mine and Dicke Ashford Mind. I can't remember the other two. There were five of the Kaullen boys in the family. Their mother Treaser and Wilber were my aunt and uncle.
I know this will spark a lot of comment. Send it on, People!
Gary '63 Miller wrote:
It was good to receive the latest TLC edition. Referring to your links to the Missouri Pacific Railroad Depots at Lexington, they brought back many memories for me. My father, F.R. (Bud) Miller, worked for the railroad and was the “Star Agent” at the Myrick Depot for many years. He was there from at least 1945 and by the time he retired had worked 49 years for the MoPac as it was commonly called. At the time he retired, he was the #1 most senior employee working for MoPac.
As a child, I distinctly remember playing on the elevated freight dock that was added on the east end of the depot in later years. In those years, the building was not air conditioned. To combat the heat, I remember Dad sitting at his desk overlooking the tracks, with a large block of ice in a shallow pan placed next to him on the floor. He would have an electric fan blowing across that block of ice to keep him quite cool.
My memories also include him doing Morse Code on the telegraph to send messages to other stations up and down the tracks. He could really tap out the code! I also remember one of his duties was to watch for “hot boxes” on trains as they passed by the station. In those days, the wheel assemblies did not have “roller bearings” but instead had boxes at each wheel that contained an oiled material (some sort of wool I believe) for lubricating the axles of the various train cars. Often, that material would dry out, causing the “box/axle” to become “hot” and it would begin to smoke. He would then relay that information to the next station/depot to inform the engineer of that particular train.
If Dad had orders for a train crew passing through, he would have to get those written orders to the engineer of the train. Since they didn’t slow down or stop and they had no radio communications back then, Dad would use a “Y” shaped pole to which the orders/messages were tied across the top of the “Y” with a string. Dad would then stand next to the track, hold up that pole and the engineer of the train would lean out of his cab with his arm bent and snag the message off the “Y” pole.
I also remember the glorious old steam engines that pulled the cars....chugging along, belching smoke and steam vapor as they passed by. I also remember the transition to the newer diesel electric engines and the phasing out of the steam locomotives. More efficient, but not nearly as exciting as the old steam locomotives.
Anyway, thanks for the links to the depots. Isn’t it amazing how one little reference in the TLC will bring back such a flood of memories.
You train buffs may enjoy a destination trip to LaPlata, MO. I've been there several times. Take a look: http://www.depotinnandsuites.com
Jack Gueguen remembers:
Thanks, Susan. When I lived there—long ago, of course—I think even the “bums” were friendly, rather quaint and even comic characters. Occasionally one would pass our house coming from or going downtown.
The atmosphere always seemed calm and peaceful to me. The
rare times we ventured to a neighboring town, it seemed like a foreign territory—everything
unfamiliar, strange. There could be only one “home” town. And all
its inhabitants seemed to have their place in it. I don’t remember
anybody who was “out of place” in
I don't remember ever being afraid as I walked around town. There were, of course, places I was not permitted to go (Block 42, etc), but in nearly every block I knew someone who lived there. Maybe this view is too rosy? Was it any different for you?
No - my view is very rosy also. Most people mention that to me, how fortunate we were to grow up here, how safe we were (at least relative to other places), and people were friendly and kind. I believe your dad had a good deal to do with creating that hometown atmosphere. Didn’t he run a kind of “our town” column in the newspaper?
Yes - it was called the "Editor's Corner." I know you were mentioned a few times. Thanks for remembering.
Another youngster mentioned many times was Jim O'Malley:
Here's my 8th grade
graduation picture from the Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Lexington,
MO in 1945. Top row: L to R, Jimmie O'Malley,
Wanda Mike, Father T. J. Carney, Alice Borne,
Wilburn Meieier; Bottom row: L to R, Beverly Kelly, John Ruehter, Barbara Zeller, Bernard Schreiner, Shirley Epperson. Father Carney died many years ago. He came from County Mayo, Ireland, where my Grandfather Peter O'Malley came from. He had a beautiful Irish accent. He tried to teach me some Gaelic, but I wasn't ready for it then. I can't believe that this coming May it will have been 65 years ago!!!
You will have to travel to our web pages for this issue , to see this photo. It's worth it. Our webmaster will have it up for viewing soon.
We have subscribers who are not even from Lexington, but appreciate our history and are working to preserve it. One of these is Bob Heggestad:
In scanning your latest TLC - #127 - I noted a message from a fellow named Don Barrot Jr. who was not a Lexington native but has a lot of linkage to the town. He mentioned an Aunt Denise who once lived in a 4-plex apartment just east of the post office. That is the duplex (no longer equipped for 4 separate occupancies) that we purchased last June. I would be interested in hearing if he knows anything about the place from when his aunt lived there - any images of what it was like, inside and out - and around what years did that happen? We are always interested in hearing about the history of an old place like that, especially after we have adopted it, as in this case. Could you forward this on to Don and maybe we can link up directly over this topic of apparently mutual interest. Thanks!
I thought he was referring to Lafayette Arms, Bob, but you may be right. Help us out, Don? (Bob lives in an antebellum brick house on South St.)
Louis Wexler made me collapse with laughter:
Susan: I want you to know I really enjoy your TLC's.The only problem is, when I open up your newsletters, for some reason I read "Dear Hearts and GENTILE PEOPLE" and wonder why Jews aren't included.
Lou, you know I would not discriminate. But if it makes you feel better, you can be a Dear Heart.
Since this song keeps coming up in our correspondence, I am going to end with the complete lyrics, as presented by Bing Crosby:
"Dear Hearts And Gentle People"
I love those dear
hearts and gentle people
Who live in my home town
Because those dear hearts and gentle people
Will never ever let you down
They read the
From Fri till Monday
That's how the weekend goes
I've got a dream house
I'll build there one day
With picket fence and ramblin' rose
I feel so welcome
each time that I return
That my happy heart keeps laughin' like a clown
I love the dear hearts and gentle people
Who live and love in my home town
There's a place
I'd like to go
And it's back in good ol' MO (forgive me, Bing)
Where your friendly neighbors smile and say hello
It's a pleasure and a treat
To meander down the street
That's why I want the whole wide world to know
(I love those
I love the gentle people
(Who live in my home town)
Because those dear hearts and gentle people
Will never ever let you down
I will try never to let you down, Folks. But write to me!
Your devoted scribe,