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Honors Veterans EVERY DAY.

Campers learned  self-­infusion  and  safely  participated  in  traditional  camp  activities  such  as  kayaking  at   Camp  Klotty  Pine  

Get Reunion Plans Squared Away For Your

“Operation Branson Reunion”

11TH Annual Military Reunion Planners Conference August 3-6, 2015 For the MRPC Application or a Reunion Planner Sales Kit: Julie Peters, CTIS at


Let’s plan a

reunion to remember in Lake County, Illinois Hi, I’m Kimberly. I’m Lake County’s reunion specialist and I’m ready to help you create an unforgettable event. Let’s work together to customize an itinerary to maximize all the excitement of our central location. Just 30 minutes north of Chicago, take advantage of attractions like Six Flags Great America and Hurricane Harbor. We also offer 60 hotels, three resorts, more than 75 lakes and beaches, and beautiful spaces perfect for picnics. Choose Lake County for family friendly fun.

I’m ready to help. Email me at or visit


in this issue Departments front Words & history – 4 ALUM & I – 8 High school reunions held far from home by Jim Bie High school reunion is eagerly anticipated by Nancy Davidoff Kelton

BRANCH OFFICE – 10 Ancestor treasures by Keonsha Bernard Global Family Reunion Branch Parties Crestleaf Family Relationship Chart

Scrapbook – 12 Reunion School Wild, Wonderful, Wacky Women Reunion by Theresa Callaway-Brooking Cruise reunion planning workshop details, Summer Giveaways Celebrating 73 years of Adams Street friendship by Georgia Burnette Hospitality Answerman – Heart of the Reunnion: the Hospitality Room Hall of Fame

Masterplan – 20 HALLELUJAH, a violin story by Terri Wilfer Kramer

Global Family Reunion Program Benjamin & Edith Spaulding Family Reunion by Milton Campbell Nelsons meet in Little Rock by Diane Trotter New Reed-Clay generation hits a homerun by Marilyn Reed Passing the Torch in Faith to a Fruitful Generation by Merideth [Neal] Parrish More families: Gray, Arce, Dean & Creech, Zabler, Smith

REUNION FEATURE – 36 Kidsstuff Fun with family trees from Joan Griffis, Neal Family awards and awardees, Traveling with kids on the road, 101 activities, Ideas from other reunions Icebreakers Lots of ways to kick off reunion fun! Do you remember me? Matching game M&Ms aplenty Two Truths and a Lie Autograph Bingo Simon Says Celebrity ID Game Photo scavenger hunt Ideas from Nametags as icebreakers Who are you? Ideas from lots of reunions! Enders, Mcleod, Burt(t)schell, Kaufman, Seidemann, Rose, Seeger Games, games, games galore Reunion games from the Arce Family, the Neal Family and others

Military Reunion News – 45 USS Sellers DDG-11 Reunion by Delta Hinson 317th Veterans Group Reunion Report by Jim Timmons

Reunion Resources – 46 A directory of reunion-friendly places, services, vendors and products On the cover These are some of the cousins who will be at The Global Family Reunion, June 6, 2015 in New York City! Top row left to right: Morgan Spurlock, Olivia Munn, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Daniel Ratcliffe. Middle row: Dr. Mehmet Oz, Bruce Feiler, Jane Krakowski. Bottom row: Olivia Wilde, John Legend, A.J. Jacobs between Barbara and George H.W. Bush.

May/June/July 2015 Volume 25 • Number 4 Publisher / Editor in Chief Edith Wagner Travel Editor Jacky Runice Art Director Jennifer Rueth Senior sales account manager Marion Liston Operations Manager Karla Lavin Web Wizard Josh Evert Special Projects Kirsten Holmes Casey O’Brien Administrative Staff Nicole Dettmering Ksioszk hospitality answer man Dean Miller Contributors Stephanie Abrams • Loida Arce Acosta Keonsha Bernard • Jim Bie • Georgia Burnette Theresa Callaway-Brooking • Milton Campbell Rev. Lloyd Dean • Joan Griffis • Delta Hinson McKinley Jones • Nancy Davidoff Kelton Terri Wilfer Kramer • Ginger Loucks Geneen Massey • Michelle McCarthy Merideth [Neal] Parrish Dr. Cecil Paul Enders Pottieger Marilyn Reed • Mildred Rias • Janice Scruggs Paula Sheagley • Marilyn Stewart Jim Timmons • Arliss Treybig • Diane Trotter Jim Whitaker • Pam Wodzicki R eunions magazine , I nc . (ISSN #1046-5 s 235), is published periodically. Send correspondence, queries, submissions, subscriptions, adver tising to R eu n ions magazine, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727. Written permission from the publisher is required for reproduction of any part of this book except pages which encourage sharing. Please explain your intended use when requesting permission to reprint. Email: or fax 414-263-6331. Tear sheets of reviews and reprints required. Reunions magazine, Inc., will not be liable for information presented as facts contained in any of our advertising, byline stories or materials. We reserve the right to edit and/or refuse any material submitted for publication. We solicit participation and take responsibility for submitted materials. Unless accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE), submissions and photos will not be returned. All materials sent for purposes of publication become property of R eu n ions maga zi n e , I nc . Subscriptions: US and Canada $9.99/yr, $17.99/2 yrs. All other addresses, call for rates. Back issues available for $3 each plus postage. Payment must accompany requests for subscriptions, back issues or other items for sale. Advertising rate information available from Reunions magazine, Inc., PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727; 414-2634567; fax 414-263-6331 | e-mail editor@reunions | © 2015 Reunions magazine, Inc. MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 3



his is a very special issue and one we could not have even planned a year ago, although we did know that this would be the last issue of our 25th volume, our 25th year of publishing, and our 25th year of growing with a marketplace that did not exist 25 years ago. We could not have known a year ago that there would be a Global Family Reunion (GFR), nor that Reunions magazine might contain the official program! And, of course, we urge you to attend the event in New York City on June 6th or at a GFR Branch Party near you that will be live-streaming the main event. Details at Nor did we know a year ago that big changes and new opportunities would be coming our way as we approach the end of our 25th year of publication.

many more reunions have been formed and are meeting, often annually. Reunions have their detractors, and I acknowledge them only to curb any idea that I’m living in a fantasy world. There are families, for example, who have no business reconvening to relive a shared sad history. There are classmates whose experience in school was not the stuff of fond memories that would make them want to revisit. There are military comrades who choose not to revisit thoughts of war or battle. To all of them I say, “I’m so sorry a reunion doesn’t bring you happiness and joy.” I know it’s more complicated than that, but the complications we’ve chosen to deal with are those associated with the stresses and satisfactions of planning a memorable reunion. Same destination, different path

When we started Reunions magazine 25 years ago, we had a vision, but never could have seen where the magazine and When Reunions magazine was born 25 years ago, reunions the experience of producing it would go — and it has gone to were a known business commodity, but vendors had not yet far more and far better places than we ever could have focused their advertising or marketing efforts to capture the imagined. Of course, we hope we’ve lived up to the reunions audience. Over these 25 years, something called expectations of our readers, advertisers and followers— the Reunion Marketplace has grown to serve this very which is, consistently, what we’ve heard. We’ve encouraged important — and large!— group of consumers. Although it is questions and suggestions for direction, and they came and not an organization, the Reunion Marketplace is a wellwere honored and we don’t want them to stop; please keep recognized conglomeration of convention and visitors questioning and suggesting. bureaus, hotels, resorts, cruises and other hospitality Over the past couple years, printing (paper and ink) and enterprises, as well as suppliers such as t-shirt and memento postage costs have increased steadily, while vendors, caterers, motor coaches, printers advertising revenue has decreased steadily. and many more services that aid reunion In fact, it costs just under $20,000 for print planners. Mail to and postage to get one of these issues out When we began to concentrate on Reunions magazine the door — and that’s without any other reunions 25 years ago, some asked, “Why?” PO Box 11727 expenses. Most of these questions came from people Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 Like most businesses that survived the who had not experienced a reunion; by call 414-263-4567 economic slowdown, we cut and cut and contrast, those who had attended reunions cut. And when you find few or no expenses were quick to say, “Great!” and share their visit that can be cut, despite how diligently you stories. And the stories were always happy fax 414-263-6331 look, it’s time to reevaluate. and good and gave a shiny patina to the e-mail word “reunion,” because it is, for the most We rarely emphasized our subscription part, a positive experience. Over the years rates, because most reunions have financial those feelings have only intensified, and issues and because our advertisers wanted Looking back

Be in touch!

Parade of Covers: volumes 19 & 20

Volume 19

4 Reunions v

Volume 20

to meet your reunions — as many of them as possible. The way we’ve built our readership is to have reunions qualify to receive the magazine. And qualifying surveys gave us information about reunions that was worth a lot more than the cost of a subscription. We consistently urge our readers to honor our advertisers with the attention they deserve for helping support this magazine. So we made it through the recession, but like many other businesses and surely those in print industries, incomes shrank. Ours included. During that time, I have (willingly) contributed my savings to make up differences, but that resource is rapidly disappearing and I might need a little of what’s left someday. (Thank gawd for Social Security!) This is it!

So, folks, this is the last of Reunions magazine’s regularly scheduled print issues, for now. But wait! We’re not going anywhere. In fact, we have many exciting things planned. Our considerable web presence will continue. And it will grow, exponentially — to accommodate new kinds of reunion-planning ideas, messages and to add hundreds — nay! thousands — of new content pages we’ve simply not had time to share on The time and resources we have poured into our print editions will now be directed to our web editions for the next several months. We will continue to depend upon and need the same contributions we have been getting from you all along. No matter where we are, our first and abiding love and concern is with the reunions who have contributed so generously. We couldn’t have done it without you. AND we don’t intend to do it without you now. So, here’s what we’re proposing!

Expanded website For the next several months, we are going to concentrate our reunion planning know-how on our web assets, and we urge you to follow us. Upcoming Reunions and Reunions Picture Gallery are continuing as usual. Add your reunions to both: it’s free. Please continue to submit your stories and pictures to for our web pages and for special print issues of Reunions magazine! Where would we get content without you? We hope to be producing planning videos soon, to provide additional substance to your planning. Add your reunion videos for our web and facebook pages, too! Newsletters, facebook, twitter, Pinterest, and an all-new blog!

We will continue to be active and staying in touch through online communication, with heads-up alerts: in newsletters, on facebook and in a new blog. • Our monthly enewsletter will continue to arrive on the first of each month, as a source of information and direction for your planning. If you’re not on the list, sign up now. • Many ideas and news about reunion trends will continue to find their way to our Facebook page and Pinterest boards. • We will be blogging regularly. Visit our homepage to find a link to sign up. If you have problems signing up, send an email ( and we’ll help. Special print editions

We plan to produce two special print editions per year and may publish an occasional ebook. Look for the first special edition in February 2016, which will highlight reunion celebrations – yours included, if you send a report and pictures. The second print edition, focusing on reunion planning, is scheduled for September 2016, just as you start to plan your 2017 reunion. Reunions Hall of Fame

The downside of attempting to list all the wonderful folks who have given so generously to this undertaking known as Reunions magazine is the fear I will forget someone. So, to avoid missing anyone, we have created Reunions Hall of Fame. We can’t mention every reunion we’ve featured on Reunions magazine pages over the years, but we do commemorate every one of them online in Reunions Hall of Fame: a quarter century of reunions on parade! Reunions continued on page 6

Parade of Covers: volumes 21 & 22

Volume 21

Volume 22

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 5


continued from page 5

Picture by Greg Faludi

Hall of Fame lists every reunion that has appeared in Reunions magazine or on over the last quarter century. It is an online work-in-progress, and we will add to it continuously – names now, pictures soon. Thanks to the team

As we finish this leg of our journey, I must recognize the people who help make it all happen. A very small, loyal team has produced this magazine for 25 years. Karla Lavin, operations manager, has been here the full 25 years, as has Mary Thiele Fobian, though she graduated to long-distance editor-cum-proofreader from California over 20 years ago. Marion Liston came shortly after and is the face and voice of our ad sales. About 22 years ago, Jennifer Rueth became our one-woman production team, producing the layout you hold in your hands. Our web wizard, resident musician and token twenty- something, Josh Evert, and our numbers guy, Brian Dettmering, round out the long-timers. Did I say loyal? We’ve gathered an amazingly dedicated group. Oh, yes, neighborhood is also a feature of the immediate team: we’re all neighbors. Imagine that! And there are the part-time workers who work remotely: Kirsten Holmes, Nicole Dettmering Ksioszk, and Casey O’Brien. There have been many “short timers” over the years. Some were University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee interns who stayed to work, and some were students doing part-time

The Team Back row, l to r: Karla Lavin, Marion Liston, Jennifer Rueth, Edith Wagner. Front row: Josh Evert and Casey O’Brien.

work. Many special others have floated through over the years and are remembered fondly. … and thanks to you! We thank you for welcoming this missive — created with loving hands and hearts — into your homes these past 25 years. But don’t go away, there are many more years of Reunions ahead. EW … to be continued in February 2016 …

Parade of Covers: volumes 23 & 24

Volume 23

Parade of Covers: volumes 25

Volume 25

6 Reunions v

Volume 24

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 7

alum & I

High school reunions held far from home


hat do you do when your high school reunion is in Racine, Wisconsin, and you live over 2,100 miles away in Southern California? A group of alumni from William Horlick High School worked out a perfect solution. It began in 2000 when Jim Bie, Class of ’45, attended his 55-year reunion in Racine. When he returned to La Jolla, he heard from several of his classmates who live in California but could not make it to the reunion. In January 2001, Jim invited the friends to his house to bring them up to date on the old hometown. Six friends from surrounding communities attended. The group had such a pleasant afternoon they reacted enthusiastically when one said, “This was fun. Let’s do it again next year at my house.” And so they did, but added invitations to any Horlick alums they could find from the class preceding and the one following theirs. Ten alumni and several spouses had a great reunion in 2002 in the desert.

Open to all Horlick alumni

The Horlick-West Alumni Club’s Mexican Riviera cruise got special attention in the Racine (Wisconsin) Journal Times.

Class of ’58, came from Racine to join the ladies. The 2005 assembly had several smaller reunions. A sister-in-law from the Class of ’59 drove from Sun City, Arizona. Another from the Class of ’45 was joined by his brother, Class of 62, from Queen Creek, Arizona. Actress welcomed as honorary alumna

A member of the Class of ’50 flew from Racine and brought her daughter, who lives in Toluca Lake, California, but did not attend Horlick High School. But many quickly recognized her as Kristin Bauer, an actress in top rated TV shows like “Seinfeld,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “JAG,” “Two and a Half Men,” and the movie “Romy and Michelle’s

Photo Credit: Jerry Wood

When Tom Liegler offered to host the third reunion in March 2003, he recommended inviting all Horlick graduates who could be located. And they got the message. Attendance swelled to 37 alumni and mates from 14 California towns – plus two from Illinois, one from Arizona, and six who came from Racine to escape a few days of the wicked Wisconsin winter. With the Horlick-West Alumni Club now firmly established, the annual reunions became potluck gatherings that rotated to Indio, Menifee, Oceanside, Escondido, and West Covina. The events offered a great opportunity for mini-family reunions. At the 2005 reunion in Menifee, one from the Class of ’60 was joined by her two sisters from Riverside, Class of ’62, Class of ’67 and a sister from Class of ’74, from Huntington Beach. When their cousin, Class of ’71, learned Hometown door prizes are always about the family gathering, she drove from available. Mary Drowley (1943) enjoys her Surprise, Arizona. It was the first time they had miniature copy of the historic Racine all been together in five years. And their brother, lighthouse.

2015 Horlick-West gathering in Palm Desert, California. Graduation dates at reunions have spanned 50 years, from Laurie Fisher (1986) from San Diego, California, to Joe Ingrasci (1937) from Phoenix, Arizona.

8 Reunions v

alum & I

High School Reunion.” She was made an honorary member of the Horlick-West Alumni Club. Racine has a large Danish population, and the Danish pastry called “Kringle” is immensely popular. Someone is always designated as the reunion kringle supplier, and in 2006 three kringles – apple, pecan, and almond – were ordered from the bakery in Racine. But they were never delivered. At the reunion in Oceanside, Jim apologized to the group for his failure. He had insisted on an explanation from the delivery service. Their computer records showed the package had gone from the bakery in Racine to the airport in Milwaukee, to their Midwest control center, to the western center in Ontario, California, to San Diego – and then for some unknown reason in Los Angeles, where it got lost. While he was telling this story he noticed a member of the Class of ’66, whispering to her husband, who got up and left. They lived just a couple miles away in Carlsbad. He returned shortly carrying a package. He announced, “You don’t ever want to be caught without a kringle in the house.” At the 2007 reunion, notes were read from alumni who sent their regrets. Every year we hear from two or three classmates who would like to attend but they are going to be away on a cruise. So someone said, “Maybe we ought to take our next reunion on a cruise ship.” Enough enthusiastic hands popped up that they checked into the possibility. Horlick-West sails south

On March 1, 2008, the Horlick-West Alumni Club members climbed aboard Holland America’s cruise ship MS Oosterdam. Their week-long journey along the Mexican Riviera included stops at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta. The Racine Journal Times monthly Lifestyles section devoted more than two pages to coverage of the excursion. Back on solid ground, the Horlick-West reunions continue to expand. Participants have ranged from Horlick’s Class of 1986 back to the Class of 1937. Fifty-one folks were on hand for the 14th reunion in Palm Desert. The 2015 gathering in West Covina featured an ample supply of beer, bratwurst, and – of course – Danish kringle. Reported by Jim Bie, Palm Desert, California.

High school reunion eagerly anticipated by Nancy Davidoff Kelton


t has been years since I was in Buffalo. Next summer I will be heading home again. My 50th Bennett High School reunion is in August. Here are some things about our reunion that I would like to share. 1. I could not wait to get out of high school. 2. I cannot wait to go back. 3. The reunion committee sometimes meets over Bocce Pizza. 4. I might want Bocce Pizza to see if it’s as good now as it was then. 5. I definitely want roast beef on weck, Anderson’s frozen custard and more than one charcoal-broiled hot dog at Ted’s. (Note: weck is kimmelweck, a salty kaiser roll. It’s very Buffalo.) 6. The committee posted a list of missing classmates, asking if we could locate them. 7. One missing person, my high school chemistry lab partner, regularly cut class. In his absence, I struggled with experiments and the Bunsen burner. I wished I could have located him back then. 8. At our 21st reunion, my high school crush asked me to dance the first slow one. 9. I wonder if he will be at the 50th. 10. And ask me for a slow one. 11. I went to our 21st reunion with my friend since seventh grade. The sharp crowd saved a seat for her at dinner. She sat at my table with me. “I’m touched,” I told her. “I know. That’s why I’m here,” she said. We have been on the phone for 55 years, still go out to lunch and share whatever we order, and have dinner at each other’s houses. 12. Some things never change. Others do. The Buffalo stores where I bought clothes – the Sample Shop, L.L. Berger and Hengerer’s – no longer exist. Neither does Studio Arena, where I took drama classes. I still can’t act. 13. I hope to visit my relatives in Kenmore and I definitely plan to see, even stay with, my relatives with the swimming pool in Snyder. 14. I wonder if people still hang out on Derby Road at Crystal Beach and if French fries with vinegar are still popular. 15. I miss Wegmans’ wide aisles and shopping there with my father, who would walk up to strangers and say he forgot his grocery list and ask, “May I borrow yours?” 16. Mostly I hope to catch up with my classmates and see how we have changed. 17. And I hope Ted’s hot dogs taste exactly the same.

About the author

Nancy Davidoff Kelton is an AARP columnist, author of six books and hundreds of essays, and has a memoir coming out later this year. This essay – listical – first appeared on the op-ed page of The Buffalo News, and there will a follow up report after the reunion.


Bonnie Barchichat asked if it’s common practice for reunion planning companies to give free tickets to the reunion for the class chairs.


Paula Sheagley, former president of the National Association of Reunion Managers, who says her heart will always be with reunions, responded. Complimentary tickets for committee chairs depended upon circumstances. “There were often co-chairs. I would offer a discount of fixed costs only (i.e., their dinner). I also found that recruiting their assistance with the alumni location list worked best. Because we paid our part-time “search” employees a set amount of money per alum located, I gave the list to the chairpersons and told them that per each alum for which they gave us accurate location information, the per-person search fee would go toward paying their ticket price. Rewards for accuracy!” A commission! A step above being a volunteer, with an incentive. Nice idea! MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 9

branch office

Win a DNA test! Curious about the details of your background? Win one of three DNA test kits from to answer your curiosity or confirm your suspicions.

Ancestor treasures


ince beginning her genealogy research and heading up her Wiley-Jefferson Family Reunions, Keonsha Bernard, Houston, Texas, says she’s learned “to cherish even the smallest memento that can connect my today to my yesterday.” She has a wooden button from one of her great-grandmother’s old shirts, a wooden

Enter online at, click on giveaways and contests page. Deadline August 1, 2015.

Reunion flowers in Keonsha Bernard’s treasured jars.

chair from her great-grandmother’s kitchen, an old glass lantern/stove oil jar, and a few old juice/milk jars. Ironically, every item she’s collected was left to the elements. Every one has a personal connection to her ancestors, and she’s found a great use for each item. “As I was walking through a field where one of my ancestors was said to have lived, I stumbled upon a trash pile full of old bottles. Amongst the pile were broken moonshine jugs, a lantern/stove oil jar, and a number of Boden’s Orchard and milk jars. Happy with finding this treasure, I hurried right back with a wagon to transport my findings. After cleaning the jars to the best of my ability, I decided to use them as centerpieces for our 5th annual reunion.”


his handy family relationship chart maps out exactly how all of the relationships in your family work. It was originally created by Alice J. Ramsay in 1987 to illustrate relationships among family members in family trees. The relationship in each section defines a particular person’s relationship to you, where you are ‘Self.’ Note that you, your siblings, your 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, etc., are all in the same generation. Reprinted with permission from

The Global Family Reunion is an amazing

opportunity for individuals and local organizations around the world to celebrate our human connection to one another. Take part in history by organizing a satellite event (aka GFR Branch Party) on June 6th! You’ll get a live stream of a fascinating lineup of speakers and entertainers. Libraries, genealogy societies, families, individuals, businesses, community groups, and fraternal organizations are hosting branch parties.

10 Reunions v

There is a long list of benefits for Branch Parties at! Complete the Branch Party Interest Form online and a Branch Party Liaison will contact you to get you signed up as an official Branch Party! If you are hosting or attending a Global Family Reunion Branch Party, please let us know and we’ll list it on reunionsmagazine. Send your name, contact info and the party location! Then send pictures or post them after on our facebook page.

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 11

scrapbook Most of these events are sponsored and presented by convention and visitors bureaus. Most take place on Saturdays and, for the most part, are for people planning reunions in their area. All prefer or require advance reservations and most are free or at nominal cost. For information about new events added online, as soon as we learn about them visit and click on Reunion Workshops & Conferences. Alliance of Military Reunions

Chicago Southland, Illinois

Contact Skip Sander, 412-367-1376 |

Contact Kristy Stevens, 708-895-8299

Albany, Georgia

Clayton County, Georgia

Contact Jenny Collins, 229 317-4760 | Alpharetta, Georgia

October 17, 2015 Contact | 678-297-2811. Athens, Georgia

Contact Athens CVB, 706-357-4430.

Contact Tangie Carter, 678-610-4242 Cobb County, Georgia

Contact Dianne Lovett, 678-303-2635 | Columbus, Ohio


October 3, 2015 Roger Dudley, 614-222-6136

Augusta, Georgia

2016 Cruise planning workshop from miami!

Atlanta, Georgia

Contact “Cousin� Michelle, 800-726-0243 | 706-823-6600 Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore Family Reunion Expo September 12, 2015 410-244-8861 | Greater Birmingham, Alabama

June 6, 2015 October 10, 2015 Contact Tara Walton, CTIS, 205-458-8000, ext 206

January 2016 Contact cruise specialist Brian Forrester | 480-998-1112 800-998-1228 | Dekalb County, Georgia

May 16, June 20, August 15, September 19, October 17, November 14, 2015 Contact Penny Moore, | 770-492-5018 Detroit, Michigan

Fall 2015 Contact DMCVB, 313-202-1985 |

Branson, Missouri

Douglasville, Georgia

11th Annual Military Reunion Planners Conference Aug 3-6, 2015 Contact Julie Peters, 417-334-4084 | |

Contact Kimberly Bridges, 678-449-3172

Cabarrus County, North Carolina

Contact Carrie Hendrickson, 704-456-7969 |

Dunwoody, Georgia

Contact Sarah Steadman, 678-244-9804 | Fairfax County, Virginia

October 17, 2015 Contact C. Jeff Bunn, 757-382-1352 |

February 13, 2016 Speaker: Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact Dean Miller, 703-752-9509 |

Chicago Northwest, Schaumburg, Illinois

Flint, Michigan

Chesapeake, Virginia

Contact Melinda Garritano, 847-278-3445 12 Reunions v

Contact Courtney Irish, 810-232-8902

Fredericksburg, Virginia

Peachtree City, Georgia

5th Annual Fredericksburg Family Reunion Workshop March 5, 2016 Contact: Kimberly Herbert, 800-260-3646 |

Contact 678-216-0282 |

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Contact Mary Jane Shearer, 301-322-0797 |

Heidi Schmitt, 800-678-9859 ext 3557

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Greenwood, South Carolina

Sandy Springs, Georgia

Contact Lindsay Burns, 864-953-2464 Gwinnett County, Georgia

Fall 2015 Prince George’s County, Maryland Prince George’s Community College, Laurel

Visit October 17, 2015 Contact Will Carlson, 770-206-1445

Friday, May 8, 2015 Contact Maurice Odoms, Gwinnett CVB, 770-814-6059

Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana

Kalamazoo, Michigan

May 16, 2015 John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center Museum Register, on the “Events” page at or contact 540-682-7583. ext 5546.

Contact Jennifer Williamson, 269-488-0057 | jwilliamason@ or Kissimmee, Florida

Contact Kevin Flowers, 800-551-8682 | Spotsylvania, Virginia

October 24, 2015 Speaker: Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact Jadeine Shives, 407-742-8255 |


Lake County, Illinois

Sept 7-12, 2015

Contact Kimberly Ghys, 800-Lake-Now | Lee County CVB, Florida

Contact Candice Cocco, 239-338-3500 | Louisville, Kentucky

May 16, August 15, November 14, 2015 Contact Darlene Starks, 502-379-6110 | Macon-Bibb County, Georgia

August 15, 2015 Contact Robin North, 478-743-1074 ext. 114 Memphis, Tennessee

Contact Lisa Catron, 901-543-5337 Newport News, Virginia

May 30, 2015 Speaker: Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact Andrea Moran, 888-493-7386 |

Military Reunion Planners Conferences (ConFAM©) (Conferences begin on varied days) Nashville, Tennessee | May 2-7, 2015 Washington DC/ Prince Georges County, Maryland Portland, Oregon/Washington County

Sept 26-30, 2015 San Angelo, Texas | Oct 5-9, 2015 Chattanooga, Tennessee | Oct 18-23, 2015 One-day Basic Training Classes Nashville, Tennessee | May 3, 2015 Clinton, Maryland | Sept 7, 2015 Chattanooga, Tennessee | Oct 19, 2015

Contact, Sharon Danitschek, 425-501-1430 | Virtual Family Reunion Planning Workshops

May 16, July 18, September 19, October, November, December 2015 Contact Niko Cook, 847-873-2271 | YMRC – YOUR MILITARY REUNION CONNECTION Portland, Maine | May 15-18, 2015 Dayton, Ohio | June 18-22, 2015 Portland, Oregon | August 2-5, 2015 Daytona Beach, Florida | October 28-30, 2015 DC area - Manassas, Virginia | November 1-4, 2015 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina | February 7-12, 2016 Nashville, Tennessee | August 8-12, 2016

Contact | MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 13


Wild, Wonderful, Wacky Women Reunion


n the early 1970s, a number of teenage Girl Scouts and their young camp director served at a residential camp in Prescott, Arizona. As adults, we held our first reunion with the camp director, and have been holding annual reunions ever since. Three of the ten live out-of-state, but everyone makes every effort to attend. We prefer to hold the reunion in Prescott. We’ve met at the camp, but most reunions are held at a B&B from Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning. Cost, of course, is an issue, so we try very hard to find a place that is reasonably priced and will accommodate 10 women! On one occasion, a couple of gals contributed toward the overall cost, but for the most part, everyone contributes their share. We see each other only once a year, so we began a tradition of celebrating everyone’s birthday at our reunion. Everyone brings gifts and we hold a little “birthday party.” We also bring memory albums with photos from our camping experience. Because of our background in Girl Scouting, we sing all the old camp songs, and share all the funny things that

Girl Scouts by their camp names, around the table clockwise from the left: Shadow, TJ, Tigger, Mudda, Bernie, Happy, Bubba, Sunny and Corky.

happened during our three years at camp, along with what is going on currently in our lives; we support one another’s hopes, dreams and ambitions. During the day, we love to go shopping and dining together. We are a re-united “family” that seriously bonded during a very trying and exhilarating experience as camp staff. Our former camp director has usually




handled all the reunion logistics, sending emails that serve as reminders and updates. One of the members is Finance Chair. Since this is not a family reunion, we are the only generation, but with a now elderly “camp director,” responsibilities are being shared among the members of the group. From a report by Theresa CallawayBrooking, Tempe, Arizona

Cruise workshop!


n an exclusive offer for reunion planners who have never planned a reunion @ Sea but will be planning one in the next year, this is the reunion planning opportunity of a lifetime! Cruise specialist Brian Forrester is Brian Forrester organizing a reduced cost, onboard Reunion Planning Seminar @ Sea on one of Norwegian Cruise Line® newest ships, the NCL Getaway, for January 2016 from Miami; exact date coming soon. Learn that, when planning a cruise reunion, you only have to work with a cruise specialist. Give Brian your wish list and he’ll take care of the details: hospitality rooms, dining arrangements, memorial services and meeting space are just a few things he can arrange! Think of it as your dream reunion on a floating hotel! Contact Brian @ for all your cruise needs or to qualify for the Seminar @ Sea. Space is limited. Advance reservations are required. Only one cabin per family or military reunion (pricing based on double occupancy; unfortunately singles will pay 200%). Explore the NCL Getaway yourself!


Celebrating 73 years of Adams Street friendship by Georgia Burnette


uffalo, New York’s, Black community was relatively small in 1941 when we moved from Pine to Adams Street on the East Side. I was only 12 years old, but it was a time of great change. The move provided additional room for my family, a new neighborhood and new friends. The move forever changed my life, because I met youngsters I came to know and love. Fun times, school, work, marriage, children and WWII were the mix of ordinary and momentous events that swirled around us. In 1989 strong bouts of nostalgia slipped quietly through my consciousness, but it wasn’t until 1997 that I took action. We were getting older. It was time to bring the group together. In August 1997, 35 friends met to recall and celebrate the carefree, delightful days of yesteryear, as we moved toward or beyond our 70th birthdays. We laughed and sighed about marriages, separations, divorces, births, illnesses and deaths, good times and bad. There was so much catching up to do and picture-taking because we wanted to remember these precious moments we felt so privileged to share. It was truly an affair to remember! In August 2008 our second gathering

Kids Box (Cat not included.)

Third Adams Street Reunion: (Seated) Georgia Burnette, Granville Adams, Hattie Goodman, Tina Holder. (Standing) Helen Roddy-Grey, Gwendolyn Johnson, Norbert & Shirley Parker, Luther Burnette, Eloise Brown, Wilbert Holder, Wilma Watts, Granville’s Companion

took place at our lovely retirement community, Crestwood Commons. Sentiments were high as we recalled our adolescence on Adams Street. Special prayers honored eleven members who had passed since 1997, but were forever etched in our memories. We cherish the photographs by Princess Photography and caricatures by Alex Thom to remind us of this delightful meeting of old friends, one more time. For our third reunion, in October 2014, we gathered at Boulevard Towers Apartments, home to one of our group members,

to commemorate our long-lasting friendship. Death, increasing age and infirmities failed to dampen our spirits despite the loss of two additional members. It was delightful to see everyone again and catch up on news. A mellow wine, a great dinner, two luscious desserts and much conversation brought this fabulous feast to a close. We’ll be at the Original Pancake House next year, God willing. We can no longer wait eight years to meet again. Now, time is of the essence.

Summer giveaways


he giveaways were made available through the generosity of our advertising supporters, including: Lake County, Illinois, Convention & Visitors Bureau Newport News, Virginia, Tourism Chesapeake, Virginia, Convention and Visitors Bureau Experience Kissimmee, Florida Visit Fairfax County, Virginia Virginia State Tourism Plano, Texas, Convention and Visitors Bureau We also thank,, games from Melissa & Doug LLC and many publishers and writers who donated books, including: e have giveaway boxes again this The Great American Family Reunion Cookbook by Lori Nawyn year. These are winners so far this The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox year. Julie Terrace won a Family Box for How Many How Much? by Jennifer Cole the Wegner Family Reunion. Stephanie Served with Pride from Your Military Story Fredieu won a Kids Box for the Colson/ The Reunion Planner by Linda Johnson Hoffman and Neal Barnett Gunzack Family Reunion. Jonny Hanlon 101 Kids’ Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! by Holly Homer & Rachel Miller won a Military Box for the USS Neches Giveaways continue until May 28th. Then, August 1st is the deadline to enter for one of AO-47 Reunion Association, Carmella Haskins won a Fun & Games Box for the three DNA kits from To enter for giveaway boxes and DNA kits, go to http:// Grey/Gray Family Reunion.


sign up for reunions new monthly

What’s New? What’s free? What’s out there for reunions? @ MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 15


Heart of the reunion: the Hospitality Room


When I attended one of your workshops, you mentioned that many hotels will provide a “Hospitality Suite” free of charge to reunion groups, if we ask to have this included in our contract. My questions are: 4 How big a room do we need? 4 What should we have in it? 4 What have you seen other groups do to make theirs special?


The Hospitality Suite is typically the heart of any reunion, and the part of the hotel where most attendees — ideally, all of your attendees! —will spend a good part of their time. So let’s take a look at all three of your questions. First, the term “Hospitality Suite” is something of a misnomer. What you really want is a Hospitality Room, where everyone can gather and socialize. Most likely, your group will be too big for even a large suite of rooms on the hotel’s guest room floors. What you want is a meeting / function room located among the hotel’s public spaces. The room should be large enough, everyone can occupy it at the same time. This is where folks will go to find other members of your group, where people will sit and socialize, have snacks and beverages, play cards or games, and look at memorabilia. A good rule of thumb is that the Hospitality Room should have approximately 1,000 square feet of Kubasaki High School was located on Okinawa. For a “Brat” reunion (“children” of military personnel) in Fairfax County, space for every 50 to 60 people in your group. This Virginia, reunion planners decorated their Hospitality Room with a Japanese theme and colors. They made a large allows folks to move among the furniture, cardboard tori (ceremonial gate outside Shinto temples), painted it red and it was the centerpiece for the Hospitality refreshment and memorabilia tables without the Room. Here a Japanese drum troop entertains. room feeling “tight” or overcrowded. Most hotels will provide tables and chairs without in yourself or from a local supplier. An added bonus is that charge (always, check on this, though!) for your Hospitality teenagers can use the monitor to play video games. Room and they’ll arrange the furnishings to your specifications. Playing cards, board games and coloring books are inexpensive and Ask for six-foot display tables to properly showcase framed fun items to have on hand, especially games that members may photos, memory boxes, or scrapbooks your members bring. Ask have played together in years past. Many classic board games from for special, smaller table(s) in the room, if there are lots of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s are available for sale online. younger children, or even ask for a small carpeted “play area” Decorating the room always makes the reunion more fun and set up in a corner for those under age five. memorable. Choose a color scheme or a theme. Your hotel should be Some hotels can bring in couches and armchairs for able to provide table linens in your requested colors, and many additional comfort but you’ll want to check the cost. Some themed decorations can be inexpensively purchased at dollar and properties have special meeting rooms already equipped with party stores, or online. I’ve seen hospitality rooms decorated with comfortable furniture. Having couches and armchairs is many delightful themes, including a 1950s malt shop, blue and gold particularly nice if you’re going to have a large number of for a Navy reunion, sports themes (baseball, football, auto racing, seniors attending. etc.), a beach party, a road rally of classic cars, a Mexican fiesta, The hotel should be able to lock the room, so you can safely and on and on. In short, let your imagination go, and have fun! leave personal belongings and memorabilia when the room is not in use. About the Hospitality Answerman You’ll want to have snacks and light refreshments; at a Dean Miller, national sales director for VisitFairfax minimum, coffee, sodas and water. The hotel can provide these (, the convention and visitors bureau in at a cost or you can negotiate in your contract for permission Fairfax County, Virginia, is a great friend of reunions. from the hotel to bring these items in yourself, without Call him when you are planning a reunion in the additional charge. Washington, DC, area. Fairfax County is nearby, Your Hospitality Room is a great place to show still photos, affordable, and conveniently located to all the area videos and old home movies from the past. Many reunions have has to offer. Contact Dean at 703-790-0643; a member compile a family, class or unit history video, which can be shown in an endless “loop” on a large-screen video He also wants you to know that Fairfax County is now served by the monitor. Negotiate with the hotel to provide a monitor and DVD long-awaited Metrorail which can connect you from Fairfax County player at a reasonable cost, or negotiate the right to bring them to the Washington DC region. Visit for details. 16 Reunions v

WELCOME TO A PLACE THAT TURNS FAMILY TIES INTO UNBREAKABLE KNOTS Our five miles are packed with more ways to bring your loved ones closer together. More live shows. More roller coasters. More craft exhibitions. More down-home cooking. More horses and lumberjacks. And more mountain views. Which means more spine tingles, goose bumps and unforgettable moments for anyone at any age. Welcome to the place where families come together.


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1/23/15 12:08 PM



Museums, dining, maritime history, waterfront cruises and shopping make Norfolk a distinct destination offering a variety of itineraries for your group to enjoy. With so much to see and do, the possibilities are endless. To learn more, visit us online or contact Melissa Hopper, Associate Director of Tour & Travel. Planning a tour is easy at


MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 17



• One complimentary Hospitality Suite per fifty (50) utilized rooms per night, minimum 2 night stay (based on availability) • Complimentary room rental for banquets of 50 or more guests • Complimentary standard size dance floor for dinner/dance banquet • Complimentary standard size stage/riser/podium (50 guest minimum) • *10% off group bowling rate (10 people or more) *Mention This Ad to Obtain Discounts. Discount does not apply to food packages.



Ext. 400



18 Reunions v







eunions Hall of Fame is a testament to those who have contributed to Reunions magazine during its first 25 years, and will grow as new reunions are added in print or online. It demonstrates the generosity of many reunion planners who celebrate their special relationships with family, classmates, buddies and friends. One of the hardest jobs we had birthing Reunions magazine 25 years ago was finding reunions to share their stories. But in no time, reunions found us—literally! Many thousands have shared their reunion stories and photos. Then, since the dawn of the internet, our website has provided 24/7 reunion planning information and lots more reunion stories and pictures. Those thousands of reunions, and more to come, constitute Reunions Hall of Fame

Reunions Hall of Fame members added pictures, stories and reports to our print and web pages and they announced their reunions on our list of upcoming reunions, first in the magazine and then online. They shared their pictures for many uses, most notably to illustrate their own stories. And those pictures are a visible representation of the countless families, classes, military and other groups who embrace their nostalgia and gleefully reconnect. Reunions Hall of Fame is a work in progress

The Reunions Hall of Fame you find today is a list of 25 years of reunions and counting. We will soon add pictures of the reunions from those that have graced our 110+ print magazine covers, many facebook pages, newsletters, website pages, and Reunions Picture Gallery — because our favorite photos are the ones from the heart of reunions! Find your reunion in the Reunions Hall of Fame at If yours is a common name and there is more than one reunion by that surname, distinguish your group. If it’s a family reunion, send the names of descendants of ….. Where there’s more than one reunion from a school, send Class of ________. And for military reunions, if there’s an era, send that. For Reunions Hall of Fame, we invite you to add current contact website, email or phone number. Send to How to add your reunion in the Reunions Hall of Fame!

1. Share your reunion story/report/pictures; send to 2. Add your reunion to our list of upcoming reunions; send to 3. Add your reunion picture to Reunions Picture Gallery; see instructions at Reunions Hall of Fame is alive now at

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MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 19


HALLELUJAH, a violin story


obert and Mary Wilfer emigrated to the US in 1888 from Schoenbach, then Bohemia, near the border with the State of Bavaria in Germany. They had 13 children (two born in Germany). As was the tradition of the time, Robert’s oldest brother inherited the family farm, leaving Robert and his family without work, which ultimately brought them to America.

Jens Kramer serenades the family on the handmade violin just presented to the family.

The area of Robert Wilfer’s German heritage, called the Vogtland, was the center of musical instrument-making for more than 300 years, and still is to this day. Many of Robert’s cousins became professional luthiers (string instrument makers). Bohemia, today part of the Czech Republic, had been a center of violin-making since the 16th century. In 1946 after WWII, inhabitants

of German descent were forced to leave Bohemia. They found a new home in Erlangen, Germany, which became the center of instrument makers displaced from Schoenbach. The tradition continued. Many violin makers worked in their own small workshops. Since the 1970s it has become hard for luthiers to compete financially with machine-manufactured instruments. Professional quality handmade violins are becoming rare. The American Wilfers knew nothing of this rich musical history until 2012. The German Wilfers were researching their genealogy and contacted their American cousins! What a wonderful surprise, and just when four American Wilfers were about to leave on a trip to Germany. An in-person meeting was planned, which led to a Wilfer Family Reunion two years later in West Bend, Wisconsin. It was the best family reunion ever when the Wilfers from the American midwest hosted 12 Wilfers from the old country. The Germans surprised Charles Wilfer, Sr., grandson of Robert Wilfer, with a violin made by luthier cousin Bruno Wilfer from Erlangen, Germany. Sadly, Bruno was unable to come to the reunion but was there in spirit. He had made the violin from wood of three generations of Wilfer violin makers: his own wood, his father’s and his grandfather’s. After the wood used in violin making is harvested there is a wait period of many years before it is eligible to be used. The older the

Wilfer Family Reunion.

20 Reunions v

wood, the finer the tone of the instrument. Cousin Reiner Wilfer and his wife, Sonja, who were at the reunion, are professional violin part makers, producing tuning pegs, chin rests and bridges. Reiner holds a patent for an adjustable chin rest and was in the 2012 Guinness World Record Book as one of the makers of the world’s largest playable violin, on display in the Musical Instrument Museum in the Vogtland. Imagine how exciting it is to be a career musician and learn that your ancestors were part of the hub of the violin-making industry of the world! Many American Wilfers have strong musical connections and strengths. Terri Wilfer Kramer, daughter of Chuck, Sr., is a music teacher who ensured that her sons, Jens and Stefan, learned to play violin and many other musical instruments, unaware of the Wilfer violin background. Eldest son Jens Kramer is a professional violinist/fiddler in New York City, and has performed with popular pop music icons; www.jenskramer. com Jens was honored to try the Wilfer violin at the reunion. What a gorgeous, full-sounding instrument. And, not surprisingly, the Wilfer violin made its way from Wisconsin to New York City!

About the author

Terri Wilfer Kramer is the greatgranddaughter of Robert Wilfer. She lives in West Bend, Wisconsin, with her husband, Joerg.

WHO WE ARE The Global Family Reunion was organized by hundreds of cousins, and we’re grateful to every one. There’s not room to list them all, but below is a sampling. A.J. Jacobs: A.J. is the founder of the Global Family Reunion (GFR), a bestselling author, and editor at large at Esquire. Aaron Fisher: Aaron is Managing Partner of Revolution Marketing LLC, and is the GFR event producer Eowyn Langholf: Eowyn, a genealogist with 20 years experience, is the GFR’s Chief Cousin Coordinator who oversees a massive effort connecting thousands of cousins and coordinating our many wonderful volunteers. Morgan Spurlock: Morgan is an Academy Award-nominated director who is a key adviser and supporter of the GFR. Abby Glann: Abby scours census results, marriage certificates, and obituaries as the GFR Director of Research. Sasha Martin: Sasha, an award-winning food writer, is GFR Cookbook recipe editor, using her experience with world cuisine. Nina Hoffer: Nina has planned special events in the NY/NJ area for the last 10 years and is the GFR Exhibitor Coordinator. Angel Hundley: Angel, a small business owner and serial volunteer is the GFR Branch Party Liaison. Randy Whited: Randy is a data and tech junkie, avid genealogy researcher, and the GFR Society Liaison. Andrea O’Dell: Andrea, an educator and counselor, member of the National Speakers Association, is the GFR Assistant Event Volunteer Coordinator. Linda Grantham: Linda retired early to pursue her interests in genealogy, volunteering, and collecting buttons from around the world, and is the GFR Ambassador Coordinator. Michael Carragher: Michael, the GFR Outreach Coordinator, is president of the NY-based Irish Family History Forum. Niels Hansen: Niels, the GFR Chart Maker, works for an electronics company making high-end audio equipment. Carol Rice: Carol, the GFR Storytelling Liaison, runs, a website dedicated to helping families use the power of story as part of their every day life. Other Very Important Cousins include Holli Andrew, Jen Baldwin, Ben Bennett, Erin Breen, Cherie Bush, Lisa Cohen, Kate Dickman, Mike Dippel, Wesley Eames, Dick Eastman, Micky Fi, Bob Fields, Shantel Gardner, Jeff Gentes, Kate Harvie, Tammy Hepps, Paula Hinkel, Erica Howton, Eric Jacks, Julie Jacobs, Gilad Japhet, Ian Kelly, Sean Kessler, Ryan Koch, Dawn Kogutkiewicz, Elise Kornfeld, Matt Kuhn, Thomas MacEntee, Ruby McCormick, Tami Mize, George Morgan, Shipley Munson, Pat Richley-Erickson, Jane Rosch, E. Randol Schoenberg, Nancy Sheed, Andrea Simmons, Drew Smith, McKelden Smith, Barbara Sontz, Mike Stangel, Amanda Tantisalidchai, D. Joshua Taylor, Leila Tite, Linda Thompson, Pamela Weisberger, Chris Whitten, Jane Wilcox and Amanda Zitzelman 22 Reunions v

A note from cousin A.J. About a year ago, I got a surprise email from a stranger that said, “I am your twelfth cousin.” At first, I figured the guy wanted me to wire $10,000 to a Nigerian bank. But as it turned out, the man was part of a team of scientists and researchers helping to build a Family Tree of the entire human race. But it’s not even a tree anymore. It’s an Amazonian forest. The forest began with hundreds, then thousands, of relatives. The Global Family Tree is now at — we kid you not — 240 million people. That’s 240 million people connected by blood or marriage. It’s unprecedented. I saw this as proof we are part of something much larger than our individual selves. In ten years, we will likely have a single Family Tree for almost all seven billion people on earth. Two revolutions are fueling this: First, DNA testing, which uncovers hundreds of distant cousins. And second, massive online family trees, where thousands of people collaborate. If there’s an overlap in two trees, you can combine trees, and just keep combining till you join the global tree. It means you can see how you’re related to almost anyone on earth. Not always close cousins, but still: Related. Barack Obama is my fifth great aunt’s husband’s brother’s wife’s seventh great nephew. Practically an older brother! It’s like six degrees of Kevin Bacon — but everyone is Kevin Bacon. To celebrate this newfound connectedness, we’re putting on what we hope will be the world’s largest, most inclusive, and most unusual family reunion. Everyone is invited! The Family Reunion is a World’s Fair meets a music festival meets a TED conference. There are talks by celebrities, scientists and comedians; including Henry Louis Gates, Morgan Spurlock, President George H.W. Bush (via video), Ophira Eisenberg, Michael Ian Black, and David Blaine. There is music (Sister Sledge will be singing “We Are Family”), food from around the world, exhibits, contests, and games for all ages and DNA types. If you can’t attend the main party in New York, there are more than 30 host locations around the world, and the event will be streamed so anyone worldwide can have access. The making of the Global Family Reunion will be featured in my next book, It’s All Relative. All proceeds, after expenses, from the Global Family Reunion will go toward Alzheimer’s research and education. I also believe the Global Family Tree serves its own great purpose. Scientists are studying Alzheimers to see how traits are passed from generation to generation. It will likely help us find cures to many diseases. And just as important, I hope it will lead to a kinder world. I know this is a bit idealistic, but when people see in concrete terms just how closely we’re related, it may nudge them toward more tolerance. Humans share 99.9 percent of our DNA. We are all one big family, and we need to treat each other with more kindness. Or at least a little less jerkiness.

- A.J. Jacobs MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 23





11:00 AM

A.J. Jacobs - Welcome

11:30 AM

Tuelo & Her Cousins

Andy Borowitz


Tuelo & Her Cousins

Ted Allen

Henry Louis Gates

Bruce Feiler

Brady Rymer and The Litttle Band That Could

Ophira Eisenberg

12:30 PM 1:00 PM 1:20 PM

James Altucher

1:40 PM

Alzheimer’s - Awards with celebs TBD

Tracey Jackson and Paul Williams

2:00 PM

Morgan Spurlock

Spencer Wells

2:30 PM

Paul Williams Dr. Oz

Cass Sunstein

3:00 PM

Tuelo & her cousins

Rudy Tanzi

3:30 PM

Tuelo & her cousins

Rudy Tanzi

4:00 PM

Sister Sledge

Sister Sledge on Main Stage

4:30 PM



5:00 PM

Record Setter Surname showdown

Nick Kroll Michael Ian Black

5:30 PM

The Three Wise Guys

George Church

6:00 PM

Jonathan Minkoff Acapella Singstrong

Scott simon

6:30 7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30

Tuelo & Her Cousins & SPECIAL GUESTS

Adam Grant

Lisa Loeb

Helen Fisher


Jonatha Brooke Sister Sledge redux & Close A.J. Jacobs - Thanks and see you next year!

This program brought to you by


REUNION | June 6, 2015 | New York Hall of Science



Bennett Greenspan

Storyteller TBD

Ron Arons

Storyteller TBD

CeCe Moore

Storyteller TBD

Gilad Japhet

Tammy Hepps Storyteller TBD

Pamela Weisberg

Storyteller TBD

Josh Taylor


Randy Whited

David Belgray

Family Quiz

Daughters of RevolutioN

Maud Newton

Paula Davidoff

Sister Sledge on Main stage

Storyteller TBD


Storyteller TBD

Eric Schoenberg


Maureen Taylor

Storyteller TBD

David Rencher

Storyteller TBD

Eowyn Langholf

Storyteller TBD

Kasia Bryc

Storyteller TBD

Wesley Eames

Storyteller TBD Storyteller TBD

This Schedule is tentative and subject to change.

Design by Josh Evert

Where Life Stories Live On exists to celebrate the lives of those who have died. Our role is to safeguard every life story, helping meaning pass from one generation to the next. We strive to connect people with the legacies of those who came before them. We believe a single life story can provide extraordinary inspiration. With our sponsorship of Global Family Reunion’s Storytelling Tent, we invite participants to preserve life stories from their own family trees.

Visit us at the Storytelling Tent to share the life stories that matter to you.

Connect Generations Find your place in history at FamilySearch. Discover billions of free records and tools to preserve your family story.

Š 2014 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. A service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. English approval: 11/14. PD10052968


Zabler Family Reunion


he Zabler Family Reunion gathers from all over the US every two years, so they choose a central location and spend a week together. Each family pays its own way, and they all split the cost of food. Michelle McCarthy, Racine, Wisconsin, wrote: “as the oldest grandchild, I often think back to my youth when I was able to spend so much time with my cousins,

aunts, uncles and grandparents. As time marches on I was saddened by the realization that my children were not as fortunate. So I decided to change that. We are a very close family that through life changes could not get together as we once did. I felt it was important to get back to the togetherness of family. Therefore, I organized the first family reunion. It was

wildly successful and I was appointed the organizer from here on out. The family has a group on Facebook to have one place for all communication.” Michelle finances the reunion with input and approval from everyone. She says she asks everyone’s opinion, children included.

Gray Family Reunion


uring a weekend in June, the Gray Family held its first reunion in Brownsburg, Indiana. Months of planning resulted in 45 members from all over the Midwest attending the three-day celebration. The weekend started Friday evening with a Meet and Greet, followed by dinner. At a brief business meeting Saturday morning they elected first officers. Family members enjoyed

exploring Brownsburg and Indianapolis, Indiana, before a picnic at Eagle Creek Park. Children played games while a brief family history was presented and members got to know how they are related. The weekend ended with a worship service on Sunday morning. The next family reunion is scheduled for 2016. Reported by McKinley Jones, Indianapolis, Indiana

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 29


Benjamin & Edith Spaulding Descendants Family Reunion


he 32nd Anniversary of the Benjamin & Edith Jacobs Spaulding Reunion was held in Asheville, North Carolina. The theme was “Strengthening the Bonds and Maintaining Family Unity.” The North Carolina Region Planning Committee set goals to make the reunion one of the most exciting and action-packed ever, provide a variety of activities appealing to all age groups, and focus on maintaining family strength and unity in the future. The support base for planning was broadened to include representatives from the Board of Directors of the Spaulding Family Foundation (BESDF) and volunteers living outside North Carolina who were recruited to serve on committees. Milton Campbell, President and Chairman of the Spaulding 2014 Reunion, said the challenge of planning this reunion was invigorating and a real pleasure. The Spaulding Family Reunion provides an opportunity for family members to get together, to establish and maintain relationships, and explore the heritage that makes the family unique. This reunion established new traditions that will sustain

The Benjamin and Edith Spaulding Descendants Association unveiled a museum-size Family Exhibit that captured the Spaulding family’s rich cultural and historical heritage. It included photographs, researched profiles, graphic displays, and family artifacts; and identified family legends who excelled in the late 1800s against apparent insurmountable odds of racial segregation, poverty and “Jim Crowism.” It also showcased family members who have continued that legacy through extraordinary achievements and commitment to excellence. The Family Exhibit was researched, developed and presented by Cousin Aaron Campbell, Sr., of Watchung, New Jersey, a 6th generation descendant of Benjamin and Edith Spaulding.

30 Reunions v

Winners of the Spaulding Family Reunion Feud.

Spaulding family unity for years to come. Spaulding descendants have made invaluable contributions to the family, community and nation, and it is well understood that this legacy, set forth by their forefathers, must continue. The Benjamin & Edith Spaulding Descendants Association, Inc. (BESDA, Inc.), and The Benjamin & Edith Spaulding Descendants Foundation, Inc. (BESDF, Inc.), were established in 2003 and 1997, respectively. A combined Board of Directors manages the activities and initiatives of the family association and foundation. A copy of meeting minutes are archived on the family website. Family Association Initiatives include Family Health Network, Family Directory, Regional organizations, Family Reunion Planning, Family Awards Program, Educational Scholarships, Promotional Video and Family Oral History Project, Media press kit, Family Website. While all the family association initiatives are important, here are details about several: • Family Health Network. The family health network initiative is intended to assist in addressing family health problems. They established a relationship with Duke University that conducted health fairs at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 family reunions. This initiative also has updated the family tree of over 5,500 family descendants, to include 9th and 10th generations. • Regional Organizations. The family established regional organizations in the North Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, DC Metro Area,

South Atlantic, Southern, Midwest, South West (Arizona), and West Coast. Each region is headed by a regional director, for implementing family goals and objectives. Regional organizations improve communications, and outreach via e-mail, Facebook, regional meetings, locally planned activities, and fellowship. Regional organizations manage national family reunions in their regions. See additional information about regional organizations on • Educational Scholarships. The giving of scholarships to family members began at the 1996 family reunion in Chicago. The first six scholarships were awarded at the 2006 family reunion; six more were awarded in 2008 and 2010. The Scholarship Committee has awarded over $40,000 since beginning the program. • Family Foundation Initiatives include the Charitable Gifting Program, Self-reliance and Entrepreneurship Education Project, The George Henry White Pioneer Award, Educational Scholarship Program, and Family Website. Discussion of foundation initiatives online @ The 32nd Spaulding Family Reunion

The reunion kicked off Thursday in Asheville, North Carolina, with family members arriving from 24 states. The “Meet and Greet” was followed by optional activities; a family history exhibit focusing on our multi-cultural and Native American heritage, and a reception where members participated in a Family Feud game. Additional activities included a visit to the Cherokee Indian Reservation casino, tours of the Biltmore House, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting. On Saturday, a Family Business and Stockholders Meeting was followed in the evening by the Spaulding Family Reunion Awards Banquet. Other highlights included the Family Memorial with Video, BESDA/ BESDF Scholarship Awards, Political Persuasion and Opera and Jazz performances. The Spaulding Family Reunion closed on Sunday after church services, followed by the traditional family brunch. Report from the Benjamin and Edith Spaulding Board of Directors BESDF/BESDA NOTE: This has been condensed from a far more detailed report about planning the Spaulding Family Reunion. We have permission to post the entire report on our web page and will blog when and where you can access it.

Nelsons meet in Little Rock


y grandparents, John and Mary Nelson, raised their family in the Maumelle (now Pinnacle Valley) area of Little Rock, Arkansas. Many family members still live in the area. Reunion locations had varied in the past, but my 90-year-old Uncle Luther Nelson wants all reunions to be held in Little Rock so he can see his brother’s grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and a couple of great-great-great-grandchildren. The reunion starts with a reception at the church that our family has attended since 1940. People register, get name tags, and talk in small groups. At the banquet, first-generation descendants are seated at the head table. My uncle’s July 4th birthday is celebrated as part of the reunion. He is the oldest living family member. The family communicates through Facebook, and makes calls to those not on Facebook. They promote the reunion on Facebook, send flyers and make announcements in church. Until now there were no financial reports. Attendees were charged per person, based on the projected cost of the reunion. Some funds came out-of-pocket to cover shortages. Diane Trotter offered a $100 prize for the person under 18 who completes his/her branch of the family tree. She also took a leadership role in incorporating as a non-profit, opening a bank account and establishing Uncle Luther Nelson, Hillside, Illinois, and his sister Aunt Mazie Nelson Blake, Southfield, Michigan, enjoying the reunion. accountability. In the past, someone was named at the picnic to plan the next reunion, but it didn’t work out well. Now they have a business meeting to elect a board of directors representing each of the 11 descendant children of John and Mary. Voting family members elect a president who plans the reunion with assistance from the board. From a report by Diane Trotter, Fontana, California.

Wetlands, woods, and lakes now protected


or 70 years the Smith family in Barry County, Michigan, has been purchasing property, and it now totals more than 300 acres. They wanted to protect the property’s wetlands, lakes and woodland. Now the land will stay in its natural state as the family hoped. The family has entered into a conservation easement with the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, designed to conserve highly ranked properties for water quality protection such as that in the Augusta Creek Watershed. “Conserving this property has been the goal of our family for several years and fulfills my long-time dream,” says Karl Smith. His parents left the property to him and his late brother, Roger. The land will be known as The Smith Nature Trust Conservation Easement. Karl Smith says he has fond memories of the times spent with friends and family at reunions they hosted on the shores of Little Gilkey Lake.

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 31


New Reed-Clay generation hits a homerun


new generation hit a homerun when they stepped up to the plate for the Reed-Clay Family Reunion. One hundred and sixty descendants of William Reed and Lurah Clay Reed gathered in Grenada, Mississippi, for their annual family reunion filled with fun, fellowship and frolicking from beginning to end. This reunion was special. The Reed-Clay Family has been gathering for 34 years and this year the mantel of responsibility was passed to a new generation. In his book, Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon said each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it. Reed-Clay Family Generations X and Y discovered their mission and set out to accomplish it. The mission? Not just to host a reunion, but to create an event that

The Reed-Clay Family lost six family members since the last reunion, and honored the deceased with this ancestral shrine. The table was the centerpiece of the room at the family banquet. It included photos of the deceased, candles, live flowers, water and artifacts representing the continent of Africa.

was hip, current, socially conscious and memorable. With the use of Facebook, texting and other social media, this was the most well attended gathering in the history of the reunion. “We did not want the older generation to feel left out or pushed aside,”

said Marilyn Reed, reunion planner. So a representative from the 65-and-older generation served as treasurer/reunion advisor. The theme was “Remembering the Past. Embracing the Present. Building the Future.” Relatives traveled from Illinois, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, Georgia, Washington State, and Mississippi. The excitement began Friday night with a Luau Meet and Greet Mississippi Style. Everyone received leis. They dined on fried catfish and all the fixings, while getting reacquainted with family. Some met for the very first time. Children and adults also enjoyed a night of skating at the local rink. Saturday was the big day, with activities beginning at 7 AM and not ending until the wee hours of the following morning. Nearly 20 family members participated in the inaugural ReedClay Family 5K Walk/Run. The group walked and ran 3.1 miles at the Grenada High School Stadium. All participants received a finisher’s medal. Careful and frugal spending allowed for the purchase of specially designed reunion bags stuffed with various items, including a family reunion stadium cup and a Reed-Clay Family recipe booklet. These were provided as a part of the reunion package at no additional charge. For the first time, the banquet began with health screenings. Staff from Sta-Home Healthcare provided basic life screenings (blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and weight). The sounds of African drums echoed throughout Taylor Hall as the ancestral libation was poured. “This was the first time we included elements of African spirituality at our reunion,” said Reed. “We were hesitant, but the family really embraced it.” The family genealogist, VanNessa Reed, Meridian, Mississippi, gave a detailed overview of the

These are the great-great grandchildren and the great-great-great grandchildren of William Reed and Lurah Clay Reed.

32 Reunions v

Reed-Clay family history that begins with two enslaved Africans, Mollie Clay (born 1848) and Franklin Clay (1844), who were born in Virginia. The family also participated in a genealogy workshop to learn “how” they were kin to each other.


libation is an African ritual and ceremonial tradition that gives homage to those who have passed on. During the libation, a prayer is offered, calling on the spirit of ancestors. The ritual generally is performed by an elder. Although water may be used, the drink is typically some traditional wine (e.g., palm wine), and the libation ritual is accompanied by an invitation (and invocation) to the ancestors and God.

After the banquet, the family enjoyed awards and recognitions given to the oldest living descendants of Lurah Clay Reed and William Reed. Family member and registered nurse Debra Neely, Memphis, Tennessee, and Elder Derrick Reed, Memphis, discussed family medical history, heart disease and addiction. The family relaxed and danced the night away during Cocktails and Conversations. Instead of a holding a formal church service, on Sunday the family gathered at Grenada Lake for Praise on the Water/ Farewell Picnic. Prayers, praise and affirmations were extended, with each family member declaring, “I am blessed. My family is blessed. My finances are blessed. My future is blessed.” Attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) is a Reed-Clay family tradition. Over the last seven decades, four generations have graduated from HBCUs. To keep that ritual alive, the high school students in attendance received t-shirts, key rings, backpacks and admission brochures from Jackson State University, Alcorn State University and Mississippi Valley State University. During the reunion weekend, the group collected funds given in memory of family members who battled breast cancer, dementia and heart disease/stroke, and donated them to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association and the American Heart Association. Reported by Marilyn Reed, Jackson, Mississippi

The late Mary Arce Diaz enjoying her last family reunion surrounded by (left to right) her son in law Nelson Acosta, grandson Dr. Hector Perez, Dr. Tanya Azarani, granddaughter Natalie Acosta, son in law Jose (Pepin) Perez and daughter. Loida Arce Acosta.


ary Arce Diaz’s last request was to go to the Arce Family Reunion, July 10-13 at Spruce Lake Retreat in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. She was very ill with cancer and passed away July 30th. The four-day reunion was in her honor. The family enjoyed a traditional Puerto Rican dinner. They make a circle so everyone could give thanks. Loida Arce Acosta, who drove her mother 10 hours from Orlando, Florida, said “My mom was so happy.” Reported by Loida Arce Acosta, Orlando, Florida


ver 40 years ago Bert Dean planned and looked forward to the first Dean & Creech Family Reunion in Morehead, Kentucky. Sadly, Bert died just two weeks before that first reunion. His son, Reverend Lloyd Dean, took over and has faithfully gathered the family every year since. And after each reunion, Rev. Dean produces a small booklet filled with clippings of pictures, stories and obituaries that have been published the year before, and a picture of the family gathering. This picture is of that first reunion. MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 33


Passing the Torch in Faith to a Fruitful Generation Neal Family Reunion in Kansas City empowers and inspires a family’s legacy and lineage to live on by Merideth [Neal] Parrish


of activities and games including a Team rom the neatly packaged treat-filled gift Jenga™ Jam, Games on the Green, and bags laced with tightly curled orange Represent! – a challenge in which family ribbon (provided to each guest at hotel teams would be judged on their overall check-in), to the thematically designed team spirit and participation. Pre-event Kansas City Royals™ blue sports jerseys registrants were divided randomly into four that all Neals and guests wore for the teams, purple, red, green and blue. The family photo, our reunion was an occasion first challenge would be the Family Name of celebration, reflection and rejuvenation. Game during Thursday’s “get-acquainted,” Neals across multiple generations became to come up with a clever and creative name completely immersed in one family’s deep to best suit their team of assembled sense of history, culture, loving fellowship comrades. and strength. Three full days of activities included an Four volunteers from the second and third generations were team captains. The opening ceremony and welcome dinner, a team that earned the most points was the catered barbecue lunch in Kansas City’s Imagery included an intersecting Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District, and a winner, and received the first Neal Family street sign representing the notable 18th & Vine in Kansas City, a Challenge Games Traveling Trophy. moving, praise-filled family worship service barbecue grill, and a watermark In the 18 months leading up to the and luncheon. tableau of the late Buck O’Neil, a reunion, over 50 messages were distributed The largest contingent came from the legacy first baseman and manager in by email; many included Challenge family’s roots, close to the family tree in the Negro American Baseball League, activities such as the Think you know Winnsboro, Louisiana. Many had never mostly with the Kansas City Monarchs. Kansas City? pre-reunion Trivia Challenge. been to Kansas City, Missouri. Note: see many of the emails at Reunion Planning Committee Chair (getting started, getting the word out, Merideth Parrish led a team of seven who were motivated to invitations.) continue the legacy of successful Neal reunions. The “Mission Official letters of support were received from the Kansas City NFR 2014” team explored how they could make the reunion Mayor, City Manager, President of the Negro League Baseball especially unique. They would celebrate as a team in an Museum, and Congressman and former Kansas City Mayor, unquestionably Royal city (home of the Kansas City Royals™, Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II. that is). The Neal Family Reunion (NFR) experience went one step The Neal Family Reunion Keepsake Booklet (see booklet at further. The idea was the Neal Family Challenge Games: three days (family reunions, activities) included the

Neal Family Reunion in Kansas City, Missouri

34 Reunions v

Neal Family Reunion theme

Welcome to Kansas City! Home of Barbecue, Sports and Blues: Celebrating a City, a Family, a People United in Love, Heritage and Grace. reunion itinerary and agenda, and outlined the rich history of the Neal Family lineage and the reunion destination location. The first phase of the Neal Family Challenge Games went off without a hitch. Teams assembled and coined names for their respective teams: “Royally Redeemed,” “The Red Light Team,” “Team Money,” and “The Purple People-Eaters.” Impromptu visit from Slugger, official mascot of the Kansas City Royals™

Photo Credit: Eric Bowers, Eric Bowers Photography, Family members enjoying horseback riding provided by the Kansas City urban saddle club, Down to Earth Riders

Opening ceremonies commenced with the Presentation of the Colors and the singing of the national anthem – a tradition for sporting events – followed by a performance by nationallyrenowned Willie Arthur Smith’s Kansas City Marching Cobras. Friday’s program illuminated one very important thread – the passing of a torch; this represented the commitment of a seasoned line of first [Neal] generations to hand down the batons of pride, purpose, responsibility and now presentation to the second and third generations that followed. Following the singing of the Negro national anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, Friday’s events drew to a close. Opening day was much like opening day of the Major League Baseball season in some cities. On Saturday, Merideth and her children – Evan, Evelyn, Erika and Ethan – were setting up flags, cones and raw eggs for the day’s Neal Family Challenge, Games on the Green. By 10:30 AM, a planner’s worst nightmare was unfolding: a missing fleet bus, delayed transportation from the hotel to the picnic site, soaring temperatures well over 105º, and the site’s playground was in the midst of demolition and repair.

What Merideth thought was her worst nightmare proved to be the source of one of the fondest memories. Events beyond the committee’s control would discontinue any additional play in the Family Challenge Games. Planned activities were replaced with a surprise visit from Slugger, official mascot of the Kansas City Royals™, a presentation and equestrian rides, and countless photo and video tributes captured by the reunion media archive team. Later NFR 2014 committee members remarked the day’s “internal mishaps” revealed no observable missteps to guests and family members. At one point during the frenzy, which seemingly was apparent only to Parrish, Chris Neal (Parrish’s uncle) remarked, “Baby, I know you want everything to go smoothly and for things to work just perfectly; but in life some things are just beyond your control – and intentionally so. If we don’t do nothin’ more but just get together to look at one another … that’s all we Neals need to do, stand around in a room and look at each other, and we’ll be happy with just that.” Sunday’s closing worship service and departure luncheon came all too soon, with last embraces, stories shared, and contacts exchanged before guests parted ways.

About the author Merideth Parrish is the daughter of Betty Neal and Evelyn Neal (Carey Neal Branch). She lives with her husband, four children and four cats in Kansas City, Missouri. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living on mission in her neighborhood, singing, and expanding her new Christian Apparel company, Covenant Gear.

NOTE: This has been condensed from a far more detailed report about planning the Neal Family Reunion. We have permission to post the entire report on our web page and will blog when and where you can access it.

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 35


Teach youth to have fun with family trees


San Diego’s Reunion Specialists Host your special reunion at the Holiday Inn Bayside overlooking beautiful San Diego Bay. • Selected as “One of the Top 10 great places to hold a Reunion,” as seen in USA Today, June 2010 • Beautiful and spacious guest rooms • Tropical courtyard with heated pool, spa, shuffleboard, billiards • Family style restaurant and cocktail lounge • Non-smoking and disabled access rooms • 9-hole putting course, exercise room • Free parking and airport transfers • Kids eat and stay free program

etting today’s youth interested in genealogy can be a challenge. The concept of generations and generations of grandparents who preceded us can be overwhelming. Perhaps a light-hearted approach could help. The US version of “Donald Duck Family Tree” ( can be printed and perhaps open the door to a discussion on the subject. There are links to other nationalities, as well. Having fun at a family reunion can encourage the younger generation to appreciate all the generations. One reunion activity that can teach “little known family facts and trivia” is Family Reunion Bingo. Bingo gets everyone talking and laughing in no time. Make bingo cards, but instead of numbers, insert words in the boxes: “fisherman,” “marathons,” “drives an SUV,” “retired in Wisconsin,” “college student.” Then, everyone takes their bingo card around the reunion and asks people to initial items that describe them. The first person to get a row of initials, or the first person who fills the card, gets “bingo.” From a column by Joan Griffis in The Commercial-News, Danville, Illinois

101 kids’ activities that are the bestest, funnest ever! Special Reunion Features • Complimentary one-night stay for reunion planner with site inspection • Complimentary hospitality suite • Complimentary Welcome Amenity • Senior discounts in our restaurant • Special reunion rates

4875 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92106 619.224.3621 • 800.650.6660 • Fax: 619.224.3629 Email: •

By Holly Home and Rachel Miller. (Page Street Publishing, Salem MA, 2014. 192 pages, paperback, $19.99)


olly Homer and Rachel Miller, mom bloggers at, emphasize a child’s need to play. They provide many well-documented, illustrated ways to engage children. Every reunion planner knows that if kids are bored, everyone at the reunion suffers. That cannot happen with this book in your arsenal. In fact one chapter is called Boredom Busters! We found several things that we know would go over well at a reunion. Homemade Sidewalk Chalk is a craft and leads to an activity. Make big chunky chalk and then play Chalk Tangle! It’s like Twister. A game called Human Knot engages kids and gets them giggling. Use these games for icebreakers! We particularly like the diversity of children who illustrate this book.

B a rt e l l H o t e l s …Sa n Di e g o ’s U n f o r g e t t a b l e L o c a ti o ns

Ideas from other reunions


Web page: Call: 414.263.4567 Fax: 414.263.6331 e-mail: write: PO Box 11727 Milwaukee, WI 53211-0727 36 Reunions v

f you are holding your reunion at someone’s home, fill an old bathtub with sawdust and bury pennies, nickels, dimes and maybe a few quarters. Little ones love searching for money. (Impose an age limit or older ones will crowd out younger ones.) If it’s an especially warm day, get a big piece of plastic and lay it out on the lawn, place a hose that is running at the top and let kids run and slide. This can be a lot wider and less expensive than ones you buy in the store. Grownups have just as much fun slipping and sliding. Linette in Idaho,

Meet Choo Smith and create your family’s Baltimore story at the


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Baltimore inspires me. I’ve traveled all over the world as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, but I always come back to Baltimore. You can’t help but feel energized here. Look at our world-renowned African-American museums, filled with stories of triumph over adversity. Look at our colorful neighborhoods— the creativity in the art, the food, the culture. Baltimore is a place to learn, discover and be inspired. You owe it to yourself to visit.

Choo Smith Former Harlem Globetrotter, Motivator



Neal Family Reunion awardees and their awards Seedling Awards


his award is for the youth and young beginners in school, in life and in faith. They are boldly walking in confidence and in blind obedience to the wise counsel of their parents, teachers and community leaders. They are proof that great things often come in small yet surprisingly powerful packages.

Traveling with kids on the road


ere are a few ways that can help make a long journey with kids not seem like an eternity.

Books on tape

Books on tape are a great way to keep kids occupied. It’s TV without pictures. It forces kids to listen harder because they need to use their imaginations to complete the story. Get kid-friendly tapes or CDs. Different voices for each character keep children listening. Cracker Barrels are great places to find books on tape. You can pick up from one store and drop off at another. Other great places to get books on tape include libraries and used bookstores. Music CDs

Bring kids’ favorite music. Put all you’re their favorite songs onto one CD from iTunes. Sing along, sing loud. Time passes much better when we’re having fun. Laughter in the car is a better sound than screaming, crying or fighting.

Photo credit: Eric Bowers Photography, (l to r) Lillian Nabors (6), Ethan Parrish (5), Amaris Jaden Johnson (5), Karys Rhodan (7)

Sunbeam Awards


his award is given to younger generation go-getters who have proven to be faithful in the pursuit of knowledge, learning and spiritual growth. Equipped with good teachings and wise instruction early on in life, they continue to progress as emerging leaders and lights for Jesus Christ.

The license plate game

This game is good for kids a little beyond preschool. Make a chart of all 50 states, with space to check when a plate for that state is discovered. If you laminate the chart, you can dry-erase it and use over and over. Individual snack bags

(l to r) Kessler Rhodan (10), Taylor Williams (10), Erika Parrish (9)

Pathfinder Awards


hose deemed as “Pathfinders” are at a critical point in their lives in which they boast the maturity, sound upbringing and spiritual foundation in which to make wise decisions to influence and possibly change not only their own lives, but also the lives of others. If they continue on their current paths, they have the potential to do great things for God’s kingdom and the communities in which they live.

Give each child his own snack bag. Inside each is a drink (maybe two), and his favorite healthy snack. Once the bag is empty, there is no more. Of course, you stop for meals, but this way they aren’t always asking for something to eat. This is especially good when one adult is traveling alone with children. It’s hard to drive and pass out snacks. Cameras

Cameras are a good idea for children who are a little older. Get inexpensive, disposable cameras or let them use a digital camera to take more pictures. The good thing about digital cameras is that you can see the shot right away and delete it if you don’t want it. Stop along the way if the kids see something interesting. Then, later, help them make a picture diary of the trip. Rest stops

(l to r) Faizon McDowell (18), Evelyn Neal (14), Melissa Blackson (18)

38 Reunions v

You are going to have to stop somewhere so everyone can stretch their legs and use the restrooms. Try to find family-friendly rest stops. Many have picnic areas where you can eat a brown bag lunch, which helps save money. Many rest stops even have short hiking trails so everyone can get a little exercise and some fresh air. From a Girlfriend to Girlfriend blog


Icebreakers from lots of places! Icebreaker/getting-to-know-you games are a great way for people to get acquainted. Discovering common ground is the best way to break the ice.

Look for many more icebreakers online at

vvv do you remember me?

Autograph Bingo

To break the ice, we send trivia (about the city/family) a week before the reunion. We play a game called “Do you remember me?” We ask questions about the family – for example, “In the ‘70s Aunt Mildred did what, or was married to whom?” (She was married five times we know of.) We also play a family name word search. Another icebreaker begins with two relatives pulling the name of a dance from a hat and they have to perform it. We always have blues music and start telling tales by saying “Ya’ll remember when ...” From a report by Mildred Rias, Rias Family Reunion, University City, Missouri

Autograph Bingo encourages people to mingle and find people who match facts listed on a bingo card. Players discover interesting and humorous facts about others. Sample questions in bingo games at Simon Says

A classic kids’ icebreaker is Simon Says, in which Simon, the leader, tells people to do various actions. The goal is to only do what Simon says and nothing else. Celebrity ID Game

Each person has a name of a famous celebrity or character pinned to his back. Everyone mingles, asking “yes” or “no” questions to learn clues about the names posted on their backs.

vvv matching game

We play a matching game to break the ice. Everyone has a word or phrase on the back of their name tag (for example, Salt and Pepper). They have to find their match, introduce themselves and find out something about their match. When this is accomplished, they come to the gift table and report to the committee person which person is their match, and then pick a gift. Reported by Stephanie Abrams, Shields Family Reunion, Flint, Michigan vvv Elaine McMeen Flake, author of Your Family Reunion, lists these get-acquainted activities: skits from each family; baby or child photo contest; scrapbook pages from each family; write down something you’ve done, and others guess who did it; pair up and tell the group about each other. vvv M&Ms aplenty

vvv Photo scavenger hunt

A photo scavenger hunt requires participants to take a picture of something whose name begins with specific letters. The more obscure the letter (Z or Q), the more difficult but entertaining the challenge may be. Found on

Ideas from Marilyn Stewart at Family Tree Photo

Arrange family members as they would be on a family genealogical chart. Begin with Grandma and Grandpa. Add a branch of their children and spouses. Add additional branches for each of their children. Take the picture from an elevated position.

Sit in a circle. Pass around a bag or bowl of M&Ms. Instruct everyone to take as many as they want, but not to eat them just yet. When everyone has their M&Ms, tell them that for every M&M they took they must tell something about themselves: One, my name is Sam. Two, I live in Portland. Three, I play the piano, and so on. From vvv

Birthday Game

Two Truths and a Lie

Create a “memory” or “concentration” game of 52 cards of 26 pairs of family pictures. Make two copies of each photo and include name, birthdate and birthplace. Use pictures of ancestors or of family members attending the reunion.

Each person tells two truths and one lie, or names two things they’ve done and one they haven’t done. Others must figure out which is the lie or the thing they haven’t done.

Ask those who were born in January to form a group, then do the same for all the other months. Then have members line up within their group according to their birthdates. This forges a bond between those who share the same birth month or even birth day. This activity is especially effective with reunions of 100 or more participants. Family Concentration Game

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 39


Who are you?


ome reunions are attended by many people who have never met one another, so nametags are essential. If you’ve not yet considered your options, here are some ideas. Make nametags, badges, buttons or pins a big deal. Whether they are hand-made or computer-generated, the name must be correct and readable from about six feet away. List name, family branch and hometown. Use a simple stick-on label, pin-on style with glassine holder and cardboard insert, or printed buttons. Prepare nametags in advance. Encourage everyone to wear their nametags. One reunion uses red, white, and blue badges to differentiate reunion members: red badges are for members who’ve attended all previous reunions, white for those who have attended at least one previous reunion, and blue for first-timers. Consider using baby or childhood or graduation pictures, or the name of the ancestor from whom the member is descended. Color-code the nametags according to family branch, or to identify direct descendants versus in-laws. Include a logo or ribbon to designate generation or branch. Or list relationships: I’m Trudy’s daughter, Erika, or I’m Carol’s granddaughter and Trudy’s daughter, Erika. Dr. Cecil Paul Enders Pottieger, Frederick, Maryland, says direct descendants of Captain Philip Christian and Anna Appolonia Degan Enders wear red ribbons at annual reunions. Spouses wear white ribbons. The McLeod family tree displayed proudly at reunions includes eight branches, each represented by different shaped leaves, in different colors to represent each generation. Janice Scruggs, Milledgeville, Georgia, says they use matching leaves for nametags. Jim Whitaker, San Ramon, California, reported that the Kaufman Family Reunion assigned each family member a number. “Our Grandfather was number one, Grandmother number two and so on. When someone gets married or a baby is born, the new family member is assigned the next number. At reunion time, handcrafted wooden number tags are made in the shape of something associated with our grandparents. We started with the shape of a loaf of bread – one of Grandmother’s claims to fame. After that was a hammer for our Grandfather’s craftsmanship, then a tractor, and the latest design celebrates our Grandmother’s quilting. Each tag has “Amos and Amelia Kaufman Family Reunion” plus the date and individual family number. The lower your number, the more power you have. Many saved tags have become real keepsakes.” Some reunion nametags state the person’s name and under it the person’s relationships in the family. Example: Arliss Treybig, El Campo, Texas, says the Burt(t) schell Family Reunion uses flags to identify four family branches (Texas, US, Germany, and France).


Father - Husband - Grandpa Uncle - Brother Brother-in-Law – Cousin

Tropical Relaxation Sandy White Beaches Private Gulf Front Balconies Oversized Heated Pool

1-800-FOR-BIRD 727-367-1961 10700 Gulf Blvd •Treasure Island, FL

Quiet Pool & Hot Tub Tiki Bar with Live Music Gorgeous Sunsets


Nametags as icebreakers

t most reunions, nametags can be lifesavers because you may not have met some of the attendees, or you may not remember everyone’s names. Nametags can save you the embarrassment of having to ask people’s names.


hristian Seeger (1813-1913) had a son, Michael Frederick Seeger (1860-1940), who married Lina Larrimer (1872-1961), and they had eight children. Most at the reunion were descendants of these children. Nametags included the name and picture of the guest’s antecedent, as well as the guest’s name. Guests who were descendents of Christian Seeger’s brother, John Martin Seeger, had his name and picture on their nametags. We also added a raffle ticket in each name badge. At the end of the day we raffled gifts, including a 250 page hard-bound family genealogy. Reported by Geneen Massey, Hyattsville, Maryland

40 Reunions v

As guests register, Seidemann family volunteers type names on preprinted, numbered light card stock nametags, and they are pinned on the attendee’s clothing.



DISCOVER AN AMAZING LITTLE HOUSE OF MUSICAL INFLUENCE AND MORE AT EVERY TURN Detroit’s influence stands as strong as the sounds of the Motown Museum, which preserves the birthplace of a musical legacy that moved the world, and there are many more stories throughout The D. History and its makers are showcased at The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village. Culture and contributions are celebrated at the Arab American National Museum. From the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History to Greektown, Mexicantown and Corktown, you’ll find worldwide wonders waiting around every corner. Discover Detroit, America’s great comeback city. View Allen’s whole story at

AMERICA’S GREAT COMEBACK CITY. Cars | Culture | Gaming | Music | Sports


Games, games, games galore


or many reunions, games are a major feature of their plans. We have gathered a few here, but urge you to explore the many games described on and on our “Games reunions play” Pinterest board. Literally hundreds of suggestions leave no excuse for anyone to have to ask: what do we do now?

Family reunion trivia game


egan Cooley explains a trivia challenge that starts with a family photo of her grandmother with her seven siblings and her parents (Cooley’s great-grandparents) taken in about 1915, shortly after the family emigrated to the US from Italy. A worksheet has each family member numbered, and trivia contestants were asked to fill their names in on the blank lines. Then, there are multiple choice questions. Some are straightforward, such as “How many grandchildren did Giovanno and Michelina Di Marro Ruggiero have?” and “Who were

lovingly called Azi and Uzi in the family?” Other questions teach younger generations about their grandparents’ and parents’ wilder sides. Apparently, grandmother’s brother left a window open for her so she could sneak out and go dancing at night. Cooley’s favorite is, “Who attempted on three separate occasions to join the convent?” Cooley recommends interviewing older family members for trivia questions that will tell your family’s history in a fun way. From

Arce Family Reunion games


he Arce Family Reunion divides into four teams. They mix it up so cousins who have not been close can re-bond. Competition is stiff for bragging rights ‘til the next reunion. Seniors are the cheerleaders, with pom-poms. Youth must mix with seniors, and seniors with youth. This generates unity, laughter and fun for all. Awards are given to the team with the most points at the end of the reunion. At a recent reunion they played basketball, volleyball, water games, Twister, Family Feud and Jenga. Shared by Loida Arce Acosta, Orlando, Florida The oversize Twister game “board” was spray-painted on the grass so many could play—and it doesn’t move around like the vinyl sheet! All preparations for this game were made by the third generation — 20s and 30s age group.

This game is called PIT. It’s a card game that gives players the opportunity to feel like they are part of the stock exchange. Each player is competing to own all the shares of a single card type or commodity. Players are free to make trades among themselves until one player declares he has all the cards for a commodity and ends the trading.

42 Reunions v

The giant-size Jenga was homemade.


Neal Family Reunion (NFR) Challenge


Two fun games from Melissa & Doug, LLC


hese games are in Reunions magazine’s summer giveaway boxes of prizes for your reunion. See giveaways and contests at Suspend, Jr., is a blockbuster balance game for younger kids. Game play is easy. Set up the frame, spin the spinner and balance the colorcoded pieces to create a hanging structure. The winner is the first to run out of pieces; but watch out – one wrong move and the whole structure could fall! The Family Dinner Box of Questions is fun for the whole family. You’ll hear more at dinner than “Pass the peas.” Wrap your “noodle” around these questions that get families talking, laughing, and sharing much more than a meal!

our family teams were randomly organized and provided opportunities to compete in challenges that encouraged teamwork, collaboration and competitive play. Five “family-friendly challenges” were planned throughout the weekend, with winning teams earning points for each challenge. Each challenge was judged by a panel of judges and the team with the most points by Sunday morning was awarded the first Neal Family Reunion Traveling Trophy during the departure luncheon. Team Organization

Each NFR attendee was required to preregister either online or by mail to be an eligible participant in the Neal Family Challenge. Upon registering, each person was randomly assigned one of four colors (red, blue, green or purple), marked by a colored dot on the back of their name badge. Challenge judges randomly selected four team captains. Teams of 30 each met, organized and chose names during the first night, “Team Huddle and Name Game.” They played Team Jenga Jam and Team Spirit Best Introduction and Best in Show (where members were judged at the banquet for Best Dressed & Best Interpretation of Banquet Theme). Also during the banquet, Team Spirit and Introduction to Banquet Guests judged teams’ participation in the program, demonstration of spirit, cheering and dancing. For “R-E-P-R-E-S-E-N-T” The King! teams had only one chance to memorize and quote the banquet theme verse – I Peter 1:9 – without error. On Saturday, in “Games on the Green,” teams were to participate in egg toss, threelegged sack race, water balloon neck-n-neck relay, and tug of war. Closing Ceremony

All challenges concluded at the end of the Saturday picnic. An MVP was selected and awarded a small monetary prize. This individual is one who not only demonstrated great competiveness and prowess in completing each activity, but stood out among participants – introducing him/herself to family members, encouraging players during challenge activities, and maintaining a Christ-like spirit of grace and kindness throughout the events. Prizes included the first-ever NFR Traveling Trophy (winning teamcaptain keeps it) and ribbons for team members. From the full detailed outline of the NFR Challenge by Merideth (Neal) Parrish, Kansas City, Missouri NOTE: The entire detailed outline of the Neal Family Reunion Challenge will be added to 44 Reunions v

More game ideas


hese are some ideas for games from Mary Harrell-Sesniak, genealogist and author, from her article 30 Activities, Games & Ideas for Family Reunion Fun! Cooking or eating contests

This is always a family favorite, whether you challenge family with a chili cook-off or an old-fashioned pie-eating contest. Family trivial pursuit

Everyone submits unusual or unknown facts about themselves. Facts are read aloud without Pie eating @ Seidemann Family Reunion, Newburg, Wisconsin. identifying the person. Form teams to compete against each other. Create categories such as: “What I did while visiting my grandparents,” “How I got into trouble,” “Home town trivia,” and “My funniest or most embarrassing moment.” Photo identification (ancestors and living family)

Guess person, time or place of a historical photo. Identify old baby pictures of family members who are at the reunion. Sack races

Can be done individually or in pairs. Divide into teams of two; each team member inserts one leg into a shared sack or pillowcase. The winning team crosses the finish line first. Telephone game

Everyone gets in a line. The first person whispers a family secret into the next person’s ear. The secret is repeated and passed along until the last person states what words actually reached them.

e military reunion news

USS Sellers DDG-11 Reunion Port Call San Antonio, Texas


SS Sellers held its 2014 reunion in San Antonio, Texas. Attendees gathered at the hotel Thursday afternoon for a reception where sea stories were plentiful. Almost all attendees had arrived, so the room was full of chatter about today’s and yesterday’s Navy. Shipmates from commissioning to decommissioning (1961 to 1989) were in attendance. On Friday we toured the historic Museum of the Pacific in honor of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz in Fredericksburg, Texas. The museum is filled to the brim with relics and artifacts of WWII and the Pacific Campaign. Our reunion attendees were surprised to see such a great naval museum so far from the ocean. After dinner back in San Antonio, we watched a slideshow about USS Sellers and her crew and family members over the years. On Saturday we toured the Alamo and San Antonio Riverwalk area, shopped and had lunch. Following our business meeting on Saturday evening we enjoyed a banquet, speaker and gift exchange. We ask attendees to bring a gift from the area where they live to exchange. Before dinner we played “People Bingo,” where you try to answer

The USS Sellers Reunion in San Antonio, Texas.

questions on your bingo cards by asking other reunion attendees. The game was a huge success and got attendees interacting. Forty people attended the reunion, seven of them first-timers. Sunday we had breakfast and a memorial service. This year we honored not only shipmates who have passed since the last reunion, but all shipmates who have gotten orders to the ultimate duty station.

Many attendees said this was a great reunion even if it wasn’t near the ocean. First-timers said they already plan on attending the 2016 reunion. Our goal is to keep the Sellers legacy alive by getting more and more former shipmates involved and attending the reunions. Visit Reported by Delta Hinson, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Past President, USS Sellers Association

317th Veterans Group Reunion Report

317th Veterans Group on a Boeing C-17 Globemaster lll taken during their tour of Altus Air Force Base.


his was another great reunion of Air Force veterans who served under the 317th Troop Carrier Wing. Reunions are held in a different state each year. The 2014 reunion was in Oklahoma where the folks were very friendly to all our vets and their spouses. There is lots to see and do, but we couldn’t fit all the great places into our normal four-day reunion schedule. So we

had both a pre-reunion tour of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge to see the bison herds ,and a two-day post-reunion tour of Oklahoma City to see the OKC National Memorial and Museum, and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Our hotel was in Lawton, Oklahoma, central to Frederick and Altus, where we planned tours. We appreciated all the

Lawton/Ft. Sill Chamber of Commerce did to help our group. They provided a grant that helped pay transportation costs, and provided a city bus and arranged tours to The Museum of the Great Plains and the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center, at no cost to our group. The Base Public Affairs Office at Altus Air Force Base set up a tour of the base, aircraft, and maintenance hangar. They also arranged lunch with Airmen at the base club. The WWII Airborne Demonstration Team invited us to tour their facilities in Frederick, Oklahoma. Their WWII hangar, with two WWII C-47 aircraft, was fantastic. We had the opportunity to fly with them during a paratroop drop – an awesome experience! That evening there was a dinner/dance with a 40s Big Band and 40s singers, at their hangar. The WWII ADT really made this a day to remember. Visit Reported by Jim Timmons, Pasadena, Maryland, Vice President, 317th Veterans Group MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 45


Welcome to Reunion Resources!


We encourage you to tell the listings you contact that you learned about them from Reunions magazine. And if at any time you find any info that is inaccurate or e-mail or web links do not work, notify us immediately at; PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727. And by all means, feel free to comment and/or suggest changes and additions you’d like to see in this section. Reunions magazine will not be held liable for information presented as facts in these ads. We reserve the right to edit and/or refuse any material submitted for publication.

1540 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32458. Let’s go Emerald Coasting! Have your next reunion in the Heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast. Emerald Coasting is sugar-white sand beaches, great golf and fishing. It’s fresh seafood and rich military history. Find out why we’re “one of Florida‚’s favorite meeting venues.” 850-651-7647 |


2200 Ninth Ave. North, Birmingham AL 35203 Birmingham is becoming one of the most celebrated reunion cities in the southeast. There are lots of details to see to - good planning is hard work. The Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau is here to help. For more information regarding reunion services, please contact the Convention Bureau at 205-458-8000 or 800-458-8085 | fax 205-458-8086 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!


928 North Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054 A classic SoCal beach town, Oceanside is a family-friendly community featuring 3.5 miles of sandy beaches, California’s longest wooden pier, a Cape Cod-style harbor village, historic Mission San Luis Rey, museums and unlimited outdoor activities. Oceanside is conveniently located between Los Angeles and San Diego, bordering Camp Pendleton. For easy reunion planning contact Dana Higgins at or toll-free at (844) 269-6551|


4875 N Harbor Drive, San Diego CA 92106 Host your reunion at the beautiful Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside across from San Diego Bay. Our experienced staff will assist you in creating a very special event. Complimentary hosp suite and special reunion rates. Beautiful guest rooms, heated pool, spa, shuffleboard, ping-pong and billiards, exercise room, family restaurant and cocktail lounge, free pkg, in-room movies, coffee makers, refrigerators, hair dryers. 619-224-3621 | 800-650-6660 fax 619-224-1787 | | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!


COLORADO VACATION DIRECTORY: Make your search for the perfect family reunion destination easier! FREE FAMILY REUNION DESTINATION LOCATION SERVICE: groupsreunions/groupform.html We will then send your requirements to Cabins, Vacation Homes, Lodges, Motels, Condos, B&Bs, and Campgrounds that can accommodate your desires; each one will email you directly with additional information. OR download our FREE Colorado Vacation Directory to compare reunion locations, which includes Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do.


DAYS INN Mewark/Wilmington, DE 900 Churchman’s Road , Newark, DE 19713 Contact Donna Lauria, 302-368-2400 Fax 302-731-8620 | 46 Reunions v


PALMS HOTEL AND VILLAS 3100 Parkway Blvd. Kissimmee, Florida 34747 Ideally situated off Interstate 4, 5 minutes from Walt Disney World Resort, our condominium-style hotel puts you within close proximity to all the Kissimmee/ Orlando area action! Our 1 and 2 bedroom units come with living room, kitchen and sleeps between 6-10 persons. We are a Good Neighbor Disney property located 1.5 miles from Disney World. We offer shuttle service to the parks, Free hot breakfast buffet, free WIFI, activities on site include basketball courts, pool, game room, fitness center and bbq grilling areas. Special group rates, comp room for the organizer and welcome reception. Please contact 407-396-2229 ext 2205 or e-mail to check rates and availability.

PARK INN by RADISSON RESORT & CONFERENCE CENTER 3011 Maingate Lane, Kissimmee, FL 34746 Contact Valerie Gallo, 407-997-2156 | fax: 407-396-1171

be unforgettable when hosted in the Sunset Room overlooking the courtyard. Catering by Feola’s Italian Restorante will be the star of your event! Contact one of our Group Specialists for personal service planning your Reunion. 1-800-FOR-BIRD (367-2473) 727-367-1961 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!



111 Perimeter Center West, Atlanta GA 30346 Find sanctuary in 121 deluxe guest rooms and 154 fantastic suites complete with the W Signature Bed, Bliss™ Sinkside Six amenities and balconies in all rooms. Suites feature a full kitchen. Free shuttle service within a 3-mile radius, which includes Perimeter Mall and MARTA stations. Banquet spaces with full catering available. For reservations, call 770-396-6800 | fax 770-394-4805 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!


4355 Ashford Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA 30346 Located in Central Perimeter area nestled on a 45 acre park, with waterfalls, terraced gardens, facilities for gatherings of 10 to 1,000. 495 guestrooms, 33 spacious suites. Featuring a three-story greenhouse atrium lobby, fitness center, indoor pool with sundeck. Across from the Perimeter Mall. Free shuttle to area restaurants, parks and MARTA station for downtown attractions. Visit call 770-395-7700. Mention this listing for 10 % off reunion banquet pricing. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!



5000 Avenue of the Stars, Kissimmee FL 34746 Located just 4 miles to Walt Disney Theme Parks. Our gated all suite resort & spa offers spacious mini suites, 1 & 3 bedroom Villas with full kitchens and mini kitchens that can accommodate up to 8 guests. Enjoy tennis, basketball, pools, putting green, mini golf, paddle boats, putting green, pool bars, beach volleyball, game room, fitness center, children’s activities, BBQ grills and much more! Indoor & outdoor function space available to rent. Free reunion tee shirts through our partners at Experience Kissimmee. Group rates for 8 or more units. For group quote call 800-789-0715 or email Visit our web site at We look forward to hosting your reunion!

1030 Crown Pointe Pkwy, Atlanta GA 30338 770-394-5454 All suite, upscale, renovated hotel located in beautiful Dunwoody, just steps away from Perimeter Mall, Perimeter Shoppes and more than 30 area restaurants/ dining facilities. Hotel features complimentary amenities such as: cooked-to-order breakfast, Manager’s Reception, area shuttle, parking deck, indoor pool/sun deck, Precor fitness center and business center. Hotel offers an onsite restaurant with Starbucks cafe, meeting space and wireless internet throughout. Flat screen TV’s in all suites. Easy access to downtown via MARTA. Hilton Family Hotels. Book us at SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!



4601 Ridgeview Road, Atlanta-Dunwoody GA 30338 Staybridge Suites is an All-Suite Hotel and offers a premier location in the Dunwoody – Perimeter area within walking distance to some of the best restaurants and shops Atlanta has to offer. Minutes away from attractions like Stone Mountain, Six Flags, Zoo Atlanta, Hartsfield Airport and the Georgia Dome. Fantastic amenities like Free Full Breakfast, Free Shuttle within a 3-Mile Radius, Free Internet, Free On-Site Fitness Center and Guest Laundry! 678-320-0111 | Fax: 678-320-0250 Reservations: | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

Soft, white sand and the beautiful Gulf of Mexico form the perfect backdrop for your reunion in Panama City Beach. We’re easy to get to, with many shopping, golfing, boating and dining opportunities, and plenty of family friendly entertainment. Bring your reunion to America’s Real. Fun. Beach! For planning help, call us at 1 800 PCBEACH or visit us online at | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

THE RESORT AND CLUB AT LITTLE HARBOR 611 Destiny Dr. Ruskin, FL 33570 Your Caribbean-style island resort on Tampa Bay awaits you! Experience a tropical getaway with features such as water view rooms, restaurant, lounge, tiki bar, beach, deep water marina and so much more. Nestled between Tampa and Sarasota, we feature a wide range of suites all perfect for your reunion. Contact Mai Perez; 813.922.6000 | Planning a reunion? Consider the THUNDERBIRD BEACH RESORT for your gathering. Directly on the white sand beaches of Treasure Island, the Thunderbird Beach Resort’s staff is renowned for extra friendly customer service that treats your family like our family. Enjoy rooms, efficiencies and suites in a tropical courtyard setting with 2 pools, hot tub, Tiki bar and restaurant. Private functions, from casual to formal will


246 Perimeter Center Parkway NE, Atlanta, GA 30346 The Hotel is located adjacent to Perimeter Mall and the Dunwoody MARTA station offering easy access to all city attractions. Amenities include onsite restaurant and lounge, room service, indoor/outdoor swimming pool, meeting and banquet space for up to 350 people and complimentary hotel shuttle within a 2-mile radius. Ask about our special reunions packages. Call 770 394-6500 | visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!


Just 10 minutes outside Atlanta in DeKalb County, Dunwoody is the best location for your next reunion.

CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES Minutes away from Stone Mountain Park, Georgia Aquarium, the MLK Center and more! Home to five excellent hotels with tons of meeting space and all within walking distance to Perimeter Mall and shuttle services to MARTA! Call today to plan your reunion: 678-244-9800 | visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

ILLINOIS Plan an unforgettable reunion in Lake County, Illinois – We’ll work together to help you plan an

event that lets you explore all the excitement of Lake County. From entertaining attractions like Six Flags to our convenient, centralized location close to Chicago, there are so many reasons to choose Lake County for family friendly fun. For free Reunion Planning Assistance call or email us with your reunion planning questions. 800-LAKE-NOW | | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

MARYLAND Join us for the BALTIMORE REUNION EXPO on September 12, 2015, to gather resources, information on hotel packages and tips for planning the perfect family reunion – all in one place. Enjoy celebrity seminars, a kids zone, tours and more. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD and visit for updates and additional information.

MICHIGAN DETROIT METRO CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU Bring your family reunion to Detroit, America’s great comeback city. We’ll help create itineraries, find accommodations and more. Detroit has lots of fun family attractions like The Henry Ford, Detroit Zoo, museums, festivals and outdoor spaces. Learn more at our free Family Reunion Planning Seminar this fall. For more information, contact the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau at | 313-202-1985 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!


11000 Craguns Dr, Brainerd MN 56401: 800-CRAGUNS (272-4867). Since 1940 Cragun’s has taken pride in creating memorable reunions... here’s why: 1) trained coordinator will help plan it all, 2) arrival “Welcome” and registration areas with planned activity agendas, 3) activities including golf outings, lake cruises, picnics, fishing contests, horse drawn trolley rides and more, 4) indoor facilities to ensure you a “weather-proof‚Äù reunion, 5) private gathering areas, 6) special celebration meals, 7) professional group photos, 8) and best of all, enjoy a safe, secure friendly environment. Come to Cragun’s for your reunion. Named “One of MN’s ideal locations to hold a Reunion” by AAA. Call for FREE Reunion Planning Packet or visit:

MINNEAPOLIS SAINT PAUL is the perfect location for your next reunion. Meet Minneapolis represents the entire MSP metro area with over 17,000 hotel rooms. Use our FREE service and hotels will compete against each other for your business. We also provide your group with FREE welcome bags, visitor guides, maps, along with tour ideas, group friendly restaurant suggestions, and sample itineraries. Let us help you plan your next reunion to Minneapolis Saint Paul. 612-767-8106 | The KAHLER HOSPITALITY GROUP provides heartfelt service, in the heart to downtown Rochester whether it’s for a one night stay or a week-long conference. With over 50,000 square feet of indoor meeting space ideally located in downtown Rochester as well as full catering options we can make your vision a reality. With a wide range of amenities and easy access to local attractions like the Veterans Memorial, outdoor activities and much more, the Kahler Hospitality

Group has what you need to make your reunion memorable. Call 1.800.533.1655 to book today! 20 SW Second Avenue, Rochester, MN 55902 | 1.800.533.1655


your lodging for your next reunion in America’s heartland! Branson, Missouri, the ideal destination, offers live music shows and attractions where family values and budgets are honored! Branson’s breathtaking scenery and authentic Ozarks hospitality warms you any time of year! Call us toll-free at 800-214-3661 or visit our website at ExploreBranson. com and request a Reunion Planner Sales kit. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

NEVADA GOLD COAST HOTEL & CASINO is conveniently situated on the edge of America’s most exciting boulevard, Las Vegas Strip. Just across the street from the Rio and the Palms, and one-half mile from Chinatown, our proximity to Interstate 15 makes Gold Coast an ideal destination for reunions looking for a premium location at a value conscience price. This friendly resort personifies all that is best about Las Vegas and features 712 rooms and suites, 30,000 square feet of conference space, full-service casino, Bingo Parlor, six restaurants, showroom/lounge, 70-lane bowling center, race/sports book, a poolside fitness center, and shuttle service to the heart of The Strip. 4000 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103 702-251-3560 | 800-331-5334 x 400 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! THE ORLEANS HOTEL AND CASINO blends the glamour and excitement of Las Vegas with the festive flavor of New Orleans. The 88-acre full-service resort has 1,886 rooms and suites, 40,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space, 12 exceptional restaurants and an oasis-like swimming pool. Attractions also include a spa and fitness center, a 70-lane bowling center, an 18-screen movie complex, a 900-seat showroom and 9,000-seat arena. 4500 W Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89103 702-365-7050 | 888-365-7111 X 7050 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! CANNERY CASINO HOTEL

Tournament and one of the largest Irish Festivals in the world. Experience our European settings, impeccable golf courses and charming Historic District. With the closest hotels to a top rated zoo in America – The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, a safe suburban setting, free parking, and 56 accredited parks, Dublin makes a fun and affordable reunion destination. Learn about our 22 custom experiences. Contact Amanda Mikkelson: | 1-800-245-8387 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!


13178 State Route 664 S, Logan, Ohio 43138 The Hocking Hills are Ohio’s natural crown jewels and the perfect location for reunions. The region is a mecca for nature based recreation. World class hiking, eco-adventure tours and more than 50 ziplines. Luxury lodges provide private resort amenities for groups of three to thirty. Located just 50 miles southeast of Columbus. 740-385-2750 | fax 740-385-1146 Contact: Karen Raymore


4 vacation homes on one property. Located on Scenic Beach Loop. Sleeps 1-31. For groups larger than 31, we also manage other properties in Bandon. Great for family reunions or group retreats. Located across the street from the Pacific Ocean, on 2 acres of land. Lots of grass area to meet and play. Each home has a full kitchen, washer/dryer and BBQ. Come to Bandon to play golf, charter fish, go crabbing, shopping, dining or just to play on the beach. 888-441-8030


1200 South Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach SC 29577 REUNIONS MADE EASY! Have your reunion by the sea and enjoy the most affordable rates in Myrtle Beach. Sea Mist’s premier oceanfront location is near all the popular amusements and attractions. There are multiple lodging choices, restaurants, miniature golf, 11 pools, Jacuzzis, fitness center, 17,000 sq.ft. of versatile meeting space and much more! 800-200-8687 | | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!


2121 East Craig Road, Las Vegas, NV 89030 702-507-5810 | fax 702-507-5778. Conveniently located in North Las Vegas near I-15, Nellis Air Force Base and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Cannery Casino Hotel is a spacious casino, seven restaurants, three bars, luxury movie theater, a half-acre pool with Jacuzzi and fitness room. Everything for a reunion-vacation is here, including free parking to our guests. Check us out at | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!



PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE – We’re a gold mine for

3800 S. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89502 Have your reunion in Four Diamond luxury. Atlantis showcases 50,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, perfect for reunions large or small. Stay in Reno’s only Concierge Hotel Tower. Discover eight award-winning restaurants from gourmet to buffet. Enjoy an actionpacked casino floor with the newest and hottest slots, table games, Race & Sports Book, Keno and poker. Experience exquisite treatments at Spa Atlantis, voted top ten in the world as SpaFinder’s Readers’ Choice award recipient for Best Casino Spa. Atlantis is the home of Reno reunions. Sales Department 800.994.5900 |


9 S. High Street, Dublin OH 43017. Dublin is located in Central Ohio and is home to the PGA Memorial

We are ready to host your next family or military reunion. Our Staff works closely with the hotels, attractions, tour companies and you to provide exactly what you need to have a great reunion. Contact Christina Petro at 800-964-8600 ext. 3017 | email at to begin planning your next reunion! SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

reunions. Need attractions? Try Dollywood, Titanic Pigeon Forge, Zorb and the action-packed Parkway. Want nature? Great Smoky Mountains National Park is next-door. Want entertainment? More than a dozen theaters await you. Hungry? We’ll feed you well. Details: 1-800-285-7537 or visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!


Located just minutes from Dallas, Plano is the perfect place to stay. You will find unique and entertaining attractions, a multitude of restaurants for every taste and style, and all the shopping you could ever want, as well as a variety of hotel and lodging offerings. Let Kay at the Plano Convention and Visitors Bureau assist you in all your travel planning needs. | 800-81-PLANO | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! MAY/JUNE/JULY 2015 v Reunions 47


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VIRGINIA CHESAPEAKE CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU 1224 Progressive Drive Chesapeake, VA 23320 Can you hear it? That voice inside, beckoning you to get together. Reconnect with friends, families and memories. The refuge, the waterways, the beach – so close you can enjoy them all. For more information on planning a family or military reunion in Chesapeake, VA, call 888-889-5551 or go to

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA 3702 Pender Drive, Suite 420, Fairfax, VA 2203 Enjoy everything that Northern Virginia has to offer. From the monuments and memorials of nearby Washington, DC to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, Fairfax County is the ideal location for your military or family reunion. Call Visit Fairfax at 703-752-9509, and Dean Miller, our reunion specialist, will go to work for you! SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

NEWPORT NEWS – Looking for the perfect place to

“drop anchor” during your reunion in Virginia? Look no further than Newport News! Minutes from Williamsburg and a short drive to Virginia Beach, Newport News provides the perfect location and services to make your reunion a success, whether you’re getting together with old classmates, shipmates or relatives. We offer the best value and plenty to see and do. Let Newport News make your next reunion a memorable one! Call our Visitor Center at 888-493-7386 or email to book your reunion today.


232 East Main Street, Norfolk VA 23510 Norfolk’s beautifully revitalized waterfront, rich military heritage, walkable downtown and Coastal Virginia location make it the ideal destination for your next

PRODUCTS & SERVICES All of these products can be purchased through Reunions magazine. Please call 414-263-4567.

BOOKS Family Reunion, by Mary Quattlebaum, Illustrated by Andrea Shine.Thoughtful and fun, this book gives glimpses of family togetherness and tradition through various poetic forms, including free verse, a sonnet, haiku, a ballad and more. $16 + s/h. The Miles of Smiles: 101 Great Car Games & Activities, by travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers. May be the ultimate solution for back seat squabbling” on the way to your reunion. Keep kids entertained all the way there. $8.95 + s/h. THE FAMILY REUNION SURVIVAL GUIDE: How to Avoid Problems With Your Family Without Avoiding Your Family by Laurence A. Basirico. (2003, Identity Publishing, $11.95). A book about relationships at family reunions and how to enjoy them. Based on original research. 2106 Coy St., Burlington, NC. (336) 584-1442.

48 Reunions v

reunion. Home to such attractions as the Battleship Wisconsin, MacArthur Memorial, Hampton Roads Naval Museum and the world’s largest naval base. See why American Heritage named Norfolk “A Great American Place.” Offering over 5,000 committable hotel rooms in various price ranges. Call 800-368-3097 | | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

CRUISES Personal cruise planning services

Brian Forrester, is a Cruise Group Specialist and is eager to help make your reunion memorable. Contact Brian at Holiday Cruises and Tours, 480-998-1112 | Brian will ask questions to understand your needs and present what works best for your reunion. He can get the best deals and knows how to make your reunion cruise a success. He will work with you to organize deposits, payment plans, announcements, and special arrangements. Relax! He will handle all the details. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

SPECIAL EVENT The Global Family Reunion — June 6, 2015 At The New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York City, Queens Reuniting the 70 million cousins of A.J. Jacobs. Learn all about it at $20 donation to Alzheimer’s charities.


Create amazing reunion shirts online in our fun & easy Design Lab! Choose from name-brand apparel and 60,000+ images, or upload your own art. No hidden charges or set-up fees. Guaranteed delivery dates. FREE shipping and FREE design help 7 days a week. Call us toll-free at 877-803-5887. We love to talk tees! Or visit us online at SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

Secrets of Successful Family Reunions, by Robert W. Wolfe a.k.a. Uncle Bob A how-to-book for successful family reunions. Whether simple or elaborate it helps those who wish to pass their values to the next generation. 2008. $16.99 + s/h. Treasure and Scavenger Hunts (3rd ed.) How to Plan, Create, and Give Them, by Gordon Burgett Communications Unlimited, 2007, 134 pp. $15.95 + s/h or $12.95 digital. Your Living Family Tree: Keeping your family together forever through print, photos, sound and video, by Gordon Burgett Communications Unlimited, 2008, 174 pp. $17.95 + s/h or $15.95 digital.


How Many?! How Much!?, A Step-by-Step guide to cooking for a large group, by Jennifer Cole. This book will help you with menu planning, recipe costing, recruiting helpers, budgeting. Spiral bound, 73 pp.$19.95 plus $4.95 s/h.


The Malone Family Choir: A Family Reunion is an original gospel CD opening with a song you’ll want to play to say Welcome to Our Family Reunion! at your family reunion. CD $15 or tape $10 + s/h.


Family reunions? Think Chattanooga. Chattanooga is a family reunion destination everyone can agree on. The Scenic City offers first-class attractions, affordable accommodations and top regional restaurants - not to mention a central location in the Southeast. Our CVB reunion specialist can provide complimentary assistance, including detailed guidelines for reunion planning. Contact Christina Petro at the Chattanooga CVB, 423-424-4417 or

on memories here. We’re building reuni e sandcastles. And pretty awesom ce like this . a reunion in a pla We’ll never forget rt is , water . The best pa The sun. The sand. The

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Reunions are more fun in Panama City Beach. Plan yours today. 800. 722. 3224

U.S. Postage Paid Lebanon Junction KY Permit 963.

P.O. Box 11727 v Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 m ay j u n e j u ly 2 015 TM

Reunions Magazine Volume 25, Number 4. May/June/July 2015  

Our summer issue is a very special issue in many ways. It is the last of our milestone 25th volume. It contains the official program for The...

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