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Reunion Cele

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VOL 27 NO 1 $3/USA




13th Annual Military Reunion Planners Conference August 14-17, 2017 For the MRPC Application or a Reunion Planner Sales Kit: Julie Peters, CTIS, CEP at


in this special issue DEPARTMENTS FRONT WORDS – 4 ALUM & I – 6 1st annual Bunche Elementary School reunion by Francia Malone Talton A view from alumni who graduated 50 years ago by Margie Brown Whitnah And then there was the 50th anniversary reunion by Carole E. Neal Huber Hall dorm mates reunion by Sue Carrington Planning Morse High School 50th celebration by Vicki Nyi Another Wisconsin reunion in California! by James E. Bie Charitable reunions Petway Family Reunion from Dawn Petway

BRANCH OFFICE – 14 Reunion is a promise kept by Bonnie Harris-Graham Are you a Brundage-Bundridge-Bundrage-Bundrige-Bundage? by Anna Brundage Family reunions help make connections Ancestry collection suggestions “Coe Family Connection” by Carolyn Poole

2017 Reunion Celebrations! Volume 27 • Number 1 PUBLISHER / EDITOR IN CHIEF Edith Wagner OPERATIONS MANAGER & SALES Karla Lavin SALES Roberta McLoud ART DIRECTOR Jennifer Rueth ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF Nicole Dettmering Ksioszk WEB WIZARDS Josh Evert Sarah Christiaansen



Powell Moody Family Reunion by the Atlanta Powell Moody Reunion Committee Lewis Family Olympics by Robbin Nesbitt Neal Family visits National Civil Rights Museum by Carole Neal 40th Bryant meeting by CarLa Bryant Jenkins Scott Family Reunion by Miss Sondra Jenkins Crawford Family Reunion by Wonda L. Crawford Miller and Gennie Reed 50th Reunion Anniversary by Charmeka Barksdale Harrison Centennial Reunion by Barbara Wellons An epic story of Italian immigrants by Joseph J. Marchese, Sr. Wooten Family Reunion by Robin Harris Thayers meet on Thayer Road at the Thayer Hotel! by Marilyn Thayer McCauley Family Reunion by Thelma Newman Fairley-Foskey Family Reunion by Sandra Lyons Darrell Family Reunion by Tonia Mack Thomas Edward Fuller Family Reunion by Terry Davis Waldron Family Reunion from Carol Waldron “Cousins by the Dozens” by Michelle Gabel Griffin Family Reunion from Jalessa Collins

CONTRIBUTORS Charmeka Barksdale • Allison Bell James E. Bie • Anna Brundage CarLa Bryant • Sue Carrington Jalessa Collins • Wonda L. Crawford Terry Davis • Brian Forrester Michelle Gabel • Bronwyn Gunn Bonnie Harris-Graham • Harold Harris Marinda Harris • Robin Harris Delta Hinson • Miss Sondra Jenkins Leatricia Leslie • Peyton Ligon Sandra Lyons • Tonia Mack Joseph J. Marchese, Sr. • Donna McGough Carole E. Neal • Robbin Nesbitt Thelma Newman • Vicki Nyi Dawn Petway • Carolyn Poole Dave Rudkin • Latasha Seawell Warren Stirling • Francia Malone Talton Marilyn Thayer • Carol Waldron Barbara Wellons • Margie Brown Whitnah

REUNION SCHOOL – 32 REUNION VENUES & FEATURES – 34 Gardner Family Reunion @ Hunewill Ranch McGough Family Reunion @ Zapata Ranch Lukach Family Reunion @ Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch Brunner Family Reunion @ Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch

MILITARY REUNION NEWS – 38 You would not want this to happen to your reunion! by Brian Forrester 4th Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment by Peyton Ligon Reunions return to fine service by Warren Stirling USS Sellers DDG-11 sailors in Jacksonville, Florida by Delta Hinson 75th Commemoration of the Attack on Pearl Harbor World War II defined their high school years, Vet Tix, Veterans use Facebook to stay connected, National Park Service preserves war sites

REUNION RESOURCES – 44 A directory of reunion-friendly places, services, vendors and products ON THE COVER Read all about the Reunion Celebrations in this issue!

Reunions magazine, Inc. (ISSN #1046-5s235), is published 2 times per year. Send correspondence, queries, requests, submissions, advertising to Reunions magazine, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 or email 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 and guarantee tear sheets of reviews and reprints. Reunions magazine, Inc., is not liable for information presented as facts in any of our advertising, byline stories or materials. We reserve the right to edit and/or refuse any material submitted for publication. We take responsibility for submitted materials but unless accompanied by a selfaddressed stamped envelope (SASE), submissions and photos will not be returned. All materials sent for publication become property of Reunions magazine, Inc. Individual copies $3 each, Reunion Planners Notebook $5 both plus postage. “Backward Subscriptions” are 6 back issues (last 6 or any 6 of your choice) $12 including shipping. Payment must accompany requests. See for free offers. Advertising information contact Reunions magazine, Inc., PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727; 414263-4567; fax 414-263-6331 | © 2017 Reunions magazine, Inc. 2017 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 3



Be in touch!

Mail to Why a picture of our last issue? Because ime again for Reunion Celebrations. R eunions magazine These issues are so much fun because Reunion Planners Notebook is more than PO Box 11727 I get to read the best reports and a single issue. It will carry reunion-planning Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 stories about great reunion successes basics to new and returning planners, as well call 414-263-4567 and triumphs. Well, perhaps, not all as some who may need a little push. We triumphant, as evidenced by the military visit added a video ( reunion report shared by Brian Forrester in EAN9MBcJE) about the Notebook that fax 414-263-6331 this issue. Brian experienced back-to-back demonstrates its special features, connective e-mail reunion planning/execution challenges last t(issue), so to speak, and how you can use summer; after reading his adventures, you online resources and social media will surely say to yourself: I’m grateful that connections for your reunion planning. This was not my reunion! Notebook issue resides on / In some ways this could be Carole Neal’s issue! Her reunionsmag with all the links and connections right there, so biannual Neal Family Reunion in Memphis, Tennessee, and you don’t even have to input the URLs/addresses. her Lowell High School Class of 1966 50-year reunion Here’s how the online (including a special Lowell High School tradition), in San Notebook works. Thinking Francisco, California, both were held last year. Carole was about sending out a survey to inspired to report about both and we share them in this issue. your members? Go to page 8 Producing each issue requires the collection, storage and in Reunion Planners assembly of many small parts and pieces, and there is never a Notebook on ISSUU for a time when losing and finding and losing details isn’t a sample and connections to constant concern. So imagine our confusion in this issue! consider before using these There are a lot of Lewises: Lewis Family Olympics; surveys, or use it as a guide Wootens are descendants of Lewis and Annie; Jane Crooks to create your own survey. Britt’s story includes Lewis Taplow “Tap” Crooks; and Want to print it out? It’s @ Lewises are at the Fairly-Foskey Family Reunion. for free, or But Harrises beat out Lewises by far: Bonnie Harrisbuy fillable computer forms Graham reported the Jolly Family Reunion; Robin Harris on Etsy (also linked from ISSUU pages, or call 414-263-4567). wrote about the Wooten Family Reunion. There are 2 Harrises on the Powell Moody Family Reunion Committee and 3 STAY TUNED … Harrises in a Bryant Family Reunion picture; there is a We emphasize the web Harrison Family Reunion; and someone had a reunion in and social media because, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. as is true for most other There’s a Thayer Family Reunion who met on Thayer Road at the Thayer Hotel at Thayer Gate on the West Point Campus publishers, the cost for to celebrate Sylvanus Thayer, “Father of West Point.” There’s print has risen and a Robin and a Robbin: they, at least, I can distinguish. A support/advertising has Sandra and a Sondra only look alike, but then there are a not. So we reach our Carole, Carol and Carolyn, and a Marilyn. Finally, there are 2 audience of reunion Centennials: the Harrisons in Lancaster, Pennsylvania: and planners in new ways. the Sgaraglino, Bica and Bruno Family Reunion in Ravenna, We are gratified by the Ohio. We hope we kept everybody straight, but we know we’ll thousands of visits our hear from them if we didn’t! pages draw each month, and we encourage you to WANT TO SEE YOUR REUNION CELEBRATION HERE? visit even more often. When you look at the stories in these magazines, do you Since many of those are wish your reunion story appeared here? Wish no longer. Send return visits, we must be your report/story, long or short, and include details, please! sharing information that We edit everything we use to fit our limited space. Select With every issue we have to cut pictures we helps you plan your high-resolution pictures that illustrate your words. We will really like. Well, I didn’t want to cut this one! reunion. If not, please This is Isaiah Coe (90) and his infant acknowledge receipt of your report, but you may not hear from great-grandniece Laia Black, the oldest and speak up! us again until months later when the issue is in production. youngest at the “Coe Family Coennection.” Happy reunion We will answer questions and clarify details. We look forward planning and reunion season 2017! EW to reading your reunion story. VOL 26 NO 2 $5/USA

Reunion Planners Notebook


Get together steps away from our bustling downtown, any time of year

With welcoming weather year-round and plenty to do, Wilmington is more than a great spot for reunions – it’s a destination. You’ll find venues ranging from historic homes or coastal cottages to event spaces set along our scenic riverfront, while beaches beckon nearby. Book off-season for the best savings, and see where the water takes you. | 800.650.9064


alum & I

1st annual Bunche Elementary School reunion


Facebook post led to the 1st Annual Bunche Elementary Alumni Reunion. With only two months, I followed the same process I would for a family reunion, since we were a close-knit family in the Bunche Community in Flint, Michigan. I contacted Evergreen Community Development Group, the new owners of the former Bunche School. They were excited and wanted to speak with Bunche Alumni about the new community hub. Next, I had to decide what kind of class reunion would span 45 years (1967-2012). I decided the easiest way to reconnect and bring former students, faculty and parent volunteers together would be a “Tailgate Reunion,” modeled after a football game tailgate party. The only fees would be the cost of t-shirts, because everyone would bring grills and tents, and just have fun. Instead of using a park that charged costly fees, we located all our activities on the former Bunche Community School property. Next, I invited Alumni to be on a committee. Once the committee was formed, I began researching school history. Ralph J. Bunche Community School had been named for Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche, a diplomat and humanitarian known for being a “peace keeper.” He was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1903. Bunche was the first colored person awarded a Nobel Peace Prize (1950), in recognition of his achievement in arranging a cease-fire between Israelis and Arabs. He was also the first African American to earn a PhD in Political Science from an American university. Bunche Community School opened in 1967 in Flint, Michigan. The school’s student population was predominantly African

American. It was important that the school photo and history be included in the reunion t-shirt design, but no one seemed to have a clear photo of Bunche Elementary prior to the front stained glass being vandalized. I overcame a few design obstacles and took my own photos of the school, and a t-shirt design artist was able to recreate my vision. Finally, I decided it would be fun to have an old schoolthemed Meet & Greet. If someone didn’t recognize a classmate they could blame it on the outfits and afro wigs! The Meet & Greet was like a big family reunion. No old school party would be complete without a “Soul Train Line.” On Reunion Tailgate Day, my vision unfolded before my eyes. I was so excited to be bringing together alumni, parents and teachers. But it was bittersweet because my mom – Linda Marie Malone – and so many other volunteer parents are no longer with us. To honor them, certificates were given to their surviving children by State Representative Sheldon Neely, also a Bunche alumn. Ralph J. Bunche Elementary School closed in 2012 after 45 years. But the Bunche community is very excited about what’s to come, “The Flint Development Center,” a key hub for community resources (much needed in our community). It took a lot of work, all accomplished in less than two months, but I was determined to make this first reunion a success. Everyone was happy and had a great time. What an awesome weekend. Reported by Francia Malone Talton, Flint, Michigan

A view from alumni who graduated 50 years ago by Margie Brown Whitnah


an Francisco, California’s, Lowell High has a unique tradition of inviting alumni from “milestone” reunion year classes to be recognized by the current graduating class at commencement. Participating alumni follow the graduation processional of current graduates. The number of Lowell alumni coming back to don black caps and gowns varies from year to year. Our Class of Spring 1966 of over 600 students entered Lowell in 1963 as sophomores at a time when San Francisco had 3-year public high schools. Eventually, freshmen were added, creating 4-year high schools. On graduation day in 2016, the Civic Center Plaza was a vibrant sea of purplegowned groups of Galileo High graduates, whose graduation ceremonies preceded ours. Soon Lowell graduates, wearing cardinal red caps and gowns, began arriving and lined up for the commencement ceremonies. Lowell alumni from the milestone classes arrived in street clothes, and donned loaned black caps and gowns for the ceremonies. There were six classmates from our Class of Spring 1966. An alumna proudly


Back row (l to r) Bert Bergstrom, Ed Tang, Carole Neal. Front row (l to r) Irene Dea Gee, Margie Brown Whitnah, Joyce Garabedian August.

carrying her own “Class of 1941” sign led all alumni class contingents in the processional. We looked dignified, complete with classy “Lowell High” medallions around our necks. As Pomp and Circumstance echoed, the young graduates filed into the auditorium. Yet, surprisingly, the students’ bright eyes, smiles and applause were directed toward us. It was very moving. The students’ faces were so full of life, or maybe just awestruck that old alumni cared enough to come celebrate their graduation.

The Lowell commencement program seemed much more spirited and personal than my vague recollection of our own graduation or even our own children’s high school graduations in the 1990s. Principal Andrew Ishibashi gave a warm welcome speech, and his care for students was evident during his conferring of diplomas. Besides handshakes, there were lots of hugs, stylized walks across the stage, and even a cartwheel by one student. Reported by Margie Brown Whitnah, San Carlos, California.

alum & I

And then there was the 50th anniversary reunion by Carole E. Neal


e were San Francisco, California’s Lowell High School graduating Class of Spring 1966. The reunion theme of “Route 66 – The Journey Continues” reflected our 40-year class reunion theme in 2006 “Route 66 – The Journey of Our Lives.” We had a graduating class of 654, of which only about 37 or 38 were African Americans. I was on the “Missing Classmates” subcommittee and worked with three others to try to locate classmates for whom the Lowell Alumni Association had no contact information. I also wanted to encourage more of the black students to attend the reunion. In September 1963 – oh so long ago – we had entered Lowell High School’s new campus in the Sunset District of San Francisco as sophomores. Little did we know that we would bear witness to history just two months later, November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy’s life was cut short.


Now, as 67- and 68-year-olds, 160 classmates and guests gathered with excitement and great anticipation for our 50-year Class Reunion weekend. On Friday afternoon, a group met for a pre-reunion tour of the school. There was an initial meet and greet with the current principal, Andrew Ishibashi, who talked about Lowell today. THE MAIN EVENT

On Saturday evening, October 1, 2016, we gathered at the historic Elks Lodge inside the Kensington Park Hotel just off Union Square. At the check-in table, attendees received a goodie envelope that contained the alum’s name badge, senior yearbook picture and current residence city and state, the evening program, a card to be used for collecting classmate contact information and another to use in sharing a Lowell memory for the Memory Book, a sheet containing the lyrics of the Lowell fight song and the Lowell Hymn, information about the Class of 1966 Legacy Campaign, and a form for ordering the group photo as well as a CD of candid shots and the Memory Book. Attendees were directed to the photographer for individual or couple portraits to be included in the Memory Book. There was also a photo booth. In the main ballroom, the DJ played music from the ’60s. Food stations 8 REUNIONS v

representing different San Francisco neighborhoods were set up around the perimeter of the room. There was much excitement as classmates re-connected with friends, snapped pictures and had fun on the dance floor – doing dances from the past as well as more recent dances such as The Cuban Shuffle, The Wobble and The Electric Slide. Memorabilia were displayed on raised screens. Lowell’s school colors of red and white were prominently incorporated into decorations. Each table had a centerpiece of a ’60s sports car and four or five walletsized senior yearbook photos. Classmates who had passed away were remembered as their names and senior yearbook pictures streamed on the overhead screens. Two teachers attended and were acknowledged during the evening program. Some who had been Yell Leaders and Song Girls were called to do the “Give ‘Em the Axe” chant, and lead everyone in singing The Lowell Hymn. During the evening, prizes were awarded to those who traveled farthest to the reunion, had the most children and grandchildren, had been married longest, and a few others. PLANNING

Planning for this milestone event had begun a year earlier, with Senior Class President Jim Darcey taking the lead. At that time, an online survey, solicitation for reunion planning committee members and list of missing classmates was sent to alums. In January, a “Save the Date” email was sent by the alumni association (LAA) including yearbook pictures of yell leaders, song girls, and a prom picture. In March, alums received a snail mail “Save the Date” postcard. In late spring, a formal snail mail invitation was sent. A second round occurred as contact information was found for missing classmates. The first in-person committee meeting was held in late November in San Francisco. The agenda included the venue and budget, theme, music, communication channels, decorations, memorabilia, features and printed program. A subcommittee was formed to find missing classmates using the Alumni Directory, social media, websites, public records databases, and a lot of “detective” work. Other subcommittees worked on formal invitation (design, printing), Name Badges, Photo Booth and Music/DJ. (On the website, we could submit three suggestions of songs from our high school years to be played at the reunion.)


Classmates Ed Tang and Irene Dea Gee took on the monumental task of developing and maintaining the class website. A “Who’s Coming” page, updated regularly, listed names of people who had purchased tickets. Pages were set up for “Known Classmates,” “Missing Classmates,” and “In Memoriam,” with separate pages for information about the 50-year reunion, as well as information and photos from “Past Reunions and More.” The site included links where classmates could contact one another, provide information about missing classmates, or add a remembrance for a deceased classmate. Classmates were encouraged to reach out to promote reunion attendance. The In Memoriam page included names, senior pictures and links to obituaries and death notices. In addition to the class website, the reunion was promoted and publicized through posts on Facebook and periodic emails from the LAA; each of the email alerts contained yearbook pictures. BUDGET/FINANCE

There were two ticket purchase options: online (paypal) payments or by mail-in check accompanied by a reply card. Information from the reply card was used to update LAA contact information. VENUE/CATERER/AUDIO-VISUAL

Logistics were worked out for placing memorabilia and other set-ups, working with the caterer to develop the menu for food stations, tallying head count for the caterer, assessing audio-visual needs and capabilities of the venue. In addition to the mailings and email alerts, classmate and radio show host, Stephen Lovell invited Jim Darcey for an on-air interview to help promote the reunion. Note: you can hear the radio show on WRAP-UP

After a triumphant reunion, a follow-up email was sent. There was an online Evaluation Form for feedback and suggestions for future reunions, as well as information about receiving photo proofs, ordering keepsake items and creating a shared directory for keeping in touch with classmates. We discussed providing a Class of Spring 1966 Legacy Gift to the school and asked for help maintaining the class website. All in all, it truly was a weekend for the ages! Viewing the photos and other keepsakes will keep the memories alive for years to come. Visit Copyright © 2016 Carole E. Neal – all rights reserved

alum & I

Huber Hall dorm mates reunion


eptember 1972 was a time of tumultuous change in the US. Americans joined the world in mourning the loss of 11 Israeli athletes taken hostage and killed at the Munich Olympics. Controversial “Deep Throat” shocked moviegoers, and comedian George Carlin was arrested for reciting his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” The year to come would deliver even greater landmarks in history, from the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision and the end of the Vietnam War to the looming storm of Watergate and a presidential impeachment. Amidst these turbulent events, members of the bicentennial Class of ’76 tentatively arrived on the Gettysburg College campus to start their freshman year. Huber Hall – the school’s iconic dormitory (opened in 1917) – was home to some 100 freshmen women. Among many of the 40-plus residents of the third floor, friendships formed then would be maintained through the 44 years that followed. While many in the freshman class joined sororities, several of the “third-floor Huber girls” launched a renegade spinoff, “Sigma Epsilon Chi (∑EX).” This early step along the path less traveled was just one in the journeys of those Huber girls who forged careers in the non-profit world, formed their own companies, or established themselves in positions whose titles include manager, president, vice president, owner, founder, CFO, international analyst, commissioner, software programmer (even before it was “cool”), Olympic trainer, and “Hall of Famer.” Several went on to earn Master’s degrees and PhDs. On a Saturday in September 2016, this accomplished group topped off an afternoon of on- and off-campus excursions with a ∑EX “Recommitment Ceremony,” complete with updated t-shirts and pledge pins, in the Huber Hall lobby. Festivities were followed by a colossal pizza party and sharing of lives, then and now, through an updated version of the college “Pig Book” – the directory they received in September 1972 profiling their

The original ∑EX girls of Huber Hall in 1976.

freshman class. Special tributes were offered in memory of three beloved floor mates who had died. Attendees announced their group gift to Gettysburg College, honoring the “Class of ’76 Huber Hall Freshman Reunion,” counted as part of the larger 40th reunion gift from the Class of ’76. Sunday, the reunited Huber gals were joined by several of their former professors for brunch at a classic gathering point: the college dining hall. Reported by Sue Carrington, Alexandria, Virginia

Huber Hall 40th reunion


alum & I

Planning Morse High School 50th celebration

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 • Family style restaurant and cocktail lounge • Non-smoking and disabled access rooms • 9-hole putting course, exercise room • Free airport transfers • Parking fee waived • Kids eat and stay free program


e have a reunion planning committee of 16 honest, dedicated and responsible volunteers. We have remained friends since high school, and we trust and respect one another. I am the reunion chair. My co-chair is also the main chair for our picnic. Another member does all the banking. My co-chair sends out an annual flyer that covers all our activities for alumni. Reunions are promoted on Facebook, emails, and at VFW events. One of our committee members is a local VFW post commander. His VFW also hosts reunion gatherings from time to time. We do presale pricing and ask for donations. Committee members donate time, money and resources. Our biggest challenge, which I’m sure is not uncommon, is finding classmates and validating those who have reportedly passed away.

Our reunion events typically include a golf event, a dinner-dance, and picnics. We have big, formal, week-long reunions every 10 years. Oue 40-year reunion was aboard a Bahia Belle boat cruise. One of our committee members attended a conference at the Crowne Plaza in San Diego, California, and found the rooms good and the convention meal excellent for the price. So we selected the Crowne Plaza as the site for our Morse High School 50-year reunion. Shared by Vicki Nyi, Torrance, California

Another Wisconsin reunion in California! Special Reunion Features • Complimentary one-night stay for reunion planner with site inspection • Complimentary hospitality suite • 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: • 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

T WEB PAGE: CALL: 414.263.4567 FAX: 414.263.6331 E-MAIL: WRITE: PO Box 11727 Milwaukee, WI 53211-0727 10 REUNIONS v

he Horlick-West Alumni Club held its 16th annual reunion in Escondido, California. That doesn’t sound unusual until you realize that the members all graduated from William Horlick High School in Racine, Wisconsin – 2,000 miles away. The group got started when six Horlick Class of 1945 graduates, living in various southern California cities, could not make it back to their 55th reunion. So, in 2001 they held their own reunion in La Jolla, California. It was so enjoyable that they decided to do it every year since, and they now invite Horlick alums from every class. Attendance varies, as they meet in a different city each year – except in 2008, when they took a week-long Mexican Riviera cruise. Reunions have lured a few alumni from Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arizona, Oregon, Indiana, and this year one from Florida. Attendance has ranged from six to 52, and has included graduates from the years 1937 to 1986. Shared by James E. Bie, Palm Desert, California

There’s something familiar about Plano. Maybe it’s that famous Texas hospitality. Or maybe there’s so much to do here, you just want to stay longer. And who could blame you? With over 5,100 hotel rooms, you have a wide variety of accommodations. We have a bustling nightlife, a fabulous restaurant scene, incredible shopping,


and we’re just 20 minutes from the entertainment and dining meccas of Dallas and Fort Worth. So for your next getaway, get connected in Plano.

People Connect Here. 1-800-81-plano •

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1/21/16 4:32 PM


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


alum & I

echaritable reunions Classmates place headstone to honor friend


he US and US Marine Corps flags were presented during a ceremony to honor Marine Corps Cpl. Gerald W. Conner, of Colts Neck, New Jersey, killed in action in Vietnam in 1968. Members of the combined Class of 1965 at Freehold Regional High School and Southern Freehold Regional High School placed a headstone at Conner’s grave during their 50-year reunion weekend. Classmates raised $3,000 for the headstone and arranged for a military ceremony at the St. Rose of Lima Cemetery, Freehold Township. According to Harry Carter, an Air Force Vietnam veteran, Cpl. Gerry Conner was the crew chief on a flight from HMM- 364, MAG-36, 1st Marine Air Wing. His aircraft was shot down while on a medical evacuation mission near Hue City, Vietnam, during the Tet Offensive in 1968. From an article by Clare Marie Celano in the News Transcript, Freehold, New Jersey

Time is running out!

Class of 1965 donates 10 scholarships


t the time of Racine, Wisconsin’s, Park High School Class of 1965 reunion, scholarship fundraising efforts had raised enough money to underwrite five individual $1,965 college scholarships for Park High School seniors. But when committee members computed the final tally after all of the event bills had been paid, they discovered they actually had enough to fund 10 scholarships! Class member Barb (Kemnitz) Salvo said that one of the most fun experiences she’s ever had was handing the check (for close to $20,000) to school counselor Wendy Saber. The idea to raise money for scholarships was inspired by the class reaching their milestone 50-year reunion. They always kept leftover cash from reunions in a checking account, and the committee decided that anything left over from the 50th would go to a scholarship fund. They hoped to raise at least $1,000 for one scholarship, and asked everyone to “round up” their reunion fee by $20 (or more) for the scholarship fund. They raised $4,225 and were so encouraged that they added a silent auction ($4,570) and a 50/50 raffle ($670). Scholarship fever was contagious! Three classmates each donated a full scholarship, and many others – including some who couldn’t attend the reunion – sent donations, bringing in thousands more. And when all of the donations from the 50-year reunion were added to the money in the 40-year reunion account, they had enough for 10 scholarships. The class designated that four scholarships go to seniors planning to study specific fields in college: one business major, one engineering/math major and two students attending technical colleges (one in the automotive program). The other six scholarships have no restrictions. Recipients were chosen by the Washington Park Scholarship committee. Class of 1965 members made scholarship presentations at graduation. More about Park High School’s Class of 1965: From a story by Lee B. Roberts in the Journal Times, Racine, Wisconsin

Petway Family Reunion

Cards from Etsy section_id=12722139

Our reunion won’t be the same without you.!

When time is running out and your members need a reminder, our postcards are available for you to fill out or we can do it for you!

Details @ reunionsmagazine! 12 REUNIONS v


he 2016 Petway Family Reunion took place at the Clayton County International Beach Park in Jonesboro, Georgia, in the Aruba Pavilion, an awesome reunion venue. Petway Family originated in Nashville, Tennessee. Shared by Dawn Petway, Conyers, Georgia

Reunion Planners Notebook

We’ve got you covered! Just a beginner? Or a veteran reunion planner who needs a push?

VOL 26 NO 2 $5/USA

You need Reunion Planners Notebook! Order your copy ($5) on Etsy.

Family Registration Reunion Form

Family Reunion Registration Form

Reunion Name _________________________________________________________________ Reunion Date(s) ________________________________________________________________ Contact ______________________________________________________________________

Reunion Planners Notebook is also on ISSUU. Follow planning steps where you can connect directly to online resources associated with steps you’re reading about. Click on a button and go right to the answers to your questions!

Who will be attending the reunion? First/middle/nickname ___________________________________________________________ Last name _____________________________________________________________________ Address ______________________________________________________________________ City State Zip __________________________________________________________________ Phone ________________________________________________________________________ Email ________________________________________________________________________ Facebook _____________________________________________________________________ Birthdate _____________________________________________________________________

See video explanation @!

Which branch of the family _______________________________________________________

When you’re ready to implement your reunion plans, you can print all the forms illustrated in Reunion Planners Notebook for free OR we’ll print them for you ($10) OR order fillable computer forms ($25) you can personalize and email to your members.

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Order Notebook or planning forms from Etsy or call 414-263-4567.

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branch office

Reunion is a promise kept


onnie Harris-Graham started her family search and reunions as a promise to her mother, Estella Mae Jolly, to do research for her mother, Rilla Anna Williamson-Jolly. The first annual Jolly Family Reunion – subtitled “Together At Last” – took place in 1994 in Topeka, Kansas when many Jolly elders were still alive. Bonnie needed the elders’ knowledge, memories and guidance. What better place to start? The reunion was the best way to gain insight and information to start a family history search. Most members at this reunion were immediate family and aunts and uncles. Bonnie spent time with all of them during the reunion asking questions, listening to stories, and laughing. She documented what she could. Subsequent reunions (every two years) grew bigger. More family, more stories, missing pieces connected: the history of Kansas, John Brown, the Trail of Tears. Bonnie said: I knew the history of slavery, studied slave migration, and learned my

Jolly Family Reunion t-shirt

Jolly Family group at visit to Nash Farm.

grandparents were not from Kansas but from Livingston, Alabama. The family barely spoke of having Southern roots. I posted “Kansans desperately seeking ‘Jolly’ descendants!” on every genealogy website I could find. Success! Finding lost family wasn’t easy. Painful at times. Going over “Chattel” documentation almost did me in. I had to stop my search for a while. However, it was well worth the tears, effort, long nights and time. Family members we found enabled me to deliver the promise

Family is a precious gift and we believe, due to circumstances out of our ancestors’ control, that some of our family is missing from our lives. We desperately want to find the rest of our family so we can be whole. Samuel S. Jolly and Rilla Anna

I made to my mother to “find the family your Grandpa and Grandma Jolly left behind when they came to Kansas. They are your family, too.” From all over the US came emails and stories from blood relatives and some who were not. Spouses like Frances, wife of Grant Jolly of Orlando, Florida, knew that even though he had changed his last name, his story was ours. And Karon Tanner, who researched Livingston, Alabama, area graveyards and sent information. She just wanted to help. Incredible!

Williamson, our grandparents, were married on December 24, 1896, in Circleville, Kansas when my grandfather came to Netawaka, Kansas to break horses. If you believe you are related to this Jolly Family, contact Bonnie Harris-Graham,

Are you a Brundage-Bundridge-Bundrage-Bundrige-Bundage?


am planning my first family reunion in New York City. I’ve always been interested in family history, and getting to know my relatives. I am an only child and know very few relatives. So I decided to go on and do a little research about my family. I was surprised at what I found. My great-great-great grandparents had between 13 and 16 children, and one of their sons – my great-great grandfather – had between 12 and 15 children. I also learned that some of my close relatives spelled their last name differently. For example, in census records my great-great-great grandfather’s name is Bryant Brundage-Bryant Bundridge and I found relatives using different surnames. We are 14 REUNIONS v

the same family, and all of us pronounce the name the same way; however, we have different spellings. I even found relatives living directly across the street from me. The name of our group on Facebook is NYC Brundage/B Family Reunion. I reached out to relatives with similar but different surnames and explained that we are related. When they did their own research, they confirmed my findings. I asked other relatives to research their family trees and I already connected the dots with relatives I’ve never met. This is why this family reunion is so special to me. It will be the introduction to a new beginning. Shared by Anna Brundage, Brooklyn, New York

branch office

Family reunions help make connections


y father’s ancestors came to the New World from Northern Ireland to own and farm the fertile land. My father and his older sister started our family reunions in 1975 in Newberry, South Carolina. They were two of seven siblings who reached adulthood. My two daughters and I attended most of the reunions beginning in 1975, using the occasion as a summer vacation. We were the family who traveled the farthest. Although our first two reunions were joyous, within months after the 1976 reunion we lost two family members. My father died peacefully right before Thanksgiving. Six months later, we lost his older sister. We believe she died of heartbreak: my father had called her almost every day to tell her he loved her. Our family continued its annual gatherings of food, family, friends and fellowship. The reunion site eventually moved to the fellowship hall of New Hope Methodist Church in Newberry County, where many of my ancestors are buried in the church graveyard. The date was changed to the last Sunday in July so children in college could attend. Descendants of my grandfather’s adult brothers and sisters joined our group and started a genealogy chart. Their first effort was drawn from census records, wills and tombstone readings. But it omitted a whole generation: the first ancestors born on America soil confused things with too many Johns, Jameses and Janes.

After I moved back “home” and attended the family reunion in 1995, my brother and I really focused on genealogy started by other family members. We had our father’s ancestral research documents, and tried to track down that missing generation; we visited cemeteries, talked to our cousins and located the family Bible. Reunions are such a wonderful experience, finding missing links and connecting dots. The most important discovery for us was a simple family cemetery in the Sumter National Forest, consisting of about seven tombstones, including the grave of the first Crooks immigrant to the New World, John William Crooks (1762-1842) and his family (and possibly two slaves). Every summer, we honored family

members who had left us. In 1997, at our 22nd reunion, my first cousin Joe Crooks and I remembered two ancestors who died during war, one in France and one in Georgia, both young and unmarried. Joe shared the US flag and commendation letter – signed by Gen. John J. Pershing – to our grandparents for our uncle, Otis Lawton Crooks, who died in France during World War I. I had found the military profile of Lewis Taplow “Tap” Crooks, a member of the Confederate Army, killed in the Civil War Battle of Chickamauga in 1863. It is so rewarding when you find pieces of the family puzzle. From a monthly column by Jane Crooks Britt for Prime Time in the Florida TimesUnion, Jacksonville, Florida.

Ancestry collection suggestions


earbooks, alumni lists, and other school records contain rich details about people in your family tree. Yearbooks typically include individual photographs, as well as pictures of activities, groups and school events. Some yearbooks provide insights into student and faculty personalities with quotes and comments. SEARCH TIPS

To locate yearbooks and student lists, search for your ancestor’s name, or enter the state or town where they attended school in the “Lived in” field of the search box. If you know the name of the school, enter it in the keyword field. US School Yearbooks Collection has the largest number of US yearbooks. Some yearbook indices include every mention of a student’s name, even in group photo captions and organization membership lists. Also look for photos of teachers in the family in high school and university yearbooks.

“Coe Family Coennection”


he Coe Family Reunion 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia, was a great success. 200 family members gathered to celebrate

family heritage and strengthen bonds. There is a poll on the “Coe Family Coennection” Facebook page about where

to go for the next reunion in 2018, and right now Florida is winning. Shared by Carolyn Poole, Darlington, South Carolina 2017 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 15


Powell Moody Family Reunion


he Powell Moody family held its biennial gathering in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Hyatt Place, Atlanta/Buckhead, with free breakfast, free parking and free shuttle service within a two-mile radius. They hired a 35-passenger minibus from Atlantic Limousine and Transportation for Friday evening and Saturday. Their Friday Meet & Greet was at Riverside EpiCenter in Austell, Georgia, where there was bowling, rock climbing, unlimited video arcade, food, a slideshow and music. Saturday afternoon they toured the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site, and enjoyed a banquet and program that evening at Martin Luther King Sr. Community Resources Complex at Ebenezer Baptist Church on the MLK Historic Site. On Sunday, they celebrated at a Prayer Breakfast at the hotel, and in the afternoon enjoyed an Atlanta Braves vs. Phillies baseball game at Turner Field. From a report by the Atlanta Powell Moody Reunion Committee: Marinda Harris, Leatricia Leslie, Bronwyn Gunn, Allison Bell, Latasha Seawell and Harold Harris

At an Atlanta Braves game. Top row (L-R) Lawrence Mungo (16), Priscilla Hunt, Wayne Hunt, Sr., Elaine Hunt and Ashley Hunt. Bottom row (L-R) Amari Mungo (11), Mariyah Hunt (4), Tahlya Mungo (4), Wayne Hunt, Jr. (5) and Breyana Hunt (7).

Powell Moody Family Reunion

Bonfire and Reunion Playlist


he first night of our reunion, we have a bonfire on the beach. We make s’mores and go around the circle and share our favorite moment from the past year. At the bonfire, the “Reunion Playlist” is always unveiled. Before the reunion, each person (adults and kids) submit their favorite song from the past year to reunion leaders (or a designated music chairperson). They make a playlist that includes everything from country to techno to classical to folk – great for learning to appreciate things outside the music we usually listen to. We play each song and everyone has to try to guess whose it is. If there’s a reason they chose the song, they can share that. Then, throughout the reunion, we keep the playlist going, playing, dancing and cooking to everyone’s favorite songs. Throughout the year following the reunion, the playlist is something fun to listen to in the car or around the house, reminding us of all the people we love. We’re all really into music so this really works for us. From Saren Eyre Loosli, Las Vegas, Nevada, CO-founder of Power of Moms website. 16 REUNIONS v

Lewis Family Olympics


took a poll on our family Facebook group page about a theme for our reunion. In the spirit of the 2016 Summer Olympics, we decided to have a Lewis Summer Olympics theme. We created the event, and I began providing posts to excite families about the event, which was only months away. As I built silly family hype, I approached branches that have grown from the original 14 Lewis children. I reached out to one member from each branch and asked if they would be a sponsor for our Olympics. “Dear Aunt Sandy, In 2016, the Lewis Summer Olympics takes place. Would you like to sponsor an event? There are three sponsorships. Bronze sponsorship is $50.00, silver sponsorship is $75.00, and gold is $100.00. A sponsorship provides funds for new games for future generations. Each sponsorship is recognized with a certificate of appreciation, and a prize for winner(s) of our competition. There is no obligation; again, it is a contribution towards games and memories of our future generations.” We received $1,500 dollars in sponsorships that went toward games and tchotchkes. Each person who was contacted graciously provided money towards a sponsorship. Shared by Robbin Nesbitt, Mountain Top, Pennsylvania

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Neal Family visits National Civil Rights Museum


arole Neal, Castro Valley, California, shared her post on the African American Genealogy Society of Northern California’s mail list. “The Neal Family Reunion visited the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, Tennessee, on the site of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated. The museum chronicles key episodes of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as examining current global civil and human rights issues. Founders Park, alongside the museum, contains civil rights banners that display photos from the movement. There are videos on listening posts in the courtyard that give visitors an overview of the museum’s history and why Dr. King came to Memphis. “The tour is self-guided. The museum opened in 1991, and underwent a major renovation in 2014. I was quite impressed with the many exhibits and various information, including original video footage. “The museum [consists of] two buildings. The main building is built around the original Lorraine Motel. Dr. King stayed in Room 306, that is staged just as it was when Dr. King stayed there. Other exhibits include a bus you can board from the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott and a torched/burned Greyhound bus that carried Freedom Riders. “The Legacy Building, across the street, encompasses the Main Street Rooming House where James Earl Ray fired the fatal shot. This portion of the museum houses legal documents pertaining to investigations surrounding Dr. King’s assassination. “If you ever are in Memphis, I definitely recommend you visit this museum.”



40th Bryant meeting


uly 2016 marked the 40th consecutive year of Joseph and Eva Bryant descendants reuniting. The spirit of the occasion was beautiful. The Bryant family rotates reunions among areas that the majority of family members call home. The very first reunion was in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Reunions also are held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Maryland; and the Sylvania/Savannah, Georgia, area where Joseph and Eva bore and raised 10 children. This was the first time the reunion was held in Virginia, in Herndon. It was the Maryland committee’s year to hold the reunion, and when searching for venues, we got a great rate at the Crowne Plaza Dulles Hotel in Herndon, Virginia. The location was very convenient for getting around in an area where there was so much to do. A list of activities was suggested, including the Leesburg Outlet, The Dulles Town Center (mall), The Air and Space Museum, Chantilly, and Roer’s Safari in Reston. An AMC Movie Theater Doye and Emily Thomas in was across 40th anniversary t-shirts. the street from the hotel. The hotel shuttled us to the Silver Line Metro station to go into Washington, DC, and a group of us visited the Winery at Bull Run. Our program is pretty much the same each year: Friday night meet-and-greet, Saturday on your own and evening banquet, Sunday morning breakfast and departure. We implemented a few new ideas The t-shirt graphic was also screened onto that worked within our budget sugar cookies as a favor for all to take home and fit our theme, “Remembering (or eat). We also had black and silver pens and Rejoicing.” inscribed with the theme for favors.

During the meet-and-greet, a “Family (friendly) Feud” gave everyone the opportunity to participate. The game was a hit, brought family members together, and was a great kick-off for the weekend. The Family Feud television game show debuted in

Everyone was asked to wear black, white, silver or gray for the banquet. It was a beautiful vision to see the array around the room. In black and gray: (top) James Bryant, (left) CarLa Bryant, (right), Ila Bryant-Thomas, and (seated) their mother, Doris Bryant.

1976, 40 years ago! How appropriate. A commemorative t-shirt marked our 40th year. The graphic was of a group of black people gathered in rows. The image was reminiscent of our “Bryant Family Choir.” The evening was celebrated with a slide show of 40 years of reunion photos accompanied by music, remembering, and rejoicing about the family and this 40-year occasion. It was bittersweet remembering Carolyn Bondurant and (clockwise) Jayla Harris those who are no longer with (7), Jasmine Harris (4), Elias Sheilds (3) and Jesse Harris, Jr. (9). us, while celebrating how far we’ve come and looking at the future through our littlest and newest members. Another highlight of the evening was an official greeting from President Barak Obama from the White House to the Bryant family. We took a couple of recommendations from the Reunion Planning Workshop I attended in Fairfax, Virginia, and from Reunions magazine. On Sunday before departing, we had our very first, brief, 30-minute reunion meeting after breakfast; this proved to be insightful and put us in position for planning and producing many more wonderful reunions together. While there are so many ways to fashion a reunion, one thing to keep in focus is the unique personality of your family. Highlighting those aspects really helps the family know who they are and what they stand for. The Bryant family choir accepts anyone who wants to participant, and is directed by our cousin Roosevelt Bryant, Jr., of Georgia. This choir is Reported by CarLa Bryant, impromptu. Once called to the floor, participants from every region, first-timers and veterans, young and old, men and women, arrange themselves by their vocal range to form the choir. The director names the gospel song, and everyone follows. No instruments or cover music. Impressive! Centerville, Virginia 2017 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 19



he Jenkins Scott Family Reunion in Richmond, Virginia, was absolutely AWESOME “We received lots of free giveaways from Visit Richmond, Greater Richmond Convention Center, and The Richmond Visitor Center, including gift bags, lip balms, tour magazines, stickers, buttons and more. … The experience was awesome and the support was pouring out to us!!! WE LOVE RICHMOND, VIRGINIA.” Enthusiastically shared by Miss Sondra Jenkins, Brooklyn, New York

Jenkins Scott 2016 Committee: Sondra Jenkins, Shirley Jenkins and Asalee Jenkins.

The Children: Shealyndra Jenkins-Williams, Ethan Rogers, Tristan Martin and Serenity Screen.

The Jenkins Scott Family Reunion


he Crawford Family Reunion celebrated 30 years in New Orleans, Louisiana, birthplace of the reunion in 1986. The reunion colors were purple, green and gold to represent New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, and the theme was “Rejoicing with Family.” We had umbrellas made to represent the famous New Orleans 20 REUNIONS v

tradition of the Second Line Dance with brass band. CAKE EXPLANATION

The photos on the cake are (top) my grandfather (Edward “Pop” Crawford, Sr.) and grandmother (Ellen “Neen” Crawford) from the Choctaw Indian tribe, both born

in the late 1800s. At the bottom of the cake are my great-grandfather (Henry “Big Papa” Crawford) and my greatgrandmother (Margaret “Big Mama” Crawford). Both of my great-grandparents were born during the era of slavery. Shared by Wonda L. Crawford, New Orleans, Louisiana

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Miller and Gennie Reed 50th Reunion Anniversary


he Miller and Gennie Reed 50th Reunion Anniversary Weekend theme was a luau, with yellow the primary color – signifying intellectualism, optimism, cheer, joy, happiness and positive energy. The motto was “Focusing on the Family Foundation through History and Heritage.” Reunion weekend began with a Meet & Greet Dinner at Hampton Inn Hotel in Farmville, Virginia. Family members received welcome bags which included welcome booklets, t-shirts, tropical pencils, local attraction brochures and more. John Brown welcomed the family with a beautiful poem by Dr. Maya Angelou. Family members introduced themselves with a short bio that included one unknown interesting fact. There was a 50/50 raffle ticket scavenger hunt. The family enjoyed a game of MGR Family Bingo. Door prizes were given throughout the evening. Saturday family gathered for a Chat & Chew Family Business meeting where we discussed all facets of the family reunion. The Chat & Chew concluded with a pen pal activity. Members drew names and wrote that person a short inspirational note. Notes are mailed throughout the year. The main event, The Luau Cookout, was in Meherrin, Virginia, at a private rental pool and clubhouse property. As family checked in, they were given colorful gift bags with luau-themed souvenirs, including a Reed Family Survival Kit. We were welcomed by Dr. Odessa Pride of the Hampden Sydney District. A luau-themed egg hunt for adults and children, swimming and a game of musical chairs kicked off

Memorial table

the main event. The program included introductions, a family portrait history, graduate and military acknowledgements, a candlelit bio reading memorial and more. The guest speaker, Reverend Vincent Eanes, spoke about being a Christian Family and

“The Price is Right” is a fruitful reunion activity!


s a family reunion activity, Pammy Cummings of Muskegon, Michigan, attended the popular daytime game show “The Price is Right” with 22 family members. Cummings was the first person called to “Come on down,” and by the end of the show she had won a Chevy Cruze, a trip to a resort and spa in San Diego, $2,500 in cash, and a luxury massage chair. “It was just fun,” she said of her TV debut. “It was exhilarating, exciting, just you know, great. I had a ball. If I could go again, I would do it in a second.” “The Price is Right,” created in 1956, was revamped in 1972, making it the longest-running game show on television. From a story by Brandon Champion for MLive Muskegon Chronicle, Muskegon, Michigan 22 REUNIONS v

the Importance of Family Heritage. A huge luau-themed buffet was served. Members also enjoyed an auction with great prizes, a 50/50 raffle, several gift basket drawings and scratch off raffles for door prizes. The evening concluded with a pool party, where a colorful waterfall and lighted palm trees lit up the night. Family enjoyed dancing, freestyle karaoke and limbo. Sunday morning we gathered at the cemetery of The New Hope Baptist Church in Keysville, Virginia, to honor and remember ancestors. It was followed by a wonderful homecoming service and fellowship brunch. The evening concluded with a spontaneous birthday celebration for Emma Carey, who was turning 92 years old and is the eldest member of the Reed Family. From Charmeka Barksdale, Farmville, Virginia

Miller and Gennie Reed Family Reunion.

The gift of family history hat better time to learn about family roots than when you’re W gathered together in celebration. Researching family history or exploring ethnic roots no longer requires hours of library visits,

interviews and public records inquiries. You can use new technology (mobile apps, social media) and even affordable DNA tests to find family stories you may not have known about. • Start with what you know. Using, or the Ancestry app, enter what you know into your family tree. Upload photos. • Take a DNA test to determine your ethnic breakdown. • Chat about family history with relatives. Record interviews, take detailed notes, and ask to see photo albums and heirlooms. • Share your findings at the family reunion for a better understanding of your collective heritage. • Consider making a calendar, book, poster or other gift of your findings. From the El Dorado Springs Sun, El Dorado, Missouri


Harrison Centennial Reunion


The museum is a collection of artifacts from John and Nancy and their 11 children. The family museum was truly overwhelming. Methods for digitizing the museum are being evaluated.

escendants of John and Nancy Jane (Mayhew) Harrison gathered at the Heritage Hotel in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to celebrate their Centennial Family Reunion. The reunion, established in 1914, missed two meetings – one due to World War II rationing and one for a family funeral. The Harrison family has extensive historical roots dating to 1857 in Lancaster and Chester Counties in Pennsylvania. More than 100 members enjoyed a capstone banquet and a Harrison Family History museum on Saturday. The museum is a collection of artifacts from John and Nancy and their 11 children, including information about John’s mother, Mason, who was freed in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1840, as willed by Henry Harrison. There are also family reunion business meeting minutes from 1953 forward, videos from more than 25 family reunions, and legacy preservation items developed by the family in the last 15 years. Visit Shared by Barbara Wellons, Langhorne, Pennsylvania

An epic story of Italian immigrants

Following and achieving the American Dream


he 100th Sgaraglino, Bica and Bruno Family Reunion was held in Ravenna, Ohio. This gathering is a true and enduring celebration of the American dream. In 1916 these families of Italian immigrants followed work with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to Ravenna. They held their first family picnic on July 4th, 1916, as a symbol of gratitude to America and a celebration of their journey as they began their new lives. The picnic has been held every year since and serves as a reminder of their

family heritage, with many members traveling great distances and many more family names being added to the reunion roster. The story of this journey and this celebration that began with these three families is like those of so many other families with similar experiences, and serves as encouragement to those new immigrants choosing to follow the American Dream. Shared by Joseph J. Marchese, Sr., Latham, New York

Sgaraglino, Bica and Bruno Family Reunion


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Wooten Family Reunion


hanks for a place to report what we do. The descendants of Lewis and St. Annie Wooten started family reunions in 1959. The family is from Maysville, North Carolina, and the Black Swamp community. Reunions are held annually, and the 52nd Wooten Family Reunion was the latest. There were 10 children. A few sisters planned the first reunions, always in Maysville because the family was smaller and their mother was getting older. The sisters received help from members of various family lines as the reunion grew. For many years, the reunion was held at a local 4-H camp. Each family line took a year and at the end of each reunion, the torch was passed to the next family who volunteered to plan. Some family members have standing roles, such as historian and editor of the reunion book. After the matriarch passed, the reunion has been held in different locations, usually where the host family resides. Reunions moved up and down the east coast between North Carolina and Washington, DC, on the weekend before the 5th Sunday in June. We celebrated the milestone 40th reunion in Los Angeles, California, the farthest we had ever been. Over the last 10 years, we have established which family line was responsible for planning the reunion for each of the next 10 years. Instead of knowing just a year ahead, we now know exactly who will plan which reunion. We formed a joint committee, with a representative from each family, to plan the 50th, held in Greensboro, North Carolina. This year, the Frank Wooten line of the family chose New Bern, North Carolina, because this is where our line of the family was born and raised. Frank and Martha Wooten had only one child – a daughter – and she had four children. It is convenient to plan here because we are familiar with the city, vendors and facilities. This year’s reunion theme was “Shine Your Light of Love.” Reunion planning already has passed from one generation to the next. It was a natural transition as the children of the first generation grew up. The third generation, the great-grandchildren of Lewis and St. Annie, are now grown. My siblings and I are ages 35 – 48. We have enjoyed this tradition since birth, and we are now planning the reunions. We are starting to see differences between the reunions according to each family line’s style and creativity. Each committee is responsible for setting the budget, receiving and spending money, and keeping track of it all. Over the years, the breakdown of payment has changed from singles and families to each person – including young adults, teenagers and children – paying a certain amount. 26 REUNIONS v

We planned for extra special activities, and some were firsts. During free time on Saturday, members could choose an activity based on interest. As the family grows, we hope interests will draw members together. My great-grandfather Lewis Wooten built the family home where the children were raised. We planned golf, took a city trolley tour, and had a game truck and a play date for younger children to get to know their cousins. Entertainment during the weekend was provided by family members. Family talent was on display in a spoof on current popular TV shows. Two family members pretend to flip through channels, landing on various shows. Family members were asked to create two-minute live commercials to be performed throughout the weekend and the entertainment show. We have more than 200 family members. The basic reunion format is a Friday evening meet-and-greet/check-in, Saturday morning gathering and activity (tours, outdoor Olympic activities, parks, scavenger hunts and other creative activities) and a dinner. Sunday morning we gather for breakfast, followed by departure. Memorials for family members include moments of silence, candles on tables, and places in the reunion book. Reunion traditions include the three-day weekend, singing of the Negro Anthem Lift Every Voice and Sing, acknowledgement of births, engagements, graduations, retirements, other special accomplishments and welcome new family members. Many years ago, one member who writes songs wrote a song about our family to the tune of We Are the World. Over the years the song is sung during the reunion. We also have a reunion book from each year we’ve met. Each book cover was displayed in the margins of the 50th reunion book. The book is a tradition, and each family adds their own style; however, there are some standards. It includes the agenda, articles members submit that center on the reunion theme, contact information for each member, and a welcome letter from the host family. There have been extra special editions. At the 51st reunion, several members published a family history booklet and a synopsis for each of the previous 50 years of reunions. Souvenirs may or may not be included in the cost of reunion dues. Souvenirs have included t-shirts, hats, mugs, pens, a piggy bank, coasters, lapel pins, umbrellas, sun visors, lanyards and photo cards, coffee table books, family recipe cookbooks and more. The item that reflected this year’s theme, “Shine Your Light of Love,” was a book light or flashlight. A book signing at a local continued on page 27.


Family supports church repairs


artin Bash Smith chopped logs to help build a church in Philadelphia, Indiana. Through the generations, Smith’s descendants kept ties with the church he had helped to build. Recently, that continued connection resulted in family members donating repairs to help others to enjoy programs there. The Philadelphia United Methodist Church eventually built a new building, and the one for which Smith hewed logs became the Chapel in the Park Museum in Riley Park, in nearby Greenfield, Indiana. Smith’s descendants have been preservers of history, documenting their heritage and celebrating each year at a long-standing family reunion begun in 1896. At the 1974

This was the old Methodist Episcopal church in Philadelphia. It was built in 1856 and moved to Riley park in 1991. This view is looking south-southwest.

reunion, Smith’s granddaughter, Katie Duncan Marsh, shared notes about his years in Philadelphia — about the church and the logs. Though the building was moved from the community where Marsh had lived, the family’s ties to it continued. When the family gathered for its 100th reunion in 1996, the festivities included a service in the former church building. The building can be rented for parties, weddings, reunions and, yes, church services, though the primary gatherings happening there are the monthly meetings and programs of the Hancock County Historical Society. From an article by Anne Smith in the Greenfield Daily Reporter, Greenfield, Indiana

Thayers meet on Thayer Road at the Thayer Hotel!


he Thayer Families Association, incorporated in 1991 in Braintree, Massachusetts, celebrated its 25th Anniversary and Family Reunion at West Point, New York. “Somehow Cousin” Sylvanus Thayer is considered “Father of West Point,” and because all Thayers today are descendants of three Thayer boys from Thornbury, England, who settled in Braintree, we are all “somehow cousins.” The celebration included a “Meet-and Greet,” “Show and Share” related to genealogy, games and prizes, workshops, tours

of West Point and New York City, as well as meals at the Thayer Hotel at Thayer Gate on Thayer Road on the West Point Campus. Sylvanus Thayer was an early superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and an early advocate of engineering education. But he was more than the man who gave engineering to America and the Cadet Honor Code to West Point; he is a hero on the Thayer Family Tree! Shared by Marilyn Thayer, Mexico, New York; and St. Petersburg, Florida

Thayer Family Reunion

continued from page 26. bookstore was arranged for three family members from three generations who had published books recently. Communication throughout the year is by letter, website, email and/or Facebook to build excitement. We plan for inclusion of all members – elderly, singles and families with young children. The location must be easily accessible, and weekend locations must be within a short distance. It must be affordable so all members can come. Food must be accessible, and weather must not be an issue for activities. We have involved our youngest generation in planning. They checked out the playground and game truck, and suggested snacks. They report what they’re doing at reunion meetings. We assign specific tasks so they feel part of the planning. We have had

children’s craft time and a separate children’s room manned by the older teenagers and young adults. We share reunion pictures on our Shutterfly site, reunion website and Facebook, and through email. During the 50th reunion, a film crew taped the entire reunion as a part of a family documentary. A film crew from the arts council for the African American Music Trail project taped a family musical arranged and written by family member Earl G. Wooten; family members sang, acted and were extras. The documentary has been over 10 years in the making and will be produced by family member Martha S. Brown. Shared by Robin Harris, Durham, North Carolina 2017 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 27


McCauley Family Reunion


or 29 years the McCauley Family has gathered for annual reunions in July. The first was held in a local park, where each family brought a picnic basket loaded with all the wonderful foods that make a great reunion. Foods were placed on a large table and shared by all. The theme for the McCauley Reunion continues to be “We are proud of our Heritage.” The reunion has grown from one afternoon to a weekend. The McCauleys are descendants of William and Jenny McCauley, who were blessed with 14 children – seven boys and seven girls, reared on a 29-acre farm given to William by his father. Pictures of all but four of the children are displayed at the annual reunions with pictures of William and Jenny, a copy of whose marriage certificate from July 6, 1890, is included in Book Number One of The McCauley Family History. Many pictures and obituary programs are displayed during the weekend. We spend a lot of time perusing Family History Exhibits and asking questions. There is always someone at each exhibit to answer questions. Attendees are charged per-person for each event. Fees are based on the projected cost for the total event: hall rental, caterer, souvenir journal, food, postage, paper, envelopes, gifts, awards and door prizes. Income comes from the sale of Family History Books, as well as annual family calendars which indicate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and other special events; some income is

Reunions can keep family history alive


s American families evolve, gatherings that bring together multiple generations continue to be popular, but organizers say the events take planning and patience. From The Baltimore Sun


McCauley Family Reunion

out-of-pocket from committee members. Over 100 family members attend. Last year’s reunion was held at The American Legion Hall in Staunton, Virginia, which was previously an African American School for grades one through nine. Most family members attended the school until its closure after integration. Saturday’s events began at noon, with entertainment by family members. Registration began with signing the Guest Book. Each family received gift bags prepared and donated by Rev. Connie Crawford, a family friend. Hostesses shared name tags, souvenir journals and a family history edited by Reverends William and Jackie Mickey, who showed family videos of previous reunions during the evening. After dinner, there were get-acquainted games and Bingo, the really big game that appeals to everyone. For the first time in our history, another family had rented the same venue and hall for their reunion. We combined the reunions and “We Are Family” quickly became our theme for that day, as some were family through marriage anyway. Many from both families were from out of state. Old friendships were renewed and new friends met. It turned out to be a wonderful day of fun, food, fellowship and entertainment. Both families had a similar program, so they were combined into one large pro-

gram: an Opening Prayer, Welcome, the Family Creed, and a Memorial tribute with prayer, candle lighting and obituary acknowledgements. Awards honored the oldest male and female (whose biographies were read by each’s closest relative), pictures were taken and awards were presented. Each of the honorees were given Book Number One of the McCauley Family History and a pictorial Memory Cup. The program concluded with several raffles. Committee members surprised me for helping organize and plan our reunions for 29 years, keeping the Family together, keeping in touch with Family via e-mail, sending birthday and sympathy cards. There was also a special thank-you to Mary Ann Robinson for years of dedication, creativity, devotion and hard work. She is the spark that lights the flame for the McCauley History Book. The day ended with a delicious, catered, southern buffet meal and group pictures. We’ve had fun, love and shared memories galore. We have had many venues and many reunion themes. Our members are mostly seniors who love to spend time reminiscing. We work really hard to get them involved in anything other than board games. There are active games for younger family members. Shared by Thelma Newman, Staunton, Virginia


Fairley-Foskey Family Reunion


he Fairley-Foskey clan has celebrated seven great years of getting together. We may not be as many as others, but we have had a blessed time at each gathering. There is nothing like getting together with family, even if your parents are gone on to glory and you have only siblings. Spend every moment you can with them because you never know when it may be your last time getting together.

Flossie Lewis and Carl Foskey: Best Dress winners!

The most recent Fairley-Foskey Family Reunion was held in Philadelphia, Mississippi, with members from North Carolina, Maryland and Kentucky. We tried a four-day reunion this year, which worked out really well. We had a meetand-greet at my house on Thursday. Friday was a fish fry and Bingo at the Log Cabin

Darrell Family Reunion

in Northside Park. Our Western BBQ was Saturday at the Philadelphia-Neshoba County Senior Citizen Building in Northside Park, where everyone came dressed in their cowboy and cowgirl attire. We had lots of food, games and horses to ride. The next Fairley-Foskey Family Reunion will be in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. From Sandra Lyons, Philadelphia, Mississippi


he first Darrell Family Reunion was held in Georgia. A year earlier, our cousin passed away and we were told not to tell Uncle Otis, who was 75 years old and not doing well. But the family decided we better tell him and a week later he passed away. Uncle Otis was so big on family, we decided to have our family reunion in his honor. It was beautiful. We decided our second reunion will be five days aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship. Shared by Tonia Mack, Bronx, New York

Fairley-Foskey fish fry dancing.



Thomas Edward Fuller Family Reunion

First Thomas Edward Fuller Family Reunion in Batesville, Arkansas


uller cousins from all over the United States will gather again in June to celebrate our heritage in the Batesville, Arkansas, area. On Friday, we will meet at Blanchard Springs, Arkansas, for games and a family picnic, and to tour the beautiful Blanchard Springs Caverns. Saturday, we will meet in nearby Batesville for our banquet and program. Thomas Edward Fuller, born 1845 in New York, was the oldest son of John Henry Fuller and Mary Elizabeth Dean. The family migrated west to Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri, before settling in and around the Independence County, Arkansas region. Two years ago, over 150 cousins met in Batesville for our

first-ever family reunion, coming from as far away as Oregon, Maine and points in between. At the time of our reunion there were six living grandchildren of Thomas Edward Fuller, five of whom were in attendance. The sixth and oldest was unable to attend due to health issues. Thomas Edward Fuller died in 1900, so to have five of his living grandchildren at the reunion was really special. Not only were descendants in attendance, but several cousins who were descended from Thomas Edward’s siblings also attended. What was a one-day event two years ago, will become a two-day event in June. Shared by Terry Davis, Fort Smith, Arkansas

Family united at historic reunion


aspar Klupfel migrated from Germany to Australia with his family in 1855. Almost 160 years, later a trio of cousins from Australia visited the German hometown of their great-great grandfather, and by random chance met a distant relative. While the three cousins were at a pub in Wertheim, the woman behind the bar asked why they chose to visit the small town. When they shared the story about their great-great-grandfather, the woman asked other patrons if anyone knew any Klupfels. Someone did, and within the hour they were face-to-face with a distant relative, Udo Klupfel.


Decendants of Kaspar Klupfel, who immigrated to Australia with his family in 1855, gathered at Marburg for a huge family reunion. The event took more than two years to organize.

After 160 years, branches of the Klupfel family tree came together at the Marburg (Australia) Show Hall for the first time to celebrate their common heritage, with 140 family members attending. Udo traveled from Germany with his wife, Renate, son and granddaughter to attend the event. He brought gift bags full of souvenirs from Wertheim. In addition to organizing the reunion, family members produced a 100-page book filled with stories about the family’s history and photos. From a story by David Neilsen in The Queensland Times, Queensland, Australia



he Waldron Family Reunion, 140 strong, was held in Mechanicville, New York. Gloria Waldron Hulke gave a brief history of the Waldron Clan. Members attended from New York,


or the “Cousins by the Dozens� reunion in Aurora, Kentucky, arriving early was optional. Reunions average every two years in Kentucky or northern Alabama. Attendance was 112 cousins across four

Virginia, Colorado and Oregon, as well as Washington, DC, and Seattle, Washington. Shared by Carol Waldron, Saratoga Springs, New York

generations from nine states. And, if you cannot tell by the photo, we are IRISH. The unseasonable high temps and humidity hurt a bit, but we still had a full-blown carnival for the kids, games for adults, and

a variety show. Music was playing every day and karaoke was going strong all evenings. Shared by Michelle Gabel, Foley, Alabama Photo by cousin Dave Rudkin of Illinois

Griffin Family Reunion in Friars Point and Clarksdale, Mississippi. Shared by Jalessa Collins, Camp Pendleton, California. 2017 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 31

Most events are sponsored and presented by convention and visitors bureaus, take place on Saturdays and, for the most part, are for people planning reunions. All prefer or require advance reservations and most are free or at nominal cost. For information about new events as soon as we learn about them, visit and click on workshops, conferences and seminars.



Contact Skip Sander, 412-367-1376 |

Contact Dianne Lovett, 678-303-2635 |


Contact Jenny Collins, 229 317-4760 |

Roger Dudley, 614-222-6136



April 29, 2017 Contact 678-297-2811 | ATHENS, GEORGIA

Contact Athens CVB, 706-357-4430. ATLANTA, GEORGIA

404-521-6622 | AUGUSTA, GEORGIA

Contact “Cousin” Michelle, 706-823-6616 BALTIMORE, MARYLAND


2017 Reunion Planner Expo Contact Tara Walton, CTIS, 205-458-8000, ext 206 BRANSON, MISSOURI

13th Annual Military Reunion Planners Conference Aug 14-17, 2017 Contact Julie Peters, 417-243-2117 | CABARRUS COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA

Contact Carrie Hendrickson, 704-456-7969 |


February 18, March 25, May 20, June 17, August 19, September 16, October 14, November 18, 2017 Contact Penny Moore, Group Services Manager, 770-492-5018 | DETROIT, MICHIGAN

Contact DMCVB, 313-202-1985 | DOUGLASVILLE, GEORGIA

September 9, 2017 Contact Samantha Rosado, 678-449-3096 DUNWOODY, GEORGIA

Contact Sarah Steadman, 678-244-9804 | DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA

March 5, 2017 Contact Arie Bobbitt, National Sales Manager, 919-680-8311 FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA

February 18, 2017, 9th annual Speaker: Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact Dean Miller, 703-752-9509 | FLINT, MICHIGAN

Contact C. Jeff Bunn, 757-382-1352 |

Contact Courtney Irish, 810-600-1456




Contact Melinda Garritano, 847-278-3445

Contact: Victoria Matthews, 800-260-3646 | 540-372-1216 |



Contact Kristy Stevens, 708-895-8299

Heidi Schmitt, 800-678-9859 ext 3557



Contact Tangie Carter, 678-610-4242 register at

Contact Lindsay Burns, 864-953-2464




Contact Maurice Odoms, Family Reunion Expert, 770-814-6059

Contact Dennis Kemp, 770-206-1445



Contact Jennifer Williamson, 269-488-0057

Contact Kevin Flowers, 800-551-8682 |



August 20, 2017 (Sunday) Contact Jadeine Shives, 407-569-4855 |

Regional Roundtables & Educational Summit SEATTLE, WASHINGTON | April 3-May 4, 2017


RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA | October 10-14, 2017

Contact Kimberly Ghys, 800-Lake-Now |

PORTLAND, MAINE | October 22-26, 2017


LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY | June 25-27, 2017

Contact, Sharon Danitschek, 425-501-1430 |

February 18 & September 16, 2017 Contact Dallas Henson, 502-560-1487




Contact Niko Cook,

Contact 478-743-1074 |

MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA | February 12-17, 2017


SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS | April 2-6, 2017

Contact Andrea Moran, 888-493-7386 |

WATERLOO, IOWA | June 25-28, 2017


HERNDON, VIRGINIA (DC AREA) | August 17-20, 2017

Contact 678-216-0282 | ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA


PROVIDENCE/WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND | July 23-26, 2017 SAVANNAH, GEORGIA | November 6-9, 2017

Contact |

Fairfax, Virginia, Reunion Planning Workshop


Contact us for that adventure of a lifetime.

SYLVAN DALE GUEST RANCH Loveland, CO Discover your inner cowboy at Sylvan Dale Ranch! An easy hour from Denver, we offer comfy cabins, delicious food, over 3200 acres of riding trails, cattle drives, & more!


Shell, WY 650,000 acre working cattle & riding ranch located East of Yellowstone National Park. Professional riding experience visited by riders from around the world.





Kremmling, CO We host numerous family reunions & are told that it’s a great experience because “We can all be together in one location & have the freedom to do different things. Enjoy Latigo!


Durango, CO Fun, adventure, and breathtaking scenery await you – horseback riding, fly-fishing, rafting, shooting sports, hiking, children’s program, and more make this vacation one you’ll always remember.



Buena Vista, CO Unique for its spectacular location, horseback rides of unmatched beauty, variety of activities, superb menu & intimate capacity. Families encouraged to ride, raft and play together.



Tucson, AZ Tanque Verde Ranch is a premier, all–inclusive dude ranch in Tucson, AZ. The perfect blend of western adventure, solitude and luxury amenities.



Tucson, AZ Individually tailored horseback riding for all ages and levels of experience in beautiful mountain & desert country. Enjoy Arizona sunshine & curious Sonoran desert vegetation and birding.



Somes Bar, CA California’s original “saddle and paddle” dude ranch. Trail rides, rafting, arena challenges, shooting sports and fishing. Experience the adventure and legendary hospitality.



Gallatin Gateway, MT We are a family-oriented guest ranch with guests of all ages enjoying time with their friends, new and old, withoutsacrificing the very special feeling of shared family time.



Jackson, WY A place where you can disconnect from daily distractions and reconnect with family; a place where fun is abundant and there is something for everyone to enjoy.



Your California Dude Ranch Resort Since 1962.

Offering all-inclusive vacations that combine the simplicity of ranch life, great horseback riding programs, wonderful food & exciting activities.



Bridegeport, CA Bordering Yosemite National Park. Family owned & operated since 1861. All-inclusive stays feature horseback riding, great meals, cozy cabins, & activities for all ages.




Laramie, WY Located in the Snowy Range Mountains in Wyoming, the Vee Bar is fun for the whole family! Relax in our charming cabins after a day of riding, hiking, and fishing.

Tucson, AZ Live your Cowboy Dream as you reconnect with nature, family, friends and serenity. Ride through the unspoiled desert, rugged mountains and towering cactus.




Whitefish, MT An authentic Western vacation for all ages. Experience Montana at its finest with friendly staff, scrumptious food, diverse horseback riding, & wonderful accommodations.



Roswell, NM Working cattle/sheep ranch, offering good ranch horses, the perfect place to get the family together for some good ole fashioned fun! • 866-399-2339


reunion venues

Make yours a ranch reunion!


s the original all-inclusive destination for families, dude ranch reunions guarantee plenty of time to bond and spend time as a family, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy some of the most breathtaking areas in the US, with outdoor adventures such as rock climbing, cattle roping, horse-

back riding, zip lines, ATV riding or white water rafting. The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) can help you choose the perfect guest ranch for your reunion, with more than 100 DRAaccredited dude ranches in North America (two in Canada).

Hunewill Ranch Each year, families and friends travel from all over the US to spend time together at the Hunewill Ranch, in Bridgeport, California, in the Eastern Sierras near Yosemite National Park. The Gardner family is representative of many families who come to the Hunewill Ranch. They include grandpa and grandma, daughters and their husbands, grandchildren and their spouses, and a great-granddaughter. Family members live in New York, Colorado, Oregon and Nevada. The nice thing about a reunion on a guest ranch is that no one has to cook or clean or organize activities, which leaves more time to visit and be with one another. With daytime activities like horseback riding, hiking and fishing, and evening activities like roping practice, colt gentling, square dancing, campfire and sing-along, talent night, hay ride, all generations find something to do. Of course, if you come to the ranch and don’t want “something to do,” the peace combined with the beautiful scenery is enough to provide a rejuvenation of the soul. Families aren’t the only ones who enjoy ranch reunions. Lasting friendships are formed and guests often reserve the same stay each year so they can get together with the friends they have made at the ranch. “Adults Only Stays” are a reunion for singles and

“Colt gentling” includes a variety of ages at the Hunewill Ranch.

couples who met during previous visits. Hunewill Ranch’s “Big Fall Gather” and “Cattle Drive” consist of core groups who reunite year after year. Visit

Zapata Ranch

The McGough family has taken many trips together: Ireland, Hawaii, Turks and Caicos, just to mention a few. We’ve done many a family reunion that we all have liked But none got the raves that our trip to the Zapata Ranch received. From the oldest to the youngest, not a complaint But none was as fun or got the family as psyched was made. The riding trips through forest, field, sand and As our week at Zapata in the clean Colorado air stream hold so many wonderful memories for us, and that It would be hard to say whether it was the outstanding dinner fare was only a small part of our wonderful experience there. We had each night or how the staff went out of their way to make sure The staff went out of their way to accommodate all that we wished to do, whether it was branding, square dancing or That each day was filled with riding and activities galore relaxing over a delicious evening meal. For a truly Whether it was square dancing or a scavenger hunt for the young and old amazing, memorable vacation, Zapata Ranch in Mosca, We would all come back in a minute if the truth be told Colorado, is surely the place! Visit Shared by Donna McGough, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. For the memories from Zapata are some of the best we’ve ever made! Zapata Ranch trail ride.


reunion venues

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch


The Jessup Family welcomes their guests like family year after year at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. The Lukach Family started visiting the ranch with their young children in the 1980s and 1990s. After a 20-year hiatus, all the kids had grown and married, and they wanted to share the magic of Sylvan Dale with their children. Mama Pat Lukach was excited to return with her now-adult children and all of her grandchildren. It was a walk down Memory Lane as they were greeted by the Jessups. Memories resurfaced and now they were creating new ones with the young bunch! The grandchildren had such a wonderful experience that they begged to come back the following year. As life happens, their visit was delayed, but they did return again last summer. Here is a direct quote from Mama Lukach: “Best 3200 acre ranch on the face of the Earth! Took my five kids there many times and now my grandchildren. Each time I think it can’t be as good as the last time we were there, but it just gets better. Susan, David and the staff are there to make our stay the best ever. Thank you, Sylvan Dale, for all of the wonderful memories. We love you and your beautiful ranch! Until we meet again. – Pat Lukach” Folks like the Lukachs return to Sylvan Dale year after year to experience fun, relaxing horseback rides, bass fishing, hiking and the special gathering

Brunner Family Reunion at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch

Lukach Family Reunion

rooms set aside for family reunions. Kids ages 3 to 12 have their very own program each morning. Afternoons are family time so everyone can ride the trail together. You can spend as much or as little time in the saddle as you desire, and on your very own assigned horse! There is also whitewater rafting, trap shooting lessons, guided fly fishing and massage. Guests receive a handcarved wooden name plaque to identify their cabins and to take home. Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch near Loveland, Colorado, is a unique, heartwarming and magical ranch. The 3200-acre secluded site offers dude ranch reunions from June through August, with cattle drive weeks in July, and kid-free getaways in August, September and October. Visit

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch, Winston, New Mexico, hosted the Brunner family for a fun-filled spring break in April. Since the ranch has only four cabins, they had the ranch and the undivided attention of staff to themselves. They rode horses on beautiful trails and across crystal-clear spring-fed creeks, learned about the history of the area, had s’mores by the campfire, played indoor and outdoor games, ate meals together around one big table and enjoyed a couple of picnic days with lunch on the trail and more exploring! Hosts Meris and Seth Stout showed them some of their favorite places, including the spectacular Taylor Creek Canyon and the “Dwelling Canyon.” The “Dwelling Canyon” was occupied from 200 to 1150 AD by the Mimbres people, who left behind pictographs (paintings on the rock walls), cliff dwelling ruins and pottery shards. More recently – about 100 years ago – stone shelters (still visible) were built by Basque people bringing sheep through this area. Claim markers and old equipment remain as evidence of the tin mining that took place in this canyon in the 1930s and 1940s. The Brunners were able to reconnect and bond as a family with an experience they will remember forever! Visit 2017 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 37

e military reunion news

You would not want this to happen to your reunion!


Lloyd & Karen Urban Photos by Lloyd Urban.

e rarely consider sharing reunion horror stories because we feel reunions are happy occasions, as borne out by over 25 years of happy, triumphant reunion stories! But hearing this tale made us want to share it as an object lesson; many will respond, “There but for the Grace of God go I.” The victim of these hapless back-to-back adventures is Brian Forrester, who plans reunions for others all the time. In the fall of 2014 Brian started planning for two large 2016 reunion groups in Charleston, South Carolina. The airport hotel he visited said that they had been sold, were doing a complete renovation, and would be flagged under a major brand, with everything to be complete by April 1, 2016. If they booked right away, they’d get a terrific rate that would never be available once renovations started. He booked. On April 1, 2016, Brian visited and was assured they would be ready by August 1st for the USS Ranger Association reunion slated for September 28th. Then, in mid-July he received a call that the hotel would not be ready and the reunion would have to move to other hotels. Rather than cancelling the reunion, Brian decided to go with what accommodations were available. Alan from the North Charleston Marriott helped secure two hotels, one with 80 rooms and one with 50 rooms. Brian had to spend seven days a week reorganizing reservations, shuttle service, tours, activities, and entertainment, as well as dealing with the association members’ daily inquiries about the changes. Moving people between two hotels was a logistical

Brian Forrester holds reunion sign!


nightmare. The hotel with 80 rooms had banquet space that could handle the entire group. They tried their best, but were overwhelmed and short-staffed for some of the catering functions. Had enough? Think it couldn’t get worse? It does! Once the Ranger reunion was over, Brian moved to the newly renovated North Charleston Marriott on October 2nd for the USS Forrestal Association reunion, 350 strong, and was looking forward to a happy crowd, good service, beautiful rooms and great food! On October 3rd, about 20 couples had checked in and Hurricane Matthew was barreling up the coast. On October 4th, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called for an evacuation. The tour company cancelled all the reunion tours. On October 5th, reservations were cancelled by those still on their way, and those who already were checked in were checking out. Some who could not rearrange flights stayed because the hotel was not in the evacuation area. The banquet went as planned, but only 40 of the 350 pre-registered attendees were on hand. Oh, and that newly renovated hotel found out where they had leaks! The person who bore all these disasters and indignities is Brian Forrester. He is an Event & Group Reunion Specialist @ Holiday Cruises & Tours. Where he’s located isn’t nearly as Brian Forrester important as that he plans reunions all over the country and on cruise ships! You can reach him from anywhere at or 480-332-7294.

military reunion news e

4th Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment


he 4th Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, hosted a reunion dinner at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Ft Benning, Georgia, with 107 former Sky Soldiers and guests. This Reunion party was in conjunction with the 173rd Airborne Brigade (SEP) 53rd Annual Reunion, attended by over 900 former Sky Soldiers and guests. The majority of 4th Battalion Sky Soldier attendees arrived on Thursday and enjoyed meeting with other Sky Soldiers at events conducted by the 173rd Airborne Brigade Reunion Committee, headed by the 173rd Airborne Brigade Association Chapter 30 from South Carolina. On Friday attendees could take a guided tour of Fort Benning, with emphasis on the Jump School Training Area where the Sky Soldiers began more than 50 years ago. Even guests could jump out of a 34-foot jump tower! The group also visited the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center. The highlight of the 4th Battalion Reunion was a dinner on Friday at the National Infantry Museum. Following a stirring video clip about Vietnam, Master

4th Batt Headquarters Company Company photos by Reggie Mattingly, Dog Co, at The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center.

of Ceremonies Peyton Ligon recognized several special guests in attendance: Christine Crabtree Stegeman, a Gold Star Honoree, attending in remembrance of her father, Captain Mike Crabtree, killed in Vietnam in 1967; Combat medics and Bn Surgeon Loren Little also were recognized. Tom Baird gave the Opening Blessing, which was followed by toasts and dinner. Alan Phillips, former A Company Commander, was guest speaker. Next everyone stood at attention as we faced the

4th Batt Alpha Company

4th Battalion Wall of Names representing the 307 Sky Soldiers killed in Vietnam, and all Sky Soldiers saluted during the playing of the “Mansions of The Lord.” Everyone then moved to the 173rd Airborne Brigade Memorial for a candlelight ceremony in honor of all fallen comrades. Saturday evening, 900 attended the informal 173rd Airborne Brigade Reunion Dinner held in the Columbus Convention Center. The guest speaker was Lieutenant General (Retired) Carmen Cavezza, a platoon leader and company commander serving with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Okinawa and Vietnam. On Sunday, Sky Soldiers attended a Memorial Service at the 173rd Airborne Brigade Memorial, located adjacent to the National Infantry Center. The next 4/503rd Bn Reunion will be held in conjunction with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Reunion in Oklahoma City in May 2017. Reported by Peyton Ligon, Hoover, Alabama

National Park Service preserves war sites


ach of our 408 National Parks is an important part of our identity, and a place where we can reflect on the courage and spirit exhibited by military veterans throughout our history. The National Park Service preserves sites where American soldiers shed blood on American soil during the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World War II. Many national parks were official rest and rehabilitation locations during World War II. Today, many parks host programs that promote physical and mental healing for wounded veterans. The National Park Service maintains memorials dedicated to the valor of veterans, while other national parks

recall people and events associated with military history. The nation’s newest national park, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, tells the story of the people, events, science, and engineering that led to the creation of the atomic bombs that helped end World War II. Active duty military and their dependents are eligible for a free annual pass to all national parks, and disabled veterans can get a free lifetime pass at any national park that charges admission. Passes are for 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and other federal recreational areas. More information is available at Also visit 2017 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 39

e military reunion news

Reunions return to fine service


n 2014, Holiday Inn Bayside in San Diego, California, hosted the Taffy 3 Reunion, a gathering of survivors of US Navy ships which fought the Battle of Leyte Gulf 70 years earlier. Over 400 attended their banquet. Last year, two of the ships, USS Johnston, and USS Hoel, chose to return to San Diego. The USS Johnston/USS Hoel annual reunions are an opportunity for WWII Navy veterans to enjoy time together for a bit of reminiscing. It also is a time for families to honor our war heroes. Reunion planner Warren Stirling said, “Sometimes it seems

as though memories of the courageous deeds of bravery exemplified by our Greatest Generation have been dimmed by time, but a great deal of emphasis in our reunion is placed on honoring those who were lost in battle, those who are still with us, and those who have sailed on. Each year we have a memory-sharing hour in which survivors share stories of their military experiences with family, and it is often a time of moist eyes. One of our most meaningful events is a memorial service, which affords a time to reflect on the somber and spiritual nature

USS Hoel survivors John Oracz, Bobby DeSpain and George Miller, San Diego, California, October 25, 2016.

of these war experiences. In addition to such contemplative moments there is time for celebration and fun together with several shared meals, tours of local attractions, and time to relax in the hospitality room, renewing old friendships.” San Diego was a wonderful hostess for the gathering. Jodi Langhammer at the Holiday Inn Bayside Hotel provided excellent hospitality and attention to our particular requests and needs. The host hotel was especially attentive to the mobility needs and dining requirements of our senior guests. All of the rooms provided for our activities were thoroughly prepared in accordance with our requests, and the banquet service was outstanding, with very tasty meals professionally served. Hotel personnel were always available to be sure that everything was properly prepared and our expectations were being met. I strongly recommend the services of Ms. Langhammer and the Holiday Inn Bayside to anyone seeking a reunion or gathering venue. This was an especially meaningful gathering for all of us, as it may have been our final reunion. Our superstar survivors are aging and becoming less able to travel. Reported by Warren Stirling, Huntington Beach, California

Seidemann Family Military Heroes

Please recycle this magazine when you’re finished! 40 REUNIONS v


eidemann Family Reunion members complete forms for each person and ancestor who served in the military. They also submit a picture in military uniform. The information, displayed on the “Military Hero Wall” at the reunion, includes name, military branch, highest rank, dates served, unit assignments, engagements, and recognitions earned.

It’s true: The D is in the midst of an economic turnaround. Downtown has been revitalized with an ever-growing number of tech businesses, retail and entrepreneurs. A walkable downtown, and plenty of new and renovated hotel spaces add to the excitement. It’s been dubbed an up-and-coming food mecca, with nearly 100 new restaurants, breweries, distilleries and coffee shops opening in the last three years. These newcomers join the stalwart who never gave up on Detroit, and together, are orchestrating a transformation there’s just no stopping.

DISCOVER DETROIT, AMERICA’S GREAT COMEBACK CITY. Townhouse restaurant and Luke Song, owner Mr. Song Millinery.

e military reunion news

75th Commemoration of the Attack on Pearl Harbor


SS Arizona survivors, joined by their families, service members and civilians, honored their fallen shipmates lost during the Pearl Harbor attack, during the 75th Commemoration of the Attack on Pearl Harbor at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Observance started when four USS Arizona survivors – Lauren Bruner, Lou Conter, Ken Potts and Don Stratton – were “piped aboard” by an Honorary Boatswain’s Mate. Active duty service members, veterans and USS Arizona survivors rendered a hand salute as the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Honors and Ceremonial Guard paraded the colors. “Every visitor, American or not, should visit the Arizona Memorial and look at the wall to see several sets of brothers, fathers and sons who served on the same ship,” said retired Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, director of the Naval History and Heritage Command. “They didn’t expect war to happen that morning, but every one of them did their duty and gave everything for their country.” According to Cox, the names on the wall serve as a reminder of the perfect crosssection of immigrants and people who came from all over the country to serve together, and made the ultimate sacrifice together. “When you look at the freedoms that we have today, they were bought at the cost of the lives of the Sailors and Soldiers,” continued Cox. “The Constitution is great, the Bill of Rights is great, but the reason

that we have them 200 years later is because of the blood of Sailors and Airmen, Soldiers and Marines, who made the sacrifice so we can still have those freedoms.” In an event open only to family members, dignitaries and invited guests, the cremated remains of two USS Arizona survivors who died in the past year were placed by US Navy and National Park Service divers in the well of turret No. 4 of the Arizona, which remains submerged where it sank 75 years ago. More than 100 sailors and soldiers met

for this last gathering and final remembrance of their brothers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Now, all at least in their 90s, they do not expect to have another large reunion of Pearl Harbor attack survivors. For more information about the Pearl Harbor 75th Commemoration, visit From articles by Tom Farrish in the Calaveras Enterprise, San Andreas, California, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Hawaii.

USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii

Veterans use Facebook to stay connected, save lives

T Combat-wounded Marine Corps veteran Johnny “Joey” Jones calls social networks a “virtual Legion Hall where veterans find one another, express their views and concerns, and befriend like-minded individuals.” 42 REUNIONS v

he 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment set up a private Facebook page in 2014 that was like a military reunion page. If an individual’s post indicates that the person is in crisis, then any member of the facebook page can post an alert to this private facebook group and one of the members will respond. About 100 Marine veterans belong to the 1/3’s “Emergency Contact Network.” They have mobilized several times to help members in crisis. The group once activated to help a member who was homeless. Another time, a member drove from Texas to Louisiana to offer in-person support to a suicidal peer. “It’s the most productive thing I’ve seen that’s come out of social media,” says Garrett Anderson. “The guys are happy to participate because everyone’s on Facebook all the time anyway.” In 2012, veteran Yinon Weiss co-founded RallyPoint, a social network for military personnel and veterans. “Social media is a way to continue having that sense of connectedness and camaraderie formed in the military.” From an article by Matt Alderton in USA Today

military reunion news e

USS Sellers DDG-11 sailors in Jacksonville, Florida


orty-two former sailors, spouses and friends attended the 10th biannual USS Sellers reunion in Jacksonville, Florida, to keep the spirit of the Sellers alive. Attendees included plank-owners (original crewmembers) to decommissioning (last crew) crewmembers. USS Sellers was commissioned in October 1961 and decommissioned in October 1989. The first day of the reunion was a time to reacquaint with old friends and establish new friendships with members who were attending for the first time. Crewmembers came from all over the US. The ladies played a game to get to know each other while the sailors told sea stories and reminisced about the time they were stationed on the ship. Some of the stories are repeats from previous reunions, but who can remember what was said at the last one? It’s fun to hear the stories again. The second day we toured historic Amelia Island, just north of Jacksonville. During the bus ride to the island, our tour guide narrated the history of the area and gave us an opportunity to ask questions and after Hurricane Matthew skirted up the Florida coast, we saw the destruction it left behind as we drove to the island. Amelia Island is in the southernmost of the Sea Islands, a chain of barrier islands stretching along the east coast of the US from South Carolina to Florida. It is 13 miles long and approximately four miles wide at its widest point. Fernandina Beach and

USS Sellers DDG-11 Reunion in Jacksonville, Florida

Amelia City are both located on the island. During the tour we saw the Atlantic Ocean and had free time to roam around Amelia City for lunch and shopping. The third day was spent on a guided bus tour of historic downtown Jacksonville, where we visited the Duval County Veterans Memorial Wall, Jacksonville Landing and the USS Adams Museum, where we were able to purchase souvenirs of Adams Class destroyers; USS Sellers was an Adams Class destroyer. Original parts of USS Sellers are located in the museum. After the tour, we had lunch at River City Brewing Company on the St. John River, overlooking the Jacksonville skyline. We also saw the

World War II defined their high school years

future home of USS Charles F. Adams, which will become a museum on the Jacksonville waterfront in the near future. That evening we had our business meeting and banquet dinner. The last reunion day was dedicated to Sellers sailors who have stood their last watch. The names of all the sailors who have passed away were read as two bells were rung after each name. As the list gets longer at each reunion, we are reminded why we attend these reunions, to keep alive the spirit of the ship, which was one day our home. Reported by Delta Hinson, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Vet Tix


he Eau Claire (Wisconsin) Senior High School Class of 1945 is on the tail end of the Greatest Generation. At their 70-year class reunion, they recalled how World War II defined their high school years. It seemed that almost weekly the principal’s voice over the intercom listed names of local soldiers who had been killed or captured. The reality of war seeped into classrooms and remained throughout their high school years. “The worst thing was having the principal announce people we knew who were killed,” one said. “I think we all remember that.” A package given to attendees read “Welcome Survivors to our 70th class reunion. Who would ever of thunk it 70 years ago?” Inside the package were names of class members attending the reunion, those who died since the last reunion, and those of all deceased class members. In a nod to their longevity, Sam Retallick addressed classmates, saying, “This will probably be our last go-around.” Bill Bingham (88) was a reunion committee member for 70 years. He kept in touch with classmates and said, “It’s nice to see them alive.” Time tipped the balance in favor of women, with more females than males at the reunion. From a story by Elizabeth Dohms in the Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wisconsin


eteran Tickets Foundation – Vet Tix ( – is dedicated to giving back to all branches of active duty military, veterans and their families, and the immediate families of those killed in action. Vet Tix gives tickets to sporting events, concerts, performing arts events and family activities. 2017 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 43


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.

Arizona ELKHORN RANCH-AZ 27000 W. Elkhorn Ranch Road, Tucson AZ 85736 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! TANQUE VERDE GUEST RANCH 14301 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson AZ 85748 800-234-3833 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! WHITE STALLION RANCH 9251 W Twin Peaks Road, Tucson AZ 85743 888-977-2624 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

ARKANSAS ARKANSAS has meeting facilities large and small. In cities and towns and on riverbanks and mountaintops. With activities ranging from paddleboat cruises to zip lines. Great food, breweries, wineries and shopping. FIND OUT MORE BY VISITING www.ArkansasGroupTravel. com FOR SITE LOCATIONS OR EMAIL SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!




HUNEWILL CIRCLE H GUEST RANCH 1110 Hunewill Ranch Road, Bridgeport CA 93517 760-932-7710 | info@hunewillranch SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! GREENHORN CREEK GUEST RANCH 2116 Greenhorn Ranch Rd, Quincy CA 95971 800-334-6939 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! HOLIDAY INN SAN DIEGO BAYSIDE 4875 N Harbor Drive, San Diego CA 92106 619-224-3621; 800-650-6660; fax 619-224-1787. 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, exercise room, family restaurant and cocktail lounge, parking fee may be reduced/waived, coffee makers, refrigerators, hair dryers; | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! MARBLE MOUNTAIN RANCH 92520 Hwy 96, Somes Bar CA 95568 800-552-6284 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

THE BEACHES OF FORT MYERS & SANIBEL 2201 Second St., Suite 600, Fort Myers, FL 33901 Share a tradition of timeless beauty and endless opportunity for togetherness. Whether on the pristine sands of beautiful beaches, on the glistening waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or in countless charming towns, your family comes together when you get away here. To begin planning your reunion, visit FortMyers-Sanibel. com for more information. TELEPHONE: 239-338-3500 | U.S. & Canada: 800-237-6444 CASA YBEL RESORT Travelers will enjoy this exclusive beachfront resort with an Old Florida feel & award-winning restaurants on Sanibel. 800-276-4753 | HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES FORT MYERS The success of your reunion is our priority! Let our professional team coordinate a value-added stay in comfort and style. 239-936-0410 | SOUTH SEAS ISLAND RESORT South Seas Island Resort is the ultimate beach resort, offering an escape rich in recreation, relaxation & native wildlife. 888-295-4558 | THE OUTRIGGER BEACH RESORT Our experienced and friendly staff is with you every step of the way to create a memorable reunion. All you have to do is be together again! 800-211-8441 | THE WESTIN CAPE CORAL RESORT AT MARINA VILLAGE With over 25,000 sq. ft. of event space, The Westin Cape Coral Resort is an ideal setting for reunions, meetings and events. 239-541-5000 | WYNDHAM GARDEN FORT MYERS BEACH Groups with 10-40 nights get 20% off at our beachfront hotel when staying 2+ nights thru 9/30/17. Mention Reunions Magazine. 800-643-8654! SEE THE BEACHES OF FORT MYERS DISPLAY AD!

COLORADO COLORADO VACATION DIRECTORY Make your search for the perfect Colorado family reunion destination easier! FREE FAMILY REUNION DESTINATION LOCATION SERVICE: groupform.html We will then send your requirements to Cabins, Campgrounds, Vacation Homes, Lodges, Motels, Condos, B&Bs 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 and Fun Things to Do. ELK MOUNTAIN RANCH PO Box 910, Buena Vista CO 81211 800-432-8812 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! COLORADO TRAILS RANCH 12161 Country Rd, Durango, CO 81301 1-800-323-3833 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! LATIGO RANCH 201 County Road 1911, PO Box 237, Kremmling CO 80459 800-227-9655 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! SYLVAN DALE GUEST RANCH 2939 N County Road 31D, Loveland CO 80538-9763 907-667-3915 l SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

HOLIDAY INN ST PETERSBURG/CLEARWATER AIRPORT 3535 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater FL 33762 Have your next reunion at The Holiday Inn, offering personalized menus, 173 guestrooms with WI-FI, saltwater outdoor pool & Jacuzzi, grilling area, 4,000 sq. ft. of banquet space, Aviators Tavern. Enjoy the wonderful location and access to State Parks and Museums. 24/7 free shuttle service to and from the airport. Contact Director of Sales 727-577-9100 SOUTH WALTON, FLORIDA Hold your next event in South Walton, Florida. Twenty-six miles of sugar-white sand beaches and diverse accommodations along the coast of South Walton, Florida, have beckoned visitors for generations, offering an upscale yet relaxing place to unwind. Distinguished meeting facilities, award-winning accommodations, gourmet dining

CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES and unique teambuilding activities set South Walton apart from other coastal meeting destinations. Whether your delegates are traveling by car or air, getting here is easy. Find your perfect beach. Contact Carley McMillian 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 UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY ARMEL-LEFTWICH VISITOR CENTER 52 King George Street, Annapolis MD 21402 410-293-8687 | fax 410-293-3365 | THE DEEP CREEK EXPERIENCE 15 Visitors Center Drive, Mc Henry MD 21541 301-387-4386, fax 301-334-8073

MICHIGAN DETROIT METRO CVB Host your family reunion in Detroit, America’s great comeback city. The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau can assist you in planning to create itineraries, find accommodations, recommend activities and more. Detroit has many family attractions like The Henry Ford, Detroit Zoo, SEALIFE Michigan Aquarium, museums, festivals and outdoor spaces. For more information, visit or call 313-202-1985. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

MINNESOTA DISCOVER AUSTIN MINNESOTA 301 North Main Street Suite 101, Austin, MN 55912 We take the “Minnesota Nice” reputation for customer service seriously and are eager to help you plan your next reunion. We offer FREE planning services and FREE welcome bags for all participants. Experience unique attractions like The SPAM® Museum~World Largest Berenstain Bears Collection~ Rydjor Bike~ Jay C Hormel Nature Center~ Nativity House~ and MORE!!! Enjoy over 60 delightful dining options. Relax and rejuvenate with nearly 400 hotel rooms. There are so many reasons for all seasons to Discover Austin, MN! 507-437-4563 | WORRY-FREE REUNIONS AT CRAGUN’S RESORT 11000 Craguns Dr, Brainerd MN 56401 800-CRAGUNS (272-4867).

Since 1940 Cragun’s has taken pride in creating memorable’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” 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:

MISSOURI THE BRANSON CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU awaits to assist you in finding your lodging for your next reunion in America’s heartland! Branson, Missouri, the ideal destination, offers live music shows and attractions for all ages. Family values and budgets are honored! Branson’s breathtaking scenery and authentic Ozarks hospitality warms you any time of year! Call Julie Peters at 417-243-2117 or visit our website at and request a Reunion Planner Kit. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

MONTANA ELKHORN RANCH 33133 Gallatin Rd, Gallatin Gateway MT 59730 406-995-4291 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! BAR W GUEST RANCH 2875 Hwy 93 West, Whitefish MT 59937 866-828-2900 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

NEVADA GOLD COAST HOTEL & CASINO 4000 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103 702-251-3560 | 800-331-5334 x 400 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! SAM’S TOWN HOTEL & GAMBLING HALL 5111 Boulder Highway, Las Vegas NV 89122 Sam’s Town, just a few miles from the Vegas Strip, has 645 rooms and suites overlooking the beautiful Mystic Falls Park or the city lights and mountains. Boasting 30,000 square feet of banquet and meeting space, a 1,100 seat event center, movie theater, bowling, multiple dining option, and full service casino. 702-454-8122 | 800-897-8696 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! SUNCOAST HOTEL & CASINO 9090 Alta Drive, Las Vegas NV 89145 702-636-7050 | Sales toll free is 866-816-7111 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

THE ORLEANS HOTEL & CASINO 4500 W Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89103 702-365-7050 | 800-835-2300 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

NEW MEXICO BURNT WELL GUEST RANCH 399 Chesser Road, Roswell NM 88203 866-729-0974 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

NEW YORK ROCKING HORSE RANCH RESORT 600 State Route 44-55, Highland NY 12528 Imagine a private lake in the beautiful Hudson Valley, just 90 minutes from NYC. The Ranch is a scenic backdrop for families, offering over one hundred activities including horseback riding, mountain tubing, entertainment and much more. Savor 3 delicious meals daily, prepared by our C.I.A. trained chefs. Schedule your reunion at this TripAdvisor award winning resort. Contact Jose Tejedor, 845-691-2927 |

NORTH CAROLINA ATTRACTIONS - NORTH CAROLINA AQUARIUM at PINE KNOLL SHORES Host your next reunion in an under-the-sea setting at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, located along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. Get up-close to river otters, sea turtles and sharks in behind-the-scenes tours. Take a guided excursion on a stand up paddleboard or in a kayak. Sleep among the fishes! You’ll have a fintastic time making memories in our special activities. Group rates and facility rentals are offered year-round. Contact WILMINGTON AND ISLAND BEACHES Wilmington, N.C., and its three island beaches offer extraordinary experiences from the river to the sea, from the historic river district anchored by a scenic Riverwalk and 200+ shops, cafes and vibrant nightlife, to a vintage beachside boardwalk and Ocean Front Park. Get together in N.C.’s most accessible coastal destination. For group itineraries & events: 800-650-9064 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

OHIO HOCKING HILLS TOURISM ASSOCIATION 13178 State Route 664 S, Logan, OH 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. Contact: Karen Raymore, 740-385-2750 | fax 740-385-1146 2017 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 45

CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES TENNESSEE CHATTANOOGA AREA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 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.

DISPLAY ADVERTISER INDEX ST Advertiser AR Arkansas, The Natural State


CA Holiday Inn San Diego/ Bayside


FL Visit South Walton, Florida


IL Lake County CVB


MI Detroit Metro CVB


MO Branson CVB


NC Wilmington and Beaches CVB


NV Gold Coast Hotel & Casino


NV Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall


NV Suncoast Hotel & Casino


NV The Orleans Hotel & Casino


TN Chattanooga Area CVB


TX Plano CVB


VA Visit Fairfax


VT Smugglers’ Notch Resort


VT Mount Snow


The Dude Ranchers’ Association AZ Elkhorn Ranch-AZ


AZ Tanque Verde Guest Ranch


AZ White Stallion Ranch


CA Hunewill Circle H Guest Ranch


CA Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch


CA Marble Mountain Ranch


CO Elk Mountain Ranch


CO Colorado Trails Ranch


CO Latigo Ranch


CO Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch


MT Elkhorn Ranch


MT Bar W Guest Ranch


NM Burnt Well Guest Ranch


WY Goosewing Ranch


WY Vee Bar Guest Ranch


WY The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch


The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, Florida FL Holiday Inn Express & Suites Fort Myers 24-25 FL Wyndham Garden Fort Myers Beach


FL Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village 24-25 FL South Seas Island Resort, Captiva Island 24-25 FL The Outrigger Beach Resort, Fort Myers 24-25 FL Casa Ybel Resort, Sanibel Island 46 REUNIONS v


3017 or by e-mail at chrisp@chattanoogacvb. com to begin planning your next reunion SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

TEXAS PLANO CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 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 Shane at the Plano Convention and Visitors Bureau assist you in all your travel planning needs. Contact 800-81-PLANO | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

VERMONT SMUGGLERS’ NOTCH RESORT At America’s Reunion Resort, you’ll experience Mountain Resort Living, award-winning children’s programs (6wks. - 17yrs.), family activities and entertainment, swimming, skiing, hiking, dining, shopping & more. Smugglers’ Notch Resort - the only resort in North America to guarantee Family Fun - Summer, Winter & Fall. For more information, call 1-800-521-0536 | or visit reunions. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! FAMILY CAMP AT MOUNT SNOW Planning a family reunion can be stressful, so let Family Camp at Mount Snow do it for you. We’ll take care of your lodging, meals, and a variety of activities so all you and your family have to do is unplug and reconnect. Everyone can participate – no one is left behind to cook or clean or prepare. A stress-free family reunion is waiting for you right here at Mount Snow. Contact: 800.290.1823 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

VIRGINIA ARLINGTON CONVENTION & VISITORS SERVICE 1100 N Glebe Rd, Suite 1500, Arlington, VA 22201 Whether you’ve gathered to reminisce with your extended family, military buddies, sorority sisters or other very important people in your life, Arlington welcomes you with open arms! Step outside your hotel and discover our unique mix of history, culture and fun! Arlington’s vibrant neighborhoods are home to national treasures, world-class shopping, diverse dining and more. To plan your reunion in Arlington and the nation’s capital, call or email our Destination Sales Manager, Portia Conerly, at 703-228-0873 or today! KEY BRIDGE MARRIOTT 1401 Lee Hwy, Arlington VA 22209 703-524-6400 | fax 703-524-8964 Contact Kelly Reckenwald, Catering Sales and Events Assistant RENAISSANCE ARLINGTON CAPITAL VIEW HOTEL 2800 South Potomac Ave, Arlington VA 22202 Contact Jana London, Catering Sales Executive

571-814-4048 | Jana.London@renaissancehotels. com | FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA 3702 Pender Drive, Suite 420, Fairfax, VA 22030 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 703-790-0643, and Dean Miller, our reunion specialist, will go to work for you! | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

NEWPORT NEWS Get closer to ships, history and the great outdoors with one central destination: Newport News, Virginia. Get all this, plus Williamsburg and Virginia Beach, too! Whether getting together with old classmates, shipmates or relatives, Newport News provides the perfect location and services to make your reunion a success. We offer the best value and plenty to see and do. Let Newport News make your next reunion a memorable one. Call Andrea Moran at 888-493-7386 or e-mail her at to book your reunion today! SUFFOLK TOURISM Reconnect in Suffolk. Small town charm, big city amenities and a short drive to beaches, historic treasures and more! If you love outdoor adventure, performing & visual arts, history, festivals, boutiques, awardwinning eateries, nature and water trails, golf and peanuts – you’ll love spending time with us. Suffolk Tourism offers discounts on group tours of the Great Dismal Swamp, Historic Downtown district, Cedar Hill Cemetery and our popular Legends of Main Street: A Suffolk Ghost Walk. Learn more at | 757-514-4130

WYOMING DUDE RANCHERS’ ASSOCIATION 1122 12th. Street, Cody, WY 82414 Helping people find quality Dude and Guest Ranch vacations since 1926. Let us help you find the perfect all-inclusive location for your next reunion call 866-399-2339 or e-mail | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! GOOSEWING RANCH PO Box 4084, Jackson WY 83001 888-733-5251 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! VEE BAR GUEST RANCH 38 Vee Bar Ranch Road, Laramie WY 82070 800-483-3227 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! THE HIDEOUT LODGE & GUEST RANCH PO Box 206, Shell WY 82441 800-354-8637 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!



Kim Ghys Senior Account Executive


Things Everyone should consider

A great location like Lake County, Illinois should be at the top of your list. Conveniently located just 30 minutes north of Chicago, Lake County offers Six Flags Great America amusement park, more than 75 lakes and beaches, plus beautiful gathering spaces perfect for your big event. We also offer 60 hotels and three resorts. Choose Lake County for family friendly fun. 1-800-LAKE-NOW

Watch Kim’s Video. Kim has years of experience planning hundreds of reunions. Before you plan yours, visit to get Kim’s advice for making your reunion unforgettable.

P.O. Box 11727 v Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 R EU N ION CELEB R ATIONS!

MEMORIES Naturally Made With 52 state parks, tons of lodging choices, and more stuff to do than you could possibly pack into a weekend, Arkansas is the ideal backdrop for your next family reunion. To find the perfect place for your group to swap stories, share memories, and make new ones, go to What will you make in Arkansas?

Reunions Magazine Volume 27, Number 1. February 2017  

Reunion Celebrations! Family, class and military reunions report their special events.

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