2018 Reunion C
Riley Family Reunion
Fuller Family Reunion
Seoul High School
Four D Family Reunion
e l e b ra t i o n s !
Haggerty Family Reunion
Walthall-Gregory-Berger Family Olympic
Branson Military Planning Fair
VOL 28 NO 1 $3/USA
BRING YOUR KIDS TO WHERE THEYâ€™LL
BRING THEIR KIDS
L A KE TA N E YCO M O
Family Reunions in Branson are always a new adventure. Cast a line, ride a classic wooden rollercoaster and take in an amazing show, all in the same day. Then enjoy our hospitality as your family decides what to do the next day. And the days to come, together in Branson. For a Family Reunion Planner Kit, contact: Julie Peters, CTIS, CEP at JPeters@BransonCVB.com
in this special issue FRONT WORDS – 4 ALUM & I – 6 Mar Vista High School Class of 1967 50th Reunion by Lynn McCurdy Robinson A teacher’s dream by Lee Elliott Seoul American High School Falcons flock to Fairfax County
BRANCH OFFICE – 12 Profiles of a Storyteller by Mary Patricia Voell It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree
SCRAPBOOK – 14
Reunion Celebrations! March 2018 Volume 28 • Number 1 PUBLISHER / EDITOR IN CHIEF Edith Wagner ART DIRECTOR Jennifer Rueth SALES ACCOUNT MANAGER Roberta McLoud OPERATIONS MANAGER Karla Lavin
Reunion School Family Reunion on Wheel of Fortune, Unofficial Disney guides, We’ll Meet Again on PBS
WEB WIZARD Sarah Christiaansen
MASTERPLAN – 16
HOSPITALITY ANSWERMAN Dean Miller
Washington Family Reunion by Jadeine Shives Riley Family Reunion by Jacqueline Gardenhire McElroy Family Reunion Club, Inc. by Charlene Lewis Canty Family Reunion by Jessie Muse Allen Coleman Watson Family Reunion by Carlos Larry 148th Still Family Reunion by Reginald Still Sr. The Haggertys at Cragun’s Resort by the Haggerty Family Reunion Committee Thomas Edward Fuller Family Reunion by Terry Davis Don’t Miss the Boat! by Suzanne G. Beyer Wrispus Family Reunion by Gloria Cole Rembert Family Reunion by Jerre Curry Family reunions in Pearland Chaney Family Reunion by Lisa Chaney Make reunion magic in Kissimmee The Meaning of Family by John Christopher Fine Müllerleile Family Reunion by Sue Müllerleile Lewis Family Reunion by Marie Daniely The Watkins Family Reunion by Arnetta Watkins Moore Family Reunion by Terri Fagan Mitchell The Four D Family Reunion by Glenda Deshazier-Nelson Meet and Greet with the Day, Banks Hill Outlaw, Burtschell, Riley, Walthall-Gregory-Berger and Johnson Family Reunions.
MILITARY REUNION NEWS – 40 The Iwo Jima Association of America, Inc by Raul Sifuentes USMC Basic School Class 3-57 Reunion by Richard Joralmon Legion of Valor Gathering 39th Engineer Battalion rallies the troop’s New life for WWII ship’s bell by Phillip Milano Military Reunion Planning Fair by Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau
REUNION RESOURCES – 45 A directory of reunion-friendly places, services, vendors and products ON THE COVER Many reunion celebrations!
CONTRIBUTORS Carmen Allen • Suzanne G. Beyer Sonja Branch-Wilson • Lisa Chaney • Gloria Cole Jerre Curry • Marie Daniely Terry Davis • Glenda Deshazier-Nelson Lee Elliott • Bruce Feiler John Christopher Fine • Jacqueline Gardenhire Haggerty Family Reunion Committee Thelma Harper Jones • Richard Joralmon Carlos Larry • Charlene Lewis • Phillip Milano Terri Fagan Mitchell • Sue Müllerleile Jessie Muse • Carole Neal Dave Neimeyer • Lynn McCurdy Robinson Remi Rodier • Carolyn Scott • Jadeine Shives Raul Sifuentes • Reginald Still Sr. Arliss Treybig • Mary Patricia Voell Arnetta Watkins • Tony West 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 email@example.com. 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 reunionsmag.com for free offers. Advertising information contact Reunions magazine, Inc., PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727; 414-2634567 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.reunionsmag.com. © 2018 Reunions magazine, Inc. 2018 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 3
Welcome to the first of two 2018 Reunion Celebrations issues.
his issue is so full of reunions we had It would be a big help to us to know to cut and turn some away until the what you were not satisfied with. Help next issue. And while that’s a good us fix what seems broken! Send to Mail to problem to have, we apologize to email@example.com. Reunions magazine those reunions who did not make the cut. Our extensive presence on the web You will find all kinds of ideas whether PO Box 11727 should provide you with countless yours is a family, class, military or other sources of inspiration as you get ready Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 reunion and, as always, we encourage you for your next reunion. call 414-263-4567 to share your reunion story for future visit www.reunionsmag.com MORE PLANNING RESOURCES consideration. Our two issues are timed to be before We have collected and packaged fax 414-263-6331 your summer reunion this year and the next bundles of back issues of Reunions e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org at the beginning of the next (2019) magazine that feature ideas for reunion planning year season. fundraising and ideas for activities at In this issue you’ll learn about lots of your reunion. A bundle will generally have 25 issues though reunion triumphs! You’ll learn how California’s Mar Vista some issues weigh less so more copies may be added. A third High School class reunion kept it’s costs low to encourage a bundle can be made up of all one issue as well, if your large attendance; they succeeded. Meet the Müllerleile reunion was featured and you want to add copies to your family who has reunions in Germany and the US with the reunion welcome/goodie bags. Visit our Etsy page (etsy.com/ recent US version being a big hit! You’ll see how the Riley shop/reunionsmagazine) to order or call 414-263-4567. Family Reunion in historic Williamsburg engaged kids at DON’T FORGET THE NOTEBOOK! their Meet and Greet. And how a ship’s bell was found, resurrected, and restored to be present at an upcoming Reunion Planners Notebook is a unique planning tool reunion. These and all the rest of the reunions are always fun whose online version (issuu.com/reunionsmag) allows you to to learn about and share. Enjoy. link from the online planning step directly to ideas on our website for that phase. For example, if you’re looking for VISIT OUR NEW WEB PAGE! menu ideas at your reunion (starts on page 38). See forms and suggestions in the Notebook, then link right from that page directly for more information on the website. Links can be to content or podcasts or Pinterest and, beware, some pages may make you hungry! Forms in the Notebook are free on the website; fillable computer forms can be ordered at a small cost. If you want to see how to use the Notebook in action, check out an introductory video on YouTube!
Be in touch!
STAY IN TOUCH
We recently launched a new webpage, same address (reunionsmag.com) as before. Reunion planning material is ageless so content from the old page is the basis for this one and we will be adding much more now that the new page is launched. But, you might find glitches and bumps which we beg you to notify us about. We need your help in finding some of the bad links or things you think are out of place.
4 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com
Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter and occasional eblasts of deals for reunion planners. Use the signup button on our homepage. Look for the newsletter the first of each month. Our online presence is extensive and we urge you to take advantage of the material on all our sites. Meet us online! All of the links mentioned on this page will be linked in the ISSUU version online: you can click directly. Do it today! And have a great 2018 Reunion Season. EW
WE’LL HELP PLAN YOUR REUNION. SO YOU CAN FOCUS ON ENJOYING IT. You can enjoy your reunion if you don’t have to deal with all of the details that go into making it happen. So while we have lots of entertainment options like Railroad Park, the McWane Science Center and the Birmingham Zoo, we also offer help in planning it all. From finding hotel rooms and transportation to scheduling caterers and photographers, we have everything you’ll need to make your reunion a success. Right here in Birmingham.
inbirmingham.com | # INB irmingham | 800 - 458 - 8085
alum & I
Mar Vista High School Class of 1967 50th Reunion by Lynn McCurdy Robinson
Sunday brunch at the Mar Vista High School Cafeteria.
hen a few alumni from Imperial Beach, California’s, Mar Vista High School’s Class of 1967 were deciding whether to plan a 50th reunion, we had questions. A key issue was whether we could form a committee who had the time and interest to plan this milestone celebration. In addition, we wanted to be sure the reunion would be exciting enough to attract a large number of fellow Mariners. It was important to keep the registration fee reasonable, knowing that many of our classmates could be on fixed incomes and not necessarily anxious to attend a dinner at an upscale/overpriced hotel ballroom.
dinner menu, and negotiated the cost so attendees paid only $25. We recruited a very talented amateur DJ (a committee member who used Spotify to create a wonderful 1967 era playlist), which minimized entertainment costs. We had the Sunday brunch at our high school cafeteria! We thought it would be a fun place to conclude our reunion weekend, and the school administration was amenable. A local restaurant catered the food and used the school kitchen’s food warmers. The total cost for all three events was $50 per person, which seemed extremely reasonable.
A DIVERSE COMMITTEE
Based on email communication starting more than a year in advance, we knew there were enough classmates willing to help organize a 50th reunion. We soon had a committed group from New York, North Carolina, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, and California. Several had experience working on reunion committees; others were first-time volunteers. We divided key assignments: researching alumni addresses, contacting potential venues, coordinating mailings, arranging entertainment and decorations, and organizing an auction. For the next 10 months, we interacted by email and phone calls. This long-distance approach and inability to meet face-to-face wouldn’t work for all reunion committees, but we found it to be quite effective, albeit challenging at times.
Of course, a key challenge was to inform alumni of our plans. We used snail mail, email, and social media. We also used some assistance from school administration and previous reunion committee chairs. We used the Been Verified database to find some classmates. Two committee members worked with previous reunion rosters and additional information to develop the best possible mailing list. Classmates shared the most recent addresses they knew for other classmates. We announced the reunion with a flyer mailing, followed by several email updates; some snail mail was still necessary. We set up a private Facebook page and featured the list of classmates attending, posts about reunion events, and weekly photos (which often included humorous captions) to generate interest. We shared information with several Facebook sites that had ties to Imperial Beach. A week before the reunion, there were 140 reservations, including spouses. We knew several others would show up for specific activities.
We agreed it should be a full weekend so alumni would have options. We hoped a majority would attend all three events – the Friday night “meet and greet,” Saturday dinner dance, and Sunday brunch. 6 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com
Our goals were to have venues that were close by and in familiar locations, and to keep costs low. After much deliberation, the committee decided the Friday welcoming reception would be at Fleet Reserve Pub in Imperial Beach, a popular local gathering place. Their kitchen facilities and helpful staff ensured we could have a frequentlyreplenished selection of hors d’oeuvres at a cost of $15 per attendee. The Saturday dinner dance was at the Chula Vista Elks Club, also not far from our alma mater. Someone on our committee was a club member, so we got a reasonable rate. We performed due diligence, checking with friends and work associates who had attended events at the Club, to be sure the dining and dancing areas were suitable. We worked closely with the manager/staff to develop the
alum & I REUNION WEEKEND
Committee members were just a little anxious prior to the start of the Friday night “meet and greet,” hoping everything would run smoothly to set the tone for the rest of the weekend. But when people started arriving and greeting each other with hugs and handshakes – many hadn’t seen each other in 50 years – our concern quickly disappeared. As alums picked up their nametags, they saw memory boards featuring yearbook pictures as well as current photos, along with notes from those who couldn’t attend the reunion. My husband was the main weekend photographer, so he mingled with guests to take both candid and posed photos of “old” friends getting reacquainted. While we didn’t have the entire lounge area to ourselves, the regular Friday night guests were very respectful of our event. In addition, we were able to donate the leftover food to the patrons who were still there after the reunion celebrants left. The Saturday dinner-dance room was festooned with balloons and table decorations, along with a welcoming banner that cost only $50 from VistaPrint. Throughout the evening, the DJ played more than 100 songs popular in the 1960s and 70s. We kept the formal program simple: committee introductions, Grace said by a retired pastor/classmate and, of course, dancing to familiar tunes. A highlight of the evening was a very successful silent auction, which helped cover additional reunion costs and a donation to the high school. Classmates’ donations included several paintings, goodie baskets of wine and food, and other items. Those interested made a secret bid, not knowing if they had won until the highest bidder for each item was announced. On Sunday morning, more than 100 of us gathered at our high school cafeteria. During brunch, the Director of School Activities welcomed us. We presented him with a donation for a student scholarship. After a group photo, we took a nostalgic campus tour, visiting the lunch courtyard, football field, new gym and other sites. Then everyone said goodbye and promised to stay in touch. The following few days, we posted many photos, accompanied by such comments as: “We were closer this reunion than any in the past. Fifty years makes you realize how much former classmates mean to you.” “I felt like time had stood still and we were in that time capsule where conversations and experiences just resumed from 50 years before. Our reunion had a very warm and comfortable atmosphere.”
San Diego’s Reunion Specialists Auction items
On the days leading up to reunion weekend and the week after, committee members held a debrief session via phone and email. We made a list of “dos and don’ts” to share with coordinators of the 55th reunion: vB egin planning much earlier than you think is necessary. We started almost a year before the reunion, and even more time would have helped. v a ke advantage of committee members’ contacts. Who knows the manager of a local restaurant, hotel, Elks Club or other location that might give you a better deal on food and overnight stays? vT alk to other organizers of your school’s reunions. They can share ideas for potential venues, recruiting committee members, and compiling mailing lists. vM ake sure you have sufficient upfront “seed” money to cover restaurant down payments and other initial costs, before the first registration money is collected. vR ealize you can’t please everybody. Some people won’t like the location or the menu. Others may think the events are too expensive or too informal. vK eep reunion details visible – through snail mail, email and social media. It often takes several reminders before classmates agree they want to attend. vA sk committee members to encourage all their friends to attend. Word-ofmouth enthusiasm increases attendance. vM inimize costs by having volunteers make signs, memory boards, table centerpieces and other decorations. v I f you don’t have the budget to rent a photo booth or other special attraction, try to get an alumni benefactor to make a contribution. vR eview all restaurant/other facility contracts carefully. Be certain there aren’t any “hidden” costs. Reported by Lynn McCurdy Robinson, Hemet, California
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
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: Jodie@holinnbayside.com • holinnbayside.com B artell Hotels…S an D iego’s U n forgettable Lo cat ion s
2018 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 7
alum & I
A teacher’s dream
ixteen years after I retired from teaching at El Camino (California) High School, I decided that since I would be turning 80, I wanted to see my students of 20 years, and my teacher and administrator friends one more time. I never told my students how old I was because I never wanted to be thought of as the “Little Old Lady in the Drama Department.” Two former teaching partners (choir and band directors), a former student, a parent helper and I began planning a reunion and celebration of my 80th birthday. They are in Sacramento, California, 2,500 miles from me (in Dover, Ohio). We decided to meet in the school cafeteria where, for 20 years, we had presented our plays and musicals. It cost us nothing, so we asked everyone to make a donation to the new 600-seat theater for which ground had just been broken (scheduled to open in 2018). The band director had a group of students set up and clean up. He provided a small stage, microphone, and keyboard. The former Choir Director provided an accompanist who had played for our musicals years before. Another former student served as master of ceremonies. I started contacting people in January for an October reunion, and put announcements on Facebook, asking each one to reach another one. In the months before the reunion, I received histories from students who were not able to attend. More than 200 students, teachers, and administrators attended, many traveling from other states. A former student and former parent helper decorated the cafeteria in a theater theme. Guests sat at round tables of eight. At each place, there was a decorative sheet encouraging the person to write a memory or favorite experience. Sheets were already
Lee Elliott celebrates her upcoming 80th birthday with former teaching partners, David Robinson and Kevin Glaser.
punched, so at the end of the evening they were put in a book for me. Popcorn, pretzels and candy were available throughout the evening. Birthday cake was served, with mine being a gluten-free cupcake with a candle to blow out. During the four hours of the reunion, everyone visited. Some had not seen each other for as many as 36 years, when the first class of my career began. All of the principals under whom I served for 20 years attended! During open mic, students told stories and expressed their love for the program. Participants from the very first play, Our Town, and musical, Westside Story, to the very last play, Our Town, and the last musical, Oklahoma, told their stories (many of which I was glad I hadn’t known at the time). Finally, there were performances by current students. Nearly everyone present is still connected in some way – acting, writing, producing, singing, or technically. It is a great thrill to see the impact theater has had on their lives. I am proud that some have gone on to be “stars.” Some of the more famous in my classrooms include:
Jessica Chastain, Kate Levering, and Shannon O’Hurley, stars of stage and screen; Mandisa, popular Gospel singer and American Idol finalist; and Rebecca Riker, Broadway singer and dancer. I wanted my whole family there, so I planned a family reunion dinner to be held the night before the big party. My two sons and I were staying at the hotel, so we took advantage of their catering service. Twenty of us, including my sister, our children and grandchildren, enjoyed a lovely dinner. Many of the cousins had not seen each other since they were toddlers. So there I had it: two reunions in one. I received many beautiful cards, letters, and gifts to put in my memory box. As life goes by so quickly, I assume this is the last time I will see those I so dearly loved during my career. But who knows? Maybe I’ll meet them once again at 90.
About the author
Lee Elliott is a feature writer for the Times-Reporter daily newspaper in Dover, Ohio, directs community theater, and works with the children’s choir at church.
Class makes $5,000 gift
LaPorte H.S. 1977 yearbook cover
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he La Porte (Indiana) High School (LPHS) Class of 1977 Reunion made a $5,000 donation to the Teen Dream Fund. The Fund encourages youth to participate in extracurricular school-based activities. The class wanted to celebrate its 40th reunion in a meaningful way. They collected donations through the Unity Foundation, which suggested programs to support. The Teen Dream Fund won the vote of class members attending the reunion. A past grant from the class helped send the LPHS Marching Band to the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade. From an article on LaPorteCountyLife.com, LaPorte, Indiana
alum & I
Seoul American High School Falcons flock to Fairfax County
eoul American High School, on the Yongsan Army Base in Seoul, South Korea, has been the center of the American military and diplomatic community stationed in South Korea for almost 60 years. The school opened in 1959 and has been in continuous operation ever since. More than 125 alumni and guests gathered in Fairfax County, Virginia (across the Potomac River from Washington, DC), for an “All Years” reunion at the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport Hotel. SAHS Falcons flew from across the country, including many from California; one Falcon flew all the way from Singapore! John Prillaman and Lee Ann Spivey, two 1980s
The hard-working SAHS reunion committee (frequently unsung heroes!) stuffing complimentary goodie bags provided by Visit Fairfax.
Children of military personnel are known as “military brats,” Shirley Bosse (left) and B. J. Allen.
alums who met at school, had recently married and traveled to the reunion on their honeymoon. Classes spanned almost 50 years, from the 1960s to the present. Highlights of the reunion weekend included a reception at the home of classmate Mike Pang, a luncheon cruise on the Potomac River past the monuments of Washington, DC, and a formal banquet on Saturday evening. A Korean buffet was a
ruce Feiler, author of Secrets of Happy Families, in which he features a chapter about reunions as one example, posted this picture on Facebook. “Thanks for a great weekend, Yale ‘87. And especially all the participants in our super-fun author panels. Quite a surprise to stumble into such visible evidence of how I’ve misspent my college education. The books in the picture aren’t all mine, but about a dozen are.
special banquet treat prepared by the hotel’s catering team, followed by dancing to music provided by disc jockeys Bill and Sunny Schwentner. According to Reunion Chair Julia Tiffany, “We all had such an amazing time. The cruise, the DJs … everything came together for everyone to really enjoy themselves.” Shared by Dean Miller, Visit Fairfax. This note is from Carole Neal, whose story about her Lowell High School, Spring Class of 1966 50th reunion in San Francisco, was featured in our Volume 27 Number 1. “On a sad note, two classmates who attended our 50th in October 2016 passed away, one in May and the other in August 2017. That’s another reason reunions are LaVerne (“Peggy”) important – one never Milton knows who may not be at the next one. Peggy Milton was a good friend who received her cancer diagnosis a short time after our reunion. It still hurts to think her friendly, outgoing, and upbeat personality has been silenced. At the reunion she was on the dance floor, leading folks in some of the current dance moves and basically being the life of the party.” 2018 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 9
Profiles of a Storyteller By Mary Patricia Voell
n her book Bird by Bird, writer Anne Lamont suggests that rather than taking on the insurmountable gathering and writing assignments involved in capturing family stories, one needs to break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Family reunions are an ultimate starting point. Storytelling abounds at reunions, where capturing and preserving is paramount and can be the underlying purpose of holding a reunion. Planning for and capturing family stories are left as last-minute additions or not designated to a specific attendee. As you plan for this cherished time together, it is helpful to understand a few factors in order to frame your family history-gathering work. What is your goal? What is the purpose of your history-gathering project? What is your vision during and after the reunion? Is it a book, a video rather than a “life story,” an oral history? With time constraints in mind, focus on a specific point in time – i.e., life on the farm or growing up in Poland. Keep future follow-up in mind. Remember to ask about ancestors because your storyteller can be the window to those lost worlds. Who is your storyteller? Know your narrator. As your excitement mounts for the upcoming event, you might imagine that just by turning on a recording device with minimal prompts or props, family stories will flow. The reality is that an entire generation cannot be stereotyped. We assume that we will encounter “talkers” whose memories are intact, that a 97-year-old will bring up names and dates as though it was yesterday. We assume elder narrators have all their faculties, their ability to see and hear, and that their health and wellbeing are stable enough to relive moments, ready for our well-meaning queries. Remember that in every family there are those who are living with age-related memory loss or life-robbing diseases, who struggle to unlock earlier lives, unable to retrieve life accounts for a variety of reasons. If your interviewee is struggling with memory loss, use props that can be seen or held. Turn off the video camera if it is intimidating. Sit close or hold their hands as they journey back. Begin with your eldest family members, whether they will be attending the reunion or not. Use online video to bring a live or pre-taped interview or skyped give-and-take with great-great 10 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com
Suemnicht Children 1924
grandpa in a senior-living environment. Questions? Some storytellers prefer questions, or may need prompts once they start down a storied path. There are easy-to-access, often-told stories in most families. Reveal new layers of a well-known story through the senses – the sights, sounds, smells and intricacies of a memory. Avoid starting with, “tell me about your childhood.” Open-ended questions are often too large an ocean for an individual to uncover and feel overwhelming. Instead, ask specific questions. Internet sites abound with questions to ask about ancestors, childhood, teen years, middle years, military, love and marriage, senior years, etc. Each storyteller has his or her own style. Some individuals reflect chronologically while others jump from story to story, leaving the weaving of the story to you. Who to involve? Memories differ so it’s important to manage interpersonal interactions. Encourage each storyteller to speak as much as he or she is able. Be respectful but careful of others who jump in to finish a story, add their own take, or correct information. Bring the “telling” back to the primary storyteller. Group interviews are helpful to prompt conversation for some, but can be distracting for others. If you want to hear the story of one individual, focus on that individual. An aging person may get lost in a group setting, possibly out of respect for others in
the room or an inability to hear the threads, or may be introverted by nature. At the same time, such interviews, if done with peers, can provide reminders of lost people and places, or expansion of events. Group interviews can be successful but are difficult to transcribe if voices are not identified. Involve generations. Encourage younger family members to hear stories firsthand. Make it a memorable family affair. Ask others what stories or clarifications they’d like to hear. Keep in mind, though, that too many people or questions can create confusion for an older adult. Time. Find a time when your narrator is most alert. Depending on the storyteller, two-hour time frames work well, but try not to go too long without a break. Have water and snacks available. Location. Find a space that is devoid of exterior noises when recording, not only because it will result in a better quality recording, but also because many elders find it hard to hear and concentrate in environments with distracting noises. Equipment. Technology is everywhere. No matter how simple your recording equipment appears to be, have a backup; in other words, don’t rely on one device. Have extra batteries. No one likes to lose that once-in-a-lifetime cherished interview. Transcribe any oral history. The choice is not “oral or written,” but both oral and written. You can’t be sure what future generations will need or want. Photos. If photos are taken, save them as 300+ dpi for reproduction. Phone photos are not the best for future print copies. Take along old photos for identification. Yes, this is where printed hard copies come in handy. Next steps. In our world of electronic sharing, don’t assume that it is okay to put an interview online. Get permission from the storyteller. And post-reunion, schedule time to continue capturing memories, before it’s too late! Your Mondays with Mom or Saturdays with Dad will remain some of the most memorable of your life.
About the author
Mary Patricia Voell is Founder and Owner of Legacies, LLC, email@example.com; 414-779-8484; legaciesstories.com; Blog: STORYLINES @ legaciesstories.com/storylines-blog.
t’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree by A.J. Jacobs (2017, Simon & Schuster, New York; hardcover, 336 pages, $27) A.J. Jacobs’ writing style is breezy and personal with lots of humor, so … easy reading. His books are all pursuits of an idea taken to some extreme, such as The Year of Living Biblically (a CBS sitcom starting in March) when he lived according to the Bible, or The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, when he spent 18 months reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z. It’s All Relative pursues family history and genealogy in hopes of staging the Guinness World Record’s largest-ever family reunion. The adventure began with an email from a stranger saying he was Jacobs’ eighth cousin, and that he had over 80,000 relatives in a database. Jacobs delves into genealogy to explore his family tree, then decides that he wants to have a family reunion – and not just any reunion, but The Global Family Reunion. He undertakes a fascinating quest to understand the true meaning of what constitutes family, starting with his own. He consults many genealogists to discover hidden connections and he delves into DNA tests, although he cautions that we don’t have to look too far because we are all cousins on the family tree. Interwoven in the search is Jacobs’ planning of the June 2016 Global Family Reunion that did celebrate family but, sadly, broke no world record. It was, as most family reunions are, great fun and quite memorable for everyone who attended. EW
Have the Talk of a Lifetime
itting down with loved ones to talk about their lives can be a rich and satisfying experience! Learning about memorable events, people, places, values and lessons they’ve learned can help bring you closer to people you care about. At your next reunion plan to Have the Talk of a Lifetime – share stories about life, things that matter most and how you want to be remembered. Have the Talk of a Lifetime Conversation Cards help you get started! While supplies last, one per family, request a set of cards free from The Funeral Service Foundation (funeralservicefoundation.org/ conversation-cards-submission-form/).
Win a chance to solve a family mystery!
o you have a family mystery you just can’t solve? Hit a brick wall and can’t find a clue? The good folks at MyHeritage.com want to help solve some of those mysteries and discover answers. They will select from submissions of your conundrums. Send mysteries to firstname.lastname@example.org and you may win a solution. What a great presentation that would make for your next reunion!
familyfuture A LINK TO THE PAST A BRIDGE TO OUR
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 email@example.com
2018 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 11
scrapbook Most of these events are sponsored and presented by convention and visitors bureaus. Most take place on Saturdays and, for the most part, are for people planning reunions in their area. All prefer or require advance reservations and most are free or at nominal cost. For information about new events added online, as soon as we learn about them visit reunionsmag.com and click on Reunion Workshops and Conferences. ALLIANCE OF MILITARY REUNIONS Contact Skip Sander, 412-367-1376 | MilitaryReunions@aol.com llMilitaryReunions.org
HOUSTON, TEXAS Contact Neidra Billings | 713-853-8321 | NBillings@visithouston.com www.visithoustontexas.com/reunions/
ALPHARETTA, GEORGIA April 21, 2018 Contact 678-297-2811 firstname.lastname@example.org awesomealpharetta.com
KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN Contact Jennifer Williamson, 269-488-0057 email@example.com
ATLANTA, GEORGIA 404-521-6622; atlanta.net/reunions AUGUSTA, GEORGIA Contact “Cousin” Michelle, 800-726-0243 | 706-823-6600 Michelle@VisitAugusta.com BALTIMORE, MARYLAND 410-244-8861 GREATER BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA 2018 Reunion Planning Expo Contact Tara Walton, CTIS, 800-458-8085 or 205-458-8000 birminghamal.org/reunions/ BRANSON, MISSOURI May 2019 Annual Military Reunion Planners Conference Contact Julie Peters, 417-243-2117 | firstname.lastname@example.org explorebranson.com/groups/ CABARRUS COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA Contact John Poole, John.Poole@VisitCabarrus.com | visitcabarrus.com CHESAPEAKE, VIRGINIA Contact C. Jeff Bunn, 757-382-1352 | email@example.com CLAYTON COUNTY, GEORGIA March 3, 2018 Contact Tangie Carter, 678-610-4242 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.atlantastruesouth.com
KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA Experience Kissimmee Military Reunion FAM May 14-18, 2018 Family reunion workshop August 18, 2018 Contact Jadeine Shives, 407-569-4855 | email@example.com MilitaryReunionsinkissimmee.com LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS Contact Kimberly Ghys, 800-Lake-Now (800-525-3669) Kimberly@lakecounty.org | Lakecountyreunions.com LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY Contact Kathryn Peck | 502-560-1491 | firstname.lastname@example.org MACON-BIBB COUNTY, GEORGIA Contact 478-743-1074 MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE Contact Holly Townsend, 901-543-5320 | email@example.com NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA Contact Andrea Moran, 888-493-7386 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.newport-news.org/ PEACHTREE CITY, GEORGIA
Contact Eric Matos, 678-216-0282 | visitpeachtreecity.com SANDY SPRINGS, GEORGIA
Contact Amy Metzler, 770-206-1552 | email@example.com
COBB COUNTY, GEORGIA Contact Dianne Lovett, 800-451-3480 | firstname.lastname@example.org
SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LOUISIANA Contact Erica Telsee, 800-551-8682 | email@example.com
COLUMBUS, OHIO Contact Sarah Doodan, CTA 614-222-6146 experiencecolumbus.com/tours-reunions
THE MILITARY REUNION NETWORK Regional Roundtables/ConFAMs (Conferences begin on varied days) BRANSON, MISSOURI | May 4-7, 2018 ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA | May 8-11, 2018 BILLINGS, MONTANA | September 19-23, 2018
DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA April 14, June 16, August 18, September 15, November 17, 2018 Contact Penny Moore, Group Services Manager, 770-492-5018 visitatlantasdekalbcounty.com/reunions DETROIT, MICHIGAN September 29, 2018 Contact DMCVB, 313-202-1985 | firstname.lastname@example.org meetdetroit.com/reunions FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA February 16, 2019, 11th annual Contact Dean Miller, 703-752-9509 | email@example.com | www.fxva.com FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA Contact: Victoria Matthews, 800-260-3646 | 540-372-1216 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.VisitFred.com GWINNETT COUNTY, GEORGIA March 16, 2018 Contact Maurice Odoms, Family Reunion Expert 770-814-6059 | email@example.com 12 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com
Educational Summit FAIRFAX/RESTON, VIRGINIA | June 23-26, 2018 Contact, Sharon Danitschek, 425-501-1430 firstname.lastname@example.org | militaryreunionnetwork.com/ VIRTUAL FAMILY REUNION PLANNING WORKSHOPS March 24, April 28, May 19, June 9, July 28, August 25, 2018 Contact Niko Cook, email@example.com YMRC – YOUR MILITARY REUNION CONNECTION NORTH CHICAGO, LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS | April 3-6, 2018 NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | July 9-12, 2018 PORTLAND, OREGON | July 29-Aug 1, 2018 BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA | August 12-15, 2018 VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA | October 28-31, 2018 Contact Ymrcusa@gmail.com | yourmilitaryreunions.com www.facebook.com/militaryreunions
“Detroit is infused with art and abuzz with transformative change.” – Toronto Star
Detroit is creating its own art world, with artists of all kinds coming here to be inspired. From exploring great masters at the world-class Detroit Institute of Arts or enjoying street art in Eastern Market, you’ll find Detroit a very colorful and compelling canvas. Base photo courtesy of Bill Bowen
Photo from Sony Pictures Television.
“Family Reunion” was the answer on Wheel of Fortune! Thanks for the tip Dean Miller!
isit Philadelphia® has a new guide for anyone interested in exploring the region’s Underground Railroad connections. The Underground Railroad is undeniably an important part of American history and Philadelphia played an interesting role in the movement. The city took part in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but also was home to a significant population of freed African-Americans. Philadelphia’s Underground Railroad will guide you to meaningful sites and landmarks. Visit visitphilly.com for information.
he Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2018, The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando 2018 and The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line 2018 are essential in planning your Disney reunion. The Unofficial Guides are packed with useful tips, great advice, excellent discussion, and practical travel information for families traveling to Walt Disney World. Disney World with Kids breaks down guidance according to age groups, from young children up to teenagers. It describes all theme parks and explains everything from pricing for passes to understanding magic hours. Its maps of all the Disney World parks, the Orlando area, Sea World and Universal help you better understand the theme parks and the surrounding area. The Universal Orlando guide provides step-by-step detailed touring plans that allow you to make the most of every minute, and includes Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, as well as Volcano Bay, the new waterpark. The Disney Cruise book describes ships, itineraries, restaurants, children’s activities, and Castaway Cay Island in the Caribbean. All books are available at amazon.com.
We’ll Meet Again
Ann Curry (left) joins childhood friends Reiko Nagumo (center) & Mary Peters (right), who reunited in 2017 for the first time in 72 years. Credit: Courtesy of Blink Films
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e’ll Meet Again is a new six-part series by Blink Films in partnership with Ann Curry’s media venture on PBS. Some of history’s most dramatic events from across the globe are explored through personal stories of those who experienced them. The series brought together people whose lives intersected at pivotal moments. Reported by Ann Curry, each episode reveals the powerful bonds forged between people who were reunited, against the odds, with those who transformed their lives. Episodes include stories from WWII to Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement to 9/11, and more. We’ll Meet Again revealed moving personal stories of hope, courage, and love. If you missed the series, watch for a ON PBS second season.
Fredericksburg Regional Tourism Partnership Reunions – Gardens and Theater
ith lush, iconic and historic gardens and vibrant arts and culture offerings, the Fredericksburg Region is the ideal place for your reunion. Whether your group is interested in exploring the same cultivated gardens that past Presidents walked, such as the plantation at Kenmore, or exploring the beauty in untouched nature, like the nature preserve at Lake Anna, the Fredericksburg region is sure to astound. Located one hour south of Washington DC and near Quantico, the region has reunion friendly hotels and activities. Kenmore, a plantation house that was built in the 1770s by George Washington’s sister Betty and her patriot husband, Fielding Lewis, became a museum in 1922. The gardens were the first restoration by the Garden Club of Virginia in 1924. Visitors can stroll through the Wilderness Walk, designed in an 18th century style with native plans, or rest on the open lawn, imagining a bustling 1700’s plantation yard. The terrace, with Virginia’s largest
yellowwood tree and perennial flower beds offer an atmosphere of relaxation and a chance to escape into the past. Or, what more beautiful backdrop for a group reunion than the home of nationally renown artist, Gari Melchers. Visit the grounds of his home, Belmont Estate, a 27-acre estate includes woodlands, fields and several outbuildings as well as formal gardens with boxwood edged beds and walks. A path network takes visitors through a restored woodland walk and around two native grassland wildlife habitats. The gardens are colorful year round, starting with thousands of bulbs in the spring. In late May and early June more than 30 historic roses bloom in beds, on arbors and trellises. For those interested in enjoying the untouched natural wonder of the Fredericksburg Region, Lake Anna State Park protects 2,304 acres, of which 8.5 miles is along a serene lake. Pair your beautiful outdoor explorations
that the Fredericksburg Region has to offer with the rich arts and culture offerings for a truly inspirational, fulfilling reunion. The Riverside Center for the Performing Arts has reimagined the dinner theater experience and is sure to be a group favorite. This entertainment space was not only custom built and designed to meet any group or visitors’ needs, but has also been the site for over 60 mainstage Broadway musicals and attracted nationally acclaimed talent, like Sally Struthers. Upcoming shows include Always Patsy Cline, A Chorus Line, and Beauty and the Beast. Visit many of the art galleries located in the Fredericksburg Region. With nearly 30 to choose from there is something for all arts lovers. With so many culturally and intrinsically beautiful offerings, the Fredericksburg Region is sure to delight and act as the backdrop for a special, fulfilling and inspiring reunion.
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Washington Family Reunion
ith descendants in all 50 states and some in other countries, planning a reunion can have its challenges. The Washington family hosted their 24th reunion in Kissimmee, Florida, joining over 500 family members, from age 1 to 100, with more than 400 years of history. The reunion marked a milestone in connecting the Washington Family’s history and archiving the theme, “From Our Roots to Our Fruits.” The family can trace its ancestry back to the 1600s, noting that the family’s journey began when ancestors arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, during the slave trade. Utilizing the reunion as a way to continue to collect information and memorialize their history, tracing back nine generations (to date), they found Kissimmee to be the perfect setting for having fun,
making memories, and reconnecting with family members. It was Kissimmee’s largest family reunion yet. The family hosted their very own Olympic games, competing in sand volleyball, basketball and more at the Radisson Resort Orlando Celebration sport facilities. In addition to the games, the family enjoyed the area’s nearby Walt Disney World Resort®, Universal Orlando Resort® and SeaWorld Orlando®. Continuing the commitment to celebrating Washington Family history, the “From our Roots to our Fruits” theme was archived on reunion t-shirts provided for free by Experience Kissimmee for all 500 members. The Washington Family is looking forward to reconnecting in 2019, when they hope to continue to share the story of their roots. Shared by Jadeine Shives, of Experience Kissimmee
Riley Family Reunion
he three-day Riley Family Reunion at the DoubleTree Hotel in Historic Williamsburg, Virginia, honored ancestors with appreciation for who and what they were and that they passed on to future generations the strength of their family legacy. At our meet and greet, the children colored paper hands and flowers which we arranged on and around a tree which was displayed at the banquet night event – a huge success. (See more details in “Meet and Greet” feature on page 39.) We spent Saturday visiting Busch Gardens and Water Country, and touring Hampton University College and the Williamsburg Winery. Storyteller/Teaching Artist Sheila Arnold Jones (www. mssheila.org) was our excellent tour guide. During the Saturday Nite Bash, we played bingo (with prizes)
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while kids played musical chairs. We celebrated by enjoying fun, food, dancing and reconnecting with relatives. Music was provided by Markee-Lejuan Smith from Big Pretty Entertainment, a family favorite and supporter. Our committee had purchased a custommade 8’x8’ banner to use as background in photos. Props and two small boards were made by the committee. The family attended church at the Historic First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, where we saw the 1777 Freedom Bell. The Bell was at the Grand opening of the African American History Museum in 2016 and was rung by President Barack Obama. After church, the kids went to Go-Karts Plus for some fun activity before the banquet. Reported by Jacqueline Gardenhire, Gainesville, Virginia.
See details of Riley kids’ activities in special Meet and Greet section, page 39.
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 Arkansas.com. What will you make in Arkansas?
Plano is home to a vibrant nightlife, a fabulous restaurant scene, incredible shopping, over 5,400 hotel rooms, and one of a kind events like Texasâ€™ largest Hot Air Balloon Festival. We invite you to
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People Connect Here. visitplano.com
2018 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 17
masterplan McELROY FAMILY REUNION CLUB, INC.:
68 years celebrating our ancestors
oe McElroy and his cousins met in his backyard in Columbus, Ohio, to honor their ancestors Caroline Gartrell McElroy (1832) and Howard McElroy (1812). Both were born on plantations in Wilkes County, Georgia, and their marriage was certified after Emancipation. McElroy and Gartrell descendants continue tradition by meeting every year to honor the perseverance of their ancestors and to celebrate the family’s lives during slavery, Reconstruction, and today. There are several family historians in branches across the country, including Gartrell, Chambers, McElroy, Pearson, Crew, and Ali. They stay connected via Facebook, including the Family Connection of McElroys, Family Page of Ardisters, and the West Coast Gartrell/McElroy/ Crew page. The focus of reunions is to educate
Cousins, Aniyla N. Gilmore (5, left) and Bella Lamar (5) at the Closing prayer and Circle of Love.
members and the family’s young people about the importance of their place in American history and the need to live the values of their ancestors as positive and productive community members. The 68th reunion was in Los Angeles, California. More than 200 members came from around the country. Saturday night was a family reggae party. During Sunday Children’s Hours, each child, with the assistance of his or her parents, constructed his or her own individual Family History Book. And there was a Sunday evening Gala Dinner with a guest genealogist. The family honored its oldest member, Ms. Marchane Hawkins (92). Reported by Charlene Lewis, Altadena, California.
Bella Lamar (5) working on her family history book.
Moore family ready for Saturday night Reggae (left to right) Shalaymiah, Marvonte, Mahtsealyah, Mardell, and Delonte (front row) Jeremiah (11) and Rohance (14).
Family reggae party!
More family reggae party!
McElroy Family Reunion
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Canty Family Reunion
ne-hundred fifty Canty family members from five generations celebrated the theme of “Commemorating Our Ancestors” during a return visit to our ancestral home state of Alabama. We held our 15th bi-annual reunion, spanning 35 years of family gatherings, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Montgomery, Alabama. The Canty Family’s roots are planted deep in Pike County, Alabama. A major focus of the commemoration was to honor reunion founder and first reunion host, the late Ruby Canty Rudolph, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 102. A meet and greet Friday evening featured the usual social interactions with laughter, music, and great food, combined with a more somber activity that showcased a video presentation of our late reunion founder’s 100th birthday party held in 2014. Saturday morning’s business meeting targeted one of our goals, to continue to transition leadership responsibilities to a new generation. The highlight of Saturday morning was to officially and actively honor our ancestors by releasing balloons on a beautiful, sunny day. The night before, members were asked to submit messages or prayers to specifically named ancestors; these were tied to balloons the following morning. Members gathered in their t-shirts in front of the hotel, and after a brief tribute the balloons took flight. Many members spent the remainder of the day touring Montgomery, known for its long history of civil rights activity. It was an excellent history lesson for the younger generation. Our formal dinner program paid tribute to our ancestors, and also recognized members who give their time to the Canty family organization and those who organize and host family reunions.
Canty Family balloon launch to honor ancestors.
by Jessie Muse
The extensive displays of family memorabilia included many old photographs, marriage licenses and other documents (some of which are more than 100 years old); these captured the attention of younger generations. Plans are underway to organize all these family assets and preserve them in a family archive.
Ten years ago, a Canty Family Leadership Team was organized. Members from each family branch were elected to serve on the National Leadership Team, with a mission to guide activities of the family organization, including reunions. Two major awards are given at each reunion in honor of the reunion founder and the first national treasurer. This year those awards, as well as other special awards, were presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the family. The oldest and youngest attendees were also recognized and presented with gifts. Recognition of family members who are serving or who have served our country in the military brought the loudest applause. Each reunion includes a special souvenir program journal that reflects the purpose of family reunions and some important aspect of family history. This is a way to introduce newcomers to the family reunion and our family’s proud history. The program journal this year also highlighted a memorial tribute to our reunion founder and celebrated success stories of our young people and all they’ve achieved. It recognized talents of two members who wrote the lyrics to our family anthem and memorializes members who passed away since the last reunion. An updated family directory is included so everyone can stay in touch. A grand time was had by all. Anticipation is growing for our first reunion in the Lone Star State of Texas in 2019 – San Antonio, here we come! Reported by Jessie Muse, Mitchellville, Maryland.
Canty Family Reunion t-shirt commemorating reunion founder, Ruby Canty Rudolph, who died in 2016 at 102 years of age. T-shirts were specifically designed in memory of four known generations of family now deceased and whose lives cover from the late 1700s to 1914.
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Allen Coleman Watson Family Reunion
High School Graduate Ty’Quez Clerva received a trophy, scholarship award and a Dell laptop. He’ll be attending Alabama A&M University.
Allen Coleman Watson Family Reunion
family reunion is a time to remember that, although you may feel close to your neighbors and friends, there is nothing quite like family. Ovedia P. Larry (1929-2007) – ”Vedia” to those who knew her dearly – believed in nothing more than bringing family together. Ovedia was born in Valdosta, Georgia, to Joe Pinkney and Dora Bush Pinkney. She had 11 children. We owe homage to a great visionary woman On July 4, 1979, Ovedia and her children came together for a family gathering, a time for celebrating history. Eight years later Ovedia’s sisters and brothers joined the celebration of the Allen Coleman Watson Family Reunion. Then the reunion was changed from July 4th to Labor Day weekend. Green is our family reunion color. It symbolizes life, freshness, love, growth, healing, perspective peace, visibility and the Divine. Although the Lord has called this angel home, Ovedia’s light shines in each and every one of us. Let’s continue to come together, celebrate this vision and help elevate the legacy of a strong branch of the Allen Coleman Watson Family Tree. We love and miss you dearly.
he 148th Still Family Reunion was held in my yard on the second Sunday in August. Our family reunion tradition was started with a gathering at the home of Dr. James Still, “The Black Doctor of the Pines,” in Medford New Jersey. It was 20 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com
The Allen Coleman Watson Family Reunion celebrated its 38th Anniversary in Atlanta, Georgia, at Stone Mountain Park. Check-in at Hampton Inn was followed by registration, bowling, dinner and awards at Stars & Stripes Stone Mountain. Family members enjoyed a fun-filled Saturday at Stone Mountain Park, taking advantage of the many attractions and a Picnic in the Park at the Hilltop Pavillion. Food, fun and games were the highlight of the evening, and Day 2 ended with a spectacular laser and fireworks show. On Sunday, praise and worship were held at Berean Christian Church in Gwinnett, Georgia. Sunday dinner banquet was held at the beautiful Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort Stone Mountain. Awards and presentations included Founders Award (Daughters and Son), Lifetime Achievement, Special Award, Scholarship, High School Graduate, Honor Roll, Spirit Award, CityState-Family Representation, Oldest and Youngest Male/Female. The evening concluded with the announcement that the next Allen Coleman Watson Family Reunion would be held at Walt Disney World. Many thanks go to Governor Nathan Deal for welcoming our family to the great State of Georgia. Reported by Carlos Larry, Snellville, Georgia
moved to Lawnside several decades ago. The Still Family Historical Committee, Inc., plans for food preparation, insurance, entertainment, and speakers each year. We try to raise awareness about the abolitionist William Still and his work, which began
prior to the Civil War. “The work Reunions magazine is doing is a great one, getting families to work together to understand they are not alone.” Shared by Reginald Still Sr., Lawnside, New Jersey.
The Haggertys at Cragun’s Resort
he Haggerty family gathered from hither and ’yon, at the family reunion in “up north” Minnesota. The first family reunion, in 1968, celebrated grandparents Allen and Alice Haggerty’s 50th anniversary. The phrase engraved inside their wedding rings, “Love is Life,” has been carried forward to this day as our cherished family motto. What started in 1968 as a gathering of 60 family members has blossomed four generations later to a whopping 243 family members, 136 of whom attended the recent reunion. As the family grows and we’re spread across the US and internationally, reunions help us keep our Haggerty bonds tight. Last year’s family reunion was at the Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd, Minnesota, with family members from England and 15 states! Cragun’s Resort offered activities enjoyed by our families – the lake, of course, swimming, golfing, fishing, boating, and kids’ programs. A firepit at the lakeshore and the social room were rented for the week; the family gathered every evening around the bonfire and at the social room for our daily social events. The staff from the resort provided wonderful service and responded to all our requests quickly and with a smile. Week-long Haggerty Family Reunions have been held every five years and feature fun-filled activities planned by family members. This includes our traditional egg and balloon toss, popcorn, jello and chocolate cake night, evening bonfire gatherings, fishing, singing our family song, Haggerty (to the tune of Harrigan), a memorial and prayer service, and on the last night the rip-roarin’ family talent show! This year the talent show débuted several young family members displaying vocal prowess. The talent show also included the “reunion weekly
Haggerty Family Reunion at Cragun’s Resort in Brainard, Minnesota.
news” and the reenactment of Alice (the family matriarch) telling stories of what life was like in Minnesota in the early 1900s when she was young and raising eight children. These and other stories are so important to share and pass forward as each reunion brings new family members and generations who will one day tell the stories themselves. Each reunion highlights both old and new activities. Traditional t-shirts (originally silk-screened by the family) débuted a professional design in 1982, displaying the talent of an artistic cousin. This year featured the first breakfast, hosted by Seattle Auntie Phyllis (bran muffins) and Auntie Helen (egg dish) with good Seattle coffee. California, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Florida families hosted kids’ crafts, and family members from Rochester, Minnesota, hosted a hot dog and root beer float lunch. Families sign up to host activities. Each of the “original 8” family units, Allen and Alice’s children, identify a representative assigned to a committee who does the planning and disseminates information as the next family reunion pulls together. Shared by the Haggerty Family Reunion Committee.
Thomas Edward Fuller Family Reunion
Fuller Family Reunion
wo years ago, we celebrated our first-ever Thomas Edward Fuller Family Reunion, and in June we met once again with cousins from all over the US to remember our ancestors. Our plans were to expand our reunion to a two-day event in Blanchard Springs, Arkansas, and then the next day, in Batesville, Arkansas. However, Mother Nature had other plans. As remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy dumped rain and heavy winds on the Independence County area, we had to cancel our outdoor cookout. But the following day, cousins representing the descendants of Thomas Edward Fuller’s children gathered to share stories, old photos, great food, and to remember the legacy that had been passed down from those Fullers who had settled in this part of the US.
One of the highlights of the day included a proclamation from the Batesville Mayor recognizing Fuller descendants who had made their homes in Batesville and surrounding communities in Independence County. Another special part of this year’s reunion was a special “Memorial Table” that honored memories of seven Fuller cousins who passed away since our last reunion. There was also a 42-foot family tree. With well over a hundred cousins in attendance, the overwhelming response was that our 2nd Thomas Edward Fuller family reunion was even better than our first! The only question was, “What can we do to make the next reunion even better?” Reported by Terry Davis, Fort Smith, Arkansas. 2018 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 21
DON’T MISS THE BOAT!
Think Big! when planning a milestone event.
“ n a split second, my entire childhood flashed before me,” my brother, Rob, said. This was Rob’s reaction to a surprise 75th birthday party reunion that his wife, Sandra, and I had been plotting, via emails, for exactly one year. Sandra first suggested, “Let’s have a church service in Rob’s honor, followed by a reception.” I countered with, “How about doing something in New York City?” Sandra liked that idea since they lived in New Jersey, close to the city. We proceeded to compile a guest list of 15 cousins and our kids, making a total of 19 … relatives from California to Connecticut! Rob’s daughter, Dana, served as head researcher, and looked into activities for a large group. “What about a boat ride around Manhattan?” suggested Dana. She discovered the perfect sailing, an Architectural Cruise that would last 3.5 hours, with an on-going narrative about both New York’s oldest and newest buildings. With completion of the research, I served as press secretary and sent emails to the group, inquiring if they’d be interested in Rob’s surprise party and cruise. “I’m in!” came the first email. “I’m in!” came the second. And, so it went with all guests wanting to join the celebration. There was one cousin who added, “I’m in! I’ll go to anyone’s birthday party who’s older than I am.” We had to arrive at 1:15PM the Saturday of the cruise and no later than 1:30. Latecomers would be left behind. My many emails, for two months prior, gave explicit directions to the boat and that the cruise leaves promptly at 1:45PM rain or shine. Over and over I reiterated,
Dana Seeley and her dad, birthday honoree, Robert Seeley.
“Don’t miss the boat!” My husband, Don and I, flew from Seattle the day before, and stayed in mid-town Manhattan, along with Sandra and Rob. Rob knew we were coming for a “visit.” I had not lived in New York City for over 50 years and had forgotten this is the city that never sleeps. It’s great for a 20-something, but for us? We’re used to the slower pace of Bothell, Washington. It was noon Saturday when I decided to grab something to eat at the hotel café before we made our way to Pier 62 on West 23rd Street. The overcast day didn’t dampen the spirits of us Pacific Northwesterners, but I found it interesting that New York City’s overcast comes right down to street level. At a hotel, Rob, Sandra, my husband and I waited in line that had formed to hail a cab. “All cabs are full. You won’t get a cab here,” said the doorman. “Grab a subway on 7th Avenue!” he called out to us. Charging over to the subway station, we
Finally, on the boat ride!
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ran down the stairs, and waited at the track for the E Train to take us south to West 23rd Street. By this time it was 1:10PM. Panic set in. On the train, the subway completely missed the 23rd Street stop – as it was an Express, not a Local. We got off at 4th Street, well past our mark. It was now 1:30. Drenched in nerves and sweat, I wildly waved my arms to hail a cab. The cab headed north, into what else? A traffic jam! My cell rang. “Mom, where are you? The captain wants to board,” exclaimed daughter Sabrina. “Oh, this is the captain speaking?” I said, not to alert my brother, seated next to me in the cab. Unaware of the situation, Rob kept saying, “We can just go tomorrow or another time.” Almost there, it was now 1:45PM, the time of the boat’s departure. The captain was ready to go and so were his passengers. Ring! “Mom, the captain has to leave right now.” “I’ll let you off here,” said our taxi driver, who was close to Pier 62. “It’ll be quicker if you run.” As we entered the loading area, a group of 15 family members gathered in a semicircle yelled, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROB!” Rob’s laugh could be heard throughout the dock area as his eyes darted from his daughter to nieces and all of his cousins … shock and wonder plastered all over his face! The boat was gone. Always have a Plan B! When planning a reunion, consider the variables and curveballs heading your way. Dana found us a bar willing to take our large group. We drank wine and ate hor d’oeuvres until a later sailing at 4:30PM. That cruise was a short, 1½-hour champagne cruise around New York Harbor, past the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and north up the East River, under the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. We even changed our dinner reservation. Then, poof! At 9:30PM, all relatives disappeared for their trains back to Connecticut and Long Island. The kids left for a night on the town, and we four returned to the New York Hilton, tired, happy, thinking, “We did it!” … well, sort of! True reunion adventure shared by Suzanne G. Beyer, Bothell, Washington.
Wrispus Family Reunion
Wrispus Family Reunion at Comerica Park, Home of the Detroit Tigers
he Wrispus Family Reunion changes locations every two years. The previous one was in Oak Brook, Illinois, and the next will be in Washington, DC. For this reunion, we chose the Sheraton at Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, Michigan, for its proximity to the airport. The beauty of the hotel was the free parking and good room rates for three days. The organizer is the person who did all the family genealogy and presented and held the first reunion. The historian gives a presentation about our family history. At the banquet we have introduction of families. The head of each family introduces all of that familyâ€™s members. We stay in touch on Facebook with updates about family events and we also post pictures. The treasurer and the committee chairperson handle finances. The Michigan family had fundraisers and donations and registration fees for this reunion. Kids participate in the meet and greet and registration. We had an icebreaker in which members went around the group with a list of 10 questions to find a particular person. Reported by Gloria Cole, Pontiac, Michigan.
2018 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 23
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Rembert Family Reunion
here was much excitement, joy and laughter as family members packed their bags and traveled by car, bus, train and plane to get to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. All 92 (to be exact) arrived for the 48th annual Rembert Family Reunion. Activities kicked off at 5PM on Thursday with hospitality and registration. Everyone picked up welcome bags. Food and drinks were served and members fellowshipped while listening to music. The fun games and fashion show coordinators worked the room to sign up people to participate in events planned for the Friday picnic and the Saturday evening fashion show. Later we held a dance contest between the East, West, North, and South families with much laughter as dancing talents were showcased. On Friday, everyone met for breakfast and groups were formed to see the many attractions offered in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Dollywood. Some rode the trolley through the mountains. Others visited Dollywood for shops and moonshine tasting. Horseback riding and zip lining were favorites. Everyone had been given a time to return to the hotel for an oldfashioned picnic at the pavilion. Older family members enjoyed horseshoes, there was an old-fashioned leg race between mothers and daughters, and children participated in a hula hoop contest, and water balloon and line dancing
Ready for the All White Banquet are Arianna Osuagwu (6), Chelsea Osuagwu (3), Roselyn Osuagwu, Diane Coleman and Analysa Alaike (12).
competitions. The meal included fish fried outside at the picnic area, barbeque ribs and chicken, grilled polish sausages, pasta salad, baked beans, coleslaw, corn on the cob and a selection of cakes and pies. There was so much food, many ate more than once and took food to their rooms. Saturday, everyone met again for family breakfast and shared what they planned to do for daytime activities. Some visited local attractions, then returned to the hotel
Rembert Family Reunion
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for evening activities. This year we had an All White Banquet and members dressed to impress. Everyone enjoyed a delectable meal. The fashion show followed. Young and old swaggered the runway with grace and style. Prizes were given to the bestdressed male, female and couple, and to family members who were attending the reunion for the first time. The grand prize, a 65-inch smart television, went to the winning raffle ticket holder. Our evening dance began at 9PM and everyone enjoyed dancing and listening to the music. Sunday family members met in the same banquet room for our Annual Unity Breakfast that started with devotion, song, scripture and prayer. A memorial candle lighting tribute was presented in honor of family members who are no longer with us. Breakfast was served and everyone was given time to share with the group. This is the most heartfelt time, when reflections and testimonies are shared. Hugs, kisses and departure prayers were shared as everyone left to return home. The Rembert Family Reunion originated in Linden, a small Alabama town, and has continued annually for 48 years, being held in different locations each year. The 49th reunion will be held in the historic district of Savannah, Georgia. Reported by Jerre Curry, Fairfield, Alabama.
Family reunions in Pearland
earland, Texas, on the Gulf Coast, is ready to meet your family and welcome your reunion to their warm and welcoming city. A popular pick for many family reunions year-round, and just 10 miles south of downtown Houston, Pearland is a short cab ride away from William P. Hobby Airport and nearby attractions. Reunion planners will find the perfect balance of attractive spaces to host outdoor gatherings, picnics, sporting events and plenty of unique, local shopping opportunities – offering visitors lots to do during their stay. Assistance from the Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau includes welcome kits and an online directory of local resources to handle everything from photography to transportation. A slate of exciting annual events held in Pearland is popular with reunion planners, especially the Concerts in the Park series featuring free, live music on Friday nights in May and June at Southdown Park. In fact, Melanie Bruce and her Honore Family Reunion from Louisiana planned their 2017 reunion around one of their favorite artists featured at a Friday night concert. Family members began arriving on Thursday, with the majority in attendance at the concert kick-off on Friday ready for a full weekend of activities. The newly introduced Pear-Scape art sculpture trail features 20 four-foot painted pears positioned throughout Pearland. Choose from five types of scavenger hunts as a fun teambuilding event for your reunion. Or participate in a Paint A Pear activity that allows your group to paint a pear with your own design, paints and talent making for a great group photo upon completion. When Brandy Webb began planning the recent Hall-Prewitt Family Reunion in Pearland, she immediately contacted the Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau for assistance. She received help securing hotel rooms when her venue selection was finalized. Family members enjoyed a host of activities in Pearland parks and venues. “Thanks again for your assistance with our bags, balloons and Pearland gift items. All family members were delighted to receive them. Thank you to your entire staff. We appreciated everything
Hall-Prewitt Family Reunion
you did to make our family feel welcome,” wrote Brandy. D’Awn Bunch says that planning a Hicks Family Reunion in Pearland was a success. “We had family from Chicago, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Missouri, Arkansas and Arizona join us this year. The elders gave us kudos for hosting it and were very pleased with everything we had in the schedule (including Pearland Town Center excursions) plus unplanned time to let us build memories with the Hicks family,” wrote Bunch. Pearland is ready to welcome your family reunion. Let the CVB assist with your reunion planning. Be sure to visit http:// visitpearland.com/reunions for itinerary ideas and a reunion planning toolbox with handy planning aids.
Honore Family Reunion at popular concerts in the park.
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Chaney Family Reunion
he Chaney Family held its biennial gathering in Charleston, South Carolina, at the North Charleston Marriott. The event kicked off on Thursday and ended Sunday. The Thursday meet and greet was held in the hotel’s Explore Room. Guests were welcomed with food, drinks, games, and good conversation. Friday the group had breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, then departed for a two-hour tour with Sites and Insights Tours. The tour covered Black History of the City of Charleston, Porgy & Bess, and GullahGeechee Culture, and James and Johns Islands. Afterward, the family enjoyed a Southern Style Barbecue at the hotel and had a brief meeting to elect new officers. Family members then ventured out on their own to do more sightseeing and shopping. Others remained at the hotel and enjoyed family games and conversation. Saturday, some members went to the Isle of Palms beach and caught the waves and sun, while others went shopping on the hotel shuttle. Saturday night the family enjoyed a beautiful banquet and program at the hotel.
Chaney Family Reunion
The following were recognized: oldest member, family historian, first family to register, farthest traveled, most grandchildren, youngest family member, and appreciation certificates. A quilt representing all branches of the family was on display, and a brief memorial was held to recognize those who had departed since the last reunion. Family members also had an opportunity to reflect on Chaney family history, discuss the family’s origins, and gain additional insights into our roots. The banquet ended to the sounds of DJ Spoon, who had everyone on the floor. The family had an awesome time in Charleston. We look forward to visiting again soon! Special thanks to Emma Shillman, Event Planner with the North Charleston Marriott and her staff, who helped to make the reunion a huge success. In 2019 the family will return to our home of Unadilla, Georgia, and then in 2021 to Baltimore, Maryland, and DC! Reported by Lisa Chaney, Hinesville, Georgia
Make reunion magic in Kissimmee
amily time in the sunshine – plus world-renowned theme parks, outdoor adventures, and one-of-a-kind dining and entertainment. With plenty of fun for vacationers of all ages, Kissimmee is the perfect location for families of every size to come together and celebrate. This sunny destination offers an assortment of group activities and options. Situated a short distance from all of Central Florida’s exhilarating attractions, Kissimmee provides easy access to world-famous theme parks, including Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort,TM and SeaWorld® Parks & Resorts,TM as well as Fun Spot America Theme Park and The Holy Land Experience. As the Gateway to the Everglades®, this location also features an exciting assortment of outdoor experiences and family-friendly thrills, including zipline excursions, kayaking, horseback riding, and unique animal encounters, all offered at the many outdoor adventure parks in the area. You can even ride in an airboat alongside an alligator at Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park! Kissimmee offers a variety of accommodation options sure to thrill your group, as well as your budget. Choose from over 50,000 accommodations including 25,000 vacation homes – all featuring a wide selection of amenities and services including hospitality rooms, banquet spaces, and outdoor barbecue areas. 28 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com
Dining in group style is a specialty at this family-focused location, with a wide selection of both fine dining and highenergy eateries to choose from. Take your dinner to the next level with regal-themed dining at Medieval Times, sing along at House of Blues Gospel Brunch, dine on a pirate ship at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure, or try different cultural cuisines at Disney Springs. Located just an hour and a half from the east and west coasts of Florida and only 20 minutes from Orlando International Airport, Kissimmee is the ideal destination for your next family reunion. And with free planning assistance, plus free reunion t-shirts, Experience Kissimmee can help you make your next family reunion truly unforgettable!
The Meaning of Family
This family reunion was a patriotic event, he 83rd consecutive Moose-Kittinger Family honoring Americans who were simple, Reunion was held at the Harney (Maryland) straightforward, loyal to each other and to the Volunteer Fire Company hall. The member who foundations of liberty the country represents. traveled farthest came from West Palm Beach, The food was delicious. Ted Moose and Florida. The closest relative lived just down the Rhianna Moose White were appointed official street, a stone’s throw from Adams County, dessert tasters, perhaps the best job of all.They Pennsylvania, where members of the extended were appointed to judge first, second and third family still live and farm. prizes among homemade pies, cakes, brownies “That’s my parents’ home. That’s where I was and fudge that covered two large tables were in born. My grandparents lived in that house right the fire hall. there,” Gene Moose pointed out. “My first job “Who is the youngest?” Sue Moose asked. was helping put the roof on this building. I was Lilly Rose McNeil was 18 months. 12 years old.” “Who is the oldest?” Betty Fousch, who He could trace his ancestry directly across clearly liked the desserts, was 93 years old. the road. When Gene married Linda, they set “Who is the longest married couple?” Now up farming in Gettysburg. Now, the Moose Luke McNeil (5) played with Made in USA American Sue was getting personal. It didn’t take long for Chapel Ridge Farm is one of the largest Santa flags brought to honor the veterans. Merle and Mabel Moose to own up to being Gertrudis cattle operations in the country. married 67 years. “From farm folks this family certainly blossomed,” Gene said. News was exchanged as conversations and cross-conversations “Some are nurses, teachers, many served in wars. The family has took place over a fine meal of fried chicken, ham, salads and, of been having this reunion every year for 83 years. Some of ’em, course, delicious sweet treats. Family members were brought up here today, attended the first reunion.” to date on lives that criss-crossed over time. The number of This was a slice of heartland America. The ties and love of candies in jars full of gummy bears, starlight mints and Life family. Their pride belonging to a clan, their prayers for one another Savers were estimated. The full jars of candy were awarded as and for the nation that fought heartbreaking wars, sacrificing prizes for the closest guess. many of their friends and loved ones to set the world free. “It took me a long time to stuff those gummy bears in that jar,” When five elders of the Moose-Kittinger family gathered by Sue Moose White laughed. It was Charlie Moose who guessed two the American flag for a group photograph there was that feeling of almost right on the button. pride in belonging. In their late 80s now, they were just An auction was held to raise money for the next reunion. Gene youngsters when the first family reunion took place in 1934. Moose, in his well-worn straw hat (a trademark without which it America was in the midst of recovering from a Great Depression. would be hard to recognize him), new cowboy shirt and fancy Prohibition had ended almost a year before. The value of a dollar boots, was auctioneer. Even leftover fried chicken was sold for a represented a hard day’s labor by a farmer. good cause. Charlie Moose, a Korean War veteran, required oxygen and a When the family dispersed, they left with a feeling of wheel chair. “Put the tank behind there. Don’t knock it over or satisfaction. Wonderful home-cooked potluck food, delicious we’ll all blow up,” his conductor laughed. With Charlie’s oxygen cakes and sweet treats baked with love, fellowship and that tank out of the way, Samuel Harman, Ted Moose, Honey Bridger important sense of belonging to a family who had celebrated its and Merle Moose posed for the picture. Charlie remained in his origins for the last 83 years. Devoted Americans all, justly proud wheel chair. of their accomplishments and sense of family. “We’re losing some. Some more are getting born,” Gene Moose Reported by John Christopher Fine, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, remarked. Five-year-old Luke McNeil played with two Made in who wrote, “You may be used to families that have held USA American flags he gathered. Sue Moose, Gene and Linda’s consecutive reunions but for me to participate as a guest daughter, brought the flags to honor the veterans. at the 83rd for these families was extraordinary.”
Five elders of the Moose-Kittinger family Ted Moose, Samuel Harman, Merle Moose, Honey Bridger and Charlie Moose.
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There was a fine meal of fried chicken, ham, salads and, of course, delicious sweet treats.
Müllerleile Family Reunion
ur reunion last year was in the Seattle Southside area of Washington State. The family is spread throughout the US and Germany, so getting together every few years is a special treat. The goal was to organize a reunion every five years in both Germany and the US in the same year. After the first reunions in June and October 1997, it made more sense to alternate between Germany and the US every five years. The US has hosted three reunions – in Iowa, Minnesota, and Washington State. The town of Schuttertal in Germany has been the site of four reunions. The reunion in Washington state was the first I planned. Our US reunions had been three-day weekends in small towns and did not include many activities other than family-related visits – e.g., to a family farm, or to a cemetery where lots of family members are buried. It seemed logical that after spending the money to travel to a distant reunion, there should be options to see other sights as a group or suggestions about what is available to visit in the area. When I finally decided on the Greater Seattle Area as the reunion location, I reached out to the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority for planning assistance. Meagan McGuire (VP Sales & Services) immediately began walking me through the process. She helped with finding the venue that would accommodate our reunion. She even accompanied us to scope out the best location within our budget. She sent me a list of transportation companies for day trips. The Seattle Express bus company gave us a very good price to handle all of our transportation needs. We were very pleased with our drivers. Since I live in Spokane, Meagan recommended a storage unit rental site to store our supplies before the reunion. Seattle Southside RTA provided a welcome packet for each reunion member, which included very helpful suggestions about sights to see, along with free shuttle service to nearby Westfield Southcenter for shopping. Once the reunion began, it was clear that all the planning effort had paid off. We hired a local caricature artist (Friday evening) and a magician (Saturday afternoon), and both were big hits (especially the caricaturist). Interaction with attendees and the local entertainment were great icebreakers. We provided time for a spokesperson from each family to tell how they are related within the family tree, or something about their family. We display the family tree so everyone can see how they’re connected. We always take a group photo at the end of the reunion. Since there are attendees who do not know anyone, or know
just a few people, I did not leave too much time for social hours, which can become uncomfortable and boring. The agenda included multiple stories of relatives migrating to Washington State, stories of family pets/animal companions (a hit with kids and adults), and local entertainment. There were door prizes for everyone. Door prizes for kids were lap-sized animal quilts I’d made. For adults, we had items purchased, handmade, or donated from the Northwest. Some of the group elected to extend the reunion and see more of the Pacific Northwest while they were here. Many members took a 7-day cruise to Alaska prior to the reunion. Day trips were planned for those who wished to participate in visiting local sites post-reunion, e.g., City of Seattle tour, Boeing Factory tour, Mt. Rainier trip, Museum of Flight tour. We took an overnight trip to Central Washington State – Quincy, Grand Coulee Dam, and Leavenworth – where some Müllerleile relatives first homesteaded in the early 1900s. Attendees had a great time, and feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive. One of the attendees from Germany told me and others that “it was the best reunion the family had ever put on,” and she had attended all the reunions in Germany and the US. Another attendee said “the Oscar goes to this family reunion for creativity.” If I could do anything differently, I would have contacted the visitor center immediately after deciding that Seattle would be the site of the reunion, instead of trying to find a venue, transportation options, and hotel/motel accommodations on my own. It would have saved a lot of time and worry. Overall, the reunion was a success. It was exciting, fun, and meaningful for the entire Müllerleile family. Reported by Sue Müllerleile, Spokane, Washington 2018 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 31
Lewis Family Reunion
fter a 14-year hiatus, the descendants of David Ernest and Annie Mary Lewis gathered for a family reunion at Marty Snook Park in Hagerstown, Maryland. David and Annie raised their 15 children in Jefferson County, West Virginia, before migrating to Hagerstown in the 1940s. Some of the children remained in West Virginia, and some moved to other states. The annual reunion was an anticipated family gathering to reunite for a day of fun,
food and fellowship. The recent reunion theme was “A Family Together in the Lord from Generation to Generation,” based on Psalm 90:1. More than 100 family members gathered to meet, eat, play and worship. We quickly remembered the importance of the reunion. We played a family trivia game, tried to identify first and second cousins from childhood pictures, solved family-theme crossword puzzles, honored those who
served or are serving in the military, took family pictures with photos of the firstgeneration children, and celebrated Grace Fergus, David and Annie’s last living child, who turned 100 on September 28, 2017. We closed the reunion by attending Greater Campher Temple for Sunday worship. Reported by Marie Daniely, Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Lewis Family Reunion members are holding pictures of David and Annie Mary Lewis’s children.
The Watkins Family Reunion
he Watkins Family Reunion in Branson, Missouri, included many of the area’s exciting attractions. Besides the Duck Ride, the family went to the Hollywood Wax Museum, enjoyed go-karts, shooting water at each other from bumper boats, the video coaster, zip lining, and shopping. The family stayed at Stonebridge Mountain, where they enjoyed a family pool party and barbeque 32 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com
Saturday evening. Arnetta Watkins, Vice President of The Bellwood (Illinois) Chamber of Commerce, a travel planner herself, said: From the moment I reached out to Julie Peters at the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau, planning has been very easy with calls and emails.
our families welcome your family
From historic sites and fun-filled playtime to outdoor adventures and arts of all kinds, your family is sure to love Cape Girardeau as much as our families do. We’re big on family-friendly entertainment, quality accommodations and lots of dining options, but small on frustration and drive time — and we can’t wait to share all there is to do, see and enjoy across our community. Eager to please and ready to entertain. Experience the warm welcome of Cape Girardeau.
on the Mighty Mississippi
Moore Family Reunion
he Moore Family of Plymouth, North Carolina – descendants of siblings Peter, Hannah, William Alan, Sonny, and John Daniel – held its bi-annual reunion in Atlanta, Georgia. We officially began having family reunions in 1999. Family members came from 11 states from California to New York, representing brothers Peter, Sonny and John Daniel descendants. Friday, registration was from 4PM to 6PM for those who arrived early. They picked up registration packets filled with exciting promotional items, the souvenir journal and t-shirts. The Meet and Greet and registration for late arrivals was at 9PM. Icebreakers were great for introducing family who were meeting for the first time and had been specially designed to encourage family members to mingle and share stories. Georgia being the “peach” state, we served peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert and, of course, sweet tea. On Saturday, we donned reunion t-shirts for our group photo before boarding the bus for an historic tour of Atlanta. A stop at the King Center was the highlight. We had lunch at the CNN Center before returning to the hotel. After the tour, family members explored the city on their own. Several went to the zoo, others went to Centennial Olympic
Moore Family Reunion
Park, while others enjoyed the pool at the hotel or napped. Saturday evening, we had our banquet, program and dance. The program included a solo, a PowerPoint presentation about family history, and a karate demonstration by a teenage family member who had just earned his first Degree Black Belt. On exhibit were ancestors’ artifacts: wash board, flat iron, wash basin and pitcher, vintage doll, kerosene lantern, photographs, straightening comb, and much more. Special awards were presented to family members who travelled farthest, who registered first, and the oldest and youngest members in attendance. Then we
danced the night away. Immediately following the Sunday worship service, we held our family meeting to evaluate the reunion, receive a financial report and decide where the next reunion will be held. We were given a report about starting a scholarship award for our high school graduates. The committee discussed scholarship guidelines and a deadline for applying. We voted to approve the scholarship proposal and unanimously to hold the 2019 Moore Family Reunion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Reported by Terri Fagan Mitchell, Lawrenceville, Georgia.
The Four D Family Reunion
he Desjazor, Deshazer, Deshazier, Deshazior (Four D)Family hosted their 20th Biennial Reunion in Louisville, Kentucky, at the Hilton Garden Inn Airport. 210 family members from various states attended. Reunion Chairman, Glenda Nelson kicked it off with a Kentucky Derby Welcome Reception featuring Kentucky comfort foods, mini Hot Browns and their world-famous Bourbon Bread Pudding. The family participated in cousins night with games and activities, and a heritage meeting where they traced their roots. Live entertainment was held at the All White Affair
Banquet. Awards were given to Walter V. Marshall, a three-time Emmy Award-nominated cinematographer and family member, and others. The members attended church together and enjoyed a Southern Cuisine Picnic, featuring down-home cooking and Rose Deshazer White’s Award-Winning Caramel Cake. (Google her ❤) At the picnic, each “D” competes against the others for bragging rights, with a spirit stick given to the family with the most “Team Spirit.” We look forward to hanging out with our cousins for the weekend. Reported by Glenda Deshazier-Nelson, Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
The Four D Family Reunion … Desjazor, Deshazer, Deshazier, Deshazior
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meet & greet
What is a Meet and Greet?
he name of the first event at many reunion meetings is self-explanatory. The Meet and Greet event serves an excellent purpose, the kickoff, for any reunion. Often registration is the first step into the Meet and Greet, but most important are the smiles, hugs, kisses, squeals of joy and delight in seeing one another again. Some Meet and Greets are
just that – an opportunity to say hello – but more often there is food, beverages, a program, introductions, getting to know you games/icebreakers (lots of examples @ reunionsmag.com) and announcements, including the reunion program. The Meet and Greet comes up prominently in many reunion reports, so we asked some reunions to elaborate.
The Day Family Reunion
he first Day Family Reunion weekend began with a Meet and Greet on Friday. For many, this was a first time meeting other family members. They met in a building with a beautiful lake view at Poverty Point Reservoir State Park in Delhi, Louisiana, to enjoy a fish fry, along with music and a family history lesson. They shared ancestral information handouts from Ancestry.com and photos. They are looking forward to a second reunion in Las Vegas in 2019. Shared by Carolyn Scott, Columbia, Mississippi.
Day Family Meet and Greet
Photo credit: Edith Wagner
Day Family Reunion
moja Dono, Unity Talking Drum, performing Libation, a ritual pouring of a liquid as an offering in memory of those who have passed on. Reunion members call out the names of ancestors to open the Banks Hill Outlaw Family Reunion in Washington, DC. Shared by Thelma Harper Jones, Washington DC 38 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com
urtschell/Burttschell Family International members from Germany, France and the US (mostly Texas) at the reunion site – a restored 17th century cognac distillery in Bonneville, France, home of reunion planners Remi and Valerie Rodier. Everyone took advantage of time to relax, enjoy refreshments, and meet and greet the cousins. Shared by Arliss Treybig, El Campo, Texas and Remi Rodier, Bondues, France
meet & greet
The Riley Family Reunion
iley Family Reunion planners made special plans for the kids. At the Friday Meet and Greet, the kids colored and decorated flowers to hang on the Riley Kids Family Tree and answered questions “about me” to get to know their cousins. Shared by Jacqueline Gardenhire, Gainesville, Virginia Skky Branch (8) and Paris Fulcher (6) working on their projects.
Riley kids expressed their creativity by coloring and decorating paper hands that folded into a card. The girls’ hands had lots of bling. “Hands” were handmade by the reunion committee.
“All About Me” templates were given to the kids, with spaces to write their names, ages, birthdays, favorite colors, favorite foods, and favorite subjects. Later each child read someone else’s template as an icebreaker, helping them get to know their cousins.
Hands decorated by girls were displayed around the tree, and hands decorated by boys were hung around the edge of the table.
The Rileys put flowers on the tree and hands around the tree, and displayed it at the banquet night event. It was a huge success.
Walthall-Gregory-Berger Family Reunion
he Walthall-Gregory-Berger Family, whose ancestral roots descend from Pittsylvania and Campbell Counties, Virginia, come together biennially to celebrate our rich family legacy. My grandmother, Missouri Virginia Walthall Miller, was one of 22 children of George Washington Walthall and Pency Ida Gregory Walthall. There are cousins we have known all our lives, others we have recently connected with, and still many we do not know. That’s why we value the Meet and Greet period held during reunion weekend. Authors in the family, each holding copies of books they or other family Our Meet and Greet and weekend members have written. (L-R): Muriel Miller Branch (Pennies to Dollars: activities vary, depending upon the The Story of Maggie Lena Walker, The Water Brought Us: The Story of theme for the gathering. Prior to the Meet the Gullah Speaking People, Dear Ellen Bee), Dorothy Marie Rice and Greet, organizers set up a history (Pennies to Dollars, The Seventeenth Child), Angela Dodson (Remember the Ladies), and in memoriam Lillie Margaret Walthall display table. Connor (A Lily Blooms: Mud Between My Toes). In the past, we have involved family members by arranging book signings for the authors in the family; assigned teams for our Family Olympics and allowed teams time to gel and make team flags; hosted fish fries, and other creative, interactive activities. During the Meet and Greet we also have a time during which we introduce/re-introduce ourselves, including which ancestral line we belong to on our extensive family tree; this helps tremendously when “First Timers” attend a reunion. At the end of introductions we sing our welcome song. Reported by Sonja Branch-Wilson, North Chesterfield, Virginia.
armen Allen, Grayson, Georgia, reports about her successful icebreaker at the Johnson Family Reunion in Las Vegas, Nevada. Everyone received an envelope with a card in it with the name of a person to find and take a selfie with. The selfies will be made into a video montage for the next reunion!
Selfie of Sylvan Crimley (5) and Isaiah Dionisio (11)
2018 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 39
e military reunion news
The Iwo Jima Association of America, Inc.
he Iwo Jima Association of America, Inc. (IJAA), is a non-profit 501 C-3 Public Charity organization chartered to preserve and perpetuate the history of the Battle of Iwo Jima. The Association raises funds to return those Iwo Jima veterans who want to return, and hosts two reunions annually. Each reunion lasts one week. The first of the annual events is held in February in Arlington, Virginia, because of its proximity to US Marine Corps presence, the Iwo Jima Memorial, Headquarters, Marine Corps, 8th & I Marine Barracks, Arlington Cemetery and other Memorials. The second annual event is a Reunion/Symposium held in March, with a tour of Guam Battlefield Sites, then travel to Iwo Jima for a formal Memorial Service called the Reunion of Honor. It is attended by US Iwo Jima vets and family, high-ranking Japanese government officials, and Japanese bereaved family members. The Symposium always includes a briefing on the Iwo Jima Campaign. The object is to memorialize losses on both sides and strengthen the bond between the US and Japan. Reported by Raul Sifuentes, Quantico, Virginia
At the National Museum of the Marine Corps
USMC Basic School Class 3-57 Reunion
uring June 1957, 547 spirited young Americans came together from colleges and universities and from the finest in the Marine Corps NCO ranks to form 3-57. After two or three years, most returned to civilian life, but some became career Marine officers, with five attaining the rank of General. 3-57 has held seven reunions in four cities over the past 60 years and it was generally agreed that this would be the last organized reunion. Branson, a military- and veteran- friendly community, proved to be the perfect setting for our reunion. It offered a wide variety of attractions, museums, and entertainment venues. We scheduled a reception, a Veterans Museum visit, a lake cruise, and a banquet on Saturday night. The numerous shows and attractions offered attendees many choices. Some visited the Toy Museum and Auto and Farm Museum as well as many shows. The Veterans Museum was a big hit. Attendees enjoyed the Main Street Lake Cruise and excellent food and service, and the fire and water fountains on the landing were outstanding. We stayed at the Radisson, which was an excellent choice. We were provided a hospitality room, and the food and service at the welcome reception was exceptional. Our banquet food, service and facilities were excellent, as well. Our guest speaker, Lt Gen Cody Osterman USMC Deputy Cmdr. SOCOM, gave an update on the current status of the Marine Corps. The Radisson gave our guest the President’s Suite and provided a complimentary bottle of wine. Nice touch! Our Planning Committee was extremely pleased with the full service assistance we received, and recommends Branson to any Military Reunion Planning Committee. Reported by Richard Joralmon, Sun City, Arizona
Legion of Valor Gathering
he Legion of Valor, the oldest military service organization in the US, will hold its 128th consecutive Gathering of Extraordinary Combat Heroes in Fayetteville, North Carolina, April 19-21, 2018. Each member of the Legion of Valor is a recipient of the Medal of Honor, Army Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, or Air Force Cross – the nation’s highest awards for extraordinary heroism in combat. Legion of Valor members served in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan, and are 22 to 90+ years of age. Members will visit several units of active-duty military assigned to nearby Fort Bragg. In a solemn Memorial Service each year, the Legion says farewell to 30+ members who have reached their last retreat. Visit www.LegionofValorConvention2018.com. 40 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com
Getting together is better in Lake County Illinois
Home to some of the Midwest’s most beautiful landscapes and just 30 minutes north of Chicago, Lake County is reunion-perfect. You’ll find world-class attractions such as Six Flags Great America and Hurricane Harbor, more than 75 lakes and beaches, wonderful dining and entertainment, and exceptional indoor and outdoor gathering spaces for your big event. Choose from 60 hotels and three resorts—including Great Wolf Lodge Illinois, with its family-friendly 80,000-sq. ft. indoor water park (scheduled to open summer 2018). Let Lake County make your next reunion unforgettable. Before you plan your reunion, contact Kimberly Ghys, Senior Account Executive, at Kimberly@LakeCounty.org or find more information at VisitLakeCounty.org.
e military reunion news
39th Engineer Battalion rallies the troops
he Society of the 39th Engineer Battalion, an association of US Army combat engineers who served together during the Vietnam War, holds a reunion each fall. Every fifth year, the group convenes in the Washington, DC, area so members can visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, and Arlington National Cemetery. Their recent reunion at the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport Hotel in Herndon, Virginia, was highlighted by the anticipated opening of the National Museum of the US Army, under construction at nearby Fort Belvoir scheduled to open in late 2019. Retired Brigadier General Creighton Abrams, Jr., of the Army Historical Foundation shared an extensive preview of the museum and
Society President Bill Ray presents a check to General Creighton Abrams, Jr., to help construct the new National Museum of the United States Army on the grounds of Fort Belvoir, in Fairfax County, Virginia.
The banquet room was filled with banners.
its exhibits at the Saturday evening banquet. The group presented a check to General Abrams to help fund museum construction. General Abrams’ presentation was particularly appropriate, as his father had been in charge of all American forces in Vietnam from 1968 until 1972. Also speaking at the banquet was Lieutenant Commander Brian Sawser, current commanding officer of the 39th Engineer Battalion based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He highlighted ways the current battalion’s mission, training, and capabilities have changed in the 50 years since the group’s members served together in combat in Vietnam.
More than 140 members and guests attended Saturday evening’s reunion banquet.
Inspiring reunions start with inspiring settings Meet Wilmington
Bring a new view to your reunion. 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. From our walkable River District to three island beaches, see where the water takes you.
NCCoastalMeetingsReunions.com | 800.650.9064 42 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com
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e military reunion news
New life for WWII ship’s bell acksonville (Florida) in Bikini Atoll in 1946 and deployments around the world, from the MediUniversity’s Navy ROTC terranean to the Caribbean. Her final call to duty was during the Vietnam (JU NROTC) Unit is home War, where she and her air group launched combat strikes into North to the bell originally slated Vietnam from Yankee Station. to ring on the deck of the USS Shangri-La started her career homeported in San Diego, Califoraircraft carrier USS Shangrinia, and completed her service at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, La (CV-38), but was from 1960 until she was decommissioned on July 30, 1971. damaged in a fire and later Members of the JU NROTC say they are honored to be selected as found rusting in a farmer’s the new home for Shangri-La’s originally cast bell. They will host the field and given new life by USS Shangri-La Reunion Group so its members can see their beloved loyal former shipmates. ship’s bell. The ship’s bell fell into For more about the USS Shangri-La, visit http://cva38.havoc-creative. the hands of the USS com/ or http://www.kellycrawford.org/ShangriLa/; about the Naval Order Shangri-La reunion group visit www.navalorder.org. by pure happenstance. The USS Shangri-La’s rusting bell as it was found Reported by Phillip J. Milano, farmer in Hudson, Florida, Director of News and Publications at Jacksonville University. in Hudson, Florida, before restoration. spotted a man wearing a USS Shangri-La ball cap. They struck up a conversation, and the farmer said he had the USS Shangri-La’s bell lying in a field on his farm. The USS Shangri-La reunion group recovered the bell and begin restoration. After two months, the bell was in pristine condition. The ship’s reunion group and representatives from the Naval Order of the United States’ Florida First Coast Commandery delivered the nearly half-ton restored bell as a permanent loan to the JU NROTC. USS Shangri-La was commissioned in September 1944, and by April 1945 she and her attached air group launched their first combat missions in the Pacific theater. She took part in numerous operations With the refurbished bell of USS Shangri-La (CV-38) are, from left: Roderick Forrester; John Lanse; John Lyons; Al Miller; Bob after the war, including atom bomb testing Whitkop, Capt., USN (retired), JU’77; David Jasso, Cdr., USN; and Matt Tuohy, Capt, USN (retired), JU ‘75.
his is from the military reunion planning fair sponsored by the Branson (Missouri) Convention and Visitors Bureau. Participants are pictured with “Ollie,” the US Navy jeep that belongs to Jody Madaras, producer of 44 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com
Branson’s “All Hands on Deck!” show. Ollie is Jody’s mascot for the show that tells the story of the Hollywood Victory Caravan of WWII. The picture was taken in front of the Branson Auto and Farm Museum.
Contact Julie Peters at Branson CVB, firstname.lastname@example.org; 417-243-2117, about the next military reunion planning event.
Photos courtesy JU NROTC.
CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES
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 email@example.com; 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.
ALABAMA GREATER BIRMINGHAM CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 2200 Ninth Ave. North, Birmingham AL 35203 Birmingham is becoming one of the most celebrated reunion cities in the southeast. The success of your reunion depends on its early groundwork. The Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau is here to help. For more information regarding reunion services, please contact the Convention Bureau at 205-458-8000 | 800-458-8085 fax 205-458-8086 | www.inbirmingham.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 5
ARIZONA WHITE STALLION RANCH 9251 W Twin Peaks Road, Tucson AZ 85743 888-977-2624 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.whitestallion.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 24
ARKANSAS HORSESHOE CANYON RANCH HC 70 Box 261 Jasper AR 72641 800-480-9635 | email@example.com www.horseshoecanyonduderanch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 25 Plan your next reunion in ARKANSAS. Fun activities, comfortable facilities, beautiful surroundings and great food at reasonable rates are just a few reasons. Enjoy great mountain views, crystal clear waters and plush forests to explore. Rest at our lodges, cabins, hotels, bed and breakfasts or other facilities. As for activities, you can dig for diamonds, relax at the spa, hike a trail, play a round of golf and visit any of our 52 state parks. FIND OUT MORE BY VISITING www.arkansas.com OR EMAIL GroupTravel@Arkansas.gov SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 17
CALIFORNIA PALM MOUNTAIN RESORT & SPA 155 South Belardo, Palm Springs CA 92262 760-449-5013 | palmmountainresort.com GREENHORN CREEK GUEST RANCH 2116 Greenhorn Ranch Rd, Quincy CA 95971 800-334-6939 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.greenhornranch.com 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 beautiful Holiday Inn San
Diego Bayside across from San Diego Bay. Experienced staff will assist you to create a very special event. Complimentary hospitality suite. Special reunion rates. Beautiful guest rooms, heated pool, spa, shuffleboard, ping-pong, exercise room, family restaurant (kids 19 + under stay free, up to 4 kids 12 + under per dining adult eat free). Free: airport shuttle, Happy Hour appetizers (Mon-Fri), Keurig coffee makers, refrigerators, hair dryers. Parking fee may be reduced/waived. Contact email@example.com www.holinnbayside.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 7
ALISAL GUEST RANCH 1054 Alisal Road, Solvang CA 93463 800-425-4725 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.alisal.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 24 MARBLE MOUNTAIN RANCH 92520 Hwy 96, Somes Bar CA 95568 800-552-6284 email@example.com www.marblemountainranch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 25
COLORADO RAINBOW TROUT GUEST RANCH 1484 Forest Service Rd 250, Antonito CO 81120 800-633-3397 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.rainbowtroutranch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 25 ELK MOUNTAIN RANCH PO Box 910, Buena Vista CO 81211 800-432-8812 | email@example.com www.elkmtn.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 24 COLORADO TRAILS RANCH 12161 Country Rd 240, Durango CO 81301 1-800-323-3833 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.coloradotrails.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 25 YMCA OF THE ROCKIES has two Colorado destinations – Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch near Winter Park-where your family can reconnect, relax and enjoy group activities. A variety of affordable lodging is available, from individual lodge rooms to a 16-bedroom cabin. Activities include zip line, horseback riding and guided hikes. 800-777-9622 www.ColoradoConferenceCenters.com C LAZY U RANCH PO Box 379 Granby CO 80446 970-887-3344 | email@example.com www.clazyu.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 24 DROWSY WATER RANCH PO BOX 147, Granby CO 80446 | 800-845-2292 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.drowsywater.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 25 SYLVAN DALE GUEST RANCH 2939 N County Road 31D, Loveland CO 80538-9763 970-667-3915 l email@example.com www.sylvandale.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 24
FLORIDA TARPON LODGE & RESTAURANT Experience Old Florida at its finest when you plan a reunion at the renowned Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island. One of Coastal Living Magazine’s 50 Secret Places, Tarpon Lodge offers a private, waterfront experience featuring a 4-star restaurant, island boat charters and some of the best fishing in the world. www.tarponlodge.com l 239-283-3999 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 35 HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES The success of your reunion is our priority! Let our professional team coordinate a value-added stay in comfort and style. Book Early & Save Big! www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/ftmyersforum 239-936-0410 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 35 EXPERIENCE KISSIMMEE 215 Celebration Place, Suite 200, Kissimmee, FL 34747 Kissimmee, Florida, the gateway to fun and next to Orlando is your gateway to the perfect location for your next reunion. We offer planning assistance to reunions of all sizes and budgets. Let us help you make planning your next reunion easy. Plus … we’ll provide your reunion T-shirts free! For details see ReunionsInKissimmee.com or call our reunions specialist at 407-569-4855 or email JShives@ExperienceKissimmee.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 29
GEORGIA CALLAWAY RESORT & GARDENS offers exciting activities and seasonal events for all ages, plus exceptional accommodations and cuisine. A Family Summer Camp, golf, spa, butterfly center, biking, fishing and much more! Daily Gardens Admission INCLUDED in overnight stays is the top-rated benefit for our Reunion Guests! Ask about our remarkable reunion packages when you call. 60 minutes from the ATL International Airport in beautiful Pine Mountain, GA 31822. Unplug, then reconnect. 844-366-8899 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.callawaygardens.coms VISIT SANDY SPRINGS 5920 Roswell Rd., Suite A-118, Sandy Springs GA 30328 866-511-7742 | email@example.com www.visitsandysprings.org Conveniently located minutes from Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Georgia has 20 hotels and more than 50,000 square feet of meeting space. Contact us today to start planning your reunion in Sandy Springs!
ILLINOIS Plan an unforgettable reunion in LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS – We’ll work together to help you plan a family experience 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 firstname.lastname@example.org | LakeCountyReunions.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 41 2018 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 45
CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES LOUISIANA ATTRACTION
Make your family or military reunion a unique and memorable occasion at THE NATIONAL WWII MUSEUM! Ranked the #1 attraction in New Orleans, this remarkable venue is an incomparable experience for all generations. Customize your reunion with a guided group tour, live BB’s Stage Door Canteen lunch or dinner show, and more! The National WWII Museum 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans LA 70130 email@example.com 877-813-3329 x222 nationalww2museum.org/groups
VISIT DETROIT In Detroit, it’s revival time, with a revitalized downtown and a restored vibrancy. In fact, Lonely Planet named The D #2 in the world of “Top In Travel 2018.” Now, it’s time for you to get here and experience it for yourself. Detroit. It’s GO time. Contact Lynette Richardson, Sales Manager firstname.lastname@example.org l 313-202-1945 https://visitdetroit.com https://www.facebook.com/VisitDetroit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 13
ELKHORN RANCH 33133 Gallatin Road, Gallatin Gateway MT 59730 406-995-4291 | email@example.com www.elkhornranchmontana.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 24
MAINE HILTON GARDEN INN AUBURN INN RIVERWATCH 14 Great Falls Plaza, Auburn ME 04210 207-784-4433 (p) | 207-777-7328 (f) Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org www.auburnriverwatch.hgi.com Discover your Maine Thing! Boasting a beautiful location overlooking the Androscoggin River, Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Riverwatch is a destination all on its own. With the ability to offer over 4,500 sq. ft. of flexible conference space you will find everything you need in one place… including fresh lobsters! Experience deluxe accommodations and friendly service from a seasoned staff of professionals. You can count on us to ensure your next reunion is a success! HAMPTON BY HILTON LEWISTON-AUBURN 15 Lincoln St., Lewiston Maine 04240 207-344-1000 (p) | 207-344-1050 (f) Audree.email@example.com www.lewistonauburn.hamptoninn.com Hampton by Hilton Lewiston-Auburn is the area’s newest hotel, featuring 93 guest rooms, a heated indoor pool, fitness center, 24-hour suite shop, complimentary hot breakfast buffet, Wi-Fi, and parking. In addition, the Stephen L Griswold Function Room accommodates private events up to 40 guests and even has a built-in projector and portable screen for your slideshow or presentation needs. Located in the center of Lewiston-Auburn, the Hampton by Hilton is within walking distance of many local restaurants, shops, and special events.
MARYLAND UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center 52 King George Street, Annapolis MD 21402 410-293-8687 | fax 410-293-3365 firstname.lastname@example.org www.usnabsd.com/for-visitors/ HOWARD JOHNSON OCEANFRONT PLAZA HOTEL DAYS INN OCEANFRONT HOWARD JOHNSON OCEANFRONT INN Stay with us at one of our three Oceanfront properties, directly on the Boardwalk in beautiful Ocean City Maryland. We have something for every reunion. We offer free meeting space with a minimum of 10 rooms reserved, as well as Group Leader incentives. Leave the meal and tour planning, and the Jolly Roger Amusements group discounted tickets to us! We are a full-service receptive, at no additional charge. Call Group Sales today at 888-465-3451 email@example.com www.boardwalkhotels.com 46 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com
MINNESOTA 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 reunions...here’s why: 1) trained coordinator will help plan it all, 2) arrival “Welcome” and registration areas with planned activity agendas, 3) activities including golf outings, lake cruises, picnics, fishing contests, horse drawn trolley rides and more, 4) indoor facilities to ensure you a “weather-proof” 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: www.craguns.com/family-reunions/ SEE MORE ON PAGE 21
MISSOURI BRANSON YELLOW ROSE INN AND SUITES 3140 Falls Parkway, Branson MO 65616 The award winning Branson Yellow Rose Inn & Suites features 103 beautiful, soundproof ultra clean & very comfortable Guest Rooms & Suites. Enjoy the quiet and beautiful views of the Ozark hills from your room, our gazebos, or the outdoor pool. Free hot deluxe breakfast included. Elevator on site. 417-334-1717 | firstname.lastname@example.org bransonyellowroseinnandsuites.com http://bransonyellowroseinnandsuites.com/ SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON THE BACK COVER 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 ExploreBranson.com/groups and request a Reunion Planner Kit. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON THE INSIDE FRONT COVER CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO on I-55 between St. Louis & Memphis. Perched on the Western banks of the Mississippi River, Cape Girardeau is a small city with a big heart and something for everyone, from families to history buffs, outdoor adventurer and everyone in between. Consider us the prime location for your reunion. Call the Cape Girardeau Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-777-0068 or visit us online VisitCape.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 33
NEVADA EASTSIDE CANNERY CASINO HOTEL 5255 Boulder Highway, Las Vegas NV 89122 702-856-5300 | www.eastsidecannery.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 43 GOLD COAST HOTEL & CASINO 4000 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas NV 89103 702-251-3560 | 800-331-5334 x 400 www.goldcoastcasino.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 37 SAM’S TOWN HOTEL & GAMBLING HALL 5111 Boulder Highway, Las Vegas NV 89122 702-454-8122 | 800-897-8696 www.samstownlv.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 37 SUNCOAST HOTEL & CASINO 9090 Alta Drive, Las Vegas NV 89145 702-636-7050 | 866-816-7111 www.suncoastcasino.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 37 THE ORLEANS HOTEL & CASINO 4500 W Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas NV 89103 702-365-7050 | 800-835-2300 www.orleanscasino.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 37 CANNERY CASINO HOTEL 2121 East Craig Road, Las Vegas NV 89030 866-999-4899 | fax 702-507-5778 www.cannerycasino.com. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 37 ALIANTE CASINO + HOTEL + SPA 7300 Aliante Parkway, North Las Vegas NV 89084 | 877-477-7627 | www.aliantegaming.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 37
NEW YORK SILVER BAY YMCA – Conference and Family Retreat Center 87 Silver Bay Road, Silver Bay NY 12874 Silver Bay YMCA – Conference and Family Retreat Center is located on beautiful Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Introducing the William Boyd Center, coming Summer of 2018, with 22 air-conditioned guest rooms, modern meeting spaces, and a new dining facility. Call today to learn more. 518.543.8417 | email@example.com www.silverbay.org Video Link https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=DJIhyRYLCwI
NORTH CAROLINA Cabarrus County, NC Located just outside of Charlotte, NC, we are “Where Racing Lives!” – Shift your reunion into high gear with over 30 hotels to choose from. Enjoy: Shopping, Arts & Culture, Race Shops, Restaurants, Historic Sites, Museums and of course Charlotte Motor Speedway. Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau 10099 Weddington Road, Suite 102, Concord NC 28027 800.848.3740 / www.visitcabarrus.com www.VisitCabarrus.com
CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES WILMINGTON N.C. AND ISLAND BEACHES Wilmington, N.C., and its three island beaches offer a vibrant variety of experiences from the river to the sea, from its walkable River District anchored by a scenic Riverwalk with more than 200 restaurants, shops and attractions, to a vintage beachside boardwalk and Ocean Front Park. Get together and see where the water takes you in N.C.’s most accessible coastal destination. For group itineraries & events: NCCoastalMeetingsReunions.com | 800-650-9064 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 42
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, kraymore@explorehockinghills. com | 740-385-2750 | fax 740-385-1146 ExploreHockingHills.com
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. 3017 or by e-mail at chrisp@chattanoogacvb. com to begin planning your next reunion! www.chattanoogafun.com/meetings/ SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 11
TEXAS PEARLAND CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 11200 Broadway Street #1390, Pearland TX 77584 Contact Megan Flowers, 281-997-5970 firstname.lastname@example.org www.visitpearland.com/reunions SEE MORE ON PAGE 27 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 Blaire at the Plano Convention and Visitors Bureau assist you in all your travel planning needs. email@example.com 800-81-PLANO | visitplano.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 17
VIRGINIA KEY BRIDGE MARRIOTT 1401 Lee Hwy, Arlington VA 22209 703-524-6400 | fax 703-524-8964 Contact Wanel Alford, Wanel.Alford@marriott.com www.marriott.com/waskb RENAISSANCE ARLINGTON CAPITAL VIEW HOTEL 2800 South Potomac Ave, Arlington VA 22202 Contact Chanelle Johnson 571-814-4034 Chanelle.firstname.lastname@example.org www.marriott.com/waspy
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 703-752-9509, and Dean Miller, our reunion specialist, will go to work for you! email@example.com | fxva.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 23 The Fredericksburg Region is known for its Colonial and Civil War History, arts community and year-round group-friendly offerings. Just 50 miles south of WDC, the Fredericksburg Region boasts an award winning distillery, wineries and breweries, outdoor adventures, parks and more. Make memories with your family, classmates, military buddies in the Timeless Fredericksburg Region. To book your reunion, contact Victoria Matthews: (540)372-1216 | 1-800-260-3646 firstname.lastname@example.org www.VisitFred.com Video: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=kLooe9ESVe8 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 15 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 email@example.com to book your reunion today! www.newport-news.org STAFFORD COUNTY DEPT OF TOURSIM Military Reunions are easier in Stafford/Quantico VA! Our lodging choices, complete with hospitality rooms, are as close as 10 minutes from MCB Quantico. Washington DC lies only 35 miles north. Enjoy 100+ restaurants, including the famed Globe & Laurel, championship golf, civil war military museums, natural preserves, historic sites and spouse-friendly activities. Custom tours available. Plan now to see the “Final Phase” of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Contact Lisa Logan, 540-658-4580 | tourism@ staffordcountyva.gov | www.tourstaffordva.com
WASHINGTON SEATTLE SOUTHSIDE REGIONAL TOURISM AUTHORITY The ideal location for your Pacific Northwest reunion, Seattle Southside offers convenient access to Sea-Tac Intl. Airport, a short Link Light Rail ride to downtown Seattle, and more affordable hotel rates to make your event a success. Seattle Southside is home to the world-renowned Museum of Flight, the largest private air and space museum in the world, and
Westfield Southcenter, the largest shopping center in the Pacific Northwest, in addition to iFLY Indoor Skydiving, SyKart go-cart racing, and the Highline Botanical Gardens. You can also visit the sites in downtown Seattle, including the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, with ease on the Light Link Rail. Contact staff today for itinerary planning, complimentary area guides and maps, photo library, and requests for proposal coordination for transportation, accommodations and attractions. Contact Kristina Thorne 206-686-7261 firstname.lastname@example.org www.reuniteinseattlesouthside.com TRAVEL TACOMA + PIERCE COUNTY 1516 Commerce St, Tacoma WA 98402 Our region serves up an array of activities and meeting spaces for your guests. The area can accommodate meetings and budgets of all sizes with more than 5,700 hotel rooms including boutique, limited and full-service hotels and plenty of meeting + exhibit space. When in downtown Tacoma, stroll across the Bridge of Glass displaying artist Dale Chihuly’s work. Visit world-class history and art museums, take a glass blowing class at a local hot shop and see collector vehicles at the largest automotive museum in North America: LeMay – America’s Car Museum. In the evenings, check out the selfguided craft beer crawl or stroll along Tacoma’s waterfront, enjoying regional cuisine. Contact: Rena Yadrick | 253-830-6799 email@example.com | traveltacoma.com
WYOMING PARADISE GUEST RANCH PO Box 790 Buffalo, WY 82834 307-684-7876 | FUN@paradiseranch.com www.paradiseranch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 25 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 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.duderanch.org SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGES 24 & 25 LAZY L&B RANCH 1072 East Fork Road, Dubois WY 82513 800-453-9488 | email@example.com www.lazylb.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 24 GOOSEWING RANCH PO Box 4084, Jackson WY 83001 888-733-5251 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.goosewingranch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 25 THE HIDEOUT LODGE & GUEST RANCH PO Box 165, Shell WY 82441 1-800-354-8637 | email@example.com www.thehideout.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 24 EATON’S RANCH 270 Eatons Ranch Road, Wolf WY 82844 1-800-210-1049 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.eatonsranch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 25 2018 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 47
P.O. Box 11727 v Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 R EU N ION CELEB R ATIONS!
Branson’s Affordable Luxury Accommodations 3140 Falls Parkway Branson, MO 65616
SPECIAL GROUP RATES AVAILABLE!
• Newly Renovated • Awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence • 100% Non-Smoking & 100% Pet Free • Elevator/Lift • Free Delicious Hot Breakfast in our famous Bon Appetit Bistro • King & Queen Beds with Premium Denver Pillow-top Mattresses • Extremely Quiet Soundproof & Comfortable Rooms • Handicapped Accessible Rooms with Walk-In or Roll-in Showers • Large 40” HDTV’s in All Rooms • Refrigerators & Microwaves in All Rooms • Coffee/Tea Makers & Hair Dryers in All Rooms • Iron & Ironing Board in All Rooms • Guest Laundry, Ice Machine & Vending Machine • Fitness Center • Business Center • Large Outdoor Pool, Sun Deck & Gazebos
Hotel Number 417-334-1717 Toll Free 877-577-1795
Online Reservation: www.bransonyellowroseinnandsuites.com
Reunions magazine v28n1 March 2018