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2019 Reunion

Neal Family Reunion

Basirico Family Reunion

Vol 29 no 1 $3/USA

C e l e b ra t i o n s !

Van-Far (Missouri) High School, Class of 1968

Shaw Family Reunion

Vietnam Veterans at 57th Troop Carrier Association Reunion

IN HONORING VETERANS 365 DAYS A YEAR 14TH ANNUAL MILITARY REUNION PLANNERS CONFERENCE MAY 14-17, 2019 For the MRPC Application or a Reunion Planner Sales Kit: Julie Peters, CTIS, CEP at JPeters@BransonCVB.com


in this special issue DEPARTMENTS FRONT WORDS – 4 ALUM & I – 6 Van-Far High School, Class of 1968 by Barbara Fitzgerald Beebe High School Class of 1988 by Diana Sumner Reunion of “100,000 Strong”

Reunion Celebrations March 2019 Volume 29 • Number 1 PUBLISHER / EDITOR IN CHIEF Edith Wagner ART DIRECTOR Jennifer Rueth



Cummings Thompson Ancestors Reunion Programme Family History Activities


REUNION SCHOOL – 11 MASTERPLAN – 12 Crawford Family Reunion at Sea by Wonda L. Crawford Gelatt Family Reunion by David Gelatt Roby Family Reunion in Kansas by Linda Dwight-Roby and Ericka Davis Play, Stay and Smile Together in Kissimmee Coe Family Reunion by Carolyn Poole Strengthening family bonds in Sinalunga by Larry Basirico Roby Family Reunion in Indiana by Marci Mabel Charlie & Ellen Smith Family Reunion by Shirley Doren Smith Gilbert/Pryer Family Reunion by Melonie Pryer Family Reunions in Pearland, Texas Most memorable Rogus Family Reunion by Robin Gapinski Shaw Family Reunion by Angela Shaw Ross Thayer Family Reunion games by Marilyn Thayer Johnson Barnes Family Reunion by Dwight Johnson Burney-Burnett Family Reunion by Kathy Hunter Leigh-DeVaughn Family Reunion by Kesha Briggs Powell-Moody Family Reunion by Allison Bell BROLRA – Whose big idea was it to write a reunion book? by Karen Robertson Elmore Family Reunion by Sharon Davis Casper Westemeier Family Reunion by Roberta McLoud

MILITARY REUNION NEWS – 34 USS Charles P. Cecil (DD/DDR-835) Reunion by Greg Wells National Museum of the US Army USS John Young, DD973 Reunion by Michael Trotta National WWII Museum Vietnam War Commemoration Canadian Duo honor service USS Hopewell (DD-681) Association by Doug Graybeal USS Ranger CVA61 by Joanna Reran 57th Alumni Association by Woodie Hall, CMSgt National Veterans Memorial and Museum

REUNION RESOURCES – 41 A directory of reunion-friendly places, services, vendors and products ON THE COVER Many reunion celebrations!

WEB WIZARD Sarah Christiaansen HOSPITALITY ANSWERMAN Dean Miller CONTRIBUTORS Larry Basirico • Allison Bell Kesha Briggs • Wonda L. Crawford, MSW, RSW Ericka Davis • Sharon Davis John Christopher Fine • Barbara Fitzgerald Robin Gapinski • David Gelatt • Doug Graybeal Woodie Hall, CMSgt • Kathy Hunter Dwight Johnson • Marci Mabel Roberta McLoud • Carolyn Poole Melonie Pryer • Joanna Reran Karen Robertson • Linda Dwight-Roby Angela Shaw Ross • Shirley Doren Smith Diana Sumner • Marilyn Thayer Michael Trotta • Mary Patricia Voell Greg Wells • Kathy Woodard 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 editor@reunionsmag.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 | 414-263-4567 editor@reunionsmag.com | reunionsmag.com. © 2019 Reunions magazine, Inc. 2019 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 3


Be in touch!


Mail to Reunions magazine

PO Box 11727 quick mid-month reminder eblast, and hen we started Reunions Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 other offers from time to time. Visit our magazine (29 years ago!) it call 414-263-4567 website regularly whenever a question was clear very early that visit www.reunionsmag.com or dilemma comes up. You’ll find reunion planners made deals; answers or solace from the experiences for their venues and with suppliers and e-mail editor@reunionsmag.com and suggestions of other reunion were always on the lookout freebies. It planners. You’re not alone! Also visit was also clear that advertisers were the website regularly to see what new giveaways and eager to connect with our readers, reunion planners. contests, reunion planning workshops and freebies have Readers who respond to survey questionnaires about been added. NOTE: if you read this issue online their reunions qualify for free copies and subscriptions (ISSUU.com/reunionsmag) all of these and much more supported, of course, by the advertisers wanting to is directly linked to the source: an easy way to get more “meet” reunion planners. information fast! and free! Now we are among the vanishing print media though we’re not quite ready to join the crowd. But keeping the Reunions magazine enterprise going is getting harder and harder. This is one of only two print issues a year we are able to do. Costs of print and postage eat up a lot of the very little we are making. And for all the freebies we’ve provided planners, we now wonder what is or was the value? We have looked at crowdfunding but while that is appropriate for reunions, we’re not convinced it’s appropriate for us. So we are resorting to begging! Yup, straight out, forth right, begging. And continuing on the free theme, we are offering Have you been receiving Reunions magazine for a while? Have you been visiting the web, Facebook and Pinterest pages? We keep collecting and editing and printing and posting and putting information, ideas and inspiration on paper and online to help you develop and maintain successful and memorable reunions. We are not a nonprofit, though that is our reality, so if you’ve benefitted by receiving and reading Reunions magazine and visiting our online assets and want to contribute, just call it a subscription and we’ll gladly accept your gift. We’ll declare it, of course, because that’s what businesses do and we’ll thank you with the heartiest of handshakes and smiles … when we see you. In other words, checks or paypal contributions to editor@reunionsmag.com are welcome! It would also help a lot if you were to engage actively in all we have to offer your reunion. Subscribe to and, please, open our monthly e-newsletter, which includes a

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back/remainder issues of Reunions magazine FREE. Great for your welcome bags or if your reunion has been featured and you want copies for your members or a random collection for your planning committee members. We ask you to pay packing and postage, which is minimal. Contact Karla at klavin@ reunionsmag.com or 414-263-4567 to order and learn how much it will cost. If you like and find Reunions magazine helpful and useful, tell someone else who needs to know where to find reunion planning information. And, right now, make sure your upcoming reunion is posted for all the world to see! And for the remainder of this season, we wish you happy, joyful and successful 2019 reunions! 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, Birmingham Civil Rights District and the McWane Science Center, 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/ RM 1 | 800 - 458 - 8085

alum & I

Van-Far High School, Class of 1968


he Class of 1968 from Van-Far High School in Vandalia, Missouri, gathered in Branson, Missouri, to celebrate 50 years since graduating. The name of the school, located in Northeast Missouri, is derived from the combination of Vandalia and Farber, a town west of Vandalia. The Branson location was chosen as a special celebration trip for this anniversary. The theme was “Finally, Our Senior Trip, 50 years Later!” This class raised money for a senior trip, but the school administration discontinued senior trips. The class was encouraged instead to fund a new sign for the school. The group of 17 alumni with 10 spouses (and some children and grandchildren) stayed at the Grand Victorian Hotel. Friday night included a casual Welcome Reception where classmates were greeted with welcome packets from the Branson Convention Bureau/Chamber of Commerce and a reunion folder with updated information about classmates. With many opportunities for free time to enjoy the music venues and restaurants, classmates used the hotel’s Victorian Suite as a Hospitality Room and the third floor balcony as a gathering place most of the weekend. Memorabilia was on display including the class yearbook, a memorial table dedicated to deceased classmates, and a tribute to military veterans from the class. Saturday included a day of shopping, golfing, attending Samson at the Sight and Sound Theater, The Legends, museums and local Group photo taken at the Keeter Center, College of the Ozarks. venues. A more formal gathering Saturday night was at The Keeter Room, overlooking the beautiful Ozark campus and countryside. Center at the College of the Ozarks in nearby Hollister, Missouri. Many alumni had taken advantage of the self-guided tour CD The gathering included a presentation from the provided by the college. Some visited the college “Hardwork U” students who provided Vietnam Memorial dedicated to Missourians information about the college and served a who served in the Vietnam War. Door prizes delightful meal prepared by students. In were donated by the #1 Hits of the 60’s Show addition, Pat Fitzgerald, 2018 Chairperson, and generous class members. recited “Remembrance” by Ray Bradbury. On Sunday, some classmates departed Pat recalled the names of classmates lost in early, others gathered for brunch, then many death. He especially remembered Glenda continued the day with more shows, shopping, Longdon Suddarth, chairperson for the 40th touring the Toy Museum and the Tractor and class reunion and gave a tribute to class Car Museum. Sunday evening, they ordered members who are Veterans. The Van-Far pizza and were hosted by a classmate. Light refreshments and a Van-Far Indian Indians logo was projected on a large screen. 50th Year Reunion cake were served at the Every morning, the group gathered informally The event was held in the Presidential Dining Welcome Reception. in the Grand Victorian’s breakfast room for coffee. On Monday, a small group remained and said they were really pleased they attended and became reacquainted with old friends. It was heartwarming to see how easily class members seemed to take up where they had left off, but with warmer connections and appreciation for times they had shared together. The reunion experience was very rewarding. There were many hugs and handshakes throughout the weekend as friends arrived and departed. Classmates came from Alaska, Florida, South Dakota, and several cities in Missouri. Even with the threat of rains from Hurricane Gordon, Branson had outstanding weather. Branson offers so much variety. It was the perfect place for old friends from so many walks of life and interests, to gather for this 50-year celebration! Reported by Barbara Fitzgerald, Columbia, Missouri. 6 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com

alum & I

echaritable reunion KHS Class of ’78 makes charity donations


ewanee (Illinois) High School’s Class of 1978 created class gifts for their 40th reunion. Each classmate supported a local Kewanee or Henry County charity that works to improve the lives of local kids. This was a chance to give back to the town that “helped us become successful, and our chance to help a younger generation.” Classmates were asked on Facebook to identify which charities they should support; Kewanee Schools Foundation, Kewanee Park District, Henry County Mental Health Alliance or Sunshine Community Services Center. Classmates were asked to write a check to the charity or charities they wanted to support and they were very generous. Many contributed to two charities. They raised $4,238. Gifts were presented at the reunion. From the Kewanee Star Courier, Kewanee, Illinois.

Beebe Class of 1988


he Beebe (Arkansas) High School Class of 1988 meets at a restaurant in Little Rock because it’s centrally located with lots of hotels nearby. Typically the location changes but this time they went back to where they had their 25th reunion. They go to a restaurant that lets them use their big conference room and everyone pays their own bill for food and drinks. About 50 typically meet every five years for a weekend event. They’ve had DJs and videos from old photos. The class is so close they don’t need to break the ice. It’s reunion tradition to always meet on Homecoming weekend during football season and the rest of the year members stay in touch on Facebook. Family night is Homecoming game night. They typically tailgate prior to the game with classmates and their families. Reported by Diana Sumner, Carlisle State, Arkansas.

ANY-SIZED FAMILY. ANY-SIZED BUDGET. WE ACCOMMODATE BOTH. You have a big family. We have activities for everyone and every budget. From fine dining to family casual, from easy-going hotels to uptown luxury, we’ve got your budget covered. And with a world of fun for all ages and interests, Fairfax County is tailor-made for your reunion. Let us help you plan your family’s reunion. Go to FXVA.com or call 703-790-0643.




branch office

San Diego’s Reunion Specialists Host your special reunion at the Holiday Inn Bayside overlooking beautiful San Diego Bay. • Selected as “One of the Top 10 great places to hold a Reunion,” as seen in USA Today • 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 a rt e l l H o t e l s …Sa n Di e g o ’s U n f o r g e t t a b l e L o c a ti o ns


amily historian, Mary Patricia Voell, found a reunion treasure while working on a client project: a Family Reunion Programme for the Cummings Thompson Ancestors Reunion on December 25, 1896. Yes, eighteen96. The reunion is on Christmas Day but the only clue it might be the holiday is “Distribution of presents” in the morning. The menu, of course, looks tasty and what could be better than both pie and cake for dessert? But it’s the Afternoon Programme that amazes. First, the number of performers who are making presentations with some fascinating titles. Are some children and others adults? Hard to know except for maybe some hints in the titles of their presentations. We were also amazed at the professional presentation of the piece considering it was 1896! Used with permission. Mary Patricia Voell, info@legaciesstories.com or legaciesstories.com, teaches The Making of A Family Historian. It’s a Back To School Campaign for family historians.

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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. 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.

Lake County


Lake Michigan


branch office

Family history activities


our family reunion is a great opportunity to share stories and family history! These suggestions are from Kimberly Powell on worldfamilies.net. • Memory t-shirts Identify each family branch with a different color shirt. Or scan ancestors’ photos and print an iron-on transfer. • Photo swap Ask members to bring historic family photos that feature people (great-greatgrandpa), places (churches, cemetery, the old homestead), and earlier reunions. Ask contributors to label photos; names of people in the photos, dates, and their own name. Provide a scanner and laptop to create CDs of the photo collection. Sell CDs to family members to cover the cost of scanning and CD burning or to raise funds for the reunion. Or provide photos and signup sheets for those who want to order copies (by name and ID number).

• Get acquainted treasure hunt for all ages A good way to get kids involved with older and younger relatives is to create a family-related “scavenger list.” Find the oldest person, or find the youngest person. Find three kids who are on sports teams. What country did Grandpa come from? Find out who used to work on a fishing boat. Find a relative who has served in the military (and in what branch). Set a time limit. Award prizes for the most correct answers.

• Family Tree wall chart Display a large family tree with many generations. Members can fill in blanks and correct inaccuracies. Wall charts help relatives to visualize each individual’s place in the family. • Heritage cookbook

Invite members to submit favorite family recipes, especially ones passed down from your ancestors. Ask for details, memories and a photo of the family member best known for the dish. Combine collected recipes into a family cookbook. Use cookbooks as a reunion fundraising project. • Memorabilia table Ask members to bring and display family memorabilia and treasures; historic photos, military medals, old jewelry, family bibles, etc. Carefully label all items and be sure the table is always hosted.

• Story time The reunion is a perfect opportunity to hear interesting and funny family stories. Use a storytelling time to encourage family memories. Ask permission to audiotape or videotape the occasion. Videotape members talking about the family. If the reunion is in honor of a milestone event (Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th anniversary, for example), ask others to talk about the guest(s) of honor. Or ask questions about memories, growing up on the old homestead, going to school or work. • Tour the past If your reunion is held near where family lives or lived, visit the family homestead, church, and cemetery. Share memories along the way. Clean ancestral cemetery plots. Research family in old church records. • Family history skits and re-enactments Ask members to develop skits or plays to retell family history tales. Or stage reenactments at family places such as homes, farms, schools, churches, parks and cemeteries.

Looking over Seidemann Family history documents. 10 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com

Most of these events are sponsored and presented by convention and visitors bureaus. Most take place on Saturdays, are free or at nominal cost. All prefer or require advance reservations. We add new events online as soon as we learn about them. Visit reunionsmag.com and click on Reunion Planning Workshops.

ALPHARETTA, GEORGIA April 27 and April 28, 2019 (this is a one day event – choice of either date) Contact 678-297-2811 | reunions@awesomealpharetta.com www.awesomealpharetta.com AUGUSTA, GEORGIA Contact “Cousin” Michelle | 706-823-6600 | Michelle@VisitAugusta.com GREATER BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA Contact Tara Walton, CTIS | 800-458-8085 or 205-458-8000, ext. 206 twalton@inbirmingham.com | inbirmingham.com BRANSON, MISSOURI May 14-17, 2019 14th Annual Military Reunion Planners Conference Contact Julie Peters | 417-243-2117 | jpeters@bransoncvb.com www.explorebranson.com/groups/reunions CABARRUS COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA Contact John Poole | 704-456-7969 | John.Poole@VisitCabarrus.com visitcabarrus.com CHESAPEAKE, VIRGINIA Contact C. Jeff Bunn | 757-382-1352 | jbunn@cityofchesapeake.net COLUMBUS, GEORGIA Kelli Poteet | visitcolumbusga.com COLUMBUS, OHIO Marie Medford, CTA | 614-222-6101 | mmedford@experiencecolumbus.com experiencecolumbus.com/tours-reunions DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA March 9, April 6, May 18, June 15, Aug 10, Sep 21, November 16, 2019 Contact Penny Moore, Group Services Manager | 770-492-5018 discoverdekalb.com/reunions DETROIT, MICHIGAN Contact Lynette Richardson | 313-202-1985 | reunions@visitdetroit.com visitdetroit.com/family-reunions/ FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA February 15, 2020 | 12th Annual Family Reunion workshop Contact Dean Miller | 703-752-9509 | dmiller@fxva.com | www.fxva.com FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA March 9, 2019 Contact Victoria Matthews | 800-260-3646 | 540-372-1216 vamatthews@fredericksburgva.gov | www.VisitFred.com

KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA April 29-May 3, 2019 | Experience Kissimmee Military Reunion FAM September 14, 2019 | Family Reunion Workshop Contact Jadeine Shives | 407-569-4855 | jshives@experiencekissimmee.com Reunionsinkissimmee.com LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS Contact Kimberly Ghys | 800-Lake-Now (800-525-3669) Kimberly@lakecounty.org | Lakecountyreunions.com MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE Contact Holly Townsend | 901-543-5320 | hollytownsend@memphistravel.com NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA Contact Andrea Moran | 888-493-7386 | amoran@nnva.gov www.newport-news.org/ PEACHTREE CITY, GEORGIA Contact Eric Matos | 678-216-0282 | visitpeachtreecity.com SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA March 9, 2019 | 14th Annual Family History Seminar March 14, 2020 (Always 2nd Saturday in March) Sponsored by the Greater Sacramento African American Genealogy Society www.aafhs.com/ SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LOUISIANA Contact Erica Telsee | 800-551-8682 | etelsee@sbctb.org VIRTUAL FAMILY Reunion Planning Workshops 3rd Saturday of every month March 16, April 20, May 18, June 15, July 20, August 17, September 21, October 19, November 16, December 21, 2019 Contact Niko Cook | niko@webuildlegacy.org THE MILITARY REUNION NETWORK MRN Partner Events (days vary) SEATTLE, WASHINGTON | Mar 7-10, 2019 COLUMBUS, OHIO | Apr 11-13, 2019 ALBANY, NEW YORK | May 14-16, 2019 MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE | June 20-22, 2019 BALTIMORE, MARYLAND | July 29-31, 2019 SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA | Oct 11-13, 2019 RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA | May 14-17, 2020 EDUCATIONAL SUMMIT NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | June 22-25, 2019

GWINNETT COUNTY, GEORGIA March 22, 2019 Contact Maurice Odoms, Reunion Market Specialist | 770-814-6059 maurice@exploregwinnett.org | www.exploregwinnett.org/reunions

Contact Sharon Danitschek | 425-501-1430 | sharon@militaryreunionnetwork.com militaryreunionnetwork.com/

HOUSTON, TEXAS Contact Neidra Billings | 713-853-8321 | NBillings@visithouston.com www.visithoustontexas.com/reunions/

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA | March 3-6, 2019

KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN Contact Jennifer Williamson | 269-488-0057 | jwilliamason@discoverkalamazoo.com

Contact Debbie Stewart | Ymrcusa@gmail.com | ymrc.net www.facebook.com/militaryreunions

YMRC – YOUR MILITARY REUNION CONNECTION Military Reunion Planners Conferences PROVIDENCE/WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND | July 28-August 1, 2019 ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO | October 13-16, 2019



Crawford Family Reunion at Sea


Crawford Family Reunion on the Carnival Triumph

Tempie Crawford, Greta Crawford, Wonda Crawford, and Thomas Crawford 12 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com

he Crawford Family celebrated their 32nd reunion at sea for the very first time. Many of our members had heard of other families having successful cruise reunions. Finally, after many years of conversation the younger generation encouraged the older generation to take a family cruise. At the 2016 Crawford Family Reunion the family voted and agreed to host the next reunion on a cruise ship. A cruise committee of family members from different parts of the country was selected. The committee met via monthly conference calls with a travel agent to coordinate and plan the reunion. The travel agent assisted family members with booking cabins, hotels, flights, transportation and other travel needs. The Crawford Family Reunion kicked off with a Bon Voyage party at a famous New Orleans seafood restaurant. We boarded the Carnival “Triumph” in New Orleans on Thursday, for a four-day cruise. The cruise ported at the beautiful island of Cozumel, Mexico, where the Crawfords hit the streets. We enjoyed excursions (zip lining, snorkeling, jet skiing), swimming with dolphins, the beautiful beaches, shopping, and sightseeing. While at sea, the family enjoyed many festivities such as musical shows, comedy shows, Dr. Seuss Parade, Build-ABear workshops, dancing at night clubs, eating tons of delicious food, movie night and much more. The family gathered at dinner time for fellowship and planned evening activities. We also celebrated one family member’s birthday. A commemorative t-shirt was designed and created with the image of our ancestors. The t-shirt displayed a picture of “Pop” and “Neen” the Crawford Family’s patriarch and matriarch. The theme for the 32nd Crawford Family Reunion was “Anchoring in Family Love.” The Crawford family ended the reunion with a traditional family meeting. We held our CFR Executive Officers election as well as selecting a location for the 2020 Crawford Family Reunion which will be in Mobile, Alabama and it will be EPIC. Reported by Wonda L. Crawford, MSW, RSW, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jessie MacArthur, Keisha Ellis, Raymond Gray, Sr. Sharde Gray, Raymond Gray Jr. (12), Debra MacArthur and Wayne Ellis; Mahogany Gray (2) in the stroller


Gelatt Family Reunion


he Gelatt family has met annually in Gelatt, Pennsylvania, since 1890. The first Gelatt in America was John Gelatt, a stowaway on a ship, who fled Limoges, France, to escape conscription. He landed in Massachusetts where he married Mary Mollie Mott and started a family. John’s son, George moved to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, where he founded the hamlet of Gelatt with his sons George Jr, Robert, and Collins. They hold their reunions in that same village each year. About 100 attend. 2019 will be the 130th Gelatt Family Reunion. Set up starts at 10 AM. The reunion starts at noon with prayer, a bible reading, and notes from the previous year’s reunion, and then a potluck meal. There are games and singing after and they close around 4 PM. They are a musical group so everyone brings instruments and they sing a lot. There are trivia games and prizes throughout the day. David Gelett introduces newcomers and everyone gets a nametag. The day ends with a group photo and a visit to the Gelatt cemetery to remember our ancestors. Reunions are financed by donations from the previous years reunion. Family stays in touch on Facebook, email, and phone calls. They have a family genealogy page on Facebook that they are very involved with. They send press releases to newspapers. There are about 20 children. They try to assign them fun tasks

2018 Gelatt Family Reunion

to do like handing out nametags or helping husk corn. The hardest part about reunions is keeping the younger generation involved so they can carry on the tradition. David says he hopes to someday pass this on to the younger generation and he wishes more newspapers offered a reunion announcement section. Reported by David Gelatt, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Reunion banner made to hang each year.

At the first official reunion of the Gelatt clan in 1890 in Gelatt, Pennsylvania. 14 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com


Roby Family Reunion in Kansas


his year was a milestone Roby Family Reunion – 74 years of family gatherings and reunions. The location was the home of our family’s 86-year-old patriarch, Jesse Roby, and at Wyandotte County Park in Bonner Springs, Kansas. Roby family members traveled from all over the country to attend the weekend long event of fun and activities. The first night was a meet and greet held at the home of the family reunion president. We enjoyed food and games, and shared stories from previous years gatherings. All the fun took place on Saturday. 115 members joined in the celebration at a large cookout with ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, fresh fruit and many side dishes.

Adults joined hula hoop contests.

June 9, 2018 as Roby Family Reunion Day. The last day of activities included attending a family member’s home church. There was already talk about how we can make the 75th year the Biggest and Greatest Reunion ever. We are in the early planning stages for a cruise; location still to be

Mother and Daughter, Linda Roby and Trava Davis

Uncle Jesse shared history and stories of our Indian heritage and growing up in the small town of Lehigh, Oklahoma. While the older generation was reminiscing, the younger generation was creating memories of their own joining in sack races, water balloon fights, hula hoop contests (adults joined in) and a piñata. There were activities for kids and for adults. Adults enjoyed playing cards, dancing and playing the Roby version of Family Feud. Throughout the reunion, videos from previous reunions played from the start to finish. Not only was there an abundance of food, but treats as well. Cotton candy and snow cone machines were welcome on that hot Saturday afternoon. A photo booth was available for members to take individual or family photos. At the end of the reunion there was a closing ceremony and drawing for a basket bursting with picnic necessities including a grill. At the end of the closing ceremony each senior family member was presented with a plaque from the City of Kansas City, Kansas, declaring Saturday

determined. Many thanks to our family reunion committee members who were instrumental in making it a success. Reported by Linda Dwight-Roby, Kansas City, Kansas, with help from granddaughter, Ericka Davis, Fort Worth, Texas.

Four Seasons of Reunion Fun in the Mountains of Western Maryland

Escape to the Deep Creek area for your next reunion. With year round attractions including our mountain lakes, hiking, small towns, history and art as well as Maryland’s only downhill ski resort, we offer something for every reunion. Let us help provide resources to plan your reunion and make it an annual tradition!

Great meeting spot within close proximity to major mid-Atlantic cities!

www.deepcreekreunions.com | 888-387-5237 2019 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 15


Play, Stay, and Smile Together in


f your group can dream it, they can do it in Kissimmee, Florida. With world-famous theme parks, family-friendly outdoor adventures, and unique dining and entertainment possibilities, this sunny destination offers everything you need for a family reunion filled with memories to last a lifetime. Conveniently situated in Central Florida, Kissimmee provides easy access to world-famous theme parks, including Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando ResortTM, and SeaWorld® Parks & ResortsTM Orlando. Families can also enjoy the nearby Fun Spot America – Kissimmee and take a stroll through the past at The Holy Land Experience. For families who prefer the great outdoors, Kissimmee features incredible fresh air fun and thrills, including zipline excursions, kayaking, horseback riding, and animal encounters, all offered at the many outdoor adventure parks in the area. You can even meet a few toothsome friends at Gatorland.

Zoom across the water in an airboat at Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park.

With comfy motels, high-end hotel suites, private villas, and luxurious resorts, Kissimmee offers the best selection of close-toeverything accommodations – all with a variety of features and services to satisfy every reunion need and budget, including dedicated banquet spaces, hospitality rooms, and outside catering options. From fine dining to delightful local eateries, this one-of-a-kind destination features plates for every palate. Families can even dine with knights at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, take to the high-seas on a pirate ship at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure, enjoy cultural cuisine at Disney Springs®, or savor while singing along at House of Blues Gospel Brunch. Located just 25 minutes from Orlando International Airport and just an hour and a half from the east and west coasts of Florida, Kissimmee is the perfect location for your next family reunion. And with free planning assistance, plus free reunion T-shirts, Experience Kissimmee can make your dream reunion into a reality! ExperienceKissimmee.com/ Reunions; 407-569-4855.


The Coe Family Reunion was in White Marsh, Maryland. They celebrated with a “Coming to America” theme. Activities included a watermelon eating contest, Senior walker race and sack race. Isaiah Coe was the oldest at the reunion at 92 but, sadly, he passed away two months later. New members, the Jones family, discovered through an Ancestry.com DNA test, attended the reunion for the first time. Shared by Carolyn Poole, Darlington, South Carolina.

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Strengthening family bonds in Sinalunga by Larry Basirico


taly seems to be on everyone’s bucket cloud formations. list these days, so when the prospect One of the benefits of staying at a of having a reunion in Tuscany is villa in the Tuscan countryside is the suggested to family members, it creates proximity to so many towns and cities a mystique that immediately threads that can be visited for a few hours or a them together. full day. Planning and taking daily But family reunion relationships can trips become group building activities, be complicated. Each unit develops its as are the conversations about them at own internal culture, its practices and the end of the day: the narrow street in ways of approaching the world. In our Pistoia that your car nearly got stuck family of childhood, typically parents in, the inspiring Etruscan gallery you and siblings, we learn the look on dad’s visited in Arezzo, the aromatic cheese face that tells you and your siblings shops lining the streets of Pienza, the he’s really serious this time, the funny art and architecture of Montepulciano, Lunch at the Villa, from left, the author’s wife, Stephanie Basirico, and so much more. These visits soon way your brother communicates that only you and your siblings understand, across from her Micki Stewart, next to Stephanie, Chris Onulak, reveal one of the core values of Italian across from him Priscilla Starling. the inside jokes about your favorite culture – family comes before profits uncle, the way mom cooks your favorite dish no one else can – when you learn you have to structure your trips around the match, the seating arrangement at your dinner table, the rituals midday shop closings so shop owners can eat with their family and that are unique to your family. friends. What better value for your family to ponder during a By the time we’re adults, most of us also have a family of family reunion. adulthood – our spouse or partner and our children, if we have any Your family’s focus on the region’s culinary delights is so – that develops its own culture, which may be different from our noticeable that it barely needs mention: the villa’s brick-oven family of childhood. When people have reunions with their family pizza and bruschetta, local prosciutto, cinghiale, cheeses, olive of childhood, their family of adulthood and the families of adultoils, truffles and wines. The realization that wine is more than just hood of their siblings, there is the potential for a clash of cultures a beverage but the lifeblood of Italian culture and the centrality of and differences of opinion about the important things in life. the Italian dinner table reinforce to you, as a family, that there are Having your family reunion at a villa in Tuscany and the no differences among family members that outweigh this collective profound unifying experience it creates is often the antidote experience and the shared memory that you are creating that will to possible relationship pitfalls. last a lifetime. Even before Italy’s charms take hold of your family, commonaliAbout the author ties become established and entrenched with reports of everyone’s Larry Basirico, PhD, is professor of sociology, trek to the villa: the mix-up at the car rental agency, the nerveformer chair of the department of sociology and wracking autostrade, the Lamborghini that sped by so fast you anthropology, and former dean of international didn’t have time to see its color, the terrifying accounts of cars programs at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina. trying to pass between each other on two-lane roads, the tailgater In 2013 he served as Elon’s study abroad faculty-inwho was nearly in your backseat, your GPS and cell phone that residence at Accademia Europea di Firenze (AEF): were out of range. For those who arrived by train, there are stories School of Arts and Italian Culture in Florence. He is author of The about disrupted schedules, one-hour rail strikes and missed Family Reunion Survival Guide: How to Avoid Problems with connections. Yet, all is well. You made it. It’s Italy, and one of the your Family Without Avoiding Your Family. charms of Italians is that they take it all in stride because they Originally published in The Florentine magazine (Issue 248, have the wisdom that life is too short to get upset about things September 2018) in Florence, Italy, is reprinted with permission. beyond our control. It’s not only the shared sense of avventura, but also the realization that we all are now here at a villa that is more beautiful than we could have imagined and that we have entered this fantasy-come-true, together, as a family. The iconic beauty of the Tuscan landscape seems immediately familiar and you have a sense of feeling at home: the winding roads lined with tall cypress trees, hilltop towns in the distance, castles that seemingly appear from nowhere, vinecovered pergolas, terraces saturated with olive trees, unannounced wineries and agriturismi, protective stone walls surrounding medieval towns and, above Villa Scopetello, Sinalunga, Italy, the Basirico Family Reunion destination. all, breathtaking sunrises, sunsets and

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Roby Family Reunion in Indiana


attendance was Aunt Zellee’s family from Toledo, here were more than 160 people at Lake Ohio. Even though the family moved all over the Etta County Park in Gary, Indiana; 140 US many still reside in Chicago, a stone’s throw registered and 20 unregistered guests. We had from Gary, Indiana. a beautiful space with plenty of room where News of the reunion quickly spread and we we grilled and exchanged stories and photos, have since found another 50 relatives in Arkanplayed games and had fun. We had a spread of sas, New York, Florida, and Virginia. food where there was something for everyone. We created a family Facebook page and got We did not know and have never met about the word out or so we thought. We started with 90% of the people. The family had grown quite about 168 people on the page but since the large and people moved all over the US. My reunion, it has grown to over 250 people with grandfather, one of the last living elders, passed more being added daily. away at age 97. I used the information he gave Reported by Marci Mabel, me, while his mind was still sharp, to piece Gilbert, Arizona. together the family tree. I found many had Roby Family Reunion wreath with family tree passed before he was born or while he was a small child, so his knowledge was limited. It appears family began relocating all over the US and never kept in touch and as they began to pass on, what little connection we had was gone. I found a cousin on Ancestry and we began to work together. I found there were several family branches that have been having reunions for years and were not aware of the other branches. We decided to do a small reunion for those in the Midwest region to kick things off. The response was overwhelming. We had more people than originally expected. They came from Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Ohio. We were so excited and busy telling stories that we did not get to play too many games, it was more of a story sharing session after introductions. It was interesting how many had heard the names and were finally able to put a face to it. We all came bearing old photos but unfortunately, we did not hire a photographer. I should have insisted when the committee voted against it, so we never got a group photo. Photo booth (left to right) Erica Madry, daughter Dionna Butler (1), cousin Interestingly, the 90% were two brothers’ Horace and Claude, Amari Pryor, daughter Jaida Butler (4), and Natieka Mathews, all descendants of the Sr’s, children and grandchildren. The other family branch in Claude Roby Sr. branch (2x and 3x great-grandfather).

h T

he Charlie & Ellen Smith Family Reunion took place in Scotland County, North Carolina, with the Clark family hosting. Charlie & Ellen Smith were married July 14, 1861 and on July 14, 2017, the family celebrated their 156th wedding anniversary. The family meets every two years. Shared by Shirley Doren Smith, Rockingham, North Carolina. 2019 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 19


Gilbert/Pryer Family Reunion


Some at the Gilbert/Pryer Family Reunion in Plaquemine, Louisiana.

he Gilbert/Pryer Family Reunion in Plaquemine, Louisiana, brought together more than 550 family members from California, Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, Texas and Louisiana. At the last reunion, 15 years earlier, more than 700 family attended. The family enjoyed many games and activities; Family Feud was the favorite. There were snowballs for the kids, an awesome grab bag for each family member, a bake contest, face painting, soccer, volleyball and a selfie booth. Honorees at this year’s reunion were Odelia Pryer Lewis, 87, Daisey Ward, 85 and Rosalie Lockman, 80. This was the first informal one-day Meet & Greet since a big reunion 15 years ago. Looking forward to summer 2020 for the next Gilbert/Pryer Reunion which will be a 3-day event in Shreveport, Louisiana. #weAreFamily #gpreunion Shared by Melonie Pryer, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Family Reunions in Pearland


repare to love Pearland, Texas, for your next in local boutiques giving family members a family reunion. A mild Texas Gulf Coast chance to create items together. Or, hunt for the climate paired with the welcoming hospitality of Pear-Scape art sculpture trail featuring twenty, Pearland make this destination just south of 4’ painted pears positioned throughout the City. Houston a top choice for reunion planners. Only Ask about five types of scavenger hunts as a fun ten miles south from downtown Houston, teambuilding event for your group. Pearland is a short drive from William P. Hobby When Pearland resident Lovie Sanford began Airport and nearby attractions. planning the Nash Family Reunion last summer, With over 80,000 square feet of meeting she immediately contacted the Pearland CVB for space venues plus 175 acres of beautiful park assistance. Over the weeks, she received assisTaking a selfie on the Pear-Scape art land, reunion planners find the perfect balance tance securing hotel rooms for family members to sculpture trail. of attractive spaces to host outdoor gatherings, stay in Pearland. picnics, sporting events and more in Pearland. A thriving culinary Pearland is ready to welcome your reunion. Let us assist with scene in Pearland plus unique, local shopping opportunities offers your family reunion planning and be sure to visit us online for itinvisitors plenty to do during their stay. erary ideas and a reunion planning toolbox with handy, planning The Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is ready to tools at visitpearland.com/reunions. Contact Tracy Rohrbacher, assist reunion planners complete with welcome kits and an online Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau, visitpearland.com; directory of local resources to handle everything from photography 281-997-5972. to transportation. You’ll enjoy more personalized service with a choice of name brand hotels in Pearland. Recently, Jean Thornton planned the Richardson-Brown Family Reunion in Pearland and worked with Megan Flowers, sales and events manager for the Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau in finding venues and hotels. “…The Mayor provided a warm letter of greeting that was included in every member’s event schedule. And, although she was rushing off to leave on vacation, Megan packed and delivered gifts for each family. If you are considering hosting an event in Pearland, I highly recommend you contact the Pearland CVB and you might be lucky enough to get Megan! Thanks so much for a warm welcome,” wrote Thornton. A slate of exciting annual events held in Pearland are popular with reunion planners. Especially, the Concerts in the Park series featuring free, live music Friday nights during May and June at Southdown Park. A reunion crafting activity at The Rustic Brush in Pearland, Texas. Other things to do around town include a variety of workshops

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Most memorable family reunion


hen my mom and dad said that they wanted to take their three adult children and families on a week-long vacation to a dude ranch in Colorado for our first family reunion, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Several of us (age 50+) along with five grandchildren (ages 11-13) had never ridden a horse before. WOW, Sylvan Dale Ranch (SDR), in Loveland, Colorado, didn’t disappoint nor skip a beat on any level with meeting our diverse needs, and actually exceeded them again and again! Sue Jessup’s parents bought SDR in 1946 and she has continued her family’s traditions and hospitality. The entire staff made us feel at home from the moment we arrived. Karen, Sylvan’s Coordinator & Head Riding Instructor, assigned each of us based on our riding ability to one of their horses for the week. She continually touched base with us individually to make sure all the pre-planning before our arrival was meeting our needs and expectations. We all fell in love with the horses, most of whom were born and raised on the ranch. The horses had such fun personalities and character that we quickly understood why they were part of the SDR family. Karen was just exceptional, an equal part of the heart and soul of Sylvan along with Laurie, Sue and Dave. The daily schedule of daytime and evening activities were top-notch and so much fun. They ranged from bass fishing, nature hikes, trap shooting, and archery, to simply lounging around the heated swimming pool. They also had new basketball, tennis, pickleball, and four corners courts, if we were still looking for more to do! Who would have thought that no one missed, nor asked about watching TV or playing video games with so many activities that we could do?! Dave and Sue were with us daily (when we weren’t on our morning or afternoon rides) from preparing a gourmet breakfast over a woodburning fire up in the mountains during our morning adventure ride, to hosting a BBQ with the Larimer County Rodeo Queens & Cowboys. There were also tractor wagon rides, singing around a campfire roasting s’mores or playing a friendly game of softball while churning homemade ice cream. We felt at home at SDR by the warm, sincere and genuine hospitality including our accommodations. Two cottages (Mama J’s and Tommy House) more than comfortably housed 13 of us (8 adults and 5 children) in clean, comfortable and well-stocked with a “home on the range” feeling. Horseback riding adventures with Erica, Seth, Laura and Laurie went way beyond the traditional trail rides but were daily


he oldest and youngest at the Parks-Reese-Pittman Family Reunion in WinstonSalem, North Carolina. Evelyn Andrews is 93 years old and Layla Marie Ray is three months old. Shared by Kathy Woodard, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Rogus Family Reunion at Sylvan Dale Ranch in Loveland, Colorado.

opportunities to both learn horseback riding skills (from walking your horse to learning how to lope “gallop”) all while enjoying the stunningly beautiful mountain landscape that surrounded or is part of SDR. We teased Laurie about her natural ability or “pixie dust” that she had with putting our kids at ease from the first time they learned how to mount their horse to participating in the Gymkhana on our last full day. Each morning and afternoon ride was a uniquely different experience. The wranglers’ unending patience and fantastic sense of humor made our overall experience so memorable. It’s why we all definitely plan to return. Lastly, how can I forget to mention the food? The three meals prepared daily by Marcus and his kitchen staff were gourmet, homemade and leaving you always going back for seconds and thirds. Not having to worry about a single thing (food, accommodations, and what to do) from the moment we arrived to the moment we left is why we highly recommend Sylvan Dale Ranch for anyone looking for a unique, relaxing or highly adventuresome reunion! Reported by Robin Gapinski.


he oldest and youngest at the Moose-Kittinger Family Gathering in Harney, Maryland. Betty Boose is 94 years old and Anastasia Baccus is six months old. Shared by John Christopher Fine, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. 2019 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 21



Located in Santa Barbara Wine Country Alisal is California’s premier guest ranch with 73 accommodations, golf, horseback riding, spa, fishing and tennis.

Guest ranch East of Yellowstone Park. 650,000 acres to ride, ranging in elevations from 4,200 to 10,000 ft, exceptional diversity of scenery, 130+ horses and limited to approx. 25 riders weekly.

Solvang, CA

805-688-6411 | www.alisal.com

Shell, WY

800-354-8637 | www.thehideout.com



The True Family invites you to the ranch that is their home. Here, your entire family will enjoy riding, hiking, swimming, climbing, and sharing plenty of quality time, at a carefree reunion full of love and laughter.

Unique for its spectacular location, horseback rides of unmatched beauty and variety of activities. We love kids - give them a vacation of a lifetime!

Tucson, AZ

520-297-0252 | www.whitestallion.com

Buena Vista, CO

800-432-8812 | www.elkmtn.com



Discover your inner cowboy at Sylvan Dale Ranch! An easy hour from Denver, we offer comfy cabins, delicious food, over 3,200 acres of riding trails, cattle drives, kids’ programs, adult only weeks, and more!

For over 139 years, Eatons’ Ranch has offered our guests a western experience and shared with them a way of life. We invite you to join us this summer.

Loveland, CO

Wolf, WY

970-667-3915 | www.sylvandale.com

800-210-1049 | www.eatonsranch.com



Embark on a legendary Montana vacation your family will talk about for years. Satisfy your inner cowboy with horseback rides and western activities. Explore the natural beauty of neighboring Glacier National Park.

All-inclusive reunion vacations where you can rent a whole ranch to yourself. Located in the heart of cowboy country! Only 2 hours from Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

866-828-2900 | www.thebarw.com

Yucca, AZ

928-727-8270 | www.stgr.com

Contact us for the family adventure of a lifetime.

www.duderanch.org • 307-587-2339 ELKHORN RANCH


Disconnect to Reconnect! Elkhorn offers adventures for all ages. Come make some lifetime memories with us!

We offer all-inclusive packages: riding, fly fishing, kids’ program, hiking, excellent dining, cabin accommodations and superior service!

Gallatin Gateway, MT

406-995-4291 | www.elkhornranchmontana.com

Kelly, WY

307-733-6288 | www.theredrockranch.com



We are both a working ranch and luxury resort where guests are treated like family. Super allinclusive vacation, ATV use, all riding, lessons, all beverages, snacks and stocked kitchens are included.

Voted America’s #1 dude ranch. We’ll take care of the cooking, cleaning, and activities, you just take care of the fun! Come find your wilderness!

Ten Sleep, WY

307-366-2340 | www.red-reflet-ranch.net


Livermore, CO

970-493-6522 | www.cherokeeparkranch.com

Big Sky, MT


Once in a lifetime adventure getaway. 18 miles from the border of Yellowstone National Park, a unique lodge of the world by National Geographic, the ranch is an iconic place to build lasting memories with family and friends.

Enjoy fun filled action packed allinclusive stays, featuring amazing horseback riding, great meals, cozy cabins, and activities for all ages. Families, singles, & couples. May through October.

406-995-4644 | www.lonemountainranch.com

Bridgeport, CA

760-932-7710 | www.hunewillranch.com



Book Red Horse Mountain Ranch for your all-inclusive family reunion. Healthy meals, horseback riding, archery, shooting, challenge course, ziplines, fishing and so much more!

Bordering Yellowstone, Parade Rest Ranch is the ideal location to create memories with friends and family. Embrace the outdoors; hiking, biking, flyfishing and riding horses.

Harrison, ID

208-689-9680 | www.redhorsemountainranch.com

West Yellowstone, MT

406-646-7217 | www.paraderestranch.com



Bring family history to your family reunion. Step 1: Choose Your TYpe of researCh

ReseaRch: starting at $2,500 Prepare for your reunion with professional family history research. Learn about your most recent common ancestors, extend your family tree, or find that missing branch of your family and invite them.

Step 2: Choose a serviCe To share Your familY hisTorY Family histoRy NaRRative aNd collectioNs: starting at $2,000 Whether you want a small collection of family memories or recipes, or a larger narrative of your common ancestors, we can create a beautiful keepsake to tell your family’s story. oN-site GeNealoGist: starting at $1,200 + travel Want some backup? We will send a professional genealogist to your family reunion to answer questions, teach a class, present a family history slideshow, or record oral histories. aNcestRal home touR: starting at $1,000 + travel Is there a special location in your family history? Let a professional genealogist lead your family on a tour of your ancestral home as a part of your reunion. Request moRe iNFoRmatioN at: 1-800-596-3230, ext. 5617 website: pRoGeNealoGists.com/Family-ReuNioNs emaiil: Family_ReuNioNs@aNcestRy.com

Shaw Family Reunion

Shaw Family Reunion in Marlin, Falls County, Texas.


ur Shaw Family Reunion is held in Marlin, Falls County, Texas. We celebrate 10 Shaw families who migrated from slavery in South Carolina and relocated Texas. Anthony Tisdale Shaw is my 2x Great Grandfather. He was born into slavery around 1843. He enlisted in the Army May 8, 1865, stationed with the 104th Colored Infantry Regiment when he was about 22 years old. We found that ten Shaw families left Williamsburg, Kingstree, South Carolina around 1867-1868 and settled in Marlin, Falls County, Texas, and other small towns in the area. When we had our first reunion in 2016 only a few folks had done DNA testing. With the help of DNA testing, we have been able to connect seven of the 10 Shaw families with more testing pending. We do not know how the original 10 were related; i.e.: sister, brother or cousins. But on blind faith, I convinced strangers to get tested and

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now we are no longer strangers and glad to call each other cousins! August 2018 family came from California, New Mexico, Arizona, New Jersey, Texas, and Oklahoma. Our three-day reunion started with a fish fry and meet and greet. We played family bingo and had a family scavenger hunt. On Saturday we went to Long Branch Cemetery to pay respects to family long gone. We put flags on the graves of veterans and flowers on the other graves. That afternoon we had a family history presentation, we danced, played cards and dominos and ate great food! For family members who could not attend, I used our family Facebook page and went “live” for many of the events and happenings. We ended the weekend with church service at Davis Chapel United Methodist Church. Plans to see each other in 2020 have excited us all over again. Reported by Angela Shaw Ross, Marlin, Falls County, Texas.


Thayer Family Reunion games A


The Thayer Family Reunion incorporates games that can easily be transferred to your reunion. Here we include samples. The full games are on our website in the Games section on a page called Thayer Games.

Caroline Kennedy’s pet pony was named Macaroni. What was Uncle Doug’s pony’s name? a. Old Blue


ur National Thayer Families Reunion brought together Thayers from 22 states, many meeting their “somehow cousins” for the first time, so name tags are a must. Of course, by the third day, attendees tire of wearing them, so to encourage everyone to keep wearing them, we had “Name Tag Winners” throughout the weekend. Maybe on a bus tour, maybe at breakfast, even at the farewell banquet winners were called. I bought a variety pack of tiny stickers containing many different images. Each name tag got a different sticker. I kept a list of the stickers and randomly called out “If you have a sun/puppy/red car/whale/ bunny/lollypop/ghost /cactus/ whatever on your name tag, you are a winner!” If you use name tags at your reunion, this is a real hit! Because the National Thayer Families Reunion focuses on genealogy and family history, as well as on meeting our “somehow cousins” from across the country, encouraging young Thayers to get involved is integral to the success of the reunion and of the families association. Cousin Edna Thayer was the benefactress for a Family History Writing contest, which honored three of our young writers with cash prizes. Shared by Marilyn Thayer, St. Petersburg, Florida & Mexico, New York.

b. Paint c. Comanche Queen What postwar car turned automotive design on its ear when you couldn’t tell whether it was coming or going? Ask Uncle Ellis if he had one. a. Studebaker b. Nash Metro c. Tucker What was the name of the Indian Princess on the Howdy Doody show? a. Princess Summerfallwinterspring b. Princess Sacajawea c. Princess Moonshadow

Shaw Family Reunion scavenger hunt. 2019 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 25


Johnson Barnes Family Reunion


he 46th annual Johnson Barnes Family Reunion was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, hosted by Trena and Bobby Thomas. A few family members arrived a day early to scout the area for places to eat but most started arriving Friday afternoon. The Friday Meet and Greet started at 6 PM with a lot of hugging since most had not seen each other for a year. There was a guessing game table at the entrance with containers of peanuts, M&Ms, toothpicks, cotton balls, and other items to guess numbers in each container; closest to the correct number won. DJ Thomas was spinning some soulful sounds as the evening passed. T-shirts and gift bags were distributed before dinner. After a blessing of the food, dinner was catered by a local Famous Dave’s restaurant and was delicious. The family meeting followed dinner. Last year’s minutes were read, followed by a financial discussion, and a decision of where the reunion is going next year. There was a little debate between Augusta, Georgia, and Valley, Alabama, but it was Valley’s turn in the rotation. Joyce announced an upcoming production her daughter was producing and asked if family would be willing to sponsor an ad in the family’s name. A hat was passed and more than $300 was collected and donated. Saturday was early breakfast for many. Some ventured out for shopping before the noon family photo. After the photo, a few sat in the lounge and chewed the fat while others took in the sites; Indiana War Memorial Plaza, Indy Trolley Tour and the Children’s Museum.

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Liz Osborne is overseeing a guessing game table at the entrance to the Johnson Barnes Family Reunion Meet and Greet. Winners were announced at the banquet and prizes were the containers.

After the blessing of the meal, the family banquet was abundant and delicious. DJ James kept us grooving during the meal and Dwight dazzled the family with his Open Air Photobooth. After dinner, the annual Family History and “Tuesday Night, June 15, 1927 in Danway, Alabama” story were read. Entertainment amused the family with the men’s t-shirt and ladies fashion show (see video on reunionsmag.com). Awards were given for the oldest t-shirt, Lady “Fashionista,” Men GQ and Jr (12 years and younger). James lead us into the Family Feud game which pitted men against women. Unfortunately, the men were outwitted and did not even get on the board. Winners from “How Many in the Container” were awarded with the containers. Kids were playing games in the back of the room. To round out the night, music was cranked up and family took to the floor doing the Cha Cha Slide, Wobble and some Chicago Style Steppin’ until after midnight. Most of the evening was videotaped or photographed by Dwight; videos and photobooth pictures are on the family Facebook page. Sunday morning after the Prayer Breakfast, family members started wishing everyone a safe trip home. And a final Thank You to Trena and Bobby for a great weekend in Indy. Hope to see everyone in Valley next year. Reported by Dwight Johnson, Waukegan, Illinois

The Johnson Barnes Reunion Fashion Show included the NOTE: Videos of rainy day activities for kids oldest t-shirt contest, Men’s GQ and Juniors and these Lady + the fashion show are on reunionsmag.com; Fashionistas, Rosie Wright (the winner), Christine Gregory search for Johnson Barnes Family Reunion. and Betty Johnson. You go, ladies!


Burney-Burnett Family Reunion


he Burney-Burnett Family Reunion members are descendants of Isom and Marie Burney. We gather every other year, typically going to a city in the north, then a city in the south. Last year our reunion was in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit planners communicated via Facebook, email and snail mail. Our reunions open with registration, where we receive our weekend itineraries, t-shirts, a Family Directory and other freebies in our goodie bag. We spent our first full day at a family picnic on Belle Isle. We ended the day

with a family portrait, a cherished item for all family members. Our Saturday night banquet at the African American Museum of History included guided tours with an amazing tour guide. After dinner, we danced, had a raffle and shared plans for the next reunion, to be held in Atlanta, Georgia, which I am planning with an amazing group of family members and cousins, and the wonderful help and guidance from Reunions magazine! Reported by Kathy Hunter, Roswell, Georgia.

Burney-Burnett Family Reunion in Detroit, Michigan.

Leigh-DeVaughn Family Reunion


e had our family reunion in Charlotte, North Carolina, in July. Our family has a reunion every other year and members come from throughout the US, from California to New York. Our reunion includes offices of President, Secretary, Treasurer and Social Media. We try to stay innovative by thinking outside the box. In the planning process we poll family members about what activities they’d be interested in. Several planners who live in Oklahoma City assist the host committee. We join forces and have a family garage sale. We all donate items, and the proceeds go for various drawings. Drawings include the first 15 to register for the next reunion

placed in a drawing to win one-night paid hotel fees at the reunion. During the reunions, we have raffled off hand-made quilts. In 2016 we took a cruise to Bermuda and in 2020 we will meet in Washington, DC. When planning the next reunion, we look for volunteer family members who live in a prospective city. For 2020 we have a family member who resides in DC and family members will join the host committee to plan the reunion. Our goal is to stay innovative in order to get the younger family members involved and stay involved. Reported by Kesha Briggs, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Leigh-DeVaughn Family Reunion in Charlotte, North Carolina. 2019 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 27


Powell-Moody Family Reunion


he 2018 biennial Powell-Moody Family Reunion was in Halifax County, North Carolina, and the theme was “New Vines from Strong Roots.” It was descendants of Mary (Powell) Outlaw, Matilda (Powell) Holt and descendants of Richmond and Violette Moody. Continuing our family tradition, begun in 1974, we took time to reflect on the true meaning of the Black Family Reunion, keeping track of family. During our darkest period of bondage in this country, family members were frequently sold away from one another never to be seen again. As our ancestors before us, our tradition goes to great lengths to hold our family together and celebrate its unity. And now with the assistance of DNA matches, we continue to locate and embrace lost family members. Friday’s early arrivals visited gravesites of ancestors buried in Halifax County. Festivities began with a 3 PM cookout and basketball tournament at River Falls Park in Weldon. We donned t-shirts highlighting family history, socialized, ate and played 3 on 3 basketball. A

Afrocentric dress at the Powell-Moody banquet.

few yards away, we could hear our band’s sound check at the Roanoke River Mill. The evening continued with family history bingo at the Hampton Inn-Roanoke Rapids. The celebration went well into the night with musical entertainment and dancing. Saturday morning, the family visited the Historic Halifax Site for a taste of local history which included a walk along the Underground Railroad trail followed by a tour and presentation at the Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail. Saturday evening, the family enjoyed a traditional banquet and awards ceremony in Afrocentric dress at the Centre at Halifax Community College. Town of Weldon Mayor Julia Meacham addressed the reunion. The weekend was topped off with a fellowship breakfast and farewell. Reported by Allison Bell, Evans, Georgia.


A family history display table with a table runner and framed photos of our ancestors. The West African artifacts on the table were given away as door prizes. A family kinship chart was displayed around the wall with census posters containing the names of our ancestors. 28 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com

he Powell/Moody Bingo game was a huge hit. Players use flat marbles as markers. The caller holds up an 8x10” photo of an ancestor and gives players an opportunity to guess who it is before reading the name and information on the back of the photo. Next time we’ll project the picture on a screen. First person to mark a full row or column of corresponding pictures on his/her bingo card wins. This is a good way for family to learn about their ancestors.


Whose big idea was it to write a reunion book?


n September 2017, three of the six BROLRA cousins were together for a mini-reunion when someone got the big idea to write a book for the next reunion. Sounded like a walk in the park, so I volunteered to be the editor and get it together. Eight months later the finished product came off the press, two months before our July 2018 reunion. To explain, six female cousins from three different families and three states started a club about 66 years ago in a Missouri basement where we huddled fearfully because of a lightning storm outside. When the idea of starting a club was hatched, we took two letters from each of our last names and made our very exclusive club name. BR from Brassfield + OL from Boltz + RA from Ray = BROLRA with a long “a” sound at the end. I could go on, but you’d have to read the reunion book to get the whole story. In case your reunion wants to create a book, this is what I learned. Decide who will contribute and make sure they are up for the task. In our case, we are six female first cousins. We have been divided by distance and time, but united by having The BROLRA Book (cover) signed our names in blood during that first childhood meeting. Each cousin volunteered to write her memories of two or three of the fifteen tri-annual reunions we’ve had since 1976. Decide on a goal. Our goal was to put all the memories of past reunions into a book for posterity and make a copy for each family. Some families might choose a different goal like a family history or a written profile of each family member with individual photos. Set guidelines and be specific. I asked each one to limit herself to three typed pages in Cambria 12 font. But I forgot to say whether that was for each reunion or total. Not everyone followed the guidelines, but the editor has privileges. Set a deadline. The deadline was Christmas. That would give me at least six months to put everything together, edit, insert photos, and have it printed. I knew it wouldn’t take that long, but I wanted plenty of wiggle room in my busy schedule. Fortunately, all the cousins are good writers and over-achievers, so all the pages arrived on time. No one wanted that hanging over her head for Christmas, so most were early.

Pages from the BROLRA Book

The BROLRA cousins today. Oldest to youngest (l to r) Zana (Boltz) Allen, Donna (Ray) Eames, Karen (Brassfield) Robertson, Betty (Boltz) Shell, Linda (Brassfield) Lev, Carolyn (Ray) Craig.

Assign someone to collect all the group photos. One of the cousins volunteered to get the pictures together. It would have taken me weeks to go through all my albums ripping out photos, because I haven’t kept them in separate books. She sent a photo of the six of us and a total group photo for every reunion since 1976. Another cousin took on the job to scan all the photos into one file to send to the editor. Photos were in one file on Google Docs. It took a couple tries to get them into a form I could manipulate, and when it finally worked, it was slick. Add some fluff. I added some humor, poetry by a clever aunt who used to memorialize each reunion in rhyme, various significant letters, minutes of BROLRA meetings, and a bit of twisted history. Every reunion featured a photo of the six BROLRA girls and a whole family photo, which has grown from 27 to 81. With the help of my daughter-in-law, we added the family tree at the end. Captions for photos. Some photos lent themselves to funny captions and comments. I threw in a few random pictures, but color photos can make the book quite expensive. I would have loved to add hundreds of action photos of our famous BROLRA Olympics and Talent Shows, but the price was soaring. Decide how the books will be printed. This is where I made my biggest mistake. I know a printer who is a fan of mine, and he has always cut me a deal. After sending the whole manuscript to said printer and driving 80 miles to meet with him, I discovered my fan had sold the business and I was dealing with a new owner. With all the colored pages, it was quite expensive and I wonder if I should have tried other resources, such as Kinko’s, Google Docs, Create Space, ShutterFly or Facebook. There are many choices, so choose what works best for your group. Most of my cousins wanted hard copies and were willing to pay the price rather than just see it on Facebook. Decide how to deliver the finished product. Originally, I was going to ship the finished copies, but we planned to drive to the reunion, so we packed them up and delivered them at the opening dinner. Shipping would have added to the expense. The biggest obstacle: I was asking women who are now 70-79 years old to remember back through a span of 42 years. We are all amateur photographers, so revisiting the photos helped bring back the memories. If we were a little off in our remembering, the younger generation will never know … and neither will we. Reported by Karen Robertson, Wildomar, California. 2019 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 29


Elmore Family Reunion


he Elmore Family Reunion, celebrated annually was very helpful as was the reunion planning seminar since 1987, was held at the Griggs Boathouse in hosted by Experience Columbus. Columbus, Ohio. Family travelled from North and South Icebreakers were the usual bingo game and identifyCarolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, and Georgia. ing family members by traits and experiences. We placed Our Meet and Greet was Friday. We served hors conversation starters on the tables to help everyone be d’oeuvres and gave out name tags, t-shirts and welcome more conversant. We asked everyone to sit with someone bags. Welcome bags included items donated from local they didn’t know well until dinner time to try and get banks, our insurance company and credit union (hand better acquainted. sanitizer, bag clips with magnets, pens, pencils, grocery One of our young people read our Family Covenant. bags and grocery lists with magnet backs). We made We want to get them involved so they will want to carry on wrappers for candy bars and tea bag covers for Mango the tradition. We also keep the kids active so they have a Face painted Angel Chamomile tea with our reunion logo on them. We included Hill (7) from Florida. great time and make lots of special memories. family reunion survival kits, refrigerator magnets to place We gave out awards for travelling farthest, most a group photo and Buckeye candy in an Ohio “love box.” children, oldest, youngest, etc. We also gave out humorous awards. Experience Columbus, our local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, The Kool and the Gang Award for the one who’s always hangin’ out donated items for our welcome bags. Sarah Doodan at the CVB was Icebreakers candy. Bob Marley Award for the one who’s always jammin’ was rock candy suckers. Needs a Break Award was a Kit Kat. Sunshine Award for the one who’s always e paid tribute to the ones who have smiling was a Snickers candy bar. Peacock Award for gone “Home” before us. Gennifer Biggest Show-Off was a Nutrageous candy bar. Davis made a vase with a little tree in it. We had games for the kids. We played the “LeftWe hung butterfly bookmarks, personalRight Game” and used a story with names of our ized with a poem, off the limbs. The seed ancestors driving to their family reunion. We also hired butterfly bookmarks are eco-friendly and a company to do face painting and balloon twisting for bloom beautiful wildflowers and forgetthe young ones. I was told a six-year-old wouldn’t me-nots when the seed paper butterflies allow anyone to wash his face for three days after. are planted. The memorial bookmarks I researched our family name and Coat of Arms and grow into a blooming memento of loved Crest. I made a copy of the information for everyone to one’s life. take home with them. This was separate from our Once you remove the butterfly, you Memory Book. are left with a bookmark with the poem We have a group picture of everyone at the reunion on it. Each family took a bookmark to that was printed for us. The pics are 4x6 and we’re plant in the yard so whenever the flowers attaching them to a magnet to display on our fridge. grow they will be reminded of our family Every time we look at the picture, it will remind us of members who have passed. family and what a great time we had. We know this will keep us excited about the next reunion.


Elmore Family Reunion 30 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com


Casper Westemeier Family Reunion Our family is fairly new to the rest of the family, so I researched Ancestry.com to write a short synopsis of how our Davis family is connected to the Elmore family. It was read and included in the memory book. When I was searching for how the Davis’ and the Elmore’s were related, I found that our Grandfather, Drayton Davis, whose sister, Nicey Davis married David Elmore, was actually born a slave in Cross Keys, Union County, South Carolina. Cross Keys is not a city, but a plantation. Our Grandfather was freed at the age of 13 and moved around Laurens and Union Counties doing odd agricultural jobs until he settled and married Keziah Simpson and had a farm of his own. The plantation, Cross Keys where he was born is now a local historical society and living museum. Our memory book contained the welcome, itinerary, dinners, history, recipes submitted by members, quotes about family, Maya Angelou’s Black Family Pledge, pedigree information, Mayor’s welcome, and pictures to commemorate our experience. Organizing a family reunion can be very daunting at times but can also be tons of fun and very rewarding. One of the ways you can help the planning committee is to make your commitment and pay your fees early. Reserving venues require deposits and payments quarterly. Knowing how many family members will be attending allows the committee to have a budget, and plan accordingly. Fundraising is a good way to help lower costs. Try family reunion cookbooks, raffles, split the pot, selling candy, etc. Some family might not be able to attend due to the cost. Fundraising might be able to help with that. We held our family meeting on Saturday because some members had early flights the next day. We took nominations for the destination of our next reunion We decided on a 4-day Bahamas cruise for next year. At our Davis Family Reunions we have a tradition of forming a huge circle, holding hands and singing the Ojays’ Family Reunion song at the end of the day. We hope this will become a tradition with our Elmore Family Reunions. It was very endearing and a fun time for us. Reported by Sharon Davis, Canal Winchester, Ohio. Photo credit Mili Stevens Lopez of ML Creative Images.

Wisconsin Westemeiers


love the Casper Westemeier Family Reunion. It’s been going on for 50 years and it officially meets each first weekend in July from Friday through Sunday. We camp at the same site, Coffins Grove, near Manchester, Iowa, while some stay at a nearby motel and come to the campsite during the day. There are up to four generations and family come mainly from Iowa but also Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, and New Mexico. The camp ground affords us lots of room to reconnect, play card games, have organized kids games, send the kids to play on the playground with an older cousin supervising, cook together, eat together, laugh together and sit around the camp fire sharing beverages and playing campfire games. Most food/meals are potluck and always very good. We eat together Friday night, usually appetizer night, have omelets made in a bag on Saturday morning and a Bloody Mary bar. Saturday’s meal centers around Bill and Ann’s delicious pork cooked on a rotisserie. Everyone contributes their very best and often favorites are requested (Nah! demanded). Our raffle pays for meat, pavilion rental for the Saturday night meal, and porta-potties. Families contribute everything from crafts and artwork to children’s games to “Take The Pickles!” We have so many traditions such as our potluck, meat from member farms, games, competitions and always add something new. The theme for the 2018 reunion was Halloween. Family members decorated campers and tents for the holiday and kids dressed up and went trick or treating camper to camper. Shared by Roberta McLoud, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2019 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 31


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e military reunion news

USS Charles P. Cecil (DD/DDR-835) Reunion Association


he theme for this year’s USS Charles P. Cecil (DD/DDR-835) Association was “Shuffle Off To Buffalo,” however, we stayed at the Niagara Falls Holiday Inn. Our members spent the week visiting local sites and attractions including the Lockport Locks, an Erie Canal Cruise, sampling chocolate at Platters, visiting the New York Power Authority, the Buffalo Waterfront and Naval Park where we held our Annual Memorial Service and had lunch on the fantail of the USS Little Rock. We toured downtown Buffalo, and walked the grounds of Fort Niagara near Youngstown, New York. And of course no trip to Niagara would be complete without seeing the Falls. At our business meeting, members nominate future reunion host cities, and then I do the planning for these cities. At the Rapid City Reunion I was tasked with researching 5 cities; Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Memphis, Mobile, and Baltimore. The board meets each year, however, with the marvelous invention of the internet, we added a provision to our By-Laws that we can have impromptu meetings/votes as needed. Our By-Laws direct that a Reunion Coordinator is to be selected every three years. However, several years ago, I was asked that, since I was the youngest member of the Association, would I take on the job as a lifetime appointment. I agreed. And I’ve been doing this for the Association for 17 years. Members begin to arrive on Sunday. Because they are getting older, we take Monday off so that they can rest from their travels. Those members who arrive on Sunday, go out on their own to see the local sights. We start taking daily tours on Tuesday and continue through Friday. We hold a Memorial Service on Thursday. Annual

34 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com

Auction is the highlight of the reunion based on the auctioneer. I send out what is called “CECIL SCHUTTLEBUTT” newsletters from time to time. I request that our information be posted in most military periodicals (DAV, VFW, and American Legion). Since our members are requesting to “Cross the Brow” for the last time we ask members to include their families, so far to limited success. We have several Facebook sites that are not our official Facebook page, we have a website, that no one seems interested in taking care off.....until last year, I was the President, Reunion Coordinator, Ships Store Operator. I initially contact the local CVB, and ask for an RFP. I state what we need. I am mandated to ensure that the hotel can provide a Hospitality Suite that can accommodate 50 people with tables and chairs and allow us to bring in our own snacks and beverages including alcohol. And if we are not allowed to bring in our own snacks and beverages, it is a deal breaker. It amazes me that with these conditions I still get proposals that state that they cannot allow alcohol in meeting spaces. I guess that after all these years I can’t seem to understand why one hotel property is willing to offer a banquet meal inclusive, and another will not budge on the tax and sales charge, as well as one property wanting to charge us $300.00 per day for the use of a Hospitality Suite, while another doesn’t charge and they go out of their way to accommodate us....and sometimes the same hotel just in another location within the same city. Reported by Greg Wells, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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e military reunion news

National Museum of the US Army

Reunion sign

USS John Young, DD973 Reunion


he USS John Young, DD973 held its reunion in Mobile, Alabama. There was a surprise visit from a group of refugees who were rescued by the ship in 1981 making this a most memorable experience. It literally brought a captain to his knees ... we laughed, we cried and, of course, we celebrated. The story about the refugees was featured in the September 2018 issue of Reunions magazine. Shared by Michael Trotta, Holiday, Florida

Actor Joe Mantegna holds a commemorative NMUSA brick honoring his uncle, William J. Novelli.


he National Museum of the US Army, opening in 2020, is committed to telling the story of the American Soldier. These personal accounts of ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things will offer Museum visitors an invaluable perspective about how much our country owes its Soldiers. Veterans, what can you do to leave your mark? Create a record of your service in the Registry of the American Soldier or the Registry of the Army Community. Order a commemorative brick to forever memorialize a Soldier as a part of the Museum. Tell your story. Tell the story of a friend or loved one. Their history is our history, told from a unique and remarkable perspective. See armyhistory.org.


his POW/MIA Table is set in memory of Veterans of Foreign Wars at the USS John Young Reunion as a reminder of those who did not make it home. Also known as a fallen comrade table or Missing Man Table, it is a ceremony and memorial in honor of fallen, missing, or imprisoned military service members. There is a lemon wedge on the bread plate to represent the bitter loss of the life of the fallen service member. Salt is sprinkled over the lemon and the bread plate to represent tears shed for the member who is missed. An empty chair at the table in front of the place setting represents the missing comrade.

Some members enjoyed a visit to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. 36 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com

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National WWII Museum

Canadian Duo honor service and sacrifice of American Allies


Freedom Pavilion at the National WWII Museum.


ripAdvisor announced The National WWII Museum in New Orleans as the #3 museum in the US, behind the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art. The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in WWII. Included are 9,600+ personal accounts from WWII veterans (audio, written and video), 250,000+ artifacts for exhibits and research, interactive exhibits, a theater and restaurant. The Museum offers the only graduate-level degree in WWII history partnership with Arizona State University. See nationalww2museum.org. Photo credit: Courtesy of The National WWII Museum

wo Canadians have launched a personally funded mission to commemorate the service and sacrifice of members of the US Armed Forces. A presentation made as part of the Service and Sacrifice Initiative founded by Canadian Armed Forces Members Honorary Colonel Kevin McCormick and Lieutenant Colonel Michael Motyl in 2016, as a formal mechanism by which to locate historic US military pieces and repatriate them to family members, military museums, educational platforms and communities. Both McCormick and Motyl have donated personal time and funds to support the project and have amassed, through auctions, private sales and other markets, hundreds of pieces of historic items representing all branches of the US military and geographic regions across the nation. The initiative represents the lives of US service men and women, and their families, from all major conflicts and wars. McCormick and Motyl have made donations and presentations to museums across the US. Most recently, including pieces from the Civil War and WWI, to the New York State Military Museum, the Military History Society of Rochester, and the City of Utica, New York.

Vietnam War Commemoration


he Federal Government is partnering with local government, private organizations, and communities across America to participate in the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War ending November 11, 2025 – a program to honor and give thanks to a generation of proud Americans who saw Vietnam War Veteran lapel pin. our country through one of the most challenging missions we have ever faced, and to renew our commitment to the fullest possible accounting for those who have not returned.” The Vietnam War Commemoration staff travels the country at the invitation of veterans’ organizations (including reunions) to present a Vietnam War Veteran Lapel pin on behalf of a grateful nation. Visit www. vietnamwar50th.com or 1-877-387-9951.

(Left to right) Kevin McCormick, Honorary Colonel, Irish Regiment of Canada, US Defense Attaché Colonel William J. Rowell, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Motyl, Canadian Armed Forces Military Police at the US Embassy, Ottawa, Canada. 2019 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 37

e military reunion news

USS Hopewell (DD-681) Association


symposium was held Tuesday evening in the he USS Hopewell (DD-681) Association held its Hospitality Room aimed at interviewing the WWII biennial reunion in San Antonio, Texas. In a Hopewell “Plank Owners” and allowing the crew in nutshell, it was epic. The definition of “epic” is an attendance to question these witty, articulate men as event or thing that is grand or heroic in scale or they recalled some of the horrors – as well as some content. The Hopewell’s San Antonio Reunion was lighter moments – of the Pacific War 75 years ago. just that. Wednesday was a busy day. At the Memorial For the first time in history a Navy ship reunion Service in the Fort Sam Houston Memorial Chapel, was honored to have three 93-year-old WWII veteran the Honor Guard and bugler were “razor sharp and heroes in attendance. Think about that. All these squared away” and presented the colors flawlessly, men fought the Japanese in the historic sea battles in after which each of the 32 deceased shipmates was the Pacific 75 years ago! Despite their advanced age, individually honored during the tolling of the they were lively and articulate, and they told many ship’s bell. stories that brought laughter as well as tears. They The Lifetime Members Plaque After the Memorial Service, the crew enjoyed a seemed to feed off each other as they recalled in graphic detail many of their harrowing experiences contains the engraved names of 30 guided tour of Joint Base San Antonio – Fort Sam Hopewell shipmates who will never Houston, and then on to lunch at the iconic Chart during various battles in the Pacific 75 years ago, again have to pay association dues. House atop the 750-foot Tower Of The Americas as well as some humorous stories about life aboard ship during those especially perilous times. A total of 55 shipmates, spouses, and guests enjoyed a full schedule of events and activities and spent the week traveling, dining, relaxing, and reminiscing with one another and the WWII heroes. It was especially unique to have three “Plank Owners” (first to man the Hopewell when it was first commissioned in 1943) in the same room as the last to depart the ship when it was decommissioned in 1970 … the first and last men to serve on the USS Hopewell (DD-681). In the Hospitality Room, the gorgeous Honduran mahogany Lifetime Members Plaque was presented to the crew and bore the For the first time in Hopewell Reunion history, several relatives of deceased engraved names of all 30 shipmates who have joined the Lifetime shipmates attended the reunion and Memorial Service. Wearing white gloves, Members Program. During the week of the reunion, five more they tolled the ship’s bell one final time for their deceased relative. Emotional. shipmates joined, bringing the total to 35. It was great to see such alongside the San Antonio Riverwalk. Another symposium was held Wednesday evening to help the shipmates navigate the Veterans Administration bureaucratic red tape common when applying for VA health benefits and Agent Plank Owner plaques and Community Service Orange medical care. award presented at the banquet. On Thursday we took a luxury coach tour of San Antonio and the Mission District, and Three WWII Veteran Heroes (l to r): Roland Weis, Richard Wammock, Joe Calim then lunch at the famous Luby’s Cafeteria, followed by a visit to overwhelming confidence in the Hopewell Association. Nameplates the Alamo. for these additional five, plus any others who decide to join, will Back at the hotel we took photos, and held the Reunion Banquet be engraved and prominently displayed at Norfolk and at all future on Thursday evening. During the Banquet, each Plank Owner was Hopewell reunions. presented an engraved, personalized granite monument mounted Much of Monday was occupied with Association business on an oak base to commemorate his World War II service. In issues and meetings, so the Hopewell Association provided plenty addition, Ron Copeland was presented the Association’s first ever of pizza, sub-sandwiches, and soft drinks in the afternoon, followed Community Service Award for over fifty years of service to the state by a guided boat trip for the crew along downtown San Antonio’s of Oregon, the city of Burns, and Harney County in a multitude of famous Riverwalk. Beautiful! community service and youth education programs. Ron also serves On Tuesday we took a luxury coach to Fredericksburg, Texas, in leadership roles in both the American Legion and VFW. and visited the historic Admiral Nimitz Museum of the Pacific. What a reunion it was! The next one is scheduled for the Afterward, everyone enjoyed lunch on their own and shopping for Norfolk/Virginia Beach area in 2020, and it’s going to be even gifts and souvenirs in Fredericksburg’s legendary shops. As part of better than San Antonio! Is that possible? Stand by. our on-going shipmate education and information effort, a Joyfully shared by Doug Graybeal, Blue Eye, Missouri. 38 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com

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USS Ranger CVA61


he alumni of the USS Ranger CVA61 held their 2018 reunion at the Mesa-Phoenix Hilton in Arizona. It was the first time many of the participants had visited Arizona. There were three bus tours arranged over two days to give everyone a good choice of what to see and do in Arizona, ending with our banquet and entertainment on the last night. The Uptown Angels put on a very good show, which members enjoyed and reminisced as we listened to them sing songs and dance from the 40s and 50s and WWII era, much like the Andrew, McGuire, and Lennon Sisters did years ago. The trio, from the Phoenix Valley area, entertained us with a combo of hits (such as “Bugle Boy from Company D” and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”) from their USO and Classic 40s and 50s shows. Group picture taken by the F-4 plane which was from the USS Ranger Aircraft Carrier, now shown at the CAF Airbase at Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona. Reported by Joanna Reran, Chandler, Arizona.

Uptown Angels

Veteran Owned Business Project


aunched on Veterans Day 2008, VOB (VeteranOwnedBusiness.com) is a nationwide network of businesses owned by veterans, active duty military, reservists and military spouses as well as nonprofit organizations who help impact the lives of the military community. Veteran Owned Business is a free online portal that helps businesses owned by prior military members share their products and services with purchasing departments, fellow veterans, and everyday consumers. Since launch in 2008, VOB has grown from a simple online directory to a comprehensive network of more than 30,000 members and more than 300,000 supporters. Businesses owned by veterans, active duty military, and military spouses get free membership and business profile by visiting VeteranOwnedBusiness.com; 877-862-5478.


e have gotten more of these notes lately that always make us sad that a reunion group is disbanding. We received this from Tom Gould, Hendersonville, Tennessee, who identifies himself as “last president” of the USS Sigourney Reunion Association. They are disbanding due to age and ability to afford reunions. 2019 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 39

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57th Alumni Association


he 57th Alumni Association consists of individuals who served in the 57th Troop Carrier Squadron, 57th Military Airlift Squadron, 57th Airlift Squadron, and 57th Weapons Squadron. The history of the 57th goes back to 1942 when the 57th Troop Carrier Squadron was activated. The 57th Troop Carrier Squadron supported the Armed Forces across the Pacific to the Philippines, Okinawa and were the first Troop Carrier Squadron to land on Japanese soil after the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. The 57th Alumni Association was officially organized in 2010 and has had a reunion each year since. The 57th Alumni Association has visited Branson, Missouri, twice. On our most recent visit we stayed at the Lodge of the Ozarks. While in Branson we attended many of the shows, and the number one show this year

was Samson. Legends In Concert, Dutton Family, were very popular as well as many others. And a trip to Branson would be incomplete without a cruise on the Branson Belle, where we had a blast. We also enjoyed a cookout at the Table Rock State Park pavilion. We found the pavilion to be ideal to host a large group and the area has all the conveniences needed to serve any reunion group. The pavilion is closely located to restrooms, easily accessible for handicapped and the area is just beautiful. The 57th Alumni Association so much-loved Branson that we will return in 2020. We have found that the businesses and people in Branson are just wonderful. Reported by Woodie Hall, CMSgt, USAF, Retired, Cape Coral, Florida.

National Veterans Memorial and Museum


Copyright: Randall L. Schieber

Copyright: Randall L. Schieber

he National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) just opened in Columbus, Ohio. The late Senator John Glenn (1921-2016), Colonel, USMC (Retired), had a vision of preserving the personal stories of those who served. His vision has come to life. Personal stories take the place of military artifacts at the new National Veterans Memorial & Museum devoted to highlighting veterans’ voices. They tell the story of all veterans and similarities in their stories – across different times and branches, whether in conflict or during peacetime. The focus is away from wars and

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National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Downtown Columbus

historical events to the lives and stories of individual US service members. There are letters and many hours of videos of veterans sharing their memories and thoughts about their time in the military. The collection is expected to grow as veterans who visit the space record their own experiences and memories. The NVMM puts a particular emphasis on what veterans go on to do after their time in the military and how they continue to impact their communities and culture. Visit https://www.nationalvmm.org/. From an article by Alex Palmer on Smithsonian.com.


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 editor@reunionsmag.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.

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ARIZONA WHITE STALLION RANCH 9251 W Twin Peaks Road, Tucson AZ 85743 520-297-0252 | info@whitestallion.com www.whitestallion.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 22. STAGECOACH TRAILS GUEST RANCH 19985 S Doc Holliday Rd., Yucca AZ 86438 866-444-4471 | vacation@stgr.com | www.stgr.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 22.

CALIFORNIA HUNEWILL CIRCLE H GUEST RANCH 1110 Hunewill Ranch Road, Bridgeport CA 93517 760-932-7710 | info@hunewillranch.com www.hunewillranch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 23. 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 reunions@holinnbayside.com www.holinnbayside.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 8. THE ALISAL GUEST RANCH 1054 Alisal Road, Solvang CA 93463 877-648-7097 | reservations@alisal.com www.alisal.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 22.

COLORADO ELK MOUNTAIN RANCH PO Box 910, Buena Vista CO 81211 800-432-8812 | info@elkmtn.com www.elkmtn.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 22. 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 CHEROKEE PARK RANCH 436 Cherokee Hills Drive, Livermore CO 80536 970-493-6522 | info@cherokeeparkranch.com www.cherokeeparkranch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 23. SYLVAN DALE GUEST RANCH 2939 N County Road 31D, Loveland CO 80538-9763 970-667-3915 l ranch@sylvandale.com www.sylvandale.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 22.

FLORIDA KISSIMMEE 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 email JShives@ExperienceKissimmee.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 17.

IDAHO RED HORSE MOUNTAIN RANCH 11077 East Blue Lake Road, Harrison ID 83833, 888-689-9680 info@redhorsemountainranch.com www.redhorsemountainranch.com. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 23.

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 kimberly@lakecounty.org | LakeCountyReunions.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 9.

LOUISIANA 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 group.sales@nationalww2museum.org 877-813-3329 x222 nationalww2museum.org/groups

MARYLAND THE DEEP CREEK EXPERIENCE Find the perfect reunion destination tucked away in the mountains of western Maryland. The Deep Creek area is a four-season destination with a wide variety of activities. Explore our mountain waters, whether it be on Deep Creek Lake, our rivers or waterfalls. Your group will love our location, central to several major cities (3 hours from Baltimore & D.C., 2 hours from Pittsburgh and four hours from Cleveland and Columbus). 15 Visitors Center Drive, McHenry MD 21541, 301-387-5238 | fax 301-334-8073 jen@garrettchamber.com | deepcreekreunions.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 15. Jen Durben, Heritage Area & Groups Director Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area Office: 301-387-4386 | Direct: 301-387-5238 Cell: 240-321-9588 | www.deepcreekgroups.com www.garrettheritage.com Follow Groups on Facebook Follow Heritage on Facebook

MICHIGAN VISIT DETROIT You will be amazed at Detroit’s renewed energy and vitality. This remarkable city attracts more than 19 million visitors annually and continues to transform with new boutique hotels, dynamic residential developments, innovative restaurants and thriving local businesses. World-class cultural attractions, a vibrant nightlife, contemporary art scene and outdoor activities abound. With so much to see and do, Thrillist calls Detroit one of “America’s Most Fun Cities.” Detroit. It’s GO time.™ Contact Lynette Richardson, Sales Manager lrichardson@visitdetroit.com l 313-202-1945 visitdetroit.com/ facebook.com/VisitDetroit

MINNESOTA WORRY-FREE REUNIONS AT CRAGUN’S RESORT 11000 Craguns Dr, Brainerd MN 56401 (833) 604-0206 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: craguns.com/family-reunions/?NCK=8336040206 2019 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 41

REUNION RESOURCES MISSOURI EXPLORE BRANSON in Southwest Missouri, surrounded by the beauty of the Ozark Mountains. Call the Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau to assist you in locating lodging for your next reunion in this ideal destination at the center of America’s heartland! Family values and budgets are honored! Branson’s breathtaking scenery, genuine patriotism, live music shows, exciting attractions for all ages, and authentic southern hospitality create memories worth re-living! Whether your reunion is family, military, or graduating class, request Welcome Bags and the Branson Reunion Planner Kit: Julie Peters, CTIS, CEP, 417-243-2117 Email: jpeters@bransoncvb.com or Visit: www. ExploreBranson.com/groups 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 VisitCape at 1.800.777.0068 or visit us online at VisitCape.com. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 13.

MONTANA LONE MOUNTAIN RANCH PO Box 160069, Big Sky, MT 59716. 1-800-514-4644 Reservations@LoneMountainRanch.com www.LoneMountainRanch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 23. ELKHORN RANCH 33133 Gallatin Road, Gallatin Gateway MT 59730 406-995-4291 | office@elkhornranchmontana.com | www.elkhornranchmontana.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 23. PARADE REST GUEST RANCH 1279 Grayling Creek Rd., West Yellowstone, MT 59758 1-800-753-5934 | info@paraderestranch.com www.paraderestranch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 23. Minutes from YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WEST YELLOWSTONE, MONTANA offers both exhilarating adventures and a variety of comfortable accommodations – making it the idea place for your next reunion. Contact Info: 303 Canyon St. Suite C, West Yellowstone, MT 59758 | 406-640-0069 kcoffintbid@gmail.com https://yellowstonedestination.com/meet-in-west/ BAR W GUEST RANCH 2875 Hwy 93 West, Whitefish MT 59937 866-828-2900 | info@thebarw.com www.thebarw.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 22.

NEVADA EASTSIDE CANNERY CASINO HOTEL 5255 Boulder Highway, Las Vegas NV 89122 702-856-5300 | 1-866-999-4899 www.eastsidecannery.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 32. 42 REUNIONS v reunionsmag.com

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 32. 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 32. 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 32. 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 32. 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 32. ALIANTE CASINO + HOTEL + SPA LAS VEGAS 7300 Aliante Parkway, North Las Vegas, NV 89084 | 877-477-7627 | www.aliantegaming.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 32.

NORTH CAROLINA CABARRUS COUNTY CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 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. 10099 Weddington Road, Suite 102, Concord NC 28027 800.848.3740 | www.visitcabarrus.com 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 THE BACK COVER

OHIO EXPERIENCE COLUMBUS Columbus is ranked one of the top value destinations in the country. With four downtown entertainment districts, annual festivals, the #1 rated Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and an array of outdoor parks to choose from, you won’t want to have your family reunion anywhere else. Planning a reunion in Columbus is easy, and we’re here to help. Plus, all of our services are free. We will assist you with finding hotels, local attractions and more. When the time comes, we’ll provide you with Visitors Guides, Visitor Maps, plastic bags and pens.

Contact the Tourism Sales Team at 1-800-354-2657 tours@ExperienceColumbus.com www.ExperienceColumbus.com/reunions SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 35. 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 GRAND OLE OPRY 2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214 Contact Attraction Sales 615-871-5403 www.opry.com | www.opryevents.com Have a reunion with the show that made Country Music Famous!

VIRGINIA WESTFIELDS MARRIOTT WASHINGTON DULLES 14750 Conference Drive, Chantilly VA 20151 Sharon Meyers, 703-818-0366 | Fax 703-818-8840 sharon.myers@marriott.com https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/ iadwf-westfields-marriott-washington-dulles/ 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! dmiller@fxva.com | fxva.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 7. 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 amoran@nnva.gov 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

REUNION RESOURCES the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Contact Lisa Logan, 540-658-4580 tourism@staffordcountyva.gov www.tourstaffordva.com

WYOMING DUDE RANCHERS’ ASSOCIATION 1122 12th Street, Cody WY 82414 Helping people find quality Dude and Guest Ranch vacations since 1926. Let us help you find the perfect all-inclusive location for your next reunion. Call 866-399-2339 | e-mail info2@duderanch.org www.duderanch.org SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGES 22 & 23.

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RED ROCK RANCH PO Box 38, Kelly WY 83011 307-733-6288 | info@theredrockranch.com www.theredrockranch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 23. THE HIDEOUT LODGE & GUEST RANCH PO Box 165, Shell WY 82441 800-354-8637 | info@thehideout.com www.thehideout.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 22. RED REFLET GUEST RANCH 10 Lodge Road, Ten Sleep, WY 82442 1-866-766-2340 | redreflet@gmail.com www.redrefletranch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 23.



ORDER NOW FOR WELCOME/ GOODIE BAGS There are still back/remainder issues of Reunions magazine available FREE for the cost of packing and shipping. If your reunion has been featured and you want copies, call now! We will continue this offer until our supply (going back 28 years) is gone. Many issues have “sold out” so order now, don’t wait until your next reunion! Contact Karla at klavin@reunionsmag.com or 414-263-4567.

It’s fast and easy to use. Your reunion website has great features and planning tools including online registration, rsvp, ticket payment, fundraising, message boards, family tree, guest book, photo albums, and the best customer service with unlimited support. No credit card required for the free trial! If you choose to purchase services, enter coupon code ReunionsMagazine20 for a 20% discount. Any Questions - 877-769-3836.

CREATE A FAMILY REUNION YEARBOOK FAMILY REUNION YEARBOOKS THROUGH WEEVA. COM allow you to preserve your family history, effortlessly. Invite your family to add their stories and photos, and store them all in one place for free. Each year, when you’re ready, hit publish and they create a stunning keepsake family reunion book. These books are passed down for generations. Start now at Weeva.com/family/reunion

EATONS’ RANCH 270 Eatons Ranch Road, Wolf WY 82844 1-800-210-1049 | info@eatonsranch.com www.eatonsranch.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 22. GENEALOGY SEARCH & RESEARCH AncestryProGeneologists Bring family history to your family reunion! Ancestry’s professional research arm pulls together a team of professional genealogists, writers, and designers to conduct research around the world and share your discoveries with friends and family. 1-800-596-3230, ext. 5617 progenealogists.com/family-reunions family_reunions@ancestry.com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 24.


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LOOKING FOR A HOTEL? find hotels for your reunion. We’ll assign you a local planner in your destination. This planner will assist in negotiating meeting space, food and hotel room rate terms for your family reunion. They can also advise on what hotels have the best proximity to activities and dining. Get competing bids from reunion friendly hotels. Their services are free! Visit https://reunionsmag.hotelplanner.com/


CA Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside


Birmingham (Greater) CVB


NC Wilmington and Beaches CVB NC


FL Experience Kissimmee



Lake County CVB IL


MD Deep Creek Experience/ Garrett County Chamber of Commerce


MO Branson CVB


MO Cape Girardeau CVB/ Visitcape


OH Columbus (Experience ) / CVB


VA Fairfax CVB / Visit Fairfax/ FXVA



P.O. Box 11727 v Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 2019 R EU N ION CELEB R ATIONS!

inspiring REUNIONS start with inspiring settings

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

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Reunions Magazine Volume 29, Number 1. March 2019