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HHS Alumni
Houston Alumni Association
P.O. Box 304, Houston, MO 65483


HHS Alumni News — TIGER TALES February 2008


Wesley Ray Tate, class of 1942, died January 21, 2006, at St. Joseph Medical Center after a short illness. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II; surviving the Normandy Invasion. In 1990 he retired from Bendix after 39 years.

Hazel Goode Lathrom, class of 1938, died December 27, 2006, of pneumonia complications., She was co-owner of Country Fare Restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for many years.

Tom Watt, class of 1941 died in mid January, 2007. He lived in Alberta, Canada. After graduation he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, already greatly involved in WWII in Europe. After the war he settled in Eastern Canada, working as a pilot for various Provinces for planes used on Provincial business throughout Canada.

Dean Hubbs, class of 1950, died May 2, 2007, at Salem, Missouri. He joined the Army in 1950 and served in Germany during the Korean War. He worked as a comptroller for the city of Waynesville, a lineman for Intercounty Electric, and retired as chief Electrical Estimator for the Engineering Department at Fort Leonard Wood.

Hubert Dean Wright, class of 1957, died June 2, 2007, at Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Ernest J. “Jack” Sooter, Jr., class of 1940, passed away June 18, 2007, in Kansas City, Missouri. He was a veteran of WWII serving in the U.S. Army 870th field artillery as an advanced scout and observer for field artillery fire. He also served in the Korean War. He retired as a regional district manager from MoDOT.

Robert Kirby Hart, class of 1947, died June 19, 2007, at Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston after a long illness. He owned and operated Hart Farms until the late '90s when he sold it due to his failing health.

Nadine Douglas Hildebrand, class of 1939, died July 2, 2007, at Parkwood Health Care Center in Beford, Texas. After graduation she moved to Indianapolis where she worked many years as a secretary for Union Carbide Corp. And later for Ayres Department Stores. After the death of her husband, she moved to Texas to be near her niece.

William Leavitt Christie, class of 1932, died July 5, 2007, at Houston House in Houston. He attended Rolla School of Mines. He operated Christie Dairy on the family farm and also worked for the ASCS.

Robert D. Lemons, class of 1949, died July 15, 2007, at his home at rural Richmond. He was a truck driver for Mid Central/Sysco Distributing for 15 years before retiring in 1989. He was a member of the Teamsters Union in North Kansas City before moving to Richmond in 1969.

Delores Troutman White, class of 1956, died July 19, 2007, at Hospice of the Valley Palm Valley Rehabilitation Center in Goodyear, Arizona. She was an R.N. in the emergency room of Reynolds Army Hospital at Fort Sill Oklahoma.

Lois Dawson Nelson Wilson, class of 1951, died July 27, 2007, at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. She retired from The Lee Company in 1998 after more than 25 years.

Darrell William Lee, class of 1979, died August 10, 2007, during the Texas County Demolition Derby where he and his two sons were competing. He was a carpenter in the St. Louis area until he returned to Raymondville and opened Lee’s Salvage in 1990.

Hilton Rowe, class of 1945, died August 21, 2007, due to injuries from a motorcycle accident on June 13, his 81st birthday.

Dale Brashear, class of 1954, died September 11, 2007, at Maywood Terrace Living Center in Kansas City, Missouri. He worked for 44 years as a meat cutter in Kansas City. He and his wife Jane were founding members of the “Swinging Squares” Square Dance Club.

Merrel Sterling Melton, class of 1937, died September 21, 2007, at Texas County Memorial Hospital. He worked for Union Electric of St. Louis until the bombing of Pearl Harbor when he entered the U.S. Air Force at Scott AFB, Illinois. Following his discharge, he returned to work for Union Electric. He later worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 31 years. After retiring, the Meltons returned to Texas County.

Frank Lewis Bishop, class of 1947, died September 23, 2007, at Wichita, Kansas, from pancreatic cancer. He was a retired DCSMA civil service employee.

Howard T. Noe, class of 1947, died October 6, 2006. He retired from the U.S. Air Force after also serving time in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Merchant Marines. He worked with RCA in Thule, Greenland, and retired from Civil Service at Keesler AFB with 43 years of federal service.

Mary Goode Ross, class of 1939, died October 10, 2007, at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. She attended Springfield Teachers College (MSU) and Drury University. She taught 31 years in Texas County – 10 years in rural schools, 21 at Houston and Licking.

Herman Lee Collins, class of 1975, died October 13, 2007, at Texas County Memorial Hospital after a long illness. He was involved in dairy farming and worked at Indian Creek Manufacturing and New England Log Homes.

Kerry Lee Baker, class of 1979, died October 31, 2007, at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. He was a lifetime member of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Assn. He was a tripe A certified judge, working around Missouri and other states.

John W. Stanton, class of 1958, died November 2, 2007, at St. Joseph Medical Center in Kansas City.

Gerene A. Frey, class of 1948, died November 7, 2007, at her home in Kansas City.

Paul Owen, class of 1944, died November 8, 2007, at Texas County Memorial Hospital. He joined the Army when he was 17. He was a heavy-equipment mechanic and traveled to many states on different job sites. In 1964, he returned to Bucyrus to operate a dairy farm. He won the Associated Milk Producers award for having clean milk and barn. Nancy Jane Thomason Jackson, class of 1972, died November 12, 2007, at Texas County Memorial Hospital after a four-year illness. She was a legal assistant for various Houston attorneys and secretary for Texas County Post at Raymondville.

Clara Alzada Tuttle Durham, class of 1932, died November 12, 2007. She attended Southwest Missouri State Teachers College in Springfield. She served as public administrator of Texas County for 13 years.

Keith L. “Butch” Coats, class of 1957, died November 28, 2007 at Houston. He served in the U.S. Army from 1961-63 stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. He was a journeyman electrician with Local 453 for more than 40 years.

Roberta Jean Smyer Evans, class of 1947, died December 1, 2007, at Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston. She and her husband Clydie had several businesses in Houston: furniture store, car dealership, hardware store. They owned and operated Evans Funeral Home for the past 46 years.

Joseph F. Stepp, class of 1956, died December 1, 2007. He received an Athletic Scholarship to play football at SMS. He was always involved with education, from the one-room school to being principal and school superintendent and on to being a college professor.

Mary Ellen Pipkin Salisbury, class of 1944, died December 24, 2007, in Springfield, Missouri. She began her career as an usher at the Melba Theatre and was one of the first operators for the Houston telephone exchange. She spent most of her career at Hiett Abstract in Houston and as circuit court clerk.

Richard E. McKee, class of 1987, died January 10, 2008, at his home at Fulton. He was a lieutenant and chief of detective for the city of Fulton police department.

Guy Z. Akins, Jr., class of 1943, died January 11, 2008, at the Veterans Hospital in Columbia. He served in the Army during World War II. He worked for KY3 in Springfield, retiring in 1985 as advertising sales director.

Former Teachers

James Newell Hosey died September 25, 2007, at the Missouri Veterans Home at Mount Vernon. He taught physics and math at Houston in 1938 where he met his wife, Dortha Crawford. After serving time in the Navy, he taught math at Mtn. Grove, and later became a meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Bureau. He worked in Springfield, Missouri; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Topeka, Kansas; and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Eleanor Marie Richart Murrell died September 30, 2007, at Glenwood Healthcare at Seymour. Mrs. Murrell taught at the Houston Schools for several years. She retired at the Waynesville Schools before moving to Springfield.

Short Tales


Gerald Murphy, class of 1935, celebrates his 90th birthday on July 14, 2007.


Velma Burch Pierce, class of 1943, retired from Hickman Mills Schools in 1980 with 35 years of teaching. She now lives in Foxwood Spring Senior gated living community and enjoys many activities.

Dorothy Copeland Bobbitt, class of 1949, is retired from being an Adult Nurse Practitioner, trained and worked under the auspices of University of Tennessee with what started as an experiment at the Memphis International Airport providing industrial type medicine to airport/airline employees and passengers/crew. It was so successful that it was made permanent after the start-up grant and was eventually named after her. She traveled and spoke all around the country about the project.


June Kiser Fansler, class of 1950, along with her husband, Harmon, have completed long-time volunteer duties at the Houston Senior Center and are moving to columbia to be near family.

Irene Brown Stapleton, class of 1952, has penned a book about this area. “Such Is Life in the Ozarks,” is the story of her family’s life in Houston. The book is available at Forbes’ Pharmacy.

Floyd L. McKinney, class of 1955, received the 2006 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association for Career and Technical Education Research. Dr. McKinney retired in December 2006 after a seven-year tenure as Director for the National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education at the Ohio State University. He has served in five universities and the Kentucky Department of Education.

Richard Sidney Goble, class of 1957, has been employed for 35 years with the Social Security Administration in Omaha, Nebraska. He is married to Norma Jean Haney, class of 1963.


Anson Elliott, class of 1961, agriculture department head at MSU received the first Greg Onstot Outstanding Achievement Award. The award was name for Onstot who served MSU for 25 years and retired in 2007 as vice president for university advancement.

Gaylord Moore, class of 1965, has recently retired after working with University of Missouri Extension Service as a horticulture specialist since 1979. Nineteen of those years were spent in Greene County. He has written newspaper articles, helped to train Master Gardeners, and given gardening advice on KOLR-TV10 every week since 1989.

Lou Gladden, class of 1965, is Senior Sales Executive for Reece & Nichols in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. They specialize in real estate, mortgage and title insurance.

Karen Collins Cavanaugh and Patty Huff Street, class of 1967, are serving as officers of Tri-County Council of the International Reading Association.

David Silveus, class of 1968, recently concluded a 31-year career with the south central district of Missouri Department of Transportation. He was regional maintenance supervisor at the Houston facility when he retired.

Susan Elmore Warkentin, class of 1969, president of the Houston Community Foundation, parachuted from two miles above the Houston airport as part of a promotion event for the foundation.


Barbara Bridges Romines, class of 1971, is academic director for Texas County Technical Institute which recently celebrated its 11th anniversary in Houston.

Ronda Durham Guth, class of 1973 serves as the Missouri professional development coordinator for Parents as Teachers National Center in St. Louis and was honored with the 2007 Early Childhood and Parent Education Distinguished Service Award for her commitment and contribution to the field of early childhood education.

Bill Villapiano, class of 1975, Pastor of Faith Fellowship church in Houston, celebrated his recent 50th birthday with a surprise 1957 flashback. His longtime friend Lyle Mason, class of 1975, from Rockware, Texas, was present and reminisced about their high school days.

Larry Sutton, class of 1976, was hired as Houston city administrator in November 2007. He replaces Bill Bates, class of 1972.

Reggie cole, class of 1976, was named employee of the month for May 2007. He has been employed with TCMH for 28 years as a technologist in the radiology department. He was nominated for the award by his supervisor, Ann Odle Hamilton, class of 1977.

Leisa Kuhn Stilley, class of 1977, was featured in the Intercounty Electric Newsletter recognizing her 20 years of service.

Danny Roderick, class of 1978, was promoted to Vice President of Progress Nuclear at Crystal River Energy Complex in Florida, the second lartest complex in the nation. He has been with the company for approximately 11 years Director and other management positions. His wife is the former Rosemary Ottney, class of 1977. They have two children and reside in Dunnellon, Florida

Ruth Ann Wall Groff, class of 1978, was pictured in the “Sunday News-Leader” participating in a grape stomping contest. The occasion was the ninth annual Grape and Fall Festival at Hollister.


Brad Gentry, class of 1981, was elected secretary of the Missouri Press Association for 2008. He was also named to the communications committee of the University of Missouri Alumni Association.

Jim (Daniels) Bowlin, class of 1982, is employed as general counsel to the American Association of Orthodontists and its national liability insurer, The AAO Insurance company. He is also in the process of establishing his own insurance company – Keystone Insurance Company

Mark Stallcup, class of 1985, and Bonnie Kelley Stallcup, class of 1990, were recognized as the Texas County Farm Family at the Missouri State Fair for 2007.


Stacey Cole Silveus, class of 1991, was pictured in the Houston Herald with an 11-point buck she killed on opening morning of deer season.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Schilling, class of 1995, received the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device for valor. He is a scout for Troop C. 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment at Camp Taji, Irag. He received the honor for actions he took during an enemy ambush near Falahat, Iraq.

Ashley Hutcheson, class of 1997 has accepted a construction litigation position at the Winstead Law Firm in Dallas, Texas. She began her career as a construction attorney in Kansas City in 2005.


Bradley Dixon, class of 2002, was hired by Highland Community College as coordinator of student activities. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Central Methodist University.

Pvt. Cora Blair, class of 2005, a member of the Missouri National Guard’s 206th Area Support Medical Company in Springfield, recently completed the healthcare specialist course.

Jeff Gettys, class of 2006, was a member of the Mizzou Tigers football team that won the Cotton Bowl game. He was named “walk-on” of the year.


Russell, class of 1943, and Betty Earp Koch, class of 1946, celebrated their 60th anniversary on August 11, 2007, with a reception at the Oak Hill Christian Church. They have 4 children, 10 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. All were present for the reception.

Lee, class of 1945, and Mavis Willson celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary March 3, 2007.

Dale, class of 1952, and Betty Deck Bennett, class of 1953, celebrated their 55th anniversary July 27, 2007. No formal celebration was held due to Mr. Bennett’s recent heart bypass surgery.

Vincent and Joyce Gettys Bonaiuto, class of 1955, celebrated their 50th anniversary in November 2007 with a seven-day cruise on the the New Carnival Freedom in the Eastern Caribbean. They were accompanied on the cruise by their five children, their spouses and 10 grandchildren.

Bruce, class of 1955, and Imogene Sutton Wilson, class of 1956, celebrated their 50th anniversary December 29, 2007, at the Hilton Prominade at Brandon. The event was hosted by their son, Greg, of Scottsdale, Arizona, and daughter, Jennifer Heriford, of Belleville, Illinois.

Dearl, class of 1969, and Carol Kirkwood Britzman, class of 1968, celebrated their 40th anniversary September 15, 2007, at Richland, Missouri, with their family – 3 daughters and 6 grandchildren.

Tim and Teresa Stricklin Neal, class of 1982, celebrated their 25th anniversary March 19, 2007. They have 6 children – Matthew, class of 2001, Lorrel, class of 2003, Kaitlyn, Nathan, Arran, and Ethan. They own a dairy farm in Bucyrus.

HHS Superintendent Hired for 2008-09

Dr. Dan Vandiver, class of 1981, will lead the Houston R-1 School District as superintendent beginning July 1. He is currently assistant superintendent at Hollister. He has been in school administration for nine years in Holden, Mtn. Grove, Twin Rivers and Hollister. The other finalist considered for the position was Nathan Holder, class of 1993, who is currently superintendent at Raymondville. He was also in administration at Bourbon and Plato.

New Subdivision for Southwest Houston

Susan Elmore Warkentin, class of 1969, and her husband Jack have purchased 8.4 acres on Holder and Industrial Drive to start Westridge Estates. Phase I of the project will include eight homes with three bedrooms, two baths, and a two-car garage.

Class of 1953 quarterly meeting

Members of the class of 1953 meet the first Thursday of each quarter at the Golden Corral in Springfield at 3:15 p.m. for an early dinner, fellowship, and catching up on all news. Any 1953 classmate is urged to attend. For information contact Irene or Glenn Willson at 417-932-4471.

Alumni News Solicited

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