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


HHS Alumni News — TIGER TALES July 2009

2009 Alumni Homecoming October 2 and 3 “Musical Memories”


Sam Dunlap, class of 1955, died November 28, 2006, in Lincoln, Nebraska, after a long battle with bone cancer.

John Overman, class of 1954, died November 17, 2008, at his home in Centerville, Ohio. After serving 4 years in the U.S. Navy, he spent the remainder of his career in the field of aerospace engineering. He had 3 sons and 3 daughters.

Hilda Ruth Beard Hutchinson, class of 1954, died December 1, 2008 in Springfield, MO She was employed with SMSU as a custodian for 25 years. She retired in December 1997.

Hazel Louella Gann Thompson, class of 1952, died December 20, 2008. She was a homemaker and a correspondent for the Cabool Enterprise for many years.

Edward Wayne Hayes, class of 1976, died December 23, 2008, in a car accident on Hwy 63 north of Houston, Mo. He loved hunting, fishing and working on small engines until his health wouldn’t permit him any longer.

Mary Sue Tweedy McCallister, class of 1929, died January 20, 2009, at Houston House. She received a teaching degree at Springfield Teachers College and taught at several rural schools. She also worked in the County Supt. of Schools office and in civil service at Ft. Leonard Wood.

Virgil Higginson, class of 1943, died January 20, 2009, at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital in Columbia, He served in the Army during WWII and received numerous medals.

Dale Norris, class of 1943, died January 20, 2009, at a hospice house in Whittier, California. He served in the Navy and survived the sinking of the USS Ommaney Bay, an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. He moved to California in 1949 and retired from Chrysler Corp. in 1967 following a work-related injury.

Dennis Duane Roberts, class of 1988, died Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009, at his home in Everton. He joined the Air Force on Sept. 16, 1988, and was discharged Aug. 27, 1990. He then went into construction work at various places.

Leland Ray Douglas, class of 1942, died Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009, at Cox South. He attended school at White Rock and spent one year working on the construction of Fort Leonard Wood before completing graduation at Houston High School. He also worked as a driver for John Scheets at High Town. He enlisted into the Army on Dec. 4, 1942, and was honorably discharged Oct. 18, 1945. He served in the 7th Army Infantry Division and participated in various amphibious landings in the Pacific campaign of World War II. He served in Alaska, the Marshall Islands, Marion Islands, Philippines and Japan. He was wounded three times, earning the Purple Heart and two oak leaf clusters.He also was awarded five Bronze Stars for meritorious achievement in ground operations against the enemy. He and his wife, Doris, operated a dairy and beef farm. They sold milk, raised their own replacement stock and grew hay. Upon retirement, he was a board member for the Houston Senior Center.

Mamie Jewell Fourt Swan, class of 1930, died Friday, Feb. 13, 2009, in Berkeley, Calif. She worked as a telephone operator for Bell Telephone Company in Boise, Idaho,. She lived in Boise, Idaho, for 74 years and was a member of Whitney United Methodist Church for 60 years. She moved to California in 2004 to be near her two sons.

Bonnie Marie Collins Odle, class of 1954, died Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009, at the Grandview Heights in Marshalltown, Iowa. She was a homemaker and nurse’s aide and worked in home healthcare at Lynk’s Seeds, the MCC food cart and assisted at school. She was an active member of the Green Mountain United Church of Christ, the Green Mountain Lioness, Our Wednesday Out Fellowship, House of Compassion in Marshalltown, Iowa, and Cub Scouts.

Mary Lola Totten Adams, class of 1937, died Tuesday, March 10, 2009, at Houston House. A lifelong resident of Houston, she worked various jobs in town. She spent most of her working time with Production Credit Association and retired from there in 1980. She was active for many years in the Texas County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, which she helped found, and remained active in the church all of her life.

Faye Lillian Davis Tilley, class of 1932, died March 16, 2009, at her home in Mtn. Grove. She and her husband Bill had operated Tilley Rexall Drug on the square in Mtn. Grove for many years before retiring in 1979.

Versa Marie Coats James, class of 1954, passed away suddenly on March 17, 2009, at Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston, Mo. She was valedictorian of her class and went on to college at Southwest Missouri State University and graduated from Drury University in Springfield, Mo., with a degree in Elementary Education. She also did some work toward obtaining a Master’s degree, always wanting to continue her education. Versa’s passion was teaching young people. She taught elementary school for several years at Plato, Mo., and also was a faithful Sunday School teacher at the First Baptist Church in Houston.

Edmond Lavern “Bub” Downey, class of 1953, died March 26, 2009. He was the first graduate of Evangel College in 1959. He lived in Independence. He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Joseph.

Bruce Don Young, class of 1963, died Saturday, April 4, 2009, in an accidental drowning. Upon graduation, he attended classes in Oklahoma and Missouri colleges while working and serving in the Army. He recently received a liberal arts degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Duard William Akins, class of 1933, passed away Thursday, April 9, 2009, in Springfield. He was the owner of Akins Motor Company in Houston, Mo., for 47 years before retiring in 1980. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Houston and Springfield, Mo., and a member of the Lions Club, Houston City Council, a Shriner and a Mason.

Clifford Lee Farrell, class of 1964, died Friday, April 10, 2009, at his home following a battle with cancer. He worked as a carpenter and custom car painter in St. Louis when he was first married. He worked at Double F Ranch for more than 30 years. Later in life, he was owner/operator for Prime Inc. and drove for Nickels Pallet Mill in Raymondville while working the family ranch.

Imogene Randolph Reed, class of 1948, passed away April 11, 2009, at Texas County Memorial Hospital, Houston, Mo. She was a homemaker. She received Christ as her Savior in her teens and remained faithful throughout the years to His service.

David Stuart Anthony Foster, class of 2009, passed away May 31, 2009, two weeks after graduating high school. David grew up in Houston and attended First Christian Church. He was a member of the baseball team, football team and played basketball for several years. David loved hanging out with family and friends, playing XཔBox with friends online or at home. Texting was a favorite pastime. Baseball was his favorite sport. He was looking forward to attending college in the fall and playing baseball.

Carlos E. Elmore, class of 1943, passed away May 31, 2009, at the St. John’s Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis, Mo. Carlos grew up in Houston and graduated from Houston High School. He operated his own auto repairs garage for 15 years, then taught auto mechanics at Houston High School for 24 years. He was an active member and served as an elder, Sunday School teacher, church choir member and sang in a men’s quartet at the First Christian Church. Carlos was in the United States Army, serving his country from April 1943 to December 1945. He was captured in the Battle of the Bulge and was a POW in Germany for the remainder of the war. He received the American Theater Service Ribbon, European African Middle Eastern Theater Service Ribbon with 2 Bronze Battle Stars, Good Conduct Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

Charles David Cunningham, class of 1955, passed away to his heavenly home Monday, June 29, 2009. He worked at Boeing Aircraft in Wichita, Kan., for several years before moving in 1960 to Springfield, Mo., where he was employed at Royal Typewriter as lead man until the plant closed. He began has career as a brick mason, later owning Cunningham Masonry, Inc. until he semi-retired.

Jerry Lee Stilley, class of 1964, passed away June 24, 2009, at Cox South Hospital, Springfield, Mo. He received a refrigeration certification from Graff Votech School, then voluntarily joined the Air Force during the Vietnam War in January 1965 and was medically retired from service in March 1966. He made his life living and working in the Houston Community.

Short Tales


Bob, class of 1953, and Millie Capps White, class of 1956, are now residing in the Branson area and are involved in evangelism. They were longtime residents of Texas County until 1999. Their ministry in the area included pastoring churches,, working in camps, and ministering to youth.


Denney Thomason, class of 1961, was recognized by the Missouri Dept. of Conservation for 25 years of dedicated management of his forestland. He has planted thousands of trees, conducted timber stand improvement practices and harvested trees to benefit local wildlife, forest health and future generations.

Larry Holder, class of 1964, was featured in the Springfield Business Journal for the Executive Conference Center on Battlefield Road, which he owns. The center can accommodate small groups and up to 310 people in its ballroom.

Michael Knauff, class of 1966, is the author of “Roubidoux: A Story for 12-Year-Olds and Those Who Wish They Still Were” which highlights boyhood adventures in Texas County. The book is available at authorhouse.com

Connie Ragain Flowers, class of 1966, was named TCMH’s “Nurse of the Year” during a celebration of Nurses’ Week.

Don Culp, class of 1967, recently retired from The State of Oregon after 25 years as a Facilities Energy Technician II working for the State Hospital in Pendleton Oregon.

Danny Richards, class of 1969, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southwest Baptist University-Salem and plans to continue his work at Southeast Missouri Community Treatment Center in the field of drug and alcohol counseling.

Dan Brown, class of 1969, was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives for District 149 which is Phelps County. He has been a practicing veterinarian in Rolla for the past 33 years. He is married to Kathy Diedrich Brown, class of 1969, and they have 2 grown children and 5 grandchildren.


Charlotte Ward Neal, class of 1973, was named TCMH’s April employee of the month. Her supervisor is Pat Young Henderson, class of 1971.

Don Willson, class of 1975, is a respiratory therapist in the Texas County Memorial Hospital Cardiopulmonary Department.. The department has earned a Quality Respiratory Care Recognition under a national program. Only about 15 percent of United States hospitals have applied for and received this award.

Bill Villapiano, class of 1975, was recognized by the Faith Fellowship Church for 25 years of devoted service as pastor of the congregation.

Daren Barnes, class of 1975, is now association withe Ozarks Financial Group as a consultant. He resides in Nixa, Mo.

The following alumni were recognized by the Missouri Dept. of Transportation during a safety appreciation event for consecutive years of service to the department with no loss time accidents. Joe Crum, class of 1976, Maintenance Crew Leader, 15 years; and Scott Gettys, class of 1974, Senior Survey Technician, 15 years.

LaVerne Cantrell, class of 1976, is co-owner of Julie’s Chewies, gourmet sweets & gifts, located in Springfield, Mo.

Loretta Smith Bailey, class of 1979, now lives in Joplin, Missouri, where she has operated an Allstate Agency since 2005.


Roy Hoggatt, class of 1980, was promoted from the rank of master sergeant to first sergeant in the Missouri Army National Guard. He has been with the Guard for 23 years with 3 years in the Army Reserve. He is a chief instructor over the 2nd Battalion, 140th Regional Training Institute’s military police and transportation military occupational specialty courses on post.

Jerri Sue Boren Crump, class of 1982, received an associate of science degree in nursing from SMSU. She is an RN employed at Texas County Memorial Hospital. She has three sons, all graduates of HHS. Bradley Sanders has degrees in psychology and biology from SMS. Travis Sanders, an honor graduate at Lynn State, is employed by the Missouri Highway Department. Nathan Sanders is a student at SMS.

Valerie Coble, class of 1983, was featured in the Houston Herald for her lifelong hobby of woodcarving. She sold her first carving at the age of 12. She is a member of the wood carving club, “Hill and Holler,” in Norwood.

Linda Clayton Voorhees, class of 1983, and her husband Terry and sons have lived in Anchoragee, Alaska, for the past 8 years where she is a manager of a Wal-Mart Store.

Kary Casebeer Harrah, class of 1988, received funding to buy supplies for her HHS classroom under a program offered by U.S. Cellular and Infinite Entertainment, owned by Richard and Gayla Romines Bratton, class of 1963.

Jason M. Pace, class of 1989, was promoted to the rank of sergeant with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He will retain his position as a recruiter and remain in Springfield.


Katrina Fisher Mitchell, class of 1990, was selected by the National Early Music Association to present at their international conference in York, England. She will be presenting part of her doctoral dissertation concerning Lucrezia Vizzana, a nun composer from 17th century Bologna.

Nathan Holder, class of 1993, is leaving his post as Superintendent of Raymondville Schools for the same position at Steelville. He is concluding his third year at Raymondville.

Heather Ragsdale Lobough, class of 1995, graduated from Missouri State University with a master’s degree in nurse anesthesia. She will be working for the Ozark Anesthesia Associates in Springfield.

Staff Sgt. Robyn Burgess Ciardelli, class of 1996, was promoted to the rank of technical sergeant under the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program. She is stationed at Mildenhall Air Force Base, England.

Former Faculty

Dr. Kent King died of brain cancer at his home in Rolla. He taught English and was junior high principal at Houston. He was superintendent of schools at Licking and at Rolla. He was appointed commissioner of education in 2000 where he served until his death.

Mike Moyer, former agriculture instructor, has been recognized nationally by the American Angus Association for having four registered Angus cows included in the association’s 2009 Pathfielder Report.

Ellen McVay, retired English and American history instructor, was featured in the Ozarks Watch, a publication of Missouri State University’s Ozarks Studies Institute and College of Arts and Letters. The article is titled, “Lives Across Century — Ellen McVay, Retired Educator.”

Ms McVay celebrated her 104th birthday in March.

Class Reunion Plans
  • 1954 – First Baptist Church, October 4, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • 1959 – Chamber of Commerce Building (Fairgrounds) October 2, 5:00 p.m.
    Chamber of Commerce Building (Fairgrounds) October 3, 11:00 a.m.
  • 1964 – Faith Fellowship Church, August 8, 11:00 a.m.
  • 1969 – Golden Hills, July 18, 4:00 p.m.
  • 1974 –
  • 1979 – Golden Hills, October 3, 6:30 p.m.
  • 1984 – no plans at this time
  • 1989 – Emmett Kelly Park, July 18, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • 1994 – no plans at this time
  • 1999 – Emmett Kelly Park, July 18, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.


Maury, class of 1957, and Linda Berthelote James celebrated this 50th anniversary with a celebration hosted by their children and grandchildren on March 28, 2009. They were married March 28, 1959.

Bob and Betty Dzurick Blackburn, class of 1957, celebrated their 50th anniversary on Saturday, May 9, at the Ellis Prairie Baptist Church on Highway AA. They were married May 16, 1959.

Third Annual Alumni Baseball Game

Any alumni interested in participating in the third annual baseball game may contact Coach Brent Hall at 417-967-5351 or bhalltigerball@hotmail.com. The game will be at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 3.

Alumni Featured in the “Know It All” section of Houston Herald

The Class of 1969–Joe Richardson, Deanna Smith, Bruce Scheets, Howell Burkhead, Sherry Erwin Gatlin, Susan Elmore Warkentin.

Bonnie Merckling Burch, class of 1949, worked at Texas County Memorial Hospital for 23 years and continued to volunteer after her retirement.

Don Killion, class of 1949, earned a doctorate degree in chemistry from the University of Arkansas and worked in that field until his retirement to the Hog Creek farm where he was raised.

Brad Mitchell, class of 1963, purchased ownership in Mitchell Insurance Agency in 1987 from his father, Ivan Mitchell, who started the business in 1949.

Alumni News Solicited

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