Edgar Floyd (L to R), the longest-working agriculture teacher and retiree from Gleason School receives recognition for Outstanding Citizenship. Presenting is Gleason City Mayor Charles Anderson. Also pictured are Rodney Garner Public Works Director; Fire Chief, Mark Stafford; and Police Chief, Paul Eddlemon. Photo by Christian Ashlar/The Enterprise
BY CHRISTIAN ASHLAR
Special to The Enterprise
GLEASON (June 21) – During the City of Gleason’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting held last week, members finalized the city’s Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget and recognized a community member for his service.
Mayor Charles Anderson opened the meeting by welcoming a special guest.
“During the summer months,” Mayor Anderson explained, “we’ll be inviting and honoring some of our more senior businesses.” The honoree for this meeting was former Gleason Agriculture teacher, Edgar Floyd.
Floyd and his wife, Peggy, still reside in Gleason where they own and operate their own business, Floyd Greenhouses. In 1958, Floyd began his career as an agriculture teacher at Gleason School. In 1962, he and J.T. Moore, principal of the school, at the time, began their own business. Together, they cultivated and sold various plants such as peppers, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. In 1996, Floyd retired from teaching, but remains the longest-working agricultural teacher at Gleason School.
“This couple truly are pillars of the community,” Mayor Anderson said, his voice reflecting sincere admiration for both Edgar and Peggy Floyd.
Anderson also recognized the Parks and Recreation Department for its diligence and care of the city’s parks. “They really have gone above and beyond,” Mayor Anderson said of the park staff. He also commended the Girl’s Basketball Team’s coach for a profitable concession stand.
Mayor Anderson presented the board with a document sent by the TN State Legislature that changes the residence requirement of the City Recorder. The resolution makes it possible for the City Recorder to live outside the city limits. Gleason City Attorney Beau Pemberton, said the resolution “has to be approved by at least a two-thirds majority,” meaning the board had to vote on its acceptance. This was the second vote on the resolution, which passed without opposition. An approved copy of the resolution will then be sent back to Nashville.
Next on the city’s agenda was the question of what to do with a vacant lot at 714 West St. The lot was put up for sale by way of sealed bids, with the minimum bid at $5,500. The lot received no bids. Mayor Anderson left it up to the board to decide what, if any, further action would be taken. Alderman Wade Cook began a brief discussion on whether or not the property could be partnered with another property. This would, in theory, make a larger sale of the two more attractive. The proposal led to further discussion, but no concrete decisions were made.
Mayor Anderson then announced that the application for the Care Act Grant was submitted. Approval of the application would make it possible for Gleason to address the city’s infrastructure issues and problems with its sewer system. In preparation for this, the city installed a series of cameras that will help the proper departments pinpoint the most problematic areas of the system’s failures.
Gleason’s City Board meeting closed with the mayor announcing the plans for the Independence Weekend Celebration, which will take place on July 3 in downtown Gleason. The event will include live music, a Classic Car Cruise-In, food trucks and fireworks. Gleason resident Ricky Morgan and his band, Midlife Crisis, will kick off the event at 6 p.m.
On July 24th, in Snider Park, the Weakley County Playhouse Theater will present a production of “Anne of Green Gables,” which will feature a Gleason resident in the lead. The event will be a live performance and will begin at 7 P.M. (Source: Dresden Enterprise).
Santa Displays Gleason's Newly Painted Caboose
Restructuring the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee:
New Mayor Looks Looks to the Future
Having very capably served, since 2014, as President of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee, newly elected Mayor Charles Anderson, has wisely chosen to consider a restructuring of this important Committee.
Noting that the development of this Committee was initially stimulated by an idea suggested by Mayor Poole, he indicated that he has greatly appreciated the support and dedication of the citizens of Gleason regarding the efforts of the committee since its founding.
After wishing the Citizens of Gleason well as we draw near the end of a troubled year, he indicated that he felt that it was time to resign as President of the Revitalization Committee, effectively immediately.
Here, he highlighted that “It’s time for the younger generation, with a strong Facebook following to take our Non-Profit organization to new and higher levels.”
He went on to note that It has been suggested that the Revitalization Committee partner with the Gazelles for a virtual Christmas tree lighting event that could be streamed on Facebook Live on a date yet to be set but before Christmas at the Gazebo grounds.
Mayor Anderson went on to indicate that he hopes we all can work together and make this happen, as it would benefit those of us who live locally as well as Gleason natives that stay in touch with Gleason sponsored events.
With that said, it was noted that the current officers of our 501c (3) Non-Profit organization includes the following new officers.
President: Cruz Legens, replacing Charles Anderson.
Vice President: Sam Owen, replacing Gary Doster.
Treasurer: Luke Hughes, along with Doris Owen, (replacing Ron Arnold).
Senior Advisory Board:
Jim Phelps, Doris & Eric Owen, Diana Poole, Martha Ann Arnold, Jim Johnson, and Charles & Rose Anderson.
Gleason Board Members Sworn In During First Official Meeting
GLEASON (December 7) — The first meeting of the newly-elected Gleason City Board took place Monday, December 7. The proceedings began with Gleason City Judge Tommy Moore swearing-in the board members, beginning with Mayor Charles Anderson. Out of the eight candidates running for office in the November 3 election, the four available alderman seats were filled by: incumbent - Keith Radford; and newcomers - Danny Browning (Vice Mayor), Wade Cook and Tommy Hodges. Mayor Anderson expressed his appreciation to the people of Gleason for supporting him and giving him their vote of confidence. He promised to be a good steward of the people’s money and strive to improve the city’s financial standing.
Mayor Anderson said of his predecessor, Diana Poole, “She served as mayor two terms and has been a great mayor. She has left the town in a good financial status, and for that, I am grateful.”
“I know actions speaks louder than words,” Mayor Anderson said. “I could make a lot of promises I might or might not be able to keep for various reasons, but I want to see Gleason grow. I want us to maintain having a good place to live. I want to see prosperity. “I want to give something back to the town. The only way I know to do that, from a financial standpoint, is to donate the mayor’s salary, after taxes, back to the city.”
Mayor Anderson stated the money will go toward the food voucher program, with certificates redeemable at the city’s only grocery store, Gleason Superette. “That will be available beginning January 1, 2021.”
Mayor Anderson encouraged everyone to remember the Golden Rule in their dealings with one another by “doing unto others as you’d have others do unto you.” He also asked local citizens to “think of what you can do for your town, not just what your town can do for you.”
Danny Browning, who is the town’s first black alderman, said, “I am honored to be voted in as vice-mayor. I’m looking forward to the next four years. It’s an honor I don’t take lightly. I feel blessed.”
Browning has worked for the Sheriff ’s Department for the past 22 years, and part-time as a Gleason police officer for about six years. Browning, who formerly lived in Greenfield, has been a citizen of Gleason for six years.
“It’s going to be a great four years,” Alderman Radford said. “I hope we can lure some more businesses out to the four-lane, and in the downtown area. It has a lot to do with the economy and people’s attitudes.” Radford, who is the only board member to be re-elected, works at K.R. Trucking, and has been a city resident for the past 15 years.
I’m just very humbled to win,” said Alderman Tommy Hodges. “I’m glad the people of Gleason have given me the opportunity to serve them.” Hodges was born and raised in Gleason, where he has resided for the past 52 years. He works at K.T. Clay Company. Alderman Wade Cook said, “I appreciate the opportunity to represent the City.” Cook raises beef cattle and sells crop insurance.”
During the Gleason City Board meeting that followed the swearing-in ceremony, Mayor Anderson announced he plans on having a student from Gleason School lead the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at each board meeting. He called Gleason 7th-grader Luke Lawrence forward to lead everyone in the Pledge.
He also mentioned several of Luke’s accomplishments. Mayor Anderson stated Luke, who is the 13-year-old son of Lee and Amy Lawrence, claimed the championship trophy and $100 prize in the 2020 Weakley County Schools Spelling Bee. He is also the regional winner of the 4-H speech competition.
More Down Home Humor From Gleason's Best Known Story Teller:
Woody Patton"Pat" Dewberry
For those individuals who have grown up in Gleason Tennessee over the years, the name Pat Dewberry has become synonymous with good wholesome down home humor. Indeed, reviewers of Pat's works containing short stories about life in rural Gleason, Weakley County, Tennessee during the early 1950's through the mid 1960's have described him as "the quintessential storyteller in the best Southern tradition.
The writing and publication of Pat's books has spanned a period of more than two decades. The first of these books "Teacher's Pets Ougta be on a Leash Too", was published in 1996, followed by "Life is too short to wear Cheap Underwear (2008) and "Uh, as I was saying: More Memories of Yesteryear in Gleason "Tater Town Tennessee" (2013) and Tater Town: Back: Back Home to Count the Memories, published in 2017.
On Tuesday, March 6, 2018 copies of these four outstanding books, authored by Pat, were presented to the Gleason Library at a meeting of the Gleason Library Board so that all of Gleason can enjoy reading about what life was like back-in-the-day !
Announcing the Publication of Pat's Most Recent New Book
"Once Upon A Time Never Comes Again"
May 13, 2020
1956 - No More Limerick's, She Said
1957 - Her Shoe Made Her Mine
1958 - Teacher with a "Tude"
1958 - Skunks Will Never Replace Aspirin
1958 - French I Ain't, But I Learned
1959 -Ain't Toting No More 'Til The Tipping Gets Better
1959 - The Six Cent Bandit
1960 - It Was The Best of Times
1960 - New Chewing Gum Flavor
1961 - Teen Times
1961 - Heart Times and Good Times
1961 - Missed A Mishap
1961 -Curiosity Killed the Cat, Satisfaction Brought it Back to Life
1962 - No Rainbow After the "Rain"
1962 - Sir Rat
1962 - Dirty Dare and A Mouton Coat
1963 - Didn't Make This Mistake Twice
1963 - These Feet Don't Rock
Anyone interested in getting a copy of the book can e-mail Pat at .
Sixty-six years removed from his valiant service in the Korean Conflict, Oscar Owen received a Bronze Star for his unselfish service during that conflict.
In 1953, from March through December, Sergeant First Class (SFC) Oscar Owen was in Korea near the 38th parallel in the fight of his life. For the past few weeks he has been in the Jackson-Madison County Hospital engaged in another fight.
Oscar’s commanding officer 1st Lt. George Block recommended him for the Bronze Star.
The recommendation said in part: “During the period that he is recommended for this award, SFC Owen served in the capacity of medical aid man and litter bearer section leader in the Medical Company of the 31st Infantry Regiment. He performed his duties in an outstanding manner. SFC Owen gave the type of leadership and inspiration that won him the respect and admiration of all who knew him.
His performance was outstanding because it was above and beyond the call of duty. SFC Owen distinguished himself by meritorious achievement in connection with operations against the enemy near Sangmago-Ri, North Korea.
During the period March 6, 1953 to January 10, 1954 SFC Owen served as company aid man on King Company Outpost, Operations Old Baldy, West View, Pork Chop and Dale Outpost. His repeated disregard of self while treating casualties under enemy fire is typical of his high caliber performance of duty.
It was also during this period that SFC Owen personally directed the litter bearer section to the highest point of efficiency. It was his section, while under enemy fire, that saved hundreds of men’s lives evacuating them from the scene of battle.
SFC Owen personally exposed himself to enemy fire to see that the best possible evacuation was given to the friendly wounded. His resplendent example of leadership and high standards contributed immeasurably to the effectiveness and efficiency of the company.
SFC Owen’s performance reflects great credit upon himself and the Army Medical Service. His laudable service is in keeping with the noble traditions of the military service.
Oscar never received that medal, only the lesser Army Commendation Medal. Sixty-six years later, on August 9, 2019 the Army corrected Oscar’s military record and awarded him the Bronze Star that his commander recommended. He has always been very humble about his military service. Only in the last few years has he told the family a few stories.
God used him to help preserve the lives of hundreds of soldiers. While medals, awards and commendations are important for recognizing men and women in uniform, those are only earthly treasures. Oscar Owen would tell you the greatest gift he received on the Korean Peninsula was not the praise of men or any military decorations, but salvation.
In 1952, when Oscar was getting on the train at the depot in Memphis headed for basic training, a Gideon handed him a New Testament. He was reared going to church, but was not a believer. He began to read that little testament in earnest. Oscar realized he was a sinner in need of a Savior. That Christ had given His life so Oscar could be set free from sin and eternal death. The Bible declares that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Oscar said that somewhere between the coast and the front lines he trusted God to save him. Even today in the middle of his battles at the hospital, Oscar knows that the same God who saved him and whose Spirit came to live inside him, still holds his hand, and keeps him, and will one day welcome him home.
Credit to Oscar’s son, Dana Owen for the story and for continuing the medal ‘journey’ for 30 years. Oscar’s grandson, Caleb assisted (Source: McKenzie Banner.)
Gleason Gazelles Hosts 46th Annual Tater Town Special
Gleason and neighboring towns enjoyed the hospitality and fun of the 46th annual Tater Town Special, a week-long event featuring games, food, music, a parade, and worship service.
Jimmy Belew was the grand marshal of the Saturday parade. He was recognized Saturday for his selfless service to the Gleason community.
A new event added this year was the “Lil’ Tater Bakers”. This cooking event was for young bakers who love to cook up something really special. Classes were for for 4-6 year olds and 7-10 year olds.
The 2019 Tater Town Block Party, titled “Peace, Love and Tater Town”, was Tuesday night, August 27, in downtown Gleason. There was a DJ providing music from 6:30 p.m. until dark, followed by fireworks.
Activities include a sidewalk chalk coloring contest, train Rides, fire truck rides, jumpy houses, tie dye costume contest and “Find the Golden Tater” contest. Several food trucks present at the Block Party.
Youth night was Wednesday, August 28, at 7:15 p.m. and featured youth bingo after all participate in a short devotional
Adult bingo was Thursday on the Gazelle Grounds. During intermission is the annual Gazelle cake auction, with proceeds benefiting the Gleason Community Benevolence Fund. Gleason’s best cooks prepared their finest to go on the auction block.
The 2019 Sweet Potato Bake Off was at the Gazelle Grounds on Friday night , August 30. as was the Community BBQ. The band Flashback entertained.
The annual JC Carey 5K Memorial Race was Saturday morning.
The Junior Parade started at 10 a.m. followed immediately by the Grand Parade. Live entertainment, arts and crafts, food and jumpy houses will begin at 11 a.m. on the Gazelle Grounds.
The week’s festivities concluded Sunday with a community-wide worship service hosted by Gleason Cumberland Presbyterian Church (Source: McKkenzie Banner).
James Belew is 2019 Tater Town Grand Marshal
The 2019 Tater Town Special kicked off Sunday for a week long celebration of fun for the whole family that concludes on Saturday, August 31 with several major attractions, including the Tater Town Parade.
This year’s Tater Town Special is celebrating its 46th year of “coming home” which attracts local citizens from Gleason and neighboring towns, as well as former Gleason residents.
James Grady Belew, who has lived in the Gleason community for the past 75 years, was honored by being named grand marshal of the Tater Town Parade. Belew is a member of the Gleason High School graduating class of ’65.
He played on the undefeated Bulldog football team of ‘63 as the halfback and linebacker. He worked at Dico for 21 years until the plant closed; HIS for 7 ½ years until its closure; and then the Gleason Lumber Company for 12 years until his retirement in 2010.
Jimmy’s parents, Ralph and Annie Belew, planted his roots in Gleason, along with his four brothers - Clyde, David, Jerry, and Charles; and five sisters - Carol, Betty, Donnie, Myra, and Mary Alice.
Jimmy has two daughters, Malita (Brad) and Melissa (Nick). His grandchildren Ashley, Jess (Hunter), Drew, and Archie were his pride and joy until his three great grandchildren Emerson, Bella, and Fallon came along.
He is known to many members of the community as Grandpa. He has never met a stranger and takes to every child he meets.
Jimmy bleeds orange and black and can be found at any and every ballgame the Bulldogs are playing. He arrives as soon as the gates open no matter how far. For home football games, he has a spot reserved on the twenty yard line; and at home basketball games, he can be found standing in his spot between the paint and the door.
During his free time, he enjoys golfing and rooting for the Tennessee Volunteers. Jimmy’s smile is contagious and a preview to his kind heart. He is always willing to lend a helping hand or give words of support to those in need.
Jimmy Belew’s outstanding citizenship makes him the perfect candidate as the 2019 Tater Town Grand Marshall. (Source: Dresden Enterprise).
City of Gleason Receives Donation of CSX Caboose
The City of Gleason has another attraction to mark the town’s historic past, just in time for this year’s Tater Town Special, which will be held August 25th - September 1. Gleason joins with four of Weakley County’s five municipalities, which either has a railroad caboose or is seeking to obtain one.
Greenfield and Martin already have a caboose on display in their downtown areas located adjacent to the railroad tracks. Dresden is seeking to procure a caboose, which it plans to locate next to Dresden Farmers Market, where the old train depot once stood. Sharon is the only city in Weakley County with no plans to obtain a caboose at this time.
Charles Anderson, chairman of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee, who spear-headed the project, was among a group of local officials and other local citizens on hand to witness the delivery of an old CSX caboose in downtown Gleason on Wednesday, July 31.
The committee has been working on the project for the past three years. Anderson said, “About a year ago, we acquired a railroad caboose from CSX Railroad free of charge.” He stated the caboose has been stored at Imery Ceramics, on Old State Route 22, Gleason, and they have been waiting for the city to determine a permanent location for it.
“We asked the railroad to allow us to put it where the old train depot used to be, which is across from the gazebo,” Anderson said.
He stated that the Kentucky/West Tennessee railroad recently granted permission to place the caboose on that land, which is on the railroad’s right of way. They not only gave permission to place the caboose at this site, they also prepared a rail with ties to support the caboose.
The caboose, located on Church Street across from the Gazelle Grounds, was transported to the site on the railroad tracks that run through Gleason’s downtown area. It was then moved from the adjacent railroad tracks to the new stationary tracks with the generous help of Imerys Ceramics, a job that involved the use of a huge backhoe and about an hour and a half of work. This relocation of the caboose was accomplished at no charge to the City.
Anderson explained the caboose will be a static display for viewing only, and the interior will not be open to the public. It will be painted the same color as the engines that come through town now, which is orange and white with a yellow stripe.
“We will have a fundraising drive to buy the paint, which will cost $2,000,” Anderson said. “It will have to be sandblasted, primed and painted. We hope it will be an attractive addition to the city for a long time.”
Anderson mentioned the Downtown Revitalization Committee will be seeking volunteers to help with the project. He noted metalworking students at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in McKenzie have agreed to make repairs to damaged metal on the caboose free of charge.
These old railroad caboose cars highlight the importance of the railroad to the area’s transportation, business, commercial and agricultural development from the county’s earliest beginnings to the present (Source: adapted from the Dresden Enterprise).
Commemorating Over 100 Years of Railroad Service in Gleason
Downtown Revitalization Committee Moves Forward on
Placement of Caboose
Thanks to the help of Mr. Richard Bivens, Operations Manager for the Kentucky/West Tennessee railroad, along with a number of other individuals associated with the K/WT railroad, and Charles Anderson, President of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program, significant gains have been now been made in terms of spiking the track and ties.
The caboose has now been moved to its final resting place, with the generous help of Imerys Ceramics. The next step in the process will involve the renovation and painting of the caboose.
This project is designed to commemorate over 100 years of railroad service through Gleason.
THE Old Depot
In the 1913 and 1914 issues of the "Gleason Herald", the following timetable for Eastbound and Westbound trains on the N. C. and St. L. Railroad was scheduled.
# 1 Dixie Flyer 5:07 A.M.
# 2 Dixie Flyer 11:27 P.M.
# 3 Dixie Flyer 4:25 P.M.
# 4 Dixie Flyer 11:29 A.M.
# 53 Dixie Flyer 2:42 P.M.
# 52 Dixie Flyer 5:15 A.M.
# 55 Dixie Flyer 9:04A.M.
# 54 Dixie Flyer 6:36 P.M.
All trains were met by local citizenry for the fellowship and to see who was arriving and departing. Even church services were dismissed for the noon trains. At this time W. V. Overall was the Depot agent.
In the 1913 and 1914 papers, N.C. and St. L. railroad advertised a round trip to Nashville for $2.00, so when planning your summer vacation, don't overlook any of the following low fares:
Round Trip Martin to Chicago, Illinois $18.00
Round Trip Martin to Louisville, Kentucky 11.30
Round Trip Martin to Cincinnati, Ohio 16.30
Round Trip Martin to St. Louis, Mo. 9.50
Round Trip Martin to New York City, N.Y. 40.30
Another advertisement in the May 23rd, 1913 Herald advertised:
"Let's Everybody Get Ready to Give the Nashville Boosters a Big Blow-out When They Arrive Here." This will not only boost our little town, but will be quite a treat for all to see them and their fancy train.
Some of the early agents were Tom Cooper, Tom Butler, W. V. Overall, and Mr. McDonald. A familiar sight in the twenties and thirties was Marion Gibbs, a much loved black man, pushing the small mail cart from the trains to the Post Office. Also Leonard Brawner picked up packages at the Depot and delivered them around town for $0.25 per delivery.
Section hands working on railroad in front of the Whitworth Hotel in the early 1920's
The Depot was torn down in 1970 or 1971, much to the displeasure of many of us who had fond memories of the time spent there. A metal building was moved onto the site to do railroad business, with L. L. Bennett as Agent. Following Mr. Bennett's retirement, other agents who took over were Mr. Rogers, Mr. Sylvis, and Frank Cequin.
The metal building was removed in 1984, since Gleason no longer had a through train to Dresden. The few freights which run through the town each week only go to the Clay companies and to Krueger-Ringler where they turn around.
Note. The material presented above was originally published in the book Oakwood - Gleason: A Look Back, by the "Homecoming '86" committee with Joyce Wray serving as Chair of this Committee.
Sweet Potatoes Shipped by Railroad
The above picture was made by Marie and Calvin Wheat, developed by Harles Woodard (Gleason, TN), received from Laurie Beach Pine, and provided to www.GleasonOnline.com by Jimmie Glenn. (Young boy in white shirt (right) - Jimmie Glenn; Man standing on platform - Gale W. Ray; Lady with suitcase - Rachael Kennon, Man on left side of Truck - Harry Mac Edwards.)
Celebrating Gleason's Rolling Hills Miniature Golf Course
After many months of planning and lots of hard work, the owners of the Rolling Hills Miniature Golf Course in Gleason (Audie and Bobbie Ruble) were finally able to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Along with a number of dignitaries including, Charles Anderson (President of the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce), Barbara Virgin, (Executive Director at the Weakley County Chamber - Jackson, Tennessee Area), Diane Poole (Gleason Mayor) Paul Tinkle (President of Thunderbolt Broadcasting - Martin) as well as Gleason Police Chief Paul Eddlemon, there were lots of Gleason citizens that turned out to celebrate ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday April 12th prior to its grand opening on 15th.
The Rolling Hills course is located at 4583 Hwy 22 in Gleason, just off of Highway 22 North .
This beautiful venue, built to honor their niece Tabita Gearin, features an 18 hole miniature golf course that offers all the fun-to-play twists and turns one expects, plus some challenging holes. Sadly, Tabitha passed away shortly before the course opened. As Bobbie has noted "She never got to play, but we know she has the greatest golf course on the planet." While the course was designed for anyone who enjoys playing miniature golf, it was also developed to accommodate individuals with special needs. Being "handicap accessible" anyone in a wheelchair can also play.
For those visitors with young children, the restrooms have baby changing stations for the dads as well as the moms.
The owners note that prices are being kept low for everyone, indicating that "It is our desire that every family will be able to afford to bring their children to Rolling Hills and have a grand time.
Plans are to offer special rates during special events throughout the year and also to conduct fund raising tournaments for various organizations.
The course itself features a beautiful waterfall situated in the back center and cascading down over rocks, ultimately ending in a fountain pond. There are bridges crossing the water, and a few surprise water challenges on some of the holes! Folks are welcomed and encouraged to use any area as a photo opportunity with their loved ones.
Paul Tinkle and Photographers
Drinks and snacks are available for purchase, with benches and picnic tables being provided. At some point, the owners plan to offer t-shirts and other items available as prizes for “hole in one” shots on certain difficult holes, and of course for purchase.
The owners indicate, that as with any business there are rules that must be followed for the safety and enjoyment of all guest. The park rules and regulations are posted at the entrance. For example, Alcohol will not be permitted on the premises and foul language will not be tolerated. There is a designated tobacco use area, this includes all forms of legal tobacco products.
(Photo Credit: Weakley County Press)
This project is the first of three projects planned by the owners. If all goes well with this venture, they hope to build a water park, later tag center, or go-cart track near the existing golf course.
For any questions, comments or concerns, contact Rolling Hills at : 731-358-2648.
2019 Miss Gleason – (L to R) Fourth Maid – Lillie Ruesken, daughter of Candy Ruesken, Second Maid – Chasney Brawner, daughter of Chad and Sherri Brawner, Queen – Whitney Clark, daughter of Tim and Suzanne Clark, First Maid – Kenady Atkins, daughter of Beau and Cara Atkins, and Third Maid – Grace Stafford, daughter of Mark and Cris Stafford. (Picture by Joel Washburn; McKenzie Banner).
If you have been wondering why there is a new addition to "Flowers by Jan" out on the Pillowville-Gleason road, the expansion of this business is all about Christmas and "Flowers by Jan-Christmas 365". So if you are someone who loves the spirit of Christmas, you can now experience the joy of that special day and a bit of Christmas cheer the year around.
On Thursday, November 8, 2018, "Flowers by Jan" celebrated the the Ribbon Cutting ceremony for the recent expansion of what Jan now has to offer the Gleason community.
Those who came by for the ribbon cutting ceremony had a chance to get a good look at an amazing variety of artistically decorated Christmas trees and an exceptionally wide ranging selection of Christmas related items, along with many other items for home decoration.
An especially interesting historical tidbit, regarding the new "Flowers by Jan Christmas 365" room has to do with the fact that the interior walls of this large room are all made of wood. That in and of itself would not be surprising, except for the fact that all of the wood used in the new addition is old wood that has been reclaimed from old buildings (houses, barns, churches, and other structures) associated with the Gleason community and the surrounding area.
In looking at various sections of the wall, one can see what person, what group, or what business owned the structure, from which each section of the wall was obtained.
Many Gleason old-timers will likely recall many of the names of to be found on the wall of this very special "Christmas 365" room
As part of this ribbon cutting ceremony, Jan and her husband were presented with a plaque from the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce by Charles Anderson who is currently President of this organization as well as the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program and Barbara Virgin who is also Executive Director of the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce.
Many of those in attendance at this ribbon cutting ceremony seemed quite excited about the wide range of Christmas Trees that "Christmas 365" has available and level of creativity displayed in the decoration of these trees.
Along with beginning to get in touch with the Christmas spirit a bit early and having some great refreshments, most everyone seemed to enjoy this early touch of Christmas.
With Christmas approaching, it's worth checking out this great store in Gleason. It's filled with beautiful Christmas themed trees, Christmas decorations, wreaths for the door, Christmas tree skirts and all types of great stuff for home decoration!
If you don't have the time to decorate your home or business, Flowers by Jan "Christmas 365"will come and do it for you!
2018: Gleason's Fourth Annual Minerals Day
We were very fortunate to have Congressman David Kustoff, who is a member of the United States House of Representatives for Tennessee's 8th congressional district that covers West Tennessee along with Andy Holt who serves in the Tennessee General Assembly, representing District 76, covering Weakley County and parts of Obion and Carroll Counties join us for the annual Minerals Day event that was held on October 5th at Mike Snider Park in Gleason.
This annual Minerals Day event is a jointly sponsored by the Gleason Clay companies that include Gleason Clay Company, Old Hickory Clay Company, Lhoist/Spinks Clay Company, and Imerys/K-T Clay Company) along with other sponsors from the local community in conjunction with the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee. The President of the Downtown Revitalization Committee is Mr. Charles Anderson who also currently serves as President of the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce.
It is fitting that this event was again held in Gleason as the City of Gleason has been a major producer of clay since it was first discovered in 1926 on the W.R. Crawford farm two miles west of Gleason. Famous for its generous deposits of Ball Clay, Gleason is generally viewed as the Ball Clay Capital of the Nation.
This year’s Minerals Day event was again held at the Mike Snider Park, a great venue for this event, providing for ample parking, plenty of room for multiple vendors to set up their booths, and a large tent that allowed space for eating in the shade. Adding to the ambiance of the setting, the weather, while a bit warm, was comfortable with blue skies and sunshine throughout the day.
Those in attendance were provided a ticket for free cold drinks and food as well as an entry ticket for numerous drawings throughout the day for valuable and highly sought after door prizes.
Along with the great setting, good weather, door prizes, free food and other giveaways, the major focus of Minerals Day 2018 was on its educational component, designed to help school age children develop an increased awareness of the role that the clay industry has played in enhancing the Gleason community over the years and help them understand the importance of clay and associated minerals to the City of Gleason as well as in other cities, towns, and states throughout the country.
Given the large numbers of students who were bussed in from Weakley and Henry County schools along with a large number of others who were in attendance, this Fourth Minerals day must be viewed as having been a success.
The City of Gleason has reason to be very proud of the contribution that the clay industry has made to the local community over the years and of those clay companies that are based in Gleason and who have made this Minerals Day possible.
Apart from the above information, it is important to note how much we appreciate the fact that both Congressman Kustoff and Representative Holt saw fit to take time out of their busy schedules to come to this special event here in the City of Gleason.
It was also good to hear, first hand, from Congressman Kustoff how interested he is in staying in close contact with the people of West Tennessee, the types of legislation he has been involved with, within the U.S. House of Representatives, and other initiatives that should benefit our state in the future.
Again, our thanks to both of you for coming to visit with us. Your visit was much appreciated by all!
Tater Town Special Ends With Spectacular Parade
The Dresden Enterprise
The 45th Annual Tater Town Special ended Saturday, September 1, after an amazing parade was held in downtown Gleason. The Tater Town Parade included many emergency vehicles from Gleason and other towns around the area. Scores of children and teens were in the parade, from church floats to students from Gleason Junior and High School supporting their graduating classes.
A large crowd came out to witness the event. One of the highlights of the parade was the marching band and color guard from McKenzie High School. The marching band provided wonderful music that adults and children loved, and the color guard amazed the crowd with their bright-pink flags that mesmerized everyone that watched.
The weather was very hot, but that did not stop local citizens from coming out to watch their hometown parade. Participants on one of the floats distributed cold water to those that needed it.
The parade ended with horses and horse and buggy entries. Some of the horses were decorated for the occasion with flowers and paint.
After the parade, the crowd moved to the Gazelle Grounds, where the festivities continued. Live music was provided by the band Avonlea, which preformed a free concert for all to enjoy. Many Weakley County businesses operated vendor booths to display their products offering food and drinks for the large number of people that came out to enjoy the festivities.
The events of the 45th Annual Tater Town Special kicked off with the Tater Town Block Party held in downtown Gleason with a DJ, Cornhole games, live music, vendors and food for all.
On Wednesday, August 29, local youngsters enjoyed playing Children’s Bingo on the Gazelle Grounds, winning small prizes, provided by area churches. Before the bingo started a short devotional was shared lead by Chris Snider.
The Adult Bingo game was held on Thursday, August 30. Anyone 18 years old or older could play Adult Bingo. During an intermission, a cake auction allowed top bidders to enjoy baked goods cooked by local residents.
The Gleason Gazelles invited local citizens to come out and enjoy an all-you-can-eat BBQ and participate in the Sweet Potato Bake Off on Friday, August 31. The event also featured music, games for the kids, and other activities. The BBQ was cooked by various businesses and families in the Gleason community and anyone that paid the small seven-dollar fee to get into the Gazelles grounds could eat as much BBQ as they could hold.
The band Flashback, out of McKenzie, preformed during the BBQ party. Children enjoyed playing corn hole, which became very popular as the afternoon went by. When the night came to an end, the crowd enjoyed a spectacular firework show and grand finale.
On Saturday morning, participants took part in the JC Carey Memorial 5K Run. The Tater Town Special ended Saturday, September 1, with the Jr. Parade then Grand Parade and festivities. The parade was held in downtown Gleason and featured the McKenzie High School band. A community church service was held on Sunday morning. Source: Dresden Enterprise).
(Photos by Jim Johnson, GleasonOnlnine.com)
Gleason High School - Class of 1968 - 50th Class Reunion Held Labor Day Weekend
Sitting from left to Right
Martha Presson Spain, Janice Floyd Steele, Diane Moore Hale, Gloria Gibbs Nolan, &Marilyn Hicks Wynne
Standing from left to Right
Edgar Floyd, Jerry Sawyers, Mike Hagler, Pam Poyner McElhiney, Dale Stephens, Lynn Edminston, Sue Summers Hinson, Danny Danner, and Glen Arnold - Photo by Gary Owens
Gleason's Long Awaited CSX Caboose Has Finally Arrived
With Mayor Diane Pool there to welcome its arrival, the CSX Caboose that we have been hoping to get for some time completed its trip from New York and arrived in Gleason at approximately 9:15 AM today (08/20/2018), thanks to the efforts of Charles Anderson and the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee.
The caboose was donated as an in-kind gift to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and was made possible due to to the generosity of CSX railroad and the assistance of Mr. Robert Rahauer, also of CSX.
Plans are to fully renovate the caboose, paint it, make it handicapped accessible and have it serve as a local Museum that highlights the role that the Railroad has played in the history of Gleason as well as the major contributions the Sweet Potato and Clay Mining industries have made to the City of Gleason over the years.
Local Author Donates Books to Gleason
BY JASON MARTIN
GLEASON (March 6) — Woody “Pat” Dewberry, author of four books and a 1963 graduate of Gleason High School, recently donated eight copies of his four books to the local municipal library. Dewberry also generously donated 50 copies of his recent book “Tater Town: Back Home to Count the Memories,” to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (GDRC).
Dewberry’s southern folkish style reminisces about his youth in Gleason, and tells the story of his upbringing with the characters of Gleason sprinkled in for flavor. Topics of interest in the books include his years under Mrs. Opel Dillinger’s tutelage and playing football at Gleason High School.
After 30 years of marriage, Dewberry was persuaded by his wife to record his stories. His first book "Teacher's Pets Oughta be on a Leash Too," was published in 1996, followed by "Life is too short to Wear Cheap Underwear" (2008), and, uh, as I was saying: More Memories of Yesteryear in Gleason “Tater Town Tennessee” (2013) and “Tater Town: Back Home to Count the Memories”, published in 2017.
Now retired and residing near the Tennessee River in East Tennessee, Dewberry was contacted by Jim Johnson about donating copies of his books to the library. With a quick response of yes, Dewberry sent an additional 50 copies to the GDRC to help raise funds to aide in the group’s efforts to keep Gleason beautiful. Copies of “Tater Town: Back Home to Count the Memories” can be purchase for $15 at Gleason City Hall, Gleason Library and the Bank of Gleason. Source: McKenzie Banner.
The Gleason Library received four copies of Woody Dewberry’s books. Members of the Revitalization Committee were present to accept 50 copies of his latest work to go toward fundraising efforts. From (L to R) – Gary Doster, Charles Anderson, Jim Johnson, Librarian Judy Paschal, Mayor Diana Poole and Doris Owen.
Enjoy Some Down Home Gleason Humor
Gleason's Best Known Storyteller
And Help The Gleason Community
On Tuesday, March 6, 2018 copies of the four outstanding books authored by Gleason’s own Pat Dewberry, were presented to the Gleason Library at a meeting of the Gleason Library Board. These fine books will be made available in the Library so that all of Gleason can enjoy reading about what life was like back-in-the-day !
Pat Dewberry has been described by one reviewer as “the quintessential storyteller in the best Southern tradition”. These books contain numerous humorous short stories about life in rural Gleason, Weakley County, Tennessee during the early 1950 though the mid 1960’s.
The writing and publication of these books has spanned a period of more than two decades. The First of these books “Teacher’s Pets Ougta be on a Leash Too”, was published in 1996, followed by “Life is too short to wear Cheap Underwear” (2008), and, uh, as I was saying: More Memories of Yesteryear in Gleason “Tater Town Tennessee” (2013) and “Tater Town: Back Home to Count the Memories”, published in 2017.
It should be noted that Pat’s generosity does not end with his gift of copies of these four wonderful books to the Gleason Library and Community !
As one who grew up in Gleason, who comes back to visit Gleason every chance he gets and who has always cherished the hometown of his youth, Pat has chosen to donate 50 copies of his most recent book “Tater Town” Back Home to Count the Memories, which was published just this past year, to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee to be used for a fundraising project to support projects designed to enhance the Gleason Community.
This fundraising effort, which will involve members of the Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Gazelles, will be spearheaded by Charles and Rose Anderson, with Charles and Rose having already bought the first two books.
Copies of this book are currently available at several locations in the Gleason community and can be purchased at a price of $15 per book. Books can presently be purchased at Gleason City Hall, the Gleason Library and Bank of Gleason.
Gleason to Celebrate Minerals Day October 6
The City of Gleason is set to celebrate Minerals Day on Friday, October 6. This marks the third consecutive year the Gleason community has celebrated the event. With over 800 people attending last year’s festivities, this year promises an even greater turnout.
The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (GDRC) is taking the reins for this year’s extravaganza with the support and sponsorship of Old Hickory Clay, Gleason Clay Company and Imerys Ceramics / Kentucky-Tennessee Clay Company. Numerous local service industries are scheduled to help make the day fun and educational.
Minerals Day will be on the grounds of Mike Snider Park, 506 North Cedar Street, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many pieces of equipment used in the excavation and processing of West Tennessee Ball Clay will be on hand including excavators, dozers, articulated trucks and the world famous “Gleason Shredder.” Mine tours will be available. Small capacity busses will transport the public to the mines.
The GDRC and local businesses are providing hotdogs, chips, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy and cold drinks for refreshments. There will be mining presentations along with drawings, door prizes and giveaways throughout the day.
Gleason’s ball clay industry began in 1926 on the farm of W.R. Crawford. Some of the richest veins of clay in the area were discovered within the 20-acre plot. The Bell Clay Company started the arduous task of removing dirt and debris. The 25 man crew worked with pond scoops and horses each day to dig the mines. Holes were dug with hand augers and dynamite placed within to expose the Gleason Ball Clay.
Now, over 90 years later, multiple clay companies call Gleason home. The expansion of the usage of ball clay drives the ever growing industry. The sign on the edge of Gleason’s city limits reads “Welcome to Gleason: Ball Clay Mining Center of the Nation.” Weakley County’s deposit of the finest quality ball clay is used for china, porcelain, pottery and many other purposes.
The event is free to the general public with the hopes of educating those in the surrounding area about the ball clay industry. For more information or to RSVP, please contact the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee at P.O. Box 125, Gleason, TN 38229, email , or call Charles Anderson at 731- 695-5753. Source: McKenzie Banner.
First Clay Dug in Gleason in 1926 - Crawford Farm; Two Miles West of Gleason
Gleason Dedicates Memorial Wall at Mike Snider Park
The long awaited Memorial Wall at Mike Snider Park was dedicated on Saturday, September 2nd as part of the 2017 Tater Town Special festivities. The wall, sponsored by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program under the leadership of President, Charles Anderson received initial approval by the Gleason Board of Mayor and Alderman on April 14th, 2016.
As initially conceived, this wall was seen as a way of remembering the rich history of Gleason as it relates to the people who have lived here since its founding. It was seen as a way of allowing cherished family members, civic, business and educational leaders, along with other outstanding citizens of Gleason to receive the recognition they deserve for their contributions to the Gleason community over the years.
Representatives of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Rotary Club participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 27th, 2016.
The location of the wall is near the main walkway to the park, in the vicinity of the children's play area. The wall is some 80 feet in length, with landscaped brick flower boxes on each end and in the center of the wall. The center flower box features a 40-foot tall flagpole proudly flying a large 8' by 12' American flag.
Special sections above the flower boxes at each end of the wall each contain 108 Black Granite Memorial Stones (approximately 4 x 7 inches in size) that serve to remember family members and others who have made significant contributions to the Gleason community over the years or who have, in one way or the other, provided significant support for the wall. A smaller section in the middle of the wall is reserved for Memorial stones for those who have served in the military.
As President Charles Anderson has frequently noted here and on other occasions, the success of this project was, in large part, due to the support of both the Gleason business community and the support of Gleason citizens.
He has noted that the Boral Brick Company of Gleason provided some 8,000 bricks for the construction of the wall and that concrete for the foundation of the wall was provided by Gleason Clay Company.
In addition to this important support from Gleason businesses, the construction of this wall was also made possible due to the contributions of skilled Gleason residents who freely donated their time and talent to this major undertaking.
Notable in this regard was Gleason resident Darrell Bell who took the primary role in laying the brick for the wall from the beginning to the end of its construction; David Hopper also contributed to this effort during the early stages of this process. Darrell also did all of the brick work for the new Mike Snider Park sign that is located across from the Gleason Community Center, on the road leading to the park.
Another who also donated his time and skills to the completion of the wall was Ross Chandler. Mr. Chandler, owner of Gleason’s Performance Steele was responsible for helping put together the 40 foot flagpole and attaching the ropes and other internal equipment necessary to raise and lower the flag. He then used an auger to dig the 4-foot hole containing the large metal underground sleeve, designed to secure and stabilize the flagpole. Using heavy equipment he then raised the flagpole and positioned it so the area around the underground sleeve could be firmly set in place with concrete. Early on, a number of other Gleason residents were also involved in preparing to lay the foundation for the wall and for the concrete work that was later involved.
Also noteworthy is the large number of citizens of Gleason and various community groups that supported this endeavor by purchasing memorial stones to honor family members as well as other individuals who have made significant contributions to this Gleason community over the years and deserve being remembered.
The formal dedication of the wall began with some initial welcoming remarks, by President Anderson, and an opening prayer which was offered by Chief of Police, Jeff Hazelwood.
This opening was followed by the National Anthem, sung by Mr. Charles Ross with Keith Dunning also providing a beautiful rendition of God Bless the USA.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Caitlin and Connor Cook and a tribute to the Military and those in Uniform, was presented by Mr. Steve Jones.
This was followed by additional remarks by President Anderson, where he dealt in somewhat more detail with the early beginnings of the wall and expressed his appreciation for those businesses and individuals whose contributions made this wall a reality.
Midway through the dedication the crowd was treated with two low pass flyovers of an AirEvac Helicopter.
The next presenter, Jim Johnson, drew attention to the Flagpole and American Flag located in the middle section of the wall and the inscription on the plaque in front of the flagpole which reads: “Dedicated to the City of Gleason, in Memory of James B. (JB) Johnson (1911 – 1957) and Sally A. Johnson (1924 – 2004) by Jim, Gary, and David Johnson.
He indicated that both parents loved the City of Gleason and were actively involved with the Gleason community, his mother having been a member of the Gleason chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, and a Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church, and his father having been an Assistant Cashier at the Bank of Gleason, a Member of First Baptist Church of Gleason, the Gleason Masonic Lodge, Commander of the Gleason American Legion Post and a Veteran of World War II.
Sadly, J.B. Johnson died at age 45, four months after having surgery for a malignant brain tumor. Not having insurance, due to a prior medical condition, no other income apart from his job, and being unable to work after the surgery, the family was in a very difficult situation financially.
Thankfully, the good people of Gleason were there for the family, in many ways, during that difficult time - as is so often the case, when people of Gleason are in need. In this instance, Mr. Bob Owen, Mr. M.E. Fanning, and Mr. Carl Parks (who at that time was President of the Bank of Gleason) got together and somehow were able to work things out so that the Bank was able to assist the family financially during the four months J.B. lived after the surgery.
After several months, when Sally decided that the family needed to move to Michigan where her family lived and there was no money for the move, Mr. Claude Steele came to the house one day and generously offered to use one of his Sweet Potato trucks to move the family to Michigan. He did what he said he would do - refusing to take a cent for the move.
Jim indicated that these two examples, along with many other acts of kindness that were shown by others during this difficult time, not only represent how caring and supportive the people of Gleason were back in the middle to late 1950’s but how caring and supportive they still are today – when friends and neighbors are in need. This kind of caring for others, makes Gleason the type of town that people want to raise their children in and the kind of town that, even if they move away for whatever reason, they often choose to return!
The final event of the dedication ceremony was presented by Jim Phelps and 5 members of Rolling Thunder who nicely illustrated the “Missing Man” ceremony, in a way that would touch the heart of any patriotic American.
The Missing Man Ceremony is one which remembers and honors those soldiers who are missing-in-action and very poignantly conveys that the military will always honor their service, their sacrifice for our freedom, that soldiers left behind on the battle fields in foreign lands will never be forgotten, and that attempts to find them and bring them home are never-ending.
The dedication of the wall was concluded with a heart-felt Benediction by Mr. Jacky Esch, a long-time honored resident of Gleason and one who has been a valued contributor to the work of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
Gleason Basketball Championship Squads Reunite
The Dresden Enterprise
The clock was turned back inside the Gleason High School gym on Friday evening. Members of both the 1992 and 2007 Class A State Championship girls’ basketball teams reunited at their alma mater for a presentation and recognition of the squads in between games featuring the current Gleason and Greenfield squads.
To begin the ceremony, the 1992 and 2007 state championship trophies were wheeled out onto the floor by current members of the Lady Bulldog basketball program moments after Gleason claimed a 57-50 triumph over G’field.
Then, the 1992 squad was introduced and presented with medals commemorating the reunion by current members of the Lady Bulldog team. Three of the current Gleason girls have direct ties to the 1992 squad. Current Lady Bulldog junior Aubrey Wallace is the daughter of 1992 senior Cristi (Wallace) Sawyers. Gleason’s Lillian and Martha Nichols are the nieces of Camille (Connell) Legins, who was a sophomore on the ’92 state champion team.
“Although it’s been 25 years, I still remember winning the state tournament just like it was yesterday,” Sawyers said. “Seeing all the girls tonight from both teams as well as Coach (Randy) Frazier, Coach (Joel) Ayers) and Mr. (Mitchell) Parham brought back some of the best moments of my life. However, the highlight of it was my daughter handing me the memento from the evening. That brought tears to my eyes and will be something I cherish forever. I’m so proud to be a part of the Lady Bulldog team and hope that we will soon have a fourth state championship.”
All but five members of the 1992 girls’ state champion team were on hand at Friday’s celebration, including Becky (Crowe) Padgett.
“Friday night’s 25-year reunion brought back so many special memories like the love and support of our Gleason community, the bond between teammates, the admiration and respect for Coach Frazier and Mrs. Terry (Frazier) and the pride of what it meant to wear orange and represent the Lady Bulldogs,” said Padgett. “I was overwhelmed by Gleason High School’s warm welcome and hospitality.”
Aside from Sawyer and Padgett, other members of the 1992 squad – which went 33-3 en route to the state championship – present for the reunion were Selena (Dilday) Hodges, Heather (Lehmkuhl) Leach, Kristy (Freeman) O’Connor, Tonya (Parham) Lutz, Camille (Connell) Legons, Stacy (Stewart) Cook, Kristy (McKee) Dunn, and Holly (Crowe) Adams. Lisa (Wallace) Palmer, Ashley (Hopper) Flint, Brandy (Wiseman) Horler, Olivia (Lowe) Gilliam, Nicki (Stephens) Pace and LeAnn (Bell) Smith were not present.
Following the introduction of the 1992 state champion team, the 2007 squad was welcomed back for its 10-year reunion.
A decade ago, Gleason posted a 35-1 worksheet en route to the program’s third state crown. As was the case with the 1992 squad, the 2007 team’s medal ceremony had family ties. Current Lady Bulldog Jayden Green – who scored a dozen points during the win over Greenfield – is the niece of 2007 team member Candace (Green) Lindsey.
“It was great seeing everyone again and catching up like old times,” Green said. “I got a little emotional when my name was called and when Mr. P came out to do his chant, but I guess that’s expected when you’re nine months pregnant. I’m very proud of my niece Jayden and it’s an honor to know all those people were able to watch her win a big game.”
2007 Class A Miss Basketball award winner Kayla (Hudson) Irvin – the current girls’ coach at Crockett County and a second cousin to current Gleason player Kenady Atkins – was also on hand to take a bow alongside her teammates from a decade ago.
“It was such an honor to stand beside the girls I went to battle with 10 years ago,” Irvin said. “That team became my family. The wins and championships are fun, but it’s the relationships that make the journey worth it. Those ladies I love so much are now great wives and mothers. The lessons we learned on the court permeate into so many other areas of life. I was just so humbled and grateful to get to reminisce and experience that with them again.
“As a coach myself, I am now aware of the time and preparation our coaches put in to making us into a team that could succeed at that level. I see with clear vision that “whys” behind every drill and mental toughness challenge our coaches put us in. I am so grateful for the opportunity to play for coaches who expected excellence in all areas. It is my prayer that I am able to teach these same lessons to my team.”
Along with Irwin and Lindsey, numerous other members of the 2007 Class A state champion squad (35-1) were on hand on Friday including Ashley Coble, Camille (Cooper) Legens, Erica (Morgan) Stahr), Sara (Hensley) Webb, Elizabeth (Terrell) Cunningham, Kim (Edenfield) Marcus, Breanna (Wallace) Nerie, Jenna (Frazier) Verdell, Taylor Stout, Tiffany Coble, Riley (Auvenshine) Laster and Kim (Reynolds) Healy along with assistant coach Joel Ayers. Members of the 2007 squad not present were Becca Hodges, Alexis Tipton and Maggie Lowrance.
Following the team introductions, current Weakley County Director of Schools Randy Frazier – who served as the head coach for both of the honored Lady Bulldog state champion squads – briefly shared his memories of the two teams before turning over the festivities to former athletic director/ principal Mitchell Parham.
Parham led the home section of the crowd in a Gleason chant - a staple of postseason basketball pep rallies and games during his long tenure at the school.
“It was great to be back in Gleason for the reunion of the 1992 and 2007 state championship teams,” Parham said. “I enjoyed seeing all the former players as it brought back very good memories. I also enjoyed talking with many of the great Gleason Bulldog fans, who are the best. Thanks to Gleason High School for getting this together and I was honored to be invited to join in with the celebration. It was great.” Source: The Dresden Enterprise.
Newly Re-elected Gleason Mayor and Aldermen Take Oath of Office
Newly re-elected Mayor, Diana Poole, and four new Aldermen were sworn in on Sunday afternoon, November 27th. This will be the second term in office for Mayor Diana Poole and the first term in office for new aldermen Jim Phelps, Marcus Hopper and Doug Johnson; Jerry (Bubba) Dunn Jr., has previously served as alderman in the past.
The ceremony began with some heartfelt welcoming remarks by Mayor Poole - along with some inspirational readings by Mayor Poole and Tony Terrell.
Gleason City Recorder, Angela Hunt read the oath of office and swore in the newly re-elected Mayor for her second term. The Mayor then read the oath of office for the newly elected Board of Aldermen.
Mayor Diane Poole Swears in New Aldermen
L to R: Jim Phelps, Doug Johnson, Marcus Hopper, Jerry (Bubba) Dunn, Jr.
With all indicating their willingness to adhere to the oath of office, they were duly sworn in and signed the necessary papers.
There was a good turn out for the swearing in ceremony, with numerous friends and family members of the newly elected mayor and aldermen and other citizens of Gleason attending the ceremony.
The swearing in ceremony was followed by those in attendance enjoying some excellent cake and refreshments and spending time enjoying the fellowship of friends and neighbors.
Groundbreaking and Beyond:
The Mike Snider Park Memorial Wall
(Left to Right) Mary Margaret Beasley, Rose Anderson, Chief of Police Jeff Hazelwood, Mayor Diane Poole, Scotty Corum, GDRC President, Charles Anderson, Andy Carroll, Jacky Esch, Jim Johnson, & Lynne Shores.
After receiving approval from the Gleason Board of Mayor and Alderman to construct the long-planned Memorial Wall at Gleason's Mike Snider Park on April 14th, representatives of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Rotary Club participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 27th.
The wall, which is to be constructed near the main walkway to the park, in the vicinity of the children's play area, will be approximately 80 feet in length and will include bench seating and flower boxes on each end.
In the center will be a 40 foot flag pole which will be adorned with a 8' by 12' American flag with a large rounded brick flower box at the base of the flag pole.
Some 8,000 bricks for the construction of the wall have been provided by Boral Brick Company of Gleason and the concrete for the wall has been generously contributed by Gleason Clay company (GCC: Cheryl Lehmkuhl, Plant Manager).
Black granite memorial stones are to be placed in the inset areas of the wall. A sample stone, in memory of Charles Anderson's parents can be seen below. These memorial stones (which can include a maximum of 13 characters per line and up to three lines per stone) can be purchased by individuals who might wish to honor special people, to memorialize family members or others who have passed, or who simply wish to purchase a stone with their own name on it, so as to show their support of this community project.
If you wish to order your engraved Black Granite Memorial "Brick"
Copy, Paste and Print the Form Below
(Or pick up a form at City Hall)
Gleason Downtown Revitalization
Memorial Wall Project
Black Granite Memorial Brick
These bricks will be placed randomly throughout the face of the Memorial Wall
being built at Snider Park by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee.
Memorial Brick Purchase Price: $100.00 Donation
"What a wonderful way to memorialize our loved ones for generations to come."
Memorial Brick Information Form
Name of Purchaser: ___________________________________________
(Name of person the brick is in memory or in honor of)
Send the Completed Form and Payment To:
Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fund
P.O. Box 125
Gleason, Tennessee 38229
(Or take your completed form and payment to City Hall)
Gleason Masonic Lodge #330
Focus on Brotherhood and Community Service
Gleason Masonic Lodge #330 has a long history, dating back to 1867, when its charter was first issued. During this span of almost 150 years, the Masonic Lodge has been an integral part of the local community.
Over the years, the Masonic Lodge has met in several locations. Its initial meeting location was in the old Masonic Male and Female Institute, a two story brick building erected in 1904 (across the street from the Bandy - Jeter house), to replace a private school building which had burned down in 1902.
Gleason's first public school opened in 1906 in this same building, with the Masonic Lodge continuing to hold their meetings upstairs in this building until it burned sometime later. For many years the Lodge met on the second floor of the old Carl Parks building, located on Main Street, where the Gleason Library was then located.
Since 1991, the Masonic Lodge has been located at its current site at 202 Main Street in Gleason, although several changes to the basic structure of the building have been necessary over time. Most recently, in 2015, the interior of the building was totally renovated, so as to provide a modern meeting room, and fellowship hall along with other amenities.
Since its inception, the Masonic Lodge has been committed to the local community and actively involved in the Gleason community in supporting many worthy causes and helping organizations.
A notable example in this regard is providing support each year for the Gleason Relay for Life, with funds derived from Lodge members, as well as supporting this important activity by having members park cars for those supporting this important event.
During both the Tater Town Special and the "Hometown Christmas" celebrations this year, members of the Masonic Lodge grilled hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hotdogs and smoked bologna and sold them to individuals attending these events. Proceeds from each of these efforts were contributed to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization fund - to further enhance the downtown area of the Gleason community.
More recently, the Masonic Lodge picked up where the American Legion left off and agreed to assume full sponsorship of the Big Brothers program and their activities in this area.
The Masons strong support of, and commitment to, the Big Brothers program was clearly highlighted during the recent Christmas holidays.
Here, they provided large grocery boxes to some 50 homes in the Gleason community. These boxes each contained a frozen chicken, a pound of sliced cheese, a half gallon of whole mile, a pound of dried navy beans, a pound of red beans, 5 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of corn meal, along with bananas and other fruits, as well as a 2 lb box of salt, pepper, and seasonings.
They also delivered fruit baskets to some 170 people in the Gleason area that were seniors, either needy, a widow or widower, and/or unemployed or of low income.
Front/Bottom Row: Bill Lynch, Jonathan McDowell, Kody Owen, Alan Owen, David Black, T.J. Hicks and Bobby Langley. Back Row: Ronnie Connell, Eric Owen, Sam Owen, and Blaine Owen - A special acknowledgment goes to Richard Black, (Organizer), Chairman, Alan Owen, Treasurer, Ken Sanders and Larry Hudson for the use of Steele Plant facility for storage and assembly.
It can be noted that one of the primary goals of Masonry is to "make better men out of good men". It is believed that this is best achieved by focusing on strengthening one's character, improving one's moral and spiritual outlook, promoting personal responsibility, a belief in God, and by putting these attributes into practice in daily life. It is believed that, through this process, it is possible build a better world by building better men to work in their own communities.
In looking at the works of the Masons of Lodge #330 today, it appears that they are still living up to the strong tradition of those Masons who founded this Lodge almost a century and a half ago - in terms of their significant contributions to the local community. (Thanks to Bill Lynch of Gleason Lodge #330 for his contributions to this article.)
GLEASON HONORS - State Rep. Andy Holt (Center) presented proclamations to Jim Johnson (left) and Charles Anderson honoring both individuals for their involvement with last year's Tater Town Festival, where they led as Grand Marshals.
Both men serve on the Gleason Revitalization Committee and have, along with other members of the Committee, been at the forefront of renovating the city's downtown and preserving the history and heritage of Gleason. (Weakley County Press)
Gleason Downtown Revitalization:
A Look Back at the First Year
As it has now been somewhat over a year since the work of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee was formally approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, it seems appropriate to take a look back in order to assess the accomplishment of the Committee now that 2015 has come to an end.
Here it can be noted that, under the leadership of Charles Anderson as President, a wide range of projects designed to enhance downtown Gleason and the surrounding area have been undertaken.
At the outset, it should be noted that many of the activities that the Revitalization Committee has engaged in during the past year would not have been possible without the generosity of those Gleason residents who have supported the work of this committee during the past year. Their generosity has included furthering revitalization efforts by making contributions at fundraisers as well as by volunteering their time and talents in helping make various revitalization projects a success.
Activities engaged in during the past year have been of a varied nature. Some of these have been beautification efforts, other have been restorative in nature, while other, somewhat larger efforts, have represented a combination of the two.
Examples have included providing new and more visible handicapped parking signs throughout the downtown area, the painting of fire hydrants, providing flower boxes throughout the downtown area and making major repairs to the Senior Citizens Center to deal with significant termite damage.
A major initiative during the first year has involved making a number of improvements to Huggins Park, which had previously seen very little community use during recent years.
During the past year a number of the building in the park have been painted, an old rusty chain link fence that posed safety issues has been torn down and replaced by a brand new 190 foot section of white vinyl fence - thanks to the generous donation by Imerys Ceramics.
Thanks to the hard work of Luke Hughes, along with the efforts of committee members and others, Huggins Park now has a brand new nine hole Disc Golf course which has to this point hosted three successful Disc Golf tournaments, with the most recent tournament hosting the University of Martin Disc Golf team.
Park beautification efforts have also involved the planting of several memorial trees, the donation of a fountain (by Charles and Rose Anderson) and planting a wide range of flower beds to enhance the look of the park.
These park-related enhancements have resulted in many more citizens of Gleason and the surrounding area coming to the park to attend a various community events hosted by the Committee. These events have included an initial Revitalization Committee fundraiser, featuring Mike Snider and his band, a Gleason Movie Night which featured family friendly entertainment along with a full-service concession stand, the Committee's First Annual Fall Music Fest, and a Chili Supper Cook-off.
These improvements have made Huggins Park a more suitable venue for an even wider range of community events that will allow families to enjoy wholesome activities and entertainment while also spending time with friends.
Another major beautification/restoration project completed during the past year has involved the painting of the J & P Auto Care building, as well as the outbuilding adjacent to the service station.
The painting of this business related to the Committee's belief that J & P Auto Care represented one of the major landmarks of downtown Gleason, having now been in business at the corner of Cedar and Main for over half a century.
Much effort was put into completing this work project prior to the 2015 Tater Town Special to insure that visitors to Gleason during this event might see the downtown area at its best when viewed along the parade route.
An additional fund-raising project during the past year has involved developing a Community Calendar that provides the dates of important family events such as birthdays, anniversaries and the like for Gleason citizens. The proceeds from the sale of these calendars help fund downtown improvements, as do all proceeds from activities sponsored by the Revitalization committee.
Completing projects such as these is seen as important in laying the foundation for obtaining grant money to support other more costly revitalization projects.
While a major focus of the committee is on beautification and revitalization of the Gleason community, another interrelated focus is on highlighting Gleason businesses, realizing that encouraging hometown shopping by promoting home grown businesses is a boon to the local economy.
During the past year, President Charles Anderson has initiated a "Gleason Business of the Month" initiative, whereby one local business is highlighted each month through a special article focusing on that business. The article is first published on the Gleason website (www.GleasonOnline.com). The Weakley County Press has also agreed to provide a print version of each article in their widely read newspaper.
During the past year some 10 Gleason businesses have been highlighted in this manner. These include Gleason Superette , Jozelle's Beauty Shop, City Drug Store., Gleason Lumber & Supply Company, Floyd Greenhouses, Gleason Hardware, Eveready Auto Parts. Gleason Clinic, Steele Plant Company and the Bank of Gleason.
In terms of other items, it is also noteworthy that, during this past year, the Downtown Revitalization Program has also filed for and has been approved as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Tax Exempt organization. This designation makes it possible for those individuals making financial donations to the Gleason downtown revitalization effort to declare their gifts as charitable contributions when filing their income tax return.
Despite those things that the Committee has accomplished during the past year, much more work needs to be done during the coming year (and in the future) to enhance the City of Gleason's ability to attract new businesses, to improve the economic growth of the community and make the Gleason community a better place to live, work, raise a family and experience an improved quality of life.
It is hoped that, based on these initial accomplishments, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee will be seen as deserving of the generous support that it has received from the citizens of Gleason during the past year.
It is also hoped that there will be others who will join with the Committee and contribute their time and efforts in helping 2016 be an even better year in terms of enhancing the Gleason community.
State Representative Andy Holt Presents Proclamation to Imerys
Front Row: State Representative Andy Holt, Arson Potts (Gleason, Imerys - KT Plant Manager), Chuck Laine (President, Tennessee Mining Association)
Back Row: James Jarrett, Kerry Arnold, Eric Duke, Donald Cooper, and Brent Eugley (Photo by Charles Anderson).
CLICK FOR MORE PICTURES RELATED TO CLAY MINING
Click Here for Music Fest Pictures
Remembering & Honoring Private Bobbie Dee Phelps
By Jim Johnson
On September 5th, 2015 Phelps Street in Gleason, Tennessee was formally dedicated as "PVT Bobbie Dee Phelps Memorial Way" as part of the 2015 Tater Town Special program. This dedication was to honor the memory of Private Bobbie Dee Phelps, who was attached to the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, of the US Army, who was killed in action in Korea on April 29th, 1951.
The dedication ceremony of "PVT Bobbie Dee Phelps Memorial Way" began with thoughtful opening comments by Gleason Mayor, Diane Poole and were followed by a heartfelt presentation by Mr. Jim Phelps, who commented on the circumstances surrounding Bobbie Dee Phelps making the ultimate sacrifice for his country - much of which is presented here.
In his comments Mr. Phelps noted that that Bobbie's Grandfather, Elvis Jackson Phelps, built the very first house on Phelps Street, where Bobby Phelps was born - "the yellow house located just down the street on the left" - (the old Roy Hodges home at 223 Phelps Street). READ MORE...
Tater Town Festival Wraps up With Parade
By DOUG MARSHALL
Special to the Press
The streets were crowded in small town USA, Gleason, TN on Saturday, Sept, 5. The air smelled like barbecue, and the children of the Gleason area eagerly grabbed candy off the ground from the passing floats. The patrons were gathered to watch and participate in the annual Labor Day weekend Tater Town Festival Parade.
“This is the 42nd year for small town USA right here,” said grand marshal Charles Anderson. “Gleason is known for sweet potatoes and has been for years. Every year on Labor Day weekend we put together a little Tater Town special. Today we had a tractor show; it is the 11th year we’ve done that, and we really enjoy this. It’s a community time; it brings that small town pride back to town. People enjoy themselves. It’s a reminiscent time, and we have a lot of class reunions going on this weekend. This festival is a hometown event to bring hometown natives back to town.”
“The Tater Town festival is all about a group of about eight women who pull the community together, just to be together, that’s all that it’s about. Just giving back to the community!” Jennifer Cook said enthusiastically about the festival. Jennifer Cook is one of the Gazelles who helped to put the event together.
“I think it’s a time for the community to come together like it has been doing for 42 years,” said the other grand marshal, Jim Johnson. “The Gazelles do a wonderful job with this; we could not do this without them. I think it’s a place, not even just for the current citizens of Gleason. I grew up here and was away for a long time, and I kept trying to figure out how I could keep in touch. I finally developed a website for current and former Gleason citizens to keep in touch. There are a lot of people here today; some are here for their 55th class reunion, some for their 50th, and some others for their 40th. All of these people have come back for this Tater Town Festival, so I just think it highlights the cohesiveness of the town.”
“It’s been a long time tradition here, of course Gleason is small, but this is one of the major things we do here,” said Dale Stevens, Gleason’s Director of Public Works. “The Gazelle group, the girls have recently lost some membership. They’re down to a bare minimum, and Gleason public works helps them out with this. They are a really great organization, and we cherish this time every year. We spend a lot of time; the public works department does a lot of work for them in an effort to help them out. Everybody, a lot of the classmates from years ago, have come back here every year and have class reunions and it’s just a tradition now. It’s been going on for a long time and people expect it and we enjoy helping put it on.”
The parade proudly displayed police, fire, and EMS vehicles, along with the local National Guard. It was also filled with local businesses, government officials, local cheerleaders and beauty queens, along with other local groups and clubs.
TATER TOWN USA— Gleason High’s cheerleaders march through downtown Gleason during Saturday’s parade (top left photo). From left to right: Amber Watson, April Watson, Hailey Harrison, Gracie Long, Josie Long, Claire O’Connor, Jessica Remillian, Maggie Hampton, Madison Gazelle, Dorcy Bell, Bell Fallard, Allison Rollins. In the top right photo, the winners of the Tater Town beauty pageant ride through town; (from left to right) Queen: Mary Rollins, First Maid: Jamie Shay Bailey, Second Maid: Savannah Scarborough, and Third Maid: Chelsea Beasley. Grand marshals Charles Anderson and Jim Johnson are pictured in the bottom left photo. In the bottom right picture, motorcyclists ride through the parade. Weakley County Press.
Helping Enhance the Gleason Community Through Clay:
Charles Anderson, President of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program, receives a check in the amount of $1,500 dollars from Brent Eugley of Imerys North America Ceramics (formerly KT Clay Co.) for the new vinyl fence at Huggins Park.
Left Side: Imerys Ceramics Representatives:
Front Row: Left to Right: Kim Montgomery - Ball Clay Lab Technician; Katy Lucas (dark green shirt/brown pants) - Geologist
Back Row: Left to Right: Stacy Collins - Ball Clay Technician; Cruz Legens - Ball Clay Lab Technician; Eric Duke (white shirt) Production Supervisor; Kerry Arnold -(EHS) - Environmental Health and Safety Manager; Brent Eugley (with check) - Environmental Coordinator; James Jarrett (right side with bright yellow shirt) - Ball Clay Quality Control Manager/Product Development Coordinator.
Right Side: Revitalization Committee Representatives:
Left to Right: Mayor Diane Poole (behind fence), Charles Anderson-President (receiving check), Rose Anderson, Gary Doster, James Jarrett (Imerys Representative), Chief Jeff Hazelwood, Doris Owen-Treasurer, Jim Johnson and Matt Cady.
(Click Here for Full Story)
Gleason's First Disc Golf Tournament Held at Huggins Park
As a result of a generous gift from the West Tennessee Disc Golf Club to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program and City of Gleason's Park and Recreation department and, with the help of Mr. Luke Hughes of Gleason, it has been possible to develop a disc golf course at Gleason's Huggins Park for use by the people of Gleason and the surrounding area.
The design and development of the course was under the direction of Mr. Luke Hughes, of Gleason, along with Chris Dodson, Will Trimble and Kent Fothergill, all of whom are actively involved with this rapidly growing sport.
The course is open to all Gleason citizens who are interested in the sport and was set up to allow for competitive disc golf tournaments for players of all ages.
Sponsored by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program, Gleason's first disc golf tournament, the "TaterTown Throwdown" was held on Saturday, May 23, 2015.
Registration for the tournament began at 1:30. The registration fee was $10, which included a free disc, bearing the "TaterTown Throwdown" logo. All funds derived from this event will be used to support Gleason Downtown Revitalization efforts.
Prior to beginning the tournament, a disc golf workshop was conducted by Tournament Director Luke Hughes. This pre-tournament training session was open to all registrants and served as an introduction to the basics of disc golf, including rules of the game, disc golf fundamentals, and an introduction to the new Huggins Park course.
The tournament itself began at 3:30 and lasted for several hours, with the 36 participants playing varying numbers of holes, depending on their age.
The concession stand was open, serving water, soft drinks, hamburgers, cheese burgers, bologna and various other tasty edibles.
Certificates were given for outstanding play in both the "Novice" and more "Advanced" disc golf participants.
It is hoped that this inaugural tournament will stimulate participants to come out to Huggins Park and use the facilities to develop their disc golf skills and enjoy playing the course with friends over the summer.
Be sure to check www.GleasonOnline.com regularly for announcements of other disc golf tournaments that may be offered this summer.
Tournament Registration: Only Ten Bucks
With a Free Disc Included
Concession Stand - Open for Business
Luke Hughes Provides Pre-tournament Disc Golf Workshop
Focusing on Fundamentals
Out on the Course
GHS 50-year Class Reunion - Class of 1964
The Gleason High School Class of 1964 celebrated their 50th class reunion during Tater Town festivities on August 30, 2014. The reunion was held at Mallards Restaurant in Huntingdon, with classmates having additional time to catch up on old times friends at the Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center in Huntingdon.
Front L-R: Rosemary Jorge, Suzette Edmonston, Martha Boone, Brenda Pickler, Judy Mansfield, Karen Dellinger, Sonja Godwn;
Back L-R: George Sawyers, Ronnie Dilday, Iva May Lowery, Wanda Maddox, Betty Bradberry, Sandra Tilley, Martha Brewer, Carol Sue Delinger, Mrs. Floyd and Mr. Floyd, John Bradberry (Note - maiden names used for ladies).
Gleason High School Class of 1962:
Second Annual Follow-up to their 50th Reunion
The Gleason High School Class of 1962 celebrated their second annual follow up to their 50th class reunion during Tater Town festivities on August 30, 2014.
Barbara Clement White, Ronnie Parks, Ferrellin Webb Cassidy, Coy Segraves, Curtis Mayo, Linda Ray Bevis, Sammy Tilley, Joyce Holland Straughn, John Ozment, Joyce Stewart Jones, Bobby Langley, Linda Elinor Boone, Kenneth Doster, Linda Travillian Langford, Terry Bunnell
Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fundraiser:
A Big - Small Town Success
James H. Johnson
On Saturday, August 2nd, 2014, a Fundraiser, designed to support Gleason Downtown Revitalization efforts, was held from 5 until after 8 PM at Huggins Park in Gleason.
The fundraiser was initially organized by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (Members: Charles Anderson, Ron Arnold, Mary Margaret Beasley, Andy Carroll, Gary Doster, Police Chief Jeff Hazelwood, Doris Owen, and Mayor Diane Poole) and focused on raising funds to support initial downtown revitalization projects that can provide the foundation for grant applications to fund larger projects.
The evening began with an opening prayer, provided by Mr. Jacky Esch and the National Anthem, wonderfully sung by Mr. Wendell Verdell.
The program consisted of gospel music, generously provided by "Witness Southern Gospel of McKenzie, Tennessee, as well as Gleason's own Mike Snider, widely known for being a regular on the Grand Ole Opry, as it is commonly known and referred to, and formerly a regular on the old Hee Haw television show as well as having received other honors associated with the country music industry. Additional musical entertainment was also provided by Ricky Morgan of The Great Pretenders, Wendell Verdell and Charles Ross and family of Gleason. Each of these individuals and groups provided their services freely in support of this initiative.
Those in attendance were provided with plenty of great food, including both BBQ plates and hot dogs from Big Daddy's BBQ, Highway 79, McKenzie, Tennessee. Soft drinks, bottled water, as well as snow cones and desserts were also available at the concession stand.
All in attendance had the opportunity to win more than 20 door prizes, such as gift cards and a variety of other items provided by numerous donors. Numerous attendees purchased chances to win various prizes ranging from gift certificates, to bicycles, to a Winchester Repeating Arms 12 gage shotgun, along with 5 boxes of shells and electronic noise-suppression ear muffs.
With approximately 400 total in attendance, including lots of people from Gleason and the surrounding areas, others coming from further away, and more than a dozen others who were candidates for local, and state offices, this event has to be judged as having been a huge success.
Not only did the citizens of Gleason come out in numbers to support this important event, but many also made cash donations during the evening. Others supported this initiative by simply coming to enjoy the entertainment and fellowship with friends, while enjoying the excellent food and beverages and buying tickets for the various prizes that were offered. Numerous other individuals, groups, and businesses made significant financial contributions, or provided goods or services that were significantly discounted or given freely for this event.
Valued Supporters: Final Flight Outfitters, Union City; Big Daddy's BBQ, McKenzie; Owen Brothers, Gleason; Pepsi Cola, Paris; Jim Johnson, Huntingdon; Coca Cola, Union City; Flowers by Jan, Gleason; Aletha Jones, Gleason; Simply Southern Restaurant, Gleason; Bank of Gleason, Gleason; WCMT Radio, Martin; Salon 104, Gleason; Gleason Superette, Gleason; Jerry Chestnut, General Manager of Boral Brick, Gleason; J&P Exxon, Gleason; J & J Restaurant, Gleason; Bryant Video, Gleason; Blossom and Blooms, Gleason; Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, Gleason; Weakly County Electric.
It is heartening to learn that the funds derived from this Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fundraiser were in excess of $4,000.
This figure seems to highlight both the generosity of the citizens of Gleason, as a group, and the degree to which they care for their community and want it to be all it can be!
CLICK HERE FOR MORE PICTURES
Gleason High School 50-year Class Reunion - Class of 1963
The class of 1963 had their 50 year class reunion on Saturday, August 31, 2013. Members of the class participated in the Tater Town Special parade by riding on a "Class of 1963 ~ 50-year Reunion trailer. A member of the Class of '63, the former Sandra Taylor who was the 1963 Miss. Gleason rode in a red 1963 Chevrolet Corvette owned and driven by Dale Nunnery, also a member of the Class of 63.
The 50-year reunion was held at the First Baptist Church on Saturday evening. The festivities were also attended by several well wishers from other Gleason High School Classes from the early to mid 1960's. A good time was had by all!
Below is a picture of those members of the Class who were in attendance.
Class members attending included, pictured from left to right are: Front Row: Carol (Tucker) Dycus, Delois (Boane) Shaw, Kaye (Billington) Owens, Sandra (Taylor) Johnson, Wanda (Hodges) Pritchett, Patricia (Reed) Segraves Back Row: Robert Smyth, Pat Dewberry, Bobbie Lou (Williams) Chandler, Janis (Hodges) Featherstone, Jean (Burrows) Cunningham, Dale Nunnery, LeRoy Segraves.
Click on the Above Link for all Reunion Pages
Gleason High School Class of 1962:
Follow-up to the 50th Reunion
Members of the Class of 1962 followed up on their last year's 2012 Tater Town 50-year reunion by having a get together on Saturday, August 31st at at Hig's Restaurant in McKenzie. All members of the Class of 1962 and other friends were invited.
As can be seen from the picture below, the turn out for this follow-up was great, with 16 Class of 62 members attending and having a good time interacting with old classmates and other friends from Gleason School. - Click on the link below for more Class of '62 pictures.
Members of the Class of 1962 attending included, FRONT ROW: Joyce (Stewart) Jones, Ferrelin (Webb) Cassidy, Linda (Elinor) Boone, Joyce (Holland) Straughn, Linda (Ray) Bevis, Lynda (Travillian) Lankford, Barbara (Clement) White. BACK ROW: Terry Burnell, Curtis Mayo, Bobby Langly, Ronnie Parks, Coy Segraves, Pert Pritchitt, John Ozment, Jim Lawrence, Sammy Tilley. (Picture compliments of Linda Bevis).
Click on the Above Link for More Class of '62 Pictures
Family Recalls Life of Gordon Stoker
By Joe Lofaro
Special to the Press
When Gordon Stoker, a Gleason native and a member of The Jordanaires vocal group that backed Elvis Presley, died this past Wednesday, his niece Jenna Wright said Stoker was “the best uncle in the world.” “He knew where he came from and he loved the people. He was a great person,” said Wright, who chairs the department of English at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Wright’s son, Zac, served as a pallbearer in Saturday’s funeral. “I was 12 years old before I realized Uncle Gordon was famous,” Zac Wright said. “He always wanted butter beans on okra.”
Stoker’s career started at Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, outside of Gleason, when he was 8 years old. In addition to playing the piano at church, he played at singing conventions in West Tennessee. “Mom and dad hung on them (singing conventions),” Stoker was quoted as saying. “I remember singing in Fulton and Martin.”
Better known as Hugh Gordon, he performed with the Clement Trio on WTJS in Jackson. He was recruited, after graduating from Gleason, to be the pianist in Nashville’s John Daniel Quartet. It was here that Stoker played on WSM’s Grand Ole Opry.
After three years in the Air Force, Stoker moved to Oklahoma to be near family, but in 1948 he moved back to Nashville and rejoined the Daniel Quartet, who was now playing on WLAC radio.
He met his wife, the former Jean Wilkerson, in 1949, at a church singing in Nashville. In 1950, he auditioned for and won the piano-playing job for the Jordanaires.
“The Jordanaires drew on both black and white gospel music, as well as many of the hymns Stoker knew by heart from his childhood in rural West Tennessee,” said Joe Rumble in a recent Associated Press article. Rumble is the senior historian at the County Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Stoker and the Jordanaires became members of the prestigious Hall of Fame in 2001.
Not only did Stoker play the piano for the Jordanaires but he also took on the role as a vocalist, singing tenor. The group performed together for 60 years, singing backup for Presley, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, George Jones, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Red Foley and Kenny Rogers.
“He was so famous,” Wright said. “But to me he was just Uncle Gordon. He was an extremely unassuming person.”
Wright said her uncle attended her high school graduation in Gleason and Stoker, his wife and three children were in the fieldhouse when she graduated from UT Martin.
Wright said her family was extremely close. In fact, Wright’s father, the late Wayne Stoker, and Gordon were together with others for Thanksgiving in 1983 when Mike Snider dropped by the house.
“Wayne knew I won the national banjo playing contest in September of 1983,” Snider said. “It was on Thanksgiving in 1983, when I met Gordon at Wayne’s house. “Gordon asked me, ‘What do you want to do?’ I told him I would like to play on the Grand Ole Opry stage one time.”
“I remember Wayne telling Gordon he had to hear me play because I was something a little different,” Snider said.
Thanks to the Stokers, Wayne and Gordon, Snider was able to play on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. He also appeared on Nashville Now and starred on Hee Haw. He is now a member of the Grand Ole Opry and he host segments this past weekend at the Opry.
“I didn’t even want to be in the music business,” Snider said. “I was farming. I couldn’t have done it without Wayne and Gordon. They were two really nice men who went out of their way to help somebody they didn’t even know.”
Wright will be the first to echo Snider’s comments about her dad and her uncle. “When my dad got real sick a couple of year’s ago, Uncle Gordon would call him every day, no matter where he was.
Uncle Gordon also called Wright often. “When he would say goodbye he always said, ‘I love you, baby.’”
At Gordon Stoker’s funeral at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Wright was just as unassuming as her uncle.“I am sure there were some big-name celebrities there, but I don’t keep up with all that,” she said.
In case your wondering about the music, Gordon Stoker and the Jordanaires sang backup on Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “No Tears in Heaven,” Presley’s “Known Only to Him” and Foley’s “This World is Not My Home.”
Despite the stellar lineup of music, Wright remembers the last words her uncle Gordon Stoker said to her, “I love you baby.”
Elvis photos on display at UTM: A photography display titled “ELVIS: Grace and Grit” is featured in the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Paul Meek Library Museum.
The display opened Monday and runs through May 31. An opening reception is Thursday from noon to 12:30.
“ELVIS: Grace and Grit” is the latest traveling exhibition from the CBS Television Photo Archive.
Shot by various CBS photographers, the exhibition contains 35 candid and on-air photographs documenting Elvis before the Las Vegas years — during the meteoric rise of this star, according to Victoria Ann Rehberg, exhibition marketing manager.
The exhibition was curated by National Exhibitions & Archives, LLC of Glens Falls, NY and the CBS Photo Archive.
The images, taken by CBS photographers, represent a sampling of over 30 million memorable images contained in the CBS Entertainment Archives, dating back to when CBS first began broadcasting as a radio network in 1928.
Published in The WCP 4.2.13
Gleason HS Class of 1962 Celebrates 50th Reunion
GLEASON (September 1) Gleason High School Class of 1962 celebrated their 50th reunion during Tater Town festivities on September 1, 2012. Class members attending included, pictured from left: (front row) Barbara Clement White, Lynda Travillian Lankford, Kitty Wray Oliver, Lynda Elinor Boone, Joyce Stewart James, Linda Ray Bevins, Joyce Holland Straughan, Ferrellin Webb Cassidy and Wanda Dilday; (back row) John Ozment, Pert Pritchett, Curtis Mayo, Jim Lawrence, Coy Segraves, Terry Bunnell, Bobby Langley, Sam Tilley and Ronnie Parks.
HomeAbout UsGleason BusinessesChurchesGleason SchoolObituariesPicturesGleason NewsContact Us
Copyright © 2003 - 20016 www.GleasonOnline.comTM. All rights reserved.