The Gleason Gazelles is a civic organization composed of women in Gleason who are interested in the welfare and growth of the community. The group was organized by a small number of women in May, 1974.
That first year the organization started a Gleason annual event - the "Tater Town Special". Some said the club was small and would be unable to succeed in such a large undertaking. However, with the help from some of the "special friends" in Gleason, that first "Tater Town Special" was a success. In fact, 1987 marked the 14th year for the Gazelles' "Tater Town Special".
Each year the Special has grown, and new ideas have been added whenever possible. Mr. Dudley Sanders remarked during one of the parades: "If it keeps on growing each year, we'll have to rent a larger town".
The organization's main goal and purpose is to respond to the needs of the Gleason community. The organization has managed to purchase a Civic Center for the town. The Gazelles believe that there is a great need for such a building in Gleason. The Civic Center has been used by various groups and families.
In 1986, the Homecoming '86 Committee of Gleason had built a beautiful Gazebo on the north lot of the Civic Center property. This structure has added to the beauty and the usefulness of the facilities. A permanent cookbook was added to the Gazelles' facilities a couple of years ago; this booth is available for use by other Gleason groups.
The charities which the Gazelles support are the St. Jude Research Hospital and the Lion's Club Telethon. They have fund raisers for thee projects each year. In addition to these charities, the organization makes yearly gifts to the Gleason School Library. They have purchased magazines and magazine covers and helped toward the purchase of a new computer printer for the library.
They became the Gleason Gazelles, Inc. in 1979. The organization's colors are orange and white. The motto is "Together We Can"; and even though they have often been told "you can't do it". they believe that with the help and support of the people of Gleason, it can be done! The club meets every third Thursday night of the month at 7:00 P.M. at the Gleason Civic Center.
GLEASON ROTARY CLUB
In October of 1947, the Gleason Rotary Club, composed of eighteen charter members was admitted to Rotary International. Willard Huggins was selected to lead the new club as its first president. Bob Owen is the only remaining active member of the original charter members.
The Gleason Rotary Club has undertaken and completed many major projects form its time of organization until the present. Efforts of different types of youth work have been its main devotion.
The club has earned a reputation of always welcoming the call to sponsor or assist in any worthwhile community or civic project. It has also attained the name of an organization that always accomplishes the job it has undertaken. There have been many difficulties and hardships, but in overcoming them, the club ahs drawn together and become stronger.
Much of the success of the Rotary has been due to the good leadership. Since the first year under the guidance of Willard Huggins, other men who have been honored as president are:
J. T. Jones
J. T. Moore
T. Ray Campbell
Bob Owen and Lawrence Bennett have served as president twice. Leon Smith is the capable leader at present. Mayo Gallimore served as secretary for about fifteen years.
The new Rotary Club first held their dinner meetings in the cafe under the old hotel. Other meeting places have been: Bluebird Cafe, Hattie's Dairy Bar, Jr.'s Dairy Bar, Crestview Drive-In, Heath's City Cafe and the Bank Community Room. At the Community Room, the meals have been catered by various organizations including church groups, school classes and groups, senior citizen groups, the Eastern Star and various cafes. Presently the food is being catered by the Korner Cafe in the new Bank Community Room. Prices for meals have varied from $1.00 per person in 1964 to the present $5.00 per person.
Many interesting and unique programs with a wide variety of subject matter have been presented by Rotary members through the years. Some of these include: Delmar Klutts, who talked about a trip in a covered wagon he made as a boy from Gleason to Oklahoma. Carmen Pritchett of Dresden, a Merchant Marine, spoke of his many travels throughout the world. An FBI agent spoke on his experiences. Bob Owen told of his trip to England and Scotland. There have been programs against abortion, home security by the police department, wildlife in Weakley county, energy problems, causes of cancer, the Kidney Foundation, inflation raising hogs, juvenile delinquency and drug abuse, the history of Weakley County and antique gun making. In 1964, Miss. Weakley County spoke on the values of milk and what the dairy industry means to Weakley County. In December of 1979, Miss. Alte Vandenberg of the University of Tennessee at Martin Music Department, played the autoharp and sang folk songs. Another unique program includes Leonard Bynum's quoting the first chapter of Genesis from memory.
Sometimes the proposed weekly program does not materialize, and the Rotarian responsible "Lets George Speak For Them", as they pay their fine. Some well-known guest speakers the club has heard include Ray Mears, Athletic Director at UTM; Ned Ray McWherter, as Speaker of the Tennessee House; Judge Charles Butts; Judge Robert Neal Glasgow; Lawyer Roy Herron; Former Dresden Mayor, Allen Strawbrige; and Roy Baker and Bill Odom, presidents of Bethel College.
In addition to programs that inform and inspire, there have been program presented of an unusual nature. At one time the club sponsored and paid the expenses of five convicts so that they could present a program about their lives of crime.
In 1964, the club presented the Life-Saving Award to Glen Margrave of the local Boy Scouts of America. In 1967, the club voted to let colored people into the Crippled Adult Hospital, sponsored by the Rotary Club, in response to a letter from the hospital.
In the late 1940's, an attendance contest was held by and between the Erin and Gleason clubs with the loser hosting a banquet at the Greystone Hotel in Paris for Rotarians and their wives. For thirteen straight weeks both clubs had 100% attendance, but on the fourteenth week, Erin had an absentee, leaving Gleason as the winner. Attendance continues to be good.
On January 25, 1982, the members passed the resolution stating: "A candidate for county government shall not be invited to speak to the Rotary Club." In June of 1982, the club sponsored Bob Owen Appreciation Night.
The Rotary Club has always been in the forefront in civic participation. Some of these projects are: building floats for the Tater Town Special, sponsoring a womanless beauty review, monetary support for the City library, Blood Mobile, Crippled Adult Hospital donations, Easter Seal, Red Cross, Heart Fund, and March of Dimes. They have also sponsored the Big Brothers paper drive for Christmas baskets for the needy as one of their major projects.
Since 1960, Hopewell Cemetery has been a project for the club. Each Memorial Sunday, Rotarians are present during the entire day to take contribution from interested citizens for the upkeep of the cemetery.
The Club's interest in young people led to the development of the supervised park program which was begun in 1950 and which is still in operation today. Officials from other towns have come to observe and copy the organization of this project which provides participation and entertainment for people of all ages.
The club's summer program includes supervise play, ballgames for all age groups and swimming lessons. The success of the project is due to the enthusiasm of the sponsoring Rotary. Each spring a kick-off supper hosted by the club is held at the school cafeteria for the park workers.
As further proof of their interest in youth, the club made a $2,000 gift to the city park in 1964. In the 1950's the Rotary assisted in the reworking of the football field; and in 1963, they voted to pay a supplement for the high school athletic coach. In 1984, the club voted to give $1,000 to the Booster Club for the renovation of the school field house.
The club has sponsored representatives to Girls' State and Boys' State each year. It has sponsored the Boy Scouts, with some members serving as leaders and helping with their benefit pancake breakfast.
The Club is interested in facilities and activities for the elderly. They decided in 1981 to donate "fine" money for the upkeep of the Senior Citizens Center. In July 1984, the club bought the building that house the center for $5,000.
Encouragement in education is evidenced by the Rotary sponsoring and winning the Rotary International Scholarship for Linda Cooper in 1966 and by assisting in securing a communication machine for Amy Wynne. In may of 1979, the Rotary Club nominated Debbie Jones for the Jaycettes Outstanding Young Woman of the Year Award. Showing their interest in the needs of education, a recommendation for a new school to be built in Gleason was unanimously endorsed in 1981.
In 1976, the Mayo Gallimore Rotarian of the Year Award was established. Those to receive this prestigious award include:
1976 - 77 Mayo Gallimore
1978 - 79 Bob Owen
1979 - 80 Jackie Esch
1981 - 82 Ellis Featherstone
1983 - 84 Charlie Huggins
1977 - 78 Bob Owen
1978 - 79 Athel Pearson
1980 - 81 Fred Morris
1982 - 83 Les McElhiney
1984 - 85 Vernon Dunn
For his many years of loyal service, the Gleason Club bestowed the Rotary's highest honor, the Paul Harris Fellow Award, on Lawrence Bennett; and in 1982, Charlie Huggins was given this honor. In 1985, Murrell Finch, Mayo Gallimore, and R. H. Owen were recipients of the award. In 1986, Dudley Sanders was given the honor.
Many, many more accomplishment and interesting events of the Gleason Rotary Club could be given, but suffice it to say, the entire citizenry recognizes and appreciates the important asset the club is to the community by the great services they render. The club has grown from eighteen charter members to the present thirty-three. Each dedicated man can truly say he is glad to be a part of the Gleason Rotary Club.
[Prepared by Roy Travillian]
The Gleason Lions Club was chartered on Saturday, June 5, 1982. The Gleason Club, sponsored by the McKenzie Lions Club, became the 67th Club in District 12L.
The Charter Officers for the Club were:
First Vice-President ............................................................................Roy L. Hodges
Second Vive-President........................................................................Don Rich
Third Vice-President............................................................................Derrell Lampkins
Lion Tamer..........................................................................................Henry Jackson
Tail Twister..........................................................................................Buddy Sublett
The Directors were: Bob Fanning, Roy L. Hodges, Don Rich, Derrell Lampkins, Doug Jones, Steve Horn, Henry Jackson and Buddy Sublett
The guest speaker for the Charter Night program was Austin Jennings of Woodbury, a past international Lions Director. During his remarks Jennings challenged the Gleason Club to have a dream. He quoted from former President John F. Kennedy saying "Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream of things as they might be and ask, why not?"
The newly formed Gleason Club's dream was a baseball field. It took more than four years of hard work to make that "dream" become a reality, but today there is a baseball field which is completely fenced, has lights for night games, and has a $30,000 two story press box and concession stand. This field is used for high school baseball games and for the Lions summer softball program as well as those who just get up a friendly game on Sunday afternoons.
Presidents who have led the Lions Club include:
1982 - Bob Fanning
1984 - Ronnie Dilday
1986 - Randy Morris
1983 - Bob Fanning
1985 - Ronnie Dilday
1987 - Rusty Morris
AMERICAN LEGION POST #166
The American Legion Post #166 in Gleason, Tennessee was chartered June 2, 1946 with seventy-eight charter members. Over the years, the American Legion has contributed to the Gleason School for both academic and athletic programs, the summer ball program, Huggins Park and Legion Field. This organization also organized the Big Brothers Fund Drive to raise money for the needy.
The American Legion has continued to grow since 1946 with expansion in facilities and activities. Our memorial, the Eternal Flame, is located in front of the American Legion building. The flame was dedicated in 1976 as a memorial to all deceased veterans.
Commanders for the Gleason American Legion Post #166 are as follows:
1946 - Thomas E. Poyner
1947 - Harold Grissom
1948 - Murrell Finch
1949 - Harold Parks
1950 - George E. Barrix
1951 - Harry M. Edwards
1952 - Jess Margrave
1953 - Ellis E. Featherstone
1954 - Jesse M. Reed
1955 - Bob S. Wray
1956 - Bob Owen
1957 - James B. Johnson
1958 - Ellis E. Featherstone
1959 - Johnnie L. Johnson
1960 - Johnnie L. Johnson
1961 - Ellis E. Featherstone
1962 - Roy Parks
1963 - Roy Parks
1964 - Richard D. Black
1965 - Richard D. Black
1966 - Austin Suddath
1967 - Austin Suddath
1968 - Jim Tom Webb
1969 - Jim Tom Web
1970 - Doris Jones
1971 - Bob S. Wray
1972 - Athel Pearson
1973 - Athal Pearson
1974 - Athel Pearson
1975 - Jerry Boone
1976 - Jerry Boone
1977 - Jerry Boone
1978 - Joe Pachl
1979 - James Bush
1980 - James Bush
1981 - Curtis Mayo
1982 - Doris Jones
1983 - Roland Dinning
1984 - Dempsey Teeter
1985 - Wayne Travis
1986 - Dempsey Teeter
1987 - Dempsey Teeter
1988 - Hugh R. Reed
SENIOR CITIZENS CLUB
Since the Rotary Club received its charter in 1947, they have worked hard trying to fulfill their motto - "Service Above Self" - keeping in mind the progress and interest of all the citizens in this community.
They have always sponsored a youth program second to none in the area. In about 1978, they began to realize that the Senior Citizens of this community were being neglected and needed a place to meet and have fellowship with one another. With this purpose in mind, they rented the old J. C. Dellinger Store building, and with the donations from citizens of Gleason and the surrounding area, they made the building comfortable and suitable for occupancy. Thus, the door opened for the enjoyment and entertainment of the Senior citizens. They continued this operation until 1984, when a final decision was made to purchase the building. Since then, the Senior citizens have met continuously from 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. with an average daily attendance ranging from 20 to 40 persons. At the center those who come play games, such as dominoes, checkers, Uno, bingo, and Rook. They also have a fellowship meal the first Thursday of each month at 12:00 o'clock noon.
Each Thursday night is set aside for visiting entertainment such as quartets, other singing groups, string music and other entertainment from outsiders.
Everyone is free to do his own thing. If someone comes up with an idea: "Lets have a hamburger supper, " then, a hamburger supper takes place.
Many activities are in progress day after day. We have had "cake walks", bingo, flea markets, etc.
Some of our older citizens have also made large donations to make this home away from home more comfortable.
The history of the Gleason community provided in Oakwood-Gleason: A Look Back provides an account of Gleason's history up through the time the book was originally published. As some 20 years have now passed since its publication, Gleason Online is providing a "History Update" feature, for each section of the book, for those wishing to add important historical information relevant to the Gleason community. Contributions can be submitted via E-mail attachment by clicking on the "Website Visitor Comments" graphic, provided above.
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