Rison-Dallas Association, Inc.

Rison-Dallas Association 2005 Reunion

The Rison-Dallas Association 33rd Annual Reunion, August 6, 2005

Rison Reunion Group Photo, 2005
Please click on the photo for a larger detail of the folks present.

Here we are! Is this not a good-looking bunch of folks in a beautiful sanctuary? Do you see the smiles? It was a happy day for us all.

What a celebration we had! There was much laughter and mingling and hugging! One of my friends whom I had not seen for many, many years, would give me a big bear hug each time we passed! The atmosphere was one of happiness and love - you could almost touch it! I think that I observed some "mini-reunions" being held at some tables with cousins meeting for the first time. At one table I saw two heads huddled over a laptop computer exchanging family history.

When asked, we learned that there were at least 12 folks who were attending the reunion for the first time; we sincerely hope that it won't be their last time.

We could name many of you who were not at the reunion, and we missed you. Our "family" is not complete without you. We realize that there were conflicts for your time, one being the Huntsville Bicentennial Celebration. We hope that you'll be able to join us at our 34th reunion on August 5, 2006.

Speaking of the Bicentennial, during the celebration it was reported that Major General James Pillsbury, Commander of Redstone Arsenal said, "We weren't all born in Huntsville, but we got here as quickly as we could!" We can understand that, can't we? Something else heard about Huntsville: "If you spend one night in Huntsville you'll come back; if you spend two nights, you'll move here!"

If you'd like to know who attended this year's reunion, please CLICK HERE. There are names missing from the list because, for whatever reason, some people failed to sign in. It's understandable how that happens - oftentimes we are excited to see our friends and immediately start visiting and forget to sign in. If your name should be on this list, please let us know. The consensus is that this year's attendance was the largest ever - some 200 plus.

It always takes many people to make for a successful reunion and this year was no exception. The people named below worked hard to make the reunion look easy:

Helen Acuff
Thomas Blount
Buck Brewer
Jo Anna Gowan Burkett
Buddy Curry
Leo Drake
Ann Schrimsher Franklin
Virginia Goosby Franklin
Betty Franklin Frasier
Carl Melton
Marguerite Parker
Loretta Chisholm Patterson
Hettie Jean Cates Patton
Lynn Russell
Leron Allen Schrimsher
Betty Burkett Stephens
Maurine Hayes Alverson Surrett
Juanez Jones Tanner

This is the first year that we've gathered for a group picture in Jackson Way's sanctuary. To make sure that all ran smoothly, we enlisted the help of a retired schoolteacher to issue instructions (orders!); Buddy Curry is that teacher if you haven't guessed. As you would expect, it was not easy for the group to stay quiet for the picture - too much excitement, I guess. I had the thought, "What if Mr. Fain were to walk into this sanctuary?" Don't you think that there would have been an immediate hush?

Those of you who ordered a copy of the 8 x 10 picture should have received yours by now. If you didn't order a copy of the picture, it's not too late; just send $10 and your name and address to:

Rison-Dallas Association c/o Maurine Surrett, Treasurer 2003 Rodgers Drive, NE Huntsville, AL 35811

Ah the food - it's always good at our reunions and plentiful. I checked with our long-time kitchen ladies, Leron and Loretta, who said that, "We had a great reunion, great and wonderful food, more food than we've ever, ever, ever had before, and we have some very good cooks!"




During the program part of the reunion:

·         We’re sad to say that nineteen of our people from the Rison-Dallas community died since the 2004 reunion; their names were read aloud before the group and a moment of silence was observed in their memory.  If you know of others whose names should be on this list, please let us know.

Bobby Morrison

Bera Gray

Marjorie Rousseau Whitworth

Betty Corder Stewart

Buel Case

Ruby Nelson Crabbe

Elsie Agnes Stolz Hoekenschnieder

Robert Mullins

Fainer Jett Frazier

Jewel Payne Gray

Ophelene McGinnis Hunter

Pearline Satterfield

Gene Adcock

Ruth Curry Moore

Mildred R. Gunn

Evelyn Lackey Nunley

Virginia Smotherman Ford

Dorothea Boggs Austin

Polly Brazelton Hightower

·         We recognized our veterans, recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and then sang, “God Bless America!”  It is our prayer that God will always bless America as well as the rest of the world!

·         Leo Drake introduced our honored guests who were members of Rison’s 1948-1949 Championship Baseball Team.  Please take a look at both the 1948-1949 picture and the picture made of the surviving members of the team at the 2005 reunion (Lowell Hunt didn’t make it for this picture) on the Sports Programs page.  Leo read the names of these deceased members of the team:

Otha (Buster) Acuff

Ernest (Tater) Crowell

Al Ivey

Herman (Sonny) King

Fred (Booger) Knight

Herbert (Hub) Myhand

·         I made some announcements:

o       Website:  I asked how many had looked at the website, and many hands went up.  I compared the way the website looked in June 04 and the way it looks today, saying at as of August 6, 2005, there had been 4,425 hits on the website.  I expressed my thanks to all who had submitted contributions to the website.  I also talked about our wonderful webmaster, Craig Clontz, pointing out that when I worked, he worked too – for free.  I read his thanks to us for our gift of a certificate to his favorite restaurant, La Alameda; and a gift to his church in his honor.  We applauded Craig even though he wasn’t there!

o       Special visitors:

§         Mark Russell, our City councilman for the NE section of Huntsville.  He spent some time at the reunion but, because of his official commitment to the Bicentennial Celebration, he could not stay the entire time.  His comment to me was that he was surprised at the number of people who attended the reunion.

§         Tommy Towery, who is the editor (and does all the other jobs too!) of the Lee Traveller website for Lee classes ’64, ’65, and ’66, and a great writer.  Tommy has given help and encouragement to me for our website, and has also given us some space on the Lee Traveller.

§         Collins Wynn has contributed a number of interesting articles to our website.  A recent contribution was about the Dallas Mill Cemetery.  Although I grew up in and around Dallas Village, I knew nothing about the cemetery.  I became interested and did the necessary research to complete the cemetery story.  Our councilman, Mark Russell, is in the process of getting improvements made to the cemetery.

Both Tommy and Collins attended Rison.

§         Greg Screws, formerly of Channel 31.  Last year while he was a morning co-anchor for Channel 31, I invited him to the reunion.  He couldn’t make it then but he told me that maybe we could “hook-up” this year.  I learned that he works at United Way, contacted him and he agreed to come.  He seemed to have fun.  His comment to me was, “I had a blast!”

o       Cookbook:  We had asked for recipes and some of you brought yours.  We could use some more and encourage you to send them either to our website’s email address at risondallas@comcast.net or to me at:

Ann Schrimsher Franklin

2603 Valley Brook Court NE

Huntsville AL 35811

We now have a cookbook committee and we’ll be getting together soon to make plans.  If you’d like to serve on this committee, please contact me at risondallas@comcast.net.


Helen Acuff

Jo Anna Gowan Burkett

Aileen McGinness Elledge

Ann Schrimsher Franklin

Rebecca Dowell Long

Geraldine McGinness Walker

Wanda Renegar Wilson


o       Prom dresses:  And then I said, “Now for the fun part.”  I asked how many girls still had their prom dresses and absolutely NO hand went up other than mine.  I said, “C’mon girls, ‘surely some of you saved your prom dress.”  I thought that it would be fun for us girls to either wear or bring our dresses to the 2006 reunion.  I envisioned that the dresses that were brought would be hanging on the white-latticed room divider there at the reunion and I could imagine how great they would look.  Helen Acuff reminded me that we didn’t have “proms” and that I had asked the wrong question – I should’ve asked, “How many of you have your evening dress from your junior/senior banquet and dance?” 

So I’ll ask the question that way:  How many of you DO have your evening dress from your junior/senior banquet and dance?  If you do and you’d be willing to either wear or bring your dress to the 2006 reunion, please email me at risondallas@comcast.net.  Here are pictures of my “evening dress.” (click the small images for a larger view)  It’s a little discolored but still in pretty good condition.

Prom Dress Prom Dress

·         Carl Melton spoke on behalf of the Class of 1945.  That class included:

Lillian "Sis" Adcock

Hettie Jean Cates

*Conrad Certain,

Dalton "Mouse" Gaines

Louise Gault

*Norma Griffith

Lois Johnson

Madge Lewis

*James Patton

*J.D. Pettie

*Anna Ruth Routt

*Mazola Thomas


Carl recognized teachers and classes, including asking for those who had attended Rison but graduated from other schools – from Butler, from Lee, and other schools.

Five teachers were there: Joy Fanning Daniel, Corrine Fanning, Buddy Curry, Hazel Ward, and Bill Rice who substituted for 1st grade for 6 weeks, and substituted at Rison for several years.

The Class of 1946 accepted the challenge to sponsor next year’s reunion in celebration of their 60th anniversary.

During the reunion, I asked several people what the reunion committee could do to make the reunions better.  Here are some of the suggestions:

  1. It’s hard to read name tags that are written in ballpoint pen; need to use felt pens.”  That’s an easy fix – we’ll use felt pens at the next reunion.
  2. Registering line too long.  That too is an easy fix.  While we have five sign-in sheets, we’ll change the direction of the sign-in table so that the sign-in sheets can be easily seen and accessed upon entry into the fellowship hall.
  3. “Have each person bring a school picture of himself/herself while a student at Rison School.  Maybe we could pin the picture next to our name tag.”  ‘Good idea and I hope that we can all do that.  I’ll try to remind us on the reminder cards that we mail to each of you.
  4. We’ve been told that the program is too long.  Tell us about it.  What do we say or do that you really don’t want to hear?  What do we NOT do that you’d like to see or hear?  Is it too long because it’s difficult for you to sit for a long period of time?  I’ll try to remember to encourage you to get up when needed to and walk around when necessary.  Remember:  the reunion belongs to EACH of us and it should serve us ALL! 

If you have some suggestions that you think would make the reunion better, please let us know at risondallas@comcast.net.

That’s about all for this year’s reunion.  As you can tell, there was a lot going on in a short period of time.  Please – mark your calendars for our next reunion, August 5, 2006.  We hope that each and every one of you will join us -- to reconnect and to celebrate where we came from and who we are!

May the good Lord bless and keep you ‘til we meet again,

~Ann (Schrimsher Franklin)

And now, for the gallery of pictures from the 2005 Rison Reunion:
Please click here.

Rison-Dallas Association, Inc.