Here they go again


“After 65 years, they are still as close,” began the letter now e-mailed by Dee Murphy, Jerry Kelly and Nancy Bullock. That alone should tell you this class is still thick as thieves when it comes to getting things done.

“Yes, the Kilgore High School Class of 1952 is getting together on June 20 and 21 here in Kilgore and it will be as if they were never apart,” the trio says in the letter. “Years and even decades go by between reunions, but this group has kept in touch, sometimes with “mini-reunions” in other locations.”

Approximately twenty-five of these classmates will be meeting for lunch at the Backporch Restaurant for an afternoon of laughter, reminiscing, and even a touch of sadness when remembering the many classmates who have passed away (more than half now).

Traveling from as far west as Arizona and as far east as Ohio, the group of friends who are able to attend will greet one another and immediately become as they were 65 years ago

“There is closeness in this class that transcends time and distance,” said Dee. “Our former teachers used to comment on it and often attended the reunions.”

“At our fifteenth reunion,(our first), in 1967, eight of the girls decided to start a “Round Robin” letter,” stated Jerry Kelly of Akron, Ohio.

“One of us would start a letter and send it to the next girl. She would add her letter, pictures, etc. and send it on until it had made the rounds of all eight friends. When it had made the full round, the first classmate would take out her original letter and put in a new letter and continue the round again and again. The group of friends included Dee Ellzey Murphy, Jerry Dalrymple Kelley, Shirley Passmore Warnock, Marjorie Brown Barton, Betty Altman Allen, Lynette Bets McGaugh, Sandra Zoller O’Rosky, and Shirley Rowland McKinney. It was so highly anticipated that if it was late coming, phones would start to ring with participants asking about “The Letter.” It continued for at least 35 years and over time, as several friends passed away, The Letter stopped. It is still preserved with everyone’s last letters inside and it is hoped the last packet sent out will be at this reunion.”

One of their classmates, Van Cliburn, would become world famous for winning a world-wide piano contest held in Russia. He was honored with a ticker tape parade in New York City. But, to the Class of ’52, he was simply Van.

“We didn’t realize we held gold in our hands,” said Dee. “He would play Chopin (his favorite) and we would urge him to play boogie-woogie!”

Although officially listed as a member of the class of 1951 – Cliburn doubled up on credits and graduated a year ahead to attend Juilliard – Van (now deceased) was claimed by the class of ’52.

“The alums that no longer live in East Texas plan on taking ‘Déjà Vu’ trips around the area to their former high school and other sites that evoke memories. Many will be saddened to learn that Kilgore Heights has been demolished,” said Dee.

Members of other classes who are interested in stopping by the Backporch Restaurant at 10:30 a.m. on June 20 will be welcome.

WITH THE ASSISTANCE of Kilgore Lion’s Club and area New Club Development Consultant Nancy Van Alstine, the newly-formed Overton Lion’s Club is now chartered and a membership drive is underway.

THE CITY OF OVERTON will host the annual fireworks display over Overton Lake.

“Same location; just after dark on July 4th,” said Overton City Manager Charles Cunningham. “Brookshire’s will be sponsoring the fireworks again this year. There will be barbecue, hamburgers, snow cones and the usual,” he said.

“I was really impressed with the size of the fireworks when I first came to Overton. I remember thinking, ‘Wow’ how impressive for a town this size. We draw a large crowd from all over the community and nearby towns and it will be even better once the lake development is completed,” continued Cunningham. “We have a scheduled date for September of this year for the completion and if the rain will hold off a bit, we will be right on time.”

May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes Throughout the Week. In the meantime, we may be reached at or 903-984-2593.


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