Ranger Exes Memorial-TX - RHS Class of 1960 Dedication of Monument APRIL 7, 2001! A GREAT DAY IN RANGER!

Much like the famous English novelist Charles Dickens wrote, the Ranger High School Class of 1960 could say, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." In 1956 some of the post-war glow of the early 1950's was beginning to fade. The Soviets had launched Sputnik. There was a bit of uncertainty and fear in the inevitable escalation of the Cold War. The next fall nine African- American students, responding to the new Supreme Court ruling on integration, bravely challenged the defiant crowds at Central High School in Little Rock; however, life for the Class of '60 was seemingly care free at Ranger High School. Football and basketball games, band practice, study hall, and waffle fries at King's Cafe were some of their major concerns. Many of the class spent after-school hours working on the family farm or business while others worked part-time for local merchants. Elvis Presley, as the king of rock and roll, was becoming firmly established. Girls in ponytails wore bobby socks, penny loafers, and full skirts with layers of crinoline underneath. Boys with their attempts at growing sideburns wore faded blue jeans with turned up cuffs. Their shirts, with collars raised and sleeves rolled-up, were often left slightly open in the front. Upon graduation, as the class prepared to take their first steps into adult life, the air was expectant with inevitable but unknown change. How could they see what such happenings as the Kennedy years, Vietnam, the space race, the sexual revolution, civil rights, affirmative action, birth control, women's liberation, the Information Age, etc would bring to every corner of the nation, even to small towns in the Texas Cross Timbers? An unusually large number would begin some form of post-high school education, apparently well aware that the coming years would demand more technical and academic skills for survival. Many would be married within less than two years. It was the sign of the times. One friend was not to walk into adulthood. Tommy Ford, president of RHS Class of 1960, was tragically killed just prior to graduation. Devastated, the class gathered on reserved pews at the Methodist church in Ranger and attempted to understand and comfort one another. They eventually found that survival was possible and that, in life, one kept putting one foot in front of the other while offering a helping hand to a fellow traveler. This happening strengthened the bond that already existed with the class. Forty years have passed, and that special bond and feeling of friendship have intensified. In celebration of love for one another and to preserve the memory of classmates who are deceased, a permanent memorial has been established. "FRIENDS FOREVER" is the bold declaration on the newly dedicated monument in front of the Ruth Terry Denney Library at the Ranger Historical Heritage Center on old Highway 80 West. The red granite from Marble Falls, Texas, is in the shape of Texas. To honor the RHS Class of 1960, depictions of the past high school building, the Bulldog, and a hillside with bluebonnets, are engraved. The monument is inscribed with the name and year of death of seven deceased classmates. Additional names, if any, will be added every two years at the time of the Ranger Exes homecoming. Surrounding the memorial is a Circle of Love pathway, which is handicap accessible. Also, two trees - a live oak and a red oak - are planted at the Heritage Center that represent a living memorial. On April 7, 2001, the air was alive with the sound of music at the Heritage Center grounds. Under the direction of Wayne White, the splendid Ranger High School Bulldog band played many ensembles including "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and "The Bulldog Fight Song" while guests were being seated and at the beginning of the ceremony. Officially, the dedication ceremony began with the Rev. Jim Strahan of the Eastside Baptist Church of Ranger, giving the invocation. Master of Ceremonies Jerry Anderson welcomed over two hundred wonderful people that were present to share a great day with the class of '60. He then introduced some of the special guests who attended: RANGER HISTORICAL PRESER- VATION SOCIETY - Jeane Pruitt, President, and Co-chairman of Eastland County Historical Commission; Stan Harper, Treasurer; and Rosemary Harper, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Eastland County Historical Commission. Directors present were Opal King, Lorene Oliver, and Juanita and Onis "Stubby" Warden. Members present were Barbara Delany, Wanda Isbell and Saul Pullman. The Honorable James L. Keffer, State Representative, District 60; Kay Dobbs, President, Ranger Chamber of Commerce; Margaret Green, Commissioner, Place 3, Ranger; Norman Christian, County Commissioner, Precinct 2, Eastland; Don Tarrant, Eastland Telegram; Joe Wesley, Assistant Superintendent, RISD and THE RANGER EXES ASSOCIATION- Marinell Shockey Miller, President; Johnny Wells, 2nd Vice President; Barbara Nichols McPherson, Treasurer; Barbara Rushing White, Secretary and Lee King, President 1998-2000. Barbara Crabb Delany was recognized for having her vision and dream of establishing the permanent memorial for the class. The audience was touched as Mr. White led them in singing the school song, while Jamie Caraway, Drum Major, led the 45-member RHS Band. The Class of 1960 expresses their sincere thanks to Mr. White and the band for taking the time to play, for that day, they had already shown their civic duty by picking up litter to keep their city clean, and still had to prepare for the Jr.-Sr. Prom that night. Mike Herrington recognized former teacher and coach, Harold Barrett. Coach Barrett and wife Anita reside in Weatherford, TX. After Jerry told a humorous football tale, with Coach Barrett being totally roasted as the one being responsible for the team's loss of a regional championship game in 1957, he was invited to sit with the class and was warmly welcomed. Members of the Class of 1960 were then recognized. Those present were Jerry, Walter Blackwell, Donnie Chesnut, Carol Phillips Cozart, Marilyn Warden Cundiff, Barbara, Bob Fron, Mike Herrington, Mac Jacoby, Richard Jolly, Rita Underwood McLerran, Marinell, Homer Clay Montgomery, Rozelle Hatton Sklenar, Sue Rodgers Stuard, Nina Henry Tramel and Jerry Wilson. Pat Graham Savage and Alfred Rogers could not be present, but have been active supporters through out this endeavor. Much to the Master of Ceremonies surprise, the entire class stood, and saluted him - for not only is Jerry Anderson a Lt. Col. of the U.S. Army, but the emails he sent in the past months to the coordinating group of this project always closed with: Bristles Up! Friends Forever! and often a verbal salute to them for their efforts. For him to return their salute in person, was an honor. Joining in this celebration of love, and being the most honored guests, were many family members representing the seven deceased classmates whose names appear on the memorial monument. To honor them, a rose was presented to one or more family members after a eulogy was given by individual classmates, as follows: JACK N. HAZARD, by Shirley Hazard, Chad Hazard, Deanne Hazard Carter and Rod Carter. Eulogy by Bob Fron. GEORGE KOENIG, by Walter Blackwell. Eulogy by Walter. JOHNNY PIRKLE, by Alberta Pirkle. Eulogy by Mac Jacoby. LINDA DRENNAN YARBROUGH, by Leroy Yarbrough, Evangeline Drennan Brewer, Carol Drennan Naegele, Cathy Yarbrough Clary, Sarah Yarbrough, Hunter Yarbrough, Brent, Blake and Clinton Clary, Megan, Paul and Stephanie Yarbrough and Sandy Vinson Yarbrough. Eulogy by Barbara Crabb Delany. FRANCES VEALE, by Louise Mitchell Byram and James Veale. Eulogy by Mike Herrington SANDRA COOPER LAUX, by Barbara Cooper Whatley and Sarah Cooper Collins. Eulogy by Richard Jolly. TOMMY FORD, by Barbara Ford Thackerson and Mrs. E.E. Ford. Mrs. Ford could not be present at the ceremony and was presented a rose Sunday in her Ranger home. Eulogy by Jerry Anderson. "Friends are the Most Special People in Life" by Donna Levine, was recited by Marilyn Warden Cundiff.
FRIENDS ARE THE MOST SPECIAL PEOPLE IN LIFE Friends are cherished people whom we carry in our hearts wherever we go in life. We may spend a lot of time together, getting to know one another and sharing one another's lives, then have to move on to other places. But no matter where we go, we always remember the wonderful people who touched our lives. We always remember the people who loved us and helped us learn more about ourselves, the people who stayed by us when we had to face difficult times, and with whom we felt safe enough to reveal our true selves. Friends are the unforgettable people we dreamed and planned great futures with, who accepted us as we were and encouraged us to become all that we wanted to be.
The dedication concluded with a recorded version of "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood being played, as all looked toward the special flags of the USA and Texas flown above the Heritage Center. After unveiling the monument, which was covered with a maroon & white band letter blanket which was received in 1965 by Sarah Cooper Collins, Sandra's little sister, the honored family members were greeted as they walked the 'Circle of Love' pathway by co- ordinators Jerry, Walter, Barbara, Mike, Mac and Jerry Wilson. Mrs. Rosa Hatton, 97-year-old resident of Ranger and mother of Rozelle Hatton Sklenar (1960), was the first to travel the pathway in a wheel chair. At the reception, which followed in the Ruth Terry Denny Library, friends were surrounded by maroon and white as they visited and looked through old yearbooks! The beautiful floral arrangements, contributed by Nancy and Mac Jones, Flowers by Jones, were enjoyed by all as well as three unique cakes - one decorated with a Bulldog, another with a picture of the old RHS school, and a third in the shape of Texas - complete with blue bonnets and "Friends Forever"! Loy DeLeon, Marie Jacoby's sister, made them. After the reception, the flowers were delivered to First Baptist Church, Eastside Baptist Church and the nursing home in Ranger. The remainder of the cakes were shared with the nursing homes in Ranger and Eastland, as well as those attending the "Ham Supper" at the El Rancho, a fund raiser for the Ranger Historical Preservation Society. Many families and friends gathered at the memorial table that displayed photographs and mementos of the seven deceased class- mates. Mac Jacoby, the originator of Ranger Exes Memorial, the Ranger memorial website, started the tradition of arranging a memorial table several years ago for the class reunions. These displays were the inspiration for the permanent memorial. The Class of 1960 salutes Jeane Pruett, the Ranger Historical Preservation Society and many other wonderful folks in Ranger and surrounding areas for all their support. Indeed, April 7, 2001 was a great day! A day that the RHS Class of 1960 celebrated along with many other friends and families, in remembering classmates who are gone. The Texas shaped monument will forever be a reminder of this celebration of love. Anyone who visits the Heritage Center will see and know that The Class of 1960 not only care for their classmates, but also have pride and love for Ranger, Texas - the place of their roots. As the soft breezes blow through the abundant wildflowers, all will remember the meaning of friendship in a small town. Article by: Mike Herrington, Alfred Rogers & Barbara Crabb Delany Picture of monument (10/2010) NAMES INSCRIBED ON MONUMENT (11/02/2010): 22 *-in graduating class ( )-not included on monument Death Classmate 1960 - Tommy Ford* 1968 - Mickey Craig (also listed in Class of 1961) 1974 - Sandra Cooper (Laux)* 1981 - Jimmy Hamilton 1983 - Sharron O'Donnell Jones* 1984 - Catherine Grissom (McNabb) 1985 - Frances Veale* 1989 - Bill Griffith 1992 - Ronnie Wynn 1996 - Linda Drennan (Yarbrough)* 1998 - George Koenig 1997 - Dianne Farmer (Thames) 1998 - Johnny Pirkle* 1999 - Jack Hazard* 2000 - Johnny Stewart 2004 - Robert Simmons 2004 - Rozelle H(atton) Sklenar* 2005 - Walter Hutchins 2006 - Wilburn Dawson 2007 - Donnie Chesnut (also listed in Class of 1961) 2007 - Joyce Johnson (Sawey) 2008 - Billy Jack Pockrus