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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
Picture of monument (10/2010)
NAMES INSCRIBED ON MONUMENT (11/02/2010): 22
*-in graduating class ( )-not included on monument
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