By Ralphine Major
I looked at the list of names and realized I had met many of them through the years as our paths crossed. 1961 was the year my class began first grade, and I had no idea who the graduating seniors were. On a gorgeous July evening, the Gibbs High School Class of ‘61 gathered for their 54th reunion at the home of classmate Grady Lett and his wife, Polly, whose farm has been the setting for six weddings! The highlight of the evening turned to disappointment when Mabel Acuff (English teacher) and Coach J. A. Beeler were unable to attend, but the class members truly enjoyed their time together. Anytime a group can meet after fifty-four years, it is special!
Larry Bayless was a dear friend of our father’s and his family’s farm joined ours. We attended Larry and Linda’s wedding. Marvin Boruff was another dear friend of our father’s and has been a neighbor for over forty years. Lois Cate Brewer I remember as a fourth-grade teacher at Gibbs. Sadly, Lois passed away recently. Others include Faye Hall Clark, Roy Corum, Don Dalton, Ron Stevens, Glenda Wallace Dezearn, and Jerry Dezearn. We attended Union Baptist with Betty Popejoy Harless and Doris Donahue Henderlight. The families of Mary White Knighton and JoAnn Stormer Henderlight were friends and “neighbors” of our family. Also attending were JoAnn Lowery Luttrell, Gail Foster Pope, Carlene Henderlight Reagan, Shirley Clevenger Merritt, Bobby Joe Nicely, Bill Wortham, Otie Sweet, Virginia Cleveland Schubert, Bill Stormer, and Jo Shelby Stormer, who along with Polly Lett worked with our mother at the former East Tennessee Chest Disease Hospital. Bobby Karnes is deceased; our family knew the Karnes family in Gibbs Community. His brother, Tony, was a victim of 9-11 and was featured in the Focus 9-14-15. The 55th Reunion next year is sure to be another cherished time for the Class of ‘61, forever linked by a single name—Gibbs.