Small Talk: Anniston High's Class of '69 — Still feelin' just fine
by Annette Maddox
Jun 14, 2009 | 3956 views |  0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Anniston High School Class of 1969 reunion last month brought loads of old friends back to their home turf for a well-rounded weekend of good times.

Committee members (who began meeting in September 2008 to plan the reunion) included Christy Bennett Skinner; Jane Bryan; Sandy Deljudice Reid; Mike Farrell (Birmingham); Ted Harwell (Pell City); Guy Horton and Vickie McGinnis Horton (Wedowee); Glenn Hurd and Jan Dear Hurd; Wayne McCain (Athens); Kyle Medders; Darrell Morrison; Suzy Martin Roberts; Susan Robertson; Mandi Steppi King; and Belinda Williams Garmon. "Save the date" bulldog magnets were mailed out in November 2008, and the committee established a Web site, which enabled classmates to get information about the reunion weekend events.

Weekend festivities kicked off the evening of Friday, May 29, at the Montvue Road home of Don and Mandi King.

Class of '69 Student Council President Glenn Hurd opened the evening by welcoming guests, and the Rev. Mike Farrell gave the invocation, which was followed by a Dreamland rib dinner with all the trimmings. The perfect weather and congenial crowd contributed to the relaxed atmosphere of renewing old friendships and catching up on the comings and goings of the classmates.

The following morning, Class of '69 ladies (and significant others of the male alums) gathered at the home of Belinda Williams Garmon on Deerfield Place. Later that evening, classmates met at the corner of 17th Street and Quintard Avenue for a photo session at the school's old columns (the class of 1969 was the last class to graduate inside the old Anniston High auditorium.) Afterward, the group reassembled on the steps of the Calhoun County Courthouse for another class picture.

Immediately following, it was around the corner and into Classic on Noble for an "incredible dinner" and a chance to peruse scads of memorabilia on display: letter sweaters, past class reunion pictures, framed photos and newspaper articles about "Project Aries" (classmate Wayne McCain has been involved with the project for 40 years!) along with a recent Anniston Star article that featured 1969's most famous classmate, Rodney Clark (Montgomery) who is with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Mr. Clark will play the part of Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant in the production of "Bear Country," which will be in Birmingham in August.

An especially touching display was a tribute to the 19 classmates who have passed away. A table with red roses and framed photos honored the lives of Brenda Allen Miellmier; Steve Babcock; Carol Casey Golden; Mary Elizabeth Dot Dear; Karen Evans; Becky Ford Turner; Brenda Joy Haynes; Helen Jeanell Helms; William Eugene (Bill) Hollingsworth; David Lindsey; Mary Sue McCrelles Barnett; James R. (Jimmy) McKleroy; Debbie Powell Dorough; Ricky Roberts; Pamela Stewart; Wanda Stovall Hazle Kidd; Paul Thompson; Glenda Watson Arnberg and Don Wray.

After some "open mic" time, when everyone got a chance to tell a little about themselves, followed by a cheer led by former AHS cheerleaders — who didn't miss a beat — and the singing of the class's alma mater, it was close to midnight, and classmates scattered to their respective overnight accommodations.

The next morning, they gathered at The Donoho School's cafetorium, where the Rev. Mike Farrell led an emotional, heartwarming service.

After the service, Jim and Belinda Garmon invited everyone to their home for leftovers. Despite someone spilling a large portion of baked beans onto the floor, the group managed to end on a good note, and the 40th Reunion of Anniston High School's class of 1969 was over.

AHS Class of '69 alums from outside Anniston included Denise Barker Geer, Gadsden; Kathy Bridges Payne (John), Moore, S.C.; Adonica Brown Deane (Steve), Peoria, Ariz; Vicki Bryant Matthews (Jim), Destin, Fla; Charlotte Carpenter Koon (Ronny), Helena; Rodney Clark, Montgomery; Jane Collier Mileski (George), Middlesex, N.J.; Maxine Cook Branham (Barry), Steele; Caryl Craven Bayne (Jeff), Boaz; Marsha Hinds Obert (Jackson), Leeds; Deb Hollingsworth Sprayberry (Sam), Summerville, S.C.; Tom Jenkins (Sandy) Germantown, Tenn.; Debby Johnson Leighton (Bill), Houston; Elaine Keener, Pell City; Diane Kelley Downing (Frank), Martinez, Ga.; Larry Kelley, Marietta, Ga.; Carol McGee Pursell (James), Pensacola, Fla.; Sam Martin (Donna), Hampton, Va.; Rodney Miller (Janice), Valrico, Fla.; Dale Mintz, Lawrenceville, Ga.; Patsy Moore Dickerson (Brinkley), Atlanta; Stephen Oliver (Lisa), Greenville, S.C.; Larry Parker (Jenette), Guntersville; Valerie Phillips Scott (Donald), Gadsden; Stanley Pippin, Birmingham; Bill Reid, Tuscaloosa; Bob Rentschler (Nancy), Birmingham; Paul Siskey, Albertville; Gail Stankard Sharman (Sonny), Clanton; Dennis Suggs (Georgia), Meridianville; and Chris Worsham, Sperry, Okla.

For those unable to attend the reunion, books about the weekend events are in the works and will be available for purchase by contacting

The Donoho School hosts Kayla Darby junior varsity volleyball tournament

The Donoho School is hosting the Kayla Darby Junior Varsity Volleyball Tournament Saturday. All proceeds will benefit Kayla Darby and her parents in her fight against rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that develops in the soft tissue of children and teenagers. Kayla, an upcoming ninth-grader at The Donoho School, was diagnosed in 2008.

Schools expected to participate in the tournament include: Donoho, Oxford, Faith, Alexandria, Wellborn and Weaver. Play starts at 9 a.m., and the championship game is expected to be played at 4 pm. Tickets are $3 at the door, and T-shirts and baked goods will be sold, in addition to concessions. Last year's tournament raised approximately $7,000.
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