Mangum High School Alumni









1911 to 1920

1921 to 1930

1931 to 1940

1941 to 1950

1951 to 1960

1961 to 1970

1971 to 1980

1981 to 1990

1991 to 2000

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NOTE: Recollections of Mangum High School Class of 1941 was written in 1991 by Ruth Bevis Pace, Class of 1941, for the 50th reunion of her class. Ruth was Class Secretary-Treasurer and Salutatorian. This detailed account is significant because there was no yearbook for the Class of 1941. Ruth passed away April 8, 2008. She and her husband, Ed Pace (MHS Class of 1937), are buried at Riverside.

Ruth Bevis 1941

by Ruth Bevis Pace

Those members of the Class of 1941 and other alumni who have not attended a reunion in a long time, maybe not in fifty years, should be forewarned that Annette Powers, Clyde Smith, Sue Clabaugh, and Helen Black (Class of 1939) all look just like they did in high school. They have faithfully attended the reunions each year which indicates that the reunions are not only lots of fun, but also great tonic for alumni.

Over the years we have read the anniversary write-ups and have marveled at how aware those classes were of political, economic, and sociological situations which occurred during their school years. The Class of 1941 was not like that. Though we may have had some closet thinkers, in the main we were airheads, we were busy, and we were disorganized. To illustrate, we remember the time Superintendent Elmer Fraker stopped by one of our classes (superintendents never visited classes) to ask questions, the answers to which we could have supplied had we done much current event reading. One of us did venture Rupert Hughes probably was a writer, and that was the single answer to Mr. Fraker’s cultural quiz.

We have found we have managed to preserve our high school traits. It was only four years ago at the banquet that our class sat stunned as the names of the deceased members of the Class of 1941 were read. A stricken Annette Powers belatedly realized that when she had been asked over the phone for the names of the members we had lost, she thought she was being asked for the names of those classmates whose addresses were lost!

Disorganization definitely remains a characteristic of our class. It was late in January this year when Geneva Brewer decided we really should do something about planning our 50th reunion which was coming up in May. Geneva probably learned how to get things moving after she married Herman Bottom who was to become superintendent of Mangum schools. Geneva organized a couple of luncheons in Oklahoma City for planning purposes. Subsequently, a letter was sent to our classmates with printed form attached requesting information from each member. The forms were to be returned to Ruth Bevis. Ruth, who had not attended the lunches but loved getting the forms, asked what to do with them. Back came instructions from Ned Wilson to send them to La Melba Jo Wiseman who had designed the form. This seemed like a logical procedure for our class and quite in line with the way we get things done! With glee, Ruth noted that only one person remarked on a typo appearing in the form. Troy Miller said Mrs. Cross would not like that spelling.

We did have presence of mind enough to know we needed somebody to write something of our history and reminiscences, and it was with a jolt that we realized that two of our star reporters had left us: John Cowan, Sports Editor for “The Tiger”, who wrote a surprisingly good sports column and Ina Lee Vossler, “The Tiger” Editor-in-Chief.

Ina Lee was our first class loss, and with each loss we are even more aware of how much these people meant to us and how deeply we regret their passing. We remember them fondly, and we miss them. Caring and affection were characteristics of our class, and we want to name those we’ve lost at the beginning of our story: Doris Mae Baker, Lester Blake, Ralph Brignon, John Cowan, Joan Hager, Bill Jeter, James Aubrey Kirk, Duane Lowe, Wilma Morris Ware, Juanita Parish, James Powell, Willa Gene Rogers, Leta Mae Taylor, Ina Lee Vossler and Dorothea Walker.

Although Shine Mallard was not graduated with our class, he was a highly visible part of it. We remember the pang we felt when at an alumni banquet, Pussle Kirk told us Shine had been killed in the Aleutians. World War II started in December after our graduation, but Shine was our only loss.

We thank Annette Powers, Nedra Lee Wilson Garrett, and Clyde Smith for remembering with flowers when they have known of a funeral service for a classmate.

Our thanks also go to Nedra Lee for all the hours she has given in helping to prepare the reunion, to Clyde Smith for his help, especially in working with temperamental sound equipment for the banquet, and to Annette Powers for caring enough to keep up with our comings and goings. Ned and her husband, Jim Garrett, and R.O. and Rosemary Heatly have been responsible for organizing and setting up the Over-40 Party so important to the reunion. We appreciate all these people.

One terrific decision our class made was in choosing the ever-gracious Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Willis as class parents our senior year. Pop Willis was a successful engineer who had a well-equipped radio shop, two dozen radios and phonographs, and lots of records for our class to play when we went out on the hill.

The Willisses had bought the R.V. Short house east of town where they gave great parties. Once, when Mom and Pop must have been occupied with another of the many groups which formed at these gatherings, one group (certain to have included LaVerne Adams, aka “Skunk”) gathered under the balcony which was over the front porch. Joan Hager was urged to jump from the balcony into a blanket the group was holding, just like firemen at a rescue. After much encouragement from the group, she took the plunge. Of course, the blanket, and the group, caved in with her. There were no broken bones but there have been many sharply indrawn breaths as we thought of this over the years.

A lovely Christmas dinner was given for our class by the Willises at the Community Building after which Pop recorded on a sound disk voices of our class as a souvenir of the occasion. In listening to the playback, we were shocked to find we had a Southwestern Oklahoma nasal drawl which we’d never recognized as different because all of us sounded the same.

Our class parents had their own children: Bill, Freddie, Laquita and Ima Lois Willis. Their grandson, Jr. Willis of Granite, appeared on “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, the nearest our class has come to fame.

We were devoted to Big Bands, Hollywood and dances at the Community Building. The Community Building has been a real asset to Mangum. A couple of years ago, Virginia Kotte remembered in a letter to the Alumni Association that the Library had played an important part in her Mangum years. We are pleased that we are still able to visit the building as we register for the banquet each year.

We have read over the years in the alumni editions of the Mangum paper how various classes identify themselves with The Depression or later recessions barely remembered. But our class years were completely encased within the actual depression years, 1929-30 to 1941, neat as a pin. The Dust Bowl years coincided with The Depression so maybe this is why neither of those catastrophes loomed large in our perspective – they were facts of life. It’s a remarkable tribute to our parents that we were able to breeze through these years comfortably. With relief, we remember we were not concerned with crime or with recurring petty theft-- blights worse than dust storms--and a facet of life our children have had to face in their lives. In our 66th, 67th or 68th year of life, depending on whether we flunked or were double promoted, we wish for the class of 1991 that drug use and crime will go away, just as the dust storms did.

Last year we were mystified when the Class of 1940, after three years of planning their 50th reunion, failed to recall the Junior-Senior Banquet we threw in their honor. The theme was “The Coconut Grove”, and the second floor of the Community Building was transformed into a breathtaking sight. Troy Miller (by then working for Raymond Willis with access to his know-how and equipment) and other senior boys worked wonders to create a realistic night sky made from blue cotton sprayed with silver stars. The rest of the setting was also spectacular, including electric signs with colored lights, simulated rock walls, palm trees, and gorgeous table settings with candles, streamers, balloons and crepe paper dolls in formal wear serving as place cards. It was something to see! We wish we could credit all those who created that wonderful experience but we are afraid we would leave somebody out. The banquet menu was in French. To this day, the only thing we are sure about was the tomato juice. By the way, we got even for the Class of 1940’s oversight by serving dry cookies and Braum’s punch at the reception we held at the Senior Citizens Center last May to honor their 50th anniversary.

In our senior year, we well remember that Jake Smith and his Class of 1942 arranged a glittering Junior-Senior Banquet with the theme, “Star Dust Time”, to honor our class. We also still remember the clever programs we were given which included a menu in English so we knew we were eating creamed chicken and rose radishes!

An amazing thing happened our sophomore year, our first year in high school. Classmates placed in four of the eight categories in the high school popularity contest. Winners were Dorothe Nell Sullivan, Best looking Girl; Claude Smith, Best Looking Boy; Virginia Creed, Best All-Around Girl and Marjorie Arnett, School Sweetheart. This was another of the catalysts which propelled our class with high enthusiasm through exciting times over the rest of our high school years.

Our senior year, the Journalism Class conducted another high school popularity contest and these classmates were among the winners: Junior Elsea, Best Looking Boy; Doris Mae Baker, Prettiest Girl; Wilton Jones, Most Popular Boy; Marjorie Arnett, Most Popular Girl; Billy Wayne Houck, Best Boy Athlete; Virginia Creed, Best Girl Athlete; Ruth Bevis, Best Girl Student and Joan Hager, Wittiest Girl.

Can any of us remember who gave the address at our commencement and who gave the sermon at our Baccalaureate Service? Can anybody even remember the assembly in which a male group from an older class sang “Little Sir Echo” on stage with Vernie Mae Mallard in the balcony responding? We thought that was hilarious.

Classmates whose parents were MHS alumni: Hoover Wright, son of Lava Hoover, ’15 and Harley Wright, ’16; Margie Lou Bowman, daughter of Nina Lawrence Bowman; Bette Nell Crittenden, daughter of Mable McCollister Crittenden, ‘09; Dorothy Anna Hadlock, daughter of Mary Doyle Hadlock, ’17; Joan Hager, daughter of Susie Spoon Hager, ’18; Dorine Thrower, daughter of Jessie Doyle Thrower, ’18 and Clive Thrower, ’19; Eleanor Boyd, daughter of Margaret Boyd, ’16 and Marie Scott, daughter of Gladys Wicker Scott, ‘19. Marie’s dad, Jewett S. Scott, was a member of the school board the year we were graduated, and Richard’s father, W.L. Lockhart, was a member the year we were sophomores. La Melba Jo Wiseman was the sixth and last member of her family to be graduated from MHS.

Class officers our senior year were Hoover Wright, President; Joan Hager, Vice President; and Ruth Bevis, Secretary-Treasurer. Teachers Janet Cravey and Virginia Fesler were sponsors. Virginia Kotte was Valedictorian, Ruth Bevis was Salutatorian, and Dorine Thrower was Honor Student. Merry Jo Cox was Football Queen.

Classmates on the basketball team our senior year were Hoover Wright, John Cowan and Wilton Jones. (Wilton must have been the busiest person in our class.) In the days before megapoint games, Hoover and James Starr, Wes’s younger brother, tallied 169 points in eleven games, yet the Tigers won only three games and lost twelve.

Coached by the popular Weldon Spivey and playing their final football game against Hollis at Thanksgiving were Buster Shortt (Captain), Lester Blake, John Cowan and Billy Wayne Houck. During the 1940 season the team won five, lost three and tied two. Although Billy Wayne had seen only three football games in his life before he reported for practice his sophomore year, two years later he was selected an All-State end and was awarded the Neathery trophy as the team’s MVP for the season. John Cowan was selected alternate center on the All-State team. A popular boys’ pep club, The Hornets, wore orange shirts and cheered our teams on.

In girls’ tennis, Virginia Creed, seeded No. 2 in the state, was able to retain her standing when she played in the state finals at Norman. Virginia and Hoover won the county mixed doubles their junior year.

That the class was involved in so many activities helps explain why we didn’t have time to think deeply or read much. There were clubs all over the place. Geneva Brewer, who taught clarinet, organized a Clarinet Club with eight members. Annette Powers was president of the fifteen-member Spanish Club. Travis Smith was a member of FFA, and Ralph Brignon and Calvin Matthews were officers in this organization which also had a very knowledgeable advisor in Ben Sorrells. Seniors in the Debate Club, sponsored by Emily Hoover, were Richard Lockhart, Peggy Short, Wilton Jones, Bill Jeter and Bette Nell Crittenden. Marjorie Arnett was president of the Book Club. Juanita Martin and Junior Elsea were in the Commercial Club with Virginia Creed as its president. Betty Jean House, an outstanding pianist and a member of the Biology Club, took first place in a biology contest at the annual SWIM in Weatherford. Dorine Thrower, Dorothy Anna Hadlock, and Willa Gene Rogers were members of the Future Homemakers of Oklahoma club with Nell Smith, Naomi Gray and Wilma Morris serving as officers. The club with the largest membership was the Dean Reed Music Club, once identified in the Mangum Daily Star as the “Dead” Reed Music Club. The Club was sponsored by Virginia Fesler with Ruth Bevis as its president. The club was rated number one in the state at the state junior music rally in Tulsa.

The Journalism Club prepared daily copy for “The Tiger”, a column appearing in the Mangum Daily Star during the first semester of our senior year. The last nine weeks of school the club issued mimeographed news sheets stapled into a package. We could hardly wait for the wrap-up of the news spiced with lots of gossip and snide remarks, although Gwynneth Cox did write some kind words, a rarity in the gossip columns. Wes Starr was Business Manager, Betty Jo Keith was Society Editor and typist. Wilton Jones was Feature Editor and Bette Nell Crittenden was Circulation Manager. Richard Lockhart and Duane Lowe were reporters. Peggy Short was typist.

Rodney Calhoun and Pussle Kirk were in the Boys Glee Club. Eloise Freeman, Juanita Parish and Betty Jo Keith were three-fourths of the Girls Quartet. The Girls Glee Club was packed with seniors. Among the members of our class smart enough to enroll themselves in the Diversified Occupations Class were Mildred Deming, Jack Raulston (who can forget Jack Raulston at the soda fountain in Richards Drug where he made us feel at home), La Melba Jo Wiseman, Dolores Norris, Fred Carnes and Ada Lou Smith, who managed to outshine her brothers in grades earned. The K.K.K. Club sang a closing number at Bette Nell Crittenden’s piano, violin and speech recital. Big on the scene during high school were the sixteen-member Sweet Sixteen Club, all girls, and the Lucky Seven, all boys. As involved in other activities as the Lucky Seven members were, they still managed to spend a lot of time working on their collectively-owned Model T.

Surprisingly, there was no drama club though the class presented two well-received plays, “Lunatics at Large” our junior year and the mystery “Through the Night” our senior year. James Powell had the thankless job of property manager for the senior play. Crammed in among other activities of the class were a high school operetta, “Look Who’s Here” and two minstrels, “Dark Town Follies” and “Oceana”. Then there were the band, a swing band and the orchestra. Our senior year Ruth Pace was orchestra president, Claude Smith, vice president and Marie Scott, librarian.

We remember the Drum and Bugle Corps which performed in many towns in their good-looking uniforms. Directed by Maurice Brooks, the corps was in existence from 1935 to 1940. Included from our class were Doris Mae Baker, Juanita Parish, Ruth Murray, June Conrad, Edna Orendorff, Sue Clabaugh, Annette Powers, LaVerne Adams, Gwynneth and Merry Jo Cox, Eloise Freeman, Joan Hager and Dorothe Nell Sullivan. Nedra Lee and Betty Wilson were really quite flashy as twirlers. They remember marching all over the congressional district handing out cards during a Victor Wickersham campaign in return for sandwiches and cokes.

When we started to school, a marcel was popular. This was the hairdo made with a curling iron, and the girls who did not have marcels were envious of the ones who did. Then permanent waves, looking like marcels, were created. In the beginning, permanent waves had tight waves and curls. By the time we were in high school, loose flowing coiffeurs, including pageboys, were the style. Boys favored butch haircuts. For girls, among many high school fads, were scarves looped through the front of stiffly starched white collars worn over sweaters. Saddle shoes were in, but they had to be scuffed and dirty. Classmates obligingly stepped on new shoes to mash down the toes to achieve a fashionably smudged look.

Annette Powers remembers the word “swoon” was in high usage in Junior High and that the audience swooned during an assembly when Ruth Murray sang “Deep Purple”, still one of the most beautiful songs ever written, we think. Everybody remembers how LaVerne Adams acquired her nickname, “Skunk”, and she was affectionately called by that name throughout our high school years. We remember the beautiful waltz performed by Claude Smith and Marjorie Arnett during a play intermission. Marjorie wore a dress which could have been designed for Ginger Rogers. Dorothy Anna Hadlock remembers the girls’ pep club beige corduroy uniforms with black scarves, four big black buttons on the jackets, orange bars on each sleeve and bell bottom legs.

In high school we remember seeing a picture in the Mangum Daily Star of Virginia Kotte, Wilton Jones, Hoover Wright, Emily Hoover, and Mrs. J.M. Walker, Dorothea’s mother, who had participated in a forum broadcast from O.U., the purpose of which was to discuss unorthodox ideas concerning teacher-pupil relations. We accepted this without even being curious.

We remember what Edna Orendorff said about the upcoming initiation: “Just make it entertaining, but I draw the line at wearing dead mice.” Fred Carnes thought the initiation would be wonderful. Tommy Buchanan said, “I am fixed for it, especially my hair.”

Nedra Lee Wilson remembers a group of girls taking their own senior trip with Marjorie Arnett in her dad’s car. We remember that beautiful black 1941 Buick in which they had a flat tire that not one of the girls could handle. The driver of the Best Maid Mayonnaise truck stopped to fix the flat, and each of them solemnly promised to use only Best Maid the rest of her life.

In later years we remember seeing Katherine Berry, so pretty, and her husband on the dance floor in the waning days of the big mixers. And, at a party, Junior Elsea and Eloise Freeman (who dated in high school and later married), looking fabulous.

The prize-winning reminiscence goes to Sue Clabaugh who remembered that in the seventh grade, Wes Starr would issue a weekly listing, “Girls I Claim”, which created Big Excitement. Wes’s drawing card? He was a tap dancer! There are still women smugly remembering that their names appeared on his list.

To the Class of 1941: Did you know that Clyde Smith has been president of both the Alumni Association and the Mangum School Board of Education? A note of things to come: how many of us will be as honored as Leta Mae Taylor was when her two daughters stopped by to see Annette Powers seeking information about the girlhood of their mother. Appropriately, Annette, archivist for our class, resides in the home of her parents, Judge and Mrs. Percy Powers. That home was at one time the stables of her grandfather, James Alonzo Powers, whose big house still stands at the corner of Pennsylvania and Tyler.

Principal our senior year was Tom Johnson, and Weldon Spivey was Athletic Director. Our teachers were Emily Hoover, Math; Mary Hall, History; Naomi Edmiston, English; Jeanette Cravey, English; Amneris Walker, Latin; Mildred Sandoz, Biology; George Hindman, Commerce; Ben Sorrells, Vocational Agriculture; Dennis Walden, Trades and Industries; Virginia Fesler, Vocal Music and Nita Faye Thrower, Home Economics.

Class members still living in Oklahoma are Tommy Buchanan, Rodney Calhoun, Naomi Gray Jenkins, Annette Powers Meader, and Clyde Smith, Mangum; Carroll Wetzel, Granite; Ruth Bevis Pace and Peggy Short Hoover, Duncan; Mildred Deming Wilbourn, Weatherford; Eloise Freeman Elsea and husband O.C. Elsea, Jr., Norman; Fred Carnes, Canute; Jack Raulston, Lawton; Nell Smith Eyer, Shawnee; Wesley Starr, Blanchard; and Geneva Brewer Bottom, Cordell. Clustered in Oklahoma City are Katherine Berry McMinn, Sue Clabaugh, Merry Jo Cox Gresham, Dorothy Anna Hadlock Bravo, Buster Shortt, Nedra Lee Wilson Garrett, La Melba Jo Wiseman Parker, and Marie Scott Brandt, whose address is Bethany.

Scattered about are Marjorie Arnett Houck and Bill Houck in Ft. Worth; LaVerne Adams Bryan, Brisbane Australia; Margie Lou Bowman Jenkins, Haviland, Kansas; Eleanor Boyd Farris, Tacoma, Washington; June Conrad Yerby, Overland Park, Kansas; Gwynneth Cox Morris, Garland, Texas; Virginia Creed, Trenton, New Jersey; Betty Jean House Zeaman, Storrs, Connecticut; Wilton Jones, San Angelo, Texas; Virginia Kotte Egermeier, Canoga Park, California; Calvin Matthews, Dallas; Troy Miller, Northbrook, Illinois; Edna Orendorff Morris, Morena Valley, California; Ada Lou Smith Coleman, Tangent, Oregon; Claude Smith, Washington State; Travis Smith, Seguin, Texas; Dorine Thrower Herndon, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Howard Wheeler, Alta Loma, California; and Hoover Wright, Santa Fe, New Mexico. We have been unable to locate Bette Nell Crittenden Region, Betty Jo Keith Olson, Richard Lockhart, Juanita Martin Maxwell, Dolores Norris, Ted Reeves and Fred Robertson.

On April 6, 1981, Annette Powers and Nedra Lee Wilson, along with Carroll Wetzel, Clyde Smith and Geneva Brewer, issued an invitation to our class for a 40th reunion at Annette’s on Friday, the day of the alumni banquet. The party at Annette’s lasted from 9:30 a.m. Friday until the time to get ready for the banquet. Those of us who did not attend will never hear the end of how much fun this was, made more so by the fact that many people from other classes came by to help celebrate.

At our 40th reunion, Sue Clabaugh was dismissed as bartender because somebody ordered a plain Coke which she couldn’t handle; however, she excelled at arranging napkins at our reception last year. Annette still talks about the huge, delicious bowl of potato salad Malvina and Carroll Wetzel brought. We have the impression our 50th might be pale in comparison to our 40th, so we can hardly wait to find out.