Bridgeport Intermediate School Third 9 Weeks Honor Roll


THIRD GRADE – Joshua Brubaker, Steven Christopher, Brandon Garcia, Jennyfer Gutierrez Garcia, Kalista Holley, David Huerta, Salem Hurtado, David Kranz, Courtney Landers, Samantha Macias, Kristen Martinez, Rayna Mathes, Jackson McComis, Frank Medina, Scarlett Merritt, Emma Miles, Christian Ortiz, Shanna Perez, Jasmine Schonerstedt, Ashlyn Smallwood, Reece Sparks, Maylee Spicer, Dennison Spill, Maryssa Sutherland, Noah Taft, Jackson VanHoose, Jocelyn Vidal, Hannah Walter

FOURTH GRADE – Eric Cervantes, Merari Fraga, Emily Herrera, Chan Horne, Molly Johanson, Marisol Martinez, Jadyn McCoy, Micah Medina, Seth Phillips, Nicole Reyes, Kayli Roberts, Colton Rudder, Kevin Sandoval, Alyssa Schonerstedt, Karalyn Stotts, Charles Walker, Jeffrey Warner, Savannah Whisenant

FIFTH GRADE – Aaron Brichetto, Jacquelyne Garcia, Emma Godwin, Kolby Hamblin, Seguin Hernandez, Erin Holt, Blake Horton, Claire Huya, Ashley Marschall, Bristyn Miller, Syverah Monrreal, Connor Payton, Zoe Rivera


THIRD GRADE – Anthony Actkinson, Arith Alvarado, Christian Anderson, Augustus Arnold, Brendan Berk, Alissa Bratton, Eva Cain, Darell Cervantes, Cody Cooper, Mia Cruz, Aaliyah DeHoyos, Juan DeHoyos, Alonso Delgadillo, Hayden Dickerson, Maria del Carmen Esparza Martinez, Jocelyn Espinoza, Korbin Fox, Melody Frazier, Gabriella Friddle, Saray Garcia, Kimora Gomez, Valeria Gonzalez, Ashlynn Hoots, David Iniguez, Nicholas Lara, Halie Marrone, Mason McAnear, Jennifer Medrano, Ryder Morrow, Landri Murphy, Samuel Negrete, Fatima Ortiz, Luv Ortiz, Victoria Ortiz, Austyn Paddack, Ali Prado, Vidiam Ramirez Garcia, Coby Richie, Gabriela Ruvalcaba, Maraya Ruvalcaba, Devon Rye, Madison Schwartz, Audrey Southerland, Riley Sparks, Ruby Tovar, Rainy Valley, Keenan Vick

FOURTH GRADE – Sergio Acevedo, Cameron Anderson, Emma Cantrell, Sadee Carstens, Joel Cervantes, Haven Clayburn, Roarie Comer, Shande Contreras, Cade Cortez, Crystal Cruz, Brylie Davidson, Jose De La Cerda, Hailey Dickerson, Ruben Dominguez, Hezekiah Fitzgerald, Yazmin Gonzalez, Samuel Hernandez, Brianna Hernandez-Perez, Erik Herrera, Cole Holley, Galilea Huerta, Karina Huerta, Cheyenne Huffman, Alexis Juarez, Giovani Lopez, Juliana Lopez, Mason McComis, Landen McEntire, Mariah Monk, Kylie Monrreal, Alyana Montoya, Elijah Morman, Greeley Neeper, Shawn Nelson, Melina Owens, Payton Phillips, Dylan Pope, Bethany Powers, Rebeka Prado, Diego Rojo, Vanessa Rosales, Guadalupe Rubio Rubio, Gregory Sadberry, Fernando Santos, Alysa Smith, Kathryn Stotts, Ariel Sultz, Brianna Tatsch, Maximus Uribe, Montserrat Uribe-Baeza, Creed Vineyard, Raynee Walker, Zandon White, Bralyn Wright

FIFTH GRADE – Angelo Arriaga, Chad Bradford, Jocelyn Cano Gamino, Blayke Carillo, Brianna Chavez, Chris DeLaCerda, Marcus Delgado, Blase Gaona, Mariah Garcia, Landon Gregg, Nicole Hernandez, Garrett Hudson, Cason Jobe, Mallory Learned, Erick Macias, Sidney Macias, Delilah Martinez, Gerardo Martinez, Mason McGuire, Christian Mills, Madyson Minor, Cailey Negrete, Diana Ortega-Sanchez, Abel Rodriguez, Alexis Rodriguez, Samuel Rodriguez, Isabella Ruano-Ruiz De Vivar, Aislinn Rudder, Matthew Sadberry, Kyler Sparks, Sophia Sullivan Green, Emma Sutherland, John Taylor, Kyle Teague, Emily Tovar, Janelli Trujillo, Alyssa Verdugo, Elizabeth Walker, Zane White, Dylan Williams, Dustin Woods

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Meeting Previews for Saturday, April 18, 2015

PARADISE CITY COUNCIL – Monday night the Paradise City Council will consider declaring April 21, 2015, “Sue Hudson Day.” The council will also hear reports from the Economic Development Corp., Planning and Zoning Board, as well as the city’s building and water departments. The council may also hire a code enforcement officer. The meeting is at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

RUNAWAY BAY CITY COUNCIL – The council will discuss an antenna lease agreement between the city and Infinilink Broadband at its meeting Monday night. They will also consider bids on high-service pumps and the city’s mowing program. The meeting is 5:30 p.m. at 101 Runaway Bay Drive.

BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD – The school board will discuss lunch prices for the upcoming school year and hear proposals for middle school trips to Washington, D.C., and New York City during its meeting 7 p.m. Monday, April 20, at 2107 15th Street.

PARADISE SCHOOL BOARD – The PISD school board will meet 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 20, to announce a lone finalist for superintendent. The board will also discuss textbook adoption and TEKS certification, bad weather waiver approval and whether or not to offer reasonable assurance of employment for para-professionals and auxiliary personnel. The meeting is at the board room, 338 School House Road.

DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD – The board will consider teacher contracts as well as non-Chapter 21 contracts at Monday’s meeting. The agenda also includes textbook certification and regular monthly reports. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. with a closed session followed by the open session at 7 p.m. at the DISD Administration Building, 307 S. Cates.

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Bridgeport City Council offers city administrator job to city secretary

Bridgeport’s city secretary will soon be moving into a new role.

After meeting in closed session for a little more than an hour Tuesday night, Bridgeport City Council gave their OK to offer the city administrator job to current city secretary Jesica McEachern.

The position is currently held by Interim City Administrator Chester Nolen, who replaced Brandon Emmons last December. Nolen is a representative of Strategic Government Resources, a government recruitment firm in Keller.

This was the fourth time the council met to discuss applicants, including once in a regular meeting and three times in closed session.

“This has been something that’s been heavily discussed, and the decision to offer the job to Jesica was unanimous,” Mayor Corey Lane said.

McEachern is expected to be officially hired at the council’s next regular meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 21.

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Hospice Plus

Address: 1903 Doctors Hospital Drive Suite 1 Bridgeport, TX 76426

Phone: 940-683-3288 or 24-hour hotline at 1-800-255-3194

Fax: 844-466-3370



Owner/Manager: Tracy King, Brandi M. King

Hours of Operation: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday

Products/services: Hospice care

Ribbon Cutting

RIBBON CUTTING – Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting April 14 at Hospice Plus. Pictured are (from left) owner Brandi King; Ryan Shaw, R.N.; Sherry Clark, R.N.; Tracy King, R.N. and Judy Prudence, R.N. Messenger photo by Laura Belcher

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Softball: Sissies finish Frogs

The Bridgeport Sissies scored eight runs with two outs, including a three-run homer by Hayley Davidson during a 13-run first inning.

After three more runs in the third inning, the game was over in a 15-0 run rule.

Hailey Hollingsworth struck out five of the nine batters she faced, allowing no hits or runs.

Lake Worth’s only baserunner reached on a Hollingsworth error.

Kensley Turner got a hit in each of her three at-bats, driving in two runs with two doubles and a triple.

Like Turner, Shiloh Weirich hit the ball every time she stepped up to the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double and a triple.

Melissa Monjaraz drove in three runs, two on sacrifices and one on a double.

And Hollingsworth brought in two with her triple in the first.

Davidson finished with a team-leading five RBIs.

The win gives the Sissies a 4-2 record in district play, behind only Castleberry and Decatur in 8-4A.


Northwest took a big hit Wednesday with a loss to Byron Nelson that could have allowed the Lady Texans to move back into position for a playoff spot.

Down 7-6 heading into the sixth, the Lady Texans gave up four runs in the bottom of the sixth and followed that with a scoreless seventh to end the game.

Northwest’s Brie Wrobel drove in three runs with a hit in three of her four at-bats.

Sydnee Hinkle drove in two runs on two hits, and Tuesday DerMargosian’s lone hit drove in a run as well.

Catherine Totty and Emily Worley each pitched three innings for the Lady Texans.

Totty gave up five hits and five runs in her outing, and Worley allowed six hits and six runs in her time in the pitcher’s circle.

The Lady Texans’ record is now 4-5 while Byron Nelson sits in fourth place at 6-4


It wasn’t a blowout, but Paradise got the win Friday over City View.

Paradise pitcher Reagan Taylor turned up the heat in the top of the fifth following her sister, Randa’s, RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to put the Lady Panthers up by a run.

Reagan proceeded to strike out the side in the fifth, allowing only two baserunners in the final three innings of play.

The Lady Panthers remain tied atop 9-3A with Holliday who also have just one district loss to their record.

At 8-3, Boyd sits at third in 9-3A.


Boyd’s four runs in the fourth inning were followed by five in the fifth to give the Lady Yellowjackets a relatively easy 11-1 win over Nocona Tuesday.

The game ended after five innings and Boyd’s Chandler Hammond finished the game allowing only two hits, though one was a home run.

Savannah Foster and Britney Howard each got two hits in their three at-bats to lead Boyd.

Howard drove in three runs and Foster brought in two.

Chelsea Arlington and Hammond each drove in two runs as well.

The win gives the Lady Yellowjackets an 8-3 record, sitting third in 9-3A behind Holliday and Paradise.

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Baseball: Boyd battles to remain in playoff hunt

A five-run bottom of the fourth gave Boyd a 9-0 lead over Nocona Wednesday.

Nocona followed with their first run of the game in the fifth, but a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the fifth negated that run when it brought Brandon Hardee home.

The two Nocona runs in the top of the second couldn’t spark the rally needed to overcome Boyd’s 10-hit night.

Colton Batterton’s two hits brought four runs across to lead the Yellowjackets’ offense.

Clay Barnett was also an offensive strong point for Boyd, getting a hit in all three of his at-bats.

Barnett drove in two runs and crossed home twice himself.

Hardee pitched most of the game for Boyd, allowing three hits and a run.

Evan Stephenson came on in relief and allowed only one hit and two runs in just under three innings of work.

Boyd’s current 5-4 record in 9-3A has them in a three-way tie with Paradise and Henrietta for third place in the district.

Bowie sits atop the district standings with an unblemished 9-0 record and Holliday’s 7-2 record has them in second.


Jared Huff’s double in the bottom of the second brought in two of the eight runs Bridgeport accumulated in the inning.

Huff’s continued brilliance on the mound made sure that the Bridgeport lead was safe.

The pitcher struck out eight batters and allowed only one walk and three hits in his seven innings on the hill against Lake Worth.

He also showed extreme efficiency, throwing under 100 pitches, with just under 72 percent of his pitches being strikes.

Other Bulls stand outs were Jake Martinez who blasted a homer and drove in two runs, and Lane Morrow who doubled twice.

Mason Baker got two hits in his three at-bats with two runs driven in.

Bridgeport’s 8-4A record surpasses .500 with the win, putting them at 3-2 and second in district.

Decatur and Springtown are currently tied at the top of the district at 3-1.


Northwest’s Dustin May doubled in the top of the fifth, scoring Lyric Walker and Tanner Treadway as the tying and go-ahead runs.

That same inning, Doger Gilliland singled to third base, scoring Bryson Wrobel to put the Texans up 3-1.

Bailey Dovel’s stingy pitching helped to keep Timber Creek scoreless for the final two innings of play, resulting in a Northwest victory.

Dovel pitched all seven innings, allowing six hits and one run with four strikeouts and a walk.

The Texans remain in a tough spot in 5-6A. At 3-6, they are tied with Denton Guyer for sixth in the district.

That being said, three teams are tied for third with 4-5 records, just one game ahead of the Texans.

Keller remains undefeated with a 9-0 record, and Byron Nelson has a nice lead on the second-place slot at 7-2.


Despite no strikeouts, three walks and six hits, the Paradise Pathers were unable to score against Henrietta Tuesday.

John Bridgeman was a bright spot for the Panthers, getting two hits in his three at-bats.

Bryson Meyers started the game for Paradise and pitched five innings, allowing six runs and seven hits.

Landry Norwood relieved Meyers for the final two innings of play, giving up only one hit and striking out four.

The loss puts the Panthers in a three-way tie with Boyd and Henrietta for third place in 9-3A.

With games against Holliday, Nocona, Boyd and Jacksboro remaining on the schedule, Paradise has a chance to greatly improve their playoff chances in the coming two weeks.

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Aaliyah Nichole Mitchell

Viviana Reyes and Colton Mitchell of Bridgeport announce the birth of a daughter, Aaliyah Nichole Mitchell, on April 14, 2015, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long.

She has two brothers: Mayson and Julius Mitchell, both 5.

Grandparents include Bobby and Sherry Mitchell, Micaela Garcia and Arturo Cedillo.

Great-grandparents are Carolina Clark, Tony Clark, Aurelia Varela and Marcelino Garcia.

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Student still missing

A Bridgeport High School student remained missing as of press time Tuesday, according to Bridgeport Assistant Police Chief Steve Stanford.

Brant Boatman

The student, 17-year-old Brant Boatman, was reported missing to the police around 7:20 Sunday morning. Boatman’s parents said he went missing around 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

A statement released Monday by the Bridgeport Police Department said Boatman was last seen at Brookshire’s in Bridgeport around 7 a.m. Sunday. He reportedly told a witness he was going to walk to Denton.

“He has a friend in Denton that he had spoken about seeing, but it’s hard to figure out which one it is because we’re just going off of first names,” Stanford said. “We’re continuing to follow up on leads.”

Bridgeport Police Chief Randy Singleton said Monday there is no evidence to suggest Boatman was abducted.

“We have no evidence at this time to believe it was an abduction; our investigation right now points to him leaving on his own,” Singleton said.

Stanford said there has been a lot of “convoluted information” floating around about the case.

“We had a couple of calls in the last couple of days who thought they saw him walking around, but it turned out to be someone else,” Stanford said Tuesday. “Right now, we’re looking at trying to get a hold of different phone records to see if we can track him that way.”

Boatman is described as a slim, 5’10” white male with brown hair and brown eyes and a “scruffy beard.” He was last seen wearing a grey T-shirt, dark jeans and white tennis shoes.

A flier put up around Bridgeport by Boatman’s family states that the young man left the house armed with a .45 handgun and is currently off of his medications and could be suicidal.

“We don’t know for certain that he has a gun, but we’re playing it like he does,” Stanford said Tuesday. Boatman’s stepfather, Michael Fortune, reported a .45 handgun missing to the police shortly after Boatman disappeared.

Several rumors were started Monday about Bridgeport High School being in lockdown in relation to the missing student. Superintendent Eddie Bland said Monday the school was never on lockdown, and staff was “just making sure the building was secure.”

“Since we had a kid go missing over the weekend, we were just making sure that the doors are locked and are all working effectively,” Bland said.

A Facebook post updated by the district Monday elaborated on the rumor.

“There have been no threats made against the school or campuses,” the post reads. “The safety and security of our students is a priority for the district. We have instructed all staff to make sure we are following normal procedures keeping outside doors locked, making sure students are in class and out of the hallways and having any visitors come in through the office.”

Anyone with information on Boatman’s whereabouts can call the Bridgeport Police Department at 940-683-3430; Michael Fortune, Boatman’s stepfather, at 940-273-0993; Jennifer Fortune, Boatman’s mother, at 940-273-0992; or Crimestoppers, at 1-800-643-8477; or 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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Golf: Sissies earn state bid

With a solid second round, the Bridgeport Sissies earned third-place at the Class 4A Region golf tournament and a spot at state.

The Sissies shot a 512 at the 27-hole, rain-shortened tournament.

“We had a lot of people put up good numbers,” said Bridgeport junior Lexi Read. “Katie [Hudson], Abbie [Hatton] and Brooke [Irion] beat their best rounds.

“I’m super excited and ready to get to Austin. We went my freshman and year I was upset we didn’t last year. I was excited to get to go with my whole team.”

Bridgeport shot a 322 in the second round. That was after putting together a 190 over the first round. That opening round was stopped because of storms before it could be finished. Bridgeport players had to finish the front nine Tuesday before their second round.

“[Monday] was the worst conditions I’ve played in by far,” Read said.

Read persevered through the tough conditions to tie for first with a 39 in the nine holes. Read, who went to state last year as a medalist, posted a 77 in the second round for a 116.

Irion followed her 43 in the opening round with a 75 for a 118. Hudson carded rounds of 54 and 82. Hatton shot a 54 and 88 for a 142.

Remi Swensson finished with rounds of 54 and 103 for 157.

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Baseball: Bulls even district record, beating Springtown

Lane Morrow and Mason Baker combined for four of Bridgeport’s six hits in their win over Springtown.

The Bulls got two runs in the first inning and four in the second.

Springtown challenged in the fifth, scoring three of its four runs, but Bridgeport held them in the sixth and seventh innings.

Morrow finished the game with two RBIs. Jared Huff and Hayden Sutherland drove in one a piece.

“We did a better job at the plate early in the game,” coach Ted Leps said. “We still need to learn to make adjustments as the game progresses.”

Corbin Coleman pitched a complete game, giving up four hits and four runs – none earned. He struck out eight without a walk.

“I thought he did a really good job competing on the mound,” Leps said. “We made some mistakes behind him in the third inning and he kept his composure.”

The win puts Bridgeport at 2-2 in District 8-4A.

Springtown and Decatur are currently tied at 3-1 atop the district standings.

Lake Worth and Castleberry are both 1-3.


Boyd made plenty of mistakes in their 14-7 loss to Holliday Friday.

The Yellowjackets committed six errors and allowed Holliday’s 12 hits to turn into 14 runs – six earned.

Boyd’s offense was strong, scoring seven runs.

Boyd’s Colton Batterton and Anthony Spinelli drove in two runs each. Tyler Kemp and Cameron Clark added a RBI apiece.

Spencer Pellegrini pitched one batter into the fifth inning, giving up eight hits and 11 runs – three earned.

Evan Stephenson came on in relief, allowing four hits and three runs.


The Decatur Eagles beat Kennedale 14-6 on Friday and followed that with an 8-2 win over Argyle Saturday.

The non-district games obviously don’t move Decatur up in any standings. They did allow the Eagles to pick up some momentum while District 8-4A rival Springtown fell to Bridgeport.

Decatur and Springtown are now tied at 3-1 atop the league.

Michael Hicks drove in three runs for the Eagles and Tyler Ticknor knocked in two in the win over Kennedale.

Jaxon Terrell took the mound for six of the seven innings, and gave up six hits and four runs.

A six-run second inning pushed Decatur past Argyle.

Again it was Hicks leading the team with two runs driven in.

Bryce Elder got the start on the mound and gave up a single run in six innings.

Elder struck out five and walked three.


Two errors by the City View third baseman opened up the bottom of the second for Paradise.

With Austin Hogan and Sam Robinson on, John Bridgeman singled to center field scoring both of his teammates.

The hits kept coming in the second as Paradise’s lead grew from four to 14 in the 16-0 win.

The entire lineup contributed in the dominant inning. Two Paradise runs in the third completed the scoring.

Hogan pitched three of the five total innings and gave up two hits while striking out five.

Landry Norwood and Bridgeman each pitched an inning.

Neither gave up a hit and they each struck out two batters.

Dillon Meadows and Bridgeman each drove in four runs. Skylar Black and Hogan knocked in two.


The Texans suffered a pair of losses over the weekend.

Northwest fell to Byron Nelson Friday 5-1 in 5-6A action. The Texans suffered a 9-1 non-district loss to Boswell Saturday.

Against Byron Nelson, Dustin May pitched five innings and allowed only five hits and two runs.

Northwest’s Bryson Wrobel had the best day at the plate, going 2-for-2.

Against Boswell, the Texans couldn’t find any answers despite using six different pitchers.

Boswell opened the game with four runs in the first inning and followed that with three in the third.

Two more Boswell runs in the sixth inning were more than enough to take the game.

Northwest’s only run came in the first inning when Tanner Treadway hit into a double play that scored Wrobel.

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Softball: Lady Bulldogs take over share of league lead

Alvord earned some revenge and a spot atop the District 12-2A standings when they beat Lindsay 13-3 Friday.

Both teams are 5-1 in the league, splitting meetings.

Alvord hitters continued to terrorize opposing pitching.

Reagan Guthrie went 4-for-4 with four RBIs. Brittany Gayler went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Kaely Beaver finished with three hits and knocked in a run. Mikena Mader finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

Mader pitched all six innings, striking out nine and allowing four hits.

Alvord has won five straight.

The Lady Bulldog’s final three district games will be against Chico, Collinsville and Muenster – all on the road.


Despite having three fewer hits than their opponents, the Bridgeport Sissies scored three more runs than Springtown Friday.

Bridgeport’s Kensley Turner led the way at the plate, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a walk.

Hailey Hollingsworth pitched seven innings, giving up 10 hits and eight runs while striking out 10.

Springtown held a 5-4 lead into the fifth, when Diana Garcia walked and later scored on a Turner single to center field.

A Hayley Davidson walk was followed by Shiloh Weirich’s sacrifice to move both Davidson and Turner into scoring position.

A sacrifice from Taby River brought Turner in, giving Bridgeport a one-run lead.

The Ryhan Read line drive that followed scored Davidson for the Sissies’ final run of the fifth.

Bridgeport added another four runs in the sixth.

The win was Bridgeport’s first District 8-4A game since April 2, and gives them a 3-2 league record.

Decatur leads the district with a 5-0 record, and Castleberry sits in second at 4-2.

Springtown has a 2-4 record and Lake Worth is winless at 0-6.


An eight-run second inning gave the Lady Texans plenty of breathing room as they took the District 5-6A game over Keller Central.

The combination of Emily Worley and Kelsey Rhine were brilliant in the pitcher’s circle.

Worley llowed two hits and a run in three innings of work.

Rhine pitched a final two hitless innings.

Worley’s pitching performance was not outdone by her game at the plate.

She went 2-for-3 with four RBIs.

Tarah Hilton added two triples in the game, driving in two runs and scoring twice.

The next day, Northwest suffered a 6-0 loss to Birdville.

Despite getting nine hits, the Lady Texans were unable to bring any runners home. Birdville had 10 hits.

Brie Wrobel went 3-for-3 in the loss, getting a triple for Northwest’s only extra-base hit. Worley allowed only one run in her three innings in the pitcher’s circle.

Making the nine-hit shutout even more surprising is the fact that Northwest struck out only once.

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Different perspective: What it’s like going blind at 17

Different perspective: What it’s like going blind at 17

Tristan Hastings is an average 17-year-old high school student. He enjoys sports, loves to talk about fast cars and usually makes more time for his hobbies than he does for school.

A Littyle Light

A LITTLE LIGHT – Tristan Hastings reads his Bible in his room with the aid of a reading light. Reading the Bible is important to Tristan, and he cites his faith, along with family, as his rock. To view a video of Tristan and his family, visit Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

He wants to become a chef when he grows up and open a chain of restaurants in college towns that cater specifically to out-of-state students who miss home-cooked meals.

He enjoys spending time with his friends and family and has a surprisingly broad view of the world for someone his age.

He has a vision for his life, despite not being able to see 3 feet in front of him.

Tristan Hastings is an average 17-year-old high school student. He enjoys sports, loves to talk about fast cars and usually makes more time for his hobbies than he does for school.

He wants to become a chef when he grows up and open a chain of restaurants in college towns that cater specifically to out-of-state students who miss home-cooked meals.

He enjoys spending time with his friends and family and has a surprisingly broad view of the world for someone his age.

He has a vision for his life, despite not being able to see 3 feet in front of him.

In Focus

IN FOCUS – This lens shows what an eye chart might look like to Tristan with his corrective lenses. About a year ago, Tristan was diagnosed with Stargardt Disease, which causes people to lose the ability to see in front of them. See how Tristan is adjusting to his condition at Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


About a year ago, Tristan was diagnosed with Stargardt Disease, a form of macular degeneration that afflicts only one in every 10,000 people, usually within the first 20 years of life. It affects more than 25,000 Americans, and early symptoms include difficulty reading and noticing gray, black or hazy spots in the center of one’s vision.

Tristan first noticed the problems when he had trouble focusing on everyday objects.

“I would squint all the time, and I was a lot more sensitive to sunlight,” he said.

Soon his mom, Tammy, noticed some issues, too.

“He always wore glasses, and his vision didn’t ever change that much, but there would be times when we asked him to pick something up in the house and he wouldn’t be able to find it,” she recalled. “Then he started reading with his books a lot closer to his eyes and started moving closer to the TV, and that was when we figured, this isn’t just a teenage boy ignoring us, this is something we need to get looked at.”

They decided to go to Decatur optometrist Tad Billmire for help. He diagnosed the disease right away.

“In my entire career, he’s only the third person I’ve seen with this disease,” Billmire said. “He can see peripherally but not right in front of him, and the biggest letter on the eye chart will appear completely blurry in his best eye. But given his condition, he’s a delightful kid, and he has a terrific attitude about dealing with it.”

Billmire explained to them that Stargardt is a recessive genetic disease with no specific cause.

“Basically, a defect occurs in the retina that creates toxins, and those slowly deposit in there, and that causes the vision to get worse and worse over time,” he said. “It’s kind of like how elderly people get macular degeneration, except this occurs in young people.

“A lot of kids, when they come in here, they actually want to wear glasses because it’s fashionable now,” Billmire said. “And they’ll fake their symptoms with just a little bit of knowledge about it to try and game the system. One of the biggest tip-offs was that Tristan’s prescription changed drastically, and he really had no idea what was going on.”

One Big Happy Family

ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY – Tristan credits his family with keeping him grounded and giving him hope. Pictured are Tristan’s dad, Alex; sister Samantha; mom Tammy; sister Payton; Tristan; and sisters Kaitlin, Zoey, Mikayla and Bella. Tristan’s oldest sister, Madyson, is not pictured. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


“When they told me I couldn’t drive, I just kind of sat there, like, ‘Oh, OK,'” Tristan recalled. “That was the thing I was most excited about at my age, and once they told me about the disease, the car was the first thing I thought of.”

He’s 17 and won’t ever get to drive a car on his own, but Tristan doesn’t mine his situation for pity. He goes for laughs instead.

“I feel like if I make a joke about it and make people laugh, then they won’t say anything to me about it,” he explained.

His jokes are often self-deprecating to disarm others.

“I would be able to see that, but I can’t, cause I’m blind.”

“I think I’m going to get a bumper sticker on my car that says BLIND FOR SPEED on it.”

“I guess I’ll get really good at blind dating in the future.”

His family joins in on the good-natured ribbing as well.

“Sometimes he’ll be in the room and can’t see us, so he doesn’t know we’re there, and he’ll say something about one of us. We’ll just sit quietly in the room letting him think we’re gone,” said his dad, Alex. “Or we joke like he’s a T-Rex from ‘Jurassic Park’ and say, ‘If we don’t move, he won’t see us.'”

Tristan’s sense of humor developed long before his diagnosis. He’s the only boy in a family of seven sisters.

“It’s nice because I get to have my own room,” he joked.

All kidding aside, he said he does face a few challenges.

“Just figuring out where everything is and making sure of my surroundings is my biggest challenge right now,” Tristan said. “There’s times when I’ll just sit in a room and try to figure out where everything is.”

When Alex and Tammy learned of Tristan’s diagnosis, they seemed to take the news harder than their son.

“I’m the sales manager for a roofing company, and it’s very rewarding when there’s storms and disasters,” Alex said.

Rain and hail-storms were nothing compared to the storm they are currently facing with Tristan’s eyesight.

“It was hard, you know, and I’m still at the point where I want to do his laundry for him or do other, everyday things for him because as a mother it’s just so tough to see one of your children struggling,” Tammy said.

Alex is a little tougher.

“I try to help him, but at the same time I don’t want him to be coddled,” he said. “And I do sometimes feel bad about watching him go through his day-to-day, but I’m never going to let him use his condition as an excuse to not do something or to do it halfway.

“I’m going to always push him to try harder,” Alex said.

Since Tristan and Alex are the only males in the family, their time together got a lot more precious once Tristan’s vision started declining.

“We used to play golf a lot, just the two of us, and now … hopefully one day we can get back out there,” Alex said. “But we’re both big coffee drinkers, and that’s our thing now. We’ll wake up before everyone else and just share some coffee and talk.”

Both parents agreed their faith helps them deal with the situation.

“Our faith is a huge part of our life, and Tristan amazes me with the faith that he has and his knowledge that God’s always there,” Tammy said.

Alex added, “My faith has taught me that things just happen, and instead of talking about lemons, let’s just make some lemonade.”

Tristan still wants to go to college and become a chef, but right now his greatest joy is working as a trainer at Bridgeport High School, where athletic trainer Billy Newsom has nothing but praise for his student.

“He’s always very quick with a joke, and he’s the hardest worker I’ve ever seen,” Newsom said.

Tristan came to Newsom in the eighth grade during career day when he was looking for extracurricular activities in which to participate.

“He walked right up to me and started asking these questions, very intelligent questions for a kid his age, and he just really enjoyed it,” Newsom said.

Newsom, like Tristan’s parents, sees a lot of potential in his future.

“We talk a lot about not letting other people tell you what you can’t do,” Newsom said. “Hopefully he won’t listen to people who try to limit him, because he doesn’t need to be putting those limitations on himself.

“As long as he keeps his focus, he should be able to adapt.”

Tristan loves working as a trainer.

“It helps me learn about medical stuff, which is fun, but it also gives me something to look forward to every season, not just football but every sport all year-round, because the busier I am, the harder I work,” Tristan said. “The best thing I like about it is just learning and helping others.”

New Way of Reading

NEW WAY OF READING – Tristan uses a special computer that works like an overhead projector so he can better see his assignments. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty


Although Tristan can still see, it’s limited. His vision is bad and will continue to deteriorate. That’s why he’s learning now what it will be like to be totally blind.

Every few weeks he meets with a specialist from the Special Education Education Co-Op who blindfolds him, gives him a cane and helps him learn to make his way around a crowded classroom.

“It’s kind of hard, and it’s hard not to peek,” he said. “But the training is worth it, I think.”

The blindfolding is just one aspect of his strategy for coping with his impending blindness. He has a laptop with an extension that functions as an overhead projector, illuminating and magnifying his papers and reading material on a screen so he can better see his assignments.

“It’s kind of hard to do anything to cheat now since my stuff is out there,” he joked. “My classwork and tests are on bigger paper so my teachers make it easier on me.”

His favorite subject is art, and he loves to listen to country music and some rock. Beatles posters, along with TCU, Texas Tech and Texas A&M memorabilia line his bedroom walls. He also likes to read his Bible, a discipline that he said has grown his faith a lot, much like his parents.

“It keeps me grounded, and I know that even though I might not have wanted any of this to happen, I can still have faith,” he said. “I can still live a pretty normal life.”

There is currently no cure for Stargardt Disease. A possible treatment option is using embryonic stem cells to replace the bad cells in Tristan’s eyes, but that’s not a route the family wants to take.

“I highly disagree with using embryonic stem cells, and I think adult stem cells are just as good, but funding for that obviously is a huge issue,” Alex said. “For now, I would definitely like to start something to bring more awareness to Stargardt Disease, and since it’s so rare, I’d like to start something to spark a little more knowledge about it.”

In the meantime, Tristan will continue to work with Bridgeport athletics until he graduates, and he’s currently working on some more recipes for his restaurant.

He may not be able to see in front of him, but he can see all around. Maybe that’s what really counts.

Bull Pride

BULL PRIDE – Tristan enjoys working as an assistant athletic trainer at Bridgeport High School. Here, he tapes up an athlete’s leg as trainer Billy Newsom looks on. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

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Bridgeport City Council discusses code tied to ejection

The Bridgeport City Council meeting had a change of pace Tuesday night.

Shortly after the Pledge of Allegiance, the council adjourned into a 30-minute closed session to discuss government code relating to public comment during meetings.

The discussion stemmed from Mayor Corey Lane’s removal of Gerald Groves from the last council meeting. Lane said Groves spoke out of turn after failing to fill out a comment card.

They took no action when they emerged.

In other business, the council approved the 2015 Consumer Price Index adjustment to municipal telecommunications right-of-way access line rates to 60 cents for residential and 70 cents for non-residential communications. The change should bring in an additional $800 to $1,000 per month to the city.

Mayor Lane proclaimed the week of April 12-18 to be National Telecommunicator Week, honoring city employees who dispatch the police and fire departments.

The council also approved two special exceptions to engineering design that would allow a minimum coverage depth of 2.5 feet instead of 3.5 feet on a sewage main and allow for an 8-inch sanitary sewer main to be installed at a .33 percent slope in the Fair Oaks Addition. This was done after a public hearing.

The council also met Thursday and Friday night in closed session to interview candidates for the city administrator job. They took no action Thursday night and were not expected to take action Friday evening.

The council’s next regular meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, at 900 Thompson St. It is open to the public.

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Wise native serves aboard USS New Orleans

A 2006 Bridgeport High School graduate is serving aboard USS New Orleans (LPD 18), one of the Navy’s newest and most advanced amphibious ships, designed to deliver Marines and their equipment to and from war zones.


Duston Odea

Petty Officer 2nd Class Duston Odea is an electronics technician aboard the San Diego-based San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. The ship is longer than two football fields at 684 feet, 105 feet wide and weighs more than 24,000 tons. Four diesel engines can push the ship through the water at more than 24 mph.

USS New Orleans is the fourth Navy ship to be named for the city of New Orleans and is the second vessel in the San Antonio-class of high-tech amphibious assault ships.

As a 27-year-old with numerous responsibilities, Odea said he is learning about himself as a leader, sailor and a person.

“The Navy has made me more responsible and has provided me the training for my career,” said Odea.

He also said he is proud of the work he is doing as part of the New Orleans’ 427-member crew, protecting and defending America on the world’s oceans.

“The presence of the Navy is very important to deter threats,” Odea explained.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS New Orleans. Approximately 46 officers and 381 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly – this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the engines.

Another 700 or so form the deployable Marine Corps battalion and New Orleans is capable of transporting the battalion and landing them in hostile territory via helicopters, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and air-cushioned landing craft.

“New Orleans is truly a fine warship, and it is our duty to bring her to life,” said Capt. Doug Verissimo, the ship’s commanding officer. “Our sailors have been working very hard bringing her from a post-deployment repair period to our upcoming tactical integration with our Marine teammates. I feel an unparalleled sense of pride working alongside our nation’s finest.”

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Golf: Read wins third title

Lexi Read’s second round at the District 8-4A tournament came to a peculiar close.

After her tee shot hit a tree, the ball came up missing, forcing her to tee the ball up again on the way to a closing six on the par-4 12th hole at The Resort Golf Club in Fort Worth.

“It was my only double of the week,” Read said.

Back on Top

BACK ON TOP – Bridgeport’s Lexi Read chips the ball up on 18. The Bridgeport junior won her third straight district title Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

It also took nothing away from a pair of brilliant rounds for the Bridgeport junior, who captured her third straight individual title.

“I’m excited to keep it going,” Read said. “I’m happy with my playing, especially with good competition.”

Read posted a 147 over the two rounds to beat her teammate Brooke Irion by six strokes. The duo led Bridgeport to a two-round total of 724 to win the district team title by 234 strokes over second-place Decatur. Both teams advance to the Class 4A Region I tournament April 13-14 at Shadow Hills Golf Course in Lubbock.

Read opened the tournament with a 2-under par 70 at Runaway Bay Monday.

“On my front nine, I was 3-under,” Read explained. “I just got my putter hot on Monday.”

Playing at a tougher, wind-blown course Tuesday at The Resort, Read went 3-over on her first seven holes. Read reached 4-over before getting back-to-back birdies on eight and nine. She was just 3-over before the trouble on the closing No. 12.

Irion, who was a state qualifier last year with Read, put up rounds of 75 and 78. Irion posted an even 36 on the back nine Tuesday on her way to the second-place finished with the 153.

“I had a lot of good approach shots and the putts were dropping,” Irion said. “I played a decent front nine with one back hole.”

Bridgeport’s Katie Hudson finished third with a 196. She posted an 88 in the first round and 108 Tuesday.

Abbigal Hatton shot 123 and 122. Her scores came into play after Remington Swenssen had to withdraw midway through the second round with a wrist injury.

“She fell off a cart and played the next hole and got a par but couldn’t finish,” said Bridgeport coach Alan Green.

“I’m proud of the team. I’m proud of Lexi and Brooke. They’ve played so much golf and put so much into it. I’m proud of Katie. She’s practiced really hard. Her shooting 88 in the first round was fun to see.”

Decatur shot 958 over two rounds. Kaylee Higdon shot 95 and 112. Sarah Crouse posted rounds of 105 and 122. Autumn Fuller fired 119 and 131. Madeleine Semmelman hit 142 and 133. Rylie Burden finished with a 141 and 148.

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Baseball: Stotts proves triple threat

Chayton Stotts is the kind of athlete that every coach hopes to have.

Stotts plays football, basketball and baseball for the Bridgeport Bulls, and his coach says that he is one of the more coachable players to come through.

DOING IT ALL – Chayton Stotts moved to Bridgeport from Kirbyville before the 2014 school year. The junior has stepped in and contributed for the Bulls’ football, basketball and baseball teams. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“Right when he stepped on campus you could tell he was a nice kid from a good family,” baseball coach Todd Leps said. “There’s no doubt about it that he comes to work every day. He’s the kind of kid who listens, and after you tell him once he’ll do what you ask. That’s what we enjoy as coaches.”

Stotts moved to Bridgeport before this school year from Kirbyville, a town with a population of around 2,000 located in the southeast corner of Texas.

As a lesser talked-about Bridgeport move-in, Stotts played quality minutes for the Bulls’ state championship basketball team when Devonte Patterson was out.

He also caught 20 passes for the Bulls’ football team, collecting 223 receiving yards.

For Stotts, getting back to baseball was something he looked forward to, even after a historic basketball season.

As for his favorite thing about the game, it’s an infatuation of the olfactory nature.

“I love the smell,” he said. “The smell of fresh-cut grass is one of my favorite things. We were walking into a basketball tournament and they were cutting the grass outside. I told a teammate that it smelt like baseball. You can’t beat that baseball smell.”

You could say Stotts has a nose for the game, playing multiple positions and contributing on the mound.

He has played left field, third base, first base and pitcher so far this year, and he says that he is hoping to improve in the outfield especially.

“I prefer third base but I try to fit in wherever I’m needed,” he said. “I like the pitcher’s mound and controlling the game, but third is definitely my favorite spot. You just get a lot of action over there. I’ve been working on pop flies because outfield is my least-familiar position.”

Getting the chance to play on a state championship basketball team was priceless for the junior, who says it took a while for that experience to sink in.

Once the basketball season was over, baseball was already in full swing and Stotts had some catching up to do.

That was made even more difficult when weather eliminated a tournament that would have seen Stotts on the mound at least twice.

“That has kind of put him behind with his pitching,” Leps said. “Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks he’ll be where he needs to be.”

When taking the hill, Stotts likes to control his fastball, throwing strikes and allowing his defense to play behind him. His favorite secondary pitch is his slider because he feels he can command it.

Stotts says it has been a journey for him getting re-familiarized with the game of baseball after close to a year away from it.

He is trying to be careful, especially with his arm, easing back into throwing in an effort to avoid injury.

Leps sees a lot of potential in his new player and thinks he can handle the training demands of a three-sport athlete and student.

“He’s going to be a great pitcher,” Leps said. “It’s just one of those deals that as a multiple-sport athlete, you’re going to have to work on some things on your own. You just have to find time to throw a ball around or practice free throws and catch passes year round.”

On the field or court, Stotts is an imposing figure.

At 6-foot 2-inches, he’s got good size. Add a mohawk and a physical style of play, and he commands attention.

In actuality, the soft-spoken kid is a competitor who uses hustle and aggressiveness to set himself apart.

“I don’t necessarily have the outstanding skill or the best talent, but the ability to listen and do what I’m told is my biggest thing,” he said. “It’s just trying to be aggressive and doing as much as you can.

“If you really want to make an impact and do as much as you can, you just have to attack the situation.”

On the baseball field, he says he’s one of the more vocal guys, but most of the time he chooses a more reserved and observant nature.

With a record of 1-2, the Bulls are sitting in third place behind Springtown and Decatur in district.

There is still plenty of time to put themselves back into the top of the standings. They have five district games remaining, including Friday’s against Springtown.

“We always talk to the kids about it being a marathon instead of a sprint,” Leps said. “The team that can continue good practice habits and show up to the ballpark every day ready to go will be the team that has success.”

Stotts believes in his team and thinks they can rattle off a win streak in the games to come.

“We have a lot of good players that can help us keep momentum going forward,” he said. “We just need to handle our business and focus on what we’re doing.”

If Stotts continues to improve, his aggressiveness combined with his ability to follow instruction could help him become more and more valuable in these final few games.

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Kennedie Paige Ince

Kennedie Paige Ince, the daughter of Dustin Ince and Jaquelynn Carmean of Bridgeport, was born and died Friday, March 20, 2015, in Decatur.

She weighed 13.6 ounces and was 11 inches long.

She is survived by her parents; and grandparents Tracie Howard of Bridgeport and Patrice Ince of Lake Bridgeport.

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Baseball: Boyd blasts City View

Boyd’s Evan Stephenson only needed 68 pitches to deliver five shutout innings in the Yellowjackets’ 18-0 dismantling of Wichita Falls City View Tuesday.

Six of Boyd’s 14 hits went for extra bases. Three Yellowjackets – Brandon Hardee, Cameron Clark and Trace Moran – drove in three runs each.

Only four of Boyd’s 14 players were without an RBI in the dominant win.

With a 3-0 lead after the first inning, Moran singled to left field and was driven in on a Creighton Witt triple.

Kemp, Pellegrini, Hardee and Clark kept the rally alive with RBI hits that fueled the Yellowjackets’ seven-run second inning.

Another three runs in the fourth, and five in the fifth, were more than enough to secure the Boyd victory.


In the top of the fifth inning, Doger Gilliland hit a line drive to right field with the bases loaded, scoring Preston Palmer and Tanner Tredaway.

The Texans loaded the bases again in the fourth when Austin Whitelock hit a liner to center that brought Cory Robinson and Bryson Wrobel home.

The four-run inning erased a one-run deficit for the Texans and put them ahead for good in the 6-4 victory.

Bailey Dovel pitched most of the game for Northwest and struck out five batters while walking one.

Garret Moltzan came on in relief, holding Keller Central hitless for their final four batters.

Cayde Ward went 2-for-3 with a walk to lead the charge offensively. Gilliland’s three RBIs led the team.


Corbin Coleman had Castleberry batters perplexed Thursday night.

Coleman struck out 14 and walked two in a masterful seven innings of a 2-1 victory.

Bridgeport’s only runs came in the top of the first inning. A line drive from Jared Huff scored Lane Morrow who had reached on a double earlier in the inning. Jake Martinez’ sacrifice drove in Morrow.

Coleman’s performance on the mound kept Bridgeport in the lead for the final six innings of the game.

Coleman’s double was the only extra-base hit for the Bulls.

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Betty Dillinder

Betty Dillinder

Betty Dillinder, 81, of Bridgeport died Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Bridgeport.

Funeral was April 3 at the First Baptist Church in Bridgeport with Dr. David Burrows officiating. Burial followed at East Bridgeport Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Bob Waters, Fred Thompson, James White, Gene Gregg, Kevin Lehmann and Randal Wright.

Betty was born Feb. 24, 1934, in Ranger to Dewey and Jessie (Winchell) Cox. She married Harold Dillinder Jan. 3, 1954, in Ranger, and she graduated from Ranger Junior College. Betty was a volunteer at the Bridgeport Nursing Home and was a member of the First Baptist Church in Bridgeport. She was a homemaker.

Betty was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Dewey Cox Jr., Richard Cox and Charles Cox.

She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Harold; children Cheryl Manske and husband, Lynn, of Tomball, Vicki Lehmann and husband, Kevin, of Bridgeport, John Dillinder of Bridgeport and Carolyn Wright and husband, Randal, of Bridgeport; grandchildren Chris, Leah, Brady, Valerie, Cory, Nik, Drexell and Lindsey; and her great-grandchildren Keaton, Layla and Isaac.

She is also survived by her sister, Delores Cheshire and husband, Jimmy, of San Antonio; sisters-in-law Louise Frasier of Refugio and Faye Cox of Ranger; and numerous nieces, nephews, other family members and friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 3301 West Freeway, Fort Worth, TX 76107, 817-773-9990,

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Joyce Ann Parsons Kemp

Joyce Ann Parsons Kemp

Joyce Ann Parsons Kemp, 77, of Bridgeport died Thursday, April 2, 2015, in Bridgeport.

Funeral is 4 p.m. Sunday, April 5, at Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport with the Rev. Jon Story officiating. Burial will follow at East Bridgeport Cemetery.

Visitation is 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home.

Pallbearers are Billy Story, Scotty Story, Michael Cheves, Travis Kemp, Chad Wolfe and Taylor Story.

Honorary pallbearers are Bobby Van Hoose, Michael Cheves II, Joseph Sutton, Brandon Carter and David Story.

Joyce was born Oct. 10, 1937, in Bridgeport to Thurman and Gwen (McDaniel) Parsons. She married Jerry Kemp Nov. 8, 1974, in Ryan, Okla. Joyce was a homemaker and a member of the Bible Baptist Church.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sister Saundra Ramirez; daughter Carolyn Cheves; and granddaughter Dawn Leann Story.

She is survived by her husband of 40 years, Jerry Kemp of Bridgport; sons Rayford Story and wife, Deborah, of Bridgeport, Buddy Story of Bridgeport and Jerry Russell and wife, Becky, of McKinney; daughter Elisa Van Hoose and husband, Bobby, of Bridgeport; 19 grandchildren; 34 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

She is also survived by her brother, Thurman Butch Parsons of Nocona; sister Martha Mask and husband, Wayne, of Bridgeport; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, other family members and friends.

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