Rodeo legend to speak at Chamber luncheon

Rodeo legend to speak at Chamber luncheon

It’s a voice of an old friend – a voice of strong values, gentle humor and quiet wisdom.

Bob Tallman is much more than a rodeo announcer. He’s the guy who knows the back-stories on the cowboys out there in the arena, bucking and roping and wrestling – because he knew their dads and granddads.

He’s the eloquent spokesman for the cowboy way, patriotism and faith and a strong work ethic.

Golden Voice

GOLDEN VOICE – Rodeo legend Bob Tallman said he’s excited about coming to see his friends in Decatur Oct. 28, when he will be the featured speaker for a Chamber luncheon at the Civic Center. Submitted photo

He’s been in 11 movies, announced more National Finals Rodeos than anyone else and has been voted the PRCA’s Announcer of the Year eight times. He’s in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association Hall of Fame, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.

And he’s coming to Decatur Oct. 28 to speak at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Decatur’s Trevor Brazile, 11-time All-Around World Champion Cowboy, will introduce his longtime friend at the luncheon, which will be held 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, at the Decatur Civic Center. Luncheon reservations at $12 per person can be made by calling the Chamber office at 940-627-3107.

Carey Williams, sales manager for James Wood Autos in Decatur, got the idea to bring Tallman here when he sat near him at last year’s Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo.

“As president of the North Texas Chevy Dealers, we got to sit in the president’s box, right beside the announcer above the bucking chutes,” Williams said. “To watch Bob work a rodeo – it’s a production. He’s got three computer screens in front of him and a guy helping him, so he can see who’s coming up and make comments about the guy who’s fixing to ride or rope.”

Williams said with all of Decatur’s rodeo ties, he felt Tallman would be a natural for a local speaking gig. He asked the stock show president if he thought Tallman would come and got an immediate positive response.

“I think he’ll be very interesting to listen to,” Williams said. “He’s got a very strong faith, which fits well with our community, and he understands community.

“Getting Trevor to come introduce him – that’s kind of a fun twist because he’s usually introducting Trevor.”

Williams said Tallman, a businessman and entrepreneur himself, will be able to relate to the business crowd at the Chamber lunch.

“Bob’s got a couple of businesses,” he said. “I thought it would be something everyone coming to that luncheon would enjoy.”

Tallman’s voice is heard by more than 60 million people across the U.S. and Canada each year – not only announcing some of the biggest rodeos in the world, but also recording commercials, narrating movie segments, emceeing charity events and commentating on a variety of sports programs for the Canadian Broadcasting Network, Fox Sports, ABC, TNN and ESPN.

In addition to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Tallman’s itinerary includes the Texas Stampede in Dallas, the Reno Rodeo, the Red Bluff Round Up and Canada’s legendary Calgary Stampede.

But his greatest honor, he says, is getting to use what he calls his “priceless gift from God” to touch lives with a message of hope and faith. A rancher, he has found that “planting seeds for the Lord” has a greater return.

In 2000, he launched Bob Tallman’s Charities, hosting an annual golf tournament in Houston to “Give a Child Another Day of Life” – benefiting the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Children’s Cancer Hospital. A portion of the sales from his Texas Style Seasoning business are also donated to the Children’s Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson.

Williams hopes the Civic Center’s Great Hall will be packed for the luncheon.

“The way I see these luncheons,” he said, “if it’s an interesting program that people get something out of, it’ll bring them back to the next one. Not only that – if they can just pick up one or two ideas they can take back, it can have a positive impact on their business or their life.”

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Upcoming Halloween Events


SPOOKTACULAR – Bridgeport Parks and Recreation will host the Spooktacular Fall Festival 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at Bridgeport Community Center. The free event will include a zipline, rock wall, rat race, candy, games, popcorn, cotton candy, balloon animals and face painting. There will be magic shows at 5:45 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., and a costume contest sponsored by Bridgeport Main Street at 6:15 p.m.

The Great Pumpkin

THE GREAT PUMPKIN – Piles of pumpkins can be found at farmer’s markets, produce stands and grocery stores around the county. Some families transform them into jack-o-lanterns, while others choose to enjoy their natural beauty. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

FALL FEST – The First Baptist Church of Bridgeport will have a Family Fun Fall Fest 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, at the church’s Family Life Center. There will be free food and candy, a bounce house, obstacle course, games and prizes. Wear costumes. The church is at the corner of Texas 114 and Cates Street.

COSTUME PARADE – Bridgeport Main Street’s Suit Up and Say Boo Halloween Costume parade down Halsell Street is 5 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. It begins at Bridgeport Stage, 1009 Halsell St. The street will be closed from 4:45 to 6 p.m. for the event.

HALLOWEEN NIGHT – Various streets will be closed 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, in the Oakland Heights Addition for trick-or-treating.

FEARAPHOBIA – The Fearaphobia Haunted House at 1407 Carpenter St. in Bridgeport is open 6 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and 6 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays until Nov. 1. Tickets are $15 and $10 at the door for adults and children under 12, respectively, and $10 and $5 online at There will also be a children’s haunted house for those who feel they might get too scared going on the actual tour. If the event breaks even, designer Robert Chaney plans to give the proceeds to a local charity.


HAUNTED HOUSE – The Chico Community Volunteer Fire Department will have a haunted house 6 to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in October at the Old Chico Middle School, 400 S. Hovey St. Admission for 12 and under is $3 and 13 and older is $5. All proceeds will benefit the fire department. The haunted house will also have a “kid’s hall” for smaller children.


SPOOKY TALES – Decatur Public Library is hosting Tales from the Critt, a Halloween-themed spoken word program with audiobook ace C.J. Critt, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27. A veteran of Broadway and a staff writer at Radio Disney as well as the original voice of America’s favorite bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, Critt will channel the voices of various mystery and suspense authors she has recorded in her 20-year career with Recorded Books and Harper Audio, and will treat the audience to some classic spooky fare and a lively question-and-answer session. Suggested age is 13 and up.

TRICK OR TREAT NIGHT – Decatur City Council voted to move the city’s trick-or-treat observance to Thursday, Oct. 30, to avoid a conflict with the Eagles’ final home football game Oct. 31. The council agreed to designate Deer Park Road as one-way, northbound, between Eagle Drive and Preskitt Road from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on the 30th to help ease traffic problems in some of the city’s more popular trick or treating areas.

FALL FESTIVAL – Gover-nor’s Ridge Fall Festival is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30. There will be a bounce house, games and prizes, a merry-go-round, goblin walk and a hot dog supper, plus trick or treating.

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Rockets to the Rescue; Elementary students employ problem-solving, design skills

It’s not rocket science.

Or is it?

Students in Decatur ISD’s advanced academics classes designed and built their own rockets last week as part of the seventh annual 2014 4-H National Youth Science Day.

Launching Consultation

LAUNCHING CONSULTATION – Carson Elementary fifth graders Jacob Lowrie and Carson Wicker work together to launch the rocket they designed and built last week in advanced academics class. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The program – Rockets to the Rescue – was taught in classrooms across the country, and Chrissy Karrer, Wise County’s Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agent for 4-H and youth development, and Andrea Calabretta, 4-H program assistant, presented the program locally.

The intent is to show students how aerospace engineering can be used to solve real-world problems. Advanced academics teacher Danielle Scroggins said students used STEM (science, technology engineering and math) skills to problem-solve their way through a rocket design and then were allowed to test that design.

Fifth graders at Rann and Carson elementaries, and fourth and fifth graders at Young Elementary, participated in the program and were given this challege: “Design a rocket propulsion system to launch and deliver a payload of food to a small island in the Pacific Ocean that was devastated by a storm and cut off from all food deliveries.”

The students were told that the inhabitants of the island were close to starvation, and ships with food were still several days away. Airplanes couldn’t land because runways were destroyed, and helicopters were not a viable option.

Instructions said the rockets should be able to deliver food intact and fresh, so the people could survive until normal transportation methods were restored.

Students were put in groups and given a rocket-building kit that included card stock, paper, rubber bands, a grocery bag, string, cotton balls, a rubber cork, straws, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, packing tape, scissors and 12 inches of half-inch PVC pipe.

They had to use these items to build a rocket that would safely transport four raisins to the designated landing zone marked by hula hoops.

“The kids loved it!” Scroggins said. “They learned when disaster strikes you have to get food to people. The design process – designing it and then testing it – it was really fun.”

Students first sketched a design and had it approved before building it, then moved on to the testing stage. Scroggins worked with the kids in the classroom, while Karrer did the bulk of the presentation, then tested the rockets outdoors with the students.

“I told them, ‘You want your food to get there and look like the food it’s supposed to be,'” said Scroggins.

“You don’t want it to fall out,” Karrer added.

“Or get smooshed,” Scroggins said with a laugh.

After the students launched the rockets, they evaluated the result and went back inside to make adjustments and try again.

It was a hands-on lesson in problem-solving, and Scroggins said students were to re-evaluate the results this week and reflect on their work.

4-H National Youth Science Day was Oct. 8, and it’s the rallying event for year-round 4-H science programming. For information on local 4-H clubs, call the Extension office at 940-627-3341.

To learn more about the work of Decatur’s advanced academics classes, follow them on Twitter @DecaturISDGT.

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Competition is in the air … literally

Nearly a month after its creation, the Melba Doyle Disc Golf Course will see its first tourney this afternoon.

More than a dozen competitors will sling their way through the Chasing Chains Disc Golf Club’s inaugural tournament starting at 1:30 p.m.

Catch the Fever

CATCH THE FEVER – Disc golfers play through the newly created Melba Doyle Disc Golf Course. Decatur’s Chasing Chains Disc Golf Club is holding its first tournament today at 1:30 p.m. at Melba Doyle Park. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Play is free, but only club members can enter. Joining the Chasing Chains is also free and easy – just search for the club’s Facebook page by entering Decatur Chasing Chains Disc Golf Club, and ask to join. Administrators will be watching the page to add new members as quickly as possible – even just prior to tournament play.

Decatur Parks supervisor and club member Ray Petty said the competition is a “Bag tag” tourney. Basically, the golfers are vying for bragging rights in the form of numbered tags. The better a player finishes, the better the tag’s number.

Owners of the coveted low digit tags can then be challenged over the next six months by other golfers.

“The person who is challenged can pick the course and whoever wins switches tags and keeps them,” Petty said. “Then we turn all the tags back in and do another tourney. It’s something to get people interested.”

He said there are 25 tags now, and tags remaining after the tourney will be given to members on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The goal is to play up and get better numbers,” he said. “A lot of us are really new to it, and some have been playing for years. I’ve only been playing since February.

“When you play better people, you’ll get better. We hope this is just the beginning.”

Petty said the club is considering hosting a doubles tourney and a benefit tournament as interest grows.

Heath Chambers, another club member and supporter, said he believes the interest is here.

Chambers put a rack of disc golf frisbees for sale in Decatur Tire on Tuesday. He has already sold about 30.

“We’ve had a real good turnout. Everyone really wants to support it,” Chambers said. “It’s something to do, and it’s fun. It’s also free. I got into it in college because it’s cheap.”

Petty said many people have gone out and bought discs just to have fun.

“It’s a neat opportunity for a family, and it doesn’t matter if you’re 3 or 4 years old or 60 or 70 years old – you can throw a frisbee.”

Chambers said people interested in disc golf or buying a disc can call him at 940-577-0109.

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Air Evac Lifeteam dedicates new base

High winds and low clouds kept the helicopter tour off the menu at Monday’s open house for the new Decatur Air Evac Lifeteam base – but they didn’t keep the crowds from turning out to celebrate the service’s new station in Decatur.

New Base of Operations

NEW BASE OF OPERATIONS – Air Evac Lifeteam has a new headquarters on the campus of Wise Regional Health System in Decatur, providing a spot for pilots, nurses and paramedics to stay while they’re on call. A host of local dignitaries turned out to watch Program Director Lisa Ponce cut the ribbon Monday, Oct. 13. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The new Decatur base is located on the campus of Wise Regional Hospital, just a few yards from the Emergency Room entrance.

The open house, which ran from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., allowed visitors to see the pilot’s office, kitchen, day room and sleeping quarters where a pilot, nurse and paramedic are stationed and on call around the clock.

Lifeteam’s Decatur base covers Wise, Jack, Montague, Tarrant and Denton counties.

Air Evac Lifeteam is the nation’s largest independently owned and operated air medical service provider, with 115 bases in 15 states. They provide emergency medical service at accident scenes, transfer patients from rural areas to urban hospitals, and stand by at events like festivals and football games.

“Some days we have three or four flights, some days none,” said Lisa Ponce, program director for the Decatur base.

Ponce said the new base is a huge improvement over the team’s previous quarters, which were located inside the hospital.

“Wise Regional continues to grow, so we move our crew quarters to help them and to remain available to the hospital and community,” she said.

State Rep. Phil King came out for the ribbon cutting along with local dignitaries and hospital officials.

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Football: Eagles outlast Mineral Wells

A low-scoring, defensive battle turned into a touchdown-fest late as the Decatur Eagles boosted their record to 5-2 with a win over a tough Ram team at Mineral Wells.

“I told anybody who would listen, all week, that that’s a really good football team over there,” Decatur coach Mike Fuller said after the game. “They’re well-coached, they know what they’re doing, they play with confidence.”

A tough defense held quarterback Justin Myers’ running game in check most of the night, and a flurry of flags – 15 in the second half alone – kept both teams from hitting their stride.

Myers hit Felix Guerrero for a 38-yard pass in the first quarter, setting up the Eagles’ first score. Two Payton McAlister runs later, it was 6-0 and the first of five Brandon Garza extra point kicks made it 7-0 with 8 minutes left in the opening frame.

The Rams got a second-quarter touchdown on a one-yard dive by Johnny Morales. The tough sophomore had 90 yards on 21 carries for the night, and broke some big plays that had the Eagles’ defense on their heels at times.

“We stopped the run most of the night, but they made some good plays,” Fuller said.

Another one-yard Morales run put the Rams ahead early in the second half, but Decatur answered with a 10-yard touchdown strike from Myers to Gunnar Parker and they never trailed again.

Eddie Martinez finished off an Eagle drive with a one-yard run with 10 minutes to play, but Acosta found Braxton Allen on a six-yard touchdown strike and it was 21-18 with half of the fourth quarter left to play.

Three touchdowns in the last 93 seconds ramped up the stats and the scoring. A 30-yard run by McAlister seemed to break it open at the 1:33 mark as the Eagles tried to run out the clock.

Eagle linebacker Matt Cedrone picked an Acosta pass 27 seconds later and took it back 48 yards for a touchdown, making it 35-18.

“I was really proud of the turnovers we got there late,” Fuller said.

But the Rams weren’t through. Acosta guided his team down the field with a 1-minute drill worthy of Payton Manning, hitting Carlos Gray in the back of the end zone after time had expired to make the final margin 35-24.

“It’s hard to be at your best every game, but when you’re not hitting on all cylinders it’s good to still get a win,” Fuller said. “Being inconsistent, but still being good enough to win against a good football team, we can build on that.”


Decatur … 7 … 0 … 7 … 21 … – … 35
Mineral Wells … 0 … 6 … 6 … 12 … – … 24


Decatur – 8:02, Payton McAlister 8 run, Brandon Garza kick.


Mineral Wells – 10:44, Johnny Morales 1 run, run failed.


Mineral Wells – 9:20, Morales 1 run, run failed.

Decatur – 7:07, Gunnar Parker 10 pass from Myers; Garza kick.


Decatur – 10:07, Eddie Martinez 1 run; Garza kick.

Mineral Wells – 7:46, Braxton Allen 6 pass from Acosta; run failed.

Decatur -1:33, McAlister 30 run; Garza kick.

Decatur -1:06, Matt Cedrone 48 interception return; Garza kick.

Mineral Wells – 0:00, Carlos Gray 21 pass from Acosta; run failed.


Rushes-Yards … 46-200 … 39-142
Passing Yards … 116 … 236
Total Yards … 316 … 378
Comp-Att-Int … 9-20-1 … 14-29-2
Punts-Average … 6-34 … 4-28
Fumbles-Lost … 1-1 … 2-0
Penalties-Yards … 12-80 … 15-107


Rushing: Decatur, McAlister 19-116. Mineral Wells, Morales, 21-90

Passing: Decatur, Myers 9-20-1-116. Mineral Wells, Caleb Acosta, 14-29-2-236.

Receiving: Decatur, Felix Guerrero, 1-38, Ryan Durdon, 2-30; Mineral Wells, Jordan Duckett, 6-72

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Saturday Sports Buffet: Family flock – Lady Eagles share variety of family relationships

Saturday Sports Buffet: Family flock – Lady Eagles share variety of family relationships

Maclaine Lowery’s light-hearted nature and jokes don’t always sit well with her older sister, Caroline.

“I get annoyed with her,” the older Lowery said. “She’ll also argue with me. I’m a senior and that’s disrespectful. We definitely have our ups and downs.”

We Are Family

WE ARE FAMILY – The Decatur Lady Eagles have a mother and daughter, Brandy and Makayla Mayfield, front, and four sets of sisters – Caroline and Maclaine Lowery, Kelsie, Courtnie and Brittany Roberts, Cooper and Carson Martin, and Morgan and Haleigh Taylor – in the program this year. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

But the opportunity to share the experience on the volleyball court the past two years – including winning a state title last November – makes up for any of the down times.

“I do get annoyed with her but I’m thankful for the experience,” Caroline explains. “There’s not many sisters who can say they’ve won a state title together.”

But this year, the Lowerys are far from unique in a Decatur volleyball program that features more than a couple of family relationships – with four sets of sisters and a mother-daughter combination.

“Because we have so many family bonds it makes us closer,” said senior Cooper Martin, whose freshman sister Carson joined the program this year. “We treat the others like sisters also.”

Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay said those family relations can keep it interesting but have also helped with the program’s winning culture that includes five straight district titles, the 2013 state crown and a current 53-match district winning streak.

“We’ve always stressed that we are a family and rely on each other, not only in volleyball but life,” Benedict-Gay said. “They’ve learned how to hold each other accountable and be there for each other in the tough times.”

Assistant coach Brandy Mayfield and her daughter, senior Makayla, have perhaps the most unique relationship. But early on, the two set perimeters to keep volleyball from tearing them apart.

“We learned to leave it at school,” Coach Mayfield said.

But despite their best efforts, sometimes it becomes dinner conversation.

On the court, Makayla likes having her mother there to talk to.

“During a timeout I can talk to her and she helps me to focus and do better,” she said.

Coach Mayfield enjoys the chance to help her daughter and the opportunity share in the team’s success.

“I get to experience it on both ends as a coach and mother,” she said.

Sophomore middle blocker Courtnie Roberts has a pair of sisters in the program, her twin sister Kelsie, who plays on the junior varsity, and senior manager Brittany.

“We haven’t all three been on the same team together since we were eight and nine,” Courtnie said. “It’s weird for all us to be in the same program.”

Brittany took over as a manager this year to spend time with her younger sisters.

“I wanted to be with them as a senior,” she said.

Brittany and Kelsie are also stalwarts in the Decatur softball program. They are hoping to get Courtnie to join them one the diamond this year.

While Courtnie and Kelsie are twins, they are quite different.

“They have very different personalities,” Brittany pipes in.

On Feb. 22, 1999, Courtnie was born two minutes before Kelsie.

“I’ll forever hold that over her head,” Courtnie joked.

They were also two ounces and two inches apart.

Now, Courtnie towers over both her sisters.

“She’s forever my little big sister,” Brittany said.

Courtnie also happens to be the one the other two sisters turn to.

“We both get along with Courtnie better,” Kelsie said.

Brittany adds: “Her personality is unique.”

Brittany Roberts shares managing duties with Morgan Taylor, who is also helping freshman sister Haleigh find her way as a first-year player in the program.

“It’s been great. It’s something we can share together,” Taylor said. “Before, we were always in different places. This has helped strengthen our relationship.”

Morgan played her freshman and sophomore seasons before stepping into her support role.

“I’m in charge of everything,” she points out as she tells Brittany Roberts what to wear for a photo.

Haleigh adds: “She’s sometimes bossy but most of the time she’s helpful.”

Another senior, Cooper Martin, has welcomed her freshman sister Carson, who is playing on the junior varsity.

“It’s fun getting to take her to practice and having a person to talk to,” Cooper said.

Having her older sister with her, helped her settle in quickly, Carson claims.

“On the first day, I was more comfortable with her,” Carson said. “She’s also my partner in the weight room. She’s been able to show me what do during workouts.”

But as the younger sister of a four-year varsity standout, Carson said there are high expectations.

“I wanted to be in her shoes but also, they are hard shoes to fill,” Carson admits.

Because of her light-hearted nature, Maclaine Lowery is used to jokes at her expense from her older sister and others.

“I’m more of the punching bag, but it’s good. I’m used to it,” she said.

Caroline adds: “We make fun of her a lot because she falls down a lot.”

One thing Caroline especially does not laugh about is being late for workouts in the morning while waiting on Maclaine.

After all the laughs and a few fights the Lowerys, along with others who share family bonds, hope this year ends like last year – with a ring.

“It would be cool to have the two rings together,” Caroline said.


  • As feared, the weather wreaked havoc on the high school football schedule last weekend. Three local teams – Boyd, Bridgeport and Chico – finally got back on the field to finish their games early Saturday morning after delays of more than two hours. Decatur and Paradise were forced to finish their games Saturday afternoon. It was far from an ideal district opener for all, but for Boyd, Bridgeport and Decatur that recorded wins, there were no complaints
  • Of the 4-4A Division I slate last week, the most surprising result was how Graham dismantled Gainesville. The Steers’ 34-0 win makes a large statement. Also, Mineral Wells proved that preseason polls are often useless. Most had the Rams picked to finish last. But after a win over Wichita Falls Hirschi, they are in first place
  • After their loss to Blue Ridge last week, the Chico Dragons’ now get to face one of the state’s top passers this week in Derrick Ponder. The former Iowa Park quarterback is tearing up 2A, throwing for nearly 400 yards per game
  • Watching the Decatur Lady Eagles sweep Lake Worth, I actually found myself comparing setter Stormi Leonard to Peyton Manning as every pass was on target and to the right person to get a point
  • Leonard’s predecessor, Joey Redwine, was on hand for Tuesday’s match after being named the Lone Star Conference’s Setter of the Week for a second time. She handed out 70 assists in a pair of wins over Angelo State and Tarleton State
  • The UIL Legislative Council will convene this weekend with proposals on the agenda including adding a fourth playoff team in Class 2A
  • Which was harder to predict, the Kansas City Royals making the World Series or the Dallas Cowboys starting the year 5-1? Both were extreme longshots
  • I didn’t have a horse in the race, but I doubt there will be a more entertaining game all year than TCU and Baylor. Also doubt there will be others with as many head-scratching decisions.

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Volleyball: Senior sweep – Lady Eagles cruise to win on Senior Night

After the pomp and circumstance of senior night, the Decatur Lady Eagles wasted no time in creating another memorable showing on their home floor.

Family Time

FAMILY TIME – Decatur senior setter Stormi Leonard is escorted to the court by her parents Scott and Jami before the Lady Eagles’ sweep of Lake Worth Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Behind their senior-laden lineup, the Lady Eagles hit better than .500 and served 17 aces in a 25-6, 25-12, 25-5 sweep of Lake Worth.

“It was so fun. This was our last Tuesday game at home and last celebration,” said senior hitter Caroline Lowery. “We were motivated to get the job done.”

Lowery led the charge with 14 kills on just 18 attempts. Fellow seniors Cooper Martin and Makayla Mayfield put down 12 and nine kills respectively.

“We were able to run our offense well. Stormi [Leonard] kept them guessing and that makes it easier for us to get the kill.”

Lowery also led the parade of aces at the service line with seven.

“Against Springtown, my serving was terrible,” she said. “I didn’t want to embarrass myself again.”

Stepping Up

STEPPING UP – Decatur’s Kelsie Worley spikes a ball during the Lady Eagles’ win Tuesday. Worley filled in at middle blocker for an injured teammate. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Marta Bottani added four aces in the first set, setting the tone for the Lady Eagles and helping build a 13-2 lead.

Martin’s ace made it game point. She then forced a Lake Worth error to end the set.

“We served aggressively and got points off our serve,” said Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay. “It’s not something we’ve leaned on a lot lately.”

Along with the celebration for the seniors, the Lady Eagles got another impressive performance in the middle from a new person cast into the spot because of injury. Sophomore Kelsie Worley stepped in for an injured Courtnie Roberts and put down four kills. She also challenged Lake Worth hitters at the net.

“She’s been able to compete and play a couple of spots for us,” Benedict-Gay said. “She’s not unfamiliar with that role. She’s long and can swing. It’s a matter of her getting confidence in that role.”

After Leonard started the second set with an ace, Worley followed a Martin kill with one of her own to give Decatur a 3-0 lead.

It was a Worley kill that built Decatur’s advantage to 18-8. Mayfield closed the set with a kill.

Decatur quickly closed out the match, jumping out to a 12-2 lead on a Martin spike. A Mayfield block and then kill put the Lady Eagles up 20-4. Her ace put the Lady Eagles at match point before a Lake Worth error ended the evening and started the senior celebration.

“They know they are far from over but it’s always emotional on senior night,” Benedict-Gay said. “They handled it well and bounced right into the match.”

Decatur moved to 28-10 with the victory and 5-0 in District 8-4A. The Lady Eagles’ district winning streak grew to 53 straight matches dating back to October 2008. The Lady Eagles have won 125 straight district games since October 2009.

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Volleyball: Mayfield picks TWU

Decatur senior Makayla Mayfield has made her choice of where she will continue her volleyball career.

Mayfield committed to Texas Woman’s University in Denton this week.

“I liked it because it was closer to home and I liked the campus and the team is good,” said the 2013 Texas Sportswriters Association’s Class 3A MVP.

Mayfield will join another former Decatur standout at TWU – setter Joey Redwine. Mayfield said she looks forward to playing with Redwine again.

Last year in helping Decatur to a state title, Mayfield recorded 508 kills, 540 digs, 79 aces and 34 blocks.

She’s enjoying another strong year as a senior for the Lady Eagles, who are ranked No. 2 in 4A and are unbeaten in 8-4A. She has 330 kills heading into Friday’s match.

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Jon Peacock

Jon Peacock

Jon Peacock, 42, of Decatur, died Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral is 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur with burial to follow at Oaklawn Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Bobby Roberts, Beau Bell, Greg Links, Danny Watts, Pryce Jones and Cody Howdeshell.

Jon was born Jan. 16, 1972, in Plainview. He was the owner of Platinum Oilfield Services in Bridgeport.

Jon went full-throttle in whatever he did – hunting, wakeboarding, clay shooting or offroading. He spent a lot of his time the last few years teaching his son, Paxton, how to ride dirt bikes and be an avid outdoorsman. He cherished his children, even with a stern voice, and made sure to let them know he cared.

He was preceded in death by his great-grandmother, Mae Murphy; and his stepdad, Gary Grimsley.

He is survived by his daughters, Ashley and Paige Peacock of Baytown; son Paxton Peacock and his mother, Traci, of Decatur; grandparents Billy and Lea Peacock of Floresville; aunt and uncle Pat and Sharon Peacock; and numerous cousins and friends.

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Kamdyn Hope Knight

David and Bridget Knight of Decatur announce the birth of a daughter, Kamdyn Hope, on Oct. 7, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 9 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19 1/2 inches long.

She has one sister: Kynslee Grace, 4.

Grandparents are Tim and Darlene Fletcher of Slidell and Bill and Jo Ellen Knight of Denton.

Great-grandparents are Mayme Lou Fletcher of Slidell and June Taylor of Denton.

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City primes for Pink

City primes for Pink

Pink will wash over the Decatur Square Friday during one of the community’s annual breast cancer awareness and fundraising events.

Side by Side

SIDE-BY-SIDE – Lou Landers, 84, and her daughter, Brenda Scott, 52, both of Decatur, are 27-year and 19-year breast cancer survivors. Both painted the town pink in 2013. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Paint the Town Pink is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature a hamburger lunch, bake sale and silent auction with proceeds benefiting Mary’s Gift and Women’s Services at Wise Regional Health System.

The Pink Line Ceremony is 11 a.m., as all breast cancer survivors are invited to paint a pink line down Main Street. Family members can also come paint in honor of someone who fought cancer.

Lunch, at $5 a plate, will be served beginning at 11:30 a.m.

The bake sale promises a variety of homemade goodies, and the silent auction will feature a selection of treasures, including a Brighton breast cancer awareness item and donations from the downtown shops.

Paint the Town Pink first started in 2001 as part of The Pink Line Project, organized by Avon and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center to recognize a commitment to eradicate breast cancer and support people fighting breast cancer.

Decatur Main Street Manager Frieda Haley said it was a national event, and Decatur was the only city in Texas that participated. After the Avon program ended, Haley said citizens wanted to continue it as a local event.

“We did it two years with Avon, skipped a year, and have been doing it ever since,” she said.

Haley said Main Street began partnering with the Foundation when the organization started Dazzle Me Pink, a spring luncheon that raises money for Mary’s Gift.

With both groups donating to the same charity and promoting pink, it was a natural partnership.

Mary’s Gift provides mammograms and cervical cancer screenings to underserved women in Wise County.

On Friday, everyone is encouraged to wear pink, think pink and promote the cause.

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City moves Halloween festivities

The Decatur City Council decreed Monday evening local trick-or-treaters should make their rounds Thursday evening, Oct. 30, this year and leave Friday for the football crowd.

Oct. 31 is, of course, the traditional Halloween. That’s when kids dress up in costumes and go house-to-house soliciting treats.

But that Friday also happens to be the date of the last home game this season for the Decatur Eagles, Police Chief Rex Hoskins pointed out to the council.

“We feel like if we do not change our Halloween, we’re going to have trick-or-treaters at 12 o’clock, 1 in the morning,” he said. “It’s not going to give ample time for the younger kids to trick-or-treat because of the football game.”

He also noted that earlier trick-or-treaters on Friday night would likely find large numbers of residents not at home to pass out treats.

“It sounds like a really logical recommendation to me,” Mayor Martin Woodruff said.

Communicating the change will be the key, council noted. Hoskins said the city will send out notices to all the schools, as well as relying on the newspaper to publicize the change.

It was unanimously approved by the council.

In conjunction with that, the council also agreed to designate Deer Park Road one-way – northbound – from Eagle Drive to Preskitt Rd. from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 30.

The change is designed to help relieve traffic problems in that area, where trick-or-treaters often create a bottleneck of traffic attempting to get in and out of the Thousand Oaks neighborhood.


The council gave final approval to a slate of increases in library fines, municipal airport fees, residential and commercial water rates and wastewater rates. Those increases were anticipated in the current budget and will go into effect Nov. 1. They are:

Library: Books, 20 cents/day with a maximum of the cost of the item; Movies, $1/day, maximum the cost of the item

The library will now charge 20 cents/page for computer printouts and will charge the cost of a lost item. There will also be a $50 charge for use of a library meeting room – $25 for nonprofits.

Airport: Open tee hangars, from $85; Enclosed tee hangars, from $210; Hangar 10, $350; office space/hangar, $100; large maintenance hangar, $350.


Other than those items, the council handled a list of routine items in quick fashion, finishing the meeting in less than a half-hour.

The council also:

  • reappointed Eddie Allen, Curtis Creswell, Davey Edwards and Cecil Lemond to two-year terms on the Planning & Zoning Commission, with terms expiring in October 2016;
  • reappointed Lisa Caraway and Steve Goolsby to the Board of Adjustment, also two-year terms;
  • approved a contract with Wise County Appraisal District to collect ad valorem property taxes next year – cost is $2,951 for billing, collection, mailing receipts and depositing the money;
  • approved a replat application by Brenda Scott on behalf of J&S Wood, LP to split a 2.16-acre tract at Thompson St. and U.S. Highway 81/287 into two lots. No construction is planned.

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Band takes audiences to ‘Africa'; Region contest is Saturday in Denton

The drums thump and thunder.

The woodwinds start softly, then build. The brass comes in, the flags whip and stream and the chill-bumps start.

No question, band is an essential element of the Friday night football tradition in Texas.

Play It Loud

PLAY IT LOUD – The Decatur High School marching Eagles are competing in the Region 2 University Interscholastic League Marching Contest Saturday at Collins Athletic Complex in Denton. The Eagles face off against other 4A schools like Bridgeport, Krum, Sanger, Gainesville and Mineral Wells. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

In Decatur, it’s an up-and-coming program that now puts 114 kids on the field at halftime, split among brass, woodwind, percussion and guard.

They march every Friday, but this Saturday, they’ll take their show – “Africa” – to Denton for the Region 2 UIL Marching Contest at Collins Athletic Complex, located at 1500 Long Rd., just off Loop 288 on the northeast side of Denton.

Bands earning a rating of 1 in the 4A and 6A divisions will qualify for Area contest the following Saturday on the same field, competing against the best of the best from throughout northeast Texas in one of only five regions in the state.

The top four from that contest will compete at state, Nov. 3 in the Alamodome at San Antonio.

This year’s show is based on Robert W. Smith’s “Africa: Ceremony, Song and Ritual” – a longer concert piece arranged by Assistant Band Director Cody Knott into a three-movement marching show, with Kyle Kirk doing the percussion arrangement.

“It’s all African-based,” Knott said Tuesday. “The first movement is kind of the ceremonial stuff, the second movement is the song – the very pretty, lyrical stuff – and the third movement is kind of the war between the tribes. It finishes off with a recap of the first movement.”

Meanwhile, percussion in the pit beats on African drums and the flags feature trees and African scenes. Color guard members will also have their faces painted – and in the third movement they even get to do some back-and-forth vocals.

“It’s a lot of fun to perform,” Knott said.

Head Band Director Eric McNeil, who is in his 10th year in Decatur, had to be out of town early this week, but will be back in time for this weekend’s contest.

One of his assistants, Ginger Dillard, has been out since mid-September with an injury. Knott, the other assistant director, has been keeping things going along with Shelby Dickenson, the guard instructor, who works as a sub in the district, and Kirk, who is substituting at the Middle School.

Knott said it’s been a “crazy” time.

“This is the easy part now,” he said. “It’s just putting them out there and having them run it a bunch of times. They work really hard. Our band kids work hard.”

The band has the drill down, he said. Now they’re just adding visual aspects, sharpening the timing and making sure the music is just right.

“I don’t think the home crowd has seen the whole show yet, all three movements, because of the storm,” Knott said.

Last Friday they had to leave the field as lightning, thunder and rain blew in with a vengeance. There will be two more home shows Oct. 24 and 31.

Saturday, Decatur will march at 12:30. Class 4A results will be announced during the lunch break which begins at 1:30.

There are nine other 4A bands at Regional. Decatur is one of the bigger ones.

“We’re marching 114,” said Knott, who is in his third year at Decatur High School. “The number continues to grow – it’s a nice problem to have.”

Knott, who directs the seventh grade band and the second concert band at the high school, in addition to teaching beginner brass, said the program had 45 kids move up from eighth grade to high school band last year, while fewer than 10 graduated.

“That’s a lot of kids, and the numbers are looking to just go up and up,” he said. This year’s senior class is a bit bigger, with 19 kids – but there are 55 in the eighth grade band.

Band is hard work, but it’s rewarding, too – and the positive impacts of music on other academic disciplines is well-documented.

The chill bumps? Those are a bonus reserved for Friday nights.

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Decatur ISD Spotlight Students for Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Carson Elementary

Carson Wicker

Grade: 5th
Parents: Brandt and Curren Wicker
Favorite subject: Math
Hobbies or extracurricular activities: Baseball, CREW @ First Baptist Church, and working out at JRobs

Why this student was chosen: “Carson Wicker depicts integrity on a daily basis. He can always be counted on to jump in, volunteer to do a job and do what’s right even when no one is looking. Carson has recently been selected to the 5th Grade Leadership Team for Carson Elementary. When asking his teachers, they said that they have never had a kid quite like him. He is amazing and one-of-a-kind. Carson celebrates others’ successes, helps struggling students, and sets a good example for others.” – Principal Stephanie Quarles

Rann Elementary

Cody Hughes

Parents: Ronnie and Frances Hughes
Grade: 5th
Favorite Subject: Math
Hobbies: Drag racing, chess

Why this student was chosen: “Cody is a great kid with a super attitude. He goes out of his way to help others whenever he can. Cody is truly a Rann Eagle that exemplifies responsibility, respectfulness, and kindness.” – Principal Melonie Christian

Young Elementary

Eunice Ruiz

Grade: 5th
Parents: Maria and Eddie Ruiz
Favorite subject: Math
Hobbies or extracurricular activities: Plays soccer and volleyball; attends Gateway Church in Southlake; like to play with friends

Why this student was chosen: “As a dedicated and loyal member of Young Elementary’s Leadership Academy, fifth grader Eunice Ruiz exemplifies a model student. Academically, Eunice excels in math and works hard to achieve her best in every subject. Her gifts include her kind demeanor and her willingness to help other students achieve and feel included. Eunice continues to work hard to learn English as her second language and is almost fluent in both English and Spanish.” – Principal Gabe Keese

McCarroll Middle

Ji-Min Song

Grade: 8th
Parents: Achee Song and Horim Song
Favorite subjects: Band and history
Hobbies or extracurricular activities: Band, learning new instruments, and church

Why this student was chosen: “Ji-Min was chosen because of her consistent positive attitude. She is an outstanding student who shows a willingness to help others.” – Principal Wayne Tamplen

Decatur High School

Josh Santos

Grade: 12th
Parents: Alfred and Jean Santos
Favorite subject: English
Hobbies or extracurricular activities: Reading and Writing

Why this student was chosen: “Josh participates in Coach Park’s video production class. He and his classmates have begun doing video announcements that highlight the work that other classmates are performing. These announcements will be posted on our campus website and Facebook page.
He has done fantastic job as our campus anchorman! One of the greatest fears people have is public speaking, but each day he shows a great deal of poise, and he is extremely eloquent in his speech.” – Principal Jeff Russell

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Football: Night and Day – Eagles put mistakes behind them, rolling to win

Football: Night and Day – Eagles put mistakes behind them, rolling to win

The difference Saturday for the Decatur Eagles was truly night and day.

After stopping themselves with four turnovers and 55 yards in penalties in the first half Friday night, before a storm rolled in to postpone the second half, the Eagles were nearly flawless when play resumed on Saturday.

All Alone

ALL ALONE – Decatur’s Gunnar Parker finds an open area on the field during the Eagles’ win over Burkburnett. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Decatur (4-2, 1-0) scored touchdowns on its first three second-half possessions on the way to a 42-19 victory over Burkburnett in the District 4-4A Division I opener at Eagle Stadium.

Decatur quarterback Justin Myers, who threw a pair of picks in the first half, came back Saturday to throw and run for a score. Myers piled up 184 yards rushing and threw for 236, completing 20 of his 24 attempts.

“Last night I made too many mistakes,” Myers said. “Today, we came out as a team and played better. The coaches did a good job helping us play with confidence.

“I made sure I took care of the football. I didn’t take care of the football last night.”

The Eagles finished with 565 total yards, rolling up 268 in the second half.

“Yesterday we didn’t take care of the ball and today we did,” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller. “Last night, the only things that really stopped us were turnovers and penalties.”

Decatur rushed for 329 yards. Payton McAlister ran for 106 on 14 carries. He also caught six passes for 92 yards.

The Decatur defense also turned in a solid second half, forcing Burkburnett to punt on three of its five possessions. The final punt was returned 74 yards by Ryan Durdon for a touchdown to put the Eagles up 42-12 with 4:57 left.

It was the second touchdown of the half for Durdon, who caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Myers midway through the third quarter. Durdon finished with six catches for 62 yards.

After Durdon’s touchdown catch put Decatur up 21-12, the Eagles’ defense protected the lead with a goal-line stand. Brandon Clowers tackled Burkburnett quarterback Bryan Lewis at the 1-yard line on fourth down.

“I was proud of the defense. They had a great game,” Fuller said. “They really stepped up with the goal-line stand.”

Of Burkburnett’s 300 yards, nearly half came on two plays – Brandon Ingram’s 85-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Lewis’ 48-yard run in the third quarter on the drive that was stopped at the 1.

Taking over at the 1 after the stop, the Eagles marched the length of the field in 12 plays. Myers hit Payton McAlister with a pair of passes to get it started. A 5-yard run by Eddie Martinez on a fourth-and-1 kept the drive alive and set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Myers.

The Eagles followed that 99-yard march with a 17-play, 81-yard drive. A fourth-down roughing the passer call on Burkburnett at the 4-yard line set up Martinez’ 2-yard run to the end zone.

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Football: Decatur tries for 2-0 start to league

After correcting their first-half mistakes, the Decatur Eagles rolled to a victory Saturday over Burkburnett in the 4-4A Division I opener.

Decatur (4-2, 1-0) will now leave the friendly confines of Eagles Stadium to meet another team that scored a win in their league opener, the Mineral Wells Rams 7:30 p.m. Friday at Rams Stadium.

In spite of their four first-half turnovers and more than 50 yards of penalties, the Eagles dominated on both sides of the line of scrimmage against Burkburnett in the 42-19 win. The Decatur offense piled up 565 yards, while the defense made a big goal-line stand and held the Bulldogs to 300 yards – half came on two plays.

“I felt we play really good on both sides of the ball,” said Decatur coach Mike Fuller. “Defensively, we gave up one big play in the second half. Offensively, moving the ball was never a problem. We didn’t punt once.

“All [district games] are so big. Three teams are feeling good now and three teams are feeling desperate at 0-1, trying to get back in it.”

Decatur quarterback Justin Myers turned in another solid outing, running for 184 yards and throwing for 236, completing 20 of his 24 passes. He did throw two picks.

Running back Payton McAlister added 106 yards rushing and six passes for 92 yards.

Decatur will face a Mineral Wells team that has experienced a resurgence this year after going 1-9 last season. The Rams are 4-2 and beat Wichita Falls Hirschi 31-21 last Thursday.

“They are a good football team,” Fuller said. “They have good athletes and kids that can run. They are really well-coached. I feel they are sky-high and playing with a lot of confidence.”

Mineral Wells quarterback Caleb Acosta has piled up 1,340 yards and 10 touchdowns through the air. Jordan Duckett is his top target, catching 26 passes for 527 yards and four scores. Braxton Allen has 30 catches, and Coy Barrick 24 for a combined 608 yards and six touchdowns.

“They are a lot like us offensively with their screens and quick game,” Fuller said.

“Defensively, we have to do a good job in coverage and get pressure on the quarterback.”

DECATUR (4-2, 1-0) AT MINERAL WELLS (4-2, 1-0)

7:30 p.m. at Ram Stadium

Decatur: Harris Rating 216

Notable: Payton McAlister has a combined 14 touchdowns receiving and rushing.

Mineral Wells: Harris Rating 207

Notable: Three Rams receivers have 24 or more receptions.

Harris line: Decatur by 7

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Volleyball: Lady Eagles extend winning streak

The Decatur Lady Eagles hit .511, putting down 51 kills in just 90 attempts Friday in a three-game sweep of Springtown.

Decatur (27-10) won 25-9, 25-16, 25-13, finishing the first half of District 8-4A play a perfect 4-0.

Decatur extended its district winning streak to 54 matches. The Lady Eagles’ consecutive sets winning streak in district reached 128.

Makayla Mayfield led the Decatur hit parade with 19 kills. Caroline Lowery finished with 14, and Cooper Martin 13.

Setter Stormi Leonard handed out 40 assists to six different hitters.

Mayfield and Maclaine Lowery served a pair of aces each.

Defensively, Mayfield made 18 digs. Caroline Lowery had 13, and Cooper Martin 12. Maclaine Lowery dug 11 shots.

Decatur started the second half of district play Tuesday at home against Lake Worth.

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Rodeo: Decatur wrestles in top spots

Led by Chase Wilson, Decatur cowboys swept the top three spots in steer wrestling at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association event last weekend.

Decatur won the high-point award as a team, behind the strong performance in steer wrestling.

Wilson needed just 4.401 seconds to complete his run. Dillan McGuire took second in 7.752. Camerron Tucker was third in 10.891.

Chase Gasperson turned in the top performance as a header in team roping, taking 9.317 seconds. Jake Cobb was eighth in 14.461.

Carolyn Spear took second in barrels with her run of 16.316.

Seth Cone placed seventh in calf roping with a run of 26.249.

Alvord’s Olivia Parr took seventh in breakaway in 5.739.

In steer undecorating, Paradise’s Majia Bennett finished third in 1.872. Paitane Brown was fourth in 2.631, and Taylor Carwile fifth in 2.713.

Paradise’s Ty Meals had the top time as a heeler in team roping with a 9.317. He finished second in ribbon roping in 7.64 seconds to earn the rookie cowboy honor.

Alvord’s Tyler Griggs was ninth in team roping as a heeler in 16.337.

Northwest’s Grady Payne won the chute dogging in 2.558. Teammate Cole Gerrek was third in 2.756, and Tyler Norton seventh in 3.293. Decatur’s Dominic Head finished fourth in 2.954, and Jacob McLeod sixth in 3.24.

Northwest’s Alexis Barfield was eighth in poles in 21.78.

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Marjorie Harris

Marjorie Harris

Marjorie Harris, 75, died Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, in Decatur.

No services are scheduled at this time.

Marjorie was born Jan. 21, 1939, in Hannibal, Mo., to Edwin and Wilma (Ruble) Moore in Hannibal, Mo. She married Albert John Harris March 16, 1954, in Pittsfield, Ill.

She is survived by daughters,Marjorie Ford and Dennis, of Florida, Cathy Edwards and husband, Billy, of Decatur and Ginny Robertson and husband, Darren, of Missouri; sons Albert Harris and wife, Marie, and Bill Heusted and wife, Patsy, all of Missouri; sisters Karen Woolfork and Donna Triplett; and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; daughter Marion Harrelson of Florida; and sister Coleen Kaylor.

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