Marker recognizes East Side memories

Marker recognizes East Side memories

Memory can be a wonderful thing.

It glosses over the hard times, the pain and suffering, and lends a golden patina to times and people long gone.

Last Saturday, on the east side of the railroad tracks in Decatur, memory became history.

As they’ve done for many years, Decatur’s East Side Alumni held a Juneteenth parade and a celebration at Lou Ida Willis Park. But this year, they also dedicated a historical marker at the site of the original East Side school – a reminder of an era that, while painful, still holds precious memories for many in Decatur’s African-American community.


DEDICATION – A group gathers around the new marker at the old East Side Elementary School during Saturday’s Juneteeth celebration. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The marker is at 604 Newark Street, just off U.S. 380, in front of Cornerstone Apostolic Church. The small, white frame church building holds a wealth of memories for many of Decatur’s older African-American residents.

“We all had fond memories of the school back in the day,” said Donna Williams, whose efforts were a key to getting the marker placed. “That was our school.

“I was so emotional about it,” she continued. “When you think about all the people that gathered in and was in there – and then the people who had died and gone on who were inspirational to me…”

The building was originally built as a church in 1882. It also served as a school, where generations of Decatur’s African-American children attended through the eighth-grade before having to go to either Denton or Fort Worth to finish high school.

School Church Sacred

SCHOOL, CHURCH SACRED – The Cornerstone Apostle Church was the site for several speakers during Saturday’s marker dedication, reunion and Juneteeth celebration. The church building was formerly a school, a band hall and a barn. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

In the 1940s, it was moved up the hill to its present site, and classes met there until a two-room brick building was erected in 1954.

The church/school was then moved across town to Decatur High School, where it was used as a band hall. Sometime after that, when the school didn’t need it anymore, the late Bob Holloway, who served as Wise County Judge, bought the building and moved it to his farm where it was used as a barn.

But Judge Holloway gave it back to the community, and in 1985 it was moved back to the site and restored by East Side graduates and church members – both living in this area and those who had moved away.

“Mr. Holloway, had he not saved that barn that was our school building, there wouldn’t have been no history,” Williams said. “He could have taken that barn and demolished it.”

The segregated school closed in 1965.

It was at a 2007 reunion that Williams printed a little yearbook with some history on the school for the benefit of those who came each year.

“It dawned on me that, you know, as a young girl you would think there’s going to be something about your history somewhere,” she said. “But at that time there wasn’t.”

She showed the yearbook to Rosalie Gregg of the Wise County Historical Society. Gregg encouraged her to submit information for a historical marker, and Kerry Clower helped guide her through the process.

“The third year, I guess, they approved of it,” Williams said. “He [Clower] came back and told me and I was so overjoyed I didn’t know what to do.”

So they scheduled the dedication of the marker to coincide with the annual parade and Juneteenth celebration – a fitting tribute to the building that provided the glue to hold a community together during troubled times.

Williams’ mother, Lou Ida “Big Mama” Willis, was the driving force behind getting a park created in the East Side neighborhood in 2006. At age 88 and suffering from Alzheimer’s she was unable to attend this year’s reunion and celebration.

Maude Alice Buckley, 85, was the oldest East Side alumnus at the gathering.

“My mother was kind of like the backbone of the community,” Williams said. “She has been through a lot in her life. It made me really feel good that when they dedicated the park in her name and honor she was still living.”

“She loved that park. When the 19th of June come, she’d be up there cutting a rug. I missed that this year because she wasn’t able to,” Williams said.

As for this year’s reunion – the dedication of the marker made it stand out, but it was the people who came who made it special – just like they do every year.

“It was really fun, even though I was emotional,” Williams said. “Everybody was so glad to see each other.”

Oldest Alum

EAST SIDE PIONEER – Lou Ida “Big Mama” Willis, 88, the namesake of the City of Decatur’s East Side neighborhood park, was unable to attend last Saturday’s reunion, but photographer Joe Duty took her picture at a local nursing center.


“In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Wise and several surrounding counties had few African-American citizens. Yet regulations at the time required separate facilities for African-Americans. Most African-American families in Decatur lived in a neighborhood east of the Fort Worth and Denver Railway tracks. In 1882, they established East Side Elementary School, which was the only school for African-American students in Wise County. The original building was a one-room frame structure built near the residence of Mrs. Missouri Brown. Initially the facility also served as a church. It had a pot-bellied stove that the boys gathered wood for from the nearby creek. A water well was abandoned in the 1930s when it was discovered to be contaminated with oil.

“East Side Elementary School often inherited discarded furnishings and textbooks from Decatur’s white schools. Students who completed eighth grade had to travel to Fort Worth’s I.M. Terrell High School (45 miles) or Denton’s Fred Moore High School (30 miles)to continue their education. In 1954, the school was replaced by a two-classroom brick building and the old frame building was used as a band hall at Decatur High School. Later, the former school served as a barn and then was moved back of its historic neighborhood. East Side Elementary School operated until segregation ended in 1965 and all students attended the same schools. Little documentation exists for Decatur’s African-American community. The stories of East Side Elementary School serve as reminders of the struggles and triumphs of a different time in our nation’s past.”

Posted in Features, News0 Comments

Fire displaces mom and daughter

Two people managed to escape from a burning travel trailer early Sunday morning near Decatur.

Krystal Maurer and her 6-year-old daughter were not injured when the travel trailer they were living in caught fire around 2:30 a.m. Sunday at 2161 County Road 2320.

Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard said Maurer was apparently cooking when the fire started. Beard said the fire was accidental.

By the time fire departments from Decatur and Greenwood-Slidell arrived, the trailer was engulfed in flames. The family lost the trailer and all its contents.

Red Cross was called to assist the family. Wise County EMS also responded to the scene.

Posted in News0 Comments

School theatre might lose orchestra pit

An expanding band program at Decatur High School is in need of a bigger stage, and the solution could involve the elimination of the orchestra pit.

At last week’s school board meeting, Superintendent Rod Townsend explained that the stage at the DHS Theatre is not large enough to accommodate the 90 members of the band, and the problem will only get worse as next year’s band is projected to be around 120 members.

He suggested covering the orchestra pit in order to utilize that as stage area.

The school had previously looked at a temporary cover, but the estimated cost of $65,000 proved too expensive. Townsend said he believes a permanent cover could be installed for closer to $10,000 to $15,000.

“If we don’t do anything, we won’t be able to utilize it for our band,” Townsend said. “It’s not just that we can’t get our kids up there, it’s a danger when we push them so far to the front. You’ve got kids walking around there. I don’t want them falling off into the orchestra pit.”

The current orchestra pit could still be used for storage, which is its current primary use. Townsend said the orchestra pit has been used “maybe once” since the high school opened in 2006.

Both band director Eric McNiel and theatre arts teacher Cassidy McQuiston are in favor of covering the orchestra pit, Townsend said, adding that McQuiston could not hold one-act play competitions at the high school due to the small stage.

Townsend did warn board members that with an expanded stage, additional lighting will be needed at some point in the future.

The board voted to allow Townsend to get quotes for the project. The item will return to the board for approval since it is not budgeted.


Townsend also presented the board with information about contracting with Cenergistic, an energy management company, to help the school district reduce its energy costs.

He said the company will look at energy usage and costs over the past couple of years and come up with a plan to reduce those costs by 20-30 percent. If the company does not meet its goal, it will pay the difference to the school.

An energy specialist will be assigned to the school and will implement management practices, including employee training. Townsend said the company would like to do a co-op agreement with Bridgeport to have one specialist cover both districts.

Townsend said the company requires a 5-year contract, but there is no cost to the school.

Feedback from other schools that have used the company led Townsend to believe they could benefit Decatur ISD.

“I’ve contacted three of the schools that did business with them. and one school said it saved 32 percent from the money they budgeted,” he said.

The item will be brought back to the board at next month’s meeting for possible action.

In other business, the board agreed to request that the city deed three tracts of land at the district’s central administration campus to the district.

During the renovation process, the school discovered that the tracts of land had never been deeded to the school district. The agreement states that if the land is ever not used by the school, ownership will revert back to the city.

Posted in News0 Comments

City grants church, school requests

The First Methodist Church and Decatur Independent School District both came to City Hall with petitions Monday evening – and both were granted.

The church’s request was that the city “close and vacate” a block-long section of Pecan Street between Church and Miller streets.

City Personnel Earns Honor

CITY PERSONNEL EARN HONORS – Decatur City Secretary Diane Cockrell, firefighter/paramedic James Carr and Fire Chief Mike Richardson were recognized by Mayor Martin Woodruff at Monday’s city council meeting for honors they recently brought home to the city. Cockrell was named 2014 City Secretary of the Year by the North Texas Municipal Clerk’s Association. Carr was named EMS Responder of the Year by the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshal’s Association of Texas at the group’s annual meeting in Lubbock. At the same conference, Richardson was named fourth vice-president of the organization, meaning that in three years he will be the group’s incoming president. Shown are Cockrell (left), Woodruff, Carr and Richardson. Messenger photo by Bob Buckel

“The Methodist Church has acquired all of the block across the street south of the main sanctuary,” City Manager Brett Shannon told the council. “What this will basically do is join the whole property into one tract. Their whole purpose for this is to have room to expand at some future date.”

Councilmembers questioned how common the procedure is.

Shannon said it is not unheard of – but noted it’s usually done on a street that is designated on the map, but has not been developed. Most often it is done when large tracts of property are acquired for development.

Since the action is an ordinance, it requires two readings. Monday night’s action was to approve it on first reading.

The city will reserve utility easements through the street, Shannon said, and both the public works and emergency services departments have signed off on the closure, saying it will not harm the public.

The school district requested the city donate three tracts of property where the DISD administration building now sits.

“It seems that back in 1890 or even before, somehow the city was the owner of a couple of three tracts of land up by where the new administration building is currently located,” Shannon told the council. “It was not discovered until the renovation of that old high school, which was built in the WPA days, back in the 30s.”

He said neither the school district nor the city could find any record that those tracts had ever been transferred to the schools district, although school facilities have occupied the land for more than 80 years.

Shannon asked the council to approve the resolution with the understanding that attorneys for both entities will go over it and make sure it accomplishes the intended purpose.

“Obviously the city has no real need for those three little tracts of property up there in the middle of the school,” he said.

There will be a clause stipulating that if the school district ever stops using the property, ownership of those three tracts would go back to the city.

The council approved the donation.


The council also:

  • approved on second reading a zoning change from multi-family to institutional, allowing a funeral home on Preskitt Road at Old Reunion Road;
  • approved on second reading an ordinance amending the city’s comprehensive plan to allow mixed-use land use on the U.S. 81/287 Business route from Mulberry north to the city limits;
  • approved a replat that also relates to the funeral home project;
  • approved a special-use permit application to allow the sale of the same parcel for the funeral home;
  • granted Police Chief Rex Hoskins’ request to close Chico Street to parking from 5 p.m. to midnight July 2 to accommodate traffic anticipated for the fireworks display at Victory Family Church;
  • appointed Matt Joiner to the Economic Development Corp. board of directors, replacing Roy Eaton, who stepped down from the board;
  • granted a request from the Decatur Main Street Program to close Main St. and Walnut St. for the Agvantage Farm & Ranch Chisholm Trail Days Rodeo parade for a hour on Aug. 23;
  • nominated Mayor Martin Woodruff to the Regional Emergency Preparedness Council.

Posted in News0 Comments

Five teams picked for playoffs

Football fans in Decatur, Alvord, Boyd, Chico and Northwest can make their plans for the postseason according to polls in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.

The annual football guide hit stands this past week and picked five of the county’s seven teams to earn playoff spots. Only Paradise and Bridgeport were not predicted to make the playoffs.

No area teams were in preseason rankings for the six classifications. The University Interscholastic League renamed the classifications for this fall with 5A becoming the new 6A. The old six-man or Class A Division II is now Class A. The other classes all moved up with the old 3A now being 4A.

The Decatur Eagles under new head coach Mike Fuller were picked third in the new 4-4A Division I behind Graham and Gainesville. Wichita Falls Hirschi was tabbed fourth, Burkburnett fifth and Mineral Wells last.

Fuller, who arrived in the spring from Colleyville Heritage to take over a Decatur team that went 9-4 and made the 3A Division I region semifinals, downplayed the predictions.

“I don’t put much stock in it,” he said. “We’ll show up each Friday night and compete.”

In 3-4A Division II, Bridgeport was picked sixth behind Celina, Bonham, Aubrey, Anna and Krum. The Bulls are coming off a winless campaign in 2013.

Under their new head coach Bill Poe, the Northwest Texans are picked fourth in 5-6A. State champion Denton Guyer is the choice to win the league followed by Keller Fossil Ridge and Denton Ryan. Byron Nelson is picked sixth in the eight-team district.

The Boyd Yellowjackets were picked second in 4-3A Division I behind Breckenridge. Bowie was tabbed third, Brock fourth, Ponder fifth and Paradise sixth. Boyd quarterback Clay Barnett was picked as the league’s preseason offensive MVP.

“Looking at the district, anyone can beat anyone,” said Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins. “It’ll be such a competitive district. Anything can happen.”

In the 5-2A Division I, Alvord was tabbed to grab the district title behind preseason offensive MVP Joe Randall, who ran for 1,251 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Chico was picked second led by preseason defensive MVP Hagan Davis.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Jones, Guanlao earn all-state honors

Decatur’s Drew Jones and Northwest’s Aaron Guanlao posted top-five finishes in April at the University Interscholastic League golf championships.

The two earned all-state selections on the Golfstat High School Scoreboard last week.

Jones tied for fifth at the 3A state meet after winning the 9-3A district title and finishing runner-up at the 3A Region II meet. At state, he fired rounds of 75 and 81 at the Wolfdancer Course at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop.

Guanlao finished tied for fifth in the 5A tournament, shooting a 71 and 72 at the Onion Creek Club Golf Course. Guanlao won the 5A Region I tournament in Lubbock.

Bridgeport state qualifiers Lexi Read and Brooke Irion earned 3A second-team all-state selections. Read finished ninth at state with rounds of 86 and 81. Irion, a freshman, shot a pair of 88s for 15th.

Paradise’s Colton Horton received honorable mention for the 2A all-state team. Horton turned in rounds of 83 and 86 at the state tournament.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Nancy Huff Blank

Nancy Huff Blank

Nancy Huff Blank, 78, a homemaker, died Sunday, June 22, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral is 10 a.m. Thursday, June 26, at Christian-Hawkins Funeral Home in Boyd with the Rev. Ryan Ogrodowicz officiating. Burial will follow at 12:30 p.m. at the DFW National Cemetery in Dallas.

Visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.

Nancy was born May 24, 1936, in Oil City, Pa., to Merl and Eleanor (Pierce) Huff, and she married Franklin D. Blank April 25, 1959, in Holyoke, Mass.

She was a member of the Wise County Historical Society, the Antique Car Club and the Chisholm Trail Antique Farm Machinery Club. She loved to travel, and she and Frank visited many places all over the world.

Nancy was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Janice Hamill.

She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Frank Blank of Decatur; sons David Blank and wife, Christa, of Carrollton and Robert Blank and wife, Angelia, of Krum; daughter Dawn Scheffer and husband, David, of Krum; grandchildren Garrett, Nathan, Katelyn, Rebeccah, Matthew, Daniel and Ashley; brother Jim Huff of Oil City, Pa.; and other family members and friends.

Posted in Obituaries1 Comment

James Gordon Cates

James Gordon Cates

James Gordon Cates, 89, a retired inspector, died Sunday, June 22, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral was June 24 at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur with the Rev. Brian Bosworth officiating. Burial followed at Oaklawn Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Bob Boland, Joe Lambert, Ronnie Walker, Larry Avant, Joseph Greene and Wayne Stone.

James was born June 15, 1925, in Decatur to Joe C. and Emma Jane (White) Cates. He married Laura Marie Dutile Aug. 17, 1959, in Decatur.

He served his country in the U.S. Army and retired from General Dynamics after 40 years of service. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Decatur.

James was preceded in death by his parents.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Laura Cates of Decatur; son Joe Greene of Decatur; two grandsons; and many friends.

Posted in Obituaries0 Comments

Sharolyn Lauterbach Holder

Sharolyn Lauterbach Holder

Sharolyn Lauterbach Holder, 67, a secretary, died Sunday, June 22, 2014, in Decatur.

Funeral is 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, at Hawkins Funeral Home Chapel in Bridgeport with Bro. Sam Starr officiating. Burial will follow at Bethel Cemetery in Weatherford.

Pallbearers are Randy Linville, Brett Fuller, Cody Deaton, Gaylen Oates, Jeffrey Sorrells and Jerry Paul Oats.

Sharolyn was born Dec. 5, 1946, in Hope, Ark., to James and Mary (Jarrell) Lauterbach. She retired from Lockheed and worked as the secretary for L.O. Transport.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Don Holder; and brothers Buddy and Jimmy Lauterbach.

Survivors include her daughter, Denise Oates and husband, L.O., of Paradise; son Lonnie Holder of Bridgeport; grandchildren Chelsea Holder, Cala “Kookoo” Holder, Gracie Oates, Tiffany Gonzales and husband, Robert, and Stetson Oates and wife, Leslie, Jason Holder and LaDonna Holder; great-grandchildren Cooper and Reese Gonzales and Landry Oates; sister Margaret Sorrells of Odem; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and friends.

Donations can be made in memory of Sharolyn to Paradise Ag Supporters.

Posted in Obituaries0 Comments

Students practice the pioneer life

Students practice the pioneer life

Filtered sunlight falls on Maria Phelps as she tends to a skillet of scrambled eggs.

The 15-year-old from Tuscaloosa, Ala., has helped prepare breakfast for herself and seven other teenage campers at the Askey Farm every morning this week.

Prehistoric Lesson

PREHISTORIC LESSON -(From left) Kelsey Johnson, Olivia Wyatt, Maria Phelps, Danika Louw and Holley Foster examine fossils found on the Askey Farm during their stay. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The group made the roughly 650-mile field trip from Holy Spirit Catholic School in Tuscaloosa with their teacher Debbie Samaniego for a hands-on, pioneer experience.

The farm, just off Farm Road 2264 south of Decatur, is owned by Cathy Askey and her family, who are cousins of Samaniego.

HISTORY LESSON – Danika Louw (left) and Maria Phelps clean laundry using a washboard and water from a nearby creek. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

It’s the land that’s been the focus of the trip, the teacher said.

“The Askey family has been here since the 1860s,” she explained.

The 1,000-plus acre farm offers a cross-section of Wise County’s early history.

Each day students scoured the fields and forests near their camp for nails, horseshoes and broken bottles, evidence of the area’s early settlers.

“When you find stuff, it’s pretty satisfying,” 14-year-old Tru Livaudais said.

Hunting for artifacts also serves as a way to distract the group from the ominous midday heat , 11-year-old Holley Foster said.

“My least favorite thing is how hot it gets in the afternoon because everyone gets irritable,” Foster said. “Having something to do helps.”

In addition to prospecting for Wise County’s ancient relics, the students have had lessons in animal science.

Alex Kincaid, 13, said his time in Decatur has taught him more about animals, both domestic and wild.

Humble Abode

HUMBLE ABODE – (From left) Holley Foster, Debbie Samaniego, Cathy Askey, Alex Kincaid, Olivia Wyatt, Kelsey Johnson, Jackson Kapera, Maria Phelps, Tru Livaudais and Danika Louw sit around a campfire at the Askey Farm Friday morning. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“It was cool because I’m never really up close with animals,” Kincaid said. “I mean, I have a cat at home.”

The farm presented a unique setting for teaching more than just history and science lessons, though. Students were responsible for maintaining their campsite, in addition to doing their own laundry and cooking.

“Tuscaloosa doesn’t have places where you can do all of this,” Jackson Kapera, 14, said. “We’re very self-sufficient here.”

To simulate a pioneer lifestyle, the group spent each night together on a flatbed trailer covered by a tarp, which simulated a traditional covered wagon. Students washed clothes in the nearby creek and hung them on clotheslines to dry.

Living conditions at the farm inspired a sense of appreciation for the work that goes into basic day-to-day tasks.

“The simple things are really enjoyable,” Maria Phelps said. “Like when you get that sandwich in the middle of the day, it’s amazing. It’s the best sandwich you’ve ever had in your life.”

Samaniego and her students planned to visit the Fort Worth Stockyards Saturday and make the trip home Sunday.

Weird Science

WEIRD SCIENCE – Maria Phelps uses divining rods to search for settler gravesites. The method for finding disturbances in the earth has no scientific backing, but proved effective in locating burial sites on the farm. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Posted in Features, News0 Comments

Wise Computer Services

Location: 600 W. Walnut St., Ste. B, Decatur

Phone: 940-627-4411

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday

Owner/Management: Owners James and Jeanie Rooks, Manager Lucy Craighead

Products/services: PC repairs, remote and personal service calls

Wise Computer Services

WISE COMPUTER SERVICES – The Decatur Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting at Wise Computer Services June 4. Pictured are (from left) owners James and Jeanie Rooks and Manager Lucy Craighead. Messenger photo by Laura Belcher

Posted in Business0 Comments

Chicken Express

Location: 1204 U.S. 81/287, Decatur

Phone: 940-626-4393

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily

Owner/Management: Connie and Terry Rye

Products/services: Restaurant

Chicken Express

CHICKEN EXPRESS – The Decatur Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting at Chicken Express June 12, marking its change in ownership. Pictured are (from left) new owners Connie and Terry Rye, Manager Maria Perez and Manager Diego Hernandez. Messenger photo by Laura Belcher

Posted in Business0 Comments

Jones rallies to take second

Jones rallies to take second

After posting the low round of the tournament Wednesday, 69, Drew Jones continued his climb back into contention Thursday at the Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament.

The Decatur junior, who started the final round seven strokes back, was within striking distance at 2-under par through 13. An errant shot into the water led to a double bogey and eventually a round of 1-under-par 71.

Bringing Home a Trophy

BRINGING HOME A TROPHY – Drew Jones tied for second Thursday at the Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament in Wichita Falls. Submitted photo

Jones finished tied for second with a four-round total of 294. Mason Overstreet of Laverne, Okla. won the Open Championship by two strokes over Jones and three other golfers with his 292. Overstreet also won the tournament in 2013.

“I knew if I played good [Thursday] I’d have a chance,” Jones said. “After the 69 in the third round, I was tied for fourth seven shots back. I was 2-under then hit it in the water and hit it out of water and over the green. I chipped and putted for a double and lost by two.

“Overall, I didn’t play good. I was missing with the driver all day and wasn’t hitting great. It showed Tuesday. But I ended well.”

Jones won the 14-15 division at the tournament last year and continued a four-year streak of top-five finishes at the event that featured golfers from across Texas and Oklahoma and a handful of players from other states and nations.

Playing in the open division for the first time, the 16-year-old Jones opened with a 74 on the windblown course at Wichita Falls Country Club.

Jones fired an 80 in the second round and was 12 strokes off the pace set by Overstreet.

Jones said the course played especially tough with the wind during the first two rounds.

“It was a tough week with the wind,” he said. “It was blowing at least 25 mph. A couple of times it pushed my putter and made me miss some putts. It’s tough especially on fast greens in the wind.”

After the 80, Jones set his sights on getting in the top five. A shower softened the greens Wednesday. Also with lighter winds, Jones made a charge, shooting a 3-under-par 69 to trim five strokes off Overstreet’s lead and get to a tie for fourth.

At the Texas-Oklahoma Tournament, Jones finished ahead of Class 3A runner-up Tanner Napier of Paris, who shot a 299.

“It was nice to play against some of the other top golfers around,” Jones said.

Jones will continue to play against elite competition this summer. He will tee off in the HP Byron Nelson Junior Championship Tuesday at the Northwood Club.

“It’s a fun tournament. I didn’t play as well as I’d hoped last year,” Jones said. “I did get to meet Peggy Nelson (Byron Nelson’s widow).”

Jones also wants to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Amateur later this summer.

William Reed of Runaway Bay and Blake Boyd of Bridgeport also played in the Texas-Oklahoma Tournament Open division and missed the cut. Reed shot rounds of 91, 86 and 83. Boyd posted 98, 89 and 101 in his three rounds.

Decatur’s Bryce Elder shot a 256 over three rounds in the 14-15 division. Hayden Bennett fired a 284 in the same class.

In the girls event, Bridgeport’s Lexi Read finished tied for 17th with a 322. Read scored rounds of 83, 78, 84 and 77. Burkburnett’s Sarah Moore won the tournament with a 289.

Posted in Features, Sports0 Comments

Eagles, new staff prepare for upcoming season

Justin Myers admitted he was a little sore after his workout Thursday morning that concluded the first week of Decatur’s summer conditioning program.

“We’re sore in the morning after working out, but I feel we’re getting better,” said Myers, who will battle for the Eagles starting quarterback job.

Extra Work

EXTRA WORK – Decatur athletes run a couple of extra sprints Thursday following the final workout of the week. Ninety Decatur athletes took part in the summer conditioning camp at the field house this week. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

Myers joined approximately 90 athletes between grades seven and 12 for the two-hour workouts this week at the Decatur field house under the direction of new Eagles football coach and athletic director Mike Fuller.

“Our average daily attendance has been about 90,” Fuller said. “Next week we should be over 100.

“I’m pleased. My hope is they put themselves through it and see the benefit.”

The workouts have focused on building strength in the weight room, while also getting outside and working on speed and agility.

Fuller said the outside drills have been divided between vertical speed and agility drills with a lot of cutting. In the weight room, he and his staff have worked with athletes on technique along with getting the general strengthening exercises in.

“It’s pretty intense,” Fuller said. “It’s different from offseason workouts during the school year. You get more time and can recover between drills. But we’re going for two hours.”

Myers and Jacob Kevetter agreed the workouts are intense.

“The coaches are really pushing us,” Kevetter said. “The intensity is better than last year. We’ve had a good turnout.”

Along with building strength and speed, the conditioning program has allowed the new coaching staff a chance to get to know their young athletes before the start of fall workouts in August.

“That’s huge. We get to know the kids and develop relationships,” Fuller said. “That’s the key to developing a good program.”

Myers said within this first week there’s already been a nice rapport with the new coaches.

“I really like them. The coaches are already joking around with us,” Myers said.

Posted in Sports0 Comments

Edward P. Maddox III

Edward P. “Doc” Maddox III

Former Decatur resident, Edward P. “Doc” Maddox III D.V.M., 91, died Monday, June 16, 2014, in Kingwood.

Funeral was June 20 at the First United Methodist Church in Decatur with the Rev. Brian Bosworth officiating. Burial was at Greenwood Cemetery in Fort Worth.

Pallbearers were Gene Morrison, Richard Livingston, Brayton Morrison, Veron Parsons, Drew Bruton, Bill Adams, Clyde Holt and Jerry Geiger. Honorary pallbearers are members of the Wise County Veterans Group.

Doc was born Aug. 2, 1922, into a Fort Worth pioneer family. The Maddox family owned and operated Crystal Pure Milk and Ice, which was the first modern ice and milk plant in Fort Worth. After the Civil War, the Maddox brothers came to Fort Worth and served vital roles such as sheriff, fire chief, police chief and county tax assessor-collector for landowners.

Like his father before him, he graduated from R.L. Paschal High School in Fort Worth where he lettered in football. Dr. Maddox was also a proud graduate of Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine where he had served as president of his senior class. He served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II as a second lieutenant.

In 1961, Doc was appointed by Gov. Allen Shivers to a term on the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners where he helped set up the first state board of directors.

He was the first licensed veterinarian to practice in Mineral Wells (Palo Pinto County), Weatherford (Parker County) and Decatur (Wise County). For the first 20 years of his career, Doc was an ambulatory dairy practitioner, traveling to local dairies, farms and ranches to care for cattle. During his last 20 years of veterinarian service, he worked as livestock market veterinarian for 10 different Texas markets and four in southern Oklahoma.

Doc was a lifetime member of the Fort Worth Botanical Garden Society. He served two terms as president of the Fort Worth Chapter of Sons of the American Revolution, Maj. K.M. Vanzandt Chapter No. 6. He was also a charter member of the Wise County Camp of Sons of Confederate Veterans and a member in good standing of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars for descendants of officers during the Civil War.

Doc was proud to serve as president for both the Fort Worth Cactus and Succulent Society and the Texas Association of Cactus and Succulent Societies. He was also a longtime member of the Lions Club in Decatur.

One of his many hobbies included hunting and collecting cacti in the wild, which resulted in a hothouse collection of more than 200 different species of North, Central and South American species of cacti that he later donated to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.

As a scuba diver, Doc collected seashells from the coral reefs of Belize, Costa Rica and from around the world. He generously donated his seashell collection to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens for permanent public display. Doc also collected stone weapons and artifacts of early American man, and he owned an extensive collection of arrowheads, ceremonials and burial pieces of flint and stone. Doc authored three books; “Cow Veterinarian, It’s Great,” “10,000 Miles Hunting Cactus in Texas” and “Sticks and Stones: Man’s First Weapons and the Man That Made Them.”

He was preceded in death by his wife, Movelda (Holt) Maddox; son Edward Perryman Maddox IV; stepson John Van Etton; and a brother and sister.

He’s survived by his daughter, Celia Ann (Maddox) Parsons and husband, Veron, of Temple; granddaughters Kara Dunphy and husband, Kevin, of Cary, N.C., Lorelei Livingston and husband, Richard, of Belgium and Natasha Morrison and husband, Gene, of Kingwood; great-grandchildren Brittany, Jessica, Geoffrey, Brandon, Brayton, Maddox and Gage; daughter-in-law Anita Maddox of Houston; and other relatives and friends.

Posted in Obituaries0 Comments

Brolyn Cale Bridges

Autumn and Cody Bridges of Decatur announce the birth of a son, Brolyn Cale, on June 17, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long.

Grandparents are Susan Harris of Weatherford, Charlie Bridges of Bridgeport, Melissa Jimerson of Ennis and Gerald and Sherry Wright of Decatur.

Great-grandparents are D.L. and Kaye Harris of Chico, Vickie Smith of Decatur, Margaret Puckett of Ennis and Bob and Ruby Hensley of Decatur.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments

Robert Lee Brotherton V

Alexis Griffen and Robert Lee Brotherton IV of Decatur announce the birth of a son, Robert Lee Brotherton V, on June 15, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. He weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces and was 19 inches long.

Grandparents are Rhonda and Keith Climer and April and Robert Brotherton III.

Great-grandparents are Pat Vernia, Helen and Robert Brotherton Jr, and Donna and Kevin Criscuolo.

Great-great-grandparents are Shirley and Robert Brotherton Sr.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments

Levi James Griffin

Christopher Griffin and Hannah King of Decatur announce the birth of a son, Levi James Griffin, on June 14, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces and was 16 1/2 inches long.

He has one brother: Harrison Eli Griffin, 18 months.

Grandparents are Tommy King of Gainesville and Curtis and Lena Roberts of Bridgeport. Great-grandparents are Virgil Flowers of Boyd and Bill Black of Arkansas.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments

Saylor Jace Caraway

Jace and Ryan Caraway of Decatur announce the birth of a daughter, Saylor Jace, on June 10, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19 inches long.

She has two brothers: Lake Griffin, 5, and Ledgen Ryan, 4.

Grandparents are Gary and Lisa Caraway of Decatur, Craig and Judy Rawle of Decatur and Terry and Annette Griffin of Hamilton.

Great-grandparents are Rodney and CeCe Lisby, Leslie and Tommie Griffin, Joyce Plummer, Billie Rawle and Kenneth Caraway.

Posted in News0 Comments

Emory Annette Gardner

Brett and Brittany Gardner of Decatur announce the birth of a daughter, Emory Annette, on June 13, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces and was 21 inches long.

She has one brother: James Aiden, 4.

Grandparents are Van and Debbie Gardner of Decatur.

Posted in New Arrivals0 Comments




Recover password | Create an Account