Site Search
     search tips  sitemap



                        On Gleason


Click Here for Pat Dewberry's Most Recent Book





Gleason Superette

Jozelle's Beauty Shop

City Drug Store

Gleason Lumber

Floyd Greenhouses

Gleason Hardware

Eveready Auto Parts

Gleason Clinic

Steele Plant Company

Bank of Gleason

J & P Car Care

Ann's Beauty Shop

Earthen Vessels Pottery Gifts & Bistro

Spain Bros Milling Company

Master Tire & Auto





Masonic Lodge





Retire in Weakley County


Weakley County Chamber of Commerce


Gleason Library



Click for Gleason, Tennessee Forecast


  Facts about all 50 States



Please be Patient - Pictures Sometimes Take Several Seconds to Load.

Support the  Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fund

  Click the Donate Button Provided Below


Gleason Board votes to lower speed limit to 30 mph

Discusses sidewalk construction on East Union

One of the top items on the agenda at Thursday night’s Gleason Board meeting was a request by local citizens to lower the speed limit at the intersection of Hwy 190 and Hwy 22, due to safety issues.


During discussion, it was mentioned that local residents have expressed their concerns regarding the need to lower the speed limit on Hwy 190 in the area of Each Road and the new Dollar General Store located at the intersection of Hwy 190 and Hwy 22. The reason for reducing the speed limit is due to an anticipated increase in traffic flow at the new Dollar General Store.


After much discussion, the board voted to lower the speed limit to 30 mph from Esch Road south to Hwy 22. Since Hwy 190 is a state highway, the city board can only change the speed limit inside the city limits. State approval must be sought to alter the speed limit outside the city limits of Gleason.


Currently, the speed limit coming into Gleason on Hwy 22 from either direction drops from 65 mph to 55mph. However, the board agreed to request TDOT to reduce the speed limit on Hwy 22 inside Gleason city limits from 55 mph to 45 mph. There was also some discussion regarding the installation of a traffic light at the intersection, which would include pedestrian-operated crossing controls for those walking across Hwy 22.


Local citizens have also requested sidewalks be constructed on East Union Street (Hwy 190) all the way from Hwy 22 to Cedar Street. This is also a safety related issue. Currently, pedestrians must travel in the street. With several close calls reported lately, board members expressed concern for public safety if something is not done to alleviate the problem.


Northwest Tennessee Development District representative Rob Goad addressed the board concerning sidewalk grants. He discussed the various types of grants available and gave them estimates of how much such a project would cost. Goad stated a TDOT Transportation Alternative Program grant along East Union would cost approximately $237,600 for the mile-long sidewalk.


He explained this is an 80/20 grant and would require Gleason to provide their 20 percent of the construction cost in cash (soft or in-kind match not eligible). Additionally, Gleason would be required to pay the engineering costs. So, in actuality, Gleason would be responsible for approximately 35 percent of the total cost of the sidewalk project.


With engineering fees and all other costs included, Goad estimated the total cost of the sidewalk project would amount to $450,000, with Gleason paying $157,500. Goad said the high cost of a TDOT funded sidewalk is due to the high standards they require. But, on the other hand, he noted the high quality of work required by TDOT means their projects are built to last many times longer than cheaper, lower quality projects funded by other means. Providing Gleason could afford such a project, Goad stated it would be about 18 months to two years before work could begin.


Board members also discussed the possibility of contracting out the work themselves, and building the sidewalk to lesser standards than what TDOT requires, which might mean a lower overall cost. This might be feasible, providing it would cost less than their part of a TDOT grant. The board decided to research all of these possibilities before deciding what should be done.


The problem of dilapidated properties that need to be cleaned up was also addressed by the board. After much discussion, it was decided to send out letters to property owners informing them they are in violation of city ordinances regulating the appearance of local properties.


While some of the properties need to have a general clean up, others have houses on them that have been unoccupied for years and need to be torn down, due to safety concerns.


However, Alderman Jim Phelps stressed that the letters need to specify what makes these properties unsafe, so property owners will know what needs to be done to correct the situation. It was mentioned that approximately 13 houses have been identified that are in violation of city code.


Providing these property owners make progress toward cleaning up their properties, all will be well. However, if they do nothing, they will be sent another letter requesting they appear before the board to explain why. If this proves ineffective, they will be cited into city court. This may result in a court-ordered remedy of the problem.


In department reports, Police Chief Jeff Hazlewood stated job applications are still being accepted for police officer positions. He added that the use of part-time officers has been working well in the meantime.


Public Works Director Dale Stephens stated cold weather in recent weeks has resulted in a rash of water leaks and sewer problems. “We have found and repaired several leaks in the system,” Stephens said.


He stated the public has been a great help in reporting water and sewer leaks spotted adjacent to city streets and in yards. This allows Public Works employees to make repairs sooner and reduces the loss of water, which saves the taxpayers’ money.


He stated the city’s water tank at the old H.I.S. plant has overflowed a few times recently, which was traced to a faulty altitude valve. However, his department rebuilt the altitude valve and that took care of the problem.


“Miller Construction is finishing up the loose ends at the lagoon project, clearing us up for our next project,” Stephens said. He added that, in order to be eligible for another grant, the lagoon project must be completed first. Stephens also mentioned there are several surplus vehicles, as well as a tractor, that need to be sold, including those from the Public Works and Police departments.


After discussing different options for selling the surplus vehicles, the board voted to accept sealed bids, while reserving the right to refuse any bids they consider to be too low. These vehicles will be sold “as is.”


Mayor Poole stated Gleason firefighters provided mutual aid to Palmersville Volunteer Fire Department in extinguishing grass fires recently.


In the Library report, Alderman Phelps stated, during the month of December, 108 adult and 250 juvenile patrons visited the library. As of January 9th, library donations totaled $2,350. Acquisitions included 20 large print books, 12 young adult books, and 20 transitional AR books for below reading level students.


Parents are reminded that they are responsible for picking up their children before the library’s closing time, or the children will be left in the care of Gleason police.


In announcements, Mayor Poole stated a called meeting of the city board will be held Thursday, January 18 at 5 p.m. to discuss the city’s five-year plan. The next regular monthly meeting of the Gleason Board of Mayor and Aldermen is 7 p.m., Thursday, February 8. Source: Dresden Enterprise.



Gleason Celebrates Hometown Christmas 2017


Click on Picture for Story


Gleason Presents Minerals Day 2017

Jim Johnson

Minerals Day 2017 Registration Desk


On Friday, October 6th the the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (GDRC), along with the full complement of  Gleason Clay companies (Gleason Clay Company, Old Hickory Clay Company, Lhoist/Spinks Clay Company, and Imerys/K-T Clay Company) hosted the Third Annual Minerals Day at Mike Snider Park.


It is fitting that this event was again held in Gleason as the City of Gleason has been a major producer of clay since it was first discovered in 1926 on the W.R. Crawford farm two miles west of Gleason. Famous for its generous deposits of Ball Clay, Gleason is generally viewed as the Ball Clay Capital of the Nation.


Other Sponsors included Gleason Lumber Company, Meridian Brick, KR Trucking, Simply Southern Café and Catering, Southern Printing N’ Graphics, K&D Designs (Kenneth & Debbie Byrd),  Earthen Vessels Pottery & Bistro, Sims and Sons Trucking, Tri State Truck, Power Equipment, Scott Equipment Co., Thompson Machinery CAT, Pepsi, Union City Forklift, Komatsu Machinery, Volvo Machines, and the Bank of Gleason.


Minerals Day 2017 began at 10:00 am and lasted until 2:00 pm. Upon arrival, all registrants were encouraged to sign up for drawings for a wide variety of door prizes provided by Minerals Day vendors. Winners were announced throughout the day by Brent Eugley of  Imerys/K-T Clay Co.


Large numbers of those in attendance commented on the fact the Mike Snider Park was a beautiful venue for this event, providing for ample parking, plenty of room for vendors to set up their booths, a large tent that allowed space for eating as well as mineral-related educational presentations. Adding to the ambiance of the setting, the weather was excellent with blue skies and sunshine throughout the day.


Chilled canned drinks were abundantly available, iced down in the bucket for a Wheel Loader. Some of the biggest and juiciest hotdogs one could imagine were grilled and hand wrapped on site by the owners and crew of  Simply Southern Cafe. Chips, snow cones, popcorn, and cotton candy were also provided by other businesses.


There was also an abundance of valuable and highly sought after door prizes that included fine pottery pieces hand made by Mr. Jim Keeling of Earthen Vessels and Pottery, numerous scientific calculators and electronic  tablets, custom made for school use, numerous toy replicas of equipment used in the mining industry, caps, coolers, folding chairs and backpacks donated by sponsors and participating businesses, as well as cash prizes donated by the Bank of Gleason.


Brent Eugley of  Imerys/K-T Clay announces door prize winners

Many seemed to enjoy watching Mr. Jim Keeling making some beautiful pottery items from ball clay mined right here in Gleason in the Earthen Vessels Pottery booth.

Mr. Jim Keeling shows how to make beautiful pottery with Gleason Ball Clay


Along with the great setting, good weather, door prizes, free food and other giveaways, the major focus of Minerals Day 2017 was on its educational component, designed to help school age children develop an increased awareness of the role that the clay industry has played in enhancing the Gleason community over the years and help them understand the importance of clay and associated minerals to the City of Gleason as well as in other cities, towns, and states throughout the country.


Students inspect some heavy mining equipment


This educational component consisted of multiple clay mine tours as well as mining-and heavy equipment related presentations, that were enhanced  by the presence of excavators, dozers, an articulated truck, and the world famous "Gleason Shredder" being on site.


Students watch a minerals-related Video Presentation


If one can assess the the success of an event such as this in terms of overall attendance, the number and range of schools that bussed students in to attend this event, the overall number of students who participated and the unsolicited very positive feedback given by those who attended, by all accounts this Third Annual Minerals  Day was a huge success.


Here it can be noted that there was just over 600 middle and high school students in attendance that were bussed in from Weakley and Henry County schools.  There were 11 school busses from these two counties that were observed in the parking lot at one time. Total attendance was approximately 1,000 people.


The City of Gleason has reason to be very proud of the contribution that the clay industry has made to the local community over the years and of those clay companies that are based in Gleason and who have made this Third Minerals Day possible.


Gleason Clay Companies - Minerals Day 2017

[Imerys/K-T Clay Company; Gleason Clay Company; Lhoist/Spinks Clay Company; Old Hickory Clay Company]

Seventh Annual Sadie Saves Charity - 5K Walk/Run

Jim Johnson

The Seventh Annual Sadie Saves Charity 5K Run was held in Gleason on Saturday, September 30th, with pre-race activities being held at the Gleason Gazelle grounds. With the mid morning temperature being in the low 60's the weather was just right for running, with some 90 runners in multiple age groups participating in the 5K run, and many others spectators  turning out to support this great charitable event.

It is noteworthy that this year more than 60 individuals, businesses, organizations, and/or groups of various kinds each contributed $100 by serving as sponsors of this years  event.

Instead of having an auction after the race, as has been the case in years past, this year's fundraiser involved a "Sadie Saves Meat Sale". Here, people were able to order a range of great tasting meats in advance. These included a Rack of Ribs for $20, a Half Chicken for $6, a Whole Chicken for $10, or BBQ Bologna for $8 per pound. Advance orders could be picked up at the Gazelle Grounds between 1 and 3 after the 5K run and the awards ceremony were completed. Proceeds from the sale were divided equally between Sadie Saves and the Gleason Volunteer Fire Department.

A Prayer Before the Start


The Race is On!

First to the Finish Line !

Dawson Gremmels is first to the finish line as the Overall Male winner. The the Overall Female winner was Kenady Atkins.

This annual 5K run is held each year in memory of  Sadie Cook a graduate of Gleason High School who passed away on November 7, 2010. Her passing resulted from, what the medical examiner determined to be an asthma attack, thought to be brought on by an allergic reaction that struck suddenly and without warning.

Her sister, Savanna, determined to uphold her memory, created the Sadie Saves memorial and fund-raiser to celebrate Sadie's life. The ultimate goal of this charity is to help prevent a similar incident from happening to others.

The Sadie Saves charity raises money to purchase EpiPens and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), along with providing training in the use of  these devices, for Weakley and surrounding counties.

The EpiPens are made available to anyone that needs them. To date, they have been distributed to each of the Weakley County Schools. Money raised from this charity has also been used to purchase Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for the fire departments in Gleason, Dresden, Greenfield Como/Ore Springs, Latham/Dukedom, McLemoresville, Sharon, and Palmersville among others.

This year this charity provided a total of 10 Automated External Defibrillators to be distributed among the various  fire departments in Carroll County, These AED's were gratefully received by Mr. Terry Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Carroll County Rural Volunteer Fire Department.



Gleason to Celebrate Minerals Day October 6


The City of Gleason is set to celebrate Minerals Day on Friday, October 6. This marks the third consecutive year the Gleason community has celebrated the event. With over 800 people attending last year’s festivities, this year promises an even greater turnout.

The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (GDRC) is taking the reins for this year’s extravaganza with the support and sponsorship of Old Hickory Clay, Gleason Clay Company and Imerys Ceramics / Kentucky-Tennessee Clay Company. Numerous local service industries are scheduled to help make the day fun and educational.

Minerals Day will be on the grounds of Mike Snider Park, 506 North Cedar Street, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many pieces of equipment used in the excavation and processing of West Tennessee Ball Clay will be on hand including excavators, dozers, articulated trucks and the world famous “Gleason Shredder.” Mine tours will be available. Small capacity busses will transport the public to the mines.

The GDRC and local businesses are providing hotdogs, chips, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy and cold drinks for refreshments. There will be mining presentations along with drawings, door prizes and giveaways throughout the day.

Gleason’s ball clay industry began in 1926 on the farm of W.R. Crawford. Some of the richest veins of clay in the area were discovered within the 20-acre plot. The Bell Clay Company started the arduous task of removing dirt and debris. The 25 man crew worked with pond scoops and horses each day to dig the mines. Holes were dug with hand augers and dynamite placed within to expose the Gleason Ball Clay.

Now, over 90 years later, multiple clay companies call Gleason home. The expansion of the usage of ball clay drives the ever growing industry. The sign on the edge of Gleason’s city limits reads “Welcome to Gleason: Ball Clay Mining Center of the Nation.” Weakley County’s deposit of the finest quality ball clay is used for china, porcelain, pottery and many other purposes.

The event is free to the general public with the hopes of educating those in the surrounding area about the ball clay industry. For more information or to RSVP, please contact the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee at P.O. Box 125, Gleason, TN 38229, email, or call Charles Anderson at 731- 695-5753. Source: McKenzie Banner.

First Clay Dug in Gleason in 1926 - Crawford Farm; Two Miles West of Gleason

Gleason Dedicates Memorial Wall at Mike Snider Park

 Jim Johnson

The long awaited Memorial Wall at Mike Snider Park was dedicated on Saturday, September 2nd as part of the 2017 Tater Town Special festivities. 

The wall, sponsored by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program under the leadership of President, Charles Anderson received initial approval by the Gleason Board of Mayor and Alderman on April 14th, 2016.

As initially conceived, this wall was seen as a way of remembering the rich history of Gleason as it relates to the people who have lived here since its founding. It was seen as a way of allowing cherished family members, civic, business and educational leaders, along with other outstanding citizens of Gleason to receive the recognition they deserve for their contributions to the Gleason community over the years.

Representatives of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Rotary Club participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 27th, 2016.


The location of the wall is near the main walkway to the park, in the vicinity of the children's play area. The wall is some 80 feet in length, with landscaped brick flower boxes on each end and in the center of the wall. The center flower box features a 40-foot tall flagpole proudly flying a large 8' by 12' American flag.

Special sections above the flower boxes at each end of the wall each contain 108 Black Granite Memorial Stones (approximately 4 x 7 inches in size) that serve to remember family members and others who have made significant contributions to the Gleason community over the years or who have, in one way or the other, provided significant support for the wall. A smaller section in the middle of the wall is reserved for Memorial stones for those who have served in the military.

As President Charles Anderson has frequently noted here and on other occasions, the success of this project was, in large part, due to the support of both the Gleason business community and the support of Gleason citizens.

He has noted that the Boral Brick Company of Gleason provided some 8,000 bricks for the construction of the wall and that concrete for the foundation of the wall was provided by Gleason Clay Company.

In addition to this important support from Gleason businesses, the construction of this wall was also made possible due to the contributions of skilled Gleason residents who freely donated their time and talent to this major undertaking.

Notable in this regard was Gleason resident Darrell Bell who took the primary role in laying the brick for the wall from the beginning to the end of its construction; David Hopper also contributed to this effort during the early stages of this process. Darrell also did all of the brick work for the new Mike Snider Park sign that is located across from the Gleason Community Center, on the road leading to the park.

 Another who also donated his time and skills to the completion of the wall was Ross ChandlerMr. Chandler, owner of Gleason’s Performance Steele was responsible for helping put together the 40 foot flagpole and attaching the ropes and other internal equipment necessary to raise and lower the flag. He then used an auger to dig the 4-foot hole containing the large metal underground sleeve, designed to secure and stabilize the flagpole. Using heavy equipment he then raised the flagpole and positioned it so the area around the underground sleeve could be firmly set in place with concrete. Early on, a number of other Gleason residents were also involved in preparing to lay the foundation for the wall and for the concrete work that was later involved.

Also noteworthy is the large number of citizens of Gleason and various community groups that supported this endeavor by purchasing memorial stones to honor family members as well as other individuals who have made significant contributions to this Gleason community over the years and deserve being remembered.

The formal dedication of the wall began with some initial welcoming remarks, by President Anderson, and an opening prayer which was offered by Chief of Police, Jeff Hazelwood.

This opening was followed by the National Anthem, sung by Mr. Charles Ross with Keith Dunning also providing a beautiful rendition of God Bless the USA.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Caitlin and Connor Cook and a tribute to the Military and those in Uniform, was presented by Mr. Steve Jones.

This was followed by additional remarks by President Anderson, where he dealt in somewhat more detail with the early beginnings of the wall and expressed his appreciation for those businesses and individuals whose contributions made this wall a reality.

Midway through the dedication the crowd was treated with two low pass flyovers of an AirEvac Helicopter.

The next presenter, Jim Johnson, drew attention to the Flagpole and American Flag located in the middle section of the wall and the inscription on the plaque in front of the flagpole which reads: “Dedicated to the City of Gleason, in Memory of James B. (JB) Johnson (1911 – 1957) and Sally A. Johnson (1924 – 2004) by Jim, Gary, and David Johnson.

He indicated that both parents loved the City of Gleason and were actively involved with the Gleason community, his mother having been a member of the Gleason chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, and a Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church, and his father having been an Assistant Cashier at the Bank of Gleason, a Member of First Baptist Church of Gleason, the Gleason Masonic Lodge, Commander of the Gleason American Legion Post and a Veteran of World War II.


Sadly, J.B. Johnson died at age 45, four months after having surgery for a malignant brain tumor. Not having insurance, due to a prior medical condition, no other income apart from his job, and being unable to work after the surgery, the family was in a very difficult situation financially.

Thankfully, the good people of Gleason were there for the family, in many ways, during that difficult time - as is so often the case, when people of Gleason are in need. In this instance, Mr. Bob Owen, Mr. M.E. Fanning, and Mr. Carl Parks (who at that time was President of the Bank of Gleason) got together and somehow were able to work things out so that the Bank was able to assist the family financially during the four months J.B. lived after the surgery.

After several months, when Sally decided that the family needed to move to Michigan where her family lived and there was no money for the move, Mr. Claude Steele came to the house one day and generously offered to use one of his Sweet Potato trucks to move the family to Michigan. He did what he said he would do -  refusing to take a cent for the move.

Jim indicated that these two examples, along with many other acts of kindness that were shown by others during this difficult time, not only represent how caring and supportive the people of Gleason were back in the middle to late 1950’s but how caring and supportive they still are today – when friends and neighbors are in need. This kind of caring for others, makes Gleason the type of town that people want to raise their children in and the kind of town that, even if they move away for whatever reason, they often choose to return!

The final event of the dedication ceremony was presented by Jim Phelps and 5 members of Rolling Thunder who nicely illustrated the “Missing Man” ceremony, in a way that would touch the heart of any patriotic American.

The Missing Man Ceremony is one which remembers and honors those soldiers who are missing-in-action and very poignantly conveys that the military will always honor their service, their sacrifice for our freedom, that soldiers left behind on the battle fields in foreign lands will never be forgotten, and that attempts to find them and bring them home are never-ending. 

The dedication of the wall was concluded with a heart-felt Benediction by Mr. Jacky Esch, a long-time honored resident of Gleason and one who has been a valued contributor to the work of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Initiative. 

Gleason Celebrates 44th Annual Tater Town Special

David Fisher

News Writer


On Saturday, September 2, also known as Tater Day, the morning’s activities kicked off with the annual J.C. Carey 5K Memorial Race.


Festival-goers at the 44th Annual Tater Town Special enjoyed clear skies and beautiful weather, which likely contributed to a large turnout of local citizens that lined the streets in downtown Glea son, in anticipation of the junior parade, followed by the grand parade.


Stacy and Tammy Collins served as Grand Marshals of Gleason’s 2017 Tater Town Special Parade.


Beauty queens and their courts rode on colorfully decorated floats and convertibles, while scores of other participants marched or rode along the parade route.


Gleason City Board members waved to the crowd from the back of an antique fire truck. Antique tractors passed by inquisitive onlookers.


Cowboys and cowgirls rode their feisty steeds along Main Street, while other equestrian enthusiasts followed closely behind in their horse-drawn wagons and carriages.


Police cars, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles caught the eye of many a youngster. Southern belles, dressed in costumes typical of the Old South, passed out candy to local children.


Immediately after the parade, the crowd strolled over to the Gazelle Grounds to enjoy the live entertainment, arts & crafts, food, and games.


The Gleason Gazelle Grounds was also the site for the Tater Town RV Park Escape Room, which had multiple scenarios.


Additionally, there was an antique tractor and truck show on the school grounds.


Snider Park was the locale for more Tater Day activities, including an airplane and helicopter demonstration, followed by a dedication service for the Memorial Wall.


The week's festivities concluded with a Community Wide Worship Service on Sunday, hosted by Gleason First Baptist Church. Source: Dresden Enterprise.

Frank Gibson Retires from Third Career

FRANKLIN (JULY 20) — Gleason native Frank Gibson retired from his third career as the public policy director of the Tennessee Press Association. His retirement was official at the close of the 2017 Tennessee General Assembly. Gibson was honored during the TPA’s 2017 Summer Convention by TPA President Ron Fryar in Franklin, Tenn. during a ceremony that also included the induction of a new TPA president.

Gibson spent 37 years as an award-winning reporter and editor at The Tennessean in Nashville, becoming a reporter there four months after graduating from Gleason High School.

Gibson covered local and state government beats, the courts, and state and local politics among others. He won statewide awards for reporting from the Associated Press and United Press International, and won the Society of Professional Journalists 1981 Green Eyeshade Award for Investigative Reporting in the 11-state southeast region. His last reporting assignment was as The Tennessean’s Washington correspondent, covering Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr., then-Congressman Al Gore and others in the Tennessee delegation. He returned to Nashville in 1982 to become city editor and later Metro editor, supervising teams of reporters assigned to the beats he had covered. When he retired, he had been the newspaper’s political editor for more than 12 years. He retired early from the newspaper in 2005 to direct the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government. He founded the statewide alliance of citizen and media groups and legal professionals in 2003. Now in its 14th year, TCOG is dedicated to preserving and improving citizen access under Tennessee’s public records and sunshine laws. He serves on the TCOG board and authored “Keys to Open Government – a citizen’s guide” published in early 2015.

Gibson is in his fourth year as public policy director for the Tennessee Press Association, which represents 125 daily and non-daily newspapers before the Tennessee General Assembly. The position was created for him in 2011 because of the success of TCOG (TPA was a charter member and major funder of TCOG.) The McKenzie Banner and Dresden Enterprise, which published his weekly high school columns, are TPA members. He is an Army veteran and served with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service in the Panama Canal Zone before enrolling in the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 1969.

Gibson was selected editor-in- chief of the UT Daily Beacon – the campus newspaper – in 1970. He was the first sophomore to hold the position at what was then the state’s 11th largest newspaper (25,000 circulation). Before graduating, he was selected to membership in Omicron Delta Kappa – the national leadership honor society (the male version of Mortar Board). He was tapped for membership in the Scarabbean — the society of student and faculty leaders on the Knoxville campus. He was an inaugural member of the Board of Student Advisers to UT President Edward Bowling, and served many years on the College of Communication & Information Board of Visitors.

Gibson was among eight American and four Asian journalists chosen to the midcareer Humanities Fellowship program at the University of Michigan. He and his family spent the 1985-86 school year in Ann Arbor where he studied southern history and constitutional law and history. In 1990, Gibson was elected national president of the 18,000-member Society of Professional Journalists. He chaired SPJ’s Project Watchdog, a $1 million advertising campaign to educate the American people on the importance of a free press. The campaign commemorated the bicentennial of the Bill of Rights. In 1994, he was awarded the Wells Memorial Key, the highest honor SPJ bestows on a member.

An ardent student of First Amendment law, Gibson’s motivating interest has been to advocate for improved public access to public records and meetings of public bodies. That led in 2008 to him being elected president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition at the University of Missouri.

Frank and his wife Kathy, a litigation paralegal, have been married 38 years. They live in Lutz, Fla., in the Tampa Bay area — around the corner from only daughter Amy, husband David, and two grandchildren -Alexander Gibson Sullivan and Keely Caroline Sullivan.

His favorite pastime is watching Alexander participate in America’s pastime. (Source: Dresden Enterprise).

Fellow School Board members bid farewell to Lindell Roney

District 2 School Board member Lindell Roney of Gleason is resigning before the end of his elected term, and a replacement will soon be named to finish out the remainder of his term. Fellow School Board members offered words of praise for Roney’s exemplary service to the people of his district and Weakley County.


The membership of the Weakley County School Board is changing, following the recent resignation of some of its members. This was one of the top items for discussion at Thursday night’s meeting.

Although, it is not yet official, Beau Atkins is favored to fill the unexpired four-year term of District 2 School Board member Lindell Roney, who is resigning his post after serving 29 years on the Weakley County Board of Education. Providing Atkins’ appointment is approved by the Weakley County Commission, he will finish out the remainder of Roney’s term, which ends in 2018.

School Board Chairman Steve Vantrease said, “Lindell is a tremendous advocate for public education in Weakley County, and a delight to work with.”

Director of Weakley County Schools Randy Fraizer described Roney as “a model for other school board members to follow in serving their schools.” He said, “If you can work with teachers and principals as Lindell has, then you will have a great career on the School Board. He has been awesome to work with.”

Roney stated he decided to retire early for health reasons. Source: Editor, Dresden Enterprise.



Gleason Beauty Revues 2017

Miss Gleason and Teen Gleason pageants were held recently at Gleason High School. Above, Miss Gleason — (L to R) Third Maid Hannah Lemonds, First Maid Whitney Clark, Queen Jae-Ann Washam, Second Maid Jayne-Shaye Bailey, Fourth Maid Darby Reed. Below, Miss Teen Gleason — (L to R) Third Maid (Tied) Darcy Bell and Grace Stafford, First Maid Belle Fowler, Queen Chasney Brawner, Second Maid Garilei Washam, Fourth Maid Lilly Ruesken. Photos courtesy of Cristi Wallace - Source: McKenzie Banner.

Gleason Teen Named Volunteer Star



GLEASON (February 3) — Jayne-Shaye Bailey a junior at Gleason High School was named Weakley County’s youth recipient of the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Award. The award recognizes the efforts of 84 volunteers statewide who strive to improve their communities through service. One youth and one adult volunteer were selected from participating counties to receive the award.


Nominees were judged based on the community’s need of the volunteer service performed, initiative taken to perform the service, creativity used to solve a community problem and impact of the volunteer service on the community.


Bailey has volunteered for six years at AseraCare and Avalon Hospice, completing over 2,000 hours of service. Her efforts included annual planning of memorial services, assisting with yearly veterans programs, wrapping Christmas gifts for patients, attending health fairs, shopping for patients and families, addressing and mailing Christmas and birthday cards and helping the nursing staff set up for new patients.


Bailey is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Gleason and an active member of the Methodist Youth Fellowship group. She is a member of the Gleason High School Beta Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes leadership team. She is junior class secretary, FFA president, co-captain of the award-winning Gleason High School cheerleading squad and the winner of several pageantry titles. Despite her incredible schedule, Bailey stands out as a Weakley County volunteer.


The volunteers from 53 counties will be honored at the Ninth Annual Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards ceremony at the Franklin Marriot Cool Springs in Franklin on February 12, 2017. Miss Tennessee 2016, Grace Burgess will present the awards. Source: McKenzie Banner; Photo by Joel Washburn/The McKenzie Banner.


 Radford Appointed Gleason Alderman



GLEASON (January 24) — In a special called meeting, the City Board of Gleason Mayor and Aldermen appointed Keith Radford to fill the resigned seat of Alderman Marcus Hopper. Jerry Dunn, Jr. nominated Radford to the at-large seat and seconded by Hopper. The mayor and aldermen voted unanimously to the appointment.


Radford holds the seat until the next general election in August of 2018.

Hopper resigned his seat effective January 28. He accepted an offer to attend the Tennessee State Trooper Academy which he felt would keep him from his duties as an alderman. Radford will be sworn in during city’s regular meeting in February.


In other business, the City Board heard and approved the first reading of the Bulk Pick Up Ordinance. The ordinance reads, “Bulk waste collection service is provided for residential properties only. Residents will be charged a fee for the bulk pick up according to schedule. Pickup truck load is $15.00. Larger truck load is $60.00” Following the second reading the ordinance will be effective, at which time the board will set the pick up dates for the two zones. The railroad track is the dividing line for the city zones. Alderman Doug Johnson was the sole dissenting vote on the reading.


Vice-Mayor Jim Phelps informed the board he wanted more information before moving forward with a Back Flow Plan of Action. The plan was recommended by Tony Terrell of the Water Department. Terrell stated his concerns in the last public meeting of the possibility of future city water contamination caused by residential water back flow. Dana Deem of MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) said he would speak with Steve Wyatt, Utility Operations Consultant for MTAS, about providing more information to the board.


The next scheduled meeting for the Gleason City Board is February 9 at 7:00 p.m.




 Gleason Alderman Resigns



GLEASON (January 12) — During the regular monthly meeting of the Gleason Mayor and City Board of Gleason, recently elected alderman Marcus Hopper’s resignation was announced. The resignation is effective January 28, 2017. Hopper was elected to the board during the November General Election.


Hopper’s letter of resignation to the mayor stated that he had received a “job offer that would keep him away for the City of Gleason and the duties of alderman.” It was learned Hopper will attend the Tennessee State Trooper Academy, and following complete of the program, he could be assigned anywhere within the State of Tennessee.


In other business, the alderman revisited the issue of illegal dumping at the lagoon. After a brief discussion, Alderman Jim Phelps made a motion to permanently lock the gate to the public. Phelps stated the original intent of allowing the public to use the area was designed to be a brush and limb drop off following storm damage a few years ago. Hopper seconded the motion. By a vote of 4-1, the lagoon was closed effective immediately to the public and fines enforced are to be issued for dumping. Doug Johnson was the dissenting vote.


The board reopened the discussion of bulk pick up. Modeled from the ordinance used by the City of Dresden, Gleason will have zone scheduled bulk pick up with a rate fee of $15 per load for a standard truck and $60 for a dump truck. The city will be divided in an East and West Zone with the railroad tracks serving as the dividing line. The second and fourth Monday of the month would be the set pick up days. Dana Deem of MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) agreed to help develop the ordinance.


Police Chief Jeff Hazlewood informed the board of the estimated cost of repairing one of the city’s patrol cars. It was decided upon by the board to replace the engine due to the warranty and cost compared to a patch repair with no warranty. The new engine will cost roughly $6,000. Phelps said the police department had money in the budget to help offset the cost.

In new business, Monica Dodd of Nexbillpay presented a proposal for the city to take debit and credit cards. Nexbillpay is a company designed to help municipalities remain PCI (Payment Card Industry) complaint in the processing of credit cards. This allows Gleason to take debit and credit card payments for utilities and other services. The mayor and board voted unanimously in favor of using Nexbillpay to process payments.


The issue of varying city court cost was addressed by the board. Phelps stated that the city needed a uniform rate for the cost, and the nature of the violation would set the fine rate. Deem informed the board that he would help prepare an ordinance for the city judge to review.

A request was made to rezone property at 160 Smyth Lane. Currently the property is zoned commercial; however it is used as a residence. The board agreed in the first reading of the rezoning, but has to be read a second time for approval.


In department reports, Chief Hazlewood informed the board that officers were measured for their new vests, and radios were to be ordered. Tony Terrell of the Water Department asked the board to look into implementing a Back Flow Prevention Plan to safe guard against possible water contamination. Fire Chief Jerry Connell stated the department was taking donations for structure improvements and expansion for the fire station. Approximately $4,000 has been raised.


Charles Anderson, President of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee, spoke to board about the committee and how it works independently from the city. Anderson explained the group does not rely on city funding and is a 501 (C) (3) tax-exempt entity. He also addressed the delays on the Memorial Wall at Snider Park.


Deem closed out the two hour meeting with a recommendation of the board to pursue a vision statement. The board along with Deem would develop the statement with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. Then each year the board will reprioritize its focus points.


The mayor and board will meet again in a special called meeting January 24 at 7 P.M. to fill the vacancy by appointment of Alderman Hopper. The appointment will run until the next general election in 2018. Source: McKenzie Banner.


Gleason Championship Squads Reunite




Sports Editor

The Dresden Enterprise


The clock was turned back inside the Gleason High School gym on Friday evening. Members of both the 1992 and 2007 Class A State Championship girls’ basketball teams reunited at their alma mater for a presentation and recognition of the squads in between games featuring the current Gleason and Greenfield squads.


To begin the ceremony, the 1992 and 2007 state championship trophies were wheeled out onto the floor by current members of the Lady Bulldog basketball program moments after Gleason claimed a 57-50 triumph over G’field.


Then, the 1992 squad was introduced and presented with medals commemorating the reunion by current members of the Lady Bulldog team. Three of the current Gleason girls have direct ties to the 1992 squad. Current Lady Bulldog junior Aubrey Wallace is the daughter of 1992 senior Cristi (Wallace) Sawyers. Gleason’s Lillian and Martha Nichols are the nieces of Camille (Connell) Legins, who was a sophomore on the ’92 state champion team.



“Although it’s been 25 years, I still remember winning the state tournament just like it was yesterday,” Sawyers said. “Seeing all the girls tonight from both teams as well as Coach (Randy) Frazier, Coach (Joel) Ayers) and Mr. (Mitchell) Parham brought back some of the best moments of my life. However, the highlight of it was my daughter handing me the memento from the evening. That brought tears to my eyes and will be something I cherish forever. I’m so proud to be a part of the Lady Bulldog team and hope that we will soon have a fourth state championship.”


All but five members of the 1992 girls’ state champion team were on hand at Friday’s celebration, including Becky (Crowe) Padgett.

“Friday night’s 25-year reunion brought back so many special memories like the love and support of our Gleason community, the bond between teammates, the admiration and respect for Coach Frazier and Mrs. Terry (Frazier) and the pride of what it meant to wear orange and represent the Lady Bulldogs,” said Padgett. “I was overwhelmed by Gleason High School’s warm welcome and hospitality.”


Aside from Sawyer and Padgett, other members of the 1992 squad – which went 33-3 en route to the state championship – present for the reunion were Selena (Dilday) Hodges, Heather (Lehmkuhl) Leach, Kristy (Freeman) O’Connor, Tonya (Parham) Lutz, Camille (Connell) Legons, Stacy (Stewart) Cook, Kristy (McKee) Dunn, and Holly (Crowe) Adams. Lisa (Wallace) Palmer, Ashley (Hopper) Flint, Brandy (Wiseman) Horler, Olivia (Lowe) Gilliam, Nicki (Stephens) Pace and LeAnn (Bell) Smith were not present.


Following the introduction of the 1992 state champion team, the 2007 squad was welcomed back for its 10-year reunion.


A decade ago, Gleason posted a 35-1 worksheet en route to the program’s third state crown. As was the case with the 1992 squad, the 2007 team’s medal ceremony had family ties. Current Lady Bulldog Jayden Green – who scored a dozen points during the win over Greenfield – is the niece of 2007 team member Candace (Green) Lindsey.



“It was great seeing everyone again and catching up like old times,” Green said. “I got a little emotional when my name was called and when Mr. P came out to do his chant, but I guess that’s expected when you’re nine months pregnant. I’m very proud of my niece Jayden and it’s an honor to know all those people were able to watch her win a big game.”


2007 Class A Miss Basketball award winner Kayla (Hudson) Irvin – the current girls’ coach at Crockett County and a second cousin to current Gleason player Kenady Atkins – was also on hand to take a bow alongside her teammates from a decade ago.


“It was such an honor to stand beside the girls I went to battle with 10 years ago,” Irvin said. “That team became my family. The wins and championships are fun, but it’s the relationships that make the journey worth it. Those ladies I love so much are now great wives and mothers. The lessons we learned on the court permeate into so many other areas of life. I was just so humbled and grateful to get to reminisce and experience that with them again.


“As a coach myself, I am now aware of the time and preparation our coaches put in to making us into a team that could succeed at that level. I see with clear vision that “whys” behind every drill and mental toughness challenge our coaches put us in. I am so grateful for the opportunity to play for coaches who expected excellence in all areas. It is my prayer that I am able to teach these same lessons to my team.”


Along with Irwin and Lindsey, numerous other members of the 2007 Class A state champion squad (35-1) were on hand on Friday including Ashley Coble, Camille (Cooper) Legens, Erica (Morgan) Stahr), Sara (Hensley) Webb, Elizabeth (Terrell) Cunningham, Kim (Edenfield) Marcus, Breanna (Wallace) Nerie, Jenna (Frazier) Verdell, Taylor Stout, Tiffany Coble, Riley (Auvenshine) Laster and Kim (Reynolds) Healy along with assistant coach Joel Ayers. Members of the 2007 squad not present were Becca Hodges, Alexis Tipton and Maggie Lowrance.


Following the team introductions, current Weakley County Director of Schools Randy Frazier – who served as the head coach for both of the honored Lady Bulldog state champion squads – briefly shared his memories of the two teams before turning over the festivities to former athletic director/ principal Mitchell Parham.


Parham led the home section of the crowd in a Gleason chant - a staple of postseason basketball pep rallies and games during his long tenure at the school.


“It was great to be back in Gleason for the reunion of the 1992 and 2007 state championship teams,” Parham said. “I enjoyed seeing all the former players as it brought back very good memories. I also enjoyed talking with many of the great Gleason Bulldog fans, who are the best. Thanks to Gleason High School for getting this together and I was honored to be invited to join in with the celebration. It was great.” Source: The Dresden Enterprise.

Gleason Celebrates Hometown Christmas 2016

Jim Johnson



Continuing with the tradition of celebrating "Hometown Christmas" Gleason citizens once again braved the cold weather on Saturday, December the 10th and came out to share the Christmas spirit with family, friends and neighbors.


The celebration featured Christmas music, a variety of arts and crafts and other items offered by a number of vendors and great food, as well as fire truck rides, face painting and a chance to visit with Santa.


With long-time Gleason resident and former First Baptist Church of Gleason pastor, Rev. Keith Sumner, serving  as Master of Ceremonies, there were ample opportunities for local residents to participate in the festivities.


These activities included participating in an ugly sweater contest, a cookie eating contest, and waiting, in anticipation, to see if ones name might be announced as a winner of one of the many prizes that were provided by local businesses for a number of drawings.  There was also a lot of  bidding on cakes at the cake auction, since a number of items for the auction had been provided by Gleason citizens who are well known for consistently providing great tasting cakes, pies and other goodies.


Despite the cold weather, the estimated 200 residents that turned out for this annual event seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves as they shared the Christmas spirit and were able to gather around several large burn-barrels that allowed them to warm their hands if needed..








Gleason Mayor and Aldermen Take Oath of Office

Jim Johnson

Newly re-elected Mayor, Diana Poole, and four new Aldermen were sworn in on Sunday afternoon, November 27th.  This will be the second term in office for Mayor Diana Poole and the first term in office for new aldermen Jim Phelps, Marcus Hopper and Doug Johnson; Jerry (Bubba) Dunn Jr., has previously served as alderman in the past.

The ceremony began with some heartfelt welcoming remarks by Mayor Poole - along with some inspirational readings by Mayor Poole and Tony Terrell.

Gleason City Recorder, Angela Hunt read the oath of office and swore in the newly re-elected Mayor for her second term. The Mayor then read the oath of office for the newly elected Board of Aldermen.

Mayor Diane Poole Swears in New Aldermen

L to R: Jim Phelps, Doug Johnson, Marcus Hopper, Jerry (Bubba) Dunn, Jr.

With all indicating their willingness to adhere to the oath of office, they were duly sworn in and signed the necessary papers.

There was a good turn out for the swearing in ceremony, with numerous friends and family members of the newly elected mayor and aldermen and other citizens of Gleason attending the ceremony.

The swearing in ceremony was followed by those in attendance enjoying some excellent cake and refreshments and spending time enjoying the fellowship of friends and neighbors.

Gleason Election News

GLEASON — Following election returns, Gleason Mayor, Diana Poole won her bid for re-election. The City of Gleason has four new members to the board of alderman.

In the race for mayor, the incumbent, Poole (255 votes) proved victorious in her campaign for re-election defeating challengers, Vice-Mayor Jerry Connell (212 votes) and Guy Dotson (70 votes). Connell chose to relinquish his alderman seat, a position he has held since 1990, to run against Poole.

The Gleason Board of Alderman had seven candidates running for the four at-large seats. The board will consist of Jim Phelps (362 votes), Jerry Dunn, Jr. (312 votes), Doug Johnson (311 votes) and Marcus Hopper (305 votes).

The other challengers were Charles Bookout (274 votes), Anthony Carroll (227 votes) and James Hines (114 votes). Bookout was the sole incumbent seeking re-election.

The alderman and mayor will be sworn in after election results are certified (Source:  McKenzie Banner)

Magical Designs Gleason Library Winners

Gleason 5th graders recently participated in a Library contest by creating a design for the magical coin described in the book, HALF-MAGIC, by Edward Eager. With an emphasis on creativity, judges selected winners from both 5th grade classes. In Mrs. Amy McKenzie’s 5th grade class the winners were: 3rd place coin design was a tie between Baker Atkins and Brooklyn McDowell, 2nd place coin design: Paris Smith, and 1st place coin design: Marcel Goulding. In Mrs. Brittany Bargery’s 5th grade class the winners were: 3rd place coin design: Donald Shell, 2nd place coin design: Kendall Thomas, and 1st place coin design: Josh Floyd. Pictured left to right are (standing) Paris Smith, Marcel Goulding, Josh Floyd, Kendall Thomas, Donald Shell, and (seated) Brooklyn McDowell and Baker Atkins. Source: Dresden Enterprise.


GLEASON (October 13) — KT-Clay, a subsidiary of Imerys Ceramics, along with other clay mining operations in Gleason celebrated Minerals Day last Thursday. The free event was open to the public with an estimated 1,000 individuals in attendance.

Held on the K-T Clay grounds, tents were pitched providing members of the community the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what takes place in the mining of ball clay. Along with an informative presentation with 3D dimensional renderings of a mine, patrons were able to watch Jim Keeling to turn Gleason ball clay in beautiful handmade pottery.

The employees of the mining operation were in attendance showing their appreciation to the public and handing out food and refreshments along with other goodies.

Operations Manager Arson Potts explained how students graduating from Weakley County have a great opportunity for employment in their backyard. With other 30 companies worldwide, Imerys has over 14,900 employees. As part of the hands on experience a tour of a mining site was available. Buses carried the interested on-lookers deep into the rural area. Upon arrival the on-lookers watched as ball clay was excavated from the earth and loaded into numerous dump trucks.

Buford Norden, a 36-year veteran, explained his responsibilities on removing core samples. The samples provide a deeper understanding of what lays beneath the surface.

As part of IMA-NA, Industrial Minerals Association-North America, Imerys has taken part in Minerals Day for two years. Minerals Day originated in Europe and has grown since its inception in 2007. A video of the event is available online at www.mckenziebanner. com (Source: McKenzie


Gleason to Improve Sewer Lagoon

GLEASON (October 13) — During the regular monthly meeting of the Gleason City Board, Mayor Diana Poole and Tony Terrell of the Public Works Department informed the board of the 100% grant the city received from the state. The grant totally $223,511 is for improvements of the city’s sewer lagoon. The improvements are to begin in the following week and should be completed at the beginning of 2017.

The grant originated from the Department of Economic and Community Development. This is the last year for 100% grants to be issued by the state.

“I am extremely proud of Gleason and felt honored to have the chance to represent the city in Nashville,” remarked Mayor Poole on her trip to Nashville with Terrell to receive the symbolic check. The mayor continued, “I am also proud of our board along with Dale (Stephens) and Tony (Terrell) for all they have done in letting everyone know that it (repairs/improvements) needed to be done. I also encouraged the governor to help in recruiting industry to Gleason and Northwest Tenn.”

In other business, Bill Yates of the Police Department informed the board of the possibility of 100% grant from the Department of Justice. The possible $15,000 grant would go towards replacing outdated vests and aged radios. The first portion of the grant application must be completed by November 1 and the second by November 18.

Following a recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Board, the alderman and mayor agreed to the hiring of Billy Borneman and Chad Brawner. Responsibilities along with pay will be divided between Borneman and Brawner.

Gleason’s public library filed a report of collecting over $600 in donations through a road block fundraiser. The money is going toward a matching technology grant for new equipment in the library.

With no community grievances/ concerns or new business the meeting adjourned after 25 minutes. (Source: McKenzie Banner)


The City of Gleason was awarded a 100% grant for improvements of the sewer system. (L to R): Ted Townsend, Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Economic and Community Development, Diana Poole, Mayor of Gleason, Tony Terrell, Director of Gleason Water and Sewer, and Governor Bill Haslam.



Sixth Annual Sadie Saves Charity - 5K Walk/Run

Jim Johnson


The Sixth Annual Sadie Saves Charity 5K Run and Fall Fest was held in Gleason on Saturday, September 24th at the Gleason Gazelle grounds. The weather was just right for running, with 70 + runners in multiple age groups participating in the 5K run, and a large crowd turning out to support this great charitable event.

This event is held in memory of  Sadie Cook a graduate of Gleason High School who passed away on November 7, 2010. Her passing resulted from, what the medical examiner determined to be an asthma attack, thought to be brought on by anaphylaxis (an allergic reaction) that struck suddenly and without warning.

Her sister, Savanna, determined to uphold her memory, created the Sadie Saves memorial and fund-raiser to celebrate Sadie's life. The ultimate goal is to help prevent a similar incident from happening to others.

Getting Ready with a Prayer

The Sadie Saves charity raises money to purchase EpiPens and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), along with providing training in the use of  these devices, for Weakley and surrounding counties.

The EpiPens are made available to anyone that needs them. To date, they have been distributed to each of the Weakley County Schools. Money raised by this charity has also been used to purchase Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for the fire departments in Gleason, Dresden, Greenfield Como/Ore Springs, Latham/Dukedom, McLemoresville, Sharon, and Palmersville. In addition to these, prior to the auction, three additional AEDs were provided to representatives of Lakeside Assisted Living Center in McKenzie, the Madison County Sheriffs Department and Terry Fire Department.

Off to the Races !





After the 5K event was finished, most of those who came out to support Sadie Saves and the participants stayed around to visit with friends, watch the awards ceremony, and participate in the  Auction that featured an exceptionally wide range of items.


Click "Next" For More Pictures


Gleason City Board Argues Fire Department Expansion

GLEASON (September 8) — The Gleason City Board met Thursday evening for its regular monthly meeting. After hearing department reports, a request for loan securement from the city was requested by Assistant Fire Chief Mark Stafford. Stafford informed the board of the fire department’s need for housing of fire apparatuses.

According to the assistant chief, in order for the fire department to maintain their current ISO (insurance service office) rating, all apparatuses must be housed in an insulted and heated facility. Stafford stated, “There’s a lot of money sitting outside and it’s not good for it,” referring to the service company vehicle and the brush truck.

Stafford indicated that he received quotes and a possible completion time for the project. The estimated cost was $38,000 for the structure, and it could be completed by the end of November if agreed upon by the end of September.

Mayor Diana Poole questioned the possibility of grant money, but was informed that a grant was not possible for the needed structures without building a second station. Leaving donations and/or a loan as the only possibility for the necessary financing.

City Recorder Angela Hunt explained the three-year capital outlay note. It would involve the board agreeing to the securement of the loan followed by approval of the comptroller in Nashville. The loan time would have a three year duration, and an extension could be requested at a later date.

Poole expressed her concern of putting additional financial stress on the city. Stafford responded that the fire department was not asking for the city to pay the loan, only to secure the loan for the department.

The mayor added the people of Gleason are calling for street repairs and said there was not enough money in the budget to do full repairs. That was the reason the board decided to do the “cold mix” patch work in last month’s meeting. “I’m just not comfortable leaving that large of a note for the upcoming board,” Poole referring to the possibility of city board changes in the upcoming November elections.

As tensions began to rise, Alderman and Fire Chief Jerry Connell announced the fire department would “work something out.” Poole responded that she wanted to work with the fire department. She added the board should wait until Kris Morse returned from Colorado before making such a decision.

Poole said she was willing to make the first donation and asked if anyone was willing to match it. One voice in the crowd said he would match it, but no specific dollar amount was discussed. Stafford added that the fire department was willing to hold fundraisers, and 16 firefighters had pledged $200 a year towards the expansion.

After a few more minutes of discussion, Alderman Charles Bookout made the motion to table further discussion of the loan securement to the October meeting. The motion passed with Connell abstaining.

In additional new business, the city wide yard sale will be held Saturday October 1.

Katrina Roberts was hired as the meter reader for the city.

The city is currently accepting applications for the Park Director/ Concession Worker for the upcoming season.

Mayor Poole thanked everyone especially the Gazelles for their hard work in making the Tater Town Special a success. She reminded everyone of the 6th Annual Sadie Saves Charity 5K Walk/ Run on Saturday, September 24. Source: McKenzie Banner.

43rd Annual Tater Town Special

By Jason Martin

Co-Grand Marshals, Jeff Hazelwood and the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee ride in the back of the B.A.M.2 truck


GLEASON — The Tater Town Special in its 43rd year provided the City of Gleason with eight days of entertainment. Hosted by the Gleason Gazelles, the festival attracted thousands of people to the quiet community.

The Junior and Grand parades on Saturday, September 3 served as the apex of the festival. Syncing together in a harmony of floats, four-wheelers, cars and horses, the parade rolled down the streets as onlookers smiled and clapped. Children of all ages lined the path as parade participants threw candy to the eager youths.

This year’s Grand Parade was co-grand marshaled by Jeff Hazlewood and members of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (GDRC). Hazlewood serves as the Chief of Police for Gleason, past-president of the Gleason Rotary Club, member of GDRC and member of Gleason First Baptist Church. Hazelwood has held the position of chief for 19 years. The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee began in 2014 with the focus of making improvements to the City of Gleason. Currently, the committee is building a memorial wall in Snider Park.

At the conclusion of the parade, crowds gathered on the Gazelle Grounds as a variety of vendors lined the area. Arts, crafts and a multitude of food vendors were on hand as Keith Dunning provided entertainment under the pavilion.

The Tater Town Special kicked-off on Saturday, August 27 as SWAG Wrestling took center stage. With scads of theatrics, wrestlers bound around the ring exciting the crowd with body slams, headlocks and well placed props. No one left the event without feeling a rush of enthusiasm.

Monday, August 29 was the Grand Marshal Reception at the Gleason First Baptist Church. Friends, family and members of the community came to the church providing great fellowship to this year’s grand marshals. Following the reception, The Good Time Singers provided a free concert.

BINGO was the name of the game on August 30 and 31. The Tuesday session was reserved for adults and was sponsored by Woodmen of the World with a cake auction during intermission. Wednesday’s BINGO was for the youth at the Gazelle Grounds.

Jim “the preaching potter” Keeling demonstrated his incredible pottery skills Thursday, September 1. Keeling, owner of Earthen Vessels Pottery, Gifts and Bistro, led the hourlong demonstration. The event centered on the use of Gleason ball clay in Keeling’s pottery. With each piece thrown, “the preaching potter” provided life lessons through Biblical interpretations showing comparisons between clay and man.

The 2016 Sweet Potato Bake Off was at the Gazelle Grounds on Friday night, September 2. Entries were turned in at the cook booth by 5 p.m. The winning entry was Ms. Mary Proulx for her Savory Sweet Potato Bread Pudding. Her tasty dish took the $50 Cash Prize sponsored by Simply Southern.

At 5:30 p.m., the City of Gleason was ready to rock as Flashback took the stage. Hungry patrons roamed the grounds getting plates and their stomachs full of some of the finest BBQ available. Cook teams from the Bank of Gleason, Gleason Clay, Trevathan Brothers and Imery’s (K-T Clay) provided hundreds of pounds of smoked pulled pork, bologna, ribs, chicken and plenty of sides.

Saturday morning, September 3 raced into full gear as the JC Carey Memorial 5K Run started at the Gleason School. With 82 entries, this year’s race was the largest held with some of the best times. The overall winner was Colton Delaney for the men and Veronica Rosa for the women.

In the 13 and under division, first place was Tyler Bell followed by Baker Atkins in second and Barrett Bowers in third for the men. Ellie Poole finished first and Lilly Ruesken in second with Carrington Lifsey in third for the women.

In the 13 to 19 division, Colton Delaney was first followed by Rance Morris. For the women, Veronica Rosa was first with Lillie Freeman in second and Alexis Anderson in third.

The 20 to 29 division had Ryan Delaney talking gold as Steven Hawkins and Jay Hosford brought home the silver and bronze. Melinda Jennings took first in the women’s group and Karrington Atkins came in second followed by Lauren Baker.

In the 30 to 39 division, Kenneth Coker was first followed by Josh Crawford and Rusty Sawyers. Heather Leach was first for the women with Erica Gibson and Eric Ross in second and third.

For the 40 to 49 division, Randy Davis and Todd Maxey tied for gold as Mark Spain finished in second with Kerry Futrell in third. In the women’s division, Nancy Poole was first with Wendy Maxey second and Becky Padgett taking third. The 50 to 59 division had David Lott winning first and Al Everett in second followed by Monte Cunningham. Pamela Castleman took gold and Elizabeth Lott was bronze. In the 60 and over category, Keith Tucker was first. After the parade, visitors had a chance to view the Antique Tractor and Truck Show on the school grounds. The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee hosted the Tater Town Throwdown Disc Golf Tournament at Huggins Park. Capping off the day, the Gleason Saddle Club hosted a Mini Tractor Pull.

The week’s festivities came to a conclusion on Sunday, September 4 with a Community- Wide Worship Service hosted by the Gleason Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Source: McKenzie Banner.

The Gleason Woman’s Club

Information Provided By Julia Fowler

The Gleason Woman’s Club met on Tuesday, August 23 at 12:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Room of the Gleason First Baptist Church for the August meeting. Martha Crews and Ann Jonak served as the hostesses.

President Pam Belew called the meeting to order and thanked the hostesses for the wonderful luncheon. She acknowledged Genie Dilday, Mary Margaret Beasley, Judy Belew and Patty Tilley for having birthdays in August.

Secretary, Martha Crews stated the July picnic meeting with lunch at Mallard’s Restaurant in Huntingdon was enjoyed by all that attended. The minutes from the June meeting were read and approved. Treasurer, Peggy Floyd gave the treasurer’s report with no corrections or additions.

In old business, President Pam Belew stated that the brick plaque with the Woman’s Club name on it had been paid. She also stated that any members that wished to buy a plaque could still do so. There was a discussion about donating to flood victims and the club members agreed to make a donation.

The club also discussed “Sadie’s Day” that will be held during the Tater Town Special festivities. The club will either make baked goods to be auctioned off or donate money for this event.

The backpacking for needy school children starts on September 6 and will be held on the first Tuesday of every month at the First Baptist Church in Dresden.

Martha Crews read Psalms 5:11 and an article entitled “Morning with Jesus.” The theme of the article centered on, when we concentrate on Jesus being who He says He is, we can have joy in our life every day because He is loving us every day.

The invocation was given by Ann Phelps.

Members present were: Mary Margaret Beasley, Judy Belew, Pam Belew, Martha Crews, Peggy Floyd, Julia Fowler, Genie Dilday, Ann Jonak, Ann Phelps, Rubye Snider, Peggy Stewart, Ruth Townsend, Harriet Wilson, and Joyce Wray. Absent members were: Betty Esch, Doris Owen, Ann Stewart and Patty Tilley.

Rubye Snider and Harriet Wilson won the hostess gifts.

The club recited The Collect in unison and the meeting was adjourned. Source: McKenzie Banner.


Earthen Vessels Pottery, Gifts and Bistro:

Ribbon Cutting and Open House




Photo Courtesy of The Weakley County Press


Jim Johnson

Gleason's newest business, Earthen Vessels Pottery, Gifts and Bistro, celebrated its recent opening by having a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on Monday, July 11th.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony began promptly at 9 am with Mr. Jim Keeling, co-owner of the business (along with his daughter Maria McLain) cutting the ribbon.

In attendance at the ribbon cutting ceremony were several members of the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce, Weakley County Mayor, Jake Bynum, Gleason Mayor Diane Poole, President of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee, Charles Anderson, Barbara Virgin of the Weakley County Economic Development Board, as well as other dignitaries, prominent members of the Gleason business community and the press. Many others from Gleason and the surrounding area came to attend the Open House that followed.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony was over, those in attendance moved indoors to watch Mr. Keeling as he displayed his considerable skills as a potter and answered questions that people had about making pottery and the role of Gleason Ball Clay in the process. He has indicated that he will be offering pottery classes for those who are interested in developing skills in this area.

Others attending the open house had a chance to take a look at the wide range of beautiful items made from Gleason Ball clay that were on display and visit with friends and neighbors, while also enjoying some great coffee and  pastries.

Not only did everyone seem to enjoy seeing what this new business has to offer the Gleason community, several of them found a piece of pottery they liked and bought it on the spot and many others ended up taking some great pastries home with them to enjoy later.

By turning our in large numbers, the good citizens of  Gleason did their best to make Mr. Keeling and his family feel welcome and to let them know that they are glad that they chose Gleason as the home for their new business.

Welcome Earthen Vessels Pottery, Gifts and Bistro

Photo Courtesy of The Weakley County Press



Flea Market Comes to Gleason's Snider Park

By Jason Martin


Gleason (May 26) - Since early May, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee has used the grounds at Snider Park for a flea/farmers market.  Vendors from West Tenn. have set up booths and tables to sell their merchandise.


Each Thursday from  6 a.m. till 12 p.m. patrons can walk the park,  visiting booths and finding outstanding deals.


Local vendor John Burroughs said. "We saw a post on Facebook about the flea market and thought we would give it a try." Within two hours, Burroughs and his son sold over a dozen items.


Andrew Jackson of Dyersburg has set up three times at the Gleason Location. "The traffic flow has gotten better since the first week," Jackson explained as he  organized his collection of Native American artifacts. The arrowheads and other pieces were gathered along creek beds in the area.


By far the most popular booth is Eddyville's Pork Skin operated by Edd Daniels Jr. of Dukedom. Like most vendors, Daniels makes the flea market circuit.


"It only costs $5 to set up, so we are almost guaranteed to make a little money," explained Daniels. He added that his sales method was pretty simple, "I just talk to people so I can get their attention. If they are talking to someone else or not looking my way, it's hard to sell them something. But a simple 'hey or how are you' to get their attention is all I need."


The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and the City of Gleason are looking for more vendors and shoppers. All proceeds from the flea/farmers' market go directly to the projects funded by the revitalization committee. Source: McKenzie Banner.



The Boat Helping Restore a Community

By Jason Martin

GLEASON – On a side street adjacent to Huggins Park and behind the Gleason School sits a large boat. Only the top is visible from behind the fence. It was the talk of the town how the chief of police decided to park a boat in his back yard. The chief, Jeff Hazelwood, had no idea that his boat project would become an instrumental part of Gleason. 

Since 1985, Hazelwood dreamed of owning a cabin boat. After making acquaintance with Pat Hellings of Paris who is a boat broker for Norman Marine, the dream began to come to fruition. The only exception is the boat would not be new or slightly used, it would be salvaged.

Hazelwood said he received a phone call from Hellings stating that he found a boat on the river just outside Camden. The two met near the location and found the 1973, 32-foot Trojan Express cabin cruiser. The boat was partially submerged in the water and was declared totaled.

“It was love at first sight, and I knew that I just had to have her,” explained Hazelwood. Hellings and Hazelwood felt the boat was just too nice to destroy. From that point, Jeff purchased the cruiser and had it transported to his home. The story takes and interesting twist as the boat becomes part of the Gleason skyline.

Justin Choate, Chaz Adams, Jeff Hazelwood, Pat Hellings, Pete Baumes and Bryan Cady stand in front of the 32-foot Trojan Express cabin cruiser they helped restore.

Jeff knew that he had a task at hand and had to make arrangements to work on the boat. He acknowledged, “Once the boat arrived, I knew that I had a lot of work ahead of me. I had to set a plan in motion.”

The first task was to set steel girders in eight feet of concrete with a hoist system. In one of the concrete pads, Jeff scribbled the word RESTORE. The word was not only project title but became the name of the boat, Restore Us, and it became the motto of Hazelwood and his future helpers.

As preparations were being made for the repairs, the boat, which takes up nearly half the backyard, began to draw attention. “Folks just kept coming by to look at it. Then kids from the neighborhood began showing up asking if I needed help.”

The chief had a moment of brilliance on repairing his boat and taking care of Gleason in one motion. “I wanted to do something for the community. As a police officer you are expected to lock people in jail who do wrong, but what good was I doing to help the youth as deterrent to that path.”

Chaz Adams was one of the first youth to come visit Hazelwood about possibly helping. “Chaz was learning the welding trade and I needed a welder to help build a trailer,” laughed Hazelwood. He continued, “BAM brought a welding trailer to the house, and we set to work.”

Jeff explained how Chaz needed some guidance in his life. “I really felt that I could help him better himself plus he had a project to keep him busy and out of trouble.” Chaz was later hired fulltime at MTD where he is able to use his skills and training.

Knowing that it would take a team to do all the repairs, Hazelwood recruited his neighbor Pete Baumes.

“I needed a retirement project,” Pete stated. “I was dealing with a lot at the time and working with Jeff and everyone really gave me the outlet that I needed.”

Shortly after Pete and Chaz came aboard for the project, Justin Choate and Bryan Cady appeared. Both young men commented they came to Jeff looking for work because they needed money. What they really received was the guidance and modeling they needed.

“I learned what an honest day’s work was all about. I had to bust my rear-end to earn money, but it really paid off,” recounted Cady.

Choate reiterated Cady’s remarks and added, “It was a totally new experience for me. I did learn about hard work and how to use my experience in a positive way.”

There were many boys from Gleason that helped on the boat including Casey Chesser who found work in Middle Tennessee. The one thing that seemed to be the theme amongst the crew was the comradery that developed along with the guidance that was needed.

“Not too long into the project, I felt I should have named the boat Misery. I thought I bit off more than I could chew, but then things started to click into place. It was all God’s plan,” Hazelwood remarked as he pointed out the name in the concrete.

“I really think Restore Us was a great name for my boat because not only am I able to restore it but I felt, as things progress, the boat was able to restore me. Hopefully, the community feels that I am helping restore it as well.”

Jeff continued to talk about how he was proud to see everyone grow with the project. “Some of the guys needed a push in the right direction. Maybe they needed a father figure or just to see that someone cares about them.”

Just minor work remains on the restoration of Restore Us. The twin 318 cubic inch engines need a little work according to Hazelwood. “I’ve got a guy lined up who can get the engines ready.”

The interior of the cruiser was an in good shape. The Trojan cruisers were originally built by the Amish along with all the interior woodwork. When the fiberglass versions came out, the Amish built the mold and still did the interior.

As spring draws to a close and with summer quickly approaching, Hazelwood knows with each day he is closer to his dream. “Angie and I are so excited about having time at the river.” The Hazelwoods expect to have Restore Us in the water by the early fall.

Once man’s dream slowly became a reality and along the way helped restore himself and parts of a small community. (Source: The McKenzie Banner).


Groundbreaking and Beyond:

The Mike Snider Park Memorial Wall

 Jim Johnson

(Left to Right) Mary Margaret Beasley,  Rose Anderson, Chief of Police Jeff Hazelwood, Mayor Diane Poole, Scotty Corum, GDRC President, Charles Anderson, Andy Carroll, Jacky Esch, Jim Johnson, & Lynne Shores.


After receiving approval from the Gleason Board of Mayor and Alderman to construct the long-planned Memorial Wall at Gleason's Mike Snider Park on April 14th, representatives of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Rotary Club participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 27th.


The wall, which is to be constructed near the main walkway to the park, in the vicinity of the children's play area, will be approximately 80 feet in length  and will include bench seating and flower boxes on each end.

In the center will be a 40 foot flag pole which will be adorned with a 8' by 12' American flag with a large rounded brick flower box at the base of the flag pole.

Some 8,000 bricks for the construction of the wall have been provided by Boral Brick Company of Gleason and the concrete for the wall has been generously contributed by Gleason Clay company (GCC: Cheryl Lehmkuhl, Plant Manager).

Black granite memorial stones are to be placed in the inset areas of the wall. A sample stone, in memory of Charles Anderson's parents can be seen below. These memorial stones (which can include a maximum of 13 characters per line and up to three lines per stone) can be purchased by individuals who might wish to honor special people, to memorialize family members or others who have passed, or who simply wish to purchase a stone with their own name on it, so as to show their support of this community project.

Plans are for the wall to be completed by mid-October at which time there will be a dedication of the wall.

If you wish to order your engraved Black Granite Memorial "Brick"

Copy, Paste and Print the Form Below


(Or pick up a form at City Hall)


Gleason Downtown Revitalization

Memorial Wall Project

Black Granite Memorial Brick

These bricks will be placed randomly throughout the face of the Memorial Wall

being built at Snider Park by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee.



Memorial Brick Purchase Price: $100.00 Donation

"What a wonderful way to memorialize our loved ones for generations to come."

Memorial Brick Information Form

Date: ___________________________

Name of Purchaser: ___________________________________________

Inscription: __________________________________________________

(Name of person the brick is in memory or in honor of)





Send the Completed Form and Payment To:

Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fund

P.O. Box 125

Gleason, Tennessee 38229


(Or take your completed form and payment to City Hall)

 Gleason Masonic Lodge #330

Focus on Brotherhood and Community Service


 Jim Johnson


Gleason Masonic Lodge #330 has a long history, dating back to 1867, when its charter was first issued. During this span of almost 150 years, the Masonic Lodge has been an integral part of the local community. 


Over the years, the Masonic Lodge has met in several locations. Its initial meeting location was in the old Masonic Male and Female Institute, a two story brick building erected in 1904 (across the street  from the Bandy - Jeter  house), to replace a private school building which  had burned down in 1902.

Gleason's first public school opened in 1906 in this same building, with the Masonic Lodge continuing to hold their meetings upstairs in this building until it burned sometime later. For many years the Lodge met on the second floor of the old Carl Parks building, located on Main Street, where the Gleason Library was then located.

Since 1991, the Masonic Lodge has been located at its current site at 202 Main Street in Gleason, although several changes to the basic structure of the building have been necessary over time. Most recently, in 2015, the interior  of the building was totally renovated, so as to provide a modern meeting room, and fellowship hall along with other amenities.

Since its inception, the Masonic Lodge has been committed to the local community and actively involved in the Gleason community in supporting many worthy causes and helping organizations. 

A notable example in this regard is providing support each year for the Gleason Relay for Life, with funds derived from Lodge members, as well as supporting  this important activity by having members park cars for those supporting this important event.

During both the Tater Town Special and the "Hometown Christmas" celebrations this year, members of the Masonic Lodge grilled hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hotdogs and smoked bologna and sold them to individuals attending these events. Proceeds from each of these efforts were contributed to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization fund - to further enhance the downtown area of the Gleason community. 

More recently, the Masonic Lodge picked up where the American Legion left off and agreed to assume full sponsorship of the Big Brothers program and their activities in this area. 

The Masons strong support of,  and commitment to, the Big Brothers program was clearly highlighted during the recent Christmas holidays.

Here, they provided large grocery boxes to some 50 homes in the Gleason community. These boxes each contained a frozen chicken, a pound of sliced cheese, a half gallon of whole mile, a pound of dried navy beans, a pound of red beans, 5 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of corn meal, along with  bananas  and other fruits,  as well as a 2 lb box of salt, pepper, and seasonings.

They also delivered fruit baskets to some 170 people in the Gleason area that were seniors, either needy, a widow or widower, and/or unemployed or of low income.

Front/Bottom Row: Bill Lynch, Jonathan McDowell, Kody Owen, Alan Owen, David Black, T.J. Hicks and Bobby Langley. Back Row: Ronnie Connell, Eric Owen, Sam Owen, and Blaine Owen - A special acknowledgment goes to Richard Black, (Organizer), Chairman, Alan Owen, Treasurer, Ken Sanders and Larry Hudson for the use of Steele Plant facility for storage and assembly.

It can be noted that one of the primary goals of  Masonry is to "make better men out of good men". It is believed that this is best achieved by focusing on strengthening one's character, improving one's moral and spiritual outlook, promoting personal responsibility, a belief in God, and by putting these attributes into practice in daily life. It is believed that, through this process, it is possible build a better world by building better men to work in their own communities. 

In looking at the works of the Masons of Lodge #330 today, it appears that they are still living up to the strong tradition of those Masons who founded this Lodge almost a century and a half ago - in terms of their significant contributions to the local community. (Thanks to Bill Lynch of Gleason Lodge #330 for his contributions to this article.)

GLEASON HONORS - State Rep. Andy Holt (Center) presented proclamations to Jim Johnson (left) and Charles Anderson honoring both individuals for their involvement with last year's Tater Town Festival, where they led as Grand Marshals. Both men serve on the Gleason Revitalization Committee and have, along with other members of the Committee, been at the forefront of renovating the city's downtown and preserving the history and heritage of Gleason. (Weakley County Press)


Gleason Downtown Revitalization:

A Look Back at the First Year

 Jim Johnson

As it  has now been somewhat over a year since the work of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee was formally approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, it seems appropriate to take a look back in order to assess the accomplishment of the Committee now that 2015 has come to an end.

Here it can be noted that, under the leadership of Charles Anderson as President, a wide range of projects designed to enhance downtown Gleason and the surrounding area have been undertaken.

At the outset, it should be noted that many of the activities that the Revitalization Committee has engaged in during the past year would not have been possible without the generosity of  those Gleason residents who have supported the work of this committee  during the past year. Their generosity has included furthering revitalization efforts by making contributions at fundraisers as well as  by  volunteering their time and talents in helping make various revitalization projects a success.

Activities engaged in during the past year have been of a varied nature. Some of these have been beautification efforts, other have been restorative in nature, while other, somewhat larger efforts, have represented a combination of the two.

Examples have included providing new and more visible handicapped parking signs throughout the downtown area, the painting of fire hydrants, providing flower boxes throughout the downtown area and making major repairs to the Senior Citizens Center to deal with significant termite damage.

A major initiative during the first year has involved making a number of improvements to Huggins Park, which had previously seen very little community use during recent years.

During the past year a number of the building in the park have been painted, an old rusty chain link fence that posed safety issues has been torn down and replaced by a brand new 190 foot section of white vinyl fence - thanks to the generous donation by Imerys Ceramics.

Thanks to the hard work of Luke Hughes, along with the efforts of committee members and others, Huggins Park now has a brand new nine hole Disc Golf course which has to this point hosted three successful Disc Golf tournaments, with the most recent tournament hosting the University of Martin Disc Golf team.

Park beautification efforts have also  involved the planting of several memorial trees,  the donation of a fountain (by Charles and Rose Anderson) and planting a wide range of flower beds to enhance the look of the park.

These park-related enhancements have resulted in many more citizens of Gleason and the surrounding area coming to the park to attend a various community events hosted by the Committee. These events have included an initial Revitalization Committee fundraiser, featuring Mike Snider and his band, a Gleason Movie Night which featured family friendly entertainment along with a full-service concession stand, the Committee's  First Annual Fall Music Fest, and a Chili Supper Cook-off.

These improvements have made Huggins Park a more suitable venue for an even wider range of community events that will allow families to enjoy wholesome activities and entertainment while also spending time with friends.

Another major beautification/restoration project completed during the past year has involved the painting of the J & P Auto Care building, as well as the outbuilding adjacent to the service station.

The painting of this business related to the Committee's belief that J & P Auto Care represented one of the major landmarks of downtown Gleason, having now been in business at the corner of Cedar and Main for over half a century.

Much effort was put into completing this work project prior to the 2015 Tater Town Special to insure that visitors to Gleason during this event might see the downtown area at its best when viewed along the parade route.

An additional fund-raising project during the past year has involved developing a Community Calendar that provides the dates of important family events such as birthdays, anniversaries and the like for Gleason citizens. The proceeds from the sale of these calendars help fund downtown improvements, as do all proceeds from activities sponsored by the Revitalization committee.

Completing projects such as these is seen as important in laying the foundation for obtaining grant money to support other more costly revitalization projects.

While a major focus of the committee is on beautification and revitalization of the Gleason community, another interrelated focus is on highlighting Gleason businesses, realizing that encouraging hometown shopping by promoting home grown businesses is a boon to the local economy.

During the past year, President Charles Anderson has initiated a "Gleason Business of the Month" initiative, whereby one local business is highlighted each month through a special article focusing on that business. The article is first published on the Gleason website ( The Weakley County Press has also agreed to provide a print version of each article in their widely read newspaper.

During the past year some 10 Gleason businesses have been  highlighted in this manner. These include Gleason Superette , Jozelle's Beauty Shop, City Drug Store., Gleason Lumber & Supply Company, Floyd Greenhouses, Gleason Hardware, Eveready Auto Parts. Gleason Clinic, Steele Plant Company and the Bank of Gleason.

In terms of other items, it is also noteworthy that, during this past year, the Downtown Revitalization Program has also filed for and has been approved as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Tax Exempt organization. This designation makes it possible for those individuals making financial donations to the Gleason downtown revitalization effort to declare their gifts as charitable contributions when filing their income tax return.

Despite those things that the Committee has accomplished during the past year,  much more work needs to be done during the coming year (and in the future) to enhance the City of Gleason's ability to attract new businesses, to improve the economic growth of the community and make the Gleason community a  better place to live, work, raise a family and experience an improved quality of life.

It is hoped that, based on these initial accomplishments, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee will be seen as  deserving of the generous support that it has received from the citizens of Gleason during the past year.

It is also hoped that there will be others who will join with the Committee and contribute their time and efforts in helping 2016 be an even better year in terms of enhancing the Gleason community. 


Downtown Revitalization Committee Hosts

Huggins Park - Chili Cook-Off

Jim Johnson

On Saturday, November 7th, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee hosted its first Annual Chili Cook-Off.  With temperatures in the upper 50's and low 60's, and a mild wind blowing, the weather was perfect for eating all the great chili you could eat (for only $5), along with cornbread, a drink and a great selection of desserts. Those who came were not only treated to good food at a great price, but were also able to shop for handicrafts and buy books at a discount price at the Gleason library book sale.  Here, there was a great selection of books of all kinds and for all ages for only 25 cents each. And, everyone was treated to some great music provided by local talent from 10:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon.

Participants in the Chili Cook-Off included Not-Hig's restaurant in McKenzie, Gleason's own Andy Carroll and Chris Chadwick from Hawg County Cookers in McKenzie. It should be noted that in 2008 Chris Chadwick won the Gleason Tater Town Special "Back Yard BBQ" trophy for his bacon-wrapped hotdog with peppers and onions and has continued to attend and win at the Tater Town festival. Being a bit of a celebrity, he has also had the opportunity to share his expertise regarding the art of cooking on radio and the TV Discovery Channel.

The local musical talent included Gleason's own McKenna Cady, the group "Forest Drive" (from Martin, TN), Gleason's Jon and Anna Eaton and  Jim Arnold and his group, "Crossroads" from Gleason.

With the cook-off winner being determined by those who had bought a ticket for the chili and who chose to vote for one of the three competitors, Andy Carroll of Gleason managed to edge out the others to win the Chili Cook-off Championship trophy. An informal survey seemed to suggest that all of the Cook-off chili was excellent.

As always, the people of Gleason were generous in coming out on a rather chilly Fall day in support of this event. With over 90 people being served throughout the day, a total of some $480 was raised to support additional Gleason Downtown Revitalization efforts.

Matt Cady - Ready to Sell Some Great Chili


Emily Bell and Brooke McClure

Mike and Carole Blassingame

Judy Paschall, Library Director - Gleason Memorial Library

Not Hig's (Tina Neil & Jerry Morgan) McKenzie, TN

Not Hig's (Tina Neil & Jerry Morgan) & Andy Carroll (Behind Tables)

McKenna Cady

McKenna Cady and Forest Drive (Cooper Gilliam; Jackson Kellyk Peyton Forrester;  Keaton  Penick (Martin, TN) 

Jon and Anna Eaton

Crossroads: (Jim Arnold; Keith Arnold; Thomas Chandler; Jeff Ellis Booths)

Matt Cady - Giving the Chili Cook-off-Award to Andy Carroll of Gleason

Chris Chadwick (Hawg County Cookers) - Andy Carroll (Gleason) - Jerry Morgan (Not Hig's)


State Representative Andy Holt Presents Proclamation to Imerys



Front Row: State Representative Andy Holt, Arson Potts (Gleason, Imerys - KT Plant Manager), Chuck Laine (President, Tennessee Mining Association)

Back Row: James Jarrett, Kerry Arnold,   Eric Duke, Donald Cooper, and Brent Eugley (Photo by Charles Anderson).



Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program

Hosts First Annual Fall Music Fest


Jim Johnson


The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program hosted its First Annual Fall Music Fest on September 26.

With admission being free and free tickets for drawings being being given to all in attendance, an estimated 175 Gleason citizens and visitors from the surrounding areas turned out for this event. They were all treated to some great music provided by local celebrities at  the "new and revitalized" Huggins Park.

Good food, including Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Walking Toco's, Popcorn, Candy and Drinks were also provided at the Concession Stand.

This was an evening that offered something for people of all ages. Children's activities started at 4:00 PM and featured Face Painting by Matt Cady and a "Bounce House", which the younger children seemed to really enjoy.

Hosted by MC Charles Anderson, musical entertainment started at 5:00 PM. Opening the show was Anna Eaton who sang the National Anthem. This was followed by musical selections provided by Ronnie Story, Keith Dunning, Wess Whitworth, Larry Morgan, McKenna Cady, Micah Arnold, David Hoppe and Jon and Anna Eaton.

Among the selection of songs that Anna and Jon Eaton sang to round out the evening was one very special song, which they wrote, that featured a friend of theirs - Gleason resident Billie Joe Ward.

It is noteworthy that the citizens of Gleason, once again showed their great generosity in terms of supporting Gleason revitalization efforts by making donations on the order of $800 during this event. These funds will be used to support further downtown revitalization projects.

Click Here for Music Fest Pictures

Remembering & Honoring Private Bobbie Dee Phelps

By Jim Johnson


On September 5th, 2015 Phelps Street in Gleason, Tennessee was formally dedicated as "PVT Bobbie Dee Phelps Memorial Way" as part of the 2015 Tater Town Special program. This dedication was to honor the memory of Private Bobbie Dee Phelps, who was attached to the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, of the US Army, who was killed in action in Korea on April 29th, 1951.


The dedication ceremony of "PVT Bobbie Dee Phelps Memorial Way" began with thoughtful opening comments by Gleason Mayor, Diane Poole and were followed by a heartfelt presentation by Mr. Jim Phelps, who commented on the circumstances surrounding Bobbie Dee Phelps making the ultimate sacrifice for his country - much of which is presented here.


In  his comments Mr. Phelps noted that that Bobbie's Grandfather, Elvis Jackson Phelps, built the very first house on Phelps Street, where Bobby Phelps was born - "the yellow house located just down the street on the left" - (the old Roy Hodges home at 223 Phelps Street).  READ MORE...

Tater Town Festival Wraps up With Parade


 Special to the Press

 The streets were crowded in small town USA, Gleason, TN on Saturday, Sept, 5. The air smelled like barbecue, and the children of the Gleason area eagerly grabbed candy off the ground from the passing floats. The patrons were gathered to watch and participate in the annual Labor Day weekend Tater Town Festival Parade.

“This is the 42nd year for small town USA right here,” said grand marshal Charles Anderson. “Gleason is known for sweet potatoes and has been for years. Every year on Labor Day weekend we put together a little Tater Town special. Today we had a tractor show; it is the 11th year we’ve done that, and we really enjoy this. It’s a community time; it brings that small town pride back to town. People enjoy themselves. It’s a reminiscent time, and we have a lot of class reunions going on this weekend. This festival is a hometown event to bring hometown natives back to town.”

“The Tater Town festival is all about a group of about eight women who pull the community together, just to be together, that’s all that it’s about. Just giving back to the community!” Jennifer Cook said enthusiastically about the festival. Jennifer Cook is one of the Gazelles who helped to put the event together.

“I think it’s a time for the community to come together like it has been doing for 42 years,” said the other grand marshal, Jim Johnson. “The Gazelles do a wonderful job with this; we could not do this without them. I think it’s a place, not even just for the current citizens of Gleason. I grew up here and was away for a long time, and I kept trying to figure out how I could keep in touch. I finally developed a website for current and former Gleason citizens to keep in touch. There are a lot of people here today; some are here for their 55th class reunion, some for their 50th, and some others for their 40th. All of these people have come back for this Tater Town Festival, so I just think it highlights the cohesiveness of the town.”

“It’s been a long time tradition here, of course Gleason is small, but this is one of the major things we do here,” said Dale Stevens, Gleason’s Director of Public Works. “The Gazelle group, the girls have recently lost some membership. They’re down to a bare minimum, and Gleason public works helps them out with this. They are a really great organization, and we cherish this time every year. We spend a lot of time; the public works department does a lot of work for them in an effort to help them out. Everybody, a lot of the classmates from years ago, have come back here every year and have class reunions and it’s just a tradition now. It’s been going on for a long time and people expect it and we enjoy helping put it on.”

The parade proudly displayed police, fire, and EMS vehicles, along with the local National Guard. It was also filled with local businesses, government officials, local cheerleaders and beauty queens, along with other local groups and clubs.

TATER TOWN USA— Gleason High’s cheerleaders march through downtown Gleason during Saturday’s parade (top left photo). From left to right: Amber Watson, April Watson, Hailey Harrison, Gracie Long, Josie Long, Claire O’Connor, Jessica Remillian, Maggie Hampton, Madison Gazelle, Dorcy Bell, Bell Fallard, Allison Rollins. In the top right photo, the winners of the Tater Town beauty pageant ride through town; (from left to right) Queen: Mary Rollins, First Maid: Jamie Shay Bailey, Second Maid: Savannah Scarborough, and Third Maid: Chelsea Beasley. Grand marshals Charles Anderson and Jim Johnson are pictured in the bottom left photo. In the bottom right picture, motorcyclists ride through the parade. Source: Weakley County Press.

This City of Gleason has just become the recipient of a charming old display case, complements of Gary Doster.

Plans are for this display case to reside at City Hall and to be used to display Gleason-related memorabilia that in some way have to do with important events, milestones, people, artifacts or other items that in some way relate to the history of Gleason.

Anyone who might have items of this type that wish to donate them for display, is encouraged to call City Hall at Phone (731) 648-5547 .

Helping Enhance the Gleason Community Through Clay:

Charles Anderson, President of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program, receives a check in the amount of $1,500 dollars from Brent Eugley of Imerys North America Ceramics (formerly KT Clay Co.) for the new vinyl fence at Huggins Park.

Left Side: Imerys Ceramics Representatives:

Front Row: Left to Right: Kim Montgomery - Ball Clay Lab Technician; Katy Lucas (dark green shirt/brown pants) - Geologist

Back Row: Left to Right: Stacy Collins - Ball Clay Technician; Cruz Legens - Ball Clay Lab Technician; Eric Duke (white shirt) Production Supervisor; Kerry Arnold -(EHS) - Environmental Health and Safety Manager; Brent Eugley (with check) - Environmental Coordinator; James Jarrett (right side with bright yellow shirt) - Ball Clay Quality Control Manager/Product Development Coordinator.


Right Side:  Revitalization Committee Representatives:

Left to Right:  Mayor Diane Poole (behind fence), Charles Anderson-President (receiving check),  Rose Anderson, Gary Doster, James Jarrett (Imerys Representative), Chief Jeff Hazelwood, Doris Owen-Treasurer, Jim Johnson and Matt Cady.

(Click Here for Full Story)


Hannah Robison Named Miss Tennessee 2015

Making Gleason Proud

 James H. Johnson

Miss Scenic City, Hannah Robison,  was crowned  Miss Tennessee for 2015 on Saturday, June 20th in Jackson at the Carl Perkins Civic Center. Hannah, age 21, is currently a senior  at the University of Tennessee at Martin, majoring in Chemistry and pursuing a minor in Psychology.   

 She won her talent preliminary for an outstanding performance on the piano as well as her lifestyle and fitness preliminary in the swimsuit competition. 

 As Miss Tennessee, she will receive an  $18,000 scholarship and will represent Tennessee at the Miss America Pageant in September. Additionally, she will serve  as Governor  Bill Haslam's Official Spokesperson for Character Education where she will be interacting with children across the state.

The selection of Hannah Robison as Miss Tennessee-2015 makes a lot of people in the Gleason community proud.  And none are prouder than her grandmother  Bobbye Lu Robison of Gleason. Hannah is the daughter of  Bobbye Lu and the late Buddy Robison's son Rusty and his wife Pam who live in Buchanan.

Bobbye Lu notes that it takes a while to come down from the high that is experienced when a granddaughter wins something like this. She also highlighted Hannah's ties to Gleason by noting that Hannah was Gleason's "Miss  TaterTown" in 2010.

She went on to say "I was very thrilled that she won this honor because it's not just a beauty pageant. It doesn't just involve how one looks, but also showing composure in what can be a stressful interview, having talent - and lots of hard work !"

It is noteworthy that Hannah's Grandmother, Bobbye Lu, is no stranger to beauty pageants herself, having been named "Miss Gleason" back in 1951. It seems that talent, composure, and beauty run in the family.   



Gleason's First Disc Golf Tournament Held at Huggins Park


Jim Johnson


 As a result of a generous gift from the West Tennessee Disc Golf Club to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program and City of Gleason's Park and Recreation department and, with the help of Mr. Luke Hughes of Gleason, it has been possible to develop a disc golf course at Gleason's Huggins Park for use by the people of Gleason and the surrounding area.


The design and development of the course was under the direction of  Mr. Luke Hughes, of Gleason, along with Chris Dodson, Will Trimble and Kent Fothergill, all of whom are actively involved with this rapidly growing sport.


The course is open to all Gleason citizens who are interested in the sport and was set up to allow for competitive disc golf tournaments for players of all ages.


Sponsored by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program, Gleason's first disc golf tournament, the "TaterTown Throwdown" was held on Saturday, May 23, 2015.


Registration for the tournament began at 1:30. The registration fee was $10, which included a free disc, bearing the "TaterTown Throwdown" logo. All funds derived from this event will be used to support Gleason Downtown Revitalization efforts.


Prior to beginning the tournament, a disc golf workshop was conducted by Tournament Director Luke Hughes. This pre-tournament training session was open to all registrants and  served as an introduction to the basics of disc golf, including rules of the game, disc golf fundamentals, and an introduction to the new Huggins Park course.


The tournament itself began at 3:30 and lasted for several hours, with the 36 participants  playing varying numbers of holes, depending on their age.


The concession stand was open, serving water, soft drinks, hamburgers, cheese burgers, bologna  and various other tasty edibles.


Certificates were given for outstanding play in both the "Novice" and more "Advanced" disc golf participants.


It is hoped that this inaugural tournament will stimulate participants to come out to Huggins Park and use the facilities to develop their disc golf skills and enjoy playing the course with friends over the summer.


Be sure to check regularly for announcements of other disc golf tournaments that may be offered this summer.


Tournament Registration: Only Ten Bucks

With a Free Disc Included

Concession Stand - Open for Business 

Luke Hughes Provides Pre-tournament Disc Golf Workshop

Focusing on Fundamentals

Out on the Course

Click on the Above Graphic for Story and More Tournament Pictures


Downtown Revitalization Committee Hosts First Family Movie Night

On Saturday night, September 13, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee hosted its first Family Movie Night at Huggins Park. The featured movie was Facing the Giants, a  PG rated family-friendly drama about a high school football coach who, in several years of coaching, has never had a winning season.  Just as he is finding some reason to believe that the upcoming season might be better his hopes are squelched when the best player on his team transfers to another school. After losing their first three games of the season, the coach discovers a group of fathers are plotting to have him fired. Combined with pressures at home, the coach has lost hope in his battle against fear and failure. However, an unexpected challenge helps him find a purpose bigger than just victories. Daring to trust God to do the impossible, the coach and members of his team discovers how faith plays out on the field… and off.

This first Family Movie Night film sponsored by the Downtown Revitalization Committee, got things off to a good start, despite the unseasonably cool to borderline cold temperatures during the evening. More than 75 people came dressed for the occasion to see the movie, socialize with neighbors, and enjoy some great hamburgers, cold drinks, coffee, hot chocolate, and popcorn as well as cookies and other snacks that could be purchased at the concession stand. The one dollar per-person admission fee automatically entered everyone in drawings for various prizes. CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES!

The next regular monthly board meeting is Thursday, October 9 beginning at 7 p.m.

GHS 50-year Class Reunion - Class of 1964


The Gleason High School Class of 1964 celebrated their 50th class reunion during Tater Town festivities on August 30, 2014. The reunion was held at Mallards Restaurant in Huntingdon, with classmates having additional time to catch up on old times friends at the Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center in Huntingdon.

Front L-R: Rosemary Jorge, Suzette Edmonston, Martha Boone, Brenda Pickler, Judy Mansfield, Karen Dellinger, Sonja Godwn;

Back L-R: George Sawyers, Ronnie Dilday, Iva May Lowery, Wanda Maddox, Betty Bradberry, Sandra Tilley, Martha Brewer, Carol Sue Delinger, Mrs. Floyd and Mr. Floyd, John Bradberry (Note - maiden names used for ladies).

Gleason High School Class of 1962:

Second Annual Follow-up to their 50th Reunion


The Gleason High School Class of 1962 celebrated their second annual follow up to their  50th class reunion during Tater Town festivities on August 30, 2014.


Barbara Clement White, Ronnie Parks, Ferrellin Webb Cassidy, Coy Segraves, Curtis Mayo, Linda Ray Bevis, Sammy Tilley, Joyce Holland Straughn, John Ozment, Joyce Stewart Jones, Bobby Langley, Linda Elinor Boone, Kenneth Doster, Linda Travillian Langford, Terry Bunnell

    Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fundraiser:

     A Big - Small Town Success

 James H. Johnson


On Saturday, August 2nd, 2014, a Fundraiser, designed to support  Gleason Downtown Revitalization efforts, was held from  5 until after 8 PM at Huggins Park in Gleason.

The fundraiser was initially organized by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (Members: Charles Anderson,  Ron Arnold, Mary Margaret Beasley,  Andy Carroll,  Gary Doster, Police Chief Jeff Hazelwood, Doris Owen, and Mayor Diane Poole) and  focused  on raising funds to support initial downtown revitalization projects that can  provide the foundation for grant applications to fund larger projects.

The evening began with an opening prayer, provided by Mr. Jacky Esch and the National Anthem, wonderfully sung by Mr. Wendell Verdell.

The program consisted of gospel music, generously provided by  "Witness Southern Gospel of McKenzie, Tennessee, as well as Gleason's own Mike Snider, widely known for being a regular  on the Grand Ole Opry, as it is commonly known and referred to, and formerly a regular on the old Hee Haw television show as well as having received other honors associated with the country music industry.  Additional musical entertainment was also provided by Ricky Morgan of The Great Pretenders, Wendell Verdell and Charles Ross and family of Gleason. Each of these individuals and groups provided their services freely in support of this initiative.

Those in attendance were provided with plenty of great food, including both BBQ plates  and hot dogs from  Big Daddy's BBQ, Highway 79, McKenzie, Tennessee. Soft drinks, bottled water,  as well as snow cones and desserts were also available at the concession stand.

All in attendance had the opportunity to win more than 20 door prizes, such as gift cards and a variety of other items provided by numerous donors. Numerous attendees purchased chances to win various prizes ranging from gift certificates, to bicycles, to a Winchester Repeating Arms 12 gage shotgun,  along with 5 boxes of shells and electronic noise-suppression ear muffs.

With approximately 400 total in attendance, including lots of people from Gleason and the surrounding areas, others coming from further away, and more than a dozen others who were candidates for local, and state offices, this event has to be judged as having been a huge success.

Not only did the citizens of Gleason come out in numbers to support this important event, but many also made cash donations during the evening. Others supported this initiative by simply coming to enjoy the entertainment and fellowship with friends, while enjoying the excellent food and beverages and buying  tickets for the various prizes that were offered. Numerous other individuals, groups, and businesses made significant financial contributions, or  provided  goods or  services that were significantly discounted or  given freely for this event.

Valued Supporters: Final Flight Outfitters, Union City; Big Daddy's BBQ, McKenzie; Owen Brothers, Gleason; Pepsi Cola, Paris; Jim Johnson, Huntingdon; Coca Cola, Union City; Flowers by Jan, Gleason; Aletha Jones, Gleason; Simply Southern Restaurant, Gleason; Bank of Gleason, Gleason; WCMT Radio, Martin; Salon 104, Gleason; Gleason Superette, Gleason; Jerry Chestnut, General Manager of  Boral Brick, Gleason; J&P Exxon, Gleason; J & J Restaurant, Gleason; Bryant Video, Gleason; Blossom and Blooms, Gleason; Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, Gleason;  Weakly County Electric.

It is heartening to learn that the funds derived from this Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fundraiser were in excess of $4,000. 

This figure seems to highlight both the generosity of the citizens of Gleason, as a group, and the degree to which they care for their community and want it to be all it can be!




Announcing the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Initiative

At the most recent meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Gleason resident Charles Anderson spoke on behalf of the newly constituted Gleason Downtown Restoration Committee.

Mr. Anderson noted that we all take great pride in our small town and always want it to look its best. He went on to say that unfortunately, Gleason hasn't kept up with the times when it comes to the downtown area, as compared to other towns. While other city's are making improvements, Gleason's downtown area is moving in the opposite direction.

Mr. Anderson indicated that the focus of this committee will be on sprucing up the City of Gleason in all ways possible in order to make Gleason a more attractive destination for visitors. He stated that the Committee hopes to get all citizens involved in turning the downtown area around and making it a more enjoyable place to visit.

He suggested that the purpose of coming before the Board was not to ask the city for money but simply to get support from the board. He said that the committee hopes to use grants and individual donations to fund specific projects.

Some initial ideas for possible improvements include improving sidewalks/parking/awning in front of the school, a new LCD electronic billboard for the school, Flashing Safety Lights in school zones, restoring a Railroad Caboose to commemorate the old long & forgotten train station, new park benches/flower planters, hand painted murals on walls of buildings (looking for volunteers for artwork), the construction of a fountain, and potentially the development of a farmers market.

The Mayor and Aldermen expressed their excitement regarding the committee's ideas for improving the Gleason community and voted unanimously to support this new initiative.

Log Cabin Decorated with Autumn Theme



Gleason High School 50-year Class Reunion - Class of 1963

The class of 1963 had their 50 year class reunion on Saturday, August 31, 2013.  Members of the class participated in the Tater Town Special parade by riding on  a "Class of 1963 ~ 50-year Reunion trailer. A member of the Class of  '63, the former Sandra Taylor who was the 1963 Miss. Gleason rode in a red 1963 Chevrolet Corvette owned and driven by Dale Nunnery, also a member of the Class of 63.

The 50-year reunion was held at the First Baptist Church on Saturday evening. The festivities were also attended by several well wishers from other Gleason High School Classes from the early to mid 1960's. A good time was  had by all!

Below is a picture of those members of the Class who were in attendance.

Class members attending included, pictured from left to right are: Front Row: Carol (Tucker) Dycus, Delois (Boane) Shaw, Kaye (Billington) Owens, Sandra (Taylor) Johnson, Wanda (Hodges) Pritchett, Patricia (Reed) Segraves Back Row: Robert Smyth, Pat Dewberry, Bobbie Lou (Williams) Chandler, Janis (Hodges) Featherstone, Jean (Burrows) Cunningham, Dale Nunnery, LeRoy Segraves.


Click on the Above Link for all Reunion Pages


Gleason High School Class of 1962:

Follow-up to the 50th Reunion

Members of the Class of 1962 followed up on their last year's 2012 Tater Town 50-year reunion by having a get together on Saturday, August 31st at at Hig's Restaurant in McKenzie. All members of the Class of 1962 and other friends were invited.

As can be seen from the picture below, the turn out for this follow-up was great, with 16 Class of 62 members attending and having a good time interacting with old classmates and other friends from Gleason School. - Click on the link below for more Class of '62 pictures.

Members of the Class of 1962 attending included, FRONT ROW: Joyce (Stewart) Jones, Ferrelin (Webb) Cassidy, Linda (Elinor) Boone, Joyce (Holland) Straughn, Linda (Ray) Bevis, Lynda (Travillian) Lankford, Barbara (Clement) White. BACK ROW: Terry Burnell, Curtis Mayo, Bobby Langly, Ronnie Parks, Coy Segraves, Pert Pritchitt, John Ozment, Jim Lawrence, Sammy Tilley. (Picture compliments of Linda Bevis).


Click on the Above Link for More Class of '62 Pictures

Family Recalls Life of Gordon Stoker

By Joe Lofaro
Special to the Press

When Gordon Stoker, a Gleason native and a member of The Jordanaires vocal group that backed Elvis Presley, died this past Wednesday, his niece Jenna Wright said Stoker was “the best uncle in the world.” “He knew where he came from and he loved the people. He was a great person,” said Wright, who chairs the department of English at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Wright’s son, Zac, served as a pallbearer in Saturday’s funeral. “I was 12 years old before I realized Uncle Gordon was famous,” Zac Wright said. “He always wanted butter beans on okra.”

Stoker’s career started at Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, outside of Gleason, when he was 8 years old. In addition to playing the piano at church, he played at singing conventions in West Tennessee. “Mom and dad hung on them (singing conventions),” Stoker was quoted as saying. “I remember singing in Fulton and Martin.”

Better known as Hugh Gordon, he performed with the Clement Trio on WTJS in Jackson. He was recruited, after graduating from Gleason, to be the pianist in Nashville’s John Daniel Quartet. It was here that Stoker played on WSM’s Grand Ole Opry.

After three years in the Air Force, Stoker moved to Oklahoma to be near family, but in 1948 he moved back to Nashville and rejoined the Daniel Quartet, who was now playing on WLAC radio.

He met his wife, the former Jean Wilkerson, in 1949, at a church singing in Nashville. In 1950, he auditioned for and won the piano-playing job for the Jordanaires.

“The Jordanaires drew on both black and white gospel music, as well as many of the hymns Stoker knew by heart from his childhood in rural West Tennessee,” said Joe Rumble in a recent Associated Press article. Rumble is the senior historian at the County Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Stoker and the Jordanaires became members of the prestigious Hall of Fame in 2001.

Not only did Stoker play the piano for the Jordanaires but he also took on the role as a vocalist, singing tenor. The group performed together for 60 years, singing backup for Presley, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, George Jones, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Red Foley and Kenny Rogers.

“He was so famous,” Wright said. “But to me he was just Uncle Gordon. He was an extremely unassuming person.”

Wright said her uncle attended her high school graduation in Gleason and Stoker, his wife and three children were in the fieldhouse when she graduated from UT Martin.

Wright said her family was extremely close. In fact, Wright’s father, the late Wayne Stoker, and Gordon were together with others for Thanksgiving in 1983 when Mike Snider dropped by the house.

“Wayne knew I won the national banjo playing contest in September of 1983,” Snider said. “It was on Thanksgiving in 1983, when I met Gordon at Wayne’s house. “Gordon asked me, ‘What do you want to do?’ I told him I would like to play on the Grand Ole Opry stage one time.”

“I remember Wayne telling Gordon he had to hear me play because I was something a little different,” Snider said.

Thanks to the Stokers, Wayne and Gordon, Snider was able to play on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. He also appeared on Nashville Now and starred on Hee Haw. He is now a member of the Grand Ole Opry and he host segments this past weekend at the Opry.

“I didn’t even want to be in the music business,” Snider said. “I was farming. I couldn’t have done it without Wayne and Gordon. They were two really nice men who went out of their way to help somebody they didn’t even know.”

Wright will be the first to echo Snider’s comments about her dad and her uncle. “When my dad got real sick a couple of year’s ago, Uncle Gordon would call him every day, no matter where he was.

Uncle Gordon also called Wright often. “When he would say goodbye he always said, ‘I love you, baby.’”

At Gordon Stoker’s funeral at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Wright was just as unassuming as her uncle.“I am sure there were some big-name celebrities there, but I don’t keep up with all that,” she said.

In case your wondering about the music, Gordon Stoker and the Jordanaires sang backup on Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “No Tears in Heaven,” Presley’s “Known Only to Him” and Foley’s “This World is Not My Home.”

Despite the stellar lineup of music, Wright remembers the last words her uncle Gordon Stoker said to her, “I love you baby.”

Elvis photos on display at UTM: A photography display titled “ELVIS: Grace and Grit” is featured in the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Paul Meek Library Museum.

The display opened Monday and runs through May 31. An opening reception is Thursday from noon to 12:30.

“ELVIS: Grace and Grit” is the latest traveling exhibition from the CBS Television Photo Archive.

Shot by various CBS photographers, the exhibition contains 35 candid and on-air photographs documenting Elvis before the Las Vegas years — during the meteoric rise of this star, according to Victoria Ann Rehberg, exhibition marketing manager.

The exhibition was curated by National Exhibitions & Archives, LLC of Glens Falls, NY and the CBS Photo Archive.

The images, taken by CBS photographers, represent a sampling of over 30 million memorable images contained in the CBS Entertainment Archives, dating back to when CBS first began broadcasting as a radio network in 1928.

Published in The WCP 4.2.13

Gleason HS Class of 1962 Celebrates 50th Reunion

GLEASON (September 1) Gleason High School Class of 1962 celebrated their 50th reunion during Tater Town festivities on September 1, 2012. Class members attending included, pictured from left: (front row) Barbara Clement White, Lynda Travillian Lankford, Kitty Wray Oliver, Lynda Elinor Boone, Joyce Stewart James, Linda Ray Bevins, Joyce Holland Straughan, Ferrellin Webb Cassidy and Wanda Dilday; (back row) John Ozment, Pert Pritchett, Curtis Mayo, Jim Lawrence, Coy Segraves, Terry Bunnell, Bobby Langley, Sam Tilley and Ronnie Parks.


Gleason Home to Another Singing Sensation

By Sara Reid, Staff Writer

Gleason home to another singing sensation | Micah Arnold, West Tennessee Idol

Micah Arnold

The City of Gleason has long been known as the home of Grand Old Opry star Mike Snider, but in the near future it may be able to add another name to that list. Last month, Gleason native Micah Arnold, 26, took to the stage in the West Tennessee Idol competition in Jackson and outshined over 200 contestants to take home the grand prize and the chance to move on to state competition. Initially, Arnold, who has been singing since the age of three, was hesitant to enter the competition, but with the encouragement of his parents, Jim and Donna Arnold, he decided to take the plunge. “Over 200 people were at the audition,” Arnold admitted. “First, you had to sing a capella and if you advanced past that, you’d perform to a live round onstage in front of the judges and then a radio round where people called in and voted.” Despite the fact that the competition was very much like the “American Idol” television show, Arnold admitted that the entire process did nothing to wrack his nerves. “I’m used to the stage,” he said. “I’m in a band called Leaving Sunday and we’ve played in Dresden, Paris, Jackson and McKenzie. I’ve sung in Nashville in most every place. I play guitar in the band, but lately, of course, I’ve been focusing on vocals.” Arnold hopes to take his passion much further than the competition stage. He’s hoping to make a career in the music industry. “I’d really like to go further with it,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to work on a career in the music industry for a while now.” Arnold cites his musical influences as being everything from Keith Urban to Merle Haggard to Hank Williams Jr. to Garth Brooks to, of course, his father who played music when Arnold was growing up, but he relates his own style of singing to no one. It’s uniquely his own. “I try not to sound like anyone. I try to be unique. I’ve been told that I sound like George Strait or I sound like Conway Twitty, but I don’t want to be a second-rate version of them,” he admitted. Arnold wasn’t the only Weakley Countian to sing on the West Tennessee Idol stage, however. Two other singers from Palmersville also made the finals and Arnold saw their presence as a comfort. “Emily Rook was there and Paul Jolley was there and it was very comforting,” he remarked. “I knew them even before the competition and it was great that we all had each other to talk to and cope with. It really made the competition easier. We banded together and it really felt good to see people I knew there rooting all of us on.” When Arnold won the competition and received his trophy, he knew all the years of hard work and practice had paid off and he had just taken one step closer to his dream. “It really felt good. It’s something I’ve been doing for a long time and it paid off,” he said. “I still have a long way to go as far as making a career in music, but this was a huge accomplishment. The judges were from the music industry and hearing the positive feedback from them made me feel good about myself.” “Every contestant there deserved to win,” he added. “It was not an easy win because everyone was so talented, but I’m pleased they chose me.” Arnold will now compete in the Tennessee Colgate State Finals in Monteagle on Sept. 6 and with a win, will move on to national competition at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville.

The Life and Times of Mr. Roy Travillian

By Ernie Smothers

It has been said that effort constitutes the defining line between those who dream and those who achieve. Gleason’s Roy Travillian is an achiever. He has not only dreamed great dreams, but through hard work and diligence, nurtured those dreams into reality. A spiritual and earnest man, he has lived a life that casts shadows on most. Laborer, farmer, salesman, business owner, college graduate at 68, author—-it’s easier to state what he hasn’t done rather than list all that he has accomplished. Quick to smile and even quicker to wit, Roy Travillian is a man with a story to tell.

Gordon Stoker

Gordon Stoker - Part of Half a Century of Music History

The Jordanaires greeted their fans at their induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. They have sung backup for Elvis Presley, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and other legends. Quartet members are (from left) Curtis Young, Gordon Stoker, Ray Walker and Louis Nunley.  Source: Weakley County Press.  - Click Here For Full Story

Featured Series From the McKenzie Banner

Gordon Stoker - Gleason's Musical Marvel Makes it to Nashville: Part one of a two-part series By Deborah Turner   Source: The McKenzie Banner

Gordon Stoker - "The Amazing Years": Part two By Deborah Turner   Source: The McKenzie Banner

 Mike Snider

Mike Snider-Always Gleason's Hometown Boy

By Deborah Turner ~

Mike Snider surged from 1983 national banjo champ to a member of the Grand Ole Opry. After 26 years of perfecting the three-finger style of banjo playing, three years ago he switched to the clawhammer style in keeping with his interest in old-time mountain music.

Some who gain fame take due pride in being able to say they’ve never forgotten their roots. Celebrated banjo player, Mike Snider, on the other hand, dug his roots still deeper in the town of Gleason from which he’d sprung, after being welcomed heart and soul into the close-knit bosom of the Grand Ole Opry and adoring fans everywhere.  Source: - Click Here for Full Story!



HomeAbout UsGleason BusinessesChurchesGleason SchoolObituariesPicturesGleason NewsContact Us

 Copyright © 2003 - 20016 GleasonOnline.comTM. All rights reserved.