GLEASON (March 6) — Woody “Pat” Dewberry, author of four books and a
1963 graduate of Gleason High School, recently donated eight copies
of his four books to the local municipal library. Dewberry also
generously donated 50 copies of his recent book “Tater Town: Back
Home to Count the Memories,” to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization
Dewberry’s southern folkish style reminisces about his youth in
Gleason, and tells the story of his upbringing with the characters
of Gleason sprinkled in for flavor. Topics of interest in the books
include his years under Mrs. Opel Dillinger’s tutelage and playing
football at Gleason High School.
After 30 years of marriage, Dewberry
was persuaded by his wife to record his stories. His first book
"Teacher's Pets Oughta be on a Leash Too," was published in 1996,
followed by "Life is too short to Wear Cheap Underwear" (2008),
More Memories of Yesteryear in Gleason “Tater Town
Tennessee” (2013) and “Tater Town: Back Home to Count the Memories”,
published in 2017.
Now retired and residing near the Tennessee River in East Tennessee,
Dewberry was contacted by Jim Johnson about donating copies of his
books to the library. With a quick response of yes, Dewberry sent an
additional 50 copies to the GDRC to help raise funds to aide in the
group’s efforts to keep Gleason beautiful. Copies of “Tater Town:
Back Home to Count the Memories” can be purchase for $15 at Gleason
City Hall, Gleason Library and the Bank of Gleason. Source:
The Gleason Library received four copies of Woody
Dewberry’s books. Members of the Revitalization Committee were
present to accept 50 copies of his latest work to go toward
fundraising efforts. From (L to R) – Gary Doster, Charles Anderson,
Jim Johnson, Librarian Judy Paschal, Mayor Diana Poole and Doris
Enjoy Some Down Home Gleason Humor
Best Known Storyteller
And Help The Gleason Community
On Tuesday, March 6, 2018 copies of the four
outstanding books authored by Gleason’s own Pat Dewberry, were presented
to the Gleason Library at a meeting of the Gleason Library Board. These
fine books will be made available in the Library so that all of Gleason
can enjoy reading about what life was like back-in-the-day !
Pat Dewberry has been described by one reviewer as “the
quintessential storyteller in the best Southern tradition”.
books contain numerous humorous short stories about life in
rural Gleason, Weakley County, Tennessee during the early 1950 though
the mid 1960’s.
The writing and publication of these books has spanned a
period of more than two decades. The First of these books “Teacher’s
Pets Ougta be on a Leash Too”, was published in 1996, followed by “Life
is too short to wear Cheap Underwear” (2008), More Memories of
Yesteryear in Gleason “Tater Town Tennessee” (2013) and “Tater Town:
Back Home to Count the Memories”, published in 2017.
It should be noted that Pat’s generosity does not end
with his gift of copies of these four wonderful books to the Gleason
Library and Community !
As one who grew up in Gleason, who comes back to visit
Gleason every chance he gets and who has always cherished the hometown
of his youth, Pat has chosen to donate 50 copies of his most recent book
“Tater Town” Back Home to Count the Memories, which was published
just this past year, to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee to
be used for a fundraising project to support projects designed to
enhance the Gleason Community.
This fundraising effort, which will involve members of
the Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Gazelles, will be
spearheaded by Charles and Rose Anderson, with Charles and Rose having already
bought the first two books.
Copies of this book are currently available at several
locations in the Gleason community and can be purchased at a price of
$15 per book. Books can presently be purchased at Gleason City Hall,
the Gleason Library and Bank of Gleason.
2018 Miss Tater Town
- Darby Lynn
More Trees Planted at Gleason City Parks
GLEASON (March 3) Following up on the initial
tree-planting efforts related to the
250K Tree Day program,
undertaken by the Gleason Rotary Club and others on February 24th
, members of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (Charles
Anderson, Rose Anderson, Mike Howell and Gleason Alderman Jim
Phelps) added an additional 80 trees on Saturday March 3rd.
Here a total of three native tree varieties were planted, including
Tulip Poplar, Oak and Red Bud). The trees were evenly distributed
between Huggins Park and Mike Snider Park.
Those in Huggins Park were planted in five separate areas, with each
tree being marked by a small flag; those planted at Mike
Snider Park included trees planted at each end of the Memorial wall
and those planted along the edge of the parking lot and on each side
of the road leading from the parking lot to the Gleason Community
Center. A number of others were also planted at various locations
throughout the park.
As the years pass and these trees grow to maturity, they will be a
testament to the active community organizations and the citizens of
Gleason involved and their continuing desire to enhance both the
environment and the quality of life of this great community.
Gleason Rotary Club, City Take
Part in 250K Tree Day
GLEASON (February 24) —
Over 250,000 native tree seedlings were planted across Tennessee on
to be the largest community tree-planting event in Tennessee
history, the City of Gleason along with the Gleason Rotary Club
planted trees at Snider and Huggins Park. Working with the Northwest
Tennessee Food Network, city officials and Rotarians planted over
Five native tree varieties were offered, Yellow
Poplar, Northern Red Oak, Loblolly Pine, Red Bud and Persimmon. The
Tennessee Environment Council led the efforts in the state. The goal
was to plant 500 trees in Weakley County.
Rotary International President Ian Riseley challenged
every Rotary club to make a difference by planting a tree for each
of its members between the start of the Rotary year on July 1, 2017
and Earth Day on April 22, 2018.
In the hopes of planning 1.2 million trees, Riseley
said the results of the effort will be greater than the just the
planting of new trees. Riseley stated, “I believe the greater result
will be a Rotary that recognizes our responsibility not only to the
people on our planet, but to the planet itself.” Source:
From L to R; Samantha Goyret and Ashley Kite-Rawland of the
Northwest Tennessee Food Network, Rotarian Jacky Esch, Gleason
Chief of Police and Rotarian Jeff Hazlewood, Rotarian Alan Owen,
Gleason Alderman Jim Phelps, Gleason Mayor and Rotarian Diana
Poole, Gleason Public Works Supervisor Dale Stephens, Gleason
Water Supervisor Tony Terrell, Gleason Rotary President and
McKenzie City Councilman Jason Martin and Gary Doster
Lady Bulldogs beat Greenfield 47-46 to win the District
Annual Sadie Saves Charity - 5K Walk/Run
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.
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.
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
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 !
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call Charles Anderson at 731- 695-5753. Source: McKenzie
First Clay Dug in Gleason in
1926 - Crawford Farm; Two Miles West of Gleason
Gleason Dedicates Memorial Wall at Mike Snider Park
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
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
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 Chandler. Mr. 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
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
On Saturday, September 2, also known as Tater Day, the
morning’s activities kicked off with the annual J.C. Carey 5K
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
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
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
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
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
(Source: Dresden Enterprise).
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
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.
(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.
judged based on the community’s need of the volunteer service
performed, initiative taken to perform the service, creativity used
to solve a community
and impact of the volunteerservice
on the community.
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;
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
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
In other business, the City Board heard
and approved thefirst 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 backflow.
Dana Deem of MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) said he
would speak with Steve Wyatt, Utility Operations Consultant for MTAS,
information to theboard.
The next scheduled meeting for the
Gleason City Board is February 9 at 7:00 p.m.
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
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 decidedupon
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.
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 preparean
ordinance for the cityjudge
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.
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
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 generalelection
in 2018. Source: McKenzie Banner.
Gleason Championship Squads Reunite
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
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
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
“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
“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
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
“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
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
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
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 victoriousin
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
The alderman and mayor will be
sworn in after election results are certified (Source:
Magical Designs Gleason
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
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.
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.
Norden, a 36-year veteran, explained his responsibilities on removing core
samples. The samples provide a deeper understandingof
what lays beneath thesurface.
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 Banner.com)
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.
grant originated from the Department of Economic and Community Development.
This is the last year for 100% grants to be issued by the state.
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.”
other business, Bill Yates of the Police Department informed the board of
the possibility of 100% grant from the Departmentof
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 paywill
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.
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.
Annual Sadie Saves Charity - 5K Walk/Run
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
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
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
Click "Next" For More Pictures
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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.
Pottery, Gifts and Bistro:
and Open House
Photo Courtesy of The Weakley County Press
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
“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
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
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
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
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:
Snider Park Memorial Wall
(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, &
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
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
Copy, Paste and Print the Form Below
(Or pick up a form at City Hall)
Gleason Downtown Revitalization
Memorial Wall Project
These bricks will be placed randomly
throughout the face of the Memorial Wall
being built at Snider Park by the
Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee.
Or take your completed form and payment to City Hall)
Gleason Masonic Lodge #330
Focus on Brotherhood and Community Service
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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:
Look Back at the First Year
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
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
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.
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
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 (GleasonOnline.com).
The Weakley County Press has also agreed to provide a print version
of each article in their widely read newspaper.
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
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
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.
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
Emily Bell and Brooke McClure
Mike and Carole Blassingame
Judy Paschall, Library Director -
Gleason Memorial Library
Not Hig's (Tina Neil &
Not Hig's (Tina
Neil & Jerry Morgan)
& Andy Carroll (Behind Tables)
McKenna Cady and Forest Drive (Cooper
Gilliam; Jackson Kellyk Peyton Forrester; Keaton Penick
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
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
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,
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
used to support further downtown revitalization projects.
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
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
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
Tater Town Festival
Wraps up With Parade
By DOUG MARSHALL
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
“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.
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.
Weakley County Press.
This City of Gleason
has just become the recipient of a charming old display case, complements of
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 .
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.
Side: Imerys Ceramics Representatives:
Front Row: Left to
Montgomery - Ball Clay Lab Technician; Katy Lucas (dark green
shirt/brown pants) - Geologist
Back Row: Left to
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
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.
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
She won her talent preliminary for an outstanding performance on
the piano as well as her lifestyle and fitness preliminary in the
As Miss Tennessee, she will receive an $18,000 scholarship and
represent Tennessee at the Miss America Pageant in September.
Additionally, she will serve as Governor
Official Spokesperson for
Character Education where she will be
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 GleasonOnline.com regularly
for announcements of other disc golf tournaments that may be offered
Tournament Registration: Only Ten
With a Free Disc Included
Concession Stand - Open for
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
Revitalization Committee Hosts First Family Movie Night
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…
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
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.
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
Gleason High School Class of 1962:
Second Annual Follow-up
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
Downtown Revitalization Fundraiser:
A Big - Small Town Success
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
School 50-year Class
Reunion - Class of 1963
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.
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
Click on the Above Link for all Reunion Pages
Gleason High School Class of 1962:
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.
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
Click on the Above Link for More Class of '62 Pictures
Family Recalls Life of Gordon Stoker
By Joe Lofaro
Special to the Press
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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
August 3, 1924 in Gleason,
Tennessee, Gordon grew up in a
musical family and by eight was
playing piano in church. He was soon
playing at singing conventions in
Western Tennessee and Kentucky. At
one of the conventions, he caught
the attention of John Daniel of the
John Daniel Quartet
who invited him to become the
quartet’s first pianist when he
finished high school.
joining John Daniel’s group, Gordon
performed on radio in Jackson,
Tennessee as a member of the
Clement Trio and
backed a gospel quartet who
performed on a radio station out of
Paducah, Kentucky. After graduating
high school at age 15, he moved to
Nashville to join the Daniel Quartet
and began performing on radio
joined the Air Force in 1943. After
leaving the service, he enrolled at
Oklahoma Baptist University before
eventually retuning to Nashville and
the Daniel Quartet.
Jordanaires, organized in the late
1940s, became a top gospel quartet.
The group was formed by two
and his brother Monty,
in Springfield, Missouri. Bass
singer Culley Holt
and baritone Bob Hubbard
completed the quartet with Bob Money
acting as pianist early on.
replaced Bob Money as pianist in
1949 after the group moved to
Nashville to back
Grand Ole Opry
Gordon soon became the lead singer
and tenor. After the Matthews
brothers returned to Missouri in the
early 1950s, the group reorganized
with Gordon remaining as tenor with
Neal Matthews Jr. as a
second tenor, baritone
Hoyt Hawkins and bass
joining by 1955. Hugh was replaced
by Ray Walker
in 1958, completing the group that
would be the lineup elected into the
Country Music Hall of Fame.
1950, the Jordanaires were known for
their renditions of songs associated
with both black and white gospel
traditions, a genre they continued
to work in after signing with
Capitol in 1951. The group also
started singing background on
country records and their regular
spots on the NBC network portion of
the Grand Ole Opry and 1955’s
Arnold Time made them a
the group’s gospel albums helped
them be elected into the Gospel
Music Hall of Fame in 2001, they are
best known for the background
harmonies they provided for dozens
of other stars, including
hits such as “Don’t Be Cruel,”
“Are You Lonesome Tonight” and “It’s
Now or Never,” which led them to
work with other rock and roll stars
and Gene Vincent.
1960s and beyond, the group often
worked as many as four sessions a
day. Their recordings with
(“Gone”), Jim Reeves
(“Four Walls”) and
(“Crazy”) showcase the smooth
pop-influenced side of Nashville’s
recording scene during the time
period, while their work with
Don Gibson (“Oh
Lonesome Me’), Johnny
Horton (“The Battle of
(“Stand by Your Man”) Conway Twitty (“Hello
(“Lucile”) demonstrated their
Jordanaires’ contributions to the
Nashville recording industry include
the system of studio music notation
first popularized by Neal Matthews
Jr. and known internationally as the
Nashville Number System. They were
also instrumental in establishing
the Nashville offices of national
performers’ unions representing
radio and television artists and
screen actors. After Hoyt Hawkins
died in 1982,
Duane West joined the
group but left due to illness and
was replaced in 2000 by Louis Nunley.
joined in 2000 following Neal
the Jordanaires were elected to the
Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2002,
the won a GRAMMY with
Larry Ford & the Light Crust
for Best Southern, Country, or
Bluegrass Album, for
Called Him Mr. Gospel Music: The
James Blackwood Tribute Album.
group’s final performance was in
August 2012, in Tunica, Mississippi
according to the
Gordon was the group’s leader and
owner, and The Jordanaires will not
continue without him. “The group is
over,” Alan Stoker, Gordon’s son,
said. “It was a wonderful run. My
father lived a great life, and left
us a great legacy.”
is survived by Jean Stoker, his wife
of 61 years, sons Alan and Brent,
daughter Venita and daughter-in-law
Jeanne, five grandchildren and one
Visitation will be held from 6-8
p.m. Thursday, March 28, and again
on Friday, March 29, at Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton
Funeral Home, 660 Thompson Lane in
Nashville. A memorial service will
be held Saturday, March 30, at 2
p.m. at Christ Presbyterian Church,
2323 Old Hickory Boulevard in
Nashville, with visitation one hour
prior to the service.
of Fame &
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
By Sara Reid, Staff
Posted: Tuesday, July 8,
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
competition in Jackson
and outshined over 200
contestants to take home
the grand prize and the
chance to move on to
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
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
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
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
Life and Times of Mr. Roy Travillian
By Ernie Smothers
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 - 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
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.
Click Here for Full