Blog 156 Winding Down

Blog 156 Winding Down

Winding Down
Flashback to February 7, 2014: Our sixtieth-class reunion is just several months away. To whet interest and anticipation, I posted Blog 1. There was so much to write about, pictures to post, memories to recall. The reunion downtown on the River Walk proved to be one of the very best of our nine class reunions. It turned out to be our last, but to repeated questions about the next, a decision was reached to meet for lunch twice a year. We did that until the pandemic slammed into us and idled intentions to continue.

Because there was news to report about our dear old Jeff High, occasional photos, and opportunities to editorialize now and then, I have continued to post a blog, though the frequency has fallen off in the past several years. The statistics show me that far fewer are reading it as well.

My intent has been to post useful news of classmates and related school events. Sadly, news of classmates is usually of another obituary. I have not included gossip or personal news, such as learning of another case of dementia. A dearth of usable news has left me to prattle on with the odd memory that pops up.

For some years, I have paid a somewhat modest fee to keep the blog posted with the domain and free of banner ads. With the annual fee for renewal here, I have decided not renew. That means that if I have something to post, it will require a different address, probably and some ads inserted. I have some regrets about doing this, but also some frustrations because much of what I post loses its formatting or omits items.

Thank God, I’m Old!

With all the bad news in the world and concern over the loss of civility, I want to insert some humor here. In the musical Barnum, about the circus impresario, there is a song, “Thank God, I’m Old”. I posted it here once before, but the lyrics hit a lot of truths. If you care to hear it sung, the Internet address is here, with the lyrics below to follow along or just read. I urge you to listen and read along. If this does not take you to the site, type in Thank God, I’m Old,vid:5RtYUDGiwDI

The words:
When you see the shape the world is in

When the way it is ain’t what it’s been

When folks just care for gold,

Thank God, I’m old

When you take a gander at the news

When you hear the language people use

When no sweet songs are sung

I don’t wanna be young

Daddy Time, he

Doesn’t fret me

Should he spy me

That don’t upset me

Let him eye me

Come and get me

That’s fine by me

Age don’t worry me

When you see the way folks misbehave

When it’s only good times that they crave

When kids are much too bold

Thank God, I’m old

When there ain’t no He-Men left alive

When they tell you three men out of five

End up locked up or hung

I don’t wanna be young.

(Dance Break)

Gonna get me dressed and powdered down

Call myself a hack and go to town

See every shady street

These feet once strolled.

Then I’m gonna slip back on the shelf

Have myself a nip and tell myself

Though my back buckles and bends

My hair’s got silvery ends

When I see all of my friends

Laid out and cold

Thank God, I’m Old!


Aging is a process that refines our sensibilities and causes me to ponder about life. I am thankful for my many years and good health. At the same time, I wonder when is the tipping point that we reach and surpass our usefulness. Not long before she died, I had good conversations with Ruth Hernandez Stewart. She said, “I have had a good life and I am ready to go whenever the time comes.” Her son informed me of her passing several months later.

Books tell of S.A.’s Lassos and Trinity Tigers

Paula Allen Guest Columnist for the San Antonio Express-News

Sunday April 9, 2023

Lasso Alumni Association

The Lassos are seen on a weeklong goodwill trip to Mexico in 1952, stopping at Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral on a sightseeing tour before performing.

Before Title IX, a federal law passed in 1972, brought equal treatment to male and female students, women had comparatively few options to play sports in educational settings. Two new books describe the development of local programs that did allow young women to experience the benefits of competition and leadership on the field — one in a high school adjusting to a changing neighborhood and the other in a university striving to balance academics and athletics.

The Lasso Legacy — Then and Now: More than Roping“was compiled by the Lasso Alumni Association book committee, former members of Thomas Jefferson High School’s trick-roping pep squad.

As far as they’ve been able to find out, the Lassos — founded in 1932, the year the school opened — are the first and only such unit, pairing rope-twirling skills with marching drills to bring a little extra Texas sass and shine to their routines.

At a time when school sports options for girls were few, the Lassos were a stealth path to the same recognition and lessons in teamwork that boys learned from athletics. First sponsored by physical education teacher Constance Douglas, the Lassos were the school’s “special pride,” according to Life magazine, March 7, 1938. Members were “the pick of the student body,” according to the story about the “Most Outstanding High School in America.”

Lassos, who must meet academic and character standards, traditionally are accepted only after practicing rope tricks for months — at least one hopeful “wore a big bare spot” in her parents’ gravel driveway. Once accepted, Lassos attended every practice, no excuses, learning a different drill for each football game … even the Thanksgiving game with rival Brackenridge High School, when they brown-bagged family dinners to eat on the sidelines.

Lassos marched in local parades and greeted visiting celebrities, such as Gene Autry, Ed Sullivan, John Wayne and PBS newsman/Jefferson alum Jim Lehrer. In 1939, they toured several states to the north, stopping at the White House for tea with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who remembered “a group of San Antonio high-school students in cowboy attire who were on their way to the New York World’s Fair (to) give exhibitions of roping.” Among other stops, they celebrated the 1 millionth car to come off the line at the Ford plant in Detroit, with a Lasso on the hood for a publicity shot.

Over the years, the Lassos appeared in a 1940 movie, “High School” and strutted their stuff at a jai alai game in Mexico City and at both the Epcot center in Orlando, Fla., and the Astrodome in Houston. They even posed for a Marc Jacobs fashion shoot.

The only thing that broke their stride was societal change.

As neighborhood demographics shifted during the late 20th century, more Jefferson students worked after school, and it was harder for families to find money for uniforms. By 2006, there were only a dozen Lassos.

Alums from the era when the group was 150 strong got together to help — an early meeting was held at Rosario’s restaurant, owned by former Lasso Lisa Wong — and in 2007 formed the Lassos Alumni Association. Alums have passed on their roping knowledge to current students, raised funds for uniforms and provided more than $50,000 in college scholarships to date for graduating seniors. Together, former and current Lassos built back the program and saved a school tradition.

“The Lasso Legacy” will be available for $45, signed by book committee members, at the association’s annual Fiesta get-together, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, at Los Barrios, 4223 Blanco Road. Afterward, the book will be available at for $50 plus postage. (Full disclosure, I wrote the foreword for the book.)

In Closing:
This is probably not the final blog, but I will leave it for a while and turn my attention to recording genealogic and family history for my grandchildren. That is a worth project that everyone ought to tackle.

Blog 155 Meandering Through Time

Blog 155 Meandering Through Time

It has been a while since the last blog. Laziness, procrastination, no ideas, no news from anyone, and no new photos. I confess to all those things. So many things today remind me how times have changed, some for the better, some for the worse. So many jokes that come across the internet now are targeted at us oldsters. Here is an example:

Remember when? Remember when you referred to your knees as right and left, instead of good and bad?

But not all are age-related: Here is a very subtle one. If you don’t get it, then you have never waited for the cable repair man to schedule a visit.

A cable repairman was on my street and asked me what time it is. I told him between 8 and 1.

I never cared for the English classes when we studied poetry. The teacher would ask our insights into a poem. I never got anything, but I never admitted it. Someone nerdier than I would raise his or her hand and explain the meaning, which I still did not get. And the teacher (Miss Brawner
comes to mind) acted like the Rapture had descended upon her classroom. (Sincere apologies to Professor Priscilla Weston Tate, who taught English at TCU).

In my later years, I have become more accepting of poetry, though it has been contemporary, as opposed to one of the classical poets that we studied.

Someone sent me this poem about how our time clock is set. It came without a yiy;r and without spacing or phrasing. Here is my translation.

The clock of life is wound but once,

And then no man has the power

To tell it when to stop,

at late or early hour.

Now is the only time you own.

Live, love, toil with a will.

Place no faith in time.

For the clock may soon be still.

Two Whose Clocks Have Wound Down! Two more notices of classmates’ passing have been received: Carl Voelkel
and Edward Davis.

At Mark Twain, I remember Carl as Carl David. I finally learned to drop the David some years back. From Jefferson, Carl joined the Navy and after his stint, came home to San Antonio and went to work for Tom Turner, Senior.

Carl and Tom Turner Junior were both mid-termers, arriving at Jeff as sophomores in January 1951. In later years, Carl became the right-hand man to Tom Junior, when Tom Junior assumed the leadership helm at TETCO. Upon retiring, Carl and his wife moved to the Del Webb community in Georgetown.



Carl David Voelkel passed on Friday January 20, 2023 at home in Georgetown Texas surrounded by his family. He was born in San Marcos Texas, the oldest son of Walton Carl Voelkel and Mary Alice Stewart then moved to San Antonio where he attended school. He served in the Navy and then returned to San Antonio to work in the corporate field and enjoyed his fifty-two years growing and developing lifelong friendships. He had the ability to genuinely bond with people. He told stories that had meaning. Stories of how it was and how it should be. He was a devoted husband, father and friend. He loved The University of Texas Longhorns, Travelling, and enjoyed the best restaurants.

He is survived by his wife, Aleta Gaye Voelkel; son Scott David Voelkel, brother Pat Voelkel and many cousins’, nephews and friends.

A memorial service for Carl will be held Sunday, February 5, 2023 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM at The Club at Sonterra, 901 E. Sonterra Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78528. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of Carl to the Cal Farley Orphanage in Amarillo at

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Voelkel family.

Edward Davis

March 6, 1937-February 28, 2023

No obituary was published for Edward.

Edward and I both arrived at Jefferson in January,1951 as 13-year old mid-termers. He transferred from Page and I from Mark Twain. Neither of us knew anyone else in our class at our new school. We became acquainted while waiting for a late afternoon city bus to take us to our homes early in the semester. By chance, we were both in the Doolittle advisory, and we became lifelong friends.

Edward was born in Belgium (American father and Belgium mother) just as World War II was heating up in Europe. While an infant, his parents threaded their way from Belgium to Spain, finding passage on a ship to the USA and Texas. Edward later traced those steps and recorded the tale of the escape, which he had learned from his parents.

If memory serves, our graduating class had nine students with straight A’s. Edward was one of them, along with Harry Jones, Patsy Brown, and Myrna Bieberdorf, whom Edward married while at Rice. I don’t recall the other straight A’s, although Dick Brusenhan and Joe Coreth were probably two of them. (Full disclosure: I was not one of the nine..)

Edward was a civil engineer whose career was in Houston. Myrna died suddenly of a massive heart attack in 1990. They are survived by two sons.

Ending on a lighter note, here or some more old people jokes. Come to think of it, some of you may not find them lighter!

And a few well-chosen quotes:


“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”
Andy Rooney
“The older I get, the better I used to be.”

Lee Trevino
“Grandchildren don’t make a man feel old, it’s the knowledge that he’s married to a grandmother that does.”

J. Norman Collie
“The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.”

Will Rogers
“The older I get, the more clearly I remember things that never happened.

Mark Twain
“Old people shouldn’t eat healthy foods.  They need all the preservatives they can get.”

Robert Orben

And finally, one for the ladies, except that these days, earrings are bi-sexual.

Blog 155 Who Have We Here, What Have We Here?

Blog 155 Who Have We Here, What Have We Here?

Happy New Year! It’s another year in with fresh opportunity to excel, maintain, plod along, or resign and head downhill. When visiting my internist, in the past, the nurse taking vitals has always asked whether I have feelings of depression. Last week, she asked “Do you have feelings of depression or homicide?” I asked if she meant homicide or suicide, and she affirmed homicide. Now that is a downer if that is the 2023 question to be asked. Who is likely to say yes?

Who Have We Here?
Eschewing depression and homicide, let’s go back to 1949. Below is the sixth-grade mid-termer class photo from Travis Elementary. Whom can you identify?

First row: Left #1 Jack Stutts
#2 Nancy Cummings
#3 Jill Rudolph, class of ’55 #7 Jimmy Meek, class of ’55

Third row: Left #1 Paul Medley; #2 Charles Llevinson
; #3 Carole Hunnicutt #6 Marcia Pittman

Row 4 Far right Louis Holst

Travis Elementary is now a small high school that partners with San Antonio College.. Graduating students finish high school with an Associate of Arts degree.

What Have We Here?
I was looking through our yearbooks and noticed that each year, I asked three or four teachers to sign. They were usually those who were teaching current classes. While most just signed their name, Mrs. Davis signed C6H5COOH +CH3OH followed by an arrow pointing at her. I asked a chemical engineer friend to translate the formula. The formula is for benzoic acid and acetic acid (aka vinegar). I wonder what she meant by that—probably her sense of humor. PS. If the formula looks strange without subscripts, blame it on the company that posts the blog.

Thespian Island:
Can you recall the long curved sidewalk leading from Donaldson to the front doors at Jeff? Across from the foot of the walk is a triangular scrap of land named Thespian Island. When we were students, the island was two traffic lanes across the street from the foot of the walk. The perimeter had a hedge, maybe 4-5 feet high, and that is all I remember about the island. To my knowledge, no one was aware of its name, nor was anyone aware that hidden by the hedges was a dormant fountain. The fountain was a gift to the school by the drama department, hence the name Thespian Island.

A city bond issue passed in 2017 dedicated $35 million to preserving Jefferson (the great bulk was required for foundation work under the cafeteria, the gym, and the admin/Spanish wing.) Included was the restoration of Thespian Island and getting the fountain operational. Part of that restoration was expanding the footprint—now there is only one traffic lane separating the island and the schoolground proper.

This is the fountain in Thespian Island as it is today. The small dots running parallel to the fountain are a fledgling hedge at the edge of the island. The one lane street is not visible. Thespian Island was where busses waited to load after school was out.

Kids today would be amazed to learn that city schools did not have a transportation fleet of ugly yellow school buses. Those of us who could not walk to school rode city buses, which we paid to ride. A book of tickets was available in the school office. Each ticket cost 5 cents!!!

Suzie Terrell Hessong

Another class member recently died. I did not know Susie at Jeff, but she was active member of the reunion committee for the last several reunions. Her contributions were valuable and greatly appreciated.

Suzanna “Suzie” Terrell Hessong


Suzanna (Suzie) Terrell Hessong of San Antonio, TX died December 10, 2022 at the age of 86.
Suzie was born on March 31, 1936 in San Antonio to the late Gordon (Bill) Terrell and Paula Koepke. Her husband, Earl Hessong, her younger sister, Linda Terrell, her oldest daughter, Terri Hessong, her grandson, Andrew Droke, and her brothers-in-law Richard Hessong and Curtis Cates, also preceded her in death. Suzie graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School and Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, earning a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. She earned her Master’s degree at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

Suzie always wanted twelve children but made do with four and all her students! In 1963, she began teaching at the ACCD San Antonio College campus on San Pedro. She served as a Math Professor for 42 years. The proudest achievement of her career was becoming Coordinator of Developmental Mathematics and establishing a Math Lab on campus. Suzie spent many extra hours helping students understand math concepts and believe they could be good at math.
In retirement, Suzie enjoyed traveling with her husband, reading, and spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Southwestern art was a passion of Suzie’s.
She collected pottery, paintings, and sculptures during their many trips to New Mexico.
Suzie is survived by one son, Steven Hessong; two daughters, Sharon Hessong (Peter), and Donna Hessong (Travis); three granddaughters, Jennifer Droke (Paul), Paulamarie Kemp (Samuel), and Sydney Hessong-Nedrich; two grandsons, Kenneth Gonzales (Alexandria), and Tallon Hessong; three sisters-in-law, Mary Wood (Robert), Marilyn Cates, and Annette Hessong; 8 great-grandchildren; 5 nephews, 3 nieces, and 8 great-nieces and nephews. Her latest great-grandchild, Noralynn Suzanna Kemp, was born on October 11, 2022.
Memorial service will be held at 10:30AM, Thursday December 29, 2022 at University United Methodist Church, 5084 De Zavala Rd, San Antonio, TX 78249.

Blog 154 Happy News, Sad News

Blog 154 Happy News, Sad News

Greetings of the holiday season.
That would be Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, (blank) Kwanzaa, and I don’t know a Muslim greeting. I hope that is politically inclusive, and something for everyone. As we end still another year, I find greater and more frequent reflection on what has been, not only in the past year but in years gone by, and to a lesser extent, what is to come.

Are we living in perilous times, or extraordinary times? One sounds too dire, and one too positive. We have COVID, the flu, RSV, inflation, a war in the Ukraine, politically tense events in a devided, but we also have hope. Hope is what each new year brings to us.

It seems that as each year end approaches and the holidays near, so many people pass on.. Here are a couple of obituaries. The first is Bill Bristow. I was shocked to see his recent obituary in the newspaper, because according to my database he had passed away many years ago. I inherited this database maybe 25 years ago. One of our classmates very dutifully entered Oh classmate names addresses, and phone numbers. Over the years I noted found names of people who graduated in later years and removed them, but it never occurred to me to check the deceased list for errors. As a result, Bill never received emails and to my knowledge never attended a class reunion, as he didn’t know about them. I knew who Bill was, but I did not know him other than he was quite a good artist in high school.

William Arthur “Bill” Bristow





William Arthur “Bill” Bristow, artist, longtime Trinity University Art Professor and native San Antonian, passed away after an extended illness Dec. 1, 2022, at the age of 85. Bill leaves behind a legacy of exquisite artistic achievement, care and kindness. Through his life as an artist, educator and mentor, Bill met the world with great good humor. He touched the lives of thousands of students, colleagues, fellow artists, art patrons, family members and friends, whose successes filled his life with unending joy and love.

Bill was born in San Antonio’s Nix Hospital Feb.1, 1937. As he liked to point out, he was born only 100 years after the invention of photography, began to draw at an early age and, unlike most, never gave it up. Bill graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1954, spending his senior year with a full scholarship at the San Antonio Art Institute. He graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, with highest honors, from the University of Texas in Austin in 1958, and a Master’s in Fine Arts from the University of Florida in 1960. While at Texas, Bill attended an art history class and met the love of his life Wilanna Blanton, who became a highly-acclaimed and accomplished fabric artist in her own right. Bill and Wilanna married in 1958 and had a daughter, Elizabeth Ann, in 1963.

In 1960, Bill returned to his hometown of San Antonio to teach drawing, design and painting in the newly-reorganized Art Department at Trinity University, where he eventually assumed the post of chair from 1965-77. He also served for a time as an adjunct instructor at the San Antonio Art Institute. While teaching at Trinity, Bill very much was a working artist. In 1965, he was named Artist of the Year by the San Antonio Art League. His paintings and drawings found their way into the permanent collections of the Houston and Dallas Museums of Fine Art, as well as the private collections of then-First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, Texas Governor John B Connally and many others. He designed and executed the sculpture “Migration Fountain” at the U.S. Pavilion of HemisFair ’68 in downtown San Antonio. He was twice featured in profiles in “The Chronicle of Higher Education,” at the time one of only two artists to receive such an honor. He published regularly in arts and academic journals, focusing on the present and future of the arts and arts education. He achieved full professorship at Trinity University in 1979, and served in that role until his retirement in 1998.

Bill was an artist his entire life, but his greatest professional joy came in awakening the artistic abilities of his students. He resigned as chair of Trinity’s Art Department in 1977 to devote more time specifically to teaching. It is a common refrain from students throughout his career that Bill awakened artistic abilities they didn’t even know they had. He served as chair of Trinity’s Academic Council, helping craft the school’s liberal arts curriculum. For his work and dedication, Bill received both the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation Award and the Dr. and Mrs. Z.T. Scott Fellowship for teaching and academic excellence. Bill was an honorary lifetime member of both the Coppini Academy of Fine Art and the San Antonio Watercolor Group. He was absolutely committed to the education and well-being of his students, and took great joy in their continued success, serving as a mentor and friend long after they had graduated. It is not an exaggeration to say that he remembered and was always there for them all. Teaching was a lifelong commitment to Bill, who shared his artistic knowledge and skills to all comers up to and including the week that he passed. His former student Ansen Seale, a fellow San Antonio Artist of the Year, said that Bill’s gentle, kind and academically-based critique of his students’ work guided many of them into a lifelong pursuit of the arts.

Bill will be deeply missed by his many family and friends, whom he loved unconditionally. He is predeceased by his beloved wife of 53 years Wilanna Blanton Bristow, who passed in 2011, as well as sister Catherine and brother-in-law James C. Reilly Jr. He is survived by daughter Elizabeth Ann Bristow Krouse, and husband Pierce Krouse; grandchild Andy M. Krouse and spouse Jordan Mark; nephew James C. “Clancy” Reilly III and wife Donna, nephew Earle Allen “Bubba” Reilly and wife Vickie; great niece Shelby and husband Eric Olsen, great niece Kristin Reilly, great niece Brandi and husband Jasen Wallace, great niece Shanna Reilly; great great niece Enora Wallace; and devoted companion and friend Loretta Sawyer, as well as her son Richard Alba.

The family would like to give special mention and thanks to those who made Bill’s final years ones of relative ease, notably Helen Adamson, Pearl and Billy Sheffield, Ansen Seale, Francis Huang, Joe Zoidel, Spencer Brown, Kat Johnson with Family Tree Private Care, Karen, Frank and Brittney with Axiom Home Health Hospice, and the entire staff at Arden Courts of San Antonio.

An informal gathering to commemorate Bill’s life will be Monday, December 12, 2022, from 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at Coppini Academy of Fine Art, 115 Melrose Place. A memorial service will be Tuesday, December 13, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 1300 Wiltshire Avenue. In celebration of Bill’s bright life, everyone is encouraged to wear colorful attire whether you can attend or not! Honorary pallbearers are Ansen Seale, Clif Tinker, Frank Lacey, William “Bill” Thompson, James C. “Clancy” Reilly III, Martin Hajovsky, Theresa Gregory, and Thorly James Ward. For those unable to attend, you may watch the livestreaming from the link within his obituary page at In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Coppini Academy of Fine Art in memory of Bill Bristow.
You are invited to sign the Guestbook at


Carole Joyce Hunnicutt Ogden
is the other death. I met Carole in the sixth grade, when she joined my class at Travis Elementary. (Incidentally, the sixth-grade teacher was Edith Rogers, wife of T. Guy). At Jeff, Carole was not particularly active I don’t believe that very many knew her, although she and her husband did attend the large reunions and to the lunches in recent years.


My memory of Carole from Travis is that she was quite plump and that she perspired a lot. I lost track of Carole at Mark Twain and Jeff, but we spoke from time to time over the years. You will notice from the photo below that she became an attractive woman in maturity. I found that she also had a very wry sense of humor. My favorite memory is a comment she made at one of the lunches. Carole wore some long danbly earrings and wore glasses attached to a chain around her neck. At one point, she started to put her glasses on, and the chain got tangled in her dangling earrings. Carol said, “it is so hard to be sexy when you catch your glasses chain in your earrings.”


Carole H Ogden

JULY 30, 1936 – NOVEMBER 3, 2022


Carole Ogden, passed away on Thursday, November 3, 2022.

A visitation for Carole will be held Friday, November 11 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Sunset Funeral Home, 1701 Austin Highway, San Antonio, TX 78218. A funeral service will occur Saturday, November 12, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM, with a graveside service to follow.

Happy New Year
to all. Next time, I intend to include a photo of the sixth grade class from Travis Elementary, so that you can see a halfj-dozen classmates as twelve-year olds.

If you have any reflections on the year past, there is no cost to post them on here. Please do.




Blog 153 Those Midtermers

First, a couple of message/updates from classmates, some memories of days  as a midtermer, and then the obituary for Warner Fassnidge.

From Elliot Bilhartz:  If interested I am still doing well.  In good shape for my age.  Keep active doing yard work and taking up new activity when new interests catch my attention. One item of interest is how many names you note I don’t recall because of our large class. Sadly just about all I ran with have 

passed on. 

From Nancy Jones Simpson:  We are in Missouri City–adjoining Houston and Sugarland.  We built our home about 17 years ago–small enough for two and a beautiful view.  We are blessed with reasonable health considering the accumulated years.  

Midtermers:  I was a mid-termer.  For those who don’t recall, way back when, schools started a new term in January for those with birthdays after Labor Day.   Reading Warner Fassnidge’s obituary (appearing below) caused me to think back to my earliest days at Jeff as a midtermer. 

Because of overcrowding at Horace Mann Junior School, ninth graders transferred to Jeff in September 1954  and became the first ninth grade class.  I went to Mark Twain., but T. Guy Rogers, offered the opportunity to move to Jeff early.  So, on a January afternoon, a very scared, soon-to-to-be fourteen-year-old sneaked into the front doors and saw a line and went to stand in it.  The line was moving very slowly, and some kind students questioned me and suggested that I was not in line for the office.  Suspecting trickery from them, I stuck it out and about an hour later, at the head of the line, I found that I was in line to report lost or damaged textbooks and that the office was indeed around the corner just where I had been advised that it was.    

Barbara Anderson, the secretary, summoned Mr. Rogers, who commented that he thought I had changed my mind (it was just after four PM by then.)  He said, “Let’s put him in a good advisory.”  After a minute’s thought, he said, “Put him in Mrs. Doolittle’s.”   Thus I was enrolled at Jeff. 

For the first time in many years, I pulled out the 1951 Monticello and looked at the tenth-grade midtermers from Mark Twain (40 pictured) and the ninth graders from Horace Mann (47 pictured), plus Edward Davis and me. 

Warner Fassnidge was one of the first to befriend both Edward Davis and me.  (Edward transferred from Page Junior School.)  Warner’s family was one of the first whom I knew with a television set, and on many evenings, I was there with Warner watching wrestling—one of the few early entertainments on TV.  We did not stay close but that first year was great fun for us naifs.

As a midtermer, we were presented with three graduation options: a. graduate in January b. “post” an extra semester and graduate in May with the class a half year behind c. Go to summer school and take two credits to earn enough to finish a half year early with the class a half term ahead.

Fourteen from my starting class of 58 scooted ahead to finish with the class of 1954.  I don’t know how may “posted” and finished with the class of 1955, because some names in that group photo ring no bells at all.

From the 48 Mark Twain 10th grade midtermers who joined Jeff in January ’54, 23  posted and graduated in June.  Connie Mays was  one who left in January and has commented on various occasions that she wished she had posted..

One person not pictured with the ninth graders was Brad Hosmer.  Does anyone remember Brad and have any information about him?  I recall spending phone time with Brad figuring out homework answers for Miss George’s world history class.  What I recall is that Brad’s dad was in the Air Force and he moved away early.  He may have transferred in from elsewhere.  I did a Google search for Brad and found a Lieutenant General Bradley Hosmer, born in San Antonio in October 1936.  He was in the first graduating class of the US Air Force Academy and was later its Superintendent.  And he was a Rhodes Scholar along the way.  I strongly suspect this is the Brad Hosmer from our class.  Memories, anyone?

Time to move on.  Maybe next time, I will list those midtermers by name, and tell of my first and only bullying experience.  Now, on to Warner. 

Warner F. Fassnidge

December 26, 1936—October 2, 2022

Obituary of Warner F. Fassnidge

Warner Frederick Fassnidge was born December 26, 1936 in San Antonio, Texas and raised in the beautiful Woodlawn Lake area north of downtown.

He graduated with honors from Thomas Jefferson High School 1954. Earned degrees at Trinity University San Antonio and The University of Texas at Austin, School of Law.

He enjoyed his career as an Attorney in Real Estate Law with the City of San Antonio and as Professor of Business and Real Estate Law at UTSA.

Dad was always an active supporter of his community. A member of Coker United Methodist Church & Alamo Heights United Methodist Church Chancel Choirs, a Bexar County Master Gardener, Stephen’s Ministry, Jefferson HS and Trinity University alumni programs and ROTC.

His real passion was teaching at the University of Texas at San Antonio and cheering for his Texas Longhorns Football!  He proudly served as an officer in the US Army.

Warner was a lifelong San Antonian and loved Texas!

Devoted to his Daughters & Grandsons’ lives!

He is survived by Wife Joann Webster Fassnidge. Joann’s son Brian Webster, daughter Sarah Carter and their families.

His beloved daughter Heather L. Miller and husband Richard A. Miller, Grandsons Grayson, Chase, Logan, Colman & Barrett Miller.

Daughter Hayley Ann Fassnidge and husband Kevin D. Miller.

Warner is preceded in death by his parents Geraldine Stone Fassnidge and Milton Marvin Fassnidge and.sister Beverlie Fassnidge O’Dell.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Alamo Heights United Methodist Church Choir and Music department.

Memorial Service

5:00pm Tuesday, October 11, 2022. at Alamo Heights United Methodist Church, 825 E. Basse Rd, San Antonio, Texas 78209

Internment will be 3:00pm Thursday, October 13, at Sunset Memorial Park & Funeral Home, 1701 Austin Highway, San Antonio, Texas 78218

Blog 152 Jeff’s Evolution

Blog 152 Jeff’s Evolution

Ninety years and counting.  When we reached Jefferson’s portals in 1951 or ’52, the thought never occurred to me that just the school was only twenty years old.  The school opened its doors in 1932 and graduated its first class that same year, yet to me it had been there forever.  The new smell was gone.  Now it is ninety years old! Who has thought about that?

Since we graced the halls, two wings and a band building have been added.  Land was purchased across Donaldson behind Jefferson Methodist for soccer fields.  I drove by yesterday and was amazed to see portable classrooms on the corner of Donaldson and Wilson in what was once a parking lot. 

What’s amazing to me: When we were students, we were only twenty plus years removed from the Roaring Twenties and the jazz era.  We all knew who or what flappers were, many of us could do the Charleston, and our parents could talk firsthand about prohibition.  We were there for the tail end of the big band era and slow dancing in the gym, squeezing our date tightly on the dancefloor.  We were on the cusp of the rock and roll era just a few years out.  I think we lagged the rest of the country a bit, because when I arrived at college in September of 1954, so many of my fellow freshmen were already into songs like “Long, Tall Sally” or “Good Golly Miss Molly” and Little Richard. 

It’s a whole new ballgame!  Seeing the new portable classrooms piqued my interest enough to poke around a bit and (attempt to) find out more about the school today.  Enrollment now is almost identical to ours.  Vague memory is 1625 enrolled in our years there.  Today, enrollment is listed at 1664, but the similarity stops right there.  The Jefferson website advises that it is part of the International Baccalaureate School Programme.

This isnew concept to me, so checking the website, I lifted the following explanation:

Thomas Jefferson IB World High School has become one of the newest members of an ever-growing global community of 5,027 schools offering the International Baccalaureate in 147 different countries. Jefferson has chosen to join this growing international community as IB has a positive impact on students, schools and their wider communities with learning going well beyond the classroom. Its unique and innovative approach to learning means both students and teachers are genuinely engaged with the programs and benefit from being a part of an unparalleled global network. Students are able to participate in international conferences and educators work with their peers internationally to ensure that the IB remains at the cutting edge of international education.

Delving further into the website, students compete for enrollment slots.  Jeff offers a long list of specialized classes that includes:  architecture, animation, business management, construction management, criminal justice education, interior design, media (audio visual production), STEM computer science, STEM health science, junior ROTC, and dual language.  Wow. 

The student enrollment of the 1664 may be a bit low, given the portable classrooms, but what I found online is that when the statistics were posted with that number, the ration of students to teachers is 16 to 1.  Quite a change from our day with around 30 to a class.  Two other statistics were given:  minority enrollment is 98% and the graduation rate is 93%

Before moving on from Jeff, I checked out the school website listing of the dress code.  It is long and left me wondering about some of the described items of apparel.  Life was so much simpler back when.  But even so, I recall very well that one day in Spanish class, Miss Wright decided that one girl’s blouse was a bit too sheer for Miss Wright, who made her find a sweater from somewhere and put it on.  Could that attitude explain why Miss Wright was still a Miss and not a Mrs.? I don’t remember who the embarrassed girl was, except she had dark hair. 

While on schools, a recent article delved into San Antonio junior school history.  The article revealed that in 1923, San Antonio citizens passed a bond issue to build eight junior high schools.  That placed San Antonio as one of the very earliest in the country to adopt the junior high or middle school concept.  The original eight were to be named after poets.  Those names chosen included Page, Longfellow, Lanier, Emerson, and Mark Twain.  I intended to save the article for reference here, but the paper went out with the trash, and I do not recall the other names.  Personally, I am not sure all were poets, but what do I know?  Those schools all still stand but Lanier morphed into a high school before our time.  Some have other missions today, but I will try to find out more for next time.  See you then.

Blog 151 A Bit of History and Another Obit

Blog 151 A Bit of History and Another Obit

Jefferson is closing in on its first century—1932—2032. Very few of us will be around for that centennial celebration in ten years. So today, here is a bit of history gleaned from archives found on the Internet.

First, though, is an obituary for Ruth Hernandez Stewart.
I chatted with Ruth a number of times in recent years. She has an amazing story that she wrote for our class history. If you still have that book, I urge you to look it up and enjoy her life since graduation. Ruth was imbued with a good, strong work ethic and the fortitude to take her through some trying times.

Ruth Esther Stewart

JUNE 9, 1937 – JULY 28, 2022

The Stewart family is greatly saddened by the loss of their Matriarch, Ruth Stewart on July 28, 2022. While we mourn the loss of our mother/grandmother we rejoice in her life and her much deserved rest with our Heavenly Father Jesus Christ.

Ruth was born in San Antonio, Texas; graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School; married; built a thriving family business, and raised five children. She was predeceased by her husband Gerren Stewart, her sister Dolly Marroquin, and her parents Dora and Gilbert Hernandez. She leaves behind her loving sons Jay Stewart (Lisa Stewart), and Daryl Stewart, her daughters; Lyndee DeMeo (Mike McShane), Suzette Stewart, and Simi Diskin. She was blessed with three beautiful granddaughters; Stacie Stewart, Bailey Stewart (Josh Vickers), and Ryley Stewart, and one beloved grandson, Oliver Diskin.

There will be no public memorial or ceremony at her request. Please honor her life by loving and spending time with your families.

The Girls Cadet Corps

Kay Matteson Gregory
send me a couple of articles that appeared in the local newspaper in 2017 and 2018. One was about the Lassos and movies made at Jeff in 1938. Kay added question marks by a sentence that read: “the writer took home images of the opulent, Spanish/Moorish-style school building, the Junior ROTC cadets and their female-student ‘sponsors’ and of course, the Lassos.”

From an obscure segment of my brain, I recalled that those early sponsors morphed into the Girls Cadet Corps. I googled “Girls Cadet Corps at Jefferson High School” and got a handful of hits. The most interesting is a reprint of the feature article from Life Magazine in the March 7, 1938 issue.

You should be able to click on the next line and link to the Life spread. It worked for me.

LIFE – Mar 7, 1938 – Page 23 – Google Books Result › books

Vol. 4, No. 10 · Magazine

Colonel Harry Andrew Watson of the Thomas Jefferson High School unit, Reserve Officers Training Corps, reviews cadets with his “Sponsor,” Dorothy Murray .

If that does not work for you, copy and paste the below link in a browser.

Another hit on the page refers to The Junior ROTC Cadet Creed, found at:

In addition to the creed, the words to our alma mater, fight song, a few cheers, and a Girls Cadet Corps mantra are also included.

Finally, there is a three-minute video found at this site. It honors cadets and girl cadets over the years.

I hope you have enjoyed wading through this bit of trivia. Till next time.

Blog 150A Addendum

Blog 150A This Stands Alone Addendum

For the blog just posted, this intro was not published. So here it is, just to confuse you.

Most of the blogs I write are original thinking (or lack of thinking), but now and then there is something nostalgic that is worth sharing. What I just posted as Blog 150 came across the computer tonight. I think you will enjoy it and one again realize that we grew up in the best of times. I want to shed a tear when I see so many with their eyes glued to the cell phone and social media to find out what they should think. Switch now to Blog 150 This Stands Alone


Blog 150 This Stands Alone

All of us fit into the 1% The 1% Age Group

This special group was born between 1930 & 1946 = 16 years.

In 2022, the age range is between 76 & 92.

You are the smallest group of children born since the early 1900’s.

You are the last generation, climbing out of the depression, who can

   remember the winds of war and the impact of a world at war that rattled   

   the structure of our daily lives for years.

You are the last to remember ration books for everything from gas to sugar

   to shoes to stoves.

You saved tin foil and poured fried meat fat into tin cans.

You can remember milk being delivered to your house early in the morning

   and placed in the “milk box” on the porch.

You are the last generation who spent childhood without television;

  instead, you “imagined” what you heard on the radio.

With no TV until the 1950s, you spent your childhood “playing outside.”

There was no Little League.

There was no city playground for kids.

The lack of television in your early years meant that you had little real

    understanding of what the world was like.

Telephones were one to a house, often shared (party lines), and hung on

   The wall in the kitchen (no cares about privacy).

Computers were called calculators; they were hand-cranked.

Typewriters were driven by pounding fingers, throwing the carriage, and

   changing the ribbon.

‘INTERNET’ and ‘GOOGLE’ were words that did not exist.

Newspapers and magazines were written for adults and the news was

    broadcast on your radio in the evening.

New highways would bring jobs and mobility.

The radio network expanded from 3 stations to thousands.

Your parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression and

   the war, and they threw themselves into working hard to make a living  

   for Their families.

You weren’t neglected, but you weren’t today’s all-consuming family focus.

They were glad you played by yourselves.

They were busy discovering the postwar world.

You entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where

   you were welcomed and felt secure in your future although the

   depression poverty was deeply remembered.

Polio was still a crippler.

You came of age in the ’50s and ’60.

You are the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no

   threats to our homeland.

The second world war was over and the cold war, terrorism, global

   warming, and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with   


Only your generation can remember both a time of great war and a time

   When our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty.

You grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting


You are “The Last Ones.”

More than 99% of you are retired, and you feel privileged to have “lived in

   the best of times!”




Blog 149 A Few More Notables

Blog 149 A Few More Notables

For the past several weeks, my brain has been telling me to write a blog, but my procrastination mechanism has kicked in and suggested “tomorrow.” Whether you are optimistic like Annie, who sang “Tomorrow” in the musical Annie or pessimistic, as in “Tomorrow never comes,” here is a start on another one.

Noted classmates.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about Roy McBride and his accomplishments in wildlife preservation, notably tracking endangered panthers in Florida. Blog 144 told you about Jim Warrant, who had a major impact in the personal computing field in its infant days in the mid-80s. (If you have forgotten that one, I hope you will go back and read it. I am presently attempting to get some recognition of Jim by the school, adding him to the showcase od notable grads.)

The Titlists:
Our class had many beautiful people, male and female, though only the female group looked to contests to showcase themselves. Looking way back, Aleen Smith Freeman was the 1952 Miss Fiesta. I always thought she was the second Miss Fiesta, but a little investigation places her as number the four in line. After graduation, Aleen became a flight attendant for a few years until she married and was forced to quit. In those days, rules for attendants were severely strict, compared to nowadays, when I recently who learned of a flight attendant who is in her 80’s. When last heard from, Aleen was living in New Mexico but dropped her email after being widowed. Connie Mays Dyer used to visit with Aleen when in New Mexico and said she will try to find her. Anyone else who has heard from Aleen recently, give a shout.

Texas Nowotny Myers was Miss Fiesta 1953, following Aleen. I don’t know why, but the history book lists two Miss Fiestas in 1953—Texas and Cisi Jary, whom some of you know. Texas put San Antonio on the map as she rode San Antonio’s first ever float in the Rose Bowl parade on New Year’s Day, 1954. All of San Antonio thrilled when she moved across our twelve-inch TV screens. Texas was offered a screen test for one of the film companies. If my memory is correct, as it so often is not these days, she famously declined the screen test, saying she would rather get married and have babies. Is that an urban myth? One bit about Texas’ name. She was born in Texas centennial year, 1936. Her parents commemorated the event by christening her Texas.

Sara Belcia Yates was selected Miss San Antonio soon after we graduated. I posted information about that in a blog several years ago. A newspaper reporter was researching for an article on the Miss San Antonio pageant and sent me a greatly reduced newspaper page crowning Sarah. Unfortunately, I cannot find that article in my files of useless information.

Sarah was also Miss Wool 1954. Searching the web for more info about her reign, she was pictured in an A&M Batallion newspaper with a lamb. The Baylor Lariat listed t Miss Wool qualifications for Sarah’s successor. “Eleven contestants compete in San Angelo. They must be between 18-25, be a Texan, wear a size 12 dress, and never been married.” From what I understand about women’s fashions, a size 12 in 1954 would be about a size 4 today. Prizes included a $4,00 wool wardrobe (1954 dollars) and trips to fashion centers around the country. Sarah once told me that Miss Wool was a much better gig than Miss San Antonio.

I found a picture for sale on eBay titled 1954 Press Photo Sarah Belcia, Miss Wool, and Jeanette Van De Walle with cabbages. The photo caption does not explain why they are holding cabbages. I will check in with Sarah to see if she remembers.

After thirty minutes trying to copy the picture, I  finally succeeded, but the picture is not clear when enlarged. On eBay, whoever owns the photo is asking $13.69 for it plus postage. I offered $2.00 plus $4.00 postage, but the offer was rejected.

Count Your Points
The Jeff admiration structured a point system to preclude a small handful of students from copping all the honors. Maybe this was general knowledge, but I did not learn of this until many years later. Various leadership positions were assigned points for the office. I think the highest positions were student council president, class president, colonel of the Girls Cadet Corps and of the ROTC, Lasso Major, and Drum Major. Probably cheer leaders and majorettes were not far behind, while other class officers, social and other club officers collected fewer still. The reason I did not know this is because I was never barred from any office for having too many points. Thinking back, I may have had a half-point for some obscure office or as a Student Council rep.

The curious case of Shirley Smith Lebman
Joyce Skolnick Meyer
advised that Shirley Smith died on June 22. I checked for an obituary, but the funeral home only gave her name, date of birth, and date of death. I just looked again and even that is no longer posted. Prior to our last reunion in 2014, I spent some time searching for lost classmates. Shirley lived in Coppel, Texas.  I discovered that she had volunteered with her local Chamber of Commerce. I contacted that organization and wheedled her phone number and called Shirley. Though I did not disclose my source for obtaining her number, Shirley was furious that I had tracked her down, and she let me know about it. She did tell me that she and her family were the owners of Lebman’s Western Wear. Shirley asked for my address and requested to be placed on the inactive list, with no more phone calls or email. Imagine my huge surprise when a check for $1,000.00 arrived a few days later to subsidize our reunion..

A Stupid Thing I Did.
As some of us find creep into senility we do dumb things. I confess that I managed to delete all of my emails recently as I was getting an old laptop ready to sell. I failed to think that it would also erase them from my new laptop. The erasures included some notes on phone calls from classmates. I do recall having a good chat with Connie Mays Dyer
and Warner Fassnidge. There were a few more, but memory is eluding me of those names at the moment. Connie
is still plugging along in Houston, still active with the Methodist Hospital Board after 35 years, the Opera Guild, and The University of Texas advisory board to the School of Geology. Way to go, Connie. Warner has fully retired (something that lawyers rarely do). He said his claim to fame includes five years of rehab for one reason or another for each of the past five years but is otherwise okay.

Sorry, but no pictures this time. If anyone cares to send some along, I will publish them. Otherwise, I maystart recycling from the archives.