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What a busy weekend it was! On Sunday, the Souder Church of Christ had a large crowd for their morning service, followed by a basket dinner and decoration of the cemetery. That evening they hosted their bi-monthly singing and again had a large number in attendance. Faye Hampton said the singing was especially inspirational this time, with guests coming from the Barren Fork congregation and other visitors, as well. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day.

Ray Cook had a houseful of guests coming and going over the weekend. Some of those visiting were his sisters and their families, including Ron and Judy Hladum of Mtn. Home; Geneva Davenport of Yellville, and daughters Marilyn Pangle, also of Yellville, and Marcella Swatosh and three children of Ava; Larry and Carol Pendergrass of Bakersfield and their children, Dr. Mary Pendergrass, Matt and Jamie Pendergrass and three children, and Ashley and Sara Pendergrass and four children.

Judy Cook Hladum also made time to visit her newest grandchild, baby son of Chris Curtis, while here in the county.

Sympathy is extended to the Paul Welch family whose loved one passed away on Sunday. The service will be Thursday at Clinkingbeard’s in Ava, with burial at the Hi-Lo Cemetery.

The Souder Church of Christ Relay for Life team is having a fundraiser this Friday in Ava. Call for more information. They are also planning a fish fry to be held at the Wasola Fire House on June 9. More details about this event will be forthcoming, but mark your calendars now to be sure and turn out to support the team.

The Romance Reunion was another whopping success, thanks to the untiring efforts of Billy and Nadine Ray of Battlefield and Lyman and Pauline Nance of Rogersville, the event organizers. Even though the day was a scorcher, more than 100 people enjoyed gathering on the lawn of the old Romance church. Several canopies were set up to augment the shade provided by the big old trees, and plenty of cold drinks were available, as well as tables loaded with good food. Folks came from Wichita, Nashville, Kansas City, Springfield, Mountain Home, Mansfield, Cape Fair, and many other locales.

June Stewart of Wasola brought a selection of old school photographs, from Grabeel, Barren Fork, Almartha, Romance and others, and folks enjoyed finding themselves and their friends in the pictures. Music by James Hudson and Roscoe and Jim Beasley, plus a couple of others, enlivened the setting. The swing, donated by the family of Richard Hawkins, was never empty; it was a cool spot to sit and visit.

It was the first time Ralph Walker of Wichita had been to the reunion in several years, and he especially enjoyed the opportunity to see friends and relatives he hadn’t seen in a long time. Billy Ray even took him to visit with their old friend, Calvin Watson, who lives just up the road and whose health prevented him from attending.

Ralph came to the reunion with his son, Mike and daughter-in-law, Cheryl. After the reunion, they all went to Ava to continue visiting where they were joined by Ralph’s brother, Gary Walker of Nashville, along with his wife Peggy and son Greg, their sister-in-law, Donna Walker, of Ava, Bob and Gloria Taylor of Springfield, Jack and Delores Hobbs of Ozark, and Dwayne and Aline Clark of Wichita. Peggy (Boone) Walker and Delores (Hambelton) Hobbs were best friends in high school and have remained close through the years. Brothers Gary and Ralph Walker are double cousins of Gloria Taylor, as well as good friends. It was nice for the group to spend some extra time together.

Ashley Gardner, granddaughter of Betty Gardner and daughter of Mark Gardner, recently received her master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from the University of Central Missouri at Warrensburg. Betty and Mark attended Ashley’s graduation and then went on the Kansas City to visit Karen Gardner who lives at Hope Lodge.

Thom and Karen Holt have returned home from a visit to Belvedere, Ill., where they visited their families and attended the wedding of Karen’s niece, Natalie Sellers, to Matt Armstrong. Natalie’s twin sister, Eileen, will marry next spring.

Mike and Mary Ruth Sparks worked at the Ozark County Historium on Saturday, opening especially for out-of-towners who were home for Decoration. Mike said 17 guests signed the guest book. Coming the farthest was Kathy Kangas from Arizona, who is a descendant of Dr. Paul Patrick. Kathy donated to the genealogical library a journal that Dr. Patrick kept while he lived in Oklahoma and worked as a doctor and store keeper for a few years.

Other Historium visitors included Lesia Turley Winters who lives in Tonganoxie, Kan. Lesia participates in historical reenactments as a photographer using an old-time “tintype” camera. Longtime historical society members George and Joyce Wilhoit of the Kansas City area also dropped in. Joyce has spent years doing genealogy research and has generously shared her work with many families.

In addition, a few people came in with heirloom quilts to be photographed for the Historium’s newest book that is being compiled at this time. If you have a family quilt, please consider sharing its story for this book, which will be a true keepsake and unusual record of history. Contact Janet Taber at 265-3372 ( or Susan Ault at 679-4253 ( for more information about participating in this project. We will be accepting additions for a few more weeks.

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