June 01, 2011 Edition

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Many attend Clover Bend Reunion

Clover Bend 1952 graduate Nancy Donovan (left) of Clover Bend visits with former Clover Bend basketball coach Charles Kirkpatrick of The Woodlands, Texas, prior to a balloon release at the annual Clover Bend Reunion held Saturday.
TD Photo ~ Shantelle Prater
Shantelle Prater
Staff Writer

Clover Bend graduates, former classmates and friends gathered during the Memorial Day weekend for Clover Bend's annual school and community reunion.

The two-day event began Friday night with a ham and beans supper and auction. The auction raised roughly $800, which will help preserve the Historic Clover Bend School.

On Saturday attendees returned to the school and met at The Alice French Bell Pavilion at 10 a.m. Master of ceremonies was Clover Bend Historical Preservation Board Consultant David Doyle. The Pledge of Allegiance and singing "God Bless America" was led by Sarah Whaley.

Following singing, Doyle dedicated a "50 Year Club" marker to the classes 1959, 1960 and 1961.

Clover Bend 1961 graduate Sue Pratt Whitmire unveiled the Alice French Memorial Garden dedication plaque, located in the Alice French Memorial Garden. More than 250 volunteer hours and a "Roots of Our Heritage" grant made the garden possible.

"The garden features the same plants Alice once planted when living here," Whitmire said. "It even has a clipping of her spirea plant. She had imported shrubs from Europe when she lived here."

Members of the 1961 class were honored and inducted into the 50-Year Club. Certificates were presented to each of the members, including Billy Hibbard, Sue Pratt Whitmire, Carol Malone House, Lonnie Gilbreth, Jean Light Wood and Jesse Roberts.

Other classmates honored included Bobby Wells, Sue Mullen Huskey, Jerry Wells, Linda Hodge Clayton and the late Buddy Whitmire.

Following the dedication service, Don Smith led the group in gospel singing, including songs "Mansion Over the Hilltop," Touring That City" and "What A Day That Will Be."

Clover Bend Historical Preservation Board President Viola Meadows presented a plaque of appreciation to David Doyle, and thanked everyone for their help after the school suffered damage from recent floods.

Historian Judy Downs of the Northeast Arkansas Living Historians was guest speaker and presented a program about women's roles during the Civil War.

"I dove into history head first," Downs said. "I love it!"

Following the presentation, attendees enjoyed a cannon firing, performed by Lake Charles State Park Superintendent Randall Watts. A balloon release was held afterward in memory of loved ones and in honor of friends and family members unable to attend the event.

The day concluded with lunch and fellowship.

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