Throw Back Thursday: Jesse and Teeny’s Kids

Posted on by 0 comment

Jesses Kids Janet and Johnny

Janet Lynn Hemperley Stanley and Johnny Ray Hemperley, children of Jesse Raymond and Earnestine “Teeny” Jane Parker Hemperley.

ROAD TRIP: NEW ORLEANS IN JULY, PART III, DAT’S DA PLACE!

Posted on by 0 comment

Tourists visit New Orleans to eat, drink and be merry.  On every corner there’s a place to “do dat”.  While tourists flock to the world famous restaurants of New Orleans, locals have their favorite neighborhood haunts. That is not to say they don’t frequent the more renowned ones, they do; however New Orleans is about neighborhoods and a sense of belonging.  Mostly we ate in the Garden District area.   Some restaurants there are expensive; some are funky and fun but all are loud!  Since I love to eat, the subject of Part III of New Orleans in July will be a few places my son Steve Hemperley’s family and I ate on my recent visit.

Early Saturday afternoon when we arrived, everyone else had already eaten or were running errands so Steve took me to GG’s Dine-O-Rama located at 3100 Magazine Street.  GG’s specializes in homemade, fresh and unique recipes made from scratch.  They offer fine dining or a casual menu with your choice of seating; inside or out.  He and I opted to dine on the sidewalk cooled by a mister fan and watch the activity along Magazine Street.  I ordered the St. Patty’s Day Massacre which was shaved corned beef, Swiss cheese, French fries, ancho-honey slaw, 1000 Island Dressing, Creole mustard on pumpernickle rye bread.  It was huge!! And I would have never thought of placing the home-made fries IN the sandwich.  I cannot remember what Steve ordered (probably something health!) but I was on holiday and not counting calories. Mine was delicious and since I wasn’t able to eat it all, the rest came home in a doggie bag to be savored at another time.

imagejpeg_0

IMG_20140713_184448496 (2)

That night Steve had marinated duck breasts to grill. Tucker made duck poppers by placing cream cheese and a bit of jalapeno pepper inside before wrapping the breast in bacon. Steve grilled them and talk about good!

I taught Max how to make a coconut cake. The cake was drenched in coconut milk and condensed milk and topped with Cool Whip and fresh coconut.

IMG_20140713_201150285

I would give the Hemperley’s kitchen a five star rating!

For lunch the next day, Steve, Andrea and I went to Tracey’s Bar and Restaurant on the corner of Magazine and Third Street. It specializes in Po-boys, sandwiches, and fried seafood, and sides such as cheese fries, boudin balls, and fried okra, etc. It has been in business since 1949 and is dubbed The Original Irish Channel Bar.

Tracey's
From Tracey’s website

The ceiling is covered in New Orleans decorated umbrellas.  The World Cup Soccer final game was drawing a huge crowd who had come to watch on one of the 20 TVs that show nothing but sporting events.  We opted to finishing watching the game at home.

IMG_20140713_130619886

On Monday, Tucker, Max and I had lunch at The American Sector Restaurant of the World War II Museum where Chef John Besh puts his twist on American cooking.

That night the family went out to Pascal’s Manale, a restaurant known as the “Home of the Original BBQ Shrimp”.  Located at 1838 Napoleon Avenue, it specializes in seafood, Italian dishes and steaks.

Pascal's Manale

From Pascal’s Manale Restaurant & Bar website

IMG_20140714_195130086 (2)

Andrea and Max at Pascal’s Manale

Dinner began with an appetizer of oysters on the half-shell.  Some in the group ate steak, veal, or BBQ shrimp.  I opted for Chicken Bordelaise.  Max and I finished off dinner with a scrumptious bread pudding.

Andrea invited the boys and me to meet her for lunch at the Weston Hotel in Canal Place on Tuesday.  The River 127 located on the 11th floor has a spectacular view of the river with barges, paddle wheels, and other river traffic.  I had intended to make lots of pictures however as soon as we were seated a squall came through and the magic of the moment was gone!  Following a delicious lunch, Tucker, Max and I headed for the nearby Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium where we learned about the most ferocious diner in New Orleans…… the almighty Termite!!!

IMG_20140715_143632292 (2)

 

Before heading home, we stopped on St. Charles Avenue for pralines.

That night we ate at Dat Dog on Foret where Emy works.  It is such a fun place, bright and colorful with any type of hotdog you can imagine.  None of which you would find in North Louisiana!

Freret-Dat-Dog

From Feret-Dat Dog website

Their menu is imaginative with vegan, spicy chipotle, turducken, duck, crawfish and alligator among other specialties.  The night we were there was Trivia night and the place was jumping!

IMG_20140715_195448047 (2)

Max’s Alligator Dog

IMG_20140715_195439087 (2)

Cheese Fries, anyone?

IMG_20140715_194835541

Or something from the bar?

By Wednesday I was pooped and opted to stay home and rest.   Emy and Tucker told me that some of their fondest memories had been that of eating chicken and dumplings at my house when I lived in Covington.  I rested most of the day and then prepared a huge pot of chicken and dumplings with a salad for dinner.  It must have been good since there was none left.

The next night, Steve grilled venison burgers for a couple of Emy and Tucker’s friends and the rest of the family.  Needless to say it was another gastronomic delight.

Wow!  What a food binge I had been on!  If you would like an and epicurean experience such as this, then try New Orleans ‘cause dat’s the place to do it!

 

(For more information on any of these restaurants, check out their websites or Face Book page.)

Category: Road Trips, Stories | Tags:

JIMMY CLYDE STANLEY: JULY 30, 1933-MARCH 1, 2009

Posted on by 3 comments

Jimmy Clyde Stanley

Jimmy Clyde Stanley was born July 30, 1933 in Ida, Louisiana to Clyde Henry and Mamie Martin Stanley.  He was the first of six children and easily accepted the role of big brother to the rest of us.  He was a mover and a shaker before his time; meaning he was often the instigator of the antics of his two brothers and me (our two other sisters came along much later).  Mostly he was the one that was the most daring of the group, such as the time he wanted to be Captain Marvel.  He draped himself in one of Mother’s tablecloths to use as a cape, climbed the roof of our garage and bailed off thinking he could fly! Luckily the only thing broken was his pride and he lived to dream up some other new adventure.

Jim (also nicknamed Coot or Pete) attended school in Bivins, Texas prior to our moving to Atlanta, Texas.  In Bivins he was in a school play and in Atlanta he was an Atlanta Rabbit (football team) member.

Jim, High School

He first worked as a life guard at the Atlanta public swimming pool and later at Meyers’ Department Store.   His outgoing personality, smile, and the ability to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge was well suited for his occupation of sales or public relations with the exception of a few years he spent working in the oilfields in Odessa and Ganado, Texas.  While working in Odessa he received a good samaritan award from the Texas Highway Department for assisting someone in need.  Following that he served as district manager for American Built Homes in Texarkana, and Baton Rouge. Later in the Houston area he owned his own construction and remodeling business.

Jim’s first marriage was to Mildred Eva Howard of Texarkana.  They were married on November 21, 1952.  Prior to their divorce in January 1980 they became parents of Brenda Jane, Jimmy Lanier, Eva Carol and Scott Howard.  Eva Carol died at birth.

While he and Mildred, who had now changed her name to Toni, were living in the Nassau Bay, Texas area he learned to love boating.  Below are photos of a couple of his boats appropriately named the Phoni-Toni.

Jim's BoatPhoniToniII

In March of 1980 Jim remarried Patsy Jean Miller.  Jim’s new brother-in-law was an owner of Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, Louisiana and also owned an oil refinery in Venezuela.  He soon became general manager of the track and Commissioned Deputy Sheriff for Acadia Parish form 1988-1992.  He often traveled to Venezuela on business.

Jim Stanley's Acadia Parish Deputy Sheriff Commission

Jim Stanley's Passport

Jim married a third time to Denise Milsap and lived in Mobile, Mississippi for a while. No children were born of the second or third marriages.

He was a true Leo with a zest for life, warm spirit, confident, generous and loyal. He loved the finer things in life such as clothes, cars, boats and beautiful women. However a good joke or a heated game of Rook with his mother against other family members, were also indulgences he enjoyed. He was most generous with his parents and loved to take them out to dine or for a day on the bay in one of his boats.

The two greatest pleasures in his life were his children and grandchildren. He was giving, loving, and always there for them.

Jim passed away on March 1, 2009 of complications from Myasthenia Gravis and is buried in Vivian, Louisiana along- side his parents.

Happy Birthday, Brother! We still miss you!

Category: Genealogy, Stories | Tags:

ROAD TRIP: NEW ORLEANS IN JULY, PART 2: THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUM

Posted on by 1 comment

When Steve and I began plans for my trip, he asked if there were things I wanted to do; places I wanted to re-visit; or explore for the first time.  My immediate reply was “The World War II Museum”.  Asking if he thought my grandsons, Tucker and Max, would want to go with me he said he wasn’t sure about Tucker, but that Tucker would be my assigned chauffer while I was visiting and could take me. He thought Max would love to go. Much to my surprise when I spoke with both boys they were eager to go with me!

Monday, July 14th the three of us set out in Tucker’s truck under threatening skies for the corner of Andrew Higgins Boulevard and Magazine Street where the museum is located.  After parking a few drops of rain began falling and I thought, it’s going to be another hot humid day in New Orleans and I, for one, was glad we were going to be inside! Plus, since it was a Monday and raining, there shouldn’t be too many tourists.

Across the street, there it stood!  Homage to all whose lives were lost or fought to insure freedom……… a repository of history, life’s tragedies, stories recorded, and items preserved so that the deadliest war in history would never be forgotten.

The museum, which was opened on June 6, 2000, consists of three buildings.  It is currently the most visited attraction in New Orleans.  The Liberation Pavilion is not open to the public at this time but will have three floors dedicated to the closing months of the war and the post war years.

IMG_20140714_115646459 (2)

We briefly met Steve, who was having a business meeting at The American Sector Restaurant, a Chef John Besh restaurant where he puts his twist on American food. Steve greeted us and soon after left as his associates arrived. He looked dapper in his tan summer suit. Max commented he was the only one in the group not wearing a dark suit. Tucker said we would now get to see Steve working in “business mode” rather than his “Dad” role and laughed! This was going to be a fun day!

After a delicious meal we set off to explore the three buildings that comprise the museum and to purchase tickets for the museum and the movie Beyond All Boundaries. The movie would not start for another hour so we had time to explore the U. S. Freedom Pavilion/The Boeing Center and the Gift Shop.

The Boeing Center has displays of the B17, B25, B24, TBM Avenger, F4U Corsair, Mustang 51 and Sherman tanks. I am sorry to say that due to the number of visitors, taking good photos would have been difficult therefore some of the ones below are from www.wikipedia.com.

IMG_20140714_130815662 (2)
Inside the Boeing Center

World_War_II_Plane_NOLA
From Wikipedia.com
640px-Sherman_Tank_at_WWII_Museum_in_New_Orleans
From Wikipedia.com

Crossing the street to the next exhibits we discover this German Air Raid Shelter which looks as if it would be too small for an average size person.

Air_Raid_Shelter_in_front_of_Museum
From Wikipedia.com

Once inside, we discover veterans of World War II located at tables in intervals around the bottom floor eager to share their experiences and roles in the war. Stop and visit and they will enlighten you with photos, maps and their first hand knowledge of particular campaigns. There is also the Train Car Experience which depicts farewells and returns of soldiers and their families.

Upstairs is a maze and so much to see, not only from the United States but other countries as well. Rifles, handguns, uniforms, rations, tires, personal histories on tape, letters home, and so much more that I cannot even begin to share it all with you. In fact I can’t due to not being able to get into some areas for the other people there.

Soon it was time to enter The Solomon Victory Theater, home to Beyond All Boundaries, a 4 D movie narrated by Tom Hanks. I have to say that normally I do not like 3 D movies and was anxious about sitting through this one but I must add that it was the most spectacular thing I have experienced in many years! Of course the theater is total darkness and then goes through a multitude of exciting effects. The first loud bomb noise startled Max (who will soon be 13) out of his seat. In fact it did it several times! The gentlemen seated next to him asked if he was okay.

Lights flash, fog rolls in, and chairs begin to tremble at certain dramatic events during the movie. At one point a German Stalag guard house rises from the floor. In total darkness a search light canvasses the audience. Not a sound is heard other than a siren blasting. A gun turret emerges spitting out rounds and smoke in every direction. Your chair, which has had slight movement and coordinated with the actions being shown, begins to shake even more. I can only say it is a dramatic experience and Tom Hanks does a fabulous job in narration! But above all, it is a powerful documentation of the cost of freedom about over 400,000 soldiers who lost their lives that were Americans. Estimates of those who lost their lives in the war, from sickness related to the war, by the gas chambers, or who were civilians is believed to be at least 600 million!! Yes, that’s millions!

I had hoped there might be an opportunity to learn more about some of my fallen relatives or those who served in this terrible war. If the resources are there, I didn’t find them. However it you are interested in research on a family member who served in World War II, you will find this website helpful: http://www.nationalww2museum.org/honor/research-a-veteran.html.

For more information, I am including a map of The National WW II Museum below:

WW II Museum

Outside the storm had passed and the temperature and humidity had risen to intense extremes. My hair was instantaneous a mass of frizz. Suddenly I was aware of being in dire need of a snow ball!!!! And Tucker knew where we could find a snow ball stand not far from home.

IMG_20140714_154304771 (2)

When Steve came home from work that day, each of us shared our experience. It was wonderful to hear these two boys tell their dad about our outing. Max ended by saying Steve was the only one not in a dark suit when he met his business associates at the restaurant. I couldn’t help but laugh! It was meaningful to have made a memory, a good laugh and shared it with Tucker and Max.

Who knew what tomorrow would bring? Wait! Didn’t I say that at the end of Road Trips: New Orleans in July, Part I? Ah, but you will soon know when I post Road Trips: New Orleans in July, Part III.

 

ROAD TRIP: NEW ORLEANS IN JULY, PART I: WALKING IN THE GARDEN DISTRICT

Posted on by 2 comments

Through the years I have been to New Orleans many times and on each trip, the experience has been totally different.  There is always something to do; a new dining experience; old favorites to revisit or new memories to be made.  Recently when my son, Steve, called to ask if I would come for a weeklong visit with his family, my immediate response was “Come and get me!”  Only on this trip my time in New Orleans would be different.  There would be no Bourbon Street bars, no beinets at Café Du Monde, no Audubon Zoo, nor Aquarium, no French Market, no strolls down Royal Street, no Super Dome……. It was to be more, specifically time with Steve and his family, wife Andrea Tanet Hemperley, and children, Emy, Tucker and Max.  And, oh yes, his hairy kids, Cane, an English Lab and that funny, spunky Cairne Terrier named Jax.

Steve lives in the Garden District of New Orleans and while he is just a few blocks off St. Charles Avenue, he had told me of the walking tours that passed on his street visiting the historic district which is a mecca for some of the most beautiful homes in the city.  Originally the wealthier citizens who did not want to live in the French Quarter with the Creoles lived on  plantations with large tracts for their homes featuring beautiful gardens; thus the name, Garden District. Today the district is known for the beautiful architecturally designed homes which are on much smaller lots with manicured yards, cast iron fences and majestic oak trees.

Sunday morning found most everyone sleeping in; that is everyone but Steve, Jax and I.  The morning was cool (unlike most days which are horribly hot due to humidity) so I decided Jax and I would take a stroll.

IMG_20140713_110348873 (2)

Jax was comfortably resting on the sofa until the leash came out and boy did he know what that meant! Out the door, we began our walk on Prytania Street which is home for celebrities Drew Brees, Anne Rice, Nicholas Cage, and the Mannings, Eli, Peyton and Archie.  While I don’t know the addresses of these people, Sandra Bullock maintains a residence within sight of Steve’s “stoop”.

Sandra Bullock's home

Most of the homes are of Gothic Revival style; many have beautiful gingerbread trim; most have oaks that have endured hurricanes for years.  Homes with iron fences and bright colors are also along our route.  Here are a few photos of homes Jax and I passed on our stroll.

IMG_20140713_084617497

IMG_20140713_091758192_HDR (2)

IMG_20140713_091836163_HDR

IMG_20140713_092021643 (2)
Although difficult to see in this photo this home has a playhouse built like a castle in the back.

Susie Higginbotham has been researching someone in her family tree that, according to a census, lived on St. Charles Avenue. I was able to locate that home for her.
IMG_20140716_111057645 (2)

Back on Fourth Street I discovered this cornstalk and morning glory designed iron fence and while I failed to notice the first walk by, it actually had corn growing in a small portion of the fence.

IMG_20140713_084003934 (2)

IMG_20140713_084024425

The lot the cornstalk fence surrounds actually has more than one home; one of Gothic Revival and this modern home. Many of the historic homes have placques that displays the original owner’s name, date built, and other pertinent information. Below is a photo of the one by the cornstalk fence.

Col. Short placque

Translated it reads: Colonel Short’s Villa built in 1859 for Colonel Robert H. Short of Kentucky, Commission Merchant. Henry Howard, Architect, Robert Huyghe, Builder. In 1832 this property, which was a part of the Livaudais Plantation, was subdivided into city squares. September 1, 1863 the house was seized by the Federal Forces occupying the city property of an absent Rebel. In March 1864 the house briefly served as the executive mansion of the newly elected Federal Governor of Louisiana, Michael Hahn. It then became the residence of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, U. S. Commander, Department of the Gulf. On August 15, 1865 the house was returned to Colonel Short by the U. S. Government and he lived in it until his death in 1890. An addition was made in 1906 and the house restored in 1950. The unusual cast iron morning glory and cornstalk fence was furnished by the Philadelphia Foundry of Wood and Miltenberger.

Jax and I also passed one of the Cities of the Dead, Lafayette Cemetery #1 which opened in 1833. Burials here are in wall vaults as is the case in most areas of South Louisiana due to the water table being so high. Anne Rice created a fictional tomb here for one of her books. She also staged a jazz funeral where she rode in a glass enclosed coffin down the aisle of the cemetery to introduce her book, Memnoch the Devil. The movies Double Jeopardy and Dracula 2000 were filmed within the cemetery. Musical videos by LeAnn Rimes and New Kids on the Block were also made at Lafayette Cemetery #1.

IMG_20140713_092426766_HDR (2)

Back home after our long walk, Jax drank lots of water and then curled up on the couch with Steve, who was sleeping, for a nice long nap.

IMG_20140712_140510148 (2)

I got another cup of coffee and reflected on what a beautiful day it was. We had seen tourist snapping photos along the route, joggers, dog walkers, and passed a coffee shop where customers sat outside reading the paper or having breakfast. How nice it had been to see another side of New Orleans. Who knew what tomorrow would bring? Ah, but you will soon know when I post Road Trips: New Orleans in July, Part II.

Category: Road Trips | Tags:

THROW BACK THURSDAY: LINDA KAY “KITTY” STANLEY

Posted on by 3 comments

Kitty Stanley and Dale LeBlanc's Wedding

Today, June 19, 2014, marks the 38th anniversary of my sister Linda Kay (Kitty) Stanley and husband, E. Dale LeBlanc. They were married at St. Clement Catholic Church in Vivian, Louisiana.

The celebration began the day before when we dug a hole in my back yard to have a cochon de lait. It was a daunting task due to the fact that the backhoe digging the pit for the pig cut the gas line to my house. After repairing that, the cooking and celebration began. Many of Dale’s family and friends came from South Louisiana that night and celebrated with everyone. Then the rain began! And it rained all night. How would we ever get the pig roasted in time to feed all the guests by noon?

Family friend Betty Hall called early the day of the wedding to say she was making a novena. Sure enough the clouds disappeared, the rain stopped, the pig was thrown back in the pit and everyone ate at noon. Then the party began!

Following the 4:00 PM wedding all the guests returned to my house to continue the merrymaking. Some of Dale’s Cajun relatives sang Jolie Blonde and other songs in French. Others continued to eat. Many celebrated with libations. When the newlyweds left for their honeymoon, many lingered and the merriment lasted until midnight!

Category: Throw Back Thursday | Tags: ,

MILITARY MONDAY- 5th SGT. ANDREW SIMPSON HEMPERLEY, CONFEDERATE SOLDIER

Posted on by 0 comment

A S Hemperley tombstone

Andrew Simpson “Simpy” Hemperley was one of ten children born to Edward P. Hemperley and Malinda Foster in Georgia.  In the 1850 Census the family resided in the Twenty-ninth District of Fayette County, Georgia.  Edward P.  is listed as a farmer with real estate valued at $1,450.

On May 16, 1852 Andrew married Miss Louise Catherine Dodd in Fayette County, Georgia.  The marriage was performed by Louise’s father, John Sample Dodd, a prominent Baptist preacher.

A S Hemperley, Louise Dodd Marriage

Of this marriage there were four children born: Nancy M., Priscilla M., Sarah Levonia and Jefferson Beauregard Hemperley. From A History of Doddridge, Spring Bank, and the Other Communities of Sulphur Township Arkansas by Charles Wesley Bigby much is written about the Hemperley families that lived in the area.  What is known is that:  in 1856, prior to the Civil War Andrew and Louise moved to Bright Star, Arkansas.   In 1859 they had acquired eighty acres of land as proven by the deed below.

Andrew S Hemperley, BLM 1859

 

 

 

The following year they acquired an additional eighty acres.

Andrew S Hemperley, BLM 1860

In a letter written by Andrew’s son Beauregard he tells of how their home was built with logs and penned and keyed with no nails. It had a fireplace which was used not only for heating but also where Louise prepared all of their meals.

On March 3, 1862 Andrew enlisted in the 20th Arkansas Infantry, Company K in Lafayette County. His records show that he was a 5th Sergeant. By October the unit was engaged in fighting around Vicksburg, Mississippi. Records show that on the 4th of October 1862 he had been wounded and taken prisoner at Corinth, Mississippi.

 Page 5, A S Hemperley

In another document he was to be paroled and taken to Columbus, Kentucky from Corinth. However in the paroled section it lists “not stated”.

Page 8, A S Hemperley

From my research I have learned many of the healthier prisoners captured in that area were transported to prisons in other areas of the United States. Some of those infirmed were released to get home any way they could while others remained in hospitals. Since Andrew is buried in Vicksburg, I am lead to believe he was never sent to prison elsewhere.

In July 1862 Congress gave the President of the United States the right to purchase land for cemeteries “for soldiers who shall die in the service of their country.” It was also determined that Confederate soldiers and sailors were fighting in rebellion and would not be allowed to be buried in a Nation Cemetery. Therefore only Union soldiers and sailors are buried in the Vicksburg National Cemetery with the Confederates being buried in nearby Soldier’s Rest, a section of Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Below are some photos from the Vicksburg National Park.

20th AR Infantry at Vicksburg

Soldiers Rest CSA Cemetery, Vicksburg, MS

Arkansas State Memorial at Soldiers Rest

Sign at Soldiers Rest Cemetery

Also in the letter Beauregard wrote he tells of hard times following his father’s death. His mother fed them one winter on sweet potatoes; on Sunday mornings or when they had company she would make biscuits to go with them. She spun, corded and wove the cloth for their clothing, they ate game from the nearby woods, but she never returned to Georgia.

In writing this post I am thinking of our family’s Confederate hero but also of heroes lost in all the wars since Andrew’s death. I am also reminded of the unsung heroes, the wives who have kept families together at all cost, no matter their sacrifices. Perhaps it’s those ladies who deserve recognition, gold stars or a special hug.

 

THROW BACK THURSDAYS: MAMIE’S KIDS

Posted on by 1 comment

Mamie's Kids

A rare occasion when all six children are together for Mother’s Day, 1982.

Front row: Kookie Stanley Hemperley, Mamie Martin Stanley, Judy Stanley and Linda “Kitty” Stanley LeBlanc

Back row: Jimmy Clyde Stanley, Tommy Stanley and Charles Stanley

THROW BACK THURSDAYS: SOMETIMES IT’S BETTER NOT TO SHARE!

Posted on by 4 comments

Don, Steve and Kelly Hemperley 1969

Don, Steve and Kelly Hemperley, pictured in May 1969, on the day Kelly graduated from kindergarten. Little did we know she had the mumps!!! After her snuggling with Don, he too came down with them. We always taught our children that sharing was a good thing; this time it wasn’t! Kelly made a quick recovery however Don was very sick and we thought he was going to have to go into the hospital!

Category: Throw Back Thursday | Tags:

MILITARY MONDAY: THOMAS BRYANT BROWN, CHIEF MASTER SARGEANT, USAF

Posted on by 1 comment

Tom Brown on wedding day

On this Monday, Memorial Day, May 26, 2014, I have chosen to honor Chief Master Sergeant Thomas Bryant Brown, born July 8, 1935 in Texarkana, Arkansas to Barron Scott Brown and Grace May Bryant Brown.   Tom’s mother, who had already had a daughter, Barbra Ann and a son, John, died at his birth.  His father passed away three years later.  Tom was raised by his grandparents, Scott Preston Brown and Leah Templeton Brown in Doddridge, Arkansas who were already getting on years, him seventy and her fifty-nine years.

Tom attended school in Bright Star, Arkansas graduating in 1953.  He played basketball and was vice president of the senior class.  In a booklet for the fifty year reunion he said his fondest memory of Bright Star High School was “When Cecil Morris (the superintendent) gave me my diploma.  I had doubts about getting one.”

Tom enlisted in the Air Force in 1954 and served twenty-four years before retiring.  The bases he was stationed at were Schilling AFB in Salina, Kansas; Little Rock AFB in Little Rock, Arkansas; Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota; Altus AFB in Oklahoma; Anderson AFB on Guam and Blythville AFB in Blythville, Arkansas.

While stationed at Schilling he met Wanda June McDaneld at the First Free United Methodist Church.  They were married on May 26, 1957.

Tom Brown Wedding

Tom began his career as an aircraft technician, more commonly known as a mechanic. He worked on B47s until the B52 made its debut and later the KC 135. He became a crew chief having as many as many as twenty planes to insure were mechanically sound for flight. His crew followed the planes wherever their missions went. While a crew chief he spent three tours in Thailand and more than a couple on Guam. On another occasion when a plane had problems in Viet Nam he and his crew had to fly in, repair the plane and fly out of the area. He later said that was the scariest day he spent in service.

Thomas Brown USAF

I am not sure if this photo depicts receiving a medal as it is not marked, however as you can see in the photo below of his uniform jacket, he received the Bronze Star; the USAF Outstanding Unit Award; the AF Good Conduct Medal; the Commendation Ribbon; the Army Good Conduct Medal/Ribbon; the National Defense Service Medal; the Viet Nam Service Ribbon; the USAF Longevity Service Ribbon; the USAF NCO Professional Military Educate Graduate; and the Republic of Viet Nam Campaign Ribbon.

Tom Brown's Service Medals

Here’s another photo of Tom (second from the right on bottom row) with other unidentified service members:

Tom Brown, USAF

Tom and Wanda had three girls, namely Tammy Jo, Sandra June, Barbra Leigh and one son, Scott Preston (who also happens to be my son-in-law) named for Tom’s grandfather. A lot of the time while Tom was in service, Wanda was left in the states to raise the children and have as much as possible a normal family life without the children’s dad. Many times I would tell Tom what a fine family he had raised to which his standard answer was, “Well you better praise Wanda; I was always gone”.

Following his retirement the family moved to Jefferson, Texas to be near his uncle and aunt, Rabb and Ione Bryant, where he worked for the Marion County Tax Assessor’s office. He was a member of the Retired Enlisted Association and annually made a trip to Branson, Missouri to attend the reunion of the 44th Bombardment Wing. Tom loved to fish and quite often would take enough fish to fry for all those in attendance, not to mention epic sized fish fries for Bright Star reunions and family get togethers.

He was a loving husband and father whose biggest smiles came while being with and doing for those he loved. Most of the time he wore an Air Force cap covering his red hair; all the time he had a kind word and a warm hug for you!

Thomas Bryant Brown passed away in Shreveport, Louisiana on August 17, 2011 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was buried with military honors at Old Foundry Cemetery, Lodi, Texas beside his wife of forty-two years, Wanda June McDaneld.

%d bloggers like this: