1943 thru 1976 reminisce at annual Grand Reunion

Farragut High School alumni who attended the school before the present school was built in 1976 gathered to reminisce and catch up during the annual FHS Grand Reunion.

About 50 attendees turned out for this year’s reunion, which encompassed graduates from 1943 to 1976, on Saturday, May 7 at Virtue Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Earl Hall, a 1956 graduate, said he attends the reunion to see “young” friends.

“We lost a few this year,” he said.

Marian Leming Howard, Class of 1962, said this is her third time coming to the reunion.

“I haven’t come for a long time — I worked on Saturdays — but now I’m retired, so I can make it here,” Howard said. “I think it’s fun to come see everyone of all ages and years graduated.”

“I’m going to be the youngest person at this event for the first time,” Jay Beeler, Class of 1976, said. “They are definitely the old school group.”

Glenn Loy, Class of 1945,

said he just came to see the old graduates.

“I’ve been here most of my life. It was a good country school, good friends,” Morgan Greene, Class of 1958, said.

Ginger Benson Fox, a 1953 graduate and planning committee member, said her favorite thing about attending the reunion is seeing everybody.

“It’s sometimes sad because some of the faces are not here who were last year, but I’m glad to see those who came,” Fox said. “It’s a special group. We’re healthy — those of us who are alive — and we stay close.

“There’s a cohesion — a special closeness — with this group because each class was close. That has drained away from the rest of the classes.

“We were more like family than classmates,” Fox said. “There’s no age difference when you get all these people together.”

George Hamilton, who graduated in 1943, and his “kid” brother, the late Horace Hamilton, initiated the Grand Reunion.

“We found we weren’t the only ones interested in it,” George said. “There’s a lot of good stories at Farragut.”

For instance, he remembered the day one of the baseballs broke the window of the girls’ dressing room. “It took a month to fix it,” he said.

“During the first of the war, there was a Navy pilot who landed a plane next to the Russell barn,” George said. He was the only one in his class to go over to the pilot and talk to him.

“He was lost,” George said. “I told him to get on Kingston Pike.

“There weren’t many [FHS] boys killed in World War II,” Lloyd Thompson was one.

“He quit school between his junior and senior year. The next year, he was killed in Italy,” George said.

“When my class graduated, Horace was in the Philippines,” he said.

George served in the U.S. Navy between 1943 and 1946 and Horace, who also served in the Navy, was drafted between his junior and senior year.

Many attendees remembered the classes were small back in the day.

“There weren’t many of us in school when we were there,” Earl Hall said. “We were just a small school.”

“There were only 35 to 40 [in his class],” James Johnson, a 1954 graduate, said.

“There might have been 400 in the school,” Joe Waldrop, a 1953 graduate, said.

“There were 43 who graduated from my class. There were only 33 in my wife’s class,” Jim Jackson, 1955 graduate, said.

Hall’s favorite memories were playing football and baseball.

“I couldn’t wait to get home,” Johnson said. “I had brothers and sisters in every class. There were 14 of us. I’m the next to oldest and best looking.”

“Kenneth Sergeant was my principal,” Andy Donovan, a 1960 graduate, said. While he was shy in high school, he remembered dating several girls.

“I married Linda Prince from William Blount [High School] in Friendsville. We had two kids.”

“I enjoyed being with my friends and trying to stay out of trouble,” Jackson said. “My class meets the Monday morning of each month. We stay in touch pretty good.”

“I just enjoyed going to school,” Howard said. “I didn’t miss many days because I was afraid I would miss something.”

Ann Gibson Dalton, a 1968 graduate, said her best memories are of her parents, who both were teachers. Dalton taught in Karns for 40 years before she retired, and her brother and sister also were teachers.

“There were a lot of degrees from UT,” she said.