Miami Jackson High School


Tommhy Kearney (class of 54) is critically ill and his class friends want us to send him a get-well card or letter:  Tommy Kearney c/o Mrs. Taylor Meeks, 2488 Mill Run Road, Chatham, VA 24531
Carol Sue Wiley (class of 53) and Robert Deliere (class of 50) married on November 22, 2019.  They are in residence at 10750 NE 27 Street, Oxford, FL 34484 (352) 748-0128.  Congratulations Carol Sue and Bob.
Wanda Hudson Briscoe (class of 53) and her husband Don request your prayers for their daughter-in-law Sandy as she undergoes surgery for advanced colon cancer.
Martha Potts Pace (class of 55) and her husband Bill lost their 51 year old son on October 11, 2019 from cancer.  Condolences may be sent to the Pace family at 113 Nancy Place, Palatka, FL 32177, or telephone (386) 325-3673.
Debbie Rodberg, beloved daughter of Allan Rodberg (class of 52) and his wife Mary Jane, passed away on August 3, 2019.  Debbie attended our 52-53 Reunions with her parents and was loved by everyone in our classes.  Debbie was 62.
Martha Potts Pace (class of 55) and her husband Bill are requesting prayers for their 50 year old son who is in the hospital with brain cancer.  You may contact Martha at 113 Nancy Placer, Palatka, FL 32177, 386-325-3673 386-530-0400.
Wanda Hudson Briscoe (class of 53) had back surgery on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.
JoAnn Taylor Campbell (class of 53) lost her mother Vivian Rakestraw on April 28, 2019.
Bill Geiger (class of 54) lost his wife Shirley Ann on April 19, 2019.  Condolences may be sent to Bill at 8439 Briar Creek Cove, Germantown, TN 38139 (901) 755-6947 or e-mail
Gail Gould Purvis (class of 52) lost her husband Harold on April 17, 2019.  Condolences may be sent to Gail at 4626 Locke Creek Rd, Readyville, TN 37149 (615) 563-5087 or e-mail
Jane Rieman Galpin (class of 52) broke her hip on December 3, 2018.  You may contact her at 2610 W Christy Tr #1424, Sapphire, NC 28774 Telephone (828)l743-0981.
Vivian Braddock wife of the late Edgar Braddock (class of 53) passed away on April 29, 2018.  Edgar and Vivian hosted several mini reunions for the 52-53 classes.
Kenneth “Ken” Bowes (class of 55) lost his wife Patty on April 30, 2018.  Patty was a ’55 graduate of Coral Gables HS.
Connie Allen Sellers (class of 53) lost her husband Gene to Cancer on August 31, 2017.  They lived in Tallahassee, FL.
Sandra Blunk Carroll (class of 53) lost her husband Larry to Parkinson Disease on January 4, 2018.  Condolences may be sent to Sandy at 102 Satsuma Drive, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714 (407) 862-4319 e-mail San;
Marcine (Bonnie) Ross Wheatley (class of 52) and her husband Russ spent Hurricane Irma in the hospital.  The day before the hurricane, Marcine was knocked down in her driveway by a big neighbor dog.  She broke her hip and arm.   You can send a note to her at 2819 Osprey Cove Drive, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168 (386) 423-7338
Nancy McLean Mego (class of 53) lost her husband Bill on September 1, 2017 from a lung infection.  Condolences may be sent to Nancy at 12 Golden Larch Dr, Naperville, IL 60540  e-mail
Jack Martin (class of 53) is having part of his colon removed.   Jack/Wilma will be glad to hear from you at 392 Davison Road, Roach, MO 65787 (843) 709-2367 or (573) 346-3304 or e-mail  (Jack passed away in 2019)
Frank Bright (class of 53) has had part of his toe removed after an infection.  He is also fighting cancer.  Frank is at home now and can be contacted at
Glenn Hommel (class of 53) has developed an invasive squamous cell carcinoma in his inner ear canal.  The doctors are setting up a treatment plan for him but surgery is the leading choice.  They would remove a portion of his ear to attempt to get all the cancer.  This is an extremely difficult surgery.  Please keep Glenn and Barbara in your prayers.  They will be happy to hear from classmates:  Glenn/Barbara Hommel, 14961 Eagan Lane, Miami Lakes, FL 33014,  (305)825-1375
The class of 56 has a facebook page:  If you have a facebook page and would like to friend the 56 class, contact Mac Irvin at
Vinny Hynes (class of 53) hosted our 52-53 reunions in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee from 1994 to 2010.  He has published a book “Off the Clock”  It is his story of early retirement.
 Vinny retired at the age of 54.  He has spent valuable time with his friends and family over the past 27 years without working, and he wanted to share how he  pulled it off.  To Vinny, retirement is a dream that every one should enjoy.  He feels that too many of us are paralyzed by the monetary responsibility of retirement.
 In his book he explained how important his high school friends have always been to him.  He talked about how much enjoyment he got from hosting the MJHS reunions – joy that he wouldn’t have had if he wasn’t retired.  He also explained about what you do during the days you spend not working.
Print list price $19.99 – Amazon Book
My Price  – $15.00 – includes shipping
Kindle price – $2.99
Vinny Hynes, 885 Lloyd Huskey Road, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863  (865) 453-1816
Jack Martin (class of 53) is in the hospital.  He had a heart attack.  You may contact him at 392 Davison Rd, Roach, MO 65787 (843) 709-2367  (573)346-3304
Frank Bright (class of 53) will have hip replacement surgery on May 5, 2017.  You may contact him at 7216 16 Ave Dr W, Bradenton, FL 34209  (941) 251-6277
Pete Austin (class of 55) had surgery July 30, 2014 to replace his jaw bone which had deteriorated due to radiation and chemo to cure his tongue carcinoma.  You may contact him at 2020 King Air Court, Port Orange, FL 32128, telephone (386) 679-1882 or e-mail
Marvin Ball (class of 53) underwent back surgery in October, 2013.  You may contact him at 922 Pine Tree Dr, Henrico, NC 27842-9798 (252) 219-2840.
Rex Miller (class of 54) has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  He is undergoing treatment.  You may contact him at 4830 Doreen Road, Cocoa, FL 32927  e-mail
David Reising (class of 51) had knee replacement surgery on July 10th.  You may send cards to him at 2521 Highway 9, Black Mountain, NC 28711 or call (828-777-1259) (828-669=1900).
Wanda Hudson Briscoe (class of 53) had surgery on June 5th after fracturing her upper arm in several places.   On June 19th she was told that her stable fracture “wasn’t”.  She is scheduled for surgery on June 20th.  Please keep her in your prayers.  You may send cards to her at 7174 Flat Rock Trail, Covington, GA 30014 or call (770) 786-7475.
Gary Nichols (class of 53) had knee surgery and contracted an infection while in the hospital.  He has been released to a rehab center.  You may contact him through Glen and Peggy Nichols, 7885 Fayetteville Rd, Fairview, GA 30213 (770) 964-5847, e-mail
Jack Martin (class of 53) underwent emergency gall bladder surgery on Friday, December 28, 2012.  He has a gall stone blocking the duct leading to the bowels which may necessitate an additional surgery going through the mouth down to the stomach.  You may contact Wilma Martin at 392 Davison Road, Roach, MO 65787, telephone 573-346-3304 or 843-709-2367 or e-mail
JoAnn Horne Bandy (class of 53) will be underwent back surgery on August 16, 2012.  You may contact her at 236 Planation Road, Gray, GA 31032, telelphone 478-746-2506, e-mail
Fred Hughes (class of 55) is suffering from COPD and is under the care of Hospice.  You may contact his wife Roberta at 366 Nettles Blvd, Jensen Beach, FL 34957 (772) 229-8786 or e-mail
Anne Hanson McDonnell (class of 53) has been dealing with some recurring cancer issues.  Please keep her in your prayers.  You may send her a card at 9725 SW 78 St, Miami, FL 33173 (305) 595-6505, e-mail
Jerry Potts (class of 55) has just completed radiation treatments for a brain tumor.  On August 5th he will undergo sinus surgeery and, after that, be fitted for a hearing aid in the left ear that was affected by the tumor.  You may contact Jerry at 145 Trotters Mill Rd, Wetumpka, AL 36093 (334) 514-8226 or by e-mail
Evelyn DeSilvestri Triana (class of 55) has recently undergone kidney surgery.  You may send her a card at 3268 Bunten Rd, Duluth, GA 30096 (770) 497-0991 e-mail
JoAnn Ninalu Evans Brewer (class of 53) has had some difficult health issues.  You may send her a card at 1284 Flat Shoals Rd, SE, Conyers, GA 30013 (770) 483-5614 e-mail
Pat Caudell Hynes (class of 52) broke three ribs recently.  You may send her a card to 885 Lloyd Huskey Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863-4262 (865) 453-1816 e-mail
Frieda Raker Langford (class of 50) has COPD, serious Arthritus, and has had serious health problems this year.  You may contact her at 121 Wintergreen Ct., Lexington, SC 29072-9646 (803) 808-2591.  Her e-mail is
Peggy Hockaday Brodnax (class of 54) has been hospitalized for corrective surgery to remove a colydocal cyst with large gallstones present.  Please include Peggy on yourprayer list and send her a card, 5860 SW 99 Terr, Miami, FL 33156.
Georgia Howe Moore (class of 55) is in a rehab facility, 806 SE 13 St, Ocala, FL 34471 (352) 732–5310.  Her e-mail is
Paul Fassbach (class of 49) has been seriously ill recently.   You may contact his wife Frances at 8270 SW 4 St, Miami, FL 33144.
Vinny Hynes (class of 53) had surgery in October.   You may contact Vinny at 885 Lloyd Huskey Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 (865) 453-1816 or e-mail
Bob Tatom (class of 53) underwent knee surgery in December.  You may contact Bob at 235 Midland Rd, Pinehurst, NC 28374 (910)235-0452 or e-mail
Barbara Williams Johnson (class of 55) and her husband Glen were involved in a serious automobile accident in early December.  Glen escaped with minor injuries, however, Barb underwent surgery for a broken pelvis.  They put a screw in the broken part of her pelvic bone and a wire from one side to the other to stabilize.  She will be in the hospital for two weeks and in a wheelchair for 3 months.  Her husband has requested that you write or e-mail – DO NOT CALL.  Their address is 25630 Indian Summer, San Antonio, TX 78258 and e-mail is
Lois Huffman Bechtold (class of 55) will be undergoing cataract surgery on July 7th.  You may contact Lois at 3315 Snyder Rd, Sebring, FL 33870
Russ Whitehead (class of 54) is in the VA nursing home at Jackson Memorial in Miami.  His speech is a little affected because of the MS but he is able to carry on a conversation.  He is quite lonely.  If know Russ from the band (he played drums) he would welcome a call or a letter.    The best time to call is 7:30 to 8:00 in the evening (305) 575-7861.   A call from old friends will be a blessing to him, and I’m sure he’ll be an encouragement to the caller, too.   The telephone number is 305-575-7861.
Write him in care of VA Hospital, 1201 NW 16 St, Miami, FL 33125
Earl Langston (class of 49) is battling cancer.  His wife, Judy, says that he is weak but has a good spirit.  If you would like to contact Earl his address is 109 Oxford North Rd, Oxford, GA 30054 (770) 786-7561 e-mail
Rosemary (Whitten) Williamson (class of 48) had open heart surgery.  You may contact her at 901 Apache St, Miami Springs, FL 33166 (305) 887-6688
Jim Lawrence (class of 55) has serious problems with his leg. His address is 2403 20th St, Zephyrhills, FL 33542 (813) 782-5131.
Charlie Day (class of 54) had heart surgery to correct a congenital defect in his aortic valve on June 20th. He is home and on his way towards a full recovery and new life with his new heart valve. His e-mail is
Mary Kathryn (Phillips) Davis (class of 55) will undergo her second breast cancer surgery on March 28th. Please send cards and best wishes to her at 401 Turkey Trail, Sebring, FL 33875 (863-465-4328) e-mail
Jack and Wilma Berg Martin (classes of 52/53) lost their daughter, Vicki Lynn age 61 to a stroke on November 20, 2017.  You may contact Jack and Willi  at 392 Davison Road, Roach, MO 65787 (843) 709-2367 or (573) 346-3304 or e-mail
Carol Sue Wiley Ravenel (class of 53) lost her husband Jim in November 2016.   You may contact Carol Sue at 2950 LaConte St, Viera, FL 32940-8546 or e-mail
Bill Allen (class of 52) lost his wife Teddy on March 3, 2015.
Jackie Monroe Dawson (class of 55) lost her husband Raymond .
JoAnn Horne Bowker Bandy (class of 53) lost her husband Jac on July 25, 2014.
Gloria Reinhard Harrod (class of 55) lost her husband Andrew on November 14, 2013.
Bob Hipke, Miami Senior High School, friend of many Generals, passed away in January 2013.
George Jammel (class of 53) lost his 52 year old son on September 29th in Miami.
Rex Bishop MJHS Agriculture Teacher passed away August 7th in Conyers, GA.
Earl Powell (class of 57) has donated $5 million to the University of Florida for gene therapy; he donated $2 million in 2000.  The University has renamed the center to Powell Gene Therapy Center.
Lois Huffman McCall-Bethold (class of 55) requests your prayers for her daughter Katy who has been fighting cancer.  Her son, Dick, has been deployed to Afghanistan for his 3rd tour.
Dale Bowlin (class of 56) requests your prayers for his recovery from a severe respiratory illness.  You may contact him at 404 Red Oak Dr, Hendersonville, NC 28791
Gene Felten (class of 55) requests your prayers for his son, Clay, who has been diagnosed with cancer.
Joan Ellis Smith (class of 54) lost her husband Welton on May 23, 2012.  Condolences may be sent to Joan at 104 Greenwood Ct, Cross Junction, VA 22625, telephone 540-888-4761 or e-mail
Coach Babe LePore passed away on December 25, 2011.  He coached and substituted in Dade County Schools for many years.
Shirley Posey Mathers (class of 55) lost her husband Robert on March 13, 2012.  Condolences may be sent to Shirley at 1123 Northern Way, Winter Springs, FL 32708 (407) 366-1419  e-mail
Bob Sanchez (class of 53) lost his wife Beverly to cancer on March 5, 2012.  The Memorial Service will be held Sunday, March 18th, 2 PM,  at Rock Chapel (on the Square next to the Baptist Church) in Blairsville.  You may contact Bob at 354 Lake Vista Dr, Blairsville, GA 30r512 (706) 745-6429 or e-mail
Terry Terracino Wolar (class of 49) lost her husband Bill on June 8, 2011.  They lived in Miami and Pigeon Forge.  You may contact Terry at
Bob Eddleman (class of 53) lost his son on Father’s Day.  His son lived in Texas and had two children.  You may contact Bob at 77 Pine Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33415 (561) 683-0194 or e-mail
Jim Morgan (class of 54) and the late Arlene Burberry Maddox  (class of 55) lost their  son and daughter-in-law of their daughter (Kathty Zaloudek) in an automobile accident Apri l30, 2011.  The deceased, Jonathan Scott Allison and his wife Heather left two children ages 5 and 3.  You may contact Jim at e-mail or contact his daughter Kathy Zaloudek at 308 N Battle St, Prarie Grove, AK 72753.
Tim Bentz (son of Carol and Pat Bentz) passed away August 26, 2010 from cancer.  He lived in Crystal River, Florida.  You may contact Carol and Pat at 2843 Meadowood Ln, Sebring, FL 33875 (863) 840-9282 or e-mail
Bruce Scruggs (husband of Rosalie Woodard Scruggs, class of 52) is ill with pneumonia and a severe urinary tract infection.  Please remember him in your prayers.  Rosalie and Bruce can be contacted at 170 County Road 667, Cedar Bluff, AL 35959 (256) 422-3572 or e-mail
Shirley Geiger (wife of Bill Geiger, class of 54) has begun a round of chemo.  Please keep her in your prayers.  Bill and Shirley can be contacted at 8439 Briar Creek Cove, Germantown, TN 38139 (901) 755-6947 or
Mae Eddleman (wife of Bob Eddleman, class of 53) died on November 26, 2010.  Mae was a graduate of Edison.  Condolences can be sent to Bob Eddleman, 77 Pine Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33415 or e-mail
Nancy Tietgen (wife of Ron Tietgen, class of 53, deceased) has had some serious medical problems this year.  You can contact Nancy at 315 Madres Lane, Morrisville, NC 27560 (919) 462-0673
Becky Baldree (class of 51) lost her husband on April 5, 2010.  You may contact Becky at 13364 Beach Blvd #312, Jacksonville, FL 32224 (904) 619-2109  e-mail
Doris Cade Sanders (class of 50) is caring for her husband who has advanced alzheimer’s disease.  Please remember Doris in your prayers.  You may contact her at 3430 SE Martineque #201, Stuart, FL 3497 (772) 221-9509
Harold Sims (husband of Shirley Littlefield Sims, class of 54) died on Sunday, October 16, 2010.  He had a long struggle with Myasthyenia Gravis, a grave muscle weakness due to an abnormal thymus gland.  You can send condolences to Shirley at 507 Lakewood Dr, Blakley, GA 39823 (229) 723-4931.  Her e-mail is
Nick Freyling (class of 52) is caring for his wife who has been battling cancer for two years.  You can contact Nick at 6407 E Gary Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 (480) 948-9085.  His e-mail is
Judy VanDoren (wife of Lloyd VanDoren, deceased, class of 53) died on October 18 from COPD and other respiratory problems.  You may send condolences to their son, Lloyd VanDoren, Jr. at
Brian Richardson (class of 54) died in 2007.  His daughter writes:  My name is Jessica Richardson.   My father was Brian Richardson class of 54.   He died two years ago on January 27th.   I was always his date for every class reunion he had.   I made a promise to him that I would continue going to his reunions.   Please let me know where and when your next reunion will be.   He had several friends that I would like to see again and touch base.  Thank you.  Jessica Richardson, 703.724.9382, e-mail
Wynette Newman Eggler (class of 54) lost her husband, Raymond (Edison class of 55)  to cancer on August 7, 2008.  Condolences may be sent to Wynette at 1814 W 79th St, Hialeah, FL 33014.
Joan Ellis Smith (class of 54) advises that Joshua, her eldest grandchild, left on November 15th to Iraq (his seecond tour).  He and his wife are expecting their first child in February and his wife graduates from Baylor School of Nursing in December.  Please pray for him and the unit he leads.
Ginger Owens Abbott (class of 52) has three children in Iraq.  Remember them in your prayers.  Ginger and Bob may be conacted at 1597 Kimberly, Canton, GA 30114 (770) 720-0817 e-mail
Kathy Davis/Mary Phillips (class of 55) is requesting our prayers for her husband, Ray, who became ensnarled in barbed wire and suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns as he was burning trash.  Twelve days later he was admitted to the infectious disease unit at the hospital because of infection.  He will be undergoing skin graft surgery when the infection is cleared up.  As a result of the trauma he has been confused about where he is and how he got there.  You may contact them at 401 Turkey Trail, Sebring, FL 33875 (863) 465-4328 e-mail
Bobby Berman husband of Glenda Ellis Berman (class of 55) passed away.  Cards may be sent to Glenda in care of Joan Ellis Smith, 104 Greenwood Ct, Cross Junction, VA 22625 (540) 8881 or e-mail Glenda will be moving to Ocala shortly and Joan will forward any mail.
Eugene “Chain” Key husband of Jean Hill Key (class of 55) has pancreatic cancer. Their address is 4600 S Major Terr, Inverness, FL 33452, e-mail
Pat Godwin Wills (class of 55) lost her husband Charles on May 2, 2007. Condolences may be sent to Pat at 5001 SW 20 St #1802, Ocala, FL 34476.
Judy Lapp Foster (class of 55) lost her husband Bill in December. You may contact her at 230L CB Lewis Rd, Columbia MO 65202 (573) 442-2949, e-mail
David & Erma Swift Reising (classes of 51 and 53) Their 40 year old son had a physical in January and had a PSA of 28. This week he had surgery at Johns Hopkins because they determined that he had an aggressive type of cancer on both sides of the prostrate. The family asks for your prayers that the surgery was a success as they have been told. Erma and David want everyone to insist that any man in your life start getting checked for prostate early. If caught early enough it is almost always able to be stopped. Cards and letters may be sent to Erma and David at 2521 Highway 9, Black Mountain, NC 28711, phone number 828-669-1900 or e-mail
Laura DeFonso (music teacher) On May 23, 2013 was honored posthumously for her outstanding accomplishments as a Dade County High School music teacher.  Mrs. DeFonso has since passed away.  She stayed in touch with several of our class members over the years.
Nancy McLean Mego (class of 53) Nancy’s husband Bill has published a mystery “The Limbus of the Moon”.  You may order it at
Edward Voelkel (graduate of Miami High) is looking for a 53 MJHS grad Johnye Jane Womack who was in the band and orchestra.  She had two sisters, Nancy Suelloen Wiomack (class of 56) and Clara Womack Barrett (class of 49).  If you know of them, please contact Barbara Cantrell James at
Lee Corso (class of 53) visited Jackson in August 2011.  You may read about it at
Ray Kayal (class of 54) has been appointed Executive Director of the Camillus Health Concern (CHC) Board of Directors.
Gary Nichols (class of 53) lost his home to a tornado in 2009.  He is living with his son while his home is rebuilt.  You can contact Gary at 153 Iroquois Dr MM74, Islamarada, Florida 33036 (305) 664-1042 e-mail
Bill Geiger (class of 54) attended his Baylor University Class Reunion.
Harold Epps (class of 55) makes pens for our soldiers.  He has a couple of styles.  If you would like to have him send a pen to someone in the military please call him at (972) 509-1938. He and his fellow wood turning club members turned 285 freedom pens for thee troops.  They put a red, white and blue band around each pen to give it a patriotic look.  Harold won the “Best Finish” award; he has been working on a new wood finish for his pens for months.  Harold brought his ’31 Ford Roadster and parked it at the front door to lend interest to the pen-making event.
Louis Jimenez (Allapattah resident until 1972) has requested pictorial and informational accounts of the entertainment venues that were once located in the Allapattah neighbord.  In particular, he wants pictures and information about the old Strand Theatre which was located on NW 7th Avenue, the skating rink next door, as well as the Dade and Regent Theatres in Allapattah.  If you have any information that would be of help to Louis please e-mail him at
Bill Allen (class of 53) wants to talk with any classmates who are interested in global warming.  He writes …
There has been a decrease in temperature over the past 6 years, including a record one year drop of 0.6 degrees from Jan. 07 to Jan. 08.  The present temperature is slightly below the temperature in the late 70’s, but more importantly, it is cooler than during the 1930’s.  1934 is the hottest year on record in the US!
Since the 1930’s, CO2 has increased dramatically while temperature is slightly lower.  These facts show clearly that CO2 is nut causing temperature to increase.  The reason is that water vapor is the primary cause of the greenhouse effect, causing about 95% of the greenhouse warming.  Methane and several other gasses along with CO2 cause the remaining warming.
If you would like more information on this issue and/or dicsuss the details, then please contact him at
Norma Tripodo Ragsdale (class of 53) has been on the Board of Directors for Mountain of Hope, Inc. for the last ten years.  The corporation operates a clinic in Honduras, as well as providing wells for cclean water for the entire mountain area of Santa Barbara.  If anyone is interested in going on a mission trip or contributing to this project, please visit our web site   We accept individual contributions as well as grants from foundations.  If you know of a foundation that might be interested, please let Norma know at
Rita Madsen Richter (class of 54) has a group named SOS which meets the second Thursday of every month in Sebastian, Florida to “wrap and roll” dozens of homemade cookies for our men and women in the armed services.  The cookies are donated by members, neighbors, and other interested persons who donate cookies or $.  If you have a name of a friend or loved one to add to their list or if you want to mail a donation, please send it to Rita at  608 Atlantis Terr, Sebastian, FL 32935 (772) 338-5920 e-mail
Other Classes
For information about other MJHS classes please contact:
1951: Becky Baldree, 13364 Beach Blvd #312, Jacksonville, FL 32224 (904) 619-2109, e-mail
1954: Faye Ford, 1360 Waterway Cove Dr, Wellington, FL 33414 (581) 790-7625 e-mail
1955: Richard Ward, 6629 Poley Creek Dr, W, Lakeland, FL 33811 (863) 648-4656 e-mail
1957: Roy Mathis, 2515 Cat Tail Pond Rd, Seabrook Island, SC 29455-6176 (843) 768-8332 e-mail
1958: Raul Ramos, 1206 Brookside Dr, Beaver Creek, OH 45434 (937) 429-5148 e-mail
MJHS Historical Society
Check out the MJHS Historical Society web site. They feature Jackson before and Jackson now.
Joan Merritt Kirkland (class of 53) is setting up a library of MJHS annuals.  Yearbooks are needed  from the following years: 45 thru 50 and 55 thru 58. If you locate any annuals please notify me by e-mail ( Thanks.
Bill Allen (class of 53) married Jean in September 2016.  They are residing at 22 Creekside Way, Greenville, SC 29609, telephone (864 626-7034.
Rex Miller (class of 54) married Mary Margaret Johnson on September 6, 2008.  They will be moving to Cocoa.  Their address will be:  4830 Doreen Rd, Cocoa, FL 32927 (321) 507-4398 cell (352) 514-2309.  Congratulations to Rex.
Congratulations to Norma Avery Bosch (53). Norma and Gerry Forster were married on June 16, 2007. You may contact them at P O Box 101, O’Brien, FL 32071, Telephone 386-776-1268, e-mail
Congratulations to Earl Mosley (55) on his recent marriage.
Congratulations to Rex Hartley (55) and Faye Johnson (56) on their October 2006 marriage.
David Shaffer (class of 51) has published a new novel WAKE UP CALL.  To order please contact Alabaster Book Publishing, PO Box 401, Kernersville, NC 27285.  David has published three other mystery novels.
Bill Marina (54) (deceased) has published a History of the University of Miami.  His History of Florida was a huge success a few years ago.

Jim Cox (54) participated in a local Triathlon and finished second in his age group which was 60 and over. Congratulations, Jimmy.
Carol Sue Wiley Ravenel (53) has written a third book in her Kersey Cottage series which will be available soon. Her first two books FINDING CYN (Neal Parker, a widower retired from the FBI and living on Jekyll Island, Georgia finds a metal box from U-352 a German u-boat sunk off North Carolina in 1942. His quest to find the recipient of the contents take him to Germany and England, where he rents the Kersey Cottage) and THE KERSEY COTTAGE (a story that takes you from Cleveland, Ohio to Kersey, Suffolk County, UK. With travel, romance, murder and intrique. You follow Patti as she experiences all of life’s emotions in sunshine and shadows) Order from 1st Books Library 1-888-280-7715, $12.50 plus S&H. Or online and bookstores for $15.95 plus S&H. It’s print on demand, so ask for ISBN 140331568x if you order THE KERSEY COTTAGE and ISBN 1410795918 if you order FINDING CYN. For additional information, please e-mail Carol Sue at Carol Sue also has a web site which you may want to access to find out additional information about her two books which have already been published and her third book which will be available soon.
by Carol Sue Wiley Ravenel (class of 53), Atlanta Journal Constitution, Travel Section
A bunch of happy Miami Jackson High School seniors — now a bunch of happy senior citizens.  For over forty years these transplanted Miamians have been gathering each fall in the Georgia mountains community of Hiawassee.
Reverend Jack Pilger (class of 53) retired Methodist minister, and several of his classmates are old car affectionados.  Jack might drive up from Woodstock in his 1960 Cadillac and Kenny Rogers (class of 54) (he doesn’t sing) will arrive from Huntsville in his 1940 Ford.  Ed Braddock (class of 53) comes up from Ocala in his RV stocked with clubs and golf balls.  Wanda Hudson Briscoe (class of 53) shows up wearing her “Grandmothers are just antique little girls” sweatshirt.
After checking in to one of the local hotels, we silly old things hug and kiss like we are long lost friends — and we are!  About 100 of us look forward to the cool mountain air, the Georgia Mountain Festival, brunch at the Chatuge Lodge, golf on one of the local courses, a giggly girls sleepover at one of the resident classmate’s home, showing pictures of our latest grandchild, shopping at all the quaint shops, and telling stories that we have all heard a hundred times before.  Well, some of us have known each other since we were six years old, grew up in the same neighborhood, and you can be sure we have some stories to tell.
The football players glue themselves to the lobby television, watching any game with UF, FSU, UM or UGa.  Wives go out shopping for the grandkids.  Evenings we bring our libations and snacks down to the lobby and chat and giggle some more.  It never stops!!  The band members recall stories of trips to Cuba and the Dominiccan Republic, one such trip from Key West to Havana on a Cuban gunboat.
We love it all, but we don’t like having to pack up and go back home.  And, if this isn’t enough reuniting, we can always look forward to the big reunion in Pigeon Forge that is held every other year (next one is 2010).
We’ve added pounds and lost some hair, but the love we have for each other is always there.
DON BAILEY (class of 52) This article appeared in The Keys newspaper.  You can access the article and picture on line  at  (in the box type “the reporter”)  (in the search box type “Don Bailey”)
Eyes on the road. Concentrate.How do people in big cities drive with all of the distractions? Massive traffic, streetlights, stores everywhere, and thousands of pedestrians. In South Beach, a lot of those pedestrians are even walking around in teeny bikinis.
Nothing like exposed skin to distract drivers.
Our distractions here in the Keys are more unique — everything from wild peacocks strutting across the highway to magnificent Wyland paintings on the sides of buildings. Even our bikini shots couldn’t be normal. Instead of sexy girls “exposing skin” and distracting us, we had Don Bailey, The Naked Carpet Guy.
Until a couple of months ago, one of the biggest distractions in the Keys used to be the iconic billboard with the Naked Carpet Guy sprawled out on shag carpeting at mile marker 95. Everyday, I’d drive by the billboard and know everything was all right because we had Mr. Don Bailey looming over us with his hand strategically placed, grinning at us as if to say, “life is great, if you have a sense of humor.”
I remember the first time I noticed he was missing. I had a car full of screaming kids, passing food to the hungry mouths in the backseat and adjusting the radio station all at the same time. Normal drive. Not distracted a bit. I even managed to answer a phone call from a mother of one of the kids, asking me where I was, so she could be home in time for me to drop her kid off.
“I’m at mile marker 95… OH. MY. GOD! I’ve got to pull over!”
The mother panicked. “Are you okay? Did you get in an accident?”
I couldn’t talk.
“My Naked Carpet Guy. He’s gone. They’ve replaced him with a hammer.”
Now, you’d think the mother would be relieved her child wasn’t in a major car accident. But her reaction was just like mine… “Nooooo! They took down The Naked Carpet Guy? How could they? Are you sure?”
It was a disaster for the Keys. What’s next? Replacing Betsy, the giant lobster, with a giant tire? The Keys are known for their eccentricity. Having an enormous naked guy lying on a carpet is perfect for the Keys. Even more so, considering the carpet store isn’t even IN the Keys.
Since that horrible day, every time I see the neon green fence of Key Lime Products, I anxiously look up at the billboard and hope I will, once again, see my Don Bailey smiling down at me. I feel sort of like a little girl looking for Santa’s sleigh every night, believing, with all my heart, that he does still exist.
But, instead I see a hammer. Seriously? I mean, couldn’t they have at least replaced “my guy” with something with a little personality? I mean, didn’t the hammer people — CBT — learn ANYTHING from Don?
Couldn’t they, at the very least, have a topless man holding the hammer? I miss my Naked Carpet Guy!
Honestly, I can’t believe I’m fighting to have a billboard of a Naked Carpet Guy return to the Keys. The concept cracks me up. I remember when I first saw it a couple of years ago. It irked me. I couldn’t quite fit it into my head. Who was this man? The picture was obviously dated a bit. Was he naked? Even worse, was he wearing a bikini? Why would a carpet business choose this to be their advertisement? Question after question after question.
I was so confused about the sign’s appearance in the Keys, I called Don Bailey Carpets to find some answers. Surprisingly, I was immediately transferred to Mr. Don Bailey himself. After five minutes on the phone, I was in love. His personality was as big as his sign, if not bigger. The man was a crazy, lovable genius.
Turned out, he lives in the Keys. Of course he lives here. He belongs here! He’s only here part-time, but still, he is one of us.
So, why did he take down his wacky billboard? Was he okay? How was business? More questions meant more answers. I called him and, again, I was immediately transferred to Mr. Don Bailey, The Naked Carpet guy, himself.
I not only got to talk to him, but he put Don Bailey Jr. on the phone too! I was floored — get it? This family is a hoot! They both had me laughing as they told story after story about how he made his millions, which isn’t just from carpet sales. Don Sr. said he and his brother also invested in warehouses years ago because they were so paranoid at their current jobs, “if we smiled the wrong way, we’d be fired.”
So, what happened to the billboard? He assured me he didn’t want the sign down. The contract expired and they weren’t notified. So, he’s the “first in line” for someone else’s billboard contract to expire and then he’s back up in the Keys! AND, he’s got a twist for us. When they put up the new billboard, he’s going to have a combo picture of his before and after pose! Yep, he posed again, at 76-years old, his hand still strategically placed and his “smile” as big as ever. I can hardly wait.
Until then, Jim Martz was finally smart enough to sit Don Bailey down and write about his life story. It’s already available through Amazon (Kindle Edition — the hardcover is due out sometime later this year) and it’s titled, “The Don Bailey Story: From Truck Driver to Multi-Millionaire.” I’m downloading it AND buying the hard cover to put on the dashboard of my car so I won’t miss a day without Don’s, um, smile.
p.s. Did you know that Mario Lopez even did “The Don” pose? Ladies, trust me, Google it! Thank you Don, if nothing else, for inspiring Mario!
Jana Vandelaar is a freelance writer, patient wife, loving mother and a flight attendant when she really needs money. She has lived in the Keys with a loving family, fun friends and smelly pups for 20 years. Her column appears bi-weekly and more of her writing can be found at She welcomes positive feedback from fans and can be reached at


MJHS Flagpole
On Tuesday, September 16, 2008 a flag was presented to Miami Jackson High School by the Alumni of MJHS Classes of 1954 and 1955.  The flag, which was flown on May 1, 2007 at Battle Square at Camp Fallujah in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi freedom, was donated by SKCM Kathleen Zaloudek, daughter of Arlene Burberry Maddox (class of 55) and Jim Morgan (class of 54).  Jack Woodall (class of 54) and Dick Ward (class of 55) made the presentation to 175 Junior ROTC cadets in the MJHS Auditorium.  Master Sargeant Michael Jones, Faculty Advisor accepted the flag along with an honor guard and presented it to Ms. Deborah Love, Principal and Mr. Gregory Bethune, Vice Principal who accepted it for permanent display at the school.
Seventy-five years ago Jackson’s great and proud tradition had it’s beginning. In 1898 a man by the name of L. J. Becker donated a plot of land on which a one-room log-cabin structure was to be built and used as a school. He donated the building materials and he and his pioneer neighbors set about building a school that would someday be known as Miami Jackson.
There were 14 pupils in the first term, three of whom were Becker’s own children. The little school had one teacher covering all eight grades. In those days the northwest section of Miami was still a “wild and lonely territory”; the teacher “rode her bidycle through a path cut through the underbrush, accompanied by one of the older boys for protection”.
Years later a four-room concrete structure was built with a five-room annex added later on the north side of the building. In 1925 the increased population in the northwest section made another small building necessary, and some rooms were rented in a nearby church. These buildings were damaged and destroyed in the severe hurricane of 1926. Later that year a three-story high school was added to aid over-crowded Edison and Miami High.
Jackson’s first principal was J. A Wheeler followed shortly by A. C. Alleshouse who was to contribute much to the school’s growth.
By 1935 the school population, including the first nine grades, totaled 1,800. The school closed in December of that year because of severe cold.
The tenth grade was added in 1936 with plans to drop the elementary school and make Jackson a junior and senior high. That same year the first issue of the Globe was published and the clubs presented the last assembly of the year. A student government was created with a tenth grader elected as governor. The first ministrel show was presented by the Hi-Y Club.
In 1937-38 Jackson embarked on its first sports endeavors. Twenty-two football players, averaging 150 pounds beat their first opponent, Ponce de Leon’s (Coral Gables) B-Team, 30-3. The team finished the season with an impressive 5-2 record. Later in the year the basketball team lost its debut to Ponce 32-11, but the baseball team won its first game 10-1 from the Gables team.
In 1939 Jackson had an enrollment of 1,219 for both junior and senior high. That year the Generals beat Okeechobee 54-6. A Jackson girl, Rosemarie Magrill, was named Miss Florida. Seventy-four students had the honor of being the first graduates from Andrew Jackson High School. This was the first senior class.
In 1940 Jackson beat the powerful machine of Edison, 7-0. At that time there were only three schools in the county: Jackson, Miami High and Edison.
In 1945 the first yearbook was published and Mr. Matthews became principal.
Most of us remember the last year there was a 7th grade (1948) and 8th grade (1949) and 9th grade (1950) because we were there. Until 1947 the school was named Andrew Jackson. Beginning in 1948 the name changed to Miami Jackson and it was a Senior High School with grades 10-12.
The former school building and gymnasium was torn down this past year and a new school building has been constructed on what was the athletic field.  The former building site is now a parking garage.  The Jackson students and faculty say the new facility lacks Jackson tradition — they aren’t yet used to the feel of the new environment.
News About Miami
Gone but not Forgotten By Many of Us:
Our Orange Bowl, scene of so many happy moments in our lives, and a few sad ones:
University of Miami Football teams in the 1940s and 1950s when Miami was still considered a small time football team. It was a major thrill when Miami beat the team (Purdue) that had just beaten Notre Dame. Halfback Frank Smith starred.
The Annual Orange Bowl Games, especially:
The Orange Bowl game of January 1, 1946, when, with the score tied 6-6, UofM halfback Al Hudson (former Miami Edison track star) intercepted a Holy Cross pass on the Miami 11 yard line and raced 89 yards for the winning touchdown. The game actually ended as Hudson was still running. It would be hard to imagine a more thrilling game end. I was nine years old at the time and a huge UofM fan. In my neighborhood, every radio was tuned in to the game. When Al Hudson crossed the goal line, our neighbors poured out into their yards cheering wildly and one big block party erupted spontaneously. I’ll bet there were many other such unplanned celebrations that day.
Easter Sunrise services, etc:
Where Miami Jackson beat Miami Hi in 1951, the first local high school to do this.
The traditional Thanksgiving Day football games between Miami Edison and Miami Hi. Everyone who possibly could went to these games. Northsiders, even Jacksonites cheered for Edison against the dreaded Miami Hi Stingarees. Amazingly, Miami Hi beat Edison every year for 27 years until 1952. It became known as “The Jinx.” That year tailback Jackie Simpson led Edison’s Red Raiders to their first victory in 27 years with a spectacular performance, scoring three touchdowns and running for 175 yards.
The Big Three high schools (Miami Jackson, Miami Edison and Miami Hi) played all of their football home games here. What a thrill it was to go there and sit in the Student Section and cheer your school on. It was a major student privilege at the time. For those of us who played football, it is hard to imagine a bigger thrill than coming out onto the Orange Bowl Stadium turf to the roars of all the fans. It was wonderful.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Those really were the days, weren’t theyIs this progress? It depends on what one’s definition of progress is, doesn’t it? I will always prefer the days when the Orange Bowl Stadium was Miami’s pride and joy, the Dade County Court House was the tallest building on the Miami skyline and Miami was truly our home town.
STEFAN JONES, Band Director (1944-53)
Since most of this paper was written from my perspective, I need to introduce myself before getting into the history of Mr. Stefan Jones and his years directing the Miami Jackson High School Band.I am Henry King and was affiliated with him from the time that he arrived in 1944 until I graduated in 1952.Shortly after he arrived as the new band director at Jackson, he made a trek to most of his feeder schools including the school that I attended in the Fifth Grade, Allapattah Elementary, which (at that time) was separated from the high school by a playground.He made a great motivational speech and demonstration that inspired many of us to immediately take up music by learning to play various musical instruments.
For example, just in my small classroom, he sold four of us—James O’Connor, Ken Hines, Earl Richardson, and myself.We immediately started taking private lessons from Mr. Jones on Saturdays at the old band room, which was nothing more than two or three portable classrooms put together—a couple of years later, the Dade County School Board purchased a Methodist Church that was next to the school and renovated it so that it became the new band room (Jones was instrumental in getting this done).We all attended summer band together and all of us were in the junior high band together.Mr. Jones made special arrangements so that elementary students could go over to the high school to take part in the junior band practice sessions in the afternoon.It must be added that James O’Connor became first-chair trombone, Ken Hines became first-chair percussion, Earl Richardson became first-chair trumpet, and I became first-chair clarinet by the time that we all made it to the main high school band.Eventually, all four of us won full music scholarships at the University of Miami.Remember, this occurred from just one classroom where he made his presentation—multiply this by more than twenty classrooms in various feeder schools that he visited.This man was a dynamo!
He brought the band into national prominence through sheer determination, work, and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.He recruited, taught, and molded most of his musicians from Allapattah Elementary and other surrounding feeder schools—Kinloch Park Jr. High, Robert E. Lee Jr. High, etc.It must be added immediately that his wife, Inez, was a tremendous help to him.She developed and choreographed the majorette Corps, which later became known as the Baton Ballet and still later the Swingettes (there was a copyright problem).
We’ll get into the success of the band and the majorettes later, but much needs to be said of the background of these two dedicated and talented people.Both of them worked the vaudeville circuit throughout the Chicago area where they met and got married.They attended various colleges together and both had their Bachelor’s Degrees.Mr. Jones was an extremely accomplished violinist and Mrs. Jones was a very fine dancer and instrumentalist (she played flute, clarinet, and saxophone).In addition, they worked together very well—the Dade County School System got two gifted people for the price of one.Later Mr. Jones decided to get a Master’s Degree in music at Ohio State University.I don’t know the specifics of this, but I’m sure they worked together so that he could get his degree.At that time and to this day, the Ohio State Marching Band was among the best in the country.From information that he related to us (band members), he did some work with the Ohio State Marching and Symphonic Bands.It can be conjectured that his musical ability and talent were a big help to them.They had three beautiful girls, Julia, Jenna and Joela—the oldest, Julia, passed away at the age of eight—this was before the family moved from Ohio to Miami.Jenna and Joela eventually became fine musicians.In fact Joela is an internationally known pianist who has been featured as a guest artist with many of the great symphonies throughout the world.Mr. Jones and his beloved wife, Inez, have since passed on, but their legacy will live on forever in the minds of their children and all of their students.
Before Miami Jackson had much of a sports program, the Miami Jackson High School Band became one of the finest high school bands in the country.To verify this, let’s summarize some of these achievements—first-place marching band champion in an International Lions Club competition in New York City in 1949, the first high school band to do the halftime show for the NFL All-Star Game in Chicago (L.A. Rams vs. College All-Stars) in 1952, four trips to Havana paid for by the Cuban Government, three trips to Dominican Republic paid for by the Dominican Government, a 21-day trip to Brazil in 1954 paid for by the Brazilian Government, and mostly superior ratings in district and state contests.By the way, it should be added that Mr. Jones emphasis on Latin Music and dancing on the field during halftimes had much to do with all of these trips, along with the fact that he studied Spanish so that he could personally negotiate with representatives from various Latin Countries.
Other high schools in Dade County became so jealous of our repeated trips to Cuba that they protested to the Dade County School Board in regard to these trips.In order to appease the other schools (especially Miami Senior High), the City of Miami agreed to send a different band each year at the city’s expense; however, the Cuban Government insisted that the Miami Jackson Band come every year.The Cuban Government told the school board that it was fine with them if the City of Miami wanted to send other bands, but they wanted the Jackson Band every year because they wanted the BEST BAND in their parade.As it turned out, we went every year and other bands (Miami Senior, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, and Miami Edison) alternated so that at least one of them was permitted to go—their fares were paid for by the City of Miami.As a footnote to this, the Havana Fiesta Parade was extremely long in the hot sun; Mr. Jones had worked us so hard that only one or two members dropped out during the long march.One year in particular the Coral Gables High School band lost over twenty members during the parade.I hate to say it, but it was extremely satisfying to see so many people spread out on the float in front of us.It was even better, the following year, to see Miami Senior High School band members spread out on these floats.
Another one of his attributes was his tremendous ability to raise money.Band members never had to stand on street corners or wash cars in order to raise money for anything.Mr. Jones was able to persuade governments, clubs, and businessmen into sponsoring all of our various trips and other expenses.For example, Lions Club International raised money for band uniforms and the trip to New York to enter the international band competition.The Allapattah Businessmen’s Association also contributed generously for various trips all over Florida (state contests, football games, various parades).Speaking of raising money, this leads us to one of the most successful ventures that Miami Jackson ever had—the Miami Jackson High School Minstrel Show.Mr. and Mrs. Jones utilized their vaudeville skills in this area to produce and direct one of the finest minstrel shows in this country.The minstrel was repeated for three consecutive nights; every night was a complete sellout.The auditorium was so packed that some of the audience ended up standing in the back and additional chairs were placed in the aisles, much to the chagrin of the fire department.The money raised was utilized for various band and choral expenses.Everybody tried out for the minstrel—novelty acts, comedians, musicians, etc.The stage band was made up of instrumentalists from the regular band.There was a male chorus sitting on the stage in front of the band consisting of choral and band members.Most of the “end men” were various school athletes; the emcee (Mr. Interlocketer) was usually the drum major of the band—Marvin Carver immediately comes to mind.Marvin introduced acts to perfection and did a terrific act of his own imitating Johnny Ray.Two other big hits of the minstrel was a very young Jenna Jones singing DETOUR while playing the accordion and another drum major, Ralph Greenwausser, playing a lively edition of LADY OF SPAIN on his accordion.
Mr. Jones was also a tremendous innovator.When he first arrived in 1944, jazz was the rage of the country, so he initiated jazz as part of the halftime show.The band entered the field with an extremely fast cadence (220 beats per minute) that brought the crowds to their feet.The band lined up on the field in various formations and started playing hit songs of the day while dancing.When this first occurred, I was in the junior band observing the halftime show.It was amazing to see the reaction of the crowds on both sides of the field.If this wasn’t enough, he had two trumpet players march up near the grandstands on both sides of the stadium and the two young men started improvising or taking “rides” as it was called back then.The first two trumpet players who did this were Johnny Maddox and Marvin Marvin (that was his real name).They played without microphones so they had to play loud.As a result of this, Marvin Marvin created an ulcer on his top lip and was forced to give up the trumpet, but that didn’t stop him.The next year he was back on the field playing tenor saxophone with a microphone attached to the bell.With Mr. and Mrs. Jones help, he learned how to play this completely different instrument in a few months.
When the band won first place in the Lions Club contest in New York City in July, 1949, it used this aforementioned type of formation in front of the reviewing stand.The majorettes, known as the Baton Ballet at that time, did a precision dancing routine that astounded the audience and judges—they performed so well that many people thought that they were observing the Radio City Rockettes.However, they went one step further, while doing an intricate routine in front of the band, they also twirled their batons.Of course, Inez (Mrs. Jones), choreographed their routines and even designed their uniforms with the help of some of the parents.By the way, winning this contest was no small thing; we competed against 50 of the best bands from every state (and territory back then) in the union including a 200-piece band that was highly regarded throughout the country—Cicero High School from Cicero, Illinois.As a result of winning this contest, the band and majorettes were invited to entertain the next evening at Madison Square Garden in front of a packed audience of Lions Club members attending the convention.We performed the jazz routine and some other marching maneuvers that Mr. Jones threw in at the last minute.When we arrived back at the train depot in Miami, the University of Miami Summer Camp Band directed by Fred McCall was there to greet us along with a huge crowd of Miamians.It should also be noted that one of the top band composers of our day, Dr. Paul Yoder, was one of the judges and he was quoted in the Miami newspapers as follows:“I’ve judged bands from all over the country, but I’ve never seen one to equal that of the Miami Jackson High Band.”Dr. Yoder had the nickname “The Dean of American Composers.”He composed over 1,500 original compositions and arrangements during the course of his career.In other words, his judging ability really meant something.
The 4,000-mile trip to Chicago and Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic, in August of 1952 was another monumental logistical problem that Mr. Jones solved with practically no problems.The band was invited to Chicago to do the halftime show at Soldiers Field for the annual game at that time, between the college all-stars and the top pro team (Los Angeles Rams).Here is a direct quotation from the Miami Herald, August 16, 1952:“The Miami Jackson Band was the first high school group to be featured in the between-halves spectacle in the history of this grid classic.Immediately after the game the musicians left by special Pan American Clippers for Ciudad Trujillo, where they will take part in today’s presidential inauguration.”In other articles in this same newspaper, they went on to praise the band for the tremendous “crowd-pleasing” show.The newspaper also showed a number of pictures of the band parading and performing a concert in the Dominican Republic.
It should be added that this trip wasn’t a “bed of roses.”For example, part of the show that we put on at Soldier’s Field was a light show.This necessitated that extra people, technicians, and equipment had to be brought to Chicago, but could not be transported all the way to Dominican Republic.Therefore, there was a large group of people that had to go back to Miami from Chicago to accompany all of the extra materials and equipment.Another problem arose during the show when it started raining; the colored floodlights on the sidelines began blowing up.However, Mr. Jones had us so well trained that we just kept on with the show and the crowd seemed to love it.It should be added that every band member had a battery pack and lights pinned to our uniforms; this is why we had to have the technicians along to make sure that everything worked.
Another tremendous talent that Mr. Jones had was his ability to select and train leaders.There were two student conductors that should be mentioned because of their outstanding ability—Connie Weldon and Richard Mayo.During my first couple of years in the senior band (1947-1949), Connie Weldon would take over the band during some of our rehearsals while Mr. Jones would sit in various sections of the band; this enabled him to make constructive improvements when necessary.I might add that Connie had all superior ratings in student conducting at district and state contests.After Connie graduated, Richard took over this responsibility (1949-1951) and he was just as competent as Connie.He also earned superior ratings in all district and state contests.Connie eventually became a member of The Boston Pops Orchestra and later became an Assistant Dean of Music at the University of Miami.Richard became Director of Bands at Florida State University.
Another testament to his ability to select talent was the tremendous drum majors that he selected—Gordon Salyers (1946-48), Ralph Greenwausser (1948-50), Marvin Carver (1950-52), and Allen Alexander (1952-53).All four of these young men were perfect for this responsibility.They were all over six feet tall and would have made great drill sergeants in the U.S. Marine Corps.In most bands, the drum major is nothing more than a figurehead.In Mr. Jones’s band, they actually had leadership responsibilities.For example, they had to take us into different directions when Mr. Jones decided to change a show at the last minute; this happened on several occasions during halftime shows when it looked as if the opposing band had used some of our show.
One of the innovations that Mrs. Jones came up with was the concept of male twirlers in front of the band.Two young men would do athletic leaps while twirling their batons.They were called the “Flying Twirlers.”The first two young men who performed these stunts were Richard Puckett and Eddie Franklin.Richard and Eddie later became the “Flying Seminoles” in front of the Florida State University Band and one of our majorettes, Paula Parsons, performed with them.After getting their degrees at Florida State, the two of them performed in various clubs all over the country twirling fire batons and doing their precision routines.
Let’s go back in time again to the year that Mr. Jones arrived in order to understand the tremendous undertaking that he accepted.The obstacles that he had to overcome were monumental.He inherited a very weak music program with only 30 members in the senior high band, a small junior band, a beginning band, and a very small orchestra.The entire school encompassed Grades 7 through 12 and had an enrollment of less than 1500 students.Other schools in the county that Jackson had to compete with had enrollments of over 3,000 students in just Grades 10 through 12.In addition, these schools were located in more well-to-do neighborhoods and their band members could afford private lessons from extremely specialized tutors.However, we had one great advantage over these other schools; we had Mr. Jones!In less than three years, he built the program up to over 110 members in the marching band and 90 members in the concert band.The word got out all over South Florida about the success of our band and we started getting members from all over Dade County—in those days, students were permitted to go to any school they desired.By the way, I received one extremely great honor from Mr. Jones—he allowed me to become a member of the band when I was only in the Eighth Grade.As far as I know, Ken Hines and I were the only two allowed to get in the band that early.An overwhelming majority of band members were taken from Grades 10, 11, and 12.There were four or five Ninth Graders (including myself) allowed in a year after I became a member.
Later Dade County Schools built a new Allapattah Elementary approximately one mile north of Jackson.It included Grades 1 through 8 and Miami Jackson, after that, included only Grades 9 through 12 and the population went up.Needless to say, this helped to build up the band and made Mr. Jones’s job a little easier.Jackson High School took over the old Allapattah Elementary building to help house a larger population.There was no stopping the Jackson Band after this; it continued to grow and prosper.However, Miami Edison and Miami Senior High Schools still had much larger enrollments, but their bands did not compare to ours.
In my last year, 1951-52, there was one additional item that Mr. Jones felt especially proud of besides the fact that we had trips to Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Chicago that same year.There was something back then called the Tampa Clinic.This clinic included the best musicians from all the bands in the State of Florida.Most of the first and second chairs in the band attended this clinic and were auditioned to determine their positions in two equal bands—a work band and a show band.For the first time ever, more musicians from the Miami Jackson Band placed first chair in the two state bands than any other school in the state.Trying out for the clarinet section, for example, I (a senior) was first chair and Alva Nessmith (a junior) was second chair in the Jackson Band.After auditions, I was placed first chair in the work band and Alva was placed first chair in the show band—this was a tremendous honor considering the fact that all the best clarinetists in the state tried out for these positions.This happened over and over again in other sections of these two bands.I wish that I could name all of the band members that won first chair in these two state bands, but I can name a few:Earl Richardson on trumpet, James O’Connor on trombone, Edgar Braddock on tuba, Anita Brown on French horn, Ken Hines on drums, Ann Nesbitt on flute, Juan Billingsley on bassoon, and many others (sorry, I can’t remember them all).Mr. Jones was so proud of this accomplishment that he announced all of our names to the whole school on the intercom system when we returned.Needless to say, all of us owed most of this to him.
Mr. Jones stayed at Miami Jackson only one more year after I graduated in June of 1952.His last year, 1952-53, resulted in more trips; however, that 21-day trip to Brazil mentioned earlier in this paper occurred one year after he left, but he did lay the groundwork for the new director, Al Vorherr, to arrange this trip.My brother, Ron, was in the band during that trip to Brazil so he filled me in on most of the purposes for this venture.Both the football team and the band were invited by the Brazilian Government to put on clinics in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.The band put on a pre-game show and a halftime show and the football team divided up into two teams that played against each other in order to demonstrate American football to the Brazilian people.As I understand it, this was repeated in several stadiums throughout Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.It seems to have turned out very successful in educating the Brazilians in regard to our favorite sport.
It seems that because of the stress of the job, Mr. Jones decided to transfer to Allapattah Elementary and became their band director during the 1953-54 school year.As usual, he did a great job in building an excellent program specially designed for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders.In the meantime, I finally graduated from the University of Miami in February of 1957 and managed to get a job teaching business subjects at Miami Edison High School.In order to obtain the job, I had to get letters of recommendation from past teachers, employers, etc.Naturally, the first person I thought of was Mr. Jones so I found out that he was teaching music at Thomas Jefferson Jr. High, so I gave him a call and asked him to write the letter.He was glad to give me a glowing letter of recommendation.His letter meant a lot toward my getting this position for, after all, he had been my teacher and mentor for over eight years.When I went to pick it up, he was busy giving private lessons in the band room, but he took the time to sit and talk to me for a long time and encouraged me as he always did.I will forever be grateful for this wonderful man and the eight years I spent with him.
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