The invitations went out and the Alumni Heritage House was ready for the party. 
 The weather cooperated with a
beautiful mountain day.  Janie and Harold had hopes
 for a good turnout and they were not disappointed.
  Those who came shared their stories,
 met the new Headmaster and his family, and had a wonderful lunch. 
Good fellowship, many memories, and promises to meet again next year. 

John Marshall, our new Headmaster, with his wife, Rebecca, and their new son, Luke. 
 The lovely lady to his right is Rebecca's mother, Diane Billingsley.  John immediately set out
 to meet everyone there and welcome them.

Fred Williamson and William Thurmond with Ruth Adams Cabe.  Many stories, some true,
 were told between Fred and William.

Janie greets Betty Coleman McEachern, Carol Coleman McDougal, and Fred Williamson. 
 The Coleman Farm Family was well represented today.  Carol Coleman McDougal,
 who is a gentle and kind lady, always enjoys these parties.

The Farm Family members share a common heritage and they truly enjoy getting together. 
 Many hugs, much laughter, a few tears for those lost since their last meeting.

Janie had arranged for the Music Director, Matt McGee, to present a program. 
 These four talented students were going to perform for us. L-R Emily Abel,
 Tanja Pavlovic,  Clara Jean Quigley, and Mariah Cousineau.

Fred is still telling William about the time....... 
 Harold listens with a smile as William wonders....

Janie, checking with Theresa Halcomb, Dining Hall General Manager,
 to make sure everything is on schedule.

Jackie Oliver graciously allowed Janie to use her heirloom tablecloths.  
The antique lamps added a beautiful touch.

We were all delighted to meet the newest Rabun Gap future alumnus. 
 Luke Alexander Marshall.

John Marshall, with Frank Wheeler, proudly holds Luke. 
 Frank is the hardworking Assistant Headmaster for Advancement. 

Carol Coleman McDougal, Reba Adams Childers, and Lucy Wilson
 get acquainted with Rebecca Marshall.

Janie asked some of our fifties group to come and participate and take pictures.
  The school photographer, Laura Schott, could not attend.  Needless to say,
 this group jumped at the chance to hear Farm Family stories and eat Theresa's
 fried chicken. Jim Lougher, Charlie Underwood, Dale Denham Shaffield,
 and Hazel Guthrie Underwood joined J. Harold Thurmond, 
the Farm Family President, on the porch.

William Thurmond listens as Betty Coleman McEachern tells Beverly Guthrie Lougher
 that her son-in-law had just returned from Afghanistan.  Beverly had taken a picture
 at Homecoming of Betty's granddaughter to send to the father in Afghanistan.  

Martha and Gordon Adams enjoy the Farm Family History Boards that Billy Joe 
had put together for the gathering.

James Childers is looking for his family.

Rebecca Marshall greets Dale Denham Shaffield, Hazel Guthrie Underwood,
 Charlie Underwood and Jim Lougher.  Hazel tells Rebecca how proud
 we are that they chose Rabun Gap.

Susan Houghtaling Odom had helped Billy Joe with the boards earlier in the
 week and was enjoying seeing everyone. Here she greets Frank Wheeler.

Hayward Bryson, William Thurmond, and Grady Wilson are happy to see each other.

 Fredda and J. T. Coleman.  J. T. recently stepped down as Farm
 Family President after serving for many years.  His service was appreciated
 by the school and all the Farm Family members.

Farm Family member, Carolyn Carnes Brewer with Frank Wheeler and Janie Owens.

Janie welcomes the members by honoring Dr. Ritchie and his dream of
 the Farm Family program.  

The Farm Family Program worked because Dr. Ritchie carefully chose the families. 
The program benefited the school and the families who participated. 
 A common note was heard from all - the pride in their parents
 for sharing Dr. Ritchie's dream.

Many families are represented here and every family is respected for their
 contribution to the heritage of the school.

A most enjoyable music program from the students.
 A beautiful solo was performed by Clara Jean Quigley.

Everyone joined in the singing. John Marshall seemed to enjoy the sounds
 of music. The last song was "God's Keeping", a song dear to all of us.

The Dills family spilled over into the gallery area. 

Apraha Henry-Fisher, a ninth grade student with her mother, 
Brenda Henry.  They proudly represent the Stiles Farm Family.
  Apraha, who is attending Rabun Gap on a  Farm Family scholarship told us what
 it means to her to attend Rabun Gap and  how proud she is of her heritage. 
 She was a very poised and charming young woman. 

John Marshall told the group that he chose to come to Rabun Gap because of 
the rich heritage of the school and the excellent academic standards. 
 He believes in Dr. Ritchie's dream of Work, Study, Worship.   His wife, 
Dr. Rebecca Billingsley Marshall, has a very successful career
 of her own which she will continue to pursue.  John wanted to meet the
 Farm Family members and hear their stories.  He appreciates a good story but
 more importantly, he appreciates the hard work done by these families
 to better themselves and their children. 

One of the first Farm Families was the William (Will) Thurmond family.
  His grandson, Harold, is the new President of the Farm Families. 
 Harold's father, Clarence, operated a dairy for the school for many years. 
  Here Harold is relating a story of Farm Family life that John Marshall certainly is
 enjoying.  Harold asked which families were represented this day 
and for a member of the family to share with the group a little of their history.

Carolyn Carnes Brewer is enjoying listening to Harold. 
 Susan Houghtaling Odom is pondering the situation.

Grady Wilson tells about his family and their years in the program.

Marjorie Carpenter Robinson was filled with memories of her family.  
She went on to graduate from the Junior College in 1940.

Fred Williamson had the room in stitches as he rambled on about Farm Family life.

The Adams Farm Family was well represented.  James Adams spoke for the family.

G. Donald Foster recalls happy days with his family at Rabun Gap.

Carolyn Carnes Brewer was the youngest of 12 children. She remembers hard times
 but happy times with her parents in the little house on Wolffork Road. 
 She loved sharing the day and memories with everyone.

Hayward Bryson was the hit of the day.  His story of his father and the
 out-house brought down the house.

Everyone was ready for Theresa's fried chicken lunch.  She and her able
 assistant, Darlene Chastain, cheerfully made us welcome and fed us in style. 
The food was very, very good.

Plates full of fried chicken, potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, and rolls. 
 Hot apple pie with ice cream for dessert.  My oh my!  Just like back on the farm.

Marjorie Carpenter Robinson with her son Morris Robinson and members 
of the Dills family checking out the Farm Family boards after lunch.

Billy Joe Stiles put a lot of work and love into these memories. 
 He could not be with us and we all missed him.

The last event of the day was a group picture.  This very special group had a great day visiting 
old friends, remembering old times, and reaffirming their belief that they had the best of it all at Rabun Gap.

With pride in our common heritage, we hope you have enjoyed our presentation of the 2004 Farm Family Gathering. 

 J. Harold Thurmond '60, Dale Denham Shaffield '59, and Beverly Guthrie Lougher '58.

Rabun Ramblings