Many gather for Leming Reunion



The oldest in attendance was 93-year-old King Keith, seated at right. He is pictured with his wife Jo Bronder Keith, seated at left. Behind them is their daughter, Jill and Elaine Conklin. LISA LUNA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

The oldest in attendance was 93-year-old King Keith, seated at right. He is pictured with his wife Jo Bronder Keith, seated at left. Behind them is their daughter, Jill and Elaine Conklin. LISA LUNA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Lots of laughter, hugs and memories were shared at the first ever Leming All Class Reunion on Saturday, Aug. 31. The Pleasanton Civic Center served as the setting for the celebration, which was attended by approximately 320.

“We had people ranging from 93 to 2-years-old and the reminiscing of the old days was in every conversation. So many brought memorabilia to share with others and it was a big hit,” said one of the event organizers, Bonny Badour.

Those attending enjoyed a delicious, catered meal provided by Larry Morado.

“The DJ, Joe Garcia, a Leming student himself, was superb and played requested music,” added Badour.

Also a special treat- the public had the opportunity throughout the afternoon to visit the Leming School. The nostalgic trip back in time was made possible by the Atascosa County Historical Commission, which opened the school for tours.

The oldest to attend was King Keith, accompanied by his wife, Jo Bronder Keith. King’s parents owned a store in Leming in the 1920s. It continued to operate until after World War II was over. King later attended school in San Antonio and Wright College in Dayton, Ohio. He and Jo now reside in San Antonio. Their daughter Jill also attended. Jo did not attend school in Leming. However, she lived in Verdi and graduated from Pleasanton in 1947. Jo wed King three months before she graduated. They have been married for almost 73 years. The couple also have two sons, who served in Vietnam. One son passed away in 2014 of agent orange exposure. Their other son lives in Bryan-College Station.

Santiago and Elida Leal Lopez also attended. Santiago went to school in Leming through 8th grade, as did his daughters, Nancy (through 5th grade), Yvonne (through 4th grade) and Sandra (through 3rd grade). Bobby and Billy Richey also attended Leming school in the 50s-60s. BONNY BADOUR | COURTESY PHOTO

Santiago and Elida Leal Lopez also attended. Santiago went to school in Leming through 8th grade, as did his daughters, Nancy (through 5th grade), Yvonne (through 4th grade) and Sandra (through 3rd grade). Bobby and Billy Richey also attended Leming school in the 50s-60s. BONNY BADOUR | COURTESY PHOTO

The Keiths moved from Leming in 1947. King spent his career working for the military and retired in 1981. Since then he has been playing music. He used to play steel guitar at the Cowboy Jamborees.

“I enjoy life. From a health standpoint, I am in excellent condition,” said King.

He has fond memories of his teachers and having gone to school in Leming. He remembers the Rakowitz family, the Davis family, Korus, Gonzales and Garcia families.

 

“Me and my buddies played together all the time,” said Keith.

The land where Jo Bronder Keith was born and grew up now belongs to Bonny Badour’s son, Chris Schimelpfening. They gathered for a photo– Bonny’s two sons, Chris Schimelpfening and Steve Schimelpfening; Bonny’s daughter-in-law, Jessica Rankin Schimelpfening, who was also a Leming teacher, Jo Bronder Keith and King Keith.

All of Bonny’s sons went to school in Leming, as did she back in the 50s. Bonny attended Leming through 7th grade, then they moved to Pleasanton Jr. High. Steve went through 5th grade before being moved, Chris through 4th grade, Tom through 3rd and Sean through 1st.

Another familiar face at the celebration included Dr. George Jaggy, who still lives in Leming and attended school in Leming. Others gathering together for photos included a group of teachers: Frances Schneider, Lisa Coleman, Camilla Allen Mitchell, Ann Smelley, Deborah Mills and secretary Harriett Palmer. Another group was the girls volleyball and track team from 1957-1958. When they were in 8th grade, they were invited to travel to San Marcos to compete against high schools, for what was then called the Texas Olympics. The group included: Carolyn Jasik Mihalski, Patsy Gibson Brown, Doris Palmer Jasik, Annie Syring Pieniazek, Rosemary Kindla Albert and Josephine Kindla Bridges.

“Leming has always had very athletic students,” added Badour.

Among the many photos that have been shared on Facebook of the event is a large group including: Raymond Gonzales, Johnny Gonzales, Merelee Slomchinski Altom, Clemente Gonzales, Joe “Tony” Garcia, Sally Gonzales Garza, Linda Espinosa Garcia, Philomena Gonzales, Jeanette-Marco Salinas, Michelle Gonzales, Jennifer Cambas, Patricia Cruz Gutierrez, Ali Sandborn, Elida Toscano and Gloria Cruz.

Raymond Gonzales attended school in Leming in the 1950s and 1960s. So, too, did his daughters, Jennifer Gonzales Cambas (through fifth grade), Jeanette Gonzales Salinas (through the fourth grade) and Michelle and Raquel Gonzales (through the fourth grade), in the 1980s.

Some of those attending brought old yearbooks, photos and other items for others to enjoy and look through. Former teacher Teri Escalante Echigo brought her scrapbook and collection of classroom photos over the years. Ezella Olivares Garcia brought a photo of her mother, Leming graduate Lena Huizar. Ezella also wore her mother’s Leming High School graduation ring.

Also on display at the memorabilia table as a painting by Lois Dickey Mahula in 1963. She attended school in Leming through the 10th grade-1944). She married Otis Mahula and they lived across Highway 281 from the school. Their children Dannie, Shelly Mahula Foster Marquart, Pam Mahula Youngblood and Mike Mahula all attended Leming. Dannie attended through 7th grade and Shelly was also a teacher at Leming. Pam attended through fifth grade and Mike through 7th grade. Mike’s son attended school in Leming, as did two of Pam’s children, Melissa through second grade and Luke through first grade.

 

“The day would not have turned out so well without the many Leming students that showed interest and attended. Thanks to so many for showing up,” said Badour.

                       

April 1947

Leming Elementary Faculty, 1978-1979

Teri Escalante’s class, 1977

Staff, 1977

Teri Escalante’s class, 1977-1978

Faculty, 1980-1981

Ms. Foster’s class, second grade, 1985-1986

Ms. Mahula’s class, 1980-1981

1984, Mrs. Foster’s class

Leming Elementary Staff, 1982-1983

2 responses to “Many gather for Leming Reunion”

  1. Sofia Espinosa says:

    Lisa Luna,shame on you! I was very dissapointed in your report
    of the Leming reunion. You mentioned alot of people but ,you
    failed to recognize or give credit to
    the one person:whom without; this event wouldn’t have happened!

    His name is Ralph Espinosa!This man got things rolling and moving
    got a group together to assist him in in getting the word out and help him with the collection of the monies.

    He spent countless hours and drove many miles ,personally
    knocking on peoples doors in
    Leming and surrounding areas
    Just to make sure that all peoples
    we’re aware of the up coming event.

    I must say alot of people weren’t very supportive nor thought the
    reunion would be a success but
    Ralph never doubted it’s success.
    So again I say Shame on you Lisa
    Luna for failing to even mention
    the one person whom without this
    Event would’ve never been.

    • Aaron Davidson says:

      Please call me. This is Noel Wilkerson Holmes, Publisher and Owner of the Pleasanton Express. 830-569-6130. Rarely does a newspaper devote an award winning editor to cover a reunion. We gave coverage on this event and promoted it for free to honor all the Atascosa County people who love their time in Leming. We did almost a full page article valued at $1200 of free coverage on the reunion. Most reunions buy an ad to thank everyone involved. Rarely, does a reunion get coverage of this level in a newspaper. We would have gladly put his name if ANYONE WOULD HAVE TOLD us or sent us information about his primary role. I am so disappointed in you saying twice SHAME ON YOU to a lovely and talented person who took her Saturday to attend an event and share with our readers. Please give me Mr. Espinosa’s name. I will personally call him. I will also pass along this message to Bonny Badour who was so thoughtful to keep us in contact about the Leming reunion.

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