Miscellaneous Family Reunion Stories

Renewed Interest

Nancy Newman tells this story about her husband’s family reunion. Years ago, they had reunions until 1969 when Hurricane Camille destroyed the aunt’s house where reunions were held. Reunions stopped. In 1996, when they learned a cousin was deathly ill and would live just a matter of days, her husband said, “we must have a family reunion.” They got to work and in about three weeks everything was set. The cousin died the day of the reunion. However, it was agreed that the reunions should continue every year. Everyone brings food and drinks. The ladies visit; the men play cards. The real purpose is to get to know each other again. Newman printed a family tree that spread about 20 feet. Everyone enjoyed looking at it. The only complaints were from some divorced folks who didn’t want the spouse shown in the family tree. “Our oldest member is 92 years old. Don’t be discouraged, families mean everything.”

Most Reunion Organizers Will Envy This

We received a lovely note from Al and Essie Morris, Donna, Texas, saluting the great effort of Frank Willis, organizer of the Willis Family Reunion. It is so nice to hear from members of a family who clearly understand that the reunion is an important event that takes much planning and organization to get it right. Mr. Willis is enthusiastic, committed to his reunion and obviously a treasure to his family. Relatives so rarely publicly recognize the specialness of reunion organizers. Thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Morris!

West Coast Branch

The three generation Smith-Sloan West Coast Family Reunion at Point Richmond, California, was formed members who were not always able to travel to the 70 year annual reunion of the entire family in Dallas County, Arkansas.

Another Sisters Reunion Blossoms

Over a decade ago, six sisters from Cresco, Iowa, started annual reunions; sometimes in Minnesota and sometimes at a family cabin on the Oregon coast. One of the sisters, Jacinta (Jazz) Gates thinks there’s a need for sisters to draw closer, dispel myths about each other and “discover who we really are.” Heal old misunderstandings and rivalries. Fix family fractures. Set an example of family closeness for other relatives. These are times to laugh, cry, reminisce, eat, give each other back rubs, compare aging bodies, ruminate about kids and share dreams.

Jazz Gates along with a group of sister-loving women in Portland, Oregon, has created a non-profit organization which provides services for women that support and enrich family and community relationship. Contact Sisters International, Inc, PO Box 2188, Portland OR 97208-2188; 503-645-8326; [email protected]

summarized from an article by Jann Mitchell in the Portland Oregonian

And the Winners are…

One of the special features of Wisconsin’s Sesquicentennialâ„¢ celebrations was a reunion contest. Hundreds of reunions received commemorative certificates. Six winners, chosen for number of attendees, length of time the group has been meeting and activities they planned, received engraved Sesquicentennial medallions. Director, Dean Amhaus says he learned wonderful stories of important celebrations that share great memories and contributions to Wisconsin’s heritage.

Family reunion winners were the Pronschinske Heritage Reunion of 1,200 members at their ancestral farm in Montana, Wisconsin; the 65th annual Friedrich Seidemann Descendants of America Reunion of 600 at Ray Seideman’s farm in Newburg, Wisconsin; the Voie, Voje, Wole Family Reunion in Scandinavia, Wisconsin, where members toured seven ancestral homesteads; and the 74th reunion of the Treleven Clan in Grafton, Wisconsin, which included two members who attended the first reunion in 1928. Two class reunions were also winners; The Milwaukee County Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1948 and an all-school reunion in Eagle River, Wisconsin.