Drew Steele Parham (RIP) MHS 1963

It is with heavy heart that we report the loss of one of our beloved “water drinkers.”

June 29, 1945- July 10,2022

Drew Hutchinson Steele Parham was one of the original contributors to the “What’s in the Water in Midland, Texas” Blog. She was a dear friend and supporter and will be greatly missed. We are thankful for the years of friendship and the love she shared with all of us.

The following article was written and shared on the Greenhill School website:

One of Greenhill School’s most beloved faculty members, Drew Steele Parham, passed away unexpectedly while traveling on July 10, at the age of 77.

The vivacious young language student with the booming laugh and Midland twang took Greenhill by storm when she arrived from the University of Texas to teach Spanish and French in 1967.

Drew was a senior at UT Austin when she received a postcard in the mail from a gentleman named Bernard Fulton. “Bernard had been reviewing some of the resumes of UT students,” Drew recollected, “and he was interested in the fact that I was double-majoring in French and Spanish.” Elated to have found a school that placed such a high value on foreign languages, Steele accepted Fulton’s job offer and never looked back.

One of Greenhill’s most colorful characters, Drew’s exuberant personality and passion for teaching elevated the minds and inspired the hearts of three decades of students before her retirement in 1998. In addition to her exemplary teaching, Parham also chaired the language department with vision and energy, with significant accomplishments, including the introduction of Chinese to the curriculum and the addition of Spanish into Preschool and Lower School. Parham remained a regular visitor to the Hill and recently attended the 2022 spring Legends Dinner and later the performance of The Little Mermaid. She was recognized with the naming of a Heart of the Hill group in her honor in 2005.

Memorial Service details are forthcoming but will take place in September in Marble Falls and Dallas.

RIP- Paula Ann Clarkson (MHS 1963)

Paula Ann Clarkson, 77 of Northside, Texas died on Tuesday, August 30, 2022, in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Graveside services will be Friday, September 2, 2022 at 10:00 am at Bell Cemetery under the direction of Sullivan Funeral Home. Officiating will be Rev. Irl Holt

Paula was born Friday, January 5, 1945 in Vernon, Texas, she was the daughter of the late Charles Marion Clarkson and the late Ruth Lee Hamilton Clarkson.  She attended school at Midwestern University, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She was an investigator for Adult Protective Services. She was secretary for Northside School and she was the first woman on the Northside School Board. She was a member of Texas Cattle Woman’s Association, she was a master gardener and she was a rancher out by Northside. She was a member of Fargo Methodist Church.

Paula is survived by her daughter, Dawn Wilkinson of Vernon, TX, two granddaughters Blythe Freeling of Northside and Blaire Wilkinson, her sister, Betty Ruth Conkling of Fort Worth, TX.

Paula is preceded in death by her parents, son Barron Fortner, brother Richard Hamilton, sister Charlotte Clarkson and her life time companion Donnie Fortner.

Visitation will be Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Sullivan Funeral Home.

Memorials can be made to Alzheimer’s Foundation, Hospice of Wichita Falls or Northside School.

Jerry Reese (RIP)

Written by Jerry Reese

(Jerry passed away April 4, 2020. Rest In Peace.)

I was born in Wink, Texas the sixth child of Alice and A. C. Reese. I can neither confirm nor deny, but my recollection, based on relatives’ stories, is that my Mother and Dad both quit school when they were very young. My Dad died when I was 7, so I remember little about him. My Mother was way too old to have another baby when I was born, and I fear my birth contributed to her being almost housebound with illness until she died during our senior year. My folks were wonderful but unremarkable in terms of worldly achievements.

My family moved from Wink to Odessa, and then in the summer between the 7th and 8th grades, we moved to Midland. I met the cutest girl I had ever seen while riding a bicycle somewhere on Cuthbert Street. I remember her feet being dirty but they were attached to movie star legs, and I fell in love with Jackie Garrett. We both had separate lives for 30 years, but in 1997, I achieved the highest honor of my life and married Jackie.

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Smile Because they Lived and Drank the Water in Midland

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Be glad you can remember these Midland friends and shed a tear knowing they are gone. Or be like some of us and smile because of the memory of their life. Memories come to some of us by closing our eyes and to some by a picture and also a written memory. All serve to remind us that they lived and we documented what they left.

Your heart may ache because you can’t see them but if you close your eyes think deeply of them you can often see them and that will make you smile. This smile keeps you happy so you can live another day and remember all the friends who we knew and who tasted the water in Midland Texas.

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Bill Bearden (RIP) and Tinkerbelle

Click below and listen to “Paradise by The Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf

Tinkerbelle?…. first thought, “the Peter Pan fairy”.  But not in Midland, Texas.  In Midland Tinkerbelle is the beloved puke-green Ford Falcon piloted by Bill Bearden.  There is no telling how many things happened between the doors of that well-exercised car, but I know some of them.  

 That Ford Falcon was driven all hours of the days and nights for a variety of purposes; from carrying Bill to work on weekends with his dad’s floor refinishing company; to an epic cross-country trip with Nugent Brasher and me.  Three young and not so smart teenage boys, starting out I think over some holiday period (I don’t remember the timing), with a trunk full of cold drinks and frozen TV dinners.  A trip of the century, financed with cash from deposit returns on collected empty Ozarka water and soft drink bottles. 

 An ambitious undertaking that included Carlsbad Caverns, Roswell, (NMMI), Ruidoso, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, El Paso, Garner State Park and Monahans before cruising back into Midland.  At least that’s my memory of the itinerary.  Go Tinkerbelle.

 Bill was the master of the highway, although he allowed Nugent and me to “spell” him in irregular shifts.  We didn’t have enough money for motel nights, so we slept in the car, or just stayed up all night…. except for an extravagant and luxurious evening or two when we checked-in for showers and a soft bed.  We saw a lot of real estate, but that Falcon brought most of it by pretty quickly as we slowed down only enough for the towns with major attractions where we spent a few hours.  A major attraction could be defined as cruising the main street, and cool-looking drive-ins trolling for girls.

 Safely back in Midland, with lifelong secrets in each of our minds, Bill resumed his romance with Carole Scrivner, Nugent kept on cheerleading, and I returned to the swim team. Speaking of that Scrivner romance, it turned into real love and a permanent marriage for Bill which he parlayed into a remarkably successful sales and management career, two wonderful kids, and a happy retirement in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  

 Since that trip and MHS graduation, Bill and I shared time at Texas Tech, one MHS reunion, a couple of group retired-guy trips for “fishing” (spelled d-r-i-n-k-i-n-g)  and a brief visit near Mountain Home, Arkansas where he and Carole with friends over the years had enjoyed Gaston’s Fishing Resort on the White River.  In total, my time with Bill was relatively short, but the connection was genuine and spanned these almost 60 years. 

I learned from Carole today that Bill passed away this month, leaving us all with the memories we shared.  I don’t know what ever happened to Tinkerbelle, but I am proud to have known Bill, admired his relationship with Carole, and am lucky to have shared the adventures we lived.  I will miss him, but will enjoy the memories.  Thank you, Bill.                   

Tribute to Andrea Dewey (RIP)

Tribute to Andrea Dewey written by Nugent Brasher posted by Bob Ittner

On Sunday morning in the market mercería, I bought a long, slender,
yellow ribbon. Knowing that Representative A. Dewey traveled in a ’57
Chevy coupe, I asked the Señora to mark in hopeful green ink the portent
AD57 on the ribbon. Several blocks away in the bird market I searched for
the right wings. The vendors had many birds from which to select, but only
a single pajarero had a suitable aviator for hire. In a tall cage stood an
alablanca, an Elegant Tern, captured from his homeland on the Pacific
coast and carried into the sierra for trade.
I asked the pajarero to tie the yellow AD57 ribbon to one black leg of the
white mensajero. This unusual request excited the ears of those around
and some begged from me an explanation. A murmur rose from the
gatherers as word spread of what I told.
The pajarero opened the top of the cage and grasped the alablanca firmly
yet gently, as though lifting not a bird but rather a santo. Then, with a bend
of his knees and a rise to his tiptoes, he tossed the alablanca into the air,
and in a flurry of loud flaps and a sharp double cry, two strong wide wings
hurled the suddenly freed captive toward the distant peaceful ocean.
A lingering gasp swished through the crowd as the released adelentado
rose, and many crossed themselves, and men touched their hats, everyone
watching Andrea’s long yellow ribbon dance in the wind and disappear in
the direction of homeward bound.

RIP-Remembering Andrea Dewey (Class of ‘62)

By Robert (Bob) Ittner

Andrea was voted the Friendliest at MHS in 1962. Her home was located on Golf Course Rd. and was so conveniently located and so welcoming for people dropping in it was known as the Dewey Youth Center. Andrea was a UT graduate and somewhere along the line owned and operated a restaurant in Crested Butte. She liked to address her friends “Well, Honey, blah blah blah.” She eventually moved to Santa Fe where she lived for many years and operated a doggie day care and boarding operation until the end. Given her generous and loving heart it was discovered that many of her dog companions were not paying customers but animals she rescued. Friends were able to find homes for them after her passing, many going to Colorado. May you Rest In Peace Andrea and thank you for your kind and wonderful spirit. The tribute Nugent made was beautiful and so symbolic of Andrea’s life.

RIP- Bobby Garst

Click “Happy Days Theme Song” while reading.

by Linda Mills Wofford

Bobby Garst sent this to me several years before he passed away. Billy Wayne, Bill Wood, Betty Clarkson Conkling and I sat together at Bobby’s memorial service.

I asked Billy Wayne to get up and read this at Bobby’s service. He did a fantastic job – Bobby would have been proud! RIP Bobby.

LHS/MHS CLASS OF 64Yee Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Class Mates, Friends and Friends I didn’t know I had, here is my story, probably short but It’s my story and I am sticking to it! First and foremost! MIDLAND TEXAS ALLOWED ME TO BE FREE. I walked to Sam Houston Elementary School, proudly served on the safety patrol, and later got to ride my Bicycle to school. Gee! No busses. And of course during September for the World Series we were allowed to bring our TV to school to see the game. All American! We played games in the school yard, if we got hurt we got over it! We had reading and writing and “a rat in the house might eat the ice cream” arithmetic. We said the pledge of allegiance and sang God Bless America every morning. We had the opportunity to buy stamps for savings bonds, something to encourage saving and helping America. Thank you Mrs. Clements 6th grade Sam Houston. And thank you Ms. Jones. 6th grade Sam Houston. I really really really did want to be in you class Ms. Jones. You were so neat (pretty) and of course Virginia was in your class.  Well back to Freedom! I walked, rode my bicycle and had P.E. in the school yard, but better still, I was allowed to dig a hole under the fence around the Midland High School football field and slip in to watch the big guys play ball. I watched Wahoo McDaniel every day! I helped put up the blocking pads everyday and I even got a ride home (most days) on Wahoo’s Harley. God he scared me too death going (only 60 mph) down Cuthbert to Lanham. Next to Susan and Sharon White’s home. Oh! Oh! Anyone remember Pete the Ice Cream driver? What a fine person he was. He would allow young people to pledge that they would pay for their Ice Cream the next day or so, it was on credit, WE PAID. Where is Pete? Little League Baseball was a tryout situation, not a your on the team deal. We earned it, but not now. Everyone gets a Prize now. I was lucky to get on Spud Levens’ team during the 1958 All Star Baseball season. I have my baseball signed by all of the team players including George Bush. I was honored to be able to get the original 1958 Baseball signed again by George in 2005 in the Oval Office. Lily MaNally arranged the meeting and I adore her for the achievement. Of course it was followed by a presentation of the State Dog Of Texas Certificate naming the “Blue Lacy Game Dog” as the State Dog Of Texas. About Midland, like I said, we learned to be free, to hunt when we were 10 or less, to drive a motor scooter at 12 years old, do my first solo flight at 16. That’s me. We had respect for everyone and still do. Midland was a great place to learn about nature and critters. I would catch Horny Toads, Red Tailed Lizzards, Jack Rabbits, put Black Ants in Red Ant beds and watch em’ fight. We got out of the house! We did things out doorsand our grandkids need to get out of the house and do things out doors. But will that happen? Here is what I wrote while drinking wine.  Glad I wrote it and glad I tried to figure out what I wrote. Here we go: What dawns on me — is that our High School days are those where we were ALL close to one another more than we realized. We knew each other and we cared for one another. We all grieved if we lost one of our class mates, (Mike Douglas) first comes to my mind. If anyone remembers, Mike had the Cannon that I would use at the football games. I sort of exploded my mega phone one night with one firing, Wow. Anyway, what  a special person he was in our class. There are more, but lets remember William Stall who died in Vietnam. He was in my United States Marine Corp Booth Camp Platoon 322 in San Diego. He is missed. And  of course Kim Hammon is gone. And others. Sara Shands attented the Washington D. C. Reunion in honor of her late husband Bill Shands USMC. She is a blessing to us all as was Bill. He has always been my hero. Simper Fi Bill, Simper Fi!!! My Happiest Day in High School (I did not know it at the time) was when Linda Mills asked me to run for cheerleader with her. WOW! Linda Mills! But big problem! My grades were not up to par as far as Trig went. Trig. Trig, Trig. “F” “F” “F” but!  I got help. Tutor help and I ended up with a “C” in the class. My Tutor, Linda Mills and my being tested helped me make it in life. My profession requires that I understand surveying and my Tutor and Linda helped me in my life to achieve a “98” (I think it means a 4.0 +) in college in surveying and Trig. I’m not smart, but it is because someone wanted “me” to do something with them that I have been so successful in life.. I am so lucky! Thank you Linda Mills, Candy, John Fisher and Eric God Rest your Soul. And of course, my Class of 64. I’ll go on just because I want to:  Trina Niements: Thank you for the drive to my greatest heights, 14.7 feet as I recall. My broken Pole Vaulting Pole given to you was actually a sign of THANKS for your support. I will always Love You. One thing that very few, if anyone, knows. Summer of 1963 I learned to fly a airplane and got my Solo License. Well, I met a girl, Judy Upchurch, in Banff Canada at an AAPL Convention and wanted to impress her by flying into Houston and taking her out to dinner. Well She stood me up and decided to go on a Chisim Trail Cattle Drive. Well!  What the heck. But! I almost died. Believe it or not I forgot to top off my gas tank on the plane. I flew to Austin and when I got there I was like zero on fuel. Zero on fuel. So lucky to be alive. So I cherish all of you so much. Remember Chris Sales? He was in Houston when I landed. Thanks Chris. And I do thank all my Class Mates. REMEMBER: Remember Billy Godwin and his group? I guess I personally did not think of it as a Gang. But it could have been. Anyway, I really did like Billy for some reason. Even at San Jacinto. I guess I thought he stood up to a lot of things in life. Not that he was right, but he just stood up. Long hair, They shaved it all off and got expelled. Figure That Now! Fights did happen. Too Bad. Remember the Jack Edens fight? Wish I could have stepped in, but not brave enough to step in. Shame on me. I want to thank everyone in my class at LHS and MHS for helping me to be what I am. You are the core of my soul. I thank you. 

Bobby Garst

Memories of Doc

By: Glenn Whittington ‘ 61

My first memories of Doc were in 1959, my Sophomore year at MHS. He had taken the job as the head athletic trainer at MHS.  He also taught Social Studies, more on that later.  After football season ended he became the trainer for Coach Bob Todd for the basketball program.  At this time I had moved to the B team after being a star on the C team under one of the great basketball minds Ralph Schultz who also taught shop.  I truly think he knew more about shop than basketball.  Some of the outstanding players making the move to the B team were Ron Peavy, Bob Speed, Jody Black and Charles Dishman more on each of them in future chapters.  Back to Doc Dodson.Doc ‘s first home as you may know by now was “three trash cans West of the Press Box” .  Many hours were spent in that palace as Doc not only served as a trainer, teacher but he really excelled in counseling young athletes in their pursuit of stardom in athletics and our failed love lives. He loved TCU and his Phi Delt brothers back in Fort Worth.  His pursuit of being back in Ft. Worth with his Phi Delta brothers almost got me in big trouble.  He once gave me his car keys (I was underage to drive at the time) and told me to go to this particular corner where there was a pay phone (remember those?). I was to get this wire coat hanger that was bent a certain way, dial the assigned number and tell the frat brother he would be in that weekend. After dialing the number, drop the coin in the slot, place the coat hanger up the slot and the coin would come back down. Then I was to repeat the process until the cost of the call would allow it go through.  I did as directed –but an operator came on and said there seemed to a problem and I was to remain in that location until someone would be there to discuss the problem.  NOT ME!  I returned to Doc and explained he needed someone with more experience than me!   My athletic career did not progress  as I expected. Dishman became all-state, Black became gunner-junior after Dishman, and Peavy learned to dribble with both hands. Coach Todd and Doc got together and decided to offer me the assistant trainers job.  I would be able to be with my buddies and travel with the team.  Not a bad gig.I will be forever grateful to these 2 great men, Doc and Coach Todd.  Doc even taught me how to tape and got me an interview with Elmer Brown at TCU.  I was provided a scholarship for my first 2 years until I found it interfered with my fraternity life.Doc became such a member of my family that when he was stationed in Fort Polk in 1961 he called my aunt and uncle in Shreveport on Thanksgiving and asked if he could come to Shreveport as he was lonely.  He was welcomed with open arms.  Doc was a man who meant so much to me and is one of the memories of Midland that I will always cherish.

RIP- Doc Dodson (1936-2018)

Doc was born in Ft. Worth, TX in 1936.  He was known as Jimmy to friends and family there, Hambone by his TCU family, and “Doc” by his Midland family.  He attended Poly High School in Ft.Worth, graduated and became a student trainer at TCU.  During those years he took care of some of the greatest athletes: Jim Swink, Bob Lily, Marvin Lasater and Bob Schieffer. Graduating from TCU in 1958, he became the MHS Trainer in1959 and retired in 1990.  He married Gayle McMullan in1963 and had two daughters, Kelly and Jamie.Doc received more honors during his career than we can list here.  Some that stand out are: The Certificate of Merit presented by President Johnson in 1965 for saving a young girls life In 1972 he was the 1st High School Trainer selected to be the Trainer for the World Olympics in Munich, Germany. Outstanding Trainer in the United States for the years of 1977, 80, and 91SWATA Hall of Fame Charter Member and NATA Hall of Fame Member 1985The above information came from his funeral, which Glenn and I were unable to attend.  We were told that the family entered the service to the Midland High Fight Song which was played by the MHS High School Band. Doc was a unique person that touched many lives in Midland and elsewhere.  He played a prominent role our lives.  We would never have found each other if he had not convinced us both to attend TCU.  He had no idea what he was setting in motion—and neither did we.  He was in and out of our lives for almost 60 years. We were fortunate to visit with Gayle and Doc when he came to Arlington for a convention in 2018.  His body was somewhat frail and he was in a wheelchair, but the sparkle in his eyes and his smile at greeting us never left his face.  We had come to say “hello” once more and knew that it would also probably be “good-bye” but those words were never mentioned. Memories, laughter, and hugs were everywhere.  It was a great afternoon of visiting and remembering our times together in Midland.           Doc did not grow up on Midland Water but he got there as soon as he could, drank the water, and never left.                                                               

Midland Fight
On ye, Bulldogs, On ye, Bulldogs, Fight right through that lineEver onward, ever forward, We will win or die.Ra-Ra-RaOn ye, Bulldogs, On ye, Bulldogs Fight for VictoryFight Bulldogs, Fight Fight, Fight and Win this game.Yay Purple, Yay Gold, Yay Bulldogs, Go Go GoMidland Fight, Midland Fight, Yay Midland FightMidland Fight, Midland Fight, Yay Midland Fight