Friends, family enjoy Nita Hurley Day

Sandra Pouland

Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, was proclaimed as Nita Hurley Day in the City of Diboll.

Friends of her church, Diboll First United Methodist Church, planned a very special service on Sunday in her honor and managed to surprise Nita.

In 1963 the music of Diboll UMC had been under the direction of Dorothy Farley until her husband’s job relocated the family to Arizona. Dorothy’s position was passed on to Nita Ramsey, a senior at Diboll High School who had been singing for years in her church and for various occasions. Since that time Nita’s faithful service and beautiful voice has blessed her congregation, the community and even Carnegie Hall.

The mayor’s proclamation stated Nita’s voice of an angel has sung at weddings, baptisms and funerals and blessed the citizens of Diboll with her rendition of “O Holy Night. ” (Mr. Temple was quoted as saying “It wasn’t Christmas until Nita sung it.”)

The congregation was packed with friends and family members that appreciate her and have loved to hear her sing many specials throughout the years, including “Amazing Grace,” “The King Is Coming” and many others. After graduating from DHS Nita married Gary Hurley. They have two sons, Kevin and Colin; and three grandchildren, Reagan, Sydney and Kevin Jr.

Sunday’s program at the Diboll Methodist church for Nita Hurley Day included several more surprises for Nita. Her cousin and former pianist, Aleen Grimes, was present to play for the “Good News Boys,” a quartet that has not performed in several years and included Jeff Hearne, Daniel Dover, Glenn Price and Mike Warren. Former choir member Sally Macher sang “Thank You for the Music” with words paraphrased by Kathy Custer just for Nita. Mavis Trout read a special prayer written by Betty Hendrick. Don and Dolly Whitaker sang a duet. Rosemary Swetland-Berry sang “Thank You” and Pastor Keith Broyles’ sermon, “The Hall of Faith,” was dedicated to Nita.

The choir had been working for weeks on “My Tribute” under Nita’s direction, accompanied by Rosemary Berry on the piano, but Nita was unaware that her testimonial song was going to be sung on “her” day. Other former choir members that sang in the choir were Linda Fulmer, Doreen Wideman and Bill Smith, along with regular members that included Sue Johnson, Betty Burkhalter, Melissa McCall, Linda Maxey, Linda Miller, Sandy Hendrick, Delana Hendrick, Mavis Trout, Gayle Farley, James Snarr, Gary Hurley, Herman Strauss and organist, Becky Donahoe. After the service, the ladies of the church had prepared a dinner for all who wanted to stay, eat and enjoy visiting with many friends who came to surprise Nita.

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Back in August, Jerry and Clara Breazeale, along with their daughter and son-in-law, Deidra and Kenny Carrell, and their granddaughter, Lee Ann Camp, and their great-grandson, 10-month-old Raylan, all drove to El Paso where Lee Ann’s husband, Jason Camp, is stationed and was due to arrive there from his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. It was sad and difficult for the family members to leave “the kids” and especially Raylan to return to East Texas. Not too long after that, Clara received an informative telephone call from Lee Ann saying that Jason got a few days off and they were planning to vacation in New Mexico. Clara had hardly hung the phone up when the front door bell rang. Jerry Lee opened the front door and was totally surprised to see 10-month-old Raylan sitting there in his car seat. About that time LeeAnn and Jason stepped out of the shrubbery, truly surprising everyone!

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Congratulations to Faye and George Honea, whose 65th wedding anniversary is Sept. 19. Brother James Bradford married Faye Anderson and George Honea in her church, First Baptist Church of Lufkin, in 1948. George thought First Baptist was too large so they decided to move their membership to Calvary Baptist and have been there ever since. George’s father, R.V. Honea, was the railroad agent in Sacul and later moved to Diboll to work for the TSE railroad. George came later and worked for TSE for more than 20 years while Faye retired from Texas Power & Light after working for 39 years and 9 months. They have two sons; George II, who passed away in 2009, and Bruce and his wife, Rhonda, who live in Shreveport; two grandsons, Jeremy and Jarred, and granddaughter, Jana; and one great-grandson, Nathanial.

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Enjoyed visiting with James Hines when he came in with a picture of himself and movie star, Buck Taylor, who played on “Gunsmoke.” Both are artists and met at an art show. Buck Taylor lives in Boyd, Texas, where he has his own art studio. From this acquaintance, Buck Taylor asked James if he would be interested in being in a movie that was to be filmed in Crockett and two other Texas locations. Of course James was interested and eventually was dressed, beard and all, for the part of a stagecoach driver and won the approval of the casting director. James’ stagecoach scene was filmed in Lukenbach. The movie, “Red and Yellow Sunset,” is an old-timey made-for-TV western which should probably be finished in 2 to 3 months before he can claim his celebrity status.

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Clifford Cryer and Melissa Morasch stopped by after visiting The History Center. He had been told that some folks at the Round Table might remember his father, Sherwood Cryer. It just so happens that Geraldine Pouland graduated with his dad from DHS in l943. Clifford remembers coming to Diboll only for funerals. He grew up in Pasadena with his dad, who insisted his kids needed to have work ethics. As a young boy, some of Clifford’s best friends were Danny Cooksey and Greg Gilley. Greg and his dad, Mickey, ate almost every Sunday with the Cryers at Sudie’s Catfish House in Pasadena. He knew singers like Reba McEntire, George Jones, Tanya Tucker, Hank Thompson, George Strait, Johnny Lee and Randy Travis, but did not know them as entertainers who were there to perform in his dad’s club named “Gilley’s.” His dad had a patent for El Toro, a mechanical bull that he learned to work on and later manufactured them. Clifford was older when he remembers meeting John Travolta and Debra Winger during the filming of “Urban Cowboy” that was filmed on location at Gilley’s in Pasadena.

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One Saturday morning, Denise Wilson of the Cowboy and the Princess, came in with two of her riding students. Two beautiful sisters with blond hair blue eyes: 8-year-old Alexandria and 6-year-old Clara who Mrs. D says “are on their way to becoming equestrians.”

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Colbe Robertson came in with his stepdad, Ray Fenley, to buy red “vet” wrap for his ankles for the eighth-grade football game against Bullard. Colbe is a wide receiver and cornerback. He corrected me, it’s not “quarter”, it’s “corner.”

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Charles Moore of Livingston was the lucky winner of the Remington 870- 12 gauge shotgun that was given away during the successful benefit for Justin Griffin.

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This Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 22 members of the Diboll Business Association will be set up under tents in the parking lot in front of the DISD Administration Building. This Showcase of Businesses is being done in hopes of letting people know what businesses are in Diboll and what items or services they have to sell. Please take the time to stop by visit, shop and meet some new folks.

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Bettie Havard, longtime employee of Pouland’s, is still in Hermann Hospital in Houston recovering from serious injuries she received in an accident. We are grateful she has been moved from ICU into step down, but she still needs our prayers for her and her family.

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Come see us…’round the table.

 

Sandra Pouland, owner of Pouland’s Real Estate, contributes this column. Stop by the Round Table or email her at sandra@poulands.com or 936-829-4040.