The annual Retzlaff Family Reunion was held July 19, 1998 at the St. James Lutheran Parish Hall in Lexington, Texas, with 69 relatives and 3 visitors present.

Donald and Norma, and son, Donald Alan, soon arrived with the boxes of family history books, and they were quickly snapped up by those who had arrived early. Picture taking was soon begun by this son and grandson of Emma Christine Retzlaff who began these books nearly a half - century ago. She spent many years collecting family history -- from relatives in Germany as well as the United States. So a record is available to those who attend the reunions.

Several relatives were in attendance for the first time, and were from the Grauke line.

The noon meal was a catered barbecue lunch, and each paid for it -- $6.00 per person -- as they registered upon arrival. The actual price of the meal was $5.00 with the extra $1.00 going for other expenses; mainly $50.00 for use of the hall, and for mailing 100+ notices. Each family brought a delicious dessert that was much enjoyed.

Mary Beth Gibson was in charge of arrangements and conducted a business meeting soon after lunch. She called for a show of hands for all present from the Ottile Bade family -- the Olsens, Hotz, Raschkes, etc. -- but none were present this year; Bernard Retzlaff -- a big show of hands; Augusta Grauke, a number present, some who had never attended before; Adolph Retzlaff, several present; and Arnold Retzlaff, the fifth branch from Germany, had several present.

Robert W. Grauke, Jr. and Chad & Ross Grauke from Vinton, La. traveled the longest distance to attend; the oldest present was Ruben Retzlaff at age 88, and the youngest was Katie Shouse, age 2, daughter of Ken and Karon Shouse.

Weddings were: JAN MARIE, daughter of George and Mary Ann WILLIFORD, to BRADY SIMMONS, Feb. 22, 1997; and BRYAN LESLIE, son of Frank Leslie and Billie VANCE to BILLIE SUE LYNN, April 18, 1998.

Births reported were: LUKE HOWARD MASON to Marc and Debra Vance Mason, Dec., 1997; SYDNEY REBECCA HENDRICKS to Josh and Erin Vance Hendricks, Dec. 23, 1997; and CARTER VELTMAN BALL to Robert Don and Laura Veltman Ball, Jan. 27, 1998, grandson of Gloria Lear and great-grandson of Emma Lou Voges. Also to be added to the family record on Josh and Erin is ASHLEY HENDRICKS, his daughter by a former marriage, born 1994; and to Bryan and Billie Sue Vance's record, her children by a former marriage: MAEGAN DARLENE SHUTTER, NICHOELE SHERRY and NICHOLAUS (twins) LYNN , born 8-2-1991, CAITLIN SUE LYNN, 9-11-1992, and LAURA EMILY LYNN, 9-27-1996.

We were saddened by the deaths of Gussie Vance of Feb. 28, 1998, and Harding Peterson on Mar. 5, 1998.

Donald spoke concerning books he has written and others he is writing, and Donny spoke about the new books of family history he is still working on. We are grateful to these two who are putting so much time and effort into preserving our family history and making it available to us.

Clifton Seifert, a visitor, spoke about a program being worked on for April 24, 1999 for a memorial service at the Lexington Memorial Cemetery that will be in use for 100 years. A Texas historical marker will be unveiled at the cemetery.

Elois Retzlaff moved that the annual reunion be changed from the 3rd Sun. in July to the 3rd Sat. in July. It was seconded, and after a brisk discussion, it passed with no dissenting votes.

Lexington was again chosen for the 1999 meeting place with the Kleinschmidt families to be in charge. Your secretary took care of expenses on Mon. morning after the reunion and found we have a balance of $70.00 for 1999.

(Signed) Ruby Vance, Secretary