Never the less, those present enjoyed the visiting, poring over the family books, working on individual family histories, and picture-taking. A tasty catered meal of roast beef, fried chicken, and vegetables was served at noon, with Rev. Chuck Miller, husband of Sheryl Kleinschmidt and pastor of the local Baptist Church, offering the blessing. The usual delicious desserts, brought by the families, were relished also, after which a business meeting was held by Mary Beth Gibson.
No one knew the exact mileage they had come, but it seemed to rest between Sulphur, Louisiana, and Argyle and West Tawakoni, Texas, for who had come the farthest distance. There were 4 present from the Adolph Retzlaff family line, 2 from the Ottilie Retzlaff Bade, 4 from the Arnold, 27 from the Bernhard, and 6 from the Augusta Retzlaff Grauke, including two members, Mary McConnell and daughter, Martha, from Sulphur, La., present for the first time.
The youngest present was 2 year old Carter Veltman Ball, son of Laura and Bob Ball, and the oldest was Ruby Vance at 90. She also was recognized as having never missed a reunion.
The birth of Mary Emma Simmons was announced by Marie Peterson Weiss. Mary Emma was born May 24, 2000, to Jan and Brady Simmons and is the granddaughter of Mary Ann and George Williford and great-granddaughter of Marie Peterson Weiss. Sadly, the birth and death of little Thomas David James, son of Thomas Z. James, III, and Nancy Higginbotham James, was told by his grandmother, Darlene Hornung James. He was born Nov. 1, 1998, with a serious heart defect, had corrective surgery, but died Feb. 14, 1999. He was a great-grandson of Walter and Helen Hotz Hornung. We also noted the sudden and unexpected death of Jay Tonahill, son of Geneva Retzlaff Tonahill, on Saturday, May 6, 2000.
One wedding was noted: that of John Mark and Sandra Veltman on November 13, 1999.
A lengthy discussion was held on why attendance is dropping. It was voted to change the meeting day back to Sunday-after two poorly attended Saturdays-and to pass the meeting place around more often. Lakeview Methodist Conference Center near Palestine, Texas was suggested and will be looked into for 2002, but for 2001, Carolyn Tonahill and Kathy Rogers will find a place in or near Austin, and will host the reunion there. It was also suggested that a cooler time of year might be better, but no decision was made.
Mary Beth displayed a German Bible originally owned by Emilia Retzlaff Ries and passed down to Helen Hornung and Darlene James. Darlene brought the Bible, several songbooks, and two Conference Journals (circa 1922) from the German Methodist Church, which she wants to be available to those attending the Reunions. Mary Beth agreed to be caretaker. Weldon Retzlaff told of his son donating a kidney to save his life, how wonderful he feels, and how thankful he is. Donald Retzlaff, Sr. spoke of the books he and his son, Donnie, have written concerning the life of their mother and grandmother, "Cousin Emma", and of Donald, Sr. Copies were on hand for anyone interested in them or for purchasing. Donnie called attention to the work he has been able to do on the family books with the computer-and also that he had brought a computer along to let anyone see the reunion pictures he has put on the Internet. Emma Lou Voges reported that her daughter, Gloria Lear, was ordained a deacon in the United Methodist Church this summer.
Grateful thanks to the men who helped remove and store the tables before departing. It was a good gathering in spite of the drought and heat of 100+ degrees.
(Signed) Ruby Vance, Secretary