Foster-Whorley reunion held

Friday, June 15, 2007

The biennial Foster-Whorley Reunion was held on June 9, at the Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall in Petersburg. Some 35 families attended the covered dish lunch and festivities that began at 10 a.m. and ended in mid afternoon. Marsha Omohundro (daughter of Pauline Whorley Durand), Hazel Foster, and Al and Mary Simmons (son of the late Robbie Whorley Simmons) planned and hosted the reunion. All known descendants of Joel Whorley and James Littleton Foster, early settlers of Bedford, Lincoln, and Marshall Counties, were invited. While most of the attendees were from the Marshall and Bedford County areas, others came from throughout Tennessee and as far away as Texas and Florida.

Attending from the Petersburg, Lewisburg, and surrounding area were Ed and Jean Cosby, Carol Harris, Pauline Burke, Gary Durand, Nicky and Willene Foster, Kaylee Foster, Doyle and Belle Gibson, Sue Wilson, Betty Chunn, Mary D. Head, Jessie and Marilyn Head, John and Sherry Sorrells, Donna Wells, and Buddy and Ann Whorley.

Attending from the Shelbyville area were Emmett Arnold, Mark Arnold and family, Steve and Dianne Arnold, Dallas Arnold, Debbie Hentz, Ray and Meredith Anne Higgs, William and Margaret Lee, Hazel Foster, Wayne and Donna Simmons, Coy and Virginia Simmons, Jimmy Whorley, and Al and Mary Simmons.

Nashville, Murfreesboro, and West Tennessee area attendees included Robyn Crabtree, Cheryl Hanvey and family, William and Barbara Owen and grandchildren, Larry and Jannifer Rice, Larry and Beth Rozell, Jason Rozell, Bret and Clay Rozell, and Seth and Laura Rozell. Out-of-state attendees were James and Nadine Lenox (Buffalo, TX) and Belva Jean Vance (Wauchula, Fla.).

Registration began at 10 a.m., followed by family greetings, friendship renewals, and discussion of ancestors. At noon, host Al Simmons welcomed the group. Emmett Arnold gave the invocation and blessing, and a bounteous potluck lunch followed.

After lunch, Al Simmons memorialized family members who had passed away since the last reunion in 2005. A memorial wreathe displayed their names in remembrance of their family heritage. Larry Locke (Clifford Whorley line) offered a prayer of remembrance and thanksgiving in their honor. The list included Mell Wright, Bud Whorley Sr., Johnny Bragg, Pauline Durand, Trixie Clemmons, John Foster, Henry Prosser, Don Wells, William Owen, Herschel Moore, Clarice Arnold, Frank Bradford, Clint Arnold, and Charles Norman. Simmons then eulogized Pauline Whorley Durand who passed away earlier this year. She was the initiator of the early reunions and worked tirelessly to develop the Foster-Whorley ancestral lines and welcome newly discovered ancestors into the family.

The program then recognized those new relatives who had come into the Foster-Whorley Family since 2005. New births included Jesse Daniel Foster (Travis and Teri Foster), Benjamin Prosser Pewitt (Pat and Mandy Prosser Pewitt), Noah Riley Hewitt (Chase and Leslie Sanders Hewitt), Abigail Vance (Jamey Vance), Sean Valentine (Greg and Melissa Vance Valentine), Skylar Fanning (granddaughter of Doyle and Belle Gibson), and William Scott Mitchell Simmons (Jeff and Sarah Simmons). New additions by marriage included Pat Pewitt (Mandy Prosser), Matthew Knierim (Lauren Sanders), Chase Hewitt (Leslie Sanders), Clay Rozell (Brett), and Marilyn Head (Jesse Frank).

Following those recognitions, Al gave a talk on the Moore Family connection through John R. and Tempie Ann Moore Foster, the great grandparents of many of the reunion attendees. He highlighted two generations of Tempie Ann's ancestors and current- day relatives. Then, he recognized hostesses Hazel Foster, Marsha Omohundro, and Mary Ruth Simmons, and helpers Gary Durand and Nicky Foster for their work in staging the reunion. Ms. Foster donated many of the door prizes and served as reunion receptionist as well as a hostess. William and Margaret Lee were recognized for their long-time support in organizing and planning past reunions.

Door prizes were awarded to those sitting in lucky-numbered seats. Carol Moore Harris won a copy of Postcard Memories of Bedford County, the Bedford County Historical Society's bicentennial heritage book. Ray Higgs was awarded a cross-stitched Snowman Christmas tree ornament. Donna Simmons won a knitted eyeglasses case. Debbie Hentz won a set of Scandinavian-crocheted hand towels. Jesse Daniel Foster, son of Travis and Teri Foster, was presented a gift for being as the youngest addition to the Foster-Whorley Clan. Nadine Lenox was presented a selection of Tennessee jellies for having traveled the farthest to attend the reunion. Mary D. Head was recognized as the oldest lady at 102 years of age. Coy Simmons was recognized as the oldest gentleman at 98 years of age. William and Margaret Lee were recognized for having been married the longest at 62 years of wedded bliss.

The warm fellowship and renewal of friendships was evident throughout the day. Good-byes and farewells followed in mid afternoon, with the promise and hope of meeting again in 2009.