MHS 1950 graduates went on to do great things

Published 10:32 pm Thursday, February 23, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Betty Etchison West

For the Enterprise

Fifty students, who had attended Mocksville High School, donned their caps and gowns, and walked across the stage to get their diplomas in the brand new Mocksville High School Auditorium on a warm night in May in 1950.

That auditorium, which is now the Brock Auditorium, had just been completed on that graduation day.

It has been written that the Brock Auditorium was completed in 1951.  That is not true, it was completed in 1950.  The seniors were asked to sweep up the nails from the floor so the building would be ready for the graduation that night in May 1950.

Other features such as stage curtains may have been added in 1951, but the building itself was finished in 1950.

Of the 50 who graduated in May 1950, only nine are still living and they are all about 90 years old: Elizabeth Allen Neal, Betty Etchison West, Archie Jones, Mary Jane McClamrock Bowers, Iva Nell McDaniel Dorse, Glenna Jean Roberson Hendrix, Shirley Shell Harrington, Germaine Wellman Wagner, and Betty Whitaker Angell.

The members of the Class of 1950 have gone in many directions and done many things, remarkable things.

Many of the boys in the class served in some branch of the U.S. Military. The Korean Conflict began soon after the people in that class graduated and 13 boys of the 21 boys from the Class of 1950 were either drafted or volunteered for military service. Several served in Korea, others served in Vietnam, and some served in both.

Madison Angell served in the Air Force and then in the National Guard from which he retired as a lieutenant colonel.  Madison had more than 5,000 flying hours.

Jimmy Campbell, who also in the Air Force or the Army Air Corp, flew Huey helicopters in Vietnam and retired as a major.

Bill Winters, who retired as a chief warrant officer, served for 30 years in the U.S. Army. Included in those years were two tours of duty in Korea and two in Vietnam.  He made more than 400 parachute jumps.  Bill was highly for his dedicated service, and he is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Tommy LeGrand served in in the U.S. Navy and the Air Force. He also served in Korea and Vietnam.  Tommy is buried in the Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego, Calif.   

Jack LeGrand and Carl Boger served in the U.S. Navy. Carl liked to reminisce about traveling around world.

Johnny Durham served in the military but the branch of service is not known.

Those who honorably served in the U.S. Army were: Jack Boger, Edward Gaither, Leon Ladd, Brady Lee Leonard, Grady Trivette and Bill Vick.

After serving in the Army during the Korean Conflict, Leon Ladd joined the U.S. Merchant Marines. He was a Merchant Marine for 39 years. Leon had many interesting stories about visiting ports all over the world and being called to pilot big ships.

Gerald Elam was not able to serve in the military because of his poor eyesight.

The men who served in the military were not the only members of the class who traveled.

Bobbie Jean Angell Daniels traveled around the world. She visited 102 countries, 81 islands, and all the wonders of the World except Machu Picchu in Peru.

I did some traveling, but not as much as Bobbie Jean.

I have visited all 50 states in as well as a number of foreign countries; including 75 sites connected to 43 Presidents, and have written books about the presidents and presidential sites.  I worked for the Davie County Board of Education for 30 years as a teacher, principal, and director of personnel.

Letty Foster Smith was also a teacher. She taught private piano lessons and was a music teacher in the Davie County Schools.  Letty, who was so talented, was also the choir director at the First Methodist Church in Mocksville.

Two members of the class were nurses: Elizabeth Allen Neal, a RN, who worked part-time until she was 75; and Shirley Shell Harrington, who lives in Asheboro, and earned a number of degrees and certificates in nursing.  She specialized in mental health nursing and was the first mental health nurse in Randolph County.

Bobby Mac Foster, a medical doctor, served the people of Davie County and surrounding area for about 40 years before he retired and moved to Pinehurst.

Archie Jones graduated from Mars Hill College, Wake Forest University, and the Southeastern Seminary before becoming a missionary in Ecuador and Chile.  He served there for 34 years before returning to the United States. Archie still preaches in a Hispanic Church each Sunday night and teaches Bible studies.

James Hendricks worked for Executone, a company which dealt with hooking up equipment in hospitals.

In addition to serving in the military, Madison Angell farmed.  He grew 40,000 acres of wheat, corn and soybeans. Madison sure helped feed America.

Mary Nell Allen Benson founded a golf course with her husband, Bob, which Davie people enjoyed for a number of years.

Athalene Carter Daniels and her husband, Lindy, moved out west and started businesses in New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas.

Cynthia Clement Dixon lived in Charlotte and worked as an administrative assistant at Package Products for many years.

Coleen Howell Dull had to support her family after her husband got killed in the truck accident. She did so by working for AT&T.

Bill Mason also worked for AT&T.

Mary Frances Martin Cox lived in Greensboro and worked for the Harland  check printing company.

Germaine Wellman Wagner’s occupation was quite different. She worked for the artist, Bob Timberlake, in Lexington.

Mary Jane McClamrock Bowers was the office manager at Hendricks Furniture for many years as well as being a busy mother.

Benny Naylor stayed in his hometown and worked in his family’s business, Green Milling Co.  He also served the community by serving on the Davie County School Board.

Lelia Ann Burton Dartt worked for many years at Ingersoll-Rand.

Jane Carolyn Dwiggins Hudspeth’s last job was that of an administrative assistant at the Davie County Board of Education Office.

Nellie Williams, who was handicapped by spina bifida throughout her life, remained in her home in the Smith Gove community and helped people in any way she could.

Those who chose to be mothers and homemakersalso made important contributions by raising children who are now making contributions to society.

Betty Jean Daniels Riddle with her husband, Donald Riddle, raised five sons and a daughter; Betty Lou Martin Bowden with her husband, J.M., raised her son but also helped with her granddaughter; Iva Nell McDaniel Dorse and her husband had only one daughter, but she also helped with grandchildren; Lucille Potts Sain stayed busy with a son and a daughter; and Janie Powell Potts and her husband, Wesley, had two daughters and a son. “Her obituary said, “She dedicated her life to her children, grandchildren and family.” What could be finer praise?  Mary Eliza Sain Sparks was the mother of one son; Dorothy Shore Cheek and her husband, Tallmadge, had two daughters and a son; Jessie Ruth Steelman stayed busy with her four sons, but she still found time to read; and Thelma Laird Couch and her husband had five children so Thelma was a busy mother.  Betty Whitaker Angell loved being a mother and homemaker.  She and her husband, Verious, had two girls and a boy. The Angells were involved with founding Blaise Baptist Church.  Sara Beaver Sands and her husband, John, had one son.  Helen Brown Hoover was a hard working homemaker and mother.  She and her husband had a son and a daughter.