Archive for January, 2010

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: A Glimpse of 1952 at ZHS

By , 7 January, 2010, 3 Comments

Seniors Plan Class Night Program, School Newspaper-Bulldog Bulletin, May 23, 1952- by Shirley Lanham

Well, in exactly one week, on the Friday night of May 30, the seniors will have “Class Night,” in the auditorium. On that night, Lois Greene will read the history of the class. This will include all the happenings from the time they were first graders up until now. Barbara Smith will read the prophecy. All of these things will be acted out by the members of the class. Editors of the annual are Bill McIntosh, and the associate editor, Barbara Smith.

The Last Will and Testament will be read by Kathryn Kersey and Joan Johnson, president.

Graduation Scheduled for June 3- by Joan Braden

After twelve years of hard work, the Senior Class of 1952 has finally arrived at the top of their climb through school. The final ceremony, Commencement, will be held in the Home Theater, June 3, at 8:00 p.m.  The ZHS band will play “Pomp and Circumstance” for the processional and finally “War March of the Priests” for the recessional.

Reverend Hutchinson of the First Methodist Church will give the invocation.  The theme of the program will be “Building a Free World.” The opening speech, “The Free World We Seek,” will be given by the Salutatorian, Barbara Smith. Other speeches, “Resources for Freedom,” “The Cornerstone for Peace,” and “Youth and a Free World,” will be given by Senior Class Representatives, John Wasner and Lamar Herndon and the Junior Class President, Joan Johnson.  Valedictorian, Caroline Jones will give her speech, “Faith in Our Goal.”  Ushers were elected from the Junior Class

High School Band Is Rated Superior-8 Zephyrhills Soloists Win Top Recognition, Zephyrhills News, March 21, 1952– price 5 cents

The Zephyrhills School band won a superior rating and eight soloists won recognition in the District contest of the Bandmaster’s Association held Friday at St. Petersburg.

The band, one of 24 entered in the district festival, qualified for state competition by scoring in the district festival. It was one of the 10 bands in the contest to qualify.

Bands were rated in three categories: superior, excellent and good. Those scoring the superior ratings will be entered in the state contest to be held in Tampa, May 1, 2, 3.

Note that the ZHS Band Building was constructed on ZHS campus in 1953, as reported in the yearbook. This building was torn down in December 2007 to make way for new construction. A synopsis of the band building history can be found at

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on April 17, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary Grand Marshall Nomination Form

By , 6 January, 2010, No Comment

Submitting a Nomination
We’re looking for the best Grand Marshall we can find for the Zephyrhills’ 100th Anniversary Founder’s Day celebration!

Do you know someone who’s been an important part of our community? Nominate the person you think deserves this honor by filling out the form at this link:

Grand Marshall Nomination Form –

Fill it out soon as the nominating committee is making their recommendation in the next couple weeks!

You can also download a PDF version of the Grand Marshall Nomination Form and send it in to Main Street Zephyrhills by email, fax or mail. Check their website for contact information!

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: The Reutimann’s

By , 6 January, 2010, 2 Comments

Names are frequently somewhat synonymous with locations. When we think of Hyannis Port in historic Nantucket, Massachusetts, we are keenly aware that it has been the home place of Joseph P. Kennedy and his famous family since the early part of the twentieth century.  Similarly Hyde Park, New York, conveys recollections of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. For those of our age frame, Plains, Georgia, is also clearly distinguished as Jimmy Carter’s home territory.  You may be wondering where we are going with this article?

The name ‘Reutimann’ imprints our fine city with unique charm and personality. If there were to be anointed a royal family of our pleasant town it would undoubtedly be this colorful racing lineage distinguished by both integrity and grit. Clereen and I have so enjoyed writing our weekly article and as we have mentioned one of our goals is to solicit feedback and ideas from the community on historical milestones. Not surprisingly, a recurring request from alumni has been to recount the historical contributions of the Reutimann family.

Clereen and I have given a great deal of thought to this article because it is perhaps our most challenging to compose. We both greatly respect this clan and we are keenly aware that there is both triumph and tragedy in their story.  We write the article with a prayer that we will convey a bit of the Reutimann family’s chronicle with grace and accuracy. Note that the school history over time has been infused with a great deal of religious doctrine as was the case for all American schooling until the 1960’s or thereabout; with that in mind, we think it is fitting to capture the family’s narrative during this time of year which encompasses not only a religious holiday but also marks the anniversary of the death of a patriarch of the Reutimann family, Emil, Sr. in March of 1960. We invite the community to add to our story, correct our information and contribute to the documentation of our town’s true regal dynasty.

The Beginning: In Reporter Mary Harman’s interview of  Tillie Reutimann Smith (daughter of Emil and Amalie Waeffler Reutimann) from April 2000, Tillie related the origin of the Reutimann’s in Zephyrhills.  Tillie said that Emil Reutimann, Sr., came to Tampa in 1910 from Switzerland, bringing his wife and their 5-year old daughter, Helena, and Reutimann’s father, Johann Ulrich Reutimann (1812-1914).  Emil, Sr., a machinist, had visited America previously to scope out the possibilities of work and then returned to Switzerland to marry his childhood sweetheart, Amalie Waeffler. They immigrated a few years later through Ellis Island and quickly became naturalized citizens. The young Emil then lined up a job with James Brothers Garage in Tampa, Florida. From there the Reutimann’s moved to Zephyrhills in 1915.  Tillie reflected about the move, “Zephyrhills was just a place in the country with streets of sand. I can remember Hennington’s Department and Grocery Store and Penry’s Department Store. They were both located in the area of East 7th Street and 5th Avenue.”

Now in Zephyrhills, Emil Reutimann, Sr., went to work for Mr. James Greer doing mechanical work on his sawmill on Wire Road. (Note that Greer operated sawmill and turpentine stills at the foot of Greer Hill several miles north of town on U. S. 301.) Reutimann also opened a small garage with the ‘town’s first gas pump’ on Highway 301. Amalie worked as the bookkeeper and the family lived in a home now known as the Palmer House on 5th Street.  When the Reutimann kids, Tillie, Helena, Gertrude, Marguerite, and Emil Jr., started school it was at the old wooden schoolhouse at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Sixth Street; they later graduated from the school at the site of the school now known as R.B. Stewart Middle School. The garage business was passed on to son (Emil, Jr.) in 1939, and the Reutimann Chevrolet Dealership evolved from this garage in 1954.

The school history is jam-packed with accounts of ‘Reutimann’s. Here are some examples: Emil Reutimann, Jr., was editor of the first Zephyrhills Annual, Spotlight, and his staff included his sister, Marguerite. In 1935 one of the Spotlight articles included an admonishment to students to respect the school colors (not orange and black) but gold and purple. Here’s an excerpt: “Did you ever take time to look in the dictionary and really find out what our ZHS colors mean? They are “Royal Colors.” Purple is the blend of blue and red—the color of Robes of State! As a noun it means a robe of color; hence: rank of royalty. There is also Gold—a precious metallic element of bright yellow color and when pure, very heavy, precious and of pure quality. With colors like that it is no wonder that we are proud of ZHS?”

"Spotlight.”   includes: Vera Cook, Mary Emery, Lina Felts,   Rebecca Magness, Grace Mott, Sarah Parsons, Donald Plank, Emil Reutimann, Marguerite Reutimann, Eva West, S.A. Clardy, Ernest Linkey, Laura Rogers, M. Slater, & Norma Stone.

"Spotlight.” includes: Vera Cook, Mary Emery, Lina Felts, Rebecca Magness, Grace Mott, Sarah Parsons, Donald Plank, Emil Reutimann, Marguerite Reutimann, Eva West, S.A. Clardy, Ernest Linkey, Laura Rogers, M. Slater, & Norma Stone.

Emil, Jr., was very prominent in many school articles as were his sisters. Tillie was the editor of the school newspaper and the newsletter featured society information that gives one a real glimpse of social life in the 20’s and 30’s around town. All of the Emil, Sr., children are captured in ZHS history. If you’d like to check out the Reutimann’s throughout ZHS history, look at the fivay site at:

It is reasonable to make the connection that from that early Emil, Sr., garage in Zephyrhills, a racing heritage was cultivated.  Actual stock car racing in the Reutimann family began in 1938 when Emil, Jr., raced a “hot rod” at the Ben White Speedway in Orlando. (According to Emil’s brother-in-law, Lowell Steve, race cars were called hot rods in that period of time and were actually stripped down family cars.)

We learned from grandson, Wayne, Sr., that the “00” preferred racing number that appears on most Reutimann racing vehicles came from a family tease that originated with  Grandpa Emil who said of one of his grandson’s early racing rig heaps, “It looks like a whole lot of nothing.” From that phrase came the practice of using the number, “00” on the Reutimann racing rigs. We learn from the Reutimann’s that hard work, genetic propensity for knowing the inner workings of engines, and even luck enter into the racing discipline.

Early Reutimann car

Early Reutimann car

Fast forward to the twenty-first century and news coverage of the school and town continue to include the Reutimann’s: A St. Pete Times article of May 10, 2006 reports on the success of David Reutimann, Jr., (great-grandson of Emil, Sr.) who conducted his first local celebrity appearance with NASCAR in Zephyrhills along with his dad, Buzzie Reutimann, his uncle, Wayne Reutimann and his cousin, Wayne Reutimann, Jr. all of whom had become accomplished race car drivers. At that 2006 appearance, David, 1984 ZHS grad, summed up the Reutimann’s usual humility and unassuming demeanor as he said, “I was thinking when they said you’re going to have to sign autographs from 1 to 4, that I’d sign for about an hour and there wouldn’t be anybody left in line.” ( Workers said that despite incredibly hot temperatures, the line to meet all of the Reutimann’s stretched more than 100 fans long throughout the afternoon.)

Since 2006, the story continues to unfold in NASCAR history and racing legend as well! (Note: To illustrate the Reutimann’s and their down-to-earth charisma, consider the many monikers they have given to each other which range from Booby (a Swiss name for “baby boy” used by the parents for Emil, Jr.,) to Buzzie (Emil, III) to Pookie (Wayne, Jr.); and these are only the ones we know about!  You can ascertain from these names, that although talented, they do not take themselves too seriously—the mark of a healthy psyche!

The Reutimann’s have, of course, had their share of luck as well as misfortune.

Veteran Zephyrhillians will undoubtedly recall with sadness yet today, the tragic accident that occurred in 1973 on 301 near the old Ruck’s Dairy as the family returned from a race.  Emil “Booby” Reutimann, 1931 ZHS grad, his son, Dale Reutimann, 1973 grad, and their dear friend, Gordon Stone, ZHS sophomore, lost their lives.  Emil then 56, was a former Zephyrhills City Councilman, a longtime member of the Zephyrhills Volunteer Fire Department and owner of the Reutimann Chevrolet Agency.  To capture the gravity of the loss, read the official wordage of the proclamation issued from the City of Zephyrhills in their recorded minutes:

“Whereas, Almighty God in His infinite wisdom has seen fit to call from our midst to the Great Beyond a former city councilman who was a pioneer member of a prominent pioneer Zephyrhills family and

Whereas, the tragic home going of Emil “Booby” Reutimann has left his native community bereft of a dedicated citizen who served its interests to the best of his ability, contributing generously and unselfishly to its development and beautification, and

Whereas Emil “Booby” Reutimann will long be revered in memory by those who treasured his friendship, benefitted from close association with him, acknowledged his contributions to the cause of good government and community betterment, and loved him for the conscientious citizen he was, now therefore be it RESOLVED…

The City of Zephyrhills has suffered the loss of a valued former official, booster and friend and further be it

RESOLVED, this resolution is to be sent to the family and a copy is to be incorporated into the minutes of this special meeting of Zephyrhills City Council on September 18, 1973 ~Paul Dickinson, Chairman of Zephyrhills City Council.

A correlation to the historical American families carries on as we think of the Reutimann’s in comparison to some of the leaders of our country such as the Kennedys.  We revere them for their service and we love them for their common demeanor and warmth.  We know too that we can always count on them.  Thank you to our Zephyrhills royal family for capturing our town and school culture throughout nearly 100 years!

Note:  We asked Wayne Reutimann, ZHS Auto Mechanics Teacher for nearly 30 years, to review the article before submitting it to the News, and he gave us his stamp of approval. Thanks Wayne for your service as a teacher to ZHS and the community!

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on April 9, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Betty Jo Turner Hyder & the Zephilsco

By , 5 January, 2010, No Comment

Clereen and I really enjoyed the information about the naming of the popular Zephilsco Annual.  Betty Jo Turner Hyder, the originator of the name shared some further details about the collaborative naming of the school Annual with us in follow up to the article.

“During the school  year, 1946, students were allowed to go home for lunch, so Jayne Kerr and I went to her house.  After lunch, Mrs. Geraldine Kerr, Jayne’s mother took us back to school in her family car so we would not be late. During the drive while talking about the Annual-naming contest, Mrs. Kerr suggested the combination of city and county name.  At the time, Zephyrhills School encompassed grades 1 through 12, so Zephyrhills High School had not come into existence.  Jayne did not want to submit the name so I volunteered. I remember we were sitting in the old auditorium when someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked how to pronounce the word, Zephilsco.  I had no idea, never having said the name.  That person pronounced it Zephilsco and I nodded.”

Betty Jo also shared some other information that might be of interest to school and community historians.  Bob Booth was the Editor of the 1946 School Annual. Students in the ZHS class of 1946 were: Rubye Lott, Lois Ann Martinson, Joseph Elmer Nickerson, Blanche Madeline Lowe, Hazel Boatwright, Robert Andrew Booth, Christine Maxine Bryant, Amos A. Chancey, Doris Gertrude Cherry, Charles Sidney Coon, Helen Claire England, Ruth Kersey, Nita Lindsey, Mary Lois McDowell, Carolyn Laray Maple, Ralph B. Mott, Albert Wilson Royal, Sherman Albert Royal, and Franklin Thomas.  Betty also related that the 1946 yearbook was the first one published since the 1935 Annual called the Spotlight, which Emil Reutimann served as the editor.

The Class of 1947 did not publish an Annual. Students in the class of 1947 at ZHS were: Bonnie Lou Arnold, Emerson David Arnot, Jr., John McElwain Arnot, June Clarice Arnot, Elizabeth Patricia Bolden, James Holmes Boatwright, Joan Carter, Lois Martina Clardy, Ralph Lamar Chancey, John Thurman Clardy, Laura L. Gallagher, Estella A. Grams, Frank Roy Heath, Cora Etta Jones, Theodore Franklin Mayor, Paul Eugene Miller, Catherine Marie Nevins, Patricia Pauline Parttridg, Mary Eloise Pollock, Cornelia Jane Thomson, William James Peterson, George Clarence Kemp.

The practice was reinstated with the class of 1948 and continues through today.  The current Zephilsco editor is Josh Barter with the teacher sponsor in 2009 being: Tracey Snyder.  Coincidentally, Fred Gore was the editor of the 1948 Annual and it was free to all students. Betty Jo adds that this may have been the last free annual for students.  Seniors raised money for the publishing of the yearbook.

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on April 2, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: The Zephilsco

By , 4 January, 2010, No Comment

One or our goals in writing the weekly ‘Countdown to Centennial,’ is to collect more historical information about our school and the impact that it has had on our community over time.  We are so delighted that we have received information, corrections and additions from alumni and friends. We hope to gather more anecdotes and reaction as we approach the 2010 centennial!

Recently, 1968 ZHS graduate, Wayne Bodiford emailed us with some fascinating tidbits!  Wayne is a great example of a ZHS grad that has gone on to make us proud by the way! Wayne is currently the Director of Financial Aid and Veteran’s Affairs at St. John’s River Community College. We shared Wayne’s historical anecdote at a recent gathering of our ZHS 100th year committee, and his former teacher, Caroline Marlette, beamed with pride to discover that he had become an educator. We think you will enjoy the information which relates to the school annual, The Zephilsco.

Some background on the school annual—in research, we discovered that ZHS School Annuals (now more commonly known as yearbooks) date back to 1946. The Zephyrhills Depot has quite a collection if you would care to gaze through them and walk down memory lane.  ZHS alumni, Margaret Seppanen has painstakingly collected and displayed them at the Depot. Interestingly enough our research also located a 1935 ZHS Annual (similar to a newsletter but called an annual) which was known as the ‘Spotlight,’ which featured an interesting assortment of stories and a profile of each school senior.  The first modern Annual, however, was in 1946.

The Zephilsco was officially named by ZHS student Betty Jo Turner Hyder in the year 1948.  Betty Jo is the former owner of Marion Smith Florist and was a teacher and guidance counselor at ZHS as well. Betty Jo said there was a contest at ZHS and she won a prize of five dollars (a handsome sum in those days) for coming up with the name. Betty Jo related that in the 1940’s students were allowed to go home for lunch at noon and often went to local homes as guests.  The brainstorming for the annual’s name occurred during one of these lunch times and was actually dreamed up by her friend, Jane Kerr.  When they returned to school her friend was a bit too shy to submit the name so Betty Jo submitted it and won the prize.

Wayne Bodiford gave us “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey might have said! Wayne said, “From 1966 to 1969 I had an after school job at Kerr’s Cold Storage in Zephyrhills and my boss was Mr. James W. “Jimmy” Kerr.  I began working in the afternoons and on Saturdays during high school, but worked there until the business, which had opened on October 1, 1944, closed on October 1, 1969.  One day at work, probably during my senior year in 1968, I was showing my annual to Mrs. (Geraldine) Kerr, and she told me about the annual-naming contest. She said that her daughter, Jane Kerr, gave the name Zephilsco for the contest (apparently to her friend, Betty Jo), but it was actually Mrs. Kerr who originated the name.  She merged the names of the city, Zephyrhills and the County, Pasco—hence the name Zephilsco. I’ve just always thought it to be an interesting piece of ZHS trivia I learned from working in the “butcher shop” for Mr. and Mrs. Kerr.  Incidentally, the location of the business was beside (practically UNDER) the original water tower, downtown, and it had wooden butcher blocks, sawdust floors, and a wood-fired Smokehouse.”

The class of 1948 included: Jayne Kerr, Joan Steve, Jane Smith, Norma Gregory, Connie Palmer, ELlen Massey, June Lashley, Betty Jo Turner, Dick King, Bill Eiland, Richard Rosenvold, James Burgess, Fred Gore, Jack Green, Fred LeHeup, George Smith and Pauline Anderson.

Photo of water tower provided courtesy of  Jeff Miller from the West Pasco Historical Society,

Photo of water tower provided courtesy of Jeff Miller from the West Pasco Historical Society,

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on March 26, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise