Archive for ‘Centennial’

Founder’s Day Parade Map

By , 3 March, 2010, No Comment

The Founder’s Day parade map is now available online. It includes a color coded route for the parade and Family Fun Run, a list of events for the day, and an icon legend. The electronic version of the map is also interactive; click any icon to get a full description of the event. T minus 9 days until the festivities begin!


Click me!

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Veteran’s Day Tribute to ZHS

By , 3 March, 2010, 1 Comment

ZHS alumni Linda Sante asked us to develop a countdown article to commemorate Veteran’s Day and the ZHS alumni who have served in the armed forces from our community. With Linda’s assistance, we offer some glimpses of these brave alumni. We invite our readers to share the stories about Veterans and service over time.

ZHS teacher and Zephilsco sponsor, Tracey Snyder, is planning to devote several pages in the 2010/2011 yearbook to ZHS alumni Veterans.  We wish to use this Veteran’s Day article as a springboard to assist Tracey and her student staff in compiling information about military veterans who attended ZHS. The school has maintained no historical record previously. We are humbled by their service and would like to be as all-inclusive as possible in recognizing the ZHS alumni who have served our country. Help us to assist the yearbook staff in this worthwhile endeavor.

We give reverence to two young men from ZHS who offer recent tragic heartache and serve as courageous models–Marcus Mathes and Jonathan O’Neill.

Marcus Mathes was killed in Iraq in 2008. He was a 2002 graduate of ZHS and had joined the U.S. Army in 2005. He completed basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and served in Afghanistan from October 2006 until March 2007. He left for Iraq in November 2007. Mathes’ was awarded the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NATO Medal and the Combat Action Badge.

Another hero, Jonathan O’Neill, 22, was “Just a good kid,” said ZHS Coach Tom Fisher. The 2004 ZHS graduate was hit by a roadside bomb that exploded near O’Neill’s vehicle on June 2 in Afghanistan. After he was injured, the military transported O’Neill to Germany — where President Obama, visited him and presented him with the Purple Heart. He was assigned to the 549th Military Police Company, 385th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne) at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

ZHS grads of 2001, Mary Katherine Mason and Andrew Prilliman, and ZHS grad of 2000, Aaron Guynn served together in Iraq. Mason was a driver in Iraq and injured in the line of duty. Steven Orosz, President of ZHS Class of 2006, and Ryan Orosz, President of the Class of 2005, both also served in Iraq.

The Florida Vietnam Memorial consists of two granite columns with the American flag suspended between them. On the columns are engraved the names of 1,942 Vietnam War dead and 83 men listed as “Missing in Action.” Linda Sante visited the memorial for the research on the article and discovered the names of  Jonny E. Lewis, Harry L. Thain, and Donnie M. Stokes—all ZHS alumni. In April 1967, the community received word that the first person from the area to have been killed in combat in twenty years –was recent 1965  ZHS graduate Pfc. Johnny E. Lewis. Lewis was a victim of the Vietnam War and his wife, Janice Williams Bassett, also an alumni, suffered the loss of her husband. Recently a commemorative stained glass window was placed at the Zephyrhills Depot Museum to honor Johnny Lewis by his sister, Jackie Lewis Puskas, class of ’64.

Harry L. ‘Butch’ Thain also succumbed to the Vietnam War when his helicopter was shot down in May of 1972 in the jungle of southeast Asia. Thain, a highly decorated West Pointe graduate, was on his second tour in Vietnam. Thain’s helicopter was shot down just a few weeks after he was awarded the silver star for gallantry for his flying heroics. Thain was honored by his alma matter, West Point, with the establishment of the Captain Harry A. Thain Memorial Award presented annually to the outstanding member of the West Point pistol team. Donnie ‘Freck’ Stokes  a 1961 ZHS graduate was deployed to Vietnam for a one-year term and almost made it home safely when, with two weeks remaining, a sniper’s bullet took his young life. This was on Dec. 3, 1968 and he became the second serviceman from Zephyrhills to be killed in the line of duty. He left behind a wife of one year, Shirley Benefield Stokes from Dade City. ZHS grieved for these losses and others affected by the Vietnam War.

Irene Graf, a 1970 graduate, was one of the first women admitted to the Air Force Academy in Colorado as the AFA 15. Second Lieutenant Graf  held a degree in Chemistry from the University of Florida when she was debuted in the media as one of the first fifteen women officers as full-time cadets at the Academy. We know there have been many other Academy recruits. Other notable women to name just a few were: Lisa Cherry in 1992 and Ashley McGavern in 2002

Donald Harrison, a 1975 graduate, guarded First Lady Nancy Reagan and Air Force One. The News reported:  “He served as a guard on Air Force One, the president’s aircraft and currently serves with the security force protecting First Lady Nancy Reagan, Harrison is one of 130 men chosen to protect the air craft at Andrews…”

Alumni also sent us information regarding Donnie Poe who served our country.  We learned that long-time Zephyrhills attorney, Lester Bales was a Marine stationed at Iwo Jima in World War II as was Art Fish was served as a Marine at Tarawa and Guadalcanal.  Notably, Donald A. Pattie penned a book entitled, To Cock a Cannon about his experiences in the military.

ZHS student, Robert Kersey, was celebrated as a World War II recruit when he graduated in the class of 1944.  Former Zephyrhills Mayor, Dr. Emerson Arnot, Jr. took time off after his 11th grade at ZHS to serve in World War II in the Navy and then returned to graduate with his two siblings in the class of 1947. Two graduating seniors in 1919, Lyle Gilbert and Dale Leonard, were remembered at the Junior-Senior Banquet at Hotel Zephyr with two large American Flags in honor of their graduation in absentia, while they were fighting in World War I in France. A letter from ZHS student, Lyle Gilbert was read at the 1919 graduation ceremony and there was great patriotic pride at the graduation ceremony to know that Zephyrhills was represented at the then “war to end all wars.”

We would like to assist Tracey Snyder and her yearbook staff in compiling a comprehensive list of ZHS veterans.  We invite you to send information to Clereen or Tracey at tsnyder {at} pasco.k12.fl(.)us.  Tracey would also like to receive photographs of the veterans in uniform for inclusion in the yearbook.  The deadline for submitting information and photos to the yearbook for inclusion is July 2010.

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 November 12, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Contest Locations Have Changed

By , 1 March, 2010, No Comment

The Captain Jeffries look-alike contest, Longest Beard/Mustache contest, and Ladies Hat contest are being moved to the Eiland Bandstand. All of the contests will still be held at 2 P.M. on Saturday, March 13, 2010.

Come and get your tickets!

By , 26 February, 2010, No Comment


Tickets for the Old fashion barn dance are now available for purchase at the ZHS front office. Tickets are just $5 and the dance is open to the public. Come and get yours today!

And the winners are….

By , 25 February, 2010, No Comment

A joint effort between Main Street Zephyrhills and the Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce earned Zephyrhills 2nd place in this year’s Pasco County Fair’s Community Exhibit. The exhibit featured Roberto Escobar’s design for the official centennial logo as its centerpiece. Be a judge for yourself and check out the photo below. Click the image for a larger view!

Zephyrhills Community exhibit

Zephyrhills Community exhibit - 2nd Place

Official Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary Logo Unveiled!

By , 24 February, 2010, No Comment

At the Zephyrhills City Council meeting on January 11th, 2010, the official logo of Zephyrhills’ 100th Anniversary was unveiled:

Roberto Escobar of RS Media Solutions donated his time (and talent) to create the official Zephyrhills Centennial Logo

Roberto Escobar of RS Media Solutions donated his time (and talent) to create the official centennial logo.

Zephyrhills Centennial Street BannersZephyrhills Centennial Window Cling

You can see this logo on the new street banners up and down Fifth Avenue and on window stickers all around Zephyrhills.

If you’d like a window cling for your business or home, please contact the Main Street office at (813) 780-1414 today!

Escobar's lovely family

Escobar's lovely family

Commemorative Crystal Ornament

The collectible ornament below is also available from Main Street Zephyrhills for just $25. Supplies are extremely limited, so call today and get your ornament before they’re gone! Call (813) 780-1414 now!

Zephyrhills Centennial Ornament

Square Dancing at ZHS

By , 17 February, 2010, 1 Comment

photo credit: pchgorman

Founder’s Day is just around the corner. There’s a lot planned to celebrate Zephyrhills’ centennial, but what’s going on at Zephyrhills High School? A good old fashion Barn Dance, that’s what!

The Old-Fashion Barn Dance will be held on Friday, March 12 in the ZHS Activity Center. The dance is a fundraiser for the ZHS Chorus Program. The Chorus and Band will be performing at the Music Festival in Washington, D.C. in early April of this year. All proceeds from the Barn Dance will help the students raise money for the trip.

“The dance will help them do that, but it will also show folks how our Zephyrhills pioneers entertained themselves during the early years of the town,” said ZHS Chorus director and music teacher Louise Gore.

If you’ve never been to a barn dance before or even don’t even know what one is, you are in for a real treat! According to Louise, the dance will be run like the Tampa Friends of Old Time Dance run their events. There will actually be a caller teaching and calling the dances.

The dances, mostly line and circle dances, are some that were brought over from England, Ireland, Scotland, and France. Some of the dancers are called mixers because there are partner changes throughout. You get to meet everyone who came to dance that way!

“Think the Virginia Reel,” Louise said. “The dances are not that difficult, which makes them great for the whole family: everyone from elementary-school age to grandparents can do them!”

The event will start around 6:00PM and run until 10:00PM. Cookies and old fashioned lemonade will be available in the lobby during the dance. Entrance is only $5, and the event is open to the public.

The dance is almost like a warm-up for Founder’s Day and, like Louise said, will provide people with a different “date night” than they have seen in at least 60 years!!

Call for Founders’ Day Parade Entry Forms

By , 8 February, 2010, No Comment

Main Street Zephyrhills, Inc is calling for all Founders’ Day Parade applications. The parade will be held on Saturday, March, 13, 2010 at 10A.M. The forms must be returned by Friday, February 26, 2010.  If you have any interest in participating in the parade, please fill out the entry form and return to: 5224 7th St. Zephyrhills, FL 33542. Click here for the entry form! On the entry form, please make sure indicate which decade your float is in: 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, or 2000.

Video Shout-Outs

By , 8 February, 2010, No Comment

As you know, Zephyrhills has a very important birthday approaching fast! What better way to celebrate her birthday than with a “Happy Birthday” shout out?

We are creating a compilation of video shout outs to Zephyrhills that will be featured on the official Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary website, and will be posted to our Facebook page at The compilation will also be included in the time capsule that is being placed at Zephyr Park on March 14th, 2010.

If you want to participate, just make a short (60-seconds or less!) video answering the following questions: Who are you? How long have you lived in Zephyrhills? What is your fondest memory of Zephyrhills? Make sure you end your shout-out with “Happy Birthday, Zephyrhills!” Then just email either a .AVI or .MPG of your video to zephyrhills100 {at} gmail(.)com.

Visit the official Zephyrhills 100th Youtube Channel to see the format of the videos and what has already been uploaded!

Videos must be received no later than March 5th to be included in the time capsule, but we will accept videos all year long to add to the website!

New article about Founders Day at The Laker

By , 8 February, 2010, No Comment

From The Laker:

“We didn’t want to pick just one person to represent the entire city of Zephyrhills for the last 100 years,” Hatrick said. “Since the parade is divided by decades, we felt it would be best to pick one person to represent each decade. That seemed more fair and could help people learn the history of the city.”

Find out all about the Grand Marshall process and the Captain Jeffries look-a-like contest here: Zephyrhills has new plan for grand marshals.