Archive for ‘Zephyrhills History’

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: 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

Zephyrhills Historical Photos: Week 6

By , 30 December, 2009, No Comment

Each week you can get a glimpse into Zephyrhills history through photographs provided by Madonna Jervis Wise. Click any image for a larger view!

Relaxing at NeukomsElsiesTrucks at KrusenChildrens PlaygroundC.A. Hart's Buckeye HouseCamphor Tree in Zephyrhills, Florida

Images of America: Zephyrhills Book Cover

Photos courtesy Madonna Jervis Wise
Author of Images of America: Zephyrhills
Scheduled to publish Spring 2010!

All rights reserved. Photo © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Recollections From a Few Miss Zephyrhills

By , 29 December, 2009, No Comment

As a continuation of our ‘Founder’s Day’ theme coverage of school news, we would like to share some additional recollections of this event.  Founder’s Day has encompassed the Miss Zephyrhills pageant throughout most of its 99 year history.  It was a privilege for all 49 of the gals who held the title.  We contacted as many as we could locate to ask them to share the year’s experiences and here are some of the reflections that we received:

Diana Kennedy, Miss Zephyrhills of 1978: “Zephyrhills- the place where I grew up…I will always love Zephyrhills and the community environment. I was very proud to represent Zephyrhills and I know the experience made me feel like Miss America.  I remember being involved in the community throwing out the first baseball and attending parades. Of all the titles I held, representing my hometown was the most rewarding.  I started competing at the age of 11 or 12 and stopped at age 17.  My pageant wardrobe was not expensive…we borrowed dresses and my mother sewed many of my outfits.  Some were from Goodwill…my mother would go to the store and buy an old dress, do her magic with beads and sequins and ‘Voila, my new dress!’  At first I was embarrassed because so many of the girls had fancy expensive party dresses and mine were homemade, but later I realized it did not matter where the dress came from!

My mother was a majorette so I wanted to be one too!  Some of my cherished memories at ZHS was Friday night football games and marching with the band. I played the saxophone and was a majorette.  C. Paul Steuart was the ZHS Band Director; we were awesome!  My mother was the director of the Miss Zephyrhills pageant for five years and I directed it in 2008 and 2009.”

Note that Diane had a modeling career with the Dott Burns Modeling Agency and did several print ads for department stores, TV commercials and a role in a training film for the U.S. Army.

Diane added, “I kept all the trophies for many years in the attic at my father’s house. Recently my sister and I went through them, laughed about our experiences and the dilapidated condition of our once prized trophies and then we took them to the dump!”

Lynn Nichols and Coach Wilson's son

Lynn Nichols and Coach Wilson's son

Lynn Nichols, Miss Zephyrhills of 1960: Here are my memories of the pageant night … “Since the contest was a bathing suit contest, I had NO desire to be a participant, being very shy and parading in front of a crowd in a bathing suit did not seem like a good idea to me! Some community organizer of the event, tried to convince me to run. Originally I said no, but I was a USF student at the time and my roommate encouraged me to be a contestant, telling me what a great experience it would be and she offered me her beautiful white and black bathing suit. With that offer, I couldn’t resist. After my walk across the stage, I shook for at least 5 minutes. ZHS Coach Wilson and his little son were at the event. His son and I were “buddies”, so after I was crowned and left the stage, he ran to me and someone snapped the photo. I was shocked that I had won, but it was a great night! I was sorry that I never took advantage of the prize of a modeling course that went to the first place winner. I was too busy studying!”

A couple of historical columns…many veteran Zephillians will enjoy the many businesses of year’s past…

Nineteen to Compete for Miss Zephyrhills, Zephyrhills News, March 1961

Nineteen girls will compete for the title of Miss Zephyrhills in the beauty contest to be held during the 1961 Founders’ Day festival. Included are: Miss Margaret Ann Johnson, sponsored by Kaylor Hardware; Miss Bonnie Rannald, Neukom’s Drug Store; Miss Sandra White, Pasco Oil Company; Miss Delores Braxton, Scotty’s City Drug Store; Miss Barbara Higginson, Zephyrhills Garden Club; Miss Melissa Lippincott, Zephyrhills Junior Women’s Club; Miss Dena Shannon, Siesta Motel; Miss Delores Jones, Hotel Zephyr; Miss Susan Nichols, Bank of Zephyrhills; Miss Vera Griffin, Cunningham’s Furniture Store; Miss Carolyn Maddux, Thriftway; Miss Brenda Daughtery, Griffin’s 66 Service Station; Miss Ann Fazio, VFW Auxiliary; Miss Susan Gill, Zephyrhills Home Demonstration Club; Miss Bobbie June Chambless, Rainbow Girls; Nell Odom, Sibley Lumber Company; Oleta Price, Zephyrhills Freezette; Linda Loysch, Reutimann Chevrolet; Mary Ann Bialik, Florida Trailer Estates. Mrs. Robert Ahrens is chairman of the beauty queen contest.

Founder’s Day Leaders Named to Crown Queen, Zephyrhills News, March 1956

P.H. Murphy, Jr. is chairman of the Founder’s Day celebration. Founder’s Davis is sponsored by the Zephyrhills Lions Club.  An innovation at the Founder’s Day will be a beauty contest, at which “Miss Zephyrhills” will be selected and crowned. Serving in various capacities included: Charles A. Moore as master of ceremonies, F.H. Gupsolus as parade marshal and Vincent Peel, finance. The winners were Queen: Lenore Lincoln and two princesses, Virginia Edgeman and Wanda Hazelwood with ladies in waiting being named as Elizabeth Cutshall, Mary Ann Hodges, Delilah Johnson and Shirley Potter.

One final note about royalty…

There have been several ZHS students, who have held the crown of ‘Miss Pasco’, many of whom were first Miss Zephyrhills. We want to make sure and trace this historical lineage as well and would not want to exclude these terrific ZHS alumni.  Notably, ZHS students, Debby Bacon and Lorna Riopelle, who held several titles, come to mind.  Debby is quite well known for her musical recordings in the Tampa Bay area, and Lorna directed pageants and served as a pageant coach for many years. Here is our list of historical ‘Miss Pasco.’ .

1948-Marjorie Baldwin

1949-Louise Allen

1950-Lula Mae Nix

1951-Joan Johnson

1952-Ann Futch

1953-Mary Louise Gasque

1954-Kathryn Louise Seltzer

1955-Mary Jane Cheek

1956-Mary Lane

1957-Martha Jackson

1959-Carole France

1960-Jeannette Whitaker

1961-Diane Pike

1962-Judy Clark

1963-Evie Green

1964-Jean Lindsay

1965-Jo Ann Roberts

1966-Ann Harris

1967-Diane Tsacrios

1968-Sheila Glavich

1969-Joy Reutimann

1970-Helen Walters

1971-Terri Ann Rickard

1972- Bonnie Sue Sabo

1973-Dawn Donald

1974-Karen Marie Milton

1975-Janice Mary Notaro

1976-Paige M. Brown

1977- Susan Eldridge

1978- Debby Bacon

1979-Leigh Ann Edwards

1980-Charlotte Moore

1981-Joyce Stover-Staats

1982-Leslie Diane Herrmann

1983-Angela Ann Helm

1984-LaWanda Wilson

1985 & 1988- Dallas Wheeler

1986- Julie Greenless

1987- Lorna Riopelle

1989-Jennifer Cunningham

1990- Darlene Johnson

1991-Leslie Michelle Nikolai

1992-Aleda Kruse Henry

1993- Tammy Myers & Tawnya Booker

1994-Michelle Harrelson

1995-Heather Vierling

1996-Becky Friedman

1997 & 2001-Jennifer Feeney

1998-Cristina Bermudez

1999-Kristeen Tiffanee Hendricks

2000-Jennifer Feeney & Shannon Schambeau

We would, again, welcome recollections and additions to our history. Enjoy the memories!

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 19, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Miss Zephyrhills Throughout the Years

By , 28 December, 2009, 5 Comments

With Zephyrhills Founders Day approaching, the authors of ‘Countdown to Centennial,’ hope to capture a bit of the historical culture of the historical Zephyrhills Founder’s Day.

The Miss Zephyrhills Pageant was a very celebrated and festive happening for many years in the Zephyrhills High School history. The queen and her court were given a prominent place in a multiple-page spread in the ZHS Annual (now known as yearbook) and Miss Zephyrhills and her court were always on hand for christenings of new businesses, Chamber of Commerce events, fundraisers and of course, all parades. The year’s reign was quite festive and in the event that the queen moved or perhaps married, the runner-up proudly assumed the reins of the honor.

The pageant was in many ways a rite of passage for teens in the Zephyrhills community and is remembered fondly by many.  
The Zephyrhills Lion’s Club was the sponsor of the pageant for most of its years of operation.  The pageant was also a fashionable and well-attended occasion with often attendance of over 500 guests.  Participants often numbered 40 contestants or more and considering the school membership was 300 to 400 in the 50’s and 60’s, this was a significant number. Zephyrhills News Editor, Bernie Wickstrom, proudly displayed photos of the contestants, their sponsors and news coverage of the pageant and coronation line-up.

There have been 49 Miss Zephyrhills that we were able to document.  There may have been some additional ones unaccounted for, and we would welcome reader input on this.  The pageant has traditionally been a highlight of Zephyrhills Founder’s Day and with rare exception, always occurring as a culmination or opening highlight of Zephyrhills Founder’s Day.  Founder’s Day however, did occur at other times of the year and we found that it coincided with a type of school homecoming in the 20’s and 30’s. The modern Miss Zephyrhills contest as we know it today began in 1956.

The first documented Miss Zephyrhills was Lucile Ryals in 1927.  She was selected through a community vote. The Zephyrhills Colonist (Sept. 29, 1927) is filled with information about the contest, coronation and parade. The total number of votes polled for all candidates in the 1927 contest was 996,450 (obviously they did multiple voting).

There have been many noteworthy gals to have the title and several have held other titles such as Miss Pasco or even more prestigious titles. Nancy Wise (1974) held the title of Miss Florida Teen in 1975.  Some of the most recognizable names include: Lois Ann Wells (1970) who became a New York City Rockette in 1981. Anna Jo Davis in 1963, wife of recently retired city councilman and long-time educator, Clyde Bracknell, was splendid in one of the most spectacular gowns.

We had the occasion to chat with her recently about that beautiful cherry colored hoop-skirt formal gown that looked as though she could have stepped out of a Scarlet O’Hara role in Gone With the Wind. Joyce Ann Stover-Staats (1980) will be remembered for her unusual talent. She was a ventriloquist with her partner (dare we say, dummy), Wesley. Joyce Ann was called upon to introduce and entertain throughout her reign.  Another quirky fact of the historical Miss Z’s is the case of Kelly and Kimberly Bishop who are two of a threesome of identical triplets who held the title in the year’s 1986 and 1987. The two sisters wore the same lovely violet sequined gown that must have been quite a good luck charm.  The first and only African American Miss Zephyrhills was Laryssa Sherman (1996).

Another dedicated educator who wore the crown was Lynn Nichols in 1960, who held several other local titles.  Lynn was on hand with several other ZHS alumni for the ground-breaking ceremony of the USF campus in Tampa in 1958.  We have included a photo of Lynn with the high school basketball coaches’ young son who was enamored with her charm in 1960.  The photo captures the spirit of the Miss Z competition and the fondness given to this role in the community and school history.

LaWanda Wilson (1983) and Diane Kennedy (1978 ) assisted with the research about the pageant over time and continue to be involved in the coordination of the event today. Diane has served as the pageant director, a role that both she and her mother have held over the years and Lawanda served as the photographer for the event. In the 1990’s the interest in beauty pageants waned a bit and there were several years in which the pageant was not held. It was however reinstituted in 2007.

It has also changed to reflect more of a scholarship emphasis and a springboard for the Miss Florida event. Recently, the Miss Z pageant has been opened up to a more diverse participant base and does not always represent only ZHS students. The current Miss Z is Brittany Monbarren whose parents are ZHS grads.

A list of the queens over time includes:

1927- Lucile Ryals

1951-Barbara Sabin

1952-Joan Johnson

1956-Billie Jane K’Lapp

1957-LeNore Lincoln

1958-Alice Hutchinson

1959-Linda Cavin

1960- Lynn Nichols

1961- Deloris Jones

1962-Judy Goulding

1963-Anna Jo Davis

1964-Linda Sabo

1965-Sandra Clark

1966- Gloria Kinnard & Mary Stanley

1967-Sharon Lee Sabo

1968- Joy Ellen Reutimann

1969- Deborah H. Forbes

1970-Lois Ann Wells

1971-Mary Diane Tyre

1972-Syble Marie Ferguson

1973-Deborah Ann Woolfolk

1974-Nancy Diane Wise

1975-Jacqueline Marie Wallick

1976-Jackie Hood and Tina Martin

1977-Jamie Suzanne Walker

1978-Diane Kennedy

1979-Jennifer L. Wilson

1980-Joyce Anne Stover Staats

1981-Gwendolyn Irene Nance

1982-Holly Ann McLeod

1983-LaWanda Dee Wilson

1984-Janna Loraine McKell

1985-Kelly Regan

1986-Kelly Lyn Bishop

1987-Kimberly Kay Bishop

1988- Tammy Rene Swetland & Suzette Lynn Summers

1989-Scarlette Leigh Rogers

1990-Angela Shannon Krueger

1991-1992- Jennifer Anne Roys

1993-Brandi Renee Pattie

1994-Andrea Celeste Dimitri

1995- Terrie Leigh Smith

1996- Laryssa Sherman

1997-Leah Sandor

2007-Devin Brooks

2008-Brittany Monbarren

Miss Zephyrhills Throughout History

Miss Zephyrhills Throughout History

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 12, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills Historical Photos: Week 5

By , 23 December, 2009, No Comment

Each week you can get a glimpse into Zephyrhills history through photographs provided by Madonna Jervis Wise. Click any image for a larger view!

Opening Tourist's Park in Zephyrhills, Florida, December 1932Don RobinsonGroups of Zephyrhills PeopleFirst School BusBank of ZephyrhillsGrove Post Card

Images of America: Zephyrhills Book Cover

Photos courtesy Madonna Jervis Wise
Author of Images of America: Zephyrhills
Scheduled to publish Spring 2010!

All rights reserved. Photo © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Music Over Time

By , 22 December, 2009, No Comment

School days, school days, dear old golden rule days. Reading and writing and ‘rithmetic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick. Many adults might remember hearing the ‘School Days’ song, perhaps sung by our parents or grandparents. ‘School Days’ was composed by Will Cobb and Gus Edwards and first heard in 1907.

Zephyrhills School History, like educational history throughout the USA, is full of song. Today the song may be found on the student’s iPods or other electronic devises. School music lives on as the ZHS Band and Chorus with teachers, Russell Schmidt and Luan Gore infuse music into the school’s culture.  For those of us who are products of the 1960’s era, we may have participated in some folk song experiences around a peace rally or built camaraderie and good humor in our various songs.  When we call up the memories of our school days, songs enter into our recollections.

We thought it would be fun to share some songs with you for this week’s countdown.  The school song that we have in the records is the “We are the…” song.  Does anyone know who penned the lyrics and when the song first became popular?  For the graduates of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, the lyrics are quite imprinted.  At the 2006 open-house of the demolition of the 1926 ZHS building at the site of what is now R.B. Stewart Middle School, the DVD created by Steve Turner, has some episodes of alumni singing this nostalgic song as they reminisce about the times they spent in high school.

We are the girls/boys of old Zephyr High,

To her, we’ll ever be true,

Where the girls are the fairest,

And the boys are the squarest of any school we ever knew.

We will be true to old Zephyr High,

Down where the old Bulldogs play,

In all kinds of weather,

We’ll all stick together,

For Z.H.S. all the way…

The fight song that has been commonly chanted since the 1960’s is as follows:

Hoorah for Bulldogs, Hoorah for Bulldogs

Someone’s in the crowd yelling Hoorah for Bulldogs

1-2-3-4 who you going to yell for…

Bulldogs – that’s us.

In researching Zephyrhills Schools, it is impossible to capture the significance and the range of songs and music.  Every graduation program is infused with songs from the various eras. The early school years that included weekly chapel, offer an array of religious songs. Soloists are often featured in the PTA programs. A Glee Club, annual community musicals and seasonal events provided song after song.

We particularly enjoyed a March 27, 1941 Zephyrhills News article about some songs which were unveiled that year to be sung on the school bus.  The article said, “Public School Songs–Dr. S.C. Kimm has furnished this week’s issue of the News a couple of school songs for the boys and girls of Zephyrhills schools, one of which he dedicates to the bus drivers written to the tune of Home On The Range. Students were encouraged to sing while riding the school bus.”


(words by Kimm—Music, “Home on the Range”)

We sing of a school, where the teachers all rule.

In a building of brick and so grand.

Whose corridors long, often echo with song.

Or the notes of a musical band.


School, school of a kind.

Where the pupils are neat and refined.

Where the teachers with joy, give each girl and each boy,

The good that centers the mind.

The land of the strong in which story and song

Tell a tale of brave men of renown.

Who ventured after, as they followed their star,

To reside in our beautiful town.


From this people sprung such a band of our young,

Whose broad-thinking is now the world’s rule.

And years ago, when that furnished the men

For they gave us this beautiful school.


Dedicated to the school bus drivers—Tune Mola, Mola Shaving Cream)

Away! Away! We’ll sing a round delay,

While our buses go rolling along.

Every morn, just to warn, we foot the auto horn,

While the busses go rolling along.

Then shout, boys, shout for our drivers brave and stout.

Who never let the racket stop our song.

For they always let us sing,

Till we make the country ring,

As our buses go rolling along.

We also found in the historical archives a note from an alumni celebration in 1977.  It said that alumni, Austin Smith, provided copies of the then state song, Florida My Florida, which Smith stated had been revised by well-known ZHS teacher/scholar, Dr. J.B. Blanchet.  Mr. Smith stated that his (Blanchet’s) particular song was believed to be more than 100 years old and was from a

Smith family scrapbook.  The former state song was officially written in 1894 by Reverend C.V. Waugh, a professor at then Florida College in Lake City. We can only surmise that the scholarly ZHS teacher, Blanchet consulted on the song. Does anyone know?

What other information might our alumni members have about songs and ZHS?

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 February 26, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Colloquialisms & Stories

By , 21 December, 2009, 2 Comments

For those of us who are working on the 100th anniversary of Zephyrhills Schools to plan events and commemorations, we share an interest and appreciation in the culture of past-times and the behaviors and activities of each generation.  Rarely do we have a meeting of our committee, in which we do not share a story or tale from days gone by.  It is clear that there was a great deal of colloquial expression and unique Zephyrhills culture over time that radiated from the school building.

One of our goals in developing the anniversary celebration of 100 years of education, is to preserve some of these great stories.  For this week’s article, we would like to share some examples and INVITE our readers to send us their own examples that we might add to the collection:

Cecil McGavern recalled the first basketball team to go to the State Tournament in 1929 with great pride.  They won in the first game over Brandon in the morning but for the second game, they competed against St. Petersburg. The Bulldog five had a lead at halftime, but fell behind in the second half after one of its stars, Louie Evans, broke out with chicken pox during intermission. Cecil as Captain had to go ask the St. Pete team is they could trudge on with four players which was agreed. The team won every game that year (including a 32-2 victory over Dade City), losing only that last State Tournament battle to the St. Petersburg Green Devils. The team included: John Loomis, Vernon Gall, Fred Gill, Julian Craig, Coach Major Reed, Charles Slater, Captain Louis Evans, Arthur Austin, John Pennington, Owen Gall and McGavern.

• Beverly McNeese reported a 1978 Alumni story told by Estella Hougaboom Russell of the class of 1927: “While at Zephyrhills School, we had lots of fun… Like the time the boys thought they were real smart and put my lunch in my desk and I opened the desk (they had a top that raised up back then) and there was the possum. I screamed and the teacher chased that ole possum out with a stick.”

Craig Miller of the class 1955 reminisced about the school building which was demolished in 2006. “I got a skunk out from under the building… a crawl space there. I came to school and it was smelling like a skunk. And Mr. R.D. McPherson, the principal, asked me…, Craig, if you can go up underneath there and get that skunk out from under there, I’ll give you two days off from school. And so I went under there and worked it and got the skunk out. I didn’t get sprayed but it sure was stinking. The skunk ran off and the principal gave me two days off from school.”

Dedi Anderson, class of 1960 reports that her mother, long-time ZHS teacher/librarian, served as the school’s basketball coach for a few years beginning in 1933. The principal, Mr. Campbell, recruited Mrs. Anderson to coach the basketball team. Dedi said her mom reported that she had never played basketball so she located a book and coached for several seasons from the ‘book, quite successfully’!

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 February 19, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise