RHS Class Of 1944
Back row-Left to Right:
Reba Elmore, Juanita Kennedy, Ruth W. Curtis, Wilda Jean Duncan, Nada Fern Maddox,
Wanda Barnard, Earline Goodall, Hazel Regina Johnson.
Front row-Left to Right: William Earl Jones, James B. Reid, Rodney Brown, Hildred
Brown, Boyd Coleman Carter, W. A. Chancellor.
When this class of students started their senior year, in September of 1943, World
War II was going strong. A war was being fought on two fronts and man and woman
power, as well as equipment, was in great demand. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the
incumbent president, was seeking his fourth term and would be elected before this
class would graduate. Harry Truman was elected as his vice-president. General
Douglas MacArthur was in command of the allies and he and his team were putting
together plans for an invasion of land occupied by the Germans. This invasion
would later be know as "D-Day" and would assemble the largest invasions forces
known to man. It would be the start of the end of the war with Germany.
When this class graduated, World War II was still being contested and the seniors
knew that getting a job would not be a problem. The unemployment rate was 1.2%
and jobs were easy to find. Fact is, for the males, the government was recruiting
them when they graduated in the form of a draft. All knew that most of the
graduates would soon be drafted and their minds were made up to serve to the best
of their ability.
News of 1944 was mostly about the war. In the home front, a postage stamp cost 3
cents, a gallon of gas was 15 cents and the average American family income was
$2400.00 dollars a year. In sports, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the St. Louis
Browns to win the World Series. On June 6th 1944 the D-DAY invasion ( Operation
Overlord ) starts with allied forces crossing the English Channel to land in Normandy
which signaled the end of the war in Europe. Meanwhile London had the first attacks
from V2 rockets, which caused further devastation to an already badly bombed city.
Glenn Miller is reported missing following a plane crash and people throughout the
US and UK are encouraged to grow any vegetables they can in gardens to help ease
the food shortages.
Listed below, in alphabetical order, are the 1944 Rockport High School Graduates.
As you can see, I do not have information on all of the graduates. I have heard
of most of the graduates, but do not have much information about some. Others,
I have more information. If you have any type of picture on any of these graduates,
or any information on them and are willing to share, I would be glad to add that
material to this web page. It does not have to be much. Just enough to account
for some of the sixty plus years that have elapsed since this graduation party
left school and made their mark in history. I can work with you in getting any
material that you have added to this page. Thanks.
W. A. Chancellor.
I was in the same Rockport School class as W. A.'s younger sister and knew their
parents. Then, I would know W. A. when I would see him and guess that he may have
known my name. I hunted a few times on the old Chancellor home place and thought
a lot of the family. I really did not get to know W. A. until I started to work
for Ken Mine in 1962. W. A. probably started to work soon after Peabody Coal
Company purchased Ken Mine. By the time that I started to work, the mine was a large
operation and W. A. worked in the office. He certainly took me under his wing and
made certain that I had the material and the knowledge to start work at the mine.
I have always appreciated W. A.'s help. He treated me like I was special, but I
am sure that he treated all fellow workers in the same manner.
W. A. married and settled in on the old Chancellor place, located on the Ceralvo
Road, and probably about half way between Rockport and Centertown, or just a few
miles from Ceralvo. In the time frame of the fifties, the Chancellors had several
neighbors and most of the school kids attended Rockport. Eventually, W. A. and
his wife would build a new home, across the road from the house that he was raised
in, and would raise their family in the same area that he was raised. They would
also make it their retirement home. W. A. enjoyed working at Ken, but his greatest
enjoyment is working on the farm. It has been a few years since I have seen W. A.
Chancellor. The last time was a trip to his place to purchase a few bales of straw.
You could just look around and see the hard work that had been done in the area.
I think that the family consisted of one boy and one girl. The son is a grown man
by now, and probably a father himself. His name was Clark. I am not sure of the
name of the girl.
Click on the following link for a picture of W. A. and his wife.
W. A. and Jane Chancellor
Ruth W. Curtis.
Ruth Willodean (Dean) Curtis was a 1944 graduate of Rockport High School. She was
the aunt of William Earl Jones, a classmate of hers. Dean came from a very large
family and in the time frame of the early part of the Twentieth Century, it was
not uncommon for a person to have an aunt or uncle that was younger. After
graduating from high school Dean married Charles Grant. I do not know where this
young couple decided to live and raise their family. I will keep this page open
if and when further information becomes available.
Wilda Duncan was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Irles Duncan and they lived on the
Ceralvo road. I traveled the old Ceralvo Road quite often in the middle part of
the twentieth century and anytime that I passed the old Duncan property, I had
better blow my car horn or wave my hands. If not, my father would learn of my not
acknowledging the Duncan's and would want to know if I had a problem. My father
and the Duncan's were good friends. My father and I hunted on the property behind
the Duncan house and I think that it belong to the Duncan's. At least, we were
given permission by him and would park on his property. I still blow my horn when
I pass the old place and I am have no idea the identity of the people living there
Wilda graduated in 1944 and soon after graduation, she placed a job application
with General Electric in Owensboro and was hired. In the late forties and early
fifties, this old plant was an important part of G. E. and the country. It produced
vacuum tubes that were used in the defense of America. The relative new radar
sites were using vacuum tubes that the Owensboro Plant was producing. In the late
fifties, I was in the Air Force and was a Radar Technician. A part of my job was
to fill out a report of equipment failure and to list on the report the company
that made the part that had failed. You can be sure that I very seldom listed
G. E. as a company of a failed part. It was always another company. Eventually
the old G. E. plant started producing vacuum tubes for the televisions sets that
were becoming popular in the United States. This old G. E. plant served the
Owensboro area for several years and Wilda was able to stay with them long enough
I am doing a lot of guessing on the history of Wilda, before she graduated and
especially after she graduated. What I am writing is just in my memory and if
anyone does not think that I have represented Wilda with correct information,
please let me know and I will make corrections.
I don't think that Wilda ever married and thus, there were no children. Wilda
stayed with her parents on the old Ceralvo home place until her parents died.
Wilda, then kept the old home place, as a retreat, and she moved to Owensboro.
To my knowledge, Wilda is enjoying life as a retiree from G. E. in Owensboro, KY
and hoping for many more years of being an Owensboro native.
Wilda J. Duncan
HARTFORD-Wilda J. Duncan, 84, of Hartford died Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, at
Professional Care in Hartford, KY. She was a retired assembly line employee at
Survivors include her brother, Edgar Duncan.
Services: 1 p. m. Tuesday at Sunnyside Cemetery in Beaver Dam.
Rebah(or Reba) Elmore Grimmett was born August 12, 1925. She was a 1944 graduate
of Rockport High School. Rebah died on June 21, 2006 from a stroke. She is
buried in Chapman Cemetery.
Classmates Juanita K. Park and Erlene Goodall-Havens attended graveside service.
Those classmates brought a lovely floral arrangement with a ribbon stating: "Class
of 44 Class Mates".
Marjorie E. Goodall.
William Earl Jones.
William Earl was the oldest of the Jones children, and the brother of Freeman
Lloyd Jones, June Jones (married Walter May), and Regina Jones (married L. Franklin).
Upon graduation from Rockport, William was drafted and entered the Army. He served
in World War II and the Korean War, returning to Ohio Country as a hero.
After the Korean War was over, Bill returned to Ohio County and became an electrician.
He married Colleen Shultz. They had four children. He was very active in church
and Union matters. He died in Dec., 1997.
Click on the following link for more information on Bill.
William Earl Jones-Soldier
Juanita, a 1944 Rockport Graduate, and a lifelong resident of Rockport, knew what
she wanted to do with her life, even before she graduated. As soon as she was
able, she enrolled at Western Kentucky State Teacher's College in Bowling Green,
KY to become a teacher. After a few semesters, at Western, she started
teaching at Rockport. Attending Western in the summer and teaching at Rockport,
during the school year, she was able to get a BS degree and never looked back.
Some time later, Juanita reentered Western, and received a MA degree. By this
time, she had several years of teaching experience at Rockport and still continued
her education by doing some graduate work at the old Western Kentucky State
Teacher's College, which by then, had become Western Kentucky State University.
For more information on Juanita, please click on the following link.
Juanita K. Park
Juanita has been the recipient of more awards, trophies, plaques, certificates,
etc., than she can keep up with, especially those involved with teaching and the
Ohio County Hospital. She is extremely proud of one award from Western Kentucky
University. A Professor Emeritus award for meritorious service to the University
was recently presented to Juanita. To view more about this honor, please visit
the following link.
Juanita K. Park-Meritorious Service
Nada F. Maddox.
I don't have very much information on Nada Maddox, but will tell you what I know,
and maybe just a little more. If any readers would like to send me some information,
I will up date Nada's Web Site.
Nada became employed by the big General Electric Tube Plant in Owensboro soon
after graduating from RHS. She stayed with the company until she was able to
retire. She became a "Group Leader" before retirement and was responsible for a
group of young women. This big manufacturing plant was constantly being visited
by people, usually in small groups, but it was not uncommon for celebrities to
visit. Prior to Ronald Reagan becoming our president, he made a visit to the
plant. Burt Lancaster, another famous actor of the fifties, also visited and
I am sure there were many others of fame and fortune that made an appearance in
front of the line with the many G. E. workers doing their jobs. A few "Cat Calls",
a whistle or two, and other displays from the women were not that embarrassing to
anyone, especially to the well know actors and such that made the trip. One of
Nada's responsibilities was to be sure that her fellow workers did not do anything
detrimental to the many daily visitors. I don't think that Ronald Reagan, Burt
Lancaster, and others were aversely affected by the assembly line workers. All
in a day's fun.
James B. Reid.
James B. Reid graduated from Rockport High School in 1944 knowing that it would
just be a matter of time before he would be in the U. S. Army, and fighting for
his country. Guess that luck was on his side, as by the time that he arrived
overseas, the war was winding down. His military career would consist of the
"Clean Up Operations" and of the peaceful occupation of Japan, but he was prepared
to do what was necessary to insure the safety of his country.
James "Buddy" Reid married Gladys Robinson soon after he returned from the war.
They bought a small house just down from the Rockport Cemetery and proceeded to
raise a family. The children consisted of two boys, one would become a college
basketball coach and the other a dentist. To read more about Buddy, please click
on the following links.
James B. Reid
For information on Buddy as a soldier, click on the following link.
James B. Reid-Soldier
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