Vickers Descendants Reunion 2010

Descendants of people buried in the Vickers Cemetery in Concord, Florida, held their 8th Annual Descendants Reunion, on Saturday, October 11, 2010, at the cemetery. The weather was perfect, in the upper 70s, rising to the low 80s after lunch.

This year we had 93 people attend the reunion. There could have been a few more who didn't register, but these were the ones we captured on paper and in photographs. People started arriving about 10:15 and set up their lawn chairs in the shady area at the SW corner of the cemetery.

Bobby Ray Durden, chairman of the Vickers Trustees, gave a warm welcome and introduced the trustees. Casey Smith, son of Angela Boynton Cassidy, was introduced as the new Trustee, taking the place of Mrs. Annette Barber, who died during the year. Casey descends from Bryant Vickers and Walter Walsh, and he had attended the first class of "Trustees in Training."

The other trustees named were Venice Walsh, Douglas Walsh, Dale Joiner, Donna Warlick, and Angela Cassidy.

Donna Warlick, Treasurer, gave a report on the finances of the Cemetery.

Angela Cassidy gave a program on Stewardship. She talked about the people who have been trustees of the cemetery since the deed was made, which is the earliest recorded information we have. From talking to other descendants, she was able to note some people who had made significant contributions to the cemetery's maintenance over the years. Her talk can be read here.

After the program, everyone moved out closer to the highway, where the new historical marker had been installed. It was covered with a cloth and tied with satin ribbon, which Bobby Ray Durden pulled off with a flourish to display the marker for the first time. The morning sunlight glittered on the gold letters, and it was breathtaking. Carrie Durden had made a beautiful arrangement at the base with several potted yellow chrysanthemums and crotons set in a bed of pine straw. The purchase of the marker had been approved by the Trustees at last year's annual meeting, after hearing the request of Barbara Boynton. Barbara wrote the text, Angela Cassidy got the quotes and worked with the sign maker on the design and color. Casey Smith worked with the sign maker on the mounting flanges, bought and painted the steel beam, set it in concrete, and hung the sign. Angela Cassidy delivered a dedication speech that touched on the lives of those who had been buried at the cemetery and of the promise that the Trustees and descendants make to assure that their final resting place is maintained into perpetuity. Her talk can be read here. The text of the marker can be seen here.

A wonderful covered dish lunch was enjoyed, with people sitting in family groups and visiting with cousins they only see every year at the reunion.

After lunch, Jessica Miller, took photographs of each family group. The Patrick Walsh family was the largest group, having 30 members, with Barbara Boynton the matriarch of this family. The Don Albin Vickers family had 16 members, with Marion Vickers the patriarch of the familly. The Walt Walsh family had 16 members, with Mrs. Ruth Walsh the matriarch of that family. Other descendant lines were: Miles "Cap" Walsh, Drew Walsh, Alfred Vickers, Mamie Vickers Brady, Jordan V. Vickers, Jacob and Melissa Perkins Stephens, and Ned Walsh. Venice Walsh was the only member of the Ned Walsh family and said he didn't want to be in the photo alone. So Jackson Miller, 4-year old Patrick Walsh descendant, said "I'll be in it with you" and he and Venice sat together. That's what families are all about. See the family group portraits and other crowd photos here.

Read the Newspaper Article
This article about the reunion was published in the Havana Herald newspaper on October 14, 2010.

Read the 2010 Vickers Newsletter
This is the newsletter that is mailed out six weeks prior to the reunion.

The Workers The reunion comes off well every year because we have a good group of people who know their jobs and do it with pleasure every year.

Setup: The chairs and tables are delivered to someone's home in Concord and the next morning, our Trustees get the tables and chairs to the cemetery very early and set them up. This year, they were delivered to Bobby Durden's house and stored overnight in a cattle trailer. Bobby brought the tables and chairs to the cemetery, and Douglas Walsh, Venice Walsh, Dale Joiner, and Tom Thornton helped him unload and set up everything for us.

Food Tables: Nora Boynton Bobek is in charge of the food arrangement. She gets the meats, salads, vegetables and desserts divided equally between both food lines so we can have four lines serving at the time. Her cousin, Tom Thornton helps out, and there's always an extra hand or two to help cut cakes. Five minutes before the program ends, she whips off the covers of everything, inserts the spoons, and we are ready to eat. Nora has often been found wearing a white plastic garbage bag over her clothes, but this year, she sported a real apron.

Parking: Tom Thornton makes the signs directing people to the parking area, saves some handicap spaces close to the front, and also sets up a hand-washing station near one of the faucets.

Greeter: Venice Walsh is our greeter. He meets every vehicle he can and gives a warm greeting. He helps people unload their food, their chairs, and gives a hand wherever he can. Here's Venice with his double cousin, Jackson Miller.

Registration: Donna Warlick, the Vickers Cemetery, Inc. Treasurer, is the person who receives Registration and Food money. Donna prepares an Excel spreadsheet to use at the Registration Table so we'll know who has prepaid and who is paying upon arrival. Donna also sends receipts for donations to the cemetery and deposits the funds into the Vickers account. Angela Cassidy makes the custom name tags and manages the Registration table. This year, Susan Boynton assisted her. We always have a backlog at the Registration table, and it's because some people do not pre-register and we have to take money and make change. Others do not notify us at all that they are coming, and we have to hand-write name tags, as well as take money. We hope to one day have enough people to help at Registration that one person can tend to those who have not pre-registered so the others can breeze on through.

Newsletter: Angela Cassidy keeps and updates the mailing list of descendants. She writes the newsletter to send out six weeks prior to the reunion requesting donations for the cemetery's maintenance and inviting everyone to the reunion. She and Donna Warlick always spend Labor Day weekend folding, sealing, stamping, and putting mailing labels on newsletters. We had about 300 this year.

Program: For seven years, Barbara Boynton, the genealogist and historian of our clan, has performed the research on our ancestors and has prepared the program. This year, she didn't have to prepare the program, because her daughter, Angela, did, but she wrote the text for the marker. Here's Barbara with her son Ben.

Ice and Tea: Gordon Walsh provides the ice and tea each year. Gordon also gets the cemetery ready for company. Here's Gordon with his granddaughter, Nikki.

Photography: Jessica Miller, shown here with her elder son, James. Jessica, whose children have been to every reunion since birth, can now utilize her photography skills, since the boys are old enough to mingle on their own.

Logistics: Donna Warlick and Angela Cassidy do all of the behind-the-scenes preparation for the reunion. Angela coordinates with the other workers on date, time, and availability, rents the tables and chairs, rents the porta-potty, rents the PA system, and coordinates with Faith Funeral home on the use of their tents. She secures the photographer. In past years, she has bought the door prizes. Donna buys the food for people who live too far away to cook, buys the paper goods and tablecloths, and asks different people to help warm up the purchased casseroles before the reunion. She inventories the supplies after each reunion and makes a list of what to buy next year. She hauls about one million things to the cemetery in two trips, including dozens of serving spoons, cake knives, and pie servers, and cash for the registration table. She always takes home the knives and spoons that other people left, so if you left yours, be sure to contact her.

Cleanup: The Trustees stay until the very end and dispose of unclaimed food, gather up forgotten serving pieces, wipe off the tables and stack them back in the trailer, make guesses on how many attended, and then count the money in the donation box. It's always a good feeling to know we have exceeded our goal in donations so that the extra can go into the savings account. When we reach $100,000, we plan to use the interest to maintain the cemetery. We need to leave our younger generation with a nice treasury to work with, because they won't know all of the relatives like the older generation does, and they won't be able to continue adding to the mailing list to request donations. We are down 9 generations from the first Vickers families now, and the ties to them lessen with each generation. In another 10 years, the Reunions will probably fade out, because the cousins will be too far apart.

Get on our Mailing List
To get on the newsletter mailing list or to provide your relatives' addesses or e-mails,contact Angela Cassidy or Donna Warlick

To Make a Tax-Deductible Donation for the cemetery's maintenance, mail a check to Vickers Cemetery, Inc., 252 Bob Miller Road, Crawfordville, FL 32327.

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