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Society General Meeting

Saturday, July 8, 2017, 2:00 p.m.

Tyler Public Library—Taylor Auditorium

Speaker: Ray Kent, Rhoda Regan & Mark Thacker

Program: "Spirits of Oakwood Cemetery Encore"

Ray Kent - an active member of Smith County Historical Society and East Texas Genealogical Society. He is also helping Mary Love Berryman on the archives of the First Baptist Church of Tyler, Texas. After graduating from Robert E. Lee High School and Tyler Junior College, Ray graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Finance and the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at SMU. He worked in banking for about 35 years and as a Petroleum Landman for the last 12 years. Ray and his wife Sherry have been married 46 years and have one son, one daughter, and 4 grandchildren.

Ray will depict Mc D Lorance who came to Smith County with his family in 1844 at the age of 21. During Reconstruction, he was a member of the emerging Conservative Republicans and served as County Clerk, Mayor of Tyler, State Representative for the 6th District for the Twelfth Legislative Session, and was an Attorney. Later he served as County Treasurer.

Rhonda Nevels Reagan - After graduating from Plano High School, Rhonda received a BSN from Texas Woman's University in Denton. The following twenty years were a combination of working as a Registered Nurse; living coast to coast during her husband Frank's active duty service in the Marine Corps; becoming the mother of two children. Frank's retirement from the Marine Corps in 1996 brought the family to Tyler. Rhonda worked as a TISD school nurse for 17 years until her retirement in 2015. She has been a member of the Oakwood Cemetery Restoration Committee since 2006. Rhonda & Frank have been married for 39 years and have a daughter & son & two grandsons.

Rhonda will portray Mattie Jones, a longtime TISD teacher & an active & respected member of the Tyler community. Loved by her students she made lasting contributions to the students & citizens of Tyler.

Mark Thacker - is a preservation architect by profession and serves as a member of the Oakwood Cemetery Committee. His public service also includes being a member of the Texas Archaeological Stewards Network, a program of the Texas Historical Commission. Mark is a lifelong resident of Smith County and received his architectural education at Texas A&M University. He is a registered architect and owner of an architectural firm located in Tyler. His designs across East Texas have entailed projects as small as a chicken coup to as large as a multi-story Courthouse restoration. A wide variety of project types have included schools, Churches, office buildings, parks, heath care and work on historic sites. Mark has a background in civil and structural engineering but chose the architectural path, having practiced as a registered architect for over 20 years. His love of history, archaeology and architecture resulted in his focus on preservation architecture.

Mark has depicted a “spirit” at Oakwood Cemetery for the last two years. Having conducted seven years of research for a Deputy US Marshal Henry Frank Griffin resulted in the 2016 spirit. His research has been accepted by the US Marshal Service historian; establishing that Frank Griffin was murdered north of Tyler and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery; contrary to previous understanding.


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