Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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January 29, 2013

Lon Morris welcomes alums home — this one last time

JACKSONVILLE — In the words of Lon Morris College alumnae Jann McGaughey: Green and White bearcat cheers all around.

In a letter to the Jacksonville Daily Progress, McGaughey described in great detail the special Homecoming ceremony that celebrated the fierce life and spirit, the uplifting ministry and legacy, of Lon Morris College.

In stark contrast to the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings and liquidation expected to end in February, the Saturday gathering  at  First United Methodist Church, was described as a beautiful and moving tribute to a respected and honored educational institution for 165 years of excellence in this community.

"It was sad and many tears were shed as would be appropriate at a funeral for a loved one, but it also was very positive about the contribution of LMC to this community and its citizens," McGaughey said. "I am a proud member of the Alumni, class of 1983. It looked like about 300 people celebrated the proud history and mourned for the premature demise of such a venerable institution."

The bankruptcy proceedings since July have been a lesson in dedication from the  staff that served the school without pay to the end.

"Your dedication to preserving the school to the bitter end will always be honored," she said. "As the Rev. Dr. Ted Campbell, LMC class of  1974,  reminded us, we who remember have a challenge to find another vehicle for the powerful message that was Lon Morris College and what the Methodist School gave the community, and yes, the world."

After the service, LMC had the bookstore and Scurlock Center open so alums could get available Lon Morris items and memorabilia, including many photos, trophies, plaques, books and other items, according to the Lon Morris Facebook page.

"We would like to see alumni, community members and others take and keep the related memorabilia," the page said prior to the event. "We are suggesting small donations for each item, with proceeds to go towards the repayment of employee wage claims."

FB poster Bill Watson said the gathering was very important.

"Never let the memories and friendships fade into the sunset," he said in his post. "The doors have closed, but the family remains."

The loss of the college will be felt for a long time to come, LMC Facebook friends said.

Rhoda Alvarez: "I'm so very sad."

Bill Watson: "Me, too, kiddo."

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