Clyde High School Alumni Association

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June 21 2009

All the boys took Agriculture -  All the girls took Home Ec!
    Steve Leatherwood, '66

This is not a war story but I am sure that most of the guys remember Mr. Roper and the events surrounding Ag Classes at CHS.  At this point, I will not go into any specifics but I am sure, if you were there, your memory will serve you well enough   Anyway, I recently thought about Mr. Roper and decided to attempt to find out how he was, where his was, etc.  I located him near Greenville, SC, retired, of course, but doing well and living there with his wife, Ruth near his son Sammy, who is a minister at a local church.  I talked for some time with him and he said he DID remember our class!?!? and really enjoyed his time at Clyde High School.  I sent him a copy of our 40th reunion DVD and he enjoyed seeing and hearing about the students he remembered.  It was nice to talk with him again and, while there were some crazy times in class, I have to admit that I probably learned more "useful" things from Ag class than most other places.  Anyway, if you want to contact Mr. Roper, I am sure he would love to hear from any of you.  He is now 88 years old.  We just don't have classes like that anymore!
His address is: 

Fulton F Roper


124 Ridge Rd

Greenville, SC 29607-3750

(864) 234-0935

Hugh Constance 
Teacher and Coach

Written by Carol Larson 
Originally published in the Mountaineer
September 2009  




Thursday, 24 September 2009 18:59

They come from careers in teaching, horticulture, building trades, research and corporate management. There’s even a retired fireman from Queens, N.Y.
Some grew up in Haywood County and others moved here after retiring. Others call the area home for only part of the year.
What they all have in common, however, is the enjoyment of working together every week helping to build a Habitat for Humanity house for Haywood Habitat.  They are members of the Tuesday-Thursday and Wednesday-Friday crews, faithful volunteers who love the fellowship and the satisfaction of working with their hands and minds to help those less fortunate.
Guiding their work and giving direction is Haywood Habitat Construction Supervisor Gary Wichmann.
“It’s hard to put a value on the work done by these regular volunteers,” said Wichmann. “Without the assistance of these good people, we could not build affordable houses.”
Walton Garrett, 83, is the senior member of the regular Tuesday-Thursday crew of six men and one woman. Garrett moved to the area in 1985 and has worked on every Habitat house in the county. In fact, he and his wife founded Haywood Habitat in 1990. He read a newspaper article asking for volunteers to start a local Habitat for Humanity chapter.
“We were the only ones at the first meeting that owned a computer and my wife was good at filling out forms,” said Garrett. And the rest is history.
The group started with $5,000 and bought a lot on credit. Then as now, Habitat depended on donations and volunteers.
“We dug the septic systems by hand and worked on the houses as money became available,” said Garrett.
Other long time members of the Tuesday-Thursday crew are Tom Henry and Hugh Constance. They’ve helped construct more than 36 houses in Haywood County. “After I retired I knew I had to do something besides sit on my butt,” said Henry. “Carpentry is in my blood. You can see the result of your work. And there’s a lot of personal satisfaction helping to put a family in a home.”
Constance, a former local high school math teacher and coach, is known as the best measure man and the one the crew turns to for trim work and molding. At 85, he says he doesn’t climb ladders or scaffolding anymore.
Mel Colborne, 72, is a retired horticulturalist who had built several houses with family members before joining the crew. He now has 33 Haywood Habitat homes under his belt. He likes learning new construction skills.
“No matter how much you think you know, you can always learn more,” he said. “But the best part about being on this crew is that there’s always a volunteer that brings lunch,” he added with a grin. Colborne attends most of the completed house dedications held for the new partner families. “They are so heartwarming,” he said.
Other members of the crew are Roger Donnellan, a retired Queens, N.Y. fireman and Charles Pellicier, a former carpenter in the construction business.
Pellicier enjoys continuing to work in carpentry but admitted, “It’s not the work as much as the fellowship and camaraderie that keeps him coming back every week.”
Stephanie Lyon joined the crew about five years ago. Her father was in construction and did cabinetry work.
“I had my own hammer and nails at a young age,” she said.
It didn’t take long for the all-male Tuesday-Thursday crew to see that she would fit in.
“Maybe it was seeing me put a pack of shingles on my back the first time and climb a ladder to the roof,” Lyon recalled. “There’s never been an attitude about my being a woman. They are a fabulous bunch of men and we share our tools and knowledge. As the youngest crew member I am able to scramble and get up on the roof, which many of our senior members can no longer do. We need more younger people.”
The newest member of the crew is Chris Lorish. Before moving to the area in 2006, Lorish taught medical students at the University of Alabama School of Medicine.
“I enjoy working with my hands and always had a fantasy about building a house but never had the opportunity,” he said. He does now. “This work keeps my brain active and we have such a good time.”
Members of the Wednesday-Friday crew include John Brand, Ted Lazo, Howell Glenn and Clyde Reece.
Brand is a retired salesman who enjoyed woodworking and had done some roofing before joining the group.
“What really attracted me to the group was the camaraderie,” he said. “I look forward to every Wednesday and Friday.” He also noted how appreciative  Wichmann is for whatever you do, whether you work 12 minutes or 12 hours.
Ted Lazo has been volunteering two days a week for the past 10 years. A former executive within the consumer products industry, his co-volunteers call him “tool man.”  He always has the right tool for the job in his private collection.
“I could support Habitat with a check,” said Lazo, “but I choose to volunteer my time instead, simply because of the fun I have working here.”
Howell Glenn was in software development and has helped build three houses in the past two years.
“I grew up on a farm and learned to do a little bit of everything,” he said, “but I’ve never quit learning.”
What Glenn enjoys about working on Habitat houses is the quality and precision that goes into the construction.
“There’s a lot of TLC put into these houses,” he said.
Clyde Reece retired as a lab technician in research and is working on his fourth Habitat house. He got involved when his church sponsored a house.
“Being retired I’ve gotta do something,” said Reece.
In addition to the regular weekly volunteer crews, there are individuals in special trades that volunteer, such as Jim Gibbs, a local dry waller. With business slow, Gibbs recently volunteered to complete the dry walling in a house under construction.
“Finishing drywall is one of our hardest tasks,” said Wichmann. “Thanks to the work of Gibbs, we are three to four weeks ahead.”
Wichmann also acknowledged the efforts of many local groups who volunteer a day or a week to work on a house.
All of the volunteers interviewed for this article said they get back much more than they give.
“Besides the fellowship and camaraderie, there is so much personal satisfaction knowing that you are a part of a program that gives people a “hand up,” and an improved quality of life,” said Lazo.
“Volunteers are always welcome,” said Wichmann, “no matter what your skill level. There’s a job for everyone and no one is turned away.”
Those who are interested in volunteering to build a Habitat house can contact the   Haywood Habitat hotline at 452-7960. Whether you want to swing a hammer or prepare lunch for the crew, all efforts are appreciated and make a difference.

Wayne Stevenson '51


For five decades, Stevenson made the right call


Written by Larry Leatherwood  and originally published in the Mountaineer

Sunday, 27 December 2009 17:53

Local resident began his career as a referee in 1957

On a cold, November evening in 1957,  a young man from Clyde left his home to begin a sports journey that would span 50 years.  

Wayne Stevenson, a native of Haywood County, grew up in the Clyde community. He met Flossie King to travel to officiate a basketball game with little thought that he would continue this avocation for the next five decades.

Stevenson, who was working at Champion  Paper and Fiber Company in Canton, had been approached by King, who also worked in the mill, and encouraged him to begin what was to become a passion that would last over several thousand games  in the succeeding years.  Stevenson joined the Western North Carolina Officials Association as a basketball official and eventually worked football, basketball, baseball and softball with the association until his retirement from Champion and his relocation to Hiwasse, Ga., spending 30 years in the WNCOA.

Upon relocation, he joined the old Smoky Mountain Officials Association, which is now the Southwestern Officials Association and spent the past 20 years working games in the far western part of North Carolina.  He even added volleyball to his schedule during his final years as an active official.

During his long career as an active official, Stevenson  officiated well over 1,000 football games covering youth football, middle school football, junior varsity football and high school football.  He also worked countless basketball games involving the same levels in addition to officiating the Clyde Invitational Tournament for a number of years.

The Clyde Invitational Tournament was an adult basketball tournament held at the Clyde High School gymnasium during the month of March each year which featured former high school and college basketball players. The tournament was sponsored by the Clyde Youth Organization and served as a fund-raiser to support the strong youth program sponsored by the organization.

Stevenson officiated state championships in football, basketball and softball.  He was selected to work the East-West Basketball All-Star game held annually in Greensboro, which features the best basketball seniors in the state of North Carolina.

Additionally, he worked the 1996 Shrine Bowl Football All-Star game which annually pits the best 33 football players in North Carolina against the best 33 football players in South Carolina.  The game is sponsored by the Shrine Clubs of the Carolinas and raises funds to support the Shriner’s Children Hospital in Greenville, S.C.

Stevenson mentions Flossie King and Charlie Munday as the key individuals who encouraged and assisted him to become an official.  He credits Joe Eblen with mentoring him and providing him with sound advice and guidance as he began his career in officiating.

In discussing his initial experiences in officiating, Stevenson talks about the evolution of the games, travel and the game fees that were in existence when he began.

“When I first started officiating girls basketball, the girls played three on three, were limited to two dribbles and then the rover was added,” he said.  “We had to travel on two lane roads over mountainous terrain and we traveled to Mitchell County, McDowell County and Polk County in addition to Buncombe, Madison, Yancey, Henderson and Haywood counties.  My first game fees were $7.50 for one game and $15 for two games. Also, the gyms that we played in during my early years were smaller than the ones today with the half-court line located at the foul line of the opposing team.”

Stevenson has many fond memories of the games that he worked and the officials who became some of his best friends.  Two games stand out as his favorites — a five overtime game between Robbinsville and Rosman and the East-West All-Star basketball game which he worked with Clarence Johnson, who passed away not two months following the game.  However, his final game on the football field in November 2008 is his most favorite memory.

“My final game was Smoky Mountain versus Pisgah and I worked the game as the referee.  My umpire was my son, Bruce, who has been officiating football, basketball, softball and baseball for over 30 years,”

he said. “I have had a great career as a high school official.  Working with the coaches, players and fellow officials for 50 years has been a tremendous opportunity and joy for me.  I have officiated games with some outstanding officials played by young men and women with whom I have become friends.  Several of the players who played in games that I officiated went on to become good college players.  An even greater number of the players  have become successful business people and citizens in their respective communities.  I hope that I was able to make some small contribution to their success.”

Mark Dreibelbis, current North Carolina Supervisor of Officials, said Wayne Stevenson epitomizes the dedication and love of the game that is tantamount to a successful official.

This includes the sacrifices of family time, travel and the physical wear and tear of the football field, the hardcourt and the softball/baseball field take a toll on an official’s personal and professional life.   Dreibelbis said he is not aware of anyone in the state of North Carolina other than Stevenson who has officiated football for 50 years.

Wayne Stevenson shall be remembered for a number of accomplishments not the least of which is his durability and longevity.

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