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Grissom Family Reunion 1999

The Grissom Family Reunion for 1999 is now just a memory. I hope everyone that attended had a good time, and got to know their kinfolk a little better. We enjoy looking at our pictures and seeing all those familiar, smiling faces again. If you were unable to attend, we wish you could have been there. We hope you will make plans now to attend the next one in 2001. There's more on that subject toward the end of this letter.


Who was there?

I will try to list below those who attended. Hope I don't miss anybody. J

    Representing Edith's family:
  • Lynn (Lynnell) Vickers Schiller, husband Glenn and grandchildren Angela & Stephen, (All from Forest Lake MN)
  • Patty Vickers Baty (from Pegram TN)
  • (Lea Ona Vickers Coalson was around, but had to go home to Georgia before the party on Saturday.)
    Representing Ozella's family:
  • Marvin Rigsby, wife Brenda, (from McMinnville TN) and children Kevin (from Woodbury TN) and Karen (from Hendersonville TN)
  • Sandy Hillis and husband Leonard, (from Mesa AZ) their daughter and son-in-law Julie and Buck Swoape and grandbaby, Riley Olivia (from McMinnville TN)
  • Jim Rigsby, wife Kim and baby, Caleb (from McMinnville TN).
  • Michaelee Binge (from Pontiac MI), Janis Hillis (from El Paso TX) and her fiancé, Ron Kemp and Ron's daughter, Mariah (from Phoenix AZ).
  • Sylva Hildebrandt and husband Bill (from South Lyon MI)
  • Corrine Opel, husband Ed, (from Bay City MI) their children Elizabeth (from Ft. Wayne IN), Paul and his wife Ellen (from Syracuse NY), Susan (from Ft. Wayne IN) and her friend Kevin Hoeppner (from Woodburn IN)
  • Eva Harbison, son Andrew, daughter Amy Lemke and her husband Kevin and their daughters Julia and Gillian (They all live in Howell MI)
  • Judy Hillis (from Howell MI) and her friend, Jim Sims (from Redford MI)
    Representing Lester's family:
  • Delores Russell (from Madison TN)
  • Erston Grissom and wife Annie (from Chapel Hill TN)
    Representing Brainard's family:
  • Wallace Grissom (from Ooltewah TN)
  • Ray Grissom (from Nashville TN)
    Representing Kimera's family:
  • Dick Grissom, wife Judy and granddaughter, Kimera McReynolds (from Knoxville TN)
    Representing Eiland's family:
  • Aunt Zelma Lee Grissom (from Unionville TN)
  • Melvin Grissom and wife Nancy (from Unionville TN), Melvin's sons:
  • Mike and his wife Angela and daughters Lindsay, Lauren and Karly (Shelbyville TN)
  • Randy and his daughter, Taylor (from Bell Buckle TN)
  • Nola Klein, husband Steve, (from Hermitage TN) and their son Darrell and wife Jamie (from Antioch TN)
  • Gerald Grissom and wife Carolyn and daughter, Janet (from Shelbyville TN)
  • Odell Grissom and wife Patti (from Sugar Hill GA)
    Representing Addine's family:
  • Goodwin Scott (from Chapel Hill TN)

What happened at the Reunion?

  • People attending received a small candy bar at their place setting. Pictured on the wrapper were the eight children of John and Florence Grissom back in 1937. Thanks to Sylva Hillis Hildebrandt for this nice touch.
  • Many people enjoyed the posters Sylva had put up that showed our descendents on charts. She also displayed her scrapbook with information and pictures of our ancestors. There was another photo album with pictures from previous reunions.
  • Corrine Hillis Opel served as chairman and recognized people who were attending for the first time. She asked for someone to head the reunion next time. Hearing no such offers, she agreed to do it again, Lord willing, in 2001.
  • An Ancestor Quiz kept people busy, trying to match up our relatives with their claim to fame.
  • Lynn Schiller, our genealogist, gave the answers to the Ancestor Quiz. Her research was the basis of our information about our forebears.
  • Melvin Grissom led a brief memorial service where we remembered our recently departed relatives: Marshall Russell, Aunt Margie Grissom and Aunt Carrie Grissom. He also made note of three new baby Grissoms in attendance: Gillian Lemke, Riley Swoape and Caleb Rigsby.
  • Corrine thanked Michaelee Binge for being our official photographer, Sandy and Janis Hillis, Elizabeth and Susan Opel for taking care of registration, Sylva Hildebrandt and Ed Opel for serving as hosts in the lobby, Paul Opel for designing and selling our reunion caps. Paul also has been the key person putting together our Grissom Web Page and he got a big hand for his work in that area. Thanks were expressed also to Sylva for the candy bars, Lynn for her presentation and Melvin for the memorial service.
  • Delores Russell noted an amazing fact. All living grandchildren of John and Florence Grissom were present at this reunion! Those grandchildren would be Sylva, Corrine, Eva, Judy, Delores, Erston, Wallace, Ray, Dick, Melvin, Nola, Gerald, Odell, and Goodwin. Too bad some had to leave before the pictures were made to record this miracle, but never the less, we all were there!
  • Somebody left their reunion cap on the table. Are you missing your cap? Contact Paul Opel during regular office hours weekdays at 1-800-264-5898 and he'll send it to you.

What's New?

  • We will meet again for our next reunion in Chapel Hill at the Henry Horton State Park. We have already reserved the Conference Lodge for Saturday, August 4, 2001. That sounds like a long time off, but we have to make reservations well in advance at this popular resort. The Conference Lodge is a separate building and we will be the only party using it that day, so we should have plenty of room and should be able to hear better. The restaurant will provide a catered meal. In a year or so, I will send you a copy of the menus so we can take a vote on what to have to eat.
  • Melvin says Uncle Lester and Aunt Carrie's house in Chapel Hill will be featured in a Tom Hanks movie to be released later this year. This movie is called "The Green Mile", he thinks. Who knows, the house may be on the screen for only 3 seconds, but it would be interesting to see.
  • Janis Hillis will become Mrs. Ron Kemp on July 22, 2000 in El Paso Texas. We wish them happiness and blessings in their marriage. See you in 2001?

What Else?

  • Be sure to keep me posted if you have an address change. I also like to know who is online, so we can have an address list of people with e-mail. Watch the WebPage for updates and added features. We will be making several changes very soon. That address again is at
  • Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have a representative from each branch of the family at the next reunion? We'll have to work on getting Cynthia Goss to attend. She is Uncle Tullus' granddaughter who lives in California and has expressed a desire to be with us some year.

Much love and success to all of you, WE ARE THE GRISSOMS!!
Love, Corrine

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