DENISON ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
2011 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI
Robert Beckham of Pearland, Texas, who graduated from Denison High School in 1960, will be honored as this year’s Distinguished Alumni. Beckham will ride in the Homecoming Parade, then be honored at the reception planned for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Fellowship Hall to which all of his family, friends and Alumni Association members are invited.
The reception will be held immediately following the parade, which will be about 6:30 p.m. Beckham also will be recognized prior to the Homecoming football game at Munson Stadium on Friday night.
Beckham has had a distinguished career, lasting 33 years in data analysis and technical management of software development contracts. His technical background is complemented by completion of a master of arts degree in literature that includes creative writing and literary research papers.
He has compiled and edited the results of a series of medical experiments concerning the physical and neurological effects of weightlessness on shuttle astronauts. He also wrote a Software Process Guide that described a set of activities and documentation or effective software development.
As a U.S. Army civilian, he began his career in the Date Analysis Division at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. in 1964. From 1967 through 1984 he worked in the Ground Data Systems Division, Mission Operations, then the Spacecraft Software Division, Data Systems & Analysis and Avionic Systems Division, Engineering before the Technical Publications Office, Information Services, all at NASA/Johnson Space Center in Houston, where he is a mathematician, Aerospace Technologist, Data Systems.
Beckham attended Peabody Elementary and McDaniel Junior High before graduating in 1960 from DHS. He won the academic letter sweater for chemistry the first year that letters were given for academics. He was the first National Merit Scholarship Finalist from Denison and as a senior, he was voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” He graduated from the University of Texas in 1964.
He retired at NASA in 1998, then wrote and published a children’s book about the life of Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press.
In 1964 Beckham married Linda K. Louis of Denison and began his career at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. In 1967, the family moved to Houston, where he began working for NASA. The Beckhams have two daughters and six grandchildren.
Denton Lunch Bunch
The idea of a lunch bunch began when the class of 1949 was holding its 50th reunion and discovered that two of the four classmates from Fort Worth had been getting together every month for lunch. After talking about the meetings, those two and two others from Denison decided they would like to meet as a group for lunch at a convenient location between Fort Worth and Denison. Denton was selected as the site for their get together and the first one took place on a Wednesday in November 1999.
After that first meeting they enjoyed it so much that they decided to meet again the next month and to invite some of their other former classmates to join them for lunch. From those four, the group has grown to a monthly average of 25 or more alumni from Denison. Their meetings are open to anyone who has attended Denison High School or is related to someone who has graduated from Denison High School.
While the meetings are attended almost every time by men, it is opened up every quarter, January, April, July and October, to spouses and other females interested in attending. Attendees at those meetings generally swell to 40 to 50 people who live in the area surrounding Denison. The largest group through the years has been 76 attendees at a meeting in 2008.
The smallest crowd was three men one month when the roads were icy and only Gene Gohlke, Fred Lane and Curt Stogsdill, all who lived in Denton at the time, could get to the restaurant.
The group is “totally unorganized.” There are no officers, but Clifton Weaver is generally the spokesman and is called “the glue that holds us together.” He not only puts out a newsletter every month to those who have signed up as members, but keeps everyone advised of deaths, illnesses and other things of mutual interest. There is no set of bylaws, no dues and no agenda for members and their meetings. The only requirement is to come and enjoy the company of others who are proud to have attended Denison High School.
Virginia and Gary Hales are in charge of decorations for the reception and Horace Groff will provide finger foods. Gay Nix will man the sign-in table and recruit new members to the association that meets monthly on the fourth Monday of the month at the Denison Public Library.
DONNA HUNT is s former editor of The Denison Herald. She lives in Denison and is a 1953 graduate of Denison High School. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.