A planning luncheon was held in September 1955 for a joint reunion of Reagan ex-students for the classes of ’37, ’38 and ’39. Leonard Ball spoke of his dream to erect a memorial in the Heights to recognize the Reagan students who served in World War Il. He reported that he had been working with a fellow alumni and architect, Lars Bang. Lars had created a model of a memorial plaza and its associated drawings. After much discussion, volunteers from the group agreed to meet and establish an organization to sponsor the project.
The Associadon had lts beginning on October 13, 1995 with an organizational meeting held in the conference room of Merchants Bank, 11th and Shepherd in Houston, Texas, Those present were Lamar H. Good. Frances Wren Shank, Richard G. Musgrove, Arthur Bleimeyer, Leonard Ball, Maty Earhart Austin, Clarence Coffman, Charlie lnglis, Billy Lindley, Tony Wenzel, Elmer Telge, J.H. Philips, Raymond Burklin, Dr. Clarence Kaiser, Jimmy Franks and Clayton Lee.
After a discussion of responsibilities, officers were elected. They were Lamar H. Good, President; Francis Wren Shank. Vice President; Richard G. Musgrove, Secretary. Committees responsible for Names Selection, fund-Raising, Publicity and Site were established and members appointed.
Reunion lists from the classes were obtained and merged into a database. Those present were asked to assist in obtaining other class lists. Because of the long delay in obtaining non-profit status from the IRS, the Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce volunteered to make available the Heights Community Fund for the deposit of our tax-free donations received for the memorial. This fund for our memorial was titled “Heights Community Fund – W W Il.” Articles of Incorporation and By Laws were discussed and adopted.
The first gift to the memorial was received from Leonard Ball’s company. His $5,000 was deposited in me Heights Community Fund-WWll.
City Council members Felix Fraga and Helen Huey met with association leadership and endorsed our plans. HISD TV requested members meet with them on the esplanade site to provide information for their presentation.
At the September 10, 1996 association meeting, the president reported that Robert L Waltrip accepted the co-chairmanship of our Steering Committee for fund-raising with Clayton Lee. Stand-up cards were placed at area businesses with a picture of the model and tear-off pads requesting info on names to be included on memorial. The database was reported to contain 3,000 names, largely from Regan class reunion lists.
The September 30, 1996 Board meeting confirmed prior action to 1) recruit a Fund-Raising Steering Committee to be comprised of community leaders and ex-students from John H. Reagan High School. 2) organization chart of leaders and committees to raise $200.000 in gifts and pledges to underwrite the cost of the memorial, 3) a tentative schedule of events leading up to the dedication of the memorial including a Book of Remembrance. lt·will include the names of those men and women of the Greater Heights area who served ln WWll, their photographs, rank at discharge, birth and death dates and dass If attend!ng Reagan, and 4) the use of a donor’s card and a campaign brochure to be furnished to all potential donors, the latter to include, in text, photos and drawings, the location and design of the Memorial Plaza, th Association’s goals, plans and methods by which it will attain such goals.