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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide for Reeves County, Trans-Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas

Golden Years

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 1998

Charter members honored

Staff Writer

Two life-long art club members were honored recently as the
group celebrated their 40th anniversary.

"The Pecos Art Association has been a fast growing club in
Pecos for 40 years," said charter member Edna Withers.

The group does mostly water-color paintings, which are
displayed the building that the group meet in.

Some of the groups paintings can also be seen at different
locations in Pecos, such as the Reeves County Hospital and
West of the Pecos Museum.

"We loan watercolor pictures to the Reeves County Hospital
to help decorate their rooms and offices and help promote
interest in the Reeves County Fall Fair," said president of
the club, Marilyn Oden.

"We work in partnership with the West of the Pecos Museum,
who provide a venue, for child artistic endeavors," she said.

Withers, and with club member Billie Bickley were honored
for being charter members of the group who started out just
"dabbling" with a paintbrush. The two were presented with
the club's yearbook.

"I quit painting for about 20 years, while I taught school
and then went back to doing it," said Bickley.

Both are also former Pecos school teachers.

Withers was the first president the club had when it was
first formed, while Bickley was the third.

"I remember that we had about 40 members at one time," said

While Edna Withers was a kindergarten school teacher her
husband, Buddy, was a coach and principal.

She taught kindergarten for 23 years in Pecos, before that
had taught public school for eight years and had also taught
in Toyah for three years.

Withers also taught in different places in Florida, while
her husband was stationed there.

She helped establish the Pecos Art Association when she
asked Roy Keister of Weslaco to come to Pecos to teach a
painting class in July 1958. She had met him in Monahans
when attending one of his classes.

For the first class in Pecos, 25 students enrolled. An
exhibit was held after the class to show the students'
paintings as well as some slides of Keister's trip to

On Nov. 14, 1958, a group from the painting classes met at
an old grocery store building at the Pecos Housing area to
organize the Pecos Art Association. Among the fourteen
charter members, Withers was elected president.

"After we left the old grocery store at the airbase, we
fixed up a room upstairs at the West of the Pecos Museum,"
said Withers.

In the years since that time, Withers has continued with her
interest and work with the group and the Art association
continues to be an interesting and growing organization and
the members have contributed much to the cultural atmosphere
of Pecos.

About 15 individuals are a part of the group and more are
interested individuals are invited to join them. They meet
the second Tuesday of every month.

The club was chartered in 1958; incorporated in 1962 and
named a non-profit organization in 1968.

Three charter members are left, but only these two women
remain active in the club.

Bickley also taught in the Pecos schools. She and her
husband have three daughters and six grandchildren.

"Out of all my grandchildren, we have two granddaughters and
one grandson who are interested in painting," said Bickley.

Bickley also studied art while attending McMurray College in
Abilene. She and her husband, Bob, have lived in Pecos for
nearly 50 years, since 1948.

"They used to recommend painting highly for therapy for
adults, and we also used a lot of this on the students," she

Bickley remembers sitting on a roack in Taylor County, which
is close to Abilene and doing most of her painting there.
"It was just so relaxing," she said.

This was during a time of war, in which her husband was
participating in, and the painting helped her in her worries
and troubles. He was also at one time, the mayor of Pecos.

"One of the nice things about belonging to this club , is
that we tell each other how good we are," said Bickley.
"Thanks to the Pecos Art Association, I started painting
again, or I would have missed out on a lot of pleasure," she

Joplins celebrate 60 happy years together

Frank and Beaulah Joplin celebrated their 60th Anniversary

The couple, who are long-time Pecos residents, met when
Beaulah's older sister, Odessa, was told Dad often made
trips to San Angelo. Beaulah's sister asked Frank if she and
her sister could ride with him since that was their home.

Beaulah and Frank eloped on June 1, 1938.

At the time, Frank owned the Conoco Station on the corner of
Highway 80 and Carlsbad Highway. Later he worked at the
Leader Hardware and Brownlee Hardware.

Beaulah was a homemaker and a talented seamstress and artist.

Last year a huge party was held in honor of Frank's 95th
birthday given to them by their daughter, Loyce Brown, of
Rochester, Minn. The happy event was held at the West of the
Pecos Museum. Guests signed a special notebook, put together
by his daughter and filled with many memories. The tables in
the courtyard were decorated with windmills, Joplin's
profession of many years.

The couple have three children, Loyce Joplin Brown of
Rochester, Minn., Barbara Joplin LeBarron of Houston and Tom
Joplin of Burke, Virg.

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