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Zeb & Vallie's Photo page -
Because this story is more current than the others and because my Uncle Alvin is very much alive and kicking, the way I am going to tell this will
be different from the previous format. It will consist less of census records – which can be found on his (Zeb Reece and Vallie McClure) parent’s
pages – and more of stories and photos I want to share.
Zeb and Vallie Reece’s oldest son, my Uncle Alvin, was born on April 16, 1925, in Clay County, NC. This is just West of Hayesville a mile or
so. The current Route 64 double-yellow lines go right across the spot where the two bedroom new-lumber house, where he was born, was
placed in his Aunt Birdie's pasture field. Family stories say that he was born premature and was so small he would fit into a cigar box.
Grandfather (Caswell) Reece had a farm just south of Warne, NC [Brasstown Township of Clay County] with land in NC and GA. He did not
know the name of the person with the farm that grandfather had land with divided between GA and NC by a barbwire fence.
They lived a house just inside GA and went to school in NC at Warne before moving to a spot just out of Hayesville, near his birthplace.
This is the first photo I have of him by himself. He is sitting on his dad’s car. He is pictured in other earlier photos with his parents. See his
father, Zeb Reece’s, pages for those photos and census documents.
When Alvin was 2 year old (ca 1927), the family moved from North Carolina to Kenmore, Ohio, where his dad (Zeb) went to work at
Firestone in Akron, OH. Alvin tells the story of them tying him to the clothesline so he could play outside. I imagine for a family from the
mountains of North Carolina it would have been quite an adjustment moving into a growing city. See the Timeline of the family for more
Zeb continued to work at Firestone for 38 years. All of the other 8 children in the family were born in Ohio. For part of Alvin’s sixth grade year
and the first half of his seventh grade year of school Vallie and the children lived in NC. It was during the year long strike at the Firestone
Company. Zeb stayed in Ohio with his foreman.
Alvin's school picture at 14 years old.
Alvin moved back to Ohio for the second half of 1937 and graduated from Akron Garfield high school in June of 1943 and joined the Navy in
October 1943. He wore two uniforms while serving his country. The Marine uniform shown at the beginning of this story and the Navy one when
When I asked him why, he said:
“Navy medical people have always been the medical people for the Marines. I had Navy enlistment and was sent to hospital corpsman school.
After several Navy bases, I was transferred to the Marine Air Force and then to the Fleet Marines. I was given Marine clothing when attached to
Marines and had to send the Navy clothes home. I wore Marine uniforms with Navy rates on them. Until at discharge I was sent back to Great
Lakes Naval Base for discharge. Americans, in general, do not seem to know what I have told you. I took the same training as the Marines did
at each place.”
There are still relatives in the area. In fact Uncle Mont's family has property nearby even now.
“I had to tell you this history of me”. Uncle Alvin
|I did not have to write much of this. Alvin is a great story teller! I just tried to put it all together. The
other day after we spoke on the phone, he told me he had written out some of his memories and boy
was I happy to get a copy of this document in the mail shortly afterward! I share it here with you! -->
Alvin in the 1950’s. Looks like he is
getting ready to go to work.
Alvin in college
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My guess is these two photos were taken on the same vacation. The
one on the right is of Ghost Valley in the Sky, Maggie Valley, NC
Alvin and his Parents. 1949. Alvin's College
Graduation, Athens Ohio/ First time they
had gotten his father to wear a suit!
Alvin and father, Zeb, taken at
Manchester Road house in Akron.
A couple of pictures from the 1970s
in 1991 he met up with a few of his siblings. In this case
Vance and Clifford.
Alvin married Doris Marie Harris on October 21, 1950.
She is a beauty!
50 Years later, this article appeared in the paper – still together
2014 and still rocking on!
As I mentioned, Alvin is a great story teller and his anecdotes are generously used throughout this family history. I had finished the first printing of the
McClure Family History. Which can be found on the website or in print version at http://thebp.site/75345
What follows is the Transcript of a letter sent after Alvin Reece had the first look at the McClure Family History I put together:
Hope you can read this
It was about 3 miles from Warne NC to Grandfather Caswell Reece’s home on Pine Log Road. Uncle Mont and Uncle Dow, Dads brothers, were at
home when we were (living there) during the (Firestone) strike.
We lived up the road into Georgia just over the state line and went to school in Warne (NC). I rode a mile, 2 miles at least, to Pine Log mill for
grandfather to get corn ground for cooking. He lived there with a store in the front room. He married again and had 5 children before his wife and he
Uncle Mont got the farm and lived there until he died. I have had letters from his three daughters and know JV Reece was my great grandfather (note
in the margin about here said – he had 3 wives and over 20 children – not sure who he was talking about here) but no one ever talked about him to us
children. I did not hear of his preaching there by family.
Uncle Mont was in WWII and did good job (?) with Patton Army to the Rhine. He was elected Registrar of Clay County and was at Hayesville about 11
years. He got a state certified birth certificate for me at age 65 so I could get social security.
We made a garden in the woods by clearing land and cut up our wood for stove and fireplaces in the land around the house in Georgia. Grandfather s
farm was in NC and GA. I helped with haymaking, bean picking for his crop sales, shucked corn and cleaned out stables. He had an apple storage
place dug into the side of a hill above the house. Mother used homemade lye soap and washed in a big pot over a fire.
Next thing I knew - following his doctor’s advice (somewhere about when he turned 90) he decided to start exercising! He did so well they featured
him at the facility!
And they didn’t stop there!
These are some notes from Alvin Reece’ 30 minute TV interview that aired June 22, 2017 on WMFD, Mansfield, OH. Some are quotes some is
paraphrased. But I got as much as I could.
Alvin was interviewed along with Mary Lou Herald, a volunteer instructor at Ohio Health. She leads Balance Class for Seniors and said that Al has
been her star pupil for about 3 years. He and wife, Doris, attend every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.
Al talked about his class and said that the others will tell the younger ones (60-65 years old) that if they keep trying that they can do it like him at 92
years old. He also said something about if you want to eat and enjoy food you have to move too.
Then conversation went to his service in WWII and what happened afterwards.
He says he went in Jun 1943, right out of high school and joined the Navy. He wound up with the Marine Airforce and then the Fleet Marines. He went
with them on maneuvers in North Carolina and California. Then they sent him to Guam after the bombs had been dropped on Japan and he wound
up going to China with the 1st Marine Division. Their job was to take the Japanese troops and civilians back to Japan. He was fortunate to be able get
his Pharmacist Mate Rating there and had a doctor that was keeping his eye on Al. He said he learned a lot from him.
That doctor told Al he was going to college and told him about a thing called the GI Bill. That doctor facilitated Al’s application and in July 1946 Alvin
got his letter accepting him into the fall class at Ohio University. “What did you do to me?” Al asked the doctor. Doc said “Don’t ask any questions –
we’ll get you there.”
Once on campus he got involved and worked for the University in the Athletic Department. He went to summer schools and got his 4 year degree
done in 3 and met his wife there too! They have been married 66 years. He graduated in 1949.
He worked in the financial area. Said he seemed to enjoy numbers. He was at a company called Ohio Brass for 24 years as a corporate accountant
under the controller and worked in all areas of the company and if there were any problems he was the one who had to figure out the answers.
Much of his time during those years was filled with work, and even today he still audits the church records once a year.
Alvin’s thoughts on aging –
“Your muscles have a tendency to leave you and once the elasticity is gone from your muscles it’s very hard to get it back in. So that without the
elasticity in your bones and muscles (the ability) to move and do exercises or have balance – you fall.
…Without that muscle training you can’t use your legs, you can’t use your arms and your neck will get out of whack then you can’t turn your head.”
(speaking about driving).
Talking about the class again Alvin said –
There are no rules or regulations about your background and even a hillbilly like him, from North Carolina, can work out.
Alvin then once again corrected the host when he got a fact wrong - he was not born in Kentucky, he already told him North Carolina.
LOL! Nothing wrong with his brain cells either!
He told about how his father (Zeb) brought him to Akron in 1927 and that his father had worked at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company for 38 years.
Mary Lou mentioned that Alvin and his wife were dedicated to workout out and then prompted him to tell them his doctors and the VA say to him.
They tell him that he is amazing and should keep doing what he is doing!
At the very end as they are wrapping up Alvin laughed and interjected a plug for the pot luck lunches they have at the Ohio health center. He spoke
about getting to know more people and enjoying the socialization.
If you want to see the entire video go to http://www.wmfd.com/watch-WMFD-TV-Shows/senior-living/index.asp and click on the 6-22-2107 Ohio Health
Alvin and Doris continue to live in Ohio, travel, and he can even be found on Facebook!
You go Uncle Alvin! You are a hero!
Click the picture to read
Alvin's own story
Alvin was 25 and Doris was 22 when they married.