Remembering Howe alumni’s first war casualty

From the archives of the Howe Enterprise.  Originally published in the Memorial Day publication of Monday, May 26, 2014

Tony Weber Brinkley entered the US Navy as a 16-year-old Howe High School graduate in December of 1942. He wanted to serve his country that was deep in the midst of World War II. Sixteen months later, he lost his life in the Southwest Pacific.

Brinkley, a Howe native, was born to Joe and Lillie Brinkley. He was a star football player that lettered four years for the Bulldogs and led them to a district championship and bi-district playoff tie as their quarterback and “coach.”  Because of the war, Howe had no head coach, so the team coached themselves and Brinkley called the plays and helped structure the practices.

Brinkley was an aviation machinist’s mate, third class and was the first Howe High School graduate to be lost during World War II.

His father had passed away before he entered the Navy, therefore, his widowed mother received the news on a Thursday afternoon that Brinkley had died in the service of his country and his remains were buried in allied territory, outside of continental limits. The message requested that no information on names or location be given. It was later publicized that Brinkley was killed on Bougainville Island.

Lt. Stuart Dyckman, USNR, of Dallas told the story about the casualty of Brinkley.

Dyckman said in 1944: “Tony was an aviation metalsmith. It was his job to help repair the fuselages of our fighter and bomber planes when they returned from battling the Japs from the air. The job was a grind. The planes were coming in and going out all the time. Tony worked and worked fast from 12 to 14 hours a day. The pace of the job would have been enough, but the Japs on the island got the range of the airfield and were dropping shells on it trying to wreck the installations.

Sometimes the shells hit pretty close, but Tony kept at his job. He knew how important it was that those planes stay airworthy, Tony might have been able to get away for a little rest, but he elected to stay on the job he was doing magnificently. The shells had been exploding all around our airfield for 10 or 15 days when Tony finally got it. But his death did not go unavenged. The same planes that Tony had helped put back in the air had blasted those Jap guns. Tony was just a boy, but he was doing a man’s job.”

Finally, in July of 1948, Brinkley was given a military reburial. The dedication was held at First Baptist Church in Howe (where Skinner Plumbing Supply now sits at 200 S. Denny St.). The Rev. Lowell Brinkley, chaplain of the Hughes-Brinkley Legion Post of Howe officiated. He was formally buried at Hall Cemetery in Howe.

Brinkley was a classmate, teammate and fellow World War II veteran with L.B. Kirby who is Howe’s own most decorated living veteran in the state of Texas, with seven Bronze Stars, two Bronze Arrowheads and a Purple Heart, awarded for his service in the army during World War II.

.Kirby often gets teary-eyed when discussing his friend Tony Brinkley.

“What I remember most about Tony is that he was a leader. He would always step to the front.” Kirby said in an interview in 2014. “He was good at calling the plays. We won. Tony was an exception. He very seldom ever mentioned what he did, whether football or any sport.”

Kirby would have liked to have been with Brinkley during the war but recalls that the officers wouldn’t let friends be together under any circumstances. “I never got to see him or talk to him or anything. I don’t know why, but they didn’t like old friends to talk to each other. I never understood that. What would it have hurt? Combat or not, it didn’t make a lot of a difference.” said Kirby.

Howe’s famous war hero L.B. Kirby (third from left) was a classmate and teammate of Tony Brinkley

Kirby talked about the job that Brinkley had to do off of the coast of Bougainville Island. “They did a lot of repairs from the ships. I never saw how they landed on those ships. I still don’t know how, but they did every time. They’d repair them and back up they’d go.” said Kirby. “I was on a land operation. He was in the Navy and I was in the Army. I wish we’d have been able to stay together.” Kirby figured that if the officers wouldn’t let them communicate, it was because if one would have been shot, the other friend would have been there to try and rescue him and ended up with two casualties instead of one.

Kirby remembers that he would get really upset when he came back and people were laughing at some of the war veterans that came home after the war.

“People didn’t understand what we were doing over there. One man asked me, ‘how was the hunting’? I said, ‘there was no hunting. We killed people and they tried to kill us.’ They didn’t really realize what combat really was. I didn’t even realize what it was. But it doesn’t take you all day to learn. War is a dangerous thing. War is a business of killing people and being killed. We understood that there were going to be people that were going to be trying to kill us. That’s what our job was, killing people. It’s a dirty business.”

Tony Brinkley is a name that most Howe citizens don’t recognize. However, the sacrifice he made for his country is enormous and the leader that he was should be an inspiration to all of this community.

He was only a kid.

His headstone at Hall Cemetery in Howe, Texas.

Tony Brinkley was inducted into the first class of the Howe Hall of Honor in April of 2015.


Two-car accident in front of Howe High School

At approximately 3:54, the Howe Police Department received a call for an accident in front of Howe High School at the intersection of FM 902 and Highway 5.  HPD Sergeant Michael Hill reported that a blue Chevrolet HHR was headed north on Highway 5 and was struck by a black Nissan that was headed east from FM 902.

“She said she stopped at the stop sign, but the green Dodge truck on the other side obscured her view,” said Sgt. Hill.  “She pulled out a little further and said she didn’t see anyone and pulled out a little further and that’s when she was struck by the HHR.”

According to Sgt. Hill, there were three people in the HHR of which none were hurt.  The black Nissan had only one person (the driver) in the vehicle.  Sgt. Hill said that paramedics were on the scene and that all parties refused service.

“Air bags were deployed on both vehicles, but everybody is safe and we’re just waiting on the wrecker to get here,” said Sgt. Hill.

Click photo for album

The story of Walt Schneider and the “Roadrunners”

From the Howe Enterprise vault:  Originally published November 24, 2014, in Volume 52.07

In a plot for a Hollywood movie, Walt Schneider started a girls track program in Howe in 1965 and for seven years, took a bunch of small town girls with no experience and trained them to compete with the highly trained athletes all over Texas and even Ohio. When it was all over in 1972, those girls had more ribbons and medals than any program around.

Schnieder was born Dec. 20, 1920, in New Mexico, He and his parents moved to Howe in 1935 and he graduated from Howe High School in 1938. After high school, he worked on a farm before joining the Civilian Conservation Corps.

“That was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Schneider. “There were no jobs available and no money available. Franklin Roosevelt had built these camps under the Army Administration. They sent me to Phoenix, Arizona and we fenced and surveyed all of that land out in Arizona. I got more education there than I think I did in high school. I also got more training in the CC Camp than I did in the military.”

While in Phoenix, Schneider began to work on the library in his spare time by doing construction work on the facility and painting the Celotex walls white and that laid the foundation for his life in the construction industry.

Schneider joined the US Navy in May of 1942 during World War II. He worked on defense projects in Fort Huachuca where they built the first black military post for 6,000 recruits. While in the Navy, he spent 33 months overseas. Eight months were in American Samoa before being on the USS President Polk.

“We made six landings including the last one, Iwo Jima,” said Schneider. “The invasion was planned on our ship by General Cates.”

After his service in the US Navy, Schneider went to business with a guy he met while in the CC Camp. And later got into the construction business in Phoenix.

In 1950, he came to back Howe to help his dad put in a Grade A dairy. He constructed a barn for him, but his father developed cancer and died in 1956. Walt Schneider bought the farm in the Bennett Road and Schneider Road area. He later developed the land by building 13 homes. He moved four military barracks that were 2,500 square feet and bricked them and changed the entire structure and made homes from them. He helped out his family by making contractors out of six nephews that helped him construct homes.

Schneider’s hobby as a track coach began when his nine-year-old adopted daughter, Elaine, wanted to enter track meets. He entered her against boys since there was not a track team for girls in this area.

“At the football field (Bulldog Stadium), at 10 years old, she was so far ahead of the rest of the girls that she’d come home and cry because they didn’t have girls track,” Schneider remembered. “I asked her if she wanted to compete with the boys and she did. She beat them all except for two of them on the football team. Eventually, she began to run in girls meets and she went to the regional meet in Fort Worth at Perrington Field and won the 60, 100 and 220-yard dash events as well as qualified in the high jump to go to state.

With Elaine’s success, Walt Schneider started to earn a reputation as someone who knew how to coach a girl in track. In 1965, he would have an opportunity that would change his life and a lot of young girls lives. That year a young raw farm girl with athletic ability was introduced to Schneider.

“Somebody told me that Carlene Wilson was fast so we went and got her,” said Schneider. “I told her to bring you a sidekick because we don’t like to take one girl by themselves. So she took Marsha Bonner.”

Wilson, a fierce competitor, had no training other than racing her neighbor Rick Orr every day while playing. In Sherman, in her and Bonner’s first track meet, they set records against big-school trained competitors.

“When we ran at the Sherman Jaycees as 12-year-olds, we had to run against high school girls. And we won.” said Wilson (now Carlene Walker).

Schneider worked with both Wilson and Bonner extensively and trained them to compete. Wilson, however, was not comfortable using starting blocks and it made her nervous. Schneider didn’t push the issue and let her run in meets from a standing start. The starting blocks became no advantage to the competition. Wilson’s natural speed earned a barrage of blue ribbons.

“They were just little country girls that got put up against big-school kids. Carlene and Marsha both won in the Sherman Jaycees meet, so they sent us to Abilene.” Schneider said. “They were so scared. Carlene, I think, was too nervous to really perform, but Marsha got second place in the high jump that year and that started her up.”

Bonner began to take off as a track star in numerous events such as the 220, 440 and high jump and would often come away a winner in all events. She would later qualify to go to California at a tri-state event with Louisianna, Texas and Mississippi.

“Carlene was a jackrabbit.” said Bonner. “Her stride was so incredibly long; way longer than mine and I had longer legs. She would leave marks in the track when she ran because it was like she hopped.”

Bonner and Wilson, who later went to state in high school, became the duo that would kick-start a run of unthinkable success from a small town and it was Walt Schneider’s lovable encouraging way of coaching that made girls want to compete for him.

“He was an awesome coach.” Said Walker. “He taught me how to believe in myself. I’d been involved in team sports, but when it came down to an individual basis, he taught me how to believe in myself. Everything was positive and upbeat I don’t know if I ever heard him say a negative word. His reinforcement would be to tell you that you ran a good race, but you’ve got more in the tank.”

Bonner also expressed her sentiments for Schneider, “I love that man.”  said Bonner. “There are not enough words in the human language that could tell the story of this man and his kindness, love, and passion for girls sports.”

It was that infectious love and passion that created the seven-year story of The Roadrunners. And one thing that has yet to be mentioned is that he did it all for free. He paid for everything and did it all on his own. He was a complete volunteer from the true essence of the word. He did it all because he loved it all.

“I coached the Howe High School kids and we tried to get a relay team.” said Schneider. “One day we were there and six junior high girls come up to me and asked if they could go out for track. I told them that the schools don’t have any track meets. I told them that we just compete in the summertime versus Dallas and places like that. That summer, I ended up with 26 girls and that was the “runningest” bunch of kids I ever seen.”

He took them to Bulldog Stadium and turned them loose to run and race and the girls began to fuss and fight about who won. Schneider quickly addressed the situation and told them that he was glad that all of them were good.

“I told them that we’d find a place for all of you.” said Schneider. “We had some of the greatest kids. Kathy McClellan was the fastest one in the 100-yard dash, Sheri Bledsoe was second. She asked me how can she become first. I told her to lose five pounds and work at it. Kathy went off to a vacation for two weeks and came back for a Sherman meet and Sheri beat her. That disturbed Kathy terribly. I told her that you can’t miss two weeks of training. Someone is going to come along and beat you.”

Garland, a 5A school, invited Howe to their meet. Out of the 11 blue ribbons available, Howe won eight of them. Schneider said that the Garland officials couldn’t believe that these scrappers from tiny Howe could beat their state champion-level athletes.

In a two-year period from 1969 to 1970, Schneider’s girls won 34 medals, which were awarded to the top three placed in regional, state and tri-state meets of AAU, AAF and JC State meets. In those two years, his girls took first place in the Dallas AAU twice, the Plano AAF, Richardson AAF and the Abilene LAAF State meet.

In 1970, the Sherman Democrat ran a story on Schneider and his success with his group of country small town athletes. The story was a tribute to the unofficial, unpaid track coach for a group of girl athletes who thought he was great. In that article, one of Howe’s finest athletes of all time, Billy Bryant Cloud, said, “He is a man with a big heart. Not many adults will take the time he does to help a group of girls.”

A 13-year-old Debbie Adams said, “It is real hard to put in words how I feel about my coach. He must care an awful lot about us to spend his time and money. He would do anything he could for anyone who likes and wants to be a track athlete. I think he is a great man.”

Of that special 1970 group were Diane Lankford, Linda Malnory, Sue Knight, Nyla Trotter, Cindy Cloud, Marsha Bonner, Brenda Dailey, Thelma Hill, Theresa Knight, Sheri Bledsoe, Sheryl Bullard, Debbie Adams, Kelly Adams, Sandra Bowen, and Kathy Presson.

In those days, the boys got trophies and the girls got ribbons. Schneider quoted in that story said, “I hope that in the near future that this unfair practice will be changed.”

Because of his own personal feelings on the matter, he bought trophies (with his own money) and presented them to the girls at a dinner honoring them for their accomplishments.

But, the main story of this article on this wonderful man may be that the only color he cared about were the color of the ribbons. In the 1969 and 1970, Schneider coached three African-American girls (Myrtle Hailey, Thelma Hill and Brenda Bailey) from Trenton and they ran as representatives from Howe. There was a time when Howe was different than it is today. And at that time, it took an exceptional human being to see through the hate that existed amongst the previous generations all over the south.

“We would take any girl that could compete and those girls were exceptional,” said Schneider. “Our girls loved them and they became the best of friends. It was just like I told Carlene years before. Myrtle was the best athlete we had heard about and I told her to bring a friend because we wanted her to have someone to make her comfortable. That’s when we ended up with Brenda too. They were exceptional in every way.”

Marsha Bonner recalls that the people of Howe became so familiar with the Trenton runners, that when Trenton came to Howe to play basketball, Myrtle Hailey was given an ovation from the Howe crowd.

Schneider often took the 13 girls to track meets in his ’65 Mustang. Once a man said he was going to turn them in. The girls began to say that they were all related sisters and cousins Myrtle and Brenda told the man that they were adopted.

In the final year of the Roadrunners, Schneider ended up taking two girls to Canton, Ohio. Laura Mark and Sue Knight became two dynamic athletes to finish up the program just as Wilson and Bonner had started it in the beginning. His niece, Laura Schneider ran with him at the age of 7 and she eventually became known as the fastest girl since Wilson.

To make this “could be made for Hollywood” story even more outrageous is the fact that as young boy, Schneider had polio and was told he’d never be able to run. He had read about a boy who went through an operation and later competed in a marathon. That became Schneider’s goals and he achieved that goal.

Walt Schneider spent a segment of his life trying to help his girls earn ribbons, medals and trophies. Those honors are buried in closets, but the love from and for that man is etched in far more valuable place. He will be remembered as one of the finest men to ever call Howe home.


Kindle Catching named 30th HHS Drum Major

Kindle Catching has been named drum major for the 2017-18 school year.  She is the 30th drum major since the beginning of the Howe ISD band program that started in 1975-76.

Other positions announced:

Band President:  Mikayla Doty

Vice President:  Madison Mosier

Secretary:  Shellby Armstrong

Treasurer:  Bethany Masters

Color Guard Captain:  Taylor Thurman

Color Guard Members:  Ivonne Delgado, Aubrey Friedman, Grace Jones, Valerie Langford, Natalie Murphy, Rebecca Rhew, Natalie Sloan, Erin Tyler

Loading Captain:  Erin Tyler

Other leadership team members and their roles will be announced at a later date.

HHS Drum Major History

1975-76 Jerry Taylor
1976-77 Terri Straw
1977-78 Robin Hawkins
1978-79 Robin Hawkins
1979-80 Robin Hawkins
1980-81 Valerie Whitfield
1981-82 Brent Wood
1982-83 Lex Breeding
1983-84 David Whitfield
1984-85 David Whitfield
1985-86 Danielle Mailloux
1986-87 Rodney Holcomb
1987-88 Paula Mullins
1988-89 Paula Mullins
1989-90 Sharla Powell
1990-91 Sharla Powell
1991-92 Sharla Powell
1992-93 Kent Bearden
1993-94 Carrie Mullins
1994-95 April Taylor
1995-96 April Taylor
1996-97 April Taylor
1997-98 Mandy Summers
1998-99 Mandy Summers
1999-00 Aaron Stringfellow
2000-01 Aaron Stringfellow
2001-02 Kyle Lowder
2002-03 Kyle Lowder
2003-04 Laura Stringfellow
2004-05 Andrew Shaffer
2005-06 Rhapsody Fearon
2006-07 Erica Wortham
2007-08 Kayla Cook
2008-09 Jesse Richard
2009-10 Jesse Richard
2010-11 Ashley Krueger
2011-12 Travis Fulton
2012-13 Makenzie Duffee
2013-14 Madeline Ansley
2014-15 Madeline Ansley
2015-16 Jessica Doty
2016-17 Kaylee Dwyer
2017-18 Kindle Catching

Obituary: Monty Dan Ulmer, 1973-2017

Monty Dan Ulmer, age 43, has passed away on the evening of May 9 after a tough battle with cancer. He passed peacefully surrounded by his family. He was born on July 4, 1973, in Sherman, Texas to Jerry and Carolyn Ulmer. He was the youngest of four children and lived his whole life in the Howe, Texas area. After graduating from Howe High School he went to work at Kaiser Aluminum in Sherman, Texas where he worked for seventeen years. He then worked at New Phoenix Metals in Greenville for ten years and then a year for Encore Wire in McKinney. Monty loved to hunt, fish, sing karaoke, and spend time with friends telling stories. And Monty was a world class story teller. He loved the outdoors but also being surrounded by people. His warm, engaging personality and ready smile made everyone smile around him. You were never sad around Monty.

He is survived by his parents, Jerry and Carolyn Ulmer of Howe, Texas, siblings Sonja Rollins, husband Lloyd, of Denison, Jerri Carl, husband Mark, of Caddo Mills, and Craig Ulmer, wife Mendy, of Howe, and his children Kelsey Ulmer and Ethan Ulmer of Denison, and Madison (Maddy) Ulmer of Anna.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, May 13, at Luella First Baptist Church, 3162 St. Hwy 11 in Luella, Texas. Bobby Hawkins will be officiating the service. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Home Hospice of Grayson County 505 W. Center Street, Sherman Texas.

All are welcome to attend.



Memorial ServiceSaturday, May 13, 2017
2:00 PM

Luella First Baptist Church
3162 State Hwy 11
Luella, Texas 75090

Letter Carriers’ 25th Annual Food Drive Saturday, May 13

Howe, TX — The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will conduct its 25th annual national food drive on Saturday, May 13. The Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive, the country’s largest single-day food drive, provides residents with an easy way to donate food to those in need in the community.

Customers simply leave their donation of non-perishable goods next to their mailbox before the delivery of the mail on Saturday, May 13. Letter carriers will collect these food donations on that day as they deliver mail along their postal routes and distribute them to local food agencies. Visit to learn more.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is the nation’s largest single-day food drive and is held annually on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.

“With the economic struggles many Texans face, the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive is as critical as ever. Not only do thousands of Texans go hungry, organizations that help them are in need of replenishments,” said Howe Postmaster LeAndra Beckemeyer.

Hunger affects about 50 million people around the country, including millions of children, senior citizens, and veterans. Pantry shelves filled up through winter-holiday generosity often are bare by late spring. And, with most school meal programs suspended during summer months, millions of children must find alternate sources of nutrition.

“Letter carriers see these struggles in the communities they serve, and they believe it’s important to do what they can to help,” added Beckemeyer.

On Saturday, May 13, as they deliver mail, the nation’s 175,000 letter carriers will collect donations left by residents near their mailboxes. People are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag—paper or plastic—containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, canned meats and fish, pasta, peanut butter, rice or cereal, next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery on that Saturday.

This year’s effort includes a public service announcement with award-winning actor and director Edward James Olmos. Television networks and stations can use this link to find and download high-quality versions of the PSA, in English and Spanish.

Since the first national Food Drive in 1993, the Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive has collected more than 1.5 billion pounds of food; last year’s drive brought in a record 80 million pounds of food.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.

Howe man hunts Big Foot – will have local book signing Saturday

Jerry Hestand is a “Howe guy.” He grew up in Howe and his father, Glyn Hestand was even Howe’s former mayor. Jerry Hestand has written a book called Hunting Apes in America: My Life as a Bigfoot Hunter. His book is available on Amazon, but he’ll be signing copies at Howe Community Library this Saturday, May 13, from 10 am until noon. He’ll also have a presentation that includes photographs and casts of footprints. Howe Community Library Director Melissa Atchison says that the event is sure to be an informative, thought-provoking talk, so mark your calendars. Does Bigfoot really exist?


Hestand is a native of North Texas and has been involved in Bigfoot research since January of 2001. Hestand is now a retired elementary educator who has spent much of the last sixteen years investigating and writing witness encounters about Bigfoot sightings in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. He is also a former member of several well-known research groups. His research has extended from the swamps of the Big Thicket, Bayous of Fouke, Arkansas and also led him to the mountains of Southeast Oklahoma in search of the “Wood Ape.” Hestand has appeared in two Bigfoot documentaries and has been mentioned in several books and magazines as well as local news articles. He has had encounters with the Southern Bigfoot over the years culminating with an up close sighting in the mountains of Southern Oklahoma. Come along with Hestand as he documents his evolution from a child Bigfoot enthusiast to years of seeing the Bigfoot phenomena transform from what was thought to be just a figment of the imagination to a possible scientific discovery. He has been a part of Southern Bigfoot research for nearly two decades and has a wealth of information guaranteed to have the reader transfixed by his fantastic adventures. For more information about the author visit