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CHS Ex-Students Association Announces Homecoming Honorees


Cleburne High School 2021 Homecoming festivities begin Thursday, September 9, starting with the parade at 6 p.m. to be followed by the community pep rally at 7:30 and the traditional bonfire, with both being staged adjacent to Marti Elementary School, 2020 W. Kilpatrick.

The Cleburne High School Student Council has chosen a salute to the 2021 Olympics, with “Take Home the Gold” as this year’s parade theme. The parade will follow the same route as in recent years, starting adjacent to the high school on Harlin and heading east, making a loop around the Wheat Middle School campus before turning north on Colonial, ending back at the high school.

On Friday, the Jackets will take on Weatherford at 7 p.m. in their last pre-season game on the schedule. Tickets may be purchased at the CISD Athletic Office and online: Admission at the gate will be $8.

Highlighting the Homecoming celebrations are “outstanding exes” being honored by the Cleburne HS Ex-Students Association. This year’s Parade Marshal Award is being presented in memoriam to the family of Lowell “Stretch” Smith, Jr., a member of the CHS Class of 1950.

 “Our community is still mourning the passing of Stretch Smith,” Alumni Homecoming Committee Member Shaylynn McDonald said. “Mr. Smith has graced the Ex-Students Association Wall of Fame for a number of years, but we felt he needed to be remembered a second time for the many ways he served in our community and our school district as a former Trustee, in supporting and endowing numerous scholarships for CHS graduates, in meeting the physical needs of students, even serving as a student mentor at Lowell Smith, Jr. Middle School. It is so fitting that we have a CISD campus named in his honor, because he brought so much honor to CISD in the way he lived his life.”

Serving as Coming Home Queen is Shelly Martin Samuels, CHS Class of 1968. The 2021 Inductee into the Ex-Students Association Wall of Fame is Capt. Sue Parker Flood, U.S. Navy Retired, a member of the CHS Class of 1970. A resident of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Flood is unable to attend Homecoming festivities due to an illness in her family. Her mother, Eunice Parker, who taught chemistry at CHS, and her brother Brian (Class of 1972) will be representing her. Alumni honorees will be recognized in pre-game ceremonies beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

“We are proud to celebrate these Cleburne Yellow Jackets who have continued to honor our high school and community through their remarkable careers, highlighted by service and leadership,” McDonald said. “Shelly Samuels dedicated 31 years of her life as a high school and middle school teacher in Cleburne. She has continued her involvement in CISD as a board member and past-president of the Cleburne Education Foundation.”

“Our Homecoming Committee was thrilled to receive Wall of Fame nominations for Capt. Flood from her classmates,” McDonald said. “She had a distinguished Naval career which spanned 28 years of active duty. Her work as a nurse in service to her country included Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield, where she was deployed to Saudi Arabia to care for our wounded troops. When she retired from service in 2000, Capt. Flood was the commanding officer of the Naval School of Health Sciences at Portsmouth, Virginia.”

Parade Marshal in Memoriam: Lowell “Stretch” Smith, Jr

Lowell Smith Jr., longtime banker and avid civic supporter in Cleburne and Johnson County, passed away on August 29, 2021. Many people knew him as “Stretch”, an acquired name from his Cleburne High School days as a first baseman for the Jackets. 

Stretch grew up on a family ranch near Rio Vista. He attended Rio Vista schools and graduated from Cleburne High School in 1950. 

He would continue his studies at Southern Methodist University, graduating in 1954. He married Shirley Segars Smith later that same year. Mrs. Smith passed away in 2018. 

Mr. Smith served in the US Air Force, ultimately achieving the rank of Captain. His military service was followed by work at the Texas Department of Banking as an assistant bank examiner. 

In the late 1950s, he returned to Johnson County to join the First State Bank of Rio Vista.  He became President of the bank in the early 1960s and was named Chairman of the Board in 1975.  Under his leadership, the bank became well known as “The Cowpasture Bank” and later added “Fly-In Bank” to its moniker. Mr. Smith retired from banking in 1999 following the purchase of First State Bank of Rio Vista by Wells Fargo/Norwest Bank.  He continued to run the Smith Family office until days before his death.

He was very active in the banking industry, serving as President of the Texas Bankers Association, Board of Directors of the American Bankers Association, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at SMU.  He also served on the Advisory Council of Financial Institutions of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Mr. Smith served in numerous civic capacities in the Cleburne and Johnson County area, including Chairman of the Board of Johnson County Memorial Hospital, Cleburne ISD Board of Trustees, Johnson County School Board, Advisory Board of Regents-Hill College, and the Cleburne Economic Development Foundation Board of Directors.  He was also a member of the Board of Trustees of Texas Wesleyan University, which presented him with an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration. 

In 2007, Cleburne Middle School was renamed in his honor, in a unanimous decision by the CISD Board of Trustees. He was honored with the Adopter of the Year Award in 2017, jointly presented by CISD and the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Smith was a long-time member and past president of the Rotary Club of Cleburne, which honored him with the Service Above Self recognition. He served as a Board Member for the Texas Health Cleburne Development Council and was the first to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce for 50 years of community involvement.

In 2005 he was named the Cleburne Times-Review Man of the Year. In 2010 he was elected to the Cowboy Hall of Fame by the Western Multiculture Heritage Foundation. Johnson County Commissioners Court honored him in 2011 in proclaiming Lowell Smith, Jr. Day.  In 2016 he was inducted into the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame.

Hill College honored him with the Pillar of the Community Award in 2020.  In May 2021, Mr. Smith received the lifetime of Scouting Values award.  On July 21, 2021, Mr. Smith received his 65-year member pin from Rio Vista’s Nolands River Masonic Lodge.


Wall of Fame 2021 Inductee: US Navy Capt. (Retired) Sue Parker Flood

            Raised in Cleburne, Sue Parker Flood began her education journey through Cleburne schools as a Coleman Colt. Following graduation from Cleburne High School in 1970, she continued on to Texas Christian University, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing in 1973. While at TCU, she was selected for the Navy Nurse Corps Candidate Program, following in the footsteps of her father, Collis, who enlisted for active duty during World War II, continuing on to the Naval Reserves for a total of 30 years of service.
          She served as a Nurse Corps Officer for 28 years with assignments in San Diego, CA; Bremerton, WA; Rota, Spain; Portsmouth, VA, Great Lakes, IL; and Fleet Hospital 5 (tent hospital) in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield/Storm.
           For the first half of her naval career, she worked in clinical settings, earned a Master’s Degree in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and completed multiple additional graduate courses.
          During the final half of her naval career, she served as an executive, leader and manager of medical training programs and commands for the Navy Medical Department including oversight of medical training for 29 different basic and advanced medical training programs for Navy Corpsmen, medical training for Navy SEALs, and programs for nurses, physicians and other personnel. She retired as a Navy Captain in August 2000.
          From 2001 to 2003, she was Regional Manager for Spectrum Healthcare, which had a significant contract with the government for providing medical personnel to augment staffing at several military facilities in Virginia. Following that, Flood worked as Adjunct Faculty for a nursing program in Virginia Beach for 11 years, primarily teaching leadership and psychology.
           She resides in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, Stephen, who is also retired from the US Navy. They have been married for 44 years and have one son and two grandchildren.