“Coach, I want you to meet my next year’s fullback. He’s not very big, but he sure is slow.”
When his coach made that introductory comment to another coach, the young fullback, who would later marry his high school sweetheart, was in his junior year at a Taylor County high school.
“I was just an average athlete in high school. I played football, basketball and ran track. We were a small high school — we didn’t have a baseball program.”
Although he didn’t play high school baseball, he did excel in the sport. Following his high school graduation, he played semi-pro baseball at Odessa.
During a recent interview in the couple’s Stephenville living room, this writer uncovered some interesting information about these persons’ early lives in the 1950s. Asked when they first dated, the wife quickly responded,
“I can recall the exact date - May 5, 1953 — he took me to a summer league baseball game in which he played.”
At that time the couple was enrolled in high school. He would graduate in May, 1954, while she would graduate two years later. They were married August 17, 1956, in Abilene. The bride’s maiden name was Roberts, and she grew up in the community of Pleasant Grove, which was located on the outskirts of Abilene. The groom was born in Sweetwater on September 26, 1935.
He would spend most of his early life in Buffalo Gap, which is south of Abilene. Both would later transfer to Wylie ISD, where they would graduate from high school.
Upon his high school graduation in 1954, he enrolled at Arlington State College (ASC) — now the University of Texas at Arlington. He completed three years at ASC before dropping out to work for Bethlehem Steel in Abilene and Graham.
In January, 1960, he found his place in life, when he joined the staff at the Citizen National Bank in Abilene. He would remain with this bank until 1964. During this time, his young wife worked for the Western Cotton Oil Company in Abilene.
In 1964, he accepted the position as the operation officer of the American Bank of Commerce in Odessa. This began his long climb up the banking ladder, which initially took the couple to San Angelo in 1966 and finally to Stephenville in 1970.
Both have been extremely active in various community projects for 38 years. He has also been involved in state banking activities for almost 50 years.
The couple has two children - a daughter, Marisa; and a son, Scott. Both children live in Dallas.
The Stephenville banker and his wife will be honored with a dinner and roast on April 5 for their long years of service to Stephenville and the athletic program at Tarleton State University. Plans are under way to endow an athletic scholarship in their names at Tarleton.
Names to Remember - Perry and Meldeene Elliott.
Dr. Chilton, a Stephenville resident, is a retired educator/journalist. He occasionally writes for this newspaper.