Honorees and sponsors (left to right) Edna Schroeder, Jacqueline Mays, Tre’Mayne Maxie (sponsor), Dalpha Harris, Virgil Wilburn, Veronica Maxie (sponsor), Frances Ray, and Leon Maxie (sponsor).
Five (5) Washington County senior citizens were honored on Saturday, August 10th, for their long term commitment and service to local communities. The honorees included Edna Schroeder, Jacqueline Mays, Dalpha Harris, Virgil Wilburn, and Frances Ray. The announcement of the awards were made during the “Celebrate Our Seniors” program, which is sponsored by the Brenham Community Festival. Additionally, Brenham mayor Milton Tate, Jr. presented a proclamation to Tre’Mayne Maxie and Veronica Maxie for their stewardship of this program for 10 consecutive years. In addition to the awards presentations and a great BBQ meal, the packed audience of over 175 attendees were treated to gospel music and healthcare information. The 4-hour program wrapped up with Bingo games in which gifts and prizes were awarded, based on generous donations from local businesses.
Edna Schroeder – Schroeder is a lifelong resident of Washington County, graduating from Brenham High School in 1953. In addition to working for the Texas Department of Transportation for 38 years, she and her husband, the late Charles Schroeder, owned and operated Brenham Tile & Floor Covering Company. Schroeder is more widely known for her assistance in providing food, medicine, and clothing to many area children and adults. She has been actively involved in the Texas Extension Education Association, the William Penn Club, the “Raise a Reader” program, and “Meals on Wheels”. At the same time, she has been active in St. Matthew Lutheran Church in the Sandy Hill Community, serving on the church council, the women auxiliary, the vacation bible school program, and the “quilting ladies” (which provides quilts for various community organizations, including Focusing Families, Twin City Mission, and Lutheran World Relief). Schroeder is also a strong supporter of Brenham State School Living Assistance program.
Jacqueline Mays – Mays, a 1965 graduate of then A.R. Pickard High School in Brenham, is a dynamic educator and professional counselor. She received a bachelor and master’s degrees from Prairie View A&M University and is a licensed professional counselor. Mays is also a certified senior Irlen screener and certified mediator. She has worked in public education for 26 years in Texas, Washington, and North Carolina. During those years, she served as the first full-time Brenham ISD elementary school guidance counselor and special education counselor. She also created and implemented the first mentor program at Brenham and Alton Elementary schools. Currently, she serves as a substitute teacher for the Somerville ISD and as a teacher for the After School Centers on Education. As for extra-curricular activities, Mays presents educational seminars at various district and state conferences and association meetings, with a focus on preparing high school students and their parents for scholarship opportunities and college applications. She is involved with numerous civic, professional and religious organizations, including the Brazos Valley Counseling Association, the Washington County Leadership Academy, the Washington County Child Protective Board, the Brenham 4-H club, the Lioness Club of Brenham, the Brenham Activist Association, the Twenty-One Men Club, and the 1890 Extension Family and Consumer Science Program Advisory Committee. From a religious perspective, Mays is a member of Mt. Rose Missionary Baptist Church in Brenham, where she has been a member and supporter of the senior choir, the junior choir, the youth program, the church historical book committee, and vacation bible school.
Dalpha Harris – Harris is also a graduate of then A.R. Pickard High School in Brenham. She was married to the late Bennie Graves for 58 years and 8 months, of which they spent 22 years in the Air Force. As a military spouse, she traveled extensively throughout the United States and created a loving and nurturing environment for her husband and three children in Texas, Alaska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Dakota. After their retirement from the Air Force, she assisted her husband in developing and operating a catering service for family and school reunions, weddings, and church functions. Harris is also a licensed beautician and continues to practice her trade, though sparingly. Realizing that there are many seniors who are without or who cannot afford transportation, Mays readily provides personal transportation for seniors for doctor appointments, shopping sprees, or other life necessities. A longtime faithful member of St. John A.M.E. Church in Brenham, she has served as secretary of the church board, as an usher, and as a Sunday school teacher. For recreation, she loves to travel, and is skilled in needlepoint and crochet.
Virgil Gaines Wilburn – Wilburn was born in Chappell Hill and continues to live there today, along with his wife of 57 years, Dorothy Turner Wilburn. He graduated from then A.R. Pickard High School in 1946 and immediately began working in the family business – farming and auto repair. With the outbreak of the Korean War in 1951, he served in the U.S. Army for several years and was stationed stateside in Virginia and overseas in Japan and Korea. After the war, he was honorably discharged with numerous awards and medals. Subsequently, Wilburn attended and matriculated from Texas Southern University with bachelor and master’s degrees in industrial education and education, respectively. He also received certifications from Prairie View A&M University and Texas A&M University in auto mechanics. Wilburn taught in area schools for 31 years, including Goodwill High School, Alton Elementary School and Brenham High School. Although reserved in nature, Wilburn was steadfast in diligently protecting the lives of the occupants of the vehicles he maintained. He is an active member of Allwise Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon.
Frances Ray – A natural born leader, Ray has been leading and taking care of others since early on in life. Although born in Brenham, she spent most of her formative years in the Galveston area, from whence she graduated from high school in 1957. Growing up as the oldest of eight children, she was expected to assist her mother in caring for the family. And that she did. She even “quietly dropped out of college” after two years so that she could return home to help the family make ends meet. Her first foray into employment was in the funeral business, where she conquered her deepest fears, working as a typist, receptionist, family assistant, and family car driver. She then worked simultaneously as an office manager, dental assistant, and X-ray technician for a dental practice. With moral and financial support from employers and family, Ray returned to college, graduating in 1964 as a vocational nurse from Galveston Junior College. From there, she began a 36 year profession as a licensed vocational nurse – 15 years at St. Mary’s Hospital in Galveston, and 21 years at Brenham State School. She even put her nursing skills to use in caring for a brother who had been paralyzed in a tragic work accident. Although she is retired now, she continues to provide for the medical needs of family and friends. And when she is not doing that, she is actively involved in leadership roles in the Licensed Vocational Nurses Association of Texas and the Sigma Chi Chi Professional Women’s Club. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Mt. Rose Missionary Baptist Church, where she has been a member for more than 30 years.