To read our first blog click here: http://www.matneygathering2009.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 11, 2011


As we pause to honor those people who have served our country over the years and who are in the war zone today, let us remember the contributions our family has made to freedom in our country.  From World War I through the Vietnam War, men whose strength and ability to survive some of life's most horrendous situations took the wisdom of the mountains, the love of family, and faith that sustained them into combat:
Hoyle Hayes Shook - Army WWI - Belgium & France
Zeb V. Shook - Army -WWII - Northern Africa & Italy
Carroll Shook - Army -WWII - Europe & Asia
Tom Shook - Navy -WWII - South Pacific
Stuart Shook - Navy -WWII -
Quentin Shook - Navy -WWII - South Pacific
Rhonda H. Shook - WWII
Hade Smitih - Army -WWII - Europe
Bill Rominger - Army Paratrooper -WWII - South Pacific
Ray Romano (husband of Betty Ann Michael Shook) - WWII
Betty Ann Romano - WWII
Errol F. Shook - Army -Vietnam
Kenneth Wilson - Army -Vietnam
Donald Smith - Army -Vietnam
Steve Rominger - Navy -Vietnam
Bill Rominger - Army -In service in Germany
Glenn Shook - Army -In servicd in Hawaii
Mitchell Shook - Army - Iraq


James Shook - Honored for Exemplary Service to Appalachian State University

Service to Appalachian's faculty, staff and students is a focus of James Shook, an information technology manager for a "walk-in center" that's part of the university's Technology Support Services (TSS). Under Shook's leadership, the center's six full-time employees and 30 student employees resolved more than 6,000 computer support requests in the 2010-11 academic year.
"The computer support center has become one of the most important resources on campus for the students that are away from home and employees who would have to (spend) at least a couple hundred dollars for each repair instance," one nominator wrote. The center works on an average of 150 computers a week.
Shook was also praised for his mentoring of his student employees. "I have seen James dedicate himself to finding student employees at TSS full-time positions after graduating by contacting business and personal contacts. I could never have anticipated that my boss at TSS would be so involved and helpful to his employees," a nominator wrote.
Another person wrote that, "I came to ASU not knowing anyone and leaving my family six hours behind. My coworkers quickly became my family. That is a direct result of James Shook. He is fully committed to the support center and each and every student and staff member that works there."

For the entire article about ASU's outstanding staff awards, see: http://today.appstate.edu/staff-awards-2011/

Larry Shook - Recipient of Mayland's 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award

Larry Shook, who received his BS (1986) and MA (1988) in Mathematics Education from ASU, now teaches mathematics at Mayland Community College, and has been chosen to receive Mayland’s 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award.  Prior to coming to Mayland, he taught at Lees-McRae College, where he received the Edgar Tufts Faculty Award for Excellence in teaching, the Alpha Chi Outstanding Educator Award, and was recognized as a Distinguished Faculty Mentor.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


    Here it is November, a time to remember and be thankful for those who have been so special to us. We are so grateful to have Rhonda in our lives; his memory is with us always.
    His early years on the farm were very hard but filled with adventures with brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends, which he recounted with such joy.  Farm life was very hard from killing a hog in early winter or taking care of the farm animals or putting up hay to tending the garden and canning.
    His best friend was Willie Rupard whose venture into the Army delighted Rhonda so much.  Willie couldn’t see in one eye so Rhonda stood behind him and told him the answers on the vision test. Rhonda’s time overseas was spent at one time guarding prisoners and at times being a driver, but some things he didn’t share so much.  They came back from overseas about the same time, which brought tears to his eyes.  He couldn’t reconcile his feelings when Willie passed away a year before Rhonda.
    Rhonda had a special horse that took him by buggy to movies in Banner Elk.  He hitched the horse outside, saw the movie, and as he got in the buggy would say, “go home,” and the horse went home; sometimes Rhonda even went to sleep.
    One time he, Audrey, and Pauline went to the store and bought cold drinks, (Audrey’s first Dr. Pepper) and Rhonda charged them to Daddy.  They went home and told Mama who immediately gave them money and made them go back and pay.
    He also related that sometimes walking at the end of Pigeon Roost Road, he would soak his feet in a ladies spring and drink the milk that was sitting in the spring.
    In 1950 he and Gert came to Maryland and began their lives together with nothing.  He   would ask for odd jobs, walk 4 or 5 miles, doing the best work he could, which led to other jobs.  One of his favorite stories was accidentally letting a borrowed car run off the hill into their outhouse; a wrecker has to rescue the vehicle.  He borrowed a car from a Catholic church, took out the back seat, drove to a lumber mill, and filled the car to the brim with wood scraps, which they used for heating and cooking.  One of his jobs was hanging dry wall and that led to him building his own dry wall business; at one time it was the most successful dry wall business in Maryland.  Once they could afford a bigger house, they began a lifetime of letting different people live with them until they could live on their own.  The giving never stopped.
    Rhonda loved his sons, Gary and Ronnie, who worked with him and saw the good and bad of hard work and business.  Some tolls he regretted but wanted to give the best to his family.  Some men who worked for him for about 30 years honored him as their best friend and teacher.  His work ethic was non-stop, getting the next contract, taking care of his employees, and especially providing for his family.  He was the taskmaster at its’ best—doing the right thing!!
    One of Rhonda’s greatest accomplishments was building a church, taking a year out of his work to get it built.  His final service was held there.  He also sponsored a church in Puerto Rico.  He bought old school buses, had them repaired, took them to the Baltimore port, and shipped them to the church there.  He and Gert also donated much to building a part of Liberty University.  He had rental properties in Baltimore and made sure Gert bought gifts for the children at Christmas.
    In addition to the dry wall business he owned a building supply store, until retirement neared, and big companies like Home Depot came into vogue.  When going out of business, he could have given his suppliers a percentage amount by law, but no, Rhonda made sure that his suppliers received the full amount for their products.  What an example for all of us!
    Rhonda took great pride in the farm, always having a big garden with plenty to share and can, caring for his horses, chickens, ducks, geese, oh, those goats, whose babies had to be cared for by hand, and a peacock which took a flight to Annapolis but was found after a plea on TV.  He had a pet ferret, which followed him everywhere through the fields and came running at the sound of his voice.  How sad when the ferret died.  We can hear him laughing now recounting how his Mastiff dog sent some young folks climbing on the barn roof in the middle of the night, and he had to get them down.  That dog was big as a horse but gentle as a lamb with Rhonda.  Most of the time he had German Shepards as guard dogs.
    Rhonda loved his family and worried so much about them.  After making trips “down home” he couldn’t wait to get back to Gert.  He worried so much about her.  His grandchildren and his great granddaughter filled his and Gert’s life with pride and joy.  
    Rhonda was very patriotic and proud of his WWII service in the Army.  In his last months, after making his bed in the morning, he would put two flags, his Army cap and pictures at the foot of his bed.   Rhonda, we love you and miss you more than words can say and treasure your memory always…