TowerShades Valley Class of 1963

News & Announcements

55th "Combined" Reunion Held on April 13-14, 2018

The Rambler Reunion Band & Elvis

The Class of 1963 hosted a "combined" reunion on April 13-14, 2018 and invited the Classes of 1961 through 1965 to attend the weekend events. On Friday night, a Meet & Greet was held at the ALoft Hotel's WXYZ Bar in Homewood, and on Saturday night, over 200 attended a dinner/dance at The Country Club of Birmingham.Visit the 55th Reunion Weekend Gallery for PHOTOS.


1963, 1964 and 1965 Reunion Committees
Donate 1947 Architect's Drawing

Pictured here are Bill Trotter '63, Debbie Davis Denson '65, Warren Bailes Cain '63,
Pierre Tourney '63, Mae Bayliss Coshatt '65, Shades Valley Principal Dr. Antjuan Marsh,
Avery Sloan '63, Marsha Currie Terrell '63 and Virginia Kelser Jones '64.

(4/19/18) In January 2017, Class of 1963 Webmaster Avery Sloan was searching for early photos of Shades Valley's old campus in Homewood and found a link on Google to an eBay ad for a framed drawing. He contacted the owner of the drawing, Rick Carter, and found that it was by the original architectural firm Van Keuren & Davis and dated 1947, two years before the school opened. Carter had found it in his aunt's attic when preparing for an estate sale at her house. He had no idea as to how his late aunt may have come to own the drawing. She was an RN at UAB Childrens' Hospital and had passed away the previous year.

Sloan then contacted several Shades Valley Reunion Committee chairpersons for whom he does work. Warren Bailes Cain '63, Lynne Epsman Cohen '64, Virginia Kelser Jones '64 and Mae Bayliss Coshatt '65 agreed to share the cost of the drawing restoration with the idea of donating it to the new Shades Valley. Virginia Jones took the drawing to Presentations, etc. Studio in Edgewood for restoration and reframing. After years in a hot attic, several air pockets developed between the drawing and its backing. The result is what was presented to the school on Friday, April 13, 2018, prior to the Class of 1963's "Combined" 55th Reunion celebration that included the Classes of 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1965. After the presentation, Dr. Antjuan Marsh, Principal at Shades Valley, conducted an hour long tour of the new campus for the committees. [Continued . . .]


Email exchange leads to bio/photo update from
Grady Lloyd in Prague, Czechoslovakia

Grady Lloyd, wife Lida & grandchildren - July 2012

(6/5/16) After a recent exchange of emails between Charles Caldwell (husband of Paula Sevier Caldwell '64) and Larry Holt '63, Charles contacted our classmate Grady Lloyd '63 who has lived in Prague since 1990. Grady emailed a bio update and several photos to Charles, who shared them with Larry. Now we are posting them for classmates to enjoy.

Visit this page for the full report - gallery-lloyd.html.

Recent Obituaries

Visit the In Memoriam page for a complete list and links to obituaries.

Susan Marie (Hanson) Yearout
(1/22/21) We regret to announce that Susan Marie (Hanson) Yearout passed away on January 14, 2021. Our deepest sympathy is extended to her family.

Susan Marie (Hanson) Yearout, 75, of Birmingham (June 4, 1945 - January 14, 2021) passed away after a long struggle with frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), which is a type of dementia. She was also recently diagnosed with COVID-19, which contributed to her death.

From Birmingham, Susan was a proud graduate of Shades Valley High School in 1963 and Auburn University in 1967. At Auburn, Susan was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She was passionate about all things Auburn, especially football. In December 1963, she was selected "Loveliest of the Plains" by The Auburn Plainsman, Auburn's student newspaper. She obtained a master's degree in education from UAB. With that degree, she spent many years teaching special education in the Birmingham School System. Susan was a passionate teacher and tutored many neighborhood children throughout her career. Susan also helped many people in need through the Crisis Center Hotline. When taking calls - often late at night - she offered a calm voice with helpful words that guided those who needed it most.
Susan was a loving mother and grandmother, caring sister, loyal friend, generous spirit, dedicated teacher, avid reader, dog lover, passionate traveler, efficient packer, finicky eater, estate sale mercenary, art collector, devoted ebayer, hater of New CokeŽ, relentless couponer, who also had a great, albeit sometimes quirky, sense of humor and an unmistakable laugh. This is "exactly" the way she would want to be remembered. Her legacy. May her memory be eternal.

Susan was an athlete and fierce competitor. She particularly enjoyed racquetball and tennis where she relied on her quick feet and tenacious approach to the game. She appreciated travelling to other countries and specially to Traverse City, Michigan where she loved the cherries, lake, small town, art, and festivals.

Susan cherished books and read them voraciously. Out of that love, she developed relationships with people in the reading community and was eventually nominated and selected to sit on the board of the Birmingham-Southern College's Annual Writer's Conference. She relished this role and the access it provided to her to authors she adored. She often gifted some of the books she had signed at these conferences to family and friends. As part of her role, she would eagerly volunteer to host the authors and ushered them to the associated functions. As other similar conferences were cultivated, Susan was often consulted about how to create successful ones. Even though later in life she struggled finishing books because of FTD, she still found joy in reading by focusing on each word, each sentence, each paragraph rather than the full arc of the story. Of course, that is what she enjoyed most about reading anyway.

Susan was also passionate about estate sales and had a keen eye for valuable items. If it was Saturday or Sunday, then surely, she was relentlessly moving from one sale to another. She had a knack for finding quality undiscovered gems. Several items had significant historical value and were donated to various museums, including the Birmingham Museum of Art - where she also volunteered.

Susan is survived by her three children Bill (Kim), Jason (Lauren), and Audrey Dupont (Steve), former spouse Gusty Yearout, grandchildren Augusta, Zoë, Alexandra, Alister, Noelle, siblings Paula Brentnall (Sam), and Richard Hanson. Susan is also survived by many other loved ones, including nephews, nieces, god children, and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents Neil and Nell Hanson, sister Becky Peterson (Jim), sister-in-law Nancy Hanson (Richard), and Emma, her faithful canine companion.

Because of the COVID-19 virus, a private family-only service will take place Sunday January 24, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. at Elmwood Cemetery. Once COVID-19 vaccinations are widely available, the family will hold a memorial service open to all friends and family to celebrate Susan's life. As many of you know, Susan suffered from frontotemporal degeneration. The research into FTD is persistently underfunded. In lieu of flowers (you likely know how she felt about cut flowers), please consider a donation in her name to, which dedicates research to FTD.

Read the online obituary and guestbookb here -

Robert "Bob" Hester
(11/3/20) We regret to announce that Bob Hester passed away on November 1, 2020. Bob attended Shades Valley and then Gordon Military School. Our sympathy is extended to his wife and family.

Robert (Bob) Hester passed away Sunday November 1, 2020 at home with his family. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He grew up in Crestline and Vestavia. He is preceded in death by his parents Charles Oscar Hester, Sr and Magdelena Hester and brother, Charles Oscar Hester, Jr. Bob is survived by his wife of 53 years, Marian Hester and his daughters, Kelly Hester, and Shannon Goodrick, son in law, Scott Goodrick and granddaughter, Emma Goodrick. Also his two faithful 4 legged friends, Happ and Haley. Bob attended high school at Shades Valley High School, Homewood, Alabama and Gordon Military School in Barnesville, GA. He earned his BS Degree at Samford University, Birmingham, AL. He enjoyed a successful career beginning in Human Resources/Labor Relations with Genesco in Nashville, Tennessee. He worked for Harbinson Walker in Birmingham and then joined Borden Inc. (Bama). Borden transferred Bob to southern California where he moved into Operations. He was Vice President of Operations and then Assistant General Manager of multiple plants in Corona, CA, Indio, CA, Anaheim, CA and New Ulm, Minnesota. After he returned to the southeast he worked and retired from the State of Florida as Director of Volunteer Services. Among his many awards he earned were 1984 Chairman's Award for Excellence in Employee Safety Performance, 1990 SQP Achiever in Industrial Foods, Community Service Award for Outstanding Service Big Bend Health Council 2004-2010. Bob loved the outdoors and nature. His family has many happy memories of adventures hiking, camping, snow skiing, boating, fishing and traveling with him. A favorite was an anniversary trip where he and Marian hiked in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland. He also loved to have friends and family together to cook barbeque and the celebration of holidays. In memory of Bob his family suggest making a contribution to the Shelby County Humane Society, Columbiana, AL or the Alabama Wildlife Center, 100 Terrace Dr., Pelham, AL 35124. Obituary and Guestbook Published in The Birmingham News from Nov. 3 to Nov. 4, 2020.

Harold Frank Benford
We regret to announce that our classmate Frank Benson passed away on August 12, 2020. Our sympathy to his wife Mary Helen Stitzel Benford, his children and family members.

(Aug 14, 2020, Roanoke, AL) Graveside memorial services for Harold Frank Benford, 75, of Roanoke will be Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, at 2 p.m. at Antioch Congregational Christian Church Cemetery with the Rev. Anthony Herren officiating.

Mr. Benford died Wednesday, Aug. 12, at Compassus Auburn Bethany House. A Chambers County native, Mr. Benford was born Jan. 9, 1945, the son of Harold Roswell and Marcia Catherine Hamlin Benford. He was a 1963 graduate of Shades Valley High School. Mr. Benford graduated from Auburn University in 1967 with a degree in agriculture economics. He was employed with USDA as an agricultural statistician.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Helen Stitzel Benford of Roanoke; daughter, Cary Elizabeth Benford Magnani (Brian) of Midland, Va.; son, Robert Jeffrey Benford of Richmond, Va.; granddaughter, Sophia Elizabeth Magnani; brother, Benjamin Lee Benford (Helen) of Montgomery; and many other family and friends. Mr. Benford was preceded in death by his parents.

Online condolences may be expressed at Quattlebaum Funeral Home, Roanoke.

Raymond Winthrop Orr
Raymond Winthrop Orr, 75, passed away on June 24, 2020 after a courageous battle with kidney cancer over the past four years. He was born January 7, 1945 in Birmingham, Alabama to the late Alex Winthrop "Buster" Orr and Ola Belle Dunaway Orr. He graduated from Shades Mountain High School in 1963 and The University of Alabama in 1967. Raymond began his life's work as a salesman with Saunders Truck Leasing, then Ryder Truck Leasing and on to Penske Truck Leasing, He retired in 2010 after a successful career, receiving many recognitions and awards for his salesmanship. He enjoyed his retirement at his home on Lay Lake, just slowing down and being with his wife and beloved dog "Duffy." Many happy times were enjoyed having cookouts and picnics with family and friends, taking them on pontoon rides around the lake. Surviving are Raymond's wife of 14 years, Janice Woods Orr; extended family, Laura and Marc Swint, Abby Swint, Katie and Casey Barnes and Lauren. Jon and Mandy Ledbetter, Jacob and Kasie; Jeff and Nicole Ledbetter. Cousins, Steve and Becky Harrison, Amy and Dayne Harrison, David and Johnna Steed, John David and Kayla Steed. Raymond was a member of Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover, Alabama, and loved his "small group" who became like family. Those who knew Raymond know he was passionate about his love of dogs, Alabama Football, the Lake, and his family. Thank you to Expect Care Hospice and Home Instead sitters for their excellent care. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Two by Two Rescue, P.O. Box 708, Helena, Alabama 35080.

Obituary and Guestbook Published in The Birmingham News on July 1, 2020

Willard Wheeler (Bill) Smith
(5/27/20) We are sad to report that our classmate who we knew as Bill Smith back in 1963 passed away on April 10, 2020. We extend our belated sympathy to his wife Lynn and the Smith Family.

The following obituary was published in The Birmingham News from May 2 to May 3, 2020. Read the online obituary and guest book here

Willard Wheeler Smith, of Birmingham, Alabama, passed away on Thursday, April 30, 2020. Wheeler was born April 10, 1945 in Birmingham, Alabama to Carolyn and Leslie Smith Sr. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Leslie Smith Jr. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Lynn Smith, and his two children, Tylee Smith Kessler and Nathan Smith. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Lyndy and Katherine Smith and Charlie and Dani Kessler.

Wheeler was a southern gentlemen with a kind heart and a keen intellect. He had a quick, quirky wit and loved music and dancing. He found joy in helping others, Lake Martin sunsets, but most of all in his family. He graduated from the University of Alabama and the Cumberland School of Law. At Alabama, he was a Sigma Chi and he remained active throughout his life. He practiced law in Birmingham for 40 years and was also very active in his community and church activities. He spent many years on the vestry of his church and volunteering on various boards. But his favorite volunteer role was as coach, spending countless hours throwing the ball with his kids in the backyard. Wheeler was a blessing to those who knew him. We all learned so much from him and thank God for his presence in our lives.

A family service will be held this week with a celebration of life to follow in the coming months. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to CJFS's CARES program at or to The Alzheimer's Association.

Roger Howard
(10/21/18)  We are sad to report that Roger Howard of Montevallo went to be with his Lord on Oct 18th. He is celebrating with his parents, Lillie and Grady, sisters Dorothy Barnett & Virginia Bailey Minor, and nephews Grady D. Barnett & Timmy Bailey. Roger attended Shades Valley High School and was in the National Guard. He worked with the Birmingham Board Of Education for 45 years in the Film / Media Dept. A memorial will be held on Tuesday Oct. 23rd at 2:00 pm in the Chapel at The Church of the Highlands - Grants Mill.

Published in The Birmingham News on Oct. 24, 2018

Charley Fisher
(7/23/18) We are sad to report that Charley Jack Fisher, Jr., age 73, of Birmingham, AL, passed away July 22, 2018. Mr. Fisher, known to everyone as "Charley," spent most of his life in Birmingham, AL where he was in business. He graduated from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. He was a member of St. Mary's-on-the-Highlands Episcopal Church. Charley was preceded in death by his parents Dr. Charley Jack Fisher and Margaret Zeigler Fisher. He is survived by his wife Pride Foster Fisher, daughter Sara Pride Fisher Moline (Ty), granddaughter Chambers Pride Moline, sister Peggy Miller Douglass (John) and family who consider Charley a brother, James Manon Foster, Carolyne Foster Martin (David), and Lee Foster Nix (Dean). Memorial Service will be held on July 24, 2018 at St. Mary's-on-the-Highlands Episcopal Church, 2:00 p.m. with the Rev. H. Huey Gardner officiating. Visitation is at 12:45. St. Mary's is located 1910 12th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35205. Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice, to St. Mary's-on-the-Highlands Episcopal Church, or to the Smile Foundation, restoring smiles and vision to people across the world,, address: Smile Foundation, 1015 Brocks Gap, Hoover, AL 35244.

Obituary and Guestbook Published in The Birmingham News on July 25, 2018

Charles Rogers
(7/6/18) We are sad to report that Charles Pritchett Rogers of Birmingham, AL passed away July 3, 2018 at age 73. A native of Birmingham, he was born June 5, 1945 to Mr. and Mrs. George Pritchett Rogers. He was a graduate of Auburn University and attained a Masters in Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Upon graduating from Auburn, Charles was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. He served over 20 years in the Air Force and Air National Guard flying the F-4 Phantom. Throughout his military and social career, he left in his jet wash a legendary flight record and a reputation as the Debutante's Delight. He retired as Lt. Colonel. Charles also served as owner of Walter S. White Auto Parts and had a lifelong passion for hunting, fishing, golf, and Auburn Football. Charles is predeceased by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Pritchett Rogers and his sister, Anna Lee Rogers Keith. He is survived by his brother-in-law and business partner Brian Thomas Keith; nephew Kevin Patrick Keith (Maibeth); niece Lindsay Rogers Keith Kessler (David); cousins Becky Rogers Goodwin and Betsy Rogers, and numerous Rogers family members. A service of burial will be held Saturday, July 7th at 10:00 a.m. at Cathedral Church of the Advent. Visitation precedes the service at 9:00 a.m. Interment is at 2:00 p.m. at the Rogers Family Cemetery in Letohatchee, AL. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cathedral Church of the Advent or the charity of your choice.

Obituary and Guestbook Published in The Birmingham News on July 6, 2018

Lyle Key
(5/4/18) We are sad to report that Lyle Key '63 passed away in Nashville on May 2, 2018, at age 72. He graduated from The University of Tennessee and The University of Alabama School of Law. Lyle served as an officer in the United States Navy. He spent his entire career with CSX transportation, combining his passion for trains with his knowledge and expertise in transportation and the law. Lyle was a kind man who was loved by many and known for his love of trains and Big Orange Football. He served as President of the National Alumni Association for The University of Tennessee and also was a well known railroad historian and published two books, Midwest Florida Sunliners and Birmingham Rails.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carolyn; brother, Tom (Beverly) daughter, Alise Ferranti (Joe); son, Carson (Katie); Granddaughters, Lauren, Darden, Ellie, Maggie, and Annie and several nieces and nephews.

The family will receive visitors from 4-6 on Thursday, May 3 at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home, 9090 Highway 100, Nashville TN 37221. A funeral Mass will be held Friday May 4 at 10 AM at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 330 5th Ave N. Nashville TN 37219. There will be a graveside service at 2 PM Saturday May 5 at Elmwood Cemetery, 600 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Birmingham AL 35211. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to church or charity of choicecharity of choice.

Published in Tennessean on May 4, 2018.

Mildred Rebecca "Becky" (Whitmire) Edens
(3/31/18) Becky died on September 5, 2017 in Fairhaven Retirement Home after a long degenerative illness. Until the end, she maintained her cheerful attitude, her love for chocolate, cheese pizza, and the Crimson Tide.

Laird J. Sharpe
(2/13/18) Chief Laird J. Sharpe passed away on December 29 at age 73. He began his career in Homewood and retired as Chief of Fairfield in 2001, after 37 years of service. Chief Sharpe was a distinguished member of the International Association of the Chiefs of Police. He was also an avid Harley Davidson rider and a graduate of Samford University. His service was held on Tuesday, January 2, 2018, at 2:00 pm at Ridout's Elmwood Chapel.

Alabama Sports Hall of Fame names executive offices
after retired Executive Director Bill Legg

Coach Bill Legg
Bill Legg poses at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame on Monday, Jan. 26, 2009.
Legg retired weeks later as the executive director of the Hall of Fame.
(Michelle Williams/The Birmingham News)

By Solomon Crenshaw Jr. / February 27, 2014 at 1:21 PM 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - After 24 years of honoring others, William Lee "Bill" Legg is being honored himself.

The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame has named its executive offices in honor of Legg, who served as executive director for the organization from 1985 to 2009.

"Coach Legg," as he is affectionately known, was the second executive director of the Sports Hall of Fame since its inception in 1969, a prepared release said. Since 1985, under his direction, the Hall of Fame experienced a tremendous increase in the functions, activities, and operational budget.

The release went on to say that Legg played a major role in the planning and overseeing of the construction, and then the move in 1992 into the Hall of Fame's outstanding present facility, considered one of the best in the country. He was also instrumental in the development of the Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Scholarship Program and served as its first administrator.

"On behalf of the Board of Directors, our inductees and the entire Hall of Fame family, we are excited to honor Coach Legg in the naming of the 'William L. Legg Executive Offices,'" said Edgar Welden, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

"Coach Legg set a great example for me to follow as Executive Director of this outstanding Hall of Fame" said current Executive Director Scott Myers. "This is a fitting tribute to honor his years of service in the place where he served."

Legg was honored by the Board of Directors of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame as its 2001 Distinguished Alabama Sportsman. He has also been inducted into the Woodlawn High School Hall of Fame, the Birmingham-Southern College Sports Hall of Fame and the Alabama High School Coaches Hall of Fame.

(PDF version available here).


55th Reunion one of best ever!

Thanks to Chairperson Warren Bailes Cain and everyone on the Reunion Committee for their efforts that made the 55th Reunion the best one ever for the Class of '63!

Updated Gallery Section - Visit us often to learn about what's happening with our class! Check out the updated Gallery Section and send us your photos, videos and links to your personal photo galley sites such as Flickr or Picasa.

Mr. MountieThe Classmates Page was created on May 5, 2013 as a place to provide documents and other information to members of the Class of 1963 in a password protected directory. Members of the Class of 1963 must use a password to log on to the actual page. If your name and address are in our MailChimp database, a password was emailed to you. If you did not receive it, email with your name and address.

Update your Bio!

If you are not on our MailChimp© mailing list, or did not send in your bio information for the 50th Reunion Booklet, please REGISTER HERE. We need current addresses to send everyone monthly news and announcements about future reunion activities. The online version of the booklet will be updated to include missing classmates and changes to existing entries each month after we receive them.


Recent Additions & Updates


Thank You 50th Reunion Committee!


Image courtesy of Jonathan Haas, Davis Architects, Inc.