Grand Marshals of the 24th Annual Wellborn Blueberry Festival 2017

The Wellborn Community Association is privileged to have Ruth McLeran Mizell and Eddie Joe McLaren as the Grand Marshals of this year’s Blueberry Festival and Parade. Following is a short biography which they shared with us.

Ruth McLeran was born on January 3, 1942 in Wellborn, to Gem and E.B. McLeran, Jr., in the home that later became the 1909 Bed & Breakfast on 137.  Ruth has an older sister, Mary Gem Wester living in Pointe Vedra Beach, who was born on February 3, 1937, in the same house in Wellborn.  On August 1, 1947, their brother, Eddie Joe McLeran was born, also in the same house.

They attended school in Wellborn.  Ruth graduated from Lake City in 1960 as did her sister in 1955.  Eddie Joe graduated from Live Oak in 1965.

Ruth worked at the Suwannee River Regional Library in Live Oak and retired in 2003.  Mary Gem worked as a school teacher and retired in 2001.  Eddie Joe retired in 2004 from the Florida Department of Transportation in Lake City.

Ruth and Eddie Joe are avid Gator fans and attend all  home games in Gainsville.  GO GATORS!

They love Wellborn, Florida, and welcome everyone to the Annual Blueberry Festival.  They are members of Wellborn Baptist Church.  Eddie Joe is a member of Wellborn Masonic Lodge #1.

Thank you Wellborn Community Association for making Wellborn, Florida, great again!

To that, we at the Community Association, would say thank you, Ruth & Eddie Joe, for serving as our Grand Marshals and being the upstanding, conscientious, respected and supportive Wellborn citizens that you are.

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Grand Marshall of the 2016 Blueberry Festival Parade, Curtis Smith

Curtis Smith was born March 6, 1934, in Belmont, NC, one of nine children.  After his mother died when he was 7 years old, he and some of the other younger children were raised by various older sisters.  He joined the United States Army at age 20, on April 2, 1954.  After taking  his basic training at Ft. Jackson SC, he was at Camp Gordon GA, Ft. Sam Houston TX, and Camp Kilma NJ, before being sent to Geinhousen, Germany, for 3 years.  Before returning to Ft. Jackson SC, he was also at Ft. Dix NJ, and Bad Kreuznach, Germany.

Curtis Smith TV Door Prize
Winning a door prize at our 2016 appreciation dinner!

His family still lived in North and South Carolina.  It was while visiting a sister in Rock Hill SC, in 1957, that he met the love of his life, Barbara.  They were married in June 1958.  Curtis was sent to Korea in 1959 for 13 months, leaving behind his young wife and their baby son.

On his return trip back to the states, he was stationed at the Army Research Center Burn Ward at Ft. Sam Houston TX, for two years.  Then he was sent to Wurzburg, Germany for three years.  A daughter was born to Curtis and Barbara in 1964.  Upon returning to the states he was stationed at Ft. Brag NC and Ft. Benning GA.  During these years Curtis received much medical training (equal to a Registered Nurse in civilian life).

Curtis went to Vietnam for 13 months in 1967 and 1968, after which he was at Ft. Hood TX, and then went back to Landstuhl, Germany.  He finished his army career at the Coral Gables Induction Center in February 1975, after 21 years of active duty at home, overseas and in war.

After leaving the service, Curtis went to school for air conditioning and refrigeration.  He also spent four years in welding and pipe fitting school.  He worked as a Journeyman Pipefitter/Welder until another retirement at age 65.

In 2001, Curtis lost much of his vision to Macular Degeneration, but he has remained very involved in many activities.  In the summer of 2014, he went to the Rehab Center for the Blind in West Palm Beach FL, to learn many independent living skills.   Curtis has lived in Wellborn since August 9, 1982.  He is a Christian and an active member of Wellborn Baptist Church.

In 2016, he served alongside his wife as the Grand Marshall of the Blueberry Festival’s Parade.

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