James Dean Memorial Service, 2001

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2001 James Dean Memorial Service

in Fairmount, Indiana


The Empty Chair

This empty chair symbolizes Adeline Nall, Jimmy’s speech and drama teacher at Fairmount High School. It remains on the podium during the service. But it also symbolizes the people lost in the terrorist violence on September 11, 2001. There are many empty chairs in America this month. May each person lost have someone to remember him or her.

46 years ago James Byron Dean died on a lonely road in California. This year’s memorial service was restrained and seemed brief.A&E was filming, but they were not intrusive. This year had a high percentage of people with uncontrollable coughs, and they and the fussy babies went outside. I believe the sound system has a speaker for that area.

Tom Burghuis welcomed us. Bob Pulley, Phil Zeigler and Christine White spoke to us and Mattie Sellers played. Nikki Bazooka led us to the cemetery. We fellowshipped after the cemetery visit, for the Meeting House was in use before our service this year. Bill and I took a visitor from Scotland to the bus, so we didn’t get to take photos in the fellowship hall. Below are the pictures from the memorial service.

Mattie Sellers

Mattie played these songs: Amazing Grace; When the Saints Go Marching In; I’ll Fly Away; The Missouri Waltz, as requested by Phil Zeigler each year; Back Home Again In Indiana; Love Me Tender; True Love; Somewhere My Love; Goin’ Home (Dvorak’s New World Symphony); God Bless America. The postlude was God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again. I don’t remember hearing Sweet Adeline this year, but Mattie probably played it. Mattie recently told me that her husband, Jim Sellers, occasionally cut James Dean’s hair, way back when.

Tom Berghuis

Tom Berghuis

Phil Zeigler

Phil Zeigler

Bob Pulley

Bob Pulley, a former classmate of James Dean, told a couple of stories new to me, including some practical jokes with geese. He says it’s hard to keep remembering new stories, and it is hard, but there are always new people every year who will want to hear the classics, if you run out of new remeberances. Thank you Bob, for speaking and for appearing in public again in your senior cords. Who else could wear their high school trousers but you? We are all jealous!

Bob and Christine

Christine White

Our main speaker was Christine White, who had spoken to us a few years ago. This year she was understandably, shall we say exercised, about the recent TV movie about James Dean. You know, the one that tried to throw the bastard idea at us. Year after year I am amazed at our subjects from the "pulpit" here in Back Creek on September 30th. Our speakers tell it like it is, and we were cheering Christine White as she excoriated the film makers for saying James Dean was not the son of Winton Dean. She said Jimmy looked just like his dad, Winton.

As we have discussed for several years now, our mission must be to set the record straight when people motivated by money try to smear James Dean’s name. It is going from bad to ridiculous, with no sign of stopping. We ought to stop and ponder about all the other gossip we hear too. It’s just as likely to be false.

But attacking the parentage of James Dean is a slap in the face of the Deans and the Wilsons. It is the kind of talk that could only be disproved by DNA testing, and how would we even know that was honest, what with the recent DNA faking scandal our west. We should speak up.

Christine White’s book is being shopped now, so keep an eye out for the publication date. Christine promises to set the record straight.

Nikki Bazooka

Nikki Bazooka came in to make some short remarks and lead us to the cemetery.

muralClick on the little picture for a large photo of the mural in the meeting house

Perhaps meditating on the mural will bring some calm into our lives.

Flowers that may have been send by the fans:

wheatyellow rosesmumsgreen plants

A&E filming

A&E filming. It went smoothly. You wouldn’t have known they were there.

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Logo by U.S. Army veteran Mark Kinnaman, artist to the fans. He has moved to Fairmount, Indiana!! Visit Mark’s spiffy website