Bleeding Royal Blue;
Redbud King and Queen revealed
By Barbara Davis
Recently selected Redbud Royals Bob and Gina Collins, also known as Pawpaw and Gram, are excited to represent the town they love this spring at the 48th annual Redbud Festival.
Our new Redbud King and Queen have been married since 1964 when Bob says he "picked up" the love of his life at the Pig Stand on Calder in Beaumont. Bob and Gina made there way to Buna as fast as they could, and have raised several generations of hometown folk. Their daughters Cristi and husband Barry, and Cathy and husband John, grew up in the small town with a big heart, and have raised their children here as well.
Bob is a retired welder from Dupont, where he began his career in his early 20s. "The kids thought I didn't have anything to do, so they even talked me into driving a school bus for a few years," said Bob. Gina worked for Gulf State Utilities, which became Entergy, for more than two decades, before she and Bob retired in 1995.
"She was everything, a farmer, a mother, a wife, and even a coach," said Bob. "She was busy!" The Collinses began Neches Valley blueberry farm on their home place off FM 1004, in 1986, and worked the farm for 20 years before handing over the reins to Cristi and Barry. "Now we just eat the blueberries and these days," said Gina.
In the midst of working, raising their girls, and running a blueberry farm, Gina helped coach Buna Little Dribblers alongside Wade Reese and Earline Garner when the organization first began locally. "She coached and I coached from the sidelines," said Bob. The Collinses are true blue Buna Cougar fans through and through, and continue supporting local teams although their grandchildren Janna, Jacob, Baylee, and Brooke, are all grown. "We will watch any kid play any sport there is around here," said Gina with a smile. "We used to go watch Little League games where the old Ford place was, and we have always enjoyed watching the kids have a great time playing sports, and we'll be starting over watching the great-grandkids play now!" The Collinses have 5 great-grandchildren, which include Charlee Castle, Kinedy Castle, Bryson Buffington, Harper Fountain, and Reece Fountain.
Bob and Gina call First Baptist Church of Buna their home, and when asked to relate their family information for the article, were ready to read off the entire church roll! "We've been on every committee possible, and Bob is a deacon. It is a wonderful loving church, and we are so proud to have been members of First Baptist since 1977," said Gina.
The Collinses say that even though life has slowed down just a bit for them, they have no plans on changing their ways. "We love Buna, and we will go support our Buna Cougars," said Bob. Bob grew up in the north end of Beaumont close to present day Parkdale Mall, which was a tiny community known as Rosedale, outside of city limits. "I looked the small town feel of it, and we decided that we wanted to raise our family in Buna, where we could be a part of the small town atmosphere," said Bob. "We've got some of the best people in the world here, and it's kind of surprised me how Buna has grown, because when you are working every day, you don't notice small changes right away." Bob and Gina Collins are proud to be part of Buna's story, and absolutely honored to represent their hometown next Spring. As "Superheroes invade Redbud" this March, the Collinses will undoubtedly fit right in!
Mrs. Ruth Alexander honored
to serve as Mrs. Buna 2020
By Barbara Davis
This spring, Buna's very own Mrs. Ruth Alexander will join decades of beautiful souls who have been selected to represent their beloved community as Mrs. Buna.
Married to W.G. "Bubba" Alexander, the couple will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary following the 48th annual Redbud Festival. Mrs. Ruth is Buna through and through, born in Village Mills, and was raised in Bessmay when her dad came to work at the Kirby Mill when she was a year old.
Mrs. Ruth is 88-years-young, and has many treasured memories of Buna and Bessmay of old. She went to Bessmay schools through the 8th grade, and was bussed to Buna High School with her classmates. "When the Kirby Mill burned in 1950, my dad CJ Flowers was the main sawer, and blew the fire whistle to alert the town," said Mrs. Ruth.
Mrs. Ruth remembers growing up in the small town of Bessmay, which was a full blown town just as Buna is today. Many of the workers went to work in Silsbee following the Kirby Mill fire, and all of the homes were eventually sold off, since they were owned by the mill. "There was only four streets when we moved to Bessmay, and we lived on the back street," said Mrs. Ruth. Mrs. Ruth and Bubba were married in the Kirby House April 28, 1950.
Mrs. Ruth grew up running around her parents' grocery and gas store as a child, and attended Bessmay Baptist as a child. "One Sunday a Baptist preacher would preach, and the next week a Methodist, since we only had the one church," said Mrs. Ruth.
After the mill burned down, Bessmay Baptist building was relocated to the land the Richardsons donated along Highway 96, and later changed to Central Baptist Church.
Mrs. Ruth served as the church clerk at Central Baptist Church for more than 50 years, volunteering to keep records over the years.
Before getting married, Mrs. Ruth packaged coffee for Phelan Wholesale in Beaumont, and has sold Avon locally since 1971!
"I was real surprised when they told me I was going to be Mrs. Buna," said Mrs. Ruth. "I was sick and I thought they just waited too long, and I may not make it to Redbud!" Thankfully, Mrs. Ruth is better and says that "God is good, all the time," and is looking forward to an exciting Redbud season with her family.
Mrs. Ruth and Bubba Alexander have two children, Cathy Litton and husband Steve, and Ricky Alexander. They are the proud grandparents to Ricky Jr, Courtney Wood, Tiffanie Alexander, Elizabeth Hampshire, and the late Joshua Alexander, as well as 6 great-grandchildren!
"I bowled with the Golden Hub for years, and we always had a float. I remember one year the float broke down, and we pulled that float all the way through town!" said Mrs. Ruth with a laugh. "There is no place on this Earth with more loving and caring people, than in Buna, Texas. Everyone is always willing to help one another, and they always show up!"
Join the community at the annual King's Feast in celebration of Mrs. Buna Ruth Alexander, and the recently selected Redbud Royalty, February 1, 2020.
Redbud 2020 announced
By Barbara Davis
Grab your gear, because Redbud season is growing near! Yes, it's merely December, but festivals and floats take months of planning, and Redbud Chairperson Linda Erwin recently revealed all the juicy details about the upcoming 46th annual Redbud Festival!
The theme of the 46th annual Redbud Festival will be Super Heroes Invade Redbud, and although capes and comic book familiars may be the first to mind, Erwin says that out-of-the-box ideas are more than welcome. "We welcome all heroes," said Erwin. "From comic book heroes, to Jesus, Military, Firefighters, and any kind of hero imaginable!" Given that the small town with a big heart has no shortage of heroes itself, it certainly will be an easy pick.
Selected to serve as this year's Redbud Sweethearts are Buna High School Freshman Gracie Gomez and Junior Gracie Harley. Redbud Royalty include 2020 Mr. and Mrs. Redbud, Bob and Gina Collins, and Mrs. Buna Ruth Alexander.
The Redbud Committee is planning another fun-filled night of Bingo for January 18th, and the King's Feast honoring Redbud Royalty is slated for February 1.
The Redbud Cook off is set for February 14-15, and the second annual Redbud Domino Tournament for February 29. Spring 2020 will be super full and super fun, so be sure to set aside those capes for a super time at the upcoming 46th annual Redbud festivities!