(ROCKWALL, TX — April 4, 2019) Friends and family of lifelong Fate senior resident Jo Leonard threw her a surprise party for her 92nd birthday on Wednesday, April 3. Leonard is one of five surviving members of the Fate Girls – a group of women who were born, raised and have lived in Fate since the 1920s.
Leonard and the Fate Girls grew up a stone’s throw from the Fate Masonic Lodge building. She recalls a time when Fate was a thriving farm community with many businesses including a bank and a blacksmith’s shop. Leonard said her favorite memories growing up in Fate all involve spending time with the rest of the Fate Girls crew at the local school building. At that point in time, Fate had its own school district which included 1st through 11th grades. The school officially closed in 1949.
Several of the Fate Girls went on to teach in the Rockwall and Royse City school districts and have had local elementary schools named after them, including Doris Cullins, Miss May Vernon, and Billie Stevenson.
Joining Leonard’s friends from the Fate Senior Program for her surprise birthday party were Fate Mayor Lorne Megyesi, Fate City Manager Michael Kovacs, and City of Fate staff.
“I can not tell you just how much you all mean to me, and how much I’ve enjoyed being a member of this group,” said Leonard, addressing the large group of her Fate Senior Program friends inside the Fate Masonic Lodge building where the event took place.”I never thought I could be surprised like this. Thank you all so much for for this.”
The Fate Senior Program meets weekly at the Community Center on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information visit http://www.cityoffate.com/290/Fate-Senior-Program.
Story and photos by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.
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