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Ronald Reagan In Dixon Interviews

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Ronald Reagan In Dixon Interviews

Gertrude Childers - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Gertrude Childers was a native of Dixon, Illinois who, like many of her generation, regularly swam at Lowell Park in the Rock River near Dixon. One day in 1931 she was injured while swimming, and Ronald Reagan, the lifeguard on duty, swam out and rescued her. Childers also knew the other members of the Reagan family, citing Ronald's older brother, Neil Reagan, coming over to visit her older sister on many occasions.

Marian Floto - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Marian Floto is a Dixon native who knew Ronald Reagan and his mother through the local First Christian Church. On Sundays, Nelle Reagan would volunteer at the prison and the state school, taking Marian and other volunteers with her. Marian also has memories of spending time at the Rock River, and riding into town with Ronald Reagan to get ice. During her later years, Marian became part of the first group of volunteers to manage the Reagan Home and give tours to visitors.

Redd Griffin - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Redd Griffin was a teacher and politician from Oak Park who followed Ronald Reagan's political career and was involved in Reagan's Homecoming in Dixon during his presidential years. Prior to getting to know and work with Reagan, Redd Griffin worked as a part of a Hometown Heritage program that supported small communities as they celebrated the lives and contributions of their favorite sons and daughters, including Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway, both of Oak Park, Illinois.

Stella Grobe - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Stella Grobe is a Dixon, Illinois local who knew Ronald Reagan when they were both in high school in 1929. Stella was a Freshman and Reagan was a Senior. She had attended South Central High School while Reagan attended North High School. They also shared a connection through Mr. Frazier of the High School office where Stella worked after graduation. It was through this job that Stella met Ronald Reagan following his high school graduation.

Retta Keithley - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Retta Keithley is a Dixon, Illinois native who went to school around the same time as Ronald Reagan did in the late 1920s. She recalls seeing Reagan acting in a school play when he was in high school. Retta also describes the Dixon grade school and high school in great detail and recalls seeing Reagan walking his high school girlfriend, Margaret Cleaver, home from school from time to time.

Lynn Knights - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Lynn Knights is a Dixon postman who was heavily involved in the renovation of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home which has since become one of Dixon's most important landmarks. He describes the process of purchasing and restoring the home in the early 1980s, the people who aided the project the most, and the reason for taking up the restoration project.

Greg Langan - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Greg Langan grew up in Dixon and at the time of this interview was very active in the historical preservation of the town. He volunteers as a tour guide for the city of Dixon, with one of the highlights of his tour being the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan. Greg is also involved in many preservation projects regarding the history of Dixon, such as the restoration of the Dixon Historic Theatre. Langan was also a close friend of Ron Marlow, another Dixon historian, and describes the dedicated work for which Marlow was responsible.

Helen Lawton - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Helen Lawton was born in Dixon, Illinois in 1916, five years after the birth of Ronald Reagan. Her father owned the Kennedy Music Store in downtown Dixon, in which she worked for a few years selling sheet music. She discusses her time in the high school graduating class of 1934 as well as her time attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Helen also describes her experience attending Ronald Reagan's 1981 Presidential Inauguration ceremony in Washington D.C.

Ann Lewis - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Ann Lewis served as the vice chair of the Illinois Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission and was also a Reagan Home Foundation Board member. In that capacity, she helped develop a series of events celebrating President Reagan's 100th birthday in February, 2011, many of them centered on Dixon, Illinois, Reagan's boyhood home town. Ann describes the many events and competitions that took place during the Centennial, highlights of which include a commissioned symphony composed by Dr. David Holsinger, and a Dixon High School time capsule entombed by the graduating class of 2011.

Ron Marlow - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Ron Marlow worked as the historian of the First Christian Church in Dixon since 1992. Doing research on the church led him to discoveries about Ronald Reagan and his family, and their relation to the church. From there, he began doing significant research on the Reagan family and the influence of the church on their lives, especially for Ronald and his mother, Nelle. Marlow later spent time on a nine part book series about the First Christian Church and Dixon based on a variety of telegraphs and articles that he himself had organized and microfilmed.

Jim and Lenore McKenzie - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Jim McKenzie is the son of Ralph 'Mac' McKenzie, the football coach for Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois during the time when Ronald Reagan attended, from around 1929 to 1932. During their later years, Jim and his wife Lenore were both given invitations to attend the president's first inauguration in January, 1981. In 1981 they also attended a private luncheon in the White House.

Scott Porter - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Rev. Scott Porter is a pastor from Sterling, Illinois, who developed a deep interest in President Ronald Reagan's life and career. He saw Reagan during his 1980 campaign as well as at his 1984 birthday celebration in Dixon, Illinois. Scott Porter also went to see Ronald Reagan in 1998, who by that point had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. For several years Porter served on the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Board as well as the Reagan Centennial Commission.

Ron Reagan - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Ron Reagan, the son of former President Ronald Reagan, discusses his own research into his family history as well as the many notable changes that occurred during his father's lifetime, such as the transition of technology from the horse and buggy to the automobile. Ron discusses his father's legacy and the concept of how Ronald Reagan's life would have gone had he not gone into politics and become President.

Tom Shaw - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Tom Shaw was born in Dixon and was the manager of the Dixon 'Telegraph' during the 1980s when Ronald Reagan was running for office. Tom gives his impressions of Reagan as a politician as well as the general reaction of the town of Dixon to having a former citizen of town becoming president.

Craig Shirley - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Craig Shirley grew up in Syracuse, New York and got involved in politics and the Conservative Party at a young age. His first memory of Ronald Reagan was hearing a record album in 1965 of Reagan's 'A Time for Choosing' Speech, where Reagan endorsed Barry Goldwater. During Ronald Reagan's presidential elections in 1980 and 1984, Shirley was approached to work for the Conservative Party to acquire funds for the Reagan Campaign.

Norm Wymbs - Ronald Reagan In Dixon

Norm Wymbs grew up in Virginia and is one of the founders of the Dixon, Illinois Historic Center. During the Ronald Reagan presidential campaigns and his presidency, stretching from 1980 to January, 1989, Wymbs grew close to the Reagan family. He speaks about the relationships between the Reagan family and the varying personalities therein. Norm also speaks at length about becoming the chairman of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home committee and the process of restoring the home and opening the museum in Dixon.

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