Tales from Flour Bluff, the Little Town That Almost Was: Don Crofton, Part I

Flour Bluff, Front Page, History, Local history, Personal History

To preserve the rich history of Flour Bluff, The Texas Shoreline News, will run historical pieces and personal accounts about the life and times of the people who have inhabited the Encinal Peninsula. Each edition will feature the stories gleaned from interviews held with people who remember what it was like to live and work in Flour Bluff in the old days.  You won’t want to miss any of these amazing stories.

Don Crofton (Photo courtesy of Donald Crofton)

     Born in 1939, Don Crofton moved to Flour Bluff from Corpus Christi in 1946 because his dad, James Albinus Crofton, wanted to live in the country.  Don’s father was a former B-26 bomber crew chief in the army air corps who had taken a job at Dow Chemical, which is what brought him to Texas from Shreveport, Louisiana.  However, it was his job as a draftsman at NAS Corpus Christi that brought led him to Flour Bluff and introduced him to J.B. Duncan, a man whose family had helped settle the Encinal Peninsula. Duncan sold James Crofton an acre of land with a house on it on a sandy road called Flour Bluff Drive.  There, he moved his wife Louise and four of his ten children. The lot where the Crofton house stood is where the small gas plant near Murphy’s gas station is located today, just at the edge of what was then the Burton Dunn Ranch.

     In those days, people didn’t waste materials.  When the base dumped its left-over wood of all kinds – many times at Graham’s dump on Flour Bluff Drive – the civilian workers and the locals salvaged the materials and built their homes.  Such was the case with the Crofton home, which was built by Duncan using quarter-inch plywood from shipping crates off the base.  This attitude of making something out of nothing still exists in the Flour Bluff culture.  People on the Encinal Peninsula understood the concept of reduce, reuse, and recycle long before it became a popular thing to say and do.  They did it out of necessity.

     “We didn’t realize we were poor,” said Crofton, the seventh of the ten kids.  “Our family took care of us and loved us.  What else could we want?”

     The house had no running water, so a shallow well was dug by hand.  “We hit water at 16 feet.  It was a reddish-brown color, and it tasted really bad,” recalls Crofton.  “My mom would ask people if they wanted some tea. To this day, I don’t drink water except out of fountains.”

Johnny Crofton stands looking at the Crofton house with the Tex-Mex railroad tracks and Flour Bluff Drive behind him.  (Photo courtesy of Don Crofton)

     Crofton recalls much about the property where he grew up.  “Our property was lower than the railroad tracks, so it flooded a lot.  We got a lot of rain back then,” said Crofton.  “We had trouble with rattlesnakes, too.  In one day we killed 26 of them, and one of them was in a mixing bowl in my mother’s kitchen!”

     When asked how he and his siblings and friends spent their days at home, Crofton said, “We played football, hunted a lot, chased javelina.  When we moved there, everything was brush except where our house, the chicken coop, and the well sat. Daddy had me, Tootsie, and George clearing the property.  It was so slow cutting that brush.”

One Thanksgiving, just after dinner when Don’s father lay down for his nap, the kids had the idea to burn the brush.  This was at a time when there was no fire department of any kind in Flour Bluff.  “We got it out and saved the cat, but George lost his shoes,” said Crofton, “Boy, was our dad mad!”

     After that, Crofton’s parents hired two old bachelors who drove the area in a Model T boom truck.  “They had two mules that they used to plow and harrow it.  We made a big pile of the roots and burned them,” said Crofton.  “These guys worked all over Flour Bluff clearing brush land.”

     “I heard tell of a place called Welcome Inn, a restaurant on the west side of Flour Bluff Drive at Graham Road, but I never saw it.  J.B. Duncan lived down by the Oso on Graham Road,” said Crofton.  “South of Graham was Tom Graham’s place.  He had a dump and a slaughter house on his property.  Far back on that property was the Hatley house where Charles Hatley grew up.”

     Bobby Kimbrell, long-time Flour Bluff resident, also recalls the Welcome Inn.  “It was owned by a fellow named De Gashe.  He was kin to the Buhiders,” said Kimbrell.  “Don is right about its location.  It sat on Graham Road and Flour Bluff Drive.”


The Crofton house located at 1406 Flour Bluff Drive well after Louise Crofton sold it: “Our daddy would have had a fit if he had seen our house looking like this,” said Crofton.  (Photo courtesy of Don Crofton)


     Crofton also remembers a house fire that took a house near his when he was about ten years old.  It was the home of Laura Dunn Burton, aunt of Greg Smith, current District 4 Councilman for Corpus Christi.  “They evidently had silver platters and pitchers and such on shelves above the windows.  The fire was so hot that it melted them.  I will never forget the melted silver running down the windows.”

     Smith said the house sat on the Burton Dunn Ranch, 52 acres near Don Crofton’s home.  “It was bought by Burton Dunn in 1919 to hold the cattle that came off of Padre Island,” said Smith.  He couldn’t recall how the house caught fire but said the long concrete porch was the only thing that remained after the fire.  “The cowboys who lived on the ranch tried to put it out but couldn’t.”

     Crofton, like so many Flour Bluff residents who lived on the peninsula in 1961, remembers what would become known as the most controversial election in Flour Bluff history.  It was the day that Flour Bluff residents voted to incorporate on the same day that the City of Corpus Christi voted to annex the area.

     “My father used to ask why we didn’t just incorporate the area from our house to Mud Bridge where there weren’t any streets, only houses. He said we didn’t really need to go into the city for anything anyway.  ‘We could call it Plum Nelly – plum outta Corpus and Nelly in Flour Bluff,’ Crofton recalled his father saying.  According to Don, the Flour Bluff sign was much farther inside the peninsula then.

     Don started school at North Beach Elementary and then went to David Hirsch Elementary before enrolling in Flour Bluff when he was in third grade.  On the first day of school in Flour Bluff, George, Johnny, Tootsie, and Don went to school on the bus.  “We used to walk to school and back every day, which was about two miles.  But, on our first day at Flour Bluff, we caught the bus.  Flour Bluff had two bus drivers then, Mr. Meeks and Don Barr,” said Crofton.  When the bus arrived at the school, George asked Don if it was the right place.  Don didn’t know so he asked the bus driver where they were.  When the bus driver told them it was grammar school, a term the boys had never heard, Don looked at George and said, “Oh, no, George, we’re in the wrong place.  Let’s go!”  That was just the start of Don’s days at Flour Bluff School where he excelled.

Charles B. Meeks (left) and Don G. Barr (right) were the “Hive Keepers” of Flour Bluff School, according to the 1947 Hornet yearbook.  (Photo from 1947 Hornet Yearbook)

     Ms. Carter was his teacher. “If you acted up, she’d grab your desk and shake it,” said Don.  “Of course, she used a ruler on our hands, too.  We never wrote in print either; everything had to be in cursive.  I remember that she had a picture of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod above the chalk board.”

Don is in the front row, third from the right.  The teacher pictured is Dorothy Arnold, though Miss Carter was his teacher in third grade.  (Photo courtesy of Don Crofton)

Second Grade page from 1946-47 Junior Hornet Yearbook, proof that the students were writing cursive well in second grade at Flour Bluff School.

     Flour Bluff School was not very big when started there, but it was a place he liked.  “We had Sticker Burr Stadium and Doty’s Beans,” Crofton said.  “We ate in a little wooden building next to the school.  Miss Doty cooked a pot of beans every day for the kids who didn’t have lunch or money for lunch.  We called them Doty’s Beans.  We also got a big spoon of peanut butter and a big spoon of black molasses with every meal.”

     Don would remain in Flour Bluff School until 1957 when he graduated second in his class behind Nora Jean Wright, the valedictorian.  Crofton received the title of salutatorian, which earned him a scholarship from the school. Jim Duncan, who came in at a very close third, received a duplicate scholarship.  Don would find himself back at the school many years later, this time on the other side of the teacher’s desk.


Clipping from Corpus Christi Caller Times


Be sure to pick up the next edition of The Texas Shoreline News to read more about the days gone by in Flour Bluff.  To share these stories about Flour Bluff history with others online, visit https://texasshorelinenews.com/.

The editor welcomes all corrections or additions to the stories to assist in creating a clearer picture of the past.  Please contact the editor at Shirley@texasshorelinenews.com to submit a story about the early days of Flour Bluff.

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Memoirs of Addie Mae Ritter Miller, Part 4

Flour Bluff, Front Page, History, Local history, Personal History

This article contains the final part of the memoirs of Addie Mae Ritter Miller, as told to her daughter, Rosanne Miller Redman in 2003. Addie Mae was the granddaughter of George Hugo Ritter, the man who settled Flour Bluff in 1890.  Addie Mae, who died  November 25, 2009, paints a personal picture of a time gone by in Flour Bluff and nearby areas in her memoirs.  It was her desire to leave the story of her life in early Flour Bluff and Corpus Christi to her descendants.   The rest of Addie Mae’s memories appear in earlier articles on this website.  


     Herbert and I were married on October 2, 1936, in the rectory of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  He was not a Catholic, so we couldn’t marry in the church.  Mama and Daddy were there, and Alice and Mickey stood up for us.  It was supposed to be a small affair with only Alice and Mickey there, but Mama had to be there, and she unknowingly invited a few other guests.  I always regretted not having the Millers there.  Mama also planned a small reception.  When Herbert got there, I thought he was going to leave me at the altar, but he didn’t.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Miller Orrell


     Alice and Mickey married in 1937 at the same place.  She was working at Weil Brothers and then became pregnant and had to quit.  I took over her job (which had been my job first).  Herbert and I lived in town for a short while until I finished working there.  We then moved to Flour Bluff so Herbert could fish.  We lived in a small house that used to be Ben and Opal’s.  They had lived in it for years until they built their house on Don Patricio Road.  When it became empty, I asked Grandma Ritter if I could have it, and she said yes (Remember, I was a favorite of hers).  That probably caused some strife in the Ritter clan.  Herbert had a job driving the school bus for Flour Bluff School District. He was the first driver for the school.  They furnished him with a small car, also.  That job and fishing kept food on the table.


     We spent our time playing bridge and dominoes and going to dances.  A lot of time was spent with Alice and Mickey.  I have many happy memories of those times.  They had started their family, and we enjoyed their children, Deana, Butch, and Cheryl, so much!  We were late in starting our family, so I guess they filled a void for us.

Photo courtesy of Butch Roper

     We always had good friends and lots of family around – Aunt Opal and Uncle Ben and their family, Aunt Alice and uncle Harry and their family, Cattie and Lewis and their family, and Annie.  Aunt Jo always had a special place in our hearts.  Then there was Velma and JW and their five kids.  They always came to Corpus in the summer, and we enjoyed going to the beach and having meals with them.  They were our big city relatives.  Melba and Jim Porter were always there to help us out when needed.  Herbert used to drop me, Kathy, and Karen off at their house on Saturdays for lunch.  Clyde and Howard were there also.  They were the fishermen of the family and kept us supplied with fresh fish.  We shared holiday meals with Alice and family and Melba, Jim, Clyde, and Howard.  We continued many traditions started by our own parents.  Thanksgiving was usually spent with Herbert’s family.  Christmas Eve was always spent with Alice and her family.  We exchanged gifts and at Mexican food and finger food.  A big turkey meal was served on Christmas Day with Herbert’s family again.

     My mother died in 1955 of liver problems.  I missed her terribly.  Life was not the same without her.  She only got to spend a short time with her grandchildren.  My father died in 1964 of a heart attack.  I also missed him terribly.

Myrtle Watson Ritter, right  (Picture courtesy of Kathy Miller Orrell)

     Our family was finally started with the birth of our first daughter, Mary Kathryn, on October 28, 1945, at Spohn Hospital.  (Miss Lena was gone.)  She was named for Grandma Ritter.  Karen Elizabeth – named for Grandma Miller – arrived on December 25, 1946.  We were having Christmas dinner at the Miller’s when I decided I hat to go to the hospital.  The doctor kept saying to me, “You are not going to have this baby on Christmas, are you?”  Well, I surprised him and the whole family!  Our family was complete with the birth of Rosanne Louise – named after Mama – on August 14, 1956.

    I suffered some ill health after Rosanne’s birth.  Kathy and Karen were only 10 and 9, but they had to help out a lot around the house.  I was always puny during those years, but I got better.

Miller family (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Miller Redman)

     Herbert stared working as a carpenter after being a bus driver.  We never had a lot of money, but we always managed to squeeze by.  We lived in the same house all those years.  Before I had the girls, I would work at Weil Brothers when they needed me.  I had to ride a bus to town.  As a carpenter, Herbert worked on building the Naval Air Station.  He also worked on the Harbor Bridge.  He continued with odd jobs until his retirement.  I started working at Flour Bluff Schools in 1962.  At first, I worked in the Primary Library and then moved to the curriculum building.  At some point, the curriculum building closed, and I was moved to the new Primary School until my retirement in 1982.

Herbert Miller, right (Photo courtesy of Kathy Miller Orrell)

     Herbert died on November 30, 1974, of lung cancer.  I would describe my relationship with him as stormy, but we did love each other, and I felt a great emptiness when he was gone.  The rest of my life has been spent enjoying retirement.  I got to travel because of Rosie; until then, I had never left the state of Texas.  I traveled to Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia.  I made my first quilt while staying with her for the birth of Nathan.  I made many more quilts after that, and I am still making quilts to this day, although I have slowed down a bit.  With the impending birth of two great granddaughters, I just completed two more baby quilts.  I’m sure I am not done because there are more great grandchildren expected.

Addie Mae did the blocks when she was just 6 years old and then finished the quilt in 1980 when she began quilting again. (Photo and story about quilt courtesy of Rosanne Miller Redman)

     I lived in Flour Bluff for 80 years before moving in with Karen and Mike.  Since 1997, we have lived in New Braunfels, Seguin, and now Schertz.  I continue to share their home.  I am the last one left in my generation.  I have lost my parents and both my sister and brother. Aunt Opal and Melba are still with us, and I have a few cousins left.  I do enjoy getting together with them and talking about old times.  I wanted to share my stories with all of you in hopes our family legacy will continue.  It is good to know where you come from.  I pray that my parents can look down upon all of you and see what a wonderful family they helped create.  They would be proud!


Kathy married Kenneth Nelson, and they had one daughter, Kimberly Janean.  Kenny was killed in 1973, and Kathy then married Douglas Orrell.  They have one son, Eric Douglas.  Kim married Troy Perkins, and they have two children, Kathryn Victoria and Collin Andrew.

Karen married Michael Mosel, and they have two children, Michael Kreg and Kelly Marie.  Michael married Cindy Jones.  They are expecting a daughter in January. Kelly married Robert Talavera.

Rosanne married Michael Redman, and they have three children, Jennifer Michelle, Stephanie Nicole, and Nathan William.  Jennifer married Michael Robertson, and they have one son, Michael Grady, and are expecting a daughter in December.  Stephanie married David Flowers.

The family tree continues to grow….

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Wranosky: A Man with a Vision and a Plan

Flour Bluff, History, Local history, Personal History

The following article about Ernest J. Wranosky, Superintendent of Flour Bluff Schools, appeared in THE FLOUR BLUFF SUN on July 15, 1976, under the title of “Thirty Years in Retrospect, 1946-1976: Wranosky – Reflections on 30 Years with Flour Bluff Schools.”  

Dorothy Arnold, an educator and administrator who worked side-by-side with Mr. Wranosky, wrote this first-hand account as a historical record of all that Wranosky did for Flour Bluff students in his 30 years with the district.  No doubt many superintendents have come and gone in the 54 years before and 41 years after Wranosky, but none can compare to the man who put the community of Flour Bluff on the map by creating a school like no other, a school with a reputation for excellence and innovation that spread around the world, primarily via NAS Corpus Christi personnel.  It should be noted that Dorothy Arnold was instrumental in helping Wranosky bring his vision to life.  

As a 1976 FBHS graduate, retired FB teacher who spent her entire career at FBJH, and current school board member of FBISD, I am honored and humbled to offer this article in its entirety in THE PAPER TRAIL NEWS for all to enjoy.   I know that what Ms. Arnold writes is true. Mr. Wranosky left his positive mark on me because I came up through the system he created.  What he instilled in all of us is that we should leave things better than we found them.  He was a living example for us all.  (Note: THE SUN is no longer in print, and only a few copies exist here and there.  This copy came to me via Rene Self, long-time Flour Bluff resident and civic leader.)

     On July 10, 1946, Ernest J. Wranosky, Sr. held his first board meeting of Flour Bluff Common School District#22, a community on a peninsula of sand dunes, salt flats, scrub oak and sandy trails, with one paved road (Waldron Road) through the Bluff and another (Lexington Boulevard, now Padre Island Drive) to the Naval Air Station.

     There were sixteen teachers, two janitors, and the superintendent, with 188.9 average daily attendance at the close of the 1945-46 term and approximately 350 students at the beginning of the 1946-47 term.  The school district owned five classrooms (the old primary building), four acres of land, cafeteria, shop, home economics cottage, and four teacherages.  Classes were held in the old section of the present junior high school which was built and owned by the Federal Government.

     Members of the board of trustees at that time were Henry Brown, Joe B. Killian, and Arthur W. Whitener.  The assessed value of the district was $1,800,000 (about $5000 per student) on a tax rate of $1.50.

     The first task facing the new superintendent was to secure financing from the State of Texas for a full year (nine months) of instruction through the Rural Equalization Aid program.  Wranosky began renovating buildings on the campus, moved in a building to serve as a cafeteria, and added teacherages to attract personnel to make application in the school district.  At one time during this period, 22 families lived in school-owned housing.

Image result for wranosky + flour bluff

     In April, 1948, residents of the Flour Bluff community voted to become an independent school district.  The district hired a tax assessor and has maintained its own tax roll since that time.

     In May, 1954, Mr. Wranosky was responsible for extending the boundaries of Flour Bluff I.S.D. from 38 square miles of land surface to 56 square miles of land surface.  Also included were 100 square miles of water surface.  The district included parts of Mustang Island and Padre Island.

     Each year funds were committed to a construction project, and as time went on, auxiliary buildings, many of which were government surplus available at low cost and renovated with local (including student) labor, were added to the campus.  In addition, Wranosky was instrumental in securing funds from the Federal Government for classrooms and related instructional areas and laboratories.

Image result for flour bluff schools
Original high school that became the junior high when the new high school was built .

     During his 29 years of service as superintendent, Wranosky worked with 42 board members at 541 regular/special board meetings and missed only one meeting.  Those serving at the time of the election for an independent district were Henry Brown, Joe B. Killian, and J. W. Roper.  Those elected to serve on the new board were S. F. Hawley, president (formerly the superintendent of Flour Bluff Common School District), Joe B. Killian, secretary, Henry Brown, J. W. Roper, H. E. Johnson, Walter E. Bechtel, and W. F. Cutler.  Former board members who served with Wranosky and who are known to be living today are J. W. Roper, George F. Merzbacher, Sr., Edgar L. Barnes, H. W. Grabowske, Sr., R. C. Seeds, Sr., Jesse H. Bond, Edward R. “Bud” Graham, H. E. “Eddy” Savoy, Tom C. Witherspoon, Calvin Ramfield, M. K. Smith, Colvin E. Smith, Joe B. Killian, W. T. Talley, Sr., W.H. “Bill” Cofer, W. R. Duncan, Allen L. Hockley, Sr., D.O. Holder, H. E. “Bud” Johnson, E. L. Pharis, Virl Preston, and Doyle Rains.  Over this period of time, 52,896 students were enrolled in grades K-12, 1,865 students were graduated, and 746 professional faculty members served.

     At the close of his 29 years as superintendent, the size of the campus had increased from 4 acres to approximately 145 acres; from the two classroom building areas to its present size.  One of the most “talked about” projects was the physical education building and swimming pool.  The superintendent, with a group of students, dismantled an old hangar building at Fort Point, Point Bolivar, Galveston, and hauled the steel framework on school-owned trucks and floats procured by the district from Texas Surplus Property Agency.  There were those opposing the project who considered the controversial Van Galen Ditch an adequate swimming pool.  When asked, “How much seating capacity will there be in the new gym?”, Wranosky replied, “I hope none.  We are building this for students to use and not sit.”

Caller-Times photo, March 21, 1948

Caller-Times photo, November 17, 1968  (Note: The pool is located at the back of Wranosky Gym.)

     With a sharp eye for sound spending and close surveillance of tax dollars, Mr. Wranosky initiated new programs and new buildings on current financing.  During the years 1972-73, 1973-74, and 1974-75, major construction projects, including 30 high school classrooms (1972-73), 48 elementary classrooms, an office complex, library and satellite cafeteria (1973-74) were completed and paid for out of current tax funds.  The buildings are all fully air-conditioned, and the elementary building is fully carpeted.  The cost of these buildings was about $17.00 per square foot.  The architect was C. V. Tanner, and the builder was E. Eisenhauer.  The high school library was designed with the assistance of top level librarians, using American Library Association standards to meet the basic requirements of 2,200 high school students, allowing for study carrels for all basic academic areas, a teacher workroom, a processing area, and an area for audio-visual listening and preparation.


     Wranosky has believed tht children should be active physically, should know how to use their hands as well as their heads, and should learn much more than what is found in textbooks.  To this end, the district initiated vocational programs, offered physical education in all grade levels, and operated an “open-air classroom” program.  Throughout the year, groups of children were taken for camping experiences to the H. E. Butt Foundation Camp at Leakey, Texas, in the hill country, at no cost to the district.  Prior o the availability of this facility, Wranosky and the Board arranged for a camp site at Hunt, Texas, at a cost of $600 per week.  “With some hard-to-reach students, we get more academic subjects taught at a camp than in a classroom,” state Wranosky.  “Students are required to set up a bank account and write checks for every purpose.  They figure the bus mileage of the trip, how much the gas costs, how much it costs per child.  They learn to cut a tree and figure its age.  They study measurements, stars, and planets.”

     The faculty, in curriculum development work, outlined a vocabulary to be taught at each spot along nature trails at camp.  The camp is a paradise for student learning and meditation.  As to extra dividends gained through camp experiences, Wranosky stated, “We’ve had children who were impossible to reach in the classroom, but somehow they came around at camp.”  He should know.  He has authorized and watched groups from the second grade through the twelfth.  Since 1952, he has overseen the organization of activities and has, at times, accompanied the groups to and from the camp.


Caller-Times photo, 1968

     E. J., as he is referred to, had a passion to experiment, learn, and innovate.  As a young boy in the Territory of New Mexico, he learned by doing the work of farming, ranching, dairying, and livery stable operation.  It was his lot to work, work hard. And with the dignity of honest labor, he learned other simple virtues, such as family loyalty, a love and interest in one’s neighbors, the meaning of honor and respect for old teachings.  Family ties were strong, and the Golden Rule was not vague philosophy, but taken literally.  He completed his high school education in Woodsboro and Victoria.  During these years, he worked in an automotive garage and has put this experience into practice on many occasions.  He was awarded an associate degree from Victoria Junior College and Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Texas A&I College in Kingsville.  He has completed the doctoral course work at the University of Texas and the University of Houston and has done all the research work on his dissertation.  He earned a teaching certificate from Victoria Junior College and took a job in Victoria County serving as principal, teacher, coach, and custodian.  He moved to Woodsboro and served in the Bonnie View I.S.D. as principal, teacher, superintendent, and coach for 11 years prior to coming to Flour Bluff.

     Mr. Wranosky is convinced that educators have an obligation to assist in improving their community through service in various civic activities and organizations.  He has been instrumental in organizing the Boy Scout troops and has been given the Silver Beaver Award.  He is a charter member of the Flour Bluff Lions Club and has served in many capacities in this organization.  He became a charter member of the Southside Kiwanis Club.  He is a director of the First National Bank of Flour Bluff.

     The expansion of the plant of Flour Bluff I.S.D. in both physical size and quality and quantity of offerings during Wranosky’s tenure is indeed achievement.  While he has accomplished much, he has retained the personal and lasting respect of those who know him as a man of personal as well as professional stature.

     This administrator initiated a student analysis program which resulted in curriculum production and revision and brought about an implementation of his philosophy.  “The philosophy that has been pursued by the school over the past years is primarily my philosophy of twelve points.  The additional point and the revisions are other people’s ideas,” says Wranosky.  “Nothing succeeds like success itself, and nothing fails so dismally as failure.”

Wranosky’s Philosophy and the 12 Points, plus one

     Through his selfless devotion to the welfare of Flour Bluff I.S.D., Mr. Wranosky developed an enviable level of respect for the administration of the school.  He was never too busy to assist where help was needed.  He had the courage to tackle the biggest problem – such as moving the steel framework for the physical education building – and compassion to help a custodian, neighbor, or a student who had a personal problem.  Frequently, he would hear of a student who was having a particularly difficult time with his academic work.  He would make arrangements to have that student report report to his office regularly for a given period of time in order to counsel the student and attempt to work with him to gain a success pattern in a given course or find a chore that he could perform.  His door was always open, and he was ready to listen, provide a message of hope, and a plan of action.

     A former student said, “When we had a problem, Mr. Wranosky was always willing to listen and advise us in a wise and kind manner.”  They expressed genuine appreciation for his empathy, patience and understanding in his work with pupils, teachers, and parents.  The current emphasis in education, which focuses attention upon the needs of the individual students, reflects the basic philosophy which has motivated E. J. Wranosky, Sr. for these many years.

     During the thirty years that Ernest J. Wranosky has served Flour Bluff I. S. D. as superintendent and consultant, the system has faced numerous problems, not only in its growth from 350 students to over 3,000, from 16 professional employees to over 200, from 15 graduates to 140, but in other areas, as well.  His professional, calm, and well-defined approach to each of the problems – finances, hurricanes, personnel, equipment, tax issues, buildings – is indicative of the high quality school system he has helped mold for the citizens of Flour Bluff.  His leadership abilities have brought honor, stature and recognition from throughout the state, nation, and even foreign areas in which students and personnel have reflected his standards.  His entire sojourn has been dedicated to the youth and citizens of this area and to improving their education.  He has appreciation and regard for others and the talent to communicate.

     Questioned on his sojourn in Flour Bluff Schools, Wranosky said, “Directing the academic progress of  Flour Bluff Schools as the community evolved into a fair degree of affluence has been a real challenge which brought many satisfying rewards as well as some disappointments.  I recognize that I have passed up an opportunity to build the school plant monument that I might have.  One person who is in a position of judgement  told me, ‘You could have a gold-plated school plant here if you had levied the tax that you should have.’

     “A great many people have worked extremely hard to bring about the scholastic excellence which I desired above all else. To them, especially Board and faculty, I am forever grateful.  My sojourn began with a tax value of slightly more than $5000 per pupil and some deficit.  It ends with prospects for 1976 of near $50,000 per pupil and no debt.  The tax rate has not changed in 30 years.  It is a happy situation.”


Dorothy Arnold Obituary

DOROTHY THERESA ARNOLD, age 93, passed away on Friday, September 27, 2013 in Victoria, Texas. Dorothy was born on September 1, 1920 in Cuero, Texas, to William Henry “WH” Arnold and Bertha Toerck Arnold. She attended Mission Valley School and graduated from Patti Welder High School in 1936. She attended Victoria College and Mary Hardin Baylor College in Belton. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Education Degree from The University of Texas. Her teaching career began in 1940 at Liberty School (Victoria County) and continued for 38 years in Weesatche (Goliad County), Bonnie View (Refugio County), of which 30 years were at Flour Bluff (Nueces County) as a classroom teacher and business manager. During this time, she participated in many professional and civic organizations on local, district, state, and national levels and continued her education to obtain bachelor and master degrees as well as doing her post graduate work at The University of Texas, University of Corpus Christi, University of Houston and Texas A&I University. She received numerous awards, honors, certificates, and recognitions related to educational pursuits. After her retirement in 1978, she enjoyed rewarding years living in the Mission Valley Community doing volunteer work, church work, and continuing participation in professional and civic pursuits which included the Pilot Club of Cuero and Heirloom Stitchers Guild. Dorothy gave of her time and talent in many ways to better her community. A very important part of Dorothy’s life was her strong devotion to her church. She enjoyed her hobbies of crafts, sewing, quilting, crocheting, as well as playing cards and domino games. She is survived by loving cousins and friends.  (Source:  Rosewood Funeral Chapel website)

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Living la Vida Bluff Style!

Arts, Business, Education, Flour Bluff, Food and Drink, Front Page, Opinion/Editorial, Outdoors, Religion, Sports, Travel
Sunset on Cayo del Oso in Flour Bluff

     I guess taking part in my 40th class reunion made me a bit nostalgic concerning my hometown, Flour Bluff.  It is a little community of about 20,000 fiercely independent people that sits on the Encinal Peninsula between Cayo del Oso and Laguna Madre.  On Aug. 5, 1961, the City of Corpus Christi, Texas, voted to annex Flour Bluff while Flour Bluff voted to incorporate as a separate city.  The Corpus Christi City Council passed an annexation ordinance, and city police began patrolling in Flour Bluff.  Suits filed by Flour Bluff residents to block annexation were appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that it did not have jurisdiction in the matter.  Even though Flour Bluff officially became part of Corpus Christi, the people don’t really seem to know it.  That’s why most Flour Bluffians say they are “going to town,” when in actuality they are simply crossing one of the two Oso bridges into Corpus Christi proper.



     Once known as the “Gateway to Padre Island,” Flour Bluff is home to the award-winning Flour Bluff Independent School District and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, the two largest employers in the community.  These two entities have supported each other since World War II when the Navy commissioned the base in 1941.  Flour Bluff, like many Texas towns, was influenced by ranching and oil and gas.  Add to that tourism, highlighted by fishing, boating, birding, and water sports, the diverse nature of the community starts to take shape.

An aerial view of Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas, as it appeared on January 27, 1941, seventy-two years ago today. The air station was commissioned in March 1941.
An aerial view of Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas, as it appeared on January 27, 1941. The air station was commissioned in March 1941.
The first school was opened in 1892 in the community of Brighton, later to become Flour Bluff.
Kite surfing, boating, fishing, and great meals at Laguna Reef in Flour Bluff
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Flour Bluff is home to countless species of birds.

    It is possible to live and work in Flour Bluff and never leave except to visit a major hospital, which is just five minutes away.  Flour Bluff has its very own HEB Plus and Super Walmart along with a host of unique shops and businesses that meet the everyday needs of the people.  It has an active business association, three fire stations (federal, county, and city), a police substation, various banking institutions, eateries of all types, and even a brewery!  Add to this three quick-care clinics, local dentists, a vet clinic serving large animals and small pets, accommodations for out-of-town guests, a twenty-four hour gym, multiple auto mechanic shops, storage facilities, car washes, insurance companies, attorneys-at-law, and a host of other businesses that offer the citizens of Flour Bluff basic amenities of life. Of course, churches of all denominations and community organizations enrich the lives of the people, too. If a person wants something more, indoor and outdoor malls are within a ten-minute drive east while the Gulf of Mexico is ten minutes the other direction. Padre Island sports the longest stretch of undeveloped, drivable beach in America (60 miles).  Del Mar College, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and the Craft Training Center provide educational opportunities beyond high school and are all under a 20-minute drive from Flour Bluff.



     Living in Flour Bluff comes in all shapes and sizes.  The community offers many housing choices – including affordable housing, and multiple realtors in the area are available to assist newcomers in finding the perfect home.  Some residents in Flour Bluff enjoy the rancher’s life and own large pieces of property with room for horses and cows.  Others love living on the water.  Waterfront properties are available along Oso Bay, Laguna Madre, and parts in between where ponds and canals exist.  Many people prefer little or no yard maintenance and live in single or multi-level apartments or condominiums.  Flour Bluff welcomes its friends from the colder parts of the country in the many RV parks in the community.  Most residents, however, live in quiet neighborhoods filled with the whir of lawnmowers and the laughter of children.  Yes, there is indeed something for everyone!

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     Flour Bluff offers many outlets for family fun.  The community has a public and school pool, little league softball, baseball, and kickball fields, youth football organizations, activities at Flour Bluff Schools (i.e. basketball, football, volleyball, softball, academics, arts, music, NJROTC), a skateboard park, a disc golf park, multiple playgrounds, and other facilities for activities such as martial arts, soccer, tennis, rugby, and horseback riding.








          Seasonal events give everyone something to anticipate.  Whether it’s the Navy hosting the Blue Angels, the Flour Bluff Homecoming Parade, the Flour Bluff Business Association Community Christmas, the Flour Bluff Fire Department Santa float, or the Flour Bluff 8th-Grade trip to HEB Camp in the Hill Country, those who know Flour Bluff, know it has a host of unique offerings for the community.  Maybe it’s a school that’s excels in everything.  Maybe it’s the year-round great weather conducive to outdoor activities like fishing, boating, swimming, and surfing.  Maybe it’s the tight-knit community that welcomes people from all over the world to be a part of what is happening here.  Maybe it’s the rich history or unique geographical location. Maybe it’s the class reunions, Friday-night football, or visiting with old friends in the grocery line. Whatever it is, Flour Bluff is a great place to live, visit, play, raise a family, and take part in a community that is like no other.


Santa float


     Spending the weekend with childhood friends (Flour Bluff Class of ’76), driving the Bluff in search of what is new or changed, writing this article, and gathering pictures for it takes me to the heart of a place I have called home for nearly 50 years.  Even those who have moved away still feel her tugging at their heartstrings. She definitely leaves an impression.  Flour Bluff, like every little “town”, has its problems, but that which is good outweighs them all.  I just wish more people could experience living la vida Bluff style!


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