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December 5, 2000

A while back (it seems like only yesterday) I began revealing my own list of Noble county’s “Top Ten” people, in terms of their celebrity status or accomplishments in some fields of endeavor. Of course, there are far too many to be confined to a list of ten, so my Top Ten selections run into multiples of that number, and, what’s more, not all of the honorees actually lived in Noble county. It is, after all, my list. All of them are, or have been, closely connected to Noble county, however. The main objective right now is simply to make my choices known before we have another brand new millennium staring us in the face.

It’s been a while since the last group was announced, so to refresh your memory here are the 23 named thus far: Mary Jane Barnes, Paul W. Cress, Jack VanBebber, Danny Hodge, Bill Pricer, Bill Krisher, Dr. R.R. Robinson, David Lilienthal, Dr. Joseph Brandt, Gen. William E. Jones, Clara Bowles Pellow, Patti Page, Buster Keaton, Lysbeth Seids Hughes, Henry S. Johnston, Ethel L. Johnston, Sen. Henry Bellmon, Shirley Bellmon, Dave Matthews, Gen. Lavern Weber, Edwin G. and E.L. (Bert) Corr and Sharron Miller. If you have to ask who any of them are, you haven’t been following this spasmodic series of columns. But, onward and upward we go. Here comes the next batch of qualifiers.

Ashley Alexander, Beverly Alexander and son Richie Alexander. This talented family has touched many people for years with their wonderful music ministry. Before that the Alexanders took talented OSU students to faraway places around the world to perform for American servicemen and others. Ed and Mary Malzahn. No one deserves more than this couple to be included on Noble county’s Top Ten List. Besides developing the unique Ditch Witch line of underground equipment, Ed and Mary have been the benefactors of everything good about this community. They are truly citizens of the world when their area of influence is considered and Noble county is truly blessed to have them as friends and neighbors.

Ed Kelley grew up in Perry and became managing editor of the state’s largest newspaper. His skills and talent are well regarded in professional circles where they can be objectively evaluated. Perry Carlile rode herd on an annual Shetland pony sale that attracted thousands of visitors to his ranch southwest of Perry after World War II. The little animals sold for big bucks for several years, until the market sagged. Wayne Mackey was a product of the Billings community. He was a columnist and feature writer for the Daily Oklahoman for several years and later was a member of Henry Bellmon’s team in the first campaign for governor. Francis Thetford was a West Point cadet before becoming managing editor of this paper just prior to WWII. I had the privilege of working under him when my journey in the Fourth Estate began in 1941. Francis became a columnist for the Oklahoma City newspaper before cancer claimed him too soon.

That makes 32 names on my Top Ten list and there are more to come. Stay tuned.