Stalnaker family bows their head before reunion dinner

William "Sonny" Stalnaker comes back from Alaska to visit

Orma "Toots" Stalnaker (Mr and Mrs. Fenton Stalnaker's youngest)
visits with Harry Haymaker of Dayton, Ohio

This infant gets a head-start on reunion dinner

One of Calhoun's best attended family reunions was held Sunday at the Upper West Fork Park.

The Stalnaker clan gathered for their annual event which has been held for at least 80 years.

The Calhoun origins are linked to William A. Stalnaker (1858-1948), who married Louverna Chenoweth (1865-1940) and moved to Triplett, Roane County, living there until 1900 when they purchased land at Rilla (later named Orma).

"William had a store and post office at Orma, and was also a Justice of the Peace," according to James Stalnaker of Spencer. They had seven children, all buried at the Sycamore Baptist Church Cemetery on Mt. Zion Ridge. Nearly all of them lived on the waters of the West Fork.

William "Sonny" Stalnaker, about 80, oldest son of the late Fenton and Opal Downs Stalnaker, returned to Sunny Cal one more time to visit with the home folks. Stalnaker has often driven from Juneau, Alaska, a place he describes as "my utopia."

Stalnaker, a veteran of World War II, went to Alaska about 40 ago at age 40 and fell in love with the place. "Everything felt right for me," he said.

"When I get back I'll be catching some King Crab. The state has only 650,000 people. Plenty of elbow room," he concluded.

The Stalnakers have been civic, community, business, church and political leaders in Calhoun, in addition to being teachers. Many of them have been staunch Baptists and Republicans, and beyond raising their families, have given much back to this community.

Retired teacher Paul Stalnaker (right) visits with a friend

Glenna Stalnaker Fleming visits with Pat Trent Haymaker

The dinner spread being readied for large crowd