The ancient "LOUCKS" battle cry of “Valor Leads To Glory” resonated once again in York PA, like an echo from the distant past……as 112 “Loucks'“ from far and wide across North America assembled to honor their old and illustrious family with a synergistic 300th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION & FAMILY REUNION, just like our ancestors had organized 100 years earlier. The total numbers that converged on York this time did not cause a revolution, but did however cause quite a commotion. A truly gloriously hot weekend it proved to be as the sun and moon shone brightly from June 25th thru June 27th on every member of the “Loucks” family, whether present there in body or in spirit. All roads led to the “Loucks” Reunion, ending at 2000 Loucks Road (the Holiday Inn) for an action-packed and emotion-filled complete weekend from beginning to end. The Hotel's “Royalty Room” was just minutes from the original site of the 200th Anniversary Reunion in 1910 at Brookside Park in Dover PA. On this modern era version, the “Loucks” members all went through a complete gamete of emotions, from elation, to laughter, to reflection, to tears. In a nutshell, “YOU JUST HAD TO BE THERE!!“ as many dreams came true this weekend, especially the dream of the Reunion Coordinator, Ginger Loucks.
The “Loucks” Reunion began prematurely for some. Loucks' gravitated towards each other like magnets from the early arrivals on Thursday until the final goodbyes on Monday. Initially, all nameless, it became a guessing game as the elevator door opened to the exclamation: “YOU HAVE TO BE A LOUCKS!!“ Spike (Elmer Loux Field) was surprised to learn that his square dimpled chin and squinty eyes had already given him away.
Note: The spelling “Loucks” throughout this reunion summary represents the various surname spellings of those that attended.
Shortly thereafter, I (Terry) was personally “attacked” from behind by none other than the mastermind of the event, General Ginger. As the momentum grew until the opening ceremonies, it became impossible to circulate incognito as the “Loucks” characteristics rose to the forefront on their faces. As I sat down in the Hotel Eatery, a very powerful and imposing piece of a man (who became affectionately known within hours as “Tiny Tim”) glanced at me with a certain shyness and smile, lovingly taking care of his offspring, Tarah and Tyler. It was almost magical yet strange as people were finally putting faces to emails – sometimes much to their surprise.
The imagining, the planning and the anticpation was over and it was time to put the strategic plan into execution. As the sign said in the Welcome Center entering the Host State: “SMILE , YOU ARE IN PENNSYLVANIA. READY ! SET ! GO!”, the event began early Friday morning as the family members, entered the Royalty Room of the Holiday Inn on Loucks Road after driving by enough Loucks road signs to really feel important and proud. The “Loucks” volunteers worked feverishly to register family members, distribute “welcome” packets, take photos, help set up the 14 Display tables, check the Audio/Visual/Computer equipment and to make any last minute adjustments.
With all in place, at 10:45 sharp, the Reunion began with the sound of a clanging cowbell and the words exclaimed by the Master of Ceremonies, Johannes Laux (Terry Loucks): “BIRDS OF A FEATHER REALLY DO FLOCK TOGETHER!”. The official welcome was said in 4 languages (French/Dutch/German/English) with the help of father & son team, George & Steve Lauck, and the opening remarks included a short DVD called, “The Dash–Making a Difference With Your Life” with a moment of reflection for all our dearly departed “Loucks” ancestors.
Friday was an action packed day with a full agenda and something for everyone present. A cross section of top quality Presentors guiding us one-by-one on a trip back in time through the 1000-year history of the “Loucks” migration from the south of France, through Germany towards Rotterdam and London, then on ships to the New Colonies, and finally to various locations inland and to Upper Canada. The presentations were educational, inspirational, informative, and humorous. Each Presentor was a specialist in their own right as well as being a “cog” in the overall “Loucks” Conestoga wagon wheel. The Presentors made one quickly realize just how much outstanding talent exists in this extended family.
David Loux educated us with a very detailed presentation entitled: “LAUX NAME ORIGINS AND HISTORICAL CONTEXT”. Everyone was totally sold on his astute verizon of the family history.
Orie Loucks gave a professional treatise on “WAS THONGES LAUX THE FATHER OF FIVE 1709er's?” (from Gravenweisbach, Germany) as well as shared with us the exciting news on the Palatine DNA Project since he had just returned from the Palatine Conference in Fishkill, New York and had all the latest information. He strongly encouraged us to join and follow the DNA Project with the name “Loucks” already at the top of the list of over 200 Palatine names. (see the Reunion's Other Reunions & DNA Project page)
This was followed by a lighter, amusing editorial presentation given by James McClure, Editor of the York Daily Record newspaper. He touched on the human side of the “Loucks” family by telling us about S. FORRY LAUCKS and GENERAL JACOB LOUCKS DEVERS, who not only left their marks locally but also around the world. (Jim is also a noted local Historian and Author of 5 books on local history. He blogs daily on York County's past. Check out the articles at http://www.yorktownsquare.com/made-in-york/york-safe-lock/
Next, Edna Loux gave her all important and well-preserved BUCKS COUNTY FAMILY STORY. (Edna has authored several books on the Bucks County families & their offspring. More info can be found on the Genealogy Sources page)
We even had excellent live entertainment with “LOUCKS VOICES” (a monologue) to help us reminisce on 4-generations of Peter's from Bucks Co. PA to Westmoreland Co. PA to Elkhart Co. IN to McPherson Co. KS staring the duet of Carol Westerman and Guy Loucks.
This was followed by a 2-part narrative DVD presentation: “DESCENDANTS OF THE 1710 NEW YORK “LOUCKS” FAMILIES WHO SERVED IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR: PATRIOTS and LOYALISTS.” composed by Elaine Restad with the help of her daughter & son-in-law, Jill & Toby Lucy. (Elaine has spent 40 years researching the family. Thanks to her multi-volume set of family history many have been able to add more pieces to their “Loucks” family puzzle! More details on her books are on the Genealogy Sources page.)
With energy now waning, we decided it was time for a GROUP PICTURE before dinner. The men carried the chairs outside for the ladies and soon the cameras started flashing.
Dinner was delightful as we enjoyed another excellent meal and continued to mix & mingle telling our stories and jokes.
The first day came to a close with Terry Loucks giving a short presentation, “PENNSYLVANIA GERMAN/DUTCH'S TREK TO ONTARIO” via the famous Conestoga Wagons. These brave souls became known as United Empire Loyalists.
We were also blessed to have Certified Genealogist Candice Buchanan and her mother with us. Candice's area of expertise is in identifying old photos. She is also a Consultant for Heritage Makers which specializes in unique products for sharing pictures and stories of one's family. Check out her website http://www.genealogystorybooks.com/
Saturday started with Registration for those just arriving at the Reunion and then almost everyone hopped on one of the buses for a day filled with a variety historical sites, tours, and museums.
While Bus #1 started their day with a tour of the HARLEY-DAVIDSON PLANT and then went on to various Museums, Bus #2 first stop was to the historic LAUXMONT FARM built by Industrialist S. Forry Laucks in the 1920's. Located just south of Wrightsville PA on a timeless and breath-taking setting of 1400 acres resting majestically high above the beautiful Susquehanna River. The present owner, Katy Trefry and her young daughter lovingly and proudly guided us around the house, the various gardens and talked about the new restorations.
Both buses stopped at the Park'n Eat Resturant for a nourishing meal with efficient service for our large group.
The Museums included were the historic FIRE HALL where we had a retired Fireman as our Guide, the AGRICULTURAL & INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM guided by our own Mike Laucks who did an outstanding job emphasizing the accomplishements and inventions of our ancestors, the COLONIAL COMPLEX made up of the Golden Plough Tavern 1741 significant to the community as a hotel, restaurant & source for news, the General Gates House as in 1778 when he lived in the house while the Continental Congress met in York, the reconstructed Court House where Congress met during York's 9-month reign as the Capital of the United States, and the Barrett Bogg Log House which is a example of “squared” timbers and family life in the 1830's, and finally the HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM for more visual history & the LIBRARY filled with 1000's of genealogy sources. (more info at www.yorkheritage.org)
While Bus #1 returned to the Hotel, Bus #2 continued on to the PROSPECT HILL CEMETERY where knowledgeable family member Lori Ziegler guided us through the impressive collection of monuments and headstones of Laucks &-Loucks', a lasting evidence that these families certainly marked the region and the world as it continues to do so.
After another plentiful Buffet Dinner which included a surprise Birthday cake and all singing “Happy Birthday” to Tarah Loux, we returned to the “TOM & TERRY SHOW”, as it became affectionately known to some, for an evening including more brief speeches, an unveiling ceremony and more “Loucks” humor, fun and laughter by all.
Vernon Loucks Jr helped Terry Loucks unveil a special life history photo montage of Terry's Father, FORD WILLIAM LOUCKS
Ross McCurdy of the LOUKS-LOUCKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION ( LLFA ), gave a brief presentation about his Canadian-U.S. Organization that has been in existence since 1993.
Robert Martin shared a special surprising moment he had while doing his genealogy research.
Dr. Peter Loux, whose Grandfather, Charles William Loux spoke at the 200th Anniversary Reunion (1910) on the family's physical characteristics, elaborated on this own close family ties.
Note: The family traits noticed at the Reunion were, to this day, still astonishing close.
There was a photo session of the following categories:
TALLEST – Stephen Lauck at 6' 6” only to be surpassed by Bill
Hooper who came on Sunday.
STRONGEST – Tim Loux at 255 lbs
OLDEST FEMALE – Dorothy (Loux) Smith at almost 92
OLDEST MALE – George Lauck at almost 87
YOUNGEST – Allison Lucy, age 3
LONGEST MARRIAGE – David & Edna Loux (59 years)
NICEST SMILE - Debra Loucks
BIRTHDAY GIRL – Tarah Loux, age 11
TRAVELED THE FARTHEST - Marilyn Hooper of Washington State
Next came the drawing for the Door Prizes with the help of four budding, well-dressed, young and adorable female “Loucks” stars aged 3,6,9, and 11. Some of the Door Prizes were Elaine's multi-volume set of family research, Canadian tote bags filled with goodies, a wine bottle light created by Tina Loux, and a beautiful painting of Williamsburg by Nora Laucks.
The Auction was equally amusing, playful and rewarding. The PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE was a signed stained glass time piece creation by our own Don Laucks. The highly contested bidding finally closed at a whopping $35.00 with it going to Tina Loux. This made us all wonder if the “Loucks” reputation for being tight with money was in fact true.
Following was special acknowledgement of Ginger for her dream in 2007 and her diligence in carrying that dream to fruition which even exceeded her own expectations in many ways. This detail-oriented and persevering mastermind and behind-the-scenes planning specialist was presented with a dozen of yellow roses by Lynn Loux on behalf of all of us.
Emcee Terry Loucks (aka Johannes Laux, the Shepherd) read emails from family members Trudy Loucks-Keser (Belgium) and Nancy McSloy (Ontario) who was wishing us a fantistic weekend and read some from a few organizations.
We acknowledged our Videographer, Tom “Loucks” Landis (we made him an honorary family member) from RCTV who filmed continually for 2 full days, immortalizing all the precious sights, sounds and words of the Reunion on a DVD which one will soon be available for purchase.
Then, all the “Loucks” men lined up side-by-side on one side of the hallway while the women did the same on the other side of the hallway where Tom filmed our family's characteristics.
Lastly, the Canadian contingent (12) gathered together and spontaneously sang their National anthem, “O Canada”. Thus another memorable 12-hour day came to a close with some parting company with hugs because we were no longer strangers, but family.
By Sunday morning, our group had shrunk to a few dozen, but we continued on with our Worship service. Dwight & Luke Baer (father & son) lead us in singing “Step by Step”, “As the Deer” and “Find Us Faithful” with Rev. Bill Lepley (via CD) giving a very meaningful and inspiring sermon entitled “WHAT IS YOUR SPIRITUAL LEGACY ?”.
The sermon, based on Joshua 4, reminded us all to leave a valuable legacy to our descendants in 6 ways:
1. Leave them with answers to life's tough questions. Joshua 4:6
2. Leave them with signposts that tell your story. Joshua 4:6
3. Leave them with memories worth having. Joshua 4:7, 23-24
4. Leave them with a future that doesn't forget God. Joshua 4:21
5. Leave them with a life mission. Joshua 4:12-13
6. Leave them with heroes to follow. Joshua 4:14, 24
You and I are leaving a legacy behind whether we like it or not. Here are some questions that will help us examine the type of legacy we are leaving.
What does my lifestyle communicate to my children about what I value most?
What is my use of my time and money communicating to my children?
What are my children learning about priorities by watching me live my life?
Am I living with an anwareness of the legacy I am leaving?
The answers to these questions are the stuff of which your legacy is being built. As the song, “Find Us Faithful” says...
Will those who come behind you find you faithful...?
Will the fire of your devotion light their way...?
Will the footprints that you leave lead them to believe...?
Will the life you live inspire them to obey...?
We ended by singing “Open Our Eyes, Lord” and “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. This last song was an especially touching moment for Ed Loucks because these words are engraved on the headstone for his Mother. And so, the Reunion was linked up from beginning to end. (“The Dash – Making a Difference With Your Life” to “What is Your Spiritual Legacy?”)
The Worship service was followed by a spontaneous “open mike” session where everyone stood one by one identifying themselves, where they were from and shared their reflections on the Reunion. The comments were very touching and heartfelt, but regrettably were not recorded for posterity since we gave Tom, the Video Man, the day off to be with his family and church members.
During the final Lunch Hour, a resounding surprise yell was heard from one table exclaiming, “We are Cousins. We are Second Cousins!!!!!” as the Baer/Shantz and David Loucks table made a last genealogical discovery before parting company.
Emcee Terry Loucks made his closing remarks to the music of
“Unforgetable” and officially closed the Reunion with the United States and Canadian National Anthems.
P.S. CONTINUING TRAILS ….
The Reunion continued on Monday for Peter & Jean Loux, Terry Loucks, and Debra Clahane as they met up in Bucks County PA with Linda (Loux) Hummel for a guided tour of Tohickon Cemetery, the Loux Bridge and the Old Peter Loux Homestead. It was the “icing on the cake” for a memorable Reunion and a “thrill of a lifetime”.
As Steve & George Lauck wrote in a follow-up email, “This trip was a significant lifetime event for both of us and we look forward to continuing the journey with you.”