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Words for reunions. Toasts, speeches, dedications, and benedictions.

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Walker-Doss Gatherings

Uncle Fulton, Walker-Doss Family

Walker-Doss 25th Family Renion

Walker-Doss Gatherings is a beautiful poem written by Fulton W. Walker, 93, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Walker-Doss Family Reunion. Walker, who is devoted to his family and his reunion, led a distinguished career as assistant public school superintendent, lifelong NAACP member, trustee of St. Luck United Methodist Church, and decorated Army World War II veteran.

The 25th Walker-Doss Family Reunion will be held July 13-16, 2017 in San Diego, CA
Walker-doss Family Reunion Group
2013 Walker-Doss Family Reunion, Washington DC


Add a melody

We'd Like To Welcome You

The Malone Family Reunion Choir has produced a CD that starts with an enthusiastic song called "We'd Like To Welcome You." You'll want to consider welcoming your family with this upbeat anthem to family reunions. CDs are $15+ shipping and handling. Please call 414-263-4567 to order.

Dena Mason, Cope, Colorado, wrote this poem about the Probasco Family Reunion.

Family Reunion

by Dena Mason

We only have a memory of yesterday
When we were the ones to run and play

A care in the world, was not to be
We loved each other, our family

Cousins playing, the best of friends
Who would have thought, it would ever end

Circle of life, spinning fast
Gone are the days of our recent past

Parents gone and now we see
We are the ones holding the key

Searching for something that can't be found,
In a memory of scrapbooks and stories bound

My heart it aches as we say good-bye
The tears begin to form in my eye

A hug from my uncle standing strong
My dad's voice, echoes in his song

Watching my aunt struggle with cancer
Like watching a rerun of my mother

Hugging my children tight as can be
Tomorrow, they will be the ones holding the key

Time just keeps slipping away
We only have a memory of yesterday

Probasco Family Reunion
People mentioned in the poem include her mom and mom's siblings (left to right) Jean Ellis, Joann Morgan, Keith Probasco, Joyce Brown, Nadine Brophy and Mason's mom, Jan Ekberg.

These are but a few of the potential words and tributes that can be used at reunions. Do you have others? Something special you did or said at your reunion? Please help others by sharing your words. E-mail us.

Toasts, tributes and reunion music

by Jeff Perso

At one time or another we all need one, we’re all called upon to make one and we all rise to the podium with the same sense of dread and excitement, perspiring, nervousness and heart palpitating glee.
The occasion needs one, requires one. And you are the one to deliver it.
  Yes, I’m talking about the toast. The tribute. The telling anecdote. The ceremonial prayer.

Oh, for a Shakespeare! Or the guy with the long nose: Cyrano de Bergerac penning perfect poems!

Alas, it is not to be. You are alone. The room quiets, all eyes cast your way. You stand, mop your forehead. You fumble in your pocket, searching for hastily scribbled, illegible notes. Or worse, you try to extemperize, relying on an already fading memory. You cough, clear your throat, unclamp your suddenly uncooperative mouth ...

But wait.

That’s not the way it must be.

As more and more speakers are discovering, official reunion toasts, tributes, poems, and invocations can go a long way toward relieving stage fright, pre-toast jitters and mumbled monologues.

Warren Wirebach, Middletown, Pennsylvania, composed the following invocation for the Weyerbacher Family Reunion.

"Father, we thank thee for the privilege of being together as a family. As the generations grow farther apart, let them be brought together with the memory of the loved ones who were once with us, but now live only in our memories. Strengthen the bond of relationships as we face the future, but always keep with us our ties of the past."

SuzAnne C. Cole, Houston, Texas, wrote a toast for her 40th class reunion of Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Toast for an Academic Reunion.
"Today we toast our memories –
the students, athletes, and friends
we once were – reunited for a time,
reliving our shared past.
Everything that happened here
played its part in shaping us,
so we return to remember
the youth we were.
We also honor those who
taught and encouraged us.
We remember old friends –
those with us now,
those who couldn’t make it,
and those who are no longer with us.
Dear friends, lift your glasses with me
to our younger selves – their activities,
their plans, their promise.
May we always remember with gratitude
their part in making us who we are today."

The official poem of the Family Reunion Institute at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also serves to describe reunion. It is written by Jo-Ann Kelly who regularly attends reunions on her mother’s Jackson/Anderson side and her father’s Brown/Kelly side.

Family Reunion
First, they’ll recognize the ancestors and pour libations one by one
Because, they’ll recognize the importance of their Family Reunion...
A call in the middle of the night, a wedding, a funeral, sometimes a fight
A baby born, a loan’s come due, a graduation, anniversary and a card that says, "I love you."
A Sunday morning breakfast, a cookout in July, the time that Uncle Robert tried to do the Electric Slide
The family comes from out of town to join the family here, they share some jokes, some memories, they share some smiles and tears
Prayer and faith intermingle, with a sermon and gospel songs:
Pass Me Not Oh Gentle Savior, Precious Lord and Pressing On...
No, not everything is perfect, not everything is right, not everybody’s coming because they have been downsized ...
But of all those who make it, and all of those who come, will be a part of all of those who recognize they’re one
And who recognize the importance of a Family Reunion.


The Family Tree
I think that I shall never see
The finish of a family tree.
As it forever seems to grow
From roots that started long ago
Way back in ancient history times,
In foreign land and distant climes.
From them grew trunk and branching limb,
That dated back to times so dim.
One seldom knows exactly when
The parents met and married then,
Nor when the twigs began to grow
With odd named children row on row …
Though verse like this is made by me,
The end’s in sight as you can see.
"Tis not the same with family trees
that grow and grow through centuries!

(Author unknown)
From Fulgham-Fulghum Family Facts newsletter.

If your muse suffers writers block, June Cotner happily has compiled Family Celebrations: Prayers, Poems, and Toasts for Every Occasion (Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City, hardcover, $16.95). Taken from the works of both contemporary authors and traditional favorites such as Robert Browning and Carl Sandburg, Cotner has gathered the right words for weddings and anniversaries, family reunions and graduations. "As If," whose author is unknown, exemplifies the collection’s offerings.

"Dance as if no one were watching
Sing as if no one were listening,
And live every day as if it were your last."

Sound advice, no matter what the occasion.

Click here for more info to purchase Family Celebrations: Prayers, Poems, and Toasts for Every Occasion

More sources for inspiration
We are often asked to provide reunion words and over time have developed these suggestions for you to explore.

  • Something favorite from the Bible, Shakespeare, a favorite poet, author.
  • There are books of quotes listed by subject and family is a favorite one.
  • Talk about the strength of your ancestors ... the real founders of your reunion or how the family grew. Remind the family who they are, why your family is special and encourage them to enjoy a memorable reunion.
  • Be thankful for your reunions and perhaps do a retrospective of your family.
  • Ask others for favorite appropriate readings. Ask them to read.
  • Share the wealth: assign others a thought they can share at the reunion.

Then there’s the O’Jay’s soulful Family Reunion. The O’Jays recognize that "at least once a year we should have/a family reunion." Why? Because "it’s so nice to see all the folks you love together." Of course.

For a more spiritual moment, there’s Thank You For Peace, a cassette produced, written, arranged and performed by Samuel B. Lackey. For information call 215-552-8554.

About the author.
Jeff Perso was an assistant editor of Reunions magazine.


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