Wingate Family Reunion attendees

Wingates from as far away as New Mexico, Minnesota, and Virginia attended the 83rd family reunion that was held at the La Quinta Inn in Bridge City Saturday. There were over 100 in attendance.

The first Wingate Family Reunion was held in 1929, organized by Robert Pope Wingate, son of David R. Wingate. The tradition has continued uninterrupted since the first gathering.

Robert’s son and daughter-in-law, Claude and Lumea Bonin Wingate are responsible for the Orange branch of the family. Claude and Lumea had eight children; Lance, Nick, Junius, Julia, Mabel, Roy, Cecil, and Barbara. Of the eight only Nick, age 93 and Roy, age 88 are still alive. Both were at the recent reunion. Roy

The Wingate "Elders" L to R: Crystal and Roy Wingate, Dorothy Breaux (wife of Leroy Breaux), Nick Wingate, Florence Wingate (wife of Lance), and June Wingate (wife of Cecil).

retired after practicing law for 50 years. Nick retired after a career operating the Wingate Meat Market.

The day before the reunion Nick made another offshore fishing trip, his favorite activity. Later this month Nick and his wife June will celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary. Nick’s three children Polly, Betty, and Nick Jr. were able to attend the reunion.

Roy spent many years planning and coordinating the reunions. “Uncle Roy is the one that has held us together for so many years, now some of us younger ones are taking over for him and we will try to do as well as he did for so long,” said Peter, the son of Cecil and June Wingate. Peter has 17 siblings. Thirteen of Cecil and June’s children were able to attend this year.

Some relatives in attendance had not been seen in nearly 50 years. One feature of this year’s reunion was a detailed genealogical presentation by Peter and his cousin Maureen Lawrence Shupp, the daughter of Mable Wingate Lawrence. Peter and Maureen have worked hard to cross reference and prove positively the lineage of their family.

The Orange Wingates have been traced back to middle England in the 14th Century. Family members who attended the presentation were suitably impressed with the Wingate lineage. They also found out that Caroline, the wife of David R. Wingate was descended from German nobility.

There were several references made to Roy’s book, “Sawdust to Gavel” that chronicled Wingate history in Texas. Chuck Wingate, who now resides in New Mexico, is working on a second edition of the book.

This year’s reunion included members of the Wingate, Bonin, Breaux, Bacom, Lawrence, and Marshall Families.

The reunion is usually held the second Saturday in June. This year a scheduling conflict led to the reunion being held the third Saturday. Plans have already started to have next year’s reunion on the traditional date.