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Mess Hall Days

Jim Keblinger and B.F. "Bobbie" McLemore, grew up poor in east Texas. The two graduated from Jasper High School in 1949. Both opted to attend the A&M College of Texas, which, for many young men of circumstances similar to Jim and Bobby, was really the only choice as far as seeking a higher education was concerned.

Both young men pursued degrees in agriculture, and both served their country after graduation from A&M. Although their lives went in very different directions from there, the two have remained close friends through the years.

As many Aggies do.

And the two very much enjoyed reminiscing about their fish year at The Annex, the A&M auxiliary campus on the grounds of the deactivated Bryan Army Air Field from 1946 to 1949.

The Annex Mess Hall was a popular topic of conversation.


Despite an A&M undergraduate degree in Range & Forestry Services, Jim Keblinger spent the bulk of his professional career working as a research chemist at Shell Oil Company in Houston. Upon graduation from A&M, Keblinger served in the U.S. Air Force as a Security Service Communicaitons officer. After retirement from Shell, Jim and his wife, Carol, retired to College Station. Carol died in 2010, and Jim continues to honor her funding an Endowed Opportunity Award scholarship for students attending Texas A&M.

B. F. McLemore received a B.S. degree in plant science from the A&M College of Texas. He joined the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant and served in Korea. He remained in the Army Reserves for more than three decades, rising to the rank of Colonel. He spent more than 30 years working for the U.S. Forest Service as a research scientist, retiring in 1987. He lives where he grew up in Jasper, Texas. Bobbie was the youngest of nine children, but claims he received no "preferential treatment" as such. Instead, he says, he "did the work of nine" at home during his high school years.