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LETTERS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE: Local family corresponded with LBJ, Ladybird Johnson

December 29, 2011

Cards from the White House from the Lyndon Johnson administration were sent to a local family in the late 1960s as the result of that family's correspondence to the president. — Post & Mail photo / James Thomlison

COLUMBIA CITY — Columbia City resident Gary Fouts and his siblings did as many children do around the holidays while growing up in the 1960s: They wrote letters.
Theirs, however, were not to Santa Claus.
Gary, then 13, his brother Melvin, 14, sisters Jane Ann, 12 and Bonnie, 5, instead sent their holiday greetings to the White House; more specifically, to the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson.
“We sent them every year when we were kids,” said Fouts.
In 1967 and 1968, his efforts were rewarded with thank you cards, signed by the President and his wife, Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson.
The cards read: “Thank you for your holiday remembrances and best wishes for happiness in the New Year.”
Fouts said he had forgotten the cards for many years, but found them while going through family belongings after his mother, Lena Smith, passed away.
According to Fouts, the children also received correspondence from President John F. Kennedy, however he has been unable to locate those items.

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