JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A man is working to connect old pictures to people who lived in the Tree Streets of Johnson City in the early 1950s.

The pictures belonged to Robert Blizard’s mother, Ann Bowman Blizard. She passed away in August 2022. Blizard found his mother’s photos with names and descriptions connected to them and knew it was his mission to connect them to those people.

“I always thought she left me something that I needed to follow up on,” said Blizard. “Who else would that message have been for? I’m an only child.”

Blizard reached out to people his mother went to school with. He came across Wendell Messimer, who went to South Side Elementary School with her.

Wendell Messimer [right] and friend, Sherman Cox [left], playing outside of South Side Elementary School. Photo: Robert Blizard.

“And then my good friend right here, Sherman, was the butcher and he’d cut all of the steaks for years and years up at Peerless Steakhouse,” said Messimer. “And he’s unfortunately passed away now, but we just had a big playground and enjoyed playing in it.”

Blizard says it’s moments like these that make his mission fulfilling.

“So when I hear expressions of excitement and happiness that they received the pictures, that’s really what’s most gratifying about this whole project,” said Blizard.

Blizard also finds joy in the people he meets along the way, like Larry Cox, who was friends with his mother.

Larry Cox [left] and Ann Bowman Blizard [right] together in 1952. Photo: Robert Blizard.

“Now this is very familiar,” said Cox while looking at the photo to the right. “Ann and I had a great relationship. We really did. We were never sweethearts, but I guess we became such close friends, we never thought about becoming sweethearts to tell you the truth. It was such a great relationship.”

Blizard still has some photos he has not been able to connect people with. Those are shown below.

Blizard can be reached by email at or by phone at +1 (703) 201-5341.