July 31, 2012

Walter Maxwell "Max" West (1904-1971)

Max West was born July 14, 1904 in Sunset, Texas to Joseph and Bettie Davis West , the last of four children. Scant information can be found about him prior to his short baseball career, other than he attended the University of North Texas, was married to Mildred Brock and had two girls, Martha Glynn and Myrna G. He debuted in the Major Leagues as an outfielder for the Brooklyn Robins (the precursor to the Dodgers) on September 18, 1928. He had a rough time in his first year (a meager .276 batting average didn't help), and after the team finished the 1928-1929 season in sixth place, the Robins let West go. His final game as a professional baseball player was on October 5, 1929. The Wests moved to Houston shortly afterward, where he died on April 25, 1971.

29° 57.612
-095° 25.036

Section 3A
Earthman Resthaven Cemetery

July 24, 2012

Able Allison Lewis (1761-1838)

Lewis was born in about 1761, probably in South Carolina, where he served for 477 days under Capt. Thomas Price's South Carolina 96 District Company. He married Martha "Patsy" Wofford in about 1795, and the family moved to Missouri before coming to Texas to settle in the Sabine District of San Augustine County. He died before 1839 and was buried in the Chapel Hill Cemetery about six miles east of San Augustine, Texas. Source

31° 29.210
-094° 01.172

Chapel Hill Cemetery
Chapel Hill

July 17, 2012

John J. Given (1840-1870)

John J. Given, Medal of Honor recipient, was born at Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1840. As a corporal in Company K, Sixth United States Cavalry, he was cited for "bravery in action" at the battle of the Little Wichita River, July 12, 1870. On duty with Company L and under the command of Capt. Curwen Boyd McLellan, fifty men were engaged in a battle with 200 Indians. During the battle the horse of 2d Lt. H. P. Perrine, commander of the rear guard, was shot from under him. Given, seeing Perrine's plight, turned his horse around and drove off attacking Kiowas. Private Blum, a close friend of Given, was shot in the head. Given requested and received permission to go to his aid; he gave his picture and those of his sisters and sweetheart to guide James Dosher to hold until he got back. As Given reached the side of his friend, Kicking Bird, the Kiowa chief, rode out of an arroyo and drove his war lance into Givens's back, killing him instantly. For this and other actions Given and twelve others were cited for bravery in action and awarded the Medal of Honor. Givens's body was never recovered from the battlefield. A headstone "In Memoriam" stands at the San Antonio National Cemetery. Source

Bravery in action
29° 25.277
-098° 28.022

Section MA
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio

July 10, 2012

Kermit King Beahan (1918-1990)

Kermit Beahan was a career officer in the United States Air Force and its predecessor United States Army Air Forces during World War II. He was the bombardier on the crew flying the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bockscar on August 9, 1945, that dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan as well as participating in the first atomic mission that bombed Hiroshima three days earlier. Flying as part of the crew of The Great Artiste which was a reference to him, purportedly because he could "hit a pickle barrel with a bomb from 30,000 feet", his aircraft acted as the blast instrumentation support aircraft for the mission. Beahan attended Rice University on a football scholarship during the 1930s. In 1939 he joined the Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet but washed out of pilot training, becoming a bombardier instead. He was assigned to the 97th Bombardment Group and took part in the first B-17 raids in Europe by Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses. He flew 13 missions over Europe, 17 missions over North Africa, five credited combat missions in the Pacific with the 509th Composite Group and was crash-landed four times, twice in Europe and North Africa.

He returned to the United States as a bombing instructor in Midland, Texas, but in the summer of 1944, he was recruited by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets to be part of the 509th, which was formed to deliver the atomic bomb. The mission to bomb Nagasaki was conducted on Beahan's 27th birthday. Admiral Frederick L. Ashworth, who participated on the mission as weaponeer, credited Beahan with saving the mission from failure by finding an opening in the clouds by which to complete the required visual bombing of the city. An estimated 35,000-40,000 people were killed outright by the bombing of Nagasaki, the majority of whom were munitions workers. Following the Japanese surrender, he returned to the United States as a crewman in the record-breaking 1945 Japan-Washington flight under Lieutenant General Barney M. Giles. He remained in the Air Force until 1964, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. After his retirement, he worked as a technical writer for the engineering and construction firm Brown & Root through 1985. On the 40th anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing, Beahan said he would never apologize for the bombing, that he had been thanked for his role by a group of 25 Japanese, and hoped that he would forever remain the last man to have dropped an atomic bomb on people. Beahan died on March 10, 1989 of heart attack and was buried at the Houston National Cemetery.

29° 55.814
-095° 26.945

Section K
Houston National Cemetery

July 3, 2012

James Henry “Red” Duke (1928-2015)

Red Duke, surgeon, teacher, television host, and conservationist, son of James Henry Duke, Sr., and Helen Marion (Donegan) Duke, was born in Ennis, Texas, on November 16, 1928. He grew up in Hillsboro and was given the nickname “Red” for his curly red hair. As a youth, he delivered newspapers, picked cotton, and dug ditches, and he earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts. Duke graduated from Hillsboro High School and attended Texas A&M University in College Station, where he became head yell leader; he received a bachelor of science degree in 1950. Following his graduation, Duke served in the United States Army for two years as a tank commander in Germany during the Korean War. After his military service, Duke attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. During this time he married Betty Cowden, a fellow student, and they eventually had four children - Hank, Rebecca, Sara, and Hallie. The couple later divorced. After Duke received a divinity degree in 1955, he was inspired to go into medical school by learning about humanitarian and physician Albert Schweitzer. He received his M. D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1960. During his residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Duke was the emergency surgeon on hand to attend to President John F. Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally following their shooting. He has been credited with saving Connally’s life.

Duke briefly served on the faculty of UT Southwestern and at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, where he also took graduate classes at Columbia University. In 1970 he was a visiting professor at Nangarhar University School of Medicine in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. In 1972 Duke became one of the first faculty members at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and eventually became the John B. Holmes Professor of Clinical Sciences. He practiced in the Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston for four decades and established his reputation as an outstanding trauma surgeon. Duke established the trauma service at Memorial Hermann and in 1976 founded the Life Flight service - a model in the nation - in Houston. He was a founding member of the American Trauma Society and was influential in the development of EMS (Emergency Medical Services) in Texas.  Duke wore many hats during his lifetime; he was a surgeon, a teacher, and a colorful television personality. Duke appeared on nationally-syndicated television broadcasts called Dr. Red Duke’s Health Reports for fifteen years. He also hosted the PBS series Bodywatch in 1986. Known for his cowboy dress and country twang, Duke was called “John Wayne in scrubs” by U. S. Congressman Ted Poe and was the inspiration for the television series Buck James starring Dennis Weaver in 1987. During his lifetime, Duke, a conservationist who had grown up hunting and fishing, served as president of the Wild Sheep Foundation, an organization dedicated to restoring wild sheep populations in North America, and the Boone and Crockett Club. He was also the founder of the Texas Bighorn Society, which tasks itself with restoring desert bighorn sheep to their native ranges in Texas.

Duke authored numerous chapters and gave many presentations during his career. He also devoted much time to support the United States military both through enhanced medical technology in combat and the promotion of employment of veterans at home through his Texas Medical Center’s Hiring Red, White & You! program. He received many honors during his lifetime, including the Texas Governor's EMS and Trauma Advisory Council's Journey of Excellence Award and knighthood in the Order of Saint George of the U.S. Cavalry and Armor Association. He was named Surgeon of the Year by the James F. Mitchell Foundation in 1988. The Boy Scouts honored him with their Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 1993. The James H. “Red” Duke, Jr., M. D. Endowed Scholarship for students at UT Health Medical School was established in 2014. That same year the Dr. James “Red” Duke Elementary School opened in Alvin, Texas. Life Flight established a worldwide call sign - “Red Duke” - in his honor. Duke died of natural causes at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston on August 25, 2015. He was buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. In a memoriam to Duke, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston described his “trademark bottle-brush mustache, military issued wire-rimmed glasses,” and “folksy humor” as characteristics that “made Duke a one-of-a-kind folk hero with the personality of an old-fashioned country doctor and the extraordinary talent of [a] modern-day surgeon.” In May 2016 the Memorial Hermann Health System renamed its Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute in his honor. Source

30° 15.955
-097° 43.532

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery