November 27, 2012

Eugene McDermott (1899-1973)

Eugene McDermott, scientist, industrialist, and philanthropist, was born on February 12, 1899, in Brooklyn, New York, to Owen and Emma (Cahill) McDermott. After receiving a master's degree from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1919, he worked at the Goodyear Rubber Company as an engineer (1919-21) and at the Western Electric Company (1921-23). After completing an M.A. degree at Columbia in 1925, McDermott joined Everette Lee DeGolyer's Geophysical Research Corporation in Houston as a field supervisor. He was soon placed in charge of GRC's instrument laboratory in Bloomfield, New Jersey. In 1930 DeGolyer secretly financed McDermott and John C. Karcher in their organization of Geophysical Service, Incorporated, to exploit Karcher's development of the reflection seismograph. By means of underground explosions, this instrument determined formations of the earth's layers. The company contracted to conduct geophysical exploration for the oil industry and soon became one of the world's foremost geophysical service firms. McDermott moved to Dallas to serve as vice president of GSI (1930-39); he became president in 1939 and chairman of the board in 1949. In 1951 he formed Texas Instruments, and GSI became a wholly owned subsidiary of the new electronics firm. McDermott continued as TI board chairman until 1958, then chaired the executive committee until 1964 and remained a company director until his death. During World War I he served in the United States Navy, and from 1941 to 1946 he was a civilian consultant to the Office of Scientific Research and Development. He contributed to various technical journals.

His inventions, numbering around ten, ranged from geochemical applications to antisubmarine warfare. Nevertheless, he was concerned with what he saw as a tendency of science to neglect individual and economic growth. His service on a national committee to alert American businessmen to their stake in perceived population problems in the nation and the world reflected this concern, as did his commitment to education. Believing that education should be consistently excellent from the start, that "learning begins when a child starts looking at the world," McDermott and his wife, Margaret (Milam), whom he married on December 1, 1954, worked diligently to promote quality education with the goal of "maximizing everyone's capacities for thinking and doing." They gave stock valued at $1.25 million toward building the Stevens Institute of Technology Center in 1954 and to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for scholarships in 1960. Other schools receiving McDermott's financial support included the Lamplighter School, the Dallas junior college system, Southern Methodist University, the University of Dallas, Hockaday School, and the University of Texas System. McDermott also helped found St. Mark's School of Texas and establish the University of Texas at Dallas. He was a member of the MIT Corporation from 1960 to 1973, a trustee of the board of governors of SMU, trustee and chairman of the executive committee of the Excellence in Education Foundation, a trustee of St. Mark's and the Area Educational TV Foundation, and a member of the Coordinating Board of Texas Colleges and Universities (now the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board) from 1965 to 1971. He also was chairman of a visiting committee in the Harvard University psychology department and a member of a similar committee at MIT. In 1949 McDermott collaborated with William Sheldon on four books, including Varieties of Delinquent Youth. He was also involved in scientific medical projects at various universities, including Columbia, the University of California, and Southwestern Medical School (now the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas), where he supported a visiting professorship in anesthesiology and a research laboratory and in 1973 established the Eugene McDermott Center for the Study of Human Growth and Development.

He was a trustee of Stevens Institute, the Presbyterian Hospital-Children's Medical Center, the SMU Foundation for Science and Engineering, the Eugene McDermott Foundation, the Biological Humanics Foundation (which he founded in 1954), the Texas Research Foundation, and the Southwestern Medical Foundation. The McDermotts contributed $200,000 towards establishing the Margo Jones Memorial Theater at SMU in 1965 and served as directors of the SMU Fine Arts Association. McDermott served as director of the Dallas Theater Center. The McDermotts established a trust fund for the Dallas Art Association, and their financing renovated the Gillespie County Courthouse in Fredericksburg. McDermott was a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, of which he was president (1933-34), the Seismological Society of America, the American Physicians Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Mathematical Society, the American Geographical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition to honorary degrees from Stevens Institute of Technology (1960), the University of Dallas (1973), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1972), he received papal honors for his outstanding work for Christianity (1966), an award from the Texas State Historical Survey Committee for the courthouse renovation (with his wife, 1967), the Bene Merenti medal (1966), the Santa Rita Gold Medal from the University of Texas for his work in higher education (1972), and the Linz Award for service to Dallas (1972). McDermott was the father of one daughter. He died at his home in Dallas on August 23, 1973, after an illness of several months. Source

32° 52.107
-096° 46.701

Monument Garden
Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery       

November 20, 2012

Amber Rene Hagerman (1986-1996)

Amber was a young girl abducted in 1999 while riding her bike with her brother in Arlington, Texas. A neighbor who witnessed the abduction called the police, and Amber's brother, Ricky, went home to tell his mother and grandparents what happened. On hearing the news, Hagerman's father, Richard, called Marc Klaas, whose daughter, Polly, had been abducted and murdered in Petaluma, California, on October 1, 1993. Richard and Amber's mother, Donna Whitson, called the news media and the FBI, then they and their neighbors began searching for Amber. Four days after her abduction, near midnight, Amber's body was discovered in a creek behind an apartment complex with severe laceration wounds to her neck. The site of her discovery was less than five miles from where she went missing. As of 2018, there are still no suspects in her abduction and homicide.

Within days of Amber's death, her mother was "calling for tougher laws governing kidnappers and sex offenders". Amber's parents soon established People Against Sex Offenders (P.A.S.O.) and collected signatures hoping to force the Texas Legislature into passing more stringent laws to protect children. God's Place International Church donated the first office space for the organization, and as the search for Amber's killer continued, P.A.S.O. received almost-daily coverage in local media. Congressman Martin Frost, with the help of Marc Klaas, drafted the Amber Hagerman Child Protection Act. Both of Hagerman's parents were present when President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law, creating the national sex offender registry. The two then began collecting signatures in Texas, which they planned to present to then-Governor George W. Bush as a sign that people wanted more stringent laws for sex offenders.

In July 1996, Bruce Seybert (whose daughter was a friend of Amber) and Richard Hagerman attended a media symposium in Arlington. In Seybert's twenty minute speech, he spoke about efforts that local police could take quickly to help find missing children and how the media could facilitate those efforts. C.J. Wheeler, a reporter from radio station KRLD, approached the Dallas police chief shortly afterward with Seybert's ideas and launched the first ever Amber Alert. Whitson testified in front of the U.S. Congress in June 1996, asking legislators to create a nationwide registry of sex offenders. Representative Martin Frost, the Congressman who represented Whitson's district, proposed an "Amber Hagerman Child Protection Act". Among the sections of the bill was one that would create a national sex offender registry. In 1998, the Child Alert Foundation created the first fully automated Alert Notification System (ANS) to notify surrounding communities when a child was reported missing or abducted. Source

32° 45.274,
-096° 07.026

Moore Memorial Gardens

November 13, 2012

William Mosby Eastland (1806-1843)

William Mosby Eastland, soldier, was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, on March 21, 1806, the son of Thomas B. and Nancy (Mosby) Eastland. As a child he moved with his family to Tennessee where he was reared and educated. As a young man he entered the timber business and was persuaded by his friend and former neighbor Edward Burleson to move to Texas in 1834. With his wife and children, two brothers, and a cousin, Nicholas Mosby Dawson, he settled near the site of present La Grange in Fayette County. From July 25 to September 13, 1835, Eastland served as first lieutenant of a volunteer company under Col. John H. Moore against the Waco and Tawakoni Indians. From September 28 to December 13, 1835, he served under Capt. Thomas Alley and participated in the siege of Bexar, and from March 1 to May 30, 1836, he served under Capt. Thomas J. Rabb. Eastland was elected second lieutenant of Rabb's Company F of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, on April 3, 1836, and advanced to first lieutenant when Rabb left the company and 1st Lt. W. J. E. Heard moved up to captain.

At the battle of San Jacinto, according to Robert Hancock Hunter, when Sam Houston ordered that the killing of Mexican fugitives cease and that his men begin to take prisoners, Eastland responded, "Boys take prisners, you know how to take prisners, take them with the but of guns, club guns, & said remember the Alamo remember Laberde [La Bahía], club guns, right & left, nock there brains out." Eastland enlisted in the Texas Rangers on September 5, 1836, and on December 14, 1836, succeeded Capt. M. Andrew as commander, but when he attempted to instill military discipline in their ranks the men "marched out, stacked their arms, told him to go to hell and they would go home." According to Walter P. Webb, however, Eastland yielded gracefully, maintained the rangers' respect, and continued to serve until as late as January 22, 1838. In 1839 he was elected captain of one of the three companies that campaigned against the Comanches on the upper Colorado River. Eastland's wife, the former Florence Yellowly, died in September 1837, and in 1839 he married Louisa Mae M. Smith, the daughter of Rev. Dr. William P. Smith, a Methodist minister. By 1840 he owned 5,535 acres under survey in Bastrop County and four town lots in Bastrop. On January 31, 1840, Eastland was elected one of three land commissioners for Fayette County.  In response to the raid of Adrián Woll in 1842, Eastland raised a company that he led to San Antonio; but he arrived too late to take part in the battle of Salado Creek. He participated in the pursuit, however. His company was incorporated into Col. James R. Cook's First Regiment, Second Brigade, of Gen. Alexander Somervell's Army of the South West for the subsequent Somervell expedition. Eastland, eager for revenge for the killing of his cousin Nicholas Mosby Dawson and his nephew Robert Moore Eastland by Woll's men, chose to remain on the Rio Grande with William S. Fisher's command when Somervell ordered his expedition to return to San Antonio.

Eastland was elected captain of Company B for the Mier expedition. He was taken captive with his men after the battle of Mier on December 26, 1842, and marched to the interior of Mexico. There he participated in the Texans' abortive escape attempt and was the first of the Texans to draw a fatal black bean, the only officer of the expedition to do so. In a brief private interview with Fenton M. Gibson Eastland said, "For my country I have offered all my earthly aspiration and for it I now lay down my life. I never have feared death nor do I now. For my unjustifiable execution I wish no revenge, but die in full confidence of the Christian faith." After giving his money to his brother-in-law, Robert Smith (who responded with the joyous shout that he had "made a raise!"), and sending word to his wife that "I die in the faith in which I have lived", Eastland was shot to death, on March 25, 1843. Diarist Israel Canfield, to whom Eastland was handcuffed on the march to Salado, observed with some satisfaction that Robert Smith later died at Perote Prison. On February 17, 1844, the Texas Congress passed a bill for the relief of Eastland's family. In 1848 Eastland's remains, together with those of the other Mier victims, were moved to Monument Hill. near La Grange for reinterment. Eastland was a cousin of the famed Confederate partisan ranger Col. John Singleton Mosby. His nephew, Charles Cooper Eastland, a private in Capt. Jacob Roberts's Company F of Col. John Coffee Hays's First Regiment, Texas Mounted Rifles, died in Mexico City on December 20, 1847, during the Mexican War. Another nephew, William Mosby Eastland II, was born on March 15, 1843, ten days before the death of his uncle at Salado. Eastland County is named in Eastland's honor. Source

29° 53.339
-096° 52.618

Monument Hill State Historic Site
La Grange

Stephen Williams (1760-1839)

Stephen Williams, soldier and early East Texas settler, son of Richard and Ann Williams, was born on May 9, 1760, in Granville County (later Bertie County), North Carolina. He joined the American revolutionary armies at the age of eighteen and fought at the battles of Briar Creek, Camden, and Eutaw Springs. He was mustered out of the service after the expiration of his third enlistment in 1782. He married Delilah Stallings in 1779. After the war Williams acquired bounty land in Georgia before moving westward to Louisiana. During the winter of 1814-15 he helped guard the Madisonville naval yards against the British invasion of the latter stages of the War of 1812. Williams, a blacksmith by trade, suffered from severe rheumatism from 1816 to 1824, which severely limited his business. After several desperate efforts to repay debts incurred during the period, he moved to Texas in 1830. He was by this time a widower with at least five children. He settled in what later became northern Newton County, then moved west to what is now Jasper County. As Texan dissatisfaction with Mexican authority grew, Williams again volunteered for military service in 1835, at the age of seventy-five, and served under Capt. James Chessher. With four of his grandsons he participated in the siege of Bexar. Williams eventually claimed two-thirds of a league of land and a town lot in Jasper. The veteran of three wars died in April 1839 and was buried at his home in Jasper. As part of the Texas Centennial celebration his body was moved to the State Cemetery in Austin. Source 

30° 15.920
-97° 43.639

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery

November 6, 2012

Mary Kathlyn "Mary Kay" Ash (1918-2001)

Business leader and entrepreneur Mary Wagner was born on May 12, 1918, in Hot Wells, Texas. She was a pioneer for women in business, building a substantial cosmetics empire. In 1939, she became a salesperson for Stanley Home Products, hosting parties to encourage people to buy household items. She was so good at making the sale that she was hired away by another company, World Gifts, in 1952. She spent a little more than a decade at the company, but quit in protest after watching yet another man that she had trained get promoted above and earn a much higher salary than she did. After her bad experiences in the traditional workplace, Ash set out to create her own business at the age of 45. She started with an initial investment of $5,000 in 1963. She purchased the formulas for skin lotions from the family of a tanner who created the products while he worked on hides. With her son, Richard Rogers, she opened a small store in Dallas and had nine salespeople working for her. The company turned a profit in its first year and sold close to $1 million in products by the end of its second year driven by her business acumen and philosophy. The basic premise was much like the products Ash sold earlier in her career: her cosmetics were sold through at-home parties and other events. However, she strove to make her business different by employing incentive programs and not having sales territories for her representatives.

She wanted everyone in the organization to have the opportunity to benefit from their successes. Sales representatives (she called them consultants) bought the products from the company at wholesale prices and then sold them at retail price to their customers. They could also earn commissions from new consultants that they had recruited. All of her marketing skills and people savvy helped make Mary Kay Cosmetics a very lucrative business. The company went public in 1968, but it was bought back by Ash and her family in 1985 when the stock price took a hit. The business itself remained successful and now annual sales exceed $2.2 billion, according to the company's website. At the heart of this profitable organization was Ash's enthusiastic personality. She was known for her love of the color pink and it could be found everywhere, from the product packaging to the Cadillacs she gave away to top-earning consultants each year. She seemed to sincerely value her consultants, and once said "People are a company's greatest asset". Her approach to business attracted a lot of interest. She was admired for her strategies and the results they achieved. She wrote several books about her experiences, including Mary Kay: The Success Story of America's Most Dynamic Businesswoman (1981), Mary Kay on People Management (1984) and Mary Kay: You Can Have It All (1995). While she stepped down from her position as CEO of the company in 1987, she remained an active part of the business. She established the Mary Kay Charitable Foundation in 1996. The foundation supports cancer research and efforts to end domestic violence. In 2000, she was named the most outstanding woman in business in the 20th century by Lifetime Television.

Married three times, Ash had three children - Richard, Ben and Marylyn - by her first husband, J. Ben Rogers. The two divorced after Rogers returned from serving in World War II. Her second marriage to a chemist was brief; he died of a heart attack in 1963, just one month after the two had gotten married. She married her third husband, Mel Ash, in 1966, and the couple stayed together until Mel's death in 1980. The cosmetics mogul died on November 22, 2001, in Dallas, Texas. By this time, the company she created had become a worldwide enterprise with representatives in more than 30 markets and more than 1.6 million salespeople working for Mary Kay, Inc. around the world.

32° 52.102
-096° 46.847

Hillcrest Mausoleum
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park