April 29, 2014

Johnny Lipon

   John Joseph Lipon was a major league baseball shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Browns and Cincinnati Reds over the course of nine seasons (1942; 1946; 1948–1954). The native of Martins Ferry, Ohio, threw and batted right-handed, stood 6 feet tall and weighed 175 pounds. He served in the United States Navy during World War II in the Pacific Theater of Operations, as an aviation machinist's mate, third class.

   In 1952, Lipon was part of a trade to the Red Sox that included longtime star Johnny Pesky going to the Tigers. His playing time diminished, and in the 1953 season, he was sold to the St. Louis Browns. In 1954, the Browns moved east to Baltimore, but he was quickly traded to the Chicago White Sox. Before playing a game for the White Sox, however, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds. He had one National League at-bat before he was farmed to the new Havana Sugar Kings of the International League. He played in the high minors several years, evolving into a player/coach.

   In 1959, Lipon became a minor league manager, beginning at the Class D level with the Selma Cloverleafs of the Alabama-Florida League in the Cleveland Indians' organization. He spent 30 of the next 34 years as a manager in the Cleveland, Detroit and Pittsburgh Pirates farm systems, winning 2,185 games and losing 1,987. He spent part of the 1961 season as manager of the Triple-A Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League, and his success as skipper of the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League in the mid-1960s earned him a promotion to the Indians' coaching staff, where he served from 1968-1971.

   Lipon's only chance at a Major League managing job came during the 1971 season, when Cleveland fired Alvin Dark on July 29 with 59 games left and Lipon was named to finish the season as interim pilot. He returned to managing in the minors the next season with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens, and continued for the next two decades. He retired from managing after the 1992 season. His last club, the Lakeland Tigers of the Florida State League, won its division's second-half championship. In 1992 he was presented with the King of Baseball award given by Minor League Baseball. He died in Houston, Texas, at the age of 75.

29° 46.836, -095° 36.996

Section 7
Memorial Oaks Cemetery

April 22, 2014

John "Big Hawk" Hawkins

   Rap musician Big Hawk was born John Edward Hawkins in Houston, Texas, on November 15, 1969. He started his rap career in 1994 along with his younger brother, Patrick (known as Fat Pat), and the legendary DJ Screw (born Robert Earl Davis, Jr.). Hawk and other members of Screwed Up Click released their first album Screwed for Life on D.E.A. Records, the label Big Hawk had formed earlier the same year. D.E.A. was short for Dead End Records, which he had named after the dead-end street where he grew up in Houston. Hawk’s best-known songs include Back, Back and Playas Get Chose, both of which were collaborations with fellow rapper Lil’ O, and a solo hit Chillin’ Wit My Broad. Hawk, also known as the “Five-Star General” became the leader of Screwed Up Click, in part due to the deaths of DJ Screw and other founding members.

   In 2000 he released a solo album, Under Hawk’s Wings, and in 2002 he established the label Ghetto Dreams Entertainment and released a second work, HAWK. Its single, You Already Know, reached Number 45 on Billboard’s rap charts. Hawk released Wreckin’ 2K4 with fellow rapper Lil’ Keke in 2003. He was featured on the song Swang by Houston rapper Trae in 2005 and recorded a song as a promotion for World Cup soccer in early 2006. Big Hawk advocated non-violence in his music and was known for being an ambassador for Houston rap because of his ability to get along with rappers from all over the area.

   Big Hawk’s fate was perhaps foreshadowed by the deaths of his brother Fat Pat, who was shot and killed in 1998, and that of numerous other members of the Screwed Up Click, including DJ Screw (drug overdose), Big Mello (car accident,) and Big Moe (heart attack). He was murdered outside the home of a friend on the night of May 1, 2006. He was shot several times and eventually died at the scene. Neither his vehicle nor his possessions were taken, leading police to believe that his murder was not a robbery attempt. A public memorial service for the fallen rapper, held on May 8, 2006, in Houston, drew hundreds of fans. He was laid to rest at Paradise South Cemetery in Pearland just outside of Houston. Big Hawk was survived by his wife Meshah Henderson Hawkins and two sons. His album Endangered Species was released posthumously in 2007. Source

29° 34.135, -095° 20.960

Block 4
Paradise South Cemetery

April 15, 2014

John Ireland

   John Ireland, governor and legislator, son of Patrick and Rachel (Newton) Ireland, was born near Millerstown, Kentucky, on January 21, 1827. He served for several years as constable and sheriff of his home county, began to study law in 1851, and was admitted to the bar in 1852. He established himself at Seguin, Texas, in 1853. Ireland, mayor of Seguin in 1858, was a delegate to the Secession Convention in 1861; he voted for secession. He volunteered as a private in the Confederate Army in 1862 and advanced to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was stationed on the Texas coast at the end of the war.

   He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1866 and served as district judge in 1866-67. He was removed by Philip Sheridan as an "impediment to Reconstruction." Ireland was elected to the House of the Thirteenth Legislature and to the Senate of the Fourteenth Legislature. As a legislator he opposed granting lands and subsidies to railroads, his work against the grant to the International-Great Northern Railroad winning him the sobriquet "Oxcart John." He served as associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court from 1875 until the Constitution of 1876 reduced that body from five to three judges. He was unsuccessful as a candidate against Richard Coke for the United States Senate in 1876 and against Gustav Schleicher for the United States House of Representatives in 1878.

   Ireland was elected governor of Texas in 1882 and again in 1884. As governor he continued somewhat Oran M. Roberts's economic policy, although he reversed policies for the rapid sale of public lands and the state's purchase of its own bonds at high prices. He urged a persistent enforcement of criminal laws and reduced the number of pardons. His administration was marked by the Fence-Cutting war of 1883 and strikes by the Knights of Labor in 1885 and 1886. He worked to develop state institutions and to protect state lands. During his terms the University of Texas was established, and the cornerstone for the Capitol was laid. It was Ireland who insisted that the building be made out of pink Texas granite rather than imported Indiana limestone. In 1887 Ireland lost to John H. Reagan in a contest for the United States Senate.

   He married Mrs. Matilda Wicks Faircloth in 1854. After her death in 1856, he married Anna Maria Penn in 1857. He had three daughters and later adopted his daughter's son, Patrick Ireland Carpenter. Ireland was a Mason and a Presbyterian. After his retirement from the governorship, he practiced law in Seguin until his death, on March 15, 1896. Source

30° 15.917, -097° 43.626

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

April 8, 2014

Mickey Mantle

   Mickey Charles Mantle, major-league baseball star, was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, on October 20, 1931, the son of Elvin Clark "Mutt" and Lovell (Richardson) Mantle. Baseball was part of Mickey Mantle's heritage; Mutt Mantle played for a semipro team on weekends and named his oldest son after Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane. Mantle was born during the Great Depression, and his family struggled financially throughout his childhood. Mutt Mantle worked as a county road grader and as a tenant farmer before moving his family to Commerce, Oklahoma, where he went to work for the Eagle-Picher Zinc and Lead Company.

   Mickey Mantle's prodigious athletic talent became evident at an early age. At Commerce High School he starred in baseball and football. In 1946, during practice for the latter sport, Mickey was accidentally kicked in the left shin by a teammate. The apparently minor injury turned into osteomyelitis, and doctors considered amputating the infected leg. Fortunately, Mantle was transferred to the Crippled Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City, where the new wonder drug penicillin quickly restored him to health. His legs, however, would trouble him for the rest of his athletic career.

   In 1948 Mantle was playing baseball for a semipro team called the Baxter Springs Whiz Kids in Kansas when he caught the eye of Tom Greenwade, a scout for the New York Yankees of the American League. Mantle signed his first professional contract immediately after graduating from high school in 1949. He began his professional career as a shortstop for the Yankee farm team at Independence (Kansas) of the Class D Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League and the following year moved up to Joplin (Missouri) of the Class C Western Association. Mantle proved a capable hitter from the start, batting .313 in his first year and .383 in his second, but committed a startling 102 errors in 226 games at shortstop. Still, he showed such promise that the Yankees invited him to accompany the team for the last two weeks of the 1950 season (although he didn't play) and to spring training in 1951. There, the "Commerce Comet" caught the eye of Yankee manager Casey Stengel and opened the season as New York's right fielder, flanking the immortal Joe DiMaggio, whom he would eventually succeed in center field, during the Yankee Clipper's final season.

   The nineteen-year-old Mantle struggled early in the season and was sent back to the Yankees' top farm team, the Class AAA Kansas City Blues, in July. Devastated by his demotion and slumping badly at the plate, Mantle briefly contemplated quitting baseball, but his father talked him out of it. Mantle rejoined the Yankees at the end of August in time for the first of his twelve World Series, against the National League champion New York Giants. Mantle's initial World Series experience was a brief one, as in the sixth inning of the second game he caught his spikes on a rubber drain cover in the Yankee Stadium outfield and tore cartilage in his right knee.

   While Mantle was recuperating from the operation on his knee, he learned that his father, who had come up from Oklahoma to see the World Series, was dying from Hodgkin's disease. Mutt Mantle died in 1952, and the disease eventually contributed to the early deaths of Mantle's grandfather, two uncles, and later his son Billy. Mantle himself believed that he would be dead by the age of forty. While he escaped the family curse of Hodgkin's disease, Mantle suffered an astonishing series of injuries during his career. In only four of his eighteen major-league seasons did he appear in as many as 150 games. In 1953 he tore ligaments in his right knee. In 1954 he had surgery to remove a cyst from behind his knee. In the 1957 World Series he injured his right shoulder, hampering his throwing and right-handed batting. In 1961 he and teammate Roger Maris both mounted serious challenges to Babe Ruth's 1927 record of sixty home runs in a single season, but a hip abscess cost Mantle a shot at the record. (Maris broke the record, hitting sixty-one homers, while Mantle finished with fifty-four and missed most of that year's World Series, although the image of Mantle trying to play with a uniform stained with blood from the abscess added to his legend.)

   In 1962 he pulled a hamstring and tore two ligaments and knee cartilage. In 1963 Mantle broke his right foot when it caught in a chain-link fence in the outfield. In 1965 he pulled a hamstring and was bothered by his chronically sore right knee, which required frequent cortisone shots. In 1966 he suffered from bone chips in his shoulder, then tore a hamstring running the bases. Throughout his career his determination to play in almost constant pain from his knees, which bore the scars of four operations, was legendary. In fact, the injuries, or more specifically the stoicism with which Mantle endured them, only added to his popularity. For many members of the "baby-boom" generation, Mantle seemed to embody the innocence and promise of the 1950s. His blond, boyish good looks, his unpretentious country-boy personality, and his physical courage, in combination with his prominence as the star of the best and best-known team in baseball, elevated him to the status of a national folk hero.

   When he retired following the 1968 season he ranked third on baseball's all-time list with 536 home runs (and first in strikeouts, with 1,710), and was the all-time Yankee leader in games played. Four times he led the American League in home runs and slugging percentage, five times in runs scored, three times in on-base percentage, and once in batting average and runs batted in. His best season was 1956, when he won the so-called Triple Crown, leading the major leagues in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. For most of Mantle's career the Yankees were the dominant team in professional sports. They won twelve AL pennants in his eighteen seasons, and his eighteen home runs in World Series play are still a record. He was named the most valuable player in the AL following the 1956, 1957, and 1962 seasons and was named to the AL All-Star team sixteen times. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974, his first year of eligibility. Yet, despite all his accomplishments, Mantle was ultimately a deeply, even tragically, flawed hero. He had been perhaps the fastest runner in baseball as a young man, but his various leg injuries gradually robbed him of much of his speed. Moreover, as a young star in New York, he was a legendary drinker and carouser, most notoriously in the company of teammates Whitey Ford and Billy Martin. Fans, reporters, and (at least publicly) Yankee officials generally turned a blind eye to Mantle's excesses while he was posting awesome numbers as a player, but no one will ever know how much more he could have accomplished had he taken better care of himself.

   Mantle married Merlyn Johnson of Picher, Oklahoma, on December 23, 1952. They had been married for forty-three years at the time of his death, although they separated amicably several years before. They had four sons, Mickey Jr., David, Billy (named after Billy Martin), and Danny. Billy died of a heart attack, caused in part by Hodgkin's disease, at the age of thirty-six, in 1985. Mantle and his family moved from Commerce to Dallas in 1956, when he was offered a partnership in a bowling alley in the latter city in an attempt to capitalize on his celebrity. The venture soon failed, but Mantle made Dallas his home for the rest of his life, although he had business interests elsewhere, most notably a restaurant in New York. He also worked briefly as a coach for the Yankees; as a baseball broadcaster for NBC; and in public relations for Dallas's Reserve Life Insurance Company and for the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. The latter job prompted baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, concerned about the effect of gambling on the game's image, to ban Mantle from baseball in 1983. Two years later Kuhn's successor Peter Ueberroth lifted the ban.

   In 1994 Mantle admitted publicly that he was an alcoholic, checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic, and wrote an article for Sports Illustrated magazine in which he expressed regret over the effects of his drinking on his career. "God gave me a great body to play with," he wrote, "and I didn't take care of it. And I blame a lot of it on alcohol." Mantle's open and courageous admission of his alcoholism won him many new admirers, but in 1995 he became the center of controversy when he was diagnosed with liver cancer and underwent a highly publicized liver transplant. Many felt that his case had been expedited simply because of his celebrity. Criticism of Mantle's doctors increased when it was revealed that the cancer had already spread throughout his body. Mantle died nine weeks later, on August 13, 1995, in Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Source

32° 52.092, -096° 46.834

Hillcrest Mausoleum
Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park

April 1, 2014

Benjamin Briggs Goodrich

   Benjamin Briggs Goodrich, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, son of John Goodrich, was born in Brunswick County, Virginia, on February 24, 1799. After the family moved from Virginia to Tennessee, Goodrich went to Maryland, where he graduated from a medical college in Baltimore and began to practice medicine. He later practiced in Vicksburg, Mississippi; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Tallahassee, Florida; and again in Alabama, where he served one term in the state legislature. Goodrich and his brother, John Calvin Goodrich, arrived in Texas on April 30, 1834. Dr. Goodrich purchased a lot in Washington on December 16, 1835. As one of the four representatives from the Municipality of Washington at the Convention of 1836 he signed the Declaration of Independence. While attending the convention he secured from each delegate present his age, place of birth, and the name of the state from which he emigrated to Texas.

   Goodrich married Serena Corrothers, a native of Kentucky; they were parents of nine children. Sometime after 1836 he settled near the site of present Anderson in Grimes County. He died on November 16, 1860, and was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Anderson, where the state of Texas erected a joint monument at the graves of Goodrich and his wife in 1932. Source

30° 29.261, -096° 00.299

Odd Fellows Cemetery