September 29, 2015

Walter Howard "Slim" McGrew (1899-1967)

Slim McGrew was born August 5, 1899, in Yoakum, a small southeastern Texas town. He was recruited by the Washington Senators as a Major League Baseball pitcher in 1922, and made his professional debut on April 18. An imposing figure on the mound, the 6 ft. 7½ inch McGrew held the record for tallest baseball player of the era. In 1924, he was sent down to the Memphis Chickasaws, the Senators' farm league team, where he went 15-5 with a 2.84 ERA. After a disappointing season, McGrew was released. He played his last professional game on June 8, 1924 for the Senators, ending a 30 inning, three year career. McGrew passed away in Houston on August 21, 1967 at the age of 68 and buried in Humble.

29° 57.631
-095° 16.095

Section 9
Rosewood Cemetery

September 22, 2015

Charles Stanfield Taylor (1808-1865)

Charles S. Taylor, member of the Texas Revolutionary Committee of Correspondence and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born in London, England, in 1808. His parents died while he was young, and he was reared by an uncle. Taylor immigrated to the United States in 1828, and from New York City he moved to Nacogdoches where he established a mercantile business. On April 1, 1830, he took his Mexican citizenship oath in Nacogdoches and stated that he was Catholic and unmarried at the time. Taylor participated in the battle of Nacogdoches and represented Nacogdoches in the Convention of 1832. In 1833 he moved to San Augustine, where he was elected alcalde on January 1, 1834. In summer 1834 he returned to Nacogdoches, and on April 25, 1835, he was appointed land commissioner for San Augustine and issued land titles until the Texas Revolution began. He was one of the four representatives from Nacogdoches at the Convention of 1836 and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Taylor left Texas after he signed the Declaration of Independence and stayed in Louisiana until the revolution was over. Two of his children died during this time. He was appointed chief justice of Nacogdoches County on December 20, 1836.

In November 1838 he was nominated by President Sam Houston to run the boundary line between Texas and the United States, however Mirabeau B. Lamar succeeded Houston as president, and the nomination was withdrawn. Taylor was licensed to practice law in the republic in 1839. He was appointed district attorney by President Lamar but was not confirmed by the Senate. He was a candidate for Congress in 1845 but was defeated by three votes. He was elected county treasurer of Nacogdoches County in 1850 and 1852. Taylor boarded in the home of Nicholas Adolphus Sterne when he first arrived in Nacogdoches and on May 28, 1831, married Mrs. Sterne's sister, Anna Marie Rouff, daughter of John R. Rouff of Weerenberg, Germany. She was born on March 1, 1814, and died on February 8, 1873. They became parents of thirteen children, some of which died of exposure during the Runaway Scrape. Their sons, Charles Travis, Milam, William Adolphus, and Lawrence S., joined the Confederate forces in 1861. Lawrence married the daughter of Dr. Robert A. Irion. Charles S. Taylor was chief justice of Nacogdoches County from August 1860 until his death on November 1, 1865. He was a member of Milam Lodge No. 2 and an original member of the Grand Lodge of Texas. In 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission erected a joint monument at the graves of Taylor and his wife in Oak Grove Cemetery, Nacogdoches, Texas. Source

Note: His middle name is misspelled on his stone.

31° 36.166
-094° 38.952

Oak Grove Cemetery

September 15, 2015

Lisa Gaye (1935-2016)

Born Leslie Gaye Griffin on March 6, 1935 in Denver, Colorado, Lisa came from a show-business family. Her mother, Marguerite, performed in vaudeville theaters and nightclubs as Margaret Allen, and Lisa's three siblings all went into acting - sister Debralee, who became Debra Paget; sister Marcia, who became Teala Loring; and brother Frank, who spent a decade as an actor before becoming a leading makeup artist. When Marcia landed a film contract with Paramount, the family moved to Los Angeles and Leslie was taught dancing and acting at the Hollywood Professional School. She made her stage début as a dancer in The Merry Wives of Windsor, starring Charles Coburn, at the Los Angeles Biltmore Theatre. At the start of her Universal contract in January 1953 (her mother insisted that she and her sister work for different studios to avoid competition) she adopted the stage name Lisa Gaye and was given lessons in drama, singing, dancing, fencing and horse riding. She made her feature-film debut in a bit part in The Glenn Miller Story (1954) as one of a mob of teenagers. She was Audie Murphy’s reserved fiancée in Drums Across the River (1954), co-starred in Shake Rattle and Rock (1956) and seemed well on her way to mainstream success; however, the studio dropped her after little more than two years, partially because a back injury meant that she had to wear a brace.

Gaye left the studio system and appeared alongside Dean Martin in Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957), in which she dances to an Italian version of Rock Around the Clock. In La Cara del Terror (1962), a Spanish thriller, she played an escaped asylum patient whose disfigured face is restored to beauty by Fernando Rey’s pioneering doctor - until the serum wears off, of course. Night of Evil (1962) gave Gaye her only top billing, as a raped high-school cheerleader who becomes a stripper, then commits armed robbery. Night of Evil received dismal reviews on release and she decided to seek other outlets for her acting. She broke into television in the mid-50s, first in small cameo roles in sitcoms like The Burns and Allen Show, but it was in Westerns that Gaye found her niche. Her horse-riding experience proved invaluable as she dipped into episodes of more than 20 popular series, from Annie Oakley (1956), Northwest Passage (1958), Cheyenne (1960), Rawhide (1960), Maverick (1961) and The Wild Wild West (1966-1967). In Death Valley Days alone, between 1960 and 1969, she acted in 10 different roles. In 1955, Lisa married Bently Ware, a business executive, and in 1970 retired from acting to raise their daughter, Janell. Following her husband's death from a heart attack in 1977, she moved to Houston, where she worked for nineteen years as a receptionist at KETH Channel 14, a local religious television station. Gaye passed away on July 14, 2016 and encrypted at the Houston National Cemetery.

29° 55.837
-095° 26.765

Section C-14
Houston National Cemetery

September 8, 2015

Frank Octavius Mancuso (1918-2007)

Born May 23, 1918 in Houston, Texas, Frank Mancuso began playing baseball in 1937 in the minor league system of the New York Giants. After hitting .417 for Fort Smith in 1938, the Giants moved him up to their major league roster for the entire 1939 season as a third string catcher, but he did not get into a single game during the regular season. That disappointment was offset by the opportunity he had to warm up pitcher Carl Hubbell, and sharing the company of other great Giants like OF Mel Ott and manager Bill Terry. He was sent back to the minors before the 1940 season. After hitting .300 or more in three minor league seasons, Mancuso entered the U.S. Army as a paratrooper at Fort Benning, Georgia in December 1942. In 1943, he suffered a broken back and leg when his chute opened late and improperly. He almost died from his injuries and was subsequently discharged from the service for medical reasons. A part of his injury was an unfortunate condition for a catcher, where in looking straight up caused him to lose the flow of oxygen to the brain, and he would pass out. As a result, he never regained all of his mobility after the parachute jump and was never responsible for catching pop-ups. Mancuso spent the rest of his life with back and legs pains, but he worked himself back into shape and returned to baseball in 1944 as one of two catchers for the only St. Louis Browns club to ever win an American League pennant. He shared duties with Red Hayworth, hitting .205 with one home run and 24 RBI in 88 games. The Browns lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1944 World Series in six games, but Mancuso hit .667 and collected one RBI in injury-limited pinch-hitting duty. His most productive season came in 1945, when he posted career-numbers in games (119), batting average (.268), RBI (38) and runs (39). In 1946 he hit .240 with a career-high three home runs in 87 games. He played his last major-league season with the Washington Senators in 1947 at the age of 29.

   From 1948 to 1955, Mancuso earned further respect as a catcher for top minor league clubs like Toledo and Beaumont, among others, and with the 1953 Houston Buffs, a minors club that preceded the Colt .45s & Astros. He also played winter baseball in the Venezuelan League during the 1950-51 and 1951-52 seasons. In his first season, he hit .407 with 49 RBI and also became the first player in the league to hit 10 home runs in a 42-game schedule. In a four-year major league career, Mancuso played in 337 games, accumulating 241 hits in 1,002 at bats for a .241 career batting average along with 5 home runs, 98 runs batted in and a .314 on-base percentage. He posted a ,987 fielding percentage as a catcher. In his seventeen-year minor league career, he played in 1,267 games, accumulating 1,087 hits in 3,936 at bats for a .276 career batting average along with 128 home runs. After baseball retirement, Mancuso served for 30 consecutive years (1963-93) on the Houston City Council. During his political life, he gave of himself generously to the needs of the young people and to causes benefiting disadvantaged children. He also supported the creation of Lake Livingston and Lake Conroe reservoir to meet the city's long-term water needs, the construction of Houston Intercontinental Airport, and was chairmanship of a special committee that recommended the Houston Fire Department have its own ambulance service.  In the late 1990s, Harris County built the Frank Mancuso Sports Complex, a facility that reaches out to the needs of inner city kids, in his honor. His 2003 induction into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame reunited him with his older brother, Gus Mancuso (1905-1984), as the second member of the family to be inducted. Mancuso died August 4, 2007 in Pasadena, Texas at the age of 89. Source

29° 42.903
-095° 18.129

Section 55
Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery

September 1, 2015

Richard Bennett Hubbard (1832-1901)

Richard Hubbard, governor of Texas and diplomat, son of Richard Bennett and Serena (Carter) Hubbard, was born in Walton County, Georgia, on November 1, 1832. He spent his formative years in rural Jasper County, Georgia. He graduated from Mercer Institute (now Mercer University) in 1851 with an A.B. degree in literature and was elected National University Orator, a high honor at Mercer. He briefly attended lectures at the University of Virginia, then went to Harvard, where he was awarded the LL.B. in 1853. Later that year he and his parents moved to Smith County, Texas, where they settled in Tyler and then on a plantation near the site of Lindale. Hubbard first entered politics in 1855, when he opposed the American (Know-Nothing) party. In the 1856 presidential election he supported James Buchanan, who appointed him United States district attorney for the western district of Texas, a position he resigned in 1859 to run for the state legislature. He served in the Eighth Legislature, where he supported secession. After his failure to win election to the Confederate States Congress from the Fifth District, he recruited men for the Confederate forces. During the Civil War he commanded the Twenty-second Texas Infantry regiment and served in the Trans-Mississippi Department in Arkansas and Louisiana.

Hubbard's postwar law practice, supplemented by income from real estate and railroad promotion, enabled him to resume his political career by 1872, when he was chosen presidential elector on the Horace Greeley ticket. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1873 and 1876 and succeeded to the governorship on December 1, 1876, when Richard Coke resigned to become a United States senator. Hubbard's gubernatorial term was marked by post-Reconstruction financial difficulties, by general lawlessness, and by the fact that the legislature was never in session during his administration. Though political opponents prevented his nomination for a second term, he remained popular with the people of Texas. His accomplishments as governor include reducing the public debt, fighting land fraud, promoting educational reforms, and restoring public control of the state prison system.

When he left the governorship in 1879 he was the object of acrimonious political and personal attacks. In 1884 Hubbard served as temporary chairman of the Democratic national nominating convention. He campaigned vigorously for the party nominee, Grover Cleveland, who appointed him minister to Japan in 1885. His oratory gained him the cognomen "Demosthenes of Texas." His four years in Japan marked a delicate transitional period in Japanese-American relations. Under American and European influences, Japan was emerging from feudalism and dependency and had begun to insist on recognition as a diplomatic equal, a position Hubbard strongly supported. He concluded with Japan an extradition treaty, and his preliminary work on the general treaty revisions provided the basis for the revised treaties of 1894-99. When he returned to the United States in 1889, he wrote a book based upon his diplomatic experience, The United States in the Far East, which was published in 1899. Hubbard was a Freemason, a member of the Smith County Agricultural and Mechanical Society, and a member of the board of directors of Texas A&M. In 1876 he was chosen Centennial Orator of Texas to represent the state at the World's Exposition in Philadelphia. There he urged national unity and goodwill in an acclaimed oration. Hubbard was a Baptist. He was first married to Eliza B. Hudson, daughter of Dr. G. C. Hudson of Lafayette, Alabama, on November 30, 1858; one daughter of this marriage, Serena, survived. Hubbard's second marriage, on November 26, 1869, was to Janie Roberts, daughter of Willis Roberts of Tyler. Janie died during Hubbard's mission to Japan, leaving him a second daughter, Searcy. Hubbard lived his final years in Tyler, where he died on July 12, 1901. Hubbard in Hill County is named for him. Source

32° 21.218
-095° 18.556

Oakwood Cemetery