November 24, 2015

Rosalyn Renee Brunswick-McDuffie (1969-2008)

Rosalyn McDuffie was born in Los Angeles on January 19, 1969 to Joseph and Rose Brunswick. In 1970, the Brunswicks relocated to Houston. She graduated from Sam Houston High School in 1987, then furthered her education by becoming a certified dental technician from Texas Dental School. At the age of seventeen, Rosalyn sang with a band called Leon Mitcheson & Company. Mitcheson took her to Los Angeles to collaborate with Quincy Jones and Larry Dunn on a solo soul project, but after some reconsideration, she decided to leave a soul music career behind and returned to Houston. She became active in the local Christian theatrical community, performing in the plays I Need a Man, Momma I'm Sorry, Sneaky, and Fake Friends. On June 1, 1996, she married pastor Efrem Z. McDuffie. Her recording career began at Abundant Life Cathedral as their lead vocalist. In 2003 Rosalyn recorded her independent solo release Just Rosalyn featuring the hit single Speak to Me, which she performed on Gospel Superfest and at religious conferences throughout the country, launching her solo career nationally. In 2005, she and a 350-voice choir opened the Houston meeting of the Congress of Christian Education of the National Baptist Convention USA. In 2006 Rosalyn and Rhonda McLemore, who were background singers for gospel icon Donnie McClurkin, agreed to join forces and start a group called Lyric Sings. Lyric Sings released a project Brand New Day on Canvas Records which garnered them a Stellar Award nomination for Best New Artist. She also recorded another solo album, Together We'll Stand, with Al Jarreau. Later that year she and her husband founded the Willie C. McDuffie Adolescent Treatment Center for at risk youth. On July 26, 2008, Rosalyn died of ovarian cancer at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. She was only 39.

29° 57.584
-095° 24.701

Section 19
Earthman Resthaven Cemetery

November 17, 2015

Joffre James "Jeff" Cross (1918-1997)

Infielder Jeff Cross signed as an amateur free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals before the 1938 season and spent five years in the minor leagues before getting his first look at major league pitching with the Cardinals on September 27, 1942. He appeared in one game for the team, managed one hit in four tries, and spent the next three years (1943-1945) with the United States Navy during World War II. Jeff returned to the St. Louis Cardinals after the war and was used mainly as a back-up infielder in 1946 and 1947 before being purchased by the Chicago Cubs on May 2, 1948. Jeff appeared in 18 games for the Cubs and was sent to the Texas League Shreveport Sports where he appeared in 81 outings and called it a career at the seasons end. Cross's major league stats showed he appeared in 119 games and hit at a .162 clip. He did better in the minors hitting at a .250 number while appearing in 645 games. Jeff's best batting average came in 1939 when he hit .288 with four home runs for the Mobile Shippers of the class B Southeastern League. Jeff played with five different clubs during his six seasons in the minors. After baseball Cross worked forty years in the insurance business in Houston, retiring in 1988. Cross passed away on July 23, 1997 in Huntsville, TX. Source

29° 78.340
-095° 61.414

Chapel Of The Oaks Mausoleum
Memorial Oaks Cemetery

November 10, 2015

Thomas Barnett (1798-1843)

Thomas Barnett, pioneer settler and public official, was born on January 18, 1798, in Logan County, Kentucky. Before 1821 he moved to Livingston County, Kentucky, where he was sheriff for two years. In 1823 he moved to Texas as one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred and on July 10, 1824, received title to a league of land on the east bank of the Brazos River in what is now southeastern Fort Bend County. The 1826 census of Austin's colony noted that Barnett owned two slaves. About 1825 he married Mrs. Nancy Spencer. They had six children. On February 10, 1828, Barnett was elected comisario of the district of Victoria in the ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin. In 1829 he was elected alcalde; he represented Austin Municipality at the Consultation and on November 18, 1835, was elected a supernumerary member of the General Council. Barnett was one of the three delegates from Austin Municipality to the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. On December 20, 1836, President Sam Houston appointed him chief justice of Austin County. Barnett represented Fort Bend County in the House of the Third and Fourth congresses of the republic, 1838-40. He died at his home in Fort Bend County on September 20, 1843, and was buried in the family cemetery. Source

29° 58.625
-95° 88.680

Barnett Cemetery

November 3, 2015

Rosie Lee Moore Hall (1899-1967)

Born in Robertson County, Texas, in 1899, Hall was a native of the community of Pin Oak, located between Hearne and Wheelock. She married Ollie Chambers at age 17 and remained in Pin Oak. She left Hearne in her late 20s when her marriage failed, losing contact with her family for 19 years. By then she had made Oklahoma City her home and was working for Quaker Oats. While working in the advertising department of Quaker Oats she learned of the search for a new Aunt Jemima. According to family and friends, she perfectly exemplified the trademark, which was why her round smiling face adorned Aunt Jemima products for almost two decades. From 1950 to 1967 Hall continued the tradition started by other Aunt Jemimas and traveled the country showing off her culinary talents by making melt-in-your-mouth pancakes. She was at her best when she was cooking pancakes. And cook pancakes she did: at world’s fairs and annually at the Texas State Fair; everywhere she went, she jovially served her syrup and buckwheat cakes. During her last years at Quakers Oats, Hall told her family she was excited about a new syrup recipe she was creating. After she began the role of Aunt Jemima, her family looked forward to her annual visit home during Christmas. They would gather at the family home and sing Christmas carols, while Hall would talk about her experiences as Aunt Jemima. Her sisters say she was perfect for the job because she liked people so much. Her family never saw any of her official demonstrations, but they were always delighted when she returned home, because she would cook her famous pancakes for them. The last time she visited was Christmas 1966. Two months later she suffered a heart attack on her way to church and died on February 12, 1967. An elaborate funeral was held in Oklahoma City, and she was buried in the family plot in the Colony Cemetery near Wheelock, Texas. Although she died over a quarter of a century ago, Hall had no grave marker until 1988. A special ceremony was held May 7, 1988, and her grave was declared a historical landmark. Hall’s reign as Aunt Jemima is significant because she was the last “living” Aunt Jemima.. Source

30° 54.717
-096° 31.398

Hammond Colony Cemetery
Black Jack