May 21, 2019

Johnny Rizzo

   John C. “Johnny” Rizzo was born on July 30, 1912 in Houston, Texas. He signed with the St Louis Cardinals in 1931 and played at Galveston and Corpus Christi his rookie year. In 1938, Rizzo's rookie season with the Pirates, he set a team record for home runs that lasted until 1946. The Rookie of the Year Award had not yet been established, but Rizzo finished sixth in the balloting for National League Most Valuable Player in his inaugural season.

   He was traded by the Pirates to the Cincinnati Reds on May 8, 1940. In turn, the Reds traded Rizzo to the Philadelphia Phillies on June 15, 1940. After the 1941 season, he was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers on December 10, 1941. The final game of his Major League career was September 25, 1942.

   On March 1, 1943, he entered military service with the Navy. He was stationed at Norman Air Technical Training Center in Oklahoma where he regularly played baseball with the Navy Skyjackets. Rizzo was 33 when he returned to baseball in 1946. He played with the Dodgers’ farm team at St Paul and was with Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League in 1947. In 1949 he ended his baseball career. Johnny Rizzo later worked in the sporting goods business and as an automobile salesman. He passed away in Houston, Texas on December 4, 1977, aged 55. Source

29° 44.518, -095° 36.540

Section 502
Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery

May 14, 2019

Karla Faye Tucker

   Tucker was born and raised in Houston, Texas, the youngest of three sisters. The marriage of her parents was very troubled, and her parents divorced when she was 10. By age 12, she had begun taking drugs and having sex; at age 14 she dropped out of school and followed her mother into prostitution. When she was in her early 20s, she met a man named Jerry Dean who introduced her to a man named Daniel Garrett, whom she started dating.

   After spending the weekend using drugs, Tucker and Garrett entered Dean's apartment around 3 a.m. on June 13, 1983, intending to steal a motorcycle he was restoring. During the burglary, Dean awoke, and Garrett struck him numerous times with a hammer before leaving to carry more motorcycle parts out. Tucker picked up a three foot pickax and began striking Dean before Garrett returned and dealt him a final blow to the chest. When Garrett left the bedroom again, Tucker noticed a woman who had hidden under the bed covers. The woman, Deborah Ruth Thornton, had gone to a party with Dean and ended up spending the night. Tucker proceeded to hit her repeatedly with the pickaxe, then embedded it in her heart. Tucker would later testify that she experienced intense multiple orgasms with each blow.

   Five weeks after the killings, police investigation led to the arrests of the two. In September 1983, they were indicted for murder and tried separately. Tucker entered a plea of not guilty and was jailed awaiting trial. Shortly after being imprisoned, she became a Christian and later married her prison minister, Dana Brown. Though the death penalty was hardly ever sought for female defendants, Tucker was sentenced to death in 1984. Between 1984 and 1992, requests for a retrial and appeals were denied, but Tucker requested that her life be spared as she was under the influence of drugs during the murders. Her plea drew support from abroad and also from some leaders of American conservatism, but the board still rejected her appeal.

   On February 2, 1998, Tucker was flown from the holding prison in Gatesville to the Huntsville Unit. The next day she was executed via lethal injection and pronounced dead at 6:45 p.m. She was the first woman executed in Texas in 135 years, and the second woman executed in the United States since 1976. Source


Acacia Section 14
Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery

May 7, 2019

Bill Goyens

   William Goyens (or Goings), early Nacogdoches settler and businessman, was born in Moore County, North Carolina, in 1794, the son of William Goings, a free mulatto, and a white woman. He came to Galveston, Texas, in 1820 and lived at Nacogdoches for the rest of his life. Although he could not write much beyond his signature, he was a good businessman. He was a blacksmith and wagonmaker and engaged in hauling freight from Natchitoches, Louisiana. On a trip to Louisiana in 1826, he was seized by William English, who sought to sell him into slavery. In return for his liberty, Goyens was induced to deliver to English his slave woman and to sign a note agreeing to peonage for himself, though reserving the right to trade on his own behalf. After his return to Nacogdoches, he successfully filed suit for annulment of these obligations.

   During the Mexican Texas era, Goyens often served as conciliator in the settlement of lawsuits under the Mexican laws. He was appointed as agent to deal with the Cherokees, and on numerous occasions he negotiated treaties with the Comanches and other Indians, for he was trusted not only by them but also by the Mexicans and Anglo-Americans in East Texas. He also operated an inn in connection with his home near the site of what is now the courthouse in Nacogdoches. In 1832 he married Mary Pate Sibley, who was white. Sibley had one son, Henry Sibley, by a former marriage, but Goyens and Mary had no children.

   During the Texas Revolution, Goyens was given the important task of keeping the Cherokees friendly with the Texans, and he was interpreter with Gen. Sam Houston and his party in negotiating a treaty. After the revolution he purchased what was afterwards known as Goyens' Hill, four miles west of Nacogdoches. By 1841 his property included 4,160 acres of farmland, several town lots, and nine slaves. He built a large two-story mansion with a sawmill and gristmill west of his home on Moral Creek, where he and his wife lived until their deaths. During his later life Goyens amassed considerable wealth in real estate, despite constant efforts by his white neighbors to take away what he was accumulating. He always employed the best lawyers in Nacogdoches, including Thomas J. Rusk and Charles S. Taylor, to defend him and was generally successful in his litigation. By 1856, Goyens owned 12,423 acres of land, including 4,428 acres in Angelina County. He died on June 20, 1856, soon after the death of his wife; they were both buried in a Nacogdoches County cemetery near the junction of Aylitos Creek with the Moral. At his grave a marker was erected by the Texas Centennial Commission in 1936. Many traditions grew up in Nacogdoches about this unusual man, and sometimes it is hard to tell just what is true and what is tradition. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. 

31° 36.209, -094° 39.384

Nacogdoches County Courthouse grounds

April 30, 2019

John "Earthquake" Tenta

   John Anthony Tenta was a Canadian professional wrestler and sumōtori best known for his work in the World Wrestling Federation as Earthquake. After a promising start to his sumo career, using the name Kototenzan, Tenta switched to professional wrestling and became a high-profile star for the WWF, feuding with Hulk Hogan and winning the WWF Tag Team Championship with partner, and personal friend, Fred "Typhoon" Ottman. His professional wrestling career also encompassed runs in World Championship Wrestling, where he was known as Avalanche and The Shark, All Japan Pro Wrestling and a return to WWF as Golga. He died in 2006 after a long battle with bladder cancer. Source

29° 26.359, -095° 04.545

Towering Pines Section
Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery

April 23, 2019

Dorothy Malone

   Born in Chicago, Dorothy and her family moved to Dallas when she was six-months old. Tragedy struck Malone's family early on when two of her sisters died from complications from polio, so Dorothy decided quite early to make the most of her existence, and quickly settled on becoming a performer. She began modeling for Neiman Marcus as a teenager and after a brief stint at Southern Methodist University, where she majored in drama, she was offered a contract with RKO studios at the age of 18. She appeared in a number of films during her year with RKO, most notably Higher and Higher (1943), which also starred Frank Sinatra. After one year, however, RKO decided not to renew her contract.

   She signed a new contract with Warner Bros., and quickly raised her acting profile by appearing in films like Too Young to Know (1945) and Frontier Days (1945). Her first big break came when she appeared alongside Humphrey Bogart in the Howard Hawks' film The Big Sleep (1946). This role led to bigger parts in films like the musical comedy Two Guys from Texas (1948), which was her first lead role. She left Warner Bros. in the late 1940s to become a freelance film actor. She continued nabbing a multitude of roles throughout the 1950s, including Torpedo Alley (1952), Scared Stiff (1953), and The Fast and the Furious (1955), the latter of which was also the first film produced by the legendary producer Roger Corman.

   In 1956, Dorothy appeared in a supporting role alongside Rock Hudson and Lauren Bacall in the Douglas Sirk melodrama Written on the Wind. The film earned her her first and only Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She continued acting in films throughout the remainder of the 1950s and early 1960s, but in 1964 gained renewed attention for her role as Constance Mackenzie on the prime time soap opera Peyton Place (1964-69). Her role on Peyton Place ended in 1968 and Dorothy spent the next twenty-plus years of her acting career appearing in TV shows, made-for-TV movies, and little seen films. She appeared in only a handful of roles throughout the 1980s, with her last on-screen part being in Basic Instinct (1992). Dorothy spent the remaining years of her life in suburban Dallas, and died peacefully at a nursing facility on January 19, 2018 at the age of 93. Source 

32° 52.019, -096° 52.323

St John Mausoleum
Calvary Hill Cemetery and Mausoleum

April 16, 2019

Bronko Lubich

   Lubich was born Branko Sandor Lupsity in Batonja, Hungary on December 25, 1925. His father moved to Canada in 1926 and was eventually able to save enough money to bring his family over by boat to Montreal where they settled in December 1937. During his teenage years, he began working out with his friends at the local YMCA and took up amateur wrestling. He excelled in the sport and was selected to represent Canada in the 1948 Olympic Games, but he did not compete, having broken his arm while in another competition prior to the Olympics.

   Although choosing to continue his amateur career, he also started work at an aircraft factory shortly after to support his family. It was while working out at the Montreal YMCA that he met local wrestlers Harry Madison and Mike DiMitre who suggested a career in professional wrestling. He was initially trained by DiMitre and made his professional debut in 1948. At 6-foot, 175 pounds, he spent his early career as a lightweight wrestler under the name Bronko Lubich and began teaming with Angelo Poffo by the late 1950s. In 1959, during a match between Poffo and Wilbur Snyder in Detroit, the referee was knocked unconscious. When Snyder attempted a pinfall, Lubich entered the ring and knocked out Snyder with his cane and revived the referee in time for Poffo to score a pinfall instead. This was the first time a manager had directly interfered in a wrestling match and, at the time, was one of the biggest televised angles. A rematch between Poffo and Snyder at the Olympia Stadium was attended by 16,226 people.

   In 1961, Lubich made his debut in the Dallas area as the manager of Angelo Poffo. For three years, the pair would become one of the most hated "heels" in the territory. On a number of occasions, his interference saved Poffo from losing the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship. He and Poffo also held the WCWA Texas Tag Team Championship defeating Pepper Gomez and Dory Dixon in Houston, Texas on May 12, 1961. They held the titles for a month before losing them back to Gomez and Dixon on June 1. He and Poffo left the territory undefeated in 1964, Lubich moved on to Mid-Atlantic territory where he would remain for the majority of his career.

   It was during this time that he was teamed with Aldo Bogni, in part due to the advice of promoter Jim Crockett, Sr., with their in-ring personas portraying hostile foreign wrestlers. They were joined by manager "Colonel" Homer O'Dell, and later George "Two Ton" Harris, who quickly became one of the top "heel" tag teams in the territory. O'Dell reportedly carried a revolver and sometimes fired it behind the arena to scare off fans who sometimes waited for them outside after the event. He and Bogni were later "sold" to Harris who participated in 6-man tag team matches with them.

   Lubich would continue teaming with Bogni in the Carolinas, Florida and Stampede Wrestling up until the early 1970s. They faced many of the top stars of the era including the Flying Scotts, George Becker and Johnny Weaver, Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson, Lars and Ole Anderson and Mr. Wrestling and Sam Steamboat. He would also win the NWA Southern Tag Team Championship with Bogni defeating Eddie Graham and Lester Welch for the belts in West Palm Beach, Florida on March 11, 1968 before losing the titles to Jose Lothario and Joe Scarpa the next month.

   During the last two years of his wrestling career, he formed a tag team with Chris Markoff with whom he later won the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship from Ciclon Negro and Sam Steamboat in Tampa on October 25, 1969. They lost the titles to the Missouri Mauler and Dale Lewis on March 14, 1970 after a four-and-a-half month reign.

   In January 1971, he returned to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in what would be his last year as a wrestler. Joined by manager George "The Blimp" Harris III, he and Markoff feuded with longtime rivals Mr. Wrestling and George Scott as well as Johnny Valentine and Wahoo McDaniel, the latter team being considered one of the great "dream teams" of the era. He and Markoff were later approached by photographer Geoff Winningham to participate in a photo shoot for Life during a wrestling event in Houston.

   Lubich and Markoff won the NWA Big Time Wrestling Tag Team Championship twice before his retirement in 1972 to become a full-time manager. He managed many of the top "heels" in the area including Bobby Duncum, Sr., The Spoiler and Boris Malenko with his men frequently battling "Playboy" Gary Hart and his stable throughout the rest of the decade.

   When Fritz Von Erich began promoting Southwest Sports, Jim Crockett, Sr. recommended Lubich to help go into business with von Erich. He also began refereeing for the promotion and, in 1973, refereed the NWA World Heavyweight Championship match between Jack Brisco and Harley Race in Houston. He would go on to referee matches in The Sportatorium, the North Side and Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth as well as weekly appearances at venues in San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Houston. Both he and Poffo had been involved in investing stocks and bonds with Merrill Lynch early in their careers and Lubich later advised other wrestlers on investing in the stock market and other financial concerns.

   After Kevin Von Erich decided to close WCCW in late 1990, Lubich retired from full-time professional wrestling, he refereed occasionally for Global Wrestling Federation. Although he and his wife had planned to travel following his retirement, both he and his wife, Radmila suffered from poor health. She was diagnosed with cancer in 1997 and died in 2004. Lubich as well had prostate cancer and suffered several strokes resulting in difficulty speaking. He died at his home on August 11, 2007. Source

32° 55.287, -096° 44.614

Court of Reflections
Restland Memorial Park

April 9, 2019

Kerry Von Erich

   Kerry Adkisson was born on February 3, 1960, to Jack and Doris Adkisson. Jack was a wrestler, so most of Jack's children followed in his footsteps (one child, Jack, tragically died in 1959 from electrocution). Kerry was a natural athlete, and a standout discus thrower; he actually held the SWC discus record - a record previously held by his father. After graduation, he decided to join the family business and become a wrestler, just like his father and four brothers.

   He debuted in his father's promotion, NWA Texas/Big Time Wrestling (later renamed World Class Championship Wrestling) on May 7, 1979 against Paul Perschmann. A quick study, Kerry won his first title, the NWA American Heavyweight Championship, on December 28, 1980. During his time in WCCW, he won several championship belts, including the NWA American Tag Team Championship, and several runs as the champion. On June 4, 1982, he defeated former NWA Champion Harley Race, elevating him to main event status. He then began a feud with Ric Flair. Their first pairing was in 1982 in a two out of three falls match (won by Flair), followed by a no disqualification steel cage match (won by Flair). The Fabulous Freebirds interfered in the cage match, starting a five year feud with the Von Erichs. After the collapse of WCCW, Kerry was hired by the WWF and became known as The Texas Tornado.

   Kerry was poised to become a superstar, but a serious motorcycle accident in 1986 would change everything. His injuries were so severe that one of his feet had to be amputated, and he wrestled with a prosthetic foot for the rest of his career. He became addicted to painkillers, and in 1991 was arrested for forging prescriptions. He was fired immediately by the WWF. He was given probation, but a little over a year later, he violated his probation by being caught in possession of unauthorized prescription drugs. Recently divorced and despondent over an impending prison sentence, Kerry took his own life on February 18th, 1993, at the family ranch. He was preceded in death by his four brothers Jack, David, Mike and Chris.

32° 47.257, -096° 43.146

Hilltop Section
Grove Hill Memorial Park

April 2, 2019

Placido Olivarri

   Placido Olivarri, a famed scout for the Texas Revolutionary Army, son of Simon Olivarri and Guadalupe Garza de Torres, was born in San Antonio, Texas, in February 1815. The Olivarri family initially arrived in San Antonio when José Olivarri, from the Basque region of Spain, established himself in the city as one of the first settlers. Placido Olivarri is most famous for his service as a scout and guide for the Texas Revolutionary Army under Sam Houston. His proficiency as a scout was so great that Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos of the Mexican Army offered a substantial bounty for Olivarri’s capture, dead or alive. During the Texas Revolution, Mexican sympathizers in San Antonio tried to apprehend Olivarri, but he was able to evade capture by concealing himself on Bowen’s Island on the San Antonio River.

   Following the Texas Revolution, Olivarri became a landowner and wagon train manager in San Antonio. Texas General Land Office records show that he received a certificate for one-third of a league of land in February 1838. Olivarri was married twice. His first wife, Juana Padillo y Olivarri, was born in 1816 in Bexar County and died around December 1862. She left her estate to her natural son born of a previous marriage. After her death, Placido Olivarri married Micaela Jimenes (or Ximenes), who was born in June 1844 and lived until 1917. Together, they had fourteen children.

   Late in his life, Olivarri was a member of the Sociedad Mutualista Mexicana. He was listed in San Antonio city directories in the 1880s and into the early 1890s as a “ranchman.” The San Antonio Daily Express on May 2, 1892, listed a Placido Olivarri (possibly Olivarri himself or his son) as chairman of his voting precinct. Olivarri lived in San Antonio throughout his life, and died on September 8, 1894. He was buried in the San Fernando Cemetery No. 1. The Texas Centennial Commission erected a Centennial marker at his grave in 1936.

29° 41.548, -098° 51.215

Block 3
San Fernando Cemetery No. 1
San Antonio

March 26, 2019

Gus Mancuso

   August Rodney "Gus" Mancuso was an American professional baseball player, coach, scout and radio sports commentator. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals (1928, 1930-32, 1941-42), New York Giants (1933-38, 1942-44), Chicago Cubs (1939), Brooklyn Dodgers (1940) and Philadelphia Phillies (1945). He was known for his capable handling of pitching staffs and for his on-field leadership abilities. He was a member of five National League pennant-winning teams, and played as the catcher for five pitchers who were eventually inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was regarded as one of the top defensive catchers of the 1930s.

   In 1946, Mancuso became the player-manager of the minor league Tulsa Oilers and in 1948 took over as manager of the San Antonio Missions. In 1950, he was hired as the pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds, then began a career as a broadcaster in 1951 with his hometown Houston team in the Texas League. He later moved to St. Louis where he worked with play-by-play announcer Harry Caray on the Cardinals' radio network until 1954, when he served as a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston Colt .45s. In 1962 Mancuso was seriously injured in a traffic accident which killed his wife, Lorena. In 1981, he was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1981 and elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1984. He contracted emphysema in 1984 and died at the age of 78 in Houston. Source

29° 42.826, -095° 18.138

Section 55
Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery

March 19, 2019

Nancy Spencer Gray

   Nancy Gray, early Texas settler, moved to Texas from Tennessee with her husband, William S. Spencer, by April 1824. Karankawa Indians killed William in a fight on Bay Prairie in Brazoria. On August 19, 1824, as the widow of one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, Mrs. Spencer received title to a sitio now in Fort Bend County on the Brazos River eight miles above the site of present Richmond. In 1825 she married Thomas Barnett, and the colony census of March 1826 listed her as his wife. The Barnetts had six children. Barnett died on September 20, 1843. In 1845 Nancy married Thomas M. Gray. They had one son. Nancy Gray died before August 31, 1863, when her will was probated in Fort Bend County. Source 

29° 58.625, -95° 88.680

Barnett Cemetery

March 12, 2019

Margaret Trigg

   Margaret Juliet Trigg was born May 30, 1964, in Bastrop, Texas, to Kleber and Minifred Trigg. She graduated from Bastrop High School in 1982 and Stephens Womans College in Columbia, Missouri, in 1985 with a B.A. Degree in Literature and Dramatic Art, then spent her junior year at Oxford University in England. After graduation, she lived in Dallas and briefly in Los Angeles before moving to New York in 1989 where she worked tirelessly writing her own stand up comedy routines. A skilled comedian, her popularity took off  after performances at Caroline's Comedy Club, The Comic Strip, The New York Comedy Club and others. She appeared on several television shows and won a starring role as alien mother Cookie Brody in Aliens in the Family on ABC. She began accepting roles in movies, and starred in two low budget films, R.O.T.O.R. and Dream House. She became addicted to plastic surgery and went bankrupt from spending every dollar she earned on improving imperfections only she could see. She died of a heart attack due to amphetamine abuse in 2003.

30° 06.856, -097° 18.319

Fairview Cemetery

March 5, 2019

Vinnie Abbott

   Vincent Paul Abbott was born in Abilene, Texas, on March 11, 1964. His father Jerry, a country music songwriter and producer, directed his interest in music towards the drums and bought him his first kit. In 1981, Abbott formed the heavy metal band Pantera with his brother Darrell, and, after a few member changes, recruited vocalist Phil Anselmo in 1987. By 1990, the band had been signed to Atco Records and released Cowboys from Hell, which proved to be the band's turning point. Over the course of four more studio records, a live album and a greatest hits compilation, Pantera was nominated for four best metal performance Grammys for the songs I'm Broken, Suicide Note Pt. I, Cemetery Gates, and Revolution Is My Name.

   Because of an ongoing dispute between Anselmo and the brothers, Pantera disbanded in 2003. After the breakup, the Abbotts formed the heavy metal band Damageplan with Bob Zilla on bass and Pat Lachman on lead vocals. Damageplan released only one album, New Found Power, in 2004. On December 8th of that year, while on tour to support the new album, Darrell Abbott was shot dead onstage by Nathan Gale at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. Damageplan disbanded shortly thereafter. After burying his brother, Vincent formed Big Vin Records in February 2006 and released Rebel Meets Rebel and a DVD, Dimevision, Volume 1. Along with Cristina Scabbia, (co-lead vocalist of Lacuna Coil) he wrote a monthly question-and-answer column in Revolver

   In June 2006, after an 18-month performing hiatus, Abbott joined the heavy metal supergroup Hellyeah, which also featured Chad Gray and Greg Tribbett from Mudvayne, Tom Maxwell from Nothingface, and Bob Zilla from Damageplan. In 2016, the group released 5 studio albums, with the latest being Unden!able, released in June 2016. Unden!able would turn out to be Vincent's last album. His final performance took place at The Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel and Resort at Las Vegas on June 17, 2018. Five days later, Vincent unexpectedly died at the age of 54 in his hotel room from coronary artery disease. He was buried beside his mother, Carolyn, and brother, Darrell. Source

32° 45.239, -097° 07.192

Lakeside Estates
Moore Memorial Gardens

February 26, 2019

Chris Von Erich

   Chris Barton Adkisson was an American professional wrestler, best known under the ring name Chris Von Erich of the Von Erich family. The smallest and youngest of the Von Erichs, all Chris wanted to be was a wrestler like his father and four brothers. He started in the business working cameras and doing other odd jobs backstage for World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), the federation his father owned and ran. He began minor involvement in angles in the 1980s, often performing run-ins to aide his brothers against their arch-rivals The Fabulous Freebirds.

   He officially became a wrestler in 1990 in the United States Wrestling Association (USWA). Chris tagged with both his brother Kevin and longtime ally Chris Adams in several tag team matches against manager Percy Pringle and "Stunning" Steve Austin; however, he would face only Pringle whenever he was in the ring, and allow his more-experienced partner to battle Austin. Despite his lack of athleticism, Chris was very popular with fans, who would often chant their support during his matches.

   Chris had several health problems that limited his success as a wrestler. In addition to asthma, his bones were so brittle from taking prednisone that he would often break them while performing simple wrestling maneuvers. After the 1987 suicide of his brother Mike, Chris developed depression and drug issues. Frustrated and depressed over the deaths of his brothers and the inability to make headway as a wrestler due to his physical build, Chris shot himself in the head on September 12, 1991, eighteen days before his 22nd birthday. Source 

32° 47.264, -096° 43.146 

Hilltop Section
Grove Hill Memorial Park

February 19, 2019

Lee Harvey Oswald

   Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 18, 1939, the third son of Marguerite Claverie Oswald. His father, Robert Lee Oswald, had died of a heart attack two months earlier. Young Oswald was placed in a Lutheran orphanage at the age of three, but he was removed when his mother left for Dallas in January 1944 and remarried. His schooling began in Benbrook, Texas, but he reentered the first grade in Covington, Louisiana, in 1946; he continued his education in Fort Worth in January 1947, as a result of his mother's separation and divorce. After he and his mother moved to New York in August 1952, he became a chronic truant and was placed under psychiatric care. They moved again to New Orleans in January 1954; in 1955 Oswald left school and tried unsuccessfully to join the Marine Corps. He found a job and used his spare time to pursue his growing interest in communist literature.

   He returned to Fort Worth with his mother in July of the following year and in October 1956 joined the Marine Corps. He served fifteen months overseas, mostly in Japan; later he served in California. After an appeal based on the illness of his mother, he was released early from the service in September 1959. A month later Oswald left for the Soviet Union, entering through Finland. He tried to commit suicide when ordered out of Russia, but while attempting to renounce his United States citizenship he was permitted to remain and work in a Russian radio factory. On April 30, 1961, he married Marina Nikolaevna Prusakova. A daughter was born in February 1962, and in June, after prolonged efforts, Oswald was allowed to return with his family to the United States. He lived in Fort Worth until October, when he moved to Dallas. On April 10, 1963, he attempted to kill Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker at the latter's home; the bullet missed Walker by inches. In late April, upon his return to New Orleans, Oswald organized a so-called Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He went to Mexico in September in an unsuccessful effort to get a visa to Cuba and the Soviet Union, and he returned in October to Dallas. A second daughter was born at that time.

   Oswald was arrested on November 22, 1963, and later charged with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the murder of policeman J. D. Tippit. It was alleged that Oswald positioned himself in a sixth-story window of the Texas School Book Depository and there fired on the motorcade of President Kennedy and Governor John B. Connally. It was also claimed that Oswald killed J. D. Tippit shortly after the assassination while resisting arrest. Oswald was finally arrested in a movie theater that same day in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. Two days later, on November 24, Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby in the basement of the city jail while being transferred to the county jail. Source

32° 43.946, -097° 12.194 

Section 17
Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park
Fort Worth

February 12, 2019

Jerry Gray

   Generoso Graziano, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, was a leading composer, arranger, violinist and bandleader who is widely remembered for his work with Glenn Miller as well as Artie Shaw before and during World War II and then his own orchestras. A teenage virtuoso who led his own jazz band, the newly-named Jerry Gray joined Artie Shaw in 1936 as lead violinist and later lead arranger. He wrote some of Shaw’s greatest hits, including Begin The Beguine.

   When Shaw temporarily disbanded in November 1939, Glenn Miller hired Gray. Their highly successful collaboration produced dozens of major hit records, including a variety of American songbook standards, ballads and original jazz arrangements. With Miller in the AAF, Gray’s background and skill gave him the ability to blend a large string section with a traditional big band in a concert orchestra that some observers describe as “the greatest big band ever assembled”. Gray wrote and contributed to the presentation of popular music, jazz and light classics, his most famous efforts being Pennsylvania 6-5000 and Chatanooga Choo Choo.

   Gray wrote arrangements for the postwar Glenn Miller Orchestra led by Tex Beneke, where he developed a friendship with pianist and arranger Henry Mancini. He led his own band for radio broadcasts,and records,as is detailed in The Jerry Gray Story. In 1949 he formed a Miller-style organization, “The Jerry Gray Band of Today” and recorded for Decca records. In 1953 Gray assisted with the production of the Universal-International film The Glenn Miller Story. In 1957, Jerry married Joan Barton, a vocalist and film actress. By the 1960s he had settled in Dallas where he conducted the house band at the Fairmont Hotel. This later band generally featured more modern compositions by Gray and other contemporaries such as Sammy Nestico and Billy Byers. In 1968 he briefly returned to the Miller sound with swing arrangements of contemporary songs for Billy Vaughan's orchestra, including Spanish Eyes, A Walk in the Black Forest, and an AAF-like treatment of One of Those Songs. He continued to lead the Fairmont Hotel band into the 1970s before dying of a heart attack at the age of 61. Source

32° 55.567, -096° 44.369

Abbey Mausoleum
Restland Memorial Park

February 5, 2019

Thomas Barnett

   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.

   He 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

January 29, 2019

Douglas Reagan Ault

   Doug Ault, professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter who played for the Texas Rangers (1976) and Toronto Blue Jays (1977–1978, 1980). He is best known for playing in the Blue Jays first Major League Baseball (MLB) game on April 7, 1977, against the Chicago White Sox. Ault hit the first two home runs in franchise history, helping Toronto win 9-5.

   A native of Beaumont, Texas, Ault was a varsity baseball star at Texas Tech. He was drafted three different times in the MLB Draft, but refused to sign. He was finally signed by the hometown Rangers in 1973 as an amateur free agent. He advanced relatively quickly though the Minor League hierarchy, making the Majors in 1976 as a late season replacement. With the Rangers already having Mike Hargrove at first base, Ault became available in the 1976 Major League Baseball expansion draft where he was drafted by the Blue Jays. He became the starting first baseman in their first ever MLB game, and his actions that day turned Ault into the Blue Jays first superstar. He couldn't exceed the expectations given to him, and had an otherwise average career as a result and was out of the Majors within three years.

   He managed in the Minor Leagues for several years, leading the Syracuse Chiefs to a pennant in 1985. He retired in 1994, and went to the automobile business, but a series of personal tragedies and business failures plagued him in later life. Ault committed suicide on December 22, 2004. Source

30° 07.799, -094° 05.831

Garden of Seasons
Forest Lawn Memorial Park

January 22, 2019

Zachary Scott

   Zachary Thomson Scott, Jr., actor, the son of Sallie Lee (Masterson) and Zachary Thomson Scott, was born in Austin, Texas, on February 21, 1914. His acting career began at Austin High School. From 1932 to 1934 he attended the University of Texas, where he performed leading roles and served as president for the Curtain Club; he was also on the track team. He interrupted his schooling at the age of nineteen to work his way to England on a freighter. There he joined a repertory company and for the next three years gained acting experience.

   He returned to the United States and married Elaine Anderson on February 21, 1935. They had two daughters. The couple lived in New York for a short time but soon returned to the University of Texas, where Scott earned a B.A. in 1939. During this period he worked as director of the Little Theater in Austin and taught dramatics at St. Mary's Academy. He then gave up dramatic pursuits and worked at various jobs, including that of an oilfield worker, but the lure of the stage eventually caused him to move his family to New York.

   He was soon acting in various Broadway productions. In 1943 Warner Brothers Studio discovered Scott while he was appearing in Those Endearing Young Charms. With the starring role in The Mask of Dimitrios in 1944, he began a film career that extended through thirty motion pictures. Scott is best remembered for his work in such popular films as Mildred Pierce (1945), The Southerner (1945), Hollywood Canteen (1944), Danger Signal (1945), and Cass Timberlane (1947). He received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal in The Southerner. During the 1940s Scott's roles, with the exception of The Southerner, were those of a suave, debonair sophisticate, but after 1950 his career broadened. He sang the lead role in a production of The King and I (1956) and appeared on the London stage in such productions as Subway in the Sky (1957). He played numerous television roles and continued to make movies.

   In 1950 Scott and his wife were divorced. He later married actress Ruth Ford. In 1959 they appeared together on Broadway in Requiem for a Nun, a play that novelist William Faulkner had written for Mrs. Scott. Scott and his wife were performing readings from Faulkner's works at the University of Mississippi in early 1965 when Scott grew ill; he died on October 3, 1965, and was buried at Memorial Park in Austin. In 1972 the Zachary Scott Theatre opened in Austin, and in 1988 a chair in drama was established at the University of Texas honoring the Scott family. Source

30° 19.836, -097° 44.969

Section 4
Austin Memorial Park Cemetery

January 15, 2019

Amber Hagerman

   Amber Rene Hagerman 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 twent 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

January 8, 2019

"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott

   Guitarist and producer Darrell Lance Abbott was born in Arlington, Texas, on August 20, 1966. He was the son of Jerry and Carolyn Abbott. Darrell Abbott, better known as “Dimebag” Darrell to his fans, is perhaps best-known for forming the rock band Pantera with his brother Vincent Abbott in the early 1980s. Pantera became one of the world’s most popular metal bands and helped to keep the rock genre alive throughout the 1990s.

   Born and raised in the Dallas area, Darrell Abbott was influenced by music at a young age. Son of country songwriter and record producer Jerry Abbott, Darrell and his brother Vincent, better known as Vinnie Paul, were encouraged early on to play music. Despite being surrounded by country music as a child, Darrell was drawn to such rock music influences as Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, Ace Frehley of Kiss, Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen, and Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne’s post-Black Sabbath guitarist). In his early teens, he frequently won local and statewide guitar talent competitions.

   Darrell Abbott (on guitar) and his brother Vinnie Paul (on drums) formed the original version of Pantera in 1981 and founded the record label Metal Magic in order to release their music. At first, the band was more pop-oriented and somewhat reminiscent of the so-called Sunset-Strip style of metal rock. Abbott was originally known as “Diamond” Darrell, because of the flashy style of rock music he played.

   When vocalist Philip Anselmo joined Pantera in 1987, the band redefined its sound and began playing a harder-edged style that some music critics dubbed “power metal.” It was at this time that Abbott changed his nickname from “Diamond” to “Dimebag.” He reportedly auditioned for the band Megadeth in the late 1980s but was turned down. Pantera signed with a subsidiary of Atlantic Records in 1990 and released the album Cowboys from Hell. Two more albums soon followed, Vulgar Display of Power in 1992 and Far Beyond Driven in 1994. Far Beyond Driven debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard charts and marked the band’s peak of commercial success. Pantera released two more albums and received four Grammy nominations over the course of its career. Abbott lived in Arlington and had a recording studio in his home where several Pantera albums were recorded. However, after persistent feuding between Darrell Abbott and Philip Anselmo, Pantera broke up in 2003.

   During that same year that Pantera split up, Darrell and his brother Vinnie Paul formed the new band Damageplan. With Abbott on guitar and Paul on drums, the brothers recruited vocalist Patrick Lachman and bassist Bob Kakaha. Abbot produced the group’s debut album, New Found Power, which was released in February 2004. Damageplan traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to play a concert on December 8, 2004, at the Alrosa Villa Nightclub. However, during the first song of the evening, audience member Nathan M. Gale fatally shot Abbott, along with concertgoer Nathan Bray, Alrosa Villa employee Erin Halk, and Damageplan security guard Jeff Thompson. Apparently, Nathan Gale was upset about Pantera’s breakup and blamed Abbott for the band’s demise.

   Darrell Abbott was noted for his short, tight guitar solos, which many critics argued helped preserve the traditional heavy metal sound, even after the genre had lost popularity in the 1990s. He performed on recordings of other groups, including Anthrax and Nickelback. Darrell Abbott also played a cut on Spacewalk: A Salute to Ace Frehley (1996), a tribute album to his early guitar influence, and he and Vinnie Paul collaborated with country musician David Allan Coe. After Abbott’s death, Guitar Player magazine acknowledged him as one of “The 10 Most Important Guitarists Ever.” With his roaring approach and heavy metal guitar riffs, Abbott inspired a generation of young metal guitar players.

   Abbott was survived by his father, Jerry Abbott, and his brother, Vinnie Paul. Darrell Abbott’s funeral service took place at the Arlington Convention Center, and he was buried in the Moore Memorial Garden Cemetery in Arlington, along with one of Eddie Van Halen’s guitars. Source

32° 45.239, -097° 07.192

Lakesides Estates
Moore Memorial Gardens

January 1, 2019

Corwin "Amazing Grace" Hawkins

   Corwin Anthony Hawkins was born in Houston, Texas on March 12, 1965. He attended St. Peter's Catholic School, and after graduation, decided to be an entertainer. He began competing and quickly started winning female impersonator competitions. In 1991, his favorite drag character, "Amazing Grace," was crowned Miss Gay Texas. The next year he took the title of Texas Entertainer of the Year and went on to capture the 1992 National Entertainer of the Year title in Louisville, Kentucky. After appearing on Def Comedy Jam, BET and HBO Comedy specials, he was discovered by Keenan Ivory Wayans and hired for the role of Wayman in the film A Low Down Dirty Shame, a part originally written for RuPaul. Sadly, he was unable to capitalize on his new-found fame; he passed away of pneumonia a month before the film's release.

29° 33.780, -095° 21.116

Section 18
Houston Memorial Gardens