May 28, 2019

Moses Malone

   Moses Eugene Malone was an American basketball player who played in both the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association from 1974 through 1995. The center was named the NBA Most Valuable Player three times, was a 12-time NBA All-Star and an eight-time All-NBA Team selection. Malone won his only NBA championship in 1983, when he was both the league and Finals MVP with the Philadelphia 76ers. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2001.

   He began his professional career out of high school after he was selected in the third round of the 1974 ABA Draft by the Utah Stars. He was named an ABA All-Star as a rookie and played two seasons in the league until it merged with the NBA in 1976. He landed in the NBA with the Buffalo Braves, who traded him after two games to the Houston Rockets. Malone became a five-time All-Star in six seasons with the Rockets. After leading the NBA in rebounding in 1979, he was named league MVP for the first time. He led the Rockets to the NBA Finals in 1981, and won his second MVP award in 1982. Malone was traded to Philadelphia the following season, when he repeated as MVP and led the 76ers to a championship in his first year. In his first of two stints with Philadelphia, he was an All-Star in each of his four seasons. Following another trade, Malone was an All-Star in his only two seasons with the Washington Bullets (known later as the Wizards). He signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Hawks, earning his 12th straight and final All-Star selection in his first season. In his later years, he played with the Milwaukee Bucks before returning to the 76ers and completing his career with the San Antonio Spurs.

   He led the NBA in rebounding six times, including a then-record five straight seasons (1981-1985). He finished his career as the all-time leader in offensive rebounds after leading both the ABA and NBA in the category a combined nine times. Malone was nicknamed "Chairman of the Boards" for his rebounding prowess. Combining his ABA and NBA statistics, he ranks ninth all-time in career points (29,580) and third in total rebounds (17,834). He was named to both the ABA All-Time Team and the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

   Malone died in his sleep at the age of 60, on the morning of September 13, 2015, at a hotel in Norfolk, Virginia. He had been scheduled to play in a charity golf tournament that day and was found unresponsive in his room when he did not appear for breakfast or answer his phone. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia listed the cause of death as hypertensive and atherosclerotic heart disease. Source

29° 46.762, -095° 36.745

Reflection Lake Estates
Memorial Oaks Cemetery

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