August 27, 2019

Jack William Wilson

   Jack William Wilson was born in Paris, Texas, on November 20, 1917. After graduation from high school, he attended Baylor where he lettered in track, basketball and football - a feat which brought the attention of professional scouts. In the 1942 NFL Draft he was the first round pick by the Los Angeles Rams. After a few years on the training team, he was called up to the Los Angeles Rams for the 1947 season. His stats as a halfback were less than stellar, with 123 rushing yards, 22 rushing attempts and one touchdown. The Rams kept him on for the 1947 season before letting him go.

   Jack was the head track and field coach at Baylor during the 1950s while also serving as an assistant football coach. After coaching at Baylor, he worked as a glass bottle manufacturer at Owens-Illinois in Waco. In 1968, he was one of the first members elected to the Baylor Athletic Hall of Fame. Jack Wilson died in Waco on April 11, 2001 at the age of 84.

COORDINATES
32° 52.093, -096° 46.823

Hillcrest Mausoleum
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park
Dallas

August 20, 2019

Max West

   Max Edward West was an outfielder and first baseman for the Boston Bees/Braves (1938-42, 1946), Cincinnati Reds (1946) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1948). He signed as an outfielder with Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League in 1935 and joined Mission of the same league the following year. After batting .330 with 16 home runs and 95 RBIs for Mission in 1937, West’s contract was purchased by the Boston Braves. He batted .234 his rookie year but increased his average to .285 in 1939 with 19 home runs and 82 RBIs, finishing 23rd in voting for the 1939 National League MVP.

   West was named to the 1940 National League All-Star Team, his only career appearance, and was inserted as the starting right fielder at the last minute by NL manager Bill McKechnie. In his only career All-Star at bat, he hit what would be the eventual game-winner, a 3-run home run in the first inning off Red Ruffing at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Unfortunately, it would be his only All-Star plate appearance, as he was injured leaping for Luke Appling's double off the wall in the 2nd inning and had to leave the game.

   West finished 26th in voting for the 1940 NL MVP, and 27th in voting for the 1942 NL MVP. In March 1943, he joined the Army Air Force, serving with the Sixth Ferrying Group, Air Transport Command at Long Beach, California. In April 1946, after returning from military service, West was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Jim Konstanty. He played just 73 games that year, only batting .212. He was with San Diego of the Pacific Coast League in 1947, returned to Pittsburgh in 1948 and returned to San Diego the following year. West led the Pacific Coast League in home runs on three occasions, and in 1949 he hit 48 home runs with 166 RBIs. He continued playing in the PCL until 1954.

   West operated a sporting goods firm with Ralph Kiner in California after retiring from baseball. He died in Sierra Madre, California from brain cancer at the age of 87. Source

COORDINATES
29° 57.612, -095° 25.036

Section 3A
Earthman Resthaven Cemetery
Houston

August 13, 2019

Rosalyn McDuffie

   Rosalyn Renee Brunswick-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.

COORDINATES
29° 57.584, -095° 24.701

Section 19
Earthman Resthaven Cemetery
Houston

August 6, 2019

The Von Erichs

   The Von Erichs were a wrestling family, best known for their dominance in the 1980s and the so-called "Von Erich Curse". They all primarily wrestled in World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), the organization their father Fritz ran and owned in Dallas. They are all buried together in the same section of the cemetery.

   Fritz Von Erich was born Jack Barton Adkisson on August 16, 1929 in Jewett, Texas. Originally trained by Stu Hart, Fritz became a top star in many National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) promotions, most notably in St. Louis and in World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW). He held a variation of the AWA World Heavyweight Championship at one time in the 1960s. Despite never winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, he maintained his presence within the NWA, holding many other major belts. Fritz also served shortly as NWA President in the 1970s, as well as President of WCCW when it moved to Dallas, Texas. Fritz was also a major part of Japanese wrestling, where he was known as "Tetsu no Tsume" - The Iron Claw - and helped rebuild the business after the death of Rikidōzan. On September 10, 1997, Fritz died of lung cancer that had spread to his brain.

COORDINATES
32° 47.257, -096° 43.146

Hilltop Section
Grove Hill Memorial Park
Dallas


   "The Yellow Rose of Texas" David Von Erich was the third son of Fritz Von Erich. He was born David Alan Adkisson on July 22, 1958 in Dallas, Texas.

   David worked in the World Class Championship Wrestling promotion with the rest of his family. It was there that he faced off with Harley Race and later Ric Flair several times for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (never winning), as well as teamed with brothers Kevin and Kerry against their mortal enemies The Fabulous Freebirds. David also wrestled in Missouri, winning the Missouri Heavyweight Championship on a couple of occasions. From late 1981 to mid-1982, David wrestled in the Florida territory to show that he could work as a heel. This run was successful, with David enjoying brief reigns as both as singles and tag team champion.

   David died on February 10, 1984 in Tokyo, Japan of acute enteritis. Ric Flair wrote in his autobiography, To Be the Man, that "everyone in wrestling believes" that it was a drug overdose that really killed him and that Bruiser Brody (the wrestler who found David) disposed of the narcotics by flushing them down a toilet before the police arrived. Mick Foley also claims that he died from an apparent drug overdose. A tribute show was held a couple of months later in his honor, during which his younger brother, Kerry Von Erich, won the NWA World Title from Ric Flair.

COORDINATES
32° 47.264 -096° 43.146

Hilltop Section
Grove Hill Memorial Park
Dallas


   Kerry Von Erich was the fourth son of Fritz Von Erich. He was born Kerry Gene Adkisson on February 3, 1960 in Niagara Falls, New York. Known as "The Modern Day Warrior" and "The Texas Tornado", Kerry was by far the best-known of the Von Erich family.

   Much like his brothers, Kerry spent the majority of his career wrestling in World Class Championship Wrestling. Among the many major feuds he had were those against Gino Hernandez, Iceman Parsons, Chris Adams and The Fabulous Freebirds. Kerry won the NWA World Heavyweight Title from Ric Flair at the David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions, a tribute show to his deceased older brother. He lost the belt three weeks later to Flair. Kerry also wrestled for several months in both the World Wrestling Federation (where he won the WWF Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam on August 27, 1990) and Global Wrestling Federation.

   Kerry committed suicide via a .44 caliber gunshot to the heart on February 18, 1993 on his father's ranch in Denton County, Texas. There is a marker placed by his father Fritz of an angel on the spot Kerry had shot himself. Bret Hart states in his biography, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling, that Kerry had told him months before about his plans, that he had wanted to follow his late brothers, that they were calling him. His marriage had fallen apart as well and he thought his death was inevitable. He is buried alongside his father.

COORDINATES
32° 47.257, -096° 43.146

Hilltop Section
Grove Hill Memorial Park
Dallas


   Mike Von Erich was the fifth son of Fritz Von Erich. He was born Michael Brett Adkisson on March 2, 1964 in Dallas, Texas. Mike replaced David in the feud the Von Erichs had with The Fabulous Freebirds following David's death. According to the documentary Heroes of World Class, Mike wanted to work for World Class as a cameraman and had no interest in being in the ring full-time. His only previous involvement on-screen was being involved in an angle where Ric Flair insulted him and wrestled him as a run-up, to what was planned, as David winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, but Fritz forced him into the ring after David's death.

   Mike was married on February 14, 1985 to Shani Danette Garza. Shortly after his wedding, Mike suffered a shoulder injury on a tour of Israel and was forced to have surgery. After the surgery it was discovered that he was suffering from Toxic shock syndrome, a rarity in men. He had to retire from wrestling after not being able to return to the ring at full strength. He committed suicide on April 12, 1987 in Denton County, Texas by overdosing on tranquilizers.

COORDINATES
32° 47.264 -096° 43.146

Hilltop Section
Grove Hill Memorial Park
Dallas


  Born Chris Barton Adkisson on September 30, 1969 in Dallas, Texas, Chris Von Erich was the youngest of the Von Erich family. Due to his short stature (5'4"), asthma, and extremely brittle bones that were prone to breaking, Chris was never able to reach the success his father and brothers reached. He made many attempts to succeed in the squared circle due to an incredible love of wrestling that kept him going despite numerous injuries. He managed one major feud with Percy Pringle in the USWA/World Class, but his career didn't take off like the rest of the family's. On occasion, he, his brothers Kerry and Kevin, and Chris Adams wrestled tag-team matches against Percy Pringle and Steve Austin, but Chris only wrestled Pringle, while the much more athletic Adams, Kerry or Kevin wrestled Austin.

   After several years of not being able to succeed in the wrestling business, Chris became depressed and frustrated. He was also heartbroken over the loss of his brother, Mike. In 1991, 18 days before his 22nd birthday, he committed suicide via gunshot to the head. Source

COORDINATES
32° 47.264, -096° 43.146

Hilltop Section
Grove Hill Memorial Park
Dallas