February 26, 2013

Raul Anthony Chavez

   Raul Anthony Chavez Royval, noted Hispanic veteran, actor, scouter, television and advertising pioneer, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on February 14, 1926, the eldest son of Raul Chavez del Avellano and María Royval. He immigrated to the U.S. with his family to seek refuge from the turbulence that followed the Mexican Revolution. His family settled in Los Angeles, California, where Raul entered the parochial school system and was graduated from J.H. Francis Polytechnic. With the outbreak of WWII and influenced by his Sea Scout adventures, Raul joined the U.S. Navy, where he trained and served as a flight engineer and turret aerial gunner on PBM5 flying boat patrol bombers. He participated in the Okinawa campaign, preparations for the invasion of the Japanese mainland and reconnaissance over-flights of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

   At the conclusion of the war, Raul enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse School of Theater in California, under the auspices of the GI Bill, to study acting, radio and TV production. While at the Playhouse, he appeared in the world premiere, in English, of Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding. Among his credits in Hollywood were the 1948 pioneering TV drama, Space Patrol; the Lone Ranger; The Ruggles; But Not Goodbye; No Time for Comedy; Bird of Paradise and Beauty and the Beast. In 1951, he moved his young family to Mexico City to assist in the creation of Mexico's first TV broadcaster, XHTV Canal 4, and as the newscaster on XEB of the Noticiero General Motors and Paging the News on XEVIP. He was one of the first TV producers in Mexico with classic shows to his credit like the first live broadcasts of the Pan-American Races, the variety show El Estudio Raleigh with Pedro Vargas and the legendary classical music TV program El Concierto General Motors, broadcast live from El Palacio de Bellas Artes, featuring renowned artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Giuseppe Di Stefano and Adolfo Odnoposoff. His film credits during this period include the dubbing of La Malquerida and The Magnificent Seven. He also starred in the bi-lingual TV series Famous Guests, alongside Pedro Armendariz and Dolores del Rio.

   In 1974, the Raul returned to the US, settling in Dallas, and served as Director of Communications for the Boy Scouts of America at their national headquarters office in Irving, Texas until his retirement in 1989. Soon after retirement, he moved to Houston, reconnected with his acting career and was featured in commercials for many Dallas and Houston based corporations. In 1998, his voice was featured for all of the characters (except "the burro") in The Legend of the Christmas Flower, an animated film nominated for an Emmy. He passed away on November 25, 2012 in Houston, at the age of 86.

29° 55.836, -095° 26.805

Section C-13
Houston National Cemetery

February 19, 2013

Charles Elmer Doolin

   Charles Elmer Doolin, founder of the Frito Company, businessman, inventor, farmer, and board member, was born on January 10, 1903, in Kansas City, Kansas. He was the son of Charles Bernard Doolin and Daisy Dean (Stephenson) Doolin. When he was a small child, the family moved to San Antonio. C. E. Doolin graduated from Brackenridge High School. He married Faye Floree Richards in 1928, and their son Ronald Elmer Doolin was born in 1929. The marriage ended in 1941, and Doolin was awarded custody of Ronald.

   Doolin’s father, C. B. Doolin, was an engineer who invented a laminated fabric for tire casings (this may have been the precursor of the steel belt in steel-belted tires) and a mechanical oil can for automotive oil, among other things. He taught both of his sons (Charles Elmer Doolin and Earl Bernard Doolin) about mechanical engineering and about writing patent applications for their inventions. As a teenager, C. E. Doolin worked in his father’s auto repair garage/tire shop. He later used this early training to teach his sales force how to get more wear out of their tires. The family also owned the Highland Park Confectionery in San Antonio, and it was at the confectionery that the Frito corn chip was born.

   Ice cream sold at the confectionery wasn’t as creamy at it had been because the two companies who made it, Mistletoe Ice Cream and Dairyland, were engaging in a price war, and Doolin was looking for a new treat in order to diversify. On July 10, 1932, he responded to an ad in the San Antonio Express. The ad, placed by Gustavo Olguin, listed for sale an original recipe for fried corn chips along with an adapted potato ricer and nineteen retail accounts. Doolin sampled the chips at Olguin’s store. He liked them and bought the small business venture for $100. He began to manufacture the chips in his mother’s kitchen with the help of his father, mother, and brother Earl.

   At first the family made corn chips using Olguin’s adapted potato ricer and premade masa (corn dough) that they bought in bulk from a tortilla factory across town. They thinned the masa and extruded it through slots cut in the bottom plate of the ricer, then snipped the extruded ribbons of masa straight into boiling oil. They named their corn chips Fritos and chartered the Frito Company in September of 1932. In 1933 C. E. Doolin applied for a patent for a “hammer press” to mass produce the chips.

   Thanks to Doolin’s enterprising spirit, wide-ranging interests, and attention to detail, the company quickly expanded. By 1947 it had five manufacturing plants, including offices and a plant on the West Coast, and franchises all around the country, and it had expanded to include many new snack foods like roasted peanuts, peanut butter crackers, potato chips, and fried pork skins.

   C. E. Doolin came up with many innovations that are taken for granted as standard business practices today. These include his “store-door” delivery policy, which involved company salesmen stocking the product directly onto the shelves, and which he staunchly defended to grocery store managers who wanted to stock the shelves themselves. He pioneered the engineering of sales routes to assure that salesmen had adequate time for product servicing as well as their usual sales activities, and he was a leader in the area of research and development, investing substantially in research to improve performance of raw materials, manufacturing processes, and packaging. He also had the idea for clip-racks, which displayed fresh products within easy reach of customers, and he instructed his newly-minted marketing department to create signage, tear-sheets printed with Fritos-ingredient recipes, and seasonal and other grocery store displays (such as the stuffed “Frito Kid” model who rotated on a regular basis from store to store). In his travels he frequently made roadside stops to collect examples of effective or innovative advertising; he frequently brought examples back to the Fritos marketing department.

   Doolin had a reputation for fairness and generosity toward his employees. He considered - and called - them collectively the “Frito Family,” and he sold them discounted company shares, gave them sizable pensions, and often personally presented them with rewards for excellence or years of service. He mingled with his employees and invited them to socialize with each other regularly at holiday parties and other celebrations.

   The Frito Company purchased Champion Chili in 1952 and purchased controlling interest in Texas Tavern (which made bean dip, among other things) in 1956. The business of both canned food companies became the new Champion Foods Division of the Frito Company. (In 1962 Champion Foods became Austex Food Division.) C. E. Doolin had numerous plans for his newly-purchased canned food. He opened an experimental fast-food stand called Tango Dairy Mart, which served Mexican-inspired canned foods like chili, tamales, enchiladas, and bean dip, and became one of the first Tex-Mex fast food places in the country. It was also the first place in Dallas to have a microwave, known back then as a radarange. Doolin diversified into other fast food enterprises, buying Dixie Enterprises, which owned Pigstands - fast food places that served barbecue sandwiches and sold bags of Fritos on the counter attached to clip-racks - and Cheesesteak of Texas. He invented cup-shaped fried tortilla shells, called Ta-cups, and served them in the Tango Dairy Mart, Pigstands, and Cheesesteaks, because fold-over fried shells, or “walking tacos,” broke when customers bit into them.

   Doolin was an early investor in Disneyland, which opened in 1955, and built Casa de Fritos Restaurant in the amusement park. Casa de Fritos was first located across from the steamboat ride in ‘Main Street’ and later moved to a larger lot across from the exit to the jungle ride in Frontierland. At the restaurant they served the company’s canned Mexican-inspired foods and had a mechanical Frito Kid who talked, rolled his eyes, licked his lips, and dispensed small bags of Fritos.

   In 1945 Doolin married Mary Kathryn Coleman. They had five children: Charles, Earl, Kaleta, Willadean, and Patrick Daniel. In 1980 Patrick Daniel was killed in an auto accident at the age of twenty-three.

   Doolin was a follower of Dr. Herbert Shelton, an advocate of “natural hygiene”, an early system of alternative health practices. Doolin had an avid interest in what today is called health food and in the wholesomeness of the food his company manufactured.

   C. E. Doolin was a master entrepreneur and had numerous business interests. With the help of an agronomist, he worked on hybridizing to create corn with the perfect flavor and texture for his corn chips. He was also involved in improving the oil the company used for frying. He was one of the first importers of sesame oil and grew corn, soybean, safflower, and sesame crops for the health food market and for his vegetable oil blend. He was involved in developing, selling, and finding new uses for cold-rolled sesame oil, and he designed recipes for and made sesame candy for the health food market.

   He owned “Frito Farms” located throughout Texas. The farms were in Ellis County (near Midlothian); Denton County (near Lewisville); Guadalupe County (500 acres near Seguin); Grayson County (near Tioga); Atascosa County (near Poteet); and Dimmit County (1,200 acres near Big Wells). In an interview Doolin said, “The motivating factor for establishing the farms was cultivation of the soil, for from good soil grows good corn”. His interest in fostering a healthy environment led him to seek advice from the Texas Department of Agriculture about crop rotation, composting, and soil conservation, and to conduct experiments in these areas. The farms were also used to develop products for his businesses, to raise cattle and hogs, and to test his experimental animal feed on his own livestock. He also crossbred Brangus cattle and experimented with developing hog and cattle feeds from his own industrial waste byproducts, such as potato skins and stale chips, and from agricultural waste products such as ground mesquite trees, sesame hulls, and corn stalks.

   Doolin was a member of the Southwest Agricultural Institute. He was on the board of trustees of the Texas Research Foundation (the foundation developed TRF-3, a corn hybrid used in Fritos). He was a board member of Texas Bank and Trust Company, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Natural Food Associates (an organization to promote the growing and use of better foods from living soil), and American Natural Hygiene Society. He was a member of Texas Livestock Marketing Association of Fort Worth, San Antonio Inventors Association (charter member June 26, 1956), Dallas Athletic Club, Société des Gentilshommes Chefs de Cuisine, and National Food Distributors Association (Chicago). He was a trustee of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and committeeman of the Boy Scouts of America (Pack 579). He also belonged to the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce and was a sponsor member of the Dallas Council on World Affairs.

   The Frito Company became publically traded in 1953. C. E. Doolin served as president of the company until June 10, 1959, when he became the chairman of the board. His leadership had changed a small kitchen-operated business into a leader in the snack food industry.

   C. E. Doolin died of a heart attack on July 22, 1959, in Baylor Hospital in Dallas. He was fifty-six. He was buried in Restland Abbey (now Restland Memorial Park) in Dallas. At the time of his death the Frito Company employed 3,500 people and produced products throughout the nation and in foreign countries, with sales at an annual rate of $60 million. In 1961 the company merged with H. W. Lay and Company and became Frito-Lay. Source

32° 55.562, -096° 44.381

Abbey Mausoleum
Restland Memorial Park

February 12, 2013

Solon D. Neal

   Solon D. Neal, Medal of Honor recipient, was born in 1846 to Eli and May Neal at Hanover, New Hampshire. He attended Hanover public schools. He ran away from home in 1866, joined the United States Army, and served in Bonham, McKinney, Jefferson, and Greenville, Texas. In early 1870, with four years of cavalry experience, he was a private in Company L, Sixth United States Cavalry. After being relieved of duties as post librarian at Fort Richardson, he served under the command of Capt. Curwen B. McLellan against Kiowa and Comanche Indians. On July 12, after pursuing a band of Kiowas since July 6, the company was attacked by 250 Indians. The encounter became known as the battle of the Little Wichita River. On the afternoon of the thirteenth, after intense fighting since the afternoon before, sergeants May and Kirk, together with Corporal Watson and Private Neal, volunteered to clear a high point of Indian snipers who were obstructing the retreat of the army. Two of the snipers were killed. The four men held the hill until the command was safely past. Thirty minutes later the Indians quit fighting and rode away. Neal and twelve others were awarded the Medal of Honor for "Gallantry in Action" in this engagement. Neal was subsequently in and out of the army. He served with the Eleventh United States Infantry at Fort Richardson, with Company C, Eighth United States Cavalry at Fort Clark, with the Nineteenth and Sixteenth United States Infantry, and as ordinance sergeant at the Indianapolis Arsenal. He retired in 1897, returned to Texas, and resided in San Antonio at 106 Wyoming Street, the site of the Hemisfair '68 tower. He died on November 1, 1920, in the Station Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, and was buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. He left all his earthly wealth ($5,000) to the American Red Cross. Source

Gallantry in action.

29° 25.317, -098° 28.036

Section G
San Antonio National Cemetery
San Antonio