September 26, 2017

Greer Garson (1904-1996)

Famed actress Greer Garson was born Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson in London, England, on September 29, 1904. She was the only daughter of George Garson, a London clerk, and Nina Nancy Sophia Greer. Her father died in 1906. She attended East Ham Secondary School in London and the prestigious University of London, where she graduated with a B.A. and with honors in English in 1926. Though family members suggested that she might enter the teaching field, Garson had ambitions to become an actress. She did postgraduate work and studied French theater at Grenoble University in France in 1927. From 1927 to 1931 she worked at an advertising agency in London where she met another aspiring actor, George Sanders, who later starred in such films as The Gay Falcon and The Saint. She joined the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in late 1931 and made her stage debut in 1932. In just a few short years she landed starring roles in a number of West End productions on the London stage. During one of her productions, she caught the eye of MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer, who was desperate to find a leading lady to revitalize his studio with the impending departures of Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. Garson signed with MGM in 1937.

Garson’s first Hollywood production, Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), won her an Academy Award nomination. This began a remarkable run of five more Oscar nominations during the first half of the 1940s for her leading roles in Blossoms in the Dust (1941), Mrs. Miniver (1942), Madame Curie (1943), Mrs. Parkington (1944), and The Valley of Decision (1945). In 1942 she earned her only Oscar for playing the title role in Mrs. Miniver. Her portrayal of a British homemaker on the home front during World War II was a particular favorite of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Her remarks upon accepting the Oscar the longest recorded acceptance speech (5.5 minutes in length) in the Academy’s history, which afterward prompted organizers to place a cap on them. After her role in Madame Curie, which featured the popular pairing of Garson with actor Walter Pidgeon, she was pictured on the cover of Time magazine. Garson was honored as Hollywood’s most popular star in polls within the United States and throughout the world in 1944. Her star was waning, however, by the later 1940s. During the 1950s her movie efforts were regarded mostly with disappointment. Garson negotiated the end of her contract with MGM in 1953 after playing a small role in the blockbuster production of Julius Caesar. She made occasional television performances and in 1958 made her Broadway debut in Auntie Mame. Garson’s portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1960 movie Sunrise at Campobello earned her a final Oscar nomination.

Garson’s first marriage, to Edward Snelson in 1933, ended in divorce in 1940. In 1943 she married Richard Ney, who had played her son in Mrs. Miniver; the couple divorced in 1947. Garson's third and final marriage, this time to Texas millionaire oil executive and rancher E. E. “Buddy” Fogelson, occurred on July 15, 1949. The union lasted nearly forty years and only ended with Fogelson’s death from Parkinson’s disease in 1987. It was Fogelson who brought Garson to Texas, and she remained connected to Dallas for the rest of her life, although she split her time between Los Angeles and the ranch they shared near Pecos, New Mexico. Garson retired from acting permanently in 1980. During these years Garson was a generous financier and benefactor to the arts, with Dallas being the recipient of many of her greatest contributions. Garson donated millions of dollars to Southern Methodist University in Dallas and funded the Greer Garson Theatre (part of the Meadows School of the Arts) which opened in 1992. Because of her late husband's fight with Parkinson's, Garson had a strong desire to use her name and celebrity status to kindle public awareness of various medical conditions that needed the support of the community in order to make advancements and/or breakthroughs that could only be facilitated through research dollars. By the early 1990s, Garson, a valiant spokeswoman, championed these initiatives at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas. The Texas Health Presbyterian Foundation’s most recognized fund-raising event is the annual Greer Garson Gala, a signature event that seeks to raise money and support for programs and services of the hospital. Garson was a zealous healthcare advocate and vociferous supporter of medical research, healthcare, and education. On April 6, 1996, at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, Greer Garson passed away in the company of her close friend, pianist Van Cliburn. She was buried at the Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas. Garson's epitaph on her gravestone is a testament to her legacy: A Dignified Lady of Grace and Beauty/Her Wit, Charm and Talent/Thrilled the World and Touched/All Who Knew Her.  Source 

32° 52.163
-096° 46.761

Fogelson Triangle
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery

September 19, 2017

William Bluford DeWees (1799-1878)

William Bluford DeWees, pioneer settler and public official, was born in Virginia on September 8, 1799. He first visited Texas on a keelboat excursion up the Red River in 1819. In late 1821 he accompanied a group of four families from Arkansas to the Austin colony; the party arrived on the lower Brazos River on January 1, 1822. On August 3, 1824, DeWees and his partner, James Cook, who constituted one of the Austin colony's Old Three Hundred households, received title to a league of land on the Colorado River in the southern part of what is now Colorado County, about ten miles below Columbus. DeWees then obtained title to a second half league on the west bank of the river at the site of the Columbus township, on April 28, 1831. As property owner, developer, and early settler of the site he became known as a founder of Columbus. The census of 1825 listed him as a gunsmith, and he appears as a blacksmith in the census of 1826. In 1840 he held title to 1,207 acres, claimed another 887 acres under survey, and possessed a personal estate that included eleven slaves, thirty cattle, nine horses, and a carriage. DeWees traveled in Mexico in 1826 and 1827, then took up residence in San Antonio, where he lived for almost two years before returning to his home on the Colorado.

Beginning in 1837 he held a series of public offices in Colorado County, including justice of the peace, associate land commissioner, and associate justice of the county court. In 1865 he was again elected justice of the peace for Precinct 1 of Colorado County. Later that year he was appointed to a term as county treasurer by provisional governor A. J. Hamilton. But DeWees's political career and reputation were ruined in 1866 when he was charged by his successor with misappropriating $1,200 in county funds and was successfully sued for that amount in district court. His appeal of the decision was denied in 1870. DeWees married a daughter of Austin colonist Benjamin Beeson, probably named Lydia, in 1823 and eventually became the father of two children. His wife apparently died before 1850, and DeWees probably married a German immigrant named Angelica. In the early 1850s he covertly collaborated with writer Emmaretta Cara Kimball Crawford in producing a journal of his pioneering experiences that purported to be a compilation of his letters to a Kentucky resident named Cara Cardelle; this volume of dictated reminiscences, actually written by Emmaretta Kimball, was published in 1852 under the title Letters from an Early Settler of Texas to a Friend. DeWees died in Colorado County on April 14, 1878. Source

29° 42.328
-096° 33.071

Old City Cemetery

September 12, 2017

Charles "Tex" Harrison

Tex Harrison was born in Gary, Indiana, but Houston became his home when his parents, Alexander and Lullelia Walker Harrison, relocated to the historic Fifth Ward. He graduated from Phillis Wheatley High School in 1950, where he had been an incredible athlete in varsity basketball. He was recruited by North Carolina Central University on an athletic scholarship, and acquired his nickname "Tex" because because everything in Texas was bigger, and Harrison was 6'5". He was the first basketball player from an African-American institution to capture College All-American honors. He holds NCCU's second highest scoring record and was inducted into the university's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984. During his senior year, the Harlem Globetrotters noticed Tex when they played opposite him and his College All-American team during the World Series of Basketball. Once Tex graduated NCCU in 1954, he was drafted by the Globetrotters. In 1959, during the Cold War, the team received the Athletic Order of Lenin Medal, an event that solidified the Globetrotters as global ambassadors. Tex was a quick, exceptional rebounder and stellar exhibition dribbler who spent 18 years as a player before becoming the coach and advisor. He held these management positions for more than three decades. He joined his teammates on The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine, a 1974-75 Saturday morning variety show that featured the players singing, dancing, and performing comedy sketches.Harrison died at 81 years old in Houston. After his death, the Globetrotters retired his number and honored Harrison’s legacy by adding a band that read "TEX" on the players’ uniforms for a 2015 world tour.

29° 50.167
-095° 19.482

Block D
Golden Gate Cemetery

September 5, 2017

Lee Harvey Oswald (1939-1963)

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. He was buried in Fort Worth.. Source

32° 43.946
-097° 12.194 

Section 17
Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park
Fort Worth