September 17, 2019

Harry John "Jitterbug" LaSane (1924-1984)

Jitterbug LaSane was born in Houston on September 30, 1924. At fifteen, he lied about his age and joined the Army in 1939 for a five-year period, serving nearly his entire enlistment during World War II. It was during this period he met Marcus Lockman, a pro/am boxer who went by the odd nickname "Kid Chicken". Lockman saw something in LaSane and guided him into boxing, with Lockman serving as his manager. Once LaSane finished his enlistment, he and Lockman began training in a small club in Asbury Park, New Jersey. His first professional match (as a featherweight) was on March 27, 1946, taking his opponent Darnell Carter to a six round draw. Two weeks later, he beat Carter by points, again in six rounds.

Jitterbug (he got his nickname for the way he bobbed and weaved), also briefly known as "The Houston Hurricane", was not a big puncher and depended on speed and defense for his success. The strategy worked, and by the age of 21 LaSane had a record of 26 fights, 24 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw. LaSane sustained his dominance well through 1950, and  by the end of the year his record was a very impressive 57 wins, 16 losses and 3 draws. For some reason, however, after that date he only managed a dismal record of 0 wins, 17 losses and 1 draw - no wins in eighteen bouts. He continued to struggle for the rest of his professional career, and at the time of his retirement in April 1954, his final record was 57 wins, 33 losses and 4 draws.

29° 55.849
-095° 26.153

Section 1
Houston National Cemetery

September 10, 2019

Harris Lee Wittels (1984-2015)

Harris Wittels was born in Oklahoma City on April 20, 1984, the son of Ellison and Maureen Wittels. He was raised in Houston in the Jewish faith and celebrated his bar mitzvah at Temple Emanu-El, across the street from Rice University. He attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and began doing stand-up comedy at Houston's Laff Stop. Upon graduation Wittles enrolled at Emerson College in Boston and studied television and video production. He graduated in 2006, and shortly afterwards moved to Los Angeles. After some time perfecting his routine at local comedy clubs, he met Sarah Silverman and, at age 22, became a writer on The Sarah Silverman Program in 2007. He began to make connections, selling comedy bits to other shows, and writing scripts for the 2007 and 2008 MTV Movie Awards. In 2010, Wittels coined the phrase "humblebrag" on Twitter, defining it as "the act of boasting about one's life and then downplaying it". The popularity of the feed led to a book, Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty, published in 2012.

When The Sarah Silverman Program ended in 2010, Wittels became a staff writer and executive story editor for Parks and Recreation during the show's second season. During the third and fourth seasons, he became co-director, then executive producer, as well as writing several episodes, while also appearing on the show as Harris, a dim-witted animal control employee. In 2012, he was cast as a co-star in Sarah Silverman's NBC pilot Susan 313 but the series was not picked up. Later in the year, he was hired as a consulting producer for the TV series Eastbound & Down and co-wrote two episodes. Wittels was a frequent guest on the Earwolf podcast Comedy Bang! Bang! and liked to read jokes and observations saved on his phone that were deemed to be not good enough for his act. When he wasn't working, he was the drummer for Don't Stop or We'll Die, providing backing vocals as needed. In August 2013, NBC picked up an untitled Wittels sitcom, about a slacker still living with his parents while dealing with his whiz kid younger brother, a multi-millionaire entrepreneur in high school.

On a November 19, 2014 interview on the You Made It Weird podcast, Wittels openly discussed his personal life and history of drug addiction, revealing that he had done drugs recreationally since he was twelve. His drug usage got out of hand because of a breakup with a woman he felt was perfect for him in every way, except that she and her family were Scientologists, which he described as a deal-breaker. He began to rely on oxycodone to deal with his stress over the relationship, his work on various television pilots, and writing the Humblebrag book. He had gone to rehab twice after becoming addicted to heroin, and had just gotten out a month earlier. On February 18, 2015, during his stand-up set at The Meltdown, he talked about living sober and said he was in "a good place". The next morning he was found dead in his Los Angeles home. The toxicology report later confirmed that he died of a heroin overdose. Source

29° 40.675
-095° 31.520

Section 7
Emanu-El Memorial Park

September 3, 2019

Cedric C. Haywood (1914-1969)

Cedric Haywood was born in Houston on December 31, 1914 to Joseph and Matilda (Harris) Haywood. His musical abilities revealed themselves at an early age, and his parents supplied him with piano lessons throughout his childhood. His professional career began in 1934, when he joined Chester Boone's band. The following year he moved on to Milt Larkin's band, an association that continued until 1940. During his tenure with Larkin, his fellow bandmates included future jazz legends Illinois Jacquet, Tom Archia, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson and Arnett Cobb. With the experience he gained working with these men, Haywood honed his craft and learned the value of showmanship and dedication. Around the turn of the decade he played with Floyd Ray, Lionel Hampton and Sidney Bechet before briefly returning to the Larkin combo in 1942. He moved to California in the mid-40s and played with a variety of local bands before joining the U.S. Army to fight in World War II. Starting in 1948, his main associate was ; they moved together with Saunders King through several different bands before hooking up with Jacquet again. During the 1950s, he worked with Jacquet, Cal Tjader, and Kid Ory, touring with Ory on a pair of long European tours. At this time he began to explore the possibilities of freelance composing and arranging as well. Early in the 1960s he became a regular partner with Brew Moore, then moved back to Houston in 1963. The last six years of his life were spent leading his own band at Club Ebony in his hometown, at one point even recording with the hard to follow bluesman Lightning Hopkins. Haywood passed away in Houston on September 9, 1969 and buried in the veteran's cemetery there.

29° 55.809
-095° 27.040

Section C
Houston National Cemetery

August 27, 2019

Joseph Sovereign (1810-1877)

Captain Sovereign was born in Portugal in 1790. Nothing else is known of him until the age of 45. In December 1835, he arrived in Texas for the first time before moving to New Orleans, where he joined Captain John M. Allen's volunteer company in late February, 1836. A few days later, upon arrival in Texas, the company was reorganized and Sovereign was assigned to Captain William S. Fisher's Company with the rank of private. He officially enlisted in the Texian Army on March 16. It was with Fisher's company that he fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. Evidently he was an excellent soldier, because on August 1st he was already commanding a company in Colonel C. L. Harrison's regiment. Sovereign remained in the Army until June 16, 1838. Over the next two decades, Sovereign moved between New Orleans and Texas. In April 1860, a San Antonio newspaper reported that a man known as "Portuguese Joe" (Sovereign) was shot twice with a revolver in the house of a Mexican by someone called Printer. Shortly after this nearly fatal incident, Sovereign may have gone to New Orleans for better medical treatment for his wounds. He was living in Galveston when he applied for his pension on August 13, 1870. After his arrest in New Orleans for violating a city ordinance against illegal gambling. He moved back to Texas for the final time and settled in Houston. On May 23, 1873, Sovereign attended the first annual reunion of the Texas Veterans Association, held in Houston. He died on January 16, 1877 of what was referred to as "exhaustion due to a lack of food or water" on his death certificate.

Note: Unmarked. Founders Memorial Park, originally founded in 1836 as Houston's first city cemetery, was rapidly filled due to a yellow fever epidemic and closed to further burials around 1840. The cemetery became neglected over a period of time, often vandalized and was heavily damaged by the 1900 hurricane. In 1936, despite a massive clean up effort, a century of neglect had taken its toll. The vast majority of grave markers were either destroyed or missing and poor record keeping prevented locating individual graves. Several cenotaphs were placed in random areas throughout the park in honor of the more high-profile citizens buried there, but a great number of graves go unmarked to this day. Joseph Sovereign's is one of them.


Founders Memorial Park

August 20, 2019

James Stephen Hogg (1851-1906)

James Stephen Hogg, the first native governor of Texas, was born near Rusk on March 24, 1851, the son of Lucanda (McMath) and Joseph Lewis Hogg. He attended McKnight School and had private tutoring at home until the Civil War. His father, a brigadier general, died at the head of his command in 1862, and his mother died the following year. Hogg and two of his brothers were left with two older sisters to run the plantation. Hogg spent almost a year in 1866 near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, going to school. After returning to Texas, he studied with Peyton Irving and worked as the typesetter in Andrew Jackson's newspaper office at Rusk. There he perfected his spelling, improved his vocabulary, and was stimulated by the prose and poetry contributions of his brother Thomas E. Hogg, who was studying law. Gradually, the family estate had to be sold to pay taxes and buy food, clothes, and books while the brothers tried to prepare themselves to earn a living by agriculture and practicing law as their father had done. While helping the sheriff at Quitman, Hogg earned the enmity of a group of outlaws, who lured him over the county line, ambushed him, and shot him in the back. He recovered and turned again to newspaper work in Tyler, after which he ran his own papers in Longview and Quitman from 1871 to 1873, fighting subsidies to railroads, the corruption of the Ulysses S. Grant  He served as justice of the peace at Quitman from 1873 to 1875. He studied law and was licensed in the latter year. Meanwhile, he had married Sallie Stinson; four children were born to them. Hogg received his only defeat in a contest for public office in 1876, when he ran against John S. Griffith for a seat in the Texas legislature. He was elected county attorney of Wood County in 1878 and served from 1880 to 1884 as district attorney for the old Seventh District, where he became known as the most aggressive and successful district attorney in the state.

In the national campaign of 1884 he succeeded in winning enough black votes from the Republicans to make Smith County a Democratic stronghold. Despite a popular move for Hogg to go to Congress, he declined to run for public office in 1884 and entered private practice in Tyler, where he worked first with John M. Duncan and afterward with Henry Marsh. In 1886 his friends urged him to run for attorney general. His father's connections with the older political leaders made it easy for Hogg to be admitted to their councils, and he received the Democratic nomination and was elected. As attorney general, Hogg encouraged new legislation to protect the public domain set aside for the school and institutional funds, and he instituted suits that finally returned over a million and a half acres to the state. He sought to enforce laws providing that railroads and land corporations sell their holdings to settlers within certain time limits and succeeded in breaking up the Texas Traffic Association, which was formed by the roads to pool traffic, fix rates, and control competing lines, in violation of the laws. He forced "wildcat" insurance companies to quit the state and aided legitimate business generally. He helped to write the second state antitrust law in the nation and defended the Texas Drummer Tax Law before the United States Supreme Court, but lost. He managed to regain control of the East Line and Red River Railroad, despite Jay Gould's delaying actions, by making use of federal receivers. Hogg forced the restoration to Texas of railroad headquarters and shops, as a result of which depots and road aids were repaired or rebuilt, and he gradually compelled the railroads to respect Texas laws. Finally, seeing that neither the legislature nor his small office force could effectively carry out the laws to protect the public interest against powerful corporate railway interests, he advocated the establishment of the Railroad Commission and was elected governor on this platform in 1890.

While governor, from 1891 to 1895, Hogg did much to strengthen public respect for law enforcement, defended the Texas claim to Greer County, and championed five major pieces of legislation. The "Hogg Laws" included the law establishing the Railroad Commission; the railroad stock and bond law cutting down on watered stock; the law forcing land corporations to sell off their holdings in fifteen years; the Alien Land Law, which checked further grants to foreign corporations in an effort to get the land into the hands of citizen settlers; and the act restricting the amount of indebtedness by bond issues that county and municipal groups could legally undertake. In order to encourage investment in Texas, he traveled to New York, Boston, and Philadelphia explaining to businessmen and chambers of commerce the laws and advantages of the state. He was ever solicitous for the welfare of the common schools, the University of Texas, and Texas A&M. He also manifested earnest attention to the normals and to appointments to teacher-training scholarships. Always interested in the history of Texas, he succeeded in obtaining financial aid for a division of state archives and appointed C. W. Raines to supervise the collection and preservation of historical materials. Without any real difficulty Hogg could have become a United States senator in 1896, but he was content to return to private practice.

After his wife died in 1895, he invited his older sister, Mrs. Martha Frances Davis, to come to his home to help rear his children. Though he was in debt when he relinquished the governor's chair to his attorney general, Charles A. Culberson, Hogg was able to build up a sizable family fortune by his law practice and wise investments in city property and oil lands. He successfully inculcated in his children a worthy interest in individual and public welfare as evidenced by numerous gifts to the University of Texas and various services to Texas as a whole, as well as to the cities of Houston and Austin. Although Hogg sought no other public office, he was always interested in good government. He aided William Jennings Bryan in the 1896 and 1900 campaigns and spoke on Bryan's behalf before Tammany Hall in 1900. Hogg had long been an advocate of an isthmian canal and increased trade for Texas to South America and the Orient via Hawaii, which he had visited after the Spanish-American War. He also championed progressive reforms in Texas in a famous speech at Waco on April 19, 1900. The meeting had been packed against him, but he insisted upon his right to speak and persisted until the crowd heard him. He pleaded for three separate principles: that no insolvent corporation should do business in Texas; that the free-pass system over the railroads should forever terminate; and that the use of corporate funds in politics and in support of lobbies at Austin should be prohibited. At the end of a trying evening, he had won the audience over to his views.

In 1901 he addressed the legislature on these progressive political principles, and in 1903 he rented the Hancock Opera House in Austin to plead again for their adoption. He raised questions about railroad mergers and consolidations and the unblushing use of lobbying and the corroding influences of the free pass. In conclusion he implored, "Let us have Texas, the Empire State, governed by the people; not Texas, the truck-patch, ruled by corporate lobbyists." At La Porte, on September 6, 1904, he prophetically spoke of the new role of labor in the twentieth century. After the oil boom at Beaumont and a trip to England in connection with his expanding business interests in South Texas, Hogg gave up his partnership with Judge James H. Robertson in Austin and moved to Houston, where he formed the firm of Hogg, Watkins, and Jones. He continued his political interests but was hurt in a railroad accident, after which he was never well again. One of his last public addresses was at the banquet in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt at Dallas on April 5, 1905, when two of the finest leaders of their parties met and exchanged respects. During the State Fair of Texas that year, Hogg was expected to speak before the Legislative Day banquet, but he was taken ill and confined to his hotel room in Fort Worth. Arrangements were made by his daughter for a phonograph recording of remarks for use in Dallas. In this address he summarized his political views. Among other points, he called for the permanent establishment of rotation in office, the prohibition of nepotism, equality of taxation, the suppression of organized lobbying in Austin, steps to make "corporate control of Texas" impossible, and open records that would "disclose every official the end that everyone shall know that, in Texas, public office is the center of public conscience, and that no graft, no crime, no public wrong, shall ever stain or corrupt our State." On March 3, 1906, Hogg died in the home of his partner, Frank Jones, at Houston. Source

30° 16.677
-097° 43.602

Section 3
Oakwood Cemetery

August 13, 2019

George Herbert Walker Bush (1924-2019)

George H. W. Bush, forty-first president of the United States, was born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts. He was the second of five children of Prescott Sheldon Bush and Dorothy (Walker) Bush. George Bush was named for his maternal grandfather, George Herbert Walker, and he had two middle names because his parents couldn’t decide whether to name him George Herbert Bush or George Walker Bush. Bush grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he attended Greenwich Country Day School. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He played baseball and soccer and was president of his senior class. When the United States entered World War II following the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, Bush was eager to enlist in the military. At the age of eighteen and just after graduation, he volunteered to join the United States Navy. He completed his preflight training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in June 1943 was commissioned an ensign and thus became one of the youngest aviators in the U. S. Navy. He was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT 51) in the Pacific Theater and carried out missions as pilot of a TBM Avenger torpedo bomber off the aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto. On August 1, 1944, he was promoted to lieutenant junior grade. On September 2, 1944, over the Pacific island of Chichi Jima, Bush’s airplane was struck by anti-aircraft gunfire and caught fire. According to Bush’s account, he ordered his two crewmates, William “Ted” White and John Delaney, to put on their parachutes and bail out. Bush did the same and landed in the ocean. He kicked off his shoes to reduce his weight and inflated his life jacket. Then he swam to an uninflated life raft, which he inflated and climbed aboard. He was rescued by the submarine USS Finback. Both his crewmates were killed. The episode deeply affected Bush, who said he always wondered why he was spared. He returned to the USS San Jacinto in November 1944 and, in total, flew fifty-eight combat missions. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation (awarded to USS San Jacinto). Upon his return to the United States, he was assigned to a training wing for new torpedo pilots in Norfolk, Virginia.

When Bush returned from the war, he married Barbara Pierce in Rye, New York, on January 6, 1945. The two had met at a Christmas dance in 1941. After his discharge from military service, George Bush went to Yale University, where he played varsity baseball, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, joined the exclusive Skull and Bones society, and earned his degree in economics in 1948. After graduating from Yale, Bush decided not to follow his father into the investment banking business. He wanted to try something different. In 1948 George, Barbara, and their young son George Walker moved to Odessa, Texas, where he began his oil and gas career as a clerk with IDECO (International Derrick and Equipment Company, a subsidiary of Dresser Industries), for a $375 per month salary. Bush worked his way up in the business. In 1950 the Bush family moved to Midland and grew to include John Ellis (Jeb), Neil Mallon, Marvin Pierce, and Dorothy Walker Bush. Another daughter, Pauline Robinson (Robin) Bush, died at the age of three of leukemia in 1953. With partner John Overbey, George H. W. Bush founded an oil exploration company, Bush-Overbey Oil Development, Inc., that later merged with another enterprise to form Zapata Petroleum in 1953 and Zapata Offshore Company in 1954. In 1959 the family moved to Houston, where Bush continued his oil and gas career. He eventually resigned as chief executive officer of Zapata in 1966. Inspired by his father, who by this time was a Republican U.S. senator from Connecticut, Bush wanted to go into politics himself. He began his political career when he was elected Harris County Republican Party chairman.

In 1964 he ran for the United States Senate but lost to incumbent Texas senator Ralph Yarborough. Two years later, Bush was elected to the first of two terms as U.S. representative from West Houston. In 1970 President Richard M. Nixon persuaded Bush to try again for the Senate against Yarborough. Bush decided to run, but the more conservative Lloyd Bentsen upset Yarborough in the Democratic primary and defeated Bush in the general election. Nixon nominated Bush for U. S. ambassador to the United Nations, and he was confirmed in 1971. This was the first of several appointed positions that Bush would hold over the next few years. Nixon in 1973 named him Republican National Committee chairman, and Bush defended Nixon during the Watergate crisis. When it was disclosed that Nixon did in fact know about the Watergate cover-up, Bush wrote Nixon on August 7, 1974, urging him to resign. Nixon announced the next day his intention to do. Upon succeeding Nixon as president, Gerald Ford asked Bush at which foreign post he wanted to serve. Bush chose China and served as head of the U.S. Liaison Office there. In 1976 Ford appointed Bush director of the Central Intelligence Agency. When Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976, Bush offered to remain as director but left the office in 1977 when Carter named his own appointee. Bush returned to Houston. George H. W. Bush sought the 1980 Republican presidential nomination but lost to former California governor Ronald Reagan, who asked Bush to be his vice-presidential running mate. Bush accepted, and the Reagan-Bush ticket won the general election and handily won reelection in 1984.

As vice president, Bush oversaw a number of task forces to address the reduction of federal regulations and to assess drug policies, and he traveled the world as a representative foreign dignitary. In 1988 Vice President George Bush was eager to succeed Reagan, who left under term limits. The odds against Bush were long, as no sitting vice president had been directly elected to the presidency since Martin Van Buren in 1836. Bush won the Republican nomination, and in November he defeated the Democratic nominee, Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, to win the presidency. Some historians have suggested that Bush’s presidency, from 1989 to 1993, focused on foreign policy. The Cold War, which had divided the United States and its allies against the Soviet Union and its allies, had been going on since the end of World War II. Bush worked closely with other Western leaders to manage the process as the Soviet Union and its allies were collapsing politically. Of particular interest was the reunification of Germany, which had been divided since the end of World War II. He believed that bringing East Germany and West Germany together would mark the true end of World War II. “German reunification had a very personal meaning to me,” Bush said. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989. In late 1989 Bush authorized the U. S. Army to spearhead Operation Just Cause, in which troops were sent to Panama to apprehend its dictator Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega on narcotics trafficking charges. This marked the largest U. S. combat operation since the Vietnam War. In 1990 the Iraqi army, on the orders of dictator Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait, a small, neighboring nation to the southeast. Hussein’s intention was to turn Iraq, and by extension himself, into a more significant player on the regional and world stage because Iraq under Hussein would control 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves. Bush assembled a coalition of nations to send their military forces to the Middle East. Operation Desert Storm, launched in January 1991, successfully drove the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.

He also signed with the Soviet Union the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty to reduce nuclear arsenals in 1991, and he negotiated a second treaty with Russia in 1992 and signed it in early 1993. While his actions in the arena of foreign policy generally won praise, his cautious response to the killing of pro-democracy student demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, in the spring of 1989 drew some criticism in that he did not push for severe sanctions against the Communist regime. Despite his triumphs on the world stage and the passage of the civil rights legislation Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, Bush faced increased instability and critical scrutiny on the domestic front. The U.S. economy was in recession, and his political opponents were quick to seize the opportunity. They accused him of being out of touch and projecting a “patrician image.” A Bush gaffe helped. In his 1988 nomination acceptance speech, Bush vowed, “Read my lips: no new taxes.” Dukakis recalled in the post-election courtesy meeting, Bush said there was no way that he (Bush) could raise taxes in the first year. Dukakis said he realized then that the “read my lips” promise was only a temporary one. Bush wanted to reduce the federal budget deficit. The 1990 budget deal Bush brokered with Congress did that through both spending cuts and a tax increase. But his critics were upset that he broke his word and raised taxes. During the Republican primary race for the 1992 presidential nomination, the politically-moderate Bush faced a strong primary opponent in conservative Patrick Buchanan. After winning his party’s nomination for a second term, Bush found himself in a three-way race with Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Dallas businessman Ross Perot, who was running as an independent. Clinton won the race - the first Democrat to be elected president since Carter in 1976. In 1993 Bush left the White House; he retired to Houston and also spent time at the family home at Kennebunkport, Maine. He was disappointed over his loss, but his setback set the stage for his sons to serve in public office.

Son George W. Bush in 1994 was elected Texas governor, defeating incumbent governor Ann Richards. Bush was reelected in 1998 and in 2000 defeated Vice President Al Gore to become the forty-third president of the United States. George H. W. and George W. Bush became the first father and son to serve as president since John and John Quincy Adams in the nineteenth century. Bush became known, informally, as “Bush 41,” while his son was known as “Bush 43.” The elder Adams died while his son was in office. George H.W. Bush lived through all eight years of his son’s presidency. Bush’s second son, Jeb, served two terms as Florida governor, from 1999 to 2007, and unsuccessfully sought the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. In retirement George H. W. Bush enjoyed golfing and speedboating and famously made parachute jumps to celebrate his seventy-fifth, eightieth, eighty-fifth, and ninetieth birthdays. The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened on the campus of Texas A&M University in 1997. He authored (or co-authored) several books, including A World Transformed (1998), All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings (1999), and The China Diary of George H. W. Bush: The Making of a Global President (2008). He partnered with former president Bill Clinton to raise money for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina victims on the Gulf Coast and also participated in other disaster relief efforts. Bush received numerous honors from countries throughout the world. Houston’s Intercontinental Airport was renamed George Bush Intercontinental Airport in 1997. The headquarters for the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia, was officially named for him in 1999. A new Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS George H. W. Bush, was commissioned by the U. S. Navy on January 10, 2009. President George H. W. Bush received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony on February 15, 2011. When Robin Bush died in 1953, George and Barbara Bush buried her in a family plot in Greenwich, Connecticut. After attending former President Nixon’s funeral in 1994, George and Barbara decided that they should be buried at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University. They created a small family cemetery on the library grounds and had Robin’s remains relocated there in May 2000. Barbara Bush died April 17, 2018. George H.W. Bush died at his home in Houston on November 30, 2018. After a state funeral at Washington National Cathedral on December 5, he was transported to College Station and, in a private ceremony, buried in the family cemetery on the library grounds on December 6, 2018. Source

30° 35.874
-096° 21.030

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
College Station

August 6, 2019

Keven “Dino” Conner (1974-2003)

Born November 18, 1974, Dino Conner grew up in Houston's notorious Yellowstone neighborhood on the south side of the city. While attending Jack Yates High School in 1991, Keven and his twin brother Solomon, formed a band with mutual friend Darryl Jackson. Calling themselves The Gents, the trio recorded their first album It's No Dream with producer Phil Blackmon. Shazam (Solomon) was chosen as lead singer at the time of recording this album, which featured the ballad A Time for Us; unfortunately, the album was not successful. They performed at local talent shows and plays until a local producer sent a demo tape to record label executive Luther "Luke" Campbell, formerly of the rap group 2 Live Crew. After an impromptu audition, Campbell signed the group to his label, Luke Records. Bishop "Stick" Burrell became their producer and made Dino the lead singer, seeing his potential and rare voice as the formula for success, and built their sound around him. They changed the name of their group to H-Town, a local nickname for the city of Houston, in which they grew up.

H-Town's debut album Fever for Da Flavor was released on April 15, 1993. The group achieved hit status with their very first single Knockin' Da Boots, which became H-Town's biggest hit and signature song. Knockin' Da Boots was a #1 hit on the R&B charts, and peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, Lick U Up, the band's follow-up single, peaked at only #21. They signed on as a part of the 1993 Coca-Cola Summer fest tour, which also included Shai, SWV, Jade, Naughty by Nature, LL Cool J and Silk. In 1994, H-Town won the Soul Train Music Award for Best New Artist. They were featured on the Above the Rim soundtrack with their single Part Time Lover, which peaked at #9 on the R&B charts. In late 1993, H-Town returned to the studio to record their second album Beggin' After Dark, later released on November 8, 1994. The most popular single from this album was Emotions, which hit #11 on the Billboard R&B charts and #51 on the Hot 100. After recording a cover version of The Persuaders song A Thin Line Between Love and Hate for the 1996 film of the same name - the song became H-Town's first Top 40 pop hit in three years - the group underwent some changes. They cut ties with Luther Campbell, underwent a spiritual awakening of sorts, and became more aware of women's issues on their third album Ladies Edition. Released on October 28, 1997, the general theme of Ladies Edition centers on a man's penitence for his past transgressions with his woman, a theme conveyed in songs such as Don't Sleep on the Female, Julie Rain, and Jezebel. According to the liner notes, the album was dedicated to Nicole Brown Simpson and "all the women of the world." Twenty national women's telephone helplines were listed on the back cover. Their one and only single from the album, They Like It Slow, peaked at #35 on the Hot 100.

On January 28, 2003, Keven and his pregnant girlfriend, Teshya Rae Weisent, had just left the recording studio when their vehicle was hit by an SUV that ran a red light. Teshya Rae died upon impact; Keven died en route to the hospital. The three people in the SUV fled. One of them was later apprehended and charged with a felony for failing to stop and render assistance. Two weeks before his death, Keven recorded a song titled, The Day I Die. H-Town's fourth album Imitations of Life which was later released on October 12, 2004. On December 1, 2016, 4 tracks from what was to be Dino's solo album You're My Morning Star were released on iTunes under Mindtaker Entertainment. His girlfriend Teshya is featured on some of tracks. Source

29° 44.449
-095° 36.465

Section 500
Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery

July 30, 2019

Daniel James Moody (1893-1966)

Dan Moody, governor of Texas, was born at Taylor, Texas, on June 1, 1893, the son of Daniel James and Nannie Elizabeth (Robertson) Moody. He graduated from Taylor High School and attended the University of Texas from 1910 to 1914, taking law courses during the last two years. He was admitted to the bar in 1914 and began practice in Taylor with Harris Melasky. His early career was interrupted by service in World War I, during which he served as second lieutenant and captain in the Texas National Guard and second lieutenant in the United States Army. He returned to his practice after the war and in 1920 entered upon a period of public service. He was the youngest elected to several successive public offices: county attorney of Williamson County, 1920-22; district attorney of the Twenty-sixth Judicial District, 1922-25; attorney general of Texas, 1925-27; and governor of Texas, elected for two terms, 1927-31. During his term as district attorney of the Twenty-sixth Judicial District, which included Williamson and Travis counties, at the peak of Ku Klux Klan agitation, he prosecuted a group for criminal activities allegedly connected with the Klan and sent some of them to prison. He achieved statewide recognition for these prosecutions and, despite Klan opposition, was elected attorney general at the start of the first administration of Governor Miriam A. Ferguson.

State highway-contract scandals developed within a few months, and the attorney general prosecuted cases to set aside "unconscionable" highway contracts. After these cases were won, he became the likely candidate to oppose Mrs. Ferguson when she sought a second term. The campaign has been characterized as one of the most spectacular in Texas history. Moody's platform supported prohibition, woman suffrage, and other anti-Ferguson positions. After winning the first 1926 primary with 49.9 percent of the vote, Moody defeated Ferguson 495,723 to 270,595 in a runoff. He won renomination for the governorship in the first Democratic primary of 1928 with a clear majority. In the presidential campaign of 1928 the state Democratic party was rent with dissension on the prohibition and Catholic issues. Despite Governor Moody's appeals for support of the Democratic slate from top to bottom, Herbert Hoover won Texas. As governor, Moody pursued a strong reform program. He halted a liberal convict-pardon policy initiated by the Fergusons; he also inaugurated a reorganization of prison management. He instituted a complete reorganization of the state highway system, including a program for a connected network of roads; the cost of highways was cut by almost half from that under the Ferguson administration. The office of state auditor and the auditing of state accounts were begun during his administration. Although his proposals were in accord with the thought of the progressive forces of his time, he was not successful in changes he proposed in the Constitution and laws, such as a strong civil service law, the reorganization of the state government, the authorization of the governor to appoint executive officers elected under the Constitution of 1876, and constitutional change to permit the legislature to enact laws separating the subjects of taxation. He also wanted to relocate all state prison properties in a central penal colony near Austin.

In 1931, when he retired from the governorship, he remained in Austin and again entered private law practice. At the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, he served as special assistant to the United States attorney general, in charge of prosecuting income-tax-evasion cases in Louisiana. He represented Texas in State of Texas v New Mexico, a boundary dispute, and represented the governor of Texas in cases involving the right of the governor to declare martial law in the mid-1930s. He last entered active politics in the primary of 1942 as a candidate for the United States Senate against former governors W. Lee O'Daniel and James Allred. Moody came in third in the race. It was his only political defeat. He became a recognized leader of opposition to the New Deal and the renomination of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. Although most of the conservative "Texas Regular" delegates in the convention walked out, Moody, an organizer of this anti-Roosevelt movement, did not. He stayed on and cast half of the Texas nominating votes for a conservative presidential aspirant; then he stayed within the Democratic party in the general election. He represented former Governor Coke R. Stevenson in his unsuccessful legal challenge to Lyndon B. Johnson's narrow victory over Stevenson in the controversial 1948 United States Senate election. Although a Democrat, he supported Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower for president in 1952 and 1956 and Republican Richard M. Nixon in 1960. Moody served on numerous committees of the State Bar of Texas. One that he chaired was the special committee to study all phases of the lawyer-client relationship when the lawyer is a member of the legislature. The University of Texas School of Law honored him in 1959 by dedicating its Law Day activities to him. He served as a trustee of the University of Texas Law School Foundation. Moody married Mildred Paxton of Abilene on April 20, 1926, and they had two children. He died on May 22, 1966, in Austin and was buried in the State Cemetery. Source

30° 15.910
-097° 43.635
Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

July 23, 2019

Ralph Webster Yarborough (1903-1996)

"Smilin' Ralph" Yarborough, United States senator and leader of the liberal wing of the Democratic party in Texas, was born at Chandler, Texas, on June 8, 1903, the seventh of nine children of Charles Richard and Nannie Jane (Spear) Yarborough. He attended local schools and developed a youthful fascination for military history. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1919 but dropped out the following year. He taught school for a time while attending classes at Sam Houston State Teachers College, paid his way through the University of Texas by working at various jobs, and graduated from the law school in 1927. Yarborough married Opal Warren in 1928; they had one son. After several years with an El Paso law firm that included William Henry Burges and William Ward Turney among its partners, Yarborough was hired as an assistant attorney general in 1931 and was given special responsibility for the interests of the Permanent School Fund. Over the next four years he gained recognition by winning several cases against the Magnolia Petroleum Company and other major oil companies and successfully establishing the right of public schools and universities to oil-fund revenues. The million-dollar settlement he won in the Mid-Kansas case was the second-largest in Texas history at that time, and his work ultimately secured billions of dollars for public education.

In 1936 Governor James Allred appointed Yarborough to a state district judgeship in Austin; Yarborough was elected to that office later the same year. He made his first bid for statewide elective office in 1938, when he came in third in the race for attorney general. He served in the Texas National Guard in the 1930s and joined the United States Army in World War II; he served in Europe and the Pacific in the Ninety-seventh Division and ended the war as a lieutenant colonel with a Bronze Star and a Combat Medal. After the surrender he spent eight months with the military government of occupation in Japan. In 1946 he returned to Austin and resumed law practice. In the Democratic primary of 1952 Yarborough challenged incumbent governor R. Allan Shivers and lost. The campaign was the first of many in one-party Texas in which Yarborough was aligned with the progressive or liberal wing of the Democratic party against conservatives like Shivers. A second primary loss to Shivers in 1954 was characterized by harsh campaign attacks on both sides, as Yarborough accused Shivers of wrongdoing in the Veterans Land Board Scandal and Shivers countered by claiming that Yarborough supported integration and was backed by Communist labor unions. He lost another bid for the governorship to senator Marion Price Daniel, Sr., in 1956 in a close run-off campaign. When Daniel vacated his senatorial seat in 1957, Yarborough joined the field for the office with twenty-one other candidates and squeaked through the primary with 38 percent of the vote to join Lyndon B. Johnson in the Senate. Yarborough received the support of organized labor, the newly organized Democrats of Texas, and the recently founded Texas Observer.

In the Senate, Yarborough established himself as a very different Democrat than the majority of his southern colleagues. After refusing to support a resolution opposing desegregation, he became one of only five southern senators to vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He defeated wealthy conservative Democrat William A. "Dollar Bill" Blakley in the primary and Republican Ray Wittenburg in the election to win a full term in 1958. In 1960 Yarborough sponsored the Senate resolution leading to the Kennedy-Nixon television debate, a crucial event in the election and a model for subsequent presidential campaigns. In 1963 Yarborough was present at the Kennedy assassination; many believe his feud with conservative governor John B. Connally led to his sitting in the second car in the motorcade rather than with the president. Yarborough defeated George H. W. Bush, future president of the United States, in the senatorial race of 1964. In his years in the senate Yarborough supported many of the key bills of LBJ's Great Society and pressed for legislative action in the fields of civil rights, education, public health, and environmental protection. He voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was one of only three southerners to support the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Yarborough served for years on the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee, of which he became chairman in 1969. He sponsored or cosponsored the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965), the Higher Education Act (1965) the Bilingual Education Act (1967), and the updated GI Bill of 1966. He was also an advocate for such public-health measures as the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Community Mental Health Center Act, and the National Cancer Act of 1970.

A strong supporter of preserving the environment, he co-wrote the Endangered Species Act of 1969 and sponsored the legislation establishing three national wildlife sanctuaries in Texas - Padre Island National Seashore (1962), Guadalupe Mountains National Park (1966), and Big Thicket National Preserve (1971). His interest in the preservation of Texas historical sites led him to sponsor bills to make Fort Davis, Jeff Davis County and the Alibates Flint Quarries national monuments. Through his support of the social welfare legislation of the 1960s Yarborough further identified himself with the goals of the national Democratic party and further distanced himself from the moderate-conservative state Democratic party. In 1970 Lloyd Bentsen, Jr., upset him in the senatorial primary and went on to gain the Senate seat. Yarborough's last attempt at political office, a run at John G. Tower's Senate seat in 1972, did not make it past the primary, where he was defeated by Barefoot Sanders. Yarborough returned to the practice of law in Austin. As an avid bibliophile and collector of Western Americana and Texana, he amassed a substantial library and numbered J. Frank Dobie among his friends and supporters. Dobie called Yarborough "perhaps the best-read man that Texas has ever sent to Washington." Yarborough wrote an introduction to Three Men in Texas: Bedichek, Webb and Dobie (1967) and contributed to Lincoln for the Ages (1964). He died in Austin on January 27, 1996. and buried in the State Cemetery. He is regarded by many as one of the great figures in the Texas progressive tradition, a gregarious politician who campaigned in the old energetic, back-slapping style and who cared deeply about the social welfare of the people and believed that it could be significantly improved through government action. Source

30° 15.928
-097° 43.617

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

July 16, 2019

"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott (1966-2004)

Guitarist and producer Darrell Lance Abbott was born in Arlington, Texas, on August 20, 1966 to  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 (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 Dimebag on guitar and Paul on drums, the brothers recruited vocalist Patrick Lachman and bassist Bob Kakaha. Abbott 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 Darrell, 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 Dimebag for the band’s demise. He was survived by his father, Jerry, and his brother, Vinnie Paul. Darrell’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. 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. Source

32° 45.239
-097° 07.192

Lakesides Estates
Moore Memorial Gardens

July 9, 2019

Barbara Pierce Bush (1925-2018)

Barbara Pierce was born on June 8, 1925, and grew up in the suburban town of Rye, New York. She went to boarding school at Ashley Hall in South Carolina. It was at a dance when she was only 16 that she met George Bush. They became engaged just before he went off to war as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot. When George returned on leave, Barbara had dropped out of Smith College. Two weeks later, on January 6, 1945, they were married. After the war, they set out for Texas to start their lives together. Six children were born to them: George, Robin, Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. In the first 44 years of marriage, while her husband built a business in the oil industry and held a variety of political and public service positions, Mrs. Bush managed 29 moves of the household. She became the family linchpin, providing everything from discipline to carpools. The death of their daughter Robin from leukemia when she was not quite four left them with a lifelong compassion. She was always an asset to her husband during his campaigns for public office. Her friendly, forthright manner won her high marks from the voters and the press. As wife of the vice president, she selected the promotion of literacy as her special cause. As first lady, she called working for a more literate America the "most important issue we have." Involved with many organizations devoted to this cause, she became honorary chairman of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. A strong advocate of volunteerism, Mrs. Bush helped many causes including the homeless, the elderly, AIDS, and school volunteer programs. Barbara lived in a home she and her husband built in Houston, Texas, where she enjoyed being part of the community. Devoted to her family, Mrs. Bush found time to write an autobiography, to serve on the Boards of AmeriCares and the Mayo Clinic, and to continue her prominent role in the Barbara Bush Foundation She died at home in Houston, Texas, on April 17, 2018 and was buried at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas. Source

30° 35.874
-096° 21.030

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
College Station

July 2, 2019

Ann Willis Richards (1933-2006)

Dorothy Ann Richards, state treasurer and forty-fifth governor of Texas, daughter of Cecil and Ona Willis, was born in Lacy-Lakeview, Texas, on September 1, 1933. Richards entered Waco High School in 1946 and dropped her first name Dorothy and was known as Ann thereafter. She was a member of the Waco High School debate team and was the state debate champion as a senior. Prior to her senior year in high school, Ann Richards attended Girls State, the annual mock-government assembly of students, where she was elected lieutenant governor. She later acknowledged this experience as fueling her interest in government and politics. Richards graduated from high school in 1950 and attended Baylor University where she received a B.A. in 1954. While at Baylor, Ann Willis married David Richards in 1953. The couple moved to Austin where David Richards attended law school at the University of Texas and Ann taught government at Fulmore Junior High School. Upon David Richards' graduation from law school, they spent a year in Washington D.C. before moving to Dallas, where David practiced law and Ann became active in Democratic politics in Dallas. Their family grew to include four children: Cecile, Dan, Clark, and Ellen. In 1969 the Richards family returned to Austin where David became a labor and civil rights attorney.

Ann became involved in local politics and successfully managed the legislative campaigns of both Sarah Weddington (1972) and Wilhelmina Delco (1974). Weddington later presented the oral arguments to the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade (1973). Delco was the first African American to represent Austin in the Texas Legislature. Richards also served as Sarah Weddington's administrative assistant in the Texas House of Representatives. In 1976 David Richards declined a request from the Travis County Democratic leadership to challenge three-term Travis County commissioner Johnny Voudouris in the party's primary election. In David's stead, with her husband's encouragement, Ann Richards won the Democratic nomination for county commissioner and became the first woman elected to that office in Travis County. In 1980 Richards was elected to a second term. In 1982 she entered the statewide race for state treasurer and was not only the first woman to serve in that office, but also was the first woman elected to statewide office in Texas since Miriam Ferguson's successful gubernatorial race in 1932. During this time, Ann Richards and David Richards divorced, and she sought and completed treatment for alcoholism in 1980. Ann Richards' keynote speech to the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta brought her national attention when she said of the wealthy, then Vice President of the United States, George H. W. Bush: "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth".

In 1990 Governor William Clements decided to leave office at the end of his term, and Richards entered the primary campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in a three-way race with Attorney General Jim Mattox and former governor Mark White. In a bruising campaign, Mattox attacked Richards for substance abuse problems beyond her acknowledged alcoholism. Richards won the nomination and defeated the Republican nominee, Clayton Williams, by narrow margin on November 6, 1990. As governor, Ann Richards led the reform of the Texas prison system, establishing a substance abuse program for inmates, reducing the number of violent offenders released, and increasing prison space to deal with a growing prison population (from less than 60,000 in 1992 to more than 80,000 in 1994). During her term, Governor Richards signed into law the amendment to the Texas Financial Responsibility Law - an act in which motor vehicle registration renewal, as well as initial registration of a new-purchased vehicle, safety inspection sticker, driver's license, and license plates, required that the applicant have a valid auto insurance policy. The Texas Lottery also was instituted during her term of office; Ann Richards purchased the first lottery ticket on May 29, 1992, in the Austin suburb of Oak Hill. Public school finance was a key issue during Richards's term of office, and the "Robin Hood Plan" was launched during the 1992-1993 biennium in the attempt to make school funding more equitable by having wealthier school districts remit property taxes to the state for redistribution to poorer school districts.

Governor Richards also vetoed the Concealed Carry Bill that would have permitted licensed citizens to carry firearms for self-defense inside public establishments without the owner's permission. She was asked, in the midst of the controversy, whether the women of Texas might feel safer if they could carry guns in their purses. The governor replied, "Well, I'm not a sexist, but there is not a woman in this state who could find a gun in her handbag, much less a lipstick."  Ann Richards was defeated in 1994 by the Republican George W. Bush and before leaving office, she said, "I did not want my tombstone to read, 'She kept a really clean house.' I think I'd like them to remember me by saying, 'She opened government to everyone.'" Ann Richards was a political consultant in the years after leaving office. She was the recipient of a number of awards for her years of service, including the Texas NAACP Presidential Award for Outstanding Contributions to Civil Rights, the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award, and the Mexican government's Order of the Aztec Eagle. She was also honored by the Texas Women's Hall of Fame. From 1997 to 1998 Richards served as the Fred and Rita Richman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Politics at Brandeis University. In 2003 she coauthored, with Dr. Richard U. Levine, I'm Not Slowing Down: Winning My Battle With Osteoporosis, a book about her experience with that disease. She was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in March 2006 and died at home in Austin on September 13, 2006, surrounded by her family. She was buried in the Texas State Cemetery. In August 2007 the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, an all-girl preparatory school, opened in Austin. Source 

30° 15.934
-097° 43.613

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

June 25, 2019

John Salmon "Rip" Ford (1815-1897)

Rip Ford was born on May 26, 1815 in Greenville District, South Carolina, and moved to Texas in 1836. He served for a time in the Texas Army, and then settled in San Augustine to practice medicine until 1844. That year, he was elected to the Texas Congress, where he supported annexation to the United States. In 1845, he moved to Austin, and became a newspaper editor. He served as an adjutant in the Mexican War and was cited for “gallant service.” It was during this time that he would acquire his nickname of “Rip” for sending out official death notices with the citation “Rest in Peace” written at the top. In 1849, Ford would explore and map the country between El Paso and San Antonio. He would also become a captain in the Texas Rangers and participate in various fights with local Native American tribes. Ford was elected to the Texas Senate in 1852, and in 1858 he led state troops against both Native American and Mexican uprisings. With the growing tension between North and South escalating in 1861, Ford served as a member of the Secession Convention, and after Texas left the Union, he initiated a trade agreement between the Confederacy and Mexico. Ford served as colonel of the 2nd Texas Cavalry based in the Rio Grande district, and was assigned to protect trade routes with Mexico. Between 1862 and 1865, he was also commandant of conscripts.

Ford’s greatest military exploit was the Battle of Palmito Ranch on May 12-13, 1865, when he defeated attacking Union forces under Colonel Theodore H. Barrett. Barrett had attempted to surprise Confederate forces at Fort Brown, outside Brownsville, but was repulsed by Ford’s daring frontal attack. The battle was considered a Confederate victory, with Union troops retreating and suffering 118 casualties. Ford’s men had an estimated six killed, wounded or missing. Unfortunately for Ford, all Confederate forces in Texas surrendered two weeks later. After the war, Ford continued his interests in politics and newspaper editing, serving as a delegate to the Democratic convention in 1868, and working on the Brownsville Sentinel. He would become the mayor of Brownsville in 1874, and serve again in the Texas Senate from 1876 to 1879. In his later years, Ford would spend his time writing his memoirs and promoting an interest in Texas history through the Texas State Historical Association. Ford died on November 3, 1897 in San Antonio, having the dubious distinction of being the last victorious Confederate commander of the Civil War. Source

29° 25.200
-098° 27.822

Confederate Cemetery
San Antonio

June 18, 2019

Selena Quintanilla-Perez (1971-1995)

Singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, known simply as Selena, the daughter of Abraham and Marcella (Perez) Quintanilla, Jr., was born on April 16, 1971, in Lake Jackson, Texas. She married Christopher Perez, guitarist and member of the band Selena y Los Dinos (slang for "the Boys") on April 2, 1992. They had no children. Selena attended Oran M. Roberts Elementary School in Lake Jackson and West Oso Junior High in Corpus Christi, where she completed the eighth grade. In 1989 she finished high school through the American School, a correspondence school for artists, and enrolled at Pacific Western University in business administration correspondence courses.  Her career began when she was eight. From 1957 to 1971 her father played with Los Dinos, a Tejano band. He taught his children to sing and play in the family band and taught Selena to sing in Spanish. They performed at the family restaurant, Pappagallo, and at weddings in Lake Jackson. After 1981 the band became a professional act. In 1982 the group moved to Corpus Christi and played in rural dance halls and urban nightclubs, where Tejano music flourishes. In her late teens Selena adopted fashions sported by Madonna. Preceded by Lydia Mendoza and Chelo Silva, Mexican-American star vocalists of the 1930s, and by pioneer orchestra singer Laura Canales in the 1970s, Selena became a star in Tejano music. She won the Tejano Music Award for Female Entertainer of the Year in 1987, and eight other Tejano awards followed.

By the late 1980s Selena was known as "la Reina de la Onda Tejana" ("the Queen of Tejano music") and "una mujer del pueblo." Her popularity soared with annual awards from the Tejano Music Awards and a contract with EMI Latin Records in 1989. At the 1995 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the band attracted 61,041 people, more than Clint Black, George Strait, Vince Gill, or Reba McEntire. Selena y Los Dinos recorded with Tejano labels GP, Cara, Manny, and Freddie before 1989. Their albums include Alpha (1986), Dulce Amor (1988), Preciosa (1988), Selena y Los Dinos (1990), Ven Conmigo (1991), Entre a Mi Mundo (1992), Selena Live (1993), Amor Prohibido (1994), and Dreaming of You (1995). The band's popularity surged with Ven Conmigo. Entre a Mi Mundo made Selena the first Tejana to sell more than 300,000 albums. In 1993 she signed with SBK Records to produce an all-English album, but it was eventually replaced with the bilingual Dreaming of You. Despite her success in the Spanish-language market, mainstream society largely ignored Selena until around 1993. In 1994 Texas Monthly named her one of the twenty most influential Texans and the Los Angeles Times interviewed her. That same year, Selena Live won a Grammy for Best Mexican-American Album. Also in 1993 and 1995, Lo Nuestro Billboard gave the band awards in four categories. Selena y Los Dinos was a cross-over act in Tejano, romance, cumbia, tropical, pop, rap, and salsa in Spanish and English; Selena was not only bilingual but biethnic. Before her death, the band sold more than 1.5 million records.

By the mid-1980s Selena had crossed into the national Latino and Latin-American market. A recording with the Puerto Rican band Barrio Boyzz furthered inroads into this area. Selena y Los Dinos began to acquire a following in Mexico (Matamoros) as early as 1986. Along with Emilio Navaira, Selena y Los Dinos attracted 98,000 fans in Monterrey, and thus popularized Tejano music in Mexico. In 1994 the band played in New York to a Mexican and Central American audience. The band was the first Tejano group to make Billboard's Latin Top 200 list of all-time best-selling records. Selena was also known to Latin-American television audiences. At the age of twelve or thirteen she was introduced on the Johnny Canales Show. She appeared on Sábado Gigante, Siempre en Domingo, El Show de Cristina, and the soap opera Dos Mujeres, Un Camino. She also made a cameo appearance in the 1995 film Don Juan DeMarco. Advertisements also made Selena popular. Coca-Cola featured her in a poster, and she had a promotional tour agreement with the company. She had a six-figure contract with Dep Corporation and a contract with AT&T and Southwestern Bell. A six-figure deal with EMI Latin made her a millionaire. In 1992 she began her own clothing line. In 1994 she opened Selena Etc., a boutique-salon in Corpus Christi and San Antonio. At the time of her death she had plans to open others in Monterrey and Puerto Rico. A 1994 Hispanic magazine stated her worth at $5 million. Despite her wealth, however, she lived in the working-class district of Molina in Corpus Christi. Selena considered herself a public servant. She participated with the Texas Prevention Partnership, sponsored by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Dep Corporation) Tour to Schools, in an educational video. She was also involved with the D.A.R.E. program and worked with the Coastal Bend Aids Foundation. Her pro-education videos included My Music and Selena Agrees. She was scheduled for a Dallas-Fort Worth boys' and girls' club benefit. Selena taped a public-service announcement for the Houston Area Women's Center, a shelter for battered women, in 1993.

On March 31, 1995, Selena was shot fatally in the back by Yolanda Saldivar, her first fan club founder and manager of Selena Etc., in Corpus Christi. The New York Times covered her death with a front-page story, as did Texas major dailies. Six hundred persons attended her private Jehovah's Witness funeral. More than 30,000 viewed her casket at the Bayfront Plaza Convention Center in Corpus Christi. Hundreds of memorials and Masses were offered for her across the country; on April 16, for instance, a Mass was celebrated on her behalf at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Los Angeles. Her promotion agency, Rogers and Cowan, received more than 500 requests for information about her. Entertainment Tonight and Dateline NBC ran short stories on her, and People magazine sold a commemorative issue. Spanish-language television and radio sponsored numerous tributes, typically half-hour or hour programs. Selena's fans compared the catastrophe to the deaths of John Lennon, Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, and Pedro Infante. Songs, quilts, paintings, T-shirts, buttons, banners, posters, and shrines honored her. Radio talker Howard Stern of New York, however, snickered at her music and enraged her fans. Bo Corona, a disc jockey at a Houston Tejano radio station, asked him to apologize, and the League of United Latin American Citizens organized a boycott of his sponsors. Selena's death became part of the controversy over the Texas concealed-handgun bill. Her death also fostered greater awareness of Tejano music. According to superstar Little Joe, as a result of Selena's death "the word Tejano has been recognized by millions." Governor George W. Bush proclaimed April 16, 1995, "Selena Day." Selena's family founded the Selena Foundation.

Her bilingual album, Dreaming of You, was released posthumously in 1995 and was the first Tejano album to hit number one in the United States. Selena's killer, Yolanda Saldivar, was convicted by a Houston jury. In 2002 Nueces County Judge Jose Longoria ordered that the murder weapon, a .38-caliber revolver, be destroyed and its pieces scattered in Corpus Christi Bay. Some musicologists and fans felt that the gun should have been preserved in a museum for its historical significance, while others were glad to see the destruction of the instrument of the singer's death. In the years after Selena's death, the singer's popularity has remained very strong. Numerous honors have been awarded posthumously. The city of Corpus Christi erected a memorial, Mirador de la Flor (Overlook of the Flower), which included a life-sized bronze statue, to the fallen singer in 1997. That same year, a movie about her life - Selena - was released and starred newcomer Jennifer Lopez in the leading role. The Quintanilla family opened the Selena Museum in Corpus Christi in 1998, and in 2001 she was inducted into the Tejano R.O.O.T.S. Hall of Fame. She is also a member of the South Texas Music Walk of Fame. On April 7, 2005, a tribute concert Selena ¡VIVE! was broadcast live from Houston's Reliant Stadium. Attended by more than 65,000 fans, the event featured famous artists performing Selena's songs. The live broadcast on the Univision Network became the highest-rated Spanish-language program in American television history. In 2011 the United States Postal Service honored Selena as a “Latin Legend” with the issue of a memorial postage stamp. In April 2015 the city of Corpus Christi hosted the first annual Fiesta de la Flor, a two-day festival celebrating the life and legacy of the singer. A portion of the profits was donated to the Selena Foundation. Source

27° 43.943
-097° 21.747

Living Lord Section
Seaside Memorial Cemetery
Corpus Christi

June 11, 2019

Preston Earnest Smith (1912-2003)

Preston Smith, businessman, legislator, and the fortieth governor of Texas, was born on March 8, 1912, in Williamson County. He was the son of Charles Kirby Smith and Effie Smith. One of thirteen children, he grew up in Williamson County until he was twelve, when his family moved to Lamesa in Dawson County, where he graduated from Lamesa High School in 1930. Smith attended and was graduated from Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) with a bachelor of business arts degree in 1934. While in one of his college classes, he was seated alphabetically next to Ima Smith (no relation). Preston Smith and Ima Smith married in 1935. They had two children.  Smith became active in the movie theater business in Lubbock as well as real estate enterprises and developed the political name recognition he needed to win election in 1944 to the Texas House of Representatives. A conservative Democrat, Smith served three terms in the House and in 1956 was elected to the Texas Senate. In 1962, the same year that John B. Connally was elected governor, Smith was elected lieutenant governor.  In 1968, when Connally chose not to seek reelection, Smith sought and won the Democratic nomination for the governorship amongst a crowded field of candidates. Smith was known for his polka dot neckties, which he claimed he began wearing in 1962 after Gov. Price Daniel urged Smith to do something to help make himself stand out. During the 1968 gubernatorial campaign, Smith's campaign sent letters to approximately 47,000 Texas families named Smith and asked, "Don't you think it is about time one of us was governor?" Known for his relentless work ethic and corny sense of humor, Smith was the first lieutenant governor to be directly elected to the governorship and the first West Texan to be elected.

He was inaugurated as governor on January 16, 1969, and was re-elected to a second term in 1970. During his first term, Smith focused on education issues, including a ten-year pay raise program for teachers. His administration also submitted a state water plan, which failed to pass. Smith's governorship in his second term was tainted by the Sharpstown stock-fraud scandal, which initially focused on charges that state officials profited from certain business deals in exchange for the passage of legislation favored by Houston developer Frank Sharp. Though Smith was never charged with a crime, he was "labeled an unindicted co-conspirator," and the scandal grew to such proportions that Texas voters were in an anti-incumbent mood. Smith ran and lost in the 1972 Democratic primary to Dolph Briscoe, Jr. of Uvalde, who would go on to win the general election and be sworn in as Smith's successor in January, 1973. Smith unsuccessfully attempted a comeback in 1978 and retired from politics. After his political career ended, Smith retired to Lubbock. He remained active in local business and civic affairs and worked as a fundraiser for Texas Tech University. His papers are in the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at the university library. (As governor he had signed into law the legislation that established the Texas Tech University School of Medicine.) In 1981 Gov. William Clements appointed him to the Texas College and University Coordinating Board, where he served as chairman until 1985. Texas Tech University honored Smith by erecting a statue of him in the Administration Building courtyard on the campus. Smith died from pneumonia at Texas Tech University Medical Center in Lubbock on October 18, 2003, at the age of ninety-one. His wife Ima had died in 1998. He was survived by a son, a daughter, and their respective families. Smith was buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. The city of Lubbock honored Smith by renaming its airport the Preston Smith International Airport in 2004. Source

30° 15.932
-097° 43.635

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

June 4, 2019

Richard Henry "Dickey" Kerr (1893-1963)

Dickey Kerr was a starting pitcher for the Chicago White Sox from 1919-1921. As a rookie, he won 13 games and both his starts in the 1919 World Series, which would lead to the permanent suspensions of eight of his teammates in the Black Sox Scandal. In later years, Kerr would receive praise for his honest play during the Series. In 1921, he went 19-17 and led the league in giving up only 357 hits in 3082 innings pitched. After the season, he was suspended for violating the reserve clause in his contract. Kerr attempted a comeback in 1925, pitching in 12 games and compiling a record of 0-1 in 362 innings, mostly out of the bullpen. He finished his career with a record of 53 wins against 34 losses for a winning percentage of .609. His career ERA over three-plus seasons was 3.84. After his playing days, Kerr became a baseball coach at Rice University and minor league manager for the Daytona Beach Islanders, where he met and became close friends with future Hall of Famer Stan Musial. Kerr died of cancer in Houston on May 4, 1963, just two months shy of his 70th birthday.

29° 42.708
-095° 18.305

Section 29
Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery

May 28, 2019

Albert Clinton Horton (1798-1865)

Albert Clinton Horton, the first lieutenant governor of Texas, son of William and Mary (Thomas) Horton, was born in Hancock County, Georgia, on September 4, 1798. In 1829 he married Eliza Holliday. Before moving to Texas he served as a representative in the Alabama state legislature (1829-30, 1833-34), representing Greensboro district. He arrived in Texas in April 1835 and became an early and active supporter of the Texas Revolution. He traveled to Alabama to recruit volunteers; the company became known as the Mobile Grays and were outfitted at Horton's own expense. He also organized a company of cavalry volunteers in Matagorda in February 1836. Colonel Horton's company joined Col. James Walker Fannin, Jr.'s command in South Texas in early March. On March 19 Horton advanced with a small detachment on a scouting patrol of Coleto Creek. Turning to find the remainder of Fannin's army surrounded by hostile forces, Horton and his patrol fled, an action that saved his life but haunted his later political career. His military service ended on May 1, 1836. From 1836 to 1838 Horton, a Democrat, served as senator in the First and Second congresses of the republic, representing Matagorda, Jackson, and Victoria counties. He campaigned unsuccessfully for the vice presidency in 1838.

In January 1839 he was chosen by the Republic of Texas Congress to chair the committee to select the site of the new capital. On March 7, 1842, Horton was recruited to serve as captain under Colonel Owen, to defend against Rafael Vásquez, and his force of 500-700 Mexican soldiers, who had seized San Antonio. Horton served as a delegate to the Convention of 1845 and subsequently consented to run for lieutenant governor. Voting returns initially awarded the victory to his opponent, Nicholas Henry Darnell, but late returns from several South Texas counties were sufficient to alter the results. On May 1, 1846, Horton was declared the first lieutenant governor of the new state. When Governor James Pinckney Henderson left to assume command of Texas volunteers assembled to deal with troubles with Mexico, Horton served as governor pro tem from May 19, 1846 until Henderson returned on November 13, 1846. He was never elected to another public office, and he emerged from retirement only to attend the Democratic national convention in Charleston in 1860 and the state Secession Congress in 1861. Horton moved to his plantation on Caney Creek in what is now Wharton County, near Wharton, by 1843 and maintained a large home on a plantation in Matagorda County, near the town of Matagorda. On the eve of the Civil War he owned more than 150 slaves and was one of the wealthiest men in the state. During the war, however, he lost most of his money. He was a lifelong Baptist and an original member of the board of trustees that established Baylor University. Of the six children born during his marriage, only a son and a daughter survived him. Horton died on September 1, 1865, at Matagorda, where he is buried. Source

28° 42.008
-095° 57.333

Section D
Matagorda Cemetery