June 25, 2019

Huey P. Meaux

   Huey P. Meaux, music producer, promoter, and studio owner, was born on March 10, 1929, in Louisiana. Nicknamed the “Crazy Cajun,” Meaux pioneered “swamp pop” of the Gulf Coast. An owner of Houston’s influential SugarHill Studios, Meaux is perhaps best-remembered in music for his role in creating the Sir Douglas Quintet and reviving Freddy Fender’s career.

   Meaux was the son of Stanislaus “Pappy Te-Tan” Meaux. His parents were Cajun sharecroppers who worked in the cotton and rice fields around Kaplan near Lafayette, Louisiana. When Huey was twelve, the family moved to Winnie, Texas, near Port Arthur. He grew up in an atmosphere of hard field work during the week, punctuated by lively Saturday night dances. His father, also an accordionist, headed a band for which Huey played drums when he was a teenager.

   By the 1950s, after serving in the United States Army, Meaux opened a barbershop in Winnie. At nights he worked as a disc jockey for KPAC radio in Port Arthur. In this capacity he got to know other deejays and musicians in the business, such as Moon Mullican, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and George Jones. Meaux was riding in a car with Richardson to Houston’s Gold Star Studios when the Bopper penned his hit Chantilly Lace. Meaux also learned the ins and outs of the music business from Bill Hall, a local record producer and manager of the Bopper. In 1959 Meaux produced his first hit - Jivin’ Gene Bourgeois’s swamp-pop classic, Breaking Up is Hard to Do - in his own barbershop. Meaux was on his way to pioneering the Gulf Coast “swamp pop” sound.

   In 1962 he produced Barbara Lynn’s You’ll Lose a Good Thing, which hit Number 8 on the charts. He also produced regional hits, such as Joe Barry’s I’m a Fool to Care, while working with other artists, including Lightnin’ Hopkins and Archie Bell. He found success with acts such as Sunny and the Sunliners, Roy Head and the Traits and Dale & Grace, whose song I’m Leaving It Up to You reached Number 1 on Billboard in October 1963. Meaux’s uncanny instinct for sniffing out hits led singer Roy Head to describe the producer as a “metal detector in the business.”

   When the British Invasion landed in Texas in the early 1960s, Meaux, by this time based out of Houston, dissected the sound of the Beatles and other groups. In response he persuaded Doug Sahm and his group of Tex-Mex musicians from San Antonio’s West Side to pretend to be British, and the Crazy Cajun dubbed them the Sir Douglas Quintet. In 1965 the group’s She’s About a Mover became a hit. Later, when the Sir Douglas Quintet appeared on television with its Hispanic members, the truth was revealed.

   Meaux made use of the diverse array of ethnic music and musicians in Texas and the Gulf Coast to seek out stand-out sounds for the recording industry. According to writer Joe Nick Patoski, “For two generations of Gulf Coast rock and rollers - or any musicians from Baton Rouge to San Antonio - he was the pipeline to the big time.” Despite Meaux’s successes in the music business, the hedonistic Cajun also had the shady reputation of shortchanging his artists as well as womanizing. Around the end of the 1960s, he was prosecuted for violation of the Mann Act (driving a prostitute across state lines) and was sentenced to the state penitentiary.

   By late 1971 Meaux was out of prison and purchased the former Gold Star Studios at a bankruptcy auction. He now owned the Houston studio where he had produced many of his artists through his years of turning out hits, and he renamed the facility SugarHill Studios and set about remaking it as his own. Meaux also entertained listeners on his Friday night radio show on KPFT-FM in Houston. He regained success in 1974 with Freddy Fender’s comeback. Meaux released Fender’s Before the Last Teardrop Falls on his Crazy Cajun label. The song became a Number 1 country single and a pop crossover success along with his follow-up Wasted Days and Wasted Nights. After a successful run with Fender in the 1970s, Meaux scored one more hit with Rockin’ Sidney Simien’s novelty song (Don’t Mess With) My Toot-Toot in 1985.

   Meaux sold SugarHill in 1986 but still leased an office there. In 1996 he was arrested and eventually plead guilty to two counts of sexual assuault of a child, cocaine possession, child pornography, and bond jumping. He was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. He was released from prison in 2007 and lived out the remainder of his life in Winnie, Texas. Source

29° 48.115, -094° 23.356

Fairview Cemetery

June 18, 2019

Edward Durst

   Edward Leon Durst was born on November 12, 1916 in Leona, Texas. He was a radio announcer in Houston for a short period before leaving for Hollywood to become an actor. He had some success on the Pasadena Playhouse stage, but tragically was only able to perform in one film, 1944's Days of Glory. On March 10, 1945, he was rushed to the hospital after being found seriously ill in his apartment by fellow actor John Carradine. Durst died later that night of complications from pneumonia at 29.

29° 21.211, -095° 00.455

Section A
Galveston Memorial Park

June 11, 2019

Denton Arthur Cooley

   Cooley was born August 22, 1920 in Houston and graduated in 1941 from the University of Texas at Austin (UT), where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and majored in zoology. He became interested in surgery through several pre-medical classes he attended in college and began his medical education at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He completed his medical degree and his surgical training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, where he also completed his internship. At Johns Hopkins, he worked with Dr. Alfred Blalock and assisted in the first "Blue Baby" procedure to correct an infant's congenital heart defect.

   In 1946 Cooley was called to active duty with the Army Medical Corps. There, he served as chief of surgical services at the station hospital in Linz, Austria, and was discharged in 1948 with the rank of captain. He then returned to complete his residency at Johns Hopkins and remained as an instructor in surgery. In 1950 he went to London to work with Russell Brock.

   In the 1950s Cooley returned to Houston to become associate professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and to work at its affiliate institution, The Methodist Hospital. During the 1950s, Cooley began working with American cardiac surgeon, scientist, and medical educator Michael E. DeBakey. During that time he worked on developing a new method of removing aortic aneurysms, the bulging weak spots that may develop in the wall of the artery.

   In 1960, Cooley moved his practice to St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital while continuing to teach at Baylor. In 1962 he founded The Texas Heart Institute with private funds and, following a dispute with DeBakey, he resigned his position at Baylor in 1969.

   He and his colleagues worked on developing new artificial heart valves from 1962 to 1967; during that period, mortality for heart valve transplants fell from 70% to 8%. In 1969, he became the first heart surgeon to implant an artificial heart designed by Domingo Liotta in a man, Haskell Karp, who lived for 65 hours. The next year, in 1970, "he performed the first implantation of an artificial heart in a human when no heart replacement was immediately available."

   On March 13, 1972, the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society was founded at the Texas Heart Institute by the Residents and Fellows of Cooley to honor him. Founding President Philip S. Chua had envisioned this exclusive society to foster academic, professional and personal camaraderie among cardiac surgeons in the United States and around the world through scientific seminars and symposia. There are now more than 900 cardiac surgeons from more than 50 countries around the globe who are members of the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society.In the HBO film Something the Lord Made, Cooley was portrayed by Timothy J. Scanlin, Jr.

   Cooley filed for bankruptcy in 1988, citing real estate debts during a market downturn. Cooley and the heart surgeon Michael E. DeBakey had a professional rivalry that lasted more than 40 years. They made amends in a public rapprochement on November 7, 2007, when DeBakey was 99 years old (Cooley was 87). He died on November 18, 2016, at the age of 96. Source

29° 76.451, -095° 38.641

Section E-2
Glenwood Cemetery

June 4, 2019

Francis Marcus Weatherred

   Francis Marcus Weatherred, son of Francis and Agnes Weatherred, was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, on July 15, 1781. On December 23, 1806, while living in Tennessee, he married Nancy Dowell. He fought in the Creek War under Andrew Jackson before moving to Texas in December 1835, where he settled in Robertson's Colony. During the Texas Revolution, Francis joined William Patton's Columbia Company, but was on leave of absence during the battle of San Jacinto. On October 3, 1836, he was elected to Congress of the Republic as a representative from Milam County, but resigned on the 31st when it was discovered he had actually lost. In 1837 he was living in what is now Sabine County, where he operated a hotel in Milam. He ran for office again in 1843, but was defeated. Francis died on December 4, 1854 at his home and was buried in the town cemetery.

31° 26.190, -093° 51.004

Milam Cemetery