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