Monday, May 5, 2014

Little River Canyon Mouth Park

Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his same sad old song
Every rose has its thorn

Bret Michaels,  C. C. Deville,  Bobby Dall,  Rikki Rockett

I hate this road and I am never going back. 
I did, however, meet a man named Spirit that I will never forget. 
Which only proves that every road in life has a reason. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

And Just Like That She Was Gone

But a few weeks before she left this universe we had a conversation. We talked about her plants. She loved plants. Flowers, trees, vines, herbs, just about anything would grow under the careful tending of her hands. She always had that intuition of what each plant needed at a certain time. Oh, she studied as well. She had many books on the different varieties of plants that she grew or wanted to grow in the future. What information not found there would lead to a trip to the nursery to discuss soil or proper feeding techniques. Although privy to many of these discussions I always had the impression she just instinctively knew.  As far back as I can remember our back yard looked like a plant nursery. Back in the 1970's when macrame hanging pots were popular we had many. Ours were filled with huge ivy and various other plants plentiful with leaves and flowers.

I never had the gift of helping things grow. I never got the formula correct. It was always too much or too little of this or that. I ended up with pitiful dried up pieces of dirt. Many times she would come and help me get my yard presentable. We would dig and get the flowers just right. I had limited success. But I learned a bit along the way.

So she had some amaryllis bulbs and had previously had limited success with them. She had decided to get two huge bags of Miracle Grow potting soil and just put the bulbs in there and see what happened. It was an experiment of sorts.  That was part of our conversation.

A few weeks later she was gone.

While at her house picking up some things, one of them being plants, her husband took me beside the garage and showed me two huge bags of potting soil and asked if I wanted them. I told him I knew exactly what there were, and yes, I did.

I took the bags and planted them in two pots.

The next Spring, 2004, I waited. Would anything happen? Would they bloom?  Finally, the first bit of green appeared above the dirt. A sign. There was life. The experiment had worked. Those bulbs were going to make it. And they did bloom.  One red, the other pink.
And they have bloomed every Spring since then. They have multiplied. I have divided bulbs and put them in different pots and given some away.

10 years of blooms.

I can't help it. I get excited to see the first signs of green popping through the dirt every year. Then when the bud starts it is amazing. When the flower blooms it is wonderous. To others it may just be a flower in a pot. Not to me.

Sometimes the simple things in life can take on a whole different meaning. The bloom of a flower can be like a sister tapping you on the shoulder and saying,

"Sister, I'm still here, look at me!"

We only have to be observant of our surroundings to find the blessings laid in our paths each day.

The flutter of a butterfly. The song of a beautiful red cardinal. The soulful eyes of a wondering dog that crosses our path. A rock shining more brilliantly than all the others. That one brighter star in the sky at night.

Lessons. Gifts. Messages.

We are only left alone if we chose to ignore our blessings.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Manske Roll ~ San Marcos, Texas

We ain't here for a long time, we here for a good time. ~ Pitbull

And that is why I am back this morning having another delicious Manske Roll! This one with some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.

Manske Roll opened in September 1906 and they still cook their buns fresh each day. You can certainly tell the difference in the quality. Their buns are soft and sweet. It's the actual dough that has a slight sweet taste to it. The cinnamon rolls are not too sweet. Even their hamburger buns have that slight sweet taste. The burgers come in four sizes which is great. And on Mondays you can get two 1/4 pound burgers for $2.00.

This was another good find from Diners, Drive-In's and Dives.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Bluebonnet - Amazing!

Today we set out to see the "Field Of Dreams" of bluebonnets. Find it we did. Located at Muleshoe Bend Recreational Area this was the largest field we have ever seen - and we are born Texans!
This field looks like a sea of blue. When you look out over it, it just looks like a river or a lake. This used to be the river bed but it is now dry. You can walk or drive through the field. Just be careful not to trample all over them. Be careful of snakes and stickers.
Just do yourself a favor and take the time to visit this field. It is a wonder.
There is a special feeling connected with visiting the bluebonnets every year. Memories of days gone by and the people that have shared our lives. Jerry's mom loved to see the bonnets and looked forward to making the drive from her hill country home to Houston each year to see them.  My dad saw to having bluebonnet seed planted on the Texas highways during his days at the Texas Highway Department. The state once thought it very important to keep our State flower plentiful. As kids we were told it was against the law to pick a bluebonnet if it was on a Texas highway.  When our kids were small we would go out and visit the flowers. That tradition continues now with my grandchildren.
Do people in other states trample out to fields of their state flowers and make fools of themselves as they gaze in awe at the beauty?  I don't know. But I plan to keep doing so until my hair is as blue as the bonnets!

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Spring Trip Has Begun!

Heading out to San Marcos and the Bandera area today. Can't wait to see what wonders the week brings.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Syd Barrett ~ A Biography

Syd Barrett on Findagrave

Roger Keith Barrett

Birth: Jan. 6, 1946
Death: Jul. 7, 2006

Musician, Songwriter, Singer, Artist. Barret cofounded the band, Pink Floyd, along with Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright in 1965. Their 1967 album "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" was a huge commercial hit. Of the eleven songs on the album he wrote eight and co-wrote two others. An innovative guitar player, he was never afraid to experiment with techniques for different sound. The group's distinct sound can be directly related to his experimentation. As the success of the band grew his experimentation with drugs such as LSD caused erratic behavior that increased as time went on. This combined with his mental illness led to an increasing lack of participation in the bands musical endeavors. Another guitarist was asked to join the band to compensate for this increasing lack of performance. The band members were not amused with his behavior and by 1968 he was officially released from the band. He released two solo projects. The first album "The Madcap Laughs" was produced by David Gilmour and Roger Waters. It is widely believed that the song "Dark Globe" is a self description of one suffering from schizophrenia. The second album "Barrett", took 6 months to record mostly due to his mental state. It was produced by David Gilmour. On this second album Gilmour played guitar, Rick Wright played keyboards and Jerry Shirley played drums. Most believe the songs on the albums were written in the years before Pink Floyd and that he wrote no songs after leaving the band. During these years he was not in the public eye with regard to his music. With the exception of one performance on radio all of his music was in studio. The one live performance was on June 06, 1970 in London at the Olympia Exhibition Hall. He performed with Gilmour and Shirley. Strangely, he put down his guitar and left the stage after just four songs. He disappeared for a year after a performance on February 16, 1971 where he performed three songs from "Barrett". He formed the band Stars in 1972 but it only lasted a short while. In 1975 while Pink Floyd was recording "Wish You Were Here", he showed up at the session to watch them record "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". The song was written by Roger Waters about Barrett. The band members did not recognize Barrett as he had changed so much as his mental illness had progressed. He continued to shun all public attention. By 1974 he was ready to record again. However, that session only lasted three days. At this time it appears as though he cut his ties with the music business. He sold rights to his solo albums to the record label and moved to a London hotel room. After the funds of the sale were depleted he walked to Cambridge, England where his mother lived and moved into her basement. He lived there for the rest of his life. It was at this time that he reverted back to his given name, Roger Barrett. He had taken the name Syd at the age of 15 after a well-known local Cambridge drummer, Sid Barrett. He changed the spelling to Syd to avoid confusion. From then on he lived his life in relative obscurity and seclusion, turning to graphic art for his creative endeavors. While trying to live a quiet life he was still pursued by journalists and paparazzi. At his death Barrett left an estate of almost $3 million to his two brothers and two sisters. This was largely due to his former bandmates, who made sure that Pink Floyd royalty money was paid to him throughout the years. David Gilmour was quoted as saying, "we made sure the money got to him alright". Interest in his music and curiosity over his seclusion never diminished.

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson)

Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.

Otis Blackwell ~ A Biography

Birth: Feb. 16, 1931
Brooklyn (Delaware County)
Delaware County
New York, USA

Death: May 6, 2002
Davidson County
Tennessee, USA

Songwriter. He is best known for writing such classics Rock and Roll songs as "Return To Sender", "All Shook Up", and "Great Balls of Fire". He is credited with writing songs that have sold over 185 million copies. Tracks for Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis were most popular, but he also wrote for Peggy Lee and the song "Daddy Was A Rolling Stone" sung by The Who. He had originally planned a career as a singer, and sang songs before they were recorded by others. It was said that he influenced the style that Elvis Presley admired and took to be his own. In 1994, three years after he suffered a stroke, "Brace Yourself! A Tribute to Otis Blackwell" was released. The artists featured on that tribute included Ronnie Spector, Debra Harry and Kris Kristofferson who covered tracks by Otis Blackwell.

 (bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Glen Buxton ~ A Biography

Glen Buxton on Findagrave

Birth: Nov. 10, 1947
Summit County
Ohio, USA

Death: Oct. 19, 1997
Mason City
Cerro Gordo County
Iowa, USA

Musician, Lead Guitarist, Songwriter. It was at Cortez High School in Arizona that Glen met the group of guys that would form his future career. With a love of track and the school newspaper "The Tipster" in common, Vincent Furnier, Dennis Dunaway, John Spear, Michael Bruce and Glen would make up lyrics to popular songs of the time. After participating in a talent show at school in which they billed themselves the Earwigs they went on to form The Spiders, The Nazz and finally Alice Cooper. John Spear was replaced by Neal Smith. Glen was actually the only member of the band who could read music, he had begun taking guitar lessons at the age of twelve. The other band members learned a lot about music from him. Glen came up with killer guitar riffs that heralded the arrival of the bands great anthems, "I'm Eighteen," "School's Out" and "Elected." In 1971 the band was signed by Warner Brothers Records and released "Love It To Death. Hit albums "Killer," "School's Out," "Billion Dollar Babies" and "Muscle Of Love" followed. The band became well known for their shocking stage show. The "Billion Dollar Babies" tour was a huge success and became the biggest rock production to that date. Bob Greene wrote a book, Billion Dollar Babies, about this tour. This continues to be almost the only inside documented account of the experiences Glen and the band had during this time in their career. In 1974, lead singer, Vincent Furnier, decided to leave the band and legally took the name Alice Cooper. The remaining bandmates, minus Glen, went on to release an album which they called themselves Billion Dollar Babies. The album failed to realize the success of the former group and no further albums were released. The next years were not always easy for Glen. He did have a drug and alcohol abuse problem that he was eventually able to overcome. His following bands Shrapnel and Virgin were not commercially successful although fans enjoyed seeing him on stage. After his bands broke up he was a factory worker and worked for Goodyear. In the last few months of his life he seemed headed for more musical success. After Michael Bruce released a book, "No More Mr. Nice Guy," in which Glen was portrayed in a negative light, Glen showed his forgiving nature by reuniting with his old band mates Michael Bruce and Neal Smith in Houston for an autograph show and a live performance. He attended a concert of his old friend Alice Cooper and they had a nice visit after not talking for many years. The fans certainly supported his efforts during the last few months of his life. He filmed an interview show called "Just Testing" that was due to be broadcast by PBS. He interviewed Steve Vai, "Weird Al" Yankovic and others. After his death a group of fans known as the "Sickthings" grouped together to give Glen a fitting memorial. Fan Paul Brenton formed the idea of the Glen Buxton Memorial Weekend. The first event was held in Clarion, Iowa, August 7-9, 1998 and Glen's monument, a gift from his fans, was unveiled on August 8, 1998. (bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Cause of death: Pneumonia

Randy Castillo ~ A Biography

Randy Castillo on Findagrave

Birth: Dec. 18, 1950
Bernalillo County

Death: Mar. 26, 2002
Los Angeles County

Musician. He was the drummer for Ozzy Osbourne from 1985-1993. He played with Lita Ford on her 1984 Dancin' on the Edge album. He was drumming for Motley Crue when he became ill. Randy was in the process of forming his own band with Mike Inex-ex-Alice In Chains bassist when he passed away. He co-wrote songs with Ozzy Osbourne. He was also an accomplished artist. (bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Cause of death: Squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer)

Denton Cooley ~ A Biography

Denton Cooley on Findagrave

Birth: Aug. 22, 1920
Death: Still Living

Heart Surgeon, Researcher, Writer, Inventor, Medical Pioneer. Majored in Zoology while attending the University of Texas and was also a player on the varsity basketball team. While there he took pre-med courses and became interested in surgery, thus changing his life course. After attending the Texas College of Medicine in Galveston, Texas and earning his medical degree at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore in 1944, he went on to intern there. While interning at Johns Hopkins he assisted Dr. Alfred Blalock in the first 'blue baby' operation which corrected an infant's congenital heart defect. This experience was a turning point and he decided to specialize in heart surgery. Active duty with the Army Medical Corps in 1946 had him serving as Chief of Surgical Services in Linz, Austria and he was discharged with the rank of Captain in 1948. In 1950 he went to London to study with Lord Russell Brock, a British surgeon. Offered the position of associate professor of surgery at the Baylor University College of Medicine, he came back to Houston in 1951. His collaboration with Dr. Michael DeBakey began at that time. Great accomplishments were made in surgery while the two developed new methods of removing aortic aneurysms and worked on a heart-lung bypass machine. Cooley's design was successful at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas in 1955. He founded the privately funded Texas Heart Institute in 1962, was the first surgeon to successfully remove pulmonary embolisms and helped develop artificial heart valves. The International Surgical Society awarded him their highest honor, the Renee' Lebiche Prize in 1967. They called him 'the most valuable surgeon of the heart and blood vessel anywhere in the world'. Although not the first surgeon to transplant a human heart he did streamline the procedure and performed the operation successfully on May 03, 1968. The patient survived for 204 days with the transplanted heart. During the next year he performed 22 heart transplants. In 1969 he had no donor heart for a dying patient so he took a risk and implanted an experimental artificial heart. The patient survived for 65 hours and then received a human heart transplant. Ending his 19 year association with Baylor University in 1969 he turned his attention to coronary bypass operations and went to practice at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston, Texas. By the year 1972 he had performed over 1200 bypass operations and 10,000 open heart operations. The Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Foundation was founded in 1972. It consists of a group of surgeons trained by him and is located in the Texas Heart Institute. Dr. Cooley was awarded the National Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan and the National Medal of Technology by President Bill Clinton. He invented fabric heart grafts that have been used in more than one million patients, along with many heart surgical tools. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Charles Gates Dawes ~ A Biography

Charles Gates Dawes on Findagrave

Birth: Aug. 27, 1865
Washington County
Ohio, USA

Death: Apr. 23, 1951
Cook County
Illinois, USA

30th United States Vice President, Nobel Prize Recipient. He served as Vice President of the United States from 1925 to 1929 during the second administration of President Calvin Coolidge. The son of Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General Rufus R. Dawes, and great-great-grandson of Revolutionary War patriot William Dawes, he started out as a lawyer practicing in Nebraska. He rose in prominence in business, becoming president of utility firms and banking businesses. During World War I he served in the United States Army, rising from Major to Brigadier General. After the war he was appointed by President Warren G. Harding to be the first director of the Bureau of the Budget (now known as the Office of Management and Budget). While in that office he worked on what become known as the "The Dawes Plan", which dealt with the issue of German war reparations stemming from World War I. The plan would go on to stabilize the German economy for the short term, which was being crushed by enormous reparations imposed on it by Allied agreement after the war. In 1925 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with British Statesman Sir Austen Chamberlain for his plan and his work. In 1924 he was tabbed by President Coolidge as his Vice Presidential candidate, being elected to the office over the Democratic ticket of John W. Davis and Charles W. Bryan. His time in the office was marked with a poor relationship with the President, and contention with the United States Senate. When his term came to an end, he was appointed as United States Ambassador to Great Britain, serving from 1920 to 1932, and was a Delegate to the 1930 London Naval Conference. In 1932 he accepted the Chairmanship of the American Delegation to the Disarmament Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, but resigned to accept the Chairmanship of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, a governmental agency empowered to lend money to banks, railroads, and other businesses in an effort to prevent total economic collapse during the depression. In 1932 he returned to the banking business and served as Chairman of the Board of the City National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago, Illinois, until his death. He published several books taken directly from his personal journals, taught himself to play the piano and the flute and he composed music. His younger brother, Beman Gates Dawes, served as US Congressman from Ohio. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Ralph Lee Earnhardt ~ A Biography

Ralph Lee Earnhardt on Findagrave

Birth: Feb. 23, 1928
Cabarrus County
North Carolina, USA

Death: Sep. 26, 1973
Cabarrus County
North Carolina, USA

Auto Race Car Driver. He was the first in a third generation racing family, which included his son, racing great Dale Earnhardt (who was tragically killed during the 2001 Daytona 500), and his grandson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (who drove a car with the number 8 car in honor of his grandfather). The garages where he built race cars now houses the Dale Earnhardt Enterprises, which features all the trophies his son, Dale, had won. (bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Michael Landon ~ A Biography

Michael Landon on Findagrave

Eugene Maurice Orowitz

Birth: Oct. 31, 1936
Queens County
New York, USA

Death: Jul. 1, 1991
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Actor, Motion Picture Director. 
Born in Forest Hills, New York, the family moved to Collingswood, New Jersey, when he was four. Although he had a genius level IQ he failed to maintain passing grades in high school. He was, however, a popular student and was considered by most to be very funny. Discovering the javelin turned his life around. He became so proficient in the sport that he was offered several athletic scholarships and accepted the offer from the University of California. While there he injured his arm and was forced to relinquish the scholarship. He dropped out of college and became employed at a warehouse in California. An audition was planned at Warner Brothers Studio for Michael and a co-worker. Warner Brothers was impressed with his audition. They signed him and sent him to acting school for four months. During this time he decided to take a stage name and chose the name Michael Landon, picking it from a telephone book. His first notable appearance on film was in "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" in 1957. Around this time producer David Dortort had a television show in the works that he had created called Bonanza. Dortorts successful persuasion to the network that he could make a hit television show with relatively unknown actors was another turning point in Michael's life and would form the basis of his career. Dortort chose him for the roll of Little Joe Cartwright. The show premiered on September 12, 1959 and was a hit for 10 of the 14 years it was on the air. While involved in Bonanza he was able to nurture his talent of writing and directing. He wrote and directed several of the episodes. His next project was Little House on the Prairie. The series, which premiered in 1974 and ended in 1983, was very successful. Relationships with his fellow actors on these projects were an essential part of his life and many remained close friends until his death. In 1984 he started his last television series, Highway to Heaven, which was to run until 1989. He was working on the production of a series when he became ill and was not able to see it to fruition. In April of 1991 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was married three times. His first wife was Dodie Frasier. They were married from 1956 until 1962. In 1963 he married model Marjorie Lynn Noe and they divorced in 1982. He married makeup artist Cindy Clerico on February 14, 1983. He was the father of five sons and four daughters. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum posthumously inducted him into the Western Performers Hall of Fame in 1998. His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located at 1500 N. Vine Street. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Jerry Garcia ~ A Biography

Jerry Garcia on Findagrave
Jerome John Garcia

Birth: Aug. 1, 1942
Alameda County
California, USA

Death: Aug. 9, 1995
Marin County
California, USA

Legendary Singer of the Grateful Dead, Musician, Song Writer, Artist, Cultural Icon. Jose Ramon Garcia emigrated from Spain in 1919 and later married Ruth Marie Clifford, a registered nurse. The Garcia's had two sons, Clifford "Tiff" and Jerome John which they raised in San Francisco, California. Jerome John was named after composer Jerome Kern. As young Jerome, called Jerry, suffered from asthma he spent long periods of time recuperating in bed. To overcome his boredom he took up drawing. This led to a lifelong interest in art. While chopping wood one day Tiff cut off the tip of his nine year old little brothers middle finger. Despite the injury to his digit, Jerry took up the guitar at the age of fifteen. A drop out of Balboa High School in San Francisco, the United States Army was not a perfect fit either. He enlisted on April 12, 1960 and received a general discharge on December 14, 1960 after two Courts-Martial and eight periods of being Absent Without Leave. However, he was bound for more artistic endeavors. Around the time period from 1960 to 1964 he teamed with a poet, Robert Hunter, and musician David Nelson to play music. They played folk, bluegrass and old-time music. Acoustic guitar and banjo teaching was another of his jobs. Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions was a band with members Bob Weir and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan. After Jerry joined this group it became the Warlocks in 1965 and later became The Grateful Dead after Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann signed up. The band had only one top ten hit, "Touch Of Grey". Robert Hunter and Garcia wrote this song together along with "Uncle John's Band" and "Dark Star". They were among the more memorable tunes the band played throughout their career. During this time he learned electric guitar. There were many influences in his guitar playing style formed from music that he loved. Jazz, rock, bluegrass, blues, and country can all be heard when listening to his recordings. At the start of the Summer of Love, 1967, he lived at 710 Ashbury Street, San Francisco, right in the middle of the Haight Ashbury District. He earned the nickname "Captain Trips" because of his interest in LSD. The Grateful Dead acquired a group of fans that proclaimed themselves "Deadheads". The fans traveled from city to city, concert to concert following the band. Many kept the ideals from the Summer of Love and the 1960's. Most did not have regular employment and sold handmade goods and arts and crafts. For thirty years The Grateful Dead toured almost constantly. Other than The Dead, Garcia had many projects on which to work. The Jerry Garcia Band, Old and In The Way and a documentary film "Grateful Dawg", which is the story of his and mandolin player David Grisman's friendship. He made many guest appearances on other artist's albums, sometimes playing pedal steel guitar. Having studied at the California School of Fine Arts, he never gave up his love of art and continued to draw. Between 1985 and 1995 he created 500 pieces. He was a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee in 1994 along with the band. Having suffered from addiction issues during his life he went for a stay at the Serenity Knolls drug rehabilitation center in Forest Knolls, California. While there he suffered a heart attack which was brought on by sleep apnea. He left behind four daughters, Heather, Anabelle, Theresa and Keelin and his wife, Deborah Koons. There was a memorial service at Golden Gate Park on August 13, 1995 with the band members playing. Thousands of fans showed up for the service. Many products have been released with the name Jerry Garcia somehow related to the title. In 1998 a line of neckties was released that featured patterns from his artwork. They have been quite successful. In 1987 Ben & Jerry's released an ice cream named "Cherry Garcia". During the month after Garcia's death the ice cream company used black cherries as a way to mourn the musicians' death. The McLaren Park Amphitheater located in the Excelsior District where he grew up was renamed "The Jerry Garcia Amphitheater". A "Jerry Day" was created with the first one being August 07, 2005. Tiff Garcia welcomed everyone to the newly named theatre. The event is held each year. The Dead decided the tour was over after Garcia passed away, so they disbanded. The other band members continue to work on solo projects. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Cause of death: Heart attack

Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea.
Specifically: Half of ashes scattered in the Ganges River in India, the other half were scattered beneath the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA

Sam Houston Clinton ~ A Biography

Sam Houston Clinton on Findagrave

Birth: Sep. 23, 1923
McLennan County
Texas, USA

Death: Oct. 5, 2004
Travis County
Texas, USA

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Justice. He was a criminal defense attorney and he represented atheist leader Madeline Murray O'Hair and Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who allegedly shot and killed President John F. Kennedy. Mr. Clinton was able to get the guilty verdict against Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed Oswald on national television, reversed on appeal based on procedural errors. Ruby meanwhile died of cancer while in prison. He served three consecutive six-year terms on the state's highest criminal court. He graduated from Baylor University Law School in 1948. Served in World War II as a naval aviator. Washington aide to Representative Bob Poage of Texas from 1949 to 1950 and a field attorney for the National Labor Relations Board in 1951. Married to Hazel Lindsay Clinton of Austin at the time of his death. Cause of Death: Alzheimer's disease  

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Laurel Blair Salton Clark ~ A Biography

Laurel Blair Salton Clark on Findagrave

Birth: Mar. 10, 1961
Story County
Iowa, USA

Death: Feb. 1, 2003
Texas, USA

United States Astronaut. Chosen as an astronaut in 1996, she was serving as a Mission Specialist on the United States Space Shuttle "Columbia" when on February 1, 2003 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration lost all communication and radar contact with the shuttle just minutes before a 9:16AM scheduled landing time. A short time later it was confirmed that the "Columbia" had exploded over eastern Texas, and that there were no survivors. Lost in the tragedy along with Specialist Clark were crew members Commander Rick Husband, Israeli Payload Specialist Ilan Ramone, Pilot William McCool, Payload Commander Michael Anderson, Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla, and Mission Specialist David Brown. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Sonny Bono ~ A Biography

Sonny Bono on Findagrave

Salvatore Phillip Bono

Birth: Feb. 16, 1935
Wayne County
Michigan, USA
Death: Jan. 5, 1998
South Lake Tahoe
El Dorado County
California, USA

Entertainer, US Congressman. Until the early 1960s, he had a job delivering meat along the Sunset Strip in California. He became an A&R Man for Phil Spector. Working with people such as Sam Cooke, and Chubby Checker, and writing songs such as ‘Baby Don't Go', and ‘Don't Laugh At Me' Bono achieved his highest level of fame in the entertainment field with his second wife Cheriln Sarkisian LaPierre. It was at Aldo's Italian Restaurant in Hollywood in 1961 that Sonny met a very young Cher and they married in 1964. Destined to become one of the most famous duos in music history, the couple recorded songs under the name Cesar and Cleo and finally, Sonny and Cher. Their weekly variety television show ran from 1972 until 1974. A daughter, Chastity, was born on March 04, 1969. After his marriage with Cher ended in 1974 Sonny appeared in movies such as ‘Hairspray', and ‘First Kid' and he was a guest star on many television shows. Sonny had a short lived third marriage to Susie Coelho. In May of 1982 he married Mary Whitaker. In February 1983 he opened a restaurant, Bono's in Los Angeles. A restaurant in Palm Springs followed in 1986. It was during a dispute with City Hall over a building permit needed for his Palm Springs restaurant that Bono became interested in politics. He set out to become the Mayor of Palm Springs so that he could help to change the bureaucracy. He served as Mayor from 1988-1992. In 1990 he formed the Palm Springs International Film Festival. A run for The US Senate in 1991 was not successful, however in November of 1994 he was elected to Congress to serve the 44th District of California. A son, Chesare Elan was born in 1988 and a daughter, Chianna Maria was born in 1991. Additionally, in 1991 he released his autobiography And The Beat Goes On, using the name of one of the hit songs he had written. During his tenure in Congress he was appointed Speaker of the House to chair The Entertainment Industry Task Force. He was well known for his outspoken and often blunt opinions of the policies and issues in which he was involved. He worked to achieve federal aid to preserve habitats of various endangered species. The Sonny Bono Memorial Salton Sea Reclamation Act (HR 3267) was formed in recognition of his efforts to preserve the sea. He was killed at the Heavenly Valley Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe after he collided with a tree. After his death his widow, Mary Bono, was appointed to fill her late husbands Congressional Seat and in November 2002 she was re-elected to serve a third term. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

George H. Hermann ~ A Biography

George H. Hermann on Findagrave

Birth: Aug. 8, 1843
Harris County
Texas, USA

Death: Oct. 21, 1914
Baltimore City
Maryland, USA

Philanthropist. By the time of his birth in 1843 the family owned a bakery and dairy business in Houston, Texas, having moved to the town in 1838. In 1861 he joined the Confederate Army serving in the 26th Texas Calvary until 1865. In 1872 he began the first of many ventures. After beginning in the cattle business as stock-keeper, he partnered with W. J. and Julius J. Settegast selling cattle and land. In 1884 his attentions turned to real estate and he began his purchases of land in the Houston area. Most often recognized by his contributions to the Hermann Hospital in Houston, his donations of land lead to many opportunities for the city. The original donation of land for the Hermann Hospital has been expanded over the years to become the Houston Medical Center, considered by some to include some of the finest medical facilities in the United States. The construction, maintenance and operations of the hospital were provided for in his will. The donation of 285 acres of land across from Rice University was developed into Hermann Park. The park was completed and opened in 1920. It contains the Houston Zoological Gardens. The Houston Art League was the recipient of a land gift and they founded a museum. The Museum of Fine Arts opened in 1924 and it was the first of it's kind in Texas. Upon his wish to see a park where Houstonians could sleep overnight without police interference, he donated the land of his original birthplace to be named in honor of his mother. The Board of Trustees of Hermann Hospital paid honor to him with the installation of a bronze statue in 1981. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Gram Parsons ~ A Biography

Gram Parsons on Findagrave
Cecil Ingram Connor

Birth: Nov. 5, 1946
                Winter Haven
                Polk County

Death:     Sep. 19, 1973
                Joshua Tree
                San Bernadino County

County/Rock Musician. His love of music grew from the guitar lessons that he started at the age of nine. He was a big fan of Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis. At the age of ten he was sent to military prep school in Jacksonville, Florida. While there his father took his own life and Parsons was soon kicked out of the school due to his reaction to the tragedy. His mother then married Robert Ellis Parsons who soon adopted Gram and his younger sister, Avis. In 1960 he formed his first band, The Pacers. His next band, The Legends, consisted of fellow future hit makers Jim Stafford and the members of the band Lobo. Never one to limit his musical opportunities he ventured out with other projects playing keyboards and performing a solo acoustic guitar act. His mother developed a drug problem and soon Parsons was partaking of her drug supply. Due to his growing drug abuse his grades suffered and he failed his junior year of high school. He acquired a level of local celebrity in Greenville, South Carolina and was soon invited to judge a television talent show. Back stage at the show he met and harmonized with members of The Shilos who invited him to sing with them after they were announced the winners. By the age of 17 he was a member of The Shilos. With manager Buddy Freeman they were able to perform for a few hundred dollars a night. In 1964 they went to New York City. It was here that they met their idols, The Journeymen, whose style they had imitated. At Bob Jones University in 1965 they recorded nine tracks. These tracks would later be published on "Gram Parsons & The Shilos: The Early Years, Vol. 1". On the morning of his high school graduation in June of 1965 he learned that his mother had passed away from alcohol poisoning. For a short time during 1965 he attended Harvard University and he formed the International Submarine Band. After two years the band split. Gram and John Nuese stayed with a country sound and Mickey Gauvin and Ian Dunlop formed the Flying Burrito Brothers. In July of 1967 The International Submarine Band recorded their album "Safe At Home". Most consider this to be the first country-rock album although it was not widely successful. Hanging out at the Byrds recording sessions lead to a friendship with Chris Hillman. When David Crosby left the band in February 1968 Parsons took his place in the band. When the Byrds recorded "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" he was finally in big time rock and roll. That album has continued to be a classic. He resigned from the Byrds in 1969 and formed the next incarnation of the Flying Burrito Brothers with Chris Hillman, Chris Ethridge and Sneaky Pete Kleinow. Michel Clarke would join later. In 1970 they recorded their second album "Burrito Deluxe". After a motorcycle accident in late 1970 he left the band and married model Gretchen Burrell. He was the influence for the country sound on the album "Exile On Main Street" by the Rolling Stones. In 1973 he toured with Emmylou Harris whom he had met in 1971. They performed the duets "I Fall To Pieces" and "That's All It Took". Gram invited Emmylou to sing on his album "GP". Three members of Elvis Presley's band, James Burton, Glen D. Hardin and Ronnie Tutt along with Barry Tashian appeared on the album. Emmylou joined Gram's tour band, The Fallen Angels, which was formed to promote the album. 1973 was a touring year for Gram and the Fallen Angels and they also recorded his second album "Grievous Angel". While on vacation in Joshua Tree Gram died. He had stated to friends that he wanted to be cremated at Joshua Tree Desert instead of being buried in the ground. After his death his body was to be flown to Louisiana for burial. However, his body was intercepted at the airport by friends Phil Kaufman and Michael Martin. After stealing his body they drove to The Joshua Tree Desert and poured gasoline inside the coffin to set the fire. The remains were finally interred in New Orleans. Kaufman and Martin were arrested and fined $700.00 for stealing and burning the coffin as it was not against the law to steal a deceased body. In January 1974 ""Grievous Angel" was released. Many artists list Gram Parsons as their musical influence including Elvis Costello, U2, the Black Crowes, The Eagles and The Rolling Stones. Although he never seemed to achieve great fame he had the ability to combine talented musicians to create unforgettable music. In 2003 writer Jeremy Drysdale chronicled the story of Parson's body's journey after death in the movie "Grand Theft Parsons" starring Johnny Knoxville and Gabriel Macht. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Cause of death: Heart failure due to tequila and morphine overdose

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

John Emmett Raitt ~ A Biography

John Emmett Raitt on Findagrave

Birth: Jan. 9, 1917
Santa Ana
Orange County
California, USA

Death: Feb. 20, 2005
Pacific Palisades
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Well-known baritone singer and father to blues musician Bonnie Raitt. Born John Emmett Raitt in Santa Ana, California. Raitt excelled in track in high school and won a scholarship to the University of Southern California. He then went on to finish college at the University of Redlands in 1940. His deep, resonant voice developed early, and he sang at service clubs and churches throughout Southern California. His professional debut came in 1940 as a chorus singer in "HMS Pinafore" with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, where he would be a frequent star in later years.. He created the role of Billy Bigelow in the original New York production of Carousel. He was well known on the West Coast for his voice when in 1944 he was asked to try out for the role of Curly in the road company of Oklahoma! in New York City. He auditioned for that role with Rodgers and Hammerstein. They concurred his voice was powerful but he was viewed to be too tall for the part. He argued that there was no reason for Curly not to be tall and he was given the part of Curly on the spot for the Chicago company of Oklahoma!. When the second collaboration of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Carousel, came about they chose Raitt for the role of the doomed hero Billy Bigelow. Hammerstein had been inspired to write the part when he heard Raitt sing his audition for the role of Curly. Thus the role was written just for him. He began that role in 1945. He also appeared on Broadway in "Magdalena," "Three Wishes for Jamie," and "Carnival in Flanders." An attempt to cross-over into film in 1954 in "The Pajama Game" was unsuccessful. The Bob Fosse choreographed numbers "Hey, There," "Steam Heat," and "Once a Year Day" received good reviews and the movie was successful but it was to be Raitts only starring role in motion pictures. Bonnie and her two brothers, Steven and David, were born to Raitt's first marriage to Marjorie Haydock. They divorced in 1971. A second marriage to Kathleen Smith Landry ended in divorce in 1981. That year, he learned from an old friend that Kathleen Kraemer, his high school sweetheart had recently been widowed. He called and invited himself to dinner and they were married in 1981. Bonnie sang "Safe in Your Arms" at the wedding. In 1991 when Bonnie married Michael O'Keefe John sang "My Hearts Darling" for them. He once said after his daughter became famous, "She used to be known as John Raitt's daughter, now I'm known as Bonnie Raitt's father." Bonnie and John appeared on several occasion singing duets with Bonnie's song "Blowing Away" and his song "Hey, There." Occassionally he would appear with his daughter at her concerts and he continued touring with a one-man show, "An Evening with John Raitt" well into his 80s. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Cause of death: Pneumonia

Yates Children ~ A Biography

John Samuel Yates on Findagrave
Mary Deborah Yates on Findagrave

Birth: Dec. 15, 1995
Death: Jun. 20, 2001

On the morning of June 20, 2001 at 9:50 A.M. Police responded to an emergency call at the Yates home in a suburb of Houston called Clear Lake. Andrea Pia Yates had made the call to 911 operators and told them "I just killed my children." Earlier in the morning Andrea Yates filled a bathtub and, one by one, methodically drowned her sons: Luke, two years old; Paul, three years old; John, five years old; and one daughter, Mary, six months old. After drowning each child she then picked them up and placed them on her bed and covered them with a sheet. Seven year old Noah, the oldest of the children, walked in and saw what his mother was doing and tried to run away. Andrea Yates ran after him and wrestled him back to the bathroom and drowned him also. Mrs. Yates was born in Houston, the youngest of five children. She had a nursing degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center. She married Rusty Yates from Nashville on April 17, 1993. Their first child, Noah was born in 1994. Andrea was diagnosed with depression in 1999 and later she was diagnosed with postpartum depression which, it is claimed, led to her killing her children. Andrea Pia Yates was found guilty of capital murder on Tuesday March 12, 2002. She was sentenced to life in prison on Friday, March 15, 2002. She must serve at least 40 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole. The children were remembered with a candlelight vigil outside of their home after the tragedy. A visitation was held on June 26, 2001 and a funeral was held on June 27, 2001 at Clear Lake Church of Christ in Clear Lake, Texas. The five caskets were white and arranged in a circle. Their father, Rusty Yates, talked about each child while standing at their casket, and then he kissed them goodbye. He had photographes on display showing the children at their most lively and beautiful selves. Later that day they were buried three on one side of a beautiful headstone, and two on the other side at Forest Park East Cemetery. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Lew Wasserman ~ A Biography

Lew Wasserman on Findagrave

Birth: Mar. 15, 1913
Cuyahoga County
Ohio, USA

Death: Jun. 3, 2002, USA

Lew Wasserman helped build an entertainment empire. He was the chairman and Chief Executive of MCA, Inc., parent of Universal Studios.. In 1990 MCA was sold and Wasserman was kept as a manager. Five years later he retired from management but kept the honarary title of Chairman Emeritus. He was on the Board of Directors until 1998. He was with MCA for more than 50 years, and he and its late founder, Jules Stein, built an entertainment giant, as well as running the famous "back lot" tour of Universal Studios. During his rein there some of the publics most favorite movies and television shows were made, including "Back To The Future" and "Miami Vice". Born in Cleveland where he worked selling candy, as an usher in a movie theatre and managed a night club, he married Edith Beckerman in 1936. A longtime friend of President Ronald Reagan, Mr. Wasserman was one of the last "old-time" movie moguls. He was 89. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Jacqueline Susann ~ A Biography

Jacqueline Susann on Findagrave

Birth: Aug. 20, 1918
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA

Death: Sep. 21, 1974
New York County (Manhattan), USA

Jackie was born to Rose, a school teacher, and Robert, a famed portrait painter. She had an intense desire for attention and longed to be an actress. She was outgoing and loud. In 1938 Jackie married press agent and publicist Irving Mansfield. December 06, 1946 Jackie and Irving welcomed to the world their only child, a son, Guy. Guy was a special child and was diagnosed with autism when he was three. At four years old he was committed to an institution. Jackie never gave up hope that he would get better. Jackie and Irving were a great team. Masters at self-promotion they set out to make Jackie's second novel Valley Of The Dolls number one. They traveled to many major bookstores, met the owners and took notes on them so they would have them for future visits. VOTD was number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list for 28 weeks in 1966. Her first novel, Every Night, Josephine!, about her poodle was published in 1963 and made the best-seller list. During this time Jackie found out she had breast cancer and had a mastectomy. She hid her illness from everyone except the people who absolutely had to know. She thought of cancer as something that "losers" had. VOTD was made into a movie in 1967 starring Barbara Parkins, Patty Duke and Sharon Tate. The novels, The Love Machine and Once Is Not Enough soon followed and both made the #1 spot on the bestsellers list making Jackie the first author to have three number one's in a row. In 1973 Jackie was diagnosed with lung cancer and on September 21, 1974 she lost her valiant struggle with the disease. Jackie was cremated and her ashes were intered in an urn made to look like a book.  

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Cause of death: Cancer

John Overton Trueheart ~ A Biography

John Overton Trueheart on Findagrave

Birth: 1801
Death: 1874

Western Frontiersman. He served in one of the first Texas Ranger companies under the famous John Coffee "Jack" Hays in 1841. Volunteer mounted forces were gathered to combat Indian raiders and the lawless elements of the colony. They had to provide their own horses, equipment and weapons. Thus became the now famous “Jack Hays’ Texas Rangers”. The Texas Rangers gained a national reputation in the Mexican War. In exchange for his service in The Texas Rangers he was given land grants in Galveston County, Galveston, Texas. He began a partnership in a general land agency in Galveston. This was to lead to a long line of family service to Galveston and Texas. Two of his children, Henry Martyn Truehart, and Charles William Trueheart were to become prominent in their own right, Charles becoming a physician, Henry opening a real estate business. A ranch house just outside of Ft. Davis is still there and has become a bed and breakfast as well as a historical landmark. Charles and Henry served in the Civil War and wrote letters throughout. Their letters to each other were published by the Texas A&M Press and titled ’Rebel Brothers - The Civil War Letters of the Truehearts’ in 1995. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Texas Historical Marker Inscription:

After Coming to Texas from Virginia about 1838, John Trueheart received a land grant for his service with Jacks Hays' Rangers. He then began a partnership in a Galveston General Land Agency with Memucan Hunt and returned to Virginia for his wife Anne Tompkins (Minor) 1804-86 and their children. Trueheart family leadership is reflected in the City's Trueheart-Adrance Building and in several varieties of Oleander named for family members.

Ross Sterling ~ A Biography

Ross Shaw Sterling on Findagrave 

Birth: Feb. 11, 1875
Chambers County
Texas, USA

Death: Mar. 25, 1949
Fort Worth
Tarrant County
Texas, USA

Texas Governor, Businessman. A farmer until 1896, he owned several businesses during his lifetime. He donated his home in LaPorte, Texas to the Houston Optimist Club in memory of his son, Ross, Sterling, Jr. who passed away in 1924. The home became a boys camp. Sour Lake, Texas was the site of his feed store in 1903. It was in that year that he purchased several banks and began to operate oil wells. In 1910 he purchased the first two. From these two wells he developed the Humble Oil Company in 1911. He served as president of the company until 1925. He then sold the company and went on to develop real estate in the Houston area. Humble Oil Company later became the Exxon Company. The Houston Post newspaper was formed as a later incarnation of the Houston Dispatch and the Houston Post, which he had purchased in 1925 and 1926. The two newspapers were merged to become the Houston Post-Dispatch and later the Houston Post. Inaugurated governor of Texas on January 20, 1931, he served until 1933 when he lost his bid for re-election. After serving as governor he went on to invest in many business opportunities including Sterling Oil and Refining Company, American Maid Flour Mills, and R.S. Sterling Investments. He served as one of the original board members of the Hermann Hospital Estate. He retired in 1946. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Yves Saint Laurent ~ A Biography

Yves Saint Laurent on Findagrave

Birth: Aug. 1, 1936
Oran, Algeria

Death: Jun. 1, 2008
City of Paris
Ile-de-France, France

Fashion Designer. Leaving his home of Oran at the age of 17 he traveled to France to work with designer Christian Dior. At the time of Diors death in 1957 he was asked to take charge of the business. In 1960 he served in the French Army for a short time, as he suffered from great stress and had to leave for psychiatric treatment. After being released from Dior in 1962, YSL, his own label was started. This was made possible by the financial aide of his companion Pierre BergĂ©. In 1966 and 1970 Rive Gauche boutiques for women and men were opened. Laurent is best known for feminizing the qualities of mens wardrobes for women. In 1971 he posed nude for his mens perfume, "Pour Homme". The very popular "Opium" perfume was a Yves Saint Laurent product. The fashion house was sold for approximately six hundred million dollars in 1993 to the pharmacuticals company Sanofi. In 1999 he received a Lifetime Achievement award from The Council of Fashion Designers of America. 

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson) 

Cremated, Other.
Specifically: Ashes buried in the Majorelle Gardens, part of his estate in Marrakesh, Morocco

William Marsh Rice ~ A Biography

William Marsh Rice on Findagrave

Birth: Mar. 14, 1816
Hampden County
Massachusetts, USA

Death: Sep. 23, 1900
New York
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA

Businessman, Educator. Born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Little is known about his childhood. He moved to Texas in 1838. In 1840 he started one of many businesses of which he would become involved. Houston and Galveston Navigation Company was established in 1851 and in 1858 Rice was the owner of a brig called the William M. Rice. It carried ice from Boston to Galveston. Rice also served as a director of the Houston Insurance Company, which insured carriers and freight. He incorporated the Houston Cotton Compress Company, several railroads and a stage line from Houston to Austin. He was the alderman from the Second Ward from 1855 to 1857 and he served on the petit jury and the grand jury in Harris County. He was a member of Liberty Company No. 2, an early formation of a volunteer fire department for the City of Houston, which was organized in 1852. Rice and T. W. House purchased a Hunneman Hand Fire Engine from Boston. The price was $2000.00 and would be the first fire truck that the volunteers acquired. It arrived in Houston in 1852. Serving in many capacities such as, Odd Fellow, director of the Houston Academy, trustee of the Houston Educational Society, the Second Ward School, and the Texas Medical College, Rice was among the wealthiest men in Texas. Rice married Margaret Bremond on June 29, 1850. She passed away on August 13, 1863. For the next two years he stayed in Monterrey, Mexico. He returned to Houston in 1866. On June 26, 1867 he married Julia Elizabeth Baldwin Brown, daughter of an early mayor of Houston. They moved to New Jersey but split their time between New Jersey and New York and took occasional trips to Houston for business. On one of the business trips Cesar Maurice Lombardi who was interested in building a high school in Houston approached him. Having changed his will previously to include a fund for a school for needy boys, Rice was interested. It was decided that he would fund an institute of higher learning. The charter for the William M. Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art was incorporated in Austin, Texas on May 19, 1891. Due to his wife's health he moved to Houston in April 1896 with hope that the weather would improve her condition. After her death on July 24, 1896 a dispute ensued over her will. During the years of court proceedings, Rice's valet, Charlie Jones, to gain control of his estate, hatched a plan. He began drugging Rice with cyanide pills. Jones eventually murdered Rice with a lethal dose of chloroform. Jones was released although he did commit the murder. When the estate was settled in 1904 there was approximately three million dollars in an endowment for the university. On October 12, 1912, the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Art and Science held its inaugural festival. At that time the endowment held a sum of about nine million dollars and all students were able to attend the university without charge. This privilege did not end until 1965. 

Cause of death: Murder by chloroform

(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson)