2013 Texas Press obituaries

JANUARY 2013

Bert West
1926 — 2013
Bert C. West, longtime Texas newspaperman and news editor of the Palacios Beacon, died Jan. 24, 2013, at his desk. He was 86. 
During his six decades in the newspaper industry, West worked for nearly 30 papers in four states, almost all in Texas beginning in the mid-1950s. Among them were papers in Port Lavaca, El Campo, Bay City, Edna and Yoakum. They also ranged from Daingerfield in Northeast Texas to Dumas in the Panhandle and to San Benito in the Rio Grande Valley. Among his career highlights was covering the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 for the Houston Chronicle. 
West was born Oct. 28, 1926, in Rush County, Ind., to Laurence Russell and Muriel C. Wilson West. His mother died shortly after he was born and he was adopted by his uncle, Bertrand Clarence West Sr., and Alice (Gruell) West. 
A career newspaper man, West had previously lived in Palacios in 1982-83 when he worked with his son, Nick, who was publisher of the Palacios Beacon. He served as Chamber of Commerce president in 1983 and led the  the chamber’s annual fishing tournament. He returned to Palacios in 1999 and again went to work at the Beacon. He lead the effort to establish Palacios as a Home Rule Charter city. He was elected to three terms on the Palacios City Council from 2005 to 2011 and served as a director of the chamber. He spearheaded the Palacios Centennial Celebration in 2009. West also was serving as a director of the Palacios Economic Development Corporation at the time of his death.

Robert C. (Bob) Barton Jr.
1930-2013
Robert C. (Bob) Barton Jr., proud son of Central Texas, family man, newspaperman, politician, friend and mentor to many — and a staunch believer in social justice as a basic right for all — died Jan. 19, 2013. He was 82.
Barton was born on April 5, 1930 to long-time Buda residents, Robert C. Barton and Marietta Fly Barton. A product of the Buda schools, Barton earned a degree from Texas State University and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict, stationed in Germany. Bob and Wynette Word of Kyle were married in 1955.
In 1952, Barton entered the newspaper world with the purchase of the Kyle News, which eventually became the award-winning newspaper, Hays County Citizen. Later established several other newspapers, including the Hays Free Press, an award winner among Texas newspapers.
Barton served in the Texas Legislature and was known throughout Central Texas as an influential political operative who mentored numerous successful candidates. 
A lover of Central Texas lore, Barton devoted his last few years to historical research, and still wrote occasionally for the Hays Free Press. 

MARCH 2013

Harry W. Small Sr.
1942 — 2013
Harry W. Small Sr., former pressman for the Weatherford Democrat, died March 4, 2013. He was 71.
Small was born Feb. 19, 1942, in Mineral Wells to Harvey and Mary Upshaw Small. He graduated from Dunbar High School in Mineral Wells. He married Mildred Poole at Mt. Hermon Baptist Church on June 28, 1961.
Small retired as a newspaper pressman for the Weatherford Democrat after 25 years. He was a member of the Mt. Hermon Baptist Church.
Survivors include his wife, Mildred Small of Mineral Wells; three sons, Harry Small Jr. and his wife, Liz, of Mineral Wells, Darryl Small and wife, Kelly, of Watauga, and Ron Small and wife, Lynn, of Houston; two daughters, Regenia Cross and husband, Victor, of Mineral Wells, and Rhonda Mack and husband, Andrew, of Mineral Wells; one daughter-in-law, April Small; one brother, Amos Prince; and a host of other family and friends.

Dorothy Craig Drain
1921 — 2013
Dorothy Craig Drain, former owner of the Stamford American, died March 8, 2012. She was 92.
Born on Jan. 28, 1921, in San Antonio, Drain was the only child of the late H.P. and Henrietta (Michon) Ehrhardt. After graduating from high school in San Antonio, she met and married Roy M. Craig on June 28, 1941.
In 1945, the couple moved to Stamford and purchased the Stamford American newspaper. She and her husband were very active in West Texas Press Association and Texas Press Association. After Roy’s death in 1979, Drain continued operating the newspaper until selling to John Mooney in 1985. On April 18, 1981, she married James C. Drain in Stamford. He preceded her in death on June 12, 2007. 
Although Drain retired, she remained active in the community. In later years, it was common to find her travelling with her friends, playing bridge, and making her daily stop at the post office. She was a longtime member of Central Christian Church before it went into retirement and was currently a member of Central Presbyterian Church in Stamford. 

Wes Burnett
1941 — 2013
Wesley Walker Burnett, publisher and owner of the Rockwall County News, died March 28, 2013, from a stroke. He was 72.
Burnett was born Jan. 19, 1941, in Bonham to Roy Edwin and Helen Juanita (Samuel) Burnett. 
He was publisher of The Post Dispatch in Post from 1982 to 2008. Burnett and his family moved to Post in 1982 after purchasing the Dispatch from Jim Cornish.
After leaving Post in 2008, Burnett became owner and publisher of the Rockwall County News. 
He also worked for a number of dailies, including the Bryan-College Station Eagle, the Hamilton (Ohio) Journal-News and the Daily Iberian in New Iberia, La., before venturing into the realm of weekly newspapers, including those in Sonora, Stephenville, Dublin and Ballinger. 
Burnett attended Texas A&M University and was a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He also was a U.S. Air Force veteran.

JUNE 2013

Charles O. Kilpatrick
1922 – 2013
Charles O. Kilpatrick, publisher of the San Antonio Express-News during the 1970s and 1980s, died at the age of 91 after a long illness. 
Kilpatrick began as a copy editor and advanced his way to publisher. He retired in 1990 after 19 years at the Express-News.
He and his wife Margie had just celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary on June 3 before he passed away on June 26, 2013. 

JULY 2013

Bob Bowman
1936 – 2013
Bob Bowman, owner of Bowman & Associates, Inc. was born in Anderson County on June 3, 1936 and passed away, July 13, 2013 in a Lufkin Hospital. He was 77 years old.
He was a community leader, one of the state’s most knowledgeable historians and his Lufkin-based public relations agency served clients all over the U.S. 
He and his wife, Doris, collaborated as authors on more than 45 books depicting East Texas and all of its facets – including a series of books on “The Bests of East Texas.” He also wrote a weekly history column that ran in many East Texas papers for years.

Dorothy Todd
1919 – 2013
Dorothy Todd passed away on July 23, 2013, in Houston. She was the wife of Bill Todd, and together they founded Todd Publications Inc. 
The couple started out in the newspaper business publishing the Rockford Morning Star (Ill) and the Rockford Register Republic. They sold both newspapers to the Gannett Corporation in 1967 and then moved to Texas in 1972 where they founded Todd Publications Inc. The company managed community newspapers in Smithville, Cuero, Round Rock, and Schulenburg while also running two printing operations. 
She was named president of the board of Todd Publications Inc. in 1994 and managed its enterprise until it was sold in 2006.

Janey Joyce
1930-2013
Former Amarillo Globe-News city editor and award-winning genealogist, Janey Ruth Eaves Joyce passed away on July 30, 2013. She was 83.
Joyce was born in Houston and later married Aristide “Steed” Joseph Joyce. She began her career when they moved from Houston to Pine Bluff, Ark. where she became an obituary writer for the Pine Bluff Commercial and later was promoted to city editor. 
After that, she worked at the Austin American-Statesman as the assistant to the state editor. She and her husband eventually moved to Amarillo, where she covered education for the Amarillo Globe-Times and Sunday News-Globe. In 1983, she became the assistant city editor.
When she retired in 1995 she became a certified genealogist and was active in the San Antonio Genealogical and Historical Society. She edited the organization’s periodical and 24 of the books they published.

AUGUST

Pete Kendall
1948-2013
Pete Kendall, a veteran newspaperman, died at the age of 65 on Aug. 2, 2013, in Cleburne. He worked for the Cleburne Times-Review for a number of years and during three separate stints and spent some time at the Hood County News. 
He covered sports, human-interest stories and the paper’s educational and agricultural beats among other assignments. He maintained an interest in crime reporting throughout his career penning cold case stories.Kendall graduated from Paschal High School in 1965 and served as their editor for the school newspaper. 
Afterwards, he went on to earn his degree in journalism from the University of New Mexico in 1970 and worked on that student newspaper as well.
He returned to Texas, reporting on sports and a jazz column. He wrote numerous magazine articles and had been published in a book on the history of Texas high school football. He also authored the national obituary of blues musician T-Bone Walker for United Press International. Kendall was preceded in death by his parents.

Bill Martin
1932-2013
Former publisher and veteran journalist, Bill Earl Martin, died on Aug. 2, 2013. He was 81. 
Martin was born in Bryan and in 1953 he earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Texas.
He graduated from Decatur High School in 1950 and in 1955 he began his career as a reporter for the San Angelo Standard-Times and worked his way up to assistant to the publisher. While at the Times, he was also an adjunct faculty member for 10 years, teaching journalism at San Angelo State University.
Martin was president of the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors in 1976. He served as publisher of the Walton Tribune in Monroe, Georgia before serving as president of Harte-Hanks Newspaper’s Georgia Newspaper Group in 1980.
He was also publisher of the Greenville Herald-Banner and the Lufkin Daily News in Texas, the Mansfield Journal-News in Ohio, and at the Longview News-Journal in Texas. 
He served on the board of the Longivew Partnership, Longview Economic Development Corp., Greater Longview United Way, Action Longview and the citizens advisory of Texas Eastman.
He was also a member of the Longview City Council task force that recommended that the University of Texas establish a campus in Longview.
He eventually retired from the News-Journal in 1997 and moved to Tyler.

William Cook 
1960 - 2013
William Loyd Cook passed away on Aug. 10, 2013, at the age of 53.
Cook was self taught and worked in the journalism field for 15 years. He began freelancing for the Kerens Tribune and spent some time at The Corsicana Daily Sun and the Brownsboro Statesman. His most recent post was with the Kaufman Herald.

Donald Lee Sloan
1934 - 2013
Donald Lee Sloan of San Saba passed away on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013. He was 79. 
He married Gail Ann Gorber in 1954 and the two were married for 58 years. 
He was a fisherman and avid hunter - enjoying all things outdoors.
Sloan started his newspaper career when he was 15 when he began working at the San Saba Star after school. The job required sweeping, washing windows, cleaning up metal shavings under the Linotype and melting lead into pigs to be used over again the following week.
When the San Saba News purchased the San Saba Star, it became the San Saba News and Star and Sloan continued his career managing and publishing. 
During the mid 80s, he and his wife bought the newspaper, but eventually sold it in 1999. 
Upon retiring, Sloan was honored by the Texas Press Association for his 50 years of service to the newspaper business. TPA’s Golden 50 Award honors men and women who have displayed exemplary service and selfless contributions to journalism for 50 or more years.

Thomas Francis Pendergast
1932 - 2013
Thomas Francis Pendergast, owner and publisher of the Winnsboro News passed away on Aug. 14, 2013. He was 81. 
Originally from Stamford, Conn., Pendercast joined the Navy as a journalist, and then spent 30 years with the Associated Press. In 1985, he and his late wife, Karen bought the Winnsboro News. They were only the fourth owners of the newspaper, which is more than 100 years-old. 
In 1994 he received the Journalist of the Year Award from North & East Texas Press Association for an investigative piece concerning the death of Cole Hayes Jr. Pendergast was editor of the newspaper for 27 years until handing over the title to Bryan Giguere in 2012. 

Steve McGonigle
1953 - 2013
Dallas Morning News reporter Steve McGonigle passed away on Aug. 24, 2013, after his fight with cancer. At the age of 60, he had 30 years of experience in journalism. 
McGonigle was born in Houston in 1953. He received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 1975 and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1977. 
He worked as a reporter for the Abilene Reporter-News and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times before starting at the Dallas Morning News in 1981. He was known for being a watchdog who relentlessly chased down wrong doers and he would go anywhere a story would take him. 
McGonigle and Timms received numerous awards including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for exposing discrimination in jury selection and a Silver Gavel Award for their stories on abuses in the military’s health system. 

SEPTEMBER 2013

Dana Hugh Palmer
1949 - 013
Dana Hugh Palmer died on Sept. 5, 2013, in his sleep. He was 64. Palmer was born in 1949 in Crane, Texas where he attended Crane High School. 
Later, he went to Odessa College before entering the University of Texas at Austin. He received his bachelor’s in business administration in 1971 and in journalism in 1973. 
He began as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, and soon after, he met his wife, Emily. Later, he was transferred to the Austin Bureau to cover the Capitol and Texas Legislature. He had recently retired. 

Ellie Rucker
1936 - 2013 
Longtime columnist Ellie Rucker passed away Sept. 17, 2013, in San Antonio at the age of 77.  
An Albuquerque native, Eleanor Ann Rucker attended Wheaton College in Illinois and later at Baylor University. She started her journalism career in Abilene, writing, ‘Action Line.’ The column debuted in 1969 and readers would direct questions ranging from household know-hows to community inquiries. 
Rucker left Abilene for Austin in 1977, starting her consumer question-and-answer column for the Austin American-Statesman. She continued with this column until her retirement in 1992. 
She was named Woman of the Year by numerous organizations in Austin from 1979 - 1982 and in 1980, Rucker published her first book. “Ellie Rucker’s Almanac - Where to Buy a Concrete Armadillo and Other Pertinent Information” is a collection of her favorite questions she answered in her column. 

Betty Biggs
1932 - 2013 
Betty Biggs of Panhandle passed away on Sept. 19, 2013, at the age of 81. 
Biggs was a 1949 graduate of Panhandle High School and she later attended West Texas State College. 
She was the editor of the Panhandle Herald for 26 years where she started her column, “Betty’s Basket.” She was known to be creative with her words and for her “colorful” local weather reports. 

Lawrence Goodwyn
1928 - 2013 
Lawrence Goodwyn, former Texas journalist and political activist died Sept. 29, 2013. He was 85. 
Goodwyn spent four years at Texas A&M University then later obtained his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. He later founded the Oral History Program at Duke University, where he taught for 32 years. 
He began his journalism career as a sports reporter for the San Antonio Express. His colleagues have noted that he was focused on economic issues affecting minority groups and that he championed regular citizens over large corporations. 

Joe Brown
1934 - 2013
Wichita Falls journalist and television station personality Joe Brown died Sept. 30, 2013. He was 78. 
Brown wrote regularly for the Times Record News until 2011. 
His column, “How Now Joe Brown?” appeared on the newspaper’s front page for almost three decades. He also wrote a farm column titled, “Doin’ It Up Brown.” 
He became farm editor for the Times Record News and farm director at the local television station in 1964. 
Brown was known for being an avid storyteller and integral part of his community. 
He attended college at the then Midwestern University (now Midwestern State University) where he went through their agricultural program. 

OCTOBER 2013

Nick Gholson
1946-2013
Nick Gholson, longtime sports editor for the Wichita Times Record News, passed away on Oct. 13 from cancer. He was 66.
Born on Nov. 21, 1946 and a lifelong Wichitan, Nick attended Austin Elementary, Reagan Junior High School, Wichita Falls High School and Midwestern State University, where he worked for the Wichitan. 
He graduated from MSU in 1977 and in 2010 he was inducted into the Midwestern University Hall of Honor.
In 1999, Gholson wrote, “Hail to Our Colors,” a book about the state championship teams of Old High and he was instrumental in the naming of their football field. 
He began at the Times Record News in April 1972, holding such positions as sports writer and news editor before becoming sports editor in 1979. 
Even though he’s best remembered for his sports coverage, he also served as news editor in the 1970s and ‘80s.
He won numerous accolades for his writing, including Associated Press awards for page design, headline, feature and column writing.
In July of this year, Gholson won his third Kirk Hill Award by the Lone Star Conference, given to the league’s sports writer of the year. 
Hand-picked by parent company E.W. Scripps to cover the Olympic Games for her newspapers across the country, Nick traveled to Athens, Turin, Beijing and London, diversifying his knowledge of sports by accepting assignments such as curling and fencing.

NOVEMBER 2013

Nan Ezzell
1920 - 2013
Nan Ezzell, who raised two generations of community journalists over more than six decades in the Texas Panhandle, passed away Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, in Canadian. She was 93. 
Ezzell was publisher of the Canadian Record having succeeded her late husband, Ben Ezzell and handed the reins to their daughter, Laurie Ezzell Brown. 
She was born Sept. 22, 1920, in Denver, Colorado, to Harry L. and Marian Wilson
Morgan. A graduate of the University of Denver, she was a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority and Mortarboard, an honorary scholastic organization. She met young airman Ben Ezzell in 1941 on Pearl Harbor Day, and a courtship in letters ensued. They were married on Aug. 5, 1942, in Miami, Florida. Their marriage endured for over 50 years, until his death in 1993.
At the end of World War II, Nancy and Ben settled in Hereford, where he was named managing
editor of The Hereford Brand. In 1947, they moved to Canadian, becoming part-owners and eventually sole owners, of The Canadian Record. As co-editors and publishers of The Record, they won countless regional and state awards and were widely respected by their fellow journalists.
Following Ben’s death, Nancy carried on that legacy with daughter and co-editor Laurie Ezzell Brown. Her much-loved column, Petticoat Patter, appeared in The Record pages each week for over 55 years. 
The family won the 2007 Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, integrity and tenacity in rural journalism presented by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.
A past president of the Panhandle Press Association, she was inducted into the PPA Hall of Fame.

Rollie Hyde 
1937 - 2013
Rollie D. Hyde, Texas Press Association's 120th president, who served for 16 years as publisher for the Plainview Daily Herald, died Nov. 11, 2013 in Oklahoma City, Okla. He was 76.
Hyde was advertising director of the Midland Reporter-Telegram when Hearst Newspapers promoted him to publisher in Plainview in July 1990. He remained in that post until the end of 2005, capping a 21-year career in the Hearst chain and beginning an eight-year career as a newspaper broker.
After retiring from the Herald, Hyde joined W.B. Grimes and Co., as a senior associate for the Mountain States and Southwest regions. 
Hyde was the 120th president of the Texas Newspaper Association, serving from 1997-98, president of the Panhandle Press Association in 1995-96 and inducted into its Hall of Fame in April 2005, past president of the Oklahoma City Ad Federation and Corpus Christi Ad Federation, and former member of the Texas Tech University Journalism Advisory Council.
Hyde received the Frank Mayborn Award for community service from the Texas Daily Newspaper Association and the Harold Hudson Award from the West Texas Press Association for lifetime service. He was named Plainview's Man of the Year in 2000.

Dan Packard
1949 - 2013
Dan Packard, a longtime editor and reporter at the Amarillo Globe-News, passed away on Nov. 12, 2013. He was 64. 
Packard began his newspaper career in 1968 in the sports department of the Globe-News. He later worked at the Daily Oklahoman as a sportswriter and copy editor, then became the owner and publisher of the twice-weekly Mustang Enterprise in Oklahoma. He again joined the Globe-News in 1991 and went on to serve as editor of the Extra section, assistant city editor, regional editor, columnist and night editor. 

Gerald Black
1946 - 2013
Gerald Black, Pleasanton Express news editor for nearly 20 years, passed away on Nov. 23, 2013. He was 67. 
Black began his journalism career while still in college working for the radio station, newspaper, yearbook as well as staff photographer. He carried out those duties while enlisted in the Navy. 
Black covered the whole county and law enforcement news, wrote feature articles and was a photographer, winning several awards during his career at the Express. 
He retired in 2012. 

Walter Buckel
1921 - 2013
TPA's 108th President Walter Buckel passed away  on Nov. 27, 2013, at his home in Lubbock. He was 92. 
A World War II veteran, Buckel had played  minor league baseball, managed the radio station and served as county clerk before he entered the newspaper business in 1967 at the age of 46. He found his specialty as a longtime publisher of the Lamesa Press-Reporter and as an officer in numerous other community newspapers across Texas and into New Mexico.
He served as president of the West Texas Press Association in 1982-83, president of the Texas Press Association in 1985-86 and was inducted into the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2008. 
Active in his community, he helped raise over a million dollars for various community projects ranging from purchasing parks, to supporting the creation and funding of new schools, centers and museums in the area. 

DECEMBER 2013

T. R. (Ted) Fehrenbach 
1925 - 2013
Ted Fehrenbach passed away on Dec. 1, 2013. He was 88.  
Fehrenbach was internationally known as a writer, thinker and most notably as the author of “Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans.” He worked for the Texas Historical Commission where he served as a voting member of the commission for 18 years, chaired the panel for four of those years, and was named commissioner emeritus by Gov. Rick Perry in 2001. He totaled a 31-year involvement with the state agency. He knew one can’t just write the history of a unique place, you must work diligently to preserve that history for future generations, to save the real places that tell the real stories of Texas.

Wilburn Lee Davis 
1930 - 2013
Wilburn Lee Davis, 83 of San Angelo, died on Dec. 1, 2013. Davis was born on Feb. 11, 1930 and at the age of six, the family moved to the Branch place. Davis graduated from Ballinger High School in 1947 and in 1948 he enlisted in the United States Navy. After his discharge in 1951, Wilburn returned to Texas and earned a bachelor of arts from the University of Corpus Christi. His career as a newspaperman spanned nearly three decades and included positions as an ad compositor at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times; in the offices of the Mena Star of Arkansas; and as editor of the Mathis (Texas) News. 
In 2002, he and his wife, Myrtis, moved to San Angelo.

Carmage Lee Walls Sr. 
1934 - 2013
Carmage Lee Walls Sr., founder of Walls Newspaper Consultants, died Dec. 7, 2013. He was 79. 
His company owns many newspapers in Georgia and several other newspapers in surrounding states. 
Walls came from a family with deep roots in the newspaper industry. His father, B. Carmage Walls founded Southern Newspapers Inc., of Texas, which owns publications throughout the Southeast. He grew up in the newspaper business when his father, Carmage Walls, ran several newspapers, including Gadsden and Macon, Ga. 
After graduating from the University of Alabama in 1956 and serving for two years in the Air Force, he got into the newspaper business, becoming publisher of the Cleveland Daily Banner in Tennessee. He started Walls Newspapers Consultants in Cleveland and began buying newspapers in small- and medium-sized markets. The headquarters moved to Houston and then to Birmingham in 1986. It included newspapers in nine states.
His company eventually moved to Houston, Texas, and then Birmingham, Ala., in 1986 where it is based today. 

J.W. “Bill” Walraven
1925 - 2013
J.W. “Bill” Walraven passed away in Corpus Christi on Dec. 12, 2013 at the age of 88. 
Walraven was born in Dallas on July 1, 1925. He lived in Kingsville until he was eight, then went on to graduate from Texas A&I University. He met his wife, Marjorie there and they were married for 63 years. 
He worked at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times as a police reporter, courthouse reporter, city hall reporter, business writer, oil writer, and Action Line columnist before “retiring,” as he said, to write a general column appearing five days a week from 1974 to 1989. He retired for good then, but continued writing, authoring several books on Texas and local history. 

Rey Sifuentes 
1974 - 2013
Rey Sifuentes, 39, who served two years as the full-time sports editor of the Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune until switching to part-time sports writer during the fall, was found dead on Dec. 17, 2013. 
Sifuentes, a 1997 music education graduate of Texas A&M University in Kingsville, was working full-time as an elementary education music teacher in the Daingerfield ISD. 
Rey was a renowned poker player and he worked numerous jobs across South Texas - writing for papers in Eagle Pass, Raymondville, Lytle, Falfurrias, Canyon Lake, New Braunfels and San Antonio. He went back to teaching in August, but still covered local sports extensively.

Judy Wiessler 
1945 - 2013
Judy Wiessler, veteran Washington journalist who wrote about national politics, immigration and the U.S. Supreme Court for the Houston Chronicle, passed away on Dec. 28, 2013. She was 68. She suffered from multiple sclerosis. 
Wiessler retired from the Chronicle as deputy bureau chief after a 35-year career. Born in Huntsville, she studied journalism at the University of Texas and after graduating, went to work for the Dallas Morning News. 
Wiessler and her husband, David Wiessler, moved to Washington in 1973 when and she joined the Houston Chronicle Bureau. She retired in 1999. Her husband was also retired as UPI Washington bureau chief.