Obituaries published in the July 2019 edition of the Texas Press Messenger
DALLAS – Gerry Fraley, a longtime sports writer who spent most of his career covering the Texas Rangers for The Dallas Morning News, died May 25 at the age of 64.
After covering the Braves for the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, Fraley joined the Dallas paper in 1989 to cover the Texas Rangers. He also wrote about football, basketball and NASCAR among other assignments for the Morning News.
Assistant managing editor for sports Garry Leavell said Fraley’s versatility “is what separated him from his peers.”
He was also remembered by former President George W. Bush, who was part of the ownership group of the Rangers before going into politics, and John Blake, executive vice president of communications for the Rangers, who said the Rangers would observe a moment of silence to honor Fraley before their game in Anaheim.
According to his Dallas Morning News bio page, Fraley, who earned a history degree from Carnegie Mellon University, wrote more than 8,000 stories for the newspaper over the course of his career.
He is survived by his wife, Stephanie; two sons, siblings and other relatives.
A celebration of his life was held June 7 at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Memorial donations may be made to Sequoia High School, C/O Treasurer’s Office Coach Rob Poulos, 1201 Brewster Ave, Redwood City, CA 94062 “Fraley Memorial Football Donation.”
LEONA – Former newspaper and magazine editor Thaddeus “Tad” S. Mizwa, 91, of Leona, died April 3.
A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Mizwa had a long career in the Houston area.
An accomplished saddle maker, he owned Tad’s Saddlery And Western Wear in Highland Village in Houston from 1953 to 1962. A graduate of Amherst and Columbia University, he did post-graduate work in journalism at the University of Houston in 1963. He was the editor of the Conroe Courier from 1963-1967. In 1967, he moved his family back to Houston to join Cordovan Corporation and became the advertising manager and editor of Horseman Magazine.
He eventually developed and published Western Outfitter for the western apparel trade. He later became the publisher of Texas Fisherman and Jet Cargo News within the Cordovan Corporation umbrella. In addition, he wrote three books on western merchandising.
He was also active with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for many years, serving on numerous committees. In later years, he returned to saddlery and made items on commission for several museums.
Mizwa and his wife moved to Leona in 1999.
Preceded in death by his wife of 10 years, Genevieve Brunoski-Mizwa, and by his wife of 50 years, Mary Jane House Mizwa, he is survived by four children, 10 grandchildren, a great grandchild and other relatives.
Funeral services were held June 1 at Evans Chapel United Methodist Church in Normangee. Memorials may be made to to The Lord’s Pantry-Leona, P.O. Box 101, Leona, Texas, 75850; Evans Chapel Cemetery Fund, 8167 CR 410, Normangee, Texas 77871; or the AIDS Foundation Houston, 6260 Westpark Drive, #100, Houston, Texas 77057.
DALLAS – Alan Peppard, the Dallas native who worked his way from society columnist to Texas historian during his 30 years at The Dallas Morning News, died June 8. He was 56.
Peppard died at his Highland Park home, two years after he left The News and went to work in the family business, Geomap Co. Based in Plano, the company was founded 60 years ago by his father, Vernon Peppard, a geologist and pilot.
The Greenhill School and Southern Methodist University graduate’s first byline appeared in the October 1984 issue of D Magazine on an article about the cars of Dallas’ rich and famous, among them Stanley Marcus and WFAA-TV (Channel 8) sports anchor Dale Hansen.
He served as an assistant editor at the city magazine.
In August 1987, at 24, he was hired at The Dallas Morning News to serve as one of two reporters responsible for covering social events in the Dallas area. He became a fixture and favorite as he chronicled social activities at Shannon Wynne’s 8.0, the Cattle Baron’s Ball, the Mansion on Turtle Creek and places long since vanished, among them the Highland Park Yacht Club and Starck Club.
In recent years he turned his attention to his first great passions: storytelling and local lore.
He became more interested in writing long stories about important moments lost to history. In 2013, Peppard contributed to a package of stories marking the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death by writing a memorable piece about the man that accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald tried but failed to kill — former Major Gen. Edwin A. Walker. Peppard also unearthed rare footage and photographs that showed Kennedy leading a motorcade parade through downtown Dallas during his 1960 presidential campaign that proved eerily similar to the one that claimed his life in 1963.
In his September 2017 farewell column, Peppard wrote about his friendships with Larry Hagman, Dallas’ J.R. Ewing; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett; and presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
In addition to his wife Jennifer, he is survived by three children and other relatives.
Services were held June 13 at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. Memorial donations may be made to the Center for Brain Health with the University of Texas at Dallas or The Hockaday School.
Margaret Scobey Putnam
RICHARDSON – Margaret Scobey Putnam, one of Texas’ longest-serving dance critics, died May 22 in Richardson. She was 78.
After growing up in Midland, Putnam attended Smith College, where she earned a degree in English. After living in Manhattan and California, she returned to Midland to teach. Five years later, she moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas, where she earned a doctorate in English. She then moved to Richardson to teach at UT-Dallas.
She began writing dance reviews in 1980 and over the following 30-plus years, she wrote for the Dallas Times Herald, Playbill, Dance magazine and the New York Times. She also wrote travel articles for D Magazine. In later years, she wrote for the online arts magazine, Theater Jones. Her last review appeared there in 2917.
For most of her career, she covered local dance companies, utilizing knowledge based on her own study of dance since childhood. In addition to the Dallas Ballet and the Bruce Wood Dance Company founded in 1997 in Fort Worth, she also covered lesser-known troupes, such as Anita Hernandez Ballet Florico and Indian classical dance companies.
She was honored in 2011 by the Dance Council of North Texas for her dedication to the arts. At the time, she had written more than 3,000 dance reviews.
Putnam was also active in local arts organizations and launched a non-profit called Artists Helping Artists. The group helped local artists with health care related expenses.
Memorial service was held June 3 at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas with a reception at the Sammons Center for the Arts. Burial was in Our Lady of Rosary Cemetery in Georgetown.
She is survived by two children, three grandchildren, siblings and other relatives.
E. Kenneth Tooley
AUSTIN – E. Kenneth Tooley, former publisher of the Paducah Post, died June 9. He was 89.
A native of Tolbert, he attended schools in Haskell and attended McMurry College in Abilene before transferring to the University of Texas in Austin. He entered the Army in 1952 before finishing college. He graduated from the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1967.
He began his working life at the age of 14 with the Haskell Free Press. He worked for the Abilene Reporter News from 1954 to 1956.
In 1956 he purchased an interest in the Paducah Post, where he was publisher until 1964 when he sold it and moved his family to Austin. In Austin he found work at the Texas Department of Public Safety as the public information officer for the Office of Defense and Disaster Relief.
In 1966, he joined the Texas Association of Life Underwriters and served as executive vice president until he retired in 1996.
Preceded in death by his wife, Doris, Tooley is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Funeral was held June 13 at the Cameron Road Church of Christ. Memorial donations may be made to the Central Church of Christ in Pflugerville.