Obituaries published in the February 2019 Messenger
James Vaughn Weaver
HAMILTON – James Vaughn Weaver, 62, of Hamilton, died Dec. 14, 2018, in Waco.
His wife, Elena Rice, is co-publisher and editor of the Hamilton Herald-News.
Weaver worked for more than 20 years for Lawson Implement Co. and more recently was co-owner of the Hamilton Herald-News. He was a deacon and a Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church, where he was also on the media and technology committee for many years.
He was a director emeritus for Hamilton Civic Theater and was best known as “Aunt Pearl” in A Tuna Christmas.
Services were held Dec. 16 at First Baptist Church of Hamilton under the direction of Riley Funeral Home. Burial followed in Center Valley Cemetery.
In addition to his wife, Weaver is survived by two children, eight grandchildren and many other relatives.
Memorials may be made to Hamilton Civic Theater, the Alzheimer’s Association or First Baptist Church of Hamilton’s media and technology department.
David C. Martin
BURLESON – Veteran media advertising specialist David C. Martin, who had owned the Burleson Star for almost two years, died Jan. 18 in Fort Worth. He was 80.
Martin and his longtime business partner, Dianne Egan, acting as the Galois Group, purchased the 54-year-old Burleson Star in April 2017 from Palo Pinto Communications, LLP – almost a year to the day after Palo Pinto acquired the newspaper from Digital First Media.
“David brought leadership and years of experience to the Burleson Star,” Editor Ricky Moore said. “He embraced community journalism and telling stories about Burleson.”
Martin’s extensive media and advertising career began in 1961 with Wall-Martin Advertising in Monterey, California. He later worked for Westinghouse, John Blair Company and General Electric Broadcasting Company in local and national sales and management. His career included stints with Interpublic Group of Companies, a holding company for major advertising agencies with worldwide services; the McCann Erickson agency in New York; the Campbell-Ewald Agency in Detroit; the Stroh Brewery Company, and Media Week Magazine. In later years, he founded several companies of his own, including PentaCom and the Martin Group, Inc.
He is survived by his companion and business partner Dianne Egan, three children, four grandchildren and other relatives.
A private celebration of life was held Jan. 21.
HOUSTON – Ray Biggerstaff, 74, died Dec. 23.
For nearly three decades, Biggerstaff was an integral part of the Villager and the Courier, two publications of Houston Community Newspapers. He took over as publisher of the two papers in 2011 and retired two years later.
He started in the news business in 1987, beginning at the Courier in Conroe after working in printing and publishing at several companies in the Houston area, including Eckerd Corp.
In 1993, he began working in the sales department for the Woodlands Villager. In 1995, he became the publisher. During his tenure as publisher, the newspaper’s circulation grew to 42,000 and the Villager was incorporated into HCN, which has 26 Houston area newspapers.
Biggerstaff was also known for his commitment to the community, particularly through his support of local nonprofit organizations.
A memorial service was held Jan. 12 at Brookside Funeral Home - Champions, Houston. He is survived by his wife, Linda, and other relatives.
DE LEON - Mountain Echo reporter Susan Coleman died Dec. 17 following a one-car accident on Hwy. 16 near Desdemona. She was 50.
Coleman had worked for five years as a reporter for the De Leon Free Press and the South Palo Pinto Mountain Echo.
Covering the communities of Strawn, Gordon and Mingus for the past four years, Coleman was recognized by the Texas Association of School Boards as a member of the Media Honor Roll.
A native of Lubbock, she grew up in Brownfield and studied communications at South Plains College. She also attended Texas Tech University and graduated from Tarleton State University in 2008.
Her funeral service was held Dec. 20 at First Baptist Church of Deleon, followed by a graveside service and burial in Brownfield.
Coleman is survived by her husband, Rollie Coleman, and other relatives.
Memorials may be made to a favorite charity benefiting children.
Gerald (Jerry) Deal
AUSTIN – Veteran journalist and former Valley Morning Star editor Gerald (Jerry) Roger Deal died Jan. 9 in Austin. He was 86.
An award-winning journalist who started his career in 1955, Deal characterized the stereotypical hard-nosed newsman who learned the trade in the days of hot type and manual typewriters.
Deal started in South Texas journalism in 1959, covering many of the region’s biggest stories as an investigative reporter and editor. By 1960, he was working as a reporter for the Valley Morning Star in Harlingen. Between 1961-1964 and 1969-1981, Deal worked for the San Antonio Express-News, where he covered the police beat and city hall before working as an investigative reporter and night city editor. During the Christmas season he was involved with Operation Noel, which he created in the 70s. The program helped hundreds of underprivileged children in the San Antonio area.
In 1988, he returned to the Star as assistant city editor. In 1997, he became the Star’s chief editor, guiding the newspaper to several awards before he retired in 2001.
In retirement, he launched the weekly Los Fresnos Leader and the website MyLeaderNews.com. He also wrote three books, including a children’s book.
A memorial service was held Jan. 26 at Los Angeles Funeral Home in San Marcos. Deal is survived by six children, many other relatives, including grandchildren and great grandchildren.