Obituaries published in the April 2019 edition of the Texas Press Messenger.
Anita Walker Brewer Howard
AUSTIN – Anita Walker Brewer Howard, a longtime Austin newspaper reporter, teacher and confidante of trailblazing politicians, died Feb. 24 in a nursing home at age 94.
From 1954 to 1966, Howard served as a features and education reporter under the byline Anita Brewer for the American-Statesman. Her stories often made front-page news, including her exclusive interview with Sarah T. Hughes, the federal judge who administered the oath of office to incoming President Lyndon B. Johnson on Air Force One after the Kennedy assassination.
During her career, she also interviewed literary giants Katherine Anne Porter and T.S. Eliot.
Born in 1924 in Lampasas, Howard attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene before transferring to the University of Texas. There she met Marion Weldon Brewer, who was editor of the Daily Texan and a new officer in the Navy. They married in 1944 and had six children. She later wed Donald Howard of Lampasas and later Eugene Wukasch of Austin.
Newspaper ink ran in her blood. Her uncle was Stanley Walker, editor of the New York Herald-Tribune in the 1920s. Howard won a Headliners Award for her obituary of Walker. Her lead: “Stanley Walker, who lived life on his own terms, ended his life Sunday at his ranch home near Lampasas, just over the hill and across the creek from the place where he was born 64 years ago.”
Her first break came during World War II. While a student at UT, she was hired to type the society column for Molly Connor Cook, whose handwritten copy the “back shop” refused to typeset. During an era when few women worked in newsrooms, she started on the newspaper’s night shift, writing headlines and filing police reports.
After her tenure at the American-Statesman, Howard joined the staff of Austin Community College in 1973 as public affairs officer and became a full-time journalism teacher in 1984. She partially retired in 1993.
Howard outlived three husbands and three of her children. She is survived by three children, six grandchildren and many great grandchildren. Memorial service was held March 9 at Austin Peel and Son Funeral Home in Austin.
Hugh Andrew Dougherty
TUCSON, Ariz. – Hugh Andrew Dougherty, 48, died March 6 at his home in Tucson, Arizona.
Dougherty worked throughout the country in many different industries and held positions such as creative director, art director, technology coordinator, writer, editor, publisher, reporter, photographer, page designer, graphic artist, marketer and computer instructor.
As a young professional in Pennsylvania, Dougherty started his career with local publications such as the Citizen Standard and Evening Herald. He launched An Scathan, an Irish newspaper where he was co-owner and served as managing editor. During this time, he also published other works through his publishing company, Underbridge Enterprises.
He continued his professional career traveling throughout the country, working in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, Florida, Alaska, Colorado, Arizona and Texas, where he worked with Granite Publications in Taylor, designing and redesigning newspaper websites and print publications and helping newspapers develop and expand social media activities.
Dougherty returned to Pennsylvania and worked for the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia. At the time of his death, he was webmaster with Saddlebrooke One in Tucson and freelancing.
A remembrance service was held March 18 in Tucson, followed by a celebration of life March 23 in Ashland, Pennsylvania. Interment was in Paradise Garden of Sky-View Memorial Park, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania.
WEATHERFORD – Patti Ruth (Dyer) Keck, 82, of Weatherford, died March 13.
She was the originator and writer of the “Cook of the Week” column that appeared for several years in The Community News of Aledo.
Born on a farm in Spade, her family later moved to Littleton, where she graduated high school and her parents had a boarding house. There, she met and married Fred Keck. They were married 50 years before his death in 2004.
She loved music and sang for a number of years in the choir at First United Methodist Church in Weatherford. She also studied and became a registered massage therapist. She also loved to paint.
Survivors include two sons, John (Randy) Keck of Aledo and Steve Keck of Weatherford; two grandsons, two great grandchildren, two sisters-in-law and many nieces, nephews and other relatives.
Her celebration of life/memorial service was held March 21 at First United Methodist Church in Weatherford.
The family requests that donations be made to the charity of choice.
Robert Hurst Thaxton
SEGUIN – Longtime Seguin Gazette Managing Editor Robert Hurst (Bob) Thaxton died Feb. 23. He was 74.
After graduating from Falfurrias High School in 1962, Thaxton attended the University of Texas for three years. He later received his bachelor degree from St. Edwards’s University in Austin. After working for radio stations in McAllen, Bryan and Midland, he was hired as a sports editor for the Seguin Gazette in 1973.
In 1976, he was hired as editor of the Aransas Pass Progress and the Ingleside Index. In 1980 he and his family moved back to Seguin when he became managing editor of the Gazette.
Thaxton continued working at the Gazette until 2013, when illness forced his retirement. During his career, his work earned numerous awards in feature writing, editing and photography from the South Texas Press Association and Texas Press Association.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Janet (Markmann) Thaxton; a sister, daughter and granddaughter.
His funeral service was held March 1 at Tres Hewell Mortuary with graveside service at Westhoff Cemetery.