As We Look Back


As we look back over time

We find ourselves wondering .....

Did we remember to thank you enough

For all you have done for us?

For all the times you were by our sides

To help and support us .....

To celebrate our successes

To understand our problems

And accept our defeats?

Or for teaching us by your example,

The value of hard work, good judgement,

Courage and integrity?

We wonder if we ever thanked you

For the sacrifices you made.

To let us have the very best?

And for the simple things

Like laughter, smiles and times we shared?

If we have forgotten to show our

Gratitude enough for all the things you did,

We're thanking you now.

And we are hoping you knew all along,

How much you meant to us.


Author Unknown

Please send obituaries to us at



In Memory of Harold McManus (Music and Math)

Harold was born June 30, 1949 and passed away September 14, 2016.

Harold who had Parkinson's Disease died peacefuly in his sleep.  According to his facebook page, he lived in Macon, GA.

In Memory of HSPVA founder, Ruth Denney (4/4/1914 - 3/26/2007)

Legendary Texas drama educator Ruth Denney (1914-2007) was the founder and first principal of HSPVA.  It was primarily through her drive and determination that the school was created with a focus that has not changed since its inception:

the purpose of such a school would be to more effectively and professionally train and educate those students with the ability, potential, and desire in any of the many fields of the performing and visual arts.

 Memo to HISD administrators, February 23, 1971

Born April 4, 1914, in California, Denney was educated at Ohio Wesleyan University.  After teaching for several years in Ohio she moved to Houston, where she taught at Lamar High School.  While she was there, her students won six state championships in the University Interscholastic League’s one-act play contest. Nine-time Tony Award-winner Tommy Tune credited Ruth with setting him on the path to show business, “High school theater was extremely important for me in helping to shape my later career.”

After more than a dozen years in the classroom, Denney took an administrative job with the Houston Independent School District and set about creating a high school for the arts.  In 1971, her dream was realized and she became the first principal of Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, only the third such fine arts magnet school in the nation when it opened.

In addition to Tommy Tune, her students over the years included notable performers including Robert Crutchfield, Robert Foxworth, Carlin Glynn-Masterson, Paula Prentiss and Jaclyn Smith.

In 1976, Denney became a professor of drama education at the University of Texas.  She taught at UT until 1988.  At retirement she was named professor emeritus and many of her former students and colleagues helped establish a scholarship in her honor.  The Ruth Denney Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Theatre helps benefit theater arts students.

Denney’s inspiration is credited for the establishment of a performing arts high school in

Austin: The Fine Arts Academy at McCallum High School.

Denney’s contribution to the arts has been honored many times by organizations including the American Association of Theatre Education, Theatre Under the Stars and the Texas Education Theatre Association.  In 1987, she was selected to receive the Houston Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts for her role in creating a strong arts community in Houston.  In 2002 she was inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame.

In recognition of her contribution to its success, the HSPVA named its theatre the Denney Theatre.  The Denney Theatre signs from the original campus of HSPVA now hang in the school Commons in front of the second theatre to be named in her honor.

The HSPVA Ruth Denney Theatre Guild is proud to also honor her in its name.  

Thank you, John Sherman from HSPVA Theatre Guild for the permission to publish this on our website.


In Memory of Alma Jean Nipper (August 4, 1929 - February 7, 2009

ALMA JEAN NIPPER, born August 4, 1929, in Omaha, Texas, found eternal rest February 7, 2009. Daughter of Noreen Coffey and J.D. Nipper, Jean lived in Texas with most of her years spent in the Dallas, Houston, and Austin areas. She was a well known educator in each of those areas. Jean assisted her long time friend and partner, Ruth Denney in opening the Houston High School for the Performing Arts. After moving to Austin, she was an administrator working with AISD and established Texas' first electronic multi-agency educational resources network: GATIN. Jean also served on the Austin Cable Commision for several years. Ruth and Jean retired to the beautiful Lake Travis area with a home in Point Venture, Texas, where Jean was active with the Point Venture Community Association. Jean was a five event cancer survivor, and attacked the disease with her vigor and her well known strength of will that she brought to all projects. For the last two years, she lived in the Houston area with her sister, then The Vosswood Care Center. She passed away peacefully after another struggle began. Jean is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Oscar and Bennie Nipper, her sister, Millie Freeman, and her niece, Susan Freeman, all of Houston. Memorial services will be held at Cook-Walden Funeral Home, 6100 N. Lamar Blvd. in downtown Austin on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 1:00pm, and in Houston at Waltrip Funeral Directors on Saturday,April 4, 2009, at 1:00pm. In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Cancer Society, the Ruth Denney Scholarship Fund at the University of Texas, or the Bay Area Harbour Playhouse, Dickenson, Texas, are suggested.

In Memory of Edward Trongone, Music (09/13/1919 - 5/29/1987)

September 13, 1919-May 29, 1987

Massachusetts, USABorn of immigrant parents from Italy Anthony and Josephine Trongone, was musically inclined and after serving in the U.S Army went to the University of Houston obtaining a BS degree 1950 began teaching Music in Humble 1950-1954, later Robert E. Lee-1954-1971- in Houston and then coordinator of Music at HSPVA. Retired in 1980- moving back to the Boston area for the last seven years of his life, still active in the Music circles in Boston. He was well known for his saxophone playing in many of the symphony orchestras in many locations as also the jazz band and big band leaders of the era. He was most noted for encouragement to young people to continue with music as a profession. Loved by many of his students. The Ed. Trongone scholarship he placed with HSPVA in Houston is still producing musicians. He was survived by his daughter and two grandsons who lived in Baton Rouge, La. and many grateful students he taught during his 40 years in the Houston area. 

In Memory of Patrick Steven Coakley Jr. (Media)

Patrick Steven Coakley Jr.

Published in Houston Chronicle from Oct. 11 to Oct. 12, 2006 - See more at:


PATRICK STEVEN COAKLEY, JR, passed away on October 9, 2006. A prominent member of the film and video community of Houston, he was very active in SMPTE and a respected teacher, instrumental in the founding of HSPVA and a Professor at U of H and most recently an instructor at HCC. He leaves a legacy of mentoring many of today's media professionals. He is preceded in death by his wife of 40 years, Genevieve Coakley, a brother, James Coakley, and nephew, James Coakley, Jr. Patrick is survived by sisters-in-law, Lois Perucca, Alberta Rogers and husband, Kenneth and Rita Coakley; nephew, Keith Rogers; nieces, Margaret Mohundro and husband, Thomas, Alice Britt and husband, Robert, Patricia Mistrot and husband, Jacques; numerous great-nieces and nephews, many loving friends and present and former students and his beloved cat, Felix. The rosary will be recited in the Chapel of Levy Funeral Directors at 7:00 P.M. Thursday evening with a Funeral Mass at 10:00 A.M. on Friday, October 13, 2006 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 3600 Milam, Rev. Joseph Konkel, O.P, celebrant. Military Honors and interment will follow at Houston National Cemetery.

In Memory of Lela Elizabeth Blount (Drama Teacher & Assistant Principal)

     LELA ELIZABETH BLOUNT, born in Mart, Texas on October 28, 1920, died Wednesday April 2, 2003. Daughter of Mary Drumwright Blount and E.Y. Blount. A graduate of The University of Houston majoring in Drama. She earned her Masters Degree from the Little Theater of the Rockies in Greeley, Colorado an affiliate of The University of Colorado. Did summer theater work in New York. She was an instructor in the Drama Department at The University of Houston. Then taught Drama at Sam Houston and Waltrip High Schools. She opened the first Drama Department at The High School for the Visual and Performing Arts and became Assistant Principal by the time she retired. She performed at the Alley Theater under the direction of Nina Vance. She was a charter member of St. Mark's United Methodist Church where she served on the administrative board, choir member, Sunday school teacher, President of the United Methodist Women for many years. In 1998, she received the Brother Ed Award for sustained ministry to and through St. Marks. She is preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Alvin Blount and Dr. Robert Blount, General U.S. Air Force. She is survived by nieces, Marijean Tucker of Waco, Texas and Michele Noyes of Portland, Oregon. A visitation will take place on Sunday April 6, 2003 from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. at Heights Funeral Home. A Memorial Service will occur Monday April 7, 2003 at 2:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary of St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 600 Pecore, with Rev. Mary Jane van Dussen officiating. In lieu of usual remembrances, contributions may be made to St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 600 Pecore, Houston, Texas 77009.


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Norma Irene Lowder (Principal) Passed Away October 5, 2010

NORMA IRENE LOWDER passed away in Houston, Texas on Tuesday, the 5th of October 2010, at the age of 83.Norma, a resident of Houston since 1953, devoted her life to music, both as a teacher and as a church organist. She taught at West University Elementary School, was counselor and choral director at Lamar High School, and served as principal at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Norma was active in the Sister Cities Program, taking students to and hosting students from Scotland, Norway, France, Japan and Taiwan. She was also an active committee member of the College Entrance Examination Board. Honoring her four decades in education, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, in conjunction with the White House, conferred upon her the Distinguished Teacher in the Arts Award.For 35 years, Norma served as children's choir director and organist at Bellaire United Methodist Church. Named Organist Emeritus, she was invited to play the "Toccata," from the 5th Symphony by Charles Widor, at BUMC's 60th anniversary. She was a charter member and secretary of the National Fellowship of Methodist Musicians, area chairman of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, and author of numerous articles and four books. Norma received the Francis Asbury Award for her work with Methodist colleges and seminaries.Norma remained active in retirement, arranging music programs at the University Place Retirement Community, where she resided until her death. The Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging honored her philanthropic work with the Volunteer Achievement Award in 2001. She also involved herself in missionary work in the Aleutian Islands and wrote two books chronicling the history of Methodism in the Aleutians. In 2000, both the Alaska Missionary Conference and the Texas Methodist Annual Conference recognized Norma for her work in Unalaska, a small island 800 miles southwest of Anchorage. Her support of the music program and its students at Houston Baptist University earned her the title Distinguished Mentor Emeritus. In addition, she generously contributed a rare folio volume on Chartres Cathedral to Moody Library. The climax of her donations was the Gilbert & Sullivan collection of books, scores, recordings and memorabilia, known as the Robert Linder Collection. In 2007, HBU awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.Norma was preceded in death by her parents, Silas W. and Iva B. Means, of Akron Ohio, and her husband, Earle, who was Minister of Music at Bellaire United Methodist Church for nearly 30 years. Norma leaves behind a brother and sister-in law, Donald and Theresa Means, of Indianapolis, IN; nieces, Jennifer Marie Pope (Brian), of Waukesha, WI and Rebecca Marie Barnes (Maxwell), of Grand Rapids, MI; three grandnephews; and three grandnieces. She also leaves behind a brother-in-law, Rev. Charles Lowder, of Fairfield Glade, TN; a sister-in-law, Mrs. Jean Lowder, of Silver Spring, MD; a nephew, (Ret.) Captain Gavin Lowder (Sandy), of Queensbury, NY; nieces, Martha Lee Kimble (Richard), of Jamestown, NY and Alice Lowder Zetterstrom (Charles), of Saratoga Springs, NY; five grandnephews; and one grandniece; and countless friends and generations of grateful students.The memorial service is to be conducted at one o'clock in the afternoon on Thursday, the 14th of October, at Bellaire United Methodist Church, 4417 Bellaire Boulevard, where Rev. Bill Davis and Rev. Jim Flagg are to officiate.In lieu of customary remembrances, contributions in memory of Mrs. Lowder may be directed to the Bellaire United Methodist Church Organ Fund, 4417 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire, TX, 77401-4399; the University Place Retirement Community Foundation, 7480 Beechnut St., Houston, TX, 77074; the Norma Lowder Scholarship Fund at Houston Baptist University, 7502 Fondren Rd., Houston, TX, 77074; or to the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Friends, Attn: Dr. Scott Allen, 4001 Stanford St., Houston, TX, 77006.

In Memory of William Chaison (Dance)

William Chaison, 44, Dancer and Teacher

Provided by Cynthia Birdwell

Published: January 14, 1989

William Chaison, a dancer and choreographer and associate professor of physical education at Kean College in Union, N.J., died last Friday at Doctor's Hospital in New York City. He was 44 years old.

The cause of death was lymphoma, said Patricia Molden, director of public information at Kean College.

Mr. Chaison was born in Bakersfield, Calif., and danced with several troupes, among them the Houston Jazz Ballet Company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the companies of Eleo Pomare and Rod Rodgers. The dances he choreographed included ''Place,'' performed by the Ailey company in 1984. He joined Kean College in 1977.

Mr. Chaison is survived by a sister, Deborah Cotton, and a brother, Robert, both of Galveston, Tex.

A memorial performance will be presented by the William Chaison Dance Company of New Jersey, founded to provide opportunities for minority choreographers, on Feb. 12 at 2 P.M. in the Wilkins Theater at Kean College.



Dorothy May Leach (Math Teacher)
April 9, 1929 - June 2, 2008
Arlington, TX -- DOROTHY MAY LEACH, 79, passed away peacefully Monday, June 2, 2008 at her home in Arlington. Service: A family service will be held at a later date. Memorials: Donations may be made to the Performing Arts organization of your choice. She was born Dorothy May Stinson on April 9, 1929 in Washington, D.C. As a self-proclaimed "Navy brat," Dorothy spent her childhood traveling and living in numerous cities throughout the United States. She attended Wellesley College in Boston, MA, before moving to Houston, Texas where she earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Houston. At the university, she met William Judson Leach, and the two were married in December, 1949. She and her family were members of Trinity Episcopal Church. Dorothy's professional career spanned 25 years with the Houston Independent School District; beginning at George Washington Junior High and ending at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She took advantage of her position as teacher and mentor to broaden young minds and impart her abiding passion for knowledge. The life-long friendships she formed with many of her students stand as testament to her accomplishments in the classroom, and her absence will be keenly felt by all who knew her. For those of us left behind, grieve not, but let us cherish our memories of this remarkable woman. Dorothy was preceded in death by William Judson Leach; her youngest son, William Judson Leach Jr., and her parents, Peery Lamar and Dorothy Baptista Stinson. Survivors: Dorothy is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Richard Stinson Leach and Josie Lynn Leach of Arlington; grandson, Christopher Michael Roubieu and his wife Sarah Grogan Roubieu of Austin; sister, Antoinette Stinson Carter of Houston; nieces, Carole Carter Kleiber and Catherine Carter Stubbs of Houston; and her beloved caregiver Peggy Louisa Harris of Arlington.
Published in Houston Chronicle from June 14 to June 15, 2008

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Carmen Gonzalez (Spanish Teacher)

October 10, 1927 - April 25, 2005

Carmen Velasco Gonzalez, 77 -- loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, and friend - passed away on Monday, April 25, 2005 from heart failure. She is survived by her husband of 47 years, Nicolas F. Gonzalez, by her four children, Maria Carmen 'Carmelita' Gonzalez, Anita Gonzalez-Cecchin, Rose ‘Rosebud’ Davis, and Nick Gonzalez, by daughter-in-law Jill, and sons-in-law Frank and Phil, and by five grandchildren, Sara, Chris, Morgan, Robert, and Sophia. She is also survived by her two brothers, Manuel Velasco, J.D., and Fr. Joseph Velasco.

Carmen was born in Eagle Pass, Texas on Oct. 10, 1927. She was a dedicated Catholic with a loving devotion to the Virgin Mary.

Carmen was a Hispanic pioneer. She was the first Hispanic woman in South Texas to get a Masters Degree. She has two Masters. She earned her first Master of Arts in Foreign Languages from Texas Woman’s University at age 22, and her second Masters in Education, with a Counseling specialty, from Texas A&M at age 49. Carmen taught in Houston schools for over 30 years and was a founding faculty member of the High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, where she served as school counselor. She was also a Master Teacher at Rice University.

Lady Catley (English)
Nancy Ruth Taylor

Nancy Ruth Taylor passed away on Monday, the 6th of January 2014, in Katy, Texas, at the age of 83.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, on the 14th of January 1930, to John Calhoun and Ruth Pearl Wilson Taylor, she was a graduate of the University of Houston where she was a member of delta gamma sorority. She was also a member of the Junior League of Houston. 
Nancy spent many years teaching music and was gifted with a beautiful voice. She pursued her passion in theater and music in New York as well as other theaters throughout the country, working many years on stage and behind the scenes.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Elizabeth Taylor Dodson; and her brother, John Calhoun Taylor, and is survived by nieces, Meredith Taylor Riddler and Allison Taylor Hunt.
A memorial service is to be conducted at noon today, Thursday, the 9th of January, at West University Church of Christ, 3407 Bissonnet Street in Houston, where Dr. Calvin Warpula is to officiate.
Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception to be held in the adjacent fellowship hall.
Prior to the service, the family will have gathered for a private interment at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery in Houston.
In lieu of customary remembrances, and for those desiring, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions in Ms. Taylor's name be directed to the West University Church of Christ, 3407 Bissonnet St., Houston, TX, 77005. - See more at:

Shirley Wiley (English)

SHIRLEY WALTERS WILEY, teacher, artist, loving wife, mother and grandmother, 89, died on July 7th, 2009 at The Hampton Senior Living Facility in Houston. She was loved and admired as a classroom teacher who used literature, creative writing, and art to inspire the "burgeoning minds" of legions of upper school students in five Houston schools over a 50 year career. She was untroubled by classroom convention and was among the avant-garde in teaching methods, employing innovative means to foster in her students a love of the written word.

Ms. Wiley received her BA in Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas, Austin where she met Lee Grandison Wiley whom she married just as World War II began. During the war, while her husband fought in Okinawa and served in the Army of Occupation in Japan, Shirley worked for the war effort by inspecting bombs, doing clerical work, and eventually, teaching. When the war was over, the couple moved to Houston, where her husband began his career in insurance and real estate development. Shirley began teaching at Reagan High School, and earned a Masters Degree from the University of Houston She was recruited to the newly opened Bellaire High School, being appointed Chair of the English Department. While at Bellaire she established the first major works English classes, created and taught the first humanities courses, and was sponsor of a creative writing class and of the National Honor Society. Rice University pulled her away from HISD for a short time to teach education but she was lured back into HISD to set up the curricula and teach at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She always felt that the work at HSPVA was her, "perfect job" because it combined her love for art, music, drama, and English. After two years at HSPVA, she became the Chairman of their English department at the Kinkaid school, where she retired after 20 years in 1995.

More complete information about the life of Shirley Wiley is available at

SHIRLEY WALTERS WILEY, teacher, artist, loving wife, mother and grandmother, 89, died on July 7th at The Hampton Senior Living Facility in Houston. She was loved and admired as a classroom teacher who used literature, creative writing, and art to inspire the "burgeoning minds" of legions of upper school students in five Houston schools over a 50 year career in. She was untroubled by classroom convention and was among the avant-garde in teaching methods, employing innovative means to foster in her students a love of the written word She is survived by her son Lee Walters Wiley and his wife Janis as well as her grandchildren Lee Justin Wiley and Genevieve Danielle Wiley Saenz and her husband, Aaron Saenz. Shirley was born in Denver to John and Cressle Gottschalk Walters but, after her mother's death when Shirley was six years old, she was raised by her aunts. She received her BA in Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas, Austin where she met Lee Grandison Wiley whom she married just as World War II began. During the war, while her husband fought in Okinawa and served in the Army of Occupation in Japan, Shirley worked for the war effort by inspecting bombs, doing clerical work, and, eventually, teaching When the war was over, the couple moved to Houston, where her husband began his career in insurance and real estate development. Shirley began teaching at Reagan High School, and earned a Masters Degree from the University of Houston She was recruited to the newly opened Bellaire High School, being appointed Chair of the English Department. While at Bellaire she established the first major works English classes, created and taught the first humanities courses, and was sponsor of a creative writing class and of the National Honor Society. Rice University pulled her away from HISD for a short time to teach education but she was lured back into HISD to set up the curricula and teach at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She always felt that the work at HSPVA was her, "perfect job" because it combined her love for art, music, drama, and English. After two years at HSPVA, she became the Chairman of their English department at the Kinkaid school, where she retired after 20 years in 1995. Shirley was also a consultant and speaker for the National Council of Teachers of English, a member of the Literature Committee for the College Board, a reader for Advanced Placement in English and for the Educational Testing Service and wrote several English textbooks. Also at Kinkaid, she was a member of Cum Laude, served as sponsor of Falcon Wings the Kinkaid year book. Kinkaid also honored her with the Columbiana Award, a laurel granted to their finest teacher in a Kinkaid year. After her retirement from Kinkaid, Wiley created an adult writing course to teach a technique of writing an autobiography in a course named "Writing a Living Legacy". It was in this course, offered at both Kinkaid and at the Women's Institute, that many parents of former students saw first hand the genius of her teaching methods that their children had been raving about for years. Every student received praise for some part of their composition making the constructive criticism that followed seem to be a praiseful nudge. Glenn Ballard, her headmaster at Kinkaid who awarded her the Columbiana Award, said in describing Shirley Wiley "Attractive and eloquent, knowing and wise, witty and unselfconscious, Shirley Wiley sparked interest and attention; and, inevitably, respect and admiration. Students relished Mrs. Wiley's classes--'Like going to a marvelous stage show in which the audience are attentive and enthusiastic participants,' a former student noted. But those classes were more than entertainment. Mrs. Wiley knew her craft. She was engaging and telling, challenging and demanding, encouraging always but intolerant of nonsense." A memorial service for Shirley Wiley will be held at the Unity Church of Christianity, 2929 Unity Drive at Hillcroft (in the Pyramid) on July 29th at 11:00 AM with a reception following at the home of Lee and Janis Wiley - See more at:
SHIRLEY WALTERS WILEY, teacher, artist, loving wife, mother and grandmother, 89, died on July 7th&am
Tony Pitchner (Typing)
Patricia Zeitoun (Art history teacher)

Pat Zeitoun. Art history teacher.  Passed away in 2005 in College Station. 

Patricia W Zeitoun (1932 - 2005) was born on December 24, 1932. Patricia died on June 23, 2005 at 72 years old from cancer.

Suzanne Stroud (Class 78/Art) shared the following:

Ms. Zeitoun’s weekly 3 hour art history class at HSPVA was one of four teachers in the book The Art Museum As Educator (1978 Univ California Press), where she was interviewed about her tough slide tests and  myriad personal slide carousels in the classroom.  Pat confessed,

 “You should have heard the sighs and groans in the beginning when the art students learned they’d have a three-hour block of art history every week. But now they realize when artists relate directly to the best of previous art and then openly discuss their history, we do much better in the studio.”

 Pat Zeitoun’s approach of getting students into the museums to relate directly to their predecessors and using H.W. Janson’s History of Art as the basic text was commended on this federally funded research. Pat continued to paint in acrylics for years and loved teaching art history at all levels.


Doug Hattox (History)
In Memory of Johnnie Harris (English)

Provided by Pat Bonner

In Memory of Louise Lee

Provided by Pat Bonner

In Memory of Dr. Stina Merrill

Stina Margareta Merrill (1938 - 2011) was born on October 28, 1938.

In Memory of Larry Mers

Mr. Larry Buster Mers was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, on May 11. 1940 and passed away March 13, 2013 due to complications from a major Surgery. 
He was preceded in death by his loving parents, Kenneth and Sara Mers (Hamilton), his loving sisters Kay Hamilton Moore, Sharon Hamilton Coe and Penny Hamilton Dye.
He is survived by his loving sisters Sally Mers Whitworth (John), Pamela Hamilton Savis and Mary Dawn Hamilton West (Tim) and their wonderful families, his favorite aunt, Edna Mae Ayers and her son Ron Ayers and his devoted partner of forty years, Carl Dreibelbis.
Larry graduated from Roy Miller High School in Corpus Christi in 1958. He received Degrees from the University of Corpus Christi, Texas A &M University and Texas A & I University and spent the next fifty years of his life in the field of education.
Larry had a career at Houston Community College that spanned 40 years. He was an outstanding teacher, administrator, and mentor. He was the founder and guiding spirit of the college's first Fine Arts department. As its department chair, he was the moving force behind the renovation and historical marking of the Heinen Theater and in the building of the first Fine Arts Center at HCC. In the last fifteen years of his career at the College, he was the Senior Director for technology at HCC, Southwest College, leading development of the newest and best technology, once again proving his versatility and willingness to go where great leadership is needed. He is remembered by his colleagues as a man who trusted in the integrity and ability of the people he worked with. His capabilities helped to make HCC a better place. 
Larry was a natural born leader, moderator, teacher and counselor. He had a quiet way of running things without you knowing it, helping you without you knowing it and leading you down the right path without you knowing it and yet he was modest and un-assuming. He enjoyed life to the fullest, loved to travel, loved people, loved to entertain, to laugh, to learn and to lead. He was a gentleman and a scholar and will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.
A memorial service for Mr. Larry Mers will be held this Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:00pm in the main auditorium at the HCC Southwest College, West Loop Campus, 5601 West Loop South, Houston, TX 77081. 
In lieu of sending flowers please consider a donation to the HCC Foundation - Larry B. Mers Scholarship Fund, 3100 Main, Houston, TX 77003.
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away"


Published in Houston Chronicle on Mar. 20, 2013 - See more at:

In Memory of Robert Moon

Provided by Pat Bonner

In Memory of Edith Moreland (Librarian)

Provided by Pat Bonner

In Memory of Gladys Poole

Provided by Pat Bonner

In Memory of Joan Power

Provided by Pat Bonner & Lawrence Wald

JOAN COOPER POWER passed away February 12, 2002, in Coldspring, Texas. Joan was a teacher for HISD for 26 years, Chairman of the Science Department for HSPVA, a 20-year member of the choir at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Houston, and a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, honorary teachers' society. Joan is survived by her husband, Joe Fairfield Power; sons, Mark Gregory Power and Scott Douglas Power; grandchildren, Jeffrey Allen, Jenny Florence, Joe Gregory, Mark Anton, and Anneke Ali Power. She is also survived by numerous cousins in Canada. The family will receive friends 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., Thursday, February 14, 2002, at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Coldspring. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m., Friday, February 15, 2002, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 118 S. Fenner, Cleveland, Texas 77327. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Mark's Episcopal Church Cleveland. Pace-Stancil Funeral Home Highway 150 West Coldspring, Texas 936-653-2641
Published in Houston Chronicle on Feb. 14, 2002 - See more at:

In Memory of Marilyn Matthews Bowens Price

MARILYN ALTHEA MATTHEWS-PRICE, 61, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, passed away with her immediate family at her bedside in Orlando, Florida on July 22, 2008. Marilyn was a 31 year member of Soka Gakkai International, a Buddhist organization that promotes world peace, culture and education. Marilyn has been an educator in New York City, Houston, Texas and Kissimmee, Florida. She was a teacher at the Osceola High School of the Arts in Kissimmee at the time of her death. Her professional expertise was the English language and English literature. She has been a "teacher who cares" for almost 40 years. Marilyn Matthews-Price is survived by her devoted husband of 30 years, Keith I. Price; her only son, Matthew Sharuma Bowens of New York City; grandchildren- Millennium and Matias Bowens; her only sister Carol Mercedes Matthews of Houston, Texas and a host of relatives and friends. Services will be held on Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 11:00 a.m.: SGI-USA Orlando Community Center 452 Semoran Blvd. Orlando, Florida 32807 (407) 482-3939 Repast to follow service: Crowne Plaza Orlando Airport 5555 Hazeline National Drive Orlando, Florida 32812 In Houston Memorial service is forthcoming.


Published in Houston Chronicle on July 31, 2008 - See more at:

In Memory of Claude Cook (Acting, Movement, and Mime)

Claude E. Cook passed away May 5, 1989. Information provided by Stephanie Broussard.

In Memory of William (Bill) Erwin (French, Italian and Spanish)

Information provided by Mary Jane Sinclair.  

In Memory of Betty Grady (Office Secretary)

BETTY BRISTOL GRADY, age 73, passed away October 4, 2003, after a brief illness. Betty, a Houston resident for the past 46 years, was born February 16, 1930, in Kansas City, MO, and was the daughter of Sidney P. and Zella Bristol. She was raised in Oklahoma City, OK, graduating from Capitol Hill High School. After attending Stephens College in Columbia, MO for her freshman year, she attended Oklahoma A&M College in Stillwater, OK. It was there that she met her husband-to-be Allen K. Grady of Stillwater, and they married in January, 1950. Betty worked for the Houston Independent School District and retired from HSPVA where she was secretary to the principal. In addition to her husband Allen, she is survived by two sons, Michael K. Grady of Plano, TX, and Patrick A. Grady (and wife Rohati) of Kingwood, TX, and a daughter, Sydney G. Moen (and husband, Robert) of Houston. She is also survived by 6 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. A memorial celebration of her life will be held at 1:30PM, Thursday, October 9, in the chapel of the Settegast-Kopf Co. at 3320 Kirby Drive. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that remembrances be made to the charity of your choice.


Published in Houston Cronicle on Oct. 6, 2003



Stanley Green (Economics)
In Memory of David Rohrer (Media)
In Memory of Christian Dean Mendenhall (Vocal)

Christian Dean Mendenhall,
The Rev Father Christian Dean Mendenhall, Ph. D., departed this life on August 8 after a lengthy illness. He was born on May 6, 1948, in Ames , Iowa. Left to fondly to cherish his memory are his mother, Phyllis Mendenhall, sister Francie Mendenhall; step-mother Irena Mendenhall; sister Marissa Mendenhall, brother, David Mendenhall and many aunts, cousins, friends and colleagues. He was preceeded in death by his father Jim Mendenhall. Funeral Mass will be held on May 16 at 7:30PM, The Church of SS Peter and Paul Traditional Roman Catholic Church 101 Pleasant Avenue, Absecon, NJ; viewing from 6:00PM until 7:00PM. Burial will be privately held at Mt. Calvary Cemetery , Egg Harbor Township , NJ on August 17. Professional services are being handled by Serenity Funeral Home, LLC 414 South Main St., Pleasantville, NJ 08232 (609) 383-9994. A celebration of Christian's life as a theatre and spiritual man will be held in Houston at a later date.

Published in Houston Chronicle on Aug. 15, 2013$pid=166430535&#sthash.RRjpAW1B.dpuf

In Memory of Ethel Lourena Cook (Art)

Provided by Robert Megna

E Lourena Cook (1922 - 2008) was born on June 23, 1922 and passed away September 2, 2008.

In Memory of Margo Marshall (Dance)

Margo Marshall, artistic director of Margo Marshall School of Ballet and City Ballet of Houston and icon in the Houston dance community, passed away July 19th. Marshall trained in Washington, D.C. and Chicago before journeying to San Francisco to work with the Christensen brothers, visionaries of San Francisco Ballet and the oldest professional company in the U.S. Marshall chose to build her life in Spring Branch-Memorial with her son, Dennis Marshall, another established and respected member of the ballet community, and she remained here until her death.

In 1958, Marshall’s love for dance led her to develop her own school. Since its founding, the school has been a community asset affecting the lives of hundreds of Spring Branch residents and their families. Marshall’s passion is reflected in former students who, inspired by her example, became successful directors and teachers themselves.

Ballet greats such as Anna Marie Holmes, Frederic Franklin and others considered her a friend and came to teach in Houston because of Marshall’s engaging personality, which made everyone feel like an immediate friend. In 1967, Marshall became the artistic director of City Ballet of Houston, a founding member and current honor company of Regional Dance America.

Marshall’s more than 50 year legacy continues as the school opened for classes this fall under the direction of her son. The City Ballet of Houston celebrates its 35th anniversary of The Nutcracker at Galveston’s Grand 1894 Opera House by opening auditions to all children so they may have the opportunity to benefit from Marshall’s legacy.

In Memory of Janis Stockman Simonds (Dance 1974-1981)

November 17, 1936 - April 14, 2013

Jan Stockman Simonds passed away on April 14, 2013 following a long battle with breast cancer. She was a dancer, choreographer, teacher, university administrator and, most importantly, a wife, mother and grandmother. Jan was born November 17, 1936 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Her family moved to Madison, Wisconsin where Jan went to high school and graduated in dance from the University of Wisconsin. 
After graduation Jan and four of her dance friends moved to New York City to further their dance studies. Jan took classes from some of the foremost modern dance pioneers - Doris Humphrey, Jose Limon, Betty Jones, Lucas Hoving, Daniel Nagrin and Merce Cunningham. In 1959 Jan was chosen as Pauline Koner's teaching assistant at the American Dance Festival. She performed at ADF as a soloist in Miss Koner's company as well as with the Jose Limon and Ruth Currier Companies. Jan performed as a member of the Jose Limon Dance Company on tour in South and Central America and Mexico and on an East Coast tour and in New York City.
She taught dance at Barnard College, Columbia University until 1961 when she left New York to take a dance teaching position at the University of Illinois - Champaign-Urbana. In 1968 the U. of Ill. Administration asked Jan to take over the task of organizing and leading the newly established Department of Dance in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Jan was Head of the Dance Department until 1971 when her husband, Charles (Chuck) Simonds, finished his PhD and the couple moved to Houston, Texas.
In Houston Jan was the first teaching consultant at the newly established Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She taught and choreographed there for seven years. Jan was commissioned to choreograph a dance related to space for the Houston Ballet Company. "Moonscape" was performed in Jones Hall as well as on tour with the Houston Ballet and was set on the Chicago Ballet Company.
In 1977 Jan became the Director of Dance at the University of Houston Clear Lake. She held that position for 15 years choreographing and guiding dance students who performed around Houston in elementary schools, the International Festival, and the Jewish Community Center. University budget cuts in 1992 eliminated the Theater and Dance Programs and Jan, a full-Professor, turned to teaching elementary education students how to teach creative movement to children. Her last nine years at the university were as the Chair of Humanities and Fine Arts. She thoroughly enjoyed this administrative position working with the faculty and administration of the university. She retired in 2007 after 30 years of teaching at UHCL.
With her husband Chuck leading the way the couple enjoyed traveling especially to somewhat remote locations to experience ancient cultures. Jan's children, Jennifer and Scott, were a source of great joy and enriched her life immeasurably. Jennifer is also a dancer/performer/choreographer and Scott is the Head volleyball coach at Clear Creek High School. Scott is married to Shannon Labrecque Simonds and has two children, Cooper and Bailey. Jan is also survived by her brother and sister-in-law Robert and Iona Stockman and two nephews, John and Jim Stockman. 
Jan will be missed by her friends at the University of Houston Clear Lake, Seabrook Sailing club, the Houston dance community and the Clear Lake Methodist Church.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Clear Lake United Methodist Church chapter of Knit-a-Square, a knit for charity group that provides blankets for orphans in South Africa. Checks may be made payable to CLUMC with Knit-a-Square written in the memo line and mailed to Clear Lake United Methodist Church, 16335 El Camino Real, Houston, TX 77062. 
A memorial service will be held at Clear Lake United Methodist Church, 16335 El Camino, at 3:00 PM Thursday, April 18, 2013. A reception at the church will immediately follow the service.



Published in Houston Chronicle on Apr. 16, 2013 - See more at:

Wesley R. Zeagler (Instrumental) 16, 1948 - May 23, 2008
Funeral services for Mr. Wesley R. Zeagler, 60, of West Monroe, will be held at 10:00 AM Monday, May 26, 2008, in the chapel of Mulhearn Funeral Home, Sterlington Road, Monroe, with Rev. Larry Stafford and Rev. JoAnn Cooper officiating. Interment will follow in Mulhearn Memorial Park. 

Mr. Zeagler was born February 16, 1948 in Monroe, LA and died at home in West Monroe on May 23, 2008. He attended Ouachita Parish High School, and finished high school at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. He then attended the University of Houston, earning Bachelor and Master Degrees in musical performance (trombone). In Houston, he played with the Houston Opera, The Houston Pops, many touring Broadway Musical Productions, and part time with The Houston Symphony. Mr. Zeagler was also a bookkeeper and computer consultant.

Survivors include his parents, Dorothy and Everett Zeagler; two sons, William Bryce of Tucson, AZ, and Michael Bowen of Dallas, TX; one sister, Alice Langehennig and husband Terry of Canyon, TX; brothers, Fred and wife Susan of Baton Rouge, David and wife Melinda of Houston, TX, and Grayson and wife Kristina of West Monroe; and many nieces and nephews. 

Pallbearers will be Richard Haneline, Ronnie Haneline, Dave McCaskill, Fred Hill, Don Spencer, and Bruce Hursey.



In Memory of Connie Webb Brown (Dance)

Information provided by Bob Singleton

Patsy Swayze (Dance)

The mother of five taught dance for decades, and was a choreographer for the Houston Playhouse Center and the Houston Youth Symphony and Ballet Company.


 Thursday, September 19, 2013, 11:41 AM

LOS ANGELES — Choreographer and dance instructor Patsy Swayze, the mother of late actor Patrick Swayze, has died. She was 86.

Swayze died Monday night at her home in Simi Valley, publicist Annett Wolf said. No cause of death was given.

Born in 1927, Patsy Swayze taught dance for decades, and her students included Tommy Tune and Debbie Allen. She taught at the University of Houston for more than a decade and also was a choreographer for the Houston Playhouse Center and the Houston Youth Symphony and Ballet Company.

She moved to Simi Valley in 1980 after choreographing the movie “Urban Cowboy.”

“It was rural, like Texas, and the three children still living at home could have horses and dogs,” Swayze said of her new home in a 1991 interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Her skills apparently rubbed off on her five children, who became actors and dancers.

Patrick Swayze was well known for his leading roles in “Dirty Dancing” and other films, such as “Ghost.” He died in 2009 at 57 after battling pancreatic cancer.


John Brooks (Media)

John was born January 17, 1950 and passed away in Conroe, TX on August 12, 2015

John J. Brooks Jr. 65, passed away this week in Conroe, Texas. He was a father, brother, friend, and mentor. Born with a lust for life, he was incredibly talented at many things. His job titles included architect, photographer, paramedic, and scuba instructor. Whether teaching himself to play guitar as a child or fly a plane as an adult, he was never of the mindset that he could not achieve. He could fix anything and build anything. John was very outgoing and a wonderful storyteller. He was active in the church and delighted at helping others. He will be greatly missed. John is survived by his two daughters, Emily and Susana; and his brothers, David and Gary. Private service is being planned. Arrangements by Leppert Mortuary, Nora Chapel -

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Samuel Bates (Security)
In Memory of Tim Tull


Very sorry to report the recent death of Tim Tull, on Sept.19, 2015. Mr. Tull was conductor of the HSPVA Wind Ensemble for several years in the 1980s, and thereafter continued as coach of the 'PVA Percussion Ensemble for several years. He was also very much in-demand as an arranger/orchestrator for school projects, primarily for the Vocal Music Department. After his HSPVA tenure, Mr. Tull became librarian for Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Symphony (HGO at the time of his death), and remained a busy freelance percussionist throughout the Greater Houston area.

The following article is from the Houston Chronicle, Sept. 23, 2015:


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