Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sibling Saturday: 1966

I'm not quite sure exactly what is happening in this photo.  It was taken in or before June 1966.  I am guessing May, because I think the balloons my sister Karen and I are holding are wearing graduation caps.  Our aunt, Sister Jean Marie Guokas, was principal of Incarnate Word Academy, and their school colors were red and white.  Many of our babysitters were Academy girls.  The picture was taken in the backyard of our house in Sharpstown at 8015 Sharpview.  At this point, we still did not have a backyard fence, although we'd been living in the house for a couple of years.  There was no need really; we did not have a dog at that time, and apparently most of our neighbors did not have pets either.  My brother Mark, on the right, looks a little puzzled by his balloon, while brother Brian, on the left, looks upset that his balloon is little and has no face.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Birthday to My Sweetie!

Mark Gresham - 6th birthday - 1947 - Corpus Christi, Texas

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sentimental Sunday: Dan Whitworth Park and Memorial, Corpus Christi, Texas

A couple days ago, I posted about some of my old friends from the Student Texas Recreation and Parks Society (STRAPS).  One of those was Dan Whitworth, who died too young in 2003.  At the time of his death, Dan, a Corpus Christi native, was the director of the city's Park and Recreation Department.  After his death, the Corpus Christi City Council voted to rename Meadowbrook Park in his honor, and a memorial and meditation area funded by donations was dedicated on November 13, 2004.  On a recent visit to Corpus Christi, we stopped and took some pictures at the park.

Exercise stations (above) and playground equipment (below) at the park.

Above:  A picnic shelter at the park.  Below:  view of the memorial/meditation area from the street.

As you approach the memorial (above), an orange sign to the left catches your eye (below):

The memorial stone (above), and a close-up (below) with the quote from Emerson.

Above:  the lower half of the memorial stone.  
Below:  a view looking back towards one of the two meditative areas from the memorial stone.

"To leave the world a bit better,...To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded."

That describes my friend Dan - as does "instantly likeable and unforgettable," and "contrary to ordinary."

Daniel Lawrence Whitworth was born in Corpus Christi, Texas to Wallace Earl and Bernice Bertmann Whitworth on April 12, 1953, one of their ten children.  He married Marialice Ann Rodgers on August 13, 1977, in their hometown of Corpus Christi.  They had two children, Joshua Daniel, born in 1981 (I was visiting in Austin at the time of his birth), and Megan Elizabeth, born in 1983 shortly before the family moved to Corpus Christi and Dan joined the Park and Recreation Department - about two years after I'd left that department and a year before I left the city.

A good buddy and a great friend - Dan Whitworth - may he rest in peace.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday's Faces From the Past: STRAPS Friends

My involvement with the Student Texas Recreation and Parks Society (STRAPS), from 1976 through about 1980, brought me lots of new friends from across the state.  I've talked about some of the folks I met at the 1976 TRAPS (Texas Recreation and Park Society) Conference and the A&M-Tech Get-Together, both in October 1976, and the Function in Junction in November 1976.  Here are some more:

Terry Rodgers on New Year's Eve/Day, 1977 going on to 1978
I'm not exactly sure where I met Terry Rodgers.  He was majoring in Forestry with an emphasis in Recreation at Stephen F. Austin State College, where he was president of their Student Recreation and Park Society.  I may have met him at the 1977 TRAPS Conference in Corpus Christi, which was Terry's hometown.  I can say he was my New Year's Eve date, welcoming in 1978, and we dated through at least March of that year.  He visited me and my family in Houston, we visited his family in Corpus Christi, and we traveled to Shiner, Texas, and to Old Washington Historic State Park in Arkansas.  It was a long-distance relationship, though, since he was in Nacogdoches and I was in College Station, a good two-and-a-half hours away.

After his graduation in May 1978, Terry worked for Nueces County Parks (specifically, park manager at Hazel Bazemore Park) until June 1982, when he joined the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  First he was at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin.  In 1989, he moved to Blanco State Park, where he was manager by 1998.  Somewhere around then, I actually ran into him at the park headquarters, where my parents, offspring, and I had stopped en route from Fredericksburg to New Braunfels.  Terry wound up his career at Inks Lake State Park, where he was manager beginning in 2007.  He worked there through at least 2013 but is now retired.

Above: STRAPS officers conduct a meeting at the annual spring convention, held in April 1978 in Junction.  From left, treasurer Rosemary Rust of Texas Tech, president Dan Whitworth of Southwest Texas State, secretary Amanda Pape of Texas A&M, and vice-president Rosie Green of Southwest Texas State.

Below: Dan Whitworth on a panel as president of STRAPS at the TRAPS Conference in McAllen, October 3-6, 1978.

Dan Whitworth, also from Corpus Christi, was Terry Rodgers' brother-in-law - he married Terry's twin sister Mari in August 1977.  If I remember correctly, Dan started out in the forestry recreation management program at Stephen F. Austin, but transferred to the recreation administration program at Southwest Texas State University (now simply Texas State University) in San Marcos.  Dan was the president of STRAPS in 1977-78, the year I was secretary.

After his graduation, Dan worked for a while for the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department.  Sometime in late 1983, Dan joined the City of Corpus Christi Park and Recreation Department (PARD) as the Administrative Assistant II (which was NOT a clerical position).  I had left my position as an Administrative Assistant I in PARD to move to the city's Information Services office (on October 1, 1981), and by the end of March, 1983, I was in the Budget Office.  Had I stayed with PARD, Dan would have been my boss.  Or maybe, if I'd stayed, I would have been promoted and been *his* boss.  In either case, I think we would have made a great team.

Dan moved up with PARD and became its director.  In March 2003, he was given the Fellow Award by TRAPS, the highest honor the organization can bestow.  Three months later, on June 28, he died in a tragic accident.  While trimming a pecan tree, a large branch fell in an unexpected direction, hitting Dan's head and knocking him off a four-foot-high scaffold to a wooden deck, causing head trauma.

The Fellow Award was named for Dan, and the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation created a memorial scholarship in his honor.  Meadowbrook Park in Corpus Christi was renamed for him, and a memorial and meditation area funded by donations was dedicated on November 13, 2004.  More about the park in a future post.

Above: 1978-79 STRAPS President Rosemary Rust gives her farewell address at the TRAPS Conference business luncheon in San Antonio on October 5, 1979.

Below:  Rosemary and I were roommates at the El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel for the TRAPS Conference in San Antonio, October 2-5, 1979.

Rosemary Rust is pictured in the Stephen F. Austin State College yearbook for her junior year, but I am pretty sure that when we served together as STRAPS officers in 1977-78 (she was treasurer, I was secretary), she had transferred to Texas Tech.  The following year, 1978-79, she served as STRAPS president.  At some point she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston.

Rosemary has gone on in public service in many ways from her hometown of Wharton - everything from serving on the South Texas Girl Scout Council Board, to actively participating in Wharton’s Main Street program. She ran for county judge in 1994. She was appointed to the Lower Colorado River Authority Board in 1999 by Governor George W. Bush to a term that expired in 2005. She served on the Board of Trustees for the Wharton County Historical Museum in 2010-11. Rosemary is the fifth generation in her family to own and operate the Rust family business, overseeing farming, ranching, timber, oil and gas, and commercial properties.

Above:  Amanda Pape, Dan Whitworth, Bonnie Sanderson, and Patsy Siegismund at Dan's home in Austin, January 9, 1980.

Below:  Dan Whitworth and Rosemary Rust at Rosemary's home in Lubbock, October 1, 1980.

Patsy Siegismund served as vice-president of STRAPS in 1976-77, while she was a student at Southwest Texas State.  After her graduation, she worked for the Parks and Recreation Departments of the City of Austin and the City of Kirkland, Washington.  She later joined the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, serving as the assistant coordinator of the Green Lake Community Center, and then (June 1994) the coordinator of the Ballard Community Center.  She was a member of the Washington Recreation and Park Association, and the Northwest Ladies Golf Association.  Assuming the organizational chart is up-to-date, it appears that Patsy is now a Senior Finance Analyst in the Budget section of the Finance Division of the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department.

I was unable to trace Rosie Green and Bonnie Sanderson,

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Long Overdue

A couple of my second cousins and I are finally getting markers for two great aunts (in their case, one is their grandmother) and a great uncle who died in 1977 and 1975.  Here is what the markers will look like:

I posted the one for Aunt Clara as hers is the only date of death I have not been able to confirm via an obituary or death record.  We have contacted the cemetery and what was hopefully the funeral home in hopes that they have something more definitive.  All I have at the moment is the SSDI which only gives November 1975, not the exact date.

Pictures will be posted once the markers are installed, in eight to ten weeks.

UPDATE 20 August 2016:  Yet another of my second cousins is related to the Cooney Funeral Home on Chicago's north side.  We knew they had handled the arrangements for his father, aunt, and grandmother (Clara's sister Martha), as well as my other great aunt Rhea, and thought they might have handled Clara's as well.  Our second cousin asked his Cooney relatives to check, and they turned up Clara's death certificate:

Their records show that Clara was buried at St. Henry's Cemetery on November 28.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sibling Saturday: Shelton Sisters, BEF 1959

After the Shelton Family Reunion back on June 25, I went to the home of my first cousin twice removed Shirley Thompson, and looked through an album of old family photographs and newspaper clippings.

One of the photographs was this one, of three of the Shelton sisters.  From the left, they are Euna Ann Shelton Thompson (1905-1959), my great-grandmother Addilee Tennessee Shelton Wolfe Odom Harris (1890-1977), and Elvie Eloise Shelton Reeves Jowers (1907-1988).

Since Euna died in February 1959, this photograph must have been taken before then.

I've written before about my great-grandmother.  Here's a little more information about Euna and Elvie.

Euna Ann Shelton was born January 1, 1905, the ninth of the twelve children of my great-great-grandparents, Levi Marion Shelton (1863-1941) and Sarah Ann Spikes Shelton (1871-1935), in Winn Parish, Louisiana.  She married Charles Elzy Thompson (1900–1986), who went by his middle name, on January 27, 1926.  They had four daughters:  Elise Lemora Thompson Stroud, Julia Garnell "Nell" Doherty, Joy Faye Thompson Boeta (1937-1991), and Shirley Yvonne Thompson Edington Morrill.   Euna died February 13, 1959, and is buried at the Hargis Baptist Church Cemetery in Grant Parish, Louisiana.

Elvie Eloise Shelton was born Huly 2, 1907, in Louisiana, most likely in Winn Parish, the tenth of Levi's and Sarah's twelve children.  On January 9, 1926, she married Wesley Byron Reeves (1900–1968), who was divorced with one daughter.  Elvie and Wesley had a daughter, Adilee LaVerne Reeves Antee (1927-2005), who was born June 10, 1927, in Montgomery, Louisiana.  Elvie and Wesley were divorced by 1930, and on August 28, 1938, she married James Monroe Jowers (1892-1949), a widower with four children.  Elvie died November 18, 1988, and she is also buried at the Hargis Baptist Church Cemetery in Grant Parish, Louisiana.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: 40 Years Ago This Week

One of my cousins got married forty years ago this past Sunday in the Chicago area.  My family traveled from Houston to attend the wedding, and we spent the week following with relatives on my dad's side there.  I took a number of pictures on that trip, but some of them were only printed on a contact sheet, and it was only recently that I scanned the film negatives to generate larger digital images.

Above:  my first cousins Judy, Bobbie, and Donna Pape (acting silly), 10 August 1976

Below:  my first cousin Regina Dietz playing volleyball, 9 August 1976

Above:  my first cousins Rob and Rich Dietz, playing lawn darts, 9 August 1976

Below:  my aunt (and godmother) Lorrie Olker Pape, grandmother Elizabeth Massmann Pape, and uncle (and godfather) Bob Pape, at Bob & Lorrie's home in Des Plaines, Illinois, 10 August 1976.  That might be one of my brothers (Brian or Mark) playing croquet in the background.

Above:  my first cousin Donna Pape and the family dog Roxie, 12 August 1976

Below:  my first cousins Judy, Bobbie, and Donna Pape (acting normal), 10 August 1976

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sibling Saturday: Shelton Sisters, June 1, 1974

After the Shelton Family Reunion back on June 25, I went to the home of my first cousin twice removed Shirley Thompson, and looked through an album of old family photographs and newspaper clippings.

One of the clippings was this photograph from the first Shelton Family Reunion of descendants of my great-great-grandparents, Levi Marion Shelton (1863-1941) and Sarah Ann Spikes Shelton (1871-1935).  It was held at Nantachie Lake in Grant Parish, Louisiana (between Montgomery and Aloha) on June 1, 1974.

The photo shows the four of Levi's and Sarah's children who were still alive on that date.  From the upper left, standing, they are Elvie Eloise Shelton Jowers (1907-1988) and Pearl Vivian Shelton Chelette (1909-2003); and, seated from left, Cleola Eugenia Shelton Davis (1902-1991), and my great-grandmother, Addilee Tennessee Shelton Wolfe Odom Harris (1890-1977).

My second cousin once removed
Phyllis Doherty Holmes verified who was who, and also said, "We always called Elvie 'NeeNee,' so you might hear her referred to that way. Don't know where that got started. Minus Aunt Pearl, this was the domino playing group; I think it was maybe Uncle Sid's* wife** mixed in with the three sisters to round 'em out to four, because when they played, Vicki*** and  I were assigned two each to watch and make sure they didn't cheat; Donna**** was always the score keeper. They were a rowdy bunch playing dominoes! It was always fun to hang out with them even if we weren't allowed to play."

* Uncle Sid would be John Sidney Shelton (1891-1963), brother to these four sisters.
** His wife was Sarah Corena "Cora" Hayles Shelton (1896-1979).
*** Vicki is Phyllis' sister, Vicki Irene Doherty (1957-1977).
**** Donna is Phyllis' other sister, Donna Denice Doherty Dyson (1956-2013).

Here's a little more information about Pearl and Cleola (Elvie will be in a future post).

Cleola Eugenia Shelton was born in Winn Parish, Louisiana, on October 10, 1902, the eighth of Levi's and Sarah's twelve children.  On October 5, 1919 - just short of her 17th birthday - she married Birrs Alvin Davis (1898-1900).  They had seven children, three of which died by age 2 and two more that died as young adults.  They were living in Grant Parish on the 1920, 1930, and 1940 Censuses, and specifically in Montgomery in that parish (which is adjacent to Winn) at the time the photograph above was taken in 1974.  Cleola died September 15, 1991, and is buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Wheeling, Winn Parish.

Pearl Vivian Shelton was born December 23, 1909, in Louisiana, most likely in Winn Parish, the eleventh of Levi's and Sarah's twelve children.  She married Peter Lee Chelette (1902-1997) on June 16, 1926, and they had seven children, two of which are still living.  When the photograph above was taken in 1974, Pearl was living in Colfax in Grant Parish. Pearl passed away June 12, 2003, in Tioga, Louisiana.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

(Not-So-)Wordless Wednesday: Happy Birthday to My Brother!

A rather blurry picture of me (age 4), my sister Karen (age 3), and our brother Mark (age 1) at our family home at 7913 Cedel in Houston, Texas.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Those Places Thursday: CC Beach Parks - Then (1982) and Later (2006)

This is what I wrote for a story called "Beach park to provide new types of play equipment" on the front page of the October 1982 issue of City Quill, the newsletter for City of Corpus Christi employees produced by the Information Services department, which I worked for at that time.  Since I had worked for the Parks and Recreation department for two and a half years prior to that, I was typically assigned all of the stories related to that department.  At that time, North Beach was called Corpus Christi Beach or CC Beach.

Drive out to the north end of Corpus Christi Beach sometime this month, and you'll probably find park construction crews hard at work.  Near a recently-completed 52-space parking lot, the crews are utilizing the slab from a house destroyed in Hurricane Allen as the base of a group picnic shelter.

City of Corpus Christi Park and Recreation department construction crew works on converting the slab of a house destroyed in 1980's Hurricane Allen into a group picnic shelter on North Beach in September 1982.

Across the lot, next to the restrooms/shower building, others are placing telephone poles and boulders to simulate a beached, wrecked ship.  Climbers, a slide, and a swing will be added to this "adventure playground" designed to stimulate the minds of youngsters.

With land acquisition nearly complete, development of recreational facilities on Corpus Christi Beach is now underway.  With restroom buildings and parking/access complete or nearly complete at the north and south ends of the beach, park construction crews are beginning work on two group picnic shelters and the "Shipwreck" adventure playground, and will install the 40' by 40' by 24' "Spacenet" rope climber recently authorized for purchase by the City Council.

City of Corpus Christi Park and Recreation department construction crew installs the "Spacenet" rope climber on North Beach in September 1982.

Although the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers plan and the 1977 bond program, which is the source of funds for the project, originally called for five access points to the beach, the City decided to build two such points for now and provide facilities with them.  "We're concentrating on the extreme northern and southern ends," said Park and Recreation's Landscape Architect Malcolm Matthews.

Parking at the southern end is tied in with North Shoreline street improvements now underway and will provide approximately 34 spaces.  The existing slab for another building destroyed by Hurricane Allen will be used as the base for a group picnic shelter adjacent to the restroom building.

Recently completed (in September 1982) restroom building at the southern access park.  Based on the location of the breakwater in the background, this restroom likely had to be removed to accommodate the access ramp to the USS Lexington aircraft carrier.  The restroom building at the northern access park (today's Dolphin Park) is similar.

Both the north end and south end shelters will be constructed with lath-top roofs similar to that of the picnic shelter in Cole Park.  A solid roof, according to Matthews, would probably blow away in hurricane-force winds.  In addition, air can circulate through the slats in the roof.  "It will provide shade but it won't be completely dry if it rains," said Matthews.  The slab at the south end is quite large, and "the majority of it will be resurfaced and used for roller-skating and dancing, similar to the Peoples' Street T-Head band shell area," added Matthews.

Above: Malcolm Matthews, City of Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation department's Landscape Architect, and his design for the "Shipwreck" playground for the north end access park on North Beach, September 1982.
Below:  close-up of the "Shipwreck" plan, detail from the photo above.

The "Shipwreck" adventure playground is one of the most exciting features of the new park.  Designed by Matthews, the facility uses pressure-treated, non-toxic telephone poles, boulders, and a modular pre-fabricated wooden playground unit all put together to resemble a half-buried, deteriorated ship.  Its features include a "cargo net" for climbing, a "fallen mast" (an angled pole with a rope swing), a slide, and various wooden decks and ladders.  It also has the potential to add more features, such as a "steering wheel" on the "main deck."

City of Corpus Christi Park and Recreation department construction crew works on the deck of the
 "Shipwreck" adventure playground at the north end of North Beach (today's Dolphin Park).

Some landscaping is also included in the project.  Palm trees and pampas grass, as well as boulders, posts, and rails will be used to stabilize sand areas as well as serve as vehicular barriers.  All landscaping and facilities are designed to be salt- and sand-tolerant as well as to withstand tidal surges and hurricane force winds.

So what has happened to these areas in the last 30+ years?

Sadly, the "Spacenet" and much of the "Shipwreck" is now gone.  The pictures below are from our visit in May 2006.  The "cargo net" and the "fallen mast" had disappeared from the "Shipwreck," and this was about all that remained of the "main deck" and the bow of the ship.  Even less of the Shipwreck was visible on our latest visit in June 2016.

What's left of the "main deck" structure (above) and the bow of the "Shipwreck" (below) in May 2006.

The beach access point at the extreme northern end referred to in the article has since been named "Dolphin Park." It still has the restroom/shower building and a picnic shelter (although the latter may not be the original one), but a more typical, traditional playground has been installed in the area.

However, the restroom building, and likely the shelter, at the south end (referred to in my article) are gone.  Based on the photo earlier in this post of that south end restroom building, it is right where the entrance to the access ramp to the USS Lexington aircraft carrier now stands.

Why did the "Spacenet" disappear and the "Shipwreck" deteriorate?  A friend who continued to work for the City of Corpus Christi through 2005 told us that the north end of the beach suffered from continual erosion, which likely contributed to the situation.  But I think there is more to the story.

A number of city parks are up for sale or have been sold.  When I worked for the Parks and Recreation department, the city had a parks dedication ordinance that required developers to set aside a certain percentage of the land to be developed as park land.  Unfortunately, this resulted in a lot of very small parks, often not in the best locations, with little money to develop or maintain them.  I think parks maintenance overall suffered.

My former co-worker Malcolm Matthews had a better ending.  He went on to be the director of the Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation department, and then the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation department director (1998June 2008).  He served as the president of the Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS) in 1999-2000.  He spent the last six years of his career as Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Kerrville, Texas, retiring in February 2016.  He was tapped in early June to serve as interim deputy city manager, until the new one starts in August.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.