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.

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