Joseph Dennis (Denny) O’Neill – November 20, 2019

Joseph Dennis “Denny” O’Neill II, 77, died Wednesday, November 20, in Lewisville, Texas.

Denny was born to Joe and Lena O’Neill on August 27, 1942 in Cameron, Texas. He graduated from Waco High School in 1960 and from Baylor University in 1966.

On June 12th, 1965, Denny married his soulmate Mary Lou Piott in Waco, Texas. Denny spent his professional career in the medical records industry working for Blue Cross and Blue Shield and as an entrepreneur starting and growing independent companies PMS, Inc., Medical Interface Inc. and General Micrographics before retiring in 2008.

Denny greatly enjoyed traveling on vacations with his wife Mary Lou. He was a very avid hunter his entire life and greatly enjoyed hunting with his friends and family. While he loved Baylor Bear football, anything associated with his Irish heritage and last name O’Neill, and many other interests, Denny “Grandpa” most enjoyed spending time loving and spoiling his grandchildren as much as possible.

Denny is survived by his wife of 54 years, two sisters, Peggy O’Neill and Betty Jo Westhelle, aunt Barbara DeArmond, two sons, Brian and wife Angie O’Neill of Flower Mound, Texas, Craig and wife Mandy O’Neill of Coppell, one granddaughter, Lauren O’Neill, two grandsons, Duncan and Cameron O’Neill, two step grandsons, Blake and Trevor Miller and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and other loved ones.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Trump 2020 presidential campaign!

View the Tribute Video

Ron Sommer – November 24, 2019

Ron Sommer
Ronald Neal Sommer, age 77, of Lewisville, TX passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 24, 2019 at his home.

Ronald was born on June 28, 1942 in Saint Joseph, Missouri to his parents: Fred and Katherine Sommer. He proudly served his Nation in the US Navy from 1963-1967.

He is survived by brothers Roger and Rod Sommer; sister, Roxie; 3 nephews, 3 nieces, 9 great nieces and nephews, 2 great-great nieces and a host of other loving family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital.

Services for Ronald Neal Sommer will be held December 13 at 10:00 a.m.  The family of Ronald Neal Sommer has faithfully entrusted Restland Funeral Home, Cemetery and Crematory to handle the arrangements and services for their loved one.

Restland is located at 13005 Greenville Ave. Dallas, TX 75243 and can be reached at 972-238-7111.

Rick Rescorla – A Note from Pat Payne

 
 
 
Dear Friends,

As many of you know Patty and I were invited to the White House to witness President Trump present the Presidential Citizens Medal posthumously to Rick Rescorla. His widow Susan accepted the medal and then gave it to Rick’s son Trevor.

This link will take you to a YouTube video of President Trump’s presentation and Susan’s talk.

A few things about the presentation:

  • Prior to the presentation the President met privately with Susan, Rick’s children and a couple from Cornwall, England where Rick was born. Just Google Rick Rescorla for more info on this remarkable man.
  • Patty and I are in the 2nd row directly behind Susan and her children – right in front of the podium. Why such good seats? When the doors opened to the East Room the first person in was…you guessed it…Patty!
  • The young woman sitting between us is Blaire Evans (white top), 20 years old from Houston. Turns out my son’s best friend from college is her father. Blaire is a junior at the University of Texas and actually receives college credits for interning one semester in D.C. The University rents about 25 apartments for the young women to live in a safe and healthy environment. Also Blaire has worked in Senator Ted Cruz’s Texas campaigns and he helped get her placed in the White House. We learned a number of interesting things from Blaire – the administration is working on a soon to be released health plan, that all the Trumps are really tall, the ladies are like 6 feet, speak multiple languages, that the President is quit humorous plus a lot more. She has contributed to predicting debate questions and responses. Sits in on White House workgroups on selected topics. Was involved in the Austrian President’s visit. Talk about getting exposed to some interesting stuff! After graduating she is thinking law school, back to DC to work on the Hill and eventually running for office. WOW to be 20 again and your entire future in front of you!! It was invigorating being around a young person full of energy and optimistic about the future. In fact there were a number of younger staffers around with that shine in their eyes and a spring in their step.
  • You have to look hard for the top of Patty’s head of blonde hair.
  • Susan Rescorla is frail and normally uses a cane. Notice how attentive the President is to helping steady her.
  • Rick’s (and my) Army Vietnam friends were asked to stand and be recognized as were a group of NY Firemen. Boy were they fun!!
  • The whole thing was run with precision. The people in uniform are Military Attaches and helped on the WH tour prior to the presentation.

There are number of interesting things but I need to take some time to digest it all and write a story to memorialize it.”

Regards,
Pat

A Side Note from Jeanne Harman

As most of our graduates will remember, in 1965 Pat Payne and Rick Rescorla were both in the Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam. Many times since then Pat has spoken and written about his high esteem and respect for Rescorla. Attached you can read a copy of a talk that Pat gave to the Pelican Bay Rotary Club in Naples where Pat resides. This was given in 2016 at their Memorial Day meeting.

In Pat’s words, “The main focus of the talk was a fellow Lt. named Rick Rescorla….a great American hero. Rick’s life really is an inspiring story and part of it deals with the Ia Drang.”

The book, We Were Soldiers Once … And Young, was written about the battle of Ia Drang; Rick Rescorla is shown on the cover. And a movie, starring Mel Gibson, was made.

This past summer while at the library I ran across the DVD of We Were Soldiers and checked it out. I was awed to think that one of our graduates was actually in this battle and survived! The music, “Mansions of Our Lord”, that is played in the movie is so moving and beautiful. If you are so inclined, I would say get a copy of the movie and watch it. I told Crozier Brown about the movie and he also got a copy and felt pretty much as I did. It is a very intense and moving film. I asked Pat about the accuracy of the film and he said that trying to cram about 5 days of combat into 2 hours prevents the events from being completely accurate. However, Hal Moore, (main character played by Mel Gibson) was very involved in its filming and Hal felt the events were representative. Pat said that after the movie was released, several of the male actors came to their Ia Drang reunion and Pat got to meet them. Pat said all were “good guys and Sam Elliott was special!!”

Robin Roe – Daughter of Ed & Rita Coates Burnett

Robin Roe, daughter of Ed and Rita Coates Burnett, had a massive heart attack Monday, October 28, and was admitted to Providence hospital. Unfortunately after her admission, tests showed that there was no brain activity. Rita said Robin was an organ donor so Robin is currently being kept alive in order for surgeons to retrieve any organ which can be of use to others. What a wonderful gift it is that Robin, having made this selfless decision in healthier times, is able to enrich the lives of so many others after her own health failed her.

Obituary

Robin Lee Roe, 54, passed away suddenly Wednesday, October 30, 2019. A Visitation will be 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., Sunday, November 10, at Crossroads Fellowship on Estates Drive. A Celebration of her life will follow at 2:00 p.m., with Reverend Steve Abbe officiating.

Robin was born in Waco, Texas, February 23, 1965, to Rita (Coates) and Clarence Burnett. Robin was a 1983 graduate of Midway High School and a 1986 graduate of Baylor University. She was currently employed by ESC Region 12 where she worked for twenty five years.

Left to cherish her memory are her loving husband, Rodney; parents, C.E. and Rita Burnett; son, Spencer Shelburne and wife, Chelsea; daughter, Mikaila Shelburne and fiancée, Carson Searcy; brother, Robert Edward Burnett and wife, Roxanne; granddaughter, Blakely Grace Searcy; aunt, Julie Hankins and husband, David; cousins, Elliot and Kristen Hankins, Evan and Halley Hankins.

Memorial contributions can be made to Grey Mutts animal rescue of Clifton, Fuzzy Friends animal rescue in Waco, or TOSA.

Waco Town Crier – December 2019

 
 
Here is the December 2019 edition of the Waco Town Crier

December Highlights

  • A Personal Word of Warning
  • Trivia: 50 Foods That Lower Your Risk of Cancer; Things to Not Throw in the Trash
  • Regarding Our Recently Deceased Graduates
  • Oldest Aggie Yell Leader
  • From Our Graduates
  • Updates
  • December Birthdays
  • Show & Tell: Beverly (Bev) Murphy Wells
  • Pictures
  • Top WHS Graduates
  • Quarterly Luncheon
  • Jokes

 

 

Update on Charlie Sligh

I just received this report from Joe Riley regarding Charlie Sligh. So glad for dodged bullets and our heart doctors here in Waco. I will let you know whenever I find out where Charlie will be for rehab. Charlie does not have a cell phone or computer.

Charlie Sligh had triple bypass surgery this past Thursday, October 31st Halloween of all days.

He’s fine, doing quite well, in fact. As of now, he’s in room 385 at Ascension Providence Hospital, Waco. He may be moved to St. Catherine’s or some other rehab facility in Waco as early as this afternoon or tomorrow.

I found out about his situation this past Friday, but waited to let you know until I visited with him this morning and got his permission to let you and “you all” know.

He hadn’t shown any of the classic symptoms of heart problems, but had a persistent pain in his stomach area that was causing concern. After several exams failed to produce a diagnosis, he was referred to cardiac physicians who scheduled him for a cardiac catheterization. That’s what revealed the significant blockages, leading to next day surgery.

As they say, Charlie “dodged the bullet.”

Joe Riley

Betty (Vaughn) Willis – November 1, 2019

I am sad to report that our class Secretary, Betty Vaughan Willis, died on November 1, 2019. Betty always attended our reunions and luncheons any time it was possible for her to do so. We all will remember her with very fond memories as she was such a nice and smart person. Betty had been in a nursing facility for the past several years.

Betty Jo Vaughan Willis, 77, of Waco, Texas, went to be with Jesus on November 1, 2019. Funeral services will be on Friday, November 8, 2019 at 11:00 AM at Crestview Church of Christ, with Scott Talley and Jordon Hubbard officiating. Visitation will be at Grace Gardens Funeral Home on Thursday from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Interment will be at Thornton Cemetery, Thornton, Texas.

Betty was born in Fresno, California in 1942 to Jo and Woodrow Vaughan. After the family relocated to Texas, they settled in Waco, where she attended school. Betty was very intelligent, graduating with honors from both Waco High School and Abilene Christian University, graduating in three years. It was at Abilene Christian where she met Robert K. (Ken) Willis and they were married on January 25, 1964. They were married for almost 56 Years.

Betty and Ken were blessed through adoption to have join the family their daughters, Staci Lynn (1968) and Julie Beth (1973). Betty loved her family dearly.

Betty’s passion for learning carried over to her many years of teaching in the public schools of Tyler, Waco and Crawford. She ultimately retired from teaching to help Ken in his financial services business in which she held both securities and life insurance licenses.

Betty loved her Lord and was active in the church. She was deeply faithful; and at Crestview she taught Bible classes and helped organize Wednesday night meals. She was fluent in sign language and served as the co-leader in the Deaf Ministry. For many years, she, along with Ken, served as a co-leader for the Communion to Shut-ins Ministry. Betty and Ken also led small group study classes. She led the FriendSpeak program and gained close personal relationships with her international students. She held a special place in her heart for the ministry efforts in Croatia.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

She is survived by her husband; two daughters, Staci Lynn Willis of Waco and Julie Beth Hill and husband Steve, of Amarillo; four beloved granddaughters: Libby Lynn Hill, Sophie Jo Hill, Molli Jean Hill and Demi Claire Hill, all of Amarillo; and two brothers, Val Vaughan of College Station and Ray Vaughan of Waco; along with numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Special thanks to numerous caregivers from Right at Home, Regent Care Center and Interim Health Care Hospice.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Croatia for Christ (in care of Crestview Church of Christ) or the Deaf Ministry at Crestview Church of Christ.

Pictures of Betty – 1960

At Various Reunions


2010 – 50th Reunion

2000 – 40th Reunion

2015 – 55th Reunion

Jenny Lynn (Easter) Miles – October 7, 2019

Our graduate, Jenny Easter, died on October 7, 2019. Jenny was the niece of our graduate, Bob Easter. Bob and Jenny were more like brother and sister and held a very close bond to one another right up to the end.  Bob was the youngest of eight children and Jenny’s father ( Bob’s brother) was the eldest. Therefore, Jenny was Bob’s niece. Back in those days there were many families who had children a generation apart. While attending Waco High, Bob had a brother, Bill Easter in the 12th grade– a nephew in the 11th grade –and a niece (Jenny) in the 10th grade, the same grade as Bob. Bob said it always confused everyone.

Jenny Lynn EasterJenny Lynn Easter Miles, 77, passed away in Austin on Monday, October 7, 2019. Visitation will be held at Oak Crest Funeral home at 4520 Bosque Blvd, Waco Texas, 76710 on Sunday October 13, 2019 from 2-4 PM. Graveside services will be Monday at 11 AM October 14, 2019 at Oakwood Cemetery, 2124 South 5, Section 0, Waco, Texas 76706.

Jenny was born September 9, 1942 in Waco, Texas to Jasper Columbus and Jene Skelton Easter. She was raised by a loving and generous family along with an older brother, Jerry Paul Easter and younger brother, James (Jim) Eugene Easter. She adored both of her brothers her entire life. Jenny graduated from Waco High School and quickly married Cecil Wayne Sorrells. They had a daughter Kimberly Jene Miles Pena. Jenny was also married to Robert Jack Miles and they had a daughter, Melynda Michelle (Shelley) Miles Fisher.

It was impossible not to love Jenny. The twinkle in her eyes when she was pulling a quick practical joke or helping family was delightful to watch. Her laughter was contagious, too. Jenny lived for her family making sure her children and grandchildren knew they were protected and loved. In return, for several years when Jenny was no longer able to care for herself, her daughter Shelley extended that same loving care to Jenny and remained by her side until she passed.

Jenny was preceded in death by her parents J.C. and Jene Easter, daughter Kimberly Miles Pena, brothers James Lloyd Easter and Jerry Paul Easter. She is survived by her brother Jim Easter, daughter Melynda Michelle Miles Fisher, grandson Rhett Pena, granddaughters Veronica Pena, Jessika Lynn Pena and Abbygale Faith Fisher and multiple great grandchildren and a big devoted family of aunts, uncles and cousins.

The family would be remiss if we failed to acknowledge and express our deepest appreciation for the Professional care of the entire Staff at Retirement and Nursing Care, 6909 Burnet Road Austin, Texas and for the devotion to and for Jenny by Encompass Hospice.

Instead of flowers, please make donations to Alzheimer Association Capital of Texas Chapter, 5508 Hwy 290 West, Suite 206, Austin TX 78735.