Archive for the ‘Alabama’ Category

Philip John Huber (’80)

Philip John Huber was born March 9, 1958, to Patrick Wendell and Molly Ruth Huber (deceased), in Roswell, New Mexico. Phil was the youngest of three children born to the Hubers. Mary Faith Huber (deceased) and Judith A. Johnson were Phil’s older sisters. Peter L. Martinez was an adopted brother, that the Hubers adopted via Operation Peter Pan in the early 60s. Peter lived with The Hubers until his mother could be brought into our country from Cuba.
Phil attended Midland High School and Stratford High School. He participated in Band and was part of the cheerleading squad. He also worked with the school’s year book, and played basketball and football. Phil graduated from Stratford High in Houston Texas in 1976. He attended The University of Houston and studied Radio/TV/Film. Phil graduated in 1980 from The University of Houston.
Phil’s preparedness and willingness to go the extra mile helped him score the biggest news story of the day while working as a news photographer in Midland Texas, when Baby Jessica McClure fell down the well in Midland Texas, October 14, 1987. His microphone, duct tape, and a XLR cable coupled with his news camera helped determine if the child was still alive. Over the next 56 hours people came from all over to work their way down 22 feet and retrieve the 18-month-old child. His feed of the event went out over the wire nationally and around the world. For 56 hours the world hung onto every second of Phil’s footage captured during the rescue.
Phil spent most of his adult life traveling the country picking up stories and sharing them with others. He worked in the electronic news gathering business for many years, working with news organizations, in both Midland, Texas and Mobile, Alabama. He earned his title, “Lens Mule” by covering fires, hurricanes, crashes, and dignitaries, always capturing the moment of the day and recording it for others to see.
He opened his own production house and produced several local and nationally distributed programs. Programs like Tuesday Night Thunder, Gulf Coast Spotlight on local access, then Southern Experience, Arca Racing this Week, The American Rifleman, and Circle of Honor distributed nationally via The Outdoor Channel. He was also a freelance shooter and worked with companies, shooting racing, fishing, football, and all kind of other creative gigs. He was a natural-born storyteller. A storyteller with a heart as big as Texas and a creative streak a mile wide.
Phil and I met about 1993 or 1994. He had just left Channel 5 and was in full blown business-building mode with his new company, Parallax Productions. The journey we took together would cover the country and the latter part of Phil’s life. Along many of those trips, Phil began to teach me about his world. Together we put together an outreach program that allowed us to mentor to young men and women and teach them a marketable skill. The Odd Ducks came to be a force to be sought after in the production world. What started as idea on those long rides, has produced a lasting legacy that could continue decades from now.
Phil was a loving, caring, gentle soul; he wanted to help everyone. In fact, he made it his life’s mission to help others. His pay-it-forward philosophy became the motivation for his existence. He was known as “Dad” to at least 50 children who wore the ODB colors, but even before ODB, Phil had invested a lifetime in others’ educations and helping them to become their best selves.
Phil suffered his first stroke about twelve years ago. His nephew, Patrick Wihl, found him approximately three days after his stroke. Phil fought his way back to health but the storyteller had lost his voice. The stroke caused Phil to have a bad case of aphasia. Phil lost his business, his home, his ability to speak; he lost everything except his life and his friends.
He was fortunate to find Murray House. Murray House is where Phil lived the last twelve years of his life. While many would have been bitter and mad at the world, Phil made the best of his situation. He always made the best of bad situations throughout his career and after his career came crashing to a close, he continued to lead and help others. The examples he set were truly an inspiration to all who came to know him. His calm acceptance of the situation at hand helped others to see their way out of the forest.
Phil found a path to be creative again. He didn’t lose his framing, composition, or photographic abilities. He was never without his iPad nor the ability to snap a good photo or roll a few seconds of recording. He relearned how to tell the story without ever uttering a word. His pictures and his video told the story for him. He would see it for you. His vision of our world, even with his impaired abilities, shined through for all to see.
One last thing, Phil was a dog lover and his dogs loved him. His dogs were his best friends. He would always smile and say to me, “Unconditional love right there, that’s what really makes the world go around, unconditional love.” I have always been told that dogs are really good judges of character. I have to agree. Phil was one the good guys and our world will be a darker place without him in it.
He left behind a lasting legacy. A legacy whose story has yet to be written. Phil lived his life at 200 mph but he always had time to lend a helping hand and share a piece of timely advice or instruction. He worked at making other peoples lives better. We could all be more like Philip John Huber. He was a Lens Mule of the first order who saw the world through rose-colored glasses and he shared that vision with us all.
Philip John Huber passed in the morning of April 14, 2022.
He is survived by his sister, Judith Johnson, adopted brother, Peter L. Martinez an their extended families; his brothers and sisters of The Odd Duck Brotherhood; and a multitude of coworkers and friends.
May God grant Phil the welcome words: “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” He surely deserves it.
-A. Lee Abbett Sr.

Ryan J. Rabalais (’14)

Ryan Jay Rabalais was 48 years of age when he passed on April 16th 2021 in Orange Beach, Alabama, after being struck by a vehicle. Ryan was born in Houston, Texas to his mother, Sharon Anita Wallace, and father, Thomas Ray Rabalais, on July 20th 1972. After graduating high school, Ryan served the US Navy for three years in his early adulthood. With a passion for higher education, Ryan would go on to graduate from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. After college, he found enjoyment in a career that allowed him to travel the United States as a licensed commercial truck driver. Ryan was an ardent follower of U.S. politics. In his spare time, Ryan was very imaginative and creative. He would make music, videos, and use other types of media to express himself. Ryan also gained an affinity for fishing, golfing, and the fine arts, including jazz. Ryan was a man very devoted to his friends and family. He was the type of person that would visit a friend after 25 years and act as if not a day had passed between them. Ryan was preceded in death by his mother, Sharon Anita Wallace, as well as both his maternal and paternal grandparents, Owen June Crawford and Doris Fay Crawford, and Bernard Ishmal Rabalais and Billie Jean Rabalais. He was also preceded in death by his biological maternal grandfather, James Hughie Horton. Ryan is survived by his two children, Paul Jacob Rabalais and Kathryn Rae Rabalais, his parents, Thomas Ray Rabalais and Tina Rabalais, his sister, Jeana Rae Handley, his stepbrother Christopher Warren Crochet, his girlfriend Julie Mackie, and many dear cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends.

James M. Felsman (’50)

James M. (Jim) Felsman passed away peacefully on March 29, 2021 surrounded by his immediate family at Westminster Village where he was a resident. He was 5 days away from his 94th birthday. During the past 7 months that he struggled with several medical issues, he liked to say, he might give out, but he’d never give up. Jim was born in Ponca City, OK on April 3, 1927. His family migrated to East Texas where he was raised and graduated from New London High School in 1944. He quickly joined the Navy at age seventeen to help with the war effort and was deployed with the Seabees in the South Pacific Ocean. When the war ended, he attended college and graduated from the University of Houston. In 1956, he was hired by Humble Oil Company (now ExxonMobil). Later that year, he met his bride to be, Lois “Honey” Olmstead in Longview, TX. They married that year and were transferred to Grand Isle, LA before an assignment in Hattiesburg, MS. From there, they moved to New Orleans, LA in 1963 where he retired from ExxonMobil in 1986. In 2001, they relocated to Daphne, AL. Jim had a great love of family and life. He and Lois loved to drive, and the family spent countless hours on the road visiting family around the country and seeing the sites. As a member of Christ the King Catholic Church, he was active with the Vocations Ministry and was a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus. He loved the Mass, and even when unable to attend in person, would live-stream the Masses every day. His hobbies included tennis, fishing, golf and later, calling Bingo at Westminster Village. He is preceded by his loving wife of 62 years, Lois (Honey) Felsman, his parents, Aldrich and Clara Felsman and brother Robert Felsman. He is survived by his sister Janet (Jack) Puryear, son Marty (Phyllis) Felsman, Jr. and daughter Margaret Ann (Charles) Anders. He will also be dearly missed by his grandchildren, Brian Bankston, Rebecca (Lindsay) Dozier, Keith Felsman, Amy (Cody) Brown and two great grandchildren, Madison and Emma Bankston. In addition to scores of nieces, nephews and his extended “Grand Isle” family, he will be missed on the golf course. Services will be held at Christ the King Catholic Church in Daphne, AL on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Visitation will begin at 10:00 followed by funeral Mass at 11:00. Interment will be at Belforest Catholic Cemetery in Daphne. His family would also like to thank the staff and caregivers at Thomas Hospital, notably, Colony Rehabilitation, as well as the staff and residents of Westminster Village. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be offered at Christ the King Catholic Church Vocation Ministry, 711 College Ave., Daphne, AL 36526.

Shane Ros (’14) and Ashley Grijalva (’18)

Shane Ros and Ashley Grijalva wed on April 3, 2021 in Gulf Shores, AL.

The Katy, TX native, Shane was a wide receiver (#19) for the UH football team. A former walk-on, he earned a scholarship at the conclusion of the 2012 season. Shane received the Committed Cougar Award, presented annually to a Houston player who shows extraordinary commitment to the UH Football program, at the conclusion of the season that saw him finish with 23 receptions for 337 yards and three touchdowns, along with 12 special teams tackles. His career came to an end due to injury. He remained with the Houston program as a student assistant for Coach Tony Levine, working with the program’s receivers and special teams.

The Gilbert, AZ native, Ashley competed on the UH Swimming Team. As a UH freshman she swam top time at the AT&T Winter National Championships and was named to the All-American Athletic Conference Team as a sophomore and junior. In high school, Ashley was crowned state champion and East Valley Tribune Swimmer of the Year.

Jack Robert Arthur (’87)

Jack “Bob” Arthur, 82, died peacefully on May 22, 2020. He will be laid to rest with his family at Elmwood Cemetery, Birmingham, AL Bob attended Phillips High School in Birmingham, graduating in 1956. After graduation, he joined the Army and served with the DMZ Military Police in Korea. He briefly attended the University of Alabama before moving to Texas to attend the University of Houston, where he graduated with a degree in Psychology much later in life Bob was fascinated with aviation. He earned his private pilot’s license and spent his weekends parachuting with friends. He was a storyteller and loved reminiscing about classmates and Army buddies. He also enjoyed surf fishing on the Texas Gulf Coast. An avid pool player, Bob and his teammates won many billiard tournaments Bob is survived by his children and their spouses; Jenny and John Harris, Bobby and Leslie Arthur, Randy and Jennifer Arthur, 4 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren He was preceded in death by his father Jack, mother Estha, and sister Janice The family would like to thank the staff at Greene County Nursing Home and Hospice of West Alabama for their loving care and support.

Mary Shannon MacMichael (’76)

Mary gives a life update:

Graduating in 1976 first job was as a Physical Education instructor with the Houston Independent School District at the Roberts Elementary Magnet School. I was hired with 3 other young Phys.Ed. teachers Pat Sutton, Tom Brewer and Andre Hornsby and supervised by our experienced coordinating teacher, Marion Kirk. I taught for 3 years at Roberts and then worked with my best friend, Valerie (Schneider) Reis, UH ’76, in the Alief Independent School District. Marriage came along in 1980, baby girl in 1981 and moved to Roanoke, VA in 1984. Full time wife and mother occupied most of my time as well as substitute teaching and part time youth work! Covenant Presbyterian hired me for what was to be a 2 year term as Youth Director/Church Activities Director, as my husband returned to school. That 2 years turned into a total of 31 at the Church and I retired in 2016. After my husband retired in 2017 we moved to Mentone, Alabama to be near our only daughter, her husband and our granddaughter and to become involved community members in this beautiful area of the country.

Ashley Wurzbacher (Ph. D. ’16)

Ashley Wurzbacher has written a book titled Happy Like This. She has been honored for the 2019 National Book Foundation’s ‘5 Under 35’ award.