Archive for the ‘Texas’ Category

Kathryn M. Wohnoutka (’91, M.S. ’94)

Kathryn published her first book, Whole, Single, Free, ME! An Escape from Domestic Abuse, the story of her first abusive marriage and her recovery. The book includes her time at the University of Houston where she bloomed and healed.
She wrote the book for two reasons:

  • To empower those traveling a similar road to survive and grow.
  • To help their friends and loved ones understand and support the abused person in their recovery.

Her book includes the following delightful story from her time at U of H:

I asked my school friend one day, “Have you ever snapped a snapdragon?” We had a long break before our next class at the
University of Houston, where we were both students, and it was a beautiful day. She asked me, “What’s a snapdragon?” With
that question, we were on our way across campus to a beautiful batch of yellow, pink, and orange snapdragons in front of the
U of H library. We sat in the middle of the flowers laughing for over thirty minutes while I taught her the art of snapping
a snapdragon…

Kathryn is a past president of U of H Beta Alpha Psi, a CPA, and currently Senior Manager at Oracle Corporation where she has worked for 23 years.

Kameron Wall (’16)

Message from Kameron:

We just found out last Saturday we were having a boy! This was our first purchase for him!

Robert H. Havemann (’54)

Robert Havemann, age 88, of Sun City, Georgetown, Texas, formerly of Houston, Texas, passed away September 20, 2020. He was born in Houston, Texas February 7, 1932 and grew up in Houston Heights. Robert and his wife Jean moved to Sun City in January 1999 and have enjoyed living here and acquiring many new friends who have also moved here from all over the country. He enjoyed playing bocce and working at the woodshop, making several furniture pieces for their home and many other activities. He was preceded in death by his parents, Hugo and Eleanora Havemann and his brother Leroy. Robert is survived by wife Jean, his daughters Donna Iwama, Laurie Alsobrooks and her husband Mike, Susan and husband Terry Ackers, Anita and husband Don Greive, nine Grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren, his sister Marilyn Allen in Huntsville, Texas, one stepson Duane Kelley wife Janeth and daughter Michelle and son David in Houston, a stepdaughter-in-law Rose Kelley Bailey and her two sons Bobby and Kenny, and other loving relatives and dear friends. Robert received a B.S. Degree from the University of Houston and a commission in the U.S. Army as Second Lieutenant in 1954. Shortly after graduating he was ordered to active duty at Fort Lee, VA for two years. He returned to Houston and began his career in commercial and petrochem design and construction.. He worked for over forty years in the design and construction of high rise and other commercial buildings as well as refinery and chemical plants. For several years Robert volunteered at the Sun City Scott and White Clinic. Robert was a member of the Worship Place in Sun City. In Lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Robert’s memory to the Worship Place or charity of your choice. You may share a message or memory on our online guestbook at To send a flower arrangement to the family of Robert Hugo Havemann

Frank J. Braden, Jr. (M.Ed ’63)

Frank was born on April 21, 1934 in San Antonio, Texas. He was raised in Bandera, Texas where he lived until permanently moving to Pasadena, Texas in 1959, where he resided for more than 62 years. Frank, having lost his father at the age of 10, helped his mother manage their small dairy farm and home, which required him to grow up rather quickly. Despite the heavy responsibilities, Frank had a wonderful childhood and built a special relationship with his younger brother, Richard, who was under the age of one at the time of their father’s death. In addition to his mother, Hattie, neighborhood friends, school teachers, Sunday School teachers, and the men in the Bandera community helped shape his life. Frank was a cowboy. He loved riding horses spending many summers working as a wrangler at several of Bandera’s dude ranches and later overseeing the corral and camp activities at Camp La Junta in Hunt, Texas. Frank even team roped calves in local rodeos; he was the “heeler.” Frank received a community scholarship from the people of Bandera for his athletic abilities and other talents including success in track and field, playing on the football and baseball teams, serving as Editor in Chief of the Bulldoghis high school annual, singing at special events and representing Bandera High School at Boys’ State in Austin, Texas. This scholarship made it possible for Frank to attend Texas A&M College. He was in the Class of ’56 and participated in the Corps of Cadets. As an interlude to his studies at A&M, Frank served 2 years in the United States Army. Following his service to his country, he returned to Texas A&M and completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Education. After graduation, Frank moved to Pasadena, Texas to begin his long-standing career with the Pasadena Independent School District. At the time of his retirement in 1992, Frank had served a total of 34 years. Having earned his Master’s Degree from the University of Houston, as well as his Principals Certification, he quickly advanced from Texas History teacher at San Jacinto Junior High School into administration. Frank served at three intermediate schools (opened Thompson Intermediate), three different high schools (served as principal at J. Frank Dobie High School), served as Director of Transportation and wrapped up his tenure as Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools and Area Superintendent. Later, Frank was called out of retirement to serve a semester as Interim Principal at Sam Rayburn High School and served 10 years on PISD’s Board of Trustees, twice as President. Upon his arrival to Pasadena in 1959, Frank met Pat Walbrick, a new teacher from Wichita Falls, Texas and the love of his life, at the Suzanne Apartments where Pasadena ISD encouraged its single teachers to reside. Many of their dates involved cookouts prior to attending high school football games. It was at Camp La Junta one summer evening when Frank, the cowboy from Bandera, asked the city girl, Pat, for her hand in marriage. Throughout their long and happy life together, the two were inseparable. They played in neighborhood Bridge groups, were members of PARSE (Pasadena Area Retired School Employees) serving in many leadership roles including President and Chairman of the Tilman B. White Scholarship Committee, volunteered weekly for elementary school HOSTS Programs with their latest service at Golden Acres Elementary and annually worked at PISD’s McDonalds Invitational Basketball Tournament. It was the rarest of occasions to see one without the other. Frank and Pat also enjoyed spending time at their lake house on Lake Conroe. Frank enjoyed mowing the yard and simply sitting out on the deck watching for wildlife of all kinds while enjoying the outdoors. Frank and Pat hosted many family holiday get-togethers always welcoming family to spend as much time at the lake as they wished. The two enjoyed many wonderful years of marriage, celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary on August 6, 2020. Frank and Pat have two daughters, Jean and Lisa. All four have enjoyed lengthy careers with Pasadena ISD. In addition to a long-standing career with the school district, Frank and Pat have attended South Main Baptist Church of Pasadena for 60+ years. Over the years, they developed many special relationships with members of the church. The two taught Sunday School at South Main for 57 years. Frank was a deacon and served as Chairman of that group two separate terms. Frank’s life was one of service and loyalty. He faithfully served his Lord living a life of integrity and high moral character imparting encouragement and joy to all he encountered. He was a faithful and loyal husband and the best “Daddy” to his girls. He especially loved being “Pa” to his grandchildren and great grandchildren. In addition to his loyalty to God and family, PISD and South Main, Frank was loyal to his country and his beloved “Fightin’ Texas Aggies!” He positively impacted many lives over the years, especially the lives of children, through his daily example and with his smile. Frank is survived by his wife Pat, his two daughters Jean Cain and husband Dan, Lisa Davis and husband Scott, four grandchildren Austin Lyles, Claire Forrer and husband Will, Braden Cain and wife Hanna, and Luke Lyles as well as two great grandchildren Kynlee and Graham Forrer. Frank is also survived by his brother Richard Braden and wife Polly as well as several cousins and in-laws. Frank is proceeded in death by his parents Frank and Hattie Braden-Brown. South Main Baptist Church4300 East Sam Houston Pkwy SPasadena, TX 77505 A private graveside service will be held later in the afternoon for family members at Grand View Cemetery on Spencer Hwy.

George H. Wilshusen (’54)


George Herbert Wilshusen, 89, passed away peacefully at home in Houston, Texas on September 16, 2020.Upon graduation from Jeff Davis High School, George attended Texas A&M University and then went on to receive a Mechanical Engineering Degree from The University of Houston. After graduating college, he worked for several companies and then formed and owned his own manufacturing representative company in the Electrical Utility Industry for 45 years.George was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, William (Billy) and John Wilshusen; sister-in-law, JoAnne Wilshusen and his son, Mark Wilshusen.He is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Joan Elizabeth Wilshusen; sons David (Amy) and Richard (Edna); numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews. Visitation with the family will be held from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Friday, September 25, 2020 at Waltrip Funeral Directors. Funeral services will be at 1:00 p.m., Saturday in the Waltrip Chapel. Interment, Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery.

Charles M. Stephens (’63)

Dr. Stephens was born on November 4, 1934, in Sulphur Springs, Texas, to Thomas Noel and Minnie Mae Stephens. He married Dorothy Crawford Stephens on October 3, 1959. She survives. After graduation from Sulphur Springs High School, Charlie, as he was known to most, joined the Navy in 1952, and served on the U.S.S. Mispillion. He graduated with a B.S. degree from East Texas State University/A&M Commerce, and graduated from University of Houston School of Optometry. He joined Dr. Calvin Gutherie in Temple immediately after completing his education in 1963. After many years in private practice, Dr. Stephens joined Texas State Optical and practiced in downtown Temple and Killeen Dr. Stephens was a member of Temple Jaycees and Kawanis ClubsDr. Stephens is survived by his wife, Dot, daughters Cheri O’Leary, Noel Cummings (Jeff), grandson Weston O’Leary (Jill), granddaughters Hannah O’Leary and Lilly Cummings, all of Temple. He is also survived by one sister, Paulette Roberson (Roy) of Tyler, Texas. Dr. Stephens was preceded in death by his parents, a son, John Scott Stephens, a brother, James Stephens, and a sister, Patsy Elliott. The family gives a special thanks to Wildflower Place and Compassus Hospice for their care of Dr. StephensIn lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Macular Degeneration Foundation ( ) or a charity of your choice.

Bensen Kwan (’19)

Sugar Land-based musician Bensen Kwan, 25, took first place at this year’s Philadelphia International Music Festival (PIMF) Virtual Concerto Competition. The grand prize is a full scholarship to Music House International, PIMF’s immersive, 17-day summer program.

Every year, aspiring musicians from around the world submit recorded auditions for a chance to attend PIMF’s summer music program. Kwan won based on his performance of Keiko Abe’s ‘Prism Rhapsody’ on the marimba.

“[It’s] basically like a festival where many people just come together and play orchestral and chamber music,” Kwan said. “I’ll get to play a solo recital as well.”

The program will take place next summer. Participants will get private lessons with PIMF’s faculty as well as a chance to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Kwan will be a featured performer on PIMF’s You Tube channel.

A graduate of Sugar Land’s Stephen F Austin High School, Kwan credits his decision to become a musician to his high school teacher Brian Stevens.

“It wasn’t that I already knew in high school that I wanted to be a professional musician,” he said. “I just really wanted music to be a part of my life. And I knew that it could also influence other people positively.”

Kwan went on to study Music Education at the University of Houston.

The marimba, a large wooden percussion instrument similar to the xylophone, has gained popularity in recent years, Kwan said.

“Keiko Abe, the composer, is one of my biggest heroes because she was the first person in the world to really popularize it,” said Kwan. “The marimba is an up-and-coming solo instrument that people are, I think, taking more seriously. There’s only one or two graduate programs where you major in just marimba performance. Otherwise you learn all percussion.”

The youngest of three siblings, Kwan grew up in a musical family and started piano at age four. He attributes his marimba-playing to his older brother and sister, who encouraged him to choose band as an elective in middle school.

“My siblings recommended I do percussion because it was like, the coolest instrument out of all,” Kwan said. “At first, I didn’t like it because it was something they forced me to do. But eventually I really started to love it and majored in it.”

Kwan said he spent up to six hours practicing the marimba before the lockdown. He has won numerous awards and accolades, having traveled to Germany last year to study at the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.

“I got to see the music culture there [Germany]– widely supported by the public and also the government and organizations,” he said. “I think it would benefit everyone, if we had more music, supported by everyone and more performances.”

In addition to piano and marimba, Kwan is also passionate about his steelpan, which, he explained with a smile, is transportable unlike the marimba.

“It comes from Trinidad and is such a lovely instrument,” he said. “I love my steelpan.”

Kwan had the following advice for young musicians:

“Focus on being a better person and the music will follow,” he said. “There’s enough selfish musicians out there.”

Tobi L. Cooley (’75)

Tobi Lynn Turner Cooley, age 69, passed away on September 28, 2020 at her home in Magnolia, Texas. She was born on March 13, 1951 in Levelland, Texas to Joanna and Bob Turner. She was the second child of four. Tobi met her husband, Michael Cooley, while both were attending Oklahoma State University in 1970. They married, on August 21, 1971, and moved to Houston where she received a degree in Special Education from the University of Houston. They lived in many places including, New Orleans, London, and Jakarta, before settling in to Northwest Houston’s Klein area, where Tobi and Mike raised their children in the 80’s and 90’s, and she was also was a teacher for the severe and profound at Wunderlich Junior High School. She and Mike moved to the Magnolia area in 2000, where they eventually retired.

She was a member and former President of the Montgomery County Master Gardner Association. Tobi was a fervent follower of Christ and an active member of Wildwood United Methodist Church in Magnolia.

Those left to cherish Tobi’s memory are her husband of 49 years, Michael Cooley of Magnolia; her son Chris Cooley and his wife, Kim of Kingwood; her daughter, Casey Cooley Kent and her husband, David of The Woodlands; her granddaughters Natalie Cooley, Maggie Cooley, Gracie Cooley, Chloe Kent, and Cara Ann Kent; her grandson Connor Kent; her sister Tracey Turner Santor and her husband, Bryan of Glastonbury, Connecticut. She was preceded in death by her parents, and brothers Terry and Tommy Turner.

A gathering of family and friends will be held on Saturday, October 3rd, 2020 at 2pm at Wildwood United Methodist Church in Magnolia, TX. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations and contributions be made in Tobi’s name to, a home and work place for adults with special needs, or Wildwood United Methodist Church Women’s Services.

John Joseph Lucas (’80)

John Joseph Lucas, 87, died Tuesday, September 29, 2020 in his home with his family by his side after bravely battling Pancreatic Cancer. He leaves his wife of 62 years, Doris (Vacca) Lucas; his son, Matthew John and Kathleen Meany Lucas; his daughter, Cynthia and Stephen Mark Hanan; his daughter Regina Maria and Robert Purgatorio; his six grandchildren, Michael John and Lily Lucas, Kendall Marie Purgatorio, Mark Andrew and Emily Lucas, Emma Nicole Hanan, Caroline Leigh Hanan, and John Robert Purgatorio; and his great grandchild Jack Andrew LucasBorn and raised in Yonkers, New York, the son of John and Mary (Jurik Lucas), the youngest of five children. At 25, he moved to Houston to work for Teledyne Exploration until he retired. In his early years, he served as an altar boy in his neighborhood church, caddied at the local golf club, and worked at the corner ice cream shop. John graduated with a Major in Commercial Photography from New York Institute of Photography in 1953At 20, John joined the US Navy Reserve were he served from 1953-1955 as Gun Fire Control Radar Technician. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal. While aboard the USS Steinaker (DD-863) he served as the ship’s primary photographer. He continued his education throughout his life including studies in Power Generation, Electrical Technology, and Mathematics. He received his Bachelors Degree in Computer Science from the University of Houston in 1980 He met Doris in 1956 at Westchester Community College where they were both members in the Key Club. They were married December 13, 1958 in Yonkers, New York. John spent his life enjoying physical fitness training, bicycling, fine woodworking, wood carving and oil painting. He had an incredible green thumb and took pride in creating a beautiful garden complete with brick walking paths, gazebos and rose trellises. He was extremely proud of being a first generation American who learned the English language, received a college degree and raised children and grandchildren who all attended top universities and excelled in their educations and careers.

David R. Ruffin (’54)

David Raymond Ruffin, 90, passed away Wednesday, September 30,2020 at his home. He was born March 18, 1930 in Hot Springs, Arkansas to Raymond and Grace (Ledbetter) Ruffin. David graduated from Aldine High School in 1947. He owned Ruffin Inc. in Dodge City. He attended the Methodist Church and was Rotary President in Dodge City, Kansas and Georgetown, Texas. He entered the United States Marines in June 1947 at the age of 17. He served as a Trustee of Saint Mary’s of the Plains. While a Marine, he did his basic training in San Diego and was later stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. After the military he came to University of Houston and graduated with his Bachelor of Science and was the first in his family to graduate from college. After he retired, he enjoyed traveling with Stephen and Glenn and golfing with Tim. After selling his business in Dodge City, he moved to Pratt. He wanted to be close to his grandchildren. He especially enjoyed watching Bryan and Katie play sports. He is survived by his children, David Ruffin, Jr. of Walnut Creek, California, Tim (Nancy) Ruffin of Reno, Nevada, Stephen (Glenn Andersen) Ruffin of Porto, Portugal and Susan (Mike) Kirby of Cunningham; grandchildren, Coleman (Jessi) Ruffin, Robert Ruffin, Daniel Ruffin, Thomas Ruffin, Bryan (Erin) Kirby, Katie (Phil) Hellman and Sean (M’kaylee) Kirby; and 5 greatgrandchildren. David is preceded in death by his parents and brother, Bobby Ruffin. A funeral service will be held at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, October 8, 2020 at Larrison Mortuary, 300 Country Club Road, Pratt. A graveside service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, October 9, 2020 at St. John Lutheran Cemetery, Nashville.