Archive for the ‘Texas’ Category

Natalia Rodriguez (’17)

University of Houston Class of 2017 College of Natural Science and
Mathematics (NSM) alumna, Natalia Rodriguez, MPH, was selected as a
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2021 Ambassador for
the Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign. Rodriguez is one of 12
Ambassadors across the U.S. who will work with local leaders to promote
CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign efforts by disseminating HIV
messaging, materials and other CDC resources in the cities that are
identified for campaign implementation efforts. Natalia has a Bachelor’s
degree in Mathematical Biology and is a recent graduate of the University
of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where she earned her
Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology with a concentration in Public
Health Informatics.
CDC Let’s Stop HIV Together website:

Mary Elizabeth (Graham) Dennard (’57, M.Ed. ’72)

Mary Elizabeth (Graham) Dennard
Aug. 29, 1918-Jan. 5, 2021
HOUSTON Houston, Texas resident Mary Elizabeth (Graham) Dennard, age 102, a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Elizabeth was born August 29, 1918 in her family cabin located in the mountains of Arkansas, the daughter of Perry and Mary Elizabeth Bettie’ (Fuquah) Graham. She graduated from Pampa High School in 1935 and the University of Houston with a BS in Education in 1957 and a MEd in 1972. Elizabeth was a proud educator in Pasadena ISD and Houston ISD. She was a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society and spent her adult life active at Park Place Methodist Church and St. Stephens United Methodist Church.

Elizabeth and her late husband, Henry, were introduced on a blind date orchestrated by Henry’s brother, Dick. Mary Elizabeth Graham and Henry Kennedy Dennard were united in marriage on October 29, 1938 in Pampa, Texas. They were happily married for 67 years.

Elizabeth is survived by her loving and loyal daughter Betty Beck of Houston, Texas; daughter in law Beth Dennard of Seabrook, Texas; her grandson John Beck, his wife Kathy and their son Nicholas of Lufkin, Texas; her granddaughter Christine Murray, her husband Gregg and their children Jarrett, Shane, and Sarah of Dallas, Texas; her grandson Andrew Beck, his wife Sheri and their daughter Chloe of Houston, Texas; her granddaughter Claire Mangrum, her husband Jonathan and their children Eliza and Jet of Houston, Texas. Elizabeth is preceded in death by her parents Perry and Bettie Graham of Pampa, Texas; by her brother James Conrad Graham of Pampa, Texas; her son Michael Dennard of Houston, Texas; her son in law Beau Landry of Alexandria, Louisiana; and her grandson Patrick Dennard of Houston, Texas.

Elizabeth was known for having a quick wit, impeccable hair, a knack for pinching pennies, a world renown Texas Sheet Cake, an affection for her dog, Pookie, and for being an incredible teacher. She won Teacher of the Year while teaching 5th grade at Durham Elementary of Houston ISD. Elizabeth loved to travel seeing most of the contiguous United States on epic RV trips strategically mapped out by her husband Henry, his sister Miriam and her husband, Jim. She cherished memories from a cruise to Alaska and a once in a lifetime trip through Europe. She also loved camping with her young family. Elizabeth loved her friends and family dearly and will be sorely missed. She left an impression on anyone that was lucky enough to have made her acquaintance.

Due to current Covid restrictions, a small family gathering at Bethlehem Cemetery in Carthage, Texas is being planned at this time. Elizabeth will be laid to rest alongside Henry, her devoted husband of 67 years. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Crossroads at Park Place at: c/o Doug Fortner 7843 Park Place Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77087. Crossroads serves the homeless population in the Houston area and is a ministry of Park Place Methodist Church.

Joseph Martin Fogarty

Joseph Martin Fogarty
July 8, 1963 – December 20, 2020

Our beloved Joe went home with the Lord Sunday, December 20th at 1:30 in the afternoon after a two month battle from complications of treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Joe never let this knowledge of this disease define him. He lived; he loved; he laughed. He is preceded in death by his father, John Joseph Fogarty; his sister Mary Elisabeth Fogarty; and his niece, Emily Jane Szafarz. Joe is survived by his wife of 22 years, Neala Shirley Fogarty; his daughter, Bronwyn Elizabeth; his mother Catherine Ann Fogarty; his siblings James Patrick Fogarty, MD and wife Susan Fogarty; Jeremiah John Fogarty and wife Rosalina Fogarty; Jane Marie Falk; Michael Joseph Fogarty and wife Sally Fogarty; and John Joseph Fogarty and wife Beth Fogarty. He is also survived by fifteen nieces and nephews and thirteen great nieces and nephews whom he loved very much.
Joe had many titles throughout his 57 years in this life. He was affectionately known as son, brother, uncle, friend, husband, father, “Uncle Joe”, “Figs” and “St. Joe”. To us, he was an amazing light in the darkness. He never had an unkind word toward anyone or anything. To know him was to be invited as “family”. Everyone knew what that meant including those that worked with him either at Grocers Supply or one of the many vendors he developed relationships with over the years. Joe began working at Grocers Supply straight out of college after graduating from the University of Houston with degrees in both MIS and Marketing. He began in the warehouse and continued working his way up to directorship in the company. He spent 35 plus years with Grocers including the last six after it became C&S Wholesale.
Joe was very active in life. He loved to play softball, coach parish basketball, attend his beloved UH football games, and after his daughter was born, became a patron of the arts. To his softball buddies, he was known as “Figs” or the “Tin Man” which was apparent as he would run the bases. To his parish basketball girl’s teams, he was affectionately known as “Coach” or just plain “Uncle Joe”. His lesson when coaching was, “it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, only matters if you had fun playing.”
Joe loved traveling with his family. He often said he couldn’t make up his mind where he liked to be better: the beach or the mountains of Colorado. He enjoyed our Thanksgiving trips on the 30A in the panhandle of Florida and our Spring Break trips to Colorado. However, his greatest joy was his daughter Bronwyn. He always said he stood in awe of her and everything she did and accomplished. It was because of her, he became a patron of the arts and looked forward to every theatrical, musical, and band performance she was in. Friday night lights became our date night because Bronwyn played in the band. Bronwyn was his greatest joy and he felt his greatest accomplishment.
To say Joe will be missed is an understatement. We can only hope that we can carry ourselves as he did; with love and honor of all of humanity.
Visitation/Rosary will be at Earthman Funeral Home in Bellaire 4525 Bissonnet Monday evening December 28th from 6:30pm – 8:00pm with a private family time from 6:00pm – 6:30pm. A Celebration of Life will be held Tuesday morning at 10am at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church 6800 Buffalo Speedway. Interment immediately following at Memorial Oaks Cemetery Reflection Lake Estates 13001 Katy Freeway. Memorial donations may be made to Houston Christian High School at and fill out the “In memorial” section.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Dec. 27, 2020.

Chinedu Ogu (’18)

Houston is the reason Chinedu Ogu is so funny
ShaCamree Gowdy
Jan. 10, 2021Updated: Jan. 10, 2021 1:34 p.m.

Comedian Chinedu Ogu is Houston-born and raised, a fact that’s hard to miss if you’ve ever listened to his jokes.
Houston native Chinedu Ogu has wanted to be a comedian since around the age of 6, but he says what sealed the deal was the time he managed to make the entire crowd laugh during his high school talent show.
“We didn’t grow up in the best neighborhood,” Ogu said. “Comedy was always my escape from the things we had to go through. Growing up in the environment we were in, it was always like my safe space.”
He did stand-up for the first time at 16, and that experience marked a moment of clarity: He had found what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
Ogu said he had every intention of pursuing stand-up comedy full-time after high school, but his dad got wind of his plans and “kind of scared me out of my dreams.”
He ended up attending the University of Houston, which Ogu says he enjoyed. But eventually, when he got laid off from a job shortly after graduating, he decided to make comedy happen again in 2012.
Houston doesn’t have a plethora of comedy clubs, so he opted to perform at places such as churches and community events. Then he connected closely with fellow comedian Kevin Fredericks.
“My friend KevOnStage was the person who really helped me figure things out in terms of where to go in order to get that kind of stage time to work on my presence and my craft, and also utilize social media as a space for comedy too,” he said. “Not being able to use every stage like I wanted to, I used social media as my stage.”
When he isn’t referencing the Bayou City directly in his stand-up, Ogu likes to talk about the life he lived because of it.
“In my comedy, I always talk about my life and how I grew up and my perspective on things,” he said. “I never try to write jokes about different things I don’t know about, just my perspective.”
While his comedy isn’t all about Houston, the city has impacted Ogu in a major way and he wants it to be known through his work that he will always be grateful and has a great deal of love for it.
“For a lot of entertainers, they usually have to leave to blow or be successful,” he said, noting the number of people who move to New York and Los Angeles in order to catch their big break. “But for me, it was the opposite. I was able to meet next level because of my hometown.”
Ogu said he’s been influenced by the works of legendary comedians like Martin Lawrence and Jim Carrey.
Some of Ogu’s most legendary influences throughout his journey as a comedian have been Martin Lawrence, Sinbad, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Eddie Murphy, Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle, Will Ferrell and Steve Carell, he said.
Tony Baker once called Ogu the “hardest working man” on Instagram. Baker, in case you’re unfamiliar, is an amazing comedian, according to Ogu.
If you’re looking to pursue comedy, Ogu has some advice: Consistency is important. Believe in yourself and understand that you have to fall in love with the process in order to get there.
“The work that many people try to avoid to get to where they want to get to or the easy way out, that long road is what’s needed to get there,” he said. “Fall in love with that process, and once you fall in love with the process and you love what you do, the money won’t be the focus. Then the real creativity will come out.”
The money and success will come from there, he said.

Cyrus A. Reeder, Jr. (M.Ed. ’65)

Cyrus A. Reeder, Jr.
TYLER — Memorial services for Cyrus A. Reeder Jr., 87, of Tyler will be held on Monday, January 4, 2021 with visitation at 1:00 p.m. followed by service at 2:00 p.m. at Stewart Family Funeral Home with Rev. Pike Wisner officiating under the direction of Stewart Family Funeral Home.
Mr. Reeder passed away Saturday, December 19, 2020 in Tyler. He was born July 2, 1933 in Hughes Springs, Texas to Cyrus A. Reeder Sr. and Hazel Maxine Gibson Reeder.
Cyrus was a member of First Baptist Church Tyler. He served in the U.S. Army from 1955-1957. He graduated from the University of Texas Austin and University of Houston with a Masters in Economics. He worked at several banks, retiring from J.P. Morgan/Chase in 1994 as Manager of the Trust department.
Cyrus is survived by his wife, Mary M. Reeder; and his loving family including stepson, Wayne Ruark; sister-in-law, Helen Ross; cousins, Barbara and Charlie Brown, Cheryl Lawrence, Nancy Patterson, Ginger Fraiser, Kenny Reeder; and multiple second and third cousins.
The family extends appreciation to Hospice RN, Jeannie Conneen and his loving caregivers, Lou Timmons, Living Angels, Tameka, LaMesa, Shellie, and Ann, for their exceptional dedication and attention.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Baptist Church of Tyler, 301 West Ferguson St., Tyler, Texas 75702 or Buckner Ministries, 700 N. Pearl St., Suite 1200, Dallas, Texas 75201.

Mia Lorick (JD ’14)

(HOUSTON) January 11, 2021 – Mia Lorick has joined Locke Lord’s Houston office as a Partner in the Firm’s Litigation Department, further growing the Firm’s demonstrated dispute resolution capabilities in the region.
“Mia’s strong and varied trial and appellate experience will be an asset to Locke Lord, and we are excited to welcome her,” said David Harrell, Co-Chair of Locke Lord’s Litigation Department and Deputy Managing Partner of the Firm’s Houston office.
A former shareholder at Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey, Lorick is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in civil appellate law and concentrates her practice on real estate litigation, commercial litigation and professional liability defense. She practices trial and appellate law and has argued before the Texas Supreme Court as well as numerous intermediate courts of appeals. In addition to her practice, Lorick has been an advocate for a more equitable legal profession, having founded and directed her former firm’s diversity and inclusion initiative. She regularly speaks on diversity and inclusion panels, most recently for the American Bar Association.
“Mia stands out not only for the outcomes she has achieved in the courtroom but for her passion for bettering the community. We value her leadership in diversity and inclusion and look forward to leveraging her insights to build on our efforts in Houston and beyond,” said Laura Edrington, Managing Partner of Locke Lord’s Houston office.
In addition to serving as an avid mentor in her practice, Lorick is a faculty member for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s deposition skills training courses. At the University of Houston Law Center, Lorick serves as an adjunct professor and founded the Suited for Success scholarship, which awards law students the funds needed to buy a business suit for interviewing. The scholarship has since been expanded to the University of Texas School of Law.
“I am thrilled to join Locke Lord, a firm that is a well-known and widely respected Texas staple. I look forward to contributing to its litigation practice and singular culture while further building my practice via its robust national platform,” Lorick said.
Locke Lord’s dispute resolution team has the intellectual depth, creativity and tenacity necessary to prevail in the most complex and contentious disputes, with industry-leading clients including the largest global companies and entrepreneurial businesses. The Firm’s litigation lawyers have a deep skill set and breadth of experience across industries, giving them a unique ability to serve innovative clients who drive change in virtually every industry, including construction, education, e-commerce, energy, finance, health care, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, private equity, real estate and transportation.

Nancy McEvily Davis (JD ’11)

Bracewell Elects Five New Partners

January 5, 2020

Bracewell LLP is pleased to announce the election of five lawyers to the firm’s partnership, effective January 1, 2021.

“I am excited to welcome these exceptional lawyers to our partnership,” said Bracewell Managing Partner Gregory M. Bopp. “Each has demonstrated a commitment to client service excellence and collaboration that are hallmarks of our firm. Together, their diverse backgrounds and experiences strengthen our ability to serve the complex litigation, regulatory and transactional needs of our clients.”

Nancy McEvily Davis, Houston – Davis is a commercial trial lawyer with jury trial experience, who advises US and international companies in healthcare, energy, banking and other sectors. She was named “One to Watch” in Houston healthcare law in 2021 by The Best Lawyers in America. Davis earned her B.S. from University of Notre Dame, and graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. from University of Houston Law Center, where she was a member of Houston Law Review, Order of the Coif and Order of the Barons.

Sandra Hammons (’78)

Sandra Ann McManners Hammons passed away peacefully in the company of her sons on October 16, 2020 in Round Rock Texas. There are no funeral arrangements as of this time. A celebration of life will be planned at a later date. Sandra Ann McManners Hammons passed away peacefully in the company of her sons on October 16, 2020 in Round Rock Texas. Born in Houston to Marrion Yvonne Goodwin and Jesse McManners on December 1, 1942, Sandy grew up in the Pasadena area, graduating from Pasadena High School after which she attended the University of Texas and the University of Houston, eventually earning her Master’s degree in Education

John William Garrison (’72)

John William “Bill” Garrison, beloved husband, father, uncle, grandfather, and friend to so many, passed away October 14, 2020. Bill was born November 2, 1940 in Beaumont, Texas to Archie and Mildred Garrison. He graduated from Port Arthur Thomas Jefferson High School and honorably served our country as a U.S. Marine. In 1972, after going to night school while working full-time, he received his bachelor’s degree from The University of Houston. Although he spent most of his career with Dow Chemical, he was successful in a variety of positions with different companies, including forays into transportation and real estate. The eclectic outside interests Bill pursued at various times in his life ranged from rodeo to golf, and from hunting and fishing to playing the guitar. Bill’s life was about so much more than his professional endeavors or hobbies. An understanding of Bill’s life can only be found in the hearts of the many, many people he served and befriended. Whether it be The United Way, Special Olympics, or his children’s sports teams, Bill was willing to be chair, officer, coach or other volunteer. His infectious grin and cheerful spirit brought joy to almost everyone he encountered. For his near eighty years, Bill managed to stay a kid at heart. He never found a person, place or situation that could not benefit from a good joke, and he always had one at the ready. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Patricia Bowling, and granddaughter Raegan McCulloch. He is survived by his wife Margaret Garrison; his daughter Katherine Drastal and husband George, of San Luis Obispo, California; son Jimmy Monte, of Dallas, Texas, and his mother Carolyn Monte; son Greg Garrison and wife Catherine, of Galveston, Texas; daughter Kristi McCulloch and husband Michael, of Galveston, Texas; daughter Jennie Garrison, of Richmond, Texas; and grandchildren Jessica Lorance and husband Cody, Justin Barkley and wife Beth, Hannah Garrison, Cody McCulloch, Ansley McCulloch, Riley McCulloch, and Wayne McCulloch, and numerous nieces and nephews who adored their Uncle Bill. A virtual celebration of Bill’s life will be held October 24, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. A link for the service can be obtained by emailing . In lieu of flowers, Bill’s family asks that donations be made in memory of John William (Bill) Garrison to American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, P.O. Box 841125, Dallas, Texas 75284, or to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, 2914 Swiss Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75204.

Lester L. Hewitt (’65)

Lester L Hewitt, passed away at the age of 78 on October 24, 2020 surrounded by his family in Houston, TX. A kind, hardworking, faithful Catholic, beloved by friends and family, Les will be missed dearly.

Les was born in Houston, TX, to James and Lena Hewitt. He attended Jones High School where he was involved in debate, drama, football, and tennis. He attended the University of Houston on a partial tennis scholarship, graduating in 1965 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. In 1968 he graduated from the University of Houston Law Center specializing in intellectual property law. Les practiced law at the Houston firm of Pravel Hewitt Kimball and Krieger, before joining Akin Gump as a member of the firmwide management committee and co-head of the intellectual property practice. Throughout his 50-year law career, he served as lead counsel in numerous complex intellectual property cases involving patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret issues. He served as treasurer and president of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, director of the 4th district of the State Bar of Texas, and adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center. He remained a partner with Akin Gump until the age of 65, then continued as a solo practitioner before officially retiring at the age of 73.

Les met his wife of 55 years, Taffy, as an undergraduate at U of H. They married in 1965 and were blessed with three children Chris, Lannie (Chris), and Brady (Annie). They love and adore their eight grandchildren Sadie, Field, Cassidy, Courtney, Jack, Hannah, William and Cora. Les and Taffy were members of Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church where he served as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, was a member of That Man is You, and the Society of Saint Vincent DePaul. Les was a devout Catholic and member of the Sunrise Bible Study for decades.

Les proudly became a Knight of Magistral Grace in the Order of Malta in 2012. He lovingly served as chairman of the Mamie George Food Fair, volunteered at Martha?s Kitchen, participated in prison ministry, and was a pastoral minister at Memorial Hermann Hospital. As a member of the Order?s annual pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, he accompanied the Malades to the healing baths of Mary?s Holy Spring. He was also honored to serve as the assistant chairman for the pilgrimage to Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin. He received the President?s Award for Service from the Federal Association in 2017.

Les loved traveling with family and friends to many wonderful places. He was an avid tennis player and golfer, and an active fan of all of the activities his grandchildren were involved in. He also loved spending time at his beloved farm with loved ones hiking, mowing, taking care of trees, and admiring the beautiful Texas sunsets. He will be greatly missed.

There will be a visitation at 6 pm and a rosary at 7 pm at the Earthman Funeral Directors at 8303 Katy Freeway. The funeral mass will be held Saturday morning at 11 am at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church at 1801 Sage Road. Services will be live streamed and links will be available on the Earthman website for those not attending in person. In lieu of customary remembrances, contributions may be sent to the Houston Area Order of Malta c/o George Smith, 5953 Green Tree Rd, Houston, TX 77057, or to Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, 1801 Sage Road, Houston, TX 77056.