Posts Tagged ‘In Memoriam’

William Emile Simon (Ph.D. ’70)

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, June 24, 2024 at 10:00 AM in St. Peter Roman Catholic Church in Carencro for Dr. William E. Simon, 83, who passed away on Saturday, June 22, 2024 at his residence in Lafayette with his family by his side.

Entombment will be in St. Peter’s Mausoleum.

Reverend Christopher Cambre, Pastor of St. Peter Roman Catholic Church, will be the Celebrant of the Mass.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, June 23, 2024 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM . A Rosary will be prayed on Sunday at 6:00 pm. Visitation will continue on Monday from 8:00 AM until time of services.

He was preceded in death by his parents Willie and Evangeline Arceneaux Simon, and grandparents Emile Galbert and Rose Mouton Arceneaux of Carencro, and Auguste and Helen Vincent Simon of Ridge. Simon, Arceneaux and Mouton ancestors are direct from Nova Scotia (came to Acadiana in 1658), and Jean Gentil from Huisseaux sur Cosson (pre’ du Blois), Orleans, France (came to teach five languages at Jefferson College, now Manresa Retreat House, Convent LA, St. James Parish, 1853).

Survivors include his loving wife Elaine Therese Cochennic Simon; three children, John Joseph Simon and Marie Evangeline Simon of Lafayette, and Catherine Marie Simon of Los Angeles, CA; five grandchildren, Forest Andrew and Joseph William Simon of Colorado Springs, CO; Jean Pierre LaHaye and Sophia Marie Saussy with sons Nathan William Saussy, Kullen Paul LaHaye and Vera Mae LaHaye all of Lafayette, and Nina Anne Saussy and Caroline Elaine Saussy of Maui, HI.

A resident of Lafayette from 1940-63, he graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL), at which time he and Elaine were married in 1963 in Golden Meadow, LA. They then moved to Houston, TX where he joined NASA at the former Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC), later the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC). While working in the Apollo Program, he earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 1970 from the University of Houston.

He retired from NASA in 1990 after 27 years of service, and began a teaching career spanning 31 years, first as Professor and Head of Mechanical Engineering at Lamar University in Beaumont, and later in that same capacity from 1996-2007 at USL (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette or UL Lafayette). After stepping down as department head, he continued teaching classes in heat transfer, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and senior design projects, and advising students until his retirement from the university in August 2021.

He and his family lived in his Arceneaux ancestral property on Louis Arceneaux Rd. in Lafayette. His NASA career spanned the Gemini, Apollo, Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs, with technical and administrative responsibilities in fuel cell and cryogenic systems development, and other advanced energy conversion systems at that time being considered for the Space Station; multidiscipline advanced development technology management, and large project management. He was also involved in the development of the integrated cryogenic propellant system for the Space Shuttle Orbiter, and as Fuel Cell Section Chief and later Deputy Chief of the Energy Systems Branch, he subsequently served in the Space Station Projects Office as Head of the Advanced Development Office, and later as deputy chief of the JSC Space Station Projects Office until his retirement from NASA in 1990. With a considerable number of publications and technical notes in the areas of aerospace and advanced energy conversion, he was a registered professional engineer in the states of Louisiana and Texas, an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Louisiana Engineering Society (LES) in which he was a recipient of the 1998 James M. Todd Technological Accomplishment Award. He was a member of many other technical and honor societies, including the International ASME Department Heads Committee in which he served as Chairman for two years. During his academic career he loved teaching and telling “NASA stories,” his favorite being his involvement in the Apollo 13 incident, and using his aerospace experience in teaching his favorite thermal systems design courses. He also enjoyed helping students succeed and obtain gainful employment in the engineering field, and he has received the Outstanding Advisor Award over many years.

His hobbies throughout life included Boy Scouts (he was an Eagle Scout), with trips to the national Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, NM both as a boy and later as a scout leader with his son John, and to the Boy Scout High Adventure Quetico- Superior Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. He and the family were also involved in skeet shooting, duck hunting, breeding and training Labrador Retrievers, serving as Treasurer of the Lone Star Retriever Club in Houston, and manager of the JSC Skeet Club. He loved reading and usually had four types of books and authors always in process: spiritual (e.g., Michael O’Brien, or Carmelite formation literature), political (e.g., Victor David Hansen), historical (Champlain, on the founding of Nova Scotia), and a historical fiction tome from some of his favorites (Louis L’Amour, James Michener or Elmer Kelton). He was also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV).

Pallbearers will be John Joseph Simon, Forest Andrew Simon, Joseph William Simon, JP LaHaye, Nathan William Saussy and Kullen Paul LaHaye

As a member of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Carencro, he served with his wife as a Eucharistic Minister to the Homebound, and was a member of the Holy Nolumans BAs meMberS of thie ay teet tes, Province of of host Pure Heart of Mary #1903, he and Elaine enjoyed reading and praying together.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Lay Carmelite Community #1903, Mrs. Marianne Kirk, 209 Highland Drive, Lafayette, LA; to the Discalced Carmelite Sisters, 1250 Carmel Drive Lafayette, LA 70501, to St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church (P.O. Box 40, Carencro, LA 70520) or to any Catholic charity (e.g., Cross Catholic).

View the obituary and guestbook online at .

Martin and Castille-DOWNTOWN, 330 St. Landry Street, Lafayette, LA 70506 337-234-2311.

John E. Gaidry (’55)

John Gaidry Obituary
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held for John Edward Gaidry at 10:00 AM on Monday, June 24, 2024, at St Pius X Catholic Church. John, passed away peacefully of natural causes on the 20th of June 2024, at the blessed age of 96, at home in Lafayette, Louisiana. Visitation will be held only on Sunday, June 23, 2024, from 4:00 PM until 6:30 PM at Martin & Castille’s Southside location, 600 E. Farrel Rd, with a recitation of the rosary at 6:00 PM. Reverend James Brady, JCL, Pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Church, will be the Celebrant of the Funeral Mass. Entombment will be held at Lafayette Memorial Park Mausoleum. Left behind to cherish his memory is his beloved wife of 74 years, Pearl Broussard Gaidry; his son John Edward Gaidry, II MD and his wife Kim; his former daughter-in-law, Billie Green; his daughter Mary Elizabeth Gaidry Young and her husband Clay; his grandchildren, Elizabeth Gaidry Cervantes and her husband Ricky, Kathryn Della Gaidry, and Camille Marie Young and her fiancé James. He was preceded in death by his father Edward John Gaidry and his mother Jeanette Richard Gaidry, and grandson Dylan Clay Young. John was born on February 21, 1928, in Maurice, Louisiana, to Edward John Gaidry and Jeanette Richard Gaidry. His journey was one filled with love, dedication, and family. John shared a beautiful and enduring love with his wife. Their love story began at a school Halloween party in 1942 and continued unbroken through seven years of courtship and countless adventures thereafter. Their total time together, 81 years, was not enough declares Pearl. An alumnus of the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics, John, a true scholar, humbly carried the title of high school valedictorian. His fervor for knowledge was paralleled only by his dedication to his country, having honorably served in the Navy during World War II. His career in the oil industry as a geophysicist and an engineer was marked by innovation, notably obtaining a flow control patent. John retired as the screen shop manager of Baker Hughes in Broussard, Louisiana. He was revered by all his colleagues, earning admiration for his contributions and work ethic. Outside of his professional endeavors, John was an avid runner, belonging to the Cajun Road Runners Club, a hobby in which he excelled, winning countless medals well into his sixties. His triumphs included completing the Pensacola Blue Angel Marathon in 1993, and then, the Houston Marathon in 1994, an impressive feat where he outpaced his son-in-law. John was also celebrated for his diverse talents, including his knack for woodworking, painting with water colors, and his passion for music. The stereo systems and short-wave radios he built were emblematic of his talent and patience, and they stand as a testament to his creative spirit. A few of the items he created that are cherished by the family include an exact replica of the destroyer ship he was on in the Navy, USS Wallace L. Lind DD703, the painting of the African Ringneck Parrot that his daughter enjoyed overseas and the Mickey Mouse themed table and chair set built for his grandchildren. Together with Pearl, he enjoyed the experience of live music, especially big band performances that brought back precious memories of an earlier era. As a history buff, he often immersed himself in stories of the past, keeping his mind as active as his body. A man of deep faith, John practiced his religious beliefs with devotion and found strength and solace in his spirituality. John’s legacy is one of love, laughter, and the pursuit of knowledge – a life well-lived that will continue to inspire those who knew him best. His family members note that they have never seen a love as deep as what he and his wife Pearl have shared throughout their lives together. His grandchildren will never forget that their PawPaw gifted them each with their best childhood memories and that he truly was the best grandfather ever. As we share stories of his life, his generous spirit, and his enduring love for his family, let us remember a man who was truly remarkable in every endeavor. John Edward Gaidry lived fully, loved deeply, and leaves behind a world that is infinitely richer for his presence among us. He will be sorely missed, but he will be celebrated in the memories that shine brightly, reflecting the life of a man who was truly one of a kind. Special thanks to all of his caregivers, especially Jacqueline Brown, for her dedication and most compassionate care given to John. Also a very special thanks to Jamie Baudoin and the caregivers at The Vincent and also Audubon Hospice. View the obituary and guestbook online at Martin & Castille – Southside, 600 E. Farrel Road, Lafayette, Louisiana 70508, 337-984-2811

Becky Muñoz-Diaz (’81)

Becky Muñoz-Diaz passed away on December 26, 2023

Dallas ‘pioneer in Spanish-language media’ Rebecca Muñoz-Diaz dies at 65
Muñoz-Diaz received various recognitions from the city of Dallas and the state of Texas during her 30-year-plus career.

Author: Rachel Snyder
Published: 7:33 PM CST December 28, 2023
Updated: 7:33 PM CST December 28, 2023

DALLAS — Rebecca Muñoz-Diaz, a Texas broadcast media veteran and former Senior Executive at Univision, died of brain cancer this week at 65.

Muñoz-Diaz received various recognitions from the city of Dallas and the state of Texas during her 30-year-plus career, which spanned broadcast sales, management and operations.

Her family and friends remember Muñoz-Diaz for her compassion and mentorship.

“Becky was more than a sister—she was my friend,” said her sister, Rita Dalati. “She was a mentor who I adored and looked up to as my co-pilot in this [media] industry, for my career. Her wisdom, motivation and drive kept her above all others. I will miss our phone calls, laughter, our love for music, scripture, and most of all, the love she shared with me, our family and our friends. She will be missed.”

Muñoz-Diaz graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio and Television Communications from the University of Houston.

She began her career at KIKK Radio and shortly thereafter began working in Houston with three start-up stations that included KTXH-TV (Grant Broadcasting), KXTJ-FM (El Dorado Radio), and KTMD-TV (Telemundo), and is credited with helping to establish each station in their respective markets.

In November of 1995, Becky became the General Manager and Vice President at Univision KUVN-TV Channel 23 and UniMas KSTR Channel 49 in Dallas, where she would remain for over 19 years, before she retired in 2014.

“Becky was a pioneer in Spanish language media, a role model for women, a mentor to many, and an inspiration for all,” said Houston Public Media director of sales and sponsorships Millie Adan-Garza, a friend of Muñoz-Diaz. “She was the second woman honored by the Texas Association of Broadcasters for leading efforts to establish and grow TV and radio stations in the Houston and Dallas markets, opening doors for women and advancing communities—preceded by Lady Bird Johnson. Becky was a fearless, determined, vibrant and kind Tejana, who was my mentor and friend, and who leaves a legacy for future generations.”

During her tenure in executive leadership, Muñoz-Diaz is credited with helping to usher Univision 23 as one of the top-rated Spanish language television stations in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area. She created segments such as “23 a Su Lado” (23 on Your Side), “Desde la Comunidad” (From the Community), “Linea Abierta” (Open Line), as well as Univision’s annual Tamale Festival (now Festival Univision), to foster support for the growing Latino community.

She also served on the boards for the Texas Association of Broadcasters, Communities in School, the Regional Dallas Chamber of Commerce, and the University of North Texas School of Communications, as well as the advisory committee of the Ad Council of America for North Texas, the LIFT advisory council, and the communications committee for the AT&T Dallas Center for Performing Arts.

Munoz-Diaz was a long-time member of American Women in Radio and Television, the Mexican-American Chamber of Commerce, and served as the past chair for the Senior Source of Dallas and as the past President of the Hispanic 100.

In 2009, she was recognized with the Dallas Business Journal Minority Business Leader Award, the Inspiring Women of the Southwest Award in 2011, the National Diversity Council’s Influential Women of Texas honor in 2013, and the Ford Mujeres Legendarias Award in 2014.

Munoz-Diaz was preceded in death by her father and her paternal and maternal grandparents.

She’s survived by her husband Oscar (Tony); daughter Kristin and step-children Jacque, Jamie, and Adam; four grandchildren, Dixie, Rosalie, Kasen, and Kylie; and siblings, Barbara, Rita, Robert, Cindy, Ruben, Chris and George; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and more.

Funeral services are planned for Saturday, Dec. 30, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sealy. Visitation begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by a rosary at 10 a.m., with mass, burial services and a small reception to follow.

A Celebration of Life service is planned in Dallas from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 7, at Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home, 7405 W. Northwest Highway.

Below is an article published August 2015

Univision Communications (retired)

While the moniker “trailblazing pioneer” conjures images of hard-charging, rough-riding, take-no-prisoners strategy, Becky Muñoz-Diaz is a study in pioneering leadership achieved with finesse, quiet determination and joyful fearlessness.

In her more than 30 years of building English and Spanish language stations and serving two of the nation’s largest media markets, she was known and respected by her colleagues and competitors for growing ratings and revenues with an eye on the future for TV and Radio alike.

A native Texan, Muñoz-Diaz began her broadcast career in college at the University of Houston’s campus radio station. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio and Television Communications from UH in 1981 and went straight to work in sales at KCOH-AM and traffic at KIKK-AM-FM, all in Houston.

She led the efforts to establish three stations in the Houston area, including Grant Broadcasting’s KTXH-TV and El Dorado Radio’s KXTJ-FM/KQQK-FM – all now owned by Univision – as well as Telemundo’s KTMD-TV, now owned by Comcast-NBCU.

KXTJ-FM “Super Tejano 108” was the top-rated bilingual station in the summer of 1994 after only being on the air for nine months.
From 1995 to 2014, she served as General Manager and Vice President for Univision’s KUVN 23 and UniMas KSTR 49 – the number one and number two top-rated Spanish language stations in Dallas-Fort Worth, the fifth largest TV market in the country.

During her tenure with KUVN-TV, she expanded local news programming from 90 minutes to 22 hours a week, including the addition of the region’s first Spanish weekend newscast and early morning news program.

She and her team created marketing strategies for advertisers to reach and connect with the DFW Latino community by creating segments such as “23 a Su Lado” (23 at Your Side), “Desde la Communidad” (From the Community) and “Linea Abierta” (Open Line), as well as Univision events like the annual Tamale Festival and Copa Univision Soccer Tournament.

Muñoz-Diaz led Univision to work in tandem with multiple non-profit organizations to help inform and empower the region’s fast growing Latino community with education, health and civic engagement platforms.

Under her leadership, KUVN-TV received the Lone Star Emmy Award for “Outstanding Achievement-Station Excellence” in 2009 and “Outstanding Achievement-News Excellence” in 2012.

She served on the TAB Board of Directors from 1999 to 2003, often traveling to Washington, DC advocating for industry positions on key issues before Congress and the FCC.

In addition, she served on boards for numerous community organizations including the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Regional Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Head Start, Communities in School and the Dallas Women’s Foundation.

She has been a trailblazer, opening the doors for women in the broadcasting industry while remaining committed to bringing awareness to community concerns.

In 1996, Muñoz-Diaz launched a partnership with Dallas ISD to advance opportunities for the Spanish-speaking community by showcasing the schools and programs through live radio remotes, interviews and news reports on the KUVN community affairs program “Vive la Mañana.”

Her efforts earned plaudits in 2014 from Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles who said “Our parents are better informed because of her belief that education can transform lives.”

Throughout her career, Muñoz-Diaz has volunteered with various professional and community organizations earning recognition from local and regional community leaders.
The National Diversity Council named her one of the most powerful and influential women in Texas in 2013.

She is a longtime member of Alliance for Women in Media (formerly American Women in Radio and Television), and past Chair of the Senior Source of Dallas and current Honorary Director.

She served on the Advisory Committee of the Ad Council of America for North Texas, Executive Advisory Board of the University of North Texas’ School of Communications and is a LIFT Advisory Council member.

Never faltering in her professional and volunteer leadership – even in her successful fight to overcome cancer – Muñoz-Diaz has pursued her love of helping people by encouraging community organizations to speak out on the airwaves so they could help them become better citizens and parents and build a stronger community.

Though she retired from Univision Media in 2014, she currently serves on the Board of the Hispanic 100 organization where she was President in 2009. She also serves on the AT&T Performing Arts Center Executive Community Engagement Committee.

Becky Muñoz-Diaz is the very model of how to overcome adversity, advocate for the industry’s goals and advance all communities while succeeding in a fiercely competitive marketplace.

Robert “Bill” William Sullivan (’75)

Robert “Bill” William Sullivan

July 5, 1951 – April 23, 2024

In the early hours of Tuesday, April 23rd, Bill was finally freed from his debilitating and progressive health issues of the last several years. Bill was a proud native-born Houstonian, and it is fitting that he died there.

Bill graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in mechanical engineering. His 40-year professional career as a P.E. and P.M.P. had him traveling domestically and internationally in Energy and Energy-related industries.

Bill was a patriotic Marine; he enrolled underage with forged signatures. When found out, his service was terminated; yet he remained a proud Marine to his dying day. Semper Fi!

Bill was nicknamed “Chef Robert” by one of his relatives and he certainly lived up to the expectation.

He enjoyed browsing multiple recipes and then cooked his own original interpretation. His years spent participating in the Houston Original Gourmet Society (HOGS) led to some truly remarkable dishes, meals and friendships.

In 2003, Bill bought his first, and not last, Harley-Davidson. He joined the Cut-N-Shoot (CNS) Harley Owners Group and immediately became an active rider and volunteer. There were wonderful, fun and exciting motorcycle trips, both locally and long distance across the US with his loved CNS family.

In 2009 Bill formed the North Houston Project Management Toastmasters club and threw himself into the Toastmasters experience serving in multiple district-wide leadership roles culminating as the District-56 Director. He faced many challenges during his tenure from the Hurricane Harvey repercussions that impacted many clubs. He exemplified servant leadership.

For almost 35 years Bill and Gwen hosted the extended family and friends Christmas Eve party. There was always gumbo, games and a good time. There was only one time when a child was left behind. (by an uncle) Every succeeding year, Bill and Gwen announced, “no children left behind”!

Many of Bill’s extended family predeceased him. Surviving him, his wife Gwen, aunts Nelda Falk and Sue Wood, nephews: Keith McKinley, Kyle McKinley, Will Haralson and James (Melody) Haralson, great niece Margo Haralson. He is also survived by Dennis and Dana McKinley, Phylis and Paul Haralson, and his mother-in-law Sara McKinley. Bill has numerous cousins that survive him but special to him are Belinda Gustin, Michael Wood and Natalie Wood. Bill also treasured his lifelong friends; Artie & Kathy Bacque. Finally, surviving him is his Bassett hound Paddlefoot.

Gwen would like to thank Bill’s nephrologist, Dr. Roy Redentor and the Champions Davita Dialysis Center, especially Hailey and Stan for their kind and compassionate care.

A visitation will be held on Saturday May 25th from 4-8 PM at the Klein Champions Funeral Home: 16131 Champion Forest Dr, Spring, TX 77379. In lieu of flowers, Bill has requested donations in his name to St. Jude Childrens Hospital (a memorial fund has been created) or a local animal rescue group of your choosing.

Bill, here’s to you—a toast filled with gratitude, love, and the promise to carry forward the lessons you’ve taught us. May we live with the courage you showed, love with the depth you shared, and remember you with the fondness that you deserve.

Memorial Visitation
Saturday, May 25, 2024
4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Klein Funeral Home – Champions
16131 Champion Forest Dr.
Klein, TX 77379

Ida Jo Butler Grainger Moran (’54)

Ida Moran
October 9, 1934 — June 5, 2024

Ida Jo Butler Grainger Moran, cherished mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, died peacefully on June 5, 2024, at her beloved Mayfair Ranch surrounded by family.

Ida Jo was born in Houston, Texas on October 9, 1934, to George and Anne Butler. She attended River Oaks Elementary and St. John’s School. She graduated from The Madeira School in McLean, Virginia, where she further developed her lifelong love of horses. She then enrolled in the animal husbandry program at University of Houston.

Ida Jo was a debutante in Houston during the 1953-54 season, during which she met Robert Lee “Bobby” Grainger on a blind date. She and Bobby married on December 20, 1954, and soon departed to fulfill Bobby’s naval service, which included deployment to Key West, Florida where their first son, Robert Lee “Robby” Grainger, Jr., was born. Ida Jo and Bobby then returned to Houston and were blessed with two more children, George and Allen. Ida Jo later moved to the family’s Mayfair Ranch, where she resided with her second husband, Tom Moran, with whom she was married for over thirty years.

Ida Jo was a lifelong member of the Junior League of Houston and took great pride in designing and constructing sets for the League’s children’s theater program. Ida Jo also served on the board for the Washington on the Brazos Historical Foundation. Later in life, she devoted herself to overseeing her family’s ranch and cattle operations.

Ida Jo, or Mimi as she was affectionately called by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, loved, and spoke passionately about, Texas and English history, University of Houston athletics, politics, and her family. She loved a good martini and a celebration of any kind. She was proud of her family’s legacy, and their many contributions to Houston, Brenham, and Washington on the Brazos. Simply put, Ida Jo was one of a kind.

Ida Jo is survived by her three children, Robby Grainger, George Grainger and his wife, Makeea, and Allen Grainger, and his wife, Cheryll; her grandchildren, Ginny Grainger Heller and her husband, Drake, Vince Grainger and his wife, Jace, Valerie Grainger Henderson and her husband, Brandon, Rob Grainger and his wife, Georgia, Allison Grainger Nepveux and her husband, Michael, Parker Grainger, and Lauren Grainger Rossi and her husband, Tino. Ida Jo is also survived by ten great-grandchildren, with one on the way, as well as her sister, Anne Butler Leonard. She is predeceased by her first husband, Bobby Grainger; her parents, George and Anne Butler; and her brother, George Butler, Jr.

Ida Jo’s family will forever cherish memories of her at Mayfair Ranch, in Roaring Gap, North Carolina, and at celebratory dinners at the Bayou Club, The Palm, Carrabba’s, and Morton’s. Ida Jo will be missed dearly by all who love her, but her family and friends are comforted knowing she had a full life, and she is now living for eternity in the big ranch in the sky.

The family would like to thank Ida Jo’s lifelong friend, Leonard Hubert, who has worked for Mayfair Ranch for 54 years and visited her daily while she lived at the Ranch, as well as Ida Jo’s caregivers, Phelicia Williams, Carolyn Fielder, and LaShonda Fielder.

A private graveside service will be conducted by Reverend John Pitts at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston, where Ida Jo will be buried next to her beloved, Bobby, as well as her parents and her brother.

Two of Ida Jo’s favorite places in Houston were the Bayou Club at 8550 Memorial Drive and Carrabba’s on Voss. The family thought it befitting to host a celebration of her life at both venues on Saturday, June 8, 2024, from noon to 2pm. All friends and family are invited to attend either or both. Please note the Bayou Club has a dress code for men that requires coat and tie and no denim.

In lieu of flowers, the family invites friends and family to make a donation in Ida Jo’s name to the Washington on the Brazos Historical Foundation, If flowers are preferred, please send them to the Bayou Club.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Memorial Oaks Chapel, 1306 West Main St., Brenham. To post a tribute to the family, please visit

Jo-Anne DeLurey Reed (M.Ed. ’87)

Jo-Anne DeLurey Reed passed away peacefully on February 26, 2023 at her home surrounded by her loving family and friends. She was 62. Born on August 31, 1960 in Troy, NY, daughter of the late Harold Michael DeLurey and Diane (Philpott) DeLurey. Jo-Anne was passionate about children’s literacy, earning Teacher of the Year as both a Librarian and Literature Teacher during her 31 years of teaching at the Scroggins Fine Arts Magnet Elementary School before retiring in 2018. After her retirement, she worked as a Grant Manager for the City of Houston. Jo-Anne received her Master’s in Education from the University of Houston, her BA from State University of New York at Geneseo, and graduated from Hoosic Valley Central School in Schaghticoke, NY in 1978.Jo-Anne’s proudest accomplishment was raising her two sons, Jay (Brooklyn, NY) and Brett (The Woodlands, TX). She is survived by her three beloved sisters, Cheryl (John) Ryan of Voorheesville, NY; Holly (Mark) Patenaude of Valley Falls, NY; Cindi (Michael) Breen of Clifton Park, NY and many nieces and nephews.A memorial service will be held at the Valley Falls United Methodist Church on Saturday, March 11, 2023 at 10:00am.In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Champion Project’s Book Bus in her name at remembrances may be made at

John Bruce Pennington (’73)

Obituary published on by Dettling Funeral Home on May 27, 2024.
John Bruce Pennington, 76, of Houston Texas passed away peacefully on May 6, 2024 surrounded by his loved ones. John was born on September 15, 1947. John was proceeded in death by his parents Paul and Alice Pennington.
John grew up in Houston, Texas and graduated from Lamar High School where he excelled on the debate team and ran track. After high school, he went on to the University of Houston where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and later began his career in sales and marketing. John went on to become Markting Manager for several chemical companies where he excelled in sales and leadership. During his career He traveled extensively in the United States, China, Mexico and South America.
John enjoyed traveling, cooking, reading, writing and most recently, playing chess. He exhibited a thirst for knowledge and modeled the wonder of knowing. John had an impressive library of history and religious books, as well as an incredible collection of Mont Blanc and Cartier pens, which he was very proud of.
John was an astute storyteller and will always be remembered for his enormous heart and wonderful sense of humor. When John walked in the room, you could feel his presence before he ever said a word. His energy was contagious; his jokes were always a hit and he loved nothing more than making others laugh with his stories.
John leaves behind his wife of 28 years Mary Pennington. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.

Russell Carl Nemec (’74)

Engineer, Car Enthusiast, Scout Leader, And Church Leader
Saturday, June 1, 2024

Russell Carl Nemec transitioned from his earthly journey to his heavenly home on the afternoon of May 29th, 2024. He passed unexpectedly and quickly.

He was a beloved husband, father and community member. Russell was a Christian and servant leader in his church family and the Boy Scouts of America. His actions always spoke louder than his gentle spirit. He was a past choir member where he attended St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church for over 40 years, where he loved singing.

Russell was born in Houston, Tx., and spent his first 30 years in the bustling city and studied at the University of Houston, working as an electrical engineer. Russell and Jane met through UofH and church friends and were married 47 years.

The pair quickly became proud parents of two boys, Daniel Aaron and Jonathan David Jerome and would lovingly raise them in the north Georgia mountains around Lookout Mountain and Chickamauga, Ga. Texas vacations, Boy Scouts and church activities were favorite family times. Later, they enjoyed time with grandchildren and their boys’ families. Russ was a proud Grandpa and “Pocky” to his grandkids, usually first to have the babies fall asleep in his calm, steady embrace.

Russell’s career trajectory vacillated between service to God and the discipline of engineering. He followed his heart and what he needed to do for the glory of God, but also for the success of his nuclear family and family community.

Russ was an engineer through and through, working internationally and on major consumer brands facilities. He spent seven years in ministry at Camp Lookout serving youth outdoor church education. He kept the camp facilities running and operating for the Holsten UMC Camp Conference.

He was an avid car enthusiast, an interest stemming from his grandfather and father’s interests. He spent over 30 years as a Scout and Scout leader, stewarding both his boys to the Eagle Rank. Russ received Vigil Honor, the highest level within the Order of the Arrow for service to the larger community. He volunteered in the Vestry, Soup Kitchens, Room in the Inn and many other impactful, needed causes for underserved communities.

Russ is survived by his mother, June Dell, and his wife, Jane Ann. His sons, Dan (Suzi) and John (Jennie), and brothers, Jeffery (Belinda) and Keith (Cindy) remain to continue his work on earth. Russ loved his grandchildren and would often simply want to spend time watching, learning and teaching them. They include Sawyer (13), Raleigh (11) and Jacqueline (3). Nieces, nephews and many other loved family members contributed to the wonderful family ecosystem that Jane and Russ strived to culture.

Russell Carl Nemec will be greatly missed.

Memorial service will be held at St. Thaddaeus Episcopal Church, 4300 Locksley Lane, Chattanooga, Tn. 37416 on Sunday, June 9, with visitation at 2 p.m. and service at 3 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Hosanna House, Chattanooga Food Bank or St. Thaddaeus Book of Remembrance.

Please visit to view the online memorial tribute and share condolences with the family.

Arrangements are by Heritage Funeral Home & Crematory, Battlefield Parkway.

Valerie Mrozinski Sheppard (Ed.D. ’88)

Valerie Mrozinski Sheppard
02/14/1944 – 05/23/2024
Valerie Mrozinski Sheppard lived life with zest and faith, loved deeply, and faced the mystery of death resolutely at home on May 23, 2024.

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, February 14, 1944, Valerie moved to Dallas at the age of four with her parents Frank and Anna Mrozinski, and older sister Pat. In Dallas, she attended St. James Catholic Church and School through grade eight. Her parish priest was like a member of the family. She regularly rode the city bus downtown starting at age eight to take piano lessons. Valerie attended Our Lady of Good Counsel High School (now Bishop Dunn High School) where she excelled at piano and debate. At the age of 16, she confided to her diary that at a debate tournament she had met a very interesting young debater, Ben Sheppard.

Valerie earned her BA in Education from North Texas State University in three years and then married that same Ben Sheppard in January before graduation. That summer, she and Ben moved to Virginia where he was selling bibles to earn money for law school. The couple moved to Austin where Valerie taught first grade in a public school. When she became pregnant, her employer told her she could not teach the following year. So a devastated Valerie was at the laundromat where she met a very nice woman who offered her not only a teaching job in first grade, but also to be her personal babysitter. Val was surprised when she learned the woman who “hired her” was the priest’s mother at Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School. She taught there until Ben finished law school and served a clerkship before the family moved to Houston.

Valerie and Ben had two children, son Paul and daughter Suzanne. Valerie could multi-task very well – she earned her MA and EdD from the University of Houston in 1989. While in graduate school she published her first book, Carnival of Language Fun.

In addition to being a mother to Paul and Suzanne and pursuing postgraduate studies, she nurtured and grew a successful career in education. She was the Reading Specialist for three years at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School. She also worked 20 years for Fort Bend ISD as the Language Arts Coordinator, then the Director of Secondary Education, then the Director of K12 Curriculum and Staff Development. During her tenure, she helped open several new schools every year in a rapidly growing school district. She was also a Fullbright Scholar, studying in Japan.

In her spare time, Valerie taught postgraduate courses at the University of Houston – Victoria, Houston Baptist University, and the University of St. Thomas. After her well-earned retirement, two close friends showed up at her door and recruited her for Region 4 Education Service Center as a Field Supervisor for teachers working towards an alternative certification.

Valerie was very involved in her church community at St. Anne Catholic Church. She joined the Guild in 2011 where she served as Guild Vice President and co-chaired the Membership Newsletter and Community Service Committees. She was also involved on the Care Team and the Prayer Shawl Ministry. Valerie treasured working with such bright and accomplished women and giving back to the community. In addition to her work with St. Anne, Valerie enjoyed reading, playing (and winning at) bridge, sailing, crocheting, and walking her dog Sparky. She enjoyed lively political discussion, mischievous fun, and the company of people of all ages and walks of life.

Valerie passed away peacefully on May 23, 2024. Valerie was predeceased by her beloved husband, Benjamin H. Sheppard, Jr. She is survived by her children, Paul Sheppard and his wife Joanne, Suzanne Funk-Sheppard and her husband Malte, her sister Pat DeRosia, her grandchildren Jacob, Toby, and Katie, and many good friends and neighbors.

Funeral Mass will be held Tuesday, May 28, at 2pm at St. Anne Catholic Church (2140 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77098) with reception to follow.

Published by Houston Chronicle on May 26, 2024.

Clarence Sasser (FS ’67)

Clarence Sasser (1947–2024), Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient

Clarence Sasser (FS ’67) was a U.S. Army combat medic in the Vietnam War who was given the Medal of Honor for his valor in rescuing the wounded. He died May 13, 2024 in Sugar Land, Texas at the age of 76.

Clarence Sasser’s legacy
Born in Texas, Sasser briefly attended the University of Houston before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967 after being forced to reduce his courseload to part-time due to a lack of money for tuition. He had been studying chemistry and dreamed of one day being a physician, but with that dream deferred, he was able to achieve a version of it in the Army. Sasser trained as a medic at Fort Sam Houston and soon found himself serving in Vietnam.
A combat medic, Sasser accompanied his platoon when they left camp on missions. In the field, he treated gunshot wounds, shrapnel wounds, and other injuries. On January 10, 1968, he was with his platoon on a reconnaissance mission when they were transferred via helicopter to enemy territory. As soon as they landed, they began receiving enemy fire, and Sasser was shot in the leg as he exited the helicopter.
Sasser shrugged off the gunshot wound, which he called superficial, and immediately got to work assisting other injured soldiers. As he finished bringing one wounded man to safety, Sasser was hit with shrapnel that tore through his back and shoulder. Despite his own injuries, he continued assisting the wounded, exposing himself to more enemy fire. It was a particularly dangerous situation for Sasser — the enemy knew killing a medic would make other soldiers more likely to die due to lack of medical attention — but he made it out alive that day while helping many others in his platoon get to safety. Sasser’s injuries were treated at a military hospital in Japan, and he continued to serve there after his recovery. After the war, he returned to his study of chemistry and went on to work at a petrochemical refinery.
In 1969, Sasser was presented with the Medal of Honor, the official citation noting his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.” In 2010, a statue depicting him running in uniform with his medic’s bag was erected at the courthouse in his native Brazoria County, Texas.
Notable quote
“The thing that pleases me most about my tour over there was the reverence that was afforded the medics by the infantry soldiers. To them you were Doc. You were the man that if anything went wrong, you were the person that could help them out, possibly save their lives.” — from a 1987 oral history interview for AMEDD Center of History & Heritage

The following article appeared in the UH Houston History Magazine:

Clarence Eugene Sasser was just twenty years old when his actions earned him the Medal of Honor. His enrollment at the University of Houston had kept him out of the draft, but as the Vietnam War progressed Sasser dropped his student status to part-time. The Army subsequently drafted him, but he prefers to think that he “volunteered to be drafted.”
He headed to Fort Sam Houston where he trained to become a combat medic. By September 1967, Sasser was in Vietnam. Assigned to an infantry unit, he regularly treated gunshot wounds, shrapnel injuries, and jungle-related skin issues while on patrol. In January 1968, Sasser’s unit was backing up those on the front. “We thought we had an easy time for a change,” he recalled. The first two days of the engagement proved relatively simple, but on day three they received
orders to head to the front. Helicopters took the group to a rice field under heavy fire. Sasser was shot in the leg as he exited the aircraft at roughly 11:00 a.m. on January 10. The next hours turned into the longest day of his life. The soldiers fought against enemy snipers, mortars, and booby traps; and the wounded Sasser attempted to tend to as many injuries as possible. He had become friends with the men in his unit and felt a responsibility toward them, saying, “There’s no way that I could have, in my mind, not went to see about someone when they hollered medic, or when they called Doc.” That day and overnight, Sasser sustained painful shrapnel
injuries, was knocked unconscious by a ricocheted bullet, and became a target for snipers, and yet he continued to tend to his fellow wounded. Just before day break, helicopters evacuated the soldiers. President Richard Nixon presented the Medal of Honor to Sasser on March 7, 1969, to reward him for his “extraordinary heroism” as a combat medic. After his tour ended,
Sasser completed his degree and worked at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Houston for much of his career. Looking back on his service, Sasser notes, “I am particularly proud that my medal was for saving lives, rather than destroying lives. That’s not to say anything against the guys that were combat soldiers, or whatever, that killed people and of course received the medal. I do not mean to insult or belittle their accomplishment.… It’s just that I’m particularly
proud that mine was for being a medic and was for saving lives.” The Medal of Honor is the highest military award granted to members of the United States Armed Forces. Over 3,400 medals have been conferred upon deserving military personnel who “distinguish[ed] themselves through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.”
To read more about other Houston area Medal of Honor recipients,