Posts Tagged ‘In Memoriam’

Norine H. Jordan (’85)

Norine H. Jordan
Norine H. Jordan was born in Akeley, Pennsylvania on May 20, 1929, to parents Nathaniel and Hallie Holt. She died in Houston, Texas on Monday, December 3, 2018. She was 89.
Growing up on her parent’s farm in Pennsylvania, Norine was the youngest of six children. She began to play the piano at the age of three and was playing for church by 14. She went on to graduate from the Warren Conservatory of Music in 1948 and eventually The University of Houston where she earned the Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance in 1985.
Despite a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease, she never complained about her illness and remained an active member of her church and a steadfast friend to all those in her community.
She is survived by her three children, Elizabeth Jordan, Victor, and Eric Granquist; stepchildren Emily Oaks, Bill, John, Ed, and Andy Jordan; granddaughters Hallie Jordan, Linnea, and Laura Granquist, and 10 step-grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by her first husband of 26 years William T. Granquist and second of 22 years John “Spike” Jordan.
Visitation will be held Friday, December 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Waltrip Funeral Directors, 1415 Campbell Dr. and funeral service Saturday, December 15 at 2 p.m. at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 9022 Long Point Rd with reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Norine’s name to the Houston Area Parkinson’s Society, 2700 SW Freeway Suite 296, Houston, TX 77098.


Welton C. Simpson (M.Ed. ’58)

Welton C Simpson, Sr. was born on November 22, 1931 in Hawley, Texas to Cyrus and Bernice Simpson. He passed from this life on September 21, 2020, in Houston, Texas. As the eleventh of twelve children, his early life was spent on the family farm just outside Abilene. He graduated from Abilene Christian College in 1953 and then married the love of his life, Betty Sue Baker, that same year in August. Welton, or “Mr. Simpson,” as his students called him, took a job as a History teacher and Driver’s Ed instructor at Pasadena High School. His early years of teaching were briefly interrupted by two years of military service at White Sands, New Mexico in the U.S. Army long-range missile program. When Pasadena’s newest high school opened, Welton was recruited by fellow Christian and mentor, Carter Lomax, to join the faculty of Sam Rayburn High School as a Counselor. After obtaining his Master’s degree in Secondary Education from night school at the University of Houston, he quickly moved into the Associate Principal’s job, where he stayed until his retirement in 1990. He was just a couple of hours shy of his PhD in Education, but decided God and family deserved more of his time. He spent many moments of his career doing his best to get some students to “attend school on a more regular basis.” A few junior and senior boys even became familiar with the “board of education.” He received numerous awards from the district and region during his 36 years of exemplary service, but Welton’s greatest assets were patience, understanding, and the ability to connect with and motivate those students who were often on the fringes, both academically and behaviourally. Former students approached him on numerous occasions to mention the positive impact he had on their lives during their high school years, when it might have been easy for them to slip under the radar, or even drop out of school. By serving others and doing some of the hard work behind the scenes, with little or no recognition, he exemplifies Jesus’ words in Matthew 20:26, “whoever would be great among you must be your servant.”After 36 years in Pasadena, Welton and Betty spent most of their retirement years on 40 acres in beautiful Mountain View, Arkansas, in a home that he built almost entirely by himself. They made many new friends at Eastside Church of Christ in Mountain View. They only recently moved back to the Houston area to be near family. Welton and Betty celebrated 67 wonderful years together on August 21, 2020. He and his family were among the first families to attend the Red Bluff Road Church of Christ in 1956, where he served as a deacon for many years. He later served as an elder at the Parkview Church of Christ before moving to Arkansas. In the last few years they have attended Southside Church of Christ in Pasadena, Texas with other family members. Welton was always greatly appreciated for his extraordinary talent in leading congregational singing in worship services. He had an incredible tenor voice and was also a prolific whistler. Welton was preceded in death by his parents; Sisters, Chloe, Jessie, Margaret, Bonnie and Judy; Brother Otha Maurice (Wally) and one unnamed infant sibling. He is survived by his wife, Betty; Sisters, Billie McCown, Violet Young and Emily Wyatt; Brother, Bobby Simpson; Children, Welton (Dub) Simpson, Jr and wife Sharon, Daniel (Dan) Simpson and wife Kathleen, Robert (Bob) Simpson and wife Jan; Grandchildren Lindsey Simpson, Lacey and husband Tyler Baker, Noah, Kyle and Cole Simpson, Cameron and Colin Strieder, and Braden Simpson, and one great grandson Henry Grayson Baker, born January 2, 2020. He was, without a doubt, the most patient man we ever knew, who touched many lives everywhere he went, and we all were most blessed to have him as a Husband, Father, Grandfather and Friend. He leaves a void that can never be filled, but we do not sorrow as those who have no hope; we look to the promise of our resurrection through Jesus Christ, where we shall be reunited for eternity in heaven. A graveside ceremony will be held at the Texas State Veteran’s Cemetery in Abilene, Texas, on Friday, September 25th. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his name to the American Cancer Society.

Johnnie Mike Amerson (J.D. ’89)

Johnnie “Mike” Amerson, 64, passed away Wednesday, September 16, 2020. Mike was a graduate of The University of Florida (College of Mechanical Engineering) as well as graduating with a Law Degree from The University of Houston.

He loved to travel, play golf and Loved his Florida Gators, in their dominance over Ohio State University in Football and Basketball.

Mike was born in Frankfurt, Germany and is predeceased by his father Johnnie Lee Amerson, his mother Exa Lee Amerson, his brother Wade Amerson and several aunts, uncles and cousins. He is survived by his wife Linda of 34 years, brother in laws Tommy George(Kim Cornwell) of Burnet, TX and Keith George, Benecia, CA. Niece Jeanie Forehand (TerryForehand) of Wewahitchka, FL, Nephew Cody Adams (Ariel Konik) of Houston, Celia George (Chantz Nemick) of Martinez, CA, and Nephew Joshua George (Payton Corey) of Cordelia, CA , as well as many Friends and Associates that were considered family.

Mike was a member of the American Bar Association and The Texas Bar Association.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made, in Mike’s (Johnnie Mike Amerson, class of 1980) name to the University of Florida College of Mechanical Engineering, at University of Florida Foundation Inc., Attn: Gift & Records, Po. O. Box 14425, Gainesville, FL 32604-9981 or the University of Houston Law Center, (class of 1989) Foundation at Office of Law Alumni Relations, 4604 Calhoun Road, Houston, TX 77204-6060.


Bryan Chisom Njoku (’20)

Bryan was born December 6, 1996 in St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston the third son of Bernadine Obiageri Njoku and Marcel Ike Njoku. He spent his growing up years here in Houston, attending Mission Bend Elementary School, then Crockett Middle School, and Travis High School, before graduating from Stephen Austin High School.

After High School he enrolled at Texas A&M in Corpus Christie before moving to the University of Houston and graduating with a degree in Public Health. He had an internship that he was completing, and was looking forward to starting his career.

Bryan loved playing basketball with his friends, working out, and had a desire to be a Personal Trainer; and was doing classes to get his certification. He loved his friends, and liked to be the person who helped. No matter who you were, he had a way of making people feel good about themselves, and wasn’t a person to ever judge somebody else.

He was dedicated, ambitions, strong hearted, and never gave up.He had so many plans for his future, and we are all broken hearted that he never got the opportunity to live his dreams.

Hardy Richard Allen (’83)

Hardy Richard “Rich” Allen, 74, of Amarillo passed away peacefully Saturday, September 26, a year to the day from beginning his journey with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which later metastasized to his nervous system.

Hardy was born in Vancouver, WA on August 4, 1946, to Ila Mae Miles and Hardy Diggs Allen. When he was still young his mother returned to the Houston area to be near her family to raise him and his older brother. He graduated from Galena Park High School and studied drafting at Kilgore Jr. College.

Hardy entered the Army in 1967 and attended Officer Candidate School, achieving the rank of Captain. He served the Corps of Engineers and spent most of his 5-year tour in Germany where his oldest son Michael was born.

In 1984, he received his Bachelors in Geology from the University of Houston. Employers included Getty Oil and Fluor Daniel, the international pipeline company. In 1992, he accepted a contract job for Fluor that brought him to Pantex. He liked the climate and transitioned to working for Battelle in early 1993, bought a house, and planned to stay. Later, in 1993, he met his future wife Linda and they married in early 1994. He retired from Pantex in 2017.

He is survived by Linda K. Allen and their son Jack of Amarillo and by sons Michael and wife Janet and their daughters Conley and Abby of Highland Village, TX; and Patrick and Rebecca and their two daughters Emma and Ella of Houston, TX. His sons and their families were deeply loved as a source of great pride.

The family would like to thank Dr. Wm. Biggs and staff for their years of care. Gratitude also to the staff at BSA and the Harrington Cancer Center, especially Dr. Zorsky and his angel nurses, Cindy and Tonya. His final days were eased by the special caregivers at Abundantly Blessed and the BSA/Hospice of the SW nurses and staff.

At Rich’s request, no service is planned. Ashes will be committed to the Columbarium at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church at a later date. Please honor his memory by hugging and holding close those you love. The family suggests memorial to Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, 3500 Bowie, Amarillo, TX, 79109 or to a charity of your choice.

Paul Jacobs, Jr. (’77)

September 17, 1953 -September 18, 2020

Paul Leroy Jacobs Jr, known to most as Skip, passed away September 18, 2020 with his family by his side after a quick but courageous battle with leukemia. Skip was born on September 17, 1953 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania to Paul Jacobs Sr. and Helen Grove Jacobs. Job opportunities brought the family to Texas in the spring of 1965. Skip graduated from Friendswood High School in 1971, the first class to graduate from the new high school. He went on to receive his bachelor’s in communications from the University of Houston in 1978. A need for a summer job combined with a servant heart for our youth brought Skip to serve as a counselor at Camp Manison, located in Friendswood, the summer of 1976. As counselors were arriving, a young woman casually mentioned how it took her 3 days to drive to the camp from her home in New Jersey. To which Skip replied it only took him 5 minutes. His quick wit and handsome looks are what enabled him to marry that young woman. The laughter for those two never stopped for their entire 42 years of marriage. Skip truly was a jokester and was keeping everyone on their toes until the very end. Skip’s profession in finance took him from working in downtown Houston, to the University of Houston main campus and finally locally in Pearland. Skip retired from the corporate world and took on a role no one saw coming “manny”. This new role as male nanny allowed Skip to get paid to take care of 2 of his 7 grandchildren during the day. Lovingly called “Boompa” by his 7 grandchildren, Skip was a man who never wanted a silly grandpa name. That is until his first grandchild uttered “Boompa” in place of grandpa and it stuck. Variations of the name even formed as he was referred to as “the Boomps”. Skip’s decades in the city of Friendswood saw him take pride in the Mustangs. He would often attend playoff games and even joked with his sons in law about how Friendswood was a “real school”, not like the ones they attended. His 3 children are twelve-year graduates of Friendswood ISD and his son proudly serves as a Friendswood police officer. In fact, it was his son who was the first officer on the scene to assist Skip when the ambulance was called the last time. Skip has been a member of First Presbyterian Church of Pearland since the early 80’s where he served in many areas. He assisted with church finances, led the youth group for decades, served as an elder of the church for numerous terms, and although we are biased, he was the best liturgist around. Skip is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Holly Quinton Jacobs, his 3 children, Heather (Jacobs) Mansfield and her husband Brian of Pearland, TX, Ashley (Jacobs) Wells and her husband Travis of Henderson, TX and Carson Jacobs of League City, TX, his two younger brothers, Keith Jacobs of Garland, TX and Chuck Jacobs of Friendswood, TX and the official Boomps of his 7 grandchildren: Owen, Lillian, Brynn, Deason, Levi, Daxon and Morgan. Skip held a lot of titles in his 67 short years on earth: son, brother, uncle, husband, father, grandpa but his most important was always child of God, loved and forgiven by our Savior Jesus Christ. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to First Presbyterian Church of Pearland, Texas. The family requests that donations be given with a joke, as Skip was always keeping us laughing. Now he laughs with Jesus, we should all be so lucky.

Jewel “Julie” Biedenharn Croswell (MSW ’10)


Jewel Biedenharn Crosswell (“Julie”) died at home in Houston, Texas on Thursday, the 1st of October 2020, just a couple weeks shy of her 68th birthday. She was surrounded by her loving husband of 37 years, Markley Crosswell, and her three children, Bettina, Will, and Jewel. Born in San Antonio on the 16th of October 1952, to Betty Osborn Biedenharn and Albert Milton Biedenharn Jr., Julie attended St. Mary’s Hall and graduated from Alamo Heights High School. She moved to New York to attend Finch College before graduating from the University of Texas in 1974 where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi. Julie was a partner at Osborn Heirs Company, her family business, and she was part of a proud family heritage of Coca-Cola bottlers throughout the South and Southwest.
Like her beloved mother, Betty, Julie believed firmly that it was her duty to share whatever gifts were bestowed upon her and made it her life’s purpose to give back to the community. She served on countless boards including M.D. Anderson’s Board of Visitors, University of Texas Fine Arts Advisory Council, The Shepherd Society – Rice University Music School Governing Council, The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work Dean’s Advisory Council, Depression, Bipolar Support Alliance, Mental Health of Harris County, University of Texas Health Science Center, University of Texas College of Social Work Advisory Council, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Advisory Council, Governor’s Commission for Women, Texas Conference for Women Advisory Council, St. Mary’s Hall School, The Alley Theatre, and The Houston Ballet. She cherished all of these organizations, especially Communities in Schools, where she was a Board Member for over 20 years.
Julie’s desire to positively impact her community and her insatiable love of learning led her to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Houston at the age of 50. After becoming a Licensed Master Social Worker, Julie worked at multiple HISD schools supporting at-risk youth. Julie was a faithful member of First Presbyterian Church in Houston and volunteered regularly with Mainstreet Ministries counseling individuals experiencing homelessness. Over the last decade, Julie became a Guardian Ad Litem through Child Advocates, where she provided advocacy and support to children in foster care.
Julie was the person that everyone wanted to be around. She was warm, hilarious, authentic, and insatiably curious. She was the friend that you called to share your highest highs and your lowest lows. She possessed boundless energy, empathy and joy for everyone around her. And there was maybe no one on the whole planet who craved people more than Julie. The definition of an extrovert, Julie never said no to a dinner with friends, a trip, a party, or anything that involved her family and friends. The Queen of Fiesta for life, Julie adored to have fun and would say “I can’t help it! I love people!” Her personality was as colorful as her clothes – vibrant, bold, and never too serious.
There are some people, and Julie was one of them, who are so large that they fill spaces in our lives even when they are gone. We are overwhelmingly heartbroken and will forever have a hole in our hearts, but we rest assured knowing that she is home in the presence of Jesus. Julie never stopped deepening her faith, especially in the face of her cancer diagnosis, clinging to God’s promises when He says, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD” (Romans 8:38-39). We rejoice in knowing that she is wrapped up in the everlasting arms of Christ and her fiercely loving presence remains with us always.
Julie was preceded in death by her parents, Albert M. Biedenharn, Jr. and Betty Osborn Biedenharn; and her brother, Charles Osborn Biedenharn. She is survived and immensely loved by her husband of 37 years, Markley Crosswell; her daughter Bettina and husband Brian; her son Will and wife Mackenzie; her daughter Jewel and husband Luke; her grandchildren India and Willa; her brothers, Albert Biedenharn and wife Kathy; Larry Biedenharn and wife Carolyn; Step-children: Katherine Crosswell; Mark Crosswell and wife Liz; Victor Crosswell and wife Flora; Lissie Crosswell and husband Wayne; Peter Crosswell and wife Holly; 14 step-grandchildren; and six nieces and nephews.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o’clock this afternoon until seven o’clock this evening Sunday, the 4th of October, at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
The family will gather for a private interment at a later date at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston
In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed toward Communities in Schools, Development Department, 1235 North Loop West., Ste. 300, Houston, TX 77008; First Presbyterian Church, 5300 Main St., Houston, TX 77004; MD Anderson Cancer Center, Development Department, PO Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210.

Thomas J. Sims (J.D. ’70)


Thomas John Sims died peacefully on September 19, 2020 at his home in Houston, Tx at age 75. He joins his beloved wife Sherre, who passed away in 2015 following her battle with cancer. He was also preceded in death by his father Robert Thomas Sims, his mother Lenette Charlotte Thompson Pugh, and his brother Bob Sims. Tom is survived by his three sons Ryan (Tony), Eric (Luisana), and Stuart (Sarah); granddaughters Brooke, Elizabeth and Abigail; siblings Mari Sullivan, William Sims, Lisa Carrico, Mike Sims, and Mark Sims; and Rachel Fefer, his constant companion during the last years of his life.

Tom was born in Chicago on August 12, 1945 and grew up in McAllen, Tx. Upon graduating from McAllen High School, he volunteered to join the U.S. Army and was a member of the U.S. Army First and Fifth Special Forces Groups serving with an A-team at Gia Vuc, Vietnam, where he specialized in weapons, demolitions and reconnaissance. His military decorations and awards include the Combat Infantryman Badge, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Vietnam Special Services Medal, Parachute Wings, Vietnamese Parachute Wings, SCUBA, Underwater Demolition and Reconnaissance Badge, HALO Badge, and the Purple Heart for wounds received during combat operations. He was also a life-member of the Special Forces Association.

Upon leaving the Army, Tom returned to Texas and attended the University of Houston where he was a member of the Order of the Barons Legal Society and the Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity, and received a law degree in 1970. He practiced law in Houston until suffering a stroke in 2017.

All who knew Tom Sims will remember him for his great humor and the joy he took in life. He was a longtime member of the NRA and loved to hunt, shoot, collect knives, ride motorcycles and study military history.

“Rest easy, sleep well my father. Know the line has held, your job is done. Rest easy, sleep well. Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held. Peace, peace, and farewell.”

No services are planned at this time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The family wishes to express profound gratitude to Rachel Fefer for the untiring devotion and love she demonstrated in her care of our father, grandfather and brother during these last nearly three years following his stroke, as well as heartfelt thanks to the special staff of caregivers who also gave of themselves in caring for him during his illness.

Sandra Hlavacek (’93)


Sandra Lee (Williams) Hlavacek was born in Houston, TX on June 29th, 1955, the first of four children to Eugene Walter Williams and Lottie Jean (Tusler) Williams. She was quite the character, with a whimsical and sassy sense of humor. Standing at six feet tall with long, wavy red hair, she made an impression wherever she went. She attended J. Frank Dobie High School (Class of 1973) and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture at Texas A&M in 1977. While she was in college, she met her future husband, William “Bill” Hlavacek. They hosted a memorable wedding reception at the Civil Engineering Barn at the University of Houston campus in 1978.
Bill and Sandra raised three sons of whom they are both extremely proud: Ian, Niles, and Holland. After their youngest was in elementary school, Sandra went back to college, earning her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Houston in 1993 and her Master of Occupational Therapy from the Texas Woman’s University in 1996.
With her new degree, she launched into a brand new career with the Harris County Department of Education as an occupational therapist, specializing in assistive technology. She loved working with her kids and helping them to interact with their peers and better express themselves through technology. She retired in 2015.
Always inseparable, Sandra and Bill grew even closer during retirement. Their favorite shared passion was their beach house in Bolivar, and they spent as much time there as possible. From their back patio, Sandra enjoyed watching the frigate birds in the sky and the martins in her martin houses. She and Bill enjoyed many long, romantic walks along the gulf shoreline, and they closed each day watching the sun set over the back bay.
To adequately describe Sandra and her passions and interests would take volumes. Sandra was forever the life of the party. She loved being around friends and family and was always overjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed traveling the world with friends and family, especially her two sisters, visiting a wide range of fantastic destinations, from Mexico to the Carribean; China to France; Scotland and England.
Sandra had quite the green thumb and loved growing diverse plants to appeal to local wildlife. She had a profound appreciation for historic and antique architecture and furnishings, which was evident in the loving attention she gave to her antique Craftsman bungalow. Having grown up in her parents’ typesetting shop, she loved regaling people with stories of operating their linotype machines, sometimes pointing with pride to scars she got from the occasional mishap with hot lead used to make printing plates.
Long a talented visual artist, Sandra took up oil painting in recent years and became quite the proficient painter, with a specialty in animal portraits. She made the best Thanksgiving turkey you can imagine, loved Bill’s famous margaritas, and was always up for a party with friends.
Sandra passed away in the early hours of September 17th, 2020. In her final months, she was cared for diligently by her close friend Debbie Evans and her sister Virginia. Their presence was a great comfort, both to Sandra as well as to Bill and the rest of the family.
Sandra is survived by Bill, her husband of 42 years; her three sons and daughters-in-law, Ian (Sarah Hirsch, spouse), Niles (Rita, spouse), and Holland (Lisa, spouse); her three grandchildren, Felix, Cora, and Wendy; her siblings Linda Knowles (David, spouse), Daniel Williams (Stephanie, spouse), and Virginia Williams (Hugh Beadles, spouse); her nieces and nephews Tyler Williams, Sally Beadles, Jade Beadles, and Demetrius Knowles, and many, many dear friends and extended family all over the country.
There is no way to adequately express our sorrow at losing Sandra, but more than that, we are all amazingly honored by the time that we were able to enjoy with her.
In lieu of flowers, please consider continuing her efforts to beautify the planet by planting something nice in your yard! You may also make a donation in her honor to the charity of your choice.

John Reeves Rudder (’59)

John Reeves Rudder, age 85, of Brady, Texas passed away Monday, September 21, 2020 at his residence in Brady.  John was born January 10, 1935 in Brownwood, Texas to John Rudder and Derie (Reeves) Rudder.  He was Brady High School graduate.  He married Elizabeth White on January 29, 1957 in San Antonio, Texas.  He was a graduate of the University of Houston: College of Pharmacy.  After graduating from Pharmacy school in 1959, he returned to Brady to practice with his father at Rudder Drug on the southeast corner of the square.  In 1988 he moved the pharmacy to South Bridge Street and operated it until he retired in 2004.  John was very active in the community.  He was a member of the Brady Volunteer Fire Department, the Brady Rotary Club, Brady Masonic Lodge and served as President of the Brady ISD Board of Trustees.  He was one of the founders of the Family Dance Club.  He enjoyed any activity that involved his friends and family.  He was a pilot and had his own plane for a few years.  He enjoyed hunting, spending time on the lake and golf.  He was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brady.

Graveside services, with Masonic Rites, for John Reeves Rudder will be held at 1:00pm Saturday, September 26, 2020 at Rest Haven Cemetery in Brady.  John Rudder will lie in state Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm at Leatherwood Memorial Chapels in Brady.  Friends may view John’s Memorial Video Tribute and/or sign the online memorial guest book at

John Rudder is survived by his loving wife of over 63 years, Elizabeth Rudder of Brady, Texas; son John White Rudder and wife Veronica of El Paso, Texas; daughters Susan Rudder of Waco, Texas and Lynn McCarson and husband Mike of Mountain Home, Texas; sister Janet Bryant and husband Bob of Richardson, Texas; grandchildren John Patrick Rudder, Alexandra Rudder and Amanda Niemeyer; great-grandchildren Brady Niemeyer and Bailey Niemeyer; nephews Rob Bryant and Bill Bryant and niece Nancy Bryant.  He was preceded in death by his parents.  Memorial contributions in memory of John Reeves Rudder may be made to the charity of your choice.