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Memorials

LLOYD MILLARD BENTSEN, JR.

1921 - 2006

 

Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr, an illustrious member of the Philosophical Society of Texas, died at his home in Houston on May 23, 2006, from complications of a stroke suffered in 1998.  He had been born 85 years earlier in Mission, Texas, just a few miles from the border with Mexico.  His grandfather had immigrated from Denmark to South Dakota and then to the Rio Grande Valley after World War I.

 

      The Bentsen family had arrived with very little, but within a few years Lloyd Sr. and his brother, Elmer, had become the biggest land developers in that area and amassed a fortune.  The region is a prime citrus growing area and the Bentsens were among the earliest and most successful.

 

      Bentsen Jr graduated from Sharyland High School and received a law degree from the University of Texas in 1942.  He enlisted in the U. S. Army as a private and was transferred to the Air Force where he flew 35 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and four awards of the Air Medal.  He was promoted to major at age 23 and commanded 600 men.

 

      After the war he returned to the Valley and was elected Hidalgo County judge at age 25.  In 1948 Bentsen was elected to Congress, where at age 28 he was the youngest member.  By 1954 he decided he needed to raise some money to support his young family, so he left Congress and moved to Houston.  There he set up the Consolidated American Life Insurance with $7 million, provided by his father. That company evolved into Lincoln Consolidated holding company, which controlled mutual funds, oil interests, a saving and loan company, and even a funeral home.

 

      By 1970, Lloyd Bentsen felt financially secure enough to return to politics.  He ran for the U. S. Senate as a Democrat, where he beat Ralph Yarborough in the primary and then defeated future President George H. W. Bush in the general election.  He was elected to the Senate four times and served until President Clinton asked him to become Secretary of Treasury in January, 1993.  He left the administration in December of 1994.  Prior to that he was helpful in securing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and assisted in major changes to laws governing pensions and catastrophic health care.

 

      Although Bentsen had presidential aspirations, he was nominated to be vice president with Candidate Michael Dukakis in 1988.  It was during this campaign in a debate with Republican vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle, that his most famous quote was made.  When Quayle said he had as much political experience as John F. Kennedy did when he ran for the presidency, Bentsen quickly retorted: “I served with Kennedy.  I knew Jack Kennedy.  Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine.   Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”  Although he lost vice presidential election, he simultaneously was reelected to the Senate with 59 per cent of the vote.

 

      When he left to become the 69th Secretary of the Treasury, he was replaced by a Republican, Kay Bailey Hutchison, another member of the Philosophical Society of Texas.  Bentsen resigned his cabinet post in early December, 1994.  He served on several national boards and travelled frequently.  It was after a flight in Europe that his first stroke occurred.  Unfortunately, it was not recognized as a stroke and so was not treated.  He was confined to a wheelchair thereafter.

 

      In 1999 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton.

 

      He died at his home in Houston and is survived by his wife of 63 years, Beryl Ann (B. A.) Longino Bentsen; three children, Lloyd Bentsen III, Lan Bentsen and Tina Bentsen Smith, all of Houston; and eight grandchildren.

 

I.B.W.

 



CHESTER RAY BURNS

1937 –2006

 

Chester R. Burns was born December 5, 1937 in Nashville, Tennessee, where he spent the first 26 years of his life.  After completing undergraduate studies with a major in Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, he received a B.A. degree, cum laude, in 1959.  Between 1959 and 1963, he attended the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, receiving the M.D. degree in June, 1963 followed by an internship at the University of Oklahoma Hospital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  In August 1964 he began work on a second doctorate at Johns Hopkins University Institute of the History of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, and in June 1969, became the first American-born physician to receive a Ph.D. in the history of medicine from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Dr. Burns joined the faculty at the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1969 as director of the new History of Medicine Division, which evolved into the Institute for the Medical Humanties.  Serving as associate director for five years, Dr. Burns guided the Institute’s growth using philanthropic support from private individuals and foundations and a major curriculum development grant from the Naitonal Endowment for the Humanities.

 

      As the James Wade Rockwell Professor of the History of Medicine, professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, and member of the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Chester Burns was a devoted teacher and scholar.  The history of medical ethics, the history of health care in Texas, and the history of humanities education in medical schools were Dr.Burns’s principal research areas.  In addition to writing many articles, reviews, reports, and commentaries, Dr. Burns edited or co-edited five books and authored Saving Lives, Training Caregivers, and Making Discoveries, a landmark centennial history of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

 

      Dr. Burns was an active member of several professional societies.  In 1995-96, he was elected president of The Society for Health and Human Values (now The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities).  He served on the executive councils of the American Association for the History of Medicine, the American Osler Society , and the Texas State Historical Association   and the International Society for the History of Medicine.  In 2005, he received the Texas Medical Association’s Special Recognition Award for championing the history of medicine in Texas.

 

R.A.C.


 


JAMES ANDERSON ELKINS, JR.

1919 – 2006

 

 

One of Jim Elkins’ close friends said that you can’t compare Jim Elkins to anyone else, because there was never anyone else like Jim Elkins.  No one ever graced the city of Houston that was more caring, more loving, or more generous than Jim.

 

      Born on Galveston Island on March 24, 1919, he was the son of Isabel Sims Mitchell and Judge James A. Elkins, the founder of the internationally renowned law firm of Vinson & Elkins and of the group of banks which became First City Bancorporation of Texas.  In 1945, Jim married Margaret Keith Elkins, the daughter of Harry C. Wiess, one of the founders of Humble Oil and Refining Company. Jim Elkins died in Houston on February 26, 2006.

 

      Jim graduated from Princeton University with honors in 1941 and continued his banking career with what became the First City Bancorporation where he had originally started as a runner at age 13. He succeeded his father as Chairman of the Board of that banking organization and led it to become the 16th largest banking organization in the country.

 

      Jim was a very loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend.  He and Margaret had three children, James A. Elkins, III, Elise Elkins Joseph and Leslie Elkins Sasser, and thirteen grandchildren.

 

      Jim and Margaret loved to travel.  On a trip to China in 1974, Jim came to know that country’s finance and banking leaders and established possibly the first banking relationship since World War II between that country and the United States. One of their favorite places was London where they would sometimes visit the great sculptor, Henry Moore. Jim and Margaret developed a strong interest in art and were good friends of Mrs. Dominique de Menil.  She was one of the original benefactors of the Menil Collection, donating significant works to the museum, including pieces by Michael Heizer and Ellsworth Kelly.  Over the years, Jim accumulated an impressive personal art collection and also a significant corporate collection at the First City.

 

      Medicine was another of Jim’s favorite causes.  He was a founding trustee of Baylor College of Medicine where he served as Chairman for many years.  In addition to Baylor, Jim served on numerous other boards in the Texas Medical Center including Texas Medical Center, Inc., The Methodist Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital. 

 

      Among Jim and Margaret’s recreational interests was a strong love of baseball, particularly the Houston Astros, and thoroughbred horse racing.  In 2003, Mineshaft, a horse in which he had a one-third interest was declared the United States Horse of the Year.

 

      Throughout his life Jim Elkins, and his family, were a part of almost everything that was good for Houston.  In addition to supporting the arts, baseball and the medical community, he supported educational programs at all levels.  He served on the boards of St. John’s School, Princeton University and the University of Houston. Other board memberships included the Houston Grand Opera, Society for the Performing Arts and the Smithsonian Institute.  Jim was a long time member of the boards of American General Corporation, Cameron Iron Works, Eastern Airlines, Freeport-McMoran Corporation and the Hill-Samuel Group in London.

 

D.C.A.

 


 

 

 THOS. H. LAW

1918 - 2006

           

It's no surprise that Tom Law for many years was the go-to attorney in Fort Worth. He had the ready-made name: Thos. H. Law. In fact, during law school at the University of Texas, he and classmate (and future federal judge) William Wayne Justice contemplated forming a firm called Law & Justice.

 

      Instead, Law spent his career with Law, Snakard & Gambill, one of Fort Worth's most venerable and influential institutions. Quiet and courtly, Law exerted influence across and beyond Tarrant County. He died Saturday at age 88.

 

      Over the years, he could be found representing major companies, being called upon by government entities such as Tarrant County College and even administering a blind trust for then-U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright. But Law didn't confine himself to advising clients or litigating lawsuits. During his presidency of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Fort Worth -- a program for nurturing future community leaders -- was born. He served as president of the Rotary Club of Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Exchange Club, among other organizations, helped start the Tarrant County Bar Association and was a deacon and elder at First Presbyterian Church.

 

      Law was named to the University of Texas board of regents, the system's governing body, in 1975 -- just in time for controversy over the selection of UT-Austin's first female president, Lorene Rogers. Law was elected vice chairman of the board in 1979. "Regent" might have been his highest-ranking UT position, but it was only one of many posts through which he served his alma mater. At various times, he was president of the UT System Foundation, vice president of the UT Law School Association and a leader in the Ex-Students' Association.

 

      Of course, he bled burnt orange. His father had taught Shakespeare at "The University" for decades, and Law not only lettered in track and captained the debate team but also lost the student body presidency to future Texas Gov. John Connally.

 

      In 1992, the Texas Exes named Law a Distinguished Alum, along with former Dallas Mayor Annette Strauss and Broadway director and dancer Tommy Tune.

 

      In May, he was still advocating for his community. "It was 60 years ago this month that I left the aircraft carrier on which I was serving in the Pacific," Law wrote to Navy Secretary Donald Winter, joining the campaign to name a new littoral combat ship the USS Fort Worth. "I believe that this designation would be well deserved by the City of Fort Worth and that it would both attest to the collaborative relationship in the past and encourage it in the future," he wrote.

 

      Back in 1975, when then-Gov. Dolph Briscoe chose three new UT regents, one drew fire in the Texas Senate because of past membership in the John Birch Society; another prompted one senator to vote "no" and a second to abstain. But Law won easy approval. "I wish we had three Tom Laws to confirm instead of only one," said Lloyd Doggett, then a state senator and now a member of Congress, according to Star-Telegram archives. That's a sentiment widely shared among those who benefited from his counsel.

 

 

c.2006 Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Reprinted by permission

 


 

 

BEN F. LOVE

1924 - 2006

 

Ben Love’s life consisted of one major accomplishment after another; whether it was winning state-wide debates while attending high school in Paris, Texas, being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the United States Army Air Corps for his 25 missions over Nazi Germany during World War II, thereafter leading the Delta Kappa Epsilon softball team to championships at The University of Texas, being a visionary entrepreneur in the gift wrap business, to applying the business principals he developed in his start up Gift-Wrap, Inc. to the Texas banking business that resulted in Texas Commerce Bank being the most profitable and service oriented bank in Texas history.

 

      Along the way, and after his retirement, Ben participated or led the way in many significant civic endeavors. He served as the first President of The Greater Houston Partnership, Chairman of the Host Committee for the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston, led bond drives to finance infrastructure and civic improvements, supported the growth of the Texas Medical Center and particularly M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital where he served as Chairman and the Margaret and Ben Love Hospital is located, Chaired the Houston Grand Opera, led the effort to inaugurate rail service in Houston, and was the Chairmanship of the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame.

 

      If Ben could tell his own story today, he would say that his greatest accomplishment in life and the greatest sale he ever made was talking Margaret McKean into marriage in 1947, which produced the children and grandchildren who brought so much happiness and pleasure to his and Margaret’s lives thereafter.

 

I.B.W.

 


 

FRED NEWTON WHITE, JR.

1927-2006

 

Fred N. White was a scientist whose work saved lives and affected the world but who, like many such, was little known to those outside his disciplines and academia.  He was also one of those rare persons who could enjoy fishing with his father in Louisiana, discovering homo habilis with Louis Leakey in Africa over brandy and cigars, strolling with the Pope discussing his work with acid-base regulation, and meeting with the Rotary Club in Alamo Heights, Texas.

 

      Fred was born in Yelgar, Louisiana. but raised in Fort Worth.  Very early he came to love the earth’s creatures and decided that they would be his life’s work.  He enlisted in the Army at age 17 in World War II, rising to platoon sergeant while training troops.  Here he developed a talent for teaching and following the war, entered upon an academic career, earning a BS in Biology (University of Houston) and PhD in Physiology (Illinois, 1953). 

 

      He worked as an assistant professor of Biology at Houston and of Experimental Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical School, co-authoring papers with Arthur Grollman, which became classics in the field of physiology.

 

      In 1959 Fred began a three-year term as associate professor of Biology at American University of Beirut, developing a life-long interest in Middle Eastern culture. He traveled extensively in Africa, visiting anthropological sites and studying the biochemistry of snake venom.   His knowledge saved the life of Jonathan Leakey, leading to a friendship and collaboration with the famous Leakey parents.  Following these adventures, he was offered a professorship of Physiology at UCLA, where he won some of the highest awards for teaching in the medical field.

 

      While teaching in his 40s, Fred led many scientific expeditions financed by National Geographic and universities studying animal behavior:  iguanas in the Galapagos, elephant seals on Guadalupe Island, penguins in the Antarctic, weaver-birds in the Kalahari. He became director of the Physiological Research Laboratory at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, also serving as professor of Medicine at San Diego, and earned both fame and reputation in these fields. His greatest contributions included discoveries relating to acid-base regulation of body fluids during hypothermia, which changed some accepted procedures in anesthesia worldwide. He also found time to assist the San Diego Zoo with its ground-breaking experiment in the Wild Animal Park.

 

      His contributions, while impressive and lasting in his fields, were not the sort to excite the media or bring him public attention, as in some areas of medicine and science. He received numerous prestigious awards and honors, including the Humboldt Prize from West Germany which allowed him to live and do research at the Max Planck Institute in Goettingen. 

 

      Fred was known for a pixy wit and sense of humor as well as incisive intellect. He made friends and kept them in all phases of his life and career.  Colleagues remember him as brilliant, gracious, an idea man, enormously meticulous in research, yet gently modest.  

 

      He was married to Maxine E. White of Little Rock and from 1997, to Rosanne Son White, both of whom survive him.   He was buried with full military honors at Fort Sam Houston Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas.

 

T.R.F.