Ellis County lost many people in 2015. Some had long-lasting impacts, while others left too soon. Here are some of those notable residents and public servants lost this year:
Wayne Clayton Barker
March 2, 1938-
Sept. 8, 2015
Wayne served in many capacities in Midlothian, he was the President of Midlothian Chamber of Commerce for three terms, helped organize Midlothian Crime Stoppers program, served on the committee of Community Economic Development, the water board and also was the President of Midlothian Cemetery Board.
Wilna Sue Boone
Nov. 3, 1933-
Dec. 12, 2015
Wilna joined Texas Instruments in 1960 in Dallas, where she was a faithful employee for 31 years. While there, she proudly worked as one of the company’s first female supervisors. Wilna spent her life serving her church and community. She was a life-long member of the Maypearl Church of Christ. She joined the Maypearl Cemetery Association in 1985, where she served as treasurer and served on Maypearl’s City Zoning Committee. Wilna was also instrumental in setting up Maypearl’s Veteran’s Memorial. She was honored with her love and devotion to her community when she was named Maypearl’s Citizen of the Year in 2008.
Wilna also served on the Ellis County Appraisal Review Board from 1998-2003; serving as secretary from 1999-2003.
Merle Hollabaugh Byrd
Sept. 13, 1932 –
Jan. 31, 2015
After graduating from Midlothian High School in 1949, Merle married her lifelong love and best friend, Marvin Byrd on Aug. 11, 1949, and for the next 44 years raised four children and worked on their dairy. The dairy was a popular stopping off place, not only for the hand poured gallon of fresh milk, but for the warm welcome and easy conversation from the members of the Byrd family. Merle proudly showed off the dairy to children and adults alike. She also took a great deal of pride in the leadership role she played in 4-H while her children were young.
Later on in life, when the children were all grown and gone, Marvin and Merle were board members of Ellis Farm Bureau and went to the annual conference every year. When Marvin suddenly passed away in 1995, Merle continued her service to Farm Bureau by taking over Marvin’s presidency until his term was finished
Jan. 31, 2015
Tom served WISD as superintendent from April 2007 to April 2013, when he resigned
Tom joined WISD in 2005 and brought a “vast amount of educational experience” to the district, according to a previous Waxahachie Daily Light article. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education in 1980 and 1993, respectively, and received his superintendent certificate in 2001, according to the article.
Collins served as a teacher, coach, principal and superintendent during his educational career. From 1985 to 1993, he taught physical education and coached football and basketball before becoming a principal in 1993 at Paul Pewitt Consolidated ISD, the article stated. From 2002 to 2005, he served as superintendent of Hughes Springs ISD before joining WISD as assistant superintendent of human resources, the article stated.
William Randle Compton
April 8, 1954-
Oct. 2, 2015
Randy was a member of the Italy Volunteer Fire Department for 20 years, serving many years as the chief. He was also president of the South Ellis County Little League for many years and coached baseball. He also coached peewee football and girls’ softball.
Harold Byris Dorsey
Oct. 23, 1923-
Oct. 20, 2015
His first teaching position was as band director at DeLeon High School before he became band director for the Waxahachie ISD band in 1951. His tenure as band director lasted until 1966 when he became principal at Marvin Elementary. He became principal of T.C. Wilemon Junior High in 1970 and WHS in 1971. He retired from WISD in 1983. In 2003 he received the “Outstanding Educator” award from the Waxahachie Ex-Students Association.
Harold became director of the West Ellis United Way in 1985 and served in that capacity for several years. He was also music director at Central Presbyterian Church from 1951 to 1991.
He was a member of numerous civic organizations in Waxahachie including Rotary Club, Friends of the Library, and the Ellis County Historical Commission. In 2009, the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court declared July 13-17 as “Harold Dorsey Week.”
Michael Terry Gilbreath
July 6, 1955- Oct. 28, 2015
He graduated from Lamar High School in 1973, Texas A&M University in 1977 and from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in 1980. While in college he married Terri Turner on Dec. 17, 1977.
After veterinary school, he worked for five years in Whitehall, Wisconsin and one year in Longview Texas before opening his practice in Waxahachie in 1986. He was owner and veterinarian of Waxahachie Veterinary Clinic.
Mike will be remembered for his faith, his dedication to his family and his unending generosity. He was a self-sacrificing man who would do anything for anyone; friend, family or stranger.
Feb. 26, 1951-
Nov. 27, 2015
Dennis was a graduate of Waxahachie High School, class of 1969 and a graduate of Southwestern University, Georgetown. He was the owner of Boyce Feed & Grain and Boyce Cotton Gin, was passionate about agriculture and had a strong work ethic. He rarely missed a day of work until the very end. He always said “you have to put two feet on the ground and get going.” Dennis was always in charge, and there was never a doubt about where you stood with him. He was a strong supporter of the Ellis County Youth Expo, having served as co-chair during the days when it was known as the Ellis Royal Stock Show. He enjoyed attending the sale each year and looked forward to purchasing animals from the young people of the county. He was an Eagle Scout and was quite
proud of that accomplishment. Dennis was a Christian, and a member of The First United Methodist Church in Waxahachie where he had served on various committees through the years. He was also a member of the Texas Grain and Feed Association and had served several terms on the board of directors.
Sandra Tuck Howell
May 3, 1946 -
Sept. 19, 2015
She was born in Little Rock, Arkansas to Faye and Richard Tuck. In
1955 when Sandra was in the third grade, the Tuck family relocated
from Arkansas and founded Radio Station KBEC 1390 in Waxahachie.
After the death of her parents, Sandra and her sister, Jeanne Moseley,
continued to own KBEC until it was sold in July 2012.
Sandra graduated from Baylor University in 1968 with a degree in Journalism and Communications. During summer breaks at Baylor, she worked as deejay “Kay Beck” at her family’s radio station. That experience plus her degree made it possible to land a job at KRLD in Dallas during a time when broadcasting jobs were almost completely dominated by men. Afterwards, her career focused on corporate opportunities, all which relied heavily on her creative talents and brought success and satisfaction
to her life.
Marjorie “Cindy” Jones
Dec. 3, 2015
Cindy was an amateur radio operator (ham) and ran traffic (relayed messages via ham radio) to the South American families of many patients being treated at the Texas Medical Center by Dr. DeBakery, Dr. Cooley, and others. She is was a member of the American Radio Relay League. She wrote a column for a Houston ham radio newsletter for many years and was profiled in QST, a national ham radio magazine, for setting up a ham radio museum in Houston. Cindy was on the city council of Ovilla for six years, she was Mayor-Protem of Ovilla for six years, Mayor of Ovilla for four years (two terms), President of Ellis County Elected Officials for one year, member of Ellis County Republican Women and on the advisory committee for U. S. Congressman Joe Barton.
Nov. 6, 1967 -
Dec. 17, 2015
Phillip was the Chief Investigator for the Ellis County District Attorney’s Office and has been an investigator for the Ellis County District Attorney’s Office for 25 years. He was a dedicated and professional investigator who made significant contributions to every notable case on his watch. Before joining the Ellis County DA’s office, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice at Texas A&M Commerce. Phillip earned a Master Peace Officer’s License from TCOLE, as well as a myriad of other qualifications and accomplishments. He loved working at the DA’s Office and being a member of the law enforcement community. Phillip was proud of his calling to law enforcement and dedicated to his profession. He will be greatly missed by his coworkers and professional family.
Harlan Howard Meyer
May 22, 1935 –
March 23, 2015
He moved to Midlothian in 1957 to help his ailing father hold together the family business. In 1959, he became involved in the opening and management of the TXI cement plant where he worked for 27 years.
Harlan was very active in the community as a Mason and President of the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Clubs. He was one of those men that everyone in town knew and respected, known as “Big H” by most. He loved his Wednesday night poker game where he hosted other community leaders to socialize and discuss town affairs.
Oct. 8, 1959-
Sept. 18, 2015
After his son and daughter were born, Russ and his family moved to Red Oak in the fall 1989 when he was offered a job as the principal of Red Oak Intermediate. He spent five years as principal of ROI before becoming the principal at Red Oak Junior High.
After four years at ROJH, Russ accepted a position as principal of Red Oak High School, where he worked for eight years before becoming an assistant superintendent for Red Oak ISD.
Russ was an integral part of the passing of Red Oak ISD’s 2007 bond initiative, which included the building of a new elementary and a new high school campus.
In spring of 2015, Red Oak ISD named its fifth elementary campus after Russ. Russell P. Schupmann Elementary opened its doors to students this August.
Linda Lee Webb Sanders
Aug. 17, 1941-
July 27, 2015
Linda was always active in her community where she served as a founding member of several organizations including the Midlothian Women’s Club, Midlothian Business & Professional Women and American Business Women. She also served on the Midlothian Civic Center Board and the Administrative Board of the First United Methodist Church where she was instrumental in the Lords Acre Sale for many years. Always active in anything her girls and grandchildren were doing, she served as the chaperone and chauffeur for many Midlothian youth. She spent years donating time to the Panther Booster Club, Band Boosters and Community Education Board.
May 4, 1949-
July 28, 2015
He began his coaching career in Denison at Hughes Junior High. In 1976, he moved to Waxahachie to become the Junior High Coordinator. He continued in this position until 1997 when he became the golf coach. He held that position until 2015.
George Hawley Singleton
Oct. 9, 1936-
July 23, 2015
On Oct. 15, 1962, George came to work at Citizens National Bank. He installed the data processing system in the bank and progressed to form his own company with Shirley. Western Data Services, Inc. provided data processing for counties, appraisal districts, cities and schools including their appraisals, taxation and voter registration. In 1987, George followed the Singleton legacy and took the role of bank president. He held that position until 1993 when he proudly passed it to the fourth generation in his son Mark. At the time of his death, George was the CNB of Texas board chairman and remained a wealth of knowledge for the CNB family. George served on the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce board of directors from 1975 to 1977 and was awarded the Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 1993. In 2006, he was named the Most Influential Person in Ellis County.
John Allen Snider
Jan. 15, 1941 –
May 15, 2015
John and Jackie owned and operated the Rudolph Snider Funeral Home, in Waxahachie, from 1975-1982. John served on the Waxahachie City Council from 1980-1985 and during his tenure, was mayor pro teem in 1982 and mayor from 1983-1985. He then ran for the Texas State Rep for the 4th District in 1985.
John was employed with Service Corporation International as president of Heights Funeral Home; area vice president; and vice president for the Houston Market for Client Satisfaction, from 1987 until his retirement in 2005. Following his retirement, he became a Consultant with SCI and remained in that position until his passing.
Lt. Jason T.
Dec. 31, 1974 -
Sept. 17, 2015
Starting in December 1993 he was a lieutenant at the Texas Department of Corrections and later a sergeant in the Hillsboro Police Department. Jason came to Ellis County Sheriff’s Department in 2001 and retired as a lieutenant in 2012. After his retirement at E.C.S.O. he became a director at the Navarro College Police Academy. He also served as president of the Ellis County Sheriff’s Association.
Jason loved music and loved to play guitar. His passion for music was inspired by his grandpa, and he spent a lot of his time playing guitars and played in numerous bands. He loved and was dedicated to teaching. He devoted a lot of time to his students on weekends driving and teaching them. Jason was a big family man.
Jan. 23, 1937 –
Feb. 4, 2015
Beverly was characterized as a woman of many accomplishments and awards for her community service. She was a member of the West Ellis County Unit of the American Cancer Society, Waxahachie YMCA and a board member where she received the YMCA Samuel G. Winstead Award in 1986. She also received the Waxahachie YMCA Volunteer of the Year award in 2007.
Beverly was the president of the Waxahachie Junior Service League, board member of the Waxahachie Salvation Army, charter member of the Waxahachie Symphony League, board member of the Waxahachie Senior Citizens Center, and member of the Waxahachie Jaycees. Beverly was the recipient in 1970 of the Outstanding Young Women of America. She also served as chairman of the Commercial Trade Committee for the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, on the Board of Directors of the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce and was the first woman to be elected as chairperson of the board for the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce. She also received the Waxahachie Chamber’s Special Presidential Award for her efforts to light the Ellis County Courthouse in 1991 and the Waxahachie Chamber’s Special Chairperson’s Award in 2004. She was a board member of Waxahachie Foundation, president of Business Woman’s Luncheon Club and Outstanding Club Woman in 1980, vice chairman of the United Way Drive, United Way Drive Chairperson in 1982 and chairperson of the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk. Beverly’s home was featured on the Gingerbread Trail in 1975 and she was crowned Crape Myrtle Queen in 2010. She also received the Head Start Volunteer Award in 1995.
Beverly worked for Ellis National Bank as a marketing and public relations officer from 1978 to 1980. Later, she became vice president of marketing at Citizens National Bank of Texas from 1980 to 2005 and was instrumental in launching CNB’S Citizens Club Travel Program in 1986. In 2006, she became a marketing consultant for Ellis County Abstract & Title for several years until her retirement. She will be dearly missed by her family, friends and the community.