Holly Beth Ford, BSEd ’81, MSEd ’82, age 60, of Spring Hill, TX, passed away Sunday, January 5, 2020. Holly was born August 23, 1959 in Longview to the late Royce Neil Ford and Louise Day Ford. She was a graduate of Baylor University where she earned Bachelors and Masters’ Degrees in education. Coach Ford, as she was lovingly known, retired in 2018 from Spring Hill I.S.D. where she taught math and coached tennis for 22 years, though she remained active in the district until her passing. Holly was committed to following Christ, involved as a member of Green Acres Baptist Church, and attended East Mountain Baptist Church as a child. She also enjoyed playing cards with friends, scrapbooking, traveling (she was very proud to have visited all 50 states), pet sitting, and adding to her collections of bears and lighthouses. Holly cared deeply for her students, colleagues, and friends, whom she considered a part of her family. She will not soon be forgotten nor will her legacy of faithful service to others. Holly loved her family and was the keeper of their history and traditions. She is survived by her two sisters Belinda Ford and Patti Wheat (and husband Sam); three nephews Adam Wheat, Eli Cook and Ethan Cook (and wife Wray); several cousins and many loving friends. Memorials in Holly’s honor can be made to the Green Acres Baptist Church Singles Ministry or to the East Mountain Baptist Church Latvia Missions.
Kirby Jiles Roberts, JD ’82, died on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in Round Rock, TX. He was 63. Roberts lived in Port Aransas from 2009 through 2014. He was born on July 3, 1956, in Houston to Beverly and Wilton Jiles Roberts. Roberts received a law degree from Baylor University in 1982. He practiced for many years with his father and in individual practice. He was preceded in death by his father and mother. He is survived by his children, Benjamin Jiles Roberts and Emily Blake Roberts; siblings, Beverly Wilson and Maurice Roberts and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Services will be planned by his family at a later date.
John Russell “Jack” Cannon, BA ’83, passed away suddenly of natural causes in San Angelo, TX, on November 4, 2019. He was 60. Jack was born on November 7, 1958, and was the son of Frank and Mary Cannon of Belton.
Michael “Mike” Bryan Chapman, BA ’83, passed away unexpectedly on January 14, 2020 in Waco, TX. He was born in Waco on July 29, 1961, to Edward and Billie Chapman. Mike graduated from Midway High School in 1979 and from Baylor University in 1983 and again in 1985. He began coaching at Midway Junior High in 1985 and moved to Granbury Middle School in 1988, making countless friends at both schools. In 1992, he began teaching and coaching at University High School. He became the head boys’ soccer coach in 1993. Mike wanted his student-athletes to be students first and made sure they excelled “…in the classroom, in the community and on the field.” The Trojan Soccer program became his legacy, also coaching the girls’ team beginning in 2010. His lists of accomplishments are many: 443 wins as a boy’s coach, making him #20 on the all-time wins list for Texas High School Soccer Coaches; 21 boys’ playoff appearances; 7 girls’ playoff appearances; Named University High School Teacher of the Year 1994; Named Baylor University Teacher Motivator of the Year 1994; Named Super Centex Coach of the Year 2003, 2005,2012, 2013; Named District 17-4A Coach of the Year 2005, 2006, 2008, 2013; Named Centex Hispanic Chamber Volunteer of the Year 2007; Named UIL Man of the Year 2012; Named Super Centex Soccer Coach of the Decade 2019. His crowning achievement on the field was the 2013 State Championship team that went 33-0. But his ultimate calling was to be a mentor and a self-less friend. His teams performed countless hours of community service. He loved University High School and the South Waco Community. His greatest joy was the Make-A-Wish Come True program that he and 1st Sgt. Leonard Montelongo started. This was the 11th year of the program and over 400 wishes were granted. There are so many sponsors in the community that we would like to thank individually but it would be impossible. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU. It is our goal for Make-A-Wish Come True to continue and to become even stronger. In lieu of flowers, an account for the Make-A-Wish Come True program has been set up at Community Bank and Trust under the Coach Mike Chapman Charitable Fund. Donations can be made at all 3 locations. He was preceded in death by his father, Edward Chapman, grandparents Will Ed Chapman, Margaret McCollum, Charlie McCollum, Edgar Blassingame and Jennie Ruth (Nanny) Blassingame, and uncles Charles Ray McCollum and Larry McCollum. He is survived by his mother, Billie Chapman, and brothers, David Chapman and wife, Cindy, Kyle Chapman and his wife Leslie, and Dustin Chapman and his wife Patty, niece Krystal Malichi, nephew Dylan Chapman, uncles and aunts - Kenneth and Sandra Blassingame, Terry and Michelle McCollum, Ronnie and Peggy McCollum, Karen Skiles, Janice McCollum, Sheila Bradford and numerous cousins and friends. Mike loved his co-workers and considered them family. The family would like to especially thank Ricky Perez and the Perez family, Jerry Williams, Alice Meek, Chelsea Hooten, Sean Sutcliffe, Sarah Scott, Leonard Montelongo, Linda Johnson, Linda Milam, Larry Renfro, Tim O’Leary, Dr. Ricky Edison, Cain Quiroz, Johnny Tusa, Jack Stanley, Christine Espinosa, Melissa Hickey, Matt Horton, Bush’s Chicken, Dr. Susan Kincannon, the Waco ISD School Board and all current and former University High School staff.
Paul Russell Hairston, BS ’83, age 61, of Fayetteville, AR, passed away peacefully on Monday January 27, 2020 at Willard Walker Hospice in Fayetteville. He was born November 8, 1958 in Orange, TX to Russell and Judith (Batchelor) Hairston. Paul graduated from Baylor in 1983 and came to Fayetteville to pursue a masters degree in Geology at the University of Arkansas. He was an inspector for the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and a member of Central United Methodist Church. Paul was a genuine, kind soul. He enjoyed woodworking: making cutting boards and lawn chairs. He could quote all of ‘The Hunt for Red October' and ‘Top Gun'. Paul enjoyed meeting friends at West Mountain and his weekly Sunday night ‘Garage Gang' gathering with his neighborhood guys. He was an excellent cook and always ready to feed anyone walking in the door. He was a craft beer connoisseur, even making his own brew. Paul loved keeping people informed. His favorite app was the Weather Channel so we always knew when there was a tornado warning. He kept up to date with the detainees on Washington County Sheriff's website, just in case he knows anyone. He always knew what plane was flying overhead or when the international space station was passing by. Paul was the neighborhood watchdog and party planner. He directed traffic during numerous Root Rocket runs and made sure the runners were safe. He loved the Pink Flamingo parties in front of his house and always enjoyed people coming together to eat and laugh. He took care of everyone, even the firefighters who came to entertain the neighborhood children. Paul is survived by his wife, Nancy Hairston, two daughters, Hannah Hairston (Shawn) of Conway, Ark., Hallie Hairston of Fayetteville, Ark.; his parents Russell and Judith Hairston of Nacogdoches, Texas; his sister Julie Pigneri (Phil) of Tauranga, New Zealand; and one brother, Thad Hairston (Loryn) of Waco, Texas. A memorial service will be held 10 a.m., Saturday, February 1st at Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville with Dr. Steven K. Pulliam officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Fayetteville Public Library. To sign the online guest book please visit www.nelsonberna.com.
John Leissner, BA ’83, passed away on Sunday, November 3rd in Houston, Texas at the age of 58. John graduated from New Braunfels High School in 1979 and Baylor University in 1984. At Baylor, he was a Member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. He was a member of the First Protestant Church in New Braunfels. John is survived by his parents Carole & Layton Leissner of New Braunfels, sister Lisa Callahan and husband David and nephew Zach Callahan, all of Fredericksburg. A graveside service will be held on Monday, November 18th at 11:00 am at Comal Cemetery in New Braunfels.
Mary Kathryn Jeanes, BSEd ’85, was born on January 1, 1953 and passed away on Monday, December 16, 2019. Mary was a resident of Whitney, Texas at the time of passing. Funeral services will be held at 12:00 PM on Monday, December 23, 2019 at Marshall and Marshall Funeral Directors Chapel in Whitney. Burial will follow at Rosemound Cemetery in Waco. A visitation will be held from 5:00 - 7:00 PM on Sunday, December 22, 2019 at Marshall and Marshall Funeral Directors in Whitney.
Delores Ann “Punk” Blanchard Soltow, BSEd ’86, of Gatesville, TX, passed away January 3, 2020, surrounded by her loving family. She was born May 31st, 1944 in Gatesville, Texas, to the late Roland & Edda Mae Blanchard. She was the youngest of seven siblings. Punk graduated from Gatesville High School in 1962 and earned her cosmetology and real estate licenses. After graduating from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Science in Education, she taught for 18 years in the Gatesville Independent School district. She was a lifelong member of Mountain Baptist Church. On November 17, 1962 she married the love of her life, Billy Ben Soltow. She and Billy enjoyed spending their time with precious family and their beloved dog, Sassy--antiquing, road tripping, gardening, and back porch sitting. Their summers in Lake City, Colorado were filled with grandkids, campfires, heart-rock hunting, jeeping, and trips to the ice cream parlor. Punk is survived by her husband of 57 years, Billy Ben Soltow; children, Michelle Byrd and husband, Johnny, Todd Soltow and wife, Melissa, Jeff Soltow and wife, Keri. She is also survived by grandchildren, Brittany Underwood and husband, Kevin, Courtney Bernard and husband, Regan, Bailey Soltow, Emily Soltow, Tyler Soltow, Delaney Byrd, Logan Soltow, Mason Soltow, Clay Kemp, Kylie Soltow, Cole Kemp, Keaton Soltow; great-grandchildren, Ava and Beckett Underwood and Baby Bernard; sister, Darlene Ellis, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Punk was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Doris Marie Blanchard and Deane Lacy; brothers, Bobby Blanchard and William Blanchard. Punk was joined in Heaven by her oldest sister, Dorothy Baize, on Saturday, January 4. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, January 8th at 10:00 a.m., at Scotts Funeral Home in Gatesville, with graveside services to follow at Restland Cemetery. The viewing and visitation will be held Tuesday, January 7th, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The family would like to collect your favorite stories or pictures of Punk to create a memory book for family and friends. Please bring them to services or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Gatesville Boys & Girls Club, 2533 E. Main Street, Gatesville, TX 76528.
Laurie Larue Tsuchiya, BA ’86, MA ’90, went to be with her Lord and Savior, having passed away peacefully at her home in China Spring, TX, on Saturday, November 2, 2019 after four years of struggling against cancer. She was 55. Memorial Service: 1:00 PM Saturday, November 16, 2019 at Lake Shore Funeral Home. A short gathering of family and friends will take place following the service. Please dress casual. Laurie was born in Waco on March 27, 1964 to Don and Sherry Castello. She graduated from Waco High and received her Bachelor’s degree in Geology and Master’s degree in Earth Science from Baylor. She sang in the choir and played basketball and volleyball at Waco High. She also played a year of volleyball for Baylor until a major knee injury curtailed her athletic endeavors. On August 15, 1986 Laurie married Jim (Hinano) Tsuchiya after having met on the volleyball court at the former Waco Athletic and Racquet Club (Spenco). It was rumored that Jim had gotten her attention by attempting to bite her on the leg. During their early years of marriage, Laurie decided that if she wanted to see Jim on the weekends she would have to learn to play golf. She eventually was able to consistently shoot in the 80’s. Jim and Laurie took frequent ski trips, usually to areas in Colorado and New Mexico. Over time with a lot of practice (and tons of help from her favorite ski buddy) she became an advanced skier, always enjoying turning “eights” with Jim in fresh powder. They still have property in Pagosa Springs, CO. She also loved visiting her in-laws, making multiple trips to Hawaii over the years. Before a job transfer took them to Florida, Laurie taught at McLennan Community College. She then taught at Polk Community College in Winter Haven, FL and Valencia Community College in Orlando, FL. Another transfer landed them in Bakersfield, CA where Laurie became active in teaching elementary school science at Country Christian School. She enabled the school to expand a grade by becoming their fifth-grade teacher. Both of their sons attended Country Christian. Two more moves got Laurie and expanded family to Louisiana then to Orange, TX where she taught at both Little Cypress-Mauriceville Junior High and High Schools. The moves just happened to coincide with her sons’ passage through those schools. Laurie used to say that Earl Thomas would never have made it to UT or the Seahawks without her help in math. Laurie and family moved back to the Waco area in 2011 to be near her family. She of course, found a teaching position at LaVega High School and taught several math courses. At various times she coached basketball, volleyball and softball. But her greatest joy was to help those students who struggled the most with passing mandatory exams. She was instrumental in elevating the school’s state math test passing rates by over 30% during her first year there, and an additional 20% during her second year. It was in the classroom helping those that needed it most where she could repeatedly demonstrate the genuine caring and concern for her students’ success. She enjoyed teaching, but loved her students…well, most of them. Laurie was preceded in death by her father Don Castello of Waco. Laurie is survived by her husband, James H. Tsuchiya; sons; James Kahinano Tsuchiya (Becky) of Austin and Andrew Kale Tsuchiya of Waco; mother, Sherry Castello of Waco; three brothers; Kenneth Castello (Diane) of Waco, Charlie Castello (Amy) of Robinson and Bill (Steve) of Seattle, WA. “Rue” will forever be remembered as one who made others’ lives better just by having known her. She was the most devoted wife and mother, the kindest and most generous friend, and the most committed teacher. All of this while never being able to deny a home to an animal in need. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made to Fuzzy Friends of Waco and/or The LaVega Pirates Education Foundation in memory of Laurie Tsuchiya (www.piratesfoundation.org) or call 254-299-6729.
Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark, BA ’87, who felt called from an early age to serve people as a Christian minister and passionately and cheerfully followed that vocation throughout his life, died on December 6, 2019, at age fifty-four from complications of biliary tract cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) at his home in Alameda, CA. At the time of his death, Peter held the positions of Director of Spiritual Care Services for UCSF Health at the University of California, San Francisco, and Professor of Pastoral Care at the American Baptist Seminary of the West, a member school of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, CA. A graduate of Plano (TX) Senior High School, Baylor University (B.A., 1987), the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1991), and Emory University (Ph.D., 2001), Peter was ordained by Seventh and James Baptist Church in Waco, TX; endorsed as a healthcare chaplain by the American Baptist Home Mission Societies; and held certifications from the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) and the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). He received the PRIDE Award from UCSF in 2017; the Institutional Chaplain Merit Award from the American Baptist Churches USA in 2007; dissertation fellowships from the Lilly Endowment (through the Louisville Institute) and from the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund in 1999; and induction into Phi Beta Kappa in 1987—but he was proudest of being the husband of Tilly Roche Clark and the father of Adam Kiyoshi Clark. Beyond his hectic work schedule and a commitment to research and writing, he enjoyed films and music of all kinds, cooking with Tilly, San Francisco Giants baseball, and being an eager student of subjects as diverse as psychology, constitutional law, history, Pure Land Buddhist teachings and practice, economics, astronomy, architecture, medicine, and current events. He was well known for his hearty laughter and welcoming presence, and he is survived by his beloveds Tilly and Adam; his mother, Shigeko Helt; his sister Carole Yoshie Clark; and a large web of family members, friends, former students, and colleagues whom he considered his companions on the journey. To the end, Peter remained thankful for their love and support, and he credits the compassionate care of many physicians, nurses, and others for extending his life.
Trivia Donnette Garrett, BA ’89, of Moody, TX, died Nov. 12, 2019. She was born November 17, 1965, to Donald and Patricia Ann Garrett in Temple, Texas. She united with Kells Branch United Methodist Church in Whitehall, Texas. She graduated from Belton High School, Belton, Texas; received a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from Baylor University, Waco, Texas; and received a Master’s in Criminal Justice from Southern University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She worked for Southern University, New Orleans, Louisiana, as a Financial Analyst and as a Financial Aid Director. She was a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Survivors are her husband, Ray C. Harris, Moody; one daughter, Charvia Garrett of Belton; her mother, Patricia Garrett of Temple; and a host of relatives and friends.