Clarence Dunford, age 96, passed away in Waco, Texas on December 26, 2019. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am, Tuesday, December 31, 2019 in the Mausoleum Chapel at Waco Memorial Park, officiated by Jimmy Dorrell. Clarence was born in Ferrum, Virginia on October 04, 1923 to Leonard and Mary Hammock Dunford. He was educated at Campbell Court School and worked on the local farms before enlisting into the US Army in 1943. Clarence was stationed in Europe during WWII, he was also in the Korean War, with the 8055 MASH Unit. Retiring from service at Tripple General Hospital in Hawaii, 1964. Clarence retired from Baylor University at 65 years of age. He returned to Texas in 1968, met and married Mary Hubbard. From that union he gained six stepchildren and numerous grandchildren, that he loved dearly. He was preceded in death by his parents; both siblings; Mary Dunford; Janice Hyde; and stepson, Raymond Hubbard. Clarence left family and many friends to cherish his memory.
Patricia “Pat” Doetsch Eliasof Dallas died March 3. She was born in Evanston, Illinois on April 26, 1934 to parents Lawrence and Mae Doetsch. Pat graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelor of Arts in speech and hearing therapy. Pat met the love of her life, Erwin Elias, at Marquette University. Erv and Pat were married on June 30, 1956 and remained each other's closest companions until Erv's death in 2002. Erv and Pat lived in Waco, Texas for several decades where Erv taught at Baylor Law School and Pat pursued her speech therapy career and took classes at Baylor University towards a Masters in Gerontology. In her last years Pat fought bravely against multiple cancers and dementia, never losing that certain impish charm that we so fondly recall and continually serving her family, friends, and church. Pat was a devoted Christian who sought the best for those around her and attributed her faith to a life well lived. Pat's ever curious nature made her the best mother and grandmother, participating in games, activities and movie watching with her daughter Liz and grandchildren Jenny, Jackie and Tommy. Pat will be greatly missed. Pat is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Liz and Tom Davis, her grandchildren Jennifer Brower, Jacqueline Reidy, and Tommy Davis, her great-grandchildren Olivia Brower, August Brower, and Hayes Reidy, her sister Phyllis Coulam, and many nieces and nephews. Pat's preferred charities are St. Judes, Christ the King Church (Dallas), and the Erwin and Patricia Elias Scholarship at Baylor Law School. A private graveside service to be held at Sparkman Hillcrest Cemetery on March 12, 2020, followed by a reception in the Sparkman Hillcrest funeral home at 10:30 a.m.
Amos J. “Andy” Hejl, age 90, of Temple, was called to his heavenly home on Friday, September 27, 2019. He was born February 19, 1929, in Seaton, Texas to Jerry and Albina (Drevojanek) Hejl. Andy was a 1948 graduate of Temple High School, where he played football for the Wildcats. While attending Temple Junior College, he met his future wife Joyce Howe, who was a student nurse at Scott and White. They were married December 6, 1952. Andy worked hard on the family farm from an early age where he developed a work ethic to be admired. He began his long, prosperous career in the airline industry with Pioneer Airlines at the Draughon-Miller Municipal airport in Temple, Texas in 1948. True to his determined work ethic, he worked an additional part time job delivering air freight. In 1958 he began working for Continental Airlines at the Scheduled Airline Traffic Office on Ft. Hood, where he remained until his retirement in 1988. By then, his part time freight delivery job had evolved into a full time business helping with military troop deployment, from which he retired in January, 2018. As a hobby, Andy farmed on his South Forty ranch in Holland, Texas where he also raised polled Hereford cattle. He enjoyed his ranch and spent every day enjoying God’s gifts of nature and animals. Andy was able to enjoy spring fishing for over 50 years with his three best friends. He loved his Temple Wildcats and Baylor Bears, supporting them through the Temple Quarterback Club and the Baylor Bear Club. He loved sharing his passion for the outdoors and the mountains with his family by trips to Red River, New Mexico every summer. He was an honorable man who enjoyed his family. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Temple for 70 years. His whit, mischievous grin, and crew cut were uniquely his and will be missed by all who knew and loved him. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 68 years, Joyce; two daughters Pam Cummings and husband Rick of Holland, TX, Sandra Hensley and husband Russell Mikeska of Eatonton, GA; three grandchildren, Christy Powell and husband Brock of Temple, TX, Craig Cummings of Denver, CO, and Dr. Daniel Hensley and wife Whitney of Emeryville, CA; two great grandchildren, Amelia Powell and Westbrook Hensley; a brother, Don Hejl of New Caney, TX, and his faithful canine buddy, Lucky. He was preceded in death by his sister Vellie Mae Mikulas. Visitation will be at Scanio Harper Funeral Home in Temple, TX on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 from 6-7:30 pm. A private family graveside service will be on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. Memorials may be made to the Ronald McDonald House in Temple, TX or a charity of choice.
Betty Jones of Charlotte, NC, graduated to heaven on March 9, 2020, after a short illness. Betty was born in Dothan, Alabama, the youngest daughter of James Odell and Lutie Adams' four children. Betty attended Columbia Bible College in Columbia, South Carolina, and graduated from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. She also attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. On June 28, 1949, she married the Reverend Neal Jones, who says he was drawn instantly to her beauty, deep Southern accent and charm. Betty's career as a Real Estate Professional in Northern Virginia was filled with many awards and honors over the course of 30 years. Her uncanny knack for matching people with homes contributed to her success as a business professional in the competitive real estate market of suburban Washington. Betty also had a career as the wife of a pastor and, with her gift of hospitality, she was instrumental in turning congregations into communities. Kind and gracious, congregants sought her counsel and guidance. Betty and Neal spent 70 years sharing God's love at nearly a dozen churches across Texas and Virginia. Everyone who knew them, knew they were inseparable, and both were beloved. Each time Neal heard God calling him to a new church, congregants would tell him, "We're sorry you're leaving, but can you leave your wife here?" As a mother and grandmother (aka "Guysie" to the grandkids), she was deeply loved. The Jones house was the one all the neighborhood kids flocked to. But she had rules. The four children weren't allowed in the living room unless it was to practice piano, with shoes off, of course. Sundays in the Jones home were rich in tradition: Church, Betty's roast, rice and gravy, watching football and dozing off, until it was time for evening worship. On her last day, her family and loved ones, including Mr. Snuggles (her rescue dog) gathered around her bed at The Cypress of Charlotte, where she lived with her husband, Rev Neal Jones. In the final moments as the Lord called her home, two of her granddaughters held each of Guysie's hands and sang Softly and Tenderly. She was 94. Could there be a legacy greater than this? Betty Jones gave a lifetime of love to a world in need. And she saved enough love for her husband and their family, until, as her granddaughters sang at the bedside, it was time for the weary to come home. Betty is survived by her husband, Neal Thomas Jones; four children - Neal T. Jones Jr. and his wife, Virginia "Ginny", of Austin, Texas., Elizabeth "Betsy" McElmurray and her husband, Stephen, of Louisville, Kentucky., Jeffery Jones and his wife, Candyce "Candy", of Austin, Texas., and Caroline Ford and her husband, Kevin, of Charlotte; 13 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. A gift in Betty's memory can be made to the Neal and Betty Jones Mentoring Fund at Leighton Ford Ministries, 4029 Dove's Roost Court, Charlotte, N.C. 28211 or a charity of your choice. The family is grateful for the love and care shown by Dr. Lisa Nanovic, Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, and the caring staff of Stewart Center and every team member at The Cypress. Visitation and a service to celebrate her life is pending the duration and outcome of the coronavirus and its impact on travel and accommodations. Her husband, Neal Jones, plans to preside at her memorial service. Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, N.C. 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.
Doris Ragsdale Kochanek, loving daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother, died peacefully Wednesday, April 15, 2020 in Lubbock, TX, during her 94th year. The family will celebrate her life at 2 pm Monday, April 20, 2020, at Lake Ridge Chapel and Memorial Designers. In support of the City of Lubbock stay at home order, no other guests will be allowed to attend. A live stream of the service is available and available for thirty days at www.memorialdesigners.net. You are encouraged to sign a virtual guestbook by selecting the icon, and below the obituary is a place to share memories and expressions of sympathy. A memorial celebration in her honor will be held at a later date. A native of Lamesa, Doris was born March 30, 1926, the daughter of William Gus and Willie Mai Ragsdale. She graduated Lamesa High School in 1943, then attended Texas Technological College, graduating with a BA in Education in 1946. While at Tech, she played in the marching and jazz bands and was the first national president of Tau Beta Sigma band sorority. Education was her lifelong passion. She taught music in Roswell, New Mexico before going to Germany to teach for the Department of Defense. It was there that she met Major Zygmunt “Zyg” Karzimierz Kochanek and they married in Lamesa on August 11, 1953. Zyg was career Army Air Corp/US Air Force and his deployments took them to many postings. Their only child, Kim, was born while Zyg was stationed overseas. Following Zyg’s death in 1966, Doris earned a library certification at Baylor University and an MA in Early Childhood Education at Texas Women’s University. The family moved to Lubbock in 1971 where she served as a consultant at the Region 17 Education Service Center in Lubbock for 15 years. She also served as principal at VZ Rogers Elementary school in Lamesa ISD before completing her career at Levelland ISD. Doris was never idle. She traveled extensively throughout her life and upon retirement, became an avid bridge player, involved in several groups centered around the Lubbock Women’s Club. She cherished her friendships made at work, through bridge, Raider Ranch, and Lubbock’s First Christian Church and the Upper Room Sunday school class. In addition to her daughter and her husband, Kim Kochanek Klotzman and Jeff of Lubbock, Doris is survived by her grandsons, Zachary Nathan Klotzman and his wife Jennifer of New Orleans, and Ian Wesley Klotzman and his wife Tamara of Lubbock, and several nieces and cousins. Doris asked in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Lubbock Meals on Wheels at https://lubbockmealsonwheels.org/donate-info/ or the Shriners Hospitals for Children at https://donate.lovetotherescue.org/.
Gary Morrison of Abilene, TX, CPA, died February 20, 2020, in a Coleman County plane crash at age 65. He was headed to Harlingen to go hunting with his good friend Cleve Whitener. His funeral is planned for 1 p.m. Wednesday, February 26, at Beltway Park Church/South Campus in Abilene, Texas with burial to follow. Services are under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road, Abilene. Morrison was born in Abilene, December 28, 1954, the oldest son of the late Bill and Jane Morrison. He graduated from Cooper High School and only left town for Austin when he became a University of Texas diehard Longhorn. After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, he returned to Abilene. He received a Master of Accountancy from Abilene Christian University and for more than 30 years was a partner and owner of Burchell, Denson & Morrison, P.C. Gary met the love of his life, Mari Kay Young, on a blind date arranged by his mother, a local Abilene realtor, who had met Mari Kay at an open house. The couple married in Bangs, Texas on May 21, 1988, and had two children, Anna Katherine who now lives in Houston, and William McKendrie who is a graduate student in Accounting at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Above all else, Gary loved his family. He could not wait to become a father, and with the birth of his daughter Anna, his eyes were opened to a new world of beauty that only a daughter can teach. In the years that followed, he helped her navigate the business world not only as a father but also as a mentor in her professional career. Gary’s devotion to his family and love of sports played out in his involvement in the community. His own family swore he was born with a ball in his hand, so when his son McKendrie was born, Gary returned to his childhood love of sports. There is no other relationship like that between a coach and a player, but even more special when that bond is between father and son. Gary lived by the pursuit of Jesus first, family second and work third. Integrity permeated his business and his faith. He was an active member of Beltway Park Church for over 25 years. His deep and abiding love for the nation of Israel was reflected in his service on the Fields of Wheat Board of Directors and his frequent travel to Israel in support of that ministry. Gary had a servant’s heart. He loved the West Texas Rehabilitation Center and served as Chairman of Finance for many years of both the Center and the Foundation. He was one of the five founders of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes All-Star Classic. Since its inception in year 2000, Gary only missed one game. Both Gary and Mari Kay were blessed to have families that love deeply with arms wide open. It is their big hearts for each other and the next generation that bind their family together. Gary’s heritage will be known through the lives of his beloved children. Gary was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife and children and by his only brother, Paul, and his wife, Becky, of Midland and their daughter, Rachel Morrison of Fort Worth. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Sharon Rambo, and Margaret Blackburn (husband, Royce), brothers-in-law David Young (wife, Elizabeth), and Stephen Young (wife, Veta) and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Those wishing to honor Gary’s life may do so through memorial gifts to local organizations he loved: West Texas Rehabilitation Center, 4601 Hartford, Abilene, TX 79605; Big Country FCA, http://bigcountryfca.org/donate or PO Box 6605, Abilene, TX 79608; Dixie Little League, PO Box 7603, Abilene, TX 79608, or the Abilene High School football program, attn: Coach Mike Fullen, 2800 N. 6th St., Abilene, TX 79603, or a charity of your choice. Memories may be shared and condolences submitted online at www.HamilFamilyFuneralHome.com
Frances Marie Powell Neill, ABC ’09, of Woodway, TX, went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on February 12, 2020. A memorial service celebrating her life will be held 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 18, at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home. Pastor Terry Graham will be officiating. Visitation will be 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Monday, February 17 at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey. Frances was born September 21, 1941, to Helen and Willard Powell in Alice, Texas. Frances and her parents moved to Waco while she was still an infant, thus she always called Waco her hometown. She attended school in Waco at Sanger Avenue and Bell’s Hill Elementary, South Jr. High and graduated from University High School in May 1959. Growing up, Frances enjoyed music and singing in addition to all sports. She sang in several of the University choirs. In her sophomore year, she was a member of the Pep Squad and was a cheerleader for the Trojans during her junior and senior years. On April 19, 1958, she and Robert “Bob” Neill had their first date. That was the first step of the journey of living a full life together. As Bob has often said, ‘if it wasn’t for that first date, there would have been no anniversaries, birthdays etc. to remember.’ Married in 1961, Frances and Bob would have celebrated 59 years of a blessed marriage later this year. Bob described his wife as a dedicated Christian, incredible wife, fabulous mother and friend to anyone in need. After graduating from UHS, Frances’ first job was as a dental assistant to Dr. Lee Helm. Upon leaving Dr. Helm, she was employed by American Income Life Insurance where she learned the skills of a key punch operator. This experience earned her a career position as key punch operator/data processing analyst at Rocketdyne in McGregor, Texas, which subsequently became Hercules before finally becoming Alliant Tech Systems, from which Frances retired after 33 years of continuous service. Among the greatest blessing a couple can enjoy is the birth of their children. Frances and Bob’s first child was Robin Kay Neill and five years later, Terry Wayne Neill was born. She enjoyed accompanying Bob and Terry on many bass fishing trips and often would read the Bible while sitting in a bass boat. She adored her children and prayed for them even as adults. She welcomed their spouses as her own children and enjoyed holiday dinners with everyone around the table. Frances was a big fan of Baylor sports and attended football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball games with her family. One of her biggest honors was being recognized as a Baylor Alumni by Choice in October of 2009. Frances was a member of First Baptist Woodway Church for 28 years where she sang in the choir. She also enjoyed singing in the Baylor Senior choir for several years. She supported the Waco Symphony Orchestra and attended many of their concerts over the years. One of Frances’ early passions was teaching Sunday school for teenage girls. Many of her Saturday afternoons were spent visiting the girls in her Sunday school class. For a number of years, she would take a week’s vacation so that she could assist with Vacation Bible School. For many years after her retirement she volunteered her time as a receptionist in the church office. Frances was a prayer warrior and actively participated in the weekly ladies’ prayer group for many years. She also visited many countries on mission trips, including visits to Ukraine, home to Music Mission Kiev (MMK), a ministry that provides support to orphans and widows. Frances served on the Board of Directors for 11 years and resigned in February 2019 due to health issues. She came to know some of the women on a personal level and invited guests from the Ukraine to stay in her home. Unknown to many was the unwavering support that she provided to her husband, Bob, and his manufacturing career. Oftentimes, one would find Frances visiting the production workers at Materials Transportation Company (MTC) in Temple, Texas. Not only did Frances feel very comfortable in the manufacturing plants, she enjoyed talking to the employees about their work and families. The employees felt her sincerity and personal interest in their work. There were many times that Frances prayed fervently for the success of MTC and the safety of the employees. As springtime rolled around, Frances could be found outside working in her yard. She enjoyed the beauty of flowers and the many varieties. This particular joy has been passed on to her daughter, Robin. Most Friday’s Frances’ son, Terry, would come by her house for a visit. It seemed like comedy hour to hear the banter between the two. Both Robin and Terry understood that they were blessed to have a Godly mother. Another of Frances’ joys was the daily reading of her Bible and study guides. Each reading and study period was concluded with prayer time. Frances really enjoyed travel. Among the countries, she was fortunate to visit were China, Russia, Ukraine, Iraq, Cuba, Israel, Jordan and Morocco. Some of her mission-related service took place in some of these countries. Frances was preceded in death by her parents, Helen and Willard; and brother, Hollis Powell. She is survived by her devoted husband, Bob; daughter, Robin and husband, Craig Deihl, of Waco; son, Terry and wife, Marlene, of Lorena; as well as nieces, Holly Jackson, Theresa Schmunsler and Amber Smith; and nephews, Eric Powell, Mike Geer and Billy Geer. Also, Frances leaves behind two extra special friends from high school, Homer Moeller of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Sherry Lauridsen of Bedford, Texas. Pallbearers will be Homer Moeller, Craig Deihl, Eric Powell, Mike Geer, Darron Sniggs, Bill Aiken, Carl Geer and Jeff Fritscher. The family would like to express their appreciation to Kathleen Butler and Cindy Sheppard of Visiting Angels and Bluebonnet Health Services for the quality care they provided to Frances. Thank you to Dr. James Graham for his care for Frances throughout her adult life and final days. A very special thank you also goes to Rev. Charlie Dodd. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Gideons International or the Waco Salvation Army. The family invites you to leave a message or memory on our “Tribute Wall” at www.WHBfamily.com.
William R. O’Brien of Dallas, former missionary to Indonesia and retired executive vice president of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board), died Feb. 1 at age 86. O'Brien was a creative visionary and an out-of-the-box thinker who led others to do the same, said IMB Executive vice president Todd Lafferty. O'Brien helped Lafferty and others find their place in missions. Jerry Rankin, IMB president emeritus who also served in Indonesia, said it was no surprise when O'Brien was tapped to serve as executive vice president alongside Foreign Mission Board (FMB) President R. Keith Parks. While doing student work in Yogyakarta ("Jogja"), for instance, O'Brien met Indonesian choreographer Bagong Kussudiardjo and asked him to choreograph the parable of the sower and the seed as a traditional Javanese ballet. When it was performed at a Christmas concert, O'Brien said, he saw 500 students transformed from spectators into participants. O'Brien and his first wife, Dellanna West O'Brien, were appointed in 1962 as missionaries to Indonesia, where he taught music at Baptist Theological Seminary of Indonesia, directed radio and TV programming for Indonesian Baptists, and later worked with students. After resigning from missionary service in May 1974, O'Brien was a consultant for the Anvil Foundation, a Christian foundation working with community development, and was pastor of Lake Country Baptist Church, both in Fort Worth, Texas. While in those roles, he began making connections with international Christian leaders outside Baptist circles, an experience that gave him a new perspective on the world. O'Brien joined the FMB staff in Richmond, Va., in 1976 as secretary of the denominational coordination department, which related to other Southern Baptist agencies and leaders. He was FMB executive vice president from May 1980 to December 1989, and played a key role in raising funds for the International Learning Center completed in 1984. The center provides training for IMB personnel going overseas. After his wife Dellanna became executive director of the Southern Baptist Woman's Missionary Union in Birmingham, Ala., O'Brien became FMB executive director of public affairs and served from January 1990 until February 1991. O'Brien took early retirement from the FMB March 1, 1992, and became founding director of the Global Center at Samford University and missions professor at its Beeson Divinity School. He served on the board of directors of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute for six years. O'Brien later served as the inaugural Missions Scholar-in-Residence at Baylor University's Truett Theological Seminary, as adjunct professor at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies, and at Dallas Baptist University. He was president of the American Society of Missiology for the 2003-2004 term. Following the tsunami that devastated Indonesia and other southern Asia regions in December 2004, the O'Briens served a year and a half in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, as volunteers providing trauma counseling, renovating buildings and assisting women with securing small business loans, among other humanitarian relief efforts. O'Brien helped assemble a community development network that continued providing aid in Indonesia. The Texas Baptist Foundation presented O'Brien the 2015 Innovator Award for Creativity in Missions, given to an individual or organization whose model for missions is an inspiration for others to adopt. O'Brien also was founding director of the Gaston Christian Center in Dallas. Born in Fort Worth, O'Brien received the Bachelor of Science from Hardin Simmons University, Abilene, Texas, and the Bachelor of Church Music and Master of Church Music degrees, both from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He received an honorary doctorate from Hardin Simmons University. In 2001, the SWBTS School of Church Music presented O'Brien a Distinguished Service Award. Before missionary appointment in October 1962, O'Brien was interim Baptist Student Union director at Arlington State University in Texas; minister of music for churches in Amarillo, Dallas, Pasadena, Childress and Pampa, Texas, and Carlsbad, N.M.; youth director for several churches, and an associate pastor in Pasadena, Texas. O'Brien is survived by his wife of 10 years, Charmaine; children Denise O'Brien Basden (Paul); Erin O'Brien Puryear (Rick); and Ross O'Brien (Lisa); as well as six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 56 years, Dellanna. A celebration of O'Brien's life will be held at 1:30 p.m., Feb. 10, at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.
Elizabeth Schell Wise of Dallas died Feb. 21, 2019. A former professor of nursing at Baylor College of Nursing, Elizabeth was known for her high personal and professional standards yet positive and cheerful demeanor. A lover of the Arts, her dogs and a spirited game of bridge Elizabeth was a devoted wife and mother, a mentor to many, friend to all.