Bessie Dunkle Baxter, BBA ‘50, of Waco passed away May 10. Bessie was married to Joe E. Baxter Sr. of Waco on August 6, 1949. She worked part-time for 40 years for the Center of Business and Economic Resources at Baylor Hankamer School of Business, compiling the food price index. Both she and her husband, graduates of Baylor University, were avid supporters of academics and sports, attending many activities at Baylor. She and her husband enjoyed many years of traveling around the world. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Joe E. Baxter Sr.; and grandson Christopher Connally. She is survived by daughter Vickie Connally and husband David of Rockwall, TX; son Jody Baxter and wife Cynthia of Santa Cruz, CA; grandson Shawn Connally of Galveston, TX; granddaughters Atea Baxter and Danu Schoeck and husband Jordan of Santa Cruz; and three great-grandchildren Johnathan, Austin and Jayda. Memorials may be made to Joe E. Baxter Sr. and Bessie D. Baxter Endowed Scholarship Fund of Hankamer School of Business, George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, or Joe E. Baxter Sr. and Bessie Dunkle Baxter Fund at Waco Foundation.
Janet West Miller, BM '50, MM '53, of San Antonio died April 28, 2020, at age 91. She was a member of the Golden Wave Band and Symphony Orchestra, and served as Baylor’s first percussion graduate assistant. She was first hired as an assistant band director of her high school alma mater, Harlandale, in San Antonio, becoming the first full-time female director of a large band program in Texas. Janet was among the first female members of the Texas Bandmasters Association and started two school band programs in the 1950s and 60s. In 2012 Janet was inducted into the Harlandale ISD Hall of Fame. Janet was a charter member of Baylor’s chapter of Tau Beta Sigma, a sorority for college and university band members for which she went on to serve as National President and Trustee. Janet was also an honorary member of the national band fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi. She was one of the founding officers of the Golden Wave Alumni Band in 1986. Janet was a member of several churches including Harlandale Baptist Church, Trinity Baptist Church, where she played in the orchestra, Northeast Baptist Church, and First Baptist Church of San Antonio. Janet is survived by her husband of 57 years, DeWayne, children Karon Miller Hammond, BS '87, and Trey, and three grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the Golden Wave Band Scholarship Fund at Baylor.
Beverly Hudson Eberts, BA ‘51, of Houston died May 12. She was married to James Franklin Eberts in 1950 and they graduated together from Baylor University in 1951. Beverly and Jim then moved to Houston and were happily married for almost 50 years. After raising their daughter, Donna, Beverly taught third grade at A.B. Freeman Elementary in Pasadena ISD for 20 years. She earned a master’s degree in Reading Development from the University of Houston Clear Lake City in 1982. Jim and Beverly supported Baylor University their whole lives. They created an endowed scholarship at Baylor to support students in the speech pathology department, and later added to it to support the business school. Beverly loved attending events in Waco where she was able to meet students who received her scholarship grants, especially during the years when she had grandchildren at Baylor. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Jim, and her brother Donald. She is survived by her only daughter Donna McCown, husband Steve, grandchildren Adam (Bryanne) McCown, and Claire (Chris) Schinnerer, great-grandchildren Allison and Brooke McCown, and Will and Luke Schinnerer, several dear cousins and many friends. Memorial contributions may be made to The Jim and Beverly Eberts Endowed Scholarship.
James Ballard Gibbs, BBA ‘53, of Lufkin, TX, died May 5. He attended Baylor University in Waco, where he not only earned his degree in 1953, but also met the love of his life, Mary Pinkston. They married in 1955 and were blessed to spend the next 59 years together. James returned to Lufkin to manage and own Gibbs Insurance Agency, which his father founded in 1959. He took great pride in taking care of the families in his community for over 46 years until he retired. Serving the community through the years, he held several organizational positions, including Lions Club President from 1968 to 1969 and Chairman of the Board of The Chamber of Commerce in 1991. He was an active and long-time member of St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, where he served as Senior Warden. James is survived by his son and daughter-in-law Greg and Karen Gibbs of Lufkin, TX; grandsons William Gibbs and Thomas Gibbs, all of Lufkin; and great-grandchildren Collin, Carson and Mackenzie Gibbs. Mr. Gibbs was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved wife of 59 years, Mary Pinkston Gibbs, in 2014.
William Steele Sessions, BA ‘56, of San Antonio died peacefully June 12. William S. Sessions, an American lawyer who served as a United States District Judge and Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, found it a "…privilege and honor to serve under five American presidents." Balancing military service and a growing family,
Mr. Sessions renewed his academic studies, enrolling in night classes at Baylor University. In 1956, he was awarded a degree in economics. Sessions would later give credit to former Dean of Baylor Law School and beloved tenth president of Baylor University, Abner V. McCall, for sensing Sessions’ talent for leadership and logic and encouraging his application to Baylor Law School. It was yet another defining moment in Sessions’ life. Sessions received his degree from Baylor Law School in 1958 and began his legal career as a sole practitioner. Within three years, Sessions became a named partner in the Waco law firm of Haley, Fulbright, Winniford, Sessions and Bice, known for its trial expertise. Fellow lawyers elected him as president of the local bar association, and he served as director in the Junior Bar of Texas, which later became the Texas Young Lawyers Association. In the turbulent 1960s, Bill Sessions became a lay leader and served as a Sunday school teacher for married adults and teens at Trinity Methodist Church in Waco. He also joined the Jaycees and served in leadership positions. He and his wife were also avid supporters of the Waco YMCA, participating in weekly events with family and friends. William S. Sessions was married to Alice Lewis Sessions for 66 years. He was preceded in death by son Jonathan Avent Sessions in 1964 and wife Alice in 2019. He is survived by sons Lewis Sessions (Renee) of Dallas; Pete Sessions (Karen) of Waco; Mark Sessions (Lorian) of San Antonio; daughter Sara Sessions Naughton (James) of Weston, CT; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Those wishing to honor him by means other than flowers may send a gift to Baylor University Baylor Law School.
Walter T. “Tom” Boothe passed away on June 5 in his Galveston home. His devoted wife, Marianne Boothe at his side. They recently and lovingly celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary on May 28 with an oyster dinner and champagne. Born in Austin on Aug. 2, 1935, the son of Walter and Gladys Boothe. He and his family moved to Houston when he was five years old. He and Marianne attended and graduated from Baylor University in 1957 where received a BBA and Marianne graduated with a BSHE. Until just a few years ago they held season tickets to all of the Baylor Bear home football games. They were both avid sports fans – whether it be Baylor football, baseball, softball, men and women's basketball. Tom began his career in insurance but soon found that he enjoyed medical sales. He won a number of prestigious sales awards throughout his career including the president's award on more than one occasion. As a member of the South Main Street Baptist Church in Houston since he was a child and later becoming an associate member of Moody Methodist Church in Galveston, his faith in God was always an important part of his life. It was proven with his serving as a devoted volunteer for Meals on Wheels in Houston for more than 15 years. Tom's Meals on Wheels clients soon joined his circle of friends. He also volunteered for many years with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. For 25 years, Tom served on the board of directors at West Beach Grand Condominium council of co-owners, Inc. and held the position as president for 20 years. He led the way after hurricanes and tropical storms, always making sure the needs of his fellow owners were met and that the building was restored. When Tom retired, he and Marianne had more time to devote to their love of travel by visiting countries and continents all over the world. Both interested in history, they loved learning about the various cultures during their over 100 cruises and excursions. Tom will be remembered for always being so inviting – both in his smile and his generous demeanor to everyone who was fortunate enough to be a part of his life. Tom is survived by his devoted wife, Marianne Boothe and his nephew, Brian McGeever.
Alan N. Cook, BBA ‘59, beloved father and inspiring professor, passed away June 29 at home surrounded by family in McGregor, TX. Alan received his MA and PhD in Economics from the University of Arkansas. Alan leaves a legacy in the family and friends who loved him, as well as the students he inspired. He changed many lives for the better as a professor of International Economics and Finance at Baylor University for over 34 years. Prior to Baylor, he taught at Hendrix College and Lamar University. His vision of academia was to ignite a passion in his students, teach them critical thinking skills, and then to connect them to people and companies that would allow them to use that passion to improve the world around them. He was preceded in death by his father Robert E. Cook, his mother Edna Cook and his sister Bette Cook. He is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years Elizabeth Cook, his children Cynthia, Stephen and Robert Cook, as well as his grandchildren Kyle Cook, Ryan and Reagan Cook and Scott and Stephanie Cook. In addition, he is survived by his niece and nephew Maribeth Kramer and Farrington Kramer. In lieu of flowers, please donate in memory of Alan to the Hankamer Business School excellence fund.