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This isn’t an obituary, but the words of a son at the father of a friend of a friend’s funeral.

I’m Timothy Burton, Chuck Burton’s son. I’m one of 5 boys and 3 girls who were blessed enough to call Chuck Burton our father.

If I were to sum up my father’s life, I’d say it was about building and teaching and including others in his journey.  Last year on the celebration of his 90th birthday, he said this about his life: “I’ve worked hard and stayed the course. My life has been about quality and all of you here today have contributed to making a better me.”

Let me share of few of our memories of the lasting impact he had on us:

My father was positive throughout his life. As an officer on a ship in the South Pacific during WWII, he had seen the worst. He survived two typhoons and witnessed the aftermath of Hiroshima – but he never let those experiences keep him down. Instead, he would say to us: “You live in a free country, you have a roof over your head, food on the table and parents who love you. Now go out and do something with your life.“

My father was self-made and self-reliant. From the way he tackled every home project, took care of our cars, did our taxes, Chuck engaged in the world as a man who would be its master.

My father helped us – and many of his clients – make tough decisions. With his trusty yellow pad, he was famous for splitting the page in two and writing down the pros and cons of every situation.  

My father was a well-respected business man who was known for being tough but fair. He built a business empire from nothing. At his own wedding, a chance encounter led to the beginning of his career in insurance. He insured the City of Houston and Marriott Hotels and over the years built a prosperous career that afforded us a very comfortable life.  He was known as “Chuck Burton, Your Friendly Insurance Man” to many people who knew him.

My father always said that people who lived their lives in black and white were a whole lot more miserable than those who learned to live in grey. Give a little, get a little.  Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. A true believer in karma and balance. But he was also human and when someone hurt us and eventually got their due, he was right there rooting for us.

He was always fair and that’s not easy with 8 kids. Whether it was the rotating list of who got the front seat of the car, who went on the most recent “alone time” trip with him and Mom, he knew how to parse out favors in challenging situations. He was a real diplomat.

My father taught us how to be responsible and frugal and never to put our own families in jeopardy. He was our personal financial advisor. After he retired, he had business cards printed up that read “Chuck Burton – Banker and Diplomat.”

My father had a quiet humility about him that served our family well through the years. He really was a very kind man with a gentle soul. Everyone one of us collapsed into my father’s arms at some point in our lives because he knew how to comfort, without any agenda, when we hit bumps in life.

But my father was a very funny man and he always chose humor first. He loved telling jokes and for us there wasn’t anything more precious than the anticipation of the punch line- which he dragged out until we were hurting.  He wasn’t above slapstick humor either- like the time he paraded around the house wearing Mom’s wig during her cancer treatment.

My father loved my mother unwaveringly and that wasn’t always easy. He stuck with her through four bouts of cancer and although age and illness had ravaged her he never wanted to be anywhere except by her side.  He hid love notes in her luggage when she was away and wrote countless poems professing his love and admiration for her. He called Mom his partner and he meant it.

They had a genuine love and respect for each other that was palpable. Above all, my father always reminded us that he was nothing without his wife and that it was Mary Esther that had molded him into the man he was.

My father loved the good things in life like golf, tennis, fishing, fast cars, the outdoors, gardening and building stuff. He liked Neil Diamond blaring on the radio, dancing in the living room scantily clad. He liked his bourbon strong. He loved poetry and he wrote each of us poems marking the transitions in our lives. He cherished breakfast out with Laurie, building and fixing things with me, replanting the bamboo with Tom, fishing on the lake with Chris, crackers and milk at midnight in the kitchen with Rosie, watching tennis with Theresa, working professionally alongside Clifford and sitting on the swing with Doug and watching the birds.

Above all, my father loved being a Dad. He didn’t know his own father, who died when he was 2 years old. But his grandfather took him and his sister in and I think he was greatly influenced by that kindness. When we were kids he hid candy on the rim of his fedora hat, drove us to the pool on a tractor and cooked us steak and eggs for breakfast before he left on a work trip. He taught us how to shake hands firmly and look people in the eye, apply for jobs, ride a bike, swim, drive, save money, pour a good cocktail and be good siblings. He nurtured each of us as we built our own families. Above all, my father always told us “I will love you no matter what.” Based on the number of cars we wrecked, fires we started and other youthful indiscretions, loving us wasn’t always easy but we all believed it, every word, always.

I think Dad hit all the high marks in life – husband, son, brother, father, grandfather, great grandfather, business leader and colleague, church leader, friend and confidant. If he were here he’d say “I’ve lived a life I’ve been happy to share – I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Dad, we are all here with your sister Betty, we are all fine, we have money in our pockets, our headlights are clean and we know the way, thanks to you.

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Billy Joe Williams
1930 – 1953
Sergeant Billy Joe Williams was born on October 4, 1930 in Madison County, Texas to Joe and Edith (Akins) Williams. After his mother died, he and his four older brothers were placed in the Methodist Orphanage in Waco, Texas.

Sergeant Billy Williams joined the U.S. Army at a young age. His life was cut short while he was serving his country during the Korean War. Sgt. Williams was a member of the 2nd Reconnaissance Company (Recon. Co.), 2nd Infantry Division (Inf. Div.). Sgt. Williams was reportedly captured on February 14, 1951 during a battle between UNC and CPVF in the vicinity of Chum-ni, Republic of Korea (R.O.K.), and marched north to Suan Prisoner of War (POW) Camp Complex. On September 6, 1953, a POW returnee reported during an interview that Sgt. Williams died from dysentery while being held in the Suan Bean POW Camp. The Department of the Army declared Sgt. Williams’s remains non-recoverable on September 8, 1953. The last known family member to have had contact with Sgt. Williams was one of his brothers, also serving in Korea, who’s company had coincidentally passed by Sgt. Williams and his company, while they were both on separate military exercises. The family of Sgt. Williams was notified of the news and were finally able to put closure on the years long mystery as to what had really happened to him after he was captured. 

On December 22, 1993, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.) unilaterally turned over 34 boxes containing remains thought to be those of U.S. Servicemen. The remains were reportedly recovered from an area with the POW Camp known as the Suan Bean POW Camp. A maternal aunt, Esther Akins Bolton and her son, Douglas Bolton of Decatur, Texas were contacted as remaining, surviving family members to provide DNA to confirm that Sgt. Billy Williams’s remains were part of the remains recovered in 1993. A positive result confirmed that Sgt. Williams was, indeed, part of the group of remains recovered in 1993. His remains will be returned to Madison County where he will be laid to rest on May 17, 2016 at 2:00 P.M. in the Rock Prairie Cemetery, west of Madisonville, Texas. A Chaplain from the U.S. Army will officiate the service, and a full military honor guard will present funeral honors. A register book will be provided for the general public from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. on May 12th, 13th and 16th at the Madisonville Funeral Home. 

Sgt. Williams was preceded in death by both of his parents; grandparents, Alford & Oad Akins and four older brothers, A.J., Alton, Leroy and Murl Wiliams. He is survived by one sister-in-law, Estelle Williams of Rosenburg along with numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Madisonville Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements. Please sign the online memorial guestbook at http://www.madisonville funeralhome.com.

  Amos Ruiz

 March 31, 1928 – February 21, 2016 

Playwright George Bernard Shaw noted: “A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.” Amos Ruiz was a true gentleman. Especially in the case of his beloved wife and daughter-who thought of him as a real Prince Charming-Amos worked endlessly to make sure that the people around him felt cherished and respected. He died peacefully on Sunday, February 21, 2016, at age 87 with his wife and daughter holding his hands. 

A lifelong Bryan resident, Amos was born March 31, 1928, to parents Tiburcio Ruiz and Esperanza Aguilera Ruiz (a worker for the railroad and City of Bryan, and a homemaker, respectively).He had eight siblings: Felix, Louis, Joe, Manuel, Emma (all deceased), Daniel, Tony Sr. and Johnny. Friendly and always smiling, Amos was an avid sports fan, baseball player and Boy Scout. Since the Ruiz family lived on Sims Avenue, Amos spent his teen years regularly walking to Kyle Field with his buddies to watch his favorite Aggies play football. Additionally, he loved to dance and also worked at a bowling alley as a younger man. Although he would have graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School, a broken leg interrupted his senior year, and he was unable to return to his studies. Instead, Amos went to work in 1955 as the Brazos Valley’s own “Typewriter Man,” servicing and repairing typewriters and calculators. Eventually, Amos moved into business machine sales (for a total of six different companies) and retired after 38 years. In the early-1990s, he also served as bailiff at the Brazos County Courthouse for Judge Tom McDonald. 

Luckily, Amos took dancing as seriously as he took his career choices, and he met Mary Tamez while she was celebrating her birthday, dancing with friends at the American Legion Hall in Rockdale. He won her over with his kindness and gentlemanly manners, and the couple was married September 5, 1971 at St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Cameron. Three year later, they became the parents of daughter Monica Ruiz Lerma (and son-in-law Alex). From the beginning, Amos was determined to pour his love and affection into his relationships with these two important women in his life. He and Mary were married 44 years-he called her “Sweetie” while she called him “Sugar.” He also referred to Monica as “mi hijita” – Spanish for “my little girl”. Amos never missed the opportunity to open the door for or help his wife with her coat, to assist her with her chair at a table or otherwise treat her like a queen. 

Over the years, he made sure to keep in touch with all of his family’s friends and always worked to make them feel valued; he thoughtfully chose every greeting and birthday card for each person who would receive it, of which there were many. Strong in his Catholic faith, Amos took his family to church each week at Santa Teresa, where he also served as an usher. He volunteered as a member of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Board and as a Traffic Director on CCD nights, all of which helped him develop warm friendships with various priests who served the Bryan/College Station Community. Amos also served with the Easter Seals Board of Brazos County, and the Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Board. He took great pride in participating with The Amigos Club of Bryan/College Station. Each year, he looked forward to attending the annual Spanish Fireman Training School, where he helped with hospitality and translating. In his leisure time, Amos was a devoted fan of the Texas Aggies, Bryan Vikings, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Astros. Each year, he was present at Aggie Autograph Day and Aggie Bonfire; he always involved his daughter in these events, often sporting an Aggie tie and an “Aggie Dad” lapel pin. As a proud Aggie Dad, Amos, together with Mary, welcomed countless students into their home, serving as adopted parents to offer a home-cooked meal and encouragement. 

While having a day out or simply celebrating with family and friends, Amos enjoyed indulging his sweet tooth, relishing apple pie and Blue Bell ice cream, especially butter pecan. His favorite meals ranged from breakfast at Cracker Barrel to chicken fried steak at Ken Martin’s Steak House. For twenty years, he and his wife met with their tightly-knit group of “Hamburger Bunch” friends every Monday at What-A-Burger in the Tejas Center, where they loved to share a good meal and good conversation. 

Remembering Amos now are his many friends and family, especially his loving and devoted wife Mary, daughter Monica and son-in-law Alex Lerma of College Station and his brothers: Daniel Ruiz, Tony Ruiz, Johnny Ruiz (Lupe), all of Bryan. Amos will also be missed by his brothers-in law and sisters-in-law: Margaret and Thomas Lopez of Rockdale, Esperanza and Henry Moreno of Round Rock, Alice Waneck of Cameron, as well as Jim and Cathy Tamez of Garland. In addition, Amos was a beloved uncle to numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was also adored by his honorary grandchildren: Rick Anthony and Michael Garcia of Bryan, Cristina Caballero of Dallas, and Elise, Alec & Blaise Ohnheiser of Conroe. 

Friends and family of Amos Ruiz are welcome to attend a visitation from 5-8pm on Sunday, February 28, 2016 at Hillier Funeral Home of Bryan, including a Rosary service (6:30pm) with memory sharing and a Life Celebration to follow. A Mass of Christian Burial will then be held at 10am on Monday, February 29, 2016, at Santa Teresa Catholic Church in Bryan, with interment to follow at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery. 

The Ruiz family would like to express their appreciation and thanks to the doctors and nurses at Scott & White Hospital in College Station, especially the ER, ICU, IMCU, Pulmonary & Cardiology departments; the staff of Traditions Home Health Care; the staff and volunteers of Hospice Brazos Valley Inpatient Facility. Donations can be made in Amos’ name to Hospice Brazos Valley. Visit http://www.hillierfuneralhome.com to learn more about Amos Ruiz and leave condolences.