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On this date in 1985, beloved “Charlotte’s Web” and “Stuart Little” author E.B. White died of Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 86. A wonderful article in the New York Times appeared soon after. My favorite comments:

  • “He loved his farm, his farm animals, his neighbors, his family and words.”
  • “He could be outspoken and passionate on subjects that were especially close to his heart – the freedom and integrity of the press, personal privacy and liberty, the intrusion of advertising, market surveys and commercialism into everyday living, the conservation of nature, the need for some form of world government. His opponents often succumbed before the force of his purity, ridicule, regret and common sense.”
  • “He never wrote a mean or careless sentence. He was impervious to literary, intellectual and political fashion. He was ageless, and his writing was timeless.
  • “Mr. White turned out some of the most moral, living prose produced by hand in the country.”

What does E.B. stand for? Elwyn Brooks. But his friends called him “Andy”. Click here to read the entire New York Times article by Herbert Mitgang which includes quotes by William Shawn, at that time the editor of the New Yorker magazine.  

Dansby March 30, 1911 – August 9, 2007

Gussie O. Dansby, a lifelong resident of Brazos County, passed into the presence of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to a joyful reunion with her beloved husband, Horace P. Dansby Jr., on Thursday, August 9, 2007 at the age of 96. Services will be conducted by the Rev. Tim Owens at 2 p.m. Monday, August 13 at First Baptist Church in Bryan with burial to follow at Kurten Cemetery, a cemetery founded by Gussie’s grandfather, Henry Kurten.

She was born in Kurten, Texas, on March 30, 1911, the fifth of six children to Dr. and Mrs. Willie F. Odom. Her musical talents were recognized at an early age when she played organ and piano accompaniment as a pre-teen in her Kurten Church. She graduated from Bryan High School and attended Baylor University.  She married her high school sweetheart, Horace Dansby, in February 1933. During their courtship, Gussie recalled attending Texas A&M vs. Baylor football games when Horace played quarterback for the Aggies, and cheering for the Aggies while secretly praying for the Bears.

Horace and Gussie had four children: Ann, Horace III, Norma and Danny. While she had high standards and expectations for her family, she balanced them beautifully with her warm love and affection. After Horace’s death in 2001, Gussie continued to provide encouragement, spiritual and financial aid to her children and rapidly expanding family. She often referred to her family (tree), comparing it to a Christmas tree: She was the top ornament and her children were the branches. Her grandchildren were the lower branches and her great-grandchildren filled out the bottom branches of the tree.

Her tree currently includes her children, Ann Kelbly of Bryan, Dr. Horace P. Dansby III of Fort Meyers, Fla., Norma Smith and husband, Richard, of Bryan, and Dr. Daniel M. Dansby and wife, Gray, of Dallas; 14 grandchildren, John Kelbly and wife, Elaine, Kay Kelbly, Carolyn Bates and husband, Darren, Jeff Kelbly and wife, Kelly, Rachel Goode and husband, Mark, Leah McAlister and husband, John, the Rev. Jonathan Dansby and wife, Amelia, Ami Brimhall and husband, Joe, Jennifer Sue Briggs and husband, Stephen, Sandra Singer and husband, Jeff, Diane Engdahl and husband, Eric, Sharon Pittman and husband, Steve, Katherine Powell and husband, Brad, and Emily Kaler and husband, Jacob; and 28 great-grandchildren, Ashlyn, Erin and Kalyn Kelbly, West and Justin Allen, Emma Bates, Morgan and Jacob Kelbly, Jakob and Caleb McAlister, Joshua, Benjamin and Daniel Kelly, Kristin and Andrew Singer, Courtney, Matthew, Jennifer and Morgan Adamez, Jack Burley, Melissa and Bradley Pittman, Patrick, Margaret and Christopher Powell and Andrew, Katie and Sarah Kaler.

Gussie was looking forward to welcoming her 29th great-granddaughter to her family tree in September of 2007.

Gussie, Mimi to her family, lived in her home with dignity and amazing independence until the week before the Lord called her home. In every conversation with her family, she always inserted the observation, “We have been truly blessed by the Lord.” We rejoice in her life and are thankful that she is now among that “great cloud of heavenly witnesses” watching and encouraging us here until we are reunited again.

[Published in the Bryan-College Station Eagle]

Garner December 1, 1923 – July 30, 2007

Porter S. Garner Jr., 83, died July 30, 2007 at the Kerrville VA Medical Center. Services will be at 2 p.m. Friday, August 3 at First United Methodist Church in Kerrville.

Possessed of an indomitable life force, Porter was a World War II hero who overcame crippling injuries to raise a family and run a successful business while participating in the civic life of his community and service to Texas A&M University. He was an inspiring father, loving husband, loyal friend, amiable host and an Aggie, class of ’45.

Porter was born December 1, 1923 in Mound Creek, Texas, to Porter Stroman Garner Sr. and Lillie Shaw Garner. He lived in Karnes City, Robstown, Victoria and Laredo, where his father was an educator, superintendent of schools and college president.

After graduation from Laredo’s Martin High School in 1941, Porter joined the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M, beginning a lifelong commitment to the school, that included an endowed presidential scholarship, a 12th Man endowed scholarship and service as an International Ambassador of Goodwill and class agent for decades.

Porter left A&M to serve in the army as first lieutenant, seeing duty in Belgium, France and Germany before he was wounded in Germany in April 1945. He spent almost 12 months in hospitals in England and Texas, much of that time in a body cast after doctors told him his wounds would leave him unable to walk.

Defying that diagnosis, Porter relearned how to walk and went on to enjoy many years of playing golf, climbing into hunting blinds and in and out of fishing boats. He married Wanda Bessan in 1946 and joined his father-in-law Mayo Bessan in the family business Bessan founded in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico: the Cadillac Bar. Porter ran the business until 1979, when he retired and moved to the Hill Country.

During his tenure at the Cadillac, Porter oversaw reconstruction of the famous restaurant and bar, after a flood destroyed it in 1954. His friendly demeanor created thousands of returning, regular customers and earned him friends the world over. In Laredo, Porter was a stalwart volunteer and president of the Border Olympics Track and Field Tournament, which honored him with its highest award in 1990. He also was active with the Laredo A&M Club, helping charter the club and serving as its first president.

He served on the board of directors of the Association of Former Students of Texas A&M University and on the board of the 12th Man Foundation. He also was a founder of the International Bank of Commerce.

After moving to the Hill Country, Porter was a co-owner of The Ingram News and served on the Hill Country Youth Foundation board. In 1991, Porter married Betty Joe Fox and embraced her children and grandchildren as his own. They lived happily, traveling, playing bridge and hosting friends with good food and conversation.

Above all, Porter loved telling stories. It seems he knew the punch line to every joke, lyrics to every song and cast list of every movie. He cherished his family and kept alive an oral tradition tracing the genealogy of his forbears who came to Indianola, Texas, from Great Britain in the 19th century.

Survivors include his beloved wife, Betty Joe of Kerrville; children, Wanda Cash and husband, Richard of Austin, Clay Berry of San Antonio and Porter S. Garner III and wife, Lisa, of College Station; sister, Jean Claire Turcotte of Kingsville; grandchildren, Austin Cash of Houston, Cooper Cash of College Station, Blake Berry of San Antonio, Claire Garner, Callie Garner and Porter S. Garner IV of College Station; stepchildren, Mary Ann Phillips, Susie Mefford, Tommy Fox of Houston and Mike Fox of McAllen; ten step-grandchildren; two step-great-grandchildren; former wife, Wanda; and his sister’s children, Jeanne Turcotte McDowell and William Turcotte, both of Houston, James Turcotte of Corpus Christi, Richard Turcotte of Dallas and Tricia Hoffman of London, England.

The family invites you to send condolences at http://www.grimesfuneralchapels.com by selecting the “Send Condolences” link. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Grimes Funeral Chapels of Kerrville.
Published in The Bryan-College Station Eagle on 8/1/2007.

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