MEMORIALS 

October 2009 - 2010

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Carol McGee Randolph

On November 11, 2010 Carol Randolph passed into God's arms.

Carol was born February 23, 1943 in Jersey City, New Jersey. She moved to this area in 1960 and graduated from TJ in 1962 and then Port Arthur College. She was employed by General Adjustment Bureau.

She was preceded in death by her parents, George C. McGee and Jacqueline LaCroix McGee.

Surviving relatives include her husband of 45 years, Dr. Harvey H. Randolph, Jr. of Port Neches, Texas; 4 children, Harvey H. Randolph III of Port Neches, Texas; Dana Lynn Randolph of Austin, Texas; Todd Randolph and wife, Tracy of Suwannee, Georgia; John Randolph and wife, Tiffany of Tomball, Texas; sister, Laurie Ann Tesler of New Braunfels, Texas and 3 grandchildren.

She had been active with the CYO and Choir Director for St. Joseph Catholic Church. She served Boy Scouting as a Den Mother and Cub Scout Trainer and also attended several times at the Philmont Training Center. Carol was the recipient of the District Award of Merit and the Eagle District Johnny Tauber Award. She was also a member of the Daughter's of the American Revolution.

Memorial services will be held Monday, November 15, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. at Levingston Funeral Home in Port Neches with Rev. D. Stephen McCrate officiating. Visitation for family and friends will be held Monday, November 15, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. until time of service at the the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made to Boys Scouts of America Three Rivers Council Randolph Campership Fund.

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Here is the brochure put out at Hilton's Memorial Service July 21, 2010.

Some friends who were there, Johnny Lewallen (63) who was at Hilton's wedding, and Floyd Gaspard (65) told us that Hilton had been in bad health for some time.  He was diabetic and it had become progressively worse.

I didn't know Hilton in high school, 535 in our class, remember.  But in the early 80's I started back at Lamar PA to work on finishing my college work .  Lamar PA was phasing out the drafting classes where Hilton was the instructor, so we ended up in some classes together as we both were looking to get our Batchelor Degrees.  We had some great talks as we had much in common, rode together to class.

Since we both were trying to get better jobs, one thing I will always remember him saying at the time was "we are in our 40's, we may never work again".  I just didn't feel that way and I became gainfully employed.  We both ended up with better jobs.

I managed to see him a few times shortly after that but sadly I never did get to talk to him again.  I still consider him a classmate, a friend, and someone who I will miss.

Wayne Taylor

Class of 62

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William "Bill" Anthony Piggott Sr., 66 of Kirbyville, passed away Friday , January 1, 2010 at his residence. A memorial service will be 6pm Wednesday, January 6, 2010 in the chapel of Broussard's in Nederland. 

Mr. Piggott retired as a pipe fitter for the Local 195. He served his country in the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Piggott enjoyed fishing at the beach, his family and martial arts. 

Mr. Piggott is survived by his daughter, Dina DeBoer and her husband Kyle of Tampa, Florida; sons, William Anthony Piggott Jr. and his wife Billie Jean of Van Vleck, son, Mark Piggott and his wife Melissa of Kirbyville; five grandchildren, Mark Jr., Matthew and Michael Piggott all of Kirbyville, Paris and Alexis DeBoer of Tampa, Florida; two sisters, Sarah Hallmark and her husband Waymon of Port Acres, Donna Schaefer of The Woodlands. Complete and updated information may be viewed at broussardsmortuary.com

 

Bill was one of the six of us from this area who went to Parris Island together on June 20, 1962.  We were in the local Marine Reserve for the next 4+ years but were in different platoons so I seldom saw him.  Sadly had not seen him since those days.  We hear that he had been in poor health for a number of years.

We will miss him as being a part of our TJ past, our Marine Corps past, and someone who reminds us of a bygone era when we were young and full of life.

Simper Fi, Old Buddy.

Wayne Taylor

TJ 1962

 

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Charles G. "Gerald" Thibodeaux

Charles G. "Gerald" Thibodeaux, 65, of Bridge City, Texas passed away on Monday, November 23, 2009, at his residence. He was a resident of Bridge City for the past 33 years and was a former resident of Port Arthur. He served in the Air Force and was retired from Southwestern Bell with 29 years of service. 

 

He was preceded in death by his father, Charles Houston Thibodeaux and sister, Brenda Chauvin. He is survived by his wife, Peggy Thibodeaux of Bridge City, Texas; mother, Lucille Thibodeaux of Groves, Texas; daughters, Charleen Thibodeaux of Salida, Colorado and Jennifer Raggio and husband Cory of Bridge City, Texas; Grandson, Dylan Dixon of Salida, Colorado; brother, Paul Thibodeaux and wife Wendy of Vinton, Louisiana; sister, Pat Slott and husband Gary of Groves, Texas. 

 

He was very much loved by his wife, daughters, son-in-law and grandson. He will be dearly missed. We Love You Daddy. A gathering of family and friends will be held on Tuesday, November 24, 2009, from 4 p.m., until 8 p.m., at Grammier-Oberle Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, November 25, 2009, at 2 p.m., at Grammier-Oberle Funeral Home Chapel with burial to follow at Greenlawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to; The American Cancer Society.

 

 

Charles G. "Gerald" Thibodeaux

 

Life has not been fair this year to the Class of 62, or to me.  I lost two of the greatest guys ever, my oldest friends.

 

I suppose I first met Gerald in high school.  But among the big school TJ was at the time, he soon became more than the usual friend.  Probably his most redeeming quality then, and throughout the rest of his life, was his ability to laugh and to make you laugh.  We played some sandlot football back then at Lee School.

 

After high school, he enlisted in the Air Force, and was able to travel all over the world.  He also met some famous pilots throughout his travels.  His pride in his service stayed with him his entire life.  He wrote me from Thailand and other places, I still have some of his letters boxed away.  When home on leave, we met and shared stories.  His were duzies.

 

When he finished his tours he settled in Houston, working at NASA.  I spent time at his apartment there.  One of his pride and joys there was a new Corvette.  His favorite song at the time was "Proud Mary", we would drive around Houston listening to that song.  It was in Houston where he met his first wife.  Eventually they settled back here, he went to work for the Phone Company, and his territory was Port Arthur, all of it.

 

To me he was one of the smartest guys I ever met without formal college.  This was probably attributed to the great schools we had back then.  In the Air Force, they quickly recognized this and he was trained in electronics and communications from then on.  Over the years he picked up knowledge of computers that made him an expert, without ever taking a class.

 

About 12 years ago I was unemployed and his truck motor was going bad.  He paid me to replace it, taking me nearly two weeks to do it alone.  He probably could have had a shop do it in a couple days, but that's the kind of guy he was, eager to help a friend.

 

For the last 6-7 years he would email me every single day.  He would find pictures, jokes, poems, and great information.  Whenever I traveled in his area, I visited him.  He had stories to make you laugh.  Early this year, the emails stopped.  When trying to email him, nothing.  It took a message from his sister to tell us that he was terminally ill, that he even stopped contact with his family.  It was his decision to handle it that way, I had to respect it.  So essentially I lost him before he died.  That didn't dampen my love for the guy.

 

He was a great family man to Peggy and his daughters.  He loved his house and I think when it was devastated by Hurricane Ike, he started to die then.  He always loved Port Arthur, loved TJ, and the Class of 62 even though he didn't participate in our reunions.

 

He is history now, part of the life we grew up in, the town we all loved, the people we lived life with, and the classmates we will never forget.

 

Wayne Taylor

Thomas Jefferson - 1962

 

Gerald loved this picture, he sent it to me at Christmas 2007.  He had a new camera and it took very good pictures.  This was his entire family, including grandchild and dog.

Finally, he sent me this poem at the following New Years.  I think he lived it and loved it.  It should make all of us think.  To me, it is his legacy. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOURS
 
You know, time has a way of moving quickly
and catching you unaware of the passing years.

It seems just yesterday that I was young,
just married and embarking on my new life with
my mate.  
And yet in a way, it seems like years ago, and
I wonder where all the years went.  I know that
I lived them all...
And I have glimpses of how it was back then
and of all my hopes and dreams... But, here it is..
the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise...
How did I get here so fast? Where did the
years go and where did my babies go? And where
did my youth go?

I remember well... seeing older people through
the years and thinking that those older people
were years away from me and that winter was so
far off that I could not imagine fully what it would
 be like... 

And so, now I enter into this new season of my
life unprepared for all the aches and pains and
the loss of strength and ability to go and do things.

But, at least I know, that though the winter has come,
and I'm not sure how long it will last...This I know,
that when it's over...it's over....Yes , I have regrets .
There are things I wish I hadn't done ,,,,,things I
should have done. But indeed, there are many things
I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime.. .

So, if you're not in your winter yet...let me remind you,
that it will be here faster than you think. So,
whatever you would like to accomplish in your life
please do it quickly!

Life goes by quickly So, do what you can today,
because you can never be sure whether this is your
winter or not!

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons
of your life...so, live for good today and say all the
things that you want your loved ones to remember...

"Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is
your gift to those who came after. Make it a
fantastic one."

LIVE IT WELL
AND ALWAYS
GOD BLESS
FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOUR HOUSE!!
 
Gerald, Peggy & Meaux ( The free dog )

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My good friend Robert Gallio passed away on Friday, Nov. 6 at his home in Dallas. Robert was having some muscular problems on his leg and was in physical therapy.  This was aggravated by some stomach problems and further complications.
 
Robert was a native Port Arthuran of Sicilian heritage and graduated from Thomas Jefferson ('62), Lamar University and the University of Houston Pharmacy School.  He started his professional career in Beaumont and Houston but later relocated to the Dallas area to be near his Mom.
 
Robert leaves behind his wife Sheila, his daughter Kristin and one grandson.  You might recall his twin sister Sandra (TJ-'62) and his sister Mary (TJ-'63).  I saw Sandra and Mary at the funeral service and they are doing well.
 
Just like many of our class friendships, Robert and I met in the seventh grade at Woodrow Wilson.  He was a close friend with a big heart and I will miss him.
 
Roger Cantu
TJ-62

 

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James Wilson Lewis Jr.

James Wilson Lewis, Jr. 65, of Garland, passed away Saturday, October 24, 2009 at Medical City Hospital in Dallas after a 2 months long battle with cancer. James was born in Rosebud on February 27, 1944 to J. W. and Opal Lewis. James was a 1962 graduate from Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur and a 1967 graduate from Lamar University in Beaumont. 

He also served 4 years in the Army Reserves. James worked for U. S. Steel in Port Arthur for 19 years and retired in 2003 from Brockway International in Dallas. James was preceded in death by his mother Opal Stephens Lewis and his father, J. W. Lewis, Sr. He is survived by his wife, Kathy Broadway Lewis of Garland, one son, Jason Lewis of Garland; one daughter, Jessica Lewis of Mesquite and two grandsons, Jordan Lewis and Julius Hart, both of Mesquite. 

Memorials can be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital or the American Cancer Society. Green Funeral of Ferris Texas is in charge of arrangements.

 

 

Graduation - 1962

A visit to my place in 1977

Loading up a Vette in Groves 1980

 

In my back yard in 1980

My living room 1981

Reunion 2007, Harold

Nov 2008, with Gerald

 

This is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do, put into words my feelings for one of my oldest and dearest friends, James Lewis.

 

Actually I am still in denial, still not totally believing it.  I keep thinking that the phone will ring and I will hear those two words heard so often, that brought such a joy to me - "Wayne ..... James". 

 

I don't remember just when I first met James, sometime in high school, among the 2,000 we had in school at the time, we crossed paths.  At one time I began riding to school with him, with my cousin Bing Formagus (TJ63), and Margaret McDaniel (TJ62).  Since she still had problems with a broken arm and leg from that car wreck with Alan Temple (TJ60), she always rode in the front.  James drove a 1955 Ford, with nice loud pipes.

 

Then in January 1963, after six months in the Marines, I started at Lamar in Beaumont.  James was going too and I rode with him there.  It was about that time that he got me interested in Chevy's, and in particular Chevy engines.  I eventually got around to rebuilding my own, after buying an engine from him.  In fact, the first engine I built I finished in November 1963, installed it in a 1955 Chevy, and drove it the first time by myself to Lamar on Friday November 22, 1963.  I didn't have a radio in it yet but as I left Beaumont about 12:30, the transistor radio on my dash was crackling with much static.  When I got home, he called me to turn on the TV.

 

Back then in PE at Lamar, you chose your sport.  We took the same PE class and chose Tennis/Badminton in January 1964.  Since it was winter we mostly played Badminton in the gym, and we were partners.  Although he was big, he was athletic.  He was the front guy, covered every bit of the front, me with my speed was the back guy.  We proceeded to win every single match every class, to the chagrin of some.  One team, Charles Jenny (TJ63) and Charles Oubre (TJ63) were good but we still managed to beat them in the end.  We were a terrific team.  They would get so frustrated.  Finally, the last class day they did finally beat us, our first loss.

 

I dropped out of Lamar after that and didn't see James a lot.  Since I was playing softball everywhere, he did enlist me to play in a tournament with his team in the early 70's.  We got together on a few projects but it was about that time they moved to Missouri.   We wrote back and forth, sometimes his letters were just 2-3 lines to say Hi.  I would toss letters into a drawer, and I still have them in a box.  They moved to Cincinnati, then finally Dallas, his letters always coming.  Since the modern email age, there are no hard copies of our correspondence, but I have many of his emails saved electronically.

 

We worked great as a team.  He was the fast guy, he could drive a car into a garage on a Friday night, rebuild and replace the engine, then drive it out Sunday night.  There would be loose wires and some missing bolts, but it ran.  I was just the opposite, meticulous, would take my time and make sure every bolt was just right, every wire in place.  But it would take me several weeks to do the job.  We balanced each other out perfectly.  His knowledge of Corvettes was immeasurable, his ability to paint a car, unmatched.  Although he was always a big guy and would say someone needed to be punched, I never in my life ever heard of him getting into any real fights.  He was just a big pussycat.

 

I bugged him for years about coming to a Reunion.  Since I was playing softball all of every summer, I never attended any myself until 1992.  But he finally gave in and said he was coming in 2007.  I think he genuinely had a good time and, like most who never attended before, find that classmates are much different than they were way back in high school.  In the final analysis, I am so glad that he was here and we have those memories and pictures to remember.

 

When he made the visit down here last November, he made sure to visit some old friends devastated in Bridge City by the hurricane.  We went to Ray Mathern's place, then Gerald Thibodeaux.  James was so glad to see them.  One other thing.  On trips down he would drive into downtown Port Arthur.  You could see the pain over those sights.

 

He was always big but before he retired he worked the last 4-5 years at a straight night job.  It had to take a toll on him, he had many small physical ailments that manifested itself and he finally had to retire early.  He tried to stay active but he was always sick of one thing or the other.

 

His last visit to my house was in early April 2009.  He was looking real good, had lost weight, was real spry.  I got him involved in buying some guns and he was really elated.  There seemed to be no reason to take any pictures, to worry about anything.  But when he started having problems about July, his ordeal started.  His emails after than belied his worries, but he would always say he was trusting in God.  On his death bed, he was thinking of his friends, bequeathing his beautiful Corvette to a close friend.  Sadly it wasn't in his Will so his last wishes were not carried out.

 

We have lost a genuinely GREAT GUY. My life is better for having known you, James Wilson Lewis.

 

Wayne Taylor

Class of 62