• Thoughts

    “I hear a voice you can not hear. Which says I must not stay. I see a hand you can not see. Which beckons me away."

    The only thing you take with you when you're gone is what you leave behind
    --- John Allston

    There is more peace somewhere.
    There is more peace somewhere.
    I'm gonna keep on 'til I find it.
    There is more peace somewhere.
    --- African American Hymn

    I cannot think of them as dead who walk with me no more;
    along the path of life I tread they but are gone before.
    --- Fredrick Lucian Hosmer

    In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we remember them.
    In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them.
    In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.
    In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.
    In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them.
    In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.
    When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.
    When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.
    When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.
    So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
    --- From Roland B. Gittelsohn

    "Hold on to what is good even if it is a handful of earth. Hold on to what you believe even if it is a tree which stands by itself. Hold on to what you must do even if it is a long way from here. Hold on to life even when it is easier letting go. Hold on to my hand even when I have gone away from you." ~Pueblo Blessing ~

    Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
    Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
    Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
    Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

    Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
    Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
    Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
    Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

    He was my North, my South, my East and West,
    My working week and my Sunday rest,
    My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
    I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

    The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
    Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
    Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
    For nothing now can ever come to any good.

    W.H. Auden

  • Need to be added

    This is a list of those for whom information is needed. If you have information (obituaries, dates of birth/death, etc.) please notify an administrator.

    Tommy Barton
    Betty Jo Berezoski
    Evelyn Boucher
    Ricky Dan Brown
    Harry Closs
    James Cross
    Jimmy Daily
    Raymond Eads
    Elizabeth Georgette Eichler Graves
    Roddy Ethridge
    Larry Green
    Nancy (Neecie) Hardeman Beard
    Otis Havis
    Bobby Hesskew
    Sheryl Hicks
    Donald Hogan
    Kenneth Hogg
    Patty Holloway
    Jane Howerton
    Bob Humphrey
    Valarie Iglesia
    Brad Jennings
    Carol Kendrick
    Bobby Lessman
    Dwight Lessman
    Grace Locke
    Leo Locke Jr.
    Sharon Padilla Murray
    Debra Neumann
    Kay Phillips
    Julia Pickvance
    Joyce Rachui
    Marcia Beth Roberts
    Raymond Smith
    Al Stein
    Paula Stone (McIntosh)
    Moda Strickland
    John Hart Thompson
    Sandra Tobias
    Hector Trevino
    Barbara Chane (Tull)
    Mary Lynn Walker (Drews)
    Mary Helen McBee White
    Marion Willars

  • Administrative

Harden, Opal Blanton

Opal HardenAug. 27, 1924 – Dec. 16, 2008

Opal B. Harden, age 84 of Marlin entered into eternal rest on Tuesday, December 16, 2008. Services will be 2 p.m. Saturday December 20, 2008 at Adams Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Gary Baxley officiating. Burial will follow in the Hillcrest Cemetery.

The family will receive friends on Friday from 5 until 7 p.m.

Mrs. Harden was born August 27, 1924 in Leonard, Texas to Isaac Milton and Daisy Teague Blanton. She retired in 1986 from the Marlin V.A. Hospital after 42 years of service as chief of ward administration. She was a 47-year resident of Marlin and a member of the Methodist Church. She attended North Texas State University for two years, was a member of the National Association of Federal Retired Employees, Order of Eastern Star, AARP and served as President of Ladies Auxiliary for Little League for 12 years. Opal loved crossword puzzles and to play dominoes. She adored her grandkids. She married Farris W. Harden on September 25, 1944 and he preceded her in death on December 11, 1991.

Sons, Milton Lee Harden and Myron Harden, a brother, Marion Blanton and a sister Vernel Moore also preceded her.

Survivors include her daughters, Regina Stevens of Montgomery, Rhonda Henson of Temple; son, Marcus Harden of Brownsville; 12 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, three step grandchildren and four step great-grandchildren

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Blanton’s Chapel Church, 905 F.M. 981, Leonard, Texas 75452.

Services were under the direction of Adams Funeral Home in Marlin.

Norton, William Hammond, Sr.

Ham NortonLongtime Marlin resident

William Hammond Norton Sr., age 95, of Marlin, entered into rest on Monday, June 23, 2008. Memorial services will be 10 A.M. Saturday, June 28, 2008 at Adams Funeral Home Chapel with Judge Robert Stem and Jim Jones officiating.

William Hammond Norton, Sr., known by his close friends as “Hambone” was born in Calvert, Texas in the historic Hammond House in 1912 to Susan Hammond Norton and Percy Tennent Norton. He served honorably in the United States Navy during World War II as a code master at the rank of Chief Petty Officer on the U.S.S. Lowndes. After returning from the war he married Sarah Kendrick Bartlett to whom he was married for 64 years and with whom he raised three children in Marlin, Texas. Hammond was an outstanding athlete in high school and college and continued to pursue competitive tennis into his late seventies. Among his other attributes were his artistic talents and his love and appreciation for poetry, music and art. An avid outdoorsman and bird hunter, he spent much of his time at his farm, “The Brazos Riviera”. He also enjoyed travel and vacationed frequently with his family. In particular, he established an annual family vacation to Akunial, Mexico which continued for more than 20 years. Hammond was a local realtor and taught real estate classes at McLennan Community College. In his later years he established the Wisteria Project which planted wisteria throughout his hometown of Calvert.

His brothers, Lynn Norton and Pete Norton and his sisters, Sue Roberts and Fannie Lee Snider, preceded Hammond in death.

He is survived by his wife, Sarah Bartlett Norton; son and daughter-in-law Bart and Cathy Norton; son and daughter-in-law, Bill and Jean Norton; son and daughter-in-law, Andy and Dot Norton; nine grandchildren whom he adored, Caroline, Court, Sarah, John, Catherine, Elizabeth, Nicholas, Bradley and Maria and three great grandchildren, Jack, Charlie and Sarah Grace.

Adams Funeral Home in Marlin is in charge of arrangements.

Unell, Lucille Novich

Lucille UnellJuly 23, 1929 – July 15, 2008

Luci Unell, of Waco, passed away Tuesday, July 15, 2008.

Graveside services were held at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 17, at Rodef Sholom Cemetery with Rabbi Mordecai Rotem officiating.

Luci was born July 23, 1929 in Marlin, to Joe and Freda Novich. She graduated from Marlin High School and attended the University of Texas at Austin and Baylor University. She was employed by KWTX Radio, loved working with Buddy Bostick, Jarrell McCracken and particularly loved the opportunity to meet various movie and entertainment celebrities. She was an avid bridge player and loved her friends and fellow players at Ridgewood Country Club.

She married her husband of 57 years, Bernard (Bud) Unell, September 3, 1950, and was a loving wife, mother and grandmother.

She was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Marjorie Rottner.

She is survived by her husband; daughter, Janis Unell; son, Dr. Alan M. Unell and wife, Deonna; grandchildren, Adam Gordon, Samantha Unell, Joe Unell, Eva Unell and Mariah Schroeder; and special friend, Alice Fields.

Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.

The family invites you to leave a message or memory in our “Memorial Guestbook” at http://www.wilkirsonhatchbailey.com

Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Bussell, James Stanton, M.D.

James Stanton Bussell, M.D.
June 19, 1919 – March 28, 2007

James Stanton Bussell, M.D., 87, of Marlin, entered into rest on Wednesday, March 28, 2007. Services were held Saturday, March 31 at the First Presbyterian Church in Marlin with the Rev. Jim Gray and Dr. Holly Mitchell officiating. Burial was in the Hillcrest Cemetery. The family of Dr. Bussell received friends on Friday at Adams Funeral Home.

Dr. Bussell was born June 19, 1919 in Dallas to Daisy Morrow Bussell and Sanford Stanton Bussell. He lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he attended grade school. His family moved to Phoenix, Arizona and there he went to high school and junior college.

He graduated from Baylor, joined the Navy and attained the rank of Chief Pharmacist Mate during World War II. He was accepted to Baylor College of Medicine and practiced medicine in Marlin for over 30 years. He married Dorothy Tostmann on Dec. 5, 1942.

Dr. Bussell was a life member of the Marlin Lions Club and was the longtime master of ceremonies for the annual Lion’s variety show. He was also named citizen of the year in Marlin. He was a cub master in scouting for nine years and received the Silver Beaver Award for his services in scouting.

He was preceded in death by his first wife Dorothy and his second wife Mary Latimer Bussell.

Survivors include sons: Carl J. Bussell and wife Nancy of Bryan, Stanton Bussell and wife Susan of Waco, and Robert Bussell and wife Sharon of Ellicot City, MD; daughter: Carol B. Jones and husband Mitchell of Brownwood; grandchildren: Stacey Tepera and husband Michael, Betsy Dodson and husband Rob, Adam Bussell and wife Samantha, Karla Bussell, Bridget Bussell and Charlie Bussell; great-grandchild: Patrick James Tepera; and devoted friend: June Patrick.

Pallbearers were Adam Bussell, Charlie Bussell, Michael Tepera, Rob Dodson, Timothy Latimer and Cason Latimer.

Memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Marlin or the Campus Crusade for Christ, Marlin, Texas chapter or the charity of your choice.

Torbett, Oscar Lee

Oscar Lee TorbettJune 3, 1921 – May 11, 2003

Oscar Lee Torbett, 81, of Marlin passed away Sunday, May 11, 2003 at Veterans Hospital in Temple. Services will be held Friday, May 16, 2003 at Adams Funeral Home Chapel with Dr. Richard Jenkins officiating. Interment will be in the Calvary Cemetery.

Mr. Torbett was born in Marlin on June 3, 1921 to Dr. Oscar Lee Ashby Torbett and his wife, Emma. He married Virginia Ruth Hays on October 14, 1942 in Florence, South Carolina while serving with the Army Air Corp as a pilot.

After World War II, he returned to Marlin and attended and graduated from Baylor University. He was recalled to duty as an Air Force pilot at the outbreak of the Korean Conflict and served as an instructor for jet pilots. He served until 1958 and attained the of Captain. In 1957, while stationed in Burtonwood, England, he suffered from a brain tumor and was operated on in Weisbaden, Germany. After the operation, he returned to the United States and was admitted to the V. A. hospital and has been in the care of the Veteran’s Administration since then.

Mr. Torbett was preceded in death by one son, Jon Ashby Torbett and by one sister, Joy Cunningham.

Mr. Torbett is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Virginia; his sons, Oscar Lee Torbett, III and Michael Glenn Torbett, and their wives, Gale and Judy; six grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; two nieces; and two nephews.

Serving as pallbearers will be: Glenn Hays, Bill Sams, Lee Hensley, Norman Harris, Edward Hays, Jr., Dr. Barry Morgan, Tom Criswell and Todd Hays. Honorary pallbearers will be Billy Steele and Edward L. Hays, Sr.

Family visitation will be held from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday at Adams Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church of Marlin, 411 Coleman St., Marlin, TX 76661.

Adams Funeral Home of Marlin is in charge of arrangements.

Oltorf, Rowene B. “Ronnie”

Rowene B. ‘Ronnie’ Oltorf
Sept. 9, 1923 – Jan. 14, 2010

Rowene B. Oltorf (Ronnie), 86, died Jan. 14, 2010, at the Powell Valley Care Center where she spent the last 3 1/2 years of her life.

She was born Sept. 9, 1923, in Kansas City, Mo., and educated in New York City. During World War II, she worked for the art director at McCann-Erickson Advertising Agency. She moved to Houston in 1949, where she began working at the Museum of Fine Arts and became affectionately known as “Ronnie.” In 1960, she moved to Marlin, Texas, and taught abstract art classes at the Waco Art Center.

Throughout her life she celebrated art, music and literature, led museum docent programs and taught private art classes; she also had her own radio show about “Art and Women in Texas” and began a children’s art program at Hillcrest Hospital in Waco Texas.

Her family wrote: “Ronnie was a beautiful woman, gifted and inspired painter. She was well read, had a great wit and was a wonderful storyteller. She lived her life with a jubilant optimism and open-hearted spirit. She will be deeply missed.”

Ronnie is survived by her daughters Kathy Weems of Los Angeles, Calif.; Rowene Weems of Powell; Madeline Jackson (Tommy) of Marlin, Texas; and four grandchildren, Maria and Gianluca Giarrizzo, Eylse Hasenberg and Tyler Jackson.

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Debbie Weems; a sister, Barbara Weisl and her husband, Frank C. Oltorf.

A memorial service will be held at noon on Thursday, Jan. 21, at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Following the service, a reception will take place at the church.

Donations in Ronnie’s name may be made to the Powell Humane Society, Homesteader Museum or St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Childs, Hugh Burrell, Jr.

Hugh Burrell Childs, Jr.
Aug. 10, 1947 – July 5, 2007

Hugh Burrell Childs, Jr., 86, of Temple died Thursday July 5, 2007 in a Temple Hospital.

Services for Mr. Childs were held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 7 at the Memorial Baptist Church in Temple with Rev. Roy Parker and Rev. Robert Mattson officiating. Graveside services were at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Blue Ridge Cemetery near Marlin.

Mrs. Childs was born in Marlin, Texas and is the son of Hugh B. and Maudie Morgan Childs Sr.

He married the former Laura May Kinard August 10, 1947 in Marlin, Texas. Mr. Childs was a U.S. Marine Corp veteran of World War II.

He retired in 1981 after 36 years of service with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Marlin. He was a deacon for more than 50 years with the First Baptist Church in Marlin. He also was a member of the Macedonian Fellowship in Belton and was a member of the Memorial Baptist Church in Temple. He had been a member of the Marlin Lions Club and the American Legion.

Mr. Childs is survived by his wife Laura Kinard Childs of Temple; one son, Charles H. Childs of Cleveland; three daughters, Cindy Baird of Temple, Carol Brown of League City, and Celia Aimone of Houston. He is also survived by two brothers, Jack M. Childs of Marlin and Don A. Childs of Houston and three sisters, Joy Davison of Bryan, Patsy Swenson of Port Arthur, and Betty Cunningham of Marlin and 12 grandchildren.

A family visitation was held from 6 until 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 6, 2007 at the Scanio-Harper Funeral Home in Temple.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the Memorial Baptist Church 6161 South 5th Street, Temple, Texas 76504, or the First Baptist Church, 309 Coleman Marlin, Texas 76661, or the Blue Ridge Cemetery Association.

Oltorf, Frank “Posh”

Posh OltorfJan. 20, 1923 – June 14, 2004

Frank Calvert Oltorf (Posh) died June 14, 2004, at his home in Marlin. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 16, at Calvary Cemetery in Marlin. Rev. Hollingsworth Mitchell of First Presbyterian Church, Marlin, will officiate.

Mr. Oltorf, born Jan. 20, 1923, in Marlin, was the son of Frank Oltorf and Madeline Bartlett Oltorf. He graduated from Marlin High School in 1940 and attended Rice Institute in Houston.

Mr. Oltorf was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Marlin.

Oltorf enlisted in the United States Army in World War II, served in India, and was discharged as a first lieutenant. While in India, Mr. Oltorf announced for the Texas Legislature in which body he served as one of its youngest members for two terms representing Falls County. During this time he also attended law school at the University of Texas in Austin.

Mr. Oltorf left the legislature to manage State Senator Ben Ramsey’s successful campaign for Lt. Governor of Texas and later organized his congressional district for Lyndon B. Johnson’s campaign for the U.S. Senate. At the urging of Johnson and Senator Tom Connally, Mr. Oltorf became regional coordinator for the Young Democrat of America. Mr. Oltorf then traveled throughout the country on behalf of President Truman’s 1948 campaign for re-election. Mr. Oltorf later served on the State Democratic Executive Committee and was appointed a member of the Advisory Hospital Council by his friend Gov. John B. Connally.

Mr. Oltorf was an executive with Brown and Root for several years and managed their Washington, D.C. office. He left that organization when he purchased stock in the Burkhead Mfg. Co. of Houston and became its president. After selling his interest in the Burkhead Company, he returned to Marlin in the 1960s where he has since been engaged in ranching.

In 1967, Mr. Oltorf wrote The Marlin Compound, which was published by the University of Texas Press and favorably reviewed by many newspapers and periodicals.

Mr. Oltorf is survived by his wife, Rowene; three children, Madeline Jackson of Marlin, Rowene Giarzzo of Powell, WY, and Kathy Weems of Pacific Palisades, CA; four grandchildren, Tyler Jackson, Maria Giarzzo, Guinluca Giarzzo and Elyse Hasenbert. A daughter, Debbie Weems, preceded Mr. Oltorf in death in 1978.

Pallbearers will be Tommy Jackson, Tom Sehon, Dr. Bart Norton, Bill Norton, Andy Norton, Jimmy Welch, Johnny Rogers, and Ronnie Neumann.

Honorary pallbearers are George Wilson, Jack Welch, Robert Stem, Gov. Bill Hobby, Paul Hobby, Wesley Anderson, Joe Brown, Hammond Norton, Bill Jackson, Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, James King, Bill Dunkum, Dr. David Burton, Ed Moody, Pat Beard, Joe Holloway and Bob Ellett.

The family has suggested that memorials be sent to either the First Presbyterian Church, 411 Oaks, Marlin, TX 76661, or the Marlin Public Library, 301 Winter Street, Marlin, TX 76661.

Kinard, Rosalyn A.


Funeral services for Rosalyn A. Kinard, 74, of Temple were held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Blue Ridge Baptist Church at Reagan with Rev. James Houser officiating.

Burial will be in Blue Ridge Cemetery.

Miss Kinard died Tuesday, July 31, 2007 in a Temple Living Center.

Miss Kinard was born in Reagan to Charles L. Kinard and Essie Kelly Kinard. She lived in Waco for forty years before moving to Temple five years ago. She graduated from Marlin High School and had attended Mary Hardin Baylor College. She was a member of Blue Ridge Baptist Church and had attended Highland Baptist Church in Waco, while living there. She worked as a secretary for Texas Department of Human Services in Waco.

Survivors include three sisters Laura Childs of Temple, Eunice Cunningham of Dallas and Donna Pierson of Houston; two brothers Charles S. Kinard of Laneville and David Kinard of Memphis, Tn.; eighteen nieces and nephews Cindy Baird of Temple, Carol Brown of League City, Janet Morrow of Houston, Kay Bushman of Rowlett, Celia Aimone of Houston, Leslie Pierson of Houston, Kelly Wallis of Houston, Laura Kinard of Memphis, Tn., Debbi Cole of McKinney, Mary Bollman of Dallas, Emily Gogineni of The Woodlands, Charles Childs of Cleveland, Jeffrey Pierson of Houston, David Cunningham of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Gerald Kinard of Bryan, Larry Cunningham of Dallas, Stuart Cunningham of Dallas and Charles D. Kinard of Memphis, Tn. and twenty four great nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to Blue Ridge Cemetery Association P.O. Box 42 Reagan, Texas 76680.

McDougall, Nancy Kay Phillips

Kay PhillipsApril 9, 1955 – May 22, 2007

Nancy Kay McDougall, 52, of Temple, died Tuesday, May 22, 2007 at her residence. Services were held at Saturday, May 26, at Scanio-Harper Funeral Home with Rev. Wayne Sewell and Rev. Roy Parker officiating. Burial was at at Fairview Cemetery in Hubbard. Visitation was held Friday evening at the funeral home.

Mrs. McDougall was born April 9, 1955, in Waco to Louis P. and Ouida Elizabeth Martin Phillips. She was reared and educated in Marlin. She graduated from Marlin High School and Baylor University where she received her bachelor’s degree. She worked as an accountant at the V.A. hospitals in Marlin and Temple all her working life.

She was a member of Memorial Baptist Church.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Survivors include her husband, Jim McDougal of Temple; daughter Cindy Beth Hogg of Temple; sons Jeffrey Hogg and wife Jennifer of Temple and Georgia and Jarrod Hogg of Temple; and sister Patricia Johnson and husband Harold of Dallas. Also surviving is one granddaughter, Jessica Elizabeth Hogg; step-daughter Katy Collins and husband MaRennis of Raleigh, North Carolina; stepson Ryan McDougall of Martinsburg, West Virginia; and one step-granddaughter, Asia McDougall.

Memorials may be made to Memorial Baptist Church, Music Department, Temple.

Torgerson, Henry Truett “Torg”

H. T. TorgersonApril 19, 1923 – Mar. 18, 2009

Henry Truett “Torg” Torgerson died March 18, 2009. Services will be 10 a.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church in Marlin with the Rev. Eric Moore officiating. Burial will follow at Waite Cemetery in Reagan.

Mr. Torgerson was born April 19, 1923 in Beeville, to Henry Thomas and Corine Thames Torgerson. He graduated from A.C. Jones High School in Beeville in 1941. He then attended John Tarleton Jr. College in Stephenville, graduating in 1943 as a member of the R.O.T.C. On June 4, 1943 he was inducted into the U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He trained for 21 weeks at Camp Roberts, California. Then, as a member of the 91st Division, he was shipped to Africa and then to Italy. He served there in two campaigns and received two battle stars and the Bronze Star. He was a combat rifleman and a radio operator, serving in the Army from 1943 to 1945.

Following the war he returned to college graduating from North Texas State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Arts and a Master of Science degree. At North Texas he was a member of Alpha Chi and Phi Delta Kappa. He married Ruth Ann Davison of Reagan on June 24, 1950. He taught school for two years in Mississippi then came to Marlin and taught 31 years in all. He taught “shop”, drafting and history and later was teacher of Industrial Cooperative Training known as I.C.T. in the Vocational Dept. He was a member and a deacon of First Baptist Church of Marlin and taught a men’s Sunday school class. He was a member of the Marlin Noon Lions Club and served a term as President. He also owned a furniture restoration shop. He was a gifted craftsman and gave new life to many pieces of furniture, especially antiques.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years Ruth Ann,; daughter Carolyn Hiatt and husband Keith of Greensboro, N.C.; son, Don and wife Audrey of Keosauqua, Iowa; daughter Janet Sanders and husband Shane of Waco. Eight grandchildren, Matthew Hiatt and wife Lindsey, Stuart Sanders and wife Anna, Andrew Hiatt, Daniel Sanders, Susannah Sanders, Kim Crucean and husband Jeff, Richard Claypoole, Michelle Tucker and husband Keith, Great grandchildren, Wayne, Jeffrie, Lauren and Abigail. He is also survived by his brother, Burnett Torgerson and wife Gaynell of Corpus Christi and numerous nieces, nephews, one great nephew and several cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother Jeralde Torgerson.

Pallbearers will be Matthew Hiatt, Andrew Hiatt, Stuart Sanders, Daniel Sanders, Dr. James Cathey, Dr. James Bryan, Michael Milnes and Jim Woliver.

Honorary pallbearers will be the deacon body of First Baptist Church, all members of the Marlin Noon Lions Club and Charles Ray Evans.

Memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church of Marlin, Marlin Noon Lions Club, Marlin Public Library or The Allen House

Adams Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Spencer, Forest Henry “Hal”

Hal Spencer Hal Spencer

The name Hal Spencer is synonymous with the Marlin School band program and students, who passed through the band hall doors from 1945 to the early 1970s, respected his talent and enthusiasm for perfection.

On Wednesday, April 5, 2006, at the Veterans Home in Temple, the end came to the life of a gifted man, Forest Henry “Hal” Spencer.

The Itasca native, born in 1915 to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Spencer, spent the majority of his adult life in Marlin. He was a graduate of the Marlin school system, and former band member, graduated from Sam Houston College with a degree in music, and following his service to his country in the U. S. Air Force, returned to become director of the Marlin band program in 1945 and spent the next 29 years at that post.

Spencer, with the cooperation of the faculty, the Band Parents’ organization, and a demanding schedule of work for himself, set in motion an excellent program, which increased interest, improved ability, and built support for the program. From beginners through high school, hundreds of students entered the band, and even though Mr. Spencer was strict and demanding, the Marlin High School band became well known for its full, well-balanced sound and its near-perfect marching routines. Participation in the University Interscholastic League (UIL) band contest became the ultimate goal for students and under his tutelage, won first division rating for marching, concert and sight-reading for 26 years.

The band also won the coveted Sweepstakes (first-division in all categories) four time. Numerous soloists and ensembles made first-division ratings and there were Marlin bandsmen playing in the Regional and All-State band every year but four of the 29 years Spencer was director.

Karen Little Meyer, Marlin business woman and former band student said, “Some of the best times of my life were spent in band, Mr. Spencer was tough, but when your band is judged first in the state, it was well worth it all.”

In 1958, Mr. Spencer was invited by the Cotton Bowl officials to be the director of the pre-game and halftime show during for game. He was also selected by the UIL to serve as judge for many competitions on both the regional and state levels.

“Many talented students were encouraged to continue their music careers by Mr. Spencer,” said former students and local physician, Dr. David Fedro. “He brought out the best in all of us and we wanted to excel not only for ourselves, but for him. He went out of his way to help procure scholarships for students who wanted to continue.”

Another student, Col. Ray Toler, went on to lead the Texas A&M Fighting Aggie Band from 1989 – 2002, once said of his mentor and friend,” I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for Hal Spencer. He was like a father to me and taught me to be respectful and never expect any less. He even took me around the state to find a scholarship and to introduce me to influential bandmasters that made a lasting impression.”

Mr. Spencer is survived by his wife his son, grandson, two great-grandchilden, several nephews and a host of life-time friends, and former students who number in the thousands.

See complete obituary in the obituary section of this site.


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