Len Gardner “Tuffy” McCormick, accomplished oilman, rancher, member of the Baylor Bears Final Four Basketball Team, NFL football player for the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Colts, died Monday, August 20th, peacefully in his home at age 89.
Tuffy McCormick was born in Eldorado, Texas, on October 28th, 1922, to Jimmie and Van McCormick and was an only child. He grew up in a pioneering ranching family in Eldorado, Texas. His grandparents P.H. and Sally McCormick were one of the founding families of Schleicher County.
After graduating from high school in Eldorado, TX, he attended Schreiner Military Institute in Kerrville, Texas. As a member of the U.S. Marine Corps he served his country first in World War II from 1942 to 1945 and then in the Korean War from 1950 to 1952.
Between his military services he graduated from Baylor University in 1947. At Baylor he played Center, Linebacker, and Placekicker for the Baylor Bears Football Team. He was also the Center of Baylor’s basketball team that won the Southwest Conference Championship and played in the 1946 Final Four. This was the first time Baylor ever appeared in the Tournament.
After college, he played for the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Colts as a linebacker and center for two Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Sammy Baugh and Y. A. Tittle. During the off season, he managed to attend Baylor Law School and receive his law degree in 1950.
As a U.S. Marine in Korea, he served as a Major in the J.A.G. Corps. At the same time, he played center on the Marines’ football team with NFL quarterback Eddie LeBaron and was the center for the Marines’ basketball team.
His first job after Korea was as City Attorney for Midland, Texas, at a time of great excitement and growth. Continuing his love of sports, he was a participant of the Midland Misfits, a group of young Midland businessmen that got together on weekends to play football against other towns. The team included former NFL stars, weekend athletes, future business and government leaders, and even a future President, George H. W. Bush.
Harnessing the opportunities of Midland, he set up a private law practice and started his career in the energy business. He became the Chairman and President of Santiago Oil and Gas, Santana Petroleum Company and Gold Metal Consolidation Mining Company, which later merged with Tom Brown Oil Company. He was active in Midland charities like the YMCA and was a Club President of the minor-league baseball team the Midland Indians.
Returning to his roots in ranching, he purchased the Big Bend Ranch in 1958. Listed as one of the twelve largest ranches in North America, it contained 320,000 acres and 650 miles of fencing. Today, a large part of the ranch makes up the Big Bend Ranch State Park.
In 1972, Tuffy moved to Houston where he continued his energy career and was actively involved in charitable activities. He became involved in the organization of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and was a member of its International Committee. He was a committee member of St Luke’s Methodist Church. He was a founding member of the Eldorado Country Club in Palm Springs as well as the NFL Alumni Association.
Tuffy was a man of strong principles of fairness and duty that impacted all he touched. One of his actions was published in the book by John Steadman, “from the Colts to the Ravens” ……On December 6, 1948, the Baltimore Colts, led by Y. A. Tittle and ‘with Tuffy as their center’, were on their way to qualifying for a championship in only their second year in the All-America Football Conference. But they lost to the Buffalo Bills as a result of a highly disputed, hotly charged decision. Head linesman,
Tommy Whelan, ruled that Chet Mutryn, a Bills halfback, had neither possession nor control of a pass from quarterback George Ratterman. What appeared then to be a fumble and a recovery by the Colts’ John Mellus was declared an incomplete pass. It was a decisive call, enabling the Bills to retain the ball and in six plays to score the go-ahead touchdown, wiping out the Colts’ 17-14 lead. When the game was over, about 5,000 spectators rushed the field, chasing Whelan, who was hit in the back of the neck. Fans threw bottles and set fire in the wooden stands. Tuffy, along with one other Colt, Aubrey Fowler, and players from the Bills went to Whelan’s assistance and protected him into the dressing room. Players were commended for their efforts. One of the other referee’s young sons that was at the game often said that this mob experience of almost losing his father stuck with him and impacted his crowd management when he later became the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. His name is Fay Vincent.
Most importantly, he will always be remembered for the time, care, advice, and great energy he gave to everyone, both on the phone and through his memorable imposing presence. Many, from all walks of life, sought his sage advice and encouragement. His favorite slogan was “Mount up and get it done!”
Tuffy was a legendary Texan who served his country proudly, excelled in sports, and pursued a successful career as a lawyer, rancher, businessman, and wildcatter. There were few successful and prominent people of his time that he didn’t meet and know. Among many other things, he was a pallbearer for J. Edgar Hoover, the founder of the FBI, and was friends with celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore and business magnates like Barron Hilton. His life and endeavors as a “true
Texan” were so colorful and fascinating that his stories were used as a basis for a movie, The Wheeler Dealers, starring James Garner.
He was pre-deceased by his loving wife Vera Lu Sumner Blanton McCormick to whom he was happily married for 20 years and her daughter Kathy Blanton. After the passing of his wife, he spent 9 wonderful years with his beloved companion, whom he was pre-deceased by, Betty DeMontrond.
He was the proud father of Marlee McCormick and Van McCormick (married to Tina Jurgens-McCormick), and the proud grand-father of a total of nine grand-children Shelby, Sidney, Calli and Casey Padgett as well as Max, Alex, Myles, Nathaniel, and Amelia McCormick. Other surviving family members include Lea DeMontrond and George DeMontrond III (married to Marilyn DeMontrond) and their children Melissa and George DeMontrond IV; Chuck and Danny Blanton, and Gail Cusack (married to Greg Cusack) and their children Thomas, Daniel, Matthew and Ava Cusack as well as Kathy Blanton’s children Kristan, Travis, Cameron and Karli. This is as well as his cousins and his best friends Steve and Carolyn Mafrige.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, August 28 at St. Lukes Methodist Church on Westheimer. An interment service will be held on Saturday at the Eldorado Cemetery in Eldorado, TX at high noon.
Curtis Lynn Clark, 63, of Brady, Texas, passed away Friday, August 17, 2012, in Brady. Visitation was from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 17, 2012 at Heritage Funeral Home in Brady. Services were at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, August 20, 2012, at Heritage Funeral Home Chapel.
Curtis was born on October 26, 1948, in San Angelo, Texas, to Edwin Clark and Patsy (Jones) Clark. He married Sandra McCollum on October 27, 1975, in McCamey, Texas. He had lived in Brady for the past 10 years, having moved here from Eldorado where he had lived for 20 years.
Curtis was a truck driver for many years and loved being out on the road. In his free time he loved to fish and enjoyed watching the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers play.
Curtis was preceded in death by his parents, a baby sister, and brothers-in-law Mike McCollum and Coy Mitchell.
Survivors include: wife; Sandra Clark of Brady; daughters; Jennifer Cheatham, and husband Erik, of Godley, Tx; and Tamra Clark; sons; Jason Lynn Clark, and wife Amber, of San Angelo, Tx; and Jeremy Clark, and wife Jennifer, of Red Oak, Iowa; brother; Tommy Clark, and wife Judy, of San Angelo; aunt; JoRee Clark of San Angelo; mother-in-law; Willie Mae McCollum of Mason; six grandsons; Dustin Cheatham, Brandon Cheatham, Zackery Cheatham, Marshall Schmitz, Jackson Clark, Rhys Clark; two granddaughters; Shianne Clark and Kaylyn Clark; a brother-in-law, two sisters-in-law; and numerous cousins and friends.
Please view Mr. Clark’s Online Memorial at www.heritagefuneraltx.com.
Ronald Lee Murph, age 71, of Bangs went to be with his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at the University Medical Center in Lubbock from a sudden illness.
Graveside services with full Masonic Rights will be Saturday, August 18 at 10:30 at Bangs Cemetery.
Ronald was born on August 30, 1940 in Lovington, NM to Phillip and Susie Irene Simpson Murph.
He was married to Patsy Adams on March 24, 1962 in Lovington, NM and was a longtime resident of Bangs.
He was a 32nd degree Master Mason. Ronald was Past Master of the Bangs Lodge #926 and Past Master of Eldorado Lodge #890. He was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star - Eldorado Chapter, Scottish Rite and York Rite - Suez Shrine Temple in San Angelo, Maskat Shrine Temple in Wichita Falls, and the Heart of Texas Shrine Club in Brownwood. He was Past Marshal of the Suez Shrine Provost Guard and Past Marshal of the Maskat Provost Guard and a member of the Suez Shrine Oriental Band.
He was an avid reader and a member of the Bangs First Baptist Church.
He is survived by his daughters, Dusti Charboneau of Brownwood and husband Kelley, Jani Mitchell of Eldorado; brothers, Dudley Murph of Lovington, NM and Malcolm Murph of Lubbock; grandchildren, Kelsi Charboneau of San Angelo, Kristin Charboneau of Brownwood, Bridgett Mitchell of San Angelo, Blaine Mitchell of Eldorado and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by Pat, his wife of 49 years, and his brother Farrell.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Suez Shrine Center, 2915 Loop 306, and San Angelo, TX. 76904 or a charity of choice. Condolences may be left for the family at www.davismorrisfuneralhome.com.
Deputy Joshua Shane Mitchell of Big Lake, Texas was killed in the line of duty and went to be with the Lord on August 1, 2012 while serving as a Deputy Patrol Officer for the Reagan County Sheriffs Office. He was born on July 22, 1986 in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Josh was a true hero and took his oath seriously. He gave his life while serving his fellow man.
Josh graduated from Reagan County High School in May of 2006. He began his duties at the RCSO while still attending high school. After graduation, he worked as a night jailer while attending Howard College and pursuing a career in Criminal Justice.
He graduated from Howard College on May 11, 2007. He then attended the Concho Valley Regional Law Enforcement Academy from which he graduated May 21, 2008. At this time he began his duties as patrol officer at RCSO.
He married his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Jill Matthews Mitchell on June 21, 2008. They made their home in the Stiles area.
He had a love for children and a special way of touching their lives. In January 2011 Josh began his duties as D.A.R.E. officer at RCSO. He served as the D.A.R.E. Officer until his death. He shared the danger of drugs and alcohol with the children of Big Lake.
Josh also began his duties as K-9 Officer for RCSO in January 2012. He and his trained side kick, “K-9 Officer Sherlock” worked many hours patrolling the streets of Big Lake together.
Josh served as a volunteer fire fighter for the Big Lake Volunteer Fire Department and the North Reagan County Volunteer Fire Department. Josh was named Rookie of the Year at BLVFD in 2007. Many days he served alongside his mother Cindy, who is also a volunteer fire fighter. He was passionate about serving the community he grew up in and the surrounding area.
Josh loved the outdoors. Boating, fishing, hunting, farming, and ranching are just a few of the things he loved to do in his spare time. Family and friends were always included in everything he did and loved.
He was a faithful son, grandson, brother and husband and was there for his family anytime they needed him.
He was a friend and helping hand to all.
He was a member of Community Baptist Church in Stiles where he took time out of his busy schedule to care for the lawn.
Josh is survived by his wife Jill Mitchell of Stiles; grandparents Marvin and Betty Mitchell, mother Cindy Mitchell, sister Jacy Mankin and her husband JL and their daughter Kenna, sister Bethany Hardison, all of Big Lake; father and mother-In-Law Jimmy and Linda Matthews of Stiles; brother and sister-in-law Michael and Natalie Matthews of Mertzon, sister-in-law Julie Matthews of Stiles; many uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins; and the entire staff of the RCSO, which he considered family.
Pallbearers are Sheriff Jeff Garner, Chief Deputy Jeff Weatherby, Captain Destin Wilha, Deputy Rusty Weatherby, Deputy Troy Goodloe, Deputy Pete Botello, & Deputy Matt Morris.
Honorary Pallbearers are Reserve Deputy TJ Hill, Reserve Deputy Craig Chambers, Reserve Deputy Chad Armstrong,
Reserve Deputy Sieth Wireman, Reserve Deputy Caleb Edwards, DPS Trooper Rob Eshleman, Texas Game Warden Matt Adams, Deputy Matt Suttle, and special friends Coby Booth, JJ Golliday, Wes Lowe and Billy Williams.
Services will be held at First Baptist Church, Big Lake, TX on Wednesday August 8, 2012 at 10:00 am. Immediately following the service a special law enforcement tribute will be held at the Reagan County Park. Graveside services will be at the Stiles Cemetery.
There will be a viewing on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at First Baptist Church, Big Lake at 6:00 pm.
Rev. Byron Bitner and Rev. Gerald Bastin will be officiating the services. The family request memorials be sent to the Reagan County Sheriffs Office D.A.R.E program.