Class of '58 Obituaries

Linda Harder Sabins
Linda Kay, of Alpine, passed away Thursday at Northeast Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. 6/2009
A native of Beaumont, Linda was born to Alice and Harold Harder. She moved to Alpine in 1994, where she managed her daughter's apartments. Survivors include her husband, John Sabins; son, John Robert Sabins and his wife Darla; daughters, Belinda Vrana and her husband David, Catherine West, Ramona West; brothers, Robert Harder, and Craig Harder; sister, Patricia Barney; and granddaughters, Leanne Sabins and Amanda Sabins. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Cherie West.
Funeral services at Broussard's, with burial at Magnolia Cemetery, under the direction of Broussard's, 2000 McFaddin, Beaumont.

Walter Downs
Walter Prentice Downs, 73, of Wildwood, died Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at Tyler County Hospital, Woodville. He was born on March 21, 1939, in Coushatta, Louisiana, to Eloise McGehee Downs and Clarence H. Downs.
Prentice resided in Vidor for over thirty years before moving to Wildwood five years ago. He was a United States Marine Corp veteran and retired from ABF Freight. Prentice will be remembered as always willing to help others and had such a wonderful sense of humor who liked to "pick" on everyone. He will be truly missed.
Survivors include his wife, Devena Downs; son, Jeff Downs of Beaumont; grandchildren, Mason Downs and Malorie Downs, both of Beaumont; sisters, Virginia LaLande of Lumberton and Jo Nan Barnard and her husband, Bill, of Beaumont. He is preceded in death by his parents; son, Jody Downs; and brother, Howard Downs. A memorial service for Mr. Downs will be 10:00 a.m., Saturday, November 17, 2012, at Wildwood Baptist Church, 100 Wildwood Drive, Wildwood, under the direction of Broussard's, 530 West Monroe, Kountze. His committal was held at Broussard's Crematorium, Beaumont. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Wildwood Baptist Church, P.O. Box 729, Village Mills, Texas 77663.

John Bankston
John A. Bankston, 61, of Beaumont died August 2, 2001, at Coldwater Community Hospital in Coldwater, Ohio.
A native and lifelong resident of Beaumont, he was the owner of John Bankston Construction and Equipment Rental, a race car owner and driver and U.S. Army veteran.

Gail Dennis Mitchell
Gail Mitchell, 74, of Fannett, died Tuesday, June 10, 2014. A lifelong resident of the area she was born on January 24, 1940, to Elsie Bailey Dennis and Leger Paul Dennis.
Gail was active in the family business, M&M Air Service, and had retired as an officer with the company. An accomplished cook, Gail was known for her chicken and dumplings and blackberry cobbler and was honored by the Beaumont Enterprise for her famous Gail Mitchell chicken and dumplings. She authored and coauthored numerous cookbooks for churches and PTAs in the area. Gail was active for years in Amelia Baptist Church and had previously served as the church pianist.
Upon graduation from French High School in 1958, a group of girlfriends was formed. They call themselves the 58 girls and have met monthly. Since then, they have maintained their love and friendship for each other throughout the years.
Survivors include her husband, George Fields Mitchell, Jr.; sons, David Mitchell of Fannett; Mark Mitchell and his wife, D'Lisa, of Winnie; and Andy Mitchell and his wife, Rita, of Hamshire; daughter, Lisa Mitchell of Fannett; grandchildren, Heather Boone, Hunter Mitchell, Justin Mitchell, Cameron Mitchell, and Montana Mitchell; great-grandchild, Gunner Boone; and her extended family, Lisa Rios and caregiver of forty-eight years, Ethel Mae Mire. She is preceded in death by her son, Paul Mitchell; brothers, Jimmy and Dan Dennis; and sister-in-law, Mary Margaret; and nephew, Danny Dennis.
A gathering of Mrs. Mitchell's family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Thursday, June 12, 2014, at Broussard's, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont.
Her funeral service will be 12:30 p.m., Friday, June 13, 2014, at Broussard's, with her interment to follow at Fairview Cemetery in Winnie. Memorial contributions are suggested to be made to the Alzheimer's Association , 700 North Street, Suite M, Beaumont, Texas 77701. Complete and updated information may be found at - See more at:

Henry Jenny
Henry Allen Jenny, 74, of Beaumont, passed away on Wednesday November 19, 2014 at Christus Hospital- St. Elizabeth surrounded by his loving family. Mr. Jenny was born on December 28, 1939 in Beaumont, Texas to his parents Clarence Merle and Luella Babb Jenny who preceded him in death.
Henry was a Journeyman Electrician and retired from I.B.E.W. Local 479 and while there received a fifty year service pin in recognition of devotion to his craft. Mr. Jenny was an avid fisherman and hunter. He was a 1958 graduate from French High School in Beaumont and a United States Army veteran where he received recognition for outstanding marksmanship.
He was also known to be a very kind and generous man who cared for his fellow man. Surviving Mr. Jenny are his loving wife Dorothy Ann Jenny of Beaumont, three sons, Danny Moore and wife MeLisa of Beaumont, Johnny Moore of Beaumont, Douglas A. Jenny and wife Melissa of Lumberton, daughter Cara C. Ferguson and husband Thomas of Katy; brother, William R. Jenny and wife Sandra of Beaumont.
Also surviving eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. Visitation will be held on Saturday November 22, 2014 from 5:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. at Forest Lawn Funeral Home. Funeral services will be at 2:00 P.M. at the Forest Lawn Funeral Home Chapel with burial to follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Beaumont. - See more at:

Carolyn Gresham
Carolyn E. Gresham, 74, of Vidor, went home to her Lord and Saviour on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at Baptist Hospital in Beaumont. Carolyn was surrounded by her loving husband and her five daughters. Carolyn was born in Beaumont and was a 1958 French High School graduate.
She was a licensed vocational nurse and truly loved taking care of people. Carolyn was a member of Turning Point Church in Vidor. She loved being there and enjoyed it even more when friends and family would attend with her. Besides her church, her greatest love was her family. She was truly the matriarch of her family. She was always there, any time of the day or night if you needed someone to talk to. For that, she will truly be missed.
Carolyn is survived by her loving husband of fifty-eight years, James Pee Wee Gresham; her five daughters, Lavonda Charleston, Patsy Isenhower, Kristy Calhoun, Rebecca Kays and Cathy Braneff all of Vidor; her brother, Buddy Lewis of Vidor; eleven grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Graveside services will be held on Friday, October 31, 2014, at 11:00 A.M. at Restlawn Memorial Park in Vidor.
A gathering of her family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Thursday, October 30, 2014, at Turning Point Church, 3600 North Main, Vidor, under the direction of Farmer Funeral Home in Silsbee. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Lunches of Love in care of Turning Point Church P.O. Box 1347 Vidor, Texas 77670. - See more at:

Lelan Whitaker
Lelan Ray Whitaker was born June 2, 1940, in Nacogdoches Co., TX. and passed away on February 6, 2012, in The Woodlands, TX., at the age of 71. He was a 1958 graduate of French High School in Beaumont, TX. and a 1963 graduate of Lamar University, with a BA in Business Administration.
He served in the U. S. Marine Corp Reserve from 1959 to 1965. He retired from NASA and USAA after 30 years of service. Lelan was preceded in death by his parents, Rudolph and Winnie Whitaker; sister, Linda Whitaker Campbell. He is survived by his loving wife, Linda Whitaker; sons, Byron Whitaker and his wife, Carla, Clint Whitaker, Spencer Whitaker and his wife, Jessica; grandsons, Jace Whitaker and Zachary Whitaker; brother, Ron Whitaker; along with other relatives and friends.
Visitation will be 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 9, 2012, in the Chapel of Forest Park The Woodlands Funeral Home. Funeral services will held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, February 10, 2012, in the Chapel of Forest Park The Woodlands Funeral Home. Interment will be at 2:30 p.m., in Hillebrandt Cemetery, in Beaumont, Texas, on the same day. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in memory of Lelan. To sign the register book or to leave memories of Lelan for the family please visit:

James Allen Barrum
James passed away peacefully at approximately 6:00 pm on Tuesday September 13th at Conroe Regional Medical Center after a courageous 7 day battle with pneumonia.
James was born February 14, 1940, one of three children to Henry and Augusta Barrum of Beaumont, Texas where he graduated from Beaumont French High School. He attended Lamar University on a basketball scholarship where he was a four year letterman and Small College All American. He went on to become the first ever inductee into the Lamar Cardinal Hall of Honor. Upon graduation, he received written invitations from three separate professional basketball franchises, but elected to forgo that opportunity in pursuit of a professional career in education.
He graduated in 1962 with a B.S. degree in Physical Education from Lamar University, and in 1964, he completed his Masters in Educational Administration from Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches. In 1969, he consummated his educational pursuit by earning his Doctorate degree in Counseling and Guidance from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. In 1969, he moved his family to Huntsville, Texas and began his career in Criminal Justice as a professor at Sam Houston State University. Following 38 years of dedicated service to the university, he retired in July of 2007.
He is survived by his wife Trinell; his sons, James and his wife Diane, Craig and his wife Michele and Chad Barrum and his wife Nancy. Six beautiful grandchildren Holden, Hannah, Harper, Avery, Palmer and Logyn Barrum. He was preceded in death by his daughter Robyn and a sister, Mary Jo Barrum. James touched the lives of those he met with his smile and generosity while maintaining his trademark sense of humor all the way to the end. Friends and family of those he loved are invited to attend a visitation on Thursday September 15, 2011 at Sam Houston Memorial Funeral Home from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. with a rosary service to immediately follow. A Memorial Service will be held Friday, September 16, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Huntsville. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Robyn Leigh Barrum Memorial Scholarship Fund at Sam Houston State University. Those wishing to leave memorial condolences for the family may do so at

Richard Wayne (Dick) Jones
Dick, 67, of Beaumont died February 4, 2008 at Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth. He was born September 23, 1940 in Beaumont, son of Robert Ernest Jones, Sr. and Kathryn Lee (Ellis) Jones.
Richard was a native of Beaumont and attended French High School, 1958; Texas Christian University, BS 1962; University of Alabama, MA, 1964; and University of Arkansas, PHD 1975. He was a Certified Public Accountant and retired professor from Lamar University. Richard was a member of Beta Alpha Psi Accounting Fraternity and Kappa Kappa Psi band fraternity during undergraduate years. He was first chair (tuba) of the TCU marching band - The Window of TCU. His PHD Dissertation was
An Examination of the Capital Formation Prospects of Penn Central Transportation Company and provided an outlet for his love of railroads. He worked as a CPA for Arthur Anderson Accounting firm and was a CPA for Haliburton. He taught at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY and Austin Peay State College, Clarksville, TN. He served in Korea during the Vietnam era, as a member of the finance corps and had top secret clearance while writing pay-roll for the army. While at Lamar, Richard served as editor of the Proceedings of the Southwest Regional Meeting of the American Accounting Association. He was Regional Vice President of the Southwest American Accounting Association. He also served on the admission policy committee of the Graduate Council and University Research Council, as well as the Accounting Accreditation Committee, University Library Committee, and other committees for the university. He was a published professor, with articles in the Management Accounting (a major Accounting Journal); the Mid South Business Journal, ICC Practitioners Journal, The Texas Bar Journal, CPA 80 journal; The Ohio CPA journal, Mergers and Acquisitions Journal, the Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance, Southern Law Journal, and CPA Internet Connection. He presented many papers at professional conferences.
He serviced as Department Chair of Accounting and Business Law, Graduate Faculty, faculty advisor for Beta Alpha Psi (accounting honors fraternity and sponsor for the LU Accounting Society. He was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, Beta Alpha Psi, AICPA, American Accounting Association, Texas Society of Public Accounting, Trustee of Lamar Accounting Department Excellence Fund and a member of the Curriculum Committee. He retired as Professor Emeritus in 2005. Member of the Questers Sunday School class at First United Methodist Church, Beaumont, Texas. He was a past treasurer of the Jefferson Theater Preservation Society and of the Southeast Texas Chapter of the American Theater Organ Preservation Society.
Survivors include his wife, Bettye M. Jones; stepson, Milton Cooke and wife Julie of Canadian, TX; sister, Mary Jones Burger and husband Sam of Delray Beach, FL; brother, Randy Jones and wife Cherry of Vidor; sister-in-law, Mary Ann Jones of Fannett; grandchildren, Marceille, Cody, and Caden Cooke of Canadian; and several nieces and nephews. His parents, Robert Ernest Jones, Sr. and Kathryn Lee Jones; sister, Margaret Jones; and brother, Robert E. Jones, Jr. preceded Richard in death.
Funeral service will be 11:00 a.m. Thursday, February 7, 2008 at First United Methodist Church, Beaumont with Dr. Frank Alegria and Reverend Eldon Reed, officiating. A gathering of family and friends will be 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 6, 2008 at Broussard's, 2000 McFaddin, Beaumont. Pallbearers are to be Milton Cooke, David Jones, Dr. Jim True, Jack Seeley, Joel Allen, and Dr. Larry Spradley. Members of the Questers Sunday School class have been named honorary pallbearers. Family requests no floral arrangements. Donations may be sent to the organ fund, music ministry, or Kairos Soup Kitchen Ministry of First United Methodist Church, 701 Calder Avenue, Beaumont, Texas 77701. Complete and updated information may be viewed at

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