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Category Archives: biography

Jim Beck

Not much can be found in newspaper archives about recording engineer Jim Beck, perhaps due to his shortened career and untimely death, but his name is well known in the music and recording industry.

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Posted by on May 14, 2020 in biography

 

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John J. Pershing

General John Joseph Pershing served in Texas immediately prior to the United States’ entry into World War I.  His name might be familiar to some in Texas due to the raids into Mexico that were intended to catch the bandit Pancho Villa.

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Posted by on May 7, 2020 in biography, world war 1

 

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Marcelino Serna

The headline in the El Paso Herald-Post on Veterans Day, November 11, 1970 read “Hero of World War I Rides in Parade” and went on to tell the amazing story of Marcelino Serna.  Private Serna was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart and Victory Medal (United States decorations) along with the French Medaille Militaire and two Croix de Guerre and the Italian Merito de Guerra.  The article added that Private Serna spent his first Armistice Day in a hospital recovering from his wounds that he received about a week earlier on November 7, 1918 while participating in the Meuse-Argonne offensive.

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Debbie Reynolds

Debbie (Mary Frances) Reynolds was born April 1, 1932 in El Paso, Texas to Raymond Francis and Maxine N. Harmon Reynolds.  Raymond had been born in 1903 in Whitewright, Grayson County, Texas.  His father was a rural school teacher in 1910.  By 1920, Raymond’s father was working in the Post Office and the family lived in Dallas.  As of 1930, Raymond and Maxine had married and were living with Maxine’s family in El Paso.  Raymond was working as a carpenter for a railroad company.  That same year, their eldest son William Owen Reynolds was born to Raymond and Maxine, followed by Mary Frances (likely named for Raymond’s sister) in 1932.  Raymond lost his job in Texas during the Depression.  Reynolds was not embarrassed by her humble upbringing.  She would say of their life in El Paso that her mother took in washing and that they always had plenty to eat, even if her father had to go out in the desert and shoot rabbits.  By 1940, the new family had moved to Burbank, California where Raymond was working as a “tinder man” for Southern Pacific.

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Posted by on April 16, 2020 in biography, entertainers, films

 

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William Sidney Porter (O. Henry)

William Sidney (sometimes also spelled Sydney) Porter was an American author.  He was the son of physician Algernon Sidney and Mary Jane Swaim Porter and was born in North Carolina in 1862.  His mother Mary Jane died in 1865 when he was three years old and Porter was raised by his paternal grandmother.  He was by all accounts highly intelligent, though he had little formal education.  Porter had attended school through the age of fifteen and became a licensed pharmacist, working in his uncle’s pharmacy.

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Posted by on April 9, 2020 in authors, biography

 

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