The year 2020 was a time to bid farewell to notable citizens who helped shape the area through their professions and community service. Among those who contributed to our community were the following:


Elijah Hernandez, 37, Jan. 2; owner of Phat Farms and Hernandez House of Smoke.

Zona Preece Kelly, 76, Jan. 2; active in radio broadcasting with her husband, Chuck (1932-2012), mostly KCYL Radio, Lampasas. She served on the Lometa ISD school board, including president.

Jerry D. Ferrel, 96, Jan. 3; president of Ferrel Distributing. He documented the rise of Texas Aero for the Texas Historical Commission and completed a Temple Monoplane from scratch.

J.F. “Doc” Combs, 80, Jan. 4; skilled trainer of retrievers, horses and mules who drove teams of equines.

Glenna Lee Southerland Roberts, 86, Jan. 4; former Temple ISD elementary teacher.

Steven M. Goad, 71, Jan. 6; former pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Belton.

Richard William Dolgener, 75, Jan. 9; former Temple ISD trustee.

Lynn Johnson, 78, Jan. 12; owner of a Belton Texaco service station.

The Rev. Mattie Lee Cox, 83, Jan. 12; pastor of Faith Temple Lighthouse, Temple.

Richard Lewis, 82, Jan. 16; owner of Richard Lewis Heating and Air and the Point Package Liquor Store.

Joe Soto, 87, Jan. 18; founder and part owner of the Pioneer Ballroom.

Mary Margaret Grignon “Meg” Tormey, 88, Jan. 25; community volunteer; served on the advisory board and building committee of St. Luke Catholic Church.

Matthew Lopez Jr., 73, Jan. 25; pastor of the Iglesia De Dios Church, Cameron.

Linda Sue McDonald, 73, Jan. 26; longtime teacher at Travis Middle School.

George Weldon Collier Jr., 63, Jan. 27; electrical contractor with projects including McLane Stadium at Baylor University and Baylor Scott & White facilities.


Gary Day Taliaferro, 79, Feb. 2; former interim minister for Belton Church of Christ.

James Monroe “Monty” Thompson Jr., 60, Feb. 3; executive director of the Cameron Housing Authority who served nine years as Cameron ISD trustee.

Calvin Arthur Whatley Jr., 95, Feb. 6; Temple High School principal from 1962 until 1971 who was a key administrator during the desegregation of Temple’s two high schools.

Jane Marie Gommert “Janie” Voigt, 78, Feb. 8; former owner of Ambrosia tea room, Salado, and author of two cookbooks.

Harry John Barina Jr., 76, Feb. 9; former Bell County assistant district attorney and presiding judge of Bell County Court at Law No. 2 for 18 years.

Monte Derwood “Sonny” Berry Sr., 82, Feb. 11; founder of Lucye’s Place restaurant that became Johnny’s Steaks and Barbecue.

Patricia Anne Lawshe Barton, 87, Feb. 12; supporter of local arts and historical preservation groups, 10-year member of the Bell County Historical Commission.

Jerry Lee Richmond, 77, Feb. 22; owner/operator of Jerry’s Radiator Shop, Belton.

Dr. Thomas R. Rogers, 69, Feb. 23; surgeon at Baylor Scott & White and Central Texas Veteran Health Care System, Temple.

Retired U.S. Marine Lt. Colonel Donald L. Murphy, 92, Feb. 27; master electrician who volunteered to design and install First Baptist Church’s electrical system.


Maria Emilia Sustaita Polendo, 85, March 1; owner of Cedar Creek Lounge.

Jason E. Worsdale, 46, March 3; firefighter. In 2013, he was named Central Bell Fire Department chief.

John Burns Henderson Jr., 86, March 4; Milam County’s longest-serving district attorney who also served as Cameron ISD trustee.

Dr. Donald L. Jernigan, 75, March 7; chairman of the chemistry department at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. He served as president and CEO for AdventHealth.

Alvin Albert Entrop, 83, March 9; former Temple and Fort Hood firefighter.

Frank Eugene “Gene” Martin, 77, March 9; former Temple Bible Church missions pastor.

Harvey David Pittman, 82, March 11; owner of Pittman Hardware who also served as Moody’s city administrator and later mayor.

Minnie Marie Biskup Simcik, 79, March 17; former Scott Elementary school teacher.

Milton Wayne Martin, 85,March 18; longtime Baptist missionary.

M.E. “Jimmy” Taylor, 79, March 18; retired commercial contractor who founded Ace Inc. and Drywall Systems, Inc.

Arthur Allen Wallace, 89, March 20; former florist and licensed funeral director.

Retired Sgt. Maj. George Willard Crawford, 93, March 20; former Belton City Councilman.

Virginia Bell Nance Hawthorne, 93, March 23; nurse with Temple Medical Clinic.

Charles “Chuck” Thomas Kowaleski, 64, March 23; conservationist and urban fish and wildlife biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife who created and produced the first electronic learning versions of Project WILDClyde Jones, 86, March 25; country and gospel musician.

Bonnie Ann Norman, 81, March 26; artist who worked at the Temple Public Library.

John Bigham Hagler, 95, March 27; charter city councilman and mayor pro tem for Little River-Academy and Academy ISD trustee for 12 years.

Karen Elaine Pruitt, 73, March 27; special education teacher.

Alma Juanita “Nita” Slocombe, 83, March 28; Realtor with Sunburst Reality.

Kathryn Ann Vaughan Brisbin, 70, March 29; Gem Pawn Shop manager for more than 20 years, started Central Texas Computer Club in the early 1980s.


Clint “Skeeter” Ralston, 92, April 3; inducted into the Bell County Cowboy Ring of Honor in 2016.

John Abenter “Big John” Robinson Sr., 89, April 6; R&B and country-western guitarist.

Travis Cox, 94, April 8; owner of Panel Builders and Industrial Electric Service.

JoAnn Lloyd, 83, April 10; Boy Scout volunteer.

Hagan Jones, 20, April 11; former youth minister at Lakeview Baptist Church, Belton.

Jeannette Mayfield Kelley, 83, April 12; Belton ISD educator who launched Project Apple Tree to provide back-to-school items for low-income families. A recipient of the Mayborn Humanitarian Award, she also as served Belton ISD trustee.

Trinidad Estrada Palomino Jr., 81, April 10; Tejano musician.

Bernice Gladys May, 85, April 18; owner/operator of Southside Beauty Shop in Little River for more than 60 years.

Terrance Miller “Terry” Mains, 75, April 23; photographer.

Bell County Sheriff’s Deputy John Andrew Rhoden, 31, April 26; killed in the line of duty in a vehicle-pedestrian accident.

Bell County Sheriff’s Sgt. Robert L. Pettigrew, 59, April 27; deputy who served as a D.A.R.E. officer and operations sergeant.

Gordon Warren Robertson, 69, April 28; pediatric psychotherapist at Baylor Scott & White McLane’s Children’s Medical Center.

D.R. Jones, 77, April 30; owner of Shiny Top Ranch, Salado, a hunting lodge.

Mary Katherine Walrath, 30, April 30; military wife and senior family readiness spouse advisor for the Army’s Recruiting Command. She was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. In 2019, she received the Texas Department of Education “Hero for Children” award.


Michael Monroe “Mike” Myers, 65, May 3; key account manager for Jack Hilliard Distributing Co. who provided hunting guide services on Fort Hood land. William Harold “Bill” Burgwin Jr., 89, May 4; McLane Co. human resources manager.

Ernest Gray Aiken, 60, May 6; draftsman known for geodesic dome creations. Jerry Wayne Hilliard, 83, May 6; official judge for American Racing Pigeon Association who was inducted into the Bell County Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2018.

Mollie Avagene Wilkinson Spoonts, 95, May 9; secretary to Telegram publishers for 25 years.

Marjorie Baum Rynearson, 84, May 10; actress and playwright who founded the Temple Civic Theater in 1968.

Clyde McQueen, 93, May 13; author of a comprehensive history of Texas African-American churches and a book on desegregation of the U.S. military.

Andrew William Hollas, 88, May 21; Little River volunteer fireman.

David A. Haehn, 62, May 22; founder of Hogs for a Cause, a sportsmen’s ministry.

Silas Floyd Akin, 93, May 24; city of Temple purchasing agent and personnel director.

Lanita Allamon Murray, 91, May 24; staff nurse and supervisor at King’s Daughters Hospital for 50 years.


Bobby Donald Bridges, 92, June 1; former owner of Bridges Grocery, Temple.

Larry Clowers, 61, June 2; Temple ISD math teacher who officiated football for more than 30 years.

Wilma Kolay Shaffner, 91, June 4; former owner of Pop’s Family Restaurant, Temple.

James Edward “Slim” Hand, 67, June 8; leader of the James Hand Band, named Honky Tonk Male Performer of the Year and starred in the 2014 SXSW original feature film “Thank You a Lot.”

Bennett Vivian Bonner Curtis, 88, June 11; former teacher at Meridith-Dunbar Early Childhood Academy, Temple, who collected Bell County African-American history.

Michael “Mickey” Wade , 77, June 13; Belton attorney, former Belton city councilman 1981-1989 and Belton mayor 1986-1989. 1988 Belton Man of the Year.

Jerry Don Knox, 72, June 15; chief operator of Bell County Water Control & Improvement District No. 1 for 30 years.

Doran Calvin “D.C.” Perryman, 95, June 23; former Moody ISD board president.

Jared W. “Jed” Olcott, 70, June 24; Amtrak agent for 30 years.

Kenneth Dwain Marshall, 83, June 25; former Temple ISD choral music supervisor and Temple High choral director who created the Polyfoniks.

Marjorie “Ms. B” Boniface Balz, 96, June 30; Mental Health-Mental Retardation staff member and member of Arc, an organization protecting rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Shari Cunningham Wilson, 82, July 1; Miller Heights Elementary fourth-grade teacher for 22 years.

Liza Farrow-Gillespie, 67, July 3; managing partner of a law firm and singer featured on movie soundtracks, TV, albums and commercials.

Sean Lee Eggleston, 32, July 5; homeless man killed by a hit-and-run driver. He was admired by his friends at Feed My Sheep for his willingness to help others.

James Lorenzo Burrell, 80, July 19; among the first African-American teachers Belton ISD hired after integration. He served the district for 53 years. Jesse L. Aubrey, 61, July 21; UIL basketball official.

Donald Ray Keen, 87, July 29; former vice president of finance of WilsonArt International.

Celestino “Tino” Solis Jr., 70, July 29; owner of “A Cut Above” lawn care company. He was a drummer for Mike and the Royal Tones.

Martha Frances Schiller Zavodny, 87, July 29; recipient of the SPJST’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her half century of service who worked to preserve Texas-Czech heritage.

Ray Gomez, 75, July 8, and Yolanda Gomez, 73, July 29; master tailors who owned a fine-tailoring and alterations business.

Peter den Harder, 64, July 30; Materials Transportation Co. plant manager, leader in Bible Study Fellowship and avid promoter of soccer.

Bobbie Jean Marshall, 83, July 31; retired Temple College criminal justice professor.


Wilma M. Martin, 107, Aug. 3; known as “the story-teller” of Troy, fondly recalling her school days at Stampede Valley Elementary School.

Abel B. Lopez, 54, Aug. 4; owner of Abel Lopez Masonry.

Mary Jane Winkler Alsup, 73, Aug. 6; organist at St. Paul Lutheran Church, The Grove, for 55 years.

Tense Nabours Tumlinson, 91, Aug. 6; co-founder of the Cameron Emergency Medical Service and first woman to be certified as a rifle, pistol and shotgun instructor in Texas.

Marianne H. Mitschke Luby, 80, Aug. 8; member of Christ the King Catholic Church, Belton, who made more than 50,000 rosaries shipped throughout the world.

Patty Ruth Stinson Alexander, 76, Aug. 8; owner/operator of Patty’s Beauty World for 50 years, retiring in 2017.

Jimmie Nell Jimmerson, 78, Aug. 9; director of environmental services at King’s Daughters Hospital.

James Ervin Fitzhenry, 87, Aug. 15; first director of career services for the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and mentor to countless students. Dr. J.A. “Junior” Reynolds, 90, Aug. 19; former professor of religion and holder of the Briscoe of the Religion and Life Department at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. He contributed to numerous religious published material.

Nella J. Sloan Robinson, 85, Aug. 19; Temple Daily Telegram circulation manager for more than 30 years.

Joseph Eugene “Gene” Campbell, 78, Aug. 20; owner of Ave. M Alternator and Starter, Temple.

Joseph E. “Joe” Winston II, 74, Aug. 21; former coordinator for industrial cooperative training for Temple ISD.

Butch Henry, 80, Aug. 27; youth sports coach and a staple of local sports talk radio.

H. Grady Barganier, 97, Aug. 27; former Troy ISD trustee.

Woodrow “Wild Bill” Hunter, 77, Aug. 28; owner of Hunter Trucking.

Lynette Kattner Crawford, 96, Aug. 29; longtime director of quilting at the Belton Senior Center.

Dale R. Shultz, 62, Aug. 29; former director of Baylor Scott & White corporate compliance.

James Arnold “Jimmy” Howell, Sr., 79, Aug. 31; Jim Howell and the Texas Six-Pack, a local country-western band, and featured singer with Jerry Haisler and the Melody 5.


William “Bill” Henderson, 74, Sept. 2; Temple Police officer for more than 26 years and Western style artist.

Denice Elizabeth Hertless Doss, 65, Sept. 1; director of the Senior Citizens Center and a center for special-needs persons and president of the Rockdale Chamber of Commerce.

Lester Leo Koster, 86, Sept. 4; retired U.S. Department of Agriculture assistant regional inspector general.

Forrest Fenn, 90, Aug. 7; Temple native who became a Santa Fe, N.M., art and artifact dealer and author. His 2010 memoir “The Thrill of the Chase” set off a massive treasure hunt.

Donness Shine, 95, Sept. 9; longtime Jefferson Elementary teacher who became a custom homebuilder.

Patsy Ruth Tyler Tomastik, 84, Sept. 11; owner/operator of Little River Dragway and youth leader of SPJST Lodge 177 in Academy for 13 years.

Dr. Charles M. Stephens, 85, Sept. 18; Temple optometrist.

Carmen Vasquez Lingo, 85, Sept. 18; owner and operator of Carmen’s Mexican Restaurant.

Donna Ann Sodek Baird, 72, Sept. 22; promoter of softball who started a softball league for the Belton’s handicapped youth.

David Lawrence Green, 66, Sept. 23; social worker who received the Laura “Pat” Taylor Employee of the Year from the Bell County Judge and Commissioners’ Committee on People with Disabilities.

Ronnie Wayne Oldham, 76, Sept. 26; Temple patrolman, Nolanville chief of police and a Bell County sheriff’s deputy.

Robert Dean “Bob” Kennedy, 93, Sept. 28; co-founder of Superior Chaircraft Co., president of the National Office Products Association, Belton’s mayor 1979-1981, Belton ISD president and Belton’s Man of the Year.

Roy Wayne Clark, 75, Sept. 29; pastor of Faith Bible Church, Temple.


George William “Butch” Pavelka Jr., 78, Oct. 2; financial secretary for the Knights of Columbus Lodge No. 3444 for 30 years, disc jockey for Czech Polka Time Melody Hour, former president of SPJST Lodge and musician.

Mary Jo Clark-Byars, 80, Oct. 6; nurse who sang with several gospel music groups.

Gerald Hoyt “Jerry” Ledyard, 82, Oct. 8; cartographer for the USDA Soil Conservation Service who worked developing early GPS systems.

Leonard “Grady” Pomykal, 79, Oct. 9; former president of Troy Area Fair Boosters who served on the Bell County Youth Fair Board, Cen-Tex Young Farmers Association and Central Texas Barbeque Association.

Donnie Lou Brentham, 82, Oct. 10; co-founder of Hydra-Gym Athletics and Belton’s Christian Youth Center. She was voted outstanding Altrusa President of the Region.

James A. Lambert, 77, Oct. 11; volunteer Bible teacher and recipient of the City of Temple Parks and Leisure Volunteer of the Year award. He was former associate pastor for East Highway Baptist Church.

William R. “Bill” White, 95, Oct. 15; owner of Bill White Automotive who was a Central Texas auto racing champion and inducted into the Wall of Fame at the Heart of Texas Speedway. Served three terms as the first city marshal for Little River-Academy.

Patriciann Hinds Coufal, 73, Oct. 24; artist and art teacher.

Dr. Duane Alfred Barnett, Oct 24; former surgeon at the Central Texas Veterans Center.

Ace L. Chlapek, 78, Oct. 31; former conservation specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and a founding member of the Evangelical Brethren Church, Temple.


Edith Dois Ryan Roskey, 90, Nov. 3; owner of several Temple beauty shops.

The Rev. Chester Harrison, 94, Nov. 4; retired pastor of Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, Temple, who served for 27 years as a school crossing guard.

Irene Helen Sodek Pagel, 94, Nov. 5; former co-owner with her husband, Preston, of Temple Floral Co.

Michael V. Williamson, 81, Nov. 7; hospital administrator who headed his own health care consulting company and who served on the board of First Care Insurance Co. Robert Francis Deiterman, 85, Nov. 8; former manager of A&P Grocery, Temple. Lloyd “Dale” Scarborough, 77, Nov. 10; owner of Cen-Tex Bathtub Refinishing for 42 years.

Melinda Kay Pitt Newman, 47, Nov. 11; former technology director for Troy ISD.

Claudia Ernestine “Tena” Bruner Deiterman, 75, Nov. 12; beautician for more than 50 years.

Judy Beth McDaniel Knox, 69, Nov. 17; retired manager of hot check department for the Bell County Attorney’s office.

Virginia Jones Calhoun, 87, Nov. 17; longtime Temple ISD elementary school teacher.

Robert “Peanut” Henderson, 57, Nov. 21; Temple Parks and Recreation employee who organized children’s summer camps and helped start the annual Camp Heatwave at the Wilson Park Recreation Center in the mid-2000s.

William Joe “Willie” Matush, 94, Nov. 22; retired director of Temple College’s Arnold Student Union and Bookstore.

Dr. Vernon Daughty Holleman, 89, Nov. 23; Baylor Scott & White internal medicine physician for 62 years, the longest in the institution’s history.

The Rev. Robert A. Hill, 89, Nov. 23; Assemblies of God pastor for 60 years who preached 27 years in Moody.

Dr. Sharon Dianne Necessary, 76, Nov. 24; psychiatrist who devoted her practice to helping veterans and active-duty military personnel.

Alton Lee Sheppard Sr., 96, Nov. 25; owner and operator of Central Radio & TV Supply and Shirley’s Go Kart Track.

Joel Flores, 93, Nov. 25; butcher whose barbecue, chili, stew, menudo and hot sausage were popular items at Kerley’s BBQ.

Roy Harry Voges Jr., 85, Nov. 26; pharmacist for 52 years including at King’s Daughters Hospital.

James Otto Bouldin, 66, Nov. 26; professional singer.


Elizabeth Carolyn Burris Parks, 78, Dec. 3; Academy ISD teacher for more than 20 years and pianist at Taylor’s Valley Baptist Church, Temple, for 25 years.

Phillip Barela Montalbo, 66, Dec. 5; supervisor and building superintendent at the Telegram.

Mary Richardson Smith, 102, Dec. 12; ran Smith Grocery in Academy for 21 years.

Roy Richard Kneese, 90, Dec. 13; former Belton police chief.

C.R. Siprian, 83, Dec. 14; founder of New Hope Ministries.

Thomas O. “Tommy” Ross, 76, Dec. 16; former director of information services for the city of Temple.

Jurea R. Roberts, 49, Dec. 18; minister at Temple of Faith Apostolic Church.

James Earl Rivers, 69, Dec. 20; owner of a refrigeration repair service.

Clyde Jones, 93, Dec. 20; businessman who served on the Belton City Council for nine years and was Belton mayor in 1982-84.

Judy Ann Henry Johnson, 73, Dec. 22; teacher at Rogers ISD for 25 years.

James “Gene” Joplin, 88, Dec. 22; former Baptist minister for 32 years.

Edward G. Lester, 97, Dec. 22; retired assistant chief medical administrator at the Central Texas Veterans Center, Temple.

Billy J. Haire, 89, Dec. 23; owner of a lawnmower repair shop for more than 40 years.

Mary Evelyn Goode Franks, 82, Dec. 26; original owner and operator of two popular Temple restaurants with her late husband, Joseph “Jody” Franks (1932-2012).

Catherine Evelyn Beach Green, 94, Dec. 26; religious educator at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and St. Joseph’s Confraternity of Christian Doctrine program, Cyclone. In 2007, the Catholic Diocese of Austin honored her and her husband, the late Randolph Green, with the Lumen Gentium Award. Leonard Doskocil, 84, Dec. 26; former Cameron police chief for 31 years.

Bettye Lou Hampton Kennedy, 92, Dec. 28; Belton ISD elementary teacher for 23 years.