Obituaries from Houston this week include a mother of seven and a World War II veteran who was the first Black person to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin.
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Here are two of the Houston-area residents who are being remembered this week:
Dr. Llayron Clarkson Sr., 97
Dr. Llayron Clarkson was a World War II veteran and a Texas Southern University professor who left behind children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a brother when he died January 29, 2022, at age 97, according to his obituary.
Clarkson was raised in the Third Ward of Houston, where he “learned the virtues of hard work and Christian principles,” his obituary says. His father died when he was 9, leaving Clarkson’s mother to raise their three children alone. She earned a living as a domestic worker, and Clarkson started taking on odd jobs to support the family.
He graduated from Jack Yates High School in 1940 and learned carpentry, plumbing and electricity through the National Youth Administration. The NYA, a part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, taught skills to youth to help combat unemployment among young adults.
Clarkson was drafted into the Army in 1943 and served in Europe and North Africa. When he returned home in 1947, he became one of the first students at Texas Southern University, which was a school for Black students at the time, and the first to accept Black students in Texas. After earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in mathematics, he went on to the University of Texas at Austin. There, he became the first Black person to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from the university.
Clarkson continued furthering his education, completing post-doctoral work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and attending Stanford University as a Shell Merit Fellow.
He taught at Jack Yates High School for nearly a decade before accepting a position at TSU. He held several positions at the university and founded Clarkson Aerospace, Corp., a research and development engineering firm.
His motto was “If I can help somebody along the way, then my living will not be in vain.” Those wishing to donate in his memory are asked to make a contribution to The Llayron L. Clarkson Endowment for Mathematics at Texas Southern University.
Catherine Fogarty, 91
Catherine Ann Fogarty died at age 91 on January 27, 2022, leaving behind her children, 16 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, and three more expected great-grandchildren, according to her obituary. She raised seven children with her husband, Jack, who preceded her in death.
She was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and she and Jack moved their family to Houston in 1965.
“She was a baseball fan and loved the Cardinals while in St. Louis but became an Astros fan in Houston,” her obituary says. “She was also a fan of any sports team her children or grandchildren were involved in.”
She was a devout Catholic who served as secretary at St. Thomas More Parish for many years, her obituary says.
Fogarty was also an avid bridge player, and had good friends in twice-weekly groups, which she attended up until one month before she died.
Donations can be made to Maryknoll Sisters, P.O. Box 317, Maryknoll, NY, 10545.