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Always a Lumberjack: SFA students we lost

Ashley Johnson of Nacogdoches
Aug. 29

Alumni, donors, former faculty and staff members

Karoline V. Ayres '73 & '75 of Nacogdoches
June 8

James M. Brightwell '61 of Garland
Aug. 23

Lucy Canter '50 of Jacksonville
Sept. 15

George C. Corley '57 & '58 of Nacogdoches
July 16

Winell C. Cottingham '82 of Hemphill
May 25

Joseph E. Cucci '69 of Holly Hill, South Carolina
Aug. 20

Dr. Ronald M. Davis '59 of Cleveland
Aug. 6

Jason Darren Ellis '89 of Frisco
May 15

Arthur Ellison '61 & '74 of Bronson
July 24

Royce R. Feaster '75 of Lufkin
June 23

Gwenette R. Ferguson '97 of Houston
Aug. 10

Brenton "Kyle" Finley '83 of Arlington
June 25

Billie L. Fuller '72 of Longview
Aug. 16

Robert K. Gary '59 & '63 of Jasper
Aug. 6

Billy C. Hall '74 of Tyler
June 7

Nelda J. Hammett '61 & '67 of Nacogdoches
Aug. 12

Virginia J. Heath '43 & '51 of Nacogdoches
Aug. 4

Danna O. Huddleston '75 of New Braunfels
July 4

Derek Hutchinson '97 of Houston
Aug. 12

Janie L. Jones '54 of Rusk
Aug. 13

Lincoln H. King '78 & '89 of Carthage
Aug. 16

Helen W. Kinzbach '46 of Waco
July 22

Randall Kneal Kirby '69 of Lindale
March 27

Tamra K. Lang '79 & '86 of Colorado Springs, Colorado
Aug. 14

Walter L. Martin '64 of Lytle
Aug. 16

Louella D. McGee '55 of Deer Park
Aug. 14

Homer R. Metcalf '75 & '80 of Beckville
May 29

Randa J. Moore '17 of Chireno
July 14

Robert W. (Bob) Morisak '68 of Willis
Jan. 17

Cecilia James Ogden '93 of North Richland Hills
Sept. 3

William K. Park '81 of Galveston
July 25

Clifford B. Peavy '88 of Katy
Aug. 3

Margarette O. Pitts '43 & '53 of Nacogdoches
Aug. 10

James R. Pruett '65 & '73 of Jacksonville
Aug. 27

James T. Quitta '54 of Winnfield, Louisiana
Aug. 30

Glenda E. Raines '63 of Kilgore
Aug. 5

Calvin A. Remy '70 of Fort Smith, Arkansas
July 14

Marilyn Y. Rhodes '83 of Longview
Sept. 4

Lisa G. Risner '07 of Lufkin
April 21

Dr. Frank A. Roth II '83 of Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Aug. 15

Devita R. Rowlett-Allen '97 of Longview
Aug. 24

Reed L. Sibley '56 of Boerne
June 16

Mary E. Smith '78 of Baytown
May 28

Joseph H. Stone '66 of Longview
Aug. 9

Jennifer K. Stringfield '08 & '09 and SFA staff member
July 21

Estelle Stroud '81 of The Woodlands
June 9

Kenneth G. Swann '70 of Nacogdoches
July 11

Max Treadwell '51 & '52 of Jacksonville
March 11

Danna L. Turner '79 & '83 of Pollok
June 17

Helen S. Vaughn '03 of Crockett
Sept. 5

Patrick D. Welch '69 of La Grange
June 27

Betty R. Whitener '63 of Lebanon, Tennessee
Aug. 22

James B. Wilkerson '73 & '77 of Lufkin
July 21

Kathleen M. Wilkins '78 of Lufkin
July 25


Oscar Cripps

Oscar Stafford Cripps

Oscar Stafford Cripps, a 1965 and 1970 SFA graduate, passed away Sept. 12.

During his time at the university, Cripps played football for the Lumberjacks. While a student, he met his wife of 55 years, Janette, during a square dance class.

After receiving his bachelor's and master's degrees in physical education from SFA, Cripps began his coaching career as head coach at Hemphill High School. He then moved to Spring Branch ISD as an assistant coach at Westchester High School, where he coached from 1968 to 73, before joining Stratford High School when it opened in 1973 as the school's first campus athletic director and head coach. He was employed with Stratford until 2000. More than 100 student-athletes from Stratford went on to play college football, at least six of them continued to the NFL — two of those playing in Super Bowls.

In 1978, the Stratford Spartans won the 1978 Class 4A State Championship with a perfect 15-0 record. The Spartans played in the 1980 state quarterfinals, the 1987 state championship and 1988 state semifinals. They won seven district championships.

Cripps was twice named the Greater Houston Coach of the Year by the Houston Post and Houston Chronicle. He was named the Texas Coach of the Year by the Sports Writer's Association, named the Spring Branch-Memorial Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1978, selected as the Spring Branch ISD's Man of the Year by the Rotary Club in 1987, and inducted into the Greater Houston Coaches Hall of Honor in 1998, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Ring of Honor in 2004, the AdvoCare Texas Bowl Hall of Honor in 2016, and the Texas High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor. He is a member of the Stephen F. Austin State University Hall of Fame.

Captain James Gilliland

Capt. James Gilliland

A resident of Corpus Christi, Capt. James Gilliland passed away Aug. 4.

After his graduation from Hudson High School in 1969, Gilliland joined the U.S. Air Force. He graduated from SFA in 1978 with a degree in sociology. After receiving his degree, he joined the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer, where he was a member of the special forces Airborne Rangers and Green Berets, graduating second in his class of 400.

Gilliland continued in the Army Reserves after active duty. In civilian life, he owned a construction company and worked in the oil and gas industry as a company man.

Dr. Volker W. Gobel

Dr. Volker W. Gobel

Dr. Volker W. Gobel, former SFA professor of geology, passed away July 30 in Nacogdoches.

Gobel was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1940 and grew up in Wetzlar, West Germany. After finishing his undergraduate studies overseas, he came to the U.S. as a Fulbright Scholar and completed his doctoral degree at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.

When Gobel retired from SFA in 2015, he was the longest-serving faculty member in the department, dedicating almost 42 years of service to the university.

Dr. Bobby H. Johnson

Dr. Bobby H. Johnson

Named SFA Regents Professor from 1992 to 93, Dr. Bobby H. Johnson, professor emeritus of history, passed away Aug. 13.

Johnson joined the university in 1966, teaching American history. During the course of 39 years, he rose through the ranks from assistant professor to professor. Johnson was the author of several books, including "Wiley Post: His Winnie Mae and the First Pressure Suit," "The Coushatta People," and "From Pine Trees to Paper: Interviews with Southland Paper Employees." He also was the author of numerous articles and book reviews, and he conducted many presentations for groups and clubs.

He also was an avid writer of plays, including "East Texas Remembers World War II," "Texas Talks" and "A Texas Tragedy: The New London Explosion." When Johnson was a toddler living in New London with his family, the school exploded, killing almost 300 students and teachers. This experience shaped some of his work as a historian and playwright.

Johnson served as past president of the Texas Oral History Association. He conducted hundreds of oral history reviews, mainly in East Texas on topics that include the oil boom, the Great Depression, the experiences of World War I and World War II veterans, and life on the homefront.

Johnson was honored by the Texas Legislature in 1993 with a resolution of recognition for his work as a writer and teacher.

Senior Master Sgt. Thomas D. Walton

Senior Master Sgt. Thomas D. Walton

Senior Master Sgt. Thomas D. Walton of Lakehills passed away July 14.

A 1981 SFA graduate, Walton was the first in his family to earn a college degree.

Walton served in the U.S. Air Force. He enlisted in 1958 and served in Alaska, Hawaii, Turkey, South Vietnam, Germany and Texas. His entire military career was spent with the U.S. Air Force Security Service.

During his 20-plus years serving his country, Walton earned numerous individual and unit citations and medals, including the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with fourth battle star and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm.

Dr. Joseph Graves McWilliams

Dr. Joseph Graves McWilliams

Dr. Joseph Graves McWilliams, a 1974 SFA graduate and retired professor of mathematics and statistics, passed away Oct. 11.

McWilliams served in the U.S. Navy as petty officer 2nd class during the Vietnam War on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific as a jet engine mechanic.

After the war, McWilliams returned to the states and attended McNeese State University, where he received his bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1972. He continued his education at SFA, receiving a master's degree in mathematics in 1974. In 1981, McWilliams graduated with a second master's degree in statistics from Southern Methodist University. He received his doctoral degree in mathematics from SMU in 1985.

McWilliams began serving on the SFA faculty in 1985, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses. He was a Student Life Award finalist in 1994 and nominated for the university's Teaching Excellence Award in 2002. McWilliams retired from SFA in 2011.

His book, "A First Course in Probability and Statistics," published in 2008, was adopted and used by the university for many years in its introductory probability and statistics course. McWilliams donated all profits from the book to scholarships for SFA students.

Those who wish to contribute to the Dr. Joseph G. McWilliams Scholarship may do so online or by contacting SFA's Office of Development at 936.468.5406.