Tenneco Retiree Club Newsletter
Volume XXXII, No. 1, February 2011
1. Winter Luncheon 10. Explorer Day Trip Reports
2. Speaker Bio 11. TV Personalities Quiz
3. President’s Letter 12. Directory & Newsletter News
4. Christmas Luncheon Report 13. Website News
5. Membership News 14. In Memoriam
6. Membership Renewals 15. TV Quiz Answers
7. Broadcast Emails To All 16. Club Notes
8. Who’s Where Doing What 17. Luncheon Reservation Form
9. Military Stories
Can You Believe It’s Already Winter Luncheon Time Again?
Yes it’s time to go back to Vargo’s Restaurant for our first luncheon meeting of 2011 – and we’ve lined up a
great speaker! Once again we’ll get to enjoy Vargo’s beautiful gardens, their private lake, their peacocks and
their relaxing walkways. Our luncheon date is Wednesday, March 2nd beginning at 11 AM for our social
hour. Our meal will be served at noon. The restaurant’s address is 2401 Fondren Road in Houston. It’s easy
to find - just 3/10ths of a mile north of Westheimer. The restaurant is on the right (east) side of Fondren.
As always, please complete your reservation form (to be found as an insert in this newsletter – or download
and print it if you are receiving your newsletter via the internet) and mail it with your check to be received no
later than Friday, February 25th. Please remember, registration is a must and it’s due in advance – not at the
door - no exceptions!
Mark your calendars now and make plans to attend – and bring a guest or a prospective member!
2011 March Luncheon Details
Guest Speaker – Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale (see a brief bio following this article)
Date: Wednesday, March 2nd
Place: Vargo’s Restaurant, 2401 Fondren Road Houston
Time: 11:00 AM - Social Hour - There will be a cash bar. Prices: Beer $4; Wine & Mixed drinks $6. (No
Noon - Luncheon:
Vargo’s is offering three entrée selections. Please make your choice on your reservation form:
Chicken Marsala, Grilled Salmon or Grilled Pork Loin. Included will be a house salad, chef’s selection
of vegetables, and dessert (chocolate mousse cake) plus iced tea and coffee. You will need to
indicate your choice of entrée on your reservation form in the space provided.
Cost: Members: $29.00 per person
Guests: $31.00 per person
We will have a private area of the restaurant set aside for our luncheon and speaker. This includes a better
(than last year) oriented layout for our guest speaker and for more ease of viewing for our patrons.
Important Note: Please mail your reservations to Mary McClanahan at her address shown on the reservation
form. This is the only address you should use for reservations. As stated above, your reservations and
advance payment must be received by Friday, February 25th.
Please Don’t Leave Lunch Too Early! – by Mike Kees
This is a repeat from our last newsletter but it still applies so please read on! Since we only meet four times a
year, it seems maybe we should extend these visits just a little bit. Granted the pre-luncheon social hour is
great but why rush off as soon as you eat?! Consider hanging around, let all that good food settle a bit and
continue visiting with everyone. Hey, we’re retired – we’ve got the time!
Getting To Know Our March Luncheon Speaker – by John Bacon & Mike Kees
Our speaker is no doubt known to just about everyone with a TV. Jim McIngvale is a successful and
prominent Houston businessman and the owner of Gallery Furniture. Gallery was built from a small tent
location offering mattresses for sale. Today, two dynamic store locations offer complete household
furnishings. Active in numerous civic programs and community activities, he’s more commonly known as
"Mattress Mack” to his friends, customers and the entire community. We are sure you will enjoy hearing from
our guest speaker and the motivation his personality inspires in most everyone.
What the Prez Says - by Bill Ledbetter
Greetings to all members of the Tenneco Retiree Club. On behalf of your Officers and Directors, I hope that
you are off to a very happy and healthy new year in 2011.
The board has already had its first meeting of the year in January and many activities are underway to make
2011 a fun year for all members. Mike Kees is leading the charge for the first TRC Newsletter of 2011 which
you are now reading. Also, mark your calendars for our Winter Luncheon at Vargo's with its beautiful scenery
on Wednesday, March 2nd. See further details on this luncheon elsewhere in this edition.
Looking down the road, please plan on attending the May BBQ at Bear Creek Park on Friday, May 20th.
Further details on this very popular luncheon will be sent out well in advance so that you can register and sign
up on a timely basis. A second BBQ will be on Friday, September 30th. Please mark your calendars now so
that you’ll be sure and join the fun and mingle with your fellow Tenneco friends at both of these events.
One last note that I'd like to ask your help with. We are trying to spread the word about the Tenneco Retiree
Club to other retirees that are not currently members of our organization. Several of the board members are
vowing to sign up some new members in 2011 and we're challenging each of you as well to think of any former
Tenneco associates that might enjoy joining our Club. If several members could "recruit" just one new
member each, our Cub would experience sizable growth. Thanks for your help on this important objective.
Thanks for allowing me to serve as your President for 2011. I look forward to seeing you at Vargo's on March
2010 Retiree Christmas Luncheon Held at Houston’s Junior League - by Mike Kees
On December 6th our Retiree Club hosted its annual Christmas Luncheon. As always, it was a festive
occasion with 131 members and guests attending. The Junior League staff once again provided excellent
service and food for our entire group. Lots of warm reunions and fond memories were exchanged during both
the social hour preceding lunch and during the meal itself. Good food and the Junior League’s famous pecan
ball made for a most satisfying event.
There’s always a little business to attend to so we were formally introduced to our new officers and directors for
the upcoming year. Tony Allison, outgoing president, turned over his duties to Bill Ledbetter for 2011. Joining
Bill are John Bacon, Vice President, Terry Bailey, Secretary and Jeff Stagg, Treasurer. New board members
include Allyn Stott, Jo Ann Swinney McLaughlin and Alton Milrany. Mary McClanahan relinquished her role as
Secretary but will remain as a board member, filling the one remaining year of John Bacon’s director term.
Remaining on the board for the second year of their terms are Howard Stockstill and Mary Ann Wingfield.
Retiring from the board are LeRoy Laycock, John Watson and Fred Boecker with an expression of gratitude for
their service from Bill Ledbetter.
Jeanette Dansereau & Laurie Tingley Dick & Mary Scroggin
This year we welcomed a return of the Deci-Belles, a barbershop singing style group of ladies (27 in number)
who regaled us with many songs of the season. Quite a few tunes had some very entertaining twists on old
favorites making for a delightful presentation. All told, they sang 15 songs for our group. Seems like all
thoroughly enjoyed the Deci-Belles!
Many folks stuck around after our meal and entertainment to continue talking and visiting with old friends. As
always, we all pause in our own way to remember those who are no longer with us.
John Hibbs was kind enough to make several pictures and you’ll find them all on our website. We simply don’t
have room to print them all in our newsletter.
Finally, no luncheon is complete without a drawing for free meals at the next gathering. The lucky winners who
will dine free at our March luncheon at Vargo’s are:
Jay Harrington Jim Spencer Laurie Tingley
Welcome New Members! – by Joe Keen, Jeff Stagg & Mike Kees
Again, we are pleased to welcome new members to our Club as of January 24th - in three different categories!
First, here are some folks who are new to our group, having worked for and/or retired from the company.
These include: Judy Kay Bayersdorfer (TGP), Joyce Nobles (TEN), Deana Funderburk (Tenneco Mgt.),
James Gernentz (Tenneco Gas), Peter W. “Pete” Ten Eyck (TGP), William Mei (TGP), Richard (TGP) &
Rhonda (TEN) Sacco, and Anne Hansel (TGP).
Next we have several spouses of some existing members who are joining us for the first time. These include:
Carol Christi whose husband, Ronald, retired from TGP; Dixie Neidhardt whose husband, Ralph, retired from
TGT; Jackie Smith whose husband, Glenn, retired from TGP; Sylvia Jordan whose husband, Lynn, retired
from Tenneco Gas, Julia G. Wilkins whose husband, John, retired from TGP, Vicki Heard, whose husband,
Jim, retired from TEN and Nell D. Clay whose husband, Marcus, retired from TGP.
Finally, we’d like to welcome back one member who is renewing after a short time away. So welcome back
Audrey Uffen, a retiree from Tenneco Inc.!
We look forward to seeing each and every one of you at our March luncheon as well as at our barbeques,
Christmas Luncheon and, of course, all our monthly day trips!
Sure hope that we’ve gotten each and every name accurately. If we failed, please let us know the correct
spelling via an email to our webmaster at www.tennecoretiree.com or a call to any board member. Thanks!
As you know, your Club has an ongoing effort to reach out to all former Tenneco employees to encourage their
participation in our organization. Please keep your eyes and ears open for any former associates and invite
them to join our group! Remember, anyone - and their spouse - who worked for any Tenneco company
for just one year (or more), is eligible to join our ranks! Help us get the word out to any and all potential
members. You know there are still quite a few candidates out there!
As of January 26th we have received 615 membership renewals and new member applications for 2011. That
means many of you have not yet renewed. If you fail to renew for 2011, please note that this will be your
last newsletter, you will no longer have access to our website and member prices to each of our
luncheons will no longer be available to you. So if you’ve let this little bit of business go unattended, please
mail in your renewal application with your check today! Just send it to Jeff Stagg at the address shown in the
next paragraph. Any membership inquiries should be referred to our Membership Chair Joe Keen, at 713-868-
4874 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit the Club’s website at www.tennecoretiree.com for a
downloadable application form. Please remember that contact information for all members is contained on our
website and is available to all current members only!
2011 Club Membership Renewals – by Mike Kees
If you haven’t already mailed in your 2011 renewal, please note that if your contact information has not
changed, there is no need for you to complete that portion of the form – only the member name(s) is (are)
• 2011 annual membership fee for the “Tenneco” person in the household = $10 (which includes single
members and surviving spouses) or $17.50 per married couple at the same address
You should mail your payment directly to Jeff Stagg, Treasurer, 17011 North Bear Creek Drive, Houston,
Texas 77084-3325. Checks should be made payable to “Tenneco Retiree Club.” Please see the last
paragraph above (under “Welcome New Members”) for more information.
If You’re Not Receiving Our Broadcast Emails, Please Read This – by Mike Kees
We continue to have sporadic difficulties sending various broadcast emails (obituary notices, reminders, etc.)
to some members. If you believe, for any reason, you are not receiving all our various email notifications,
please let us hear from you. You may email our website directly via the link on our homepage at
www.tennecoretiree.com or you may email our webmaster, Allyn Stott, at email@example.com. Feel free to
contact Allyn directly by phone at 713-462-8530 if you so desire. You may also contact Mike Kees at
firstname.lastname@example.org or at 281-474-1225. Thanks for letting us know.
Who’s Where Doing What? – by Larry Loyd
Maxine and Louis Fantini have been busy travelers again. They were in Vail, Colorado during July and
August, then on to France for two weeks in September. They spent one week in Nice with special friends
Carmela and Etienne Rigout. From Nice, they went to Paris for a week with her cousin Pat Edwards and
daughter Melissa King, along with friends Shirley and Joe.
Maxine reports “…in my 33 years at Tenneco I worked for four different presidents, and sadly the last three
died this year – Joe Parrish at 91, Harold Burrow at 95, and Jerry McLeod at only 74.”
Thanks to all who have contributed to the information we share here in each newsletter. Everyone likes to
hear what our fellow Tenneco folks are doing, what activities you’re involved in, what trips you’ve taken, the
volunteer work you’re doing, and simply what’s going on in your life. Keep those cards and letters coming!
You can just jot down information on the back of your Luncheon reservation, or send information to me at
LARMARLOYD@AOL.COM, or Larry L. Loyd at 5518 Judalon, Houston, Texas 77056.
Please Contribute Your Military Experiences!
It’s a repeated plea, but if you have any personal stories regarding your experiences while in the military
(World War II, Korea, Vietnam, peacetime) please consider sharing them. We're asking you to contribute your
memories so that others may know of your sacrifices and insights. Feel free to jot down your story in any way
that works for you and either email your remembrances (to email@example.com) or postal mail them to
Mike Kees, 1807 Rustic Oak Lane, Seabrook, Texas 77586. We'll be more than happy to help you with a little
editing if you so desire. Once these stories are submitted and published in our newsletter they will also be
made available online under the Retiree’s Profile tab on our website.
(Editor’s Note: Club member Barbara Keen is the wife of TGT retiree Joe Keen. The following is a copy of a
letter that Barbara’s mother – Charlotte Sophie Schletzbaum/Porter – wrote to all her children just last year
 to give them her perspective, from the German civilian point of view, of living through WWII. Charlotte is
now 84 years old and lives in Oklahoma. The first paragraph below was written by Joe as an introduction.
Following that is the aforementioned letter from Barbara’s mother and following that are some family pictures
she provided from that era.)
Barbara's father (John Porter, deceased) was US Army in Germany at the end of WWII. He married her
mother Charlotte and brought her to the states. He was in Korea in 1950 when Barbara was born. The family
was stationed in Germany, Washington state, Texas, and Oklahoma. Charlotte lived through WWII in Munich,
Germany. Her father survived both WWI and WWII. Her grandfather was head coachman for the Prince
Regent of Bavaria, and his wife was the governess of their children. She still has a clock given to her
grandfather by the Prince Regent.
Letter from Charlotte Sophie (Schletzbaum/ Porter) Leal, mother of Club member Barbara Keen
To All my children:
For some time I’ve been thinking of writing down the story of my early years. Time seems to be just flying by
and we’re all scattered far and wide.
I was born in Muenchen, Deutschland, (Munich, Germany) and had a very normal childhood considering we
didn’t own a car, telephone TV or refrigerator.
My father, Michael Josef Schletzbaum was born 1893 in Kirchdorf a.Inn, in the foothills of the Alps just a few
train stations before Kufstein, Tirol. His parents, Michael Konrad and Marie Schletzbaum were already
deceased before I was born. My grandfather was the teacher in the village; he also played the organ in church.
My grandmother taught knitting, embroidery etc., she played the zither, which then was a popular instrument.
My dad was a veteran of WWI and worked for the City (Hoch & Tiefbauamt).
My mother, Amalie (geb.Zollitsch) born in 1879 was Muenchnerin and her parents were Josef and Marie
Zollitsch. They lived in the centrum of Munich around the corner from Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten. My Oma and
Opa played a big part in my early years along with Tante (aunt) Marie and Tante Milly.
Toni, my half brother was nine years older than I and lived with us only intermittently. He was drafted into the
Wehrthacht (Gebirbsjaeger) and was killed in 1941 in Kiev, Russia, now Ukraine.
We lived in an apartment complex in Untergiesing in the south of Munich close by the Tierpark (Zoo). It was a
4 story building and we lived on the 2nd Floor, Jakob Gelbplatz 3. Streetcar #5. I went to school, Kindergarten
through 8th at the Agilolflngerschule. My school hours were from 8-12 and 2-4. So I walked about 2 miles 4 x a
day since we went home for lunch. Girls and boys were taught separately and we stayed with the same
teacher in one room all year. The exception was the parish priest who came twice a week to teach one hour of
religion. We learned to swim at the Volksbad and had a separate teacher for homemaking. There were no
Bavaria is predominantly Roman Catholic. Our lives and culture were very much involved in the church. You
might say our second language was Latin. Friday mornings before school I went to mass, on Saturdays once a
month to confession. Of course Sunday mass. The month of May was dedicated to Holy Mary, so evenings we
went to Maiandacht (Rosary). A big event was first Communion and Firmung (confirmation). I got my first
watch then and Tante Marie took me to the Botanical Garden. After the Weimar Republic collapsed we ended
up with 3 political factions: The Communists (red), the National Socialists (brown) now commonly called Nazis
and the Conservative Religious (black). My family belonged to the latter. I recall going with my parents to vote
at our school, must have been in 1936, they voted for Hindenburg. My mother was a Hausfrau (housewife) and
frugal wasn’t the word. We shined our shoes and mended socks and stockings. I always had to wear an apron
at home. I learned to knit early on, so we knitted our own socks, mittens and sweaters. In the evening we sat
around the kitchen table and everyone read a book. I wore pigtails till I was a teenager, and then it was a fight
with my Dad to get my hair cut.
Then came Sept 1, 1939 and it changed our lives forever. Hitler had been reversing the results of the Treaty of
Versailles for several years. He wanted all the German territories that had been given to neighbors to come
back to the Reich. England, having dominated the globe for centuries, did not look kindly on up-and-coming
Germany. It all started over the German port city of Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland), when negotiations with
Poland broke down.
In the meantime when I was barely 14, I started my 3 year apprenticeship with Bankhaus Seller & Co.
(formerly Aufhaeuser—Jewish). I went every day on the streetcar downtown. It was right by the Dom. I moved
from department to department and I loved it. In my third year I only made 80 Marks; from that I paid my
monthly streetcar pass and my lunches. The other half went to my Mom. At the same time I attended
Bankkaufmann School twice a week where I took math, steno, economics, and English. The war was going
from bad to worse and banking was not considered important for the war. Not Kriegswichlig! So one of my
bosses arranged for me to transfer to Wacker Chemie in bookkeeping (connections, ha). I had that job only a
little while when I was drafted to the RAD (Reichsarbeitsdienst). It was for 1 year, 1/2 in Pleystein on the
Czechoslovakian border on the farm and the other half with the streetcar in Munich. In Pleystein we lived in a
barrack, in bunk beds (I had an upper), 10 to a room. My mother sent me flea powder because we slept on
straw sacks that I had to rearrange in the morning or I would’ve had to sleep on boards. One night we had an
incident where the young guys from the village, home on leave, came to visit. Since I was not involved, but a
witness, I had to testify. After the investigation I was transferred to beautiful Oberammergau for the rest of my
At that time the air raids became so constant we had to go to the cellar almost every night along with one
suitcase and my Federbett (down featherbed). Sleep deprived wasn’t the word, especially when I hailed the
first streetcar of the day and had to walk to the car barn at 4 in the morning. We dreaded a moonlit night and
the sound of the sirens. Our newspaper had obituaries pages full, single spaced, from the night before. We
tried to survive from one day to the next. Then in November 1941 the bombs hit our house and we lost
everything except the clothes on our backs. My mother was in the cellar and just barely escaped. I was in a
stranger’s cellar somewhere in town since it was a daytime attack. What I will never forget is the smell of
broken cement, of smoke in the hair and in our clothes, plus the sound of the bombs. Germany has cold
winters, but the one of 1944/45 was the coldest I’ve ever lived through.
My parents found refuge in Freising in the house my grandfather was born in. It must’ve been over 300 years
old by then and belonged to my Grosstante (Great Aunt) Anna. She rented them the attic. The story was told,
that during Napoleon’s drive through the area in the early 1800’s trying to recruit new soldiers, one of my
ancestors (he was Schaefflermeister and made wooden barrels) hid his son in a wooden doghouse that had an
enormous spider-web in the front He removed the back and nailed it shut again.
I went back to my job at Wacker Chemie (chemical). I was assigned a room with a family close by where Tante
Marie lived in Haidhausen. By then the air raids were so disruptive it was impossible to conduct business and
my company moved the whole bookkeeping department to Burghausen a.Salzach (on the border with Austria)
where the factory was located. There I shared a room with a colleague. Our firm had a contract with the nuns
of the local convent to serve us one meal a day, which was unbelievable considering how little we had to eat.
By then we were all on ration coupons, I believe it was 400 gr. of meat per person per month. The nuns worked
a big garden and we had vegetables a lot.
We were pretty much isolated down there, so my boss asked me daily to go to his room where he had a radio
to take down the Wehrmachtsbericht (war news) in steno which I then posted on the bulletin board. It made me
acutely aware that the Russians were coming up the Danube preceded by awful rumors, which turned out to
be so true. So I quit my job and took the last train out of Burghausen. We made it only halfway before a single
aircraft attacked us. Everyone was running into the woods looking for the biggest tree to hug. After the ack ack
of the machine gun subsided we saw our locomotive up in smoke and we all were on foot. My suitcase held
everything I owned, so I walked and hitchhiked all the way to Freising. I arrived there in the middle of the night.
My Mom was there alone since my Dad had been drafted in the last weeks of the war to the Volkssturm. It was
a unit comprised of all the old men and young boys to make a last stand to defend the Vaterland. It was the
end of April 1945 but we had no idea it was the end of the war. We didn’t know what had happened to my
father. He was taken POW and spent 6 months in the Rhineland sleeping on the ground. He came walking
home the end of August looking like a skeleton.
The sound of artillery fire told us the Americans were closing in. For about 2 weeks everything closed down.
There were no open stores, no bread, no milk, no nothing. We heard a rumor that a freight train was
abandoned at the train station, so my cousin and I pulled a little wagon out there and filled a whole sack with
sugar. We walked by patrolling Amis (that’s what they were called), both of us shaking like a leaf. Then we
went up to the German barracks scrounging for anything we could find. A unit had confiscated the hotel in front
of our house. We went there every morning to beg for the coffee grounds before they threw them out. By then
a military government took over and we were on ration coupons again.
I found a job with Steinecker & Sohn, a construction company with Ziegelei (brick factory). He also was an
architect. I worked for him almost three years. That made up my seven (work) years for which I’m still receiving
a small pension from Germany.
Charlotte (1944) working Charlotte’s Grandfather Zollitsch - coachman, driving Luitpold,
on the streetcar Prince Regent of Bavaria (1821-1912)
Charlotte’s father, Josef Schletzbaum, (6 from left, back row), WWI 1913
Tenneco Retiree Club Day Trip Reports - by Earl Sturgeon
Guided Tour of Houston’s Bay Area – November 11, 2010
For this trip all of our Explorers were on time and eager for another adventure. Weather is always a factor but
through the years the weather has been kind to us as we have had very few interruptions. The forecast for this
day was scattered showers. We were very fortunate again as we saw evidence of rain but only felt light
sprinkles. By mid afternoon it was a bright and sunny day.
We traveled to the Bay Area Community Center located on NASA Road One. There we picked up Kathleen
Hill, our guide for the day, and three more Explorers. She is a very delightful person that likes people and
history and decided to become a tour guide about a year ago. She kept a running dialog going for most of the
day, explaining what we were seeing and the history behind it.
Our first point of interest, the James West mansion, was close by. Mr. West made his fortune from lumber,
cattle and oil, the same route most of the early land barons used. His home, consisting of 17,000 sq. ft., is now
vacant and for sale. It is thought the property will be bought for its acreage. We moved north towards Taylor
Lake Village, saw some deer near the roadside, and passed the UH Clear Lake Campus. They have a
beautiful location and plenty of room for growth.
We drove through Armand Bayou Park, a very pretty site, and not far away we stopped at the Armand Bayou
Nature Center, the largest wildlife preserve in the U.S. To adequately see the Center a lot of walking is
required so we took a rain check. Mrs. Hill told us as much as she could about its value.
From here we worked our way east toward Seabrook and Galveston Bay. We passed many beautiful homes
and very pretty scenery. It was good to see how other people live. The next attraction was the new 1.4 billion
dollar Bay Port Terminal. It has the latest equipment for unloading vessels and there seemed to be much
activity. There were literally acres of shipping containers waiting to be loaded on ships or rail lines. We were
told that the Port of Houston ranks No.1 in the U.S. for handling foreign tonnage. Nearby is the new 81 million
dollar Cruise Ship Terminal still waiting to be used. It was built and so far the cruise ships have not come.
Our next stop was at Pine Gully Park that is located by the Bay. It has a long fishing pier that extends into the
Bay. The pier was completely destroyed by Hurricane Ike but has already been rebuilt. The storm surge at
this location was twelve feet. There is no fee for using the park if you are a Seabrook resident but it cost $20 if
you are not. We followed the Bay and all of the homes were in good shape. Our guide said they had all been
repaired or were new.
It was now time for an important stop - lunch. The Outrigger Restaurant was selected. It is located under the
Hwy. 146 bridge that is across the water from Kemah. We could see several marinas and the Kemah
Boardwalk from this spot. We were hungry and the food was very good. We had our choice of several sea
foods and I think everyone enjoyed it. As we were leaving we took our group picture on one of their ramps.
We had been told that a seafood market was included in our tour and to bring along a cooler if we wanted to
take home some of the latest catch. Rose‘s Seafood Market was in a small building that was completely
destroyed by the hurricane. They built a new, larger and more modern one close by. They have a very
efficient operation. The place is very clean and the seafood is displayed in a pleasing manner. After you make
your selections, the items are trimmed in the way you desire and packed in ice for your trip home. Some of the
fish were very large and it was interesting just to view the various items. In one corner there was a square
metal bin full of blue crabs. Nothing was moving and of course there was talk if they were alive and maybe just
sleeping. Bill Ledbetter and Claude Cox decided to stir them up a little. Yes, they were alive and yes, they are
very quick with their claws.
Group Photo Made at Outrigger’s Restaurant – 11/11/10
The bus now headed south to League City for us to see some Longhorn cattle. There we met Cindy
Schnuriger. She and her husband have degrees in Animal Science and manage the Anchor T Ranchette (a
small ranch). The ranch is trying to preserve and expand the Longhorn breed. It is more popular now because
the meat has much less fat than other breeds. The ranch specializes in producing prized animals, some we
were able to see. In 2009 they had both the No.1 bull and the No.1 female in the world. Cindy told us a lot
about the animals. Both the male and female grow horns. The Longhorns were the first breed of cattle
brought to America having come with Columbus on his third voyage. The voyage landed in what is now
Mexico and it was 200 years later when they entered the U.S. through Louisiana and Texas. The ranch is also
a wildlife habitat. There seemed to be birds everywhere.
This trip turned out to be a “homecoming” for one of our Explorers. As we were having lunch, Kay Laycock
pointed out the location of her parents’ summer home when she was a child. She has fond memories. When
we were talking to Cindy about the Longhorns, Cindy mentioned a dairy farm close by. Kay asked her the
name of the farm and it turned out to be the one Kay’s grandparents had owned.
Our last stop for the day was at Rocket Park on the grounds of the Johnson Space Center. It is an area where
some of the earlier rockets are on display. They are all in a vertical position except one, the larger Saturn that
is in a horizontal position. It was apparently deteriorating in the open air so a metal building was built to protect
it. The rocket is huge - you have to get next to it to realize just how large it is. The stages are separated and
that makes it look longer and larger. The Saturn was used in all of the Moon landings.
We thought our guide, Kathleen Hill, did a very good job. It turned out to be an enjoyable, interesting,
informative and educational experience - all of the above. We saw and learned more about the Bay Area than
most of us knew. There were a lot of questions we asked that she could not answer but I am sure she will
continue to learn.
Tour of Houston’s Christmas Lights – December 16, 2010
On all of our tours we have cancellations. It‘s just part of dealing with people our age. For this trip we had a
bus load sign up and had a Wait List of ten people. It is a good feeling when everyone that can go and wants
to go gets to go. We were down to the last day with one vacant seat and one couple still on the Wait List. I
received a call from LaZelle Bradley and she said the day of the tour was her actual birth day and she had just
learned that a friend was giving her a “surprise” birthday party the evening of our trip. She said to keep her
friend from being “surprised” she would cancel their two seats and be ready to go to the party. That allowed
me to take care of the last couple on the Wait List. That, of course, still left one vacant seat. Later that night I
received a call from Lee Roy Cates and he had a friend he would like to bring as a guest. I said “Great”. That
gave us a completely full bus and no one would be left behind. At last, a perfect situation, and that is the way it
was except one couple did not show up before the bus had to leave.
- 10 -
We planned for an early evening meal so we would be ready to view lights as soon as it was dark enough. We
selected Clay’s Restaurant that is located on Clay Road west of Hwy. 6. It is a large, rustic designed building
that caters to serving families. They have a log cabin behind the main building that was just large enough to
seat our crowd of thirty eight. The food servings were more than ample and tasted very good. I noticed that a
good number of the Explorers left with boxes in their hands.
Our tour of Christmas lights generally followed the same path as last year’s very successful outing. We had
the same driver, Larry Gurka, who also served as the tour guide. He is very knowledgeable about the history
of the areas we toured. The traffic was still very heavy as we started our tour but we made better time as the
Our first viewing was in the Spring Shadows subdivision located in the area of Gessner and Kempwood. The
highlight was the home of Ray Johnson, son of the developer of Spring Shadows and Memorial City Mall. His
large home is located in a cul-de-sac that is vacant except for his home. The vacant land is planted in live
Christmas trees that are all decorated. Besides the house there are all kinds of other decorations such as
lollipops, cookies, ice cream cones and a gingerbread house. We were told that some of the decorations used
in the Mall turn up the next year in his yard.
Our next area to tour was Tanglewood. This subdivision had lights everywhere - on the houses, trees and
shrubs. What is so beautiful are lights in mass and the greatest percentage of homes lit was definitely in this
area. Most of the lights were clear and more and more homes are using the L.E.D. lights that are much
brighter. It is so easy to tell the difference when they are side by side with the regular lights.
We moved on to the Post Oak and Galleria area. There we saw all the trees and lights that are officially lit the
day after Thanksgiving to supposedly start the Christmas Season. It was only a short distance from there to
Highland Village where all of the buildings and stores had the same lighting design. There were huge red
bows on the top of each building.
Our next destination was River Oaks where we were not disappointed with their decorations. Not every house
was decorated but there were many with beautiful lights. We were surprised how many parties were going on -
many more than the day we selected last year. Most of the streets are fairly narrow in River Oaks and with
lines of cars parked on both sides of the street it was not easy for the large bus to maneuver. At one home
Santa Claus was in the front yard. We stopped and he boarded the bus and greeted us. Along with a lot of
Ho, Ho, Ho’s he wished us all a very Merry Christmas. Part of the decorations on one home was a large
Angel, nearly as tall as the house. We drove by Tilman Fertitta’s home and, once again, he had a digital clock
that showed the days, hours and minutes until Christmas Day.
- 11 -
Santa, on the bus, greeting the Explorers – 12/16/10
It was only a short distance to Downtown where we observed both the street and store decorations. We drove
around Discovery Green Park and there were lots of people taking in the various attractions. The largest
crowd was at the outdoor skating rink. Just south of town we toured the Scott Terrace subdivision. A couple of
the streets had lighted arches across the street and every home had some decoration. We stopped at the
home of Gladys Jones and she boarded the bus to welcome us. Every inch of her yard is covered with various
The home that should win the Grand Prize for Houston lighting decorations was our last stop of the evening.
We saw it last year and, if possible, there seemed to be more lights added. The home is located near the
intersection of Briar Forest and Seagler in the Briargrove Park subdivision. There are solid L.E.D. lights of
different colors on each outside wall and the roof. The sidewalk and trees are lined with lights. Above the
home, not attached to the roof, is Santa with his sleigh full of toys, led by Rudolph and the other reindeers,
flying over. It was quite a finish to a very enjoyable evening.
Guided Tour of Huntsville - Thursday, January 13, 2011 – by Jim Spencer (pinch hitting for Earl Sturgeon)
It was a small, but hardy bunch that boarded the bus in the early morning light. The temperature was about 34
degrees and cloudy. Little did we know that this would be the high temperature for the day until we returned to
Houston in the afternoon. Everyone was on time and we left around 8:00 AM. Due to dental surgery the
previous day, Earl Sturgeon and his sidekick, Sunny, were unable to lead this trip.
- 12 -
Group Photo – Tour of Huntsville, 1/13/2011
Our first stop was the Visitor Center at the Sam Houston Statue off I-45 south of Huntsville. We were
welcomed with free coffee and a warming fireplace inside the Visitor Center. A video was shown that told how
the statue came about. David Adickes, the creator of Big Sam, began the project in early 1992. It was
completed and dedicated to the City of Huntsville on October 22, 1994. The statue is 67 feet high and is the
world’s tallest statue of an American Hero. It is comprised of 60 tons of concrete and steel and rests on a 10
foot Texas sunset granite base. The statue is visible from I-45 northbound for 6.5 miles. A fact, which I had
never heard before, is that a Sears Roebuck Batch Mixer that was used to mix the concrete was left inside the
body of the statue for future generations to wonder about if it is ever found.
Grady Easley, a volunteer guide for the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce, joined our bus at this point to
provide a driving tour of the Huntsville area. He pointed out the Elkins Lake development on the west side of I-
45 that was named for Judge Elkins of Vinson, Elkins law firm in Houston. We passed by the Goree Prison
facility that once housed all female prisoners for the State of Texas. It now houses 1500 male inmates that are
being taught the art of brick masonry. We noticed that all the flags were flying at half-staff for the tragedy at
We next visited the campus of Sam Houston State University and were told that it is older than the University
of Texas. We were shown the building that is the oldest education building west of the Mississippi still in daily
use. There is a lot of construction underway on campus – new buildings and a recently completed football
stadium complex. The campus is also the home of the first cheerleading school in the State of Texas. We
passed by one of the many municipal parks – this one named after Thomas Henry Ball, the namesake for
Tomball, Texas. The county courthouse square has been updated with paintings on most of the buildings
around the square in addition to the courthouse itself. Across from the courthouse stands the Gibbs Family
office building, supposedly the oldest continuously operated family business in Texas. We were shown the site
of the first school in Huntsville which is now the headquarters for H.I.S.D. It took some of us a few minutes to
understand that stood for Huntsville Independent School District, not Houston.
Our bus stopped at the gravesite of Sam Houston in Oakwood Cemetery. The grave is marked by a large
concrete headstone with a sculptured picture of Sam Houston astride his horse, Saracen. William Jennings
Bryan was the speaker at the dedication of the site. Nearby, there were gravestones to mark the graves of 7
Union soldiers that died from yellow fever while on duty in Texas following the Civil War. A statue celebrating
the “Tennessee Volunteers” who fought for Texas Independence is across the road.
- 13 -
The last part of our guided tour was to see the original Walls Unit prison in downtown Huntsville. It is still in full
use today. The prisoners make uniforms, learn auto mechanics and have opportunities to better themselves.
An old building across the street, that at one time was used to store cotton from which the material for
Confederate uniforms was made, is still in daily use for storage today. The stadium for the Texas Prison
Rodeo is still close by, but needs to be torn down. We passed by the Prison Conference Center, formerly the
warden’s home, and the Prison Library, where the infamous hostage situation took place in the 1970’s. Our
bus stopped to take a look at the Joe Byrd Cemetery, site of prisoner burials, if the prisoner’s family does not
choose to handle the burial themselves. There are around 50 – 60 burials each year, and the cemetery is well
Having a little time before we were to eat lunch, we were taken to the Sam Houston Historical Museum in a
lovely park in downtown Huntsville. The park contains several buildings, moved from other locations, which
were part of Sam Houston’s life. The “Steamboat House”, where he died, is here, and a pond, in the shape of
Texas, is one of the focal points of the park. We saw a film about Sam Houston’s life and the many
accomplishments that made him an American Hero.
We enjoyed lunch at the Farmhouse Café in downtown Huntsville. Everyone seemed to enjoy the “blue plate
specials” served there. There was more than enough food served, and I observed several to-go containers
return to the bus. Following lunch, the bus returned to the Visitor Center where we bid goodbye to our guide,
Our final stop for the day was the Texas Prison Museum off I-45 north of Huntsville. Following an eight minute
film about the history of the Texas Prison System, we were free to walk about the museum and read and/or
observe many items or people we may have heard about over the years. According to the guide at the
museum, it currently costs $47 per day to feed, house and maintain each prisoner in Texas. Former warden,
O.B. Ellis, is credited with leading the biggest change in the handling of prisoners. The Ruiz case in 1972,
where prisoner Ruiz sued the state regarding prisoner rights, led to greater use of parole as a means of prison
population control. In the early 1990’s, the number of prison beds increased from 54,000 to 150,000. Texas
prisons are not considered “country club” facilities, but hard work is the way of life. Inmates begin their days
early and either go to work or go to class – no sitting around watching television. Some inmates, who achieve
trustee status, work in community service projects.
The five prisons inside the city limits of Huntsville house 9000 inmates, and the other four prisons within a 20
mile radius of Huntsville house an additional 9000 inmates. The Wynn Unit is where they make our license
plates. In 1924, the State of Texas began using the electric chair (“Old Sparky”) for executions. Its use was
terminated in 1964 after 361 prisoners had been executed. You can view “Old Sparky” at the museum. It is a
very interesting museum regarding prison history, infamous prisoners, prison breaks, and other things that
affect all Texan’s lives one way or another. An interesting sidelight was the discussion Ann Landry, wife of Earl
Landry, had with the museum staff. It seems that she taught classes at the Darrington Unit, in Rosharon, from
1990 until 2000. Bet she has some interesting tales to tell.
- 14 -
Old Sparky” at the Prison Museum – Huntsville tour of 1/13/2011
As we were leaving the grounds of the Museum, we noticed a large fountain on the site that was frozen solid.
The realization hit us that the area around Huntsville was somewhat colder than Houston and that it had not
been above freezing all day. Our trip back to Houston was uneventful, and we arrived back at the parking lot
around 4:30. Many thanks to the photographers on the trip, who were Rita Spencer and Allyn Stott. I hope a
good time was had by all.
Future trips in the works include the following:
• Saturday, February 5 – Night at the Liberty Opry - (This event will be concluded by the time you
read this, however because of our editing and printing deadlines, this trip’s report will not appear until
our next newsletter. It will, however, be posted on our website within a week or so of the trip.)
• Thursday, March 24 – Trip to Orange, Texas and Shangri La Botanical Gardens
• Tuesday, April 19 – Tour of Harris County Precinct 3 - Precinct 3 On The Road
Please place these dates on your calendar and contact Earl Sturgeon at 713-467-0063 (or at
firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to be a part of one or more of the trips listed - or if you have ideas
regarding potential future trips. As always, trips fill up fast but there is always the chance of a cancellation so
let Earl know if you have any interest! Remember you, too, can be a part of this fun and very popular activity.
Give it a shot! It’s a great way to spend a retirement day! As was announced a few months back, we’re now
reserving a minimum of 4 seats on each trip for any special guests you’d like to bring along. Simply contact
Earl and let him know whom you’ll be bringing!
TV Personalities Quiz – by Mike Kees
Here’s a little memory quiz for all you long time Houstonians – and former Houstonians. It involves local
television personalities (news, sports and weathercasters). The challenge is for you to look at the names in
column 1 and then match those names with what that person’s TV specialty was (column 2) and with which
station they were associated (column 3). Note that the names are in no particular order. Once you’ve finished,
go to the end of this newsletter to check your answers.
- 15 -
Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
Ron Stone Weather KPRC, Channel 2 (NBC)
Ron Franklin News KHOU, Channel 11 (CBS)
Sid Lasher Sports KTRK, Channel 13 (ABC)
Directory & Newsletter News - by Mike Kees
As most of you know, we currently publish a new hard copy membership directory every other year (we did so
in 2009) and send a supplemental hard copy of any subsequent changes out in all other years (in 2010, for
example). Only those whose membership is current will receive this bi-annual publication. After updating,
formatting, printing and mailing, the directory should be ready to go to the Post Office in April. If you elect to
access the directory online (a different format but with the same information), it will save your Club the cost of
printing and mailing. Please remember that our website is continually being updated as changes occur so it is
always the most current and accurate source of information about our membership.
(Editor’s Note: This information is being repeated [but in a much shorter manner] from earlier newsletters to
make sure all members – new and returning - are aware of your various options. Contact any board member if
you have questions.)
• You have the option of receiving your newsletter via postal mail or email.
• There’s no cost to elect the email method – and you receive it sooner!
• Contact a board member or email@example.com if you’d like to change your preference.
• We archive all newsletters, pictures, etc., on our website (www.tennecoretiree.com) so visit the site
often to see what’s new.
• We post many more event pictures on our website than we are able to publish in our newsletter.
• All member contact information is on our website also – same as in the printed directory – but in a
different format – and it’s constantly updated online as things change.
• Those who elect the online option will receive an email from our Webmaster announcing the
newsletter’s availability. That message includes two clickable links. Click on one to download the
current newsletter; click on the other to download the associated luncheon or barbeque meeting
reservation form (which you will need to print out, complete, and mail in for your meal reservation).
• You will find all our newsletters dating back to when we first began our website (February 2003). We
also post a PDF version of our newsletter.
• The current newsletter should be posted for all to see about the same time the printed copy goes in the
- 16 -
Website News - by Mike Kees
You may reach our webmaster, Allyn Stott at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, please direct any
inquires regarding our website via the link on our homepage at www.tennecoretiree.com. Be sure and take
the time to log on and check out all these interesting items. Remember, a lot of our history is contained on
our website and is readily available to all current members with just a few clicks of your mouse! As
stated elsewhere, we always have many more pictures associated with all our events that are posted to
the site – and they’re in color! You might even find one or 2 you’d like to download and print for yourself!
If you don’t have a password to our website, just go to the site’s homepage and follow the simple instructions.
Be sure and log on frequently and view the updates that are regularly posted. Generally, day trip reports are
available (along with photos) a week to 10 days after each event. Also, information about future trips,
upcoming meetings, and upcoming luncheons is listed for your convenience. Your Club continues to strongly
solicit your stories and your profiles to add to our site. Please consider stepping up to the plate and get your
news online! And if you’ve submitted a profile that needs updating or you have an additional story to add,
please don’t hesitate to do so. There’s no limit! Just send your submissions to Mike Kees at
email@example.com or to 1807 Rustic Oak Lane, Seabrook, Texas 77586.
The following deaths were reported since the publication of our last newsletter:
Name Passed Away On
Roy A. Taylor November 3
Gerald H. Green November 4
Neal S. Wilson, Jr. November 8
Dorothy Crane Hill November 16
Susanne Stewart Simonds November 18
Bill Jamison December 3
Robert T. (Bob) Bogan December 23
Reva Hankins December 26
Walter “Cotton” Smith January 5
Charles Straub January 6
William L. (W. L.) Harrison January 14
John Morrison January 15
Lurline Diener January 16
We offer our sincere condolences to the surviving families of each of these members of our Tenneco family.
Answers to TV Personalities Quiz
Ron Stone – News – Channel 11 and then Channel 2
Ron Franklin – Sports – Channel 11 and then Channel 2
Sid Lasher – Weather – Channel 11
Dan Ammerman – News – Channel 13
Craig Roberts – Sports – Channel 2
Jessica Savitch – News – Channel 11 (first Houston female anchor)
Doug Johnson – Weather – Channel 2
Ed Brandon – Weather – Channel 13
Larry Rascoe – News – Channel 2
Dan Lovett – Sports – Channel 13
- 17 -
Steve Smith – News – Channel 2 and then Channel 11
Kathie Turner – Weather – Channel 11
Doug Brown – Weather – Channel 11 and then Channel 13
Jan Carson – News – Channel 13 and then Channel 2
Neil Frank – Weather – Channel 11
Bill Enis – Sports – Channel 2
Troy Dungan – Weather – Channel 13
Ted Shaw – Weather – Channel 2
Bill Worrell – Sports – Channel 2
Giff Nielson – Sports – Channel 11
Thanks for playing! Hope you enjoyed this little quiz. By the way, this is not meant to be an all inclusive review
of all the various on air TV personalities - just a few that I happen to remember – and I hope there aren’t any
CHANGES OF ADDRESS
Changes of postal mailing addresses or telephone numbers should to be given to Joe Keen by calling 713-
868-4874, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by postal mail as follows: Attn: Tenneco Retiree Club, 2536 White
Oak Drive, Houston, Texas 77009. When you provide Joe with a change of address, please be sure that you
include your new telephone number and email address, if applicable.
News of the death or serious illness of a member should be provided directly to Mary McClanahan at 713-466-
7874 - or her cell – 281-287-9726 or to Wanda Schaffner at 713-266-6244 as soon as possible and include
as many details as possible.
Please send any e-mail address changes directly to our Tenneco Retiree Club Webmaster at
email@example.com or, if you so choose, directly to either Joe Keen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mike
Kees at email@example.com. This will allow you to be placed on our emailing list so that you may quickly
receive important messages regarding member deaths and other events of note.
EMAIL REMINDER - just in case
Please double check to make sure the email address we have on file for you is current. If you have not been
receiving email notifications about various events, milestones, etc., we may have an incorrect address for you.
We certainly don’t want you to be ‘out of the loop’ because of some simple typo. Also, if you change email
addresses for any reason, please send us an update!
News items for the newsletter or corrections should be referred to Mike Kees at firstname.lastname@example.org or
281-474-1225. Postal mail should be directed to Mike at 1807 Rustic Oak Lane, Seabrook, Texas 77586.
Your input is strongly solicited!
(This newsletter is compiled and edited by Mike Kees. It is formatted for printing by Allyn Stott. It is
assembled, collated and mailed under the direction of David Biles and a host of volunteers.)
- 18 -
PLEASE COMPLETE THIS FORM AND THEN MAIL THIS ENTIRE
PAGE ALONG WITH YOUR CHECK!
For the March 2, 2011 Tenneco Retiree Club Winter Luncheon to be held at Houston’s Vargo’s Restaurant
please reserve ____ place(s) at $29 per person for members (or a Door Prize Drawing Certificate from
our last meeting) and ____ places at $31 each per guest.
Amount enclosed $ Meal Choice (Please Check One)
Chicken Grilled Pork
Marsala Salmon Loin
Member Name ____________________________________ ____ ____ ____
Spouse Name _____________________________________ ____ ____ ____
Guest Name ______________________________________ ____ ____ ____
Guest Name ______________________________________ ____ ____ ____
Please make your check payable to TENNECO RETIREE CLUB
(Now, please turn this form over and tell us something about what’s going on with you and your
family that you would like to share with your fellow Tenneco employees. Hobbies, trips, volunteer
activities, grandchildren, military stories, etc., are all eligible topics!
Mail this entire form along with your check to:
TENNECO RETIREE CLUB
15601 Shanghai Street
HOUSTON, TEXAS 77040-2132
(713-466-7874 or email@example.com if you need to call or write)
Please remember that your Club’s policy is to NOT ACCEPT walk up payments for any hotel,
barbeque or holiday luncheon from any member(s) or guest(s) who has not made payment
arrangements in advance of the event day.
PAID RESERVATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH
No, I can't make it to the luncheon, but here's some information about what's going on with me
that I would like to share. (Please jot down your submission on the reverse side of this form or on a
separate sheet of paper and send it to Mary McClanahan at the above address.)
- 19 -