Thursday, January 31, 2013

Danny McCook - Class of 1961

Danny was Kendall’s older brother and he passed away a few days ago.  I didn’t know him at EH and only shared the halls with him for one year.  However, as one of the little kids, a Sophomore when he was a Senior, I did see him in the locker room as we suited up for football practice each day during fall 1960.  He was a serious, quiet kid who exuded with his demeanor, a comfortable competence.

Danny went on to earn his second EH letter that year, All-District Honorable Mention honors, as well as NHS, WHO’s WHO, Favorite finalist, and graduated Magna Cum Laude.  I’m sure there were other honors that probably escape me.

More recently, summer 2010, as I first started experimenting on FaceBook, there was Danny, already there…I asked him to be my “friend” and told him a little about what I was doing.  He graciously took me on as one of his friends and introduced me to his circle of online friends.  With his FB endorsement, everyone accepted me.  And so, Gus was off and running in FaceBook…to the amusement of some, and to the frustration of others.

Perhaps it was that Danny was an Engineer, like me, that we hit it off.  He was very cordial, yet reserved, and willingly answered every question I threw his way, as well as sharing not only his knowledge of the area, but some fine photos and documents from his personal collection.  Those bits of information added significantly to my and now many others’ knowledge of our childhood turf…the Meadowbrook/Eastern Hills section of Ft. Worth c.1956-1963.

Danny carried much or all of the online load in getting his 1961 Class 50th reunion together; like Lynn Spain, another Engineer had done for the 1960, First EH graduating class a year earlier.  And he worked diligently at it.

As this Highlander blog grew, Danny was a steady and welcome supporter of the undertaking.  His recommendation to others helped spread the word of its existence and assisted further growth.  But more importantly, his encouragement gave me valuable feedback that its tone and direction was worthwhile.  You see, I respected Danny’s opinion and gave it substantial weight.

As he conducted his online communications with others, it was clearly apparent that he deeply loved his brother, Kendall.  Not only was his love expressed in comments, it was wonderfully expressed by the photos he chose to share with others…those below, among them.

 My last communication with him was just this past Thanksgiving when he sent a copy of Kendall’s fine 2009 tribute to our Class of 1963 fallen gentle giant, Leo Luebbehusen.  The exchange opened one more meaningful opportunity for exchanging information about our East Side days.  It follows:

Nov. 21, 2012

Danny:  My Brother Kendall wrote this nice tribute to Leo when he passed away a couple of years ago.  Thought you would appreciate it.

Gus:  Thanks, Danny and please thank Kendall for sharing his memories.  Everyone he mentions were close friends of mine, also.  Most of his memories in this piece are of shortly after we left EH.

I clearly recall Kendall's hellfire and brimstone approach to sports and recall that he didn't play football after MJH but did continue with baseball and basketball.

May I publish it in the blog?

And may I use a recent picture of Kendall for illustration or would he prefer I use a young one?

Danny:  I am sure he wouldn't mind your using it.  I am attaching a good picture.

Kendall sprained his ankle playing basketball in Junior High and as a result had some back trouble.  Back then there was a knee-jerk reaction by Doctors to do a spinal fusion on the 4th vertebrae.  He had the TCU team Doctor but the operation was pretty botched and he got a staph infection that it took 20 years to shake.  He really could never play after that.  He was a really gifted pitcher and quarterback and could make it from half court about half of the time.  He has suffered with his back most of his life and is almost crippled now with it.

Gus:  posted here 

Danny:  Thanks - very nice

Gus:  A couple of questions, if you can answer them...where did you and Kendall go to elementary school....Sagamore Hill?  I've seen Kendall at Meadowbrook Elementary in the 5th or 6th grade class pictures, but not before that (abt. 1955-57) Would you think Kendall might still have that picture of he and Larmer, Dillard, Tate, and Leo out at Lake Arlington in 1983 for their last meeting he writes about?

Dec. 3, 2012

Danny:  We moved to the East Side between my 7th and 8th grades (1956).  I attended Daggett in the 7th grade and then Meadowbrook in the 8th and 9th grade.  Was fortunate to have the best government teacher Fort Worth probably produced - Billy Sills.  Kendall was 2 years younger so he would have gone to Meadowbrook elementary in the 6th grade then Meadowbrook in the 7-9 grades.  Kendall was a great drop back quarterback.  He and Roby Morris made many a long connection and I think won the city championship.

Here is the picture you mentioned and another of Kendall's championship basketball team (he would have been in the 8th grade I think).  Coach Blocker was a cousin of Dan Blocker of Bonanza fame.  His favorite imploring for the basketball players was "Boy, you couldn't hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle."

Had another exchange with Danny last August while he was out with his son on a bird hunt...another glimpse of his humor....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just came upon your blog site here in looking for something about Danny. He is someone I came to know in later life without necessarily knowing him well in school. Danny's manner was so easy with people that you could get to know him well after only talking to him for ten minutes. I think he must have had 250-300 people at his funeral, while only about twenty or so of us were old eastside schoolmates who had heard about it, and I think that's testimony to how well regarded he was in life. Kendall gave an excellent eulogy on Danny to the audience.

Ken Meisner, EHHS class of 1962