Friends Honor Kirksey Memory

FORMER secretary to the late George Kirksey, Melba Wilson, (left) looks over Kirksey plaque in the Astrodome with The Baytown Sun's Mary H. Brown.

FORMER secretary to the late George Kirksey, Melba Wilson, (left) looks over Kirksey plaque in the Astrodome with The Baytown Sun’s Mary H. Brown.

___________________

Friends Honor Kirksey Memory

By Mary H. Brown, Baytown Sun, Thursday, April 26, 1973, Page 2

(Mary H. Brown was a writer for The Baytown Sun and the daughter of former Baytown Sun Publisher, Leon Brown.)

George Kirksey

George Kirksey

 Special (SP) – There must be some connection between old sportswriters and old soldiers. Neither dies, at least not when they leave friends to perpetuate them.

And so it is with George Kirksey, credited by most who know the score for doing so much to bring major league baseball to Houston. Kirksey was killed in automobile accident near Lyons, France in May, 1971, but his friends honored him Wednesday at the Astrodome with the unveiling of a bronze plaque in his honor. It was inscribed with the singular words: “He helped make a dream come true.”

People who knew George Kirksey think it is a tribute that he would have approved of. No one ever loved baseball or Houston more or thought (as strongly that) the two should join together to become one of baseball’s more popular sports areas.

To many, George Kirksey was just a name linked to baseball in Houston. That’s what he was to me for a long time. That is until he once since my dad a Tyrolean hats from Europe on one his visits abroad. I thought the hat looked better on me than it did on Pap so I took it. Pap complained to George on their next reunion about my intervention. From that time on, every time George went to Europe he sent me a present because he knew I’d end up with it anyway. I got packages of perfume and jewelry from all across Europe. 

Did the Tyrolean hat that turned writer Mary H. Brown into a serious George Kirksey fan resemble this green felt model? If so, maybe her "Pap" was secretly happy to let her have it!

Did the Tyrolean hat that turned writer Mary H. Brown into a serious George Kirksey fan resemble this green felt model? If so, maybe her “Pap” was secretly quite happy to let her steal it from him!

And it is because of similar endearments to friends that they chose to honor him today. The plaque in his honor serves as a lasting reminder of his determination, hard work, and tenacity in fulfilling his dream for big league ball in Houston.

But he got the last word in these ceremonies as he so often did. Fentress Bracewell, George’s executor, announced during the unveiling proceedings that a George Kirksey Scholarship program, “that may reach $150,000”, is being instituted at the University of Houston for future journalism and communications scholars.

Together the plaque and the scholarship program pay tribute to a man loved by many just the way he previously united Houston and baseball. The plaque is located just under the Eddie Dyer Memorial plaque and next to the Dickie Kerr statue at the south entrance in the mezzanine foyer.

“30”

Footnote: According to Mike Acosta, Authentication Manager for the Houston Astros, the George Kirksey plaque that once graced the wall at the Astrodome is now where it should be – on public display at Minute Maid Park.

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First of It's Kind Forever

First of It’s Kind
Forever

A Pecan Park Eagle Note: As this column from 1973 underscores, the Astrodome is not merely one of the unique architectural structures of the world, it is a place where many historical figures in the growth of Houston in myriad ways have come to both contribute and be honored for all they gave to our city and the quality of our community life in Houston. It only makes sense that preserving the Astrodome in a useful way is accomplishable, but only if we, the people, are willing to put as much energy into saving it as those who brought it into being fifty years ago did in birthing this mother of Houston’s status as a world class, big league city and culture.

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3 Responses to “Friends Honor Kirksey Memory”

  1. Tom Plemons Says:

    Please add me to the Pecan Park Eagle mailing list if possible. I enjoy your writings. Thanks Dr. Bill.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      My pleasure, Tom. Thanks too for your interest and support. From this day forth, you are on the subscriber e-mail list. And don’t be bashful. Comment away at will on any column.

  2. george eric olsen Says:

    George Kirksey was my grand father, as he maried my Grand-Mother, Ethel Shutta. I am very pleased that this legacy exists and will make a contribution to the scholarship fund. Thank you for what you have done. George Eric Olsen
    I still have several of his personal belongings, including his military decorations and the pen that he used to do his presentations for the Astrodome.

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