Monthly Archives: June 2013

Remembering Don Summers

DonSummersOn Saturday, June 15, a memorial service was held at St. Peter’s Church of Coupland, followed by a luncheon. When I learned that Don was in the hospital back in May, and that he was not expected to live, I was filled with a profound sense of regret that I hadn’t taken the time to get to know him better.

I met Don soon after I moved to Coupland and exchanged greetings with him several times after that. Earlier this year, I spent some time with Don and his wife, Sylvia, in connection with volunteer service to the Coupland Civic Organization. At that time, Don was at home recovering from a previous health issue but I enjoyed talking to him and was struck by how powerful was his presence when he looked me in the eye and shook my hand. He reminded me so much of my own father during the last year of his life, when he was frail in body but strong of spirit.

I visited another time to keep him company so Sylvia could attend a social gathering. We watched television and chatted about all sorts of things. He was often frustrated by his inability to find the right words when he was conversing. I told him that my father, who passed away almost 20 years ago, had suffered from a similar condition. I told Don how my mother had arranged to put my father in a nursing home and that he didn’t mind, at first, because he was getting “three square meals” a day. However, they had put a “wander” bracelet on him, which would set off an alarm if he went out any of the exterior doors. My father was an old Army man who had flown Dustoff medical evacuation helicopters, commanded a medical battalion in Vietnam, served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, and later was the Inspector General for all US military hospitals in Europe and the Middle East . He hated that bracelet. He could never think of the phrase “nursing home.” The only word that would come to his mind was “jail,” which, I am sure, was no accident of the mind.

This story prompted to Don to speak, with tears in his eyes, about how grateful he was to Sylvia for all her love and sacrifices and how lucky he was to have her in his life. I was so looking forward to becoming better acquainted with Don but then it was too late and I was kicking myself for missing an opportunity to share his life.

The memorial service gave me that chance. I listened as his sons spoke of how he raised them with discipline and love. I learned how he lost his first wife to a disease I had never heard of and how he became a leading figure in the effort to find a cure and to support people who were suffering from that disease. Local artist Jim Huntington spoke about how he had worked with Don on various community projects and how much he admired and respected him. I learned how in 1975, Don had sold everything, packed up the family in a motor home, left Colorado, and hit the road for 6 months, having the adventure of a lifetime, which turned out to be a major turning point in the life of his family. I learned how they settled down in Austin and Don started a business.

During the luncheon, I visited with a man and his wife who had business connections with Don. They sat at the same table I was at because they, too, wanted to see the repeating slide show on the screen in the corner of St. Peter’s Fellowship Hall. Old family portraits, pictures of scenery, a house in the woods, a turtle on a beach, a deer that had been field-dressed, newspaper articles showing his advocacy for small businesses, and tons of kids told the story of his life in images alone.

I’m not feeling quite so sorry for myself now because now I know that he was as remarkable a man as he seemed and that, even though I didn’t get to know him directly, I learned so much more by hearing how his actions affected the people around him. Again, I am reminded of my own father and how in a eulogy my oldest brother and I prepared for his funeral, we made reference to something the Wizard of Oz told the Tin Woodsman: “A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”

Don Summers surely had a heart as big as Texas because the love he engendered in others could barely be contained in our little church on the hill.

Stewart Dale Spencer

The following obituary was published in the Austin-American Statesman on May 26:

Donald Fred Summers, Sr Donald Fred Summers, Sr. passed away on May 22, 2013 surrounded by his family. Friends and family will gather on June 15th for a memorial service at St. Peter’s Church in Coupland, Texas at 10:30 am to celebrate his new life. Don was born on April 7, 1932 to Fred and Nora Summers in Lemoore, California. After graduating from high school, he joined the United States Air Force. While stationed in Denver, Colorado at Lowry Air Force Base, Don met and married Gwendolyn Neill. They raised their four sons in and around the Denver area. Don’s career as a skilled technician afforded him many opportunities, including working for Neoweld, a manufacturer of specialized equipment used in power plant construction worldwide. After nearly 9 years of traveling nationally and internationally, Don and Gwen decided it was time for a change. In February of 1975, they embarked on an adventure of travel across the USA with their sons. The “family trip of 1975” exemplified Don’s commitment to his family and his passion for adventure. This event became a pivotal event for Don and his family, resulting in his and many of his family turning to faith in Jesus Christ. After 6 months of family travel, they settled in the Austin area. In 1978, Don made the leap from employee to employer when he opened his small family business, Austin Welder and Generator Service, Inc. As with all of his endeavors, Don poured himself into his business, continuing to set an example of strength, work ethic and service to others. Don soon became involved in promoting sound public policy for American family business through his active involvement in the National Federation of Independent Business, the NFIB. And as active members of Allandale/ Great Hills Baptist Church, Don and Gwen enjoyed singing in the choir and teaching Sunday School. In 1997, Don’s wife of 43 years passed away from a rare illness called Shy-Drager Syndrome. Don became very active in promoting the awareness of this disease and served as the President of the SDS/MSA Support Group for 10 years. In June of 1999 Don remarried a long time friend and neighbor Sylvia Hoffman and moving to Coupland, Texas, in 2000. Don retired from his business in 2002. Don became very active in the community and served as the first president of the Coupland ESD #10, President of the Coupland WSC, and attended the St. Peter’s Church of Coupland (UCC) where he continued his musical passion in leading the congregation in musical worship. Don’s faith in Jesus Christ was foundational in his life and he always sought to show the love of God to those around him. Don was predeceased in death by his wife, Gwen, their son David Neill Summers as well as his parents, one brother and five sisters. He is survived by his wife, Sylvia; three sons, Donald Fred Summers Jr. and wife Mary, Kurtiss Eugene Summers and wife Cathy, and Kenneth Wayne Summers and wife Annette; stepdaughters Cindee Chard and husband Mike, Jamie Mayfield and husband John; 13 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild, many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made in Don’s honor to SDS/MSA Support Group, or to St. Peter’s Church of Coupland, PO Box 146, Coupland, TX. 78615

A City on a Hill – Geh Müt Ins Texas

From “A City on a Hill: A Story of a Community, a Church, a People” by Jewel R. Johnson, Second Edition, 1979, Merchants Press of Taylor, Texas

Individual pages appear below in the TIFF format. Your browser may not display them automatically, depending upon your security settings. If they don’t open for you, even after you click on them, you can download a PDF copy by clicking on this link: Geh Müt Ins Texas 

Geh Mut Ins Texas 1Geh Mut Ins Texas 2

Coupland City Council Meets for the First Time

The initial meeting of Coupland’s first city council was held on Tuesday, June 11 in the meeting room of the Coupland Volunteer Fire Department.

From L-R: Eldridge Tidwell, Susan Garry, Karen Marosko, Judy Hobbs, Jack Piper, Barbara Piper, Susan Schmidt

Just prior to the meeting, Judge Judy Schier Hobbs (Justice of the Peace, Williamson County Precinct 4) administered the oath of office to Susan Garry, who had been away on family business at the initial swearing in ceremony.

Susan Garry takes her oath of office.

Judge Hobbs said she was very happy to be able to be present to witness the calling to order of the first city council in Coupland. I asked her when was the last time that a city had incorporated in Williamson County. She said that it had been quite some time and that she believed that it was the City of Wier in the 1980’s.

Attendance by the public was light but this initial meeting was devoted primarily to administrative matters. The meeting was called to order at 7 PM.

Mayor Jack Piper calls the first meeting of the new city council to order.

Mayor Jack Piper calls the first meeting of the new city council to order.

The first order of business was a discussion of Open Meeting Rules. According to the Texas Attorney Generals website, “Effective January 1, 2006, elected and appointed public officials are required by a state law to receive training in Texas open government laws. The Office of the Attorney General offers free video training courses, which were developed in compliance with a mandate from the 79th Texas Legislature that the Attorney General establish the formal training necessary to ensure that all elected and appointed government officials have a good command of both open records and open meetings laws.”

Moving on to specific action items, the Aldermen appointed this reporter to serve as City Secretary on a volunteer basis. [Publisher’s Note: Unless explicitly stated to the contrary, all opinions and comments appearing on are those of the publisher, contributors, or Coupland Times readers and should not be construed to represent the views or positions of the City of Coupland or any of its elected officials.]

In other matters, Barbara Piper was elected  to serve as Mayor Pro Tem. Karen Marosko and Susan Schmidt drew the long straws, figuratively speaking, and will serve two-year terms. The other Aldermen (Barbara Piper, Susan Garry, and Eldridge Tidwell) will serve one-year terms.


The Aldermen decided to abandon the Office of Marshall, currently held by Russell Schmidt. The City will enter into an inter-local agreement with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office to perform those duties.

The City will join the Texas Municipal League (TML), which provides a variety of services to cities in Texas. Membership is free for the first year. Action to purchase liability insurance through TML was tabled pending receipt of a written proposal.

The City will establish a Bank Depository Services Agreement with Citizens National Bank of Coupland. Action related to franchise tax revenue was tabled pending further research.

No citizens signed up for the Citizen Communication portion of the meeting. Future meetings of the City Council will be on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 7 PM at the  Coupland Volunteer Fire Department, beginning with the next meeting on July 11. The meetings on the fourth Thursdays will be optional, the necessity of which will be decided upon at the first meeting of each month.

The meeting adjourned at 7:33 PM. No doubt this will go down in Coupland history as its shortest City Council meeting, a testament to good preparation and efficient conduct of the meeting itself.

Eventually, the City will probably have its own website. In the meantime, official notices from the City of Coupland will be posted in prominent public locations within city limits, in the Coupland Times, and in other public forums as appropriate.

Stewart Dale Spencer

May Crime Reports


This information is from Matt Kreidel with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office:

Burglar of Habitation…………….CR 473

False Statement for property/credit…….Broad St.

Theft (arrest made)……………CR 463

Unauthorized use of motor vehicle….CR 472

Recovered stolen property…..Hoxie ST.

Assault………….Mesquite Dr.

Deceased person…..S. HWY 95

Citations issued for No drivers license, Speeding, No Insurance, No license plate, Fail to stop at designated point, Fail to report address change and field contact.

Lone Star Model A Ford Club Stops in Coupland!

The Lone Star Model A Ford Club was touring the area today. They stopped in Coupland to have lunch at the Old Coupland Inn & Dancehall. The Coupland Civic Organization opened the Depot Museum from 10 AM to 2 PM and it was a match made in heaven. Two blocks of Hoxie Street and much of the surrounding area were filled with Model A’s. Locals had a great time seeing all those wonderful old cars, so lovingly maintained, and many of the drivers and passengers stopped in to see the Depot Museum.

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A City on a Hill – The Railroad City

From “A City on a Hill: A Story of a Community, a Church, a People” by Jewel R. Johnson, Second Edition, 1979, Merchants Press of Taylor, Texas

Individual pages appear below in the TIFF format. Your browser may not display them automatically, depending upon your security settings. If they don’t open for you, even after you click on them, you can download a PDF copy by clicking on this link: The Railroad City

The Railroad City 1The Railroad City 2

This next set of images was obtained from Tim & Barbara Worthy, owners of the the Old Coupland Inn & Tavern (see previous story). There is more detail and the date is about six weeks later.