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Gwendolyn Bennett Pappas

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GWENDOLYN BENNETT PAPPAS, writer, artist, Past Poet Laureate of Texas, Mother of the Year, Homemaker of the Year, "One of Houston's Ten Outstanding Women", Poet Laureate of Houston for the Bicentennial, civic and cultural leader of Houston, passed away on Christmas morning. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama on June 12th and is the beloved wife of Phillip Miller Pappas. She is the mother of six children, fifteen grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Mourning her passing are sons: Evan Brooke and wife Sue, Phil Jr. and wife Nancy, Sewell and wife Patty, Chris and wife Joan, and daughters: Regina Seale and husband Ed and Gwendy Lewis and husband Donald. Also mourning her passing are grandchildren: Susan, Jennifer, Lisa, Aris, Michael, Julie, Laura, Chris Jr., Matthew, Phillip, Terrell, Sarah, Joan, Gwendolyn and John-Phillip. She was an inspiration to all fortunate enough to know her. Her love of life, positive attitude, courage, determination, loyalty and kind and loving heart blessed this world and all of those around her. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church - Downtown. Her poem "Heaven" describes her love of motherhood. "In His House of Many Mansions, I hope there'll be room for me, A little room with a rocker, Right near God's nursery. Where I can hold the babies and comfort every one, Just rock and sing and love them, Until the world is done. A rocker by the window, A baby near my breast, No splendorous wings Or golden things, Can fill my last request. No land of eternal music, Nor surcease from all care, Just a baby pressed Against my breast, And your footsteps on the stair." Books published include: A Heart Breaks So Quietly, A Love Letter To My Children, The Heart Reader, I Miss You Tonight and I'm Lonely, Sam Houston Returns To Texas, Night Comes So Early This Time Of Heart, and Love Me Darling In The Old Way. She was also a freelance writer for magazines, newspapers, society and news columns for magazines and papers, fiction, articles inspirational and educational, inspirational prose and poetry for "The Christian Herald" and like other publications; quoted "Reader's Digest". Her story, "The Other Side of The Hill", was honored as "one of the Best Short Stories of the last ten years" in a compilation entitled, Days of Grass, by Rachel L. Hartman. Honors and decorations include: One of Houston's 10 Outstanding Women - 1961, Houston's Outstanding Homemaker - 1961, Houston's Mother of the Year - 1962, Elected Poet Laureate of Texas - 1963, Poet Laureate, Houston American Revolution Bicentennial Poet Laureate, and Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. She received in 1972 the Doctor of Humane Letters (H.L.D.) . Honors Cause from Dr. Peshoton S. Dubash, President of E' University Library (Asie). She received a citation from the Texas Senate and House of Representatives for contributions to artistic history of Texas and civic and cultural achievements in 1974. She received two Keys to the City for Houston and Marshall, Texas, Cross for Christian Service and Civic Contributions bestowed personally by the late former King Peter II of Yugoslavia; The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights of the Malta. Certificate of Merit from National Register, Prominent Americans, Distinguished Contributions Award - Chroniclers International, International Who's Who of Poetry - Appreciation Award, Port Laureate Blood Royal, Poets Laureate, International (Blood Royal), an honor from World Poets Laureate, and received two Gold Laurel / Wreath Crowns from the President of the Philippines, Carlos P. Garcia (Poetry) from Poets Laureate International. Celebrations include, "Gwendolyn Bennett Pappas Day", The University of Houston, January 12, 1963, Gwendolyn Bennett Pappas honored as Poet Laureate by Mary Gibbs Jones at Rice University, November 8, 1963. Art showings include, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas, August 14, 1978, featuring an exhibit of paintings and "paper pettipoint" from the works of Gwendolyn Bennett Pappas. Memberships include: Magna Charta Dames; Honorary Life Regent, Texas Division National Society Magna Charta Dames, Charter Honorary Life Regent, Houston Colony, Magna Charta Dames Poet Laureate, Texas Division Magna Charta Dames, Knights of the Greater Descendants Order of Washington, Americans for Royal Descent, Sovereign Colonial Order of the Crown, membership only by direct lineal decent from Emperor Charlemahne. Other noted ancestors include Charles Carrol of Carrolton, signer of The Declaration of Independence, 1st Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Roger Brooke Taney, also Francis Scott Key, author of the Star Spangled Banner. Other patriotic and historical memberships include Lady Washington DAR, Soc. Heraldry, Colonial Dames XVII Century, Huguenots, Daughters of American Colonists, New England Women, Augustan Society, Freedom Foundation, Navy of the British Empire, Houston American Bicentennial Commission. Recognized by all applicable Marquis Who' Who Volumes, Living Descendants Blood Royal, England's Blue Book, Houston Social Directory, World Nobility and Peerage, International Poet's Shrine, National Social Directory, Academy of American Poets, Who' Who International Poetry, Texas Women of Distinction, Foremost Women in Communications, Dictionary of International Biography, The Assembly of New York City, charter member of The Warwick Club, The University Club, The Plaza Club, and The Pin Oak's Sponsor Club. General memberships include: Founding Director of Jones Hatt Poets Laureate International, Women of Sovereign Christian Services, Marquis Biographical Library Advisory Board, Houston Baptist College President's Advisors, Rice University, Society Families - Presidents Club, Harris County Heritage Society, Women's Forum, English Speaking Union, L'Alliance D'Franchaise D'Houston, Institutio Hispanic Culture of Houston, Junior League Luncheon Club, Pin Oaks Charity Horse Show, International Platform Committee, Charter member Rice University, The Shepherd Society, and Rice University Presidents Club. Other memberships include: Woman Building Association - Milford House, Federation Women's Clubs, Local State National, Houston Ballet Company, ARCS (Achievement Reward College Scientists), Flag Opportunity Center (May Dell Flag - founded during her Presidency Houston's Women's Forum), Zoo-Illogical Society, Currently Literature Society, Tuesday Musical Society, Southwood Garden Club - City Federation of Garden Clubs, Arranged Chr. for City Federation Garden Club's Participation in first two International Flower Shows - held at Shamrock Hotel, 1st Vice President of City Federation of Garden Clubs - organizing and establishing by laws for over 40 garden clubs, Music Guild, Bach Society, Friends of the Public Library, Press Club of Houston Conservative Arts, Parliamentary Law Club, Houston Pen Women, Poetry Society Texas, PTA Member for all six children, Art League of Houston, Charter Member, AFS - American Field Service- Chairman, Host Family Comm. (Lamar High School), IIE - Institute of International Education - Rice University Host Family Comm., Director Pin Oaks Charity Horse Show, National Security Council Member, member of the Smithsonian Society, and England Blue Book, Royal Blue Book. A visitation with the family was held on Thursday, December 27, 2001 from 6:00 until 8:00 P.M. at The Settegast-Kopf Co. at Sugar Creek (Williams Trace Exit). A funeral service will be held at 10:30 A.M. on Friday, December 28, 2001 at The Chapel of The Angels in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, 6900 Lawndale, with The Rev. Wayland Coe of St. Thomas' Episcopal Church officiating. Entombment will follow in The Abbey Mausoleum in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery.

Published in Houston Chronicle on Dec. 28, 2001
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