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Elsie Townes Pressler

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Elsie Townes Pressler Elsie Townes Pressler, a fifth generation Texan and a member of an old and prominent Texas family, died Tuesday morning, the 12th of February 2008. She was born on the 11th of March 1905, in Beaumont, Texas and had been a resident of Houston since she moved here in 1917 with her parents, Elsie Garrett and Edgar E. Townes. She was a gracious Christian lady who passed on to her new life in peace and happiness. She was loved admired and respected by all who knew her. After attending Randolph Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, Virginia, she entered the University of Texas at Austin, receiving her B.A. degree in 1927. She was a member of Pi Beta Phi and her campus activities included membership in Mortar Board and the Orange Jackets. She made the debut in Houston in 1927, and in 1928 married Herman P. Pressler, Jr., an attorney, who pre-deceased her in 1995 after sixty-six years of marriage. Active in civic and cultural affairs, she was a member of Houston's first Municipal Arts Committee. She served as President of the Junior League of Houston 1943-44, of the Women's Auxiliary to the Houston Bar Association 1953-54, and of the River Oaks Garden Club 1959-60. She was one of the founders of the Harris County Heritage Society and served as its president 1963-1965. During her administration, the Rice-Cherry House was restored, the San Felipe Cottage was purchased by the Society, the Pillot House was given to the Society and all were moved to Sam Houston Park and restored. In 1970, she was chairman of entertainment for the ladies attending the International Cancer Congress, who spoke more than 15 languages. In 1987, she and her husband received the Distinguished Citizens Award form Sheltering Arms. She was Houston group chairwoman of the National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of Texas, a member of the John Mc Knitt Alexander Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Assembly, the Friends of Bayou Bend where she arranged flowers for many years , and also of a number of other service organizations. She was a founding member of the River Oaks Baptist Church of Houston in 1949 where she continued to be a member until her death. She maintained an active life through the years, involved with her many friends, civic activities, hunting and traveling the world with her husband. She was known and loved for her boundless energy and was an inspiration for her endless good deeds. Her paternal grandfather, John C. Tones, was Dean of the Law School of the University of Texas at Austin, where the Law School building is named after him. Her maternal grandfather was Judge C.C. Garrett, the first Chief Justice of the First Court of Civil Appeals. The Garrett-Townes auditorium at South Texas College of Law was named after her two grandfathers. Her father, Edgar E. Townes, Was an attorney who began his practice of law in Beaumont at the time the Spindletop Field was discovered. He was an authority on oil and gas law and corporate law, having been the first General Counsel of Humble Oil & Refining Company as well as one of its founders. Her husband, Herman P. Pressler, was a prominent Houston attorney and community leader. He was Vice - President and Director of Exxon, USA, President of the Houston Bar Association, Chairman of the Board of Texas Children's Hospital, Chairman of the Management Committee of the Texas Medical Center and a leader in numerous other business and professional activities in our community. She is survived by two sons, Judge H. Paul Pressler III and his wife Nancy; and Townes G. Pressler, four granddaughters, Jean I. Pressler Visy, and husband Joe of Silver Spring, Maryland; Anne L. Pressler Csorba and husband Les; Terry E Pressler Smith and husband Tom; Molly E. Pressler Lamme and husband Duncan; two grandsons, Townes G. Pressler, Jr. and wife Kathleen, and H. Paul Pressler IV, all of Houston; sixteen great grandchildren, three sisters-in-law, Mrs. E.E. Townes, Jr. and Mrs. Christopher G. Townes, all of Houston and Mrs. Howard R. Barr of Austin; and many nieces and nephews. The family desires to acknowledge and express their gratitude to Clark and Brenda Reese, and Cecil Johnson (deceased) whose loving care, over the last eight years, added quality to her life. Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from four o'clock in the afternoon until six o'clock in the evening on Wednesday, the 13th of February, in the Library of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston. The funeral service will be conducted at one o'clock in the afternoon on Thursday, the 14th of February, in the Sanctuary of River Oaks Baptist Church, 2300 Willowick Road in Houston, where Rev. Martus Miley, Pastor, will serve as the officiant. The interment will follow, via an escorted cortege, at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, 6900 Lawndale Avenue in Houston. Honored to serve as pallbearers during the services are her two grandsons, Townes G. Pressler, Jr. and H. Paul Pressler IV; and her grandsons-in-law, Les T. Csorba, Duncan L. Lamme, Tom E Smith, and Joseph W. Visy. In lieu of usual remembrances, gifts may be made in her memory to Bayou Bend Endowment Fund of the River Oaks Garden Club, Texas Children's Hospital, or the charity of one's choice.

Published in Austin American-Statesman on Feb. 13, 2008
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