Thomas Eugene Shuford
Thomas Eugene Shuford, 63, died Sunday, July 13, 2008, at his home in Marfa. Tom Shuford was born May 11, 1945 in San Antonio. Mr. Shuford was a writer, journalist, teacher and proud father of six. His father founded the journalism department at North Texas State University in Denton. Mr. Shuford majored in journalism as an undergraduate student at North Texas, and his first work as a journalist was at the Denton Record-Chronicle
. Mr. Shuford went on to complete a master's degree and a Ph.D. in communications at the University of Texas at Austin. He joined the faculty of Tarleton State University at Stephenville in 1973. In 1976, he moved to the University of Texas at Arlington. He taught journalism there for almost 30 years, specializing in public affairs reporting and media law. During his time as a professor, Mr. Shuford continued to work as a freelance journalist, and his stories appeared in a number of Texas magazines and newspapers. In 2003, Mr. Shuford moved to the Big Bend to help found The Desert-Mountain Times
newspaper. He served as the paper's news editor for the length of its publication and went on to write for other Big Bend area publications, including the Big Bend Sentinel
and the Desert Candle
. In all his journalism, Mr. Shuford displayed a rigorous ethical sensibility and an uncommon decency. Mr. Shuford's eye for the telling detail and his ability to capture the essence of an individual carried over into fiction writing, which he pursued most intensely in the last years of his life. In 2006, a collection of Mr. Shuford's short stories - entitled A Letter from Marfa
- was published by the Desert-Mountain Institute. Mr. Shuford's loving and moral character, his fundamental goodness and his courage were and will remain an example for others. He is remembered for the joy and the humor he brought to his relationships and to his work. Mr. Shuford is survived by his partner and muse, Gretchen Coles of Marfa; his sister, Betty Grace Shuford of Washington, D.C.; his brother, Dan Brooks Shuford and wife, Sharon, of Atlanta, Georgia; his ex-wife Margaret Layton, of Austin and their children: Tracy and husband Mr. Shuford Patton of Seattle, Wash.; and Clark and wife Jennifer Shuford of Austin; his ex-wife Lanette Causey and their children: Daniel Shuford of Austin; Capricia Prikryl and husband John Martin of Austin; Josh and wife Jaime Prikryl of Hong Kong, China and Mumbai, India; and Ian Prikryl and wife Lexi Martin of Austin. Survivors also include eight grandchildren. The family asks that memorials be directed to the American Cancer Society
, which provided so much assistance to Mr. Shuford and his loved ones during the last years of his life.