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Obiturary for Donna Dee Holden Norton

Donna Dee Holden Norton

Donna Dee Norton
June 8, 1953 - September 24, 2012
Donna Dee Holden Norton

Donna Norton, age 59, of Buda, Texas was called to Heaven on Monday, September 24, 2012. She was born in Austin, Texas on June 8, 1953. Donna was a native Austinite and graduated from David Crockett High School in 1971 and attended Southwest Texas State University. She married James Richard Norton, Jr. (Rick) on September 29, 1973. She loved the outdoors and enjoyed camping, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Donna was a loving and caring mother, wife, grandmother, sister, daughter, and aunt. She was a beautiful, energetic, and enthusiastic person. Donna was employed at Texas Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) where she was Vice President of Administration and Meetings for 37 years. She loved her job and coworkers, and enjoyed traveling and setting up meetings all over the United States.

Donna’s journey came to an end on September 24, 2012. She was surrounded by her loving family and friends. She is survived by husband of 39 years Rick Norton; sons Justin Norton & Kelly Pfertner and Jeremy & Kim Norton; three beautiful grandchildren Jackson Riley Norton, Jared Remmington Norton and Makenna Hope Norton; two sisters Kaye Brown and husband Dennis Brown and Sherry Williams; parents Arnold and Lucille Holden of Marble Falls, Texas. Numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces, nephews and many other relatives.

Memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 10:30 a.m., at the Manchaca Baptist Church, 1215 FM 1626, Manchaca, Texas 78652 with Reverend Norris Smith officiating. A reception will follow in the fellowship hall.

A special thank you to Dr. Landon Smith and his staff at Texas Oncology and Dr. John Mangione for the special care provided to Donna.

In lieu of flowers, an education fund has been established for Donna’s grandchildren at the Schwertner State Bank, P O Box 797, Jarrell, Texas 76537 or any memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.

4435 Frontier Trail
Austin, TX 78745
(512) 443-1366


I didn’t know Donna well, but I knew her dad.  Arnold was a service writer at Charles Maund for years.  He is such a great guy.  Donna’s sister, Sherry was a year ahead of me at Crockett.  Donna was a year behind.  I know Donna was loved greatly by all her family and friends and this sad loss.  Our prayers go out to her family.

Here’s a link to the online obituary.







An Informal Look at Oak Hill History

In December of 2011, the Oak Hill Gazette published an article about the history of Oak Hill.  It is a great read.  I remember the Oak Hill of the 1960′s, when the bars dotted Hwy 290.  Quoting the article, “The Oak Hill area has also been home to a variety of beer joints over the years: the Circleville Inn (still in existence under another name), Alexander’s (a barbeque place/gas station/blues joint that’s been replaced by a Sonic), the Blue Goose, the Little Wheel, I.V.’s, the Moosehead Tavern (once a showcase for the Light Crust Doughboys and Ernest Tubb), and of course, the Broken Spoke (long may she reign).

I don’t remember Alexander’s, The Blue Goose or the Moosehead Tavern.  I remember the likes of  Western Inn, Highway Cafe, The Spot and The Sportman’s Inn.  My parents spent a lot of time at the Highway Cafe.  Jimmy Finger’s mother in law was married to a guy named, Grouchy.  He owned the Highway Cafe.  There was a rock house next to the cafe, where they lived and she had a beauty shop.

While growing up, Oak Hill was full of “cedar choppers”.  That’s what I always heard.  Really didn’t know why, but this article explains it.  There really were “cedar choppers”.  It seems that many families from Appalachia move into the Oak Hill area and worked as cedar choppers and stone masons.  It’s interesting to find out about this history of Oak Hill.

Here is a link to this article so you can learn more about the history of Oak Hill.

An Informal History of Oak Hill.

I hope you enjoy it.



Austin Texas Bicycle License Plate from 1945.

Photo by: Suzanne Forester Stein. This is a bicycle license plate from 1945.

This is a great photo.  Here are some comments about the experience of getting a license tag on you bicycle when you were a kid in South Austin.


Kenny Boswell’s New York Mets trading card.


Kenny Boswell’s New York Mets trading card

Kenny Boswell grew up in South Austin.  Kenny was born on February 23, 1946 in Austin.  He played Little League Baseball at the South Austin Optimist Fields. Kenny graduated from Travis High School.

Kenny played in the major leagues for the New York Mets.  Kenny’s first game in the major leagues was September 18, 1967.  He batted left handed and threw right.  He played second base.  Kenny played in parts of 11 seasons in the majors, playing for the New York Mets and the Houston Astros.  He played for the Mets from 1967 to 1974. He was a member of the Mets when they won the 1969 World Series.   He hit a home run in one of the games.  Kenny wore number 12 and appeared in 96 games that season.  The Mets won the National League Pennant in 1973, while he was a member.   Kenny played for the Astros from 1975 to 1977.  His final appearance in a game was on October 1, 1977.

Kenny hit for a lifetime batting average of 248, with 31 home runs and 24 runs batted in.



One of Waldo’s Wreckers somewhere in South Austin

One of Waldo Harper’s old wreckers

I posted this picture around two years ago, but I thought everyone might like to see it again.  It’s interesting to look at what is in the photo.  Look at downtown Austin.  No skyscrapers. Interesting to look at the phone number on the truck.  The old Greenwood exchange.  My dad’s shop on South Lamar was a GR 74973.  It’s interesting to remember that when we moved over to South Lamar in 1969, we had to get a new number.  Our GR # would not carry over even though it was only a mile and a half away.  It’s funny that I can’t remember the number on South Lamar but I can remember the older number on Riverside Drive.  The South Lamar number was 442 something.  Sure wish that I could pinpoint where this picture was taken in South Austin.

Waldo Harper was a South Austin legend.  He owned Harper Wrecker Service.  I think his son still owns the business.  Would love to hear some of your legendary stories about Waldo or any of the other wrecker drivers and companies that existed in South Austin back in the 50′s and 60′s.  Stelfox Wrecker, Carter Wrecker and Southside Wrecker come to mind.  All of these wreckers companies had wreckers that could run NASCAR.  They were fast.  This was back in the day before rotation and the first one to the wreck got the tow.  Or most of the time.  I have heard that on numerous occasions that fight broke out at the scene of a wreck over who was going to get the tow.

I remember back int the early 70′s when I used to ride with a state trooper that we would see Doyle Carter out on Highway 71 and 290 West all the time.  It seemed he just roamed the highway at night waiting for the wreck.  In those days, the highways were just two lane roads and it seemed like every time that I rode with the trooper, we had a big wreck to deal with.

The funniest story that I ever heard about Waldo was told to me by Curtis Martin.  He said that Waldo was trying to get Hattie Valdez, the South Austin madam, to sponsor his race car.  He drove every weekend at the Austin Speed-O-Rama.  And he was the king of the track.  Everybody tried to beat Waldo.  Anyway, Hattie said in her raspy voice, “Hell Waldo, what would we put on the car”.  Waldo said; “That’s easy, Hattie.  Hattie’s the best screws in town.”   And it’s no wonder why old South Austin folk, consider him a legend.


South Austin boys racing, Joe Willie and his crew.

Joe Willie McAllister and his crew after setting a World Record

I got this photo from Joe Willie.  From left to right: Terry Hoeffling, Rick Perry, Greg Edwards, Joe Willie McAllister and Mike Brownlee.

Here’s what Joe Willie had to say about this photo:

“We’re all posing for a photo just after I had set a World record.  Note Mike has his finger in the air signifying a No.1.

You may not be able to tell by the photo, but we were all totally exhausted.  Been down ther racing for 3 days straight, and sleeping on the trailer.”

I want to thank Joe for this photo.  I have known Joe since he worked parts at Capitol Chevrolet and Covert Buick.  He was the parts manager then before he launched his real estate career.  He owns the firm with the signs all over town, McAllister and Associates.

Rick Perry lived next door to me for a few years when he was a young teenager.  I went to the first grade with Greg Edwards.  I don’t know the other two.

Joe didn’t tell me where this racing took place, but I would guess Little River.  I have some other photos that Joe sent me that were taken there.

Hope you have some stories to tell about drag racing in South Austin in the old days.

Rusty Weir and Sonny Myers circa 1961

Rusty Weir and Coach Sonny Myers, circa 1961

Got this picture from Mike Rush.

February 18, 2010
Mike RushRusty Wier and Sonny Myers 1961.

Southwood Mall

Southwood Mall was the place to go in South Austin in 1970.  Does anyone remember the water fountain there?



Air Raid Sirens

Air Raid Sirens

Patricia Hallmark Oliver Parker I remember those and having to get under the desks at school. It was really scarry. Do yall remember those DDT truck that sprayed for mesquitos. That Im sure is why so many people in our age group has gotten cancer of all kinds. That stuff was awful and Heaven help you if you were slow running in the house and closing the windows
Link to the full story on facebook.
These sirens were tested every month and were very loud.

Timmie Overton Mug Shot

Timmie Overton Mug Shot

Here’s a grainy mug shot of Timmie Overton from 1967. As many of you will recall, Timmie was a popular guy from AHS class of ’58, excelled in football and golden gloves, scholarship to play for UT 1958, but enjoyed the thug life more. His brothers were Charles Ray, Darrell, John and Finus Jr. a k a Pee Wee. Their dad, Finus Sr a k a Snook, ran the Overton Transmission Exchange at 1611 East First.