Thursday, at Houston National Cemetery, Earl Loggins was laid to rest. His coffin was flag-draped and he was the fine old age of 82. He was a native Houstonian, World War II vet, Booker T. Washington High School graduate, attended the University of Houston earning a certificate in human relations. From Cornell University, he earned a certificate in supervisory management and techniques. He worked his way from maitre d' to being named one of Houston's most influential personalities by Houston City magazine. He was a fixture of the Houston Club for 44 years and his life was profiled by PBS in a tv special in 2004.
Thursday, just before the memorial service began, a black SUV pulled up and four men in blue blazers emerged. They were followed by former President Bush, who took his seat among the other mourners. "I loved the guy", he said. Former President Bush referred to Mr. Loggins as a "gentle giant."
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee referred to him as an early mentor for her political career. President Bush met Mr. Loggins in 1959 at the Houston Club. Along with Loggins' sense of humor and zest for life, Bush admired him for his commitment to Houston's black community. And for his golf game.
Margaret Loggins, the widow, was not surprised to see the former President at her husband's service. "He's been a part of Earl's success story for 32 years, " she said and noted that the two men had been friends over the years and that President Bush often attended events organized by Mr. Loggins. Bush lingered after the service to visit with Mrs. Loggins and other family and friends.
His life's motto was: "It's always nice to be important, but it's very important to be nice." Words we would all do well to live by, I think. A good New Year's goal.
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody".
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Happy New Year's to everyone. I'll raise a glass of cheer to that.