Heritage, Summer 2004 Page: 6
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By Kelly A. Rushing
In many old Western movies, there is a
scene where the stranger comes to town.
Usually someone would ask, "Where ya
heading, stranger?" The stranger was rarely
forthcoming, but there was a basic need to
know who this person was and what he
was doing there. In our case, another question
might be asked: "Whatever happened
to Marshall Doke, the person who usually
writes this column?" In this analogy, I
would be the stranger, and Marshall would
now be Mayor Doke.
Marshall, as you know if you have been
a regular reader of this column, has a broad
knowledge of Texas history and a talent for
taking interesting snippets of historical
events and discussing them in insightful
ways. After serving four years as president
of the Texas Historical Foundation, as well
as another term as vice president, Marshall
is now the esteemed chairman of the board
of THF Knowing his interest in Texas history
and passion for preservation, Marshall
will not use his new position as a time to
rest on his laurels. To dispel anyone's
notion that his work has been thankless, I
hope that you will join me in saying,
"Thank you, Marshall."
As to who I am and why I'm here, I began
serving as president of the Texas Historical
Foundation on July 1. I am the father of two
and the grandfather of two. I received my
B.B.A. from the University of Texas and
then served in the navy as an ensign and
lieutenant jg. After the navy, I went back to
the University of Texas to receive an MBA.
For the last 33 years, I have been living in
Houston with my wife Mary Lynn and
working as a financial consultant.
Why am I here? Like you, I love Texas
history. My interest in the Texas Historical
Foundation was stimulated when I attended
a fundraiser for THF hosted by J.P.
Bryan at the corporate offices of Torch
Energy in Houston. J.P.'s collection of artifacts
and memorabilia is interesting and
impressive, but I found his comments to be
extremely motivating. J.P. talked about
Texas and the responsibility that each of
us have to honor those who came before
us. In its simplest terms, that is the goal of
the Texas Historical Foundation, and I
want to be a part of that effort.
It is the people in our history who interest
me the most. Our children need
heroes, and so do their grandfathers.
Unfortunately, there is only one Davy
Crockett, not counting John Wayne and
Billy Bob Thornton. It is the countless
other unsung heroes who lived and toiled,
fought and died, who for the most part created
our heritage; their stories need to be
preserved too. The Texas Historical
Foundation tries to do just that, through
its quarterly magazine and grants program.
The unknown men and women who were
pioneers in our land, those who built the
early courthouses and churches, were
heroes who can be remembered for what
they left behind, not for the amount of
notoriety that they might or might not
By preserving the works of these unsung
heroes, we become heroes too, in a small
way. Efforts to preserve our heritage are
noble, especially as they serve to educate
and inspire our youth. But this mutual love
of history and our noble cause do not insure
that the Texas Historical Foundation will
live beyond the lives of its current membership.
Yet, it is important that it does. The
future might be more important than the
past, but it is the understanding of our past
that polishes the lens allowing us to see
dimly into the future.
So, I return to the original question
posed, "Where ya heading, stranger?"
Hopefully, we are all heading in the same
direction. That is, in a united effort to
insure that the mission to serve Texans by
preserving our history and heritage lives
well beyond our time.
Send comments and suggestions to Kelly
Rushing at P.O. Box 50314, Austin, Texas
HERITAGE a SUMMER 2004
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Summer 2004, periodical, Summer 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45373/m1/6/: accessed May 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.