Category Archives: Community Losses

Chris Kraft, NASA’s first flight director, dies at 95

By Amanda Jackson, CNN

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NASA Mission Control founder Chris Kraft in the old Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in 2011.

Chris Kraft, NASA’s first flight director, died Monday, two days after the agency celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, according to NASA. He was 95.

“America has truly lost a national treasure today with the passing of one of NASA’s earliest pioneers — flight director Chris Kraft,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement. “We send our deepest condolences to the Kraft family. Chris was one of the core team members that helped our nation put humans in space and on the Moon, and his legacy is immeasurable.”

Read more from CNN…

2-year-old boy reported missing in Denton found dead in vehicle

By Claire Z. Cardona and Loyd Brumfield

Updated at 8:40 a.m. to indicate that the child has died.

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Sarbesh Gurung (Denton Police Department)

A 2-year-old boy reported missing in Denton was found dead in a vehicle Wednesday morning.

Denton police made the announcement during a news conference shortly after Sarbesh Gurung’s body was found.

The vehicle was in “pretty close proximity” to where Sarbesh lived, Denton Police Chief Frank Dixon said.

Read more from the Dallas News…

Southlake DPS Press Release regarding Los Angeles Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs

PRESS RELEASE

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Editor’s Corner: Officer’s death is another blow to kindness and compassion for others

By Stacey Doud

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Castaneda

A Grand Prairie police officer, AJ Castaneda, age 38, was killed around 10:30am on June 7 while checking radar speeds on the shoulder of the George Bush Turnpike. A 17-year-old driver hit the officer’s vehicle and the officer fell off of the overpass onto the lower highway, about 20 feet below. He died at an Arlington hospital about 30 minutes later.

The person who came upon the accident and reported it was an officer from another city. He had the brains to get into Castaneda’s patrol car and radio directly to Castaneda’s agency in Grand Prairie to let them know what was going on.

I’ve been a law enforcement supporter for many years now, simply because I know I could not to that job, so I admire those that can.

In today’s climate, I often get criticized for supporting the cops; however, I am not a blind follower. I realize that there are bad apples in the policing field, just as in any area of employment. I feel shame when I hear about a cop abusing his or her privileges as peacekeepers.

That being said, I attended a candlelight vigil for Castaneda on June 9, which was held in front of Grand Prairie’s Public Safety Building.

I had never met Castaneda, but when something tragic like this happens, I like to lend my support, even if it’s providing another warm body at an event.

I got there a bit early and parked. As I walked up to the gathering spot, I was overwhelmed with the crowd. Literally hundreds of people, young and old, showed up to pay respects to this officer that I knew nothing about.

As I listened to the speakers, I came to understand that Castaneda was an exceptional officer. He raised money to provide meals every Thursday to the youth of an impoverished neighborhood in Grand Prairie. He saved the life of a choking baby. He earned medals and awards too countless to list.

The question everyone asks themselves when a good person dies popped into my head: Why him? Why him and not the cop that sits in the back of a parking lot all day or night watching movies? But does anyone’s life count “more” than another’s?

The wind was blowing pretty hard that night, and the candles wouldn’t stay lit. The chief suggested that folks turn on the flashlights on their phones instead. What resulted was a beautiful sea of light to honor this exceptional officer.

I cried and cried – not because I knew Castaneda – but because yet another person who had compassion and went above-and-beyond had been taken way too soon. Those traits are hard to find these days.

Remember when customer service existed everywhere? Remember when employees cared about your experiences in their stores? Remember when people would stop to help other folks in distress?

Those days are long gone, and so to lose someone who loved his job, had compassion for his fellow human beings and went farther than necessary to give a helping hand to people he didn’t even know was just another blow to the things we used to cherish, and want to cherish again.

RIP AJ Castaneda. End of Watch: June 7, 2019

They’ll take it from here, brother.

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Chief identifies ‘model police officer’ killed in Grand Prairie crash: ‘Our city is hurting’

By Sarah Sarder, Loyd Brumfield and LaVendrick Smith

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Grand Prairie police Officer A.J. Castaneda served in the department for five years. He is the third officer in the department’s history to die in the line of duty. (Grand Prairie Police Department)

A Grand Prairie police officer was killed Friday after a crash threw him off an overpass on the Bush Turnpike, police said.

Officer Albert “A.J.” Castaneda, 38, was running radar while standing outside his SUV parked on the inside shoulder of the Dickey Road overpass around 10:40 a.m., Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye said in a news conference Friday afternoon.

The driver of a Nissan 300ZX heading north on the turnpike lost control and struck Castaneda’s vehicle, throwing Castaneda to the ground about 20 feet below, police said.

Read more from Dallas News…

Pearland’s longest-serving Chief of Police dead after almost 40 years of service

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FUNERAL UPDATE BELOW

Pearland, Texas’s longest-serving Chief of Police, J.C. Doyle, unexpectedly passed away yesterday, April 3, 2019. He had recently retired in 2018.

Doyle served with the Pearland Police Department since 1979.

In his time with the department, he served as a patrol and motorcycle office, detective, patrol sergeant, lieutenant and later as the commander for a multi-agency Special Weapons and Tactics team.

From 1994-1999, Doyle served as Assistant Chief of Police under the direction of P.M. Hogg. Doyle succeeded Hogg as Chief.

He served as Chief from 1999 until his retirement in 2018, making him the longest-serving chief in the department’s 50-year history.

Chief Doyle was instrumental in acquiring and implementing the state of the art radio system and laptop system currently being used by the department.

He will be greatly missed. 

[Fact source: The Reporter News]

[Editor’s Note: We at The Grapevine Source, especially because our beginning was in Pearland, wishes all involved peace and healing. You will all be in our prayers.]

UPDATE: 

  • Visitation: Sunday, April 7, 2019 at Niday Funeral Home, 12440 Beamer Road, Houston, TX 77089
  • Funeral Service: Monday, April 8, 2019 at Sagemont Church, 11300 S. Sam Houston Parkway East (Beltway 8), Houston, TX 77089

**No procession after the service**

Ralph Hall, Texan who was oldest congressman in U.S. House history, dies at 95

By Emily Langer

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Mr. Hall smiles during a tour of his home in Rockwall, Texas, in 2014. (LM Otero/AP)

Ralph M. Hall, a Texas Democrat-turned-Republican who was elected 17 times to Congress, where he became dean of his state’s delegation, one of the last veterans of World War II on Capitol Hill and the oldest person in history to serve in the House, died March 7 at his home in Rockwall, Texas. He was 95.

His longtime political strategist, Ed Valentine, confirmed the death and said he did not know the cause.

A former Navy pilot and Texas state senator, Mr. Hall was elected to the House in 1980 as a Democrat and for the next 34 years — the final decade as a Republican — represented a swath of the Red River Valley in eastern Texas. He announced that his 2014 campaign would be his last and was defeated in the Republican primary by John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney who pledged to serve no more than eight years.

Read more from the Washington Post…

Grapevine City Officials Announce the Passing of Ted R. Ware

IMG_6091Former Mayor Pro Tem Ted R. Ware passed away yesterday at the age of 86. Mayor Pro Tem Ware served the City for 40 years. Mr. Ware served the City as Chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission beginning in 1968 for 10+ years before his appointment to a vacancy on the City Council in 1979. The next year he was elected by the citizens of Grapevine to continue serving on the City Council. He was then appointed by his peers to serve as Mayor Pro Tem that same year. Mr. Ware retired from his service in 2008.

He will be remembered as an icon in Grapevine and was honored with the first plaque placed on the City’s Walk of Fame on Main Street in October 2008. Ted R. Ware Plaza, which is the focal point of the Settlement to City Museum Complex located at Church and Hudgins Streets, was also named after Mr. Ware in 2013 for his many years of dedicated service to the City. City flags will be flown at half-staff through Sunday, March 3 in memoriam of Mr. Ware.

Family and friends will be received at his visitation today, Friday, March 1 from 5 – 7 pm at the Convention & Visitors Bureau Grand Hall, 636 South Main Street. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 2 at 2 pm at Church at the Cross, 3000 William D. Tate Avenue, Grapevine.

Fire Department: Blaze That Destroyed Grapevine Restaurant Not Suspicious

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Photo: CBSDFW

GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) – A large fire destroyed a Grapevine barbecue restaurant early Monday morning.

It was around 3 a.m. when fire crews arrived to find flames and smoke shooting from the roof of the Baker’s Ribs barbecue restaurant along Grapevine Highway, near Bass Pro Drive.

Firefighters immediately determined it was too dangerous to go inside the building, so crews poured water on the fire from above, and made sure it did not spread to a nearby gas station.

Read more from CBSDFW…

[Editor’s Note: Baker’s was one of our favorite places to eat in Grapevine. We are thankful that no one was hurt and pray for everyone involved with the business.]

Former Astros players killed in a car crash

BY LEISHA S. D’ANGELO

Former Major League Baseball players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo were killed in a car accident on Thursday night after playing in a winter league game in Venezuela.

Valbuena was 33 and Castillo was 37.

Valbuena played 11 seasons in the majors, including his final two with Los Angeles Angels. He also played with the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros.

Castillo played in the majors from 2004 to 2008, with the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, and Astros.

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Valbuena (L) and Castillo

[Source: https://mypearlandnews.com/2018/12/07/former-astros-players-killed-in-a-car-crash/]