Mason County News
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AI V. Garrett
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 • Posted October 10, 2012

AI V. Garrett passed away at the VA hospital in Dallas, Texas on September 18th, 2012, at the age of 90. His funeral service was held on September 26th at the Center Point Methodist Church. Burial was at the Center Point Cemetery, with graveside services performed by the Rising Star Masonic Lodge and the American Legion, with full military honors.

He was born in Kerr County on November 6th, 1921, to Mack and Letha Garrett. He grew up on the family farm/ranch in Center Point. In 1941, not long after graduation from Center Point High School, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corp and was stationed at Randolph A.F.B. for basic training. He severely injured his ankle during training (which plagued him the rest of his life) and could have been discharged, but he chose to stay to do his duty for the war effort. He was sent to Oklahoma to the Spartan School of Aviation Mechanics and to Seattle for 8-29 school for training as a crew chief. On July 5, 1942, he married the love of his life, Mary Louise Hamlyn also from Center Point. Up on his discharge in 1945 as Staff Sargent from the Army Air Corp, they returned to Center Point. In 1946, he enrolled in college at A&I University in Kingsville,TX, and during this year, son James Bryan was born. In 1949, he graduated from A&I, and during this year, daughter Marilyn Louise was born. In 1950, he started his career as a County Agricultural Extension Agent in Real County and moved the family to Leakey, TX. This was during a time ofextreme drought, and things were hard in this remote part of the state. He often had to double as a veterinarian. He was transferred to Mason County in 1954 as the County Agent, and in 1955, daughter Kathy was born.

Al and Mary stayed in Mason for 14 years, raising their family and becoming an integral part of the community. They were active members of the Methodist Church and other local organizations. During his time in Mason, he worked long hours, walking many miles through the various fields (with a bad ankle) and used his extensive knowledge of range management, soil conservation and insect control to help the local farmers and ranchers. He was also very interested in grafting, especially pecan trees, and he did everything he could to ensure that the pecan trees that surrounded the Mason Courthouse stayed healthy. One of his important contributions was to the success of the 4-H club. He devoted countless hours to the youth of Mason County, teaching them leadership, honesty, honor, hard work and pride. Together they produced many championship show animals, locally and at various Stock Shows around the State. There were also winning teams, including at least two State ChampionRifle teams.

In 1969, he had an opportunity to change careers. He accepted a position with the Federal Dept. of Agriculture in Laredo, TX, as a Plant Quarantine Inspector located at the International Bridge. Their stay in Laredo was a very good experience and as usual, they made many friends. They continued to be involved in church and other organization activities while living there. In 1977, he retired from the Department of Agriculture with 32 years of Service. He and Mary moved back to Center Point where they were very involved with all types of community service. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge and American Legion for over 60 years and was a life-time member of the Center Point Methodist Church.

In 2004, after a lengthy illness, Mary passed away. They had been married for 62 years. He was devoted to taking care of her all during the long illness. Not long after her death, he moved from their house in Center Point to a small trailer on the 20 acres of the remaining family home place located on a hill above Center Point. He had all he needed - - his land, his horse, his dog, some goats and a new truck! He worked way too hard for his age, but he would not have had it any other way.

In 2007, he fulfilled a lifelong dream of traveling to the Holy Land, where he took an extensive trip to Israel which he enjoyed very much, even though his health was beginning to fail. Not long after this, he moved to the Weatherford area to be close to his son James and eventually, had to relocate to the long-term care unit of the Veteran’s Hospital in Dallas. He made quite a name for himself there, and the staff was quite fond of him. He was still serving up until the very end, by being a part of the ‘Wheel- chair Honor Guard’ that escorted the bodies of the ‘fallen’ Vets through the halls of the VA. It was a great honor to him to be a part of this.

Thanks to his son James and daughter-in-law Jo-Anne, he was able enjoy a quality of life that would not otherwise have been possible. They made the drive to Dallas almost every week-end (one hour each way) to take him out to lunch to a nice restaurant and shopping and other activities. They also made sure that he always had everything he needed, especially his extra-starched shirts and pants from the cleaners. He was always impeccably dressed. When he got his motorized wheelchair, he liked to speed through the halls of the VA, speaking to everyone and handing out candy. He also was still a fierce domino player. He was a good man who lived his life with purpose and conviction and was dedicated to serving others. He loved God, his family, his country, and the Land, and he will be missed .....

He was preceded in death by his wife Mary Louise Garrett and is survived by:

Sister: Ima Dean of Austin, TX

Sister: Ruth Murphy of Austin, TX

Brother: Billy Jean Garrett and wife Rae of Center Point, TX

Son: James B. Garrett and wife Jo-Anne of Azle, TX

Daughter: Marilyn (Nyby) Bennett of Tallahassee, FL

Daughter: Kathy Schulze and husband Donald of Mason, TX Grandchildren: Jeanette Slack and husband Gowdy of Wichita Falls, TX Brian Nyby and wife Katherine of Canton, GA Derrick Schulze and wife Karena of Llano, TX

Carrie Schulze of San Antonio, TX

Great Grandchildren:

Tom Garret Slack

Kaitlin and Nicholas Nyby

Kenley Schulze and Ashten Altizer

Memorials may be made to the Center Point Methodist Church, P.O. Box 530, Center Point, TX 78010 or to the organization of choice.

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