Monday, November 16, 2009

OBT: Browning, Lynch, Meckley, Cahill

it was another rough week on the home front, with the losses of two people i am connected too - the father of a co-worker, a former student - plus a lady from here, a soldier gunned down by her ex, and the father of a local lady gunned down in the Fort Hood massacre . . . death let us breathe a while . . .

Amber Dawn Browning

PLANO — Amber Dawn Browning was born Dec. 25, 1978. She went to be with her Lord and Savior on Nov. 14, 2009.

Amber is survived by her parents, Carl and Mary Jo Browning of Kerrville, Texas; brother, Sean Browning and his wife, Angie, of Decatur, Texas, and their children, Payton, Hayden and Zayne; brother, Dr. Travis Browning and his wife, Melinda, of Irving, Texas; grandparents, Carl and Izora Browning of Midland, Texas; aunt, Barbara Dunton and her husband, Darrell, of Midland, Texas, and their three children, Jason, Jenny and Justin and his wife, Tricia; aunt, Patsy Browning of Amarillo, Texas; aunt, Laurie Ring and husband, Glen, of Daytona Beach, Fla.; and uncle, Martin Gomon and wife, Diana, of Melbourne, Australia. Also surviving is Amber’s fiancé, Bart Smith of Dallas, Texas.

Amber was a graduate of Kerrville’s Tivy High School, where she graduated with honors and was the district champion in girl’s golf during her senior year. Amber attended Texas Tech University, where she graduated with honors in three years with a degree in advertising and marketing. Amber was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority. Upon graduation from Texas Tech, Amber moved to Dallas and went to work for the PGA Tour in the marketing and membership department of the TPC at Craig Ranch in Frisco, a private golf club of which Amber was part of the groundbreaking and growth to the quality facility it is today. Five years after arriving at Craig Ranch, Amber left for law school at SMU in Dallas. She was called to be an attorney and accomplished her dream by graduating, again with multiple honors in May 2009.
She made Law Review, mock trial and finished Cum Laude. She went to work in October for Strasburger & Price LLP in Dallas and recently learned of her passing the bar exam and was sworn in as a licensed attorney in the state of Texas. Even though her time in practice was brief, she would recite one of her favorite quotes and say “I’m living a dream.” Amber and her fiancé Bart Smith, also an attorney, both loved golf, watching football and doing fantasy football. They had many great friends at Hurricane Creek Golf Club and enjoyed lots of good times together.
Amber was a beautiful and talented young lady that brought joy to everyone she met, and we love her and will miss her dearly.

Memorial services will be Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009, at 2 p.m., at First United Methodist Church of Kerrville, officiated by Dr. Warren Hornung.

The family invites you to send condolences at by selecting the “Send Condolences” link.

Patterson column: Family recalls Lynch’s strength
By JARED PATTERSON, Globe Gazette Columnist, Saturday, November 14, 2009 12:15 AM CST

Wednesday started like any other day in our family.

Living in separate towns, we all go our separate ways in our fast-paced lives, just trying to make it through another day.

We don’t have those Sunday dinners we used to have weekly at Grandma and Grandpa Lynch’s in little Seneca, Iowa, anymore. The town, if you want to call it that, doubled in population when we all rolled in on Sundays after Mass.

There was food heaped upon food. We always had leftovers for a week. Grandma always made sure of that.

Grandma and Grandpa were the glue that held us together. When they died, it was difficult.

But no matter how many days separated our last conversation — sometimes weeks and sometimes months — everyone was a phone call away. It doesn’t matter the day. It doesn’t matter the time.

Late Wednesday afternoon, my mom called. She was distraught.

I called my aunt and a cousin. TereseAnn Lynch, one of the regulars at those Sunday dinners and one of my cousins, had been abducted at gunpoint while running errands at Target in Des Moines.

A short time later, my cousin Justin, who went to Garner-Hayfield High School with TereseAnn and her brothers, Michael and Richard, gave me the news.

“She’s gone,” he said.

TereseAnn, perhaps the smallest of us in stature, was the toughest one of the group.

She was in the National Guard and had served multiple tours of duty overseas. She was proud to be in the military. Despite only being 30, she had more than 10 years of service. She had given birth to her son, Levi, about eight months ago. It was the happiest time of her life.

This past summer she was married. It didn’t take long for Mr. Perfect to turn into something I can’t print in a newspaper.

I’ll admit, I don’t know a lot about domestic abuse. I don’t think anyone can truly comprehend what it can do to a family unless they experience it.

I didn’t live it. TereseAnn did. She fought the good fight. She did everything she could do. Everything she did, she did for Levi. When it was all over, she was shot and killed in the apartment she was living in just over a month ago. She didn’t deserve to go out like that. Nobody does.

People associated with law enforcement asked if we wanted to send out a family statement or anything of that nature.

Tim, TereseAnn’s father, said no.

“All of us here know how great of a person she was, that’s all that matters to me,” he said.

I’d like to think my family is as strong as they come. Sure, I’m probably a little biased, but there are some tough cookies in our group. We are a resilient bunch.

TereseAnn will be buried on Monday, right next to Grandma and Grandpa on the outskirts of Bancroft, about 10 miles east of Seneca.

The last few days have been hell for us, but I’m sure that Grandma and Grandpa had a five-course meal waiting for TereseAnn when they met again Wednesday.

— Jared Patterson is a Globe Gazette sports writer and the cousin of murder victim TereseAnn Lynch of Des Moines and formerly of Duncan.

Dr. Arnold Hugh Meckley

JUNCTION — Dr. Arnold Hugh Meckley, 79, of Junction, passed away at Wilford Hall Medical Medical Center in San Antonio on Nov. 14, 2009, after a long illness.

Dr. Meckley was born to Kenneth and Retha Meckley, on May 1, 1930, in Walgrove, W.Va. After completing high school a year early, he went on to attain his Bachelor of Arts, with honors, from West Virginia University in 1951, and his Bachelor of Science from West Virginia School of Medicine in 1953. In 1955, he graduated with his M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia, after which he completed his internship at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals in 1956. He then served as a captain in the United States Army, stationed in Germany from 1956 to 1958; and upon returning to the states, he began his postgraduate studies in ophthalmology at Baylor University College of Medicine. He completed his Hospital Residency Training Program in Ophthalmology in 1961.

Dr. Meckley set up his private ophthalmology practice in West Texas, in Midland, in 1961. During his 30-year career there, he served on the American Board of Ophthalmology, and was a fellow with the Academy of O&O. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the Texas Medical Association and the Midland County Medical Society, and also was a member of the Board of Medical Advisors for the Texas State Commission for the Blind and of the Board of Medical Advisors for the Texas Society for the Prevention of Blindness. During his career, he served Midland Memorial Hospital as secretary-treasurer for the medical staff, was a member of the board of trustees, and was president of the medical staff. He retired from his practiced in 1991.

Dr. Meckley is survived by his wife of 56 years, Billie Dove Meckley; his son and his daughter-in-law, Lee Arnold and Marisol Meckley of Austin; and his daughter, Lynn Ann Meckley of Kerrville.

Services will be at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 17, at Gentry-Fife Funeral Home chapel. Interment will follow at Junction City Cemetery.

The family requests that memorials be directed to the Kimble Hospital Building Fund.

Local family loses father at Fort Hood

By Tim Sampson, The Daily Times, Published November 7, 2009

For Michael Cahill, Thursday was just another day at work.

A physician’s assistant for the U.S. Army, retired from the National Guard after 20 years of service, Cahill has worked nearly the last four years at the Army base at Fort Hood, where he was killed by a gunman Thursday.

Cahill worked in the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood, the facility were servicemen and women bound for duty overseas and those returning from combat are reviewed for physical and mental health.

“My dad loved his work,” said Keely Vanacker, Cahill’s daughter who now resides in Kerrville. “He loved working with the soldiers. I think that came from being in the service himself for 20 years.”

And Cahill, 62, was never short of work. Fort Hood, America’s largest military base, has seen the largest proportion of deployments to current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But tragically, Cahill’s workplace became the site of a violent shooting Thursday, and Cahill became one of its victims.

Cahill was one of 13 people killed at Fort Hood when Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, an officer slated to be deployed later this month, allegedly opened fire at the Soldier Readiness Center. Another 30 were wounded during the shooting.

Hasan currently is hospitalized in stable condition after being shot four times during the rampage.

The violent tragedy, the largest ever at a U.S. military base, shook the nation, but was felt especially hard by Vanacker and her family in Kerrville.

“We learned about it just like everyone else did, on the news,” she said.

Vanacker immediately grew concerned when she first heard about the shooting, but she had no way of knowing if her father was one of the victims.

She saw a glimmer of hope after Fort Hood officials initially reported that all the victims had been soldiers. Her father was retired from the National Guard and considered a civilian contractor at the base. But when an Army chaplain approached her mother’s house, located about an hour west of the base, around 11 p.m. Thursday, she knew her father had not survived.

“There was that false hope early on when they kept saying on the news that only military personnel had been killed, because we thought of dad as a civilian,” she said.

Vanacker said a lack of information from Fort Hood officials has been the most frustrating part of the family’s ordeal. Her father’s body was sent to Dover Airforce Base in Maryland Thursday night — now evidence in a federal investigation — but Vanacker and her family only learned about the movement of Cahill’s remains on TV news.

“I understand they have their job to do, but it’s incredibly frustrating,” she said. “The biggest struggle has not been knowing anything.”

Cahill’s family, which includes a wife of 37 years, Joleen; three children, Keely, Kerry and James; and a 2-year-old grandson, Brody; is coping with their lose, in part, by focusing on what they loved best about their husband, father and grandfather.

“He was a loud guy, who just loved to talk about politics, current events and history,” Vanacker said.

She described her father as a voracious reader with a particular passion for books about history, everything from World War II to Roman History.

“I came into (my mother’s) house yesterday and could spot three books my dad was working on,” she said. “He was always like that, reading three books at a time. And they were all laying around with bookmarks in them still.”

Cahill, a native of Spokane, Wash., took an unusual route to become a physician’s assistant. He trained at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio through the National Guard. Vanacker said many of those who studied there first attended college or medical school at other institutions, but not her father.

“He didn’t want to waste eight or 12 years at some other school as a civilian,” she said. “He knew he wanted to work as a PA. He knew he wanted to help soldiers.”

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