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Annie Ray Watkin Hoagland Strange


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I haven't seen any mention of this on HAIF, and I suppose Historic Houston is probably the most appropriate forum to post it in. Annie Ray Watkin Hoagland Strange, the last surviving daughter of noted Houston architect William Ward Watkin, passed away last Monday at the age of 95.

Chronicle obituary

Annie Ray Watkin Hoagland Strange, of Houston, Texas passed away on Monday, the 21st of March 2011, at her home in The Hallmark Apartments, where she was a long time resident. Annie Ray Watkin, born the 11th of May 1915, in Houston, Texas, was the daughter of the late William Ward Watkin and the late Annie Ray Townsend Watkin. Her father, William Ward Watkin came to Houston in 1910 from the firm of Ralph, Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson, Architects, in Boston, to supervise the planning and building of the original buildings of Rice University. In 1914 he married Annie Ray Townsend of San Antonio, Texas, and they made their home in Houston. Mr. Watkin was Professor of Architecture at Rice from 1912 until his death in 1952. They had three children and a very happy life until Mrs. Watkin’s untimely death, the 2nd of March 1929, in Paris, France. She is buried in Houston.

Their oldest child, Annie Ray, attended Kinkaid School, and Chatham Hall School in Virginia. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Rice University in 1936, and later received her Master’s Degree in Art History at Rice University in 1943. Her interests were history and foreign languages. In college Annie Ray shortened her name to “Ray.”

In 1939, Ray married Carl Biehl of Galveston. They lived two years in Washington, D.C., and from 1942 through 1945, her husband served in the U. S. Army in Bristol, England and Ray returned to Houston until Carl’s return from the war. In 1947, Ray and Carl moved to New Orleans, and from 1947 to 1955 there were many trips to Europe with the shipping business. Their marriage ended in 1955 and in 1956, Ray took a lengthy trip around the world.

On the 24th of June 1961, in New Orleans, Ray married Henry W. Hoagland, Jr., of Boston and she moved to Boston, where they lived for 17years. They also owned a summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, where they loved to entertain friends and family. Mr. Hoagland was Vice-President of American Research and Development Company in Boston from 1956 to 1970. In 1970 he became chairman of the Fidelity Ventures Capital Fund until his retirement in 1978. They kept their home in Kennebunkport and also lived part-time in Houston, Texas, and in Tucson, Arizona, until Harry died the 25th of February 1995, in Tucson, Arizona.

Ray enjoyed being an active member of various organizations. Some of her favorites were The National Society of Colonial Dames of America, Massachusetts and Texas Chapters; National Society of DAR – Hannah Goddard Chapter, Massachusetts; Daughters of the Republic of Texas – San Jacinto Chapter; Southern Garden Club; Honorary Board Member, Rice University Historical Society,. She was also a member of the Junior League (Sustainer).

After Harry’s death, Ray married Robert F. Strange in January of 1997 at the First Presbyterian Church in Houston. They then lived at his ranch, G a y Hill Ranch, in Brenham, Texas for over four years until his death on September 17, 2001. Mrs. Strange then moved back to Houston to The Hallmark Apartments until her death.

Ray’s hobby was genealogy. She published three books for her family history, the first book, “The Seven Townsend Brothers of Texas” in 1975, was written by Tula Townsend Wyatt; and the second book, a biography of her father, “Wm. Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute” in 1991, was written by Patrick Nicholson. A third book followed, “Advance Man, The Life of Henry W. Hoagland,” in 2005, after his death, published by the New England Historical and Genealogical Society. Ray was instrumental in lending help to publish a fourth book in 2010, “A Leader by Example: Harry Hoagland and the Dawn of American Venture Capital,” by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Ray was on the board of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society of Boston for twenty years. Until the 1990’s, she was also co-chair of the Rice University Area Club while living in Boston. In 1975, in Houston, Ray organized the Rice Alumni Archives Committee at the University. She endowed both the W. W. Watkin and Rosemary Watkin Barrick Traveling Fellowships in Architecture, the Annie Ray Watkin Hoagland Strange Endowment for Rice University Archives, and the W. W. Watkin Chair of Architecture at Rice. Upon her retirement in Houston in the late 1990’s, she was appointed to the board of the Rice Historical Society. Her devotion to Rice University benefited residents of The Hallmark also. With the idea of her friend, Mrs. Elizabeth Kaderli, to engage Rice Professors to come to The Hallmark and give lectures, they partnered with the Glasscock School of Continuing Education annually, to bring 12 weeks of stimulating lectures to residents and friends of The Hallmark for the past five years.

Mrs. Strange was predeceased by her sister, the late Rosemary Watkin Barrick (Mrs. Nolan E. Barrick of Lubbock, Texas) in 1984; her brother, the late William Ward Watkin, Jr., Brigadier General, U. S. Army Retired, a West Point graduate of the Class of 1942, who died in Brevard, North Carolina in 2001; and nephew, the late Bruce Watkin Barrick, who died in Austin, Texas, on the 12th of July 2010. She is survived by Carol S. Watkin, widow of her brother, in Brevard, N. C., and by Nolan E. Barrick, widower of her sister, in Lubbock, Texas. Ray is also survived by four nephews and one niece, William Ward Watkin III, Major, U. S. Army Retired, and his wife, Corinne Barry Watkin; Thomas Snyder Watkin; Andrew Townsend Watkin; John Koch Watkin and wife, Barbara Watkin; and Anne Barrick Smith and husband, Charles A. Smith; and six great nephews, two great nieces and one great-great nephew.

Ray is survived by relatives from her mother’s family from San Antonio, her cousin, Dr. James T. Willerson and Nancy Willerson of Houston; and their two daughters, Sara Willerson and Amy Suerth and her husband Chris. Also, her cousin, Dr. Darrell Willerson and wife Susan of San Antonio, and cousins, Eleanor and Scott Petty of San Antonio. Ray is survived by members of Harry Hoagland’s family; his niece, Mrs. Anne Plumb Kelsey and husband Jack Kelsey; and her son, Robert Plumb and wife Laura; her nephew, Dr. Peter Hoagland and wife Judy; Peter’s son’s, Tony Hoagland and wife Kathleen, Christopher Hoagland and wife Amie, and daughter Mallory. Ray and Harry were especially blessed with the love and attention of their great niece, Dr. Janet Hoagland Sorensen, daughter of Dr. Peter Hoagland, and Janet’s husband, Jim; and their family of five daughters and one son.

Ray is also survived by the family of her deceased husband, Robert F. Strange – his daughter, Marian Strange Cheatham and her three daughters; Mundy Hooper and husband Andrew, Gigi Wheeler and husband Ben, and Palmer Cheatham; and she is also survived by his son, Robert F. Strange, Jr., and wife, Lana and their daughter, Lauren Strange; and four great grand children.

Ray’s special gratitude and love goes to Ms. Carolyn Harris, Ray’s devoted associate and good friend for many years.

Ray was very appreciative of caregivers, Dorothy White, Angelina Segura and Rosie Dimas; and sincere devotion of her long-time employee, Mrs. Earnestine Marion. A memorial service is to be conducted at two o’clock in the afternoon on Monday, the 28th of March, in the Community Center of The Hallmark, 4718 Hallmark Drive in Houston, where the Rev. Martin J. Bastian, Senior Associate Rector for Pastor Care at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, is to officiate. A reception will follow in the adjacent lounge area.

Prior to the service, the family will have gathered for a private interment at the Glenwood Cemetery in Houston.

In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests memorial gifts be directed to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, 717 Sage Rd., Houston, TX, 77056; Rice University Woodson Research Center Fondren Library, P. O. Box 1892, Houston, TX, 77251; Rice School of Architecture, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX, 77005; or the charity of one’s choice.

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