Singer, Cattle Rancher, Filmmaker Set for SHHS Alumni Induction

Songwriter, Cattle Rancher, Filmmaker Set for SHHS Hall of Honor Induction
Posted on 08/25/2015
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*Larry Willoughby's "Building Bridges"... CLICK HERE

*Bill Hughes' "Matt Mercury -- Plot of the Galactic Mastermind" trailer... CLICK HERE

South Houston High's 2015 Alumni Hall of Honor inductees: Larry Willoughby, Class of 1969; Bob Garner, Class of 1971; and Bill Hughes, Class of 1980.

side photoThree South Houston High School graduates, all entrepreneurs with a passion to entertain, have been selected for induction this fall in the school’s Alumni Hall of Honor.

Chosen for induction are Larry Willoughby, a Grammy-nominated songwriter and Nashville record executive; Bob Garner, a Central Texas rancher and host of a popular spring bash for Trojan alumni; and Bill Hughes, an award-winning sci-fi illustrator and filmmaker.

Willoughby graduated from South Houston in 1969, Garner in 1971 and Hughes in 1980.

The three will be honored during Homecoming festivities on Oct. 16 along with three former teachers selected earlier this summer for induction in the school’s Faculty and Staff Hall of Honor. The teachers are Barbara Coon, a physics teacher and counselor during her South Houston tenure; Ella Gauthier, a math teacher and success coordinator; and George Neal, a law enforcement instructor and coach.

Willoughby, Garner and Hughes will bring to 76 the number of South Houston alumni who have been inducted into the Hall of Honor since the program was launched nearly five years ago. The number of teachers inducted will rise to 26 with the addition of Coon, Gauthier and Neal.

All three alumni inductees remain active in their chosen professions.

Willoughby is currently vice present of A&R (artists and repertoire) for Capitol Records’ Nashville division. In that position, he has helped shaped the careers of numerous country recording stars, among them Keith Urban, Trace Atkins and Deana Carter.

Garner, in addition to his ranching enterprises, owns three pool and lake management companies in Texas. A navy veteran with 15 years of active service, Garner served two tours in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, receiving numerous decorations and service awards.

Hughes has redirected his love of comic books and science fiction into an independent filmmaking career. He recently expanded his 2005 short film, “Matt Mercury and his Rocket Rangers,” into a full-length, space comedy feature, released earlier this summer.

The film, “Matt Mercury – Plot of the Galactic Mastermind,” was recently nominated for best special effects among independent productions by the Austin Revolution Film Festival.

Active in choir and Future Farmers of America in high school, Willoughby joined the Houston Fire Department after graduation. He got his big break in the music business when he auditioned for country singer/songwriter Guy Clark and earned a spot as a guitar player and backup vocalist in Clark’s band. Under Clark’s guidance, Willoughby honed his own songwriting and performing skills.

Soon after, he landed a recording contract with Atlantic Records. His debut album, “Building Bridges,” rose to No. 47 on the Billboard magazine chart in 1984. The title track from the album reached No. 55 as a single -- but 12 years later took him to new heights.

The song was covered by Brooks & Dunn and rearranged with backing vocals from Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill. That version soared to No. 4 on the charts and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Country Collaboration.

Willoughby spent several years on tour