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Three Fallen Heroes Among Nine Picked for Dobie Hall of Honor

Three Fallen Heroes Among Nine Picked for Dobie Hall of Honor
Posted on 01/15/2014
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panelThree “fallen heroes” from three different branches of public service are among eight Dobie High School graduates and a beloved former coach selected for induction into the school’s Hall of Honor next month.

An induction ceremony has been set for Feb. 28 at the school.

The 2014 class of inductees follows the inaugural group of 13 honored a year ago when the school formally unveiled the Hall of Honor, established to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of esteemed alumni, faculty and community volunteers.

A portion of the Hall of Honor display is set aside as a memorial to military personnel and civilian first-responders who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

This year the school will add three graduates to the “Fallen Heroes” memorial: one Coast Guardsman, one Houston police officer and one Houston fire fighter  – Robert Bebee, a 1990 Dobie graduate who died last May while battling a five-alarm blaze in southwest Houston.

Jerry Stowe, an HPD officer who died in 2000 of injuries sustained in a mob beating, and Danny Frye, who lost his life in a 1980 maritime accident involving the Coast Guard cutter to which he was assigned, will also be honored. Stowe graduated from Dobie in 1971 and Fry in 1978.

Four Dobie graduates will be inducted for their career accomplishments in the fields of business, journalism, athletics and military service. They are: Malcolm Jacobson, Class of 1980, an energy production expert and entrepreneur; Robert Flores, Class of 1988, a sports anchor on ESPN’s cable networks; Trevor Cobb, Class of 1989, a former Rice University football standout; and Col. Reginald Godbolt, Class of 1987, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate and Iraq war veteran who currently commands an Air Force maintenance wing in Florida.

Ron Williams, Class of 1971, will be inducted as a community volunteer. Williams and other family members own Central Ace Hardware, a generous contributor to Dobie and other Pasadena ISD projects for nearly four decades. Williams is currently CEO of the company.

The faculty addition to the Hall of Honor -- the only non-Dobie graduate on the inductee list – spent almost as many years on the Dobie campus as all the other inductees combined. The late Scott Talton, who served as the Longhorns’ head basketball coach for 27 years and rolled up 500 victories, will be among those honored.

The induction ceremony on Feb. 28 will start at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

The list of 2014 inductees: 

ALUMNI

MALCOLM JACOBSON / Class of 1980

malcolmOnce the student body president at Dobie, Malcolm Jacobson ranks as a leading expert and top consultant in the industrial application of fuel cells and clean energy technologies and practices. And it all began with snow cones.

As a sophomore at Dobie, Jacobson began his first business venture – a snow-cone truck that roamed the streets of Sagemont and became the subject of feature stories in the Dobie “Chaparral” and the South Belt Leader. He moved into the fast lane after graduating, earning a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M and then a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Houston. He worked in the East Texas oil fields during the college while plotting a transition from the technical to the business side of energy production.

Jacobson broke in as a reservoir engineer for the Coastal Corporation before moving into the business end as for a variety of companies, including Transco Energy and Enron Corp., where he played a key role in legislative and regulatory initiatives leading to deregulation and choice for electricity consumers. He served as vice president for market development for Fuel Cell Energy, Inc. and then vice president for asset management for Northern Star Generation LLC, where he managed operations for 15 power plants around the country accounting for annual revenues of over $400 million.

In 2011, Jacobson was named president and CEO of Star West Generation LLC, a Houston-based independent power generation company with $1.5 billion in assets. Throughout his career, he has advocated alternative energy sources. He launched and served as chief editor of “Clean Energy Outlook,” a monthly industry publication, and president of Fuel Cells Texas, an industry trade group. He also served on the Texas Fuel Cell Advisory Board.

He has contributed to Habitat for Humanity projects in recent years and provides support for Search Homeless Services.

Jacobson and his wife, the former Laura Willars, a 1982 Dobie graduate, have two children, Shannon and Colin, both college students. 

REGINALD GODBOLT / Class of 1987

godboltThe 27-year military career of Air Force Col. Reginald Godbolt has brought him assignments in eight states, the United Kingdom and in Iraq, where four years ago he wrapped up 12 months in the war zone as commander of the 332nd Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Joint Base Balad, north of Baghdad.

“Maintenance” could qualify as Col. Godbolt’s middle name. Regarded as one of the top maintenance and logistics officers in the Air Force, he currently serves as commander of the 6th Maintenance Group of the 6th Mobility Wing at MacDill Air Force Base outside Tampa, Fla.

In December of 2012, midway through a one-year course of studies at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pa., he received his promotion to colonel.

An honor student at Dobie, Col. Godbolt received his commission upon his graduation from the U.S. Air Force
Academy in 1991. In 2000, he earned a master’s of business administration from UT-San Antonio and added a second master’s, this one in strategic leaders, in 2006 from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

While in Iraq, he led a team of 890 airmen and contract personnel in support of seven aircraft maintenance units and 93 aircraft. From 2009 to 2012, he served as deputy commander of the 552nd Maintenance Group at Tinker Air Force Base outside Oklahoma City. There, he was second in command of more than 1,500 personnel providing maintenance in support of 32 E-3 sentry aircraft, commonly known as AWACS aircraft.

He is the recipient of numerous awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star and the Iraq Campaign Medal.

Col. Godbolt is married to the Leighann Barkley of Houston and the father of three boys. 

ROBERT FLORES / Class of 1988

floresYoung enough to fit in as an anchor on the world biggest – and hippest – sports network, Robert Flores is also old enough to remember the way things were during some of the greatest angst years in Houston sports.

As a youngster, he delighted in the “Luv Ya Blue” Oilers, the “Rainbow” Astros and Phi Slama Jama University of Houston basketball teams, always bridesmaids and never brides. He followed Dobie football to playoff appearances in the Astrodome, and took a regular spot there as a TV/Radio broadcast student at the University of Houston, where he witnessed Andre Ware’s Heisman Trophy campaign and the Cougars rapid descent from national prominence while still a part of the Southwest Conference.

All the while Flores immersed himself in sports statistics and studied the work of on-air sports broadcast pros, among them local icon Bob Allen. Fast forward a dozen yours and you have Robert Flores, a sports center anchor for ESPN and a sport broadcasting celebrity in his own right.

Since his hiring in 2005, Flores has proven to be one of ESPN’s most versatile assets. He currently co-anchors the daytime edition of the popular “SportsCenter” segment. He also serves as an anchor for ESPNEWS and hosts studio updates during college football season. His other assignments have focused on tops ranging from boxing, to NBA basketball to fantasy football.

He began his broadcasting career at KNOE-TV in Monroe, La., as a weekend news anchor. In 1994, he moved to KWTX-TV in Waco for a six-year sports run covering Baylor and other regional sports teams. He moved to Austin in 2000 for a four-year stint at KEYE-TV.

In 2005, his agent, who already represented many ESPN regulars, sent his tape to network headquarters in Bristol, Conn. Nine years later, Flores admits he’s not the most famous face on ESPN. But don’t tell that to his pals back in the South Belt. 

TREVOR COBB / Class of 1989

cobbAlthough Trevor Cobb wore orange as a multi-sport standout at Dobie, his emergence as a national football star came out of the blue. As in, the blue worn by the Rice Owls. As in, out of nowhere.

As a Longhorn, Cobb wasn’t the most highly coveted running back on the team. That honor went to Creig Stephens, who signed with Baylor. Cobb signed with newly hired Rice Coach Fred Goldsmith. Together, they would form a four-year partnership that would culminate in a 6-5 record in 1992, the Owls’ first winning season in 29 years.

For his part, Cobb would leave Rice as the winner of the Doak Walker Award, presented each year to the nation’s best collegiate running back. Cobb’s Doak Walker Awards remains the highest collegiate honor ever bestowed upon a football product of the Pasadena ISD.

Cobb claimed the honor as a junior, when he rushed for 1,692 yards, a Rice record, and earned first-team All-America honors. A marked man as a senior in 1992, he still ran for 1,386 yards. He finished his college career with 4,948 rushing yards and 38 rushing touchdowns. At the time his 1,091 career rushing attempts and his 6,521 all-purpose yards were Southwest Conference records.

At the time he left Rice, Cobb was the eighth-leading rusher in NCAA Division I history.

Regarded as undersized by pro scouts, he went undrafted. He signed as a free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs and later made the Chicago Bears roster. He retired soon after and returned to Houston to form Helping Hands, a charitable organization that helps special-need children. He is currently rehabilitating from a stroke suffered last year. 

FALLEN HEROES

JERRY STOWE / Class of 1971

stoweA Houston Police Department officer, Jerry Keith Stowe succumbed on September 20, 2000, to injuries he received in a 1986 mob attack on five officers during a disturbance call just west of downtown Houston.

During the incident Stowe was repeatedly kicked and beaten by family members of a female suspect resisting arrest. Although he refused treatment at the time, Stowe was later found to have suffered a ruptured spleen, which was determined to be a direct result of the beating. Medical complications led in a pulmonary embolism. In 1990, he was granted a catastrophic disability pension. Ten years later, Stowe died at the age of 47.

After graduating from Dobie, Stowe worked in the construction field. In 1984, he left construction to join his twin brother, Jimmy, on the Houston police force. He graduated from the academy in 1985 having been elected president of his class.

Stowe had been on central patrol duty for just 34 days when, along with his patrol partner, he responded to a reported assault. While attempting to make an arrest, one officer was stabbed and Stowe was beaten.

Although Stowe’s death, 14 years later, was ruled a homicide, authorities were unable to bring additional charges against the attackers because of double jeopardy protections. Four attackers served jail time. The longest sentence handed down was two years. 

DANNY FRYE / Class of 1978

fryeLawrence Daniel Frye, a damage controlman third class in the U.S. Coast Guard, died along with 22 of his shipmates in a 1980 maritime accident in Tampa Bay.

Eager to go to sea, Frye joined the Coast Guard in 1978. After two land assignments, he was assigned to the USCGC Blackthorn, a buoy tender.

Frye, a Blackthorn crew member for just 12 days, was below deck on the evening of Jan. 28, 1980, when the Blackthorn collided with the oil tanker Capricorn. In the collision, the Capricorn’s anchor became embedded in the Blackthorn’s port bow. As the ships separated, the anchor line became taut, and the pull of the Capricorn caused the Blackthorn to capsize and sink. Twenty-seven of the 50 Blackthorn crew members were rescued.

Frye’s body was recovered during salvage operations three weeks later. His death occurred one week after his 21st birthday. He is buried in Houston National Cemetery. 

ROBERT BEBEE / Class of 1990

bebeeA 12-year veteran of the Houston Fire Department, Robert Ryan Bebee was killed on May 31, 2013, while fighting a five-alarm fire at a motel on the Southwest Freeway.

Three other firefighters died in the tragedy, making it the worst single-day loss of life in the 118-year history of the department. Fourteen other fire fighters were injured.

Bebee graduated from the police academy after high school and then worked in the Harris County Precinct 2 Constable’s Office. He joined the fire department in 2011 as a firefighter/EMT and five years later was promoted to engineer/operator EMT. For six years he worked a second job with the Jersey Village Fire Department.

Although he worked primarily out of Station 51 in Bellaire, Bebee maintained close ties to the South Belt area, where he lived. Last spring he assisted firefighters at Station 70 on Beamer Road in their Fill-the-Boot Drive to fight muscular dystrophy.

He was studying to be a fire captain at the time of his death. 

FACULTY

SCOTT TALTON / Athletics and History

taltonThe head coach of Dobie’s basketball program from 1981 to 2008, Scott Talton ranks as arguably the most consistently successful coach in any sport in the history of Pasadena ISD athletics.

His 27 Longhorn teams won four district championships, six bi-district titles, four area titles and earned two regional tournament berths. His 1995 squad reached the regional title game, falling just one victory short of a spot in the state tournament.

Just before stepping down in 2008, he won his 500th game. His coaching record of 500-391 ranks first in the history of Pasadena ISD boys basketball.

Fifteen of Talton’s 27 teams earned playoff berths. Six times he was named district coach of the year and twice he was named Greater Houston coach of the year by the Houston Chronicle.

Talton began his coaching journey at Southmore Intermediate in 1974. He moved to Park View Intermediate and then to Dobie in 1979 as an assistant basketball coach. Promoted to head coach in 1981, he also taught history and later physical education.

In 2003, he approached Pasadena businessman Ben Meador about starting a local basketball tournament. From that meeting sprang the McDonald’s Texas Invitational, now considered the premier fall high-school tournament in the country.

The Texas Invitational’s MVP trophy is named in his honor, as is the basketball court in the Dobie gym. Talton died in 2009 at age 59. 

COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER

RON WILLIAMS / Central Ace Hardware

ronA 1971 Dobie graduate, Ron Williams was the first employee of Central Ace Hardware, a staple of the South Belt business community and a long-standing partner in numerous Dobie activities and projects. He now serves as CEO of the family-owned and family-operated company which his parents founded more than four decades ago.

Central Ace Hardware has been a pillar of support for some of the most time-honored activities at Dobie, among them Project Graduation and Seniors Helping Seniors. The company has provided items ranging from paint, brushers, scrapers, ladder and chainsaw for neighborhood rehabilitation projects spear-headed by Dobie students, many of whom were recipients of the Williams family's generosity in more personal ways.

The store has long provided a means of employment for Dobie students, many of them vocational students and countless others looking for after-school or weekend employment. Throughout its existence, Central Ace Hardware has been generous sponsorship source for dozens of South Belt sports teams and youth organizations. The company is also a long-standing contributor of supplied to the Pasadena ISD’s L.P. Card Career and Technical Center.

Williams served as student body president and was named a Dobie Trailblazer his senior year while participating in the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and Jets. He and his future wife, Patsy Daniel, were class favorites their senior year. Williams earned his bachelor of science degree in math from the University of Houston.

He served as store manager for 28 years. Today, he is the head of a family partnership with his brother Mike and sister Sandra that owns and operates the story. In addition to his business pursuits, Williams has served as chairman of the Space City Fun Run, the largest contributor to the Houston Ronald McDonald House.

He is currently president of the Greater Houston Ace Retailer Group and serves as a chief organizer of the Ace Golf Tournament, which benefits the Children’s Miracle Fund and has provided community support in numerous other ways. Williams was recently awarded the Ace Hardware Miracle Maker Award for contributions made to the Children’s Miracle Network on behalf of Central Ace Hardware.