STEPHENVILLE—Dick Dowling Poe, son of Bascomb Bell and Johnnie Mac (Lewis) Poe, peacefully commenced his final journey to Christ on the morning of Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018 in Norman, Oklahoma.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, April 2, at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church with Father Matthew Sanka officiating. Assisting him with be his nephew, Deacon John Dowling Pigott. Burial will follow at Alexander Cemetery in Alexander. Visitation will be held from 6-7 p.m. Sunday, April 1, at Stephenville Funeral Home.
Born in Alexander, Texas, on May 2, 1930, “Son Poe”, as he was known by his family and his friends, lead an adventurous life, especially by Alexander standards. A world traveler, educator, actor, play director, master amateur chef of Mexican food, an avid swimmer and fisherman of Greens Creek, and most of all, a loving son, brother, cousin, and uncle. Perhaps his passionate affinity for being in the water, swimming and fishing, commenced with Dick’s childhood baptism into the Baptist Church in this creek at Alexander. But on land, his feet continually desired to travel. Following high school graduation at Alexander High, Dick journeyed to Abilene to attend Hardin Simmons University where he majored in Education, minored in Drama, and was graduated with a Bachelors in Arts and subsequently with a Masters in Education. Following service in the U.S. Army, Dick briefly pursued an acting career in the theatres in Galveston, Texas, and off Broadway in New York City. Returning to Texas, he became an elementary school teacher in Odessa in the mid 1950’s, but again his restlessness led to his becoming a science teacher for the U.S. Air Force dependents’ children in France and later at Bushy Park in England.
Dick’s attachment to England lead to it becoming his residence for the next fifty years, where he was known as a caring teacher during the week and on weekends an avid attendee of plays in London. Consequently, Dick had many acquaintances who were connected with the British acting scene, one in particular was his close friend Tony Bateman whom Dick’s mother considered her second son. While in London, he joined the Church of England and later after private lessons in Bicester with a Nun of the Presentation Sisters, was confirmed into the Roman Catholic Church. which in no small part influenced his sister and his nephew, John, to do the same.
In 1960 he brought his mother, sister, and these two boys to England to attend British school for two years before returning to Stephenville. Though now a world traveler (journeying to France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, Egypt, the Holy Land, Thailand, Indonesia, and Tahiti), each summer when his English school was out on vacation, he returned to Texas to spend time with his beloved mother and sister, Emma Jane, in order to fish and swim in his beloved Greens Creek with his two nephews, Johnny and Charles, whom he called “ his boys”. As his sister was a single parent for his two nephews, Uncle Dick became their extended father, inspiring them to travel and to attend higher education. Reportedly (as a 1966 photo in the Stephenville Empire Tribune can attest), one stormy night he and “his boys” caught the largest yellow catfish in Greens Creek, weighing in at 25 pounds.
Following retirement, Dick spent a couple of years in Las Vegas before returning to London. Upon the death of Tony, he returned to Texas to live with his sister in Stephenville and to be near his nephew Charles and his wife Carolyn. Living for a short while thereafter in Galveston (to be close to the fish), for the past six years he has resided in Norman, Oklahoma, looked after by his nephew John and his wife, Kulwadee. Wherever Dick went, his infective smile, sparkling eyes, witty tongue, and tales of his adventures in foreign lands delivered in his dramatic British accent made acquaintances for life.
Preceded in death by his loving sister Emma Jane, he is survived by his two nephews, Charles Smith Peek of Stephenville and John Dowling Pigott of Norman, Oklahoma. No obituary can every truly capture a person’s life in complete authenticity or entirety, but perhaps by ending with one of Dick’s favorite Shakespearean quotes, this inadequacy might be partially overcome:
“All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.”
Online condolences may be made at www.stephenvillefh.com.