Alumni Archives

George Ricks ‘65
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We are grateful to the family of the late George Ricks ‘65, who donated his first-place trophy as the 1964 National Junior Individual ROTC Champion, along with the “Official Bulletin of the NRA Junior Indoor Rifle Championships 1964,” where his score of 392 points is recorded along with his picture.

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George passed away Jan. 18. To read his full obituary, click
The Panther, 1962-1966

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Thanks to John Larkin Matthews ’66, who sent pristine copies of The Panther student newspaper from 1962 to 1966. From these issues, we learn what cadets did when they trained at Camp Bullis (a surprise raid on a Boy Scout camp led by Robert Snip ’66 was a highlight), what the boarders’ Christmas party was like (names were drawn for gifts from Santa, and Ray Keck ’65 played carols on the organ) and where the swim team practiced (the downtown Elks Club’s indoor, heated pool ー a big improvement over a chilly country-club pool).

Student journalists also recorded faculty hires and retirements, sports rivals, standardized tests and many other facets of school life that are part of TMI’s history. We have some but not nearly all copies of school publications and are always happy to receive these important sources of information. To donate, mail TMI-related items to: TMI Archives, TMI Episcopal, 20955 W. Tejas Trail, San Antonio TX 78257.

Dan Blocker ’46
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Former TMI Commandant John Coulter (2000-2006) found the photo above on a military blog, where the TMI cadet holding a 1903 Springfield rifle was identified as the late Dan Blocker ’46, an actor and producer best known for his long-running role as Hoss Cartwright in TV’s “Bonanza.” Col. Coulter remembered writing the following bio of this distinguished cadet alumnus:

Dan Blocker, the "big" brother on the hit TV series “Bonanza,” was born in 1928 in Bowie County, Texas. At a birth weight of 14 pounds, he was the largest baby ever born there, and by the time he was 12, he stood over six feet tall and weighed 200 pounds.

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Upon his arrival at Texas Military Institute in 1943, he was immediately a favorite football player. He also was elected president of both his sophomore and junior classes and vice president of his senior class. Cadet Sgt. Blocker helped lead both his platoon and his company to the distinction of being the best in the cadet battalion.

After graduation from TMI, Dan attended Hardin-Simmons University, where he was again an outstanding football player. Ultimately, Dan received his bachelor’s degree in Speech and Drama from Sul Ross State University. After receiving his degree, Dan turned down several offers to play professional football and to box professionally. Instead, he decided to pursue one of his true desires and spent summers acting in Boston's summer stock theater.

Dan returned to wear the uniform he proudly served during his time at TMI when he went to war in Korea. Dan was an Infantry First Sergeant with the 45th Infantry Division and soon found himself in the thick of the fighting. During one 10-hour battle with his unit pinned down by enemy fire, Dan led his troops to repulse several "human wave" attacks. In the midst of the hand-to-hand fighting, Dan is credited with saving the lives of several of his men.

His tour of duty completed, Dan retuned to the USA and married his college sweetheart. Soon thereafter, he enrolled again at Sul Ross State. This time he earned his M.A. degree. From here, Dan began pursuing another of his true desires…teaching. He taught English in Sonora, Texas, and later in Carlsbad, New Mexico. His love of teaching, lead Dan to move to California and enroll at UCLA to begin work on his doctorate. While at UCLA, Dan's life took another dramatic turn.

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Dan was cast in the role of the middle brother, Hoss Cartwright, on the soon-to-be hit television series “Bonanza,” which he. starred in from 1965 to 1972. After a very lucrative but relatively short career in television, he opened a steak restaurant chain named after his favorite TV show, ”Bonanza.”

Sadly, Dan died in 1972 from complications after a gall-bladder operation. Dan was survived by his wife Dolphia, their twin daughters Debra and Danna and two sons, David and Dirk.

Dan was never comfortable with the spotlight brought about by his acting fame. This gentle 6 foot, 4 inch, 300-pound giant was much more at home and comfortable with his life in O'Donnell, Texas, spending time with friends and family. His classmates of 1946 have fond memories of Dan as a kind and fun loving person, without guile or the need to be in the limelight.

Retired from the Army, Col. Coulter lives in Virginia, where he works part-time for the Department of Defense. He is the author of “Cadets on Campus” and is at work on the final chapter of a book to be published by the Association of Military Schools and Colleges of the United States (AMSCUS).

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