A Private graveside service for Carolyn Venita (Rusk) Hogan, 84, of Wills Point, is scheduled for Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 1:00 pm at White Rose Cemetery under the direction of Hiett’s LyBrand Funeral Home in Wills Point, Texas.
Carolyn passed away in the afternoon of May 16, 2020 at “The Home Place” in Tyler, Texas following complications from surgery at a Tyler hospital to improve blood-flow to her legs. She was born January 27, 1936 in Wills Point, Texas to William Carl Rusk and Pearl Venita (Stroud) Rusk and grew up in Wills Point where she graduated from Wills Point High School in 1953. Carolyn was the first of three children and is survived by her brother, Billy D. Rusk (Bill), and sister, Linda Kay (Rusk) Lovell.
She is survived by sons Carlton DeWayne (Carl) Hogan and wife Lela, Russell Eugene (Rusty) Hogan and wife Tereesa, grandsons Carlton DeWayne Hogan II (Two), William Glenn (Will) Hogan, and Joshua Rusk (Josh) Hogan, granddaughter Skylar (Sky) Marie (Hogan) Miller, great-grandsons Reed Easton Hogan, Wyatt Matthew Hogan, Noah Gabriel Hogan, and Lawson Mack Miller, and great-granddaughter, Hadley Mae Hogan.
Carolyn was preceded in death by her husband, Clarence Durwood Hogan, Jr., who passed on August 30, 2013, and her parents William Carl Rusk and Pearl Venita (Stroud) Rusk.
Carolyn was born to parents who had just lived through the Great Depression. Her father, Carl, should have finished school in 1930 at age 18. However, the stock market, having crashed just the year before, forced him to drop out of school prior to his senior year and search for work to help his father feed the family. As with millions of other young men, Carl searched for and worked at whatever job was offered. It was not a time for frivolous endeavors such as completing high school over feeding one’s family. Sadly, he was prevented from graduating, which was a disappointment to him throughout his life.
As the Great Depression wound down, the future looked bright. The year Carolyn was born (1936), Italy and Japan teamed up to conquer Europe and most of the free world. Hitler’s Third Reich became the principal power in Europe.
Using “fireside chats” in 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt repeatedly assured Americans that his “New Deal” would reform our country and shield it from war with the Axis Powers. While Hitler was setting the world afire with raging wars, Roosevelt kept assuring our country that he would keep us neutral and safe. So it remained until the otherwise beautiful Sunday morning of December 7, 1941 when Americans awoke to news of Japan’s unprovoked sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. The very next day, America declared war on Japan and thus entered WWII. Not quite six years of age, Carolyn must have been confused as she saw her parents huddle near the family radio to listen to the president speak of “a day of infamy,” “a dastardly attack,” and how America, in its righteous might, would “win absolute victory.”
The event on the other side of the world changed her life and that of children all over the United States. Carolyn saw her life and that of her entire family uprooted from their quiet small-town existence. As the war effort built up, her father accepted a job at Lone Star Ammunitions Plant and moved his young family into newly-constructed government housing in Texarkana.
The war continued to rage and America needed planes—lots of them. Her father went to work for North American Aviation in Grand Prairie in January of 1943 installing hydraulic systems in the newly-designed B-25 Mitchell bomber. Days later, he moved the family into government-built housing.
War years were tough. Carolyn was old enough to understand, as best a child can, that she was living in dangerous times. War was waging, young men began disappearing from America, trains began stopping at the local station to unload flagged caskets, and rationing had become common place. Certain items such as tires, sugar, chocolate, gasoline, silk, butter, and margarine had become scarce and unattainable. Carolyn, her parents, and her baby brother experienced all those hardships and many more. Her worst memory? Seeing and hearing her mother, Pearl, cry uncontrollably upon receiving a phone call that one of her two brothers, James Clinton (J. C.) Stroud had been killed while fighting the Germans on September 26, 1944 around the world, near Florence, Italy. He would soon be among those in the flag-covered caskets.
Throughout their lives, Carolyn and her brother would remember their crying family as it waited for the T&P Railroad train to slow and stop—the straight-faced soldiers who ceremoniously removed a special flag-covered casket. They would recall forever the formal military funeral ceremony—soldiers at attention with saluting rifles, the bugler, and the flag being smartly folded and presented to their sobbing grandmother and grandfather.
In February of 1945, U.S. bombing raids on the German city of Dresden rendered the city to rubble. After horrendous losses, US Marines raised the US flag on the summit of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. American troops captured Okinawa. Adolf Hitler committed suicide.
Before the end of 1945, Carolyn’s mom and dad bought an old home in Wills Point known as “The McBride House” on North Third Street, and soon afterward her dad opened up an auto/welding shop that doubled as the town’s Texaco station.
On September 17, 1947, Carolyn and Bill met their new baby sister, Linda Kay. Their family often visited with Rusk grandparents at their Dallas home. Every Christmas for years, they gathered together with many aunts, uncles, and cousins they only saw at that time of year.
When Carolyn was about eleven years old, her mother, Pearl, surprised the family by making a down payment on the home across the street with money she had been secretly stashing away. It was a larger home with acreage where Pearl planned to have a cow for milk, chickens for eggs, and a garden for vegetables. So, in June of 1949, the Rusk family moved. Carolyn and Bill soon learned the fun of milking a Jersey mother cow and feeding chickens.
Carolyn’s family took yearly summer vacations to interesting places including Galveston, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Their most adventurous, and likely dangerous, trip, was to Monterrey, Mexico, an auto trip of almost 600 miles, much of which was across a remote and rugged desert. Few today would hazard such a trip.
Carolyn had many friends in high school and participated in numerous school events. She played a clarinet in the Wills Point High School Marching band that participated in occasional concerts and area competitions and made annual trips to the State Fair of Texas. She and her brother, Bill, also took piano lessons, but neither ever learned to play worth a darn.
During her senior year, Carolyn obtained her first real job—working at the Dairy Maiden Saturday nights. She lived with her family at 620 North Third Street until graduating from Wills Point High School in 1953.
As with many small-town kids, Carolyn really wanted a taste of big-city life. Soon after graduation, she landed a job in Dallas and, with a friend sharing rent, moved into one of those old two-story apartments on Gaston Avenue—one that had been converted from a former-luxury home. While still living in Dallas, Carolyn met and dated Clarence Durwood Hogan, Jr. (aka “Junior”), a dashing young recently-discharged sailor with the U. S. Navy. Following a short romance, the two were married on May 26, 1957 and rented a small home in Denton while Junior attended North Texas State University (now University of North Texas). Carolyn began the routine task of commuting daily to her Dallas work.
Prior to Junior’s graduation (January 27, 1959), he and Carolyn moved back to Wills Point where Dr. Baker later delivered their first-born son, Carlton DeWayne (Carl), in Baker Clinic on January 11,1960.
After Junior’s college graduation, he went to work for Texas Instruments and worked in their Dallas , Richardson, and Sherman plants for decades until retirement (approx. 1982-1983).
Junior and Carolyn bought their first home about 1960 in Mesquite near Jim Miller Road and IS-30. Their second son, Russell Eugene (Rusty) was born on December 8, 1962 in Garland. About 1963 they moved back to their hometown of Wills Point where they lived in two homes before building their final home northwest of town.
Not content with staying home, Carolyn enrolled at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce) where she graduated on May 1, 1965 with a BS in Elementary Education. A few years later, she went back to ETSU and earned her Master’s in Education Administration (MEd) on August 1, 1975.
Soon afterwards, Carolyn was hired as principal at Myrtle Springs School where, in addition to administrative duties, she taught younger grades. She held this position until retirement in 1977. Many very successful people today recall “Mrs. Hogan” as a stern, yet loving, lady who later played an important role in their lives.
Restless to remain busy, beginning in the early ‘80’s Carolyn owned and operated a flower shop and “The Side Door,” a popular teen entertainment center on Highway 80, both of which she successfully operated for years. She also worked at Lake Tawakoni’s Thousand Trails Campground a number of years where she successfully sold many lake lots and arranged for our family to enjoy a summer reunion there
Always creative and with unbundled energy, in subsequent years, Carolyn started and operated “Tin Barn Art,” a business manufacturing full-scale Christmas decorations.
From small children until high school graduation, Carolyn, Bill, and Linda were members of The First Baptist Church of Wills Point and always participated in summer vacation bible school. In more recent times, she became an active member of New Release Fellowship Baptist Church of Wills Point.
Carolyn was a wonderful hostess who enjoyed having her family and friends in their home for holiday meals and celebrations, She was a collector of Hallmark Christmas ornaments that she later shared with her sons’ families.
After Carolyn got her first computer, she often challenged her brother Bill to help her with installing programs and keeping all systems updated and in working order.
In lieu of flowers the family would like for donations to be made to: The Children's Advocacy Center of Van Zandt County: P.O. Box 291, Canton, TX 75103, or visit cacvz.org.
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