Skip to Navigation Skip to Main Content

Year in review: Farewell to area residents lost during 2013

Profile image for Staff reports
Staff reports

The Denton area bid farewell to a number of residents last year.

Some were local leaders. Others captured the region’s heart after their lives tragically ended too soon.

Here are some of the notables who died in 2013.


Charlye Heggins

Former Denton City Council member Charlye Heggins died May 29 after a long battle with cancer. She was 80.

Heggins served three terms, from 2005 to 2011, as the representative from District 1. During the final months of her last term, she advocated naming the city’s new pedestrian bridge over Loop 288 for civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

She helped name a Southeast Denton park for the late Carl Gene Young Sr., another former District 1 council member, and pushed for the recent renaming of Civic Center Park to Quakertown, the black community forced to move from the land in the 1920s in order to create the park.

Heggins graduated from Phillips Business College in Dallas in 1952 and attended what was then Prairie View A&M College the following year. From 1984 to 2004, she served as the nutrition coordinator for the Special Programs for Aging Needs in Denton.

Heggins frequently voted with the rest of the council, but she wasn’t afraid to stand alone on some issues. As she finished her final term in 2011, she told the Denton Record-Chronicle that she stuck to her guns in voting.

In 2008, she cast the only vote against a plan to build a city water tank in a wooded area south of Denia Park. And in 2009, she was the only council member to vote against the controversial natural gas well site at Rayzor Ranch — a vote that another former council member said wouldn’t likely pass the City Council if it were held now.

Heggins also participated in the Ms. Mature Denton pageants. In 2002, Heggins won the local pageant, and went on to win Ms. Texas Senior, and Ms. Congeniality and second runner-up in the Ms. American Classic.


Carolyn Phillips

Carolyn Joyce Phillips, a longtime advocate for Southeast Denton, died Sept. 10 after a fight with cancer. She was 63.

Phillips helped start a group in the late 1990s that is now known as the Southeast Denton Neighborhood Association. Some of the neighborhood’s vulnerabilities can be traced back to its early history, when city leaders ordered residents to move from the Quakertown neighborhood there to create Civic Center Park.

After officials renamed it Quakertown Park, Phillips reminded the city in 2009 that old injustices remained, including property liens related to road and drainage work in Southeast Denton.

She lobbied the Denton Fire Department to diversify its workforce and served on two task forces meant to achieve that objective. She also represented the neighborhood’s concerns when the Denton County Transportation Authority announced the A-train line, which cuts through Southeast Denton.


Kaylee Kampschroeder

The death of Kaylee Kampschroeder, 8, this summer left the communities where she grew up shaken by the loss, which was caused by an accident.

The accident occurred July 27 at Northwest Community Park in Frisco while Kaylee was riding her bicycle through the park. According to the police report, she fell from her bike and landed on the handle bars, which caused internal lacerations, a Dallas medical examiner reported.

Several people in the community and the school district she attended honored her by establishing memorials including a butterfly garden and a park bench dedication in her name.


Abby Burns

Abby Burns’ fight with cancer galvanized the Texas Woman’s University athletic department and the local community behind her.

Burns, a TWU graduate and former softball standout, died in April after a long battle with acute myeloid leukemia. She was 23.

She was diagnosed in January 2011 and received a bone marrow transplant in July of that year. After additional chemotherapy, her cancer went into remission. She later developed a complication from the transplant, known as graft-versus-host disease.

The softball team, members of the athletic department and other friends and acquaintances rallied around her as she fought the disease.

After her death, TWU retired her No. 19 jersey.

Burns played softball two years at Grayson County College before transferring to TWU in 2009. She started 37 games and appeared in 44 during the 2010 season for the Pioneers.

As a pitcher, Burns went 7-7 with a 3.06 ERA and 45 strikeouts. She also batted .327 with four home runs, five doubles and 25 RBIs.

That year, the team won 39 games and advanced to the Lone Star Conference tournament for the first time since 2007 and the NCAA South Central Regional Tournament for the third time in school history.

While undergoing treatment, Burns completed her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, and graduated from TWU in May 2012.


Caleb Moore

Caleb Moore was trying a backflip in the freestyle event at the Winter X Games in January when the skis on his snowmobile caught the landing area.

The Krum native went flying and the snowmobile rolled over him. But he got up with the help of his father and talked about how good a run he’d had.

A week later, however, he was dead from internal injuries he had suffered during the crash. It was the first fatality in X Games history.

His death brought an outpouring of support from the local community and beyond to the Moore family.

Caleb won four Winter X Games medals, including a bronze medal. His sponsors included Rockstar Energy Drink, Fly Racing and Pro Armor.


Nathan Maki

Guyer High School student and football player Nathan Maki, 18, was accidentally shot and killed during the weekend before Labor Day. On Labor Day, students stood outside in the pouring rain to finish a tribute along a chain-link fence for Maki.

The outpouring of support for Maki was overwhelming throughout the Denton community and beyond with a final farewell Sept. 5 at the C.H. Collins Athletic Complex mere hours after his teammates attended his funeral.

From the pregame tribute, to Guyer’s captains carrying a signed Maki jersey out to midfield for the opening coin toss, the senior fullback who was killed Saturday, Aug. 31, was heavy on his teammates’ minds.


Remembering others

Other notables who died in 2013 include:

* Harold Gore, owner of Pender’s Music Co.

* Nancy Franke, a writer and longtime community volunteer

* Dottie McEuin, a Denton High School counselor

* Jimmy Owens, longtime co-owner of B&O Towing

* Fred McCain, who contributed to the development of the UNT athletic department

* Rod Southard, a former Denton ISD administrator

* Mark Bowles, former head football coach and athletic director at Liberty Christian School

* Deidra Blackmon, 33, a Dish veterinarian who was fatally shot in March while driving down a Saginaw street.

Her alleged killers are awaiting trial in Tarrant County.


Staff writers Britney Tabor, Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe, Megan Gray and John D. Harden contributed to this report, which also contains material from The Associated Press.