Portal:Houston/Selected biography archive/2006

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Denton Cooley, a world-renowned surgeon that was born and raised in Houston, has pioneered many techniques used in cardiovascular surgery. He performed the first successful human heart transplant in the United States in 1968. In 1969, he became the first heart surgeon to implant an artificial heart in man. Cooley and his associates have performed more than 100,000 open heart operations — more than any other group in the world. (September 30)

Barbara Jordan

Barbara Charline Jordan (February 21, 1936 – January 17, 1996) was an American politician from Texas. She served as a member of Congress from 1973 to 1979. Jordan was born in Houston, Texas's Fifth Ward. Her parents were Rev. Benjamin M. Jordan and Arlyne (Patten) Jordan. Barbara Jordan attended Wheatley High School and graduated magna cum laude from Texas Southern University in 1956 and from Boston University Law School in 1959. She passed the Bar Exams in Massachusetts and Texas before returning to Houston to open a law practice. (October 5)

Michael Dell (born February 23, 1965 in Houston, Texas) is the founder of Dell, Inc. He had his first encounter with a computer at the age of 15 when he broke down a brand new Apple II computer and rebuilt it, just to see if he could. Dell attended Memorial High School in Houston, Texas, where he did not excel scholastically. After graduating high school, he attended the University of Texas at Austin intending to become a physician. While at the university, he started a computer company called PC's Limited in his dormitory room. (October 11)


Howard Robard Hughes Jr. (December 24, 1905 – April 5, 1976) was a pioneering aviator, engineer, industrialist and film producer. He was widely known as a playboy and one of the wealthiest people in the world. He is famous for setting multiple world air-speed records, building the Hughes H-1 Racer and H-4 Hercules airplanes, producing the movies Hell's Angels and The Outlaw, and for his increasingly eccentric behavior later in life. Hughes is interred in the Glenwood Cemetery in Houston. (October 16)


Richard William "Dick" Dowling (18381867) was the victorious commander at the Second Battle of Sabine Pass in the American Civil War, and is considered Houston's first prominent citizen and hero. Orphaned, Dowling settled in Houston where he established a successful chain of saloons starting in 1857. After the battle of Sabine Pass, Dowling was elevated to hero status in his hometown of Houston. He subsequently served as a recruiter for the Confederacy and was personally commended for his action at the battle by Jefferson Davis. After the war Dowling returned to his saloon business in Houston and quickly became one of the city's leading businessmen. (October 29)


James Addison Baker III (born April 28, 1930 in Houston), American politician and diplomat, was Chief of Staff in President Ronald Reagan's first administration, United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1985 to 1988 in the second Reagan administration, and Secretary of State in the administration of President George H. W. Bush. He is also the founder of the James Baker Institute. Baker was educated at The Hill School and Princeton University, where he was elected to receive membership of The Ivy Club, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1952. He then served in the United States Marine Corps for two years as a lieutenant, after which he attended The University of Texas School of Law, where he received his J.D. in 1957. (November 8)

Glenn Herbert McCarthy (1907-1988) was a wildcatter and a flamboyant oil tycoon. His nicknames that the oil industry community and the media would bestow upon him were "Diamond Glenn" and "The King of the Wildcatters". In addition to establishing himself as a successful oil prospector and businessman, he would own multitudes of businesses in diverse fields. He would also found the Shamrock Hotel in Houston that would have such notoriety that Hollywood would recognize him not just as a host, but with a fictional movie character in his likeness.

Glenn McCarthy started his own brand of bourbon whiskey under the label "Wildcatter". In addition to owning the KXYZ Radio station in Houston, he would own two banks, the McCarthy Chemical Company, a magazine, 14 newspapers, and a movie production company. He would serve as chairman of the now defunct Eastern Air Lines and president of the United States Petroleum Association. His later life would be spent for the most part out of the spotlight in the La Porte area near Houston. (December 1)