She was born Ray Louise Wilson in Lubbock in a house on 17th street just blocks from Texas Tech. The house is still there minus the cow her mother Mary bought to give fresh milk for Louise and her brothers Vaughn Ed, James Amos and Ben Lee. The boys grew into big boys and big men, yet Louise corralled, and cared for them fiercely after their mother died when she was 16.
Looie went to the University of Texas in Austin where met Henry Ware in a boarding house. Henry was back from WWII and a year and a half in a German prisoner of war camp, held as a captured B17 pilot. He must have felt like a west Texas wind had blown in a breath of fresh air. They spent the next 62 years together.
Henry brought Louise to Houston and then to Bellaire where three Ware families bought homes on Jaquet Street and nearby Post Oak Lane. She worked as a medical technician, had four babies, and was active in all the things that post war couples did to celebrate normality after the war years – garden club, bridge games, and progressive dinners.
Her career as an activist and an advocate began when her daughter Pam suffered severe complications in the measles epidemic. After working with Blue Bird Clinic and the opening of the Houston Speech and Hearing Center, Louise fought successfully for Pam’s right to be educated in public school.
Louise committed her passion and energy to whatever project she undertook. With Girl Scouts, she went from scout leader to the board of directors for San Jacinto Girl Scouts, teaching girls and her youngest tag-along son Amos to love the outdoors, canoeing and sailing.
She got involved in Bellaire politics, was elected council member, and ultimately became the first female mayor in Harris County. She served during the recall years when Bellaire was deciding its future direction. She rode a moped to city hall during the gas crisis and was often seen zipping along South Rice. As a mother, a friend and now a mayor, she led by example.
After her term as mayor ended, she joined the Metropolitan Transit Authority, traveling all over the country and the world to seek out transit systems that would work for the Houston area. She was the first female MTA board member and represented the smaller cities in Harris County
Along the way, she worked hard for the Friends of the Bellaire Library and for the Bellaire Historical Society – running used book sales and putting on antique fairs in Paseo Park to raise money to things not covered in the city budgets.
Louise was the adventurous and straight shooting grandma to her eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She kissed the boo boos when they were little and taught them and hundreds of other Bellaire kids to swim. When her grandkids grew up, she was there to help face bigger challenges. She was Meemaw to her children, her grand and great grand kids. She was Looie to in-laws and outlaws. She was Aunt Looie to nieces and nephews.
Looie loved and was loved. She left a big legacy to her family, her friends, and community. When you visit the Bellaire Library, the gazebo on the Great Lawn, the trolley in the Paseo Park, use the bus or the light rail system, have a special needs child who gets to attend the same schools as her brothers and sisters, you are sharing in that legacy. What Henry Ware experienced back in 1946 in that Austin boarding house changed and renewed us all. Looie, Louise, Meemaw – we are glad to have known you.
Live Forever: A song to sing Looie home performed by another Lubbocker.