Also In This Issue


Editor’s Note

Following the publishing of our spring 2020 cover feature on Texas A&M University’s viticulture and enology programs, we were notified of a few more Aggie-owned and operated wineries across the nation. These include C.L. Butaud, an esteemed Texas wine label out of Austin created by Brooke ’98 and Randy Hester; Parmeson Wines, a family-based winery run by Tom Parmeson ’96 with locations in Sonoma County, California, and Dripping Springs, Texas, producing handcrafted, single vineyard wines; Sandy Road Vineyards, started on a piece of family farm outside of Fredericksburg and founded by two native Texas families, Kristina and Reagan Sivadon and Adrienne ’01 and Bryan Chagoly ’01; EIEIO & Company, created by Jay McDonald ’82, who moved from a New York career in accounting and finance to start this winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in 1998; and Hye Meadow Winery, located in the small town of Hye, Texas, between Johnson City and Fredericksburg, founded by Denise ’88 and Mike Batek.

Bringing Joy on Paper

Loved the Aggie Barn story in the spring 2020 issue. Thanks for making me smile!

Carol Allred Hansen ’90
Frisco, Texas

Memories of the Aggie Barn

I remember when the Aggie Barn was a little farther down the road on the Kirkpatrick farm. The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band would paint it every year, and Thagard Kirkpatrick ’24 and his wife would have a huge BBQ to feed them! Fun days.

Susan Hetherington Lloyd
San Antonio, Texas

Go-To Glassblower

Neat article and video about Bill Merka in the spring issue! I did not know that Texas A&M had its own Glass Shop. But I do know that if I had not paid for the beaker I broke in my freshman chemistry class, they were not going to let me graduate. I can still see that red dot by my name on the print-out of seniors!

Charles “Chuck” Hybarger ’76
Houston, Texas

Department Gives Thanks

We are fortunate to have such a wonderful resource in Bill Merka for Texas A&M’s Department of Chemistry!

Dr. David Barondeau ’96
Associate Professor of Chemistry
College Station, Texas

Credit to the Craftsman

Thank you, Bill, for your dedication and craftsmanship! I am sure thousands of students and researchers have benefited from your expertise over the years. Gig ’em! 

Mark Storey ’83
Avery, Texas

Painting the Aggie Barn

I had the honor of painting the Aggie Barn for the Class of 1990 along with the rest of Company K-2 in the Corps of Cadets. The significance of what we were doing was lost on me at the time; it took a while to sink in. Out of the entire university (and the Class of 1990), we were the ones who got to refresh the paint on this iconic symbol of Aggieland and adorn it with our class year. I also don’t want to neglect recognizing the upperclassmen of Company K-2 who helped that day, although it seemed (at the time) that us Fish were the ones doing the lion’s share of the work! At least that’s how I remember it!

Maj. Adam Coe ’90
Cypress, Texas
Bill Merka, Texas A&M's glassblower


The article in the spring issue about Bill Merka, Texas A&M’s glassblower, reminded me of a story of my own. It was the spring of 1965, and I was in my last organic chemistry lab class. I was looking forward to returning to Dallas, starting my summer job and having some money in my pocket again.

Unfortunately, the 125 ml separator funnel which I had not used all semester had a frozen stopcock, and the graduate student would not accept it as I attempted to turn it in without paying the $12.50 to replace it. I needed that $12.50 to pay for transporting me and my stuff home in a communal trailer with other Dallas boys.

As I tried various methods to get it unstuck, I noticed my lab mates checking out after returning their inventory. The graduate student would lock their separator up and move on to another student. I knew the combination to the lock, so as you have probably figured out, I opened the cabinet, switched separators and checked out with the substitute!

I really liked working with all of that glassware and am glad to see that Texas A&M has its own shop. I often wish I had some of it now. I had one lab partner who would bring a bottle of wine, put it in a flask and distill it down to 80 proof alcohol.

John Choate ’67
Pearland, Texas

The Finest Ag

I graduated from Texas A&M in December 1970; I was one of those nine semester guys. Seeing the letters from other readers about Ol’ Army Lou in the spring issue brought fine memories back to me, going back to my freshman year. He was all plus more than what was reported in the fall 2019 edition of Spirit.

I remember well that my father accompanied me down to Texas in 1966 from Milton, Massachusetts. We landed in Houston and drove up Highway 6 to Texas A&M. I checked in and Dave Roberts '67, the commanding officer of Army Company B-2, aka “Boozing B,” gave us the grand tour. I don’t think Dave understood a thing I said with my Boston accent, but he did his best to welcome us.

After I registered, next on the agenda was finding a place to buy books and supplies. Lou came highly recommended by several of my fellow B-2 fighters. We bought everything from Brasso and Corps insignia to shoe polish and cloths for polishing brass—all the stuff needed to get me started.

Lou waited on us and gave us the inside scoop on what we might have forgotten to buy. My father loved him, as did I during my four and a half years at Texas A&M. They don’t make ’em like that anymore!

Robert Anderson Jr. ’70
Duxbury, Massachusetts

Dunae Reader '15

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor/Maroon Co-Editor