Landon Lockett: Truly, one of a kind… and he is already very missed.

Landon Johnson Lockett III

Landon Johnson Lockett III was born May 22, 1929, at Fort Benning, Georgia, where his father, Colonel Landon Johnson Lockett Jr. and his mother, Roberta Davies Lockett were then stationed. Landon spent his childhood years at a number of Army installations in the Philippine Islands as well as in Minnesota, Georgia, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Landon graduated from high school in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and entered Texas A&M College as a freshman. Following his freshman year at A&M Landon received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Among other activities at West Point, Landon became a member of the Spanish club which was an early indication of his life-long fascination and study of foreign languages. Between his sophomore and junior years, Landon went to Mexico with a delegation of other cadets who were in the Spanish club. While in Mexico City the cadets wore their uniforms and participated in a number of ceremonial occasions. From Mexico City they went to Acapulco, dressed in mufti, and proceeded to enjoy themselves thoroughly.
Upon his return to West Point, Landon felt progressively more fatigued and ill. While cadets routinely resisted reporting to the infirmary, ultimately Landon had to do so. While there his condition worsened without a diagnosis. Finally the doctors called in a civilian doctor who took one look and diagnosed polio. Landon was sent to Walter Reed Hospital and then due to his father’s influence was transferred to Brook Army Hospital in San Antonio to be near his family. Landon was treated at Brook and at Warm Springs in Gonzales, Texas.
When Landon was able to resume his studies he entered The University of Texas. He took a Bachelor’s in Economics and then entered law school at The University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in January 1957. He also took a Master’s in Comparative Law from Southern Methodist University Law School in 1959. He was admitted to the Texas Bar in December of 1956.
While Landon practiced law in Houston for several years he had no appetite for the practice of law. A regular reader of the Wall Street Journal, Landon read with relish the announcement of the National Defense Education Act and decided to change careers. He enrolled in graduate school at the University and was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy in linguistics in 1968. Landon had taught during his graduate school years and continued to teach Portuguese at the University.
In later years he taught applied linguistics and English as a second language in both Mexico and Brazil. In the late 1970’s Landon met the love of his life, Carol Ramsay Lockett. They were married in August of 1990. During the years of their courtship and marriage, Landon and Carol lived a rich life in Texas and abroad. They hunted together on their land in the Hill Country. They followed their many mutual interests and became experts in native plants and wildlife of Texas.
Over the years Landon was able to prove conclusively that the palm known as sabal texana or more appropriately sabal mexicana was not restricted to the lower Rio Grande Valley but was naturally occurring at least as far north as Garcitas Creek on the northern border of Victoria County. Landon also discovered a stand of palms in Brazoria County that many had thought to be palmetto. Working with the chief palmologist from the Smithsonian Institution, Landon established that the palms were actually a hybrid. Further, Landon sought and obtained funding to preserve and protect these palms.
Landon, an accomplished scholar in many fields, was at his very best when teaching. Whether in a classroom, on a road trip or around a campfire, Landon relished good conversation and sharing knowledge. He was anything but a humorless academic however and was legendary for his sense of humor and his puns. Landon was confined to a wheelchair from 1951 until his death April 3, 2010.

Many of us must ask ourselves, “What have we done lately?”

Landon is survived by his sister Virginia Franklin of Boerne, and his nephews, Brian Franklin of Basel, Switzerland, and Mike Franklin of Toronto, Canada. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Nature Conservancy of Texas or to a wildlife conservation organization of the donor’s choice. Visitation will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., in the Beck Funeral Home, Cedar Park, Texas, on Monday, April 5, 2010. Graveside service will be held in the Prairie Lea Cemetery in Brenham, Texas, at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6, 2010.

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