Benjamin Houston Tyree

(March 2, 1903 - September 12, 1982)


Life with Houston by Helene


Letters to Houston, dated from 1944 to 1970.

Letters from four friends that represent the character and person of Benjamin Houston Tyree.

Transcribed from the original handwritten letters by Thomas Houston Tyree ( on or about April 12, 1994.


Postmark U.S. Army Postal Service A.P.O.
November 1, 1944

From: A. T. Lawless 38513941
3rd Bomb. Sqdrn. APO 838
c/o PM. - New Orleans La

To: Mr B. H. Tyree
707 Jefferson St.
Sulphur Springs, Texas

Oct 31st.
"The Day Before Payday"

Dear Houston,

Say man, I was really glad to hear from you. I was beginning to think you had left the country, and sure enough you had. You seem to like fine in S.S.. Sounds like a real nice town. I also see they're keeping you plenty busy.

Say I would give my left arm for a good hunting trip. Would also like to see old chocks work. Well I can imagine at least. And being that I already know how the canoe works, I wouldn't ask if it had any leaks. Oh,! but those were the good ole' days, listen to me, "old days", just the same I enjoyed them.

Well, can't tell you so much about the country because it just isn't here to tell. Its like you have always read, but better and there seems to be a tendency to rain 12 out of every 24. Although I have been over to Guatemala and a few other places. Will tell you more about them later. I can't get any stationery and this stuff is so blasted small I have to change sheets about the time I get wound up.

By the way - I've been been doing pretty good in Ping Pong, better in checkers and I believe I could play you a pretty stiff game of chess. Well man, she is getting pretty late and I have a pretty tough day ahead, incidentally I happen to be working propellers now. Just taken up.

Well give my best wishes to Sally + the wife, I leave you

As Ever

Audavee T.


Postmark U.S. Navy, July 1, 1945

From: John W. Smith S 1/c (Rdm)
U.S.S. Harding DSM. 28
c/o F.P.O. San Francisco, Cal.

To: Mr. B. H. Tyree
707 Jefferson St
Sulphur Springs, Texas

June 29, '45
Friday P.M.

Dear "Tyree,"

I received your O-mail just to-day and since I have a little extra time I should answer!

Sure was good to hear from you! I enjoy your letters so very much!

I wish so much that I could be there to do all the things you say but guess this little job has to be done first!

Don't think I have forgotten the tennis shoes, I shall get them some day!

That boat of yours must be really seeing some rugged duty on White Oak lake! Hu! Wish I could see the little ripple of waves bent against the bow! They are quite small in comparison with the ever more familiar to me ... you can imagine.

Now don't tell me that you bought that piano for the sole use of Sally! I remember you really swung out on the one at Bill's mother-in-law's house in Dallas last summer! I wish I had access to a piano but these destroyers are just a mite small for such luxuries.

It's too bad that you haven't been getting many fish on these last few trips. - Given your luck must be failing you! Hu!

How is your mother and "Sis" getting along? Next time you visit tell her the boy who visited last summer said hell'o! Does Virginia still work at Love Field?

The watermelons are just about in season there at home I guess! Remember when we went to Henderson and I went swimming with this girl I had never seen before! Hu! I think you really showed me some of the best times I have ever had! My only regret is that I couldn't have stayed for more! - anyway after all my sea-going I am still looking for the ride in your sailboat. - Sort of a bus-mans' holiday I guess! Hu!

Tell The Mrs, and Sally hell'o and to keep you writing!

Your Friend



Postmark Dallas, Texas, January 3, 1947
Letter from a Schoolboy

From: 4113 Junius Street
Dallas, Texas

To: Mr. Benjamin Houston Pierpont Tyree II
South Jefferson Street
Sulphur Springs, Texas

Dear Mr. Tyree,

While playing tennis recently I noticed a fellow on another court vainly pursuing a ball, clutching his racquet with a grip that I once used.

I thought then of the time I played that way - then I thought of the many hours you had spent playing with me in an effort to help me become a better tennis player and a better person. I thought of all the enjoyment I derive from tennis and how it was immeasurably increased by you.

At the time I didn't realize it but as I look back as all of us are inclined to do at one time or another I saw that you received little if any pleasure from playing and associating with me other than the pleasure of knowing you were devoting your time and energy to helping others. In fact as I shamefully recall my conduct at times I think that I must have ruined many a grand afternoon for you.

My mental wanderings didn't end there however for as I delved further into the nostalgia of days gone by every memory of you was linked with some effort of kindness, some thoughtful action for others. Upon examination I found that the recipient of your benevolence was often myself, usually my ungrateful self. Believe me if I was, and I was inappreciative, it was an error of ignorance not intent.

You used to laugh and say "Boy, I sure am a sucker!" You and I both knew that you were and are anything but that. Quite the opposite you are one of the wisest persons it has ever been my fortune to come in contact with.

Unlike some of your fellow tennis players in S.S. when you are gone people wherever you have been people will remember you with kindliness and friendship for they as I have incurred the blessings of association with you.

(I don't want a nickel)

Opportunities for tennis here are unexcelled and wonderful. Perfect courts are yours for the playing. Rain or shine we play every day we want to. (Gym at S.M.U.) There is formidable opposition if you desire it. It's just grand.

Every time we walk out on one of those velvet smooth, dirt red courts crisscrossed with straight gleaming white lines I think of you fellows working on that sloping gravel pile that you have to play on.

Still there are one or two things in Sulphur Springs that I believe nothing here or anywhere else can surpass.

Any time you are here just call T3-1869 for tennis. I'd like to play you now perhaps I could make it a little more interesting than formerly.

Glenn is over quite often and we usually get in lots of good tennis. I hope to play with him this Spring but don't know.

Well it's time for school and terrible cold and it takes me about thirty minutes to get there via street car so I guess that's about all for now.

Sincerely and admirably,

John B.

P.S. Honestly though don't you really think Hershey's are better than Baby Ruths?


July 8, 1970

Dear Houston,

For the last twenty five or more years I have wanted to write to you but have never been able to get your address. I knew that you had moved to Florida and that was all. My Dad managed to get your address recently and sent it to me. To say the least I was pleased.

Back before WWII you introduced me to bass fishing, and from then until now it has been a real love affair. Bass fishing has been a source of such great pleasure that I just couldn't thank you enough for that first introduction. You spent a lot of time with me, and in fact helped me grow up more than you probably realize. I will always be grateful to you.

It has been so long since I have heard from you. Please write me and tell me all about yourself and Helene. I must apologize but I have forgotten your daughter's name. I am sure that she is married and has a family of her own.

My mother passed away some sixteen years ago. My dad is now 79 years old and very active. He fishes a little every day, and during hunting season hunts daily. He chases those blue quail out in West Texas just like a young man.

I have been married for twenty years now and have two children, a boy thirteen and a girl nine. I met my wife, Norma, at Hardin Simmons U. after the war, and that has been another real love affair ever since. She taught school for several years after we were married. I remember that you and Helene taught at Goldsboro. She was a music major in school and still has a pretty fair voice.

Jim, our boy, is in the 8th grade and is a pretty fair ball player. He earned a letter in football last year, and is already looking forward to playing again this year. He is raising quail in the back yard; so I guess he has a lot of me in him. Melinda is a constant joy to us. She is taking ballet, acrobatics, trampoline, and piano and is equally good at all.

I am in the wholesale gasoline business here in Houston. My company is small, but I manage to make a living for us out of it. I took up fly fishing a couple of years ago, and we spend our vacation each year in Colorado. This year we will spend a couple days in Santa Fe. Norma loves the opera and there is a excellent summer opera season there. We are leaving in three weeks, and I can hardly wait.

Please write and let me know all about yourself. If you ever go back to Lawn on vacation, Houston makes a good stop over. We would just love to have you. Please consider it.


Bob Clemente



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