The Funeral-Home Flap: Trouble for a Texas Mortician with Links to the Bush Family

By Isikoff, Michael | Newsweek, August 16, 1999 | Go to article overview

The Funeral-Home Flap: Trouble for a Texas Mortician with Links to the Bush Family


Isikoff, Michael, Newsweek


When Texas regulators launched a probe into funeral homes last year, Houston mortician Robert L. Waltrip fought back. A tough-talking tycoon, Waltrip is chief executive of Service Corporation International (SCI) Inc., which owns more funeral homes than anybody in the world. He also has powerful friends. Not long after the investigation began, Waltrip called the head of the state agency that regulates him and demanded that he "back off." If not, funeral commission chairman Charles McNeil recalls Waltrip telling him, "I'm going to take this to the governor."

So began the flap that may become more than a pesky annoyance for Gov. George W. Bush, the Republican presidential front runner. The state's former chief funeral regulator, Eliza May, has sued the state, SCI and Waltrip, charging that Bush's aides repeatedly pressured her to end the probe--and that when she resisted she was fired. (Bush is not a defendant in the suit.) The dispute has a whiff of politics: a Democrat, May once served as state party treasurer. Now May wants to call Bush as a witness--a move the governor's lawyers tried to block, calling it "harassment."

Waltrip has been close to the Bush family for years. He is a trustee of George Bush's presidential library, and Waltrip's company, SCI, donated more than $100,000 toward its construction. Last March, Waltrip got the elder Bush to speak at a funeral association convention; SCI paid the former president's $70,000 honorarium. The mortician has also been generous to the younger Bush: Waltrip gave $10,000 to Bush's 1994 run for governor, and SCI's political-action committee chipped in $35,000 for his 1998 re-election.

The company's troubles began early last year, when the funeral commission received complaints that unlicensed apprentices were embalming bodies at two SCI funeral parlors. Earlier this year Gayle Johnson, the mother of a popular Wichita Falls newscaster, accused an SCI funeral home of botching the embalming of her son. Johnson said that when she went to lay flowers at the mausoleum, it was infested with gnats, and a malodorous maroon-colored fluid oozed out of her son's crypt. SCI has denied any responsibility.

In spring 1998 the commission subpoenaed SCI records and ordered unannounced inspections of the firm's funeral parlors. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Funeral-Home Flap: Trouble for a Texas Mortician with Links to the Bush Family
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.