July 1, 1932 - June 6, 2019
Abigail Kirk Halbert Kamm, teacher, wife, friend, artist, and mother, passed away Thursday, June 6, 2019. The service will be 5:00 p.m., Sunday, June 16, at Lake Shore Baptist Church, with Sharlande Sledge officiating.
Abigail, known as Gail to her friends, was born on a farm near Waco, Texas, on July 1, 1932. Gail was born into a family rich in history. Her family history can be traced back to the some of the following: the French Hugenot, Countess Susanna Lavillon, who escaped religious persecution by King Louis XIV; John Stephenson, who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto for Texas independence; her great grandmother, Ermine Halbert, who often received her welcomed guests, Sam Houston and Gail Borden; her grandmother, Alethia Risher Halbert, whose family co-owned a Texas stagecoach line, the Sawyer & Risher that ran from San Antonio to Fort Worth; and her grandfather, Dr. Oliver Isaac Halbert, first Chief of Staff at Providence Hospital, who helped establish Baylor University in Waco, where he served on the board of trustees for 26 years.
Gail's parents, Willie Belle and Oliver Isaac Halbert, Jr., had a dairy farm and ranch outside of Waco. One of Gail's earliest memories was riding behind her daddy on a horse while lightning flashed and rain pelted down. The farm and ranch life provided a splendid palette of colors that she saw and enjoyed, developing a great love of art and oil painting. She saw the variety and contrast of colors everywhere, be it the lilacs, dark purples, and lime greens on the rocks of the river beds or the broad array of greens and textures of the woods. She loved animals of all kinds, something she learned from her mother. Finding and dating riverbed fossils also was a passion.
Bosqueville had a small one room country school where Gail developed a love of reading and art and established her life-long friend, Lela. The girls played softball where Gail was pitcher and her friend, Lela, was catcher. The best thing about summer was that Gail's family would go swimming in the Bosque River after milking the cows. Ice cream or watermelon was often the treat after the swim. Being several years younger than her two siblings, Oliver and Mary, Gail often had to play alone. Gail's first neighborhood playmate, Freddy, came when she became eleven. The two eleven year olds climbed trees, rode horses, made airplanes out of feed troughs, played catch with eggs, and dug a cave in the creek bank.
Coming from a family of educators, Gail graduated from Baylor as an education/art major in 1953. That summer she met Harlan Enfield Kamm, a young engineer from Kansas. Four months later they married. They had three children, and settled in a Waco neighborhood, near Lake Shore Baptist. They were part of a wonderful community, where the kids played door-to-door, creating strong, supportive, life-long friends.
Gail can be best described as a sweet, loving person who was forever giving. Her legacy is that of a wonderful and influential teacher who believed that caring should be part of academics. Gail taught elementary grades in Waco schools for 27 years. Those schools included Kendrick, JH Hines, and Provident Heights. She loved all of the children that she had the privilege of teaching and always considered her classroom to be a family. Gail retired in 1992, after which she did charity work at Caritas, Meals-on-Wheels, and The Food Pantry.
Gail is survived by her husband, Harlan Enfield Kamm; son, Harlan "Rocky" Halbert Kamm and wife, Phyllis Hoelscher Kamm, and their children, Hillary, Hannah, and Ian; daughter, Carolyn Pasierb and husband, George Pasierb, and their children, Katelyn and Andrew; son, Randall Enfield Kamm and wife, Victoria Miller Kamm, and their children, Cailey, Carissa, and Nathan; and sister, Mary Mellgren.
The family invites you to leave a message or memory in our "Tribute Wall" at www.WHBfamily.com.