Ermine Peck McKay Hourigan - 1926
Mother of Thomas McKay - Founder - El Paso Boxing - Martial Arts Hall of Fame's. September 8, 1907 - August 8, 2003.
Ermine E. Hourigan 95, left us on August 8 - born in Galesburg, Illinois on September 8, 1907. Her parents were Charles and Clara Peck.This pioneer lady came to West Texas in a covered wagon. The family settled in Balmorhea, Texas in the hopes of a good farm life. She lived, and loved to recall, the colorful history of this region. Later, In a move to El Paso, Texas, Ermine watched from an El Paso street as General Pershing's Punitive Expedition proudly crossed into Mexico, then returned tattered and torn. But as a young girl, she was one of many American's captured and held for ransom by Mexican bandidos. However, she was abandoned in the Chihuahua desert - as she was just too much trouble for them to handle!
In the twenties she was a "Flapper Girl" at Sul Ross College in Alpine, Texas and later danced in the streets of Tucson, Arizona to celebrate Charles Lindberg's solo flight over the Atlantic. Due to the 'Great Depression' she was unable to finish her teaching degree and married Raymond McKay, a Cowboy, rodeo Promoter and car salesman. They would have five children together: Claire, Frazer, Anne, Thomas and Vernon. Raymond lost both his parents shortly after birth and was raised by his grandmother, the grand lady and pioneer woman of Ft. Stockton, Texas, Annie Riggs. Many tourists to this very day visit the Annie Rigg's Museum in Ft. Stockton. Annie ran a famous boarding house in the 'Wild, Wild West' and married lawman and gunfighter, Barney Riggs. Raymond went in the Army for WW2 and after an Honorable discharge was hired in Silver City, New Mexico, as a salesman but met his fate there and Ermine and her children were left destitute. That sad event prompted a move to El Paso, Texas.
In El Paso, Texas in 1942, Claire obtained employment and married James Sutton, a brave man who would rise to the ranks of Colonel in The United States Army. Meanwhile, Ermine became a dental assistant with the Stewart Brothers at the old Caples Building. Frazer, also known as "Bud McKay' would ride quarter horses at old Cowboy Park and make a name as a huge tough winner at only age fifteen. Bud would go on to have a successful jockey career before joining the United States Navy. In the early 1950's he made his mark as a "Match Race' rider and later became a horse trainer and farrier at tracks in New Mexico, Arizona and in Mexico. Late in life he became a co-creator of horse swimming horse therapy in Otay Mesa, California, Shep's Acres. Sadly, after a very successful year, he succumbed to illness and died. Anne McKay attended St. Margaret's School and later Alta Vista and The Loretta Academy. She eventually married Robert Bell of Pecos, Texas and raised two boys, Mark and J.D. Bell, real cowboys too. After being affectionately named the "Pecos Lady of Ladies" by her family and friends, Anne retired in Abilene, Texas. Tom was the fourth birth of Ermine and Raymond and after a less than healthy childhood, turned to hard work and sports to attempt a life of longevity. That he did and Tom also became good at sports and academics. He first took up boxing under the late Santos Quijano but had to work too and did so as a shoe shine boy at the El Paso downtown Plaza Park and as a dishwasher at the 'Pic N Shovel Cafe' while attending El Paso High Schools. Overall, Tom was a student at Saint Margaret's Orphanage Home, Burleson School, Alta Vista School, Austin High School, El Paso High School, Pampa, Texas High School, and finally Mar Vista High School at Chula Vista. But then Ermine remarried Stephen Hourigan (also born in Balmorhea, Texas as was Tom) and the family moved to Pampa, Texas. Two very successful son's were born to this marriage, Stephen Hourigan of El Paso, Texas and Timothy Hourigan of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Stephen is the owner of Insurance Associates in El Paso, Texas and Timothy is a retired Lt. Colonel from the United States Army. He and his wife, Donna, manage a small ranch in Las Cruces. Stephen's wife, Jackie, is a retired teacher. Vernon went in the navy and later became a grand businessman. He and his wife, Josephine, currently live in both Menifee, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ermines family did well in Pampa, Texas, and later back to El Paso, Texas where Stephen became a history teacher at Bowie High School and Ermine, teaching at St. Josephs Catholic School for years. An interesting note is that when son Thomas, a former United States Marine, decided to attend UTEP while a full time policeman on the El Paso Police Department, he picked up Ermine at her home and the two went to UTEP together. Eventually, Ermine obtained her teaching certification and taught for some twenty years. Meanwhile, Tom went on to a long career of coaching boxing and teaching science and having three very fantastic children, Michael, Leah, and Lesly McKay. Ermine was and is always remembered as the loving, caring, 'Solid Rock' of the McKay and Hourigan family.
Out of Area / Out of Area
El Paso Museum of History
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