Julius Pierce Seeger
Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home South
2620 S. Congress Ave
Julius Pierce Seeger, age 89, a long-time Austin resident, passed away on December 15, 2011. He came into this world on July 6, 1922 in McKinney, Texas. Like many loving and caring parents of a deaf child, Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Bera Seeger wanted their child to have a well-rounded education at the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD). During his first years at TSD, he often spent time with his McNamara cousins and beloved Aunt Olive. He often took McNamara bakery goods back to the school to share with his fellow students. After the great depression, his parents relocated their bakery business and their five children to Austin in 1931. At the time, TSD had quality academic, vocational, military, athletic and scouting programs. The sacrifice paid off when Julius graduated from TSD in 1943 and went on to get two college degrees, a B.A. Degree in Education from the only liberal arts college for the deaf in the world, Gallaudet University, in 1949 and an M.A. Degree in Psychology from another quality university, the University of Texas at Austin in 1968.
Julius had a special sign name that is well known in the Deaf Community by the way of American Sign Language and Deaf Culture: the pinkie finger touches the shoulder, then travels down quickly to touch the lower arm, communicating that he was a strong man. The sign name is reminiscent of the immaculate uniforms he proudly wore either as a Lieutenant Colonel Commander or Explorer Scout Master at TSD where he taught generations of students the necessary self-discipline and the sport of camping, fishing and hunting. He also taught the students outdoor cooking, especially with a lot of brick butter to go on the BBQ meats. He was like Food Channel's "iron chef" in his glory days of great cooking of any cuisine or style, especially fantastic desserts.
Indeed, cooking was his specialty as much as his passion for teaching and counseling at TSD where he worked for 37 years. His culinary and housekeeping expertise enabled his beloved wife, Ruth Mae Taubert Seeger, to become a successful track and field coach at the high school and international level. Upon their simultaneous retirement in 1987, Julius encouraged Ruth to become one of the nation's most celebrated and medaled senior citizen track and field athletes, winning more than an unprecedented 300 medals from 1991 to 2004. Their only son, Mark Seeger, who sometimes drove his parents across the city or state to those senior games, is a nationally known certified interpreter for the deaf and a dedicated professional advocate for the social and communicative needs of the Deaf Community. Between the achievements of his wife and his son, Julius had time for himself in terms of giving back to TSD and the Texas Deaf Community.
Historically, he became one of the first true deaf jurors in Travis County, an unprecedented role he cherished. Besides volunteering as an Explorer master for years, Julius focused his interest on the interpreting, educational and social needs of the Deaf Community in Travis County as well as the great State of Texas. He became a board member of the Travis County Services for the Deaf Advisory Board as well as the American Foundation of Elderly Deaf and Vaughn House (VH) of Austin. At VH, he became its director as well, which testifies to his interest in the needs of multi-handicapped Deaf adults. Julius also became president of the Texas Association of the Deaf (TAD) from 1982 to 1984. For his advocacy and legislative efforts, TAD gave him the Rehabilitation Award.
The most recent honor Julius received was having the Career, Technology and Education facility at TSD named in his honor. That facility was unveiled as "The Julius P. Seeger Career Center" before his family, friends and TSD staff on August 16, 2008.
Other organizations, such as Sertoma Club of Austin and the Texas Department of Human Resources, awarded and commended Julius for his excellent community service on behalf of the Deaf. Two more distinctive awards stood out strongly: the Order of the Arrow from the National Brotherhood of Scout Honor Campers and the induction into the Texas School for the Deaf Alumni Association Hall of Fame as a community leader. Not many people realize that Julius also served as president of the TSD-PTA in the 1970s, which showed how much he cared for the overall education of deaf children in Texas.
And he still found time to gain his credentials as a Licensed Professional Counselor and deaf intermediary sign language interpreter from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. His reputation as a great cook and meticulous housekeeper continued beyond his retirement until health problems forced him to enter a health care facility in 2005.
According to many of his close friends and colleagues, Julius was the consummate volunteer with a heart of gold who was always there to help with an honest smile. He was a warm and friendly person who welcomed anyone in his home, office, printing shop, camp or at any kind of meeting. Never one to flaunt his talents, contributions or act of kindness and professionalism, Julius was an unassuming southern gentleman who personally preferred to be in the background so that others could enjoy the limelight of fame, success, skills, knowledge and happiness. In hindsight, Julius was the epitome of humility, a quality lacking in this materialistic world. Indeed, Julius will be solely missed by the Texas Deaf community, his loving family, fellow TSD alumni, former students, and friends.
Julius was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Bera Seeger; one older brother, George Seeger; one younger sister, Rhea Fernandes.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Ruth; his son, Mark and his partner, Jeff; Julius' older brother, Billy; younger brother, Lawrence; a special nephew, Bob Taubert; as well as many other beloved nephews and nieces and cousins throughout the Seeger, Taubert, and McNamara families.
A Memorial Service with reception to follow will be held at 3:00 pm on Thursday, December 29, 2011 at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 2620 South Congress Avenue.
In lieu of flowers, the family asked that memorial contributions be made to the Texas School for the Deaf Foundation.
PO Box 42727
Austin, Texas 78704
Donations can be made online at: www.tsdfoundation.org.
The family would like to extend our sincere thanks to the staff of the Summit at Westlake Hills, Heart–to-Heart Hospice, AlzCare of San Marcos, and the "Boss" (Jo) for their many hours of loving care.
The family would like to thank Dr. Steve Baldwin for composing the obituary.
December 29, 2011