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Eddie Paris

Eddie Paris was born September 30, 1916. He met his wife, Bernice, in 1944. They were
married the same year. Bernice was called “Rusty” because of her bright red hair.
Eddie was attached to the Army Air Corps and served in Hawaii, Iceland and England. Hewas
eventually stationed at the Harlingen Air Base as a crew chief on bombers. Eddie’s plane
crashed and burned. Eddie was rescued but was badly burned. He had the newly developed
procedure of skin grafts. Eddie recovered but was told not to return to a northern climate
because of his tender skin. Eddie was discharged from the Air Corp and set up his home and tile
business in Harlingen.
Rusty traveled by train from New York to join Eddie in Harlingen. Rusty’s travel was delayed
because the train wrecked. They relocated to Brownsville, where they became active in Temple
Beth-El. Eddie was a member of B’nai B’rith serving both as a local officer and district officer.
Eddie learned to play golf at mid-life and excelled, playing in many valley tournaments and
helping popularize the Ft. Brown Golf Course.
In addition to her red hair, Rusty had a fiery temper. She was not soft-spoken. She learned to
drive in her mid-thirties and while learning, drove to a grocery store. She hit the gas instead of
the brake and invented the first drive-in grocery store. Eddie was in the next door drug store
having coffee with friends. A man ran into the drug store and said that a wild red-haired lady
had just crashed into the grocery store. Eddie said, “That’s my wife” and went to survey the
damage. Both Rusty and the grocery store recovered.
While pregnant with her first child, Bobby, she was tossed off a Harlingen city bus for offering
her seat to an old man of color. The bus was segregated and her seat was in front. She would
not back down and cussed out the driver. Both were tossed off the bus. Rusty had strong
opinions and stated them in no uncertain terms.
Both Eddie and Rusty loved Temple Beth-El and enjoyed participating in all social events.
Eddie served on the Board of Directors and Rusty served on both the Hadassah and the
Sisterhood Board. Bobby Paris, their son, said that the Temple was family to them and his mom
devoted a lot of time doing Temple work and later in life played Mah-Jong with the same
Temple ladies for many, many years.
Bobby Paris also was involved in Temple Beth-El, serving as President.
Eddie Paris passed away on June 24, 1989. He and Rusty are buried in the Hebrew Cemetery.
Eddie’s tombstone has a carving of golf clubs in memory of the game he loved.