SPOTLIGHT: Howard Pieper, Oak Park Cemetery and Our New Hands On History Program

This year, the Archaeological Institute launches a new program titled “Hands on History.”  This program allows you to become involved in helping to preserve the stories found at Houston cemeteries.  The funding for this new initiative comes from a generous donation from the Howard Pieper Foundation.  Mr. Pieper wished to celebrate Houston’s history and ensure that it not be forgotten. 

We thought you might like to know a bit more about Howard and about his love for Houston.  Howard was a renaissance man, a leader, a scholar, a world traveler, and a music lover.  Clifton Howard Pieper was born in San Antonio on July 10, 1930 and died in Houston on February 22, 2013. After serving two years in the United States Army Intelligence Corps, during the Korean Conflict, he returned to the University of Texas to earn a Master of Science degree in Architectural Engineering.  He was a registered professional engineer in Texas and Louisiana and a registered architect in Nigeria, where he worked for almost five years.

We are proud to honor Howard’s deep affection for Houston. The first cemetery that is part of our “Hands on History” program is Oak Park Cemetery.  Oak Park is a quiet cemetery located at the front of Golden Gate Cemetery. The cemetery was established in 1930 exclusively for African-Americans by  the Oak Park Cemetery Association, a venture underwritten by the American Trust Company. Both groups were Caucasian.  Later it placed under the purview of Paradise Cemetery and eventually SCI. The Historic Oak Park Cemetery Association was formed to help preserve the integrity of the people buried there and provide ongoing programs to bring awareness of the rich history of those interred.