B. W. Aston

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B. W. Aston
Born (1936-04-27)April 27, 1936
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
Died March 25, 2010(2010-03-25) (aged 73)
Abilene, Texas
Resting place Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Hood County, Texas
Residence Abilene, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater Texas Tech University
Occupation Historian at Hardin-Simmons University
Spouse(s) Lillie Mae Fields Aston (married, 1961–2010, his death)
Parent(s) Ernest Roy and Mural Aston
Aston was co-author of the 1997 updated version of Rupert N. Richardson's original Along Texas Old Fort Trails

B. W. Aston (April 27, 1936 – March 25, 2010) was an American historian whose career embraced local and regional history as well as Latin American studies. From 1967 to 2001, he was a faculty member at Baptist-affiliated Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.

Aston was born in Fort Worth to Ernest Roy Aston and Mural Aston.[1] He graduated from Technical High School in Fort Worth and enrolled briefly at Arlington Junior College in Arlington, Texas, now part of Tarrant County College.

He served in the United States Air Force from 1955-58. He entered Texas Tech University in Lubbock, from which he received the Bachelor of Science (1962) in education and Master of Arts (1964) and Ph.D. (1972) in the field of history.[2]

He was the chairman of the Hardin-Simmons History Department from 1972–92, dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 2000 to 2001, director of the evening college (1972–78), supervisor of the Abilene Photographic Collection (1980–2001), and head of the Rupert Richardson Research Center from 1981 to 2001. A vice president and then president of the faculty, he was named "Faculty Member of the Year" in 1989. He took three periods of sabbatical leave, having conducted research in the Dominican Republic (1984) and Belfast, Northern Ireland (2000). In 1993, he taught at Massey University in New Zealand.[2][3]

Aston was affiliated with the Texas Folklore Society in Nacogdoches, the National Popular Culture Society, and the Southwest Council of Latin American Studies, the latter from 1973 until his death. He was also active in the West Texas Historical Association, having served as its secretary-treasurer (1972–98), associate Year Book editor (1976–98), executive director (1992–98), and life director (1999 until his death).

In 1998, as Aston left the position of WTHA executive director, the association relocated from Hardin-Simmons to Texas Tech and became an integral part of the Southwest Collection.[3]

His dissertation at Texas Tech is entitled The Public Career of Don Jose Ives Limantour, the story of the Mexican politician Jose Ives Limantour, who lived from 1854 to 1935.[4]

His professional publications and lectures include Limantour and Mexico's Conversion to the Gold Standard, Boom and Bust Along the T&P, The Use of Female Imagery In The Selling of World War II, and NAFTA, Mexico, and the 1994 Gold Rush.[2]

In 1996, Aston and Ira Donathan "Don" Taylor updated and augmented Rupert Richardson's Along Texas Old Fort Trails.[5] Aston traveled throughout the United States, Canada, and to some sixty other countries.[3]

Aston served on the Landmarks Commission of the Taylor County Historical Society and the Abilene Committee for the Humanities. He was active in the University Baptist Church and thereafter the Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, both in Abilene. For some three decades, he was a deacon and Sunday school teacher, his last assignment having been the couples class at Pioneer Drive church.[2]

On August 26, 1961, Aston married the former Lillie Mae Fields (born ca. 1940). Aston died in Abilene of a long illness. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Verlon R. Aston (1925–1999).[1] In addition to his wife, he was survived by a brother, Weldon Roy Aston (born ca. 1932) of Fort Worth; three nephews and a niece. Interment services were held on March 29 at Mount Pleasant Cemetery near Tolar, Texas. Memorial services were conducted on March 30 at Pioneer Drive church.[2]

Alan Stafford, current dean of the Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal Arts at Hardin-Simmons, described Aston, accordingly:

"Dr. Aston was a wonderful Christian gentleman who dearly loved HSU. [An] outstanding professor who touched the lives of thousands of our students, he was an inspiration to several generations of young HSU faculty members. He told me once that he was excited about coming to work every single day. Working with him always inspired me to do my very best, and much of my career success came from observing and learning from his positive approach to teaching, learning, and life in general."[3]


  1. ^ a b "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Dr. B.W. Aston". Abilene Reporter News, March 27, 2010. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Former Faculty Member, Historian had Great Impact on the Hardin-Simmons Campus: Dr. B W Aston dies after long illness". hsutx.edu. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  4. ^ "The Public Career of Don Jose Ives Limantour (1972)" (PDF). etd.lib.ttu.edu. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 15, 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Along the Texas Forts Trail (paperback)". amazon.com. Archived from the original on February 20, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2010.