From Humble Beginnings
Super Hero Day April 28, 2022
My Super Hero was born on this day one hundred fourteen years ago. My dad, Clifton M. Cawley, was raised by a mostly-Irish father. Dad’s father was orphaned when his dad was killed while building the railroad in Del Rio, Texas. Since he was Irish his name wasn’t included in the article in the newspaper. In those days the Irish were often the victims of discrimination.
The grit of the Cawley men is a testament to Texas Heroes. Dad and his brothers were strong, industrious men.
Clifton M. Cawley, my dad was the second of ten children. Two died as infants. I grew up knowing all eight of the others as my aunts and uncles. Daddy was always self-conscious about his lack of education and yet he was one of the smartest men I’ve ever known. He loved learning. Even from a young age he was inventive. He became fascinated with machinery while helping his dad work on the two cotton gins that his dad owned. As an adult and an accomplished Master Machinist, he made model steam engines from scratch. They will soon be on permanent display at Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum.
After many years working at a local refinery he and my brother started C&D Machine in Port Neches. The C for Clifton and the D for Don. And much later my late brother, Don Cawley, who inherited Daddy’s love for machines, started Sage Automation on Fannett Road in Beaumont where they design and build enormous gantry robots. https://www.sagerobot.com
During the Great Depression he always had a job. He didn’t have much use for anyone who didn’t work. He never owned a credit card and didn’t see why anyone should. He had a very nice home built for us when I was about thirteen years old and he paid cash for every brick.
Another reason he is my Super Hero is that he carried a genetic disease, Hemochromatosis, that wasn’t diagnosed until shortly before it caused his death. It is often referred to be an Irish Curse. He was only 66 years old. I was 27. He continued to work even when he hadn’t slept the night before, even when he was fatigued to the point of exhaustion and certainly when he would have preferred to go to bed.
I can understand this because I, too, have this disease for which I am treated regularly.
Daddy had more integrity than most people you know. He had a strict personal code of ethics. Now as a senior myself, I realize how exceptional he was. On this April 28th that would have been his 114th birthday, I wish he had known how much he meant to me.