Rory Oliver Miggins
Honorary Board Chair 2008

Rory Oliver Miggins was a consistent and loyal friend to musicians. His legendary East End bar and music venue, Local Charm, helped launch many talents in the 1980s and 1990s and provided a home base for performances by many underappreciated veterans in the music business. 

Throughout his life, Rory dedicated a significant amount of time, talent, and treasure on behalf of musicians on innumerable occasions. Apart from hosting at Local Charm the first widely publicized Musicians Benevolent Society fund-raising event on December 22, 1991, Rory routinely produced or materially supported benefit shows for musicians over the years. Perhaps most notable among these were the annual birthday parties held at Local Charm for Big Walter “The Thunderbird” Price. 

Although hard to categorize, Rory’s musical interests ranged from blues, rockabilly, country, and zydeco. He was a dedicated night club goer who routinely kept up with the top local, regional, and national bands who played his kind of music. 

He was equally known for his interest in regional foods and his culinary skills. Barbecue fajitas, gumbo, and red beans and rice, were always present – usually in generous quantities -- at Rory’s special events and benefits. At Local Charm, he extended every musician the courtesy of a homemade sandwich and carrot cake after every gig.

Rory had a knack for mixing and matching his various interests and passions into one event. As founder of the Waterfront Association, he provided yet another opportunity for underappreciated musical acts to pick up a paying gig at the Waterfront Festival.  Equally of note, the festival’s “Ugly Couch Contest” encouraged citizens to help beautify Houston by hauling in abandoned furniture off the streets and out of ditches. 

His “Blues for Shoes” fund raisers for the Benevolent Society, held January 2002 and 2003 at the Continental Club, also encouraged patrons to donate shoes for needy children after the holiday break. Rory would think of things like children not having new shoes for the winter school term, and then he would deliver.

Among the many tributes that came Rory’s way during his final days, the Musicians Benevolent Society of Houston was pleased when Rory accepted our invitation to serve as 2008 Honorary Board Chair. For the community’s review and appreciation of why he was considered for this honor, please see a more complete list of his many noteworthy associations and accomplishments.

Rory died at the age of 52 on December 7, 2007, after a three-month battle with melanoma. His wake and funeral service each were attended by large crowds that are usually reserved for people of high rank and celebrity. Many people were a part of his life and contributed to his legacy, but few foresaw the full measure and impact of his many selfless endeavors.


-- From the Board of Directors

Musicians Benevolent Society of Houston
February 2008


Noteworthy Associations and Accomplishments*

Associations
Art Car Parade Commission (founding member)
Dick Dowling Irish Heritage Society (founding member)
Houston Architecture Foundation
Houston Blues Society
Idylwood Civic Club
ILA 1351 Hole in the Wall Gang (a fund for crippled children)
The Irish Society
Musicians Benevolent Society of Houston (volunteer)
The Orange Show Foundation
St. Anne's Catholic Church
St. Anne School Foundation
The St. Brendan Society
St. Patrick's Parade Commission
St. Thomas High School Alumni Association
The Seaman's Center
Slippery Rock Booster Club (“We do nothing effectively!”)

Irish Community
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with the Ancient Order of Hibernians around the Dick Dowling statue in Hermann Park
Annual Greening of the Bayou with the Texas Army
St. Patrick's Day Snake Races at Local Charm
Miss Patty O’Furniture Beauty Contest at Local Charm

Sports and Athletics
St. Thomas High School basketball, baseball, and football (All-District, All-State, and All-American in football as running back)
16 years with the Houston Men's Senior Baseball League, most recently with the Colt 45's

Cultural and Cuisine
Annual Orange Show Art Car Parade entries
“Lunch with Rory Miggins,” feature column by Houston Press food critic (published January 4, 2001)

Texas History
The Texas Army, rank of Colonel
Annual birthday celebrations for the SS Selma, Galveston, with the Texas Army
Knight of Texas for his work in connection with the annual Greening of the Bayou

The Waterfront
Marine manager with ILA Local 1351, Class A rank
ILA Local 1351 Executive Board
Waterfront Association (founder)

Special Events
Blues for Shoes at the Continental Club, January 2002 and 2003
MBS of Houston Holiday Benefit at Local Charm, December 1991
Waterfront Festival (founder)
Special Honors
2008 Honorary Board Chair, Musicians Benevolent Society of Houston
Rory Miggins Memorial Scholarship, St. Thomas High School
Local Charm performers
Kinney Abair
Banana Blender Surprise
David Beebe
Texas Johnny Brown
Mary Cutrufello
Eric Danheim
Grady Gaines
Danny Gardiner
I.J. Gosey
Jabo, the Prince of Zydeco
Jesse Dayton
Jimmy Dotson
Mark Halata
The Flamin’ Hellcats
Jaime Hellcat
The Hollisters
Joe Hughes
Steve Krase
Bert Lewis
Jerry Lightfoot
Pete Mayes
Pierre and The Zydeco Dots
RB and the Hambones
Craig Malek
Robert Murphy
Jimmy Nelson
Lupe Olivares and The Basics
Ted Pacholik
Walter Price
Rare Seed
Teddy Reynolds
Sonny Boy Terry
The Road Kings
The Rounders
Myrna Sanders
Leon “Pappy” Selph
Ashton Savoy
Robert Smith
Ted and the Polka Dots
Uncle John Turner
Mike Vee
Rex Wherry
Andy “Too Hard” Williams
The Zydeco Dots

* (The Miggins family and the Musicians Benevolent Society welcome updates, corrections and clarifications via e-mail to Larry Miggins at longball@rice.edu.)