History of the Romack House
Harvey Edwin (H.E., Ed) Romack
Born November 22, 1882 to Giles Elam Romack and Ephilus Elizabeth Milner Romack, in Wheatship Township, Fayette County, IL. Married Hattie Quick, of Logotee, IL, in December 1904. Hattie passed away, during childbirth, in November 1905.
The Romack House at 5806 Fourth Street, Katy, TX was built in 1905 by Ed’s father, Giles Romack. Ed assisted him in the building. Ed’s father had a furniture store in ‘Old Katy’, the front of the building with twin gables, on the South side of Second Street, between Avenue B and Avenue C; he operated an undertaking business in the back of the building. The building is still there.
Ed moved to Katy in the fall of 1907, with his sister, Lucy, and soon became active in community activities. He was a carpenter. Ed’s father moved to Sacramento, CA in 1922, to live with one of Ed’s brothers. Ed took over the Romack furniture and undertaking business, after his father moved.
Giles Romack passed away December 9, 1929, in Sacramento. He is buried in the Katy Cemetery. Ed sold the undertaking business to A.O. Muske of Brookshire, TX, in 1936. It is said that Ed used to take ‘trade-ins’ for the new furniture he sold; he eventually realized the trade-in ‘used’ furniture was worth more than the new furniture…he gradually transitioned from new to antique furniture sales.
On April 1, 1962, Ed retired from business and sold the furniture store.
From 1914 to 1926, Ed made a home for his sister, Lucy, and their nieces, whose mother had died, Veva and Alverda Adcock, at the Romack house.
Ed was the U.S. Selective Service Registrar (unpaid position), for Western Harris County and all of Waller and Fort Bend Counties, during WWI and again from 1940 (WWII) to 1962. President Kennedy honored Ed with a Presidential Proclamation, in 1963, for his service to the United States.
From April 3, 1922 to June 1, 1947 (25 years), he served as a member of the Board of Trustees for Katy ISD. To date, he is the longest serving member of the KISD School Board. He also served as the KISD Tax Assessor/Collector.
Ed married Beulah Dale, a native of OH, in April 1925. Ed and Beulah adopted first, Francis Roland, then, Carol Viola on unknown dates. Carol was adopted in 1932. Beulah passed away January 26, 1940. Francis passed away in 1983. Carol, a retired nurse worked for Methodist Hospital from 1951, and retired after 37 years of service. Then she went to work for M.D. Anderson where she retired in 2008. She is married to Durward Read , lives in the Meyerland area of Houston.
On May 3, 1942, Ed married Nellie Cliett, of Pattison, TX, who had three grown children: Melba Gaydosik, Roland Cliett and Elizabeth Cliett. Later, Melba had four children: LaNelle, William (Bill), Larry and Cheryl who loved their grandfather dearly. He was the only grandfather they ever had. Nellie passed away in 1972, from complications from a car accident.
Ed was one of the first three elected officials when Katy was incorporated in 1945. He served on the Katy City Council from l 945 to 1955. He served as Tax Assessor/Collector from 1956 to 1958. He also served as Katy Justice of the Peace for an undetermined time frame, and built the front porch enclosure to conduct his JP business. The current owners plan to convert this space to a ‘Mini Museum’ to honor Ed Romack’s many contributions to the community. The restoration of the space will be made to look like it would have looked when he was JP.
He was a charter member of the Katy Volunteer Fire Department (when it was first located on Second Street…organized in 1947) and the Katy Rotary Club.When the Fire Station was across the street from his furniture store, Ed would stop/direct traffic when there was a fire call. Also, he flagged traffic for the fire department almost until the day he died. He served as custodian of the fire department building and property. Katy Rotary Club presented Ed with Certificate of Service as an expression of appreciation for courtesies to their club and the community.
Ed was the Democratic Chairman of Precinct 119 from 1939 to 1962.
For 36 years he was an active member of the First Methodist Church of Katy, and served with distinction. Serving the church as: A member of the Official Board of Trustees; Secretary; and Treasurer Chairman of the Building Committee during the Construction of the first brick sanctuary in 1939. He was elected as an Honorary Member of the Board of Stewards. Ed was a member of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) Lodge 756. He was initiated into their order October 1, 1916. He progressed through the chairs, and was elected to the highest order, Nobel Grand, on January 23, 1918. In 1950, the Katy Odd Fellows Hall Association was formed; Ed was instrumental in acquiring the hall on Sixth Street where he served as Secretary/Treasurer. He was also a Charter Member of Rebekah Lodge 203. He held appointive positions since it was organized on August 4, 1951 until 1963.
On January 27, 1963, the community paid a living tribute to Ed and honored him and his family with a community open house. 180 people attended. Ed was presented a book containing citations and testimonials from the various community organizations for his Christian and civic works. Carol V. Romack Read is in possession of this book. An oak tree was planted in his honor in the Katy VFW Park (near the pavilion); beneath the tree is a bronze plaque inscribed with the words:
“ THIS TREE PLANTED JANUARY 1963 AS A LIVING TRIBUTE TO H.E. ROMACK FOR HIS MANY CHRISTIAN AND CIVIC WORKS”
Both the tree and the plaque are still there.
Ed wrote insurance (unknown company) for 25 years (unknown timeframe). He served as Secretary/Treasurer for the Katy National Farm and Loan Association and the Magnolia Cemetery Association (unknown timeframes).
Ed departed his very busy life, in The Romack House, on June 28, 1967, at the age of 84. It is said, Ed Romack spoke softly; however, when he spoke, people listened. Ed’s adopted daughter, Carol V. Romack Read, assumed ownership of the property, upon his death.
Carol sold the property to Dr. Patrick Diiorio, a newly graduated dentist, in 1979.
There were two other owners of the property (Billie and Betty Rogan (1983-2004), and Chip and Patti McKenzie (2004-2013), prior to Dave and Nancy Gillespie buying the property in June 2013.
Carol V. Romack Read, and her niece, Cheryl Gaydosik Peschke, of Katy, have visited this property several times, reminiscing of their times spent here. Carol and Cheryl are very happy with the renovations, and are very appreciative of the respect shown to the history of the property and the people who have lived here.