Longest serving mayor passed away on Dec 4

By Betsy Dolan

In his iconic baseball cap and plaid shirt, Mayor Hilmar Moore was an unassuming man who didn’t want a fuss made over him. He was a descendent of pioneer stock who will be remembered for among many things, his support of youth sports and his support of the city of Richmond.

Over the weekend, the Lamar Little League fields at George Park were bustling with 50 teams playing in the annual Jingle Bell Dinger baseball tournament.  It was a sight that would have pleased Richmond Mayor Hilmar Moore, who was instrumental in creating the George Park complex, home to Lamar Little League, Rose-Rich softball and various soccer fields, over a decade ago.

“Lamar Little League owes much of its success to Hilmar Moore,” said Lynne Humphries, former LLL Board President.  “The youth of our area will be forever grateful to Hilmar Moore for his generosity of spirit and vision for George Park.”

Moore, who is credited with being the longest serving mayor in U.S. history, passed away after a short illness on December 4.  His death prompted mentions in some of the largest newspapers in the country including The Washington Post and The Chicago Sun-Times.

But those who knew him best and worked with him over the decades, remember a small town man with a larger than life personality.

“We will never again see the likes of Hilmar Moore,” said Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert.  “He found the time to give of himself to serve 64 years as Mayor of Richmond. He didn’t have to do it, but he did it because he saw it as a duty to serve the people, the city and the county he loved. I will miss him, but I’m proud to have known him as a friend.”

Making History: A Celebration of a Statesman honored Richmond Mayor Hilmar Moore last June 23, 2011 and was the occasion to get many of the Fort Bend mayors together. (l-r) Sugar Land’s Jimmy Thompson, Missouri City’s Allen Owen, Richmond’s Mayor Moore, Rosenger’s Joe Gurecky and Vincent Morales, and Stafford’s Leonard Scarcella.

“Mayor Moore was a true leader, he did not waver on his beliefs, yet was able to bend when he saw merit in a project or proposal. He truly loved Richmond, its history and the people,” said Rebecca Maitland, President, Historic Richmond Association.

Moore was a fifth-generation Texan whose ancestors were among the Old 300 Colony of Settlers brought into the Fort Bend county area by Stephen F. Austin. He considered himself a cattle rancher first and operated a family cattle business with his brother that had been in operation for six generations.

He became mayor of Richmond on September 22, 1949 to fill an unexpired two-year term. Under his watch, Moore implemented the first police department for the city, served on various boards and commissions and helped forge a spirit of cooperation between Richmond and Rosenberg after years of fierce competition.

“Mayor Moore is somewhat of a legend in these parts, and rightfully so,” said Vincent Morales, Mayor of Rosenberg.  “I did learn in a very short time that he was a man of quick wit, a man that kept his word, a man that truly had what was in the best interest of his community at heart, and a man that was always willing to lend a hand to help others.”

Moore watched his home town grow from about 3,000 people to more than 11,000. A statue honoring his history and legacy of public service now sits in the town square in historic downtown.

Congressman Pete Olson was on stage with Mayor Moore at Richmond’s 175th Anniversary celebration in September. “As he spoke, the adults listened closely, the children got quiet and the trains stopped rolling past,” Olson said.  “When I asked the Mayor how he developed the power to control the railroad, he smiled and said, ‘Give it time, give it time’.

That’s what Hilmar Moore gave us – a lifetime of service to the United States, Texas, Fort Bend County, and his beloved home town of Richmond.”

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