Friday, May 10, 2013

Saying Goodbye to a Good Friend

The Town of Van Horn, our Texas Mountain Trail organization, and many residents of Far West Texas lost a friend on Sunday, longtime Mayor of Van Horn, Okey Lucas.  His funeral is today.

A native of West Virginia, he had the good fortune to meet a West Texas gal, Pat; and he had the good sense to marry her. 

Mayor Lucas was a proud veteran.  His service in Vietnam led to his exposure of Agent Orange.  Though he carried oxygen with him everywhere, it never appeared to dampen his view on life.

He told us one of his most proud accomplishments as mayor was overseeing the paving of every street in town, and he was a great ambassador for Van Horn through his work with the Rio Grande Council of Governments and other groups.

He extended kindness to our new organization as it opened for business in 2005; Van Horn became our host city.  Today, our office remains there, and we share Mayor Lucas' enthusiasm for the town.

One of the town's employees, Patricia Golden, nominated the little rest area across from the Town's Convention Center and City Hall, Okey Lucas Park for inclusion in our Far West Texas Wildlife Trail, a project with Texas Parks and Wildlife.  Here's the entry from that map:

 Okey D. Lucas Park

The Town of Van Horn is located at the crossroads of I-10, US 90, and US 54. Van Horn has one main street. The Okey D. Lucas Park is located near the west end at 1804 W. Broadway just across the street from City Hall and the Convention Center/Visitor’s Bureau.
The Okey D. Lucas Park is a quiet, small, and open park with trees and shrubs, with a dramatic background of Turtleback and Six Mile Mountains. The city has a drip water system that attracts the birds despite the dry area. There are picnic tables and restrooms available Monday through Friday, 8-5 at the Visitor’s Bureau.

A personal memory of Mayor Okey Lucas from our Director:

"Most mornings the mayor yells down the hall to me, "what's going on in that office?"

"Work," I yell back.

Then he walks (oxygen in his backpack always) in to shake my hand and call me "Sunshine," and ask how I'm doing. I'm part of his daily rounds before he retires home for reruns of Matlock at 10 am. This morning we talked about short airflights. He'd just taken his wife to El Paso for a quick 40 minute flight to Albequerque to visit their youngest child this week.

As he left he asked, "does it take about 2 1/2 hours from El Paso to Chicago?"


"About 2 1/2 Matlocks then."


We'll miss you Mayor.

No comments: