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Jack Hightower

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jack Hightower
Jack English Hightower.jpg
Associate Justice of the
Supreme Court of Texas
In office
December 7, 1988 – January 2, 1996
Preceded byBarbara Culver
Succeeded byGreg Abbott
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 13th district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1985
Preceded byBob Price
Succeeded byBeau Boulter
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 23rd district
In office
Preceded byGeorge C. Moffett
Succeeded byOscar Mauzy
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 30th district
In office
Preceded byAndrew J. Rogers
Succeeded byRay Farabee
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 82nd district
In office
Preceded by82-1: Pearce Johnson
82-2: Johnnie B. Rogers
Succeeded byWilliam S. Heatly
Personal details
Jack English Hightower

(1926-09-06)September 6, 1926
Memphis, Texas, U.S.
DiedAugust 3, 2013(2013-08-03) (aged 86)
Austin, Texas, U.S.
Cause of deathParkinson's disease
Resting placeTexas State Cemetery
(Austin, Texas)[1]
Political partyDemocratic
Colleen Ward
(m. 1950)
Children3 daughters
RelativesDrew Brees (step-grandson)
ResidenceAustin, Texas, U.S.
Alma materBaylor University (BA)
Baylor Law School (LLB)
University of Virginia (LLM)
Military service
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1944–1946

Jack English Hightower (September 6, 1926 – August 3, 2013) was a former Democratic U.S. representative from Texas' 13th congressional district.

Early life

Born in Memphis, the seat of Hall County in West Texas, Hightower was a United States Navy sailor for two years during World War II. His parents were Walter Thomas Hightower, a greenhouse proprietor, and Floy Edna (English) Hightower, a homemaker.

Education and law career

In 1949, Hightower received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. In 1951, he procured an LL.B. from Baylor Law School. Years later in 1992, he obtained an LL.M. from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was admitted to the Texas bar in 1951 and immediately became district attorney of the 46th Texas Judicial District, based in Vernon, the seat of Wilbarger County. He served as DA from 1951 to 1961.

Political career

From 1953 to 1955, he was a member of the Texas House of Representatives.

Hightower was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election held in 1961. While still living in Vernon, Hightower served from 1965 to 1974 in two reconfigured districts in the Texas Senate. He was a delegate to the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention, which met in Chicago to nominate Vice President of the United States Hubert H. Humphrey for the presidency. That fall, Humphrey narrowly carried Texas over the Republican Richard M. Nixon and the American Independent Party nominee George Wallace of Alabama.

In 1974, Hightower challenged four-term Republican Bob Price of Pampa for a congressional seat and won. Hightower was one of several Democrats elected due to voter anger over Watergate.

Hightower was a fairly moderate Democrat, and served a mostly rural district stretching from Amarillo to Wichita Falls on the east. The district had become increasingly friendly to Republicans at the national level, though Democrats continued to hold most local offices well into the 1990s. Hightower was reelected four times, mainly by stressing constituent services. However, in 1984, he was toppled by Republican challenger Beau Boulter of Amarillo, who benefited from Ronald W. Reagan's massive reelection landslide that year.

Personal life

After he left Congress, Hightower was from 1985 to 1987 the first assistant attorney general of Texas under Attorney General Jim Mattox. Hightower was also elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1988. He was later appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton to the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, a position which he held from August 9, 1999, to July 19, 2004.

Hightower married Colleen (née Ward) (1927–2015) in 1950. They first met at Baylor where he was a law student and she was a music major. Colleen died in 2015 and is buried alongside her husband of 63 years.[2] They lived in Austin and had three daughters. He is the step-grandfather of NFL quarterback Drew Brees.

Hightower is not related to former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower.[3]


Hightower died on August 3, 2013 in Austin. Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson said, "Texas has lost a true champion among its public servants and the Court has lost a colleague who at his very core was what a judge should be".[4]


  1. ^ "Jack English Hightower". Texas State Cemetery.
  2. ^ "Obituary for Colleen Ward Hightower". Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Homes & Cremation Services.
  3. ^ Barone, Michael; and Ujifusa, Grant. The Almanac of American Politics 1988', p. 1164. National Journal, 1987.
  4. ^ Weber, Paul (August 3, 2013). "Former Texas justice, congressman Hightower dies". The Olympian, Associated Press. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved August 4, 2013.

External links

Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
82-1: Pearce Johnson
82-2: Johnnie B. Rogers
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 82 (Vernon)

Succeeded by
William S. Heatly
Texas Senate
Preceded by
George C. Moffett
Texas State Senator
from District 23 (Vernon)

Succeeded by
Oscar H. Mauzy
Preceded by
Andrew J. Rogers
Texas State Senator
from District 30 (Vernon)

Succeeded by
Ray Farabee
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert "Bob" Price
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 13th congressional district

Succeeded by
Beau Boulter
This page was last edited on 28 December 2020, at 04:52
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