A new scholarship has been established in memory of longtime Texas leaders and friends Fred Hartman and John Blair
A true Southeast Texan at heart, John Blair grew up in Hardin County and attended Kountze High School.
After graduating, he served as deputy for the sheriff's department.
At age 19 he
became the youngest man in the history of the county to serve in that position.
He later attended Texas Christian University.
wife, Vida, he
went on to establish Kountze Insurance Agency
Blair served on many boards and agencies throughout his professional and personal life.
He served as the director of Southeast Texas Savings and Loan in Woodville, Stonewall Bank of Corpus Christi, Kilgore First National Bank, and Liberty General Insurance Company in Dallas.
He was instrumental in establishing Hardin Memorial Hospital, where he chaired for 10 of the 13 years he was on its board.
also presided over the Texas Association of Hospital Governing Boards
and received one of its highest distinctions, the Founders Award.
Also a member of the Hardin County School board, he chaired the Board of Equalization for 10 years.
Some of his
other memberships include the Texas Labor Management Council
, Kountze Chamber of Commerce
, and a life member of the Masonic Lodge.
Not only was Blair
a man of great character but also great generosity.
In 1986, when the First United Methodist Church of Kountze
was in need of land for a building site, Blair
wife donated the property where their first home once stood.
In dedicating this gift in the memory of their longtime family friend, E.L. Adams, Blair
stated, "the only things that you truly get to keep are the things you give away.
continued to demonstrate this philosophy by donating gifts of land to the Christian Loving Care Center and Masonic Lodge.
remained diligent with many great causes, one of which was wilderness conservation.
passion was demonstrated by his
membership in the Texas Forestry Association
involvement in property and timber investment and management.
One of his
greatest contributions to this cause was a donation to the United States Department of the Interior
provided 13 acres of land adjacent to the Big Thicket National Preserve to be used as a visitor's center and maintenance facility in order to preserve the beauty and tranquility surrounding the site and educate the public about the park and its resources.
also held a great passion for the government process close to his
took pride in the fact that Hardin County citizens were actively engaged in local politics.
Elected in the biggest landslide in Hardin County History, Blair was voted mayor of Kountze in 1971.
was instrumental in creating thousands of new jobs in Southeast Texas.
In 1987, the Lamar University Board of Regents appointed him as a trustee of the John Gray Foundation, and in 1988 he became its chairman, a position he held at the time of his death.
tenure, the John Gray Institute
created the Labor Management Council
and completed a groundbreaking study on managing workplace safety and health titled, "The Case of Contract Labor in the U.S. Petrochemical Industry.
The Institute was also responsible for the creation of 1000 new small businesses that generated 3200 new jobs in the area.
The Institute provided assistance in transition and placement to 5000 affected workers.
conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Letters Degree upon Blair
for exemplary service to the university.