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Jack English Hightower Edit Profile

United States representative , lawyer , politician , member of the Texas House of Representatives , member of the Texas Senate

Jack English Hightower, Former state supreme court justice, congressman. Bar: Texas 1951. Named Outstanding District Atty, Texas, Texas Law Enforcement Foundation, 1959, Distinguished Alumnus, Baylor University, 1978; recipient Knapp-Porter award Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University, 1980.

Background

Hightower, Jack English was born on September 6, 1926 in Memphis, Tennessee, United States. Son of Walter Thomas and Floy Edna (English) Hightower.

Education

Baylor University (Bachelor of Arts, 1949. Juris Doctor, 1951); University of Virginia (Master of Laws, 1992).

Career

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. 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. 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.

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. A Freemason, Jack Hightower served in 1972 as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas.

Until his death, he had been the oldest living past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas. Hightower died on August 3, 2013 in Austin.

Achievements

  • In 1974, Hightower challenged four-term Republican Bob Price of Pampa for a congressional seat and won. 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".

Membership

Member Texas Law Enforcement Study Commission, 1957. Delegate White House Conference Children and Youth, 1970. Alternate delegate Democratic National Convention, 1968.

Board regents Midwestern University, Wichita Falls, Texas, 1962-1965. Trustee Baylor University, 1972-1981, acting governor, 1971. Trustee Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, Texas, 1991-2001, Baptist Children's Home, 1959-1962, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital Children, since 1991, chairman, since 2002.

Trustee Human Welfare Commission. Board directors Baptist Standard, 1959-1968. Member National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, 1999-2005.

With United States Naval Reserve, 1944-1946. Member Texas District and County Attorneys Association (president 1958-1959), Scottish Rite Educational Association Texas (executive committee since 1990), Texas Supreme Court History Society (president 1991-1998), Texas Bar. Foundation (fellow 1992), Sons of the American Revolution, Supreme Court of the United States Court History Society, Texas State History Association (executive council 1998-2002), Masons (grand master Texas 1972), Lions (president Vernon 1961), Scottish Rite Freemasonry (sovereign grand inspector general since 1992).

Connections

Married Colleen Ward, August 26, 1950. Children– Ann, Amy, Alison.

father:
Walter Thomas Hightower

mother:
Floy Edna (English) Hightower

spouse:
Colleen Ward

child:
Ann Hightower

child:
Amy Hightower

child:
Alison Hightower