Paying Respects to Jim Mattox

The body of former Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox is lying-in-state at the Texas Capitol today. Ben Philpott reports family and friends have been stopping by this afternoon to pay their final respects to a man with a long political career.

Jim Mattox's flag-draped coffin sat just below the speaker's dius in the Texas House.  Pictures of his career in Texas politics created mourners at the entrance to the chamber.

Mattox spent fourteen years in office.  The first six as a U.S. representative.  The rest as Texas Attorney General.

Donald Dean worked as a page for Jim Mattox during his time as AG.

"He deserved all the honor he could get.  He worked behind the scenes a lot. People didn't know about.  He wasn't the kind of guy that was looking for publicity all the time.  He was a great leader of Texas for our generation."  

To his family though, he wasn't a congressman or political consultant.  He was just Jim.  Jerry Mattox was his little brother.  His greatest role in life was substitute-father.  He helped his mother raise two young siblings.

"My brother had to step-in, had to cook the meals, had to make sure I did what I was suppose to do when she was gone to work .  Most kids we out doing whatever they do and he was having to be a parent.  He went off to college and did real well.  After he graduated, he help put my sister and myself through college." 

A public memorial services will be held tomorrow at 11 am at the First Baptist Church in downtown Austin.  The man who made a career of serving Texans will be buried at the Texas State Cemetery.


For KUHF, Houston Public Radio.  I'm Ben Philpott in Austin.