Friday, January 19, 2007

Hayden Head Sr. was the pilot of his twin-engine Cessna 421 when it crashed and burned at his ranch in Zavala County.

Hayden Head Sr. was the pilot of his twin-engine Cessna 421 when it crashed and burned at his ranch in Zavala County. When a ranch foreman tried to pull him from the burning cockpit, he told the rescuer to get his wife out first. Head died in the crash, but his wife survived.
Head never sought or held an elective office, yet he was one of the most politically influential men in the history of South Texas.

Hayden Head: Worked to make civic
improvements such as building Choke
Canyon Reservoir and establishing the
Naval Air Station.

Hayden Wilson Head was born in Sherman in 1915. He came from a family of lawyers. His father was an attorney and his grandfather was a state appeals judge. He came to Corpus Christi as a young lawyer in 1937 and married Annie Blake Morgan, the daughter of oilman/farmer Rand Morgan.
Head served in the Army Air Corps in World War II as a fighter pilot. Three weeks before the end of the war in Europe, his plane was shot down and he became a POW in a German stalag. After the war, he returned to Corpus Christi and established his own law practice. Through the years, he served on many civic boards and commissions. He served on the city's Airport Advisory Commission for 30 years.
Head was known as a power-broker and was once called the "kingpin of the establishment.'' But those who knew him said he never used his influence for personal advantage; he used it to help Corpus Christi and South Texas prosper. U.S. Sen. John Tower once told the Caller-Times: "I've never heard a disparaging word about Hayden Head from anybody, and that's pretty rare in this business.''
U.S. District Judge Hayden Head Jr. said his father "absolutely loved'' to practice law and he was good at it. "He was, first and foremost, an extremely fine and capable lawyer, one of the finest lawyers this state ever produced. I mean that on a client basis, doing work for the clients he represented.''
Attorney Tony Bonilla said of Head that, "We've not seen his kind since his departure. There were very few people who could pick up the phone and call the leading citizens, across the board, and call a meeting to discuss something important to our community. He was one of the few. He didn't pull any punches; people knew where he stood. When I ran for mayor, and Betty Turner was my opponent, I went in to visit him. He said, 'Tony, I can't support you.' I respected him greatly for that. Since his death, there has been a total absence of the kind of leadership and responsibility that he was known for.''
Hayden Head Sr. spearheaded many important civic endeavors, including deepening the ship channel, establishing the Naval Air Station and building Choke Canyon Reservoir. Among his later accomplishments was his leadership of a fund-raising effort to establish 32 endowed teaching chairs of at least $1 million each at the University of Texas. Hayden Head Sr. died on July 24, 1987, when his plane crashed into a hangar at his ranch near Crystal City.

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Blogger Jaime Kenedeño said...

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12:05 AM  
Blogger fan said...

Is this the same Hayden Head who is mentioned as a rabid racist and arch anti-communist who helped destroy Leland Olds?

3:14 PM  

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