"Remembering a Great American, Great Texan" by: Mike Reddell

   One of the first people I met in Bay City 22 years ago was Tom Uher, who passed away last week.
   Bill Cornwell, the former publisher of The Facts, drove me to Franco’s Mexican food restaurant on 12th Street, where Tom was waiting for us at a table.
   He was possibly the friendliest guy I’ve ever met.
   Bill and Tom, both Longhorns, took great pleasure in focusing on the new Aggie in town.
   Considering both men became my fast friends, which was more than cool to me.
   At the age of 47 back then, I was more than familiar with Uher’s influence under the Pink Dome.
   I dropped John Sharp’s and Rick Perry’s name, since they were A&M classmates.
   With Sharp’s Placedo area upbringing and similar political alignments, I think Uher really thought highly of him.
   Ironically, Tom and I both were schooled – in different venues – by a Kerrville state representative, Jim Nugent.
   We both liked Jim, besides the once rough treatment he handed out.
   My experience was being a rookie reporter who asked Nugent a poorly thought-out question that exhibited my early 1970s ignorance of the legislature.
   A learning experience, for sure.
   I think Tom had a similar introduction to Nugent, although I don’t remember the details.
   Point is, we both learned from Nugent, and lived to the point where we both admired what he had done and liked talking about him. 
   The fact that Tom was dean of the Texas House, with an encyclopedic knowledge of things Austin, made for fascinating listening to me.
   I guess another bond between us was our respective offices.
   Tom and I both loved to cover the walls with honors, with degrees – he more than me – photos and paintings.
   I’m not comparing my achievements with his, just noting how we both loved to post our lives on the walls.
   Neither of us cared whether they were too busy.
   I didn’t always agree with Tom, but I made sure I listened to what he had to say.
   Oh, by the way, I have to mention that the departed Glenn’s Country Style Barbecue on Sixth Street was the favorite of Uher and now-retired Cornwell.
   With Tom, conversation always was the main fare.
   Much has made said about Tom’s signature “Great American” greeting to most he encountered.
   Uher richly deserves the name “Great Texan” for looking after Matagorda County and all of its communities and our great state.
   He was one of the greatest in counseling the novices in Austin and at home and steering legislation aimed at helping all Texans. 
   I feel honored to have known him.

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