RICHMOND, Texas — Hilmar Moore, who has been mayor of the Southeast Texas town of Richmond since 1949, has died at age 92.
Moore died Tuesday night after a lengthy illness, his wife, Evelyn Moore, said Wednesday. Hilmar Moore was the nation's longest-serving mayor of uninterrupted tenure, according to the website for the city of Richmond, which is about 25 miles southwest of Houston.
Moore first became mayor when he was appointed to fill an unexpired term in September 1949. He had come back to the area after serving in the Pacific in World War II.
"I was called to the Rotary Club on Monday, Sept. 22, 1949, just to attend the meeting and they said, `We want you to fill out an unexpired term as mayor,'" he said in a recent interview with public radio station KUHF-FM in Houston. "I said, `OK, I'll think about it.' They said, `No, we want to swear you in this afternoon.' I said, `Wow. That's a little fast.'"
When he took office, Richmond had about 2,000 residents. It now has more than 12,000.
The San Antonio native also ran cattle on land that had been in the family since 1822, and served on several national and Texas groups that represent ranchers. His mother was a member of the prominent Guenther milling family in San Antonio.
"I have three ancestors who were here during the period that Texas was a republic," Moore told KUHF. "In fact, my great-great-grandfather was one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, so my roots are pretty deep here in Fort Bend County."
A life-size statue of Moore in front of Richmond's City Hall was unveiled in 2008.
A public memorial for Moore is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Richmond.