LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Jena Johnson - email
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - In the past nine months, four men, all instrumental in developing the community of Angelina County have passed on.
They set the tone and paved a path in the name of community. These leaders are no longer with us, but Lufkin Mayor Jack Gorden says their legacy lives.
"I hate that we've lost these folks, but they left such a deep legacy in the community," said Gorden. "And there are young folks coming along that saw what they did and I think aspire to do the same or better."
All four men played an integral role in moving the community forward. Murphy George touched all sectors of life from helping children grow up in a safe environment to women facing troubled times. Bigger-than-life Charlie Wilson looked out for East Texans on a national level. Ward Burke is known as the champion of the mentally disabled. And of course Rod Pittman, who used his business instincts to benefit Angelina County.
"Rod, you know, his legacy is certainly very deep in this community. He carried a lot of water so to speak for different organizations," said Gorden.
Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter says they've left a void. In time, he's certain it can be filled.
"It's been a great loss, but I think there's people that will step up as they did and take that lead and keep things moving in a positive way," said Suiter.
"There were pioneers ahead of them that set the stage for them. They took it to a new level. Now, we need this other group to take it to the next level," said Gorden.
A new level of motivation and passion nurtured by these men. Just waiting to be picked up by the next generation.
Funeral services for Pittman will take place at 11 a.m. Friday at A&M United Methodist Church in College Station.
Visitation will be Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Hillier Funeral Home in Bryan.
Pittman died Tuesday after suffering a stroke.