NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Nacogdoches community and people across Texas who knew A.L. Mangham are fondly remembering his life today.
The former Nacogdoches mayor died early this morning at the age of 93, just one month shy of his birthday. Many people call the longtime public servant a hero.
Remembrances about Mayor A.L. Mangham can go on for hours, but here's a glimpse.
The handsome Navy man served in World War II.
It didn't go well in Saipan when the jeep he was driving with 11 injured Marines took a direct hit. It led to a Silver Star and a granddaughter's school composition which hangs in Mangham's home. The child wrote, "He went into battle with bandages and medicine, not with guns."
The Appleby native returned to Nacogdoches County in the 60s to make a living and life. His personable nature allowed a bank greeter to advance to CEO and president of Fredonia State Bank.
Nancy Mangham said her husband levered deposits for community good across four decades.
Banker Ron Collins said Mangham was in charge, but the community won.
Nacogdoches Mayor Roger Van Horn did, too. His car broke down in Nacogdoches about the same time Mangham, the founding board member of Nacogdoches Medical Center, was recruiting physicians to town. The community banker used a loan to recruit the young dentist to town.
"He said, 'I don't have much money,'" Mangham said in a previous interview. "I said, 'I'm in the money business, so I'll loan you money. That's easy.'"
Mangham was an advocate for mental health services, combining negotiating skills with Lufkin's Murphy George to bring Burke Center to Nacogdoches.
As mayor for 13 years , Mangham's attention turned to economic development, which explains why it's the A.L. Mangham Regional Airport.
Recognizing the value in politics, Mangham served numerous state governors from both political parties. Former Nacogdoches mayor Judy McDonald calls Mangham her mentor.
"A.L.'s legacy is that he was pro-people," McDonald, a close friend of Mangham, said. "He was pro in bringing people in and making them better. Helping their lives to be better. "
Mangham had his ways, like twisting words.
"Manghamnese was a whole different language, but you know what, you understood what he was saying," McDonald said.
How he spoke didn't matter to The Fire Kickin' Group, a bunch of friends that would eat steak and drink river coffee while working on projects or goals. Mangham outlived all of them.
Mangham shared in a previous interview how saying goodbye to his friends wasn't easy.
Visitation services for Mangham will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday at Cason-Monk Metcalf Funeral Home in Nacogdoches.
Interment will be at Sunset Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Saturday, also in Nacogdoches. A celebration service will follow at 1:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Nacogdoches.