TESTIMONIALS TO PAUL B. HOLCOMB Here are some testimonials that have reached the Observer from all over the state concerning the late Paul B. Holcomb: Paul Holcomb was one of the major prophets of Texas in our time. He had integrity. He was consistent. He was afraid of no man. With pen in hand he was a happy warrior for the right, as he saw the right. He was a Christian who believed in the Christian ethic enough to try to live it. There was no sham or hypocrisy or bigotry in his soul. He loved to call a spade, a confounded shovel. He gloried in puncturing a stuffed-shirt and watching it collapse. In dealing with elected officials he used his pen as a harpoon and felt he was ineffective unless the politician subjected to scrutiny let forth a roar of rage loud enough to be heard in the remotest precinct of his constituency. Texas is a better place in which to live because Paul Holcomb lived and worked and wrote here the past thirty odd years. He was an intellectual irritant and inspiration to his many friends and a force to be reckoned with by his opponents. Paul Holcomb was a good man in an age when goodness is revered less than material success. I like to imagine that in that particular precinct of Heaven reserved for the menand separated from the boyson June 27, 1955, Maury Maverick turned to Sam Adams and Tom Paine and said, “Make room, gentlemen, here comes Paul Holcomb.” CREEKMORE FATH Austin He died young. This must be said of Paul Holcomb. This, although he reached the seventies before death. His fearless and steadfast gaze never faltered. His outlook remained youthful throughout. I was privileged to know him personally less than a year. In that time I saw the spirit that was a part of Paul carry him relentlessly against injustice, pomp, and vanity. I don’t like the word “crusader,” and he would have been the last to consider himself one. But he was what a crusader should have been. He never counted the cost nor looked back when a vicious movement needed exposing. No person was too high or mighty for his scorn when it was merited, and no person was too low and humble for his help. Paul’s State Observer was a part of him. For years it was one of the few voices of liberalism in Texas. Those of us who helped merge it and the East Texas Democrat know that Paul would never have relinquished its control to anyone that would have failed to continue his fightand price be hanged. The staff of The Texas Observer has a tradition to fulfill. It has lost a valuable contributor, but his memory will remain fresh throughout the life of the paper. He dedicated every effort to \earing away sham and hypocrisy. We who know the staff of The Texas Observer take solace from the fact that it will meet the same challenges in Paul’s way. FRANKLIN JONES Marshall Paul Holcomb was a brave and honest man. He said what he meant and did what he said he would. When times were dark for Democrats, when people were afraid to say what they thought, he kept right on. We loved him, and we love his memory. MRS. R. D. RANDOLPH Houston I never knew Paul Holcomb much in a conversational way, but I knew him well enough to know that he always meant what he said and said what he meant. This is not a common quality among that special category of human being on whom Mr. Holcomb had his say nearly every week for many years American politicians. He had a clear mind and a facile pen; he never palavered around a subject; he went straight at it and clarified it. He didn’t go in much for fine shadings, but he always seemed to me to know what he was talking about. Many and many a time I have wished that more people were being enlightened by his lucidity. He was not well off in worldly goods, but he enjoyed an independence that few men in public life, no matter how rich, seem to possess. His whole countenance was clear. It was a tonic to look into his clear eyes and hear his independent voice. Like an old Scot schoolmaster sketched by Carlyle, Paul Holcomb never asked for “your suffrages.” He was not belligerent, but he could sure stand up straight. One definition fo a liberal is “a person who does not want to be fooled.” Paul Holcomb was a liberal in other ways, but he was as little given to wanting to be fooled as any writer whom I have followedand he was commensurately given not to wanting to fool anybody else. He wanted to see reality, and during his long career as newspaper writer he must have had an enormous amount of fun in pulling off the masks worn by foolers of the people and in exposing their humbuggeries, doubledealings, pretenses, self-seekings under the guise of being devoted to the common good. Mark Twain said that the symbol of the human race should be an axeto grind. Paul Holcomb could see that axe a long way off, no matter how much lumber was piled on top of it. His piece from Los Angeles, published in The Texas Observer of June 20 last, on the University of Southern California and the invitation to Governor Shivers to make the commencement speech at that institution told more than any dispatch on the subject that I have noticed in any of the big dailies. It was characteristically good humored and characteristically lightening-up of individuals trying to dodge the truth. One of the things in this world that never gets common is intel lectual integrity. An ignoramus can’t have it, and no man who double deals does have it. The older I grow, the more I feel like salut ing any talker-out-in-public who reveals marked intellectual integ rity. Paul H o l c o m b revealed marked intellectual integrity. He has ceased to be, but his intellec tual integrity is. I salute him for it. J. FRANK DOBIE Austin They say that Paul Holcomb is dead. They said that about George Washington and Thomas Jefferson too, a good many years ago. But the vital imprint of the lives of people like that deny the validity of death. And the imprint of the life of Paul Holcomb on the State of Texas will live long after all of us who knew him personally have also gone to our long rest. For many years I have been cheered b y his lively humor, strengthened b y his dauntless courage, and refreshed by the rugged truths he dished out so impartially on friend and foe alike. But before I ever laid eyes on the man himself I knew about his David and Goliath affair with the great sulphur interests of South Texas; how with only a small country paper for a sling shot and a few photostats for stones he brought the giant down. Then there was the story of his squaring away at the Ku Klux Klan in the heyday of its power. And but lately we had the special edition of the doughty little old State Observer on “How Texas Became A No-Party State” in which this one man army called Paul Holcomb stood up to the vicious politiing Texas. And after that a mimeographed and widely, distributed letter to the Chairman of the National Democratic Committee setting forth certain salient facts under the title of “The Ailments of the Democratic Party in Texas” which wakened Steve Mitchell to some things he did not know. There is more. But not for this space. There must be a Book of Paul Holcomb to help us go on and do the things he knew should be done so that his absence will not leave us entirely desolate. MINNIE FISHER CUNNINGHAM New Waverly For all the twenty years I knew him, Paul Holcomb was important to Texas because he was true like a compass. In an age when most well-known men made themselves conspicuous by press-agentry either hired or homemade, Paul was known from El Paso to Texarkana and from Beaumont to Dalhart without having once sought a headline. He stood , dut from the crowd simply because in the midst of a seething of would-be public figures who shifted by virtue of their essential lightness upon every chance wind of opportunity, he stood firm in a fixed position, predictably and resolutely determined by a belief in democratic principles and a care for the people’s good. And his very steadfastness made him conspicuous and memorable. His was the prominence of a brave man in a panicky mob. A thinker in an age in which “clever” minds were much sought after and applaudedminds nimble like a pickpocket’s fingers at finding ways to evade or temporize with all the forces of evil at the root of the day’s problems which might prove formidablePaul won distinction and leadership by force of an unflinching and direct simplicity of thought. His mind drove to the heart of every problem along a path so straight that any man who had the courage to do so could follow without stumbling. Because he was without fear, Paul achieved integrity and therewith real leadership in the molding of minds. The man was whole and coherent. Paul’s liberalism was no selfseeking declamation of popular principles designed to win a following for the declaimer. It was genuine, responsible, mature, fearlessand therefore complete. Some of us grow up to make our own way in the world. Others grow a little maturer to shoulder responsibility for a family. Paul grew until he felt responsibility for the brotherhood of man. And because that was the nature of his liberalism, it was correspondingly inclus=iveno narrow platform of tenets could bound it. For Paul Holcomb, liberalism was an attitude like that of a loving parent, a way of life like that of a man with a family to support. For his adopted family, which included all Texas and all Texans all the lands and all the peoples he knewhe labored lifelong. He was brave to protect them; he was diligent to find provision for them; he was patient to guide them. And like a good householder he never even paused to count the sacrifices this attitude and this way of life involved. It no more occurred to him to desert mankind than it occurs to a good householder that he might find ease by deserting his family. He accepted a life of dedication to the public weal matter-of-factly simply as the way of life normal to a man fully adult … which he was. Here was a human being mature enough to find in his mind and heart respect and solicitude for all mankind. Here was a man fullgrown and complete … a man fit to stand erect before his God. MARK ADAMS Austin Not too many of us are able to formulate the principles of democracy in simple language for the help and understanding of us who have always been Democrats. Now a telegram shocks me with the news that the chief interpreter of us all has been called away from that task: Paul B. Holcomb is suddenly dead of a heart attack in far-away California. Texas Democrats, wherever they are, whoever they are, whether they knew Paul Holcomb or not, will miss him. We will miss him as we would the good fresh air if pit suddenly ceased to pass freely into our lungs. We may never have thought what a fine thing the air is, but when we no longer have it we miss it, miss it terribly. And so it is with this man who for many years kept alive with an iron lung, so to speak, the little State Observer as a voice crying in the wilderness for Texas Democrats. We will miss his good counsel. We will miss his interpretation of current political events. We will miss his caustic humor and his fearless scolding when his Democratic public failed to take obvious forward steps to “go up and possess the land” boldly. But more than these we will miss his infinite faith in the omnipotence and goodness of God. He never gave us up even when he judged us weak and vacillating, selfish and stupid; he always believed we could follow our great leaders, if we would, and he always hoped that ultimately we would. Now the Peace of God which passeth understanding is his. No longer can our shortcomings as Democrats worry him, which in itself is the greatest possible challenge to us to stand up and be counted on his side in Texas politics. MRS. JUD COLLIER Mumford Paul Holcomb has left us. The pen that messaged the hopes of Texas Democrats for eleven years of governmental combat in Texas has come to a final rest, but the great spirit that moved it will live in the hearts and hopes of Texans for generations. Paul Holcomb was a fighter for the right, not a compromiser for expediency’s sake. He never sought alliance with error, but rather sought victory on principles. He did not compromise those principles, and, if victory eluded him, his conscience was clear, his spirit unbroken, his will to serve all the people in the furtherance of Democracy in our time undiminished. Paul Holcomb’s clarion calls to battle roused many dispirited Democrats in Texas to new efforts against the Dixiecratic-Republican combination that overthrew them. Like Moses, he led his people so close to the promised land that he could see it, then, like Moses, was called to his final rest with victory for his people just ahead. Let us pause in grateful remembrance of Paul Holcomb. He was my close friend, and I will always feel the void left by his journey to the other side. RALPH W. YARBOROUGH Austin The remarkable thing about Paul Holcomb was that his mind never grew old except in the accumulation of experience and wisdom. Men of this peculiar quality are so essential to the world’s progress that their loss is deeply felt even beyond our means of expression. These men are the repositories of civilization whose personal influence and inspiration make it possible for accumulated good sense and wisdom \(which is the essence of broken chain from generation to generation. In the same manner the written word is a parallel means of bridging the generations of men and Paul Holcomb left his stamp in this field, too. In my opinion Paul Holcomb was the best editorial writer in Texas. It is for these reasons that a keen sense of loss is tempered by loving memory of one who was devout without narrow mindedness, positive without bigotry, idealistic without impracticality. As one who so lived and wrote as to translate these qualities into words and action, he lives in the thoughts and deeds of men who were fortunate enough to read his words and feel his influence. He was a real crusading editor in the highest and finest tradition. ROBERT C. ECKHARDT Houston We have lost a great and beloved citizen. It is my opinion that were it not for a few newspapermen like Paul Holcomb, our so-called free press would not survive. We find few people in the newspaper business who have the courage to continu ously sacrifice their personal security to maintain their integrity. Paul Holcomb was one of these. He was never afraid to tell the truth. The high position and political influence of the subjects of his stories made no difference to Paul. Because of his fearless reporting and diligent investigation many people benefited. It has been said by many of Paul’s friends that he had a sixth sense when it came to discrepancies in government. The people who love truth and integrity loved Paul. Those who would use a position of public trust for personal gain feared him. Paul HolComb was my personal friend. He lived a life of sacrifice and many times was in deep financial difficulty, but he always carried the torch of truth and liberty. Now his fight is finished. I am sure it is Paul’s wish that someone else pick up his banner. I know that when he presents himself before The Great Judge as all of us will someday, he will have these words spoken to him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
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