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From left to right, Sen. Archie Parr, George Parr, Archer Parr Duval .. . light two years later the governor explained that he was in the process of trying to return the money to Manges, but he just couldn’t seem to reach him. Reporters could sympathize with the governor. Manges is just about as elusive as the Last year, Manges appeared to be allied with the Parrs against the Carrillos. When former State Rep. Oscar Carrillo held a press conference in March of 1974 to announce that he had split with the Old Party because the Parrs refused to endorse him for state senator, Carrillo accused George Parr of allying himself with outlanders, to wit, Manges and Oscar Wyatt, Jr., the unpopular president of Coastal States Gas Producing Co. “Don’t give crows wings,” George responded, “because they’ll pick your eyes out.” Manges further cemented his allegiance to the Parrs by paying out $250,000 in bonds and court costs to keep George and Archer from going to jail last year. But this year Manges started snaking out on the Parrs. In addition to his ranch vice president being president of the Carrillos’ school board, his ranch foreman, Jose R. Nichols, is foreman of a grand jury that is looking into irregularities in the Duval County water district. The grand jury is working with Dist. Atty. Arnulfo Guerra of Starr County, who insists that his life has been threatened. Guerra has asked Texas Atty. Gen. John Hill for help in the investigation, and none of this bodes well for the Old Party. THESE VARIOUS slings and arrows apparently prompted, on March 25, what local reporters believe was the first, and, as it turned out, the last press conference held by George Parr. George claimed that Manges was the mastermind behind the Carrillos’ activities. But, he said, Manges could no more succeed in taking over Duval County “than I can go have wings and fly to heaven.” George maintained that Archer was ousted because he refused to provide funds to pay former State Sen. Jim Bates as special prosecutor for the grand jury. \(Bates is a story in himself. He’s called “Diamond Jim” because a few years ago he was tried but found innocent of trafficking in stolen $20,000 by the county that the rest would be taken care of by Mr. Manges.” As for Bercaw’s firing, Parr said that Bercaw had angered Manges by refusing to increase the salary of a Freer football coach. \(Manges is practically a recluse, but one of the few places where reporters have been able to track him down is at the Freer high school football games, where he goes George Parr was quite jovial at his press conference. Asked if he was worried about going to jail, he said, “Naw, I’ve been before. You know, it’s just like a kid. You put him in jail one time and he’s scared to death. The next time, he says, ‘I’ll take my lunch with me ’cause I know what’s going to happen.’ A week later, however, he was summoned to a hearing in Corpus Christi to respond to charges that he had been threatening Judge Carrillo and others with a pistol. \(Parr was a man of violent tempers. He was an avid hunter and he usually carried a pistol or a rifle, or both. Locals would say he was having one of his “spells” whenever he took to threatening enemies and showing off his firearms. The Rev. Antonio Arguelles, who officiated at Parr’s Rosary, referred to the Duke’s “mental blackouts.” It was during such a “blackout,” Anguelles said, that Parr killed Parr did not appear at the hearing and Federal Judge Owen Cox ordered his arrest as a fugitive from justice. Parr had driven to Corpus that day with a friend, Duval Deputy Sheriff Rene Martinez, but they turned around and went back to San Diego rather than go to court. Martinez told Dave Montgomery of The Dallas Times Herald that Parr was crying when he picked Martinez up for the drive into Corpus. “He told me he wouldn’t be alive, and I knew damn sure he wouldn’t be,” Martinez remembered. “Sometimes he would tell me something that would make tears roll down my face. He’d look at me and say, ‘Don’t worry about it!’ ” Martinez alleged that Parr threatened to take Manges and 0. P. Carrillo out with him. The Carrillos were guarded that night by Texas Rangers. The following morning, March 31, Parr apparently shot himself with a .45 caliber pistol. He was found slumped inside his Chrysler at a favorite spot on the family’s Los Horcones Ranch south of Benavides. A justice of the peace ruled his death a suicide. “I hope,” Archer Parr spat out, `the goddammned sons of bitches are satisfied.” DUVAL COUNTY was stunned by George Parr’s death. An estimated 2,000 persons attended the Rosary that was held in the courtyard of Parr’s expensive villa. No one had a mean word to say about the Parrs that day. The Carrillos stayed out of sight and the rest of Duval County went into mourning for the end of an era. The funeral, in the Benavides cemetary, was a subdued affair. When Archie Parr died in 1942, it attracted public officials from all over Texas. Honorary pallbearers included Gov. Coke Stevenson and former Goys. Jim Ferguson, Pat Neff, Dan Moody, and Jimmy Allred. No such dignitaries attended George Parr’s burial. One former South Texas congressman, John Lyle, was there, and so was Corpus Christi Mayor Jason Luby, who hails from a Duval family. Mostly it was a family funeral. A procession of about 150 cars followed the casket from the Horcones ranch house to the old cemetery, where hundreds of other Duval friends waited quietly, ringing the wrought iron fence that surrounds the mesquite-shaded Parr plot. The Reverend Arguelles said a few words in Spanish and English, ending with “Goodbye, George, Goodbye, George” and some people in the crowd quietly wept. Everything closed down that day the schools, the courthouse. Politics were temporarily suspended as everyone indulged in fond reminiscences of George Parr. Even reporters who had been covering the corrupt feifdom for years got a little sentimental. Joe Courdert of the Caller Times, Gary Garrison of the Associated Press, and Mack Sisk of the UPI all confessed to being fond of the old fellow. “I always liked George Parr,” said Wallace Smith, a retired reporter for the Alice Echo. “He could be vicious, but you couldn’t help but like him.” It seemed as if every Duval resident had a tale of George Parr’s kindness. “He was a wonderful man,” said Mrs. Eugenio Hinojosa. “We went to him many times for money for the hospital. He would help with all his heart and he would never say to pay him back.” “George was quite a guy,” his nephew Archer concluded. “He wrote his own skit. He led and decided the play. He called the shots until the end.” April 25, 19 75 3