Robert Alton "Bob" Gammage (1938 - 2012) Bob Gammage was a native of Houston, Texas, and a graduate of Houston's Milby High School. He worked his way through college, graduate school and law school, earning degrees from Del Mar College, the University of Corpus Christi (now Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi), Sam Houston State University, the University of Texas School of Law and the University of Virginia School of Law. He did additional graduate work in American Studies at the University of Texas, and completed advanced legal and judicial education programs at the New York University School of Law, the Harvard Law School, Northwestern University School of Law, the National Judicial College, and the U.S. Naval Justice School. Bob served on active duty with the U.S. Army Infantry Human Research Unit and the Korea Military Advisory Group (KMAG), and is a Captain (Retired) in the U.S. Naval Reserve, where he served in both the Intelligence Service and the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, including service as a military judge and as commander of the Naval Reserve Admiralty Law Unit. An attorney in private practice in Houston from 1969-1979, Bob was elected to represent the greater Houston/Gulf Coast area in the Texas House of Representatives (1970); the Texas Senate and the Texas Constitutional Convention (1972); and the United States House of Representatives (1976). In the Texas House he fought successfully for the passage of ground-breaking environmental legislation, equal rights for women, voting rights for 18-year-olds, and statewide single-member legislative districts. He was a member of the corruption fighting 'Dirty Thirty,' who put their political lives on the line to fight against special interest control of the state's political offices and institutions and whose efforts led to a massive voter turnover in state political office holders. As a state senator he authored and fought successfully for the adoption of open government reforms and helped make major progress on human rights, and consumer and health care legislation in Texas. In the United States Congress, Bob served on the major energy, health and technology committees, winning major battles for his Texas constituents, including funding for the creation of a Children's Nutrition Research Center at Texas Children's/St. Luke's Hospitals; original funding for NASA's Water Immersion Weightless Training Facility at the Johnson Space Center; the preservation of Ellington Field as the key federal facility for NASA's flight operations and crew training mission; the conversion of the dormant Space Center Hospital in Nassau Bay to an active Public Health Service Hospital; and drilling of the nation's first federal/state experimental geothermal well in Brazoria County to explore for new energy resources. After leaving congress Bob served as an Assistant Attorney General of Texas and as a Special Consultant to the U.S. Department of Energy before re-entering private law practice in Austin. In 1982, he was elected to the Texas Court of Appeals from the 24-county Austin/Central Texas area, and was re-elected without opposition in 1988. He won statewide election to the Supreme Court of Texas in November 1990. As an appellate judge he was noted for his opinions in defense of civil liberties. After exactly 13 years on the bench and nearly 25 years in public life, Bob decided to return to private life, to practice law and teach, and on September 1, 1995, he retired from the Supreme Court of Texas. Bob has served as a Teaching Fellow in History at Sam Houston State University, Dean of Men & Director of Student Activities at the University of Corpus Christi, Instructor of Government at San Jacinto College, and Adjunct Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law. In addition to practicing law following his retirement from the Supreme Court he also served as Visiting Professor of Political Science at Sam Houston State University, Ethics Counsel to the Texas General Land Office, Visiting Professor of Public Administration at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Special Lecturer in American Alternative Dispute Resolution at the University of Glamorgan in Pontypridd, Wales, and Lecturer in Political Science at Texas State University. Bob served on the Board of the American Judicature Society, and the Advisory Board of the Health Law & Policy Institute. His honors include a Consul Award from the University of Texas School of Law, Distinguished Alumni Awards from both the University of Corpus Christi and its successor institution, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, from Sam Houston State University, Del Mar College, and Milby High School. He is particularly proud of receiving a Presidential Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Civil Rights from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Austin, the Barbara Jordan Outstanding Public Service Award from Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International, and for being conferred the Order of the Knights of San Jacinto by the Sons of the Republic of Texas. Bob is survived by his wife, Lynda Hallmark Gammage, of Llano, Texas and their son Sam Gammage. Bob is also survived by his daughters Terry Lynne Gammage and Sara Noel Gammage Newman, and son Robert Alton Gammage, Jr. and seven grandchildren and one sister, Susan Avirett. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Sara Ella Gammage, and his brother, Paul Gammage. A visitation will be held in Llano, Texas at the Waldrope-Hatfield-Hawthorne Funeral home from 6-8pm on Wednesday, September 12th. Funeral service will be held in the Senate Chamber at the Texas Capitol at 2pm followed by a burial at the Texas State Cemetery on Thursday, September 13th. Arrangements being handled by Waldrope-Hatfield-Hawthorne Funeral Home in Llano, Texas. In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Llano County Democratic Club for the Llano High School Scholarship Fund. P.O. Bow 691 Llano, TX 78643.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Sep. 11, 2012.