|Giles Connell McCrary, Sr.|
|Mayor of Post, Garza County, Texas|
November 5, 1919|
Fort Worth, Tarrant County
|Died||October 30, 2011
|Spouse(s)||Helen Louise McCrary (married 1940–2011, his death)|
|Children||Mary L. McCrary
Giles McCrary, Jr.
|Occupation||Rancher; Businessman; Philanthropist|
|(1) Former Mayor Giles McCrary played a major part in the revival of tourism in his town of Post, Texas, south of Lubbock.
(3) McCrary was one of the founders of the National Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech.
Giles Connell McCrary, Sr. (November 5, 1919 – October 30, 2011), was a self-employed oil operator, investor, art collector, rancher, and the owner of the OS Museum in Post, the seat of Garza County, southeast of Lubbock on the Texas South Plains.
McCrary was the mayor of Post from 1969 to 1991; in Texas, all mayors are elected on a nonpartisan ballot. McCrary, however, was a Republican, having contributed in recent years to many GOP candidates as well as the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
McCrary was born to I. N. McCrary and the former Nell Connell in Fort Worth, the seat of Tarrant County, in north Texas. In 1940, while still twenty, he married his wife, the former Helen Louise Luton (born 1920). Their children are daughter, Mary L. McCrary of Lubbock, and a son, Giles C. McCrary, Jr. (born 1952), of Fort Worth, and four grandchildren. A second daughter, Pamela McCrary, died in 1979 at the age of thirty-four.
In 1942, McCrary graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, an institution headed by General Robert E. Lee from 1865 until Lee's death in 1870. McCrary then entered the United States Army's 63rd Infantry Division. He was in the first unit to cross the Rhine River and to penetrate Germany prior to the surrender to the Allied forces. McCrary assisted in the liberation of one concentration camp. It was during his military service, when he often went to concerts and museums, that he acquired his interest in art.
The OS Ranch Museum is one of three museums in Post, a small town known for its hospitality and its encouragement of tourism. McCrary features works by many Southwestern artists that depict Texas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His museum includes works which he has collected over many years from trips throughout the world, including Vatican City in Rome. In addition to its western works, the museum hosts cases of Faberge eggs, textiles, and ivory carvings from the Far East. Although it is now illegal to bring ivory into the United States, McCrary acquired his samples when importation was permitted. In 2002, McCrary helped to bring the Vatican Museums Collection to Texas Tech University in Lubbock. The collection of medieval frescoes and paintings attracted some 133,000 visitors.
In addition to being treasurer for the Vatican Museums Collection, McCrary financed the education of more than two hundred Texas Tech students in recent years. According to Wanda Mitchell, Post's Commerce and Tourism Bureau president, McCrary paid the tuition of about twenty students each year but preferred not to speak of his philanthropic endeavors.
In 2005, McCrary was one of five individuals, including Jim Humphreys, former manager of the Pitchfork Ranch east of Lubbock, who received the Founders Award from the National Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech, which offers a highly acclaimed free outdoor museum on the Tech campus. The award is given to people who have made the ranching center, along with its inside museum, a priority in their lives. The McCrarys also support Texas Tech through the Ershel A. Franklin Charitable Trust, named for McCrary's partner in the oil business. Franklin died in 1980, and McCrary became sole trustee for the trust.
McCrary's grandfather sold part of his ranch to the legendary cereal maker Charles William Post in the early 20th century. McCrary still owns part of the original ranch that his grandfather purchased from Clarence Scharbauer of Midland. McCrary returned to Post in the late 1940s to run the family ranching operation. He left the community only for vacations and business and art-collecting trips. He has visited more than one hundred countries on all continents, including Antarctica, which he has toured three times with National Geographic magazine. Despite such extensive travels, McCrary said that he would not live in a large city because he preferred the camaraderie of life in a small west Texas town.
McCrary once said that he believed his town of Post would have become the size of Lubbock had C. W. Post lived to fulfill his dream of creating a self-sustaining community. Post, who was in poor health for much of his life, died just before his sixtieth birthday and was in Texas for only seven years of his life.
In addition to the OS Museum, Post promoted tourism through its restored Garza Theater, Garza County Historical Museum, and its Hotel Garza, an 11-room downtown bed and breakfast. There is also the 400-seat Ragtime Gospel Theater, designed to resemble a street in old Jerusalem and known for its southern gospel music.
McCrary was a member of Rotary International and the Masonic lodge. He was Presbyterian. McCrary died in Lubbock a week before his ninety-second birthday. He was a recipient of the Doctorate of Humane Letters honorary degree from the Texas Tech University Health Science Center.
- http://www.lubbockonline.com/stories/030207/loc_030207075.shtml (D. Lance Lunsford, "The Real Deal", Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, March 2, 2007)
- http://www.depts.ttu.edu/ranchhc/foundersaward2005.html (includes McCrary's photo)