May 18, 2012
by WLJ

S.M. True

Farming legend S.M. True died following an accident on his farm in Hale County, TX. He was a longtime member of the Texas Farm Bureau— having served as president of the state organization for 11 years (1982- 1993)—and also helped start the National Sorghum Producers.

Funeral services were held at 11:00 A.M. Saturday, May 19, 2012, at First United Methodist Church with Jeff Taylor and Dr. Max Browning officiating. Interment followed at Parklawn Memorial Gardens under the personal care of Kornerstone Funeral Directors of Plainview.

According to reports, True was working on a tractor at his farm when a large part of the tractor fell on him, and his brother found him.

True, 88, had been in farming since 1933, according to family members. To colleagues, True was known as “Mr. Texas Agriculture” and the “heart and soul of Texas farming.”

True was featured by the Plainview Daily Herald earlier this year and told the paper he was just an 18-year-old country college boy when he volunteered to serve in World War II.

True was honored as a “distinguished Texan” for his work in the state’s agricultural industry.

Texas Farm Bureau spokesman Gene Hall said, “We’ve lost one of the giants in the history of Texas agriculture. He had a unique ability to bring people together and work out consensus on the most controversial of issues.”

He was named to the State Fair of Texas’ Heritage Hall of Honor in 2002. He also served on the Texas Beef Council (TBC) board of directors, including a term as TBC president, and was a member of the Cotton Board.

“It is not possible to find anyone in agriculture that knew True, and did not respect him. He definitely left his mark on what agriculture in the 21st century in Texas has become. What agriculture is today has his finger prints all over it,” said Hall. “He is someone who will be missed, someone who is a real tower of strength for this industry. The farm and ranching families of Texas have lost a great leader today.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry released the following statement last Tuesday afternoon:

Some of my fondest memories are of traveling across Texas with S.M. as I campaigned for Agriculture Commissioner in 1990. He was a pure gentleman and a true Texan who profoundly loved the state, particularly our agricultural heritage. He left this world doing what he does best—engaged in the production of food and fiber. He will be sorely missed by all Texans— city dwellers and ranchers alike— whether they knew him personally or not, and Anita and I send our prayers and deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Philip "Bud" Alonzo Wright

Philip Alonzo Wright—known as “Bud” to those who knew and loved him—passed away May following a 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 88 years old.

Bud was born July 24, 1923. He spent most of his early life on the family cattle ranch in the Oakhurst and Raymond areas where he worked with his dad. He was a thirdgeneration Madera County resident where his father, Lindsay Wright, and grandfather, Lon Wright, were predominant members of the Oakhurst community.

Bud served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Korea as a mechanic during the occupation. Later he attended Cal Poly and graduated from Fresno State with a degree in Animal Science. Bud met Gay Flanagan at a Fresno dance and they were married in 1950, whereupon they moved to the ranch.

In 1956, Bud went to work for the University of California at the San Joaquin Experimental Range in O’Neals. Later he worked for UC Davis and then in Browns Valley where he was a herdsman for the university’s field station. In 1969, the family moved back to the Oakhurst ranch where he took over the operation and ran his own cattle. In 2000, he sold the cattle to retire and enjoy life with Gay.

Over his life, Bud was active in state and local cattlemen’s associations and the community. Among his many activities and achievements, he served as the president of the Madera County Cattlemen’s Association and was selected as Cattleman of the Year by the group. He was also instrumental in helping reform mining laws on private property and testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on the issue. On the lighter side, in 2001, he served as the Grand Marshall for the Madera Old Timers Day Parade.

Bud is survived by his wife of 61 years, son Mike of Sonora, and daughters Debra Drenon of Raymond and Linda Maness of Fresno.

He is also survived by seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Donations may be made in his name to the Madera County Historical Museum.