KILGORE, JOE MADISON (1918~1999) Joe Madison Kilgore, war hero, member of both the Texas and United States Houses of Representatives, and advisor to state and national political leaders was born December 10, 1918 in Brown County, near Brownwood, Texas, the son of William Henry and Myrtle Armstrong Kilgore. In 1929 the family moved to Mission, Texas. He received an education from Westmoreland College in San Antonio, Texas (now Trinity University), the University of Texas and the University of Texas Law School. While attending UT in the late 1930's, Kilgore worked in the campaigns of then U.S. Representative Lyndon B. Johnson.
Kilgore enlisted in the United States Air Corps in July of 1941 and served in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations during WWII. As a combat pilot, he flew dozens of missions in B-24 bombers and was awarded the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, and the Distinguished Flying Cross among other decorations. He was a lieutenant colonel at the end of WWII and rose to major general in the Air Force Reserve (Retired).
Kilgore married Ms. Jane Redman, daughter of Lt. Mark Henry Redman and Lois Wilkins Redman, of San Antonio on July 28, 1945, at Randolph Field in San Antonio, Texas.
In 1946 he was admitted to the Texas State Bar and practiced law in Edinburg, Texas until his election to the United States Congress. In November of 1946 he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives where he served on the Judiciary Committee. Kilgore was reelected in 1948, 1950, and 1952. In 1954 he was elected to serve in the United States House of Representatives, Eighty-fourth Congress, where he succeeded his boyhood friend, Lloyd Bentsen, who later became a U.S. Senator. Joe Kilgore was reelected to the 85th through 88th Congresses. He represented the Rio Grande Valley's 15th Congressional District. In 1965, at the end of the 88th Congress, Kilgore retired from Congress and reentered private practice in the law firm of McGinnis, Lochridge and Kilgore, L.L.P. in Austin, Texas.
In November of 1964 Governor John Connally appointed Kilgore to serve as Chairman of the Consulting Advisory Panel for the Water Planning Program of Texas. In 1967, Governor Connally named Joe Kilgore as a Regent of the University of Texas System, where he served until January of 1973. President Lyndon B. Johnson named Kilgore a member of the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States in August, 1968. He served in that position for three years. Governor Clements named Kilgore to serve on the Governor's Task Force on State Trust and Asset Management in 1981. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas in 1982. Other honors include serving on the Board of Directors of the Texas Superconducting Super Collider Authority; member and former Senior Chairman of Texas Regional Bancshares, Inc; Director of Texas State Bank, McAllen, Texas; Trustee and Research Fellow of the Southwestern Legal Foundation; Chairman of the Board of Directors of Texas State Bank and later Republic Bank Austin from 1974 to 1987; Director of First Republic Bank Corporation; member of the Board of Trustees of the Scott and White Memorial Hospital and the Scott, Sherwood and Brindley Foundation; member of the Board of Visitors of the University Cancer Foundation, M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute; member and former Chairman of the Advisory Committee of Texas Legislative Conference; member of the Finance Committee of Methodist Home; member of Governing Board of Texas Arts Alliance; member of the University of Texas Centennial Commission, 1980-83; member of the Advisory Council of Texas Lyceum; member of the Board of Governors of the Austin Community Foundation; member of the Board of Trustees of Southwestern University; member of the Board of Directors of the State Capitol Law Firm Group; member of the board of The One Hundred Club; member of the Board of Trustees for the Hermann Eye Fund; member of the Board of Directors of Greater Austin Crime Commission. Joe Kilgore was a life member, past President (1994-95) and Chairman of the University of Texas Ex-Students' Association; Life member of the President's Associates of the University of Texas; member of the Executive Committee of Chancellor's Council of the University of Texas; Charter member of the Littlefield Society of the University of Texas; member and former President (1987) of the Austin Area Research Organization; director of Texas Council on Economic Education and Chairman of the Texas A&M College of Medicine Advisory Council.
Mr. and Mrs. Kilgore had four children and six grandchildren. Joe Kilgore died February 10, 1999 and is buried at the Texas State Cemetery.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: "War Hero, LBJ advisor Joe Kilgore dies", Austin American Statesman, February 11, 1999; biographical information provided by the Kilgore family.