Richmond Mayor Hilmar Moore passes away; believed to be longest serving mayor in U.S.
RICHMOND, TX -- Many Houstonians may not recognize the name Hilmar Moore, but residents in Richmond knew him well. He has been mayor for more than 60 years.
Mayor Moore died Tuesday night, and now residents are remembering and honoring him.
No mayor in the country has served longer than Hilmar Moore. Several people have come to the town square to visit the mayor's statue. And the staff at city hall has been busy answering calls from across the country about the politician's death.
At city hall in Richmond you'll find the flags at half staff right now as people across the small city remember its long-time mayor.
"He was a great leader here in our community," said Mary Ward, Justice of the Peace.
Mayor Moore's friends and close colleagues tell us they were a little shocked learning the 92-year-old and long-time city leader died Tuesday night. They say he'd been ill for about a month. City of Richmond Commissioner Gary Gillen worked closely with Moore in city hall.
"When you've had someone who's served in public office for 63 years, longer than I've been alive, you just kind of think that they are going to be here forever. It was difficult to realize that he really is gone," said Gillen.
Moore became mayor of Richmond in 1949 after serving in World War II.
"There were four employees when I became mayor," he told Eyewitness News back in 2008.
Under his watch, Richmond has grown from about 3,000 people to more than 11,000.
A statue honoring his history and legacy of public service now sits in the town square in historic downtown. Neighbors near city hall describe Moore as a small-statured guy with a vibrant personality. Lanie Alvarez with Italian Maid Cafe says the mayor would often come to her restaurant to eat.
"He was a really great speaker; really colorful and interesting," said Alvarez.
Moore, a fifth-generation Texan, was known to many as a cattleman.
"My real business is ranching business," he told Eyewitness News back in 2008.
He gave us an up close tour of his ranch back then and a rare look at his prize horse. Alan Sandersen has worked closely with Mayor Moore for the past eight years as an independent city auditor.
"He was a straight shooter. You see all kinds of folks in this business," Sandersen said. "There's people in it for the right reasons, and people in it for the wrong reasons. He was a straight arrow, a straight shooter, and he was always guided, first and foremost, for what his vision is of what was right for Richmond, and that is not something you see very often."
Moore's colleagues and neighbors say his 63 years of public service made him unique. They say his dedication to the community will be missed.
Visitation will be Sunday, December 9, from 5pm-8pm at the Fort Bend Country Club at 2627 FM 762. The memorial service will be held 11am on Monday, December 10th, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 507 S. 4th Street.
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