A well-known leader in West Texas agriculture was killed Tuesday in a farming accident. According to the Hale County Sheriff's Department, S. M. True, 88, of Plainview was working on a tractor out in his Hale County farmland. A part of the tractor fell on him, according to officials, and his brother found him during the lunch hour.
His specific time of death is not known but has been narrowed down to between 8 a.m. and noon.
True has been in farming since 1933 according to family members. He is also the former Texas Farm Bureau President for 11 years, that's the second longest in the bureau's history. 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 was he was just "an 18-year-old ‘country college boy'" when he volunteered to serve in World War II.
"Traveling the world was more than he thought a country boy like him would ever do," the paper said in April concerning True's service in the Navy.
True was once honored as a "distinguished Texan" for his work in the state's agricultural industry. He's been honored several times locally, again for his leadership in agriculture.
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."
True also served on the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Board of Directors and received AFBF's Distinguished Service Award and the Meritorious Service Award from Texas Farm Bureau. 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."
True's name is featured prominently among the endorsements on the David Dewhurst campaign website. Dewhurst is the Texas Lieutenant Governor, who is now making a bid to become the next U.S. Senator from Texas.
Texas Governor Rick Perry released the following statement 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.
Visitation for S. M. True will be on Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kornerstone Funeral Home in Plainview, 3605 SW 3rd Street. Funeral services will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 1001 W 7th Street, also in Plainview.
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