Fred Meyer

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Frederick Ray "Fred" Meyer

Texas Republican Party State Chairman
In office
1988–1994
Preceded by George Strake, Jr.
Succeeded by Tom Pauken

Born December 20, 1927
Deerfield, Lake County
Illinois, USA
Died September 24, 2012 (aged 84)
Dallas, Texas
Resting place Columbarium of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas
Spouse(s) Barbara L. Spreuer Meyer (married 1953–2012, his death)
Children Cheryl Lynn Bouldin

Amy Meyer Barrentine
Bradley Allen Meyer
Five grandchildren

Residence Dallas, Texas
Alma mater Purdue University

Harvard Business School

Occupation Diversified businessman
Religion Presbyterian

Frederick Ray Meyer, known as Fred Meyer (December 20, 1927 – September 24, 2012), was a businessman from Dallas, Texas, who was the state chairman of the Republican Party from 1988 to 1994. He worked in the campaigns of George Herbert Walker Bush, George W. Bush, Phil Gramm, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Rick Perry.[1]

Background

Meyer was born in Deerfield in Lake County in northeastern Illinois. His Republican family opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt and joked that the New Deal agency, the Works Progress Administration, or WPA, means, "We Pay Always." In 1934, the six-year-old Meyer passed out cards for his father, who ran for a school board seat in suburban Chicago. Meyer served in the United States Army and graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[2]

A diversified businessman, Meyer sat on the boards of eighteen businesses and non-tax paying institutions, including five companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He was a chief operating officer of three firms and the chairman of the board of two others.[1] He was treasurer of Aladdin Industries in Nashville, Tennessee, and then a senior vice president and then from 1983 to 1986 president of the Tyler Corporation in Dallas.[2]

Meyer from the ages of sixty-three to seventy-five was active in many avocations too: downhill skiing, marathons, professional race car driving, mountain climbing, and a three-mile daily run. He exceeded 35,000 miles in his lifetime.[1] He was also until the end of his life a fundraiser for the Cooper Institute and Clinic in Dallas.[2]

Political activities

For seven years, Meyer was the Republican chairman of Dallas County; under his tenure the county became heavily Republican in orientation for two decades but reverted to Democrat majority strength in 2006. In 1972, Meyer was the campaign manager in the successful long-shot race waged by Alan Steelman, a young Republican who unseated Earle Cabell to claim Texas's 3rd congressional district, formerly filled by another Republican, Bruce Reynolds Alger. Cabell was also a former mayor of Dallas. Steelman. however, gave up the seat in 1976 in a losing bid against Democratic U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen. Meyer was the chairman of the host committee which brought the 1984 Republican National Convention to Dallas. In 1987, Meyer lost the nominally nonpartisan race for mayor of Dallas to the Democrat Annette Strauss but became state Republican chairman the next year for the first of three consecutive two-year terms. He helped Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush to win the presidency over Michael Dukakis, with their mutual rival, Lloyd Bentsen, seeking to succeed Bush as vice president but losing out to Republican nominee Dan Quayle.[2]

Himself a Moderate Republican, Meyer sterred clear of primary rivalries but supported his party nominees across the spectrum in each general election.[2] One of Meyer's successors as state chairman, Susan Weddington of San Antonio, by contrast, supported conservative state Representative John Shields in his unsuccessful challenge in 2002 to state Senator Jeff Wentworth. Weddington opposed Wentworth's support for abortion.[3] From 1972 forward, Meyer was a delegate to all Republican state conventions held every even year. For nine months, he headed the Victory 2000 Committee in Washington, D.C.; his work paid off with the election of the second President Bush.[2]

Former Republican state chairman Steve Munisteri, who served from 2010 to 2015, said that Meyer "had an excellent reputation for building up the party’s infrastructure and taking care of the nuts and bolts of the political operations.".[2] Dan Branch, a former member of the Texas House of Representatives from Dallas County recalled Meyer as "a tireless fundraiser and a tireless worker."[2] Karen Hughes, the George W. Bush political operative and counsellor, described Meyer as "a mentor for me and a key influence in my life ... Fred’s leadership was absolutely instrumental in making Texas the Republican stronghold that it is."[2] Jeanne Johnson Phillips, an oil company executive, said that she even postponed her wedding for a week to accommodate Meyer's fund-raising goals.[2]

Family and death

Meyer was married to the former Barbara L. Spreuer (1929-2013), a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, who graduated from Indiana University in Indianapolis. She was a former personnel director for a chain of grocery stores.[4] The Meyers had three children, daughters Cheryl Lynn Bouldin and Amy Meyer Barrentine, and son Bradley Allen "Brad" Meyer (1959-2007). Bradley died in Dallas at the age of forty-eight, six months after he was diagnosed with metastasized melanoma cancer. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, he was engaged in the entertainment industry and was the president from 1990 to 2005 of Star Tickets in Austin.[5]

Meyer died of cancer in Dallas at the age of eighty-four. He, his wife, and son were Presbyterians and are in-urned in the columbarium of the Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas.[1][2]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Frederick Ray "Fred" Meyer. The Dallas Morning News (September 28, 2012). Retrieved on October 7, 2019.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Gromer Jeffers, Jr., and Joe Simnacher (September 24, 2012). Fred Meyer, who built Dallas and Texas GOP into dominant force, dies at age 84. The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved on March 18, 2015; no longer on-line.
  3. Karen Olsson (November 2002). Mr. Right. Texas Monthly. Retrieved on March 19, 2015.
  4. Barbara L. Spreuer Meyer. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on October 7, 2019.
  5. Bradley Allen Meyer. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on October 7, 2019.