Colleagues mourn local Tea Party leader Pangborn

By Richard Zowie

Highlander Sports Editor

Friends and colleagues describe themselves as “in shock” over the recent death of George Pangborn, who had been serving as president of the Highland Lakes Tea Party in Burnet County.

Pangborn was born Dec. 8, 1956. He was 61.

“I was surprised, since I'd just seen him a few days prior in the court room, commending local firefighter efforts in the recent fires,” said Burnet County Judge James Oakley, who had known Pangborn for 15 years.

Mary Jane Avery, president of the Burnet County Republican Club, recalled that last month she and Pangborn had carpooled together to the State Republican Convention in San Antonio.

“I didn't know he had any health issues,” she said.

No services have been scheduled at this time, but final arrangements are being handled by Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home in Burnet.

Judge Oakley described Pangborn as “a very intellectual person.”

“He was very much a thinker,” Oakley said. “Pangborn often proposed viewpoints that most folks including myself had not comtemplated. I'll miss some of ideas and solutions to issues that he would think of. He was very passionate. Just a good guy that was into what he was doing.”

Avery, who's from Jefferson County, recalled that Pangborn was from Montgomery County and that unbeknownst to both of them, they'd previously worked on campaigns in east Texas to unseat two longtime Democrats. They would later work together on Texas State Rep. Terry Wilson's campaign.

“We had lots of stories to tell,” she said. “Since moving here to Burnet, George was a fixture in conservative issues and in electing conservative candidates. He has helped keep Burnet County red. He was just a joy to work with. We all are just shocked, and he's going to be missed.”

Avery also remembered that Pangborn was precinct chairman who did everything in his job: checking when the voters voted, doing the math to see who voted and who didn't vote.

“He put everybody else to shame,” she said.

Like Judge Oakley, Avery also found Pangborn to be “quiet and unassuming.”

“He was a friend to all, and when it came time to volunteer for something, George would step up and help those in need,” she said. “He was a conservative fighter and always on the front line.

Avery also recalled that Pangborn always wore a red “Make America Great Again” cap, which President Donald J. Trump often wore when campaigning for president in 2016.

Donna Wilcox, chairman of the Burnet County Republican Party, described Pangborn as a “true American patriot who worked fervently at upholding and preserving our Constitutional rights.

“George served as the Burnet County Republican Party Precinct 1 Chair from 2014 through June 2018 and as a delegate and committeeman at Republican State Conventions during that time,” she said. “He brought in a tremendous amount of knowledge on state and national politics that influenced the work of the Burnet County Republican Party Executive Committee. He worked to ensure election integrity and served along my side as an election results watcher. George was a true and good friend — man of honor and of his word. I will miss him terribly.”

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