July 28, 2009

George Eastland Christian

George Eastland Christian, Jr. , a fifth-generation Texan, was born January 1, 1927, in Austin. He graduated from Austin High School in 1944 and enlisted at 17 in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served as a rifleman in the Second Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force-Pacific, and was among the first troops to occupy atomic bomb-ravaged Nagasaki, Japan. After World War II, he attended the University of Texas on the G.I. Bill of Rights and became sports editor of the Daily Texan. His close association with U.T. continued thereafter. His professional career began with a seven-year stint as capitol correspondent for International News Service under bureau chief Bill Carter. He was recruited by Jake Pickle and Joe Greenhill in 1956 to work on the staff of U.S. Senator Price Daniel. After Daniel became governor, Christian was his press secretary and then chief of staff.

He later joined Governor John Connally as press secretary, a post he served at the time Connally was wounded during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In 1966, Christian joined the White House staff, working with National Security Advisor Walt Rostow and then succeeding Bill Moyers as President Johnson's press secretary. He served three turbulent years at the White House during the height of the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, the Vietnam conflict, and some of the nation's most severe racial crises. After serving President Lyndon Baines Johnson from 1966 to 1969, Christian began a successful career as a public affairs and political consultant. He also volunteered a large part of his time to fundraising for the University of Texas, historical preservation projects, and many other causes.

A prolific writer since his teens, Christian wrote hundreds of speeches for public officials, authored a book, The President Steps Down, commissioned by Macmillan in 1969, and edited or contributed to a number of others, including The World of Texas Politics and LBJ: The White House Years. He was guest columnist for the Dallas Morning News for many years and also wrote frequently for the Houston Post and the Houston Chronicle. He was a frequent guest on television, news and history programs, both nationally and in Texas. He remained active in all respects until his death in 2002.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.914, -097° 43.613

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

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