January 17, 2017

Joe Madison Kilgore

Born December 10, 1918, in Brown County near Brownwood, Kilgore attended the public schools of Rising Star in Eastland County in north central Texas. In 1929, he moved with his family to Mission in south Texas, where he attended public schools. From 1935 to 1936, Kilgore attended Trinity University, then known as Westmoreland College, in San Antonio. His legal studies at the University of Texas School of Law were put on hold when, in July 1941, Kilgore enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. He served as a combat pilot in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations and awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Air Medal with two Oak leaf clusters. When he was discharged from the Army in 1945, he was ranked as a lieutenant colonel. He returned to law school, admitted to the bar in 1946, and began his law practice in Edinburg, Hidalgo County.

Kilgore entered politics at this time, and served as a member of the Texas House from 1947 to 1955, and was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1956, 1960, and 1968. The national exposure helped him get elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-fourth and to the four succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1955 to January 3, 1965). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1964 to the Eighty-ninth Congress. Instead, he resumed the practice of law, residing in Austin until his death there on February 10, 1999. He is interred in Austin at the Texas State Cemetery alongside his wife, Jane.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.939, -097° 43.636

Monument Hill
Texas State Cemetery

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