|Giles Connell McCrary, Sr.|
Mayor of Post, Garza County, Texas
|Born|| November 5, 1919|
Fort Worth, Texas
|Died|| October 30, 2011 (aged 91)|
|Resting place||Terrace Cemetery in Post, Texas|
|Spouse(s)||Helen Louise McCrary (married 1940–2011, his death)|
|Children|| Mary L. McCrary|
Giles McCrary, Jr.
|Occupation||Rancher, Businessman; Philanthropist|
|Service/branch|| United States Army|
(63rd Infantry Division)
|Battles/wars||Rhine River and Germany in World War II|
Giles Connell McCrary, Sr. (November 5, 1919 – October 30, 2011), was a petroleum operator, investor, art collector, rancher, and the founder of the OS Museum in Post, the seat of Garza County, southeast of Lubbock on the Texas South Plains.
McCrary was the mayor of Post from 1969 to 1991; in Texas, all mayors are elected on a nonpartisan ballot. McCrary, however, was a Republican, having contributed to many GOP candidates as well as the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
McCrary was born to Isaac Newton McCrary (1886-1949) and the former Nell Dixie Connell (1887-1980) in Fort Worth, the seat of Tarrant County]], in north Texas. In 1940, while still twenty, he married the former Helen Louise Luton (born 1920). Their children are Mary L. McCrary of Lubbock and Giles McCrary, Jr. (born 1952), of Fort Worth, and four grandchildren. A second daughter, Pamela McCrary, died in 1979 at the age of thirty-four.
In 1942, McCrary graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, an institution headed by General Robert E. Lee from 1865 until Lee's death in 1870. McCrary then entered the United States Army's 63rd Infantry Division. He was in the first unit to cross the Rhine River and to penetrate Germany prior to the surrender to the Allied forces. McCrary assisted in the liberation of one concentration camp. During his military service, he often went to concerts and museums and hence acquired his interest in art.
The OS Ranch Museum is one of three museums in Post, a small town established by the cereal magnate Charles William "C. W." Post (1854-1914). It is known for its hospitality and its encouragement of tourism. McCrary features works by many Southwestern artists that depict Texas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His museum includes works which he has collected over many years from trips throughout the world, including Vatican City in Rome, Italy. In addition to its western works, the museum hosts cases of Faberge eggs, textiles, and ivory carvings from the Far East. Although it is now illegal to bring ivory into the United States, McCrary acquired his samples when importation was permitted. In 2002, McCrary helped to bring the Vatican Museums Collection to Texas Tech University in Lubbock. The collection of medieval frescoes and paintings attracted some 133,000 visitors to the Museum of Texas Tech.
In addition to being treasurer for the Vatican Museums Collection, McCrary financed the education of more than two hundred Texas Tech students in recent years. According to Wanda White Mitchell (1937-2014), Post's former Commerce and Tourism Bureau president, McCrary paid the tuition of about twenty students each year but preferred not to speak of his philanthrophy.
In 2005, McCrary was one of five individuals, including Jim Humphreys, former manager of the Pitchfork Ranch east of Lubbock, who received the Founders Award from the National Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech, which offers a highly acclaimed free outdoor museum on the Tech campus. The award is given to people who have made the ranching center, along with its inside museum, a priority in their lives. McCrary also supported Texas Tech through the Ershel A. Franklin Charitable Trust, named for McCrary's partner in the oil business. Upon Franklin's death in 1980, McCrary became sole trustee for the trust.
McCrary's grandfather sold part of his ranch to C. W. Post in the early 20th century. McCrary still owns part of the original ranch that his grandfather purchased from Clarence Scharbauer (1879-1942) of Midland, Texas. McCrary returned to Post in the late 1940s to run the family ranching operation. He left the community only for vacations and business and art-collecting trips. He has visited more than one hundred countries on all continents, including Antarctica, which he has toured three times with National Geographic magazine. Despite such extensive travels, McCrary said that he would not live in a large city because he preferred the camaraderie of life in a small west Texas town.
McCrary once said that he believed his town of Post would have become the size of Lubbock had C. W. Post lived to fulfill his dream of creating a self-sustaining community. Post, who was in poor health for much of his life, died just before his sixtieth birthday and was in Texas for only seven years of his life. Post is also the home of the Garza County Historical Museum, and its Hotel Garza, an 11-room downtown bed and breakfast. There is also the 400-seat Ragtime Gospel Theater, designed to resemble a street in old Jerusalem and known for its southern gospel music.
The revitalized downtown Post was once featured on a segment of Bob Phillips' Texas Country Reporter syndicated television series. McCrary was a member of Rotary International and the Masonic lodge. He was a Presbyterian. He was a recipient of the Doctorate of Humane Letters honorary degree from the Texas Tech University Health Science Center.
McCrary died in Lubbock a week before his ninety-second birthday and is interred at Terrace Cemetery in Post, Texas.
- Giles McConnell McCrary, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, November 1, 2011.
- Giles Connell "Big Ol" McCrary. findagrave.com. Retrieved on December 22, 2021.
- Wanda Mitchell. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (June 18, 2014). Retrieved on December 22, 2021.
- Post, Texas: A Few of Our Many Attractions. postcitytexas.com. Retrieved on April 21, 2011.