Pat M. Baskin

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Pat McKinney Baskin​

Judge of the 142nd State District Court in Midland, Texas
In office
1980​ – 1992​
Succeeded by George D. "Jody" Gilles​

Member of the Midland City Council​
In office
1968​ – 1972​

Born November 29, 1926​
Cameron, Milam County, Texas

Reard in Austin, Texas

Died May 27, 2005 (aged 78)
Midland, Texas​
Nationality American
Political party Democrat-turned-Republican
Spouse(s) Joan Marie Ragsdale Baskin (married 1952-2005, his death)​
Children Becky B. Ferguson​

Bo Baskin
​ Steve Baskin
​ JJ Baskin
​ Ten grandchildren ​

Residence Midland, Texas​
Alma mater Austin High School​

University of Texas
UT Law School

Occupation Attorney' Judge

United States Navy and United States Army service in World War II

Religion Presbyterian

Pat McKinney Baskin (November 29, 1926 – May 27, 2005) was a municipal and state court judge, city council member, and civic figure in his adopted city of Midland, Texas.[1]


Baskin was born in Cameron in Milam County in east central Texas, to James Dollar Baskin, Sr., and the former Mary Ruth McKinney. He obtained his elementary schooling in Cameron and moved with his family to the capital city of Austin, where he attended University Junior High School and the downtown Austin High School, from which he graduated in 1944.[1] He attended the University of Texas at Austin, at which he obtained a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in government in 1948 and 1953, respectively. In between, he procured his Juris Doctorate in 1950 from the UT Law School.[2]

From 1944 to 1946, Baskin was a V-12 cadet in the United States Navy during the last portion of World War II. From 1951 to 1953, he was a lieutenant in the United States Army. In 1952, he married the former Joan Marie Ragsdale (born August 26, 1931), and the couple moved to Midland, where they lived for more than a half century.[1]

Civic and political life

Baskin was active in the promotion of the Midland Independent School District. His last official action as a judge was the swearing in of MISD trustees on May 11, 2005. He was a long-term member of the University of Texas Ex-Students Association, in which he promoted scholarship endeavors. He served on the University of Texas College of Communications Foundation.[1]

From 1968 to 1972, Baskin was a member of the Midland City Council, the last two years of which he was Mayor Pro-Tem. In 1972, Mayor Edwin H. Magruder, Jr., did not seek a third two-year term, and Baskin entered the nominally non-partisan contest against two rivals, Ernest Angelo, Jr., and Brad Patteson. Baskin was the former chairman of the Midland County Democratic Executive Committee; Angelo, an oilman, was then and remains involved in the Republican Party in the Permian Basin. Texas state Representative Tom Craddick, Angelo's friend and neighbor in Midland and later the Speaker of the House, and former Representative Frank Kell Cahoon of Midland recruited their fellow Republican Angelo to challenge Baskin. Craddick believed that Baskin would use the mayoral office to attempt to derail's Craddick's bid for a third term in the state House in the general election on November 7, 1972.[3]

Angelo agreed to run for mayor if Cahoon would seek one of the at-large city council seats. The deal was struck, and both ran and won.[3] Angelo defeated Baskin, 3,743 (45.6 percent) to 3,593 (43.8 percent). Patteson polled 873 votes (10.6 percent). Angelo hence won by 150 votes of the some 8,200 ballots cast.[4] Angelo won by plurality, as no runoff election was required. Baskin made party affiliation an issue in the race, and Angelo considered Baskin a "liberal Democrat". However, Baskin subsequently switched parties, as West Texas veered increasingly away from the Democrats, and he served for twelve years as a Republican state court judge. Angelo recalls that Baskin was "a gentleman," popular by virtue of his friendly personality and his involvement in community theatre.[3]

Baskin practiced law for more than twenty-five years with the firm Legg, Saxe & Baskin.[2] From 1953 to 1958, he was a judge of the Midland Municipal Court,[5] then known as a corporation court. In 1980, he was elected to the 142nd District Court, in which he served until 1992, when he did not seek reelection to a fourth term and was succeed by fellow Republican George D. "Jody" Gilles, who ran without opposition.[6] Upon retirement, Baskin remained "senior judge" which entailed work as a visiting judge until shortly before his passing.[1]

Baskin was a long-term cast member on stage and a former president of the Midland Community Theatre productions. He acted in more than twenty plays and musicals. His last performance was in Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys, a rendition held in the old community theatre building. At the time The Sunshine Boys was the highest grossing play in the history of amateur theater in Midland.[1]

Personal life

Judge Baskin was affiliated with the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association Christmas Seals,[United Cerebral Palsy, the Jaycees, Midland Symphony Orchestra, Toastmasters International, Leadership Midland, and the United Way. He was active in the First Presbyterian Church of Midland as an elder, deacon, and Sunday school teacher. He headed an interdenominational citywide board which brought the late evangelist Billy Graham to preach in Midland.[1]

Baskin died of a brief illness in Midland at the age of seventy-eight.[5] There are four surviving children, Becky B. Ferguson and husband, Doug, of Midland, Pat McKinney "Bo" Baskin, Jr., and wife Christine of Austin, Steven R. Baskin and wife Susie of Marble Falls, Texas, and Jefferson Jones "JJ" Baskin and wife Joy of Austin. Mrs. Ferguson married into the family of the former mayor of Houston, William Henry "Bill" White,[7] the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for governor of Texas in 2010 against Republican incumbent Rick Perry. In 1985, the Baskin family was honored as Midland's "Family of the Year." Baskin had ten grandchildren, with an eleventh born shortly after his death. His surviving younger brother is Bill Baskin of Lake Jackson, Texas. Baskin was predeceased by his older brother, Judge James "Jim" Baskin, Jr., of San Antonio, Texas.[1]

The Joan R. Baskin Scholarship Fund has been established to benefit Midland students seeking to attend the University of Texas. The fund is named in honor of Judge Baskin's widow, Joan. Ed Clements, a Midland and later Austin radio broadcaster, called Mrs. Baskin at the dedication ceremony "one of the wisest persons I have ever been around ... wonderful, gracious, wise."[7] Donald Evans, the former chairman of the University of Texas Regents and United States Secretary of Commerce under former U.S. President George W. Bush, called her "one of the real treasures for the university. She inspires us all, leads us. When you think about the greatness of the University of Texas, you have to think of Joan Baskin at the same time."[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Gary Ott (May 28, 2005). Pat Baskin, longtime Midland leader, dies. Midland Reporter-Telegram. Retrieved on July 29, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 (May–June 1977) Judge Pat M. Baskin. The Alcalde by the Ex-Students Association of the University of Texas, 59. Retrieved on July 27, 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Billy Hathorn, "Mayor Ernest Angelo, Jr., of Midland and the 96-0 Reagan Sweep of Texas, May 1, 1976," West Texas Historical Association Yearbook Vol. 86 (2010), p. 83.
  4. City of Midland, Mayoral election returns, April 4, 1972
  5. 5.0 5.1 Baskin, Pat McKinney, Judge. Cameron Herald (June 2, 2005). Retrieved on July 29, 2014.
  6. General Election Returns. Texas Secretary of State (November 3, 1992). Retrieved on July 29, 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Joan Baskin honored by UT Exes. Midland Reporter-Telegram (March 2, 2011). Retrieved on July 29, 2014.