Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX


January 25, 2008

Upham's death mourned by local, state political leaders

By Lacie Morrison



By Libby Cluett


Well-known local businessman, GOP activist and community member Chester “Chet” R. Upham Jr. died Thursday morning at Palo Pinto General Hospital after a lengthy battle with cancer.

According to his daughter Barbara Upham, Chet Upham, who owned Upham Oil & Gas Company, passed away Thursday at 2:45 a.m. surrounded by his wife of 61 years and their family. She said he had battled bone cancer since 2002.

A successful businessman, Republican and family man, Upham’s friends and family shared their memories and thoughts with the Index, painting a portrait of a man who was respected, admired and loved by many.

“No one could’ve had a greater father,” said Barbara Upham. “He was the greatest.”

“He was a larger-than-life figure to all of us. You can’t replace him,” said Wade Gear, Upham’s grandson-in-law. “He loved Mineral Wells and he loved his family. He was proud of both.”

A one time leader of the Texas Republican party, news of Upham’s death drew condolences from political leaders from across the state.

“Today we mourn the loss of an honorable man,” said Gov. Rick Perry in a statement released Thursday. “Chet was a former United States serviceman, successful businessman and a true pioneer for conservative causes. Anita and I extend our sincere condolences and prayers to his wife, Virginia, his family and friends.”

“Chet Upham was not only a leader in every facet of life, but I am honored to say he was a friend and mentor to me,” District 60 State Rep. Jim Keffer said from Austin. “He shepherded Texas into a vibrant two-party system, giving many Texans a voice in government for the first time. He will be sorely missed but I will work hard to see that his legacy is not forgotten.”

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