Billionaire businessman H. Ross Perot had a humble start delivering on horseback for this newspaper, but his life's journey would take him to the pinnacle of American commerce—and almost to the White House.
Quite a legacy for a boy born in Texarkana at the start of the Depression.
On the front page of Wednesday's newspaper you can read all about Perot's accomplishments in the business and political world. A summing up of an extraordinary life. You'll likely see at a lot of that on TV and online as well.
In this space, we would like to talk about H. Ross Perot, the man.
Born in 1930 right here in Texarkana, he grew up during the Great Depression. He went to school here. He got his first job here. He often spoke of his childhood and Texarkana in almost idyllic terms. But his heart wasn't in the past. Perot always looked to the future.
The U.S. Naval Academy provided his ticket out of the small town and into the bigger world. He was a top salesman for IBM. He started what became a multi-billion dollar company in the emerging computer service industry. He went on to upset our two-party political system as a third-party candidate not once but twice.
All of that is because Perot, the man, saw opportunities and took them, no matter the challenges ahead. He had high standards and integrity. He was determined. He was fearless. He was certain—even if those around him weren't always so. He was always moving forward, win or lose.
Perot didn't give up. But he did give back. And quite a bit of his generosity benefited his hometown. Ask the local Boy Scouts council how much he did for them. Texarkana College would have a lot to say about that as well. And Texarkana's downtown arts and entertainment showplace? It's not called the Perot Theatre for nothing.
Perot, who died early Tuesday at 89 after a battle with leukemia, was the personification of American individualism, someone who saw his own American Dream and made it come to life.
H. Ross Perot was always proud of his Texarkana roots. And we are proud to call him our most illustrious native son. Rest in peace.