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The University of Texas at Austin


In Memoriam: Robert A. Gammage, 1938-2012

September 12, 2012

Robert A. GammageRobert A. Gammage

Austin, Texas – The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin mourns the passing of Robert A. Gammage, whose career featured service in all three branches of the Texas government, including the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, Austin's Third Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court. The Briscoe Center is home to Gammage's personal and professional papers.

"Bob Gammage will be remembered as a public servant par excellence," said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. "His efforts on behalf of the citizens of Texas serve as a reminder that integrity, skill and tenacity can change our society for the betterment of all.

"Bob was a great friend to the Briscoe Center, contributing his efforts to building our congressional and political collections," Carleton continued. "His efforts also made it possible for us to acquire the late U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough's historically valuable Texana and Civil War collection. On a personal note, Bob was a friend of mine for nearly forty years and his passing is a personal as well as a professional loss. He will be missed."

Gammage was a member of the corruption-fighting "Dirty Thirty," a bipartisan group formed in the 1970s to fight special interest control of the state's political offices and institutions. During his tenure in the Texas House Gammage supported groundbreaking environmental legislation, equal rights for women, voting rights for 18-year-olds, and statewide single-member legislative districts. As a state senator, he helped make major progress in government reform, human rights, and consumer and health care legislation. In the U.S. Congress, he served on the major energy, health and technology committees, winning major battles for his Texas constituents.

A native of Houston, Gammage earned degrees from Del Mar College, the University of Corpus Christi, Sam Houston State University, the University of Texas School of Law and the University of Virginia School of Law. He served in both the U.S. Army and Navy, and was a Captain (Retired) in the U.S. Naval Reserve, where he served in both the Intelligence Service and the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. He also served as a consultant to the Department of Energy and as an assistant attorney general. When not serving in public office, Gammage worked as an attorney in private practice and was a professor of law at a number of academic institutions, including St. Edward's University, Texas State University, Sam Houston State University and the South Texas College of Law.

The Robert A. Gammage Papers span 1971 to 1995, and document his career as a politician, lawyer and judge. The papers include extensive legislative research and case files, which cover Gammage's terms in the Texas House of Representatives (1971-1973) and Senate (1973-1976); the United States House (1977-1979); the Texas Court of Appeals (1982-1990); and the Texas Supreme Court (1990-1995). The concerns of Gammage's Houston constituency are evident in their letters and Gammage's work on energy issues.

For more information, contact Erin Purdy, associate director for publications, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, 512-495-4692.