LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - East Texas mourns the loss of a true hero. Tuesday, at the age of 85, R.E. "Peppy" Blount passed away. A man who always had a story to share will be remembered for all that he gave to his community.
We remember the life of Peppy Blount as we reflect back on a conversation he had with KLTV's Joan Hallmark back in 2005.
Blount has always been "bigger than life" not just because of his 6'5" height, but because he has lived the kind of life that legends are made of.
At 19, Peppy, as everyone calls him, was pilot of a B-25 bomber in the South Pacific, earning 15 military decorations during World War II.
In 1945, he was the youngest person ever elected to the Texas House of Representatives. At the same time he was a student at the University of Texas and a member of the championship Longhorn football team.
"They say that'll never happen again that you'll get a person sitting in the legislature and attending the University of Texas during the week and then playing football for the Longhorns on Saturdays," said Blount in his 2005 interview.
It was not just any old football team that Peppy played on; Tom Landry and Bobby Lane were two of his teammates.
"I played on championships - Cotton, Orange, and Sugar Bowl - teams three out of the four years I was at Texas," said Blount. "I don't mean we played in those bowls. I mean, we won all three of those bowls."
Peppy has written about those years in his book Mama's Don't Let your Babies Grow up to Play Football.
Blount 's war years are covered in his book We Band of Brothers and other aspects of his life in A Time for all Reasons. His fourth book is called All Things Considered, it's Been a Great Life.
Peppy's 33 years as East Texas television host of the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon where he helped raise over $7,000,000 for MDA research and care would make a book on its own. His 50 years as an attorney would also make for intriguing reading.
"I've been blessed," he said. "Oh, I've been blessed and it's just wonderful. Life's just wonderful. I've always felt that way about it."
KLTV's Barry Hanson had a special relationship with Peppy Blount.
Together, they hosted the Jerry Lewis Telethon for 33 years.
"He always reminds me of being an understatement of what the famous Will Rogers of Oklahoma used to say, 'I never met a man I didn't like,'" said Hanson. "Peppy liked and loved everybody he ever met. And it was very apparent once you said hello to him because he was just wonderful to be with."
Blount had been in and out of the hospital with heart problems over the past few months, say family members, adding that his heart finally "gave way."
His funeral will be held at First Christian Church in Longview on Friday at 2 p.m.