LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Funeral services have been set for a former Texas senator and well-known community activist.
Sen. Jack Boynton Strong, a Democrat who represented parts of East Texas through four legislative sessions, died Tuesday.
Strong served in the Texas Legislature from January 1963 until January 1971. During his career, he represented Gregg, Harrison, Panola, Rusk,Shelby, Smith, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood counties. He served on dozens of boards during his time in the legislature.
He was born Feb. 18, 1930 in Carthage in the bedroom of his parents home, according to a biographical video about his life.
Strong was known for his efforts to promote community unity and his involvement with the NAACP.
In 2012, he was honored during the Unity Honors Awards in Longview for his political and personal work to encourage his peers to reach across the vast racial divide of the 1960's and 70's.
The Longview Unity and Diversity Committee released a message on his death Thursday, calling him a "genuine and compassionate soul."
"Our hearts are heavy to receive such sad news. Senator strong and his family are very dear to our hearts. In 2012, Senator Strong was one of two recipients of the Unity Honors Award. His story (video biography) dating back to Carthage, TX. inspired and wowed the crowd. He is noted as being the first white man to openly shake the hand of an African American man on the steps of the Longview Post Office. The genuine soul and compassionate heart of such an amazing man will truly be missed in Longview, TX," the statement read.
In addition to his activist efforts, Strong also was a collector of art and has a permanent collection at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts, consisting of 33 pieces.
Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m., Aug. 6 at Rader Funeral Home Chapel in Longview. A memorial service is set at 3 p.m., Aug. 7 at First Methodist Church.