During Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Kerrville Mayor Bill Blackburn noted the deaths of several prominent residents during his opening invocation. Most notably, Blackburn discussed the contributions of Alan Hill, who was a tireless advocate for veterans.
In the last few days, Kerr County has seen the passing of Hill, Grimes Funeral Home founder John Grimes, one of Tierra Linda Ranch Estates founders Jerrell Hood and Cowboy Steakhouse founder Richard Ferris.
Blackburn said he knew John Grimes the best of the four men who have recently passed away.
“I hate to single anyone out but the two that I’m thinking about are John and Allan,” Blackburn said. “John made such a contribution.”
Blackburn named a long list of Grimes’ accomplishments to the community and said he made many friends in Kerr County. When Blackburn posted the news of Grimes’ passing on his mayor’s Facebook page, he noted how many people praised Grimes’ contributions and care for their families during difficult times.
“One of the things that stood out to me is he was very committed to his profession,” Blackburn said of Grimes, who was 85 when he died on Jan. 18. “That always impresses me.”
Hill, 76, was the leader of the Hill Country Vet Center and was always present to provide aid to those who needed it.
“He really made that vet center,” Blackburn said.
More importantly for Blackburn, these were men who he considered friends.
“I liked these guys,” Blackburn said. “I liked talking to them, and I liked being around them.”
Hill served three tours in Vietnam, including two as a medic, and eventually spent 13 years in the Army. He would later become a police officer and then a nurse. However, Blackburn said that Hill was a dependable asset when it came to the care of veterans.
For many people in Kerr County, the contributions by Ferris and Hood were just as important. Lovers of good food and drink could find it at Ferris’ Main Street restaurant that he opened in 1977. The Ferris’ had other businesses in town, and like Hill, he was equally committed to veterans’ causes.
Ferris, 85, had lived in Kerrville since 1964 and deeply loved the community — something his family noted in his obituary.
“He was always trying to, in his opinion, improve Kerrville for the future,” the obituary said. “Just ask some past city council members and mayors.”
Hood, 85, was instrumental in the development of the Tierra Linda Ranch Estates from the beginning in 1971. He spent the next 40 years working in real estate in the Texas Hill Country.
Here are some highlights from their respective obituaries:
Alan entered into the US Army in 1966. He went to Vietnam as artillery and medic for several tours of duty. His military career ended in 1979.
After his military service, he went into law enforcement, and then nursing in the early 90s to mid-2000s. He started the TJ Stem Memorial Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America #863 in 2000. Shortly after, Alan became a nationally accredited Veteran Service Officer, until his passing.
In the late 1960s, Jerry transitioned into the ag-chemical business, and his career took the family to Rosebud, Texas, Hereford, Texas, and Brush, Colorado. They finally put down roots in Kerrville, Texas in April 1970. That year, Jerry acquired his real estate license. In 1971, he founded Tierra Linda Ranch Estates. Jerry spent the next 40-plus years working in real estate in the Texas Hill Country.
Truly, to know Jerry was to love him. He never met a stranger, and his jovial demeanor lit up a room. He had a knack for conversation and would spin stories with a twinkle in his eye. He will be remembered for his excellent marksmanship, amusing colloquialisms, love of Notre Dame football, and an inspiring commitment to his Catholic faith.
When John and Susie arrived in Kerrville, they became active members of Trinity Baptist Church, where John has served as Sunday School Director of Adult 1 Department, Property Committee chairman, and Finance Committee chairman. They have been faithful members of Trinity. John is also a member of the Gideons.
John is a member and past president of the South Central Texas Funeral Directors Association and also held each office and went through the officer's chairs of TFDA. He served as President of TFDA in 1979-1980, being installed at the 93rd annual convention. In 2003, John was named and honored by TFDA at their annual convention as "Funeral Director of the Year." Also, in 2007, he received from TFDA his 50-year pin as a licensed funeral director/embalmer. John is also a member of the Hill Country Funeral Directors Association.
Throughout the years, John served as an officer and member of various community organizations. He belongs to the Kerrville Rotary Club, longtime board member of Kerrville Parks and Recreation Board, past board member of the Hill Country Advisory Council of Schreiner College, past member and chairman of United Way Fund Drive, and was Co-chairman of the Business and Professional Division of the Hill Country College Fund for Schreiner College in 1980.
John is also past president of the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau, and served as board member and officer for many years. He was honored by Kerrville CVB in 2017 and was the first recipient of the Sudie Burditt Wall of Fame. He is past president of the Kerrville Chamber of Commerce and was honored as "Small Business Man of the Year" in 1984.
After driving tanks for the Army during the Korean war and on the GI Bill, Richard graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida with his engineering degree. He was hired by Kerrville's own Mooney Aircraft Company, and he moved his fledgling family to Texas in 1964. After a successful five-year stint with Mooney, the entrepreneurial spirit hit Richard and, along with his wife Lorrie, he opened his first business in 1969 named A-Z Rental Center. After buying out the franchise in 1971, the name Ferris Rental Center serviced the Texas Hill Country for over 30 years. The Cowboy Steak House followed in 1977, along with Party Panache and Nicky's Shuffleboard Bar to name a few.