Today, the Republican Party of Texas mourns the loss of a true Texas patriot upon the news that former State Party Chairman Frederick R. "Fred" Meyer passed away this morning in Dallas at the age of 84. Meyer served as State Party Chairman for three terms from 1988-1994, and was one of the most influential Republican leaders in the state for a critical time when the Party was strengthening into the major force of Texas politics.
Meyer began his professional career with General Electric in 1949, and worked in a number of executive positions before he eventually made his way to Dallas to work for Tyler Corp. in 1967. He eventually served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Tyler Corp. during the mid-80's before becoming Chairman of the Board of Aladdin Industries, LLC.
In 1979, Meyer became the chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party at a time when there were very few Republican elected officials in the county. By focusing heavily on candidate recruitment and political organization, he helped Dallas turn overwhelmingly red during his time as county chairman, as nearly 80% of county elected officials were Republican at the end of his tenure.
He was elected as State Party Chairman during the 1988 State Convention, at a time when Republicans only held two statewide elected offices, and he was re-elected twice more in 1990 and 1992. During his tenure, the Texas GOP gained seven seats in the Texas Senate, and in 1989, Fred worked to help convince a young legislator named Rick Perry to switch to the Republican Party. The next year, the State Party celebrated Rick Perry's victory in the Agriculture Commissioner race and another statewide gain for the GOP. Also under his chairmanship, Fred helped to elect Kay Bailey Hutchison to the U.S. Senate in the special election of 1993 – marking the first time that Texas had a female Senator, and also the first time that both of Texas' U.S. Senators were Republican. Six years after stepping down as State Party Chairman, Fred served as the Chairman of George W. Bush's Victory 2000 Campaign – giving him the unique distinction of having led Texas to victory for the campaigns of both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
After learning of Meyer's passing today, RPT State Chairman Steve Munisteri issued the following statement: "I was saddened to learn of the passing of former State Chairman Fred Meyer. When I was on the State Republican Executive Committee, Fred was the well-respected Chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party and building a strong organization in the Metroplex. I also well remember his time as State Chairman, as he had an excellent reputation for building up the Party's infrastructure and taking care of the nuts and bolts of the political operations."
"I am most appreciative of the fact that since I have been State Chairman, Fred was very supportive of my efforts and that of the Party. He was one of the hosts for our Dallas County fundraiser and I have had the chance to visit with him multiple times since. I am particularly glad that a short time ago, I had an opportunity to visit with him at length. On behalf of all those that are active in the Party, I expressed to him how much we have all appreciated him and how his work laid the groundwork for where the Republican Party is today. He was a great American and patriot, and he will be missed."
The offical obituary can be viewed here.