L. Ray Vahue

L. Ray Vahue- a city commissioner and two-term mayor of Amarillo, was a visionary leader. An Amarillo native, Vahue was born July 18, 1929. He was the son of L.A. and Olive Vahue

He was a graduate of Amarillo High School and majored in finance. He met his wife, Helen Mack, a fellow business student, while at the University of Colorado. The two were married in 1951.

During his administration as city commissioner from 1969 to 1971 and mayor from 1971 to 1975, the Board of Convention and Visitors Activities center was established. The IBP plant and ASARCO Inc. copper refinery came to Amarillo during his tenure and brought needed jobs and industry to the economy.

Vahue assigned a few of those municipal millions to establishing small parks and branch libraries in Amarillo and was credited for getting approval for the Ross-Mirror connection between Interstate 40 and Amarillo Boulevard.

Vahue, who ran an outdoor advertising business as a living, and was also credited with improving race relations in the city.

After a proposed bond issue to build a new Northwest Texas Hospital was defeated in 1976, Vahue was asked to serve as chairman of a committee that was successful in passing the next bond issue that financed the building of the present Northwest Texas Healthcare System.

Three years before his death, in 1975, Vahue was named Amarillo’s Man of the Year by the Amarillo Globe-News.

Even on the day he died, Vahue’s efforts to fight for what he believed in could be seen. That day, Feb. 19, 1978, a letter in the Amarillo Globe-News appeared supporting then-U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s position on the Panama Canal. The letter was signed by Vahue.

Biography was obtained by Prominent Figures of the Panhandle, Amarillo Globe News, May 19, 2000.