Clyde Picht, former Fort Worth City Councilman, dies at 87

FW city councilman Clyde Picht. photo by Carolyn Bauman Cruz

Former Fort Worth City Councilman, longtime community leader and U.S. Air Force pilot Clyde Wendell Picht died Friday in Fort Worth at 87.

Picht served as District 6 city councilman from 1997 to 2005, and ran for several other offices over the years, including mayor of Fort Worth in 2009.

Picht was a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force and earned two Purple Hearts and the distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters from his service in Vietnam as a pilot. Picht grew up in Salt Lake City, where he first became involved in community service through the Boy Scouts of America and the Sea Scouts. He received a degree in forest management from Utah State University and worked for the U.S. Forest Service before entering the Air Force. After serving 22 years, he retired as at then-Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth in 1978. He then worked as a flight instructor for American Airlines, retiring in 1996 after 18 years.

Picht ran for City Council in 1997, defeating incumbent Jewel Woods. He was dubbed “Landslide Clyde” after winning that race by just 10 votes and he embraced the ironic nickname, even using it as the name of a website. After leaving office, he remained active in civic affairs, raising his voice in support and opposition on a number issues. He was an early, frequent and vocal opponent of the controversial Panther Island project, which he criticized for mismanagement and cost overruns.

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Cindy Crain, who became Picht’s council aide, recalled his commitment to his constituents as well as his desire to move the city forward with technology.

“Clyde Picht was adamant about constituent service … answer all calls and letters,” she said in an email. “He actually read the entire City Council packets that were then five pound+ binders of documents hand delivered by City Marshals the weekend prior to council meetings.”

Picht, she noted, pushed to have those documents delivered electronically long before that became common practice.

Picht influenced and mentored others involved in the community. “It is with a tremendously heavy heart I make this post,” Layla Caraway, a community activist, said in an email. “My dear friend and my first political mentor is gone. Clyde Picht was many things to many people. He was a warrior in every sense of the word. He was a highly decorated war hero, a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend. He was intelligent, funny and a world class smartass.”

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Picht met his wife “Tru,” the former Emeline Trujillo, in 1955 when he was an Air Force ROTC student at Utah State University; he was in the hospital for minor surgery and she was a nurse. “They married six months later; she was the love of his life for 65 years,” the family’s obituary said when Mrs. Picht died on June 25, 2020.