Hugh Parmer, former Fort Worth mayor, dies at 80

State Sen Hugh Parmer of Texas. (Photo by Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Former Fort Worth Mayor Hugh Parmer died on May 27 at the age of 80. Parmer served as mayor of Fort Worth from 1977 to 1979. Elected at the age of 38, Parmer was known as the “boy mayor.”

Though he was only mayor for a short time, his political career spanned decades.

Beginning in 1962 as the youngest member of the Texas House of Representatives, Parmer served in various organizations—the Peace Corps and the U.S. Department of Commerce – during President Lyndon Johnson’s administration before becoming Fort Worth’s youngest mayor in 1977.

Following an eight-year stint in the Texas Senate that began in 1983, he managed disaster relief efforts in more than 80 countries as chief of the Humanitarian Response Bureau, part of the U.S. Agency for International Development. His boots were on the ground for 14 crises, including the deadliest hurricanes to strike the Caribbean since 1780.

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After his government career, he served six years as president of the American Refugee Committee, a private nonprofit relief organization with some 2,000 employees and programs in a dozen disaster stricken countries.

Parmer earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University and a master’s from the University of Texas at Arlington. He was a licensed attorney and mediator.

“Hugh Parmer was an incredible public servant and philanthropist, who always led with compassion and put Fort Worth first,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “Hugh’s dedication to international humanitarian and refugee efforts inspired many and his legacy will leave a positive footprint in our community for generations to come. I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Hugh and his daughter as Tax Assessor and cherished the wisdom he shared from one Mayor to another. I know Hugh’s spirit of giving back to our community will live on through his family and friends.”