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Reby Cary, 1920-2018: Longtime civic leader dies

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Reby Cary, 1920-2018

Reby Cary, 98, who became the first African American elected to the Fort Worth ISD Board of Education and was a longtime leader in Fort Worth and North Texas, died on Friday, Dec. 7 at age 98.

Cary graduated from I.M. Terrell High School in 1937. The school was rededicated at the District’s Academy for STEM and VPA on the day he died.

After graduating, he attended Prairie View A&M University where he received a bachelor of arts in history and political science in 1941.

That same year he was drafted and volunteered to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard. Cary was only the third African-American man admitted to the Student Radioman School in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and graduated in 1943. After being assigned to the U.S.S. Cambria, he served in Saipan, Japan, and Okinawa Island.

Cary was discharged in 1945 and returned to Texas to earn a master of science in history and political science at Prairie View A&M University. He furthered his education by taking graduate courses at Texas Christian University and North Texas State University. Cary also taught history and served as a counselor at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School.

He was first elected to the Board of Education as an at-large candidate in 1974. Cary was among the first former students added to the Fort Worth ISD Wall of Fame in 2009.

Cary also served in Texas State House of Representative from 1981 to 1985 as a Democrat. He also held leadership positions in the Frederick Douglass Republicans of Tarrant County Black Republicans.

Cary has also held positions in various organizations such as Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Youth Services Bureau of Tarrant County, Fort Worth Minority Leaders and Citizens’ Council, Boy Scouts of America, United Way of Tarrant County, Fort Worth Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Tax Appraisal Review Board of Tarrant County, and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.

In addition to owning his own real estate company, Cary Real Estate, he has also found the time to author seven books on African-Americans in Texas.

Funeral arrangements:

Celebration of Life: 12:30 p.m., Monday December 17, 2108, Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 2951 Evans Ave., Fort Worth; Private Burial at Skyvue Memorial Gardens Cemetery; Viewing at 2 p.m., Visitation at 4 p.m. and Wake Program at 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16 at I. M. Terrell Performing Arts Center, 1900 I. M. Terrell Way.

An introduction to The Reby Cary Papers, a collection of correspondence, clippings and other historical memorabilia related to the careers and interests of Cary, can be found on the City of Fort Worth website (

¬– FWBP Staff

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