Ray Hutchison, the husband of former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and a power broker who played a key role in the creation of many of North Texas' most important economic engines, died at a Dallas hospital Sunday, News 8 has learned.
Hutchison, who lived in Dallas with his wife, was a prominent municipal bond lawyer with the Dallas law firm Bracewell & Giuliani. Sources told News 8 that he died of a heart complication. Hutchison was 81.
“Ray has been involved in virtually every major government development project of the past five decades,” said Ben Brooks, his close friend and law partner at Bracewell & Giuliani, to the Texas Lawbook in 2012. “Ray has easily been involved in more than $20 billion in bond issuances that have directly and positively impacted the North Texas economy.”
Ray Hutchison served as a driving force behind the creation of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), as well as the handling the efforts to finance the building of many of the major professional sports facilities in the area. He shepherded the issuing of bonds to build a new Parkland Memorial Hospital.
He also headed up the early 1970s effort to move the MLB's Washington Senators to Arlington. That led to the creation of the Texas Rangers.
The Hutchisons met while both were serving in the state legislature. Both had been married previously. He served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1973 to 1977.
Ray Hutchison was elected as chairman of the Texas Republican party in 1976. He stepped down the following year to run for governor. He lost the primary to Bill Clements, who won the general election.
“Ray Hutchison was a tremendous champion and defender of conservative values," said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in a statement. "From serving our great state in the Texas House of Representatives to his work as a chairman of the Texas Republican Party, Ray impressed upon so many others what it means to be a leader."
According to the Texas Lawbook article, Ray Hutchison graduated from Crozier Tech and didn’t initially want to be a lawyer. Instead, he wanted to be a car mechanic. Mr. Hutchison served in the Navy and it was afterward that he decided to attend college, the story said.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University in 1957 and with a law degree in 1959. He was a member of the Dallas Citizens Council, the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, and served on the Executive Board of the Chancellor’s Council for the University of Texas System.
"From his commitment to developing the North Dallas community, to his service in the U.S. Navy and Texas Legislature, to his instrumental role in the creation of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Ray was a leader in every aspect of his life, and his contributions to the state of Texas will positively impact countless Texans for generations to come," Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by the son and daughter that he and Kay Bailey Hutchison adopted in 2001. Ray Hutchison also has adult children from his previous marriage.