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Longview highway renamed for Texas Ranger

By Glenn Evans
Nov. 11, 2015 at 4 a.m.

Lifelong friend Joe Duncan, left, and son Dennis Elliott, right, unviel the Texas Ranger Glenn Elliott Memorial Highway during the dedication Tuesday, November 10, 2015, on Spur 63 in Longview. (Kevin Green/News-Journal Photo)

A stretch of highway splitting Longview was renamed Tuesday after the lawman who worked to keep it safer during his 38-year career.

Some 75 members of Glenn Elliott's professional and personal family were on hand to remember the highway trooper and Texas Ranger as traffic buzzed past on Spur 63.

"I'm not easily caught without words, but this is fantastic. It means a lot to our family," Elliott's son, Dennis, told the crowd of regional and local law enforcement officers. "You love the man that served this town, and that means a lot to us."

Elliott moved to Longview from Windham in 1949 to launch his career as a Department of Public Safety trooper. In 1961, he joined the Texas Rangers, which operates under the auspices of the DPS.

Elliott died in 2012 at age 86. He is survived by his children, Dennis Elliott and Diane Henson, and granddaughters Keri Hardin and Sara Elliott, all of whom attended Tuesday's dedication.

Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw praised Elliott as a team builder and mentor to younger officers.

"He embodied the core values of the Department of Public Safety," the director said. "As much as he accomplished, though, he accomplished more as a mentor."

State Rep. David Simpson, who wrote the legislation renaming the stretch, said Elliott had once invited the Longview Republican to his home to offer encouragement.

"There's no question that the Texas Rangers are a legend," Simpson said. "And in that legend, Glenn Elliott is a legend himself."

The newly christened Texas Ranger Glenn Elliott Memorial Highway stretches from West Marshall Avenue north to the point where the Spur connects with Judson Road, or Spur 502 just north of Spring Hill Road.

Permanent signs will be placed at its north and south tips, paid for by the nonprofit Texas State Troopers Association.

The state highway is not the longtime Longview officer's only memorial. He was still living when the city in 2011 dedicated Glenn Elliott Field at Lear Park.

The retired lawman at the time was characteristically matter-of-fact about that honor.

"I've lived a good life, worked hard and picked a lot of cotton," he said at the dedication. "But I've never had a baseball field named after me."

On Tuesday, Elliott's longtime friend Joe Duncan recalled a softer side of the rugged Ranger.

"He would get up in the morning at 5 o'clock and go down to the nursing home ... and visit and talk with the people there," Duncan said, recalling a story Elliott had shared about stopping a driver who had no license but pleaded he was illiterate and needed to drive to work to feed his family. "Glenn personally went over at nighttime, on his own time, and taught that man how to get a verbal license. And he took him down there to get the license."

Duncan keeps Elliott's crimson Lucchese boots and a bust of John Wayne his friend wanted him to have. He said he drew a comparison between Elliott and the Western movie icon.

"But Dennis told me one day: 'John Wayne is an actor. My daddy ain't no actor.' "

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