ACU trustee, Dee Travis, dies Friday
For immediate release
Dee Travis, trustee for Abilene Christian University and former Texas state senator, died Friday in Nashville, Tenn., after a heart attack. His funeral was Monday, Jan. 26, in Nashville.
Travis, 53, was born in Abilene, graduated from Abilene Christian High School in 1969, and graduated cum laude from ACU in 1973 with a degree in political science. At ACU, Travis was the freshman, sophomore and junior class president and president of the Alpha Chi honor society. ACU awarded him a Distinguished Alumni Citation in 2002.
"Dee was a natural leader, and we were honored that he recently chose to become a part of our university's governing board," said Dr. Royce Money, ACU president. "He was actively engaged with the board and showed great promise as a Trustee. His sudden death is a tragedy, and his family is in our prayers."
Travis' son, Dee Thomas Jr., is a student at ACU, and his daughter, Melissa Jerkins of Abilene, recently graduated from ACU and now works at the university. He and his wife, Jane Cecil Travis, met at ACHS and married in 1974. Their home is in Franklin, Tenn.
Travis founded Healing Hands International Inc., a nonprofit organization that sends medical aid to missionaries, in 1994. He was a deacon at the Harpeth Hills Church of Christ and was involved in numerous professional activities.
After graduation from ACU, Travis began a career in politics, serving as the administrative assistant to U.S. Rep. James Collins. From 1981 to 1983, he represented District 9 and was, at the time, the youngest state senator in Texas history. He was the first Republican state senator from District 9 since Reconstruction.
State Rep. Bob Hunter, R-Abilene, worked with and mentored Travis since he was a student. Hunter is vice president emeritus at ACU.
"Dee Travis believed public service was very important," Hunter said. "He was a kind, giving person who will be missed by so many people across the country."
After his term in the state Senate, Travis worked for Trammel Crow in Atlanta from 1983-88. He then transferred to Nashville, serving as the company's marketing principal until 1990. In 1990, Travis founded and was president of Travis Development Co., which has development projects in 11 states in the Southeast and Southwest.
Memorials may be sent to Healing Hands International Inc., 208 Space Park South Drive, Nashville, Tenn. 37211.
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