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Honoring W.W.“Bill” Aston

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

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Madam Speaker, it is with a sad heart that I rise to recognize the passing of W.W. ``Bill'' Aston, a model citizen--veteran, community advocate, civic leader, volunteer, and devoted health care expert from Dallas, Texas, who passed away on July 8, 2010, at age 82.

Mr. Aston lived in multiple locations in Texas from the Rio Grande to the Red River, throughout central Texas and in Arkansas and Oklahoma before coming to Dallas. He served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific in 1945-46. After he was discharged from the Navy in 1946, Bill went to work for Dallas Power & Light Company, where he worked for 40 years before retiring in 1986. He worked in overhead construction, human resources, advertising, sales, customer relations, and public relations at DP&L before becoming president, a position he held until retirement.

Mr. Aston was active in many volunteer activities, locally and nationally, with a focus on health care. He served as board chairman of the American Heart Association's Dallas Chapter and Texas Affiliate before becoming board chair of the national organization. During his many years of service to the American Heart Association, he was proud of the progress made in reducing mortality rates from cardiovascular diseases through educating the public about the risk factors--smoking, elevated blood pressure, lack of exercise, cholesterol, salt, stress, and obesity.

He has served the Baylor Health Care System for over 20 years at various times as board chair of Baylor University Medical Center, board chair of Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital, and a board member of the Baylor Health Care System. At Baylor, he authored a resolution calling for continuous improvement of the delivery system for high quality, safe patient care which was adopted by all Baylor Health Care System facilities.

Since the 1940s, he has also served other organizations such as: Chairman of City of Dallas Civil Service Commission, DART board member, officer or board member of Dallas Zoological Society, Dallas Ballet, Dallas Summer Musicals, The Science Place, Camp Fire Girls, Dallas Advertising League, Dallas County Community College System, Public Relations Society of America, Dallas Assembly, State Fair of Texas, United Way and Texas Health Care Trustees.

Bill graduated with honors from SMU's Cox School of Business with a BBA degree and was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. He served as president of SMU's Alumni Association and as a member of the Executive Board of SMU's Lyle School of Engineering. He was a long-time active member of Rotary, and served as president of the Dallas Rotary Club and district governor of Rotary International. Bill also served for 18 years as a volunteer driver on the McKinney Avenue Trolley.

He received many awards and recognitions: The American Heart Association's Dwight D. Eisenhower Award as Volunteer of the Year for Texas, Brotherhood Citation Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Distinguished Alumni Award from SMU, Founders Award from the Texas Health Care Trustees, Trustee of the Year Award from the Dallas County Medical Society and Distinguished Health Service Award from the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council.

Most recently, the Board of Trustees of Baylor Health Care System established the ``Bill Aston Annual Award for Quality'' which will be awarded by the Texas Hospital Association for the first time in 2011.

Madam Speaker, there simply isn't space in this tribute to fully capture Mr. Aston's contributions to our community. He was uniquely American--a dreamer, a doer, a giver, a lover of life. In short, he was a community treasure.

I join so many North Texans in mourning W.W. Aston's passing, and in extending condolences to his wife of 62 years, Evelyn, and family and friends. You are all in our prayers.