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Floyd Casey's Legacy Lives On





Every time he hears the name Floyd Casey Stadium, Carl Box figures his grandfather is "cringing in his grave."

"That's just the kind of person he was: Everything he did was anonymously," said Box, the grandson of Floyd Casey. "You really don't know much about him, and there is a good reason for that, because he kept everything that he did under wraps. . . . He helped a lot of kids who were in trouble, and he wouldn't have ever wanted that to be known that he was doing that."

As Mr. Casey's longtime business associate Victor Newman put it, "He sure did like to make (money), but he liked to give it away."

"Mr. Casey would seek out families, people that needed money - people he didn't even know - and he would give it away," Newman said in a 1997 interview. "And on those types, he would never get any deductions. That never entered his mind about what he was going to get out of it. He didn't want anything out of it. He wanted to be kind to people and to be a good man."

Very much a self-made man, Floyd Casey started his business career as the owner of a General Store in Tours, Texas, right down the road from his hometown of West.

But his career took off when he moved to Waco after World War I and went into the real estate business.

"He just had a head of knowledge," Newman said. "He liked to go into different businesses, because he liked to learn them and get the people that did them. That's why we went into so many different businesses all the time."

One of the most influential men in Waco during the first half of the 20th century, Casey was one of the founders of a slew of businesses that included Pure Milk, Dealers Electric Supply, Red Hat Oil, Olson Lumber and Brazos Steel Building.

His Midas touch included the "unusual genius of choosing worthy and capable men who, under his direction, operated most successfully many business ventures in our community," wrote Walter G. Lacy Jr., who was president of the Waco Citizens National Bank where Casey served as a Director and member of the Trust Committee for several years. "One of these associates for some 15 years describes him as the `kindest man I ever knew.'''

"He wanted to get into businesses that people could buy, get their money's worth and go on," Newman said. "Mr. Casey was just like a father to me. In fact, he was about the only father that I ever had. And he was a good one."

Floyd was also a wonderful father to his own children, Ione and Carl. After his first wife, Allie May, passed away when the children were 11 and 9 years old, respectively, "he raised those kids into their 20s, all by himself," said Carl Box, the son of Ione.

"And he didn't remarry until after they were grown," Box said. "That just shows a lot of character for him to do that. And both of his kids, my mom and uncle, completely adored him and thought he could do no wrong. Which, I've never heard anyone say anything derogatory about him, ever. Everybody that knew him really praised him for what he did for them, and he touched a lot of lives."

In addition to finding families to help, Casey's philanthropy included buying shoes for needy children in East Waco and working as a director and board member with the Waco Boys Club and YMCA.

"No one will ever know just how many boys were influenced away from crime and misery into useful and happy careers by his generous aid and Christian influence," Lacy Jr. wrote in a May 8, 1962, resolution honoring Mr. Casey. "He was interested in reformation rather than punishment and in securing a reprieve to Boys' Town or probation with a dependable sponsor rather than the blight of a conviction."

More than a quarter century after his 1962 death, Casey was honored by the renaming of Baylor Stadium. Carl B. Casey - a longtime University supporter and trustee - and his wife, Thelma, contributed $5 million toward an $8 million renovation project in honor of his father. The name change was officially announced at halftime of the 1988 Homecoming game.

"I think his legacy is what he did for other people," Carl Box said. "Certainly business drove him and making money drove him. But just as important, or more important, was giving money and helping other people. That's what his legacy is; and doing it just because he wanted to, and not for any recognition, whatsoever."

 

 

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