Carter B. Horsley
New York, there have been many magic moments, but even so they
13, 2000, the city was graced with one more - the 90th birthday
celebration for John Reagan "Tex" McCrary, the legendary
in the spectacular model model room of the New York Yacht Club
on 44th Street between Fifth Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas,
the event was attended by an impressive array of politicians,
Congresspeople Charles Rangel and Carolyn Maloney, Bronx Borough
President Fernando Ferrer, and others such as Mark Greene and
Alan Hevesi - and a bevy of heavyweight journalists many of whom
such as William Safire of The New York Times and Gabe Pressman
of NBC-TV were alumni of the "McCrary" school of journalism
as was Barbara Walters, the television woman, who did not attend.
Howard Rubenstein, the city's current public relations king, was
present, as were New York Post columnists Sidney Zion and
Steve Dunleavy, and Andy Rooney from "60 Minutes," the
CBS television news magazine. A message from Colin Powell was
read to McCrary by Powell's lovely daughter, as McCrary, who was
very influential in getting Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for President,
was a strong supporter of a Powell Presidential nomination as
well as a strong backer of Senator John McCain. In fine fettle,
McCrary announced that he has not "given up yet" on
either Powell or McCain, or a plan to create an international
conference center on Ellis Island (see The City Review article), a project
that he worked on several years ago with William Hubbard, who,
with his wife, Robin, the founder and head of The Readnet Foundation
City Review article), hosted the event.
was a colonel in the U.S. Army during World War II in Europe and
was long involved in many patriotic affairs including the U.S.S.
Intrepid Museum on the Hudson River. During the war, he married
Jinx Falkenburg, a model and actress who would become the first
Miss Rheingold and subsequently his partner on a popular radio
talk program in New York that would later become a television
program. McCrary had worked for a time with Walter Winchell and
was close with John Hay Whitney, the art collector, race-horse
owner and publisher of The New York Herald Tribune.
read a note from his wife, Jinx, who was too ill to attend, and
noted prouded that he himself was now "clear" of the
most recent of his five bouts with cancer. Tall and handsome,
McCrary stood up during the entire long occasion to listen to
the many accolades given him as well as several serenades, during
one of which he donned a large sombrero. He used the occasion
to launch the "First Voters' Foundation," and, still
eagle-eyed, he spotted many of the beautiful women in the room
such as Mrs. Byron Janis, who was there with her husband, the
pianist. "Wish Gary were here," he yelled out to her,
referring to her late father, Gary Cooper, the actor.
not 90, but triple 30's," McCrary quipped to the great amusement
of the audience, which also included Ted Kheel, the famed labor
arbitrator, and Sam LeFrak, the real estate developer.
coined the "I Like Ike" campaign motto, but it was clear
from this evening's celebration that a lot of New Yorkers not
only like, but love Tex who gives new, forceful and noble meaning
to the notion of growing old gracefully and not "giving up."
seems that there are too many testimonials and awards. On any
given night in New York City alone, there are probably a half-dozen
major "honoring" functions and while they all may be
worthy they are not all necessarily memorable.
spirits do not always stand tall. Tex does.
McCrary passed away in 2003.