A large crowd of city and county leaders and other Ellis County residents gathered Thursday for the dedication and naming of the newly renovated and expanded Ellis Appraisal District building.

Phillip Lynch, chairman of the district’s board of directors, gave introductory remarks.

“We are here today to dedicate this facility to Elmo Wade, an outstanding individual who has served the property owners, school districts and cities of Ellis County,” Lynch announced to the crowd standing in the large reception area.

Wade served on the Appraisal Review Board from 1990-1996 and was then elected through votes cast by the city of Ennis and Ennis ISD to serve on the district’s board of directors for 10 years.

“During that time, his main concerns were correct procedure, employee empathy and a quest for technology,” Lynch said. “Elmo would say, ‘We don’t want to be a part of anything that doesn’t appear proper.’ ”

Lynch quoted one of Wade’s oft-used phrases.

“The one phrase I’ve heard him repeat is, ‘I’ve got a stupid question,’” Lynch said. “We on the board soon learned, first of all, the question was usually far from stupid and secondly, if we listened closely to the question, the answer to the question would often lie in the body of the question.”

He then asked how a person gains such wisdom and empathy and then molds those qualities together for the good of everyone?

“Ping pong,” Lynch answered with a smile. “Yes, ping pong. In our investigation into Elmo’s past, we discovered that Elmo met his lovely wife Mary playing ping-pong in college. We give Mary much credit for Elmo’s success.”

Lynch, who billed Wade as “a bona fide American pioneer and hero,” listed some of his lifetime achievements: division engineer for Southern Pacific Railroad in Houston and founder of Trac-Work Inc., which has done rail work in almost every state, including train tracks for the NASA space program.

Wade graduated from Commerce High School in 1942 and earned a degree in civil engineering from Oklahoma State University. He entered the U.S. Army as an infantryman in 1945 but became an Army engineer in the Philippines until after the end of World War II.

Lynch also recognized Kathy Rodrigue and praised her for her outstanding leadership as executive director of Ellis Appraisal District.

Appraisal district board members who were recognized included Lynch; Johnny Johnson, vice chairman; Linda Alvarez, secretary; members Joe M. Pitts and Ken Marks; and John Bridges, non-voting member.

The architect for the building expansion was Douglas R. Kochne of douglasKarchitecture. The contractors were T.R. Hall and Curtis Gahagan.

Serving with Rodrigue is John Ostendorf, deputy chief appraiser.

Refreshments at the event included a white cake with the dedication proclamation embossed on it.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.