Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Monday, September 20, 2021

In celebration of the life of my hero.

My father, Johnny P. G., died after a short illness on August 20, 2021. He was 78.

Forty years a cop, my father was a classically-educated man, with a degree in History from Texas Christian University (1972). He had always loved aviation, and had been a member of the Civil Air Patrol in high school in El Paso, and liked to fly in small aircraft with friends, though for some odd reason he never finished getting his pilot's license. When he began as a college student with TCU, he joined the Air Force ROTC, and planned to go to Viet Nam. Shortly before his senior year, he was examined and found to have sustained a broken neck in a car crash when he was 18. The Air Force medicaly discharged him, and the Marines and Army likewise refused him for service. Ironically, though he suffered severe scoliosis throughout he last three decades, his neck never really gave him much trouble. 

Johnny worked in high school as an ambulance attendant, and through college as a surgical technician. He planned to go PreMed, but organic chemistry stymied him, and he gave it up. He dropped out of college for a couple of years, and joined the Tarrant County (Texas) Sheriff's Department. Impressed that their new deputy could type, they put Dad into Communications, and he soon was a sergeant of dispatch, which wasn't what he particularly cared to do. Dad joined Benbrook Police Department in 1969, where he was a patrol officer as he finished his last year of college at TCU at my mother's insistance. 

In 1972, holding his bachelors degree from a decent university (a rarity among patrol officers of that time), Johnny applied for a job with the Denton County (Texas) District Attorney's Office as an investigator. At the time, among the 254 Texas counties, he was the third state licensed DA's investigator. Those were different times, and often DA's investigators found themselves helping out small rural town's P.D.s with cases, and occasionally Dad found himself serving felony warrants and kicking doors on raids. He also worked some capital murder trials, occasionally leaving home while on change of venues. 

On one case in particular, Dad and the entire prosecution team were threatened, along with their families, in open court by members of the Bandidos crime syndicate. 

During the 1980s, Dad investigated corruption by the sitting sheriff of the county, resulting in charges. 

He never once had his phone number or address unlisted from the telephone directory, his entire life. 

Dad was a stoic. He was notorious for refusing to report his discomfort. It would have been nice if he had gotten corrective surgery in the late 1980s or early 1990s, when his spine first started to squirm massively from the centerline. When he passed away last week, he was at least four inches shorter than his 6'6" height from college. At 6'5" (maybe now down to 6'4", I towered over him the last 20 years.). 

Dad went on to become an investigator for the Sheriff's Office, and became a sergeant of Special Investigations (read: Internal Affairs), and later Lieutenant. He retired on the last day of 2004. 

He was a scholar of firearms, and I will never know half of what he knew, nor a quarter of what he had forgotten. 

"Honor is everything," was a motto of Johnny's. Ethics mattered in every thing he did. 


SE Colorado, by Matt G 2019    

Johnny teaching Matt G to run a Thompson, circa 1979. 

Johnny pinning Matt G's badge. 

Johnny slinging up Ching Sling on Savage Scout, ca. 2001. Photo by Matt G.    

Johnny at the range, circa 2008 with Matt G.     

Johnny on his 40th birthday with son David, 5/12/1983. 

Johnny as a freshman in college at TCU. 

Johnny shooting at distant reactive targets with revolver, circa 2014, SE Colorado.     

Johnny dove hunting with his dog Ben, circa 2009. Photo by Matt G.

Johnny holding son Matt G, late 1971. 

Johnny having a cigar while visiting with friend John Shirley, ca. 2010. 

Johnny and son, ca. 2007. He was reserving. 

Johnny and Matt G at 100 yard range, SE Colorado. Photo by Tamara Keel. 

Johnny shooting Shield EZ given him by son Matt G, 2019. Photo by Matt G. 

Johnny with enormous boar shot in 2006. Photo by Ashley Emerson. 

Johnny with toy rifle, ca. 1946. 

Johnny in front of the courthouse which he started as a DA's investigator. Photo by Ed Steele, 2014.     

Johnny, photo by Ed Steele, 2014. 

Johnny getting his pho on at Viet Bites. Photo by Matt G, 2019. 


Johnny on a stormy evening, photo by Matt G, ca. 2015.     

Johnny at NTSA range, photo by Matt G, 2016. 

Johnny, the elder scholar. Photo by Tamara Keel, 2018.

Johnny firing 1928 Thompson. Photo by Tamara Keel, 2018. 

Johnny in SE Colorado. Photo by Tamara Keel, ca. 2016. 

Johnny near Westminster Abbey in London, 1989.     

 

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