Glynn Dyess, left, with Nelson Wolff Credit: Courtesy / Nelson Wolff

Glynn Dyess and I first met at Pershing Jr. High School in Houston in 1956. We became fast friends playing football for Pershing. We then became friends with Billie Burge and the three of us bought identical shirts that we would wear to school on occasion. Our friendship would last a lifetime.

We attended Bellaire High School where the three of us played football for Bellaire.  Glynn was by far the best player of the three of us. In our senior year, 1959, our record was 8-2. 

Glynn and I played baseball at Bellaire, winning the city championship in 1959. We were also officers in the Bellaire Varsity Club, no doubt our highest academic record, if you could call it that.  

Wearing rolled up jeans, loafers, white T-shirts, and red jackets, we fancied ourselves James Dean look-alikes who starred in Rebel Without a Cause. We lived a carefree high school life, playing sports, chasing girls, and learning by osmosis.

In my senior year, my dad said I could go to the Mercury dealership to pick out a car.  Glynn went with me, and we chose a 1959 orange Mercury with a 290-horsepower V8 engine. It became a much cooler car after my brother George put tailpipes along each side of the car and hung large Styrofoam dice over the rearview mirror. 

After coming back home to San Antonio, Glynn and I remained friends. Glynn would go on to start a successful oil pipeline business and make tons of money. We would ski together, go to Astros games, catch some NFL games, and dine at Tony’s, Glynn’s favorite restaurant.

A political life, because of its volatility, leads to a life of broken friendships. But not so with Glynn. Even though he was a very conservative Republican, he continued to support me knowing that my political beliefs were much different than his. He was one of the largest contributors to my various campaigns.  

His wife, Connie, took loving care of him after he had a stroke seven years ago. She desperately wanted to be with him after he was taken to hospital with COVID-19, but due to the danger of transmission, she was not allowed. Connie and I would talk each day.  

And then at 6:15 pm on Sunday, January 10, she learned he passed away after a nurse called to tell her a little red light went off at the nurse’s station. He died alone, a terrible, horrifying way to die. 

I did not get to say goodbye to my best friend of 65 years. I know it is a final parting, but it is a friendship I will always carry with me until my time comes.

Nelson W. Wolff is Bexar County Judge.