15:36 PM

Beloved Professor Emeritus Tom Bass Passes Away

Black-and-white portrait of Tom Bass, wearing glasses and a shirt with a tie.Professor Emeritus Tom H. Bass passed away on March 3, 2019. Bass, a third-generation Houstonian, was a long-time member of the Department of Political Science at University of St. Thomas.

A Legislator, Commissioner, Creator of 911 System 

He was also a state legislator, a Harris County Commissioner, and spearheaded the creation of the Houston metro area’s 911 system. The Greater Harris County 911 Emergency Network Building bears Tom Bass’ name and is located at Sam Houston Parkway and Fairbanks North Houston.

He is the only professor in Houston to have a park named after him. Tom Bass Park is located at Hwy 288 and Beltway 8.

“Tom was not only a gentleman, a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather; he was an exemplary public servant who championed political reform, as evidenced by his time in the Legislature," Dr. Jon Taylor, Political Science Professor, said. "Bass was a member of the 'Dirty 30' — the bi-partisan reform group that challenged then-House Speaker Gus Mutscher’s near-dictatorial power and forced him out in the wake of the Sharpstown Scandal."

Bass would go on to serve as a Harris County Commissioner, where he pushed hard for financial disclosure and strengthened ethics rules. He also pushed for a redistricting plan that would lead to the election of Harris County’s first person of color elected to the Court.

“Bass was attracted to politics because of his interest in public service and public good,” Taylor said. “He made a real contribution. This person got into politics in the early '60s inspired by John Kennedy. In fact, he was inspired not just Kennedy’s politics but because Kennedy was a Catholic as well.

“His stories about the Legislature and Harris County were fascinating and offered his students insight into the workings of Texas politics,” Taylor said.

Tom Bass - Husband, Father, Grandfather

Bass competed in the Senior Olympics at one time in track. He was an avid runner and ran for years.

Bass was married to his wife Mary Anne for 70 years and had 10 children, 23 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Prof. Bass was beloved by his students and his colleagues at UST valued him. We will miss him.

Funeral and Burial in Texas State Cemetery in Austin

Visitation is from 6 – 8 p.m., with the Rosary beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6 at Earthman Bellaire Funeral Home, 4525 Bissonnet. The funeral service is on Thursday, March 7, at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 9900 Stella Link Road at 10:30 a.m. Bass will be buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, east of the Capital, also home to governors, senators, judges and legendary Texas figures, including Stephen F. Austin and John Connally.