From the day I first walked into 201 Fannin as an academic intern for the Harris County District Attorney's Office, back in the summer of 1998, there was an iconic gentleman at the front door to greet me and all other visitors to the Office. He was an older, distinguished man with a gravelly voice and a friendly smile that we all knew as "Mr. Grant."
Without knowing a thing about him, he generated the impression that he had been at the District Attorney's Office long before I had even considered law school and he would be there long after I was gone. Despite his tenure being vastly more significant than mine would ever be, he was kind and conversational with me and anyone else who might wander in the door. During the day, if I went out for a smoke break, he was usually outside having one, too. He was a master at light conversation, whether it be talking about sports, the weather, traffic, etc. He seemed to be in a perpetual good mood.
In fact, his kind-hearted light spirit often served as a very stark contrast to the subject matter that was dealt with inside the rest of the building.
When we moved from 201 Fannin to the CJC, it was mentioned more than once that it wouldn't be the same experience of arriving at work in the morning without being greeted by Mr. Grant. Fortunately, he did come to work at the new building -- usually working in the back sallyport, where those of us nasty smokers would still get to see and visit with him.
He had his health problems over the years, and Terrance Windham (who referred to Mr. Grant as "the General") would keep us updated via e-mail on his condition. Mr. Grant, although not being an Assistant D.A., investigator or support staff, was unquestionably part of the D.A. Office family.
A quite significant member of the family, actually. Everyone loved Mr. Grant.
Elbert L. Grant, Jr. passed away on Tuesday, June 21st at the age of 80. He was a former Merchant Marine and a U.S. Army veteran who served in Korea. He lived a long and distinguished life.
My memory of him will always be that he was the first person I saw when I walked in the door of 201 Fannin for the first time on a hot summer day in 1998.
Life changed a lot after that.
But Mr. Grant never did.
He was a good, sweet man whose memory will be a part of the history of that Office as much as (if not more than) any other person who walked through the door he manned for so long.