Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mr. Grant

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.

8 comments:

Bert Graham said...

One of the advantages of retirement is you have the middle of the morning usually open on the calendar when others are likely at docket call. So I had the privilege of attending Mr. Grant's funeral yesterday morning.

I got a sense of how loved and respected Mr. Grant was by the feelings expressed and reflected from those in attendance. His wife seemed to be an especially nice person. Several people from our CJC world were there as well as many of Mr. Grant's other friends and loved ones.

Mark Vinson and Bruce Halling both did Mr. Grant proud with their well spoken eulogies. Bert.

Anonymous said...

How sad. He was a true gentleman.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Grant was the kindest, sweetest person. He made all of us on the first floor at 201 Fannin feel safe and secure. He would always follow some questionable folks in to the office to make sure we were okay and stay or go get Milton if we needed him! His smile and gentle manner were one of a kind. He was a true gentleman in every since of the word! Rest in peace Mr. Grant you deserve it!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Grant was truly a gentleman. If more people were like him, the world would have significantly fewer problems. Thanks to all the current/former HCDA employees who attended his services. Many of us didn't get the notice.

Anonymous said...

I was sorry to learn of the death of Mr. Grant. Although technically Mr. Grant was employed as security at 201 Fannin, realistically he was the 201 "Greeter." He welcomed everyone to the building, whether you were an employee or a visitor. I have no doubt that anyone who came in contact with Mr. Grant would describe him as a first class gentleman. Only a few people pass through our individual lives that could be described with the same accolades due Mr. Grant.
Calvin A. Hartmann

Cat B said...

I can still picture his face. He will always be an unforgettable man.

Jigmeister said...

Glad you were there Bert. Mr. Grant meant a lot to the old DA family and symbolized that family atmosphere in the old building. His friendly greeting every morning set a tone for the entire day. His epitaph reads, "A nicer man you will never meet."

Anonymous said...

I forgot all about Mr. Grant until you mentioned this article. I came into the office about the same time you did, Murray. And I remember him just the way you describe. I LOVED his voice! It was like the deepest, graveliest voice you could imagine a man having. He was always so kind.