Bill and Gen Long, owners of the building with the Tom Landry mural on Conway Ave. and Tom Landry Blvd., have received numerous inquiries concerning building repairs affecting the mural. People have asked if they are keeping the mural or taking it down.
Unfortunately, said Gen Long, the mural suffered some water damage due to seepage through the wall of the building. However, the Longs are taking steps to carefully repair the wall, making it waterproof, and then restore the mural.
Repairs to the wall were started two or three weeks ago and that part of the restoration of the mural is complete. But now, with the daily rains affecting the Mission area recently, the mural artist has not been able to re-paint the mural.
“We will get the artist out there to restore the mural to it’s original condition as soon as weather permits,” said Gen Long.
“We appreciate the interest of the community as demonstrated by the numerous calls we have received. We cherish the Tom Landry mural as an important part of Mission’s heritage and as a tribute to one of Mission’s favorite sons who has brought great honor to our community,” said Long.
The Longs are making the mural repairs at their own expense. Many in the community may not be aware that Bill Long worked personally with Tom Landry to ensure his approval of the design of the mural.
The Tom Landry mural was dedicated Sept. 18, 1995, by Coach Landry himself after the Longs commissioned local artist and architect Manuel Hinojosa to develop the concept and create the final product. Hinojosa, who was city manager for Port Isabel at the time, worked weekends for almost a year creating the mural. As he worked on the massive painting, Cowboys fans and curious residents frequently stopped to observe the artist at work atop the scaffolding, which became his outdoor studio.
Born in Mission in 1924, Landry played high school football for the Mission Eagles. After playing for the University of Texas on a football scholarship and serving in the Army Air Corps in World War II, he served as a player-coach in 1954-55, then defensive coach from 1955-59 for the New York Giants.
He was then hired as the first coach for the Dallas Cowboys, where he became a football legend, coaching the Cowboys from 1960-1989. As coach of the Cowboys, Landry achieved a string of 20 consecutive winning seasons, beginning in 1966. The team made 18 playoff appearances and played in five Super Bowls.
The mural, which measures 95 x 18 feet, depicts Landry’s life from birth in Mission to his induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Just below the mural, Coach Landry’s hand and footprints are preserved in cement, alongside the hand and footprints of Cowboy legends Tony Dorsett, Robert Newhouse, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Harvey Martin and Billy Joe Dupree.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.