CORPORATIONS: Mister East Texas

In Lufkin, Texas (pop. 22,500), one cold night last week, 900 citizens jammed into the high-school gymnasium. There, over a $6 roast beef dinner, they listened to some famed Texans (including U.S. Senators Tom Connally and Lyndon Johnson) praise a fellow Texan in terms extravagant even for the Lone Star State. Said ex-Governor William P. Hobby: "He is the kingfish of free enterprise." Added Governor Allan Shivers: "He is Mister East Texas."

The "Kingfish" is big (6 ft., 200 lbs.), shy, pink-cheeked Ernest Lynn Kurth, 64, a jack of all trades—lumber, insurance, banking,...

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