Former Big Spring mayor, community leader dies

Staff Writer

Former Big Spring mayor and community leader Wade Choate died on Thursday.
Choate was mayor of Big Spring from 1972 to 1980 during a critical time of the area's local economy.
“Wade really fought for the city to keep Webb Air Force Base,” said Gary Fuqua, former long-time Big Spring city manager. “He made several trips to Washington D.C. to fight to keep the Air Force Base and after we lost the base, he worked very hard to rebuild the our economy.”
Fuqua recalled that for years after Choate stepped away from the city council, council members would still seek out his advice on matters.
Choate's roots not only went deep within the community, but reached back to the foundation of Howard County.
He was born on Aug. 19, 1932 and was a great grandson of W. T. and Mary Roberts, who were among the first permanent settlers in Howard County. He graduated from Coahoma High School in 1950. He would go on to attend Draughton's Business College in Abilene, Texas, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Howard College. He also served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955.
Choate was elected as district clerk at the age of 23 and was later appointed by District Judges Charlie Sullivan and Ralph Caton to serve as the county auditor. He was elected the city commissioners from 1970 to 1971 and was voted Mayor Pro-Tem in 1971.
His community-minded service dedication stretched farther than local government. He served on the boards of the YMCA, Heritage Museum, Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce, West Side Community Center, United Way, Boy Scouts of America, and Colorado River Municipal Water District just to name a few.
He was selected as the Rotary Club Outstanding Man of the Year in 1974 and the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce “Man of the Year in 1980”.
He served as general manager of Webb AFB Federal Credit Union and the Citizens Federal Credit Union for 16 years. He then went on to a successful career in the oil and gas business for the next 35 years.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory of Big Spring.