A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 16, 2011
“It’s always better to be a pallbearer than to be a body”

Ann Richards (1933-2006), who served as Texas governor from 1991 to 1995, said in 1997:

“You know, there’s an old Texas political proverb that says: It’s always better to be a pallbearer than to be a body.”

“If there is going to be a funeral, I’d much rather be the pallbearer than the corpse” has been cited in print since 1918, but printed citations for this “political proverb” are few and it’s not clear that it’s popularly used in Texas. Richards also used the saying in 1999, calling it “an old Texas proverb.”


Wikipedia: Ann Richards
Dorothy Ann Willis Richards (September 1, 1933 – September 13, 2006) was an American politician from Texas. She first came to national attention as the state treasurer of Texas, when she delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Richards served as the 45th Governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995 and was defeated for re-election in 1994 by George W. Bush. Ann Richards was the second female governor of Texas, and the 39th Democratic governor to serve.

28 June 1918, Des Moines (IA) News, “The Best Story I Ever Heard” by W. B. Griffin, pg. 6, col. 7:
Now let me introduce to you Hon. N. B. Kendell—the pallbearer of the Republican party.”
(...)
“Well I’m sure,” he began, “if there is going to be a funeral, I’d much rather be the pallbearer than the corpse.”

24 August 1997, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Women’s Expo speakers share advice, laughs” by Charles Ornstein:
“You know, there’s an old Texas political proverb that says: It’s always better to be a pallbearer than to be a body.”
(Ann Richards—ed.)

Google News Archive
3 May 1999, Milwaukee (WI) Journal-Sentinel, “Richards dispenses message with humor” by Neil D. Rosenberg, pg. 3B, col. 4:
On politics: “I don’t miss being in office. There is an old Texas proverb. It is always better to be a pallbearer than a body.”

Richards, 65, was Texas governor from 1991 to 1995 and treasurer from 1983 to 1991.

Google Books
National Interest and International Aviation
By Erwin von den Steinen
Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer Law International; Frederick, MD: Sold and distributed in North, Central, and South America by Aspen Publishers
2006
Pg. 95:
I recall a conversation in late 1980 with a European service executive of Capitol Airlines, a US carrier that has since folded. He explained the firm’s decision to move away from their traditional charter service to scheduled service, saying, “I’d rather be a pallbearer than be inside the box”.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, November 16, 2011 • Permalink