John Dean Gorham

Portrait of John Dean Gorham Headstone Photograph


John Dean
June 19, 1915
June 19, 1999

Theresa Gantt
July 7, 1910
Apr. 25, 1987

Back of headstone


Director, Texas Municipal Retirement System 1948 - 1980
Member, State Pension Review Board 1979 -
Full Name: John Dean Gorham
Location: Section:Republic Hill, Section 1 (C1)
Row:G  Number:3
Reason for Eligibility: Member, Pension Review Board; Executive Director, Texas Municipal Retirement System 
Birth Date: June 19, 1915 
Died: June 19, 1999 
Burial Date: June 22, 1999 

GORHAM, JOHN DEAN (1915~1999) Dean Gorham was born on June 19, 1915 on a farm near Detroit, Texas. He was the youngest child of John King Gorham and Minnie Nethery Gorham. His paternal grandmother was a full blood Cherokee who was adopted off the Trail of Tears in Murphreesboro, Tennessee. Dean was proud of the fact he was a descendant of the two representatives of Massachusetts who signed the United States Constitution, Nathanial Gorham and Rufus King.

Dean's distinguished career in public service was marked by 45 years of diligent service. After five years with the Federal Government, he was employed by the City of Houston in 1943 where he served as Administrative Assistant to the Director of Treasury, Pension Officer and City Treasurer. He set up the current pension system used by Houston as well as Houston's first employee credit union.

In 1948, Dean and his family moved to Austin, Texas. He was appointed by Governor Buford Jester to establish the Texas Municipal Retirement System. He served as Executive Director of TMRS for 32 years. With a $50,000 loan from the State of Texas, Dean set up all investment procedures for the system. By the end of his first year, he had enlisted 17 Texas cities. When he retired in 1980, TMRS had grown to a membership of 60,000 and a budget of 447 million dollars. It is still thriving and now has a membership of 90,000 including 18,000 in 723 cities, and has assets of 8 billion dollars. During his long distinguished career in public service, Mr. Gorham set up three billion-dollars retirement systems. He was a member of the Rotary Club for 43 years and he was also affiliated with the Red Cross for many years. He was the oldest living Chapter chairman of the Red Cross.

He served the First United Methodist Church in Austin for 50 years, was president of the Couple's Class several times, served as chairman of the administration board, and had been Sunday school superintendent. He helped create and then served as a member of the State Pension Review Board for nine years. He was also a member of Municipal Finance Officers of America for 35 years. He is listed in Who's Who of the South and Southwest.

Dean and his wife, Theresa Gantt Gorham, had been married for 52 years at the time of her death in 1987. They had two daughters Deanna Wilson and Betty Kesselus.

Gorham died on June 19, 1999 and was buried at the Texas State Cemetery on June 22.

Information taken from Texas State Cemetery file materials.

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