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Former state Rep. Rayford Price, who served as House speaker from 1972 to 1973, died Tuesday. He was 86 years old.
Price served in the House of Representatives in the 57th through 62nd legislatures; he entered the lower chamber in 1961. On Wednesday, Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, informed members of the House of his death. His cause of death was not immediately shared.
“It is with a sad heart that I let you know that my good friend and former speaker of the House Rayford Price died yesterday,” Howard said. “Rayford Price was a great man and he was a real mentor to me. We were in different parties but he was there for me all along the way as a mentor. I valued him greatly. I am very sorry for this loss.”
Price was born Feb. 9, 1937, in Jacksonville and represented a district encompassing Anderson and Cherokee counties, including the city of Palestine.
After graduating valedictorian of his class at Frankston High School in 1955 he entered Lon Morris College, in Jacksonville, where he participated in campus politics, according to a page in the state’s Legislative Reference Library.
He then transferred to the University of Texas at Austin while working as a printer — with knowledge of the trade he had learned through his family’s newspaper — to work toward the rest of his undergraduate education.
Price attended law school at the university, during which he was elected to the House like several of his predecessors to the speakership, according to the biography.
He retired from office in January 1973 when the 63rd legislative session convened, moving to Dallas to practice law. He switched parties in May of that year, becoming a Republican.