JUDGE: Rest in Peace Judge Roger Hashem
So many times in life we let various events go by and forget to take the time to acknowledge someone and their time here on earth.
Last week former Milam County Judge Roger Hashem passed away at the age of 81. He was living in Lewisville, but his impact on Milam County was tremendous in many ways.
Judge Hashem was a graduate of East Texas Baptist College and Prairie View A&M. He was a teacher, coach, and principal of Milano High School for many years before being elected Milam County Judge where he sat on the bench from 1991-1998. After serving as County Judge, he continued his time as an educator eventually serving as the Superintendent of the Star ISD in Star.
Sometimes in the political arena it’s easy to leave to the pages of history those who came before you. I didn’t want that to happen in this case. I only met Judge Hashem one time many years ago when I first came home from the Navy, and it was only a handshake, so I won’t pretend to know him other than that one meeting. But I have learned a lot about him in the last few weeks from former students, other retired public officials, and his friends.
Judge Hashem’s students remember him with esteem, love, and fondness. I remember seeing where in 2018, two of his former students and colleagues, David and Robbie Westbrook drove the three hours to present the former Milano Track Coach with one of the Gold Medals from that years State Champion Milano Eagle Track Team. He was said to have been excited to have the medal, but more so in the words of appreciation for what Judge Hashem had done to inspire the Westbrooks in their careers as educators, coaches, and mentors.
Judge Hashem had a passion for Milam County and small-town America. In 1985, He wrote a book called “The History of Milano (Seen Through the Eyes of The Gazette)”. I bought a copy of this book years ago on eBay. I very much enjoyed reading it and learning more about the history of Milano. What was really inspiring to me was the words of Judge Hashem’s Forward to the book. In it he said, “the most important contribution that small towns have made to our country is that of providing the basic values of hard work, self-reliance and a sense of community upon which to nurture its national character.”
As County Judge, Hashem was in there at the beginning of the courthouse renovations and the building of the current juvenile justice center. Renovations to the courthouse that have made it a showpiece of downtown Cameron. As people come into the courthouse hallways, our offices, and our courtrooms, they are often awestruck by the history that lives in this building. Much of that has to do with the work Judge Hashem did.
So many people work their whole life and worry about their legacy or their wealth. There is a proverb that is attributed to many cultures but rings so true in this case, “A society grows when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” As I’ve spoken to those who knew Judge Hashem, it seems to me that this proverb speaks to how Roger Hashem lived his life. As a parent of several Milano graduates, a current Milano High School student (both taught by many of his former students and colleagues), and as the current Milam County Judge, I thank Judge Hashem for all he did and the shade from the trees he planted.
Services for Roger Hashem, Jr. will be held at the Double Tree Ranch in Highland Village, Texas on March 10th from 10 am to 1 pm.
Prayers for his family, Rest in Peace Judge, we have the watch.