Fuqua, Henry Earl (1895–1940)

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Henry Earl Fuqua, banker, was born on November 12, 1895, in Amarillo, Texas, the youngest of three children of Mary Ella (Chestnutt) and Wiley Holder Fuqua and the only one to survive to adulthood. As a schoolboy he often worked afternoons at the Amarillo First National Bank, which his father owned. After graduating from Amarillo High School in 1911 he entered the University of Texas. He was ruled ineligible to play football there, so he transferred to Baylor University in Waco the following year. While recuperating from a broken leg he proposed to Al Lee Benham, daughter of a prominent Waco family, and she accepted. After graduation in 1915, Fuqua and his bride returned to Amarillo, where in 1916 he began working at the First National Bank as assistant cashier; in 1917 he was promoted to cashier. The Fuquas had four children.

In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, Fuqua joined the air corps and was stationed at Benbrook Field in Fort Worth, at Love Field in Dallas, and later in Austin as an instructor. His interest in aviation continued after the war; in 1922 he helped organize the Panhandle Aerial Service and Transportation Company and became its secretary-treasurer. He continued his position as cashier in the First National Bank for several years and later was elevated to vice president. In 1934, when his father retired as president, he was made chairman of the board. In addition, Fuqua was a director of the First National Bank in Pampa, a director of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association, and, beginning in 1932, secretary-treasurer of the West Texas Mortgage Loan Company. He was involved in the operation of various ranch properties with his father and later associated with L. M. Price in cattle operations in Sherman and Dallam counties. For several years, beginning in 1919, Fuqua planted thousands of acres in wheat in Floyd County. When the Panhandle oil boom began, he became associated with W. A. McSpadden in the Plains Drilling Company and Plains Holding Company. At various times he held interest in other oil ventures.

Fuqua was a member of the First Baptist Church of Amarillo, a Mason, a Shriner, an Elk, and a past president of the Amarillo Country Club, where he excelled as a golfer. On July 7, 1940, he succumbed to a heart attack at Cook Memorial Hospital in Fort Worth. His body was returned to Amarillo for interment in Llano Cemetery.

Amarillo Daily News, July 8, 1940. Ellis A. Davis and Edwin H. Grobe, comps., The New Encyclopedia of Texas (4 vols., 1929?). Della Tyler Key, In the Cattle Country: History of Potter County, 1887–1966 (Amarillo: Tyler-Berkley, 1961; 2d ed., Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1972).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

H. Allen Anderson, “Fuqua, Henry Earl,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 23, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/fuqua-henry-earl.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995