ARLINGTON, Texas — Tom Vandergriff, once known as Arlington's "boy mayor," died Thursday afternoon at Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth.
The former Arlington mayor and Tarrant County judge, who is widely credited with bringing the Texas Rangers baseball club, General Motors and Six Flags Over Texas to the area, died about 3 p.m. He was 84.
"We weren't expecting it today," his son, Victor Vandergriff, said. "We haven't had a watch on him. He just gave out."
Tom Vandergriff earned the "boy mayor" nickname in 1951 when he became the city's youngest mayor. During his 26-year tenure as mayor, the longtime civic leader is crediting with luring the Texas Rangers baseball team and the General Motors Assembly Plant to Arlington.
He also secured land to build Lake Arlington, spearheaded the creation of Six Flags Over Texas and raised money for the city’s first real hospital, Arlington Memorial.
Considered the father of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, Mr. Vandergriff also is believed to be the first public official to use the word "Metroplex."
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