H.R. "Bum" Bright, 84, a former owner of the Dallas Cowboys and a leading Texas businessman, died Sunday at his home in Highland Park, Texas, after a long illness.
Born in Muskogee, Okla., Bright grew up in Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University. He served as a captain in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. After the war, Bright returned to Texas and started buying up gas and oil leases. He was a millionaire by the time he was 31.
From oil and gas, he turned his attention to trucking, banks, real estate and saving and loans.
Bright and 11 limited partners bought the Cowboys from the team's founder, Clint Murchison, in 1984 for a reported $85 million. He sold it to the team's current owner, Jerry Jones, for $170 million in 1989. The team is now worth an estimated $923 million, according to Forbes magazine.
"Our agreement on the purchase of the Dallas Cowboys was finalized with a few notes on a napkin and a handshake," Jones said in a statement. "With Bum, his word meant everything."
Bright also was a member of the Texas A&M Board of Trustees, and donated $25 million to the university in 1997.
Bright had his share of business reversals. At the height of the Texas banking crisis in 1988, he lost $29 million in stock when First RepublicBank Corp. collapsed.