On January 10 of this year The Dallas Morning News ran a lengthy obituary for Hugh E. Prather Jr.: "one of the last surviving icons of the early 20th-century Dallas real estate industry, a former civic leader and a longtime Highland Park resident," wrote Steve Brown. Hugh Jr., who died the first week of the new year at the age of 99, helped develop Highland Park Village, which his father, Hugh Prather Sr., helped build. Said Ebby Halliday of Jr., "He was a great force in the early shopping center days."
Hugh Jr.'s son, Hugh Prather III, would choose a different profession: He became a writer, a would-be poet who attended SMU and the University of Texas. According to The New York Times this morning, Hugh III also "had a job breaking up beaver dams on a Colorado ranch" and "founded and ran a religion, the Dispensable Church, in Santa Fe, N.M., which combined elements of Buddhism, Christianity and other traditions."
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But he is best known for one thing: Forty years ago he published Notes to Myself: My Struggle to Become a Person, his journal of inspirational aphorisms (among them, "When I get to where I can enjoy just lying on the rug picking up lint balls, I will no longer be too ambitious") that sold 5 million copies and still became better known as the book (and desk calendar) that "inspired the long-running Saturday Night Live segment 'Deep Thoughts,'" writes Margalit Fox in Hugh III's New York Times obituary this morning. He died one week ago today at the age of 70 at his home in Tuscon. He had a heart attack in his hot tub.