A wreath of white flowers hangs on the door leading to the PVA office as a symbol of mourning after the loss of Grayson County PVA Director Milburn VanMeter, who passed away Monday, June 20.
VanMeter, who was awarded two bronze stars in the Vietnam War and was the former owner of Consumer Tires, worked as a deputy for the PVA for eight years and was director PVA of Grayson County for six while still making time to volunteer for a community that he loved.
“Milburn was a great brother, a great father… A lot of Republicans voted for him even though he was a Democrat because he was a good man,” said Joyce Embry, VanMeter’s sister.
Described as a “person filled with joy,” VanMeter enjoyed working with the youth of Grayson County and would read to students in county schools. He also volunteered his time in different events with the Rotary Club.
“He was so proud of the work and the trust people had to put him in this office,” T.J. Dennison, who worked with VanMeter for nine years, said. “He was a genuinely kind, sweet person. He was always the same, just caring and patient with people.”
VanMeter had been struggling with acute myeloid leukemia for three years. VanMeter and his family believed that the cancer was brought on by the Agent Orange sprayed in the Vietnam War.
“He never complained through it,” said Embry.
This past year, VanMeter had not been able to be in the office as much due to treatments and the pain of illness.
“It hurt him not being here,” said Dennison, who added that even through illness, VanMeter had remained a joyful, positive person.
VanMeter was also known for his sense humor, and was described by Embry as a jokester.
“Nothing like a good joke to pull on somebody,” said Embry fondly of her brother.
Due to VanMeter’s passing, field representative Leon Adcock is acting as interim PVA Director until the State Revenue Office gives out a special PVA examination in July. Anyone who is at least 24 years old, has been residing in Grayson County for at least a year, and is interested in taking the test is welcome to come on the date specified by the office.
Those who pass the test will be placed on a list sent to the Governor, who will choose one of those on the list to finish the term. Of those names, each political party—Republican, Democrat, and Independent—will choose one to represent them on the ballot for the county’s general election on Nov. 8 of this year. The person appointed to finish up the term by the Governor can be on the ballot, too, if they choose.
The PVA, Property Valuation Administration, is responsible for fairly assessing real property in order to collect property taxes as well as maintaining maps for the city.
The Grayson County PVA office and Grayson County will not be the same after VanMeter’s passing, however.
A war hero with a love for his community, VanMeter will not soon be forgotten by his family and those who knew him. All will remember him, as Dennison put it, as a humble man who radiated joy.