LAREDO, Texas – Tributes have poured in for Norbert Dickman, the former Mr. South Texas who ran Fasken Oil & Ranch, Ltd., one of America’s biggest privately owned oil companies.
Although based in Midland, Texas, Dickman helped Laredo enormously and was named Mr. South Texas in 2016 during the 119th Washington’s Birthday Celebration.
The Fasken family provided the land where Laredo’s World Trade Bridge was developed and the the right of way to the portion of Loop 20 between the bridge facilities and IH-35. They also owned La Posada Hotel.
Dickman ran the Prairie Foundation, the Fasken family foundation, which over the years has donated more than one million dollars to Laredo charities. Dickman served as a director of the foundation and member of its grants committee.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar and Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz started a conference call with reporters with their recollections of Dickman. The conference call was held to explain how the City of Laredo’s annual trip to Washington, D.C., was going. Dickman was part of that delegation in previous years.
“A dear friend of Laredo, Texas, Norbert has passed away. We know how hard that is for his family and his friends,” said Cuellar. “We all know what he did for Laredo, changing La Posada and the hospitality industry there. And, of course, the money he provided for the nonprofits. And the bridge ceremony he was involved in for many years. To our dear friend, Norbert Dickman, and to to the family, we are going to miss you a lot and we love you a lot.”
Mayor Saenz said: “May he Rest In Peace. He was a tremendous asset to the city of Laredo. He was truly the anchor to the downtown area. He was involved in so many aspects of our city and we will truly miss him.”
Laredo community leader Blas Castañeda said the influence of Dickman and Mrs. Barbara Fasken on life in Laredo could not be overstated.
“Wow, this is a major loss for every community that the Faskens were in. They helped a lot of people and Norbert Dickman was the leader for many years. He was in charge of the family foundation until last year,” Castañeda said.
“Norbert Dickman was very close to Mrs. Barbara Fasken and when they would come to South Texas you could tell they were not just coming to visit, they were coming to leave a lot of opportunities and a lot of funding. They were very business-oriented but they also had a big heart for the communities they were involved with.”
Castañeda was a member of the Laredo City Council when plans for the World Trade Bridge were being formulated. It was completed by a later city administration.
“The Faskens owned an extensive amount of acreage right where the Laredo World Trade Bridge is. They were the ones that donated the land for that bridge. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say the World Trade Bridge has become the main bridge for the entire border. It continues to establish Laredo as the largest inland port in the country. The donation the Faskens made has paid the community billions and billions of dollars in return.”
Castañeda said the Fasken family and the foundation Dickman led “have always been major investors and major community leaders that believed in growth and economic development.”
Castañeda added: “Mrs. Fasken was a beautiful lady. She was a pilot who flew her own plane. Besides being in charge of the foundation, Norbert Dickman had a big heart similar to Mrs. Fasken. Their contribution to our community was huge. Their contribution has helped Laredo become the fastest growing inland port in the country.”
Norbert Dickman was born in Chicago, Ill. in 1943, and moved in 1960 to California. He received a B.A. in Philosophy in 1964 from St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif., and then his Licentiate (Masters) in Theology from the Gregorian University in 1968.
In 1973 Dickman received his Juris Doctor Degree from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and practiced law in the State of California that same year. In 1982, he entered Golden Gate University in San Francisco where he obtained a Master of Laws, in Taxation (LLM).
For many years he practiced law in San Francisco with the partnership of Mullins, Wise, & Dickman in the areas of estates, trusts, taxation, contract, domestic relations, and litigation.
“Although I do not live in Laredo, I have always felt like a part of the community,” Dickman told the Laredo Morning Times, upon being named Mr. South Texas in 2016.
“This truly is a very special community with a wonderful history and common culture with our neighbors in Nuevo Laredo.”
“The political and business leaders in Laredo are remarkable individuals, and it has been a privilege to work with them on many projects over the years,” he added.
Dickman managed Mrs. Barbara Fasken’s oil and gas and ranching properties in Texas. In 1988, he moved to Midland, Texas to become general manager of Fasken’s business interests.
In 1995 Fasken passed away and named Dickman co-executor and co-trustee of her estate and trustee and co-manager of Fasken Management, LLC, the general partner of Fasken, Ltd., her family limited partnership.
As general manager of the Fasken business interests, Dickman oversaw a wide variety of business activities, such as oil and gas operations, ranching, and real estate development, many of which are largely centered in Laredo and Webb County, which include the facilitation of the World Trade Bridge connecting Laredo with Nuevo Laredo.
The Washington’s Birthday Celebration website featured Dickman’s biography when he was named Mr. South Texas. The biography stated:
“Fasken has built and operates 1.3 million square feet of warehouse space along Loop 20, and has developed 750 residential home sites in the Villas San Agustín community between Mines Road and the Rio Grande on the Farias Farm property and was instrumental in the construction of the Barbara Fasken Elementary School, Barbara Fasken Recreation Center and Mines Road Police and Fire Station No. 9.
“The company has plans for further residential, multifamily, commercial, industrial and retail development on the Farias Farm property. Fasken is also actively developing oil and gas wells in the Eagle Ford formation in the Mines Rd. area, among other projects.
“Fasken owns and operates the La Posada Hotel, the premier and now Four Diamond hotel that is also the official hotel for the WBCA in Laredo. Over 15 years, the Prairie Foundation, the Fasken family foundation, has donated almost one million dollars to Laredo charities.”
The Washington’s Birthday Celebration website lists some of the awards Dickman has received in Laredo.
He was named a Tejano Achiever by LULAC Council #12 in 2001, Honorary President of the Republic of the Rio Grande in 2006, and Sportsman of the Year by the Laredo Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
He was named to the Business Hall of Fame by Junior Achievement of Laredo in 2009, and received the “Future of Texas” Award in 2012.
He was a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem with the rank of Knight Commander.
Together with the Mr. South Texas designation, Dickman became a member of Los Caballeros de la Republica del Rio Grande. This select group of national and international distinguished men and women are honored for their dedication and countless hours of service and support to the Washington’s Birthday Celebration each year by an official induction ceremony and presentation of the Caballero Medallion.
Editor’s Note: Credit for the main image accompanying the above news story goes to James Durbin. It shows Norbert Dickman.