March 15, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

J.R. Ewing — beloved scoundrel, lover of money, a good bourbon and branch, and Texas — died on March 4, 2013. He was allegedly the victim of a robbery-homicide in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Investigators attributed the oil magnate’s death to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but his son John Ross III wisely told them, ”Place and time were two things that my father mastered.”

Ewing is survived by three sons, as well as an assortment of ex-wives, most notably former gubernatorial candidate Sue Ellen Ewing, whom he loved poorly but passionately; a nephew, Christopher, whom he had a hard time claiming; and three brothers, including his better half, Bobby, whom he fought and adored his entire life.

As the eldest son of Jock and Miss Ellie Ewing, J.R. craved his parents’ approval, particularly his daddy’s, and would go to ghastly lengths to earn it. He was an oilman, and he plotted, schemed, lied, cheated, and double-crossed, as long as it meant preserving the name of Ewing Oil or, in his later years, Ewing Energies. He survived terrible times — like two bullets in the gut and the loss of Southfork Ranch — with his boyish grin and that infuriatingly adorable twinkle in his eye intact. In truth, many people hated the man, but they also had to stand back in admiration of his boundless audacity. ”Things I thought were so horrible J.R. did seem honest now,” said his niece Lucy Ewing at his funeral. ”He never pretended to be anything other than himself.” God bless him for that.

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