Bob Dumas was no stranger to controversy. In some ways, he thrived on it.
Dumas, the millionaire Bandidos biker who ran a string of South Texas taverns, including the controversial topless bar Legs in Corpus Christi, died Nov. 7 surrounded by his family at Christus Spohn Hospital Shoreline.
He was 86.
Dumas was born in Hillsboro and moved to Corpus Christi when he was discharged from the Army in 1958. He used the last of his money to open a bar in Corpus Christi, the Pla-mor Club.
It would be the first of several taverns and establishments he’d own in Corpus Christi.
In September 1966, Dumas opened Action Billiard Supply Co., the only billboard supply company south of San Antonio or Houston at the time.
In 1972, Dumas bought the Auto Club, changing the name to Red Vest Club, then Thirsty’s, then later the Silver Dollar.
Dumas also owned Legs, a topless bar towered over by a 22-foot-tall cutout of a bikini-clad woman. That sign, referred to as the Big Lady, was the center of controversy for more than a decade, beginning in 1983.
In 1992, the office of Mayor Mary Rhodes was swamped with calls from residents protesting the Big Lady, but the city was powerless.
The sign was taken down in 1995, but not due to the complaints. Vandals splattered the sign with black paint but she was back within the week — and to some residents’ disdain — more racy and vibrant than ever.
An article from the time described Dumas as beaming like a proud father as the new sign went up.
Dumas sold the club three years later, signifying the end of his 29 years in the topless bar business in Corpus Christi.
Dumas was the first millionaire of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club. He joined in 1971, and his obituary describes his involvement with the club as “the most important relationship of his life and one that lasted until the day he died.”
To the Bandidos, Dumas was “Papa Bear,” dispensing jobs and financial advise. To law enforcement, he was the “Godfather” of one of the four most prominent and feared outlaw motorcycle clubs in the country, according to a 1982 Caller-Times article.
Dumas was believed to be the honorary national president of the Bandidos, though he claimed he had no rank in the club.
Dumas is survived by his wife, Christine Dumas, and step-children, Jeffrey Rodriguez and Elly Rodriguez-Clark. He leaves behind grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
His funeral will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Maxwell P. Dunne Funeral Home.