Dennis Burkholder & Box 13

Dennis was a witness to Texas history that few know about……………….

By Bill Rusteberg

Dennis Burkholder was an interesting fellow. He was a retired Lt. Col., owned an insurance company (National Guardian Benefit Life), taught and coached at a local Jr. High, served with the Small Business Administration, opened the Patio Flamenco nightclub in the Casino Building in 1965 when few establishments existed on the San Antonio Riverwalk, and at one time owned a scrap processing plant. In addition to all of this he owned a San Antonio based TPA with one of his clients the City of San Antonio.

He raised ten kids at the same time.

Being legally blind didn’t stop him a bit. He even drove his Lincoln Continental around San Antonio making business calls which I was troubled to learn after he picked me up at the San Antonio airport when I first met him. I had a blind man drive me around San Antonio! My wife will never believe me!

He loved to make sales calls. His strategy was in four stages:

  1. Establish your right to be there
  2. Establish the need common to most
  3. Establish specific needs
  4. Offer a solution

Dennis was a witness to Texas history that few know about. I urged him to contact Texas Monthly to tell his story but he never did that. So I wrote the Texas Monthly urging them to contact Dennis to hear about his personal knowledge of the Box 13 Scandal. No reply.

During the Box 13 scandal Dennis and his family were living in Alice, Texas. As the scandal unfolded his father brought home a box which he stored in his garage…………….it was Box 13!

Local authorities hid the box and, according to Dennis, his father was part of the conspiracy! The family was sworn to secrecy, a secret they kept for many years.

Whether any of this is true is left up to the reader. But what we do know is that without Box 13 Lyndon Johnson would have never become President of the United States.

If any of his children read this I am hopeful they will confirm Dennis’s story. For what it’s worth, I believe Dennis as I grew to know him well over the years, sharing in a few insurance business endeavors.

Dennis died 22 December 2015 in San Antonio, Texas



I do and will miss that guy.


Wild stuff.  Do you know James Burkholder, owner at BMA TPA?  Thinking they are related.  I have gone Red fishing with James many times, I’ll have to ask.. Also, do you have any 1/1 groups coming up for market?  Thanks


Bill – I remember Dennis and worked with his TPA in the early 90’s .We provided UR , Case Management , High Risk Maternity Management and Physician Consulting ! Small world ! Interesting story on Box 13 !