Under the leadership of Congressman Tom Loeffler, the Texas State Society grew in stature and in size in 1980-81. Loeffler and a dedicated Executive Board provided the impetus and innovation with the Congressional Reception in March, and culminating with the Sunday Brunch held the following March at the Capital Hilton Hotel. Ginger Allen, daughter of H. K. and Raye Virginia Allen was the 1980 Cherry Blossom Festival Princess.
No event captures the hearts and minds of Texas State Society members like the Annual Barbecue. Attended by some 900 persons, the barbecue at Smokey Glen Farm was a crowd pleaser despite cloud bursts that seem to be a tradition on Father’s Day. Plenty of good food and goodtime Texas activities highlighted an afternoon for the families and all Texans, young and old, which came to celebrate.
Congressman Jim Wright presided over the preparations for the Society’s annual ceremony to commemorate the birthday of Lyndon B. Johnson at the LBJ Grove in August, with the able assistance of Mary Jo Cook, and Scooter Miller, whose words at the ceremony were a touching remembrance of the late President.
With the elections in November, the Society’s activities were pushed back on the calendar until December, when the Society hosted a Mexican Dinner Country Western Dance at the Mount Vernon College Gymnasium on December 6. It drew a crowd of over 500 for an evening of Texas-style cuisine prepared by the Tuscon Cantina, and country tunes that would have given Bob Wills reason to celebrate. The dance floor was packed with two-steppers and high-steppers throughout the evening with the only breaks coming when door prizes were announced by Congressman Charlie Stenholm and former Congressman Bob Krueger.
Then in January 1981, the Texas State Society, in conjunction with Governor and Mrs. Clements and the Texas Congressional Delegation, gave a Texas-style welcome to Vice President and Mrs. George Bush. The “Black Tie and Boots” Inaugural reception, held at the Sheraton Washington Hotel, and featuring the down-home country tunes of the Ray Wiley Hubbard Band, drew 5,000 Texans. A tradition during Presidential Inaugurals, the Texas State Society reception took on added significance because of the Vice President’s ties to the Lone Star State. The occasion was also responsible for a good deal of publicity benefitting Texans in general, and the Texas State Society in particular. President Loeffler topped off the evening’s festivities by presenting the Vice President a full-sized, blown-glass cowboy hat, on behalf of the Texas State Society and all Texans in attendance.
President-elect John Dalton in March added a final note to the year’s activities at the annual Brunch, providing the membership with an accounting of the solid financial condition of the Society, and an overview of a year that marked a significant chapter in the history of the Texas State Society. It was a year of activity and achievement. Thanks to the hard work of Chairpersons John Cope and Joan Studer MacCartee and their committee, the annual luncheon proved to be very successful.
Approximately 500 Texans and their friends gathered in the Capital Hilton to hear the Honorable Kent Hance relate colorful anecdotes of the Texas Delegation and to recognize the 1981 Cherry Blossom Princess, Angela de la Garza. Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson and Chuck and Lynda Robb were in attendance.
The annual barbecue was again held on Father’s Day, June 21. Craig Hackler chaired this outstanding event which saw over 1,000 members and their families gathered for good food and good fun at Smokey Glen Farm.
In August of 1981, John Cope succeeded John Dalton as President of the Society when the Daltons returned to San Antonio, Texas. On August 27, the traditional commemoration honoring former President Lyndon B. Johnson was held for the first time on Mr. Johnson’s birthday at sunset in the LBJ Memorial Grove. Raye Virginia Allen and Scooter Miller, with the help of their committee members, ensured a lovely service.
In November, Jim Bayless chaired the annual fall event, held for the first time at the Pension Building. The theme was “A Taste of Texas” featuring food from all over the state, outstanding music and beautiful decorations. Thanks to the State Fair of Texas, the large Texas flag provided a suitable backdrop in the huge hall for this gathering of about 1,000 Texans and their families and friends.
As 1981 drew to a close, Waverly Vest and Jan Naylor were completing preparations for a new membership directory. Kenn Goldblatt and Vigui Litman, two of our members, have been instrumental in that effort, as well as the publication of the “Lone Star Link”, the Society’s newsletter.
On January 27, 1982, the Society held its annual reception in honor of the Texas Congressional Delegation at the Office of the State of Texas. Co-chairpersons for that event were Cindy Stenholm and Beth Oliver. An overflow crowd was treated to Texas food and libations. Featured at the annual meeting on March 7 was the Honorable D. M. Butler, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. During the meeting John Cope was elected to a second term as President of the Society for 1982-83. The 1982 Cherry Blossom Princess was Elizabeth Winston of Houston. Elizabeth is the daughter of the Honorable and Mrs. James A. Baker, III, White House Chief of Staff. Larry Veselka, Chairman of the brunch, closed the meeting with the singing of “Texas Our Texas.”
Historically one of the big highlights of the Society each year is the Father’s Day Picnic. The 1982 picnic was no exception with an overwhelming rambunctious crowd of 900 Texans descending upon the Smokey Glen Farm. Joe Bracewell and John Craddock, Co-Chairmen of the event, did a tremendous job of ensuring the success of a day of barbecue, entertainment, and Texas fun.
The next traditional event was the ceremony honoring former President Lyndon B. Johnson on his birthday, August 27, at the LBJ Memorial Grove. Many of the President’s long-time friends were there to reminisce and add color to the event. Jann Holderman received the well deserved credit for making the afternoon very special for all in attendance.
In keeping with the adventuresome spirit of some of the members, a contingent of nearly 60 rowdy Texans traveled to Baltimore on August 29 on a chartered bus to cheer the Texas Rangers baseball team which was visiting the hometown Orioles. Steve Hudson and Brian Petty co-chaired this new Society event.
November 13 was certainly a memorable day for the membership after Jann Holderman and her committee miraculously converted the Rayburn House Office Building Cafeteria into a Texas cafe. The fall event, the Terlingua Two-Step, featured world champion chili, tamales, guacamole, beer, wine, and all the dancing the boot clad Texans could handle.
During this year, the “Lone Star Link” matured under the leadership of Mary Raether and became a vital communications link between the Society’s members. 1982 also saw a highly successful membership drive, which increased the Society’s membership by 50%, under the leadership of Dan Matheson and Peggy Stocker.
The Society’s year closed with over 600 members of the Society gathering at the annual brunch on March 27 to hear the Honorable Mark White, Governor of Texas, and to witness the presentation of the first annual Texas State Society Service Award to Junita Roberts for her 40 years of service to the Society. This outstanding successful brunch was chaired by Patti Tyson and Linda Rowland. May Lynn Purcell, daughter of the Honorable and Mrs. Graham B. Purcell was introduced as the 1983 Cherry Blossom Festival Princess. The society elected as its new President for 1983-84, Mrs. Rue Judd. The new year began, according to tradition with the annual Fathers Day barbecue at Smokey Glen Farm on June 19. The event attracted a record crowd of some 1,000 Texans of varying ages and sizes for an afternoon of hayrides, horseshoes, chicken and music by the “Dixie Rebels” band. The affair was co-chaired by Fred McClure and Mike Pate.
On July 31, a group of Texans went to Baltimore to see the Rangers play the Orioles. Jann Holderman organized the bus trip, which was a great success except for one thing: the Orioles won.
On August 25, some 70 people braved Washington’s high humidity summer for the annual celebration of Lyndon B. Johnson’s birthday at the LBJ Memorial Grove along the Potomac. Valerie Frost chaired the event, and her husband, Rep. Martin Frost, D-Dallas, was the master of ceremonies. Former presidential assistant Jack Valenti reminisced about LBJ at the tribute, which drew such prominent notables as House Majority Leader Jim Wright, D-Fort Worth; former Rep. George Mahon, D-Lubbock; Rep. Lindy Boggs, D-La., a close friend of the Johnsons; and former Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford. Lady Bird Johnson sent a message of thanks.
The chief event of the fall season was the second annual Terlingua Two-Step, held on October 29 in the cafeteria of the Longworth House Office Building. Chaired by Sandra Hall, it featured Tex-Mex food from Tucson Cantina, country music by Whisky River and a special appearance by an old favorite of the society, singer Teddy Heard.
The year ended with the annual spring brunch, on April 1, 1984, at which former Ambassador and Democratic Party Chairman Bob Strauss was the speaker, introduced by Rep. Charles Stenholm, D. Stamford. Ann Moody and Tammi Morgan co-chaired the brunch, which attracted some 400 persons. Out-going President Rue Judd said her official farewells, and Scooter Miller introduced the new officers and directors, headed by incoming President Don Womack. The colorful event also featured the Marine Corps Color Guard and the introduction of the 1984 Cherry Blossom Princess, Linda Rowland, the daughter of Robert and Linda Rowland.
The first event of Don Womack’s administration was the Annual Father’s Day Picnic. Rob Dickerson and Mike McAdams co-chaired this year’s outing which was held at Smokey Glen. Over 1500 Texans gathered in the summer heat to enjoy softball games, bingo, horse rides, hay rides, balloons, a C&W band, food and beer.
In July Carl Rather and Kristi Walseth led baseball fans on a bus trip to Baltimore and watched the Texas Rangers play the Baltimore Orioles. On August 27 over 50 Texans gathered at the LBJ memorial to honor the memory of former President Lyndon Baines Johnson on what would have been his 76th birthday. This event, chaired by Ann Thornburg, featured Mr. Douglass Cater, a former assistant to President Johnson, as speaker.
During the fall of 1985 Martha Lucero and Jann Holderman, representing the Texas State Society, won over 40 other entries in the National Kidney Foundation’s annual Chili Cook-Off. Because of their efforts, $410 was donated to the Foundation. Jane Oliver chaired an evening of harness racing at Rosecroft Raceway in Oxon Hill, Maryland on November 10. After a buffet dinner, Texans placed their money on their favorite horse in the “Texas Trot” race. A blanket was presented to the winning horse by the Texas State Society. Although everyone may not have left a winner, an enjoyable evening was had by all.
Over 4000 Texans turned out for the Texas State Society’s Inaugural Black Tie and Boots Gala which was chaired by Congressman Tom Loeffler. The Texas State Society received a great deal of media coverage in Washington and Texas. Thanks to the efforts of Larry Meyers, a Longhorn steer was trucked to Washington, D.C. and presented as a gift to Vice President and Mrs. George Bush. The Bush family donated the steer to the Leukemia Treatment Center at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston.
Texas Independence Day was celebrated with a Terlingua Two-Step dance chaired Steve Fenoglio and held in the Longworth Cafeteria on March 2. Society members enjoyed an evening of two-stepping and Tex-Mex food.
Hundreds of Society members turned out for the spring brunch and Annual Meeting on April 14, 1985, to hear Congressman Charlie Stenholm and former Congressman Kent Hance dubiously dubbed the “Smothers Brothers from Texas.” The duo was in rare form as the crowd warmed to the endless jokes and tall tales. During the elegant Mexican brunch organized by Martha Buchanan Lucero, a mariachi band provided lively dining music. As was the usual custom, the Texas Cherry Blossom Princess was presented to the Society. The 1985 Princess was LuAnn Grace. Texas State Society members elected Patti Birge Tyson President for 1985-86.
Texas fathers and their families took a hike to Virginia for the Annual Texas State Society Father’s Day Picnic. Leaving the security of Smokey Glen Farm, hundreds of Texans descended on JR’s Festival Lakes on Sunday, June 16, 1986. Garbed in “watermelon eating” T-shirts donated by the Southland Corp., picnickers enjoyed the paddle boats, swimming hole, softball, volleyball, and bingo. The picnic was an enormous success even though the beer ran out early on. JR promised to do better in 1986!
In July, Texans migrated south for a new Society event, the Alexandria Port City Player’s production of “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” As a special treat, playwright Larry King and his wife joined Society members for the event. The award winning author expressed some surprise when the Aggies disrobed after the big game, noting that this was the first time he had ever seen that in any of the dozens of productions of his play. During the intermission, Society members enjoyed homemade refreshments and punch. Afterwards, the cast mingled through the crowd enjoying much earned accolades for what was a very enjoyable evening.
A busload of baseball fans journeyed to Baltimore to cheer-on the Texas Rangers as the Texas club battled the Os. This was the third year Ranger fans made the trek and this spirit was never better. This no doubt was due to the organization and enthusiasm of coordinator Kristi Walseth who had the “misfortune” to miss the game due to a cycling trip in Paris. The 38 Texas fans enjoyed soft drinks and beer on the bus, which certainly made the 4-2 loss more bearable. The 77th Anniversary of the birth of Lyndon Baines Johnson was commemorated on Tuesday, August 27, 1985. The granite monument was placed in the LBJ Grove where friends and Texans gathered to honor the memory of President Johnson. Event Chairman Ann Thornburg enlisted the help of Rev. George R. Davis, retired Minister of the National City Christian Church and Pastor to LBJ, to give the invocation. Harry McPherson, Jr. gave brief remarks and then, with the help of Mr. Rusty Young, former White House Florist, placed a wreath at the monument.
Over fifty gambling go-getters turned out for the Second Annual “Texas Trot” held at Rosecroft Raceway on November 1, 1985. Co-chairs Becky Mathews and Harry Kelso organized the event which included dinner and betting on the harness-style races. Congressman Charlie Stenholm and Congressman Tom DeLay were on hand to congratulate driver Steve Warrington and Constance Lobell, the official Texas State Society sponsored horse.
The Texas Congressional Delegation was honored on a snowy January evening in the refurbished Cannon Caucus Room. Co-Chairs, Patti Pyle and Drucie Scaling, labored throughout the day to recreate a scene right out of the Lone Star State. An oil derrick, steer’s skull and plenty of red, white, and blue flowers were in the forefront of a large Texas flag and provided just the right setting for the tamale and taco eating crowd. A display of replicas of antique Texas flags reminded Society members of all the Sesquicentennial events planned for 1986.
AT&T hosted a night at the Kennedy Center for Texas State Society members when it brought the Houston Ballet to town and invited Society members to enjoy the January 28, 1986, performance. The evening’s program included a world premiere of “The Miraculous Mandarin.” A post-performance reception had been planned, but was canceled out of respect for the Space Shuttle Astronauts who lost their lives earlier in the day. Food from the canceled reception was donated to a local soup kitchen.
The annual meeting and reception held on April 10, 1986, ushered in the new Texas State Society Board members and officers. Outgoing President, Patti Tyson, bid farewell to the Texas-sized crowd and turned over the reins to Joe Winkelmann. The 1986 Texas Cherry Blossom Princess, Linne Sayers, was presented to the Society members shortly before Congressman Pickle took advantage of the Sesquicentennial year to amuse the crowd with tidbits of Texas history.
Texans in Washington stood taller than ever in 1986 and 1987 — the 50th Anniversary of Texas Independence and the election of Texas Congressman Jim Wright as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Harry Kelso and David Bates not only planned the party atmosphere for the evening, but the business meeting as well, at which a complete bylaws and State Society Constitution revision was adopted (raising concerns that the Society might copy the Lone Star State’s seemingly endless desire to amend the Texas Constitution.)
Vic Driscoll and Dolly McClary put together another bang-up Father’s Day picnic for more than 1200 Texans. Swimming, fishing, hayrides, softball, barbecued ribs and chicken, corn-on-thecob, and lots of cold beer and sodas kept the crowd in great spirits throughout the day. Our Summer commemoration of the birthday of President Lyndon Johnson brought a loyal and dedicated gathering to the LBJ Grove on the Potomac. Ivan Sinclair chaired the event with the Spirit only an ol’ LBJ Staffer could muster.
Another commemoration of our proud Texan past took place far from both Potomac and Pedernales, in a fitting tribute to the man who made Texas Independence possible. Representatives from Texas, Tennessee and Virginia and from the Cherokee Nation gathered at Sam Houston’s birthplace in Lexington, Virginia to dedicate a 38,000-pound Birthplace “marker” made of pure Texas Hill Country Granite. George Bristol, Chairman of the Texas Conservative Foundation, provided the huge pink granite marker, and teamed up with Charles Schnabel, Don Kennard, Jann Holderman, Martha Lucero, Jane Oliver and Barbara Bauman to organize the four-hour trek to the dedication.
Even folks who have lost their drawl learned to say “Sesquicentennial” with a back-home accent, as events through the year build up to the State Society’s Texas-sized 150th Birthday Celebration at the Washington Hilton, where Charlie Pride, the Maines Brothers, and Jerry Jeff Walker entertained for thousands of Native and Wish-They-Were-Native Texans. The 150th Birthday Blowout, celebrating the theme “Deep in the Heart of Texas”, featured Texas beer, Mexican food, German food, Texas barbecue, chicken-fried steak (complete with cream gravy and black-eyed peas), and Texas-shaped pralines from Abilene to go with the C&W entertainment, all organized to a fare-thee-well by Rep. and Mrs. Charlie Stenholm, and Lois & Art Auer.
The entire Texas Delegation turned out—along with a packed Cannon Caucus Room crowd of more than 800—to honor newly sworn-in Speaker Jim Wright. Drucie Scaling and Patti Pyle chaired the gala Salute to the Speaker which featured Tex-Mex food, mariachi entertainment, and 400 yellow and red roses from Tyler. To climax the evening, Texas State Society President Joe Winkelmann introduced Wright, who was presented with two mementos of his election as Speaker. House Doorkeeper James T. Molloy presented the Speaker with the American Flag that had hung over the House Chamber when Speaker Wright was elected, and Bill Stinson of Lubbock presented Wright with the Texas State Flag which had flown over the Capitol Building in Austin on the day of the Speaker’s election.
Raye Virginia Allen organized the Smithsonian Institution’s tribute to Texas’ first 150 years—a lecture series entitled “Conversations with Texans”. Lynda Bird Johnson, Admiral B. R. “Bobby” Inman, UT President William Cunningham, Liz Carpenter, Texas Folklife Resources Director Patricia Jasper, and Dallas’ own Stanley Marcus were featured in the series. The Texas State Society participated in the Smithsonian program, hosting a dinner honoring Mr. Marcus prior to his lecture, entitled “From Open Range to Fashion Runway: Texas Style, Texas Chic”. Membership boomed under the leadership of Ann Thornburg, who installed the State Society’s first computer membership system (that actually works!). The Lone Star Link went to hundreds of new members and Editor Pat Fortune introduced a lively new column on Texas New Notesabout ever-notable Texans, of course!
The Rangers-Orioles baseball game trip organized by Janice Gregory and the Texas Night at Rosecroft Raceway planned by Becky Mathews maintained the Texas State Society’s “Pay-asyou go” and Sesquicentennial Year ended on better financial footing than it started, a very good year indeed.
Following the induction of the new slate of officers headed by Jann Holderman at the annual Cherry Blossom reception in April, the Society began an exciting year of events. The first was the traditional Father’s Day picnic. Chaired by Ivan Sinclair and assisted by Kerrill Kornegay, the picnic site was moved to Potomac Valley Lodge in Poolsville, Maryland, where we were able to have our first golf and tennis tournaments as well as an Olympic-size pool. Over 1100 Texans attended and feasted on BBQ chicken, western music and, of course, bingo— Texas style, i.e. more prizes than players!
During the summer Bob Mansker led us to Baltimore by bus for the annual Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles game. This time we won!
Ivan Sinclair and Ann Thornburg co-chaired the annual LBJ birthday memorial tribute where our speaker, Lynda Johnson Robb, addressed over 60 Texans. In the fall, Henry Candy and Wynne Harris put on one of the best Terlingua Two-Step events ever at the Sheraton Washington which featured Jerry Jeff Walker, the Maines Brothers and Roseanne Cash. About 1300 two-steppers attended and cotton-eyed Joed the night away.
Our annual visit to Rosecroft Raceway was coordinated by Kerrill Kornegay and about 100 gambling Texans followed the lead of Cindy Stenholm to fortune—pure luck! In the winter we had our first-ever Texas Book Fair and conducted it in a brunch setting at the Hyatt Capitol Hill in honor or past presidents. About 10 past presidents and 300 long-time Texans living in Washington came to buy books courtesy of Trovers and hear Liz Carpenter speak. Sharon Seagraves chaired the entire event with true Texas style and grace.
The annual Congressional reception was chaired by Jill Collins and Congressman Ralph Hall in the Cannon Caucus Room with over 500 Texans in attendance. Special thanks to Heublein, makers of Jose Cuervo Tequila, for sponsoring this reception.
The 1988-1989 Texas State Society year began with the State Fair of Texas coming to Washington and concluded with the grandest Black Tie and Boots Gala in our history. Under the leadership of Congressman Charles Stenholm,’88-89 president, the membership of the Society increased to over 2600.
Our Annual Meeting was themed “State Fair of Texas Comes to Washington” and the event, held at the Department of Agriculture, featured a variety of State Fair foods. Introduced at the festive reception was our Cherry Blossom princess, Maria Eleanor Korth, daughter of Penne and Fritz-Alan Korth. Chairing the event were Drucie Scaling and Patti Pyle.
Another spring event was our reception honoring Lady Bird Johnson at the Botanic Garden. Held in conjunction with a week of Washington activities marking Lady Bird’s 75th birthday, the beautiful party benefitted the National Wildflower Center in Austin, founded by Mrs. Johnson in 1982.
Congressman Mike Andrews and Kerrill Kornegay chaired the Father’s Day picnic at Potomac Valley Lodge where over a thousand TSS members enjoyed great barbecue, golf, tennis, swimming and terrific door prizes. In July, Bob Mansker organized our annual trek to the Texas Rangers-Baltimore Orioles game. Horace Busby, advisor to President Johnson, was the featured speaker at the LBJ Birthday Tribute which was organized by Pat Fortune. And, the Texas Trott at Rosecroft Raceway in October saw TSS members enjoying the night at the races and a good buffet, too. Rob Anderson was the chair for that event.
In November we got together with the Minnesota State Society at the Crystal, Gateway Marriott Hotel to party and watch the Cowboys-Vikings football game. Matt Brockman organized the party and arranged for Cowboys souvenirs as door prizes. In conjunction with the National Museum of Women in the Arts exhibition of Texas Artists, a special reception for TSS members was hosted at the museum by the Southland Corporation. Former TSS president Elizabeth S. Hutchinson, museum board member, and Patti Pyle coordinated arrangements.
On January 21, the Society hosted the unbelievable Black Tie and Boots Gala at the Washington Hilton Honoring President and Mrs. George Bush. Special guests included longtime TSS member and co-chairman of the Bicentennial Presidential Inaugural Committee, Penne Korth, Secretary of State James Baker, Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher, plus Hollywood celebrities and over 6,000 guests. Featured entertainers were country stars Steve Wariner, Jerry Jeff Walker, Johnny Rodriquez, and Jody Nix and the Texas Cowboys. Taking the enormous task of chairing the event were TSS president Charles Stenholm, Don Womack, Mike Hudson and Jann Holderman. The party was publicized throughout the country and was featured on every network newscast. It was truly “the” event of the Inaugural week.