Ranger Exes Memorial - The Faculty RJC

Grover Boswell DR. GROVER CLEVELAND BOSWELL died Sept. 11, 1953 in Austin, TX. Personal Data: Born: August 30, 1888 in Elkton, TN, the eldest of four children Parents: James Monroe and Frances Ann (Fannie) Puckett Boswell Married: 1909 to Sallie Udora Parker (deceased 1913) June 8, 1915 to Mary Anna Murrell Children: James Monroe Boswell Helen Andrews Boswell Genevieve Murrell Boswell Education: Attended school in Tennessee before moving to a farm near Barry, TX in 1901 Attended schools in Barry and Corsicana Attended college at Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos, Trinity University, and Normal at Commerce (East Texas State Teachers College) (B.A. & teaching certificate 1926) Graduate studies at Southern Methodist University (1929), The University of Texas, and Simmons University (later Hardin Simmons University) (M.A. in History, 1933) Honorary LLD from Texas Wesleyan College 1939 Career: Taught 2 - 3 years in rural schools in North Texas Principal, Megargel High School, 1915 - 1916 Superintendent, Megargel Public Schools, 1916 - 1918 Superintendent, Ringgold Public Schools, 1918 - 1921 Superintendent, Byers Public Schools, 1921 - 1930 Superintendent, McLean Public Schools, 1930 - 1933 Dean, McMurry College 1933 - 1936 President, Weatherford Jr. College, 1936 - 1941 Field Representative and History professor, Texas Wesleyan College, Fort Worth, 1941 Superintendent, Ranger Public Schools and President, Ranger Jr. College, 1941 - 1951 President, Ranger Junior College, 1951-1953 Supervisor, Texas Veteran's Land Program, General Land Office, 1953 M.A. thesis - "History of the Barho Ranch of the Eastern Panhandle of Texas", August 1933 Articles: "James Abercrombie Hyder, Dean of West Texas," West Texas Historical Association Year Book, November 1935, pp. 38 - 46 "Fort Elliott's West Texas Historical Association Quarterly", May 1936 Educational Memberships: Member, National Education Association Longtime director, Texas Inter-Scholastic League President, Texas Junior College Athletic Association, 1953 Member, Ancient and Benevolent Order of the Red Rose, an informal, invitation-only, fraternal organization limited to educators Life Member, Texas State Teachers Association Member, Board of Directors, Texas Southern University, by appointment of Governor Allan Shivers, October 16, 1951 Listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the Southwest and Who's Who in American Education Organizations: Member, West Texas Historical Association Member and President, McLean Lions Club Oddfellow Member, Abilene Lions Club Member and President, Weatherford Rotary Club President, Weatherford Chamber of Commerce Member, Knights of Pythias 32nd Degree Mason Shriner President, Ranger Rotary Club District Governor, Rotary District 186, 1949 -1950 President, Ranger Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Eastland County Chapter of the American Red Cross Steward, Methodist Church for nearly 40 years Delegate, General Conference of Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Birmingham, Alabama, 1938 Delegate from Central Texas Annual Conference to Uniting Conference of the Methodist Church, Kansas City, Missouri, 1939 Miscellaneous: Had a reputation for rescuing schools in financial distress At every school, emphasized and championed teacher pay raises and adding new courses to curricula, including developing the arts and sports and worked for accreditation. by Joe B. Frantz: Dr. Boswell's career covered an almost complete span of Texas educational experiences from teaching in rural one-teacher schools to teaching in the consolidated school, from teaching in country schools which couldn't complete an 8-months' year to sponsoring summer programs for public schools and colleges, and from superintending schools whose teachers at the outset were paid $60 a month to schools observing the Gilmer-Aiken schedules. His main contribution, however, lies in junior college work, a field he entered after two decades in public school work and three years a dean of a senior college. Regardless of which field in which he labored, he made his greatest claim as a builder of the local school, leaving each town with a stronger school whose scholastic rating was higher, whose course offerings were expanded, whose enrollment had increased, and whose finances were sounder. He was an excellent doctor of sick school systems. In Byers [1921], Dr. Boswell took over an unaccredited rural school, and in nine years built a fully accredited grade and high school system. High school upstairs, grade school down. It became a member of the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. A new school building was completed in December 1929 and was still in use as late as the early 1950s. [Dec. 15, 1929: "The high school building has just been completed and Mr. Boswell is rounding out his ninth year with the local schools. The high school is the only high school in the county that has membership in the all-Southern list of accredited secondary schools and colleges. There are seven members in the high school faculty, with an enrollment of about 160 students and twenty-eight in the senior class." Dallas Morning News] In McLean, he took over a school system that had been wrecked financially and was in danger of discontinuing because of its financial tangle, and in the depth of the Depression worked the school back to stability. In addition, the McLean system was in danger of losing its accreditation, due in part to its financial distress which led to teacher procurement difficulties, but Dr. Boswell also straightened out this situation and left McLean once again in full accreditation. During his tenure as Dean, McMurry College was accepted into the Southern Association of American Colleges, and the major share of the credit for this development, according to McMurry President J. W. Hunt (Abilene Reporter-News, January 1934), belonged to Dr. Boswell, who was charged with trying to bring McMurry into the Association. Dr. Boswell initiated the McMurry extension division. At Weatherford College, where he made his advent into the junior college field, Dr. Boswell took over a dispirited school that was rapidly succumbing to Depression difficulties, and in five years trebled its income, raised its enrollment from less than 100 students to more than 350, built a two-story brick library, increased an almost non-existent loan fund to one totaling tens of thousands, thereby enabling many a Depression-struck student to gain two years of college, and all the while raised salaries of his teaching staff. His next job of resurrection was at Ranger, where a school system built in opulent oil-boom days was in danger of dying because of a declining town over-burdened with public debt. At a time when most other city systems were tasting the economic upsurge at the beginning of the 1940s, the Ranger system was still paying its staff in heavily discounted scrip, and was apparently hopelessly behind in its bills. When Dr. Boswell left Ranger thirteen years later, junior college enrollment had increased from 56 to more than 500, at the same time that Ranger's population continued to dwindle. Where there had been no loan fund, a sizeable one now existed. The junior college, whose sole plant had consisted of the third floor of the high school building, now had ten separate, debt-free buildings worth $400,000 and had been completely separated from the grade- and high-school system by the simple process of outgrowing it. Dr. Boswell was known throughout his career as a teacher's super- intendent or president, as he waged a consistent and successful fight to raise salaries of his teachers and other employees. The result was that a Boswell-run school system invariably paid higher salaries than other Texas schools of similar size and financial condition, with the result that he was able to extract a loyalty from his employees that can be obtained only when subordinates know their superior will fight their battle with all his heart and energy. Because of his loyalty to his teachers, and their devotion to him, he gave every town in which he worked a feeling of pride and respect for its school system and the practitioners within it that does not always exist between town and school. Dr. Boswell also had a strong sense of public relations, and gave unstintingly of his time to worthwhile civic causes, while seeing that his teachers emulated his efforts to have the school and its employees lead. It is, of course, impossible to estimate the influence of Dr. Boswell over the lives of his students. At the three colleges he never turned away a student for financial reasons, but worked at the student's problem until some way could be found for that student to make his way through college. Literally hundreds of students received from one to four years of college schooling, especially during the Depression of the 1930s, because Dr. Boswell refused to admit defeat in solving their bleak situations. Like a doctor or a minister, he was on call twenty-four hours a day to counsel, lend money, retrieve from trouble, and in general help students get free from all the difficulties, actual and imaginary, into which only students can get themselves. Here then is no life lived on the grand educational pattern, with facilities on every hand to give free play to working out imaginative educational programs. Dr. Boswell represents the small system, small college leader who fought eternally and courageously the battle of "barely enough" that characterized so much of small-town Texas education. He fought cheerfully, believing unswervingly that the work of a school man is as important as any that can be done on the earth, and fought to win, whatever the odds. That he invariably won against handicaps that the big-system school man knows nothing of is a tribute both to him and to the dozens of small-system leaders of whom he is an outstanding representative. Note: The information on Dr. Boswell was provided by the family. Joe B. Frantz, who wrote the above biographic sketch was the husband of Dr. Boswell's eldest daughter, Helen, who along with Genevieve, were the children of his marriage to Mary Anna Murrell. The late Dr. Frantz was very prominent in the history department at UT-Austin for a number of years. Mary Anna Murrell Boswell died in Austin in 1961. Monroe Boswell lives in Fort Worth and has a son James Dan. Helen Frantz resides in Austin and has two daughters, Jolie Fleming and Lisa Dietz. Genevieve Moss lives in Houston with her husband, Thomas W. Moss, Jr., and they have two sons, Michael and Marshall. DAUGHTER: HELEN BOSWELL FRANTZ, a resident of Austin for over 70 years, died Oct. 21, 2012. She leaves behind a legacy of love, laughter, & a lust for living. Born Jan. 2, 1919 to Grover Cleveland (G.C.) Boswell & Mary Anna Murrell Boswell, Helen's early life reads like a travelogue of North and West Texas small towns. As her father was recruited to establish and gain accreditation for new school districts, Helen lived in Ringgold (her birthplace), Byers, Commerce, and McLean. The family moved to Abilene where she completed her high school years at Abilene High. In the years to come she would often delight her young daughters with a high-pitched rendition of the school's somber alma mater. Another move, this time to Weatherford, saw Helen completing Weatherford Junior College. She completed her undergraduate studies at Texas Wesleyan College in Fort Worth. However, it was in Weatherford that Helen met and married Joe B. Frantz in Sept. of 1939. Together, they moved to Austin, where they both pursued graduate study, with Helen researching the Little Theater Movement in Texas. Although they always maintained a home in Austin and continued to be associated with the University of Texas, professional opportunities and World War II led Helen to continue exploring new environs. During their first fifteen years of marriage, the couple lived in Houston, Brooklyn, and Boston. For part of WWII, Helen taught public school in Ranger, TX. In many ways her greatest success was not as a classroom teacher; rather she was able to arrange social services that met the needs of individual students. Upon their return to Austin, Helen began joining several civic groups. Possessed with strong organizational skills, she believed in being an active participant, serving on the board of many. She served as president of the Dill Elementary School PTA, the University Ladies Club, the American History Club, and Open Forum, where she was a frequent presenter. In 1984, she was asked to write an entry about the American History Club for The Handbook of Texas. She was also a former member of Faculty Wives, Retired Faculty Staff Association, and the English-Speaking Union. In 1966 she joined Pan American Round Table, an organization whose purpose is to promote the knowledge of neighboring countries. She twice served as president of that organization and was chair- person of its state convention when it was held in Austin in 1975. Again, she was asked to supply an entry on this organization for the Handbook. She remained committed to PART until her death. Additionally, Helen was a member of the original group of Docents of the LBJ Library, where she was recognized for twenty-five years and over 3500 hours of service. She also was a docent at the Texas Governor's Mansion beginning in 1983 when the program started. When forming the Austin Arts Commission, Mayor Carole McClellan appointed her as a member in the area of Dance. She served four terms, ending in 1986, and was honored with the Amicus Award for "outstanding support of the Arts in Austin" in 1984. Helen also logged volunteer hours with Reading Is Fundamental, Meals on Wheels, and with the Texas State Historical Association during its annual conventions. The granddaughter of a Methodist minister, Helen joined the University United Methodist Church when she first moved to Austin. She enjoyed belonging to several UMW circles and was a member of the Couples Plus class. Helen loved to travel and was able to visit most of the continents. Her first visit to Mexico sparked a life-long interest in Central and South America. She enjoyed living for extended periods in Chile, Peru, and Ecuador. However, when asked in recent years where she would most like to return, she promptly answered, "The Greek Isles." Helen is survived by her two daughters, Jolie Fleming and her husband, Scott, of Falls Church, VA, and Lisa Dietz & her husband, Henry, of Austin; five grandchildren: Stephen, Genevieve, and Nick Fleming, and Richard and Rachel Dietz; her sister, Genevieve Boswell Moss; and many nieces and nephews. They will miss her quick wit, her family stories, and the joy of being with her.