An Interview with Frances Goff, June 07 1977, Part 1

An Interview with Frances Goff, June 07 1977, Part 1



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Publication Date



Texas Politics, Cancer




An Interview with Frances Goff

Director of Special Projects at MD Anderson

Video Profiles with Don Macon

June 7, 1977

Family Background and Early Exposure to a Texas Political Figure

A: Personal Background

Story Codes

A: Personal Background;

00:00:07 - Start of video: Frances Goff was born July 16, 1916 in Kenedy, Texas. Her paternal grandfather came to Texas from Peterborough England and was employed by the railroad east of San Antonio. Her paternal grandmother was from Yorktown, Texas where the couple met and were married. Frances’ parents, Alfred T. Goff and Grace Ingram Goff, divorced when she was 2 years old. Her mother then married “a Stripling from east Texas” (G.G. Stripling) and Frances lived with her in Center, Texas. At that time she met several interesting people, among them was the loquacious future Texas State Senator Wardlow Lane who she listened to her mother, who “was a pretty good conversationalist,” exchange stories with.

Childhood Interactions with Noteworthy Guests at the Goff Hotel

A: Personal Background

Story Codes

A: Influences from People and Life Experiences;

00:05:04 - Frances’ father was an executive with the Mobil Oil Company in San Antonio. When Frances was 13 years old, her mother died. Subsequently she went to live with her paternal grandparents, who owned and operated the Goff Hotel in Kenedy, Texas, which was the “center of attraction in Kenedy.” While living in Kenedy with her grandparents, Ms. Goff met several notable people staying at the hotel, like Dr. R. Lee Clark through his sister Dorothy Clark husband Dr. John William “Jack” Worsham, that were staying at the hotel while investigating opening a hospital in Kennedy, Texas. Ms. Goff became and remained “very, very dear friends” with the Worshams. Along with Junction County Attorney Coke Stevenson, who would later become Governor of Texas, other politically-active guests at the hotel had conversations with Ms. Goff.

Early Interest and Experience in Texas State Politics

A: Professional Path

Story Codes

C: Formative Experiences; C: Giving Recognition; C: Funny Stories;

00:09:09 - While attending the San Antonio Business College, Ms. Goff heard very interesting stories about the Texas Legislature which furthered her interest in politics. Then while working for the Kenedy Chamber of Commerce, she met, and was asked to be an assistant to for the 1937 legislative session, Texas House of Representatives 79th district representative Helmuth H. Schuenemann, whose family Ms. Goff knew from the Schuenemann Law Office in the same building. During this “very rewarding experience,” in addition to secretarial skills, an assistant needed to be able to relate to the constituents, know all of the members of the legislature, and be “jack of all trades” in supporting the research, procedures, bill creation, etc.

Next, while working for a member of the Texas Legislature in San Antonio, Ms. Goff received a call from Texas Governor Wilbert Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel, who needed someone who knew Texas legislative procedure and the members of the Texas Legislature, to aid in governor improving his rapport with the members. After working in a chaotic environment for the Governor O’Daniel, who was a notorious procrastinator, she was “fired” for being “too friendly with the press.” Ms. Goff considered that firing “one of the greatest recommendations I’ve ever had.”

Ms. Goff’s Texas Senate Appropriations Committee Work and the Legislative Effort to Create a Cancer Hospital in Texas

A: Professional Path

Story Codes

C: Evolution of Career; C: Giving Recognition; B: Building/Transforming the Institution; C: Human Stories;

00:20:00 – In 1943, while working for Edward Weaver More, a member of the Texas Senate from Harris County, Ms. Goff participated in writing the bill that placed the Houston Dental College within the University of Texas. At this time Ms. Goff met Dr. Frederick C. Elliot, who was dean of the Houston Dental College, for the first time and “remained a very dear friend ever since.”

Prior to this, early in the 1941 Texas legislative session when Ms. Goff was “fired” by Governor O’Daniel, “word had gotten around pretty well about it.” W.O. Reed, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the Texas House of Representatives, asked Frances to work with him as the Secretary and Budget Officer of the Texas House of Representatives.

In the 1941 session, House Bill 268 was introduced to create a cancer hospital, and place it under the University of Texas Board of Regents. At this time the wife of the President of the Texas Senate and future Texas Governor Coke R. Stevenson, Fay Stevenson, was “desperately ill with cancer” and was living in the Lt. Governors office in the apartment at the rear of senate. Ms. Goff felt Ms. Stevenson’s illness and high regard by legislative members played an important emotional part in the passing of H.B. 268 out of committee during a hearing one night, and ultimately it’s passage by the legislature.

Texas Legislators Who Were Important Supporters of the MD Anderson Cancer Hospital

B: Building the Institution

Story Codes

C: On Texas and Texans; D: Politics and Cancer/Science/Care; C: Giving Recognition;

00:24:17 – The 1947 Texas Legislature was the first legislature that Dr. R. Lee Clark, Director and Surgeon in Chief of MD Anderson, would work with. Some noteworthy Texas Legislative friends and supporters of MD Anderson over the years were: Lt. Governor Alan Shivers, Senate Finance Committee Chairmen Wardlaw Lane, A.M. Akin “Mr. Education” (who lost his father to cancer), Jim Taylor who Ms. Goff worked with as Senate Budget Officer, Senator Grady Hazelwood, who was close to Dr. R. Lee Clark, and Senator Rudolph Winert, Dean of the Senate, who Ms. Goff knew through her father when he was an attorney for Mobil Oil Company when Ms. Goff’s father was head of development there.

00:30:35 – End of Part 1 of the video.

An Interview with Frances Goff, June 07 1977, Part 1