Chapter 06: The Early Leadership of Research Park and Others Who Contributed to the History of Research Park

Title

Chapter 06: The Early Leadership of Research Park and Others Who Contributed to the History of Research Park

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Identifier

PickleJJ_01_20150315_C06

Publication Date

3-15-2005

Publisher

The Historical Resources Center, Research Medical Library, The University of Texas Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The Interivew Subject's Story - Overview; Overview; Leadership; On Leadership; Portraits; On Texas and Texans; Research

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

Earl Walborg

Did you have interactions, many interactions with Joe Kennedy, who was that initial director?

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

No, not a whole lot. I’m thinking about somebody else was my main man. I want to say Quaid or something like that.

Lesley Williams Brunet

Hmm, would you have dealt with a Dr. Haas or somebody from Houston?

Earl Walborg

Felix Haas would have been in the biology department at Houston, and he was on the advisory committee for Buescher Science Park.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Who was?

Earl Walborg

Felix Haas. But Felix Haas was the director, the initial director.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Felix who?

Lesley Williams Brunet

Haas.

Earl Walborg

Felix Haas--

Lesley Williams Brunet

Felix Haas.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

H-A-R-T?

Lesley Williams Brunet

H-A-A-S. Haas. He would have been elderly, I think, by then.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

And we’ve got one man who was transferred from here to Denver, Colorado, I think, in this particular type of work.

Earl Walborg

Right. That was Tom Slaga.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Yeah, that’s who I was thinking of.

Earl Walborg

Tom Slaga.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Oh, yes. He was a good director. A lot of work to bring recognition down there. It says a great deal of the director, and the research they do, and the recognition they can get for the work that they do. Joe D. DiVonte, he done well. He’d been good, but there was some question about him. Did he have enough experience and background in directing? And he was. But it’s a good little project. And you never know how when some of these things start. We started the Buescher (pause) World Health--

Lesley Williams Brunet

World Health?

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Jurisprudence program. I forget the name of it. But anyway, we started it at a little federal facility at Camp Swift for people, young people who were being caught up in use of marijuana. And we had it so that these were for, facilities -- we had the land to put them on out there that would be used just for training purposes. They were not criminals -- they didn’t have any kind of record except their record might be in non-violence--

Clifford Drummond

Yeah, it was a minimum security facility.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

And we were going to limit that to strictly, take only those complications. We couldn’t find a hold-up to that because--

Clifford Drummond

You got too many.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

You got too many. Well, listen, I don’t want to hold you all up any more, we got any more questions later, let me know.

Earl Walborg

No, I think we pretty well covered the waterfront, I would say.

Lesley Williams Brunet

We have. We might do a little more research and --

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

You know what is yours, Nancy?

NANCY: Yes, sir. This right here.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Well, listen, I enjoyed the interview. I’m glad you’re all going back because you listen to me, and I'll talk big and walk loud into some places, ‘cause you’re going to go back and check with a lot of these other people and tie it all together.

Lesley Williams Brunet

Yeah, we’ll proof everything and we’ll send you a copy and if you want to make any other changes, we’ll--

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

And some of my university people may recall some of the people who helped us at the university level.

Lesley Williams Brunet

You remember quite a bit, and I’m not at all surprised.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Well, that was 30, 35 years ago.

Lesley Williams Brunet

Longer ago than that.

Clifford Drummond

The real roots are 40 years.

Lesley Williams Brunet

Yeah.

Earl Walborg

If one takes 1967 as a start date, which, really, things started before that but... it’ll be 40 years old in 2007.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

35 years ago.

Lesley Williams Brunet

My goodness. Did you hear that?

Clifford Drummond

Look at who that letter’s addressed to.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Harry Ransom, Chancellor.

Clifford Drummond

Chancellor Ransom. He was chancellor in the early 60s while he was also president.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Charlie Woodruss--

Earl Walborg

I think that was typed by Scirosi.

Lesley Williams Brunet

Yeah, it’s hand-typed on a typewriter.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

George E. -- Slade Woodridge, he was the mayor of Smithville for a long time.

Earl Walborg

We just interviewed, interviewed Woodruss, George Woodruss.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

How did (inaudible) bring Bastrop County into it? ‘Cause he was the county judge then.

Earl Walborg

Right.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

And he had to support it. And he did support it.

Earl Walborg

And he supported the E.D.A. grant.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

That’s right.

Earl Walborg

And he also, he also smoothed over some problems with the CapCo, because they had some policies with regard to parklands and open spaces and the state was giving up open spaces.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

A.J. Gus Novoside was on the city council. So was Cole. Greisenbeck was the county judge. Gus Novoside had a feed store there, but he was on the city council. Bosky. James Bosky. Kenneth or his wife, either or both have been mayors of Smithville.

Earl Walborg

(inaudible) is mayor now.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Mayor now?

Earl Walborg

Mm-hmm.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Well, I remember some of the people, and some you go down... and they don’t know you at all because that was 30, 40 years ago. They don’t remember and neither do I, but I remember a little bit of it. But I hope you all interviewed -- is Joe Swanner living?

Earl Walborg

You know, I don’t know.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

He’d be the A-man. And I don’t know who on Johnson’s staff. I don’t think Joe’s living now. Joe Swanner. Joe Basically. Swanner. But he would remember a lot about that, E.D.A. But if Joe Swanner or any of his people are still active in the public works division, they could help you with a lot of that.

Lesley Williams Brunet

I contacted the archivist with the parks and wildlife, and they’re going to see if they can find out and look at their records.

Clifford Drummond

Good.

Earl Walborg

When we talked to Judge Greisenbeck, he mentioned the name of a fellow by the name of Johnson that worked with Swanner and was instrumental in writing a lot of the grants.

Lesley Williams Brunet

Isn’t that Pierce?

Clifford Drummond

Well, he was talking about Pierce Johnson.

Lesley Williams Brunet

Pierce Johnson.

Clifford Drummond

But he was a member of the parks and wildlife board.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Pierce Johnson was on the parks board.

Clifford Drummond

This may have been another Johnson. I don’t recall that name.

Lesley Williams Brunet

Is it Johnson, Pierce? Johnson or Johnston?

Clifford Drummond

S-O-N.

Lesley Williams Brunet

OK.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Well, the E.D.A. would have a lot of that stuff and what they agreed to. That’s how we got underway on the program, by a shoestring. But--

Earl Walborg

Well, that’s what broke the dam right there, was the E.D.A. Grant. There’s no doubt about it. Without the E.D.A. grant--

Clifford Drummond

No one was going to step up first, but Pickle convinced Swanner to make that commitment.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

But we had money--

Clifford Drummond

And then he could embarrass the others and they’d come along.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

We had money through the E.D.A., and we had Joe Swanner’s cooperation because that was his field of work. He really wanted to train a [lot] of people. And I happened to have ready cash, and Irwin didn’t at the time. And I think Irwin, I’m glad Irwin is not living, is he?

Lesley Williams Brunet

No.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

He’d tell a different story to you.

Clifford Drummond

Rumor is that he’s no longer with us.

Lesley Williams Brunet

I can tell you that firsthand, because I had to sit at a desk while he lay in state at the LBJ Library, just this far away.

Clifford Drummond

Well, he was a real operator, and he was good. He was very good for the university. And people like Jake Pickle didn’t have any hesitation to go to Frank Irwin and say, “Now, Frank, we need to talk.”

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

No, I’d say, “Frank, I want to see now if you can deliver or not. See if you’re capable.”

Lesley Williams Brunet

That’s what it took, I imagine, with Frank Irwin.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Well, listen, to old Frank’s credit, between Johnson and LBJ and Connelly, our university campus is twice the size that it was originally and it’s growing. We can’t use the old Irwin development program like we did at the beginning, but man, we got about 100 acres more of that land, where the baseball field is, and the printing office. Whoo-where!

Lesley Williams Brunet

Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Thank you all for coming out. Dr., good to be with you again.

Lesley Williams Brunet

It’s good to see you. You still look and sound the same to me.

Earl Walborg

Great to see you!

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Glad to have you out here.

END OF AUDIO 2

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Chapter 06: The Early Leadership of Research Park and Others Who Contributed to the History of Research Park

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