George Lescher MacGregor, born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and raised in Waco, where his father was a lawyer, died at the age of 93 in 1994. He arrived in Dallas in May 1929 to take a sales job at Dallas Power & Light Company, quickly rising through the corporate ranks to become head of industrial sales in only two years. Eighteen years later, be became president of the company. He helped organize Texas Utilities Company in 1947, which ultimately joined DP&L, Texas Electric Service Company, and Texas Power & Light. He became president of Texas Utilities in 1953 and its chairman in 1967. He retired in 1972.
As his business career progressed, MacGregor was active in Dallas civic affairs. He and the late businessman and philanthropist Karl Hoblitzelle guided much of the fund raising that made the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas such an important center in the medical world. He became chairman of the Southwestern Medical Foundation (1973-1981). He also served as president and chairman of the Hoblitzelle Foundation (1948-1981). In 1969 the Dallas Hospital Council recognized MacGregor’s work with the Dallas Hospital Council Service Award. The medical center established a professorship and distinguished chair in his honor.
He and his late wife, Jean Edge MacGregor, were two of the fourteen founders of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.
Jack Russell Maguire died at his home in Fredericksburg in 2000. Born in 1920, Maguire became a reporter at the early age of sixteen, graduated from the University of Texas, and went on to a career as an Associated Press reporter, public relations executive, director of the UT Ex-Students Association, director of the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio, and author.
Maguire loved to tell the story of how he got his first job. At age sixteen, he applied for a summer job with the Denison Herald. The editor turned him down, but Maguire challenged the editor, saying that he deserved a reporting job if he could land a front-page story. The editor agreed. Soon after delivering the challenge, Maguire learned through his father, who worked for the Katy Railroad, that President Franklin D. Roosevelt would go through Denison on his way to the Texas Centennial celebration in Dallas. Maguire wrote the president, telling him of the bet and how much he wanted the job and suggesting that if he would stop in Denison and deliver a short speech, the cub reporter would have his story. Roosevelt apparently liked the idea, for he agreed. Maguire got his front-page story and launched his career as a journalist.
Maguire also worked as a newscaster for a Sherman radio station and as a reporter for the Denton Record-Chronicle before entering North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) to study journalism. Transferring to the University of Texas, he worked for the old International News Service, then for the Associated Press Austin bureau. He was elected editor of the Daily Texan and graduated in 1944. He worked at newspapers in Denison and Saint Louis, Missouri, before returning to Texas to become editor of the Katy Magazine. He later worked as a public relations executive with the Texas & Pacific Railroad before being named public relations director of the Texas Insurance Advisory Association. He resigned that position in 1965 to become director of the University of Texas Ex-Students Association.
Maguire wrote a “Talk of Texas” column for years. It appeared in Texas Highways as well as several newspapers. He also wrote or co-authored nine books and hundreds of magazine articles, mainly about Texas or railroads. He interviewed every president from Roosevelt to Lyndon B. Johnson.
Maguire married the former Patsy Jean Horton of San Antonio in 1945. Following her death in 1985, he married Ann Roddy, whom he had known during his college years.
H. STANLEY MARCUS
Born into the merchandizing family of Herman Marcus, his sister and her husband, Carrie and Al Neiman, April 20, 1905, in Dallas, Texas, Stanley literally learned the business on the floor of the store, starting at the age of two playing with empty thread spools. He was schooled in the public schools of Dallas and at the feet of his mother, Minnie Lichtenstein, a Dallas native. He graduated from Harvard in 1925 and continued in graduate studies in business there. He had wanted a career in printing and publishing but his father convinced him that he needed to make money in the store before he could indulge this interest, so he went home to work in the store at the age of twenty-one as the company's secretary, treasurer and director.
Stanley Marcus married St. Louis native Mary Cantrell and they had three children, a daughter Jerrie and twins Wendy and Richard. He took the reins of Neiman Marcus in December of 1950, upon the death of his father. He continued the credo he had learned from his father "It's never a good sale for Neiman Marcus unless it's a good buy for the customer," and further transformed Neiman Marcus into an icon of customer service and high-quality merchandise.
In 1938, he had created the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion, which was presented over a period of several decades to designers as diverse as Coco Chanel and Miuccia Prada, along with individuals from Grace Kelly to Grace Mirabella whose personal style and point of view influenced fashion directions. Neiman Marcus was the first retail apparel store outside of New York to advertise in national fashion magazines.
His other innovations for Neiman Marcus were to devise the Fortnight celebrations that for twenty-nine years transformed the downtown store into a fantasy replica of a particular country and offered products unique to that part of the world. In doing so, he made Dallas and Texas think more globally and he made the world aware of Neiman Marcus and Dallas and Texas. Fortnights galas brought stars and celebrities and royalty to Dallas and in the process raised funds for local arts and charities.
In December 1960, Mr. Stanley, as he was affectionately known by the store employees, pumped new life into the store's forty-five-year-old catalog by creating the Christmas Book with his brother Edward. The book introduced His and Hers exotic gifts and became world famous with the unusual marketing ideas for gifts: His and Hers airplanes, camels and submarines; white mink cowboy chaps; a black Angus steer delivered anywhere in the world along with a silver roast beef cart.
Among his many awards in fashion and advertising, Marcus received the New York Fashion Designers Annual Award in 1958; the gold medal from the National Retail Merchants Association in 1961; and induction into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 1984. The American Advertising Federation chose him as only the second retailer to receive their greatest honor of a lifetime achievement in advertising. He received an honorary doctorate of arts and letters from the University of North Texas in 1983.
In 1975 Stanley Marcus retired as chairman and chief executive officer of Neiman Marcus and became chairman emeritus. As Stanley Marcus had made this retailing enterprise not only renowned throughout the world as the epitome of quality, raising the level of taste of all who desire "the better things in life," he also played a key role in making Dallas and the state of Texas a success. His career in retailing followed, or perhaps helped lead the way, to the development of the state from frontier mentality into the place it holds today on the world scene. It is impossible to measure the impact he had on Dallas and Texas. He was involved in almost every aspect of cultural life of Dallas, which in turned spilled over into the rest of Texas.
He remained a busy and vibrant public voice, building on a legacy that included challenging censorship in the 1930s and defending long-haired students in the 1960s. A mentor to many, Stanley Marcus stood up against racism and human-rights abuses. In interviews and in a long-running newspaper column, he held forth with customary candor on civic affairs, fashion and retailing, and education among other issues. He helped found the Dallas Opera and helped save the Dallas Symphony when it was foundering. He was an art collector and connoisseur who defended the right of the Dallas Museum of Art to display controversial works. He served on the board of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and Santa Fe's cultural organizations as a great advocate and supporter. He was a supporter of architect Philip Johnson, who changed the skylines of Texas cities. His civic devotion never flagged. He was one of the key figures to take a public stand in an attempt to restore the feeling of community and self-esteem after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, taking out a full-page ad in The Dallas Morning News to do so.
He retained a life-long love of books and the production of them. In 1928 he was the major force in forming the Book Club of Texas. He was actively supportive of the lively book scene in Dallas and found ways to promote books in Neiman Marcus without having a book department. When Helen Corbitt made the Zodiac Room at Neiman Marcus a renowned restaurant and wrote her cookbooks, Neiman Marcus placed them and other cookbooks in the Epicure Shop and sold thousands of them. Tom Lea's The Brave Bulls was featured in the store as was author Ludwig Bemelmans, creator of the Madeline series of children's books. His promotion did not stop at selling books. At the urging of his friend J. Frank Dobie, Marcus collected money from like-minded patrons in Dallas to support Roy Bedichek for a year while he wrote Adventures with a Texas Naturalist. For years Stanley Marcus sponsored the cocktail party before the yearly Texas Institute of Letters banquet. He was involved with several projects with the premier Texas typographer, book maker and artist, Carl Hertzog, to name just a few of his advocacies of books and authors.
He started his writing career with articles published in Fortune, Atlantic Monthly, Pageant Magazine and Readers Digest. He wrote his first book, Minding the Store in 1974, and Quest for the Best in 1979. In later years, the University of North Texas Press reissued both of those books after publishing collections of his columns from The Dallas Morning News in The Viewpoints of Stanley Marcus: A Ten-Year Perspective, and Stanley Marcus from A to Z, the latter edited by Michael Hazel. He co-edited a book, American Greats, with Dallas advertising executive Robert Wilson.
He was also an inveterate book collector, a habit begun when he was at Harvard. He told the story of collecting books until his wife said he had to stop it as they had run out of space. Books were spilling from the bookcases into stacks on the floor, making it difficult to move around the house. Mr. Stanley then cagily thought he could collect miniature books because he could slip four or five of them into his pocket and into the house without his wife noticing. After the collection got to 1,500, however, she became aware of them, too. He eventually amassed a collection of some 2,500 miniature books. He was also a publisher of miniature books. His Somesuch Press is known for the superb typography and high-grade paper in these three-inches tall books generally printed in editions of 200–300 copies, often signed by the designer and/or Mr. Marcus. They are little jewels of the bookmaker's art. Marcus donated many of his collections to the Dallas Public Library and to Birdwell Library at Southern Methodist University.
After his retirement he began marketing himself as a consulting company that advised on marketing, customer service and taste. He was highly successful at this enterprise, as he was in everything he did. He went to his office at Crescent Court every day, impeccably dressed in an Oxxford tailored suit, silk tie and handkerchief to match, along with coordinated suspenders, ready for a full day of work. He continued to travel in his consulting business and shopped frequently. When he traveled to cities where there were Neiman Marcus stores he would always visit them. He loved to go to the stores and just walk the floors. At book signings for his books in the Neiman Marcus stores, he would ask each employee who lined up to have the book signed in what department they worked, and he would spend time chatting with them about the store and their department. He delighted in finding second-generation employees whose parents he often remembered.
In his consulting business a story that perhaps best explains the genius of Stanley Marcus is of him being hired by Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, to talk to the organization. Mr. Stanley, 94 at the time, arrived to talk to the young people dressed in his usual impeccable Oxxford suit, and found himself standing before 300 T-shirt-dressed employees. Realizing he would have a tough time establishing rapport with this audience, he said: "I took off my coat, my necktie and my shirt, down to my T-shirt. And then I said, 'Okay. Let's talk.' I couldn't have planned it better. It broke the ice. I was on stage for two hours."
J. Frank Dobie said of Roy Bedichek when he died, "He left life in the way he had hoped to, without ever having been out of it." Certainly that and more could be said of H. Stanley Marcus—a marvelous role-model for the rest of us. Dallas and the state of Texas would not have been the same without him.
MARSHALL TERRELL STEVES
Marshall Terrell Steves, a member of a pioneering San Antonio industrial family, died in Rome on Monday, October 30, 2000. He and Mrs. Steves had been there on vacation.
Marshall was born on February 25, 1923 in San Antonio, the son of Albert and Annie Tobin Bell Steves, one of five brothers. He traced his history back to Juan Curbelo, a member of a small group of Canary Islanders who arrived in San Antonio in 1731. Services were held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, San Antonio. He was buried at dusk, as he requested, in the cemetery at his family ranch in Comfort, about 40 miles northwest of San Antonio.
His great great grandfather, Edward Steves moved to Texas from Germany in 1849 and opened a lumber business in San Antonio in 1866. Mr. Steves was important in the early development of San Antonio. The business he founded continues to thrive today under the name of Steves and Sons where Marshall was Chairman of the Board when he died.
Marshall attended the San Antonio Academy, Texas Military Institute and was a fourth generation attendee of Washington and Lee University. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy, class of 1946. After graduation from the United States Submarine School in New London, Connecticut, he served in submarines for two years prior to his discharge from the Navy to return to his family business.
In 1948 he married Allierose Patricia Galt in San Antonio. They have three sons, Marshall Terrell Steves Jr., Edward Galt Steves and Sam Bell Steves II; three daughters-in-law, Jane Williams Steves, Nancy Marchbank Steves and Sarah Hause Steves and a goddaughter Nan Cunningham Watson. Additionally he is survived by six grandchildren, Marshall Terrell Steves III, Lisa Galt Steves, Gloria Galt Steves, Sarah Elizabeth Steves, Sam Bell Steves III and Lyda Wilomena Emelia Steves.
Along with his commitment to Steves and Sons, Marshall was involved in many aspects of the life of San Antonio. He was President of the Hemisfair in 1968, the San Antonio World's Fair and was an active participant in numerous businesses, social and civic organizations. He was a Trustee of Bat Conservation International, a Trustee and past President of the Admiral Nimitz Foundation. In 1966 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Sons of the Republic of Texas for meritorious service in preserving Texas heritage. He was an active member of the Order of the Alamo, the Texas Cavaliers, the German Club and a most enthusiastic member of the Philosophical Society of Texas.
Marshall contributions to the life of the City of San Antonio are legend. He had a fabulous sense of humor, a great desire to give and a willingness to share with his employees, with his friends and with frequent visitors to the City of San Antonio. He will be greatly missed by us all.
A. B. D.
MARGARET CLOVER SYMONDS
Margaret Clover Symonds, one of Houston's most beloved and respected citizens died October 26th, 1995. She was born in Chicago in 1905, graduating from Northwestern University.
In 1928 Margaret married Gardiner Symonds who lived in Hinsdale, Illinois until 1942 when they moved to Corpus Christi. In 1943 Margaret and her family moved to Houston when Gardiner Symonds became the first President of Tennessee Gas and Transmission Company, later named Tenneco, Inc. Gardiner Symonds was among the country's most admired and respected energy industry chief executives.
Margaret was President of the River Oaks Garden Club for 1961‑1962 and also served as an officer of the Garden Club of America from 1962‑1978. She was a Trustee of Northwestern University, where the conservation laboratory at Deering Library bears her name. She also served on the boards of the Child Welfare League of America, De Pelchin Faith Home, the Houston Symphony Society, The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, the Bayou Bend Gardens Endowment and the National Tropical Botanical Garden.
Margaret was survived by three sons, Henry Gardner Symonds, Jr., Williston Brandreth Symonds, and Jonathan Taft Symonds, all of Houston and also one daughter, Mrs. Philippe Bodin of Portland, Oregon. Mrs. Symonds was buried at the family gravesite at Bronswood Cemetery in Oak Brook, Illinois.
Margaret Symonds was a very beloved member of the Houston Community with many friends. She made a great impact upon her adopted city, especially in the area of city beautification and in its cultural life.
C.G. was a tireless civic worker, participating in most of the drives and non-profit organizations in Abilene during his business career. He most recently was Chairman of the Board of the Grace Museum of Abilene and the Abilene Cultural Affairs Committee. He was a former president of the Abilene Rotary Club, the Abilene Country Club, and Fairway Oaks Country Club. He served on the board of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, was a former director of the West Central Texas Oil and Gas Association; and a member and former President of the Abilene Independent School District Board of Education.
Professionally, C.G. had been active in the legal community of Texas and the nation, serving with the Abilene Bar Association, American Judicature Society, American Bar Association, American Bar Foundation, and the Texas Bar Foundation. He served as Chairman of the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation during 1983-84. He had been a Director and member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Independent Bankshares, Inc. since its inception. He also served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Pittencrieff Communication, Inc (1992-1997). He was President of the Downtown Improvement Corporation. He also served on the University of Texas Press board of advisors and was chairman of that organization shortly before his death.
Not only was C.G. a civic worker in the various organizations of the State and local community, but he was also widely known as a philanthropist. No one who came to his door in need was turned away. He was a positive force for good, not only in the Abilene community, but also to all who knew him. A lifelong Democrat, C.G. was an unrelenting champion of the underdog. He will be missed, but his influence and leadership will be felt for years to come.
DANIEL CALL WILLIAMS
Williams was National Fund Chairman for the National Board of Governors of the American National Red Cross. He served on the organizing committee for the Cotton Bowl Council, later serving as President and Chairman of the board. He served on the boards of the Coordination Board, Texas College and University System; Schreiner Institute, Kerrville; Southwest Center of Advanced Studies, Dallas; Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, AL; Texas Commission of Higher Education; Board of Regents of the University of Texas System (1969-1981), including the offices of vice chairman and chairman; Chairman of the University of Texas Development Board; Chairman off the University of Texas System Chancellor’s Council (Founder Member); and Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. He was honored in 1993 as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas.
Williams was active in the formation of the Presbyterian Hospital System, serving as Chairman of the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, Presbyterian Medical Center, Dallas, Presbyterian Healthcare System and Presbyterian Village North, Inc. He served as an Elder of Highland Park Presbyterian Church from 1940 until 1991 and Elder and Elder Emeritus of the Park Cities Presbyterian Church from 1991 until his death.