Republican leader, Highlander columnist Dorothy Crockett dies

Special to The Highlander/Star Republican Women
Horseshoe Bay Mayor Steve Jordan declared Nov. 14, 2017 “Dorothy Crockett Day” at the Star Republican Women's special tribute to the long-time Republican, who helped found the Texas Federation of Women as well as SRW. The mayor's declaration was met with a standing ovation by more than 140 who attended the special event.





By Lew K. Cohn
Managing Editor

The name Dorothy Crockett became synonymous with Horseshoe Bay, thanks in large part to her tireless chronicles of the comings and goings of local residents through her weekly “Horseshoe Bay Happenings” column in The Highlander.

Crockett, who started the column in the 1980s and continued writing it until her 2017 retirement at age 93, passed away Sunday, Jan. 20. She was 94.

A memorial service for Crockett will be held at the Church of Horseshoe Bay on Feb. 4 at 1 p.m. with a reception following in the church fellowship hall.

Crockett also was known for her able leadership as she helped found the Texas Federation of Republican Women in 1955 and the Highland Lakes Republican Women’s Club in 1975, a predecessor club to the Star Republican Women's Club which serves south Llano County today.

Don Eckelbarger, who helped her compile “Horseshoe Bay Happenings” on a weekly basis for more than 10 years, called her “a very special person in my life.”

She was highly disciplined, loyal to Horseshoe Bay and loved by all who knew her,” Eckelbarger asid. “She attended Sunday school and church at the Church at Horseshoe Bay every Sunday unless she was too sick to drive or was out of town. Dorothy and her late husband Frank, an architect, spent their lives working to make their community a better place to live and work. She will be sorely missed by her many friends and acquaintances.”

Horseshoe Bay Mayor Steve Jordan, who proclaimed Nov. 14, 2017, as “Dorothy Crockett Day” in the community, called Crockett “a legend.”

She seemed to have boundless energy and never missed an event,” Jordan said. “She and her husband Frank helped to put Horseshoe Bay on the map. We were all blessed to have known Dorothy.”

Frank Reilly, a local attorney and Hill Country Community Theatre board member, said he had known Crockett since his high school days and said the HSB matriarch “lived a long and productive life.”

She was always beautiful, elegant, and as she aged, very funny. Dorothy so loved working for Rhe Highlander and it gave her a purpose in life well into her 90s,” Reilly said. “I was always honored when she'd call for information for her column or needed a date to take her somewhere.

She and her husband Frank are likely dancing and cutting up together in heaven. Rest in peace.”

Ron Mitchell, vice chairman and president of the Horseshoe Bay Resort, presented Dorothy in April 2018 with an honorary lifetime membership to the Horseshoe Bay Resort Club, making her the first and only person ever given such an award by the resort.

Sorrow fills our hearts at the news of the passing of Dorothy, a sorrow that is deep and personal,” Mitchell said. “The character of the life she lived might be summed up in a few words, Dorothy played a significant role in the development and history of Horseshoe Bay and Horseshoe Bay Resort.

I met Dorothy some 43 years ago and had the privilege of calling her friend. No one can better appreciate than I her support of the club and community. A friend to many, her passing leaves a void within our lives; however, we can all be comforted in the knowledge that she lives in our minds, hearts and memories.”

Dorothy Nell Fouts Crockett was born on Nov. 7, 1924, in Denton, Texas, the daughter of Theron Judson Fouts and Leslie Vann Sams Fouts.

Her father was dean of men and head football coach at North Texas State Teachers College — which later became The University of North Texas — compiling a 23-14-2 record. Fouts Field, the former home of the UNT Mean Green, was named in his honor and used from 1952 through 2010. Her mother was a school teacher and active in many civic organizations.

Dorothy attended college at UNT, receiving a bachelor's degree in home economics and pledging the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She met her eventual husband, Leonard Frank Crockett, at the University of Texas while doing graduate work. They married in 1946 and moved to Odessa, where they raised three daughters. The couple enjoyed more than six decades of wedded bliss until Frank's passing in 2013.

A staunch Republican, Dorothy helped found the Odessa Republican Women's Club — now the Ector County Republican Women's Club — in 1960 and served as its president in 1966. Crockett's service also extended to the Odessa Community Chest, Midland and Odessa Symphony Guilds, and the Odessa Contemporary art guild.

In 1972, the lure of moving to a resort community on the shore of Lake LBJ in the Texas Hill Country brought Frank and Dorothy Crockett and their family to newly developed Horseshoe Bay. It didn't take long for her to find her niche as Crockett joined the Highland Lakes Art Guild and the Highland Lakes Garden Club as well as a patron of the Hill Country Community Theatre. Her family became active members of The Church at Horseshoe Bay. She taught school and owned a dress shop, Fancy Pants, for 28 years.

Crockett also turned her eye to the political scene in the Hill Country and brought together like-minded women in 1975 to create the Highland Lakes Republican Women’s Club to serve Llano, Burnet, Kingsland, Deer Haven and Lampasas. The club encompassed three counties — Burnet, Llano and Lampasas — in order to find enough Republican women to form the club. At the first meeting in Kingsland, Crockett wrote the club's bylaws. The same year, the Texas Federation of Republican Women recognized Crockett as their Outstanding Republican Woman.

In 1987, while serving as the Region XI district director for Texas Federation of Republican Women, Crockett helped a group of women create a club specifically for the south end of Llano County. The South Llano Republican Women's Club first met January 1987 and Crockett would serve as president in 1996 and 1997. The club changed its name to Star Republican Women in 2010.

For more than 40 years, Crockett was elected a delegate or alternate to the Texas GOP Convention. She also had the privilege of serving as a delegate to the National Republican Convention on multiple occasions.

In the 1980s, while in her 60s, Crockett took on a new challenge — writing about events taking place in her beloved Horseshoe Bay for a weekly column that would appear in each Friday edition of The Highlander. She kept up with everything that happened in the community, rarely missing anything of note, for more than 30 years until she stepped down as contributing columnist in late 2017 at the age of 93.

The Star Republican Women would recognize Crockett for her contributions during their November 2017 annual meeting. Crockett was sent personal greetings by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway while former state Sen. Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay spoke about her contributions to the Republican Party in Texas and his relationship with her throughout the years.

Crockett was honored by TFRW president Teresa Kosmoski for her “fearless, undaunted commitment to the Republican Party” and given a champagne toast.

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