Frank W. Mayborn

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Frank W. Mayborn
Frank Mayborn Portrait.jpg
Born December 7, 1903
Akron, Ohio, USA
Died May 16, 1987
Temple, Bell County, Texas
Occupation Publisher and broadcaster
Spouse(s) Ruth Whitesides (1929-1946)
Wythel Killen (1947-1972)
Anyse Sue White (1981-1987)

Frank Willis Mayborn (December 7, 1903 - May 16, 1987) was a 20th-century Texas newspaper publisher and philanthropist who played a crucial role in the development of Temple and Bell County, located north of the state capital of Austin.

Early years and education[edit]

Mayborn was born in Akron, Ohio to Ward Carlton Mayborn and the former Nellie Childs Welton. Ward Mayborn, who was an executive of the E.W. Scripps newspaper chain, moved the family in 1910 to the Westminster, a Denver suburb that is now the seventh largest city in Colorado. In 1919, the Mayborns relocated to Dallas, where young Frank graduated in 1922 from W.H. Adamson High School, then Oak Cliff High School in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1926 from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Mayborn worked as a correspondent for several publications while in high school (Dallas Dispatch) and in college (Denver Post and United Press International). Thereafter, he was an advertising salesman for the Dallas News (since Dallas Morning News) and then served in management positions for the Northern Texas Traction Company in Fort Worth.

Texas media mogul[edit]

Mayborn published the Temple Daily Telegram, the Killeen Daily Herald, the Sherman Democrat, and the Taylor Press in Temple, Killeen, Sherman, and Taylor, respectively. He established KCEN-TV, the National Broadcasting Company outlet for both Temple and nearby Waco, the seat of McLennan County.

Along with his father and brothers, Mayborn purchased the Telegram Publishing Company in Temple just days after the advent of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Ward Mayborn at first urged Frank to sell the Telegram for whatever he could command, considering the gloomy economic picture by 1930. Mayborn, however, was determined to make a success in Temple and continued as the business manager of the newspaper, a position that he held until 1945, when he was elevated to editor and publisher. That same year, Mayborn purchased the Sherman Democrat in Grayson County in north Texas.

In 1952, he became, first, part-owner and, then, sole owner-operator of the Killeen Herald (subsequently the Killeen Daily Herald). In 1959, he obtained the Taylor Press in Williamson County east of Austin. He sold the Taylor Press (later Taylor Daily Press) in 1974 and the Sherman Democrat in 1977 but continued as editor and publisher of the Temple and Killeen newspapers until his death.

Mayborn was also a radio and television pioneer. In 1936, he started radio station KTEM in Temple. In 1945, he founded WMAK radio (now WNQM, a Christian station) in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1953, he founded KCEN-TV, named "CEN" for "Central Texas".

Military service[edit]

An active civic booster, Mayborn worked tirelessly to promote Bell County. In 1939-1940, he chaired the military affairs committee of the Temple Chamber of Commerce. First Camp Hood, then Fort Hood, the largest United States Army base in the United States, was established in Killeen and nearby Coryell County. Mayborn and the committee obtained the Olin E. Teague (named for a member of the United States House of Representatives from Texas) Veterans Center in Temple and several other military installations and defense plants in the area.

In 1942, at age 36, Mayborn enlisted in the Army as a public relations officer. In 1944, he joined the staff of General Dwight D. Eisenhower as assistant chief of the U.S. public relations office. He received a Bronze Star and left military service as a major in 1945. He remained active in military matters, having served on the civilian advisory board for most of the commanders at Fort Hood. In 1968, he accompanied an old acquaintance, General Bruce Clarke, to South Vietnam on a fact-finding tour. On his return, he reported to President Johnson on the reliability of the controversial M16 rifle. In 1979, Mayborn was awarded the Creighton W. Abrams Medal, named for the second U.S. commander in the Vietnam War, for his contributions to the Army.

Political contributions[edit]

Mayborn was also a political confidant of Texas Democrats, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Governor John B. Connally, and U.S. Representatives W.R. Poage and Speaker Sam Rayburn, Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby of the former United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Jesse H. Jones. By the 1970s, with the defection of Connally to the Republican Party (GOP), Mayborn began to support some GOP candidates.

Role in disputed Senate runoff primary[edit]

In 1946, Mayborn was elected to the Texas Democratic State Central Committee. While on the committee, he played a crucial role in the disputed senatorial primary runoff of 1948 for the seat vacated by the retiring W. Lee O'Daniel.

The state committee was asked to declare the winner of the primary after supporters of former Governor Coke R. Stevenson, a conservative Democrat, accused Johnson's campaign of fraudulent voting practices, particularly in Jim Wells County, one of the south Texas "machine" counties controlled by the Duval County political patron, George Parr. Eighty-seven primary votes were in dispute.

John Connally, then Johnson's campaign manager, summoned Mayborn from a business trip in Nashville, where Mayborn owned a radio station, to cast the deciding vote in what was to be the committee's 29-28 decision to declare Johnson the winner.[1] U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black, a former U.S. senator from Alabama, declared that the Democratic committee would have the sole power to select the nominee, a crushing blow to the Stevenson campaign. Stevenson, thereafter, embittered at the outcome of the senatorial nomination, headed the "Democrats for Nixon" Committee in Texas in 1960[citation needed], when Johnson was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee on the ticket headed by then Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Contributions[edit]

Odie B. Faulk and Laura E. Faulk titled their Mayborn biography Frank Mayborn: A Man Who Made a Difference.

Mayborn was involved in the development of many Bell County institutions. He served on the advisory board of the acclaimed Scott & White Memorial Hospital and played an important role in the location of Texas A&M University Medical Center in Temple. A longtime advocate of a convention center for Temple, Mayborn donated over 15 acres (61,000 m2) of land for the Frank W. Mayborn Convention Center, which was completed in 1982. The facility includes the Mayborn Museum Complex.

The Mayborn plaque at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas
The Mayborn Campus Center at the UMHB opened long after Mayborn's death.

As an advocate for education, Mayborn was active in the founding of the two-year Central Texas College near Killeen, which services many military personnel from Fort Hood. He also started the annual Bell County spelling bee. He endowed a chair at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Mayborn served on journalism advisory boards at both the University of Texas and Texas A&M. Mayborn established a journalism chair at Baptist-affiliated Baylor University of Waco. He was a trustee and a donor to George Peabody College in Nashville. The large Frank and Sue Mayborn Campus Center was endowed after his death at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas.

Mayborn worked with Congressman Poage to obtain two Central Texas reservoirs, Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Lake. He worked to obtain the designation of the Killeen-Temple-Belton-Fort Hood area as a standard metropolitan statistical area though the four units are not directly contiguous. He was president of the Texas Publishers Association in 1941 and of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association in 1961.

Awards[edit]

Over the years, Mayborn received numerous awards, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton and the Distinguished Citizen Award of the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that he tirelessly supported over the years. He was inducted into the Communications Hall of Fame at Texas Tech. He also supported numerous charitable projects through the Frank W. Mayborn Foundation.

Family life[edit]

Mayborn was married to (1) Ruth Whitesides (1906–1977) from 1929–1946 and (2) Wythel Killen (1912–2001) from 1947-1972. Both marriages ended in divorce. In 1981, Mayborn married the Anyse Sue White (born ca. 1936), who, thirty-three years his junior, succeeded him as editor and publisher of the Temple and Killeen papers.

Mayborn was a Mason and a Presbyterian.

Death and legacy[edit]

He died of heart attack in Temple on May 16, 1987, at the age of 83.

The Texas Daily Newspaper Association offers the annual Frank Mayborn Award for Community Leadership to recognize a publisher or other newspaper executive who contributed during the past year to the improvement of society.

Posthumously, the journalism graduate program at the University of North Texas was named the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism in 1999. With assistance from his business partner, Frank M. Burke Jr, the journalism department at the University of North Texas became the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism on September 1, 2009.

Further reading[edit]

  • Mayborn obituary, Killeen Daily Herald and Temple Daily Telegram, May 17, 1987
  • Odie B. Faulk and Laura E. Faulk, Frank Mayborn: A Man Who Made a Difference (Belton, Texas: University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, 1989)
  • Burke obituary, The Dallas Morning News, July 29, 2010

References[edit]

External links[edit]