Grady Hazlewood

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Grady Hazlewood
Texas State Senator from District 31 (Panhandle)
In office
Preceded by Clint C. Small
Succeeded by Max Sherman
Texas State Senate President Pro Tempore
In office
Preceded by George C. Morris
Succeeded by Wardlow W. Lane
Personal details
Born (1902-08-18)August 18, 1902
Old Fort Chadbourne
Coke County
Texas, USA
Died April 1, 1989(1989-04-01) (aged 86)
Austin, Travis County, Texas
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Audrine Smith Hazlewood (married 1927-1989, his death)
Residence Amarillo, Texas
Alma mater

West Texas A&M University

University of Texas Law School

Dairy farmer
Real estate businessman

Horse breeder
Hazlewood is the father of the farm-to-market road system in Texas, which converted rural dirt roads to asphalt.

Grady Hazlewood (August 18, 1902 – April 1, 1989)[1] was a Democratic member of the Texas State Senate from 1941 to 1971, having represented the Amarillo-based District 31 in the Panhandle. He was sometimes known as "the old gray fox" for his ability as an "aw shucks" country lawyer to procure passage of his bills.[2]


Hazlewood was born at Old Fort Chadbourne (established 1852) near Bronte in Coke County, Texas, located northeast of San Angelo. Chadbourne is now a ghost town accessible to the south of Sweetwater, the seat of Nolan County. As a boy, Hazlewood relocated with his parents and four brothers to a farm near Canyon, the seat of Randall County, south of Amarillo. He graduated from West Texas A&M University (then West Texas State Teachers College) in Canyon. In 1926, he procured his legal degree through the University of Texas Law School in Austin. In 1927, he married the former Audrine Smith (May 26, 1902–April 30, 1991)[1] He returned to Amarillo to practice law and was elected district attorney during the 1930s.[2]

Having first been elected to the state Senate in 1940, he was undefeated and mostly unopposed until his retirement in 1971. He was succeeded by his fellow Democrat Max Sherman, also an Amarillo lawyer, who in the 1970 general election defeated the Republican nominee Malouf Abraham, Sr., an oilman and state representative from Canadian, the seat of Hemphill County, also in the Panhandle. In addition to his legal duties, Hazlewood operated a dairy farm and maintained real estate interests in Austin. He was a breeder and trainer of Tennessee walking horses.[2]

Senator Hazlewood worked for passage of legislation establishing the first loan program in any state that permitted tuition-free education at Texas colleges and universities for returning veterans of World War II. Later, he co-sponsored the Hinson-Hazlewood program, the first plan in any state to offer low-interest state loans to Texas college students. He authored the legislation that elevated his alma mater to the full-fledged WTAMU. He was subsequently appointed by Governor Preston Smith to the WTAMU board of regents.[2]

Hazlewood created the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority, which led to the building of Lake Meredith, a major water source for the northern Texas Panhandle. In the late 1940s, he co-sponsored the original farm-to-market road program, which in time paved in asphalt the previous rural dirt roads.[2] In 1963, Hazlewood was chairman of the influential Senate Finance Committee during the tenure of Governor John B. Connally, Jr. Among his interests was obtaining state appropriations for the transportation of tuberculosis patients to and from state hospitals.[3]

Hazlewood obtained state support for the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon and even helped to maintain the museum for a time with his own financial backing. He left his papers to the museum and contributed $20,000 toward the construction of the museum archives. The Hazlewood papers are hence available to researchers through WTAMU.[2]

Hazlewood sponsored the creation of Texas' first municipal hospital supported by property taxes. The hospital, located in Amarillo, became subsequently a model for other cities. Through a gift from his estate to the Amarillo Area Foundation, several scholarships for Panhandle students are still offered in Hazlewood's name.[2]

Hazlewood's former Senate seat is now held by the Republican Kel Seliger of Amarillo.


  1. ^ a b "Social Security Death Index". Retrieved April 17, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Robyn Followwill-Line, "Grady Hazlewood"". Amarillo Globe News, May 19, 2000. Retrieved April 17, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Letter from Texas Attorney General Waggoner Carr to Senator Hazlewood, March 18, 1963" (PDF). Retrieved April 17, 2010. 
Preceded by
Clint C. Small
Texas State Senator from District 31 (Panhandle)

Grady Hazlewood

Succeeded by
Max Sherman
Preceded by
George C. Morris
Texas State Senate President Pro Tempore

Grady Hazlewood

Succeeded by
Wardlow W. Lane