Frank Wayne Calhoun
April 15, 1933 – April 24, 2021
Frank Wayne Calhoun, age 88, died Saturday, April 24, 2021 in Austin, Texas. A lifelong Texan, Frank was born April 15, 1933 in Houston to parents Ruby Edith Calhoun and Wilmer Cecil Calhoun spending his childhood mostly in Moody, graduating in 1950 as Valedictorian from Moody HS and serving in the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict from 1951-53.
After his military service, Frank entered Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He got a job working in the museum and developed an interest in anthropology, spending the summer of his Junior year working for the Smithsonian on an archaeology site in Mississippi, and then graduating in 1956 with a degree in history. Being a very goal-oriented person, Frank changed his goal in life to becoming a lawyer. After marrying his college girlfriend, he entered The University of Texas Law School receiving his JD degree in 1959, then moved to Abilene, beginning his legal career with the firm of Lee Byrd and Guy Shaw. Frank quickly proved his skills and the firm expanded becoming Byrd, Shaw, Weeks & Calhoun.
In 1967 Frank’s many friends in the Abilene community urged him to run for the State Legislature and he was easily elected. He served eight years as State Representative from Abilene from 1967-75 and was very proud to have served as delegate to the Constitutional Convention that convened 1974 for the purpose of rewriting the Texas Constitution.
While serving in the legislature, Frank was recruited by the prestigious Houston law firm of Liddell, Sapp, Zivley, Hill & LaBoon to handle their Austin clients and finally moved to Austin as his permanent home. After his official retirement he continued to represent a few longtime clients but began spending more time on other pursuits. Frank loved his native Texas. Once, driving past the Alpine county courthouse, he spotted the Texas flag hung upside down on the flagpole in front of the building. He ordered Bill Wright, his friend of many adventures together, to stop the car. He got out and entered the building and soon an employee was changing the flag to its proper orientation. He was a frequent visitor to Big Bend National Park plus enjoyed many other outdoor related activities including tennis, hunting and fishing. As a Board Member of Outward Bound, he ascended numerous ‘fourteeners’ in Colorado.
Frank never abandoned his intellectual interests. Indoor activities included genealogy, and extensive reading. He was voted into the Philosophical Society of Texas, a highly selective organization dedicated to keeping Texas a great and prosperous state. His interest of Texas history led him to serve two six-year terms as Chairman of the San Jacinto Historical Advisory Board, Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Texan Cultures, Trustee of the Texas Historical Foundation, Board Trustee of the San Jacinto Museum of History, and the Advisory Council’s Chair of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at UT.
He was preceded in death by his parents, older brother Cecil Aquilla Calhoun, and Suzanne Calhoun, to whom he was married for 20 years. Frank’s legacy is proudly carried forward by sons, Michael Calhoun and wife Renee of Houston and David Calhoun and wife Kathy of Dallas, his children with Doris Bass, and daughter Lee Ann Coulter and husband Keith. Frank (Pop) adored his seven beautiful granddaughters: Audrey, Keaton, Sarah & Kiley Calhoun, and Suzanne, Katherine & Maggie Coulter. Frank had a host of “best” friends and they circled around him during his last days. Dr. Lee Arnold, Carol Ikard, Nancy Watson, Cissy Ellis, Dr. Tom Staley, Bill Wright, and many others.
A memorial service will be held during interment at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin on Monday, May 3, 2021 at 11a.m. Memorials may be made to the Frank W Calhoun Exhibition Endowment for Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at UT Austin, or your charity of choice.
Honorary Pallbearers include Dr. Lee Arnold, Cecil Wayne Calhoun, Guy Floyd, Brian Heck, Richard Ponder and Charles Schnabel.
Frank – Wayne – Calhoun, that’s what it says on His birth certificate. But we know him by different names. Most of you knew him as Frank, while to the younger crowd he was Mr. Calhoun.
Some friends called him Paco, or Franko. To a few, he was Uncle Frank. The luckiest among us knew him simply as Pop. It was my incredible honor, and privilege, to call him Dad.
But the most appropriate moniker of all, is The Silver Fox. And with that I would like to read you a poem based on one by David Crews I found in Dad’s apartment, written in Honor of his 60th birthday.
"Ode to the Silver Fox"
From Abilene he came roarin’ Across the western plain, He sent our spirits soarin’ This man with the silver mane.
As Frank Calhoun worked the Austin crowd And gained a bit of fame, It was perfectly clear to all he wowed That politics was his game.
The glitz and glamour of the Capitol scene Were fascinating to our friend, Especially so, since in Abilene The lights went out at ten.
And Calhoun grew in power and strength Carrying bags for Gus and Ben, While he also went to any length To be known as Preston’s friend.
(To the younger crowd, Google those names)
Although devoted to his public duty To hold the Lone Star high, This practical boy from Moody Noted the lobbyists’ share of the pie.
Thus Calhoun abandoned the political field The low pay and all the rest, For a lobbying career more likely to yield Those big fees he loved the best.
With accomplishments galore and great respect He’s reunited with his lovely Suzanne, So, Pop, we’re gathered here to say… …Goodbye, to one hell of a man.
- Ruby Edith Calhoun, Mother (deceased)
- Wilmer Cecil Calhoun, Father (deceased)
- Cecil Aquilla Calhoun, Brother (deceased)
- Suzanne Calhoun, Wife (deceased)
- Michael Calhoun (Renee Calhoun), Son
- David Calhoun (Kathy Calhoun), Son
- Lee Ann Coulter (Keith Coulter), Daughter
- Audrey Calhoun, Granddaughter
- Keaton Calhoun, Granddaughter
- Sarah Calhoun, Granddaughter
- Kiley Calhoun, Granddaughter
- Suzanne Coulter, Granddaughter
- Katherine Coulter, Granddaughter
- Maggie Coulter, Granddaughter
- Dr. Lee Arnold, Honorary
- Cecil Wayne Calhoun, Honorary
- Guy Floyd, Honorary
- Brian Heck, Honorary
- Richard Ponder , Honorary
- Charles Schnabel, Honorary
Monday, May 3, 2021