Wilbert Lee O’Daniel

Gov. Wilbert Lee O’Daniel

Texas

Term(s)
January 17, 1939 - August 4, 1941

Born
March 11, 1890

Passed
May 12, 1969

Party
Democrat

School(s)

Status:
Resigned

Birth State
Ohio

National Office(s) Served:
Senator

Family:
Married Merle Estella Butcher; three children

BIO

WILBERT LEE (“PAPPY”) O’DANIEL was born in Malta, Ohio and educated in Arlington and Hutchinson, Kansas. Having risen to popularity in Texas as a radio entertainer, director of the “Light Crust Doughboys,” and author of the song “Beautiful Texas,” he was elected governor unopposed in 1938. His inexperience in politics led to difficulties implementing his policy proposals, which included ending the state poll tax and increasing old-age assistance. Despite these failures, he was elected to a second term in 1940 but left the governor’s office after defeating then-Representative Lyndon B. Johnson in the Democratic primary to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat. He went on to serve as a U.S. Senator until 1949, and then unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor in 1956 and 1958. He died in Dallas and was buried in Hillcrest Memorial Park.

Source

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Texas State Library & Archives Commission

Governors of Texas, 1846-present

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress