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 Oveta <I>Culp</I> Hobby

Oveta Culp Hobby

Killeen, Bell County, Texas, USA
Death 16 Aug 1995 (aged 90)
Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA
Burial Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA
Plot Section H-3
Memorial ID 19366 · View Source
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Presidential Cabinet Secretary. She served as United States Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare; organized the Women's Army Corps. Oveta Culp was born in Killeen Texas on January 9, 1905. She was brought up with a strong sense of duty by her parents, who promoted in her a conviction in both the law and charity, and studied hard as a child. She received her degree in law from the University of Texas in 1925, and in 1931 married former Texas governor and newspaper publisher William Hobby. Working as an editor on her husband's paper The Houston Post from 1931 until 1938, when she was promoted to Executive Vice-President, she also took the reigns as president of the League of Women Voters of Texas. When in Washington DC on business concerning the radio station she and her husband had just purchased, she was approached by a representative of the War Department to help organize a women's section of the Army. Although she initially refused, citing family and business obligations, she helped draw up an organizational plan. It was so impressive she was asked again to help put the plan in action, and this time she accepted. She was officially head of the Women's Interest Section, War Department Bureau of Public Relations, from 1941-1942. When America was attacked at Pearl Harbor, she made a speech in Chicago that was called "the nation's first declaration of war" by General George Marshall. Her role grew swiftly, speaking before Congress on the plans for women in the Army, and so impressed the military brass that she was made the new director of the Women's Army Corps, with the rank of colonel. By 1944, her WAACs were requested by military commanders around the world; in January 1945 she became the first woman to receive the Distinguished Service Medal for outstanding service; in July of 1945 she had to resign from her post due to exhaustion. After a brief rest, she returned to public service: from 1946-1947 she was a board member of the Red Cross and the American Cancer Society; in 1948 she was a delegate to the United Nations. When Eisenhower became a candidate for president, she was active in his behalf; when he was elected he appointed her as the first Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, the precursor to both the Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Health and Human Services today. She was the person who legalized Jonas Salk's polio vaccine. Resigning in 1955, she spent the years afterwards as she did her earlier life, in service to her fellow men, receiving numerous honorary doctorates and awards, heading boards both charity, scholarly and business, until her passing on August 16, 1995.

Bio by: Screwtape

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 5 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19366
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Oveta Culp Hobby (19 Jan 1905–16 Aug 1995), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19366, citing Glenwood Cemetery, Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .